News

Mark Krasovic
Doug Doyle for WBGO

The 37th annual Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series is February 18th at the Paul Robeson Campus Center at Rutgers University-Newark.  The series was founded by the late Dr. Clement A. Price and Giles Wright. 

This year's MTW is once again being put together by Mark Krasovic, an assistant professor of history and American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark.  Krasovic is also the interim director of the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience.

The theme of this year's one-day event is City Moves: Black Urban History Since 1967.

John Bolger and Suzzanne Douglas
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Stage and screen stars Suzzanne Douglas and John Bolger return to George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ for the award-winning play American Son, which runs through February 26th.

Douglas is returning to GSP for the sixth time.  She plays Kendra Ellis-Connor.  Bolger plays her estranged husband, Scott Connor.  Their son Jamal's car has been pulled over in the middle of the night and the Connors can't get any answers about his whereabouts. 

Douglas says her character fights like a tiger to save her son:

Assemblyman John McKeon
Phil Gregory

An Assembly committee will consider legislation on Monday that would require candidates for President to disclose their federal income tax returns to get on New Jersey's ballot.

Donald Trump refused to release his tax returns during the Presidential campaign.

Assemblyman John McKeon says his bill is intended to make sure that doesn't happen in the future.

"I think it's very important from a transparency perspective for the voters to have that information and if our society norms aren't going to force the issue, then we need to do so as a matter of law."

Sandy-damaged homes.
Phil Gregory

Governor Christie has signed legislation to prevent mortgage foreclosures on homes damaged more than four years ago by Superstorm Sandy.

Amanda Devecka-Rinear directs the New Jersey Organizing Project founded by those affected by Sandy. She's relieved the governor approved the measure.

"I am so incredibly glad that we're going to see some relief for families. I am only sad that this didn't pass even two years ago because I know as many people as it will help there are a number of families for whom this is too late."

Governor's office entrance
Phil Gregory

The primary election in New Jersey's governor's race is four months away.

Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind Poll director Krista Jenkins says most registered voters are unsure who should replace Governor Chris Christie.

“50 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans say they don’t have a clue with about 1 in 7 in both groups who would prefer someone other than those who have already declared or are at least thinking about throwing their hats into the ring.”

Faith Leaders Open Doors To Fearful Immigrants

Feb 9, 2017
Ken Downey Jr. / WBGO

“Build community. Not a wall,” was what echoed down Broad Street, Thursday morning, as a bit over a hundred people gathered in protest of President Trump’s executive order, in front of Grace Church in Newark. Grace Church, which stands on the corner of Broad Street and Walnut since 1837, is directly adjacent to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services building. The rally that began around 9 a.m. brought in several members from various religions that offered their support to immigrants. 

Phil Gregory

Mayors who held their annual meeting with legislative leaders at the New Jersey Statehouse want to know how funding for transportation projects will be distributed.

Fanwood Mayor Coleen Mahr says a case-by-case process is not the way to determine if the state will reimburse a municipality for costs resulting from Governor Christie's shutdown of road projects during last year's impasse on replenishing the Transportation Trust Fund.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The hometown of Grammy Hall of Famers Paul Simon, Whitney Houston, Sarah Vaughan, and Franki Valli will now be directly connected to the music world’s most prestigious award.

Governor Christie has signed legislation requiring New Jersey regulations on elevated lead levels in children's blood to be consistent with federal guidelines.

Ann Vardeman with New Jersey Citizen Action says that's a good move.

"This is what the science has shown is that smaller levels of lead can caused damage in children than what was previously thought. Previous levels that New Jersey had the actionable level was actually long after damage was being caused in children." 

Paying for health care is the primary concern of U-S families, according to a new poll.

Monmouth University Polling Institute director Patrick Murray says health care costs are now creating the most anxiety for 25 percent of Americans surveyed.   

"That's a big jump from the last time we asked just a couple of years ago when health care was one of a number of issues in the top tier. It seems like concerns about paying for costs of health care right now are the things that are really driving the worries that Americans have that keep them up at night."

Lawmakers and advocates say the resolutions are significant.
Phil Gregory

The New Jersey Senate has approved symbolic resolutions condemning President Trump's now-stalled executive orders on immigration.

One resolution opposes building a wall along the southern U.S. border and the ban on the entry of immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries. 

