News

Ask Governor Murphy
WBGO News

The second edition of Ask Governor Murphy aired Monday night on WBGO in Newark, WHYY in Philadelphia and WNYC in New York City.

Ask Governor Murphy hosted by Nancy Solomon is a WBGO News production in collaboration with WNYC and WHYY.

Mummenschanz
Mummenschanz.com

Theater critic Michael Bourne says he enjoyed the return of a show off-Broadway, he just doesn’t know what it is. 

Click above to hear Michael's review of Mummenschanz.

Newark Police Department

Two rookie police officers in Newark are being hailed as heroes for jumping into action and saving a toddler's life, earlier this week. 

The call came in Sunday after a 2-year-old girl was unresponsive after nearly drowning  in a pool in the city's North Ward. 

mosquito
NJ Department of Environmental Protection

No human cases of West Nile virus have been reported in New Jersey so far this year, but it’s been detected in mosquitoes in more than half of the counties in the state.

Scott Crans is the administrator of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s office of mosquito control coordination. He says the hot, dry weather is holding down the number of mosquitoes in many parts of the state, but a continued lack of rainfall could lead to the spread of West Nile virus.

Phil Gregory / WBGO

Restructuring New Jersey’s school funding formula has been a longtime plan for Senate President Steve Sweeney.  His plan increases the total amount of state aid to schools, but also changes the amount of aid districts receive.  

“Trying to find a solution to end the unfairness going on in this state.  Actually, the injustice where you have two classes of kids; the haves and the have nots,” Sweeney said.

Newark International Film Festival Returns For Third Year

Jul 12, 2018
Alexandra Hill / News

The Newark International Film Festival returns in September. Founder Kenneth Gifford made the announcement at city hall. 

The Tate Brothers, Lance Gross, and Kim Hawthorne are among some of the celebrities set to attend. The festival, now in its third year, has garnered global appeal, drawing thirteen-hundred submissions from two-hundred and seventy-eight countries around the world. Gifford says that he wants to make sure the film festival is supporting the arts community, right here in Newark.  

 

An environmental group says public health in New Jersey is at risk from air pollution.

Environment New Jersey director Doug O’Malley says air quality in New Jersey’s metropolitan areas ranks in the top ten in the nation for most elevated levels of ozone and particulate matter.

He says they had an average of 91 days of degraded air quality in 2016, and summer heat waves make ozone problems worse.

New Jersey’s recently enacted state budget includes $2.1 million to pay for legal assistance for immigrants facing deportation.

The State Treasury hasn’t decided yet how the money will be dispersed.

Chia-Chia Wang with the American Friends Service Committee hopes the funds will help immigrants in detention centers who are separated from their family and can’t afford to pay an attorney.

After the recent contentious fight over New Jersey’s new state budget, Governor Phil Murphy is now hoping to work with New Jersey legislative leaders to get approval of some of his top priorities by the end of the year.

Murphy says gradually boosting New Jersey’s $8.60 an hour minimum wage to $15 is one of things he wants lawmakers to pass.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has not decided yet whether he’ll sign a bill that would impose a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper shopping bags.

Murphy says he’s still considering the measure that would raise an estimated $23 million

for lead abatement programs.

“There was a sense because we didn’t include it in the budget that we had come out negatively on it. We didn’t include it in the budget because we felt like we had not had the time to assess it and really analyze it.”

Governor Phil Murphy says New Jersey is taking steps to phase out controversial  PARCC standardized testing.

Murphy says beginning in the upcoming school year the New Jersey Education Department will reduce the length of the tests in all grades by 25 percent.

“The Department will also ask the New Jersey State Board of Education to simplify and reduce the assessments necessary for high school graduation from six assessments to two, retaining only Algebra 1 and English Language Arts 10 as the two assessments.”

Sweeney Todd
Barrow Street Theatre

While he didn't eat the meat pies available for theater guests, theater critic Michael Bourne loved the experience of  Sweeney Todd at the Barrow Theatre in NYC.

Click above to hear Michael's review of Sweeney Todd.

Club Soccer 101
Doug Doyle for WBGO

The popularity of soccer continues to grow in the U.S., and this most recent World Cup is heightening even more interest about the sport. 

Luke Dempsey, the author of Club Soccer 101: The Essential Guide to the Stars, Stats and Stories of the 101 of the Greatest Teams in the World, chats with WBGO's Doug Doyle.

Dempsey was also a guest on SportsJam with Doug Doyle.

Click above to hear the WBGO Journal interview with Dempsey.

In 2016, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and Newark Public Schools sent out a joint statement calling for additional testing, monitoring and remediation of Newark's water supply in schools after discovering levels of lead that exceed the allowable state and federal levels. The city says they are complying with recommendations to address lead in Newark's water. Two groups have filed a lawsuit against the city claiming enough hasn't been done.  

World Cup Fever Hits Ironbound Again

Jul 6, 2018
Brazil Flag
Stephanie Avila for WBGO News

The World Cup is about to enter its quarter final phase. Uruguay lost to France 2-nil. 

Brazil plays Belgium at 2.  Soccer fans are getting excited because to many, soccer is a lifelong tradition.

In the Ironbound section of Newark, Brazilian culture thrives.

