News

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.

The Liar Completes Its Comedic Mission

Jan 27, 2017
The Liar
Classic Stage Company

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews the Classic Stage Company's The Liar, a new David Ives translation of a French comedy.

NJ Advance Media / Courtesy of Newark Public Library

Programming Note: Ken Gibson 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 Sharpe James, US Senator Cory Booker and current mayor Ras Baraka for what will be a historic night.

Ken Gibson was elected as Newark’s first African American mayor in 1970.  A transitional period for Newark; the city was in recovery from the 67’ rebellion.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey could become the first state to ban veterinarians from declawing cats.  Feline advocates are split over whether the legislation is a good idea.

A bill passed by the Assembly and awaiting action in the state Senate would fine veterinarians as much as $2000 for declawing a cat unless it’s considered medically necessary.  Kathleen Schatzmann, the state director of the Humane Society, supports the proposed ban.

Nancy Schiliro Beestra
Wounded Warrior Project for WBGO

Nancy Schiliro lost her eye as result of a mortar explosion in Iraq when she was a Lance Corporal in the U-S Marine Corps.  At that time, she was not married and returned home to New York battered and depressed.

The Wounded Warrior Organization gave her the will to fight her way back. Now she is helping other injured veterans return to a normal life. She is currently a Wounded Warrior Outreach Specialist and an inspiration to all Americans.

NJ officials and fishing advocates oppose the proposed limits.
Phil Gregory

New Jersey officials say they’ll do everything they can to stop proposed regulations that could hurt the state’s fishing industry.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering increasing the minimum size and reducing the number of flounder that recreational fishermen in New Jersey can keep this summer.

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin told a crowd of fishermen in Point Pleasant Beach that the proposed new limits are based on unreliable data. He says he’ll fight to keep current regulations in place.

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo
Phil Gregory

A resolution introduced in the New Jersey legislature urges the Trump administration to oppose any measure that would prohibit states from conducting internet gambling.

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo says comments from Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, prompted him to seek clarification about what the administration might do.

Harlan Jacobson
Susan Jacobson for WBGO

What a work of man Sundance is, namely Robert Redford. It’s his legacy, after all, far more than the Way We Were or All the President’s Men or that near-silent film he starred in, ALL IS LOST, as a sailor adrift at sea. The 33rd Sundance Film Festival wraps up this weekend.

If you stop thinking of film as art—the 7th art, in fact—which the majority of Americans don’t anyway—and think of it for a second as a product, Sundance didn’t invent the independent film. But it did find a way to make it a business.

Hurricane Diane Blows People Away At Two River Theater

Jan 27, 2017
Becca Blackwell
Cassie Galisetti for WBGO

Becca Blackwell is making audiences laugh as "Diane" in Two River Theater's latest production Hurricane Diane.  In this wild comedy, the Greek god Dionysus takes form as "Diane", a lesbian permaculture gardener from Vermont.  She's on a mission to gather followers and restore the Earth to its natural state. Where better to begin than a Monmouth County cul-de-sac and the women who live there?

Blackwell is enjoying working with Two River's playwright-in-residence, Madeleine George:

Department of Education officials testify at legislative task force hearing
Phil Gregory

New Jersey schools have another six months to comply with a state directive to test their drinking water for lead contamination.

The New Jersey Department of Education says about half of its 586 school districts have completed their testing and 21 have reported elevated lead levels.

Project Manager Jim Palmer says the schools have to shut off contaminated fountains and sinks and come up with a long-term solution to resolve the lead problem.

New Jersey officials are assessing the beach erosion caused by the nor’easter earlier this week.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna says most of the state’s coastline suffered only minor or moderate erosion and there was no property damage.

He says the storm surge carved a 5 to 10 feet sand cliff in some oceanfront locations.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Leaders of several Fortune 500 companies were at NJPAC to discuss race and ethnicity in the workplace. 

Ethnicity and race can be uncomfortable topics in a workplace setting.  Elena Richards, talent manager with PwC moderated the roundtable discussion.  She says racial insecurity is still very much an issue.

Pages