News

Coalition members outline their goals.
Phil Gregory

A coalition of more than 30 environmental, labor, and community organizations says climate change poses a massive threat to New Jersey and is urging the state to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase clean energy.

Dan Fatton is executive director of the Work Environment Council. He says the collation is a ray of hope in the Trump era.

Ang Santos / WBGO

A former treasury official under the Bill Clinton administration is stepping up his campaign to run for New Jersey governor. 

Jim Johnson’s new campaign office in downtown Newark isn’t quite as spacious, or at the highly visible location of democratic front runner Phil Murphy’s, but Johnson says he never planned a high profile run to the Governor’s office.  No big endorsements or dollars, Johnson says no problem.

Advocates express support for the measure.
Phil Gregory

Advocates are urging New Jersey lawmakers to enact proposed legislation that would help students trying to recover from drug addiction.

The measure would allow any child clinically diagnosed with substance use disorder to transfer to a recovery school that provides programs and peer support to help them stay off drugs.

Gina Vaccaro says her daughter returned to Livingston High School after completing an inpatient treatment program and the school board rejected her request to transfer the state’s only recovery high school in Roselle.

New Jersey Statehouse
Phil Gregory

New Jersey could become the first state to ban veterinarians from declawing cats.

A bill passed by the Assembly and awaiting action in the Senate would fine veterinarians as much as $2000 for performing the procedure unless it’s considered medically necessary.

Kathleen Schatzmann, the state director of the Humane Society, supports the proposed ban.

“It is an unnecessary surgery most often performed for convenience issues such as to address problems scratching of household furniture and it provides no benefit whatsoever to the cat.”

jazz.org

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy Gillespie centennial celebration kicks off this week. 

Dizzy’s music will take over JALC for a four-day weekend of shows starting Thursday, Jan. 26.  Trombonist Vincent Gardner is leading the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra through various arrangements in Rose Theater.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The Hahne & Co. building on Broad St. in Newark has reopened its doors.  It’s transformed into much more than a department store.

Many Newarkers remember it as the ‘Hahne’s’ building.  The 21st century version will house the city’s first Whole Foods, a restaurant from celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, and housing units both luxury and affordable.  Mayor Ras Baraka says 65 of those will be affordable housing units.

Senate Democratic leaders worry about Affordable Care Act repeal
Phil Gregory

 

Democratic leaders in the New Jersey Senate are troubled that one of President Trump’s first actions was signing an executive order that seeks the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says New Jersey would be hurt by the repeal of Obamacare and the accompanying expansion of Medicaid.

“It expanded health care for hundreds of thousands of people in this state and millions nationwide. And it’s not a game. We’re dealing with people’s lives right now, and it’s concerning.”

Senator Ray Lesniak
Phil Gregory

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to change one of the state’s toughest gun laws.

Legislation introduced by Senator Ray Lesniak would eliminate the mandatory minimum three-to-five year sentence for unlawful possession of a handgun and leave the punishment up to a judge.

He says legal gun owners, many from out of state, with no intention of committing a crime, should not face that harsh penalty.

Newark Today

Jan 23, 2017
Alexandra Hill

On this month's edition of Newark Today we are joined by Mayor Ras Baraka and  Bill Fitzsimmons with the Essex County Public Defender's office to talk about bail reform and how the new system will affect communities in Newark. 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Doug Doyle for WBGO

UCLA  honored basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at this past Saturday’s game at Pauley Pavilion, the famed court where the center dominated at the college level.  The Bruins won three national championships with his amazing scoring touch.

This past weekend's honor is just one of many accolades the Bruins alumnus has received lately.  Abdul-Jabbar was among 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House Ceremony in November of last year.  The hall of famer also received the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award in December in Brooklyn.

President Donald Trump
Alex Wong/Getty Images

The nation's new president is continuing to sound the themes of economic populism and nationalism that fueled his campaign.  In his inaugural speech in Washington, DC, President Donald Trump painted a dark picture of a country he vowed to take in a new direction.

Click above to hear more of the President's remarks and the oath of office.