A sports fan from the Ironbound says that part of that culture includes an emotional relationship to soccer.

Teva Pharmaceuticals, an Israeli company that makes specialty and generic drugs,  has decided to expand its existing operations in Parsippany, New Jersey, and have its U-S headquarters there.

Governor Phil Murphy says he’s thrilled Teva is relocating its North American headquarters to New Jersey from North Wales, Pennsylvania.

The string of hot, sunny days might slow you down if you have to spend time outdoors, but it’s speeding up the growth of New Jersey crops.

New Jersey Farm Bureau President Ryke Suydam farms in Franklin Township, Somerset County. He says Jersey-grown tomatoes, sweet corn, and other crops are growing fast and furious now and there’s should be a plentiful supply.

He says the hot weather means many farmers are having to irrigate their crops.

Mildred Antenor
David Tallacksen for WBGO

WBGO commentator Mildred Antenor thinks the guidelines for hiring teachers needs a detailed review.

Antenor is an author and a professor at Seton Hall University.

Click above to hear her thoughts.

New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney says a panel of tax experts and lawmakers will make recommendations this summer to make some major changes in state government policies.

Sweeny says the group has been considering more than 50 ideas.

“One of the ideas was, and this was actually talked about under Governor Corzine, eliminate k- to-6 districts and k-to-8 districts and only have k-to-12 districts. Because that’s where the kids go to high school at the end of the day. And you would go from 600 school districts to I think 320.”

The heat wave is taking a toll.

Dr. Brad Pulver is the medical director of the emergency department at Ocean Medical Center in Brick Township. He says the hot weather is causing lots of cases of dehydration that develop into heat exhaustion and even heat stroke.

“When you go out you must wear sun block and reapply it. You have to drink lots of fluids and stay well hydrated. And pay attention to how you’re feeling and at the first hint that you’re just not perfectly well, you got to get out of that sun.”

Dr. Pulver says there are some warning signs to heed.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders battled over which taxes to raise before finally reaching a deal that resulted in enactment of a new state budget.

Political analysts say that could have an impact on their future relations.

Senate President Steve Sweeney is glad the budget battle is over.

“I’m hoping that we can now move forward on a path where we all realize that we can’t get anything done without each other and that we work together.”

Driving to your 4th of July holiday destination is more expensive that it was last year.

The average nationwide price of $2.85 for a gallon of regular gasoline is about 60 cents more than a year ago.

Tom Kloza, the global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey, says that’s because higher crude oil costs.

He doesn’t expect gas prices will go up much more this summer.

Just hours before the Saturday midnight deadline Governor Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders have reached a deal to get a new state budget enacted.

“There will be no shutdown. The parks and the beaches are open.”

Murphy says the agreement calls for an increase in the income tax rate for personal incomes of $5 million and above.

“We agree that we must ask the wealthiest New Jerseyans to pay their fair share to allow us to  ramp up our investments in school funding and property tax relief.”

No new talks are scheduled yet between New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and Democratic legislative leaders as the midnight deadline approaches for enacting a new state budget.

Murphy sent lawmakers a letter earlier today offering a new tax revenue proposal in efforts to reach a deal and avoid a potential government shutdown.

The Governor is increasing the income threshold to $1.75 million on his proposal to increase the income tax on millionaires and is indicating he backs a corporate business tax surcharge that would be an average 2% increase.

Carmen Jones
Michael Bourne for WBGO

The 2018-2019 theatre season is underway, and WBGO's theater critic Michael Bourne is back, off-Broadway, with a long-overdue revival of a classic inspired by a classic "Carmen Jones".

New York Sports Tours
Doug Doyle for WBGO

With New York having such a rich sports history, one wonders why the idea of a sports tour hasn’t ever developed until now.

This week marked the launching of New York Sports Tours, an intimate, multimedia ride in a luxury vehicle throughout Midtown Manhattan.

Percussionist Chief Baba Neil Clarke is performing on Sunday July 1 at Commodore Barry Park in Brooklyn as part of the International African Arts Festival, a celebration that kicks off Saturday June 30 and goes until the 4thof July.  

First Reformed
Harlan Jacobson for WBGO

While writer-director Paul Schrader gets serious from the first minute of First Reformed, Schrader lets the full first act unfurl before he ups the ante in his new film, First Reformed by showing us at the 35-minute mark a suicide vest packed with TNT. That’s a long slow fuse, and the mark of a filmmaker who either has faith in his audience or has stopped caring whether anyone out there is watching. Well, I am.

Schrader has written 24 films and directed 20. It’s been mostly glorious, and always aspirational. His is a terrific filmography.

Democratic legislative leaders plan to meet with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy again on Friday in an effort to reach a deal to get a new state budget enacted by the midnight Saturday deadline.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin did not indicate how much progress was made at a more than two hour negotiating session with the Governor on Thursday.

“All I can say is we had a good meeting and we’re looking forward to getting back at it.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is reviewing a new proposal from Democratic legislative leaders hoping to end the impasse over enacting a new state budget.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says lawmakers are offering to extend a corporate business tax surcharge from two years to four, expand the sales tax to untaxed short-term rental properties, and increase the realty transfer tax on the sale of property worth more than a million dollars.

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