News

The Global Tech Braintrust that is TWIT

Jan 9, 2017
TWIT
Jon Kalish for WBGO

Imagine hundreds of hard core geeks from around the world in one room, sitting at computers, ready, willing and able to help solve your tech problems.  This global brain trust does exist in cyberspace.  It's a chat room for a tech-focused podcast network known as TWIT.  TWIT is based in Northern California.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The Archdiocese of Newark welcomes Cardinal Joseph Tobin as its new archbishop.   His installation ends the fifteen-year tenure of John Myers, who father Brian Gonzalez of St. Aloysius Parish in Newark’s Ironbound is grateful for.

“Sad in a sense for the loss of Archbishop Meyers.  He was very dear; I knew him since I came here.  He was the one who ordained me.  I love him very much, but happy to see also that God has given us a new shepherd,” said Gonzalez.

NJ Department of Transportation salt spreader
New Jersey Department of Transportation

The New Jersey Department of Transportation says it's prepared to deal with winter storms.

DOT spokesman Steve Schapiro says 2700 pieces of equipment are available and more than 200,000 tons of salt are stockpiled to deal with snow and ice on the highways.

He says the state tries to deploy salt trucks and plows where they’re most needed.

Doris Yao
Topher Forhecz for WBGO

The New York City Council may double the number of food vendors allowed on city streets. Proponents of the plan say the current cap on vending permits is outdated… And increasing it will hurt a black market that charges vendors thousands of dollars. But, critics of the plan worry adding more vendors could crowd public spaces. When Doris Yao immigrated to New York City in 1981 from Taiwan, she noticed there were not a lot of choices when it came to street food.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation to encourage the development of tiny homes to help meet the needs of the homeless and low-income residents.

Under the plan, towns in three regions of the state would be tapped for a pilot program that awards grants to qualified applicants who build homes with less than 300 square feet of interior floor space.

The towns would be get two credits toward their affordable housing obligation for each of tiny houses built.

More than 450 people with post-traumatic stress disorder have enrolled in New Jersey's medical marijuana program since that mental health condition was added as a qualifying illness in September.

Ken Wolski, the executive director of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey, says a panel of medical experts is now considering patients' requests to include other medical conditions including chronic pain.

Governor Christie signs the legislation
Tim Larsen/Governor's Office

Governor Christie has signed legislation to help small businesses in New Jersey.

Christie says the measure directs the state Economic Development Authority to support small businesses and assist them in securing surety bonding.

"This is an important but little discussed issue. When you're going for federal and state contracts, you need to have that bonding, and small businesses often don't have access to it. The EDA is now going to provide opportunities for that so these entities can now more easily bid on federal and state contracts."

Assembly Republican Leader Jon Bramnick
Phil Gregory

The top Republican in New Jersey's Assembly is not running for governor.
 
Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick has long supported Governor Christie but says Christie's declining popularity was not a factor in deciding against entering the race to replace him.
 
"This has nothing to do with Governor Christie, whether he's popular now or popular after Sandy. This has to do with my own personal decision to stay as Republican leader."
 

Ang Santos / WBGO

New York City officials say overall crime was at all-time recorded lows in 2016.

Mayor Bill de Blasio says there were less than a thousand shootings in 2016.  The lowest figure since all-time recorded high’s in 1993.  He points to better neighborhood policing.

Phil Gregory

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to keep police uniforms out of the hands of criminals.

Legislation introduced by Assemblyman Ron Dancer would require businesses that sell police uniforms to verify that buyers work for a law enforcement agency.

"In this terroristic era that we're all living in we need bills like this to be able to have a pre-emptive strike to go after to anyone who is attempting to purchase a law enforcement uniform and be a lookalike cop and then just simply slip through our security points."

Phil Gregory

Urban enterprise zones that allow businesses to charge a reduced sales tax expired in five New Jersey cities on December 31st, but legislation to renew them for two years isn't dead yet.

Governor Christie has until the end of the month to decide whether to sign the measure that would allow the UEZ’s in Newark, Camden, Trenton, Bridgeton, and Plainfield to continue and make the tax reduction retroactive to January 1st.

Michael Darcy, the executive director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities, says the uncertainty is tough on businesses located in those zones.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to offer free tuition at New York public colleges for eligible residents.

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s plan, ‘The Excelsior Scholarship,’ would provide free tuition to State or City University of New York colleges for residents whose families earn less than $125,000 a year.

“College is a mandatory step if you really want to be a success.  The way this society said we’re going to pay for high school, because you need high school, this society should say we’re going to pay for college,” Cuomo said.

gas nozzle in tank of car
Phil Gregory

It could cost more to gas up the car in 2017.
 
After a 17 cents a gallon increase in the past month, the seasonal reduction in driving could keep the price from rising--- at least in the first few weeks of the new year.
 
That’s the prediction from Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey.
 

New Jersey Statehouse dome
Phil Gregory

The legislation that raised New Jersey’s gas tax 23 cents in November also includes some tax cuts that take effect at the start of the new year.

Frank Sinatra Jr.
WBGO

A tribute to the many of the celebrities and notables who passed this year including Muhammad Ali, Arnold Palmer, Monte Irvin, Frank Sinatra, Jr., David Bowie, Prince, Nancy Reagan, John Glenn and Fidel Castro.

Harlan Jacobson's Best Movies of 2016

Dec 30, 2016

2016 has been quite a year. However it treated you, now pick the 10 best parts of it. That’s what we’ve asked our film critic, Harlan Jacobson, to do in film:

It’s hard enough to figure out if the year itself was good until years later. That said, 2016 was diverse in terms of race, gender, and sexual orientation. The lost white guys didn’t didn’t cut quite the same figure as last year.