Protestors
William Alatriste/City Council

Now that Donald Trump has been sworn in as the nation’s 45th President battle lines have been drawn over the confirmation of his controversial cabinet nominees like his pick to lead the Department of Labor Andrew Puzder, who is a fast-food tycoon.

Puzder is an ardent booster of free and unfettered market capitalism. At an economic policy forum he described how the founder of his global empire got started with just one hot dog stand in California:

August Wilson's Jitney made it's official debut on Broadway last night (Thursday) at the Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.  A great ensemble cast has already resulted in standing ovations. 

Jitney's scene is set in Pittsburgh, PA in a 1977 dilapidated unlicensed cab station, a place were locals go for cheap fares instead of the expensive regulated taxis.

Television and Broadway star Michael Potts has the audience sighing and laughing as Turnbo, who can't help sticking his nose into everybody's business:

Assemblyman John McKeon
Phil Gregory

Legislation being considered by New Jersey lawmakers would require residential and commercial properties with a lawn-sprinkler system to install a rain-sensing device before that property could be sold.

Assemblyman John McKeon says it's abhorrent to see sprinklers going off in a rainstorm.

"As water continues to become more precious and scarce, per gallon it's a lot more expensive to waste it, so whatever initial cost there might be for sensors it'll be easily recouped in a very short time."

Assemblyman Troy SIngleton
Phil Gregory

A bill advanced by the Assembly's Environment Committee would prohibit public schools and colleges in New Jersey from selling food in foam containers.

Assemblyman Troy Singleton says food remains on them, making the polystyrene containers difficult to recycle, so most recycling places won’t take them.

He says the foam products take years to degrade and small pieces end up littering streets and waterways.

"Because this stuff gets thrown out and finds its way into our waterways, by 2050 which isn't that far off we will have more plastic in our ocean than fish."

August Wilson's Jitney made it's official debut on Broadway last night (Thursday) at the Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.  A great ensemble cast has already resulted in standing ovations. 

Jitney's scene is set in Pittsburgh, PA in a 1977 dilapidated unlicensed cab station, a place were locals go for cheap fares instead of the expensive regulated taxis. 

Brandon J. Dirden, who plays Booster in the two-act play, has performed in several August Wilson productions and directed Seven Guitars:

August Wilson's Jitney made it's official debut on Broadway last night (Thursday) at the Manhattan Theatre Club at the Samuel J. Friedman Theatre.  A great ensemble cast has already resulted in standing ovations. 

Jitney's scene is set in Pittsburgh, PA in a 1977 dilapidated unlicensed cab station, a place were locals go for cheap fares instead of the expensive regulated taxis.  That's also where Shealy, portrayed by veteran actor Harvy Blanks, runs his numbers game.

Blanks who lights up the stage with his acting and wardrobe:

The Present is Delivered To Broadway

Jan 20, 2017
The Present
The Present for WBGO

British productions, even entire casts, have come to Broadway. Now comes a play (and all the actors, including Cate Blanchett) from Australia.  Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews The Present.

Assemblyman Bob Andrzejczak
Phil Gregory

Some New Jersey lawmakers are proposing legislation they say would balance the responsibility between drivers and pedestrians.

Current law gives pedestrians the right of way, but Assemblyman Bruce Land says some people don't pay much attention when they want to cross the street.

"People up and down the streets, they'll just cross right in the middle of the street without even looking. We're trying to get the onus on you have to cross in certain areas and make sure you look both ways so it's not just put right on the drivers.

Ignition interlock device displayed at  Assembly committee hearing.
Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are considering changing the state's drunken-driving laws to increase the use of devices that require a breath sample from a driver before allowing a vehicle's engine to start.

Assemblyman Joe Lagana says his bill would cut driver's license suspension times for those convicted of drunken driving, but mandate installation of ignition interlock devices.

Ignition interlock device displayed at Statehouse hearing,
Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are considering changing the state's drunken-driving laws to increase the use of devices that require a breath sample from a driver before allowing a vehicle's engine to start.

Assemblyman Joe Lagana says his bill would cut driver's license suspension times for those convicted of drunken driving, but mandate installation of ignition interlock devices.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Recent Quinnipiac University Polls show a split in New York City voters overall approval of Mayor Bill de Blasio.