The other measure expresses the legislature's intent that colleges continue to serve as safe zones to protect students and their families from action by immigration agents.

Imam Mustafa El Amin from Newark believes the resolutions will have a significant effect.

Senate Education Committee
Phil Gregory

A New Jersey Senate committee has advanced legislation prohibiting the state Department of Education from limiting what a school district can pay its superintendent.

Senate Education committee chairwoman Teresa Ruiz says a salary cap that took effect in 2011 was intended to save money but has kept school districts from getting the best people.

"I think it's the responsibility of the district if they have funding in their budget to make their decision on hiring someone who is capable and that won't necessarily at some point make less than perhaps a sitting principal."

Newark's four elected living Mayors join host Michael Hill for a historic discussion about the hurdles they've faced and the victories they each achieved as leaders of the city for last 5 decades.

Chapter & Verse

Feb 3, 2017
Chapter and Verse Partners, LLC

The film is directed by 64 year-old Jamal Joseph, a former Black Panther who is now a professor at Columbia University. Joseph spent several years behind bars himself after being convicted of a variety of crimes including the sheltering of members of the Black Liberation Army and Weather Underground involved in the infamous Brinks robbery and murders in 1981. During a prison stint in Kansas he became a playwright and has been active in film and theater since he was freed. His focus has very much been on the plight of black men in America.

Ang Santos / WBGO

With the tolling of flag poles all around, and a backdrop of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, top lawmakers from New York and New Jersey huddled together in opposition to President Trump’s travel ban.

“My name is Senator Michael Gianaris.  I’m from New York, not New Jersey but we’re happy to be here on the New Jersey side today.”

Gianaris is the deputy democratic leader of the New York State Senate and author of legislation that would prevent the Port Authority from using its resources to support Trump’s Executive Order.

Nick Davidson
Bloomfield College Athletics

The Bloomfield College men's and women's basketball teams are rolling, both on top of the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference.  The captains of the Bears men's team got here via different paths.  6-foot-6 junior forward Nick Davidson had a brilliant senior season at Rancocas Valley High School and has emerged as this year's leading scorer on the Bears.  Rakwan Kelly, a 6-4 junior forward, transferred to Bloomfield after playing at Division 1 Mississippi Valley State.  Davidson, Kelly and women's 6-1 sophomore forward Bobbi Floyd are all pursuing degrees in the communications field. 

Congressman Frank LoBiondo
Phil Gregory

Two New Jersey Congressmen are re-introducing bills to legalize sports betting.

Legal challenges by sports leagues have blocked New Jersey from permitting sports wagering.

Congressman Frank LoBiondo says the Supreme Court will soon decide whether to consider the state’s appeal.

“So I think it’s important that the new nominee is confirmed so that if the high court decides that they will consider New Jersey’s case, that is the fastest route to us being able to get to what we want. Otherwise we’ve got to go through the legislative route.”

Ang Santos / WBGO

New York State Senator Michael Gianaris says the bi-state bill would completely prevent the Port Authority from supporting Trump’s travel ban.

“Prohibit the Port Authority personnel from participating in the enforcement of this order.  Prohibit the facilities of the Port Authority from being used.  Prohibit any resources from the Port, so if the federal government somehow has control of a room that they’re using but the electricity or the climate control comes from the Port Authority, that too should be shut off,” Gianaris said.

ci.newark.nj.us

Like Sharpe James and Cory Booker before him, Ras Baraka became the third straight former city councilman turned mayor in 2014.  And like the mayors who preceded him, he knows how to fire up a crowd.

“We need a mayor who unapologetically loves this city and the people in it.  And most importantly, we need a mayor that believes in you and knows no fear. I am thankful to god that today you have chosen me to be this mayor,”  Baraka said during his inauguration speech in 2014.

What’s the most important issue in deciding whom to elect as New Jersey’s next governor?

A Quinnipiac University survey of voters puts taxes at the top of the list.

Pollster Maurice Carroll says that’s their biggest concern for 26 percent of voters.

“There was one year many years ago when believe it or not auto insurance was the main issue, but poll in and poll out finds that New Jerseyans are concerned mostly about taxes.”

