News

Wolfgang Almer / Late Blossom Blues

Bluesman Leo ‘Bud’ Welch and his manager Vencie Varnado make an unlikely duo from a small Mississippi town.

Albert Spevak / ambassadortv.com

‘I Was Saved by the Bell:  Stories of Life, Love, and Dreams That Do Come True’ is a new memoir from Peter Engel, a producer who suffered decades of missed opportunities.

“These stories kind of chronicle my journey of searching for a hit.”

He says some were small, some were downright ridiculous, some were humorous, and some were really big.

“The show that I really would have wanted to do was ‘Saturday Night with John Lennon’,” Engel said. “Everything was going fine and I got a call from John’s guy and he says John has a little change that he wants in the contract.”

Holocaust Survivor Recalls an Act of Kindness

16 hours ago

The bottom line at Auschwitz is, eighty percent of the people who were sent from Hungary, Jews, upon arrival in the gas chambers.  The other twenty percent will be sent to slave labor camps all over Nazi occupied areas.  I see people dying all around me.  They’re dying of hunger, dying from diseases, accidents on the work sites from really hard labor.  They’re going to kill you.  One morning we are standing at attention when an S.S.

New Jersey's Attorney General says heroin that's mixed with fentanyl is becoming more pervasive in the state.

Attorney General Chris Porrino says fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and he's heard that some drug dealers will lace one bag in a hundred with a lethal dose.

"You might ask yourself, why would a drug dealer intentionally kill one of his or her customers? And the answer is marketing. Because the word on the street then travels that that particular dealer has the most potent heroin out there and that's what's selling."

New Jersey officials are considering some tweaks to the bail changes that have been in effect in January.

Senator Sandra Cunningham is working on legislation that would take a history of gun violence into consideration when determining if a defendant should be released while awaiting trial. 

"We've had a lot of people in Jersey City who have been hurt because that's happened with gang members and people who have just gotten out immediately and either did the same crime again or did something that was really hurtful at that point."

Parents and officials from some New Jersey school districts that get significantly less state aid than required by the school funding formula packed an Assembly committee hearing.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli questioned Acting Education Commissioner Kimberley Harrington about the Christie administration’s budget plan to hold school funding at current levels.

“Is the Department’s position that the status quo and the effect of the status quo is having is acceptable?

Harrington says the state does not have the money to fully fund the formula.

Chelsea Beck/NPR

Before his election, back in October, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump laid out a 100 Day Action Plan. He called it his Contract With The American Voter. Among other things, it called for the full repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, suspension of immigration from certain "terror-prone regions," and the lifting of "roadblocks" to let "infrastructure projects like the Keystone Pipeline move forward."

Broadway's Indecent Brings Up Painful Memories

Apr 21, 2017
Indecent
Michael Bourne for WBGO

A play now on Broadway tells the story of a play that became a scandal a hundred years ago — in Yiddish.  Theater Critic Michael Bourne reviews Indecent.A play now on Broadway tells the story of a play that became a scandal a hundred years ago — in Yiddish.   Theater Critic Michael Bourne reviews Indecent.

Mesh Network
Jon Kalish for WBGO

For many Americans a broadband connection to the internet is an essential necessity of 21st Century life. And yet there are some who can't afford it. A small town in Vermont is the latest in a series of efforts to organize a wireless network that offers high-speed internet access at a price that low-income people can afford. WBGO's Jon Kalish reports on the wireless mesh movement.

Click above to hear Jon's report on the WBGO Journal.

Police say about a dozen people in Newark became ill after ingesting the synthetic marijuana K2.

A state law, enacted four years ago, that bans those products is having some effect.

Bruce Ruck with the New Jersey Poison Education and Information System says since the ban took effect, calls are down to the poison center about the products treated with chemicals designed to mimic the effects of marijuana.

Theresa Fowler Pittius
Doug Doyle for WBGO

A Broadway veteran and Monmouth County native is training local kids and adults to follow in her footsteps on stage.  Saturday (April 22) marks the launch of Red Bank Performance Prep, and education division of the long-time downtown Red Bank events and entertainment company, Flipping Fun.

Theresa Fowler Pittius was an original cast member of Cameron Mackintosh's highly acclaimed, International Broadway Touring Production of Oliver.  She's been involved with many other Broadway projects and is now giving back to the community that helped make her dreams come true.

Newark Today

Apr 20, 2017

On this edition of Newark Today we talk policing and federal consent decrees in New Jersey's largest city with Mayor Ras J. Baraka, activist and leader of The People's Organization For Progress Larry Hamm, and former U. S. District Attorney for the state of New Jersey Paul Fishman. 

It's not over yet, but the flu season is New jersey is nearing an end.

State epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan says some people came down with the flu later in the season than usual, but the number of flu-related illnesses is decreasing now.

"'We definitely had more intense activity this year. This is what we expect when we see a predominance of the type AH3 strain. It tends to be a little bit more severe illnesses.'

Tan says low to moderate levels of flu activity are still being reported throughout New Jersey and it’s not too late to get a flu shot.

New Jersey lawmakers are concerned about an increase in sexually transmitted diseases.

State health officials say 50 percent of sexually active 15-to-25 year olds will get a sexually transmitted disease unless they take precautions to prevent it.

Senator Jeff Van Drew says that's troubling.