The films I liked best—not necessarily in order-- are:

Phil Gregory / WBGO

Some very high profile court cases could take place in New Jersey next year. 

As early as mid-January Governor Chris Christie will know if he’ll stand trial for a criminal misconduct case in state court.  The complaint was filed by a Bergen county man against the governor for his alleged involvement in the Bridgegate Scandal.  Christie’s former aides who were indicted in federal court earlier this year have appealed their convictions.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New York City officials are assuring the public that Times Square will be safe for the New Year’s Eve celebrations. 

Over 7,000 law enforcement officers, highly visible weapons teams, and 65 strategically placed sanitation trucks to protect the events perimeters have Mayor Bill de Blasio assured the stage is set in Times Square.

“New Year’s Eve as per usual, we expect over one million people.  I’m not quite sure why millions of people want to stand in the cold for long, long periods of time, but they do, and we’ll be ready for them,” de Blasio said.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Newark’s overall crime rate has decreased over the last year.

Crime statistics from the Newark PD Comstat Unit show drops in almost every category.

“We have 1,300 less victims this year.  We have 400 less violent crime victims.  It’s good, but it’s still high.  But we can say that Newark is a safer city from 2015 to 2016,” said Anthony Ambrose, Director, Newark Department of Public Safety.

Chris Christie
Phil Gregory

Despite some setbacks this week, political analysts say don't count out Governor Christie when it comes to getting some priorities enacted in the final year of his term.

Christie couldn't get lawmakers to pass a bill allowing towns to put legal notices on their websites instead of paying to publish them in newspapers. And a measure that would have allowed him to profit from a book deal was declared dead.

Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Peter Woolley says Christie's lame duck status and his low 18 percent voter approval rating erode his political leverage.

Steve Mayer
Steve Mayer

NHL Executive Vice President Steve Mayer lives in West Caldwell, New Jersey and is also the league's executive producer of programming and creative development. Mayer talks to SportsJam host Doug Doyle about the EPIX Series highlighting two of the outdoor classic games as well as the future of the NHL.

Mayer had a 20-year career with IMG and excelled asa producer at various Olympic Games and the New York City Marathon.

In this edition of SportsJam, Mayer also talks about the newest stars in the NHL and the expansion of the league into Las Vegas.

Gene McCarthy
Gene McCarthy

Gene McCarthy is the guru of athletic footwear and is currently the President and CEO of ASICS America Corporation. McCarthy is a former All-American at Fordham University and semi-finalist at the 1980 Olympic Trials. McCarthy talks about his brand, his career and his business philosophy.

McCarthy credits the legendary runner, broadcaster and now jazz guitarist Marty Liquori for his business success.  Liquori was a guest on SportsJam in 2012.

Dan Silna
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Dan Silna and his brother Ozzie made mega millions in a deal they made as their Spirits of St. Louis ABA franchise was left out of the NBA merger in 1976. The philanthropist talks about his ownership days, the deal and his passions including a panel discussion called "Lessons From the Munich Olympics" moderated by his former play-by-play man Bob Costas.

Silna rarely gives interviews, but he opens up in this SportsJam segment especially when talking about his family and his days as an owner in the ABA.

Meb Keflezighi
Doug Doyle for WBGO

2004 Olympic Silver Medalist Meb Keflezighi overcame tremendous odds to become a champion marathoner. Keflezighi, who won the NYC Marathon in 2009, says his most satisfying run was his victory at the Boston Marathon in 2014. The San Diego resident competed in the Rio Games this past summer at the age of 41.

In this edition of SportsJam with Doug Doyle, Keflezighi, who is also an author, talks about his journey, his family and his amazing running career.

John O'Boyle

  

We're wrapping up our celebration of Newark's 350th Anniversary with a story from Sakina Pitts.

In 1990, Pitts was an 8th grader at Chancellor Elementary School in Newark.

And for most 8th graders, graduating elementary school is the beginning of their journey in figuring out what they want to be when they grow up.

This was definitely the case for Pitts, whose path paved its way back to her elementary school as its principal.

John O'Boyle

  

In the heart of the Ironbound section of Newark, in an old brick factory building, sits the Shifman Mattress Company. Shifman has been making mattresses by hand at that location for the past 123 years.

The work of hand-stitching mattresses is physically challenging, but many employees are loyal to the company and stay for decades.

John O'Boyle

  

The history of Newark is full of stories of the many housing projects that came to define the city. It's actually where the city got it's beloved nickname -- Brick City. Most of the projects are now a distant memory, either torn down or boarded up and abandoned. However, the people and the stories remain engrained in the fabric of the city.

Newark Stories: Bill May

Oct 26, 2016
John O'Boyle

  

Bill May has been photographing the worlds most famous jazz musicians for decades. He also taught music to children in Newark for forty years and retired as the district's Director of Artistic and performing arts.

He found inspiration early in his life from his father, Boyd Vernon May, a man of faith who was a working man by day, and musician by night.

Boyd Vernon May died in 1993.

John O'Boyle

Perched atop a hill on Martin Luther King Blvd in the heart of Newark’s central ward sits a soaring and powerful remnant of Newark’s rich history as an industrial giant, the famed Kruger-Scott Mansion.

The 26-room mansion, built in 1887 by German immigrant turned wealthy beer baron Gottfried Kruger, is one of the remaining symbols of the wealth that once permeated throughout the city.

In 1933, when Hitler came to power in Germany, there was a place on Springfield Avenue in Newark, called Schwaben-Halle, where Nazis used to gather.

But Newark had its own anti-Nazi groups along the same time.

One man, a boxer named Nat Arno was a strongman for one of the anti-Nazi groups. His friends and family - sister Rose Yannick, wife Ann Arno, and fellow boxers Dave Halper and Bernie Callatane - describe how Nat struck a powerful blow for Jewish families in Newark.

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