WBGO Journal

Saturday 6:30am - 7am

Hosted by Doug Doyle

The WBGO Journal is an award-winning half-hour news magazine that airs Saturdays at 6 am. Reports and analysis, informative interviews and features.

Ang Santos / WBGO

There was a somber feeling in the auditorium at Rafael Hernandez Elementary as Principal Patricia Goyce read names of the seventeen killed in a Parkland, Florida high school last week.  Students held photographs of each victim as their names were called, lighting a candle in honor of them.

“The eighteenth candle that we have there, and the empty picture frame is for all of those in Newark who have lost their lives to a senseless crime through shooting.  Our babies, our students, their students, their family members.”

Patrik Elias
Doug Doyle for WBGO

This Saturday night Patrik Elias will become fifth New Jersey Devil to have his number retired. Elias' number 26 jersey banner will be raised to the rafters of Prudential Center prior to the Devils' game with the Islanders.

After his Thursday news conference, I had a brief chat with Patrik about his big night and his thoughts on playing in Newark.

The governors of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are forming a regional 'States for Gun Safety' coalition.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says more than 80 percent of the gun crimes in New Jersey are committed with guns from out of state.   He says the four states already have tough gun laws but believes they can be stronger.

“We’re working with the legislature to enact a whole series of steps, but it has to accept the reality that getting engaged with other like-minded states and hopefully beyond, we can mitigate this awful scourge.”

The NAACP's Great Debate America is reviving the art of debate with some of the nation's leading institutions of higher learning. The Debate recently made a stop in Newark New Jersey for black history month, where Newark Public School children got to see and participate in a debate between Rutgers Newark and Harvard University inspiring a new generation of scholars.

Alexandra Hill / News

Essex County has launched a pilot program, one week after a woman was gunned down in Newark, that will help determine whether a domestic violence suspect is freed or remains in jail. The county assigned one judge to handle all domestic violence cases instead of letting other judges rule on the cases at random. The man suspected of killing 28 year old Tiffany Wilson was released twice on domestic violence charges pending trial.

Black Panther
Harlan Jacobson for WBGO

The good guys, the bad guys, the good women, the bad women and the missing link in the form of a long, lost son who lays claim to the throne of the fictional, all black Central African, Brigadoon-style republic of Wakanda, are all black.

An all black super hero movie? That’s great—if you’re 13. It’s even great if you’re 8 and have figured out how to sneak into a PG-13 film. And no review should tamper with how those age groups see the film. In fact, I’d say it will do any and all kids good to see Black Panther.

Parents for Change
Paul Casey for WBGO News

Parents for Change started in 2014 in Union Township.  Paul Casey was one of the founders of the grassroots group who was not happy with the direction the school board was headed at the time.

Parents for Change would eventually get several of their candidates on the school board with a goal of keeping politics out of the classroom.

Casey, and two former Union Board of Education members Nancy Zuena and Ronnie McDowell spoke to WBGO's Doug Doyle about how they were able to succeed in achieving their goals.

Bill Boules
Jon Kalish for WBGO

A lot of people are putting the Amazon Echo and other so-called smart speakers in their home that use a voice interface to play audio content, look up trivia on the web, control home appliances and buy stuff on-line. The Amazon Echo has been embraced by blind people.

Click above to hear Jon Kalish's feature.

Doug Doyle / WBGO

February 17 is the date of the 38th Annual Marion Thompson Wright Lecture Series at the Paul Robeson Campus Center on the campus of Rutgers University-Newark.

Organizer Dr. Mark Krasovic and Keynote Speaker and jazz vibraphonist Stefon Harris sat down with WBGO's News Director Doug Doyle to talk about next Saturday's day-long event.