When it comes to Mayor de Blasio, voters polled by Quinnipiac University are divided evenly, give or take a few percentage points on his favorability, leadership skills, or whether he deserved to be re-elected.  Poll assistant Director Tim Malloy says they’re even 50-50 on de Blasio’s public disputes with Donald Trump.

Tim Raines
Newark Bears

Former Montreal Expos and New York Yankees outfielder Tim Raines got the word this week he had hoped to hear for many years.  He will be inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in July.  Raines will be joined by former Houston Astros star Jeff Bagwell and former Texas Rangers' catcher Ivan Rodriguez who also spent time with the Yankees. 

Many analysts consider Raines to be the second-best leadoff hitter in baseball history behind Rickey Henderson who played for the now defunct Newark Bears in 2003.  Raines, meanwhile, managed the Bears from 2009 to 2011. 

Ang Santos / WBGO

Mayor Ras Baraka says planning and investment is ready to complete Newark’s long awaited park project to revitalize the space in front of Prudential Center.

It’s been talked about for eleven years but now it finally looks like the 'Triangle Park Project' is ready to bring new retail and public open space to the Prudential Center.  Newark Deputy Mayor Baye Adofo-Wilson says there’s been a change in design.

“At one time the project was a triangle, but because of a street and some realignment it became more of a rectangle.  So we ended up changing the name,” said Wilson.

David Sciarra testifies at Assembly Education Committee hearing
Phil Gregory

The New Jersey Assembly has launched hearings to examine how to revise the school funding formula of 2008.

David Sciarra, executive director of the Education Law Center, told the Assembly Education Committee the Christie administration has repeatedly failed to provide money in the budget to fully fund the formula.

He says Christie's proposal for state school aid to be based on an equal per pupil amount in every district would turn the clock back 50 years.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Newark’s Department of Public Safety is introducing its first class of school crossing guards to their ranks.  Twenty-eight vetted and trained residents are being assigned to the most traffic burdened areas of the city.   

“We had a group of people, we went through 500 people to get these 28.  They are the first point of security that these kids will see going to school and out of school,” says Anthony Ambrose, Director, Newark Department of Public Safety.

Mayor Ras Baraka says hiring more crossing guards has been a request from city parents since he took office.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno announces her candidacy in Keansburg
Phil Gregory

The woman who's been New Jersey's Lt. Governor for the last seven years, has kicked off her campaign to replace her boss in 2018.

In her first campaign speech, Kim Guadagno told supporters in Keansburg that she wants to be governor because she believes the state can do better.

"You want your governor to be committed to making New Jersey a place for families, who strives to do better, who answers the phone, who is there in a crisis, who walks in your shoes, who cares fearlessly and without exception about you, and only you."

Scott Pioli
Atlanta Falcons

Scott Pioli's 25th NFL season has been another magical one.  He's the Assistant General Manager of the Atlanta Falcons, a team that has advanced to the NFC Championship Game this Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.

Success is nothing new for Pioli.  He has been named NFL Executive of the Year by various national media outlets five different seasons during his career, including honors from the Sporting News, Sports Illustrated and Pro Football Weekly. 

Ang Santos / WBGO

Democrats in New Jersey’s congressional delegation staged a rally in Newark against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

The republican majority congress in both houses are already beginning the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, days before the inauguration of Donald Trump.  The president-elect ran on the platform of repealing and replacing Obamacare.  Democrats in Congress find that troubling.

“They don’t have a plan, we know that,” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, a point that was made by each speaker at the rally.

Archbishop Tobin
Ang Santos for WBGO

There's a new Archbishop in Newark and he's the first Cardinal to hold the position in the 164-year history of the Archdiocese.  If he wasn’t dressed in the robes of a Cardinal, you might think Joseph Tobin was a bodybuilder.  As it turns out he sort of is.  Tobin and his six foot three frame were a regular fixture at a gym in Indianapolis, where he previously served as their Archbishop.  Late last year Pope  Francis had other ideas for him.  For Tobin that was a surprise.

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