News

Sam Schwartz
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Sam Schwartz is known worldwide as Gridlock Sam, a nickname the media gave him for his role in drawing up ways to navigate the congested corners of New York City. He designed the traffic patterns around the Barclay Center in Brooklyn the streets around The World Trade Center, and engineered traffic circles in Aruba.

Schwartz started his life in traffic as a cab driver in Brooklyn, dodging the other yellow cabs before landing a job in city government, eventually becoming New York City’s traffic commissioner.

Bud Lee Archives / Sergio Waksman Design

Media coverage of the 1967 Newark Rebellion depicted chaos in New Jersey’s largest city, but many people who were there say some major inaccuracies were reported as fact.

“Sniper Fire from open windows kills two policemen a fire captain shot in the back while answering a false alarm and several bystanders. Officials say the snipers, some not believed to be Newark residents use guns stolen from a local rifle factory.  Even machine guns were used,” said one movie house newsreel following the Newark riots.

Steve Sandberg / For Senator Bob Menendez

The BEACH ACT requires the Environmental Protection Agency to ensure that   the most up to date standards are being used to test beach water for contaminants.  Congressman Frank Pallone says right now that’s not happening.

“Most of the time it takes about twenty-four hours.  Our bill would allow for four hours, or try to mandate a four-hour test so people would know even quicker,” Pallone said. Then they can go on the website or they can find out from the media whether they can swim in a particular location.  Then when it’s cleaned up, they know that it is and they can go back.”

Pipeline
Michael Bourne for WBGO

WBGO Theater Critic Michael Bourne reviews Pipeline at Lincoln Center Theater.

Dunkirk
Harlan Jacobson for WBGO

WBGO film critic Harlan Jacobson gives high marks to Christopher Nolan's latest movie Dunkirk.

Choclatt Jared
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Choclatt Jared and his band have played their bucket drums on The Grammy Awards, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, the Late Show with David Letterman, and Saturday Night Live — and in movies with Mel Gibson and Sharon Stone. Later this year he will appear in the movie Breaking Brooklyn, with Lou Gossett, Jr.

At a hearing in Trenton New Jersey lawmakers got an update on the progress of repair work at New York's Penn Station.

Amtrak vice president Mike DeCataldo says two weeks into the infrastructure renewal program, the track replacement work is going well.

"The progress we've made is better than we had anticipated. If we are able to complete this phase of the project sooner, we will roll into the next phase very quickly. It's kind of premature to say how much earlier we may or may not get done, but we are on plan and we are slightly ahead of schedule."   

Bob Wolff
Doug Doyle for WBGO

The sports broadcasting world lost one of its finest this past weekend. Bob Wolff, the only sportscaster to call play-by-play of championships in all four major North American professional team sports, has died at the age of 96.

Wolff died peacefully in his South Nyack home Saturday night.  The Yankees said in a team statement, "Bob Wolff's inconic, Hall-of Fame broadcasting career was matched by his class and character."  Bob was a guest on SportsJam with Doug Doyle in 2014. 

Spike Doyle
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Francis "Spike" Doyle, Jr. is the reason that this host became a sports fan and played high school sports in Western Pennsylvania.

My dad turns 88 today and still plays nine holes of golf almost every week.  While the knees aren't like they used to be during his days as a top catcher in the area, Spike can still play a solid round of golf, using woods more than irons.

In 2014, I decided to sit down and find out some information that most of our family wasn't even aware of.  This edition of SportsJam is my most treasured.

Many towns and counties in New Jersey have local laws requiring address numbers to be displayed at homes and commercial buildings, but there's no statewide mandate.

That can cause problems.

Even with your GPS getting you close to it, locating an unfamiliar building can be difficult. Without seeing the address number you can't be sure you're at the right place.

Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty says it's more than an inconvenience.

A New Jersey Congressman's legislation calls for a three-year limit on the feds for demanding homeowners repay disaster recovery money.

Congressman Tom MacArthur says his bill would prevent FEMA from trying to recoup grant money many years after it was awarded.  

"What brought it to my attention initially was a single mom of a disabled child who had gotten a $40,000 grant from FEMA and about two years later FEMA came back and said they make a mistake, and they were demanding the money back. She had used the money to repair her home."

Drawing on economic data and insights from business leaders, a consulting firm is suggesting ways New Jersey can improve its economy.

Steve van Kuiken is a senior partner at McKinsey and Company. He says helping high-growth biotech, cybersecurity, and warehousing and distribution businesses navigate regulations and increase their access to capital will help turbo-charge the state's economic growth.

Roberto Clemente
Danny Torres for WBGO

About 300 items from the legendary baseball star Roberto Clemente's personal collection were auctioned during All-Star week in Miami, Florida.  The total sales came in more than $3 million. 

In December of 2014, baseball journalist and Clemente enthusiast Danny Torres and former Major League Baseball executive Luis Rodriguez-Mayoral join SportsJam host Doug Doyle to talk about Clemente's impact on baseball and beyond.

jazz.org

  Jazz at Lincoln Center will honor three greats this week as part of the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame Festival.   

McCoy Tyner, the late Don Redman, and Tito Peunte are the latest inductees to the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame.  Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola is hosting three nights of curated sets starting tonight.  Seton Hawkins oversees the Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame.

An analysis by an environmental group finds that 55 percent of the water in schools in New Jersey's most populous county show some level of lead contamination.