This year's theme is "The Space Between the Notes:  The Social Life of Music in Black History."  The conference is sponsored by the Clement A. Price Institute on Ethnicity, Culture and the Modern Experience at RU-N.

healthcare.gov

Ang Santos:  Some experts say this is the worst flu season in a decade, and in New Jersey potentially on record when it’s all said and done.  Joining us on the phone is Dr. Bill Miller, author of The Microcosm Within:  Evolution and Extinction in the Hologenome.  Dr. Miller is a veteran physician with special interest in infectious diseases, thanks for joining us.

Dr. Bill Miller:  Thanks very much for having me on.

AS:  First off, a professional opinion, is this one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory?

Jon Kalish / WBGO

In Seaersmont, Maine a company called Ecocor uses European design principles and tools to build what are referred to as passive houses. These super energy efficient pre-fab homes are assembled on location from wall, floor and roof panels manufactured at the factory. WBGO’s Jon Kalish visited Ecocor and then watched as their team assembled a house near Woodstock, New York.

Crystal Moselle’s Skate Kitchen is almost the perfect Sundance film.

First, it is written, produced and directed by a woman—one of some 45 features at Sundance directed by women this year of the 120 spread out over nine main sections, including US and international feature and documentary competitions. Second, it’s characters and milieu are quintessentially young, mostly broke and minority born. Thirdly, it’s proudly no-budget.

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to speed the timetable for getting all of the state’s electricity from renewable energy sources.

Assemblyman Tim Eustace says his bill would require 100 percent of the electric power sold in the state to be from clean energy sources by the year 2035.

“This bill had originally been 2050. But as we see technology change and European countries have already reached these goals, there’s no reason why we can’t reach for the same goals.”

New Jersey Sierra Club director Jeff Tittel says that could be hard to do.

 

Governor Phil Murphy is ordering the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to fully implement a law enacted eight years ago to encourage the development of offshore wind projects.

Regulations to implement the Offshore Wind Economic Development Act and provide financial aid and tax credits to attract windmill developers stalled during the Christie administration.   

At the site of an onshore wind farm in Atlantic City, Governor Murphy signed an executive order to move ahead with the program.

Ang Santos / WBGO

For more than 50-years, Cissy Houston has led the choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark.  The perfect place for a gathering to celebrate her life’s work.  City officials say Houston’s big day in Newark was year’s in the making.   Mayor Ras Baraka presented Cissy Houston a key to the city.

“Her singing talent expresses our highest values, inspires audiences around the world and right here in our neighborhoods.  She is a pioneer and advocate for the arts.  One of the greatest legends in musical and Newark history.”

Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Lena Horne is remembered as an all-around entertainer, Hollywood actress, Grammy Award winning singer, and a Tony Award winning Broadway star. But equally important to her legacy was a willingness to use fame as a platform to promote Civil Rights in the 1960s.  

American Hero
GSP for WBGO News

American Hero, the latest production at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, temporarily located at 103 College Farm Road, is sure to put audience members on an emotional rollercoaster. 

Two of the stars of the powerful play, Laiona Michelle and Armand Schultz, came to the WBGO studios in Newark to speak with News Director Doug Doyle. 

John Lithgow
Michael Bourne for WBGO

John Lithgow earned a Tony award playing a badly injured rugby player in his Broadway debut 45 years ago. He’s starred in two dozen Broadway shows since then, and in his Roundabout Theatre debut he’s now playing himself. Theater critic Michael Bourne has a review.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Ain’t MIsbehavin’ The Fats Waller Musical is a celebration of the Harlem Renaissance and the music that made it a swingin’ time in American history.  Andre De Shields, one of the show’s original five, recalls its climb from tiny off-Broadway musical, to Tony Award winning sensation.

Ignatius Mokone

The trumpeter, scholar and freedom fighter Hugh Masekela died this morning in Johannesburg, at 78. The Checkout has periodically checked in over the years with this South African jazz master — though he'd be the first to say that he wasn’t a jazz artist, nor is jazz an American art form.