Super Bowl Week Conjures Up Bright Moments

Feb 1, 2017
Franco Harris and Rahsaan Roland Kirk
Dorthaan Kirk for WBGO

Franco Harris was MVP of Super Bowl IX.  His Super Bowl career totals of 101 carries for 354 yards are records and his 4 career rushing touchdowns are tied for the second most in Super Bowl history. 

Franco Harris, who starred at Rancocas Valley High School in New Jersey, went on to play for Joe Paterno at Penn State.  Harris was inducted in Pro Football's Hall of Fame in 1990. 

With quarterback Terry Bradshaw and running back Rocky Bleier by his side, the fullback won four Super Bowl titles with the Steelers. 

Some small business owners in New Jersey are urging Congress not to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Kelly Conklin owns Foley-Waite, a Kenilworth cabinet-making business.

He spends over $10,000 a month for health insurance premiums to cover him and ten employees. If the ACA is repealed, he believes the costs will increase.

Newark Public Library

Programming Note: Cory Booker will join us this Friday, February 3rd at 8pm as Newark Today Presents "The Four Living Mayors". He will be joined by fellow former mayors Ken Gibson, Sharpe James and current mayor Ras Baraka for what will be a historic night.

Senator Joe Vitale
Phil Gregory

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to require high school students to be screened for the risk of substance abuse.

Senate Health Committee chairman Joe Vitale says his bill would have students in 9th through 12th grades answer questions about drug use as part of their annual health assessments.

           

Senator Jeff Van Drew
Phil Gregory

 

A measure awaiting final legislative approval in the state Senate would require all county governments in New Jersey to have a Code Blue plan in place to shelter homeless residents during severe weather events.

 

Mike Oppegaard is president of the New Jersey Association of Emergency Management Coordinators. He’s concerned about the costs of providing shelter and services if the severe conditions persist for several days. He wants lawmakers to consider state grants to offset that expense.

 

Steven Perskie and Chris Grimm testify at Assembly  hearing.
Phil Gregory

Daily fantasy sports games officially would be allowed and regulated in New Jersey if a measure advanced by an Assembly committee becomes law.

Participants in fantasy sports put together imaginary teams of real pro athletes, pay an entry fee, and then compete for prizes by getting scores based on statistics those athletes produce in real games.

Former New Jersey Casino Control Commission chairman Steven Perskie presented a legal saying  fantasy sports are games of skill and should not be considered gambling.

FieldTurf CEO Eric Daliere testifies at Senate committee hearing
Phil Gregory

The leader of a company that makes artificial sports fields told a New Jersey Senate committee allegations made in three-class action lawsuits are disturbing and inaccurate.

Newark schools, the borough of Carteret, and the owner of a soccer club in Clifton claim FieldTurf continued to sell its Duraspine product while knowing it was defective.

Eric Daliere, the chief executive officer of Field Turf, disputes claims that the fields are not living up to their 8 year warranty period.

NJ Advance Media

Programming Note: Sharpe James will join us this Friday, February 3rd at 8pm as Newark Today Presents "The Four Living Mayors".  He will be joined by fellow former mayors Ken Gibson, US Senator Cory Booker and current mayor Ras Baraka for what will be a historic night.

Mayor Sharpe James served as Newark’s south ward councilman before defeating Ken Gibson in a close 1986 election.  It would end up being his closest election as city mayor.  He was such a presence he ran unopposed in 1990.  James went on to serve five terms, eventually becoming a state senator.  

Martin Brodeur
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Former New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur was no surprise to make the NHL's 100 Greatest Players List released this past Friday night.  Brodeur is a certain hall of famer and is the assistant general manager of the St. Louis Blues.

In his 21-season tenure with the New Jersey Devils, he won three Stanley Cup championships and five Eastern Conference titles in 17 postseason campaigns. He finished up his career in St. Louis.  Brodeur also won two Olympic gold medals with Team Canada in the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympic Games. 

The Crypto Party Phenomenon Hits Brooklyn

Jan 27, 2017
Crypto Party
crypto_party.org

We're going to take you now to a crypto party. It's really more of a teach-in than a party. Privacy advocates and political activists have been organizing crypto parties to foil efforts by corporations and governments to collect data.

The phenomenon started in Australia in 2012 and has since spread around the world.  Reporter Jon Kalish recently went to a couple of crypto parties in Brooklyn.

Click above to hear the story.

Pages