"I have noticed with younger people, they feel that they're invincible and they really don't worry about it anymore, and STDs are a greater problem than ever. I wonder if we should have a renewed energy toward that issue."

Mike Nichols
Daniella Gutierrez for WBGO

The Third Annual Mike Nichols Charity Hockey Game this Friday, April 21st at Prudential Center will benefit spinal cord research and quality of life initiatives. 

Proceeds from the game featuring many former and current NHL stars will go to the Nichols Family Trust to provide for Mike's medical needs, as well as the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, which is dedicated to curing spinal cord injuries by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for individuals living with paralysis.

The front-runner for the Republican nomination in the governor's race in New Jersey is proposing a property tax relief plan.

Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno wants to provide a credit of up to $3,000 for homeowners who pay more than 5 percent of their household income toward the school portion of their property tax.

The Chief Justice of New Jersey's Supreme Court is urging the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency to stop arresting immigrants in courthouses.

In a letter to the Homeland Security Secretary, Chief Justice Stuart Rabner is raising concerns about the recent arrests of two unauthorized immigrants who showed up for appearances in state court.

When individuals fear they'll be arrested for a civil immigration violation when they set foot in a courthouse, Rabner says witnesses to violent crimes may stay away and remain silent.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Senator Cory Booker wants a commitment from the Trump Administration to support federal funding for improvements to railways between New York and New Jersey.  Funding for the Gateway Tunnel Project could be compromised under President Trump’s proposed federal budget.

A New Jersey Congressman says a vote a new option for replacing the Affordable Care Act could come within a couple of weeks.

Tom MacArthur says he's working to move the latest Republican bill forward, proposing amendments to give states more flexibility to bring down premiums and increase the number of insured.

MacArthur says only a few specifics of the measure need resolution before it goes to the House floor for a vote.

Sally Cook
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Author, former Associated Press reporter and New York resident Sally Cook returns to SportsJam with Doug Doyle to talk about her latest book, How to Speak Soccer: From Assist to Woodwork - An Illustrated Guide to Pitch-Perfect Jargon.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The ‘Theater for Everyone’ program at the Paper Mill Playhouse allows students with developmental disabilities to explore their creativity.  To channel their inner actor.

“My students have all different abilities and disabilities, said Leslie Fannelli, ‘Theater for Everyone’ program instructor.  “We’re an intergenerational group because the families are always involved.  So we are age six through our sixties.  Everyone always participates.  Nobody sits on the sidelines.”

The leading candidates in New Jersey's governor's race outlined some of their priorities at a New Jersey Bankers Association conference.

Democrat Phil Murphy says small businesses need access to capital to grow and create jobs.

He says his proposed state-owned bank would invest money in community banks that would lend to businesses at favorable rates.

"The public bank will be there to ensure that more of the people and businesses who are qualified have access to the financial system. Right now, too many are left out."

Governor Christie commends Department of Children and Family employees
Phil Gregory

Governor Chris Christie is congratulating state employees for their work to move New Jersey closer to ending federal oversight of its child welfare system.

New Jersey Department of Children and Families Commissioner Allison Blake says the federal monitor finds the state has satisfied performance measures for reducing the caseloads of intake workers and completing case plans when a child enters out-of-home care.

Tony Meneses
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Playwright Tony Meneses feels right at home at Two River Theater in Red Bank.  He's excited about the world premiere of The Women Of Padilla.   Meneses was also the playwright of one of Two River's most adored shows Guadalupe in the Guest Room.

The Women of Padilla characters are linked by their marriages to eight brothers and their shared last name, Padilla.   The eight very different sisters-in-law connect through the power of food, faith, laughter and each other while their husbands are away at war.

The Lost CIty of Z
Harlan Jacobson for WBGO

Film Critic Harlan Jacobson has three ways to embark on adventure at the movies.  Harlan reviews The Lost City of Z, Tommy's Honour and Graduation.

Kevin Kline
Michael Bourne for WBGO

WBGO Theater Critic Michael Bourne is not complaining about the abundance of plays and musicials on Broadway recently, especially when three stars have returned with outstanding performances.  Bourne loves his old friend and former college roommate Kevin Kline in Present Laughter as well as Patti Lupone and Christine Ebersole in War Paint.

Ang Santos / WBGO

People were competing for video game supremacy by pumping quarters into arcades on boardwalks, laundromats, and their local VHS rental stores since the 1980’s.  And before that on a little old video game console called Atari.  But gamers making a real living playing them, that’s a different story.  Adam Fletcher is director of communications at The Coalition, the studio that develops content for the popular XBOX One title Gears of War 4.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Paul Henreid’s Victor Lazslo may be the most well liked foil in Hollywood history.  For Henreid’s daughter Monika, It’s the stubborn mindset of Bogey’s Rick Blaine that makes Laszlo the true hero of Casablanca.

New Jersey has sold the licenses of two public broadcast television stations for $332 million.

A battle is shaping up on what should be done with the proceeds.

Mike Rispoli is the campaign director for the Free Press Action Fund that's urging the money go to rebuild journalism at the local level in New Jersey.

A new trend has many of the campaign ads in the race for Governor of New Jersey going up online instead of airing on traditional media outlets.

Carl Golden was the press secretary for former Governors Tom Kean and Christie Whitman. He says it's cheaper to put campaign ads on social media and the internet, and they can be effective.

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