NJEA
NJEA for WBGO News

Chris Christie repeatedly blasted the New Jersey Education Association during his eight years as governor. The leader of the state’s largest teachers’ union and the new governor are indicating their relationship will be much different.  

Christie was a constant critic of the NJEA, calling it a political thuggery operation that rules by fear and intimidation. He claimed the union’s leaders put their own interests ahead of their members.

Gabriel Hernandez
Richard Termine for Two River Theater

The world premier of EL COQUI ESPECTACULAR AND THE BOTTLE OF DOOM runs through February 4th at Two River Theater in Red Bank.

The superhero in this play, written by Matt Barbot and directed by Jose Zayas, is actually an out-of-work comic book creator who keeps getting beat up in alleyways, wearing an homemade pajama costume. 

The villain in the show, El Chupacabra, is played by actor and Hoboken resident Gabriel Hernandez. 

Alexandra Hill / News

With the looming federal government shutdown over immigration policies, the Trump administration ending low-level temporary work visas for Haitians, and President Donald Trump reported use of vulgar language when referring to Haiti and African nations. 

Officials and activists in and around New Jersey’s largest city are taking a stand against the Trump administrations list of ever growing anti-immigration policies.

“For the record all of us are immigrants, if he wants us to teach him history, we definitely will.”

Medieval Times
Medieval Times for WBGO

The times...they are changing at Medieval Times housed at the Lyndhurst, New Jersey castle. In the Medieval Times’ 34-year tradition, a queen has never ruled the land…until now.

It started late last week. Queen Isabella is now in charge. Isabella is cast as firm but kind ruler respected throughout the kingdom, inheriting the throne after her father passed away.

Medieval Times leadership team developed the idea to cast a matriarch, based in part on guest feedback that they would like to see women having more significant roles.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Arnetta Johnson, a New Jersey-born trumpeter, was onstage with Beyoncé during the Super Bowl 50 halftime show. But in her last semester at the Berklee College of Music, she had trouble finding other female trumpet players to practice with.

“Ultimately it never happened, unfortunately,”  Johnson said at the New School on Monday, during a Winter Jazzfest talk called Jazz and Gender: Challenging Inequality and Forging a New Legacy.

Percussionist Terri Lyne Carrington was one of Johnson’s professors at Berklee. 

Spongebob Squarepants
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews Farinelli and the King, Meteor Shower, and SpongeBob SquarePants.

David Sanborn
David Sanborn for WBGO News

Legendary saxophonist David Sanborn and his quintet performed two shows at B.B. King's in New York City Friday night.

WBGO's morning host Gary Walker spoke with Sanborn about the musician's career and thoughts on jazz and an upcoming internet series called "Sanborn Sessions."

Sanborn doesn't want to be put in a genre box.

Governor Christie
Phil Gregory for WBGO News

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is now serving his final days in office. On Tuesday, Democrat Phil Murphy will be sworn in. With a bigger than life personality, Christie was hailed for his commanding leadership after Superstorm Sandy, but Bridgegate took its toll on his political viability.

He leaves office with historic low approval ratings for a governor. Political analysts say Christie made some big changes, many positive, but they say most residents are glad to see him go.

Seeing Eye
Jon Kalish for WBGO

The first institution to train guide dogs for blind people in the United States began in 1929. Two years later it moved to New Jersey and it's been here ever since.

Now located in Morristown, the Seeing Eye helps about 250 blind people bond with their new four-legged partners every year. WBGO's Jon Kalish visited the Seeing Eye.

NEON

2017 was, all in all, a good year for movies. The quest for the perfect too often drives out the arrival of the merely wonderful and good in parts. We’ve been hectored by the self-esteem tyrants that we are sublime creatures who deserve only the very best every second of the 24-hour day — in food, clothes, cars, beds, books (whatever they were), TV, and seats at spectacles, music, and movies. The demand for perfect self-offerings prevents us from appreciating what is merely wonderful and good in parts. We short change ourselves that way, particularly when it comes to film.

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