Schools had until last week to test their water for lead and Environment New Jersey director Doug O'Malley believes the results in Bergen County indicate what will be found statewide.

He says it's a wakeup call for the state to fund replacement of school water fountains and fixtures that contain lead.

1984
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Theater Critic Michael Bourne has his thoughts on the politically edgy 1984 on Broadway.

Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan have adapted the iconic George Orwell novel for this production at Hudson Theater Broadway.

NJ Advance Media and The Newark Public Library

Kenneth Gibson was elected the first African-American Mayor of the city of Newark in 1970, just 3 years after the Newark Rebellion, inheriting a city that was still recovering from the events of the summer of 1967, a job most politicians may have shied away from but for Gibson the timing was just right. Hear his story in his own words. 

Kejal Vyas: Crime and Political Unrest in Venezuela

Jul 14, 2017
Kejal Vyas
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Kejal Vyas is the regional correspondent in South America for The Wall Street Journal, stationed in Bogota, after spending five years in Caracas, considered the most violent city in the world.

Vyas worked in a place where people drove through stop lights to avoid being held up and where residents are urged to stay shuttered in their homes after seven at night, even in the most upscale of neighborhoods.

Star-Ledger and the Newark Public Library

As we mark the 50th anniversary of the Newark Rebellion we take a look back at what led up to the incident that would become a defining moment for the city and what has changed since those hot summer days in July of 1967.

Violating bans on smoking in public places in New Jersey towns could soon result in a fine instead of a disorderly person's charge.

The state Senate has given final legislative approval to a measure that Senator Bob Gordon says makes the penalty less onerous.

"If the municipalities choose to enforce it, the penalties would be civil as opposed to criminal. It is currently mandated in the statute that it's a low-level criminal offense, but still a criminal offense, and we thought that's a bit excessive."

New Jersey's Senate has unanimously approved bipartisan legislation to pay state workers for the days they were furloughed during the recent three-day government shutdown.

Chanting ‘It’s time of give us back our pay” unionized state employees rallied outside the Statehouse in Trenton in support of the measure they say will prevent them from losing money they depend on.

Senator Linda Greenstein says it's a moral obligation to get the measure to the governor's desk as quickly as possible.

Governor Christie has vetoed a measure requiring companies that transport crude oil and hazardous liquids on train cars to file detailed emergency response plans with the state.

Christie says he supports the legislature's effort to ensure state officials are prepared to respond to the discharge of hazardous materials, but says he can't sign the bill because of security and public safety concerns.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Democrat Phil Murphy says it’s too late for Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno to propose new ideas to help New Jersey’s crumbling transportation infrastructure.

View From The Blue in Newark's 1967 Rebellion

Jul 12, 2017
Police
Star Ledger and The Newark Public Library

Through the 50 years since the Newark Rebellion in 1967, the police version of the story has seldom been told.  In 2007, historian and author Adele Oltman  filed this in-depth report for the WBGO Journal.

Oltman spoke to several officers who were there at the time of the unrest broke out, including John DeSimone, who was one of the arresting officers of taxi cab driver John Smith.

Click above to hear Adele Oltman's feature "View From The Blue."

A coalition of parents and caregivers is urging Governor Christie to sign legislation expanding New Jersey's Family Leave program.

Jesse Burns, the executive director of the League of Women Voters of New Jersey, says a few months after finding out she was pregnant, her mother-in-law was diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

A new Monmouth University poll in this year's New Jersey governor's race shows Democrat Phil Murphy with a 27 point lead over Republican Kim Guadagno.

Poll director Patrick Murray says it’ll be an uphill battle for Guadagno to close that gap.

“The only thing that could happen within the fundamentals of this race is if the Republican brand starts to regain some credibility with voters here in New Jersey and Murphy simply just ignores the property tax issue and Guadagno continues to hammer away at her plan and voters start to tune into that.”

Baraka
Sylvia Brewer for WBGO

The Abyssnian Baptist Church hosted a commemoration of the 1967 Newark Rebellion on Tuesday night. The prayer service offered interfaith clergy the opportunity to come together.

 

The event featured Junius Williams, director of the Abbott Leadership Institute, and Mayor of Newark Ras J. Baraka. Both Williams and Baraka spoke about the need for an accurate depiction of Newark prior to and during 1967.  To Baraka, Newark would not be the city it is today without the unrest 50 years ago.

 

Advocates have some concerns about the Christie administration's proposal to transfer responsibility for mental health and addiction services from the New Jersey Department of Human Services to the Department of Health.

State Health Commissioner Cathleen Bennett expects the move will mean a better coordinated system.

"What we currently have is a system where the patient has to navigate to the different providers. Now what we're doing is creating a system where the provider treats the whole person and has all of the resources that will be needed."

United States Senators Cory Booker of New Jersey and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts are introducing legislation to help female inmates deal with the challenges of being imprisoned.

Jessica Jackson Sloan leads Cut 50, a bipartisan initiative to reduce the number of people in prisons and jails. She says incarcerated women face troubling choices.

A Monmouth University Poll finds New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's voter approval ratings remain in the cellar.

Only 15 percent of voters surveyed approve of the job Christie is doing.

Poll director Patrick Murray says photos of Christie on the beach with his family during the recent state government shutdown didn't help his public image.

Pages