News

As New Jersey lawmakers hold hearings on Governor Murphy’s state budget plan, there are indications they’ll be making some changes in his proposed school funding.

Amy Jablonski is a school board member in Chesterfield. She says the state aid Murphy’s budget provides for that Burlington County school district is a punch to the gut.

Trees are blossoming later than usual this season, and that's given allergy sufferers a break. That respite is about to end.

Dr. Leonard Bielory is an allergy specialist who tracks the pollen count in New Jersey. He says colder than normal weather in March has delayed the release of tree pollen, but it will soon be intense.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy's proposed state budget includes $100 million to combat the opioid epidemic.

Murphy says $56 million would be used for drug prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.

"We know that coordinated approaches that bring together treatment including access to medication assisted treatment and peer-based recovery coaching can be highly effective."

The Governor says $31 million would be used to attack social risk factors that can lead to relapse.

A Monmouth University poll finds that three-quarters of the American public believe that the mainstream media reports fake news.

Poll director Patrick Murray says only 25 percent of those surveyed believe the term ‘fake news’ applies only to stories where the facts are wrong.

“One of the problems is fake news can be all sorts of things to people. A majority of folks said that fake news was the editorial decisions that the mainstream media made in terms of the kinds of stories they wanted to tell.”

More than two billion Christians around the world are marking what they feel is the most important week in human history.  Holy week. It started with Palm Sunday, marking Jesus’ arrival in Jerusalem. The last supper with his disciples is known as Holy Thursday.  The following day, Good Friday, Jesus was crucified and then according to Christian gospels rose from the dead on Easter Sunday. Cardinal Timothy Dolan says these are not only impactful historic events to Christians centered around Jesus, but they have meaning in our lives today. 

publictheater.org

Politics is always in the news, and from time to time is also on the stage.  So says theatre critic Michael Bourne.  Click above to hear his review on the WBGO Journal.  

When you think of France, sure you think of cheese and berets, baguettes and love--or at least adultery--and what else? Wine. You think of the Bordeaux you can’t afford, snapped up by those pesky Russian oligarchs and Chinese financiers. Or the Rhones that are earthy, or the Rosés that, while not fine wines are runaway must-have now on the American Left and Right Coasts to augment their Mediterranean diets.

Jon Kalish / WBGO

For much of the 20th Century some public libraries in New York had apartments on the premises for custodians who needed to keep the coal furnaces running 24/7. A new play has opened by a woman who grew up in one of these apartments. You can hear a report from WBGO’s Jon Kalish above.

makingakillingthefilm.com

Ang Santos:  For Devin first, this is based on a true story.  How did you get your hands on it?

Devin Hume:  I moved to Colorado when I was nineteen.  The first job I had in Colorado was painting a mortuary for two morticians.  I got to know those guys.  Soon after that I went to film school and studies cinematography.  Anytime it was time to make a film I would go back to that town.

AS:  These people you worked for were the people in this film?

For second consecutive year March was colder than February in the region.

It's only the fourth time that’s happened since 1895.  

The movements of the jet stream are responsible for the switch in the usual weather pattern.

New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson says the March chill has kept trees and plants from blooming and that may be welcome news for people with allergies.

"But I've seen it in the past where things are delayed until the end of the second week of April and then everything bursts out at once."

passaicfilms.com

The short film Passaic is a flashback to gritty times in northern New Jersey.  It’s centerpiece, two murders that resulted in what would be the longest murder trial in state history at the time.  There's still unanswered questions.  The case remains unsolved.  

“To this day people that are involved in the case know that the truth never came out,” said Michael Klausner, writer and producer of the film Passaic. 

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to prohibit kids under the age of 12 from participating in organized tackle football games.

Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle says New York and several other states have proposed similar laws.

“I actually cringe, I get nervous, when I see young kids as young as six years old, we’re talking about, playing and banging their heads.”

Huttle says it’s dangerous for children to be exposed to constant blows to the head at the age when their brain is forming.

Hearings on Governor Phil Murphy's state budget plan are underway.

Even some of his fellow Democrats have reservations about the $1.6 billion in tax increases he's recommending.

Assembly Budget Committee chairwoman Eliana Pintor-Marin says lawmakers will examine the potential impact of the tax increases.

"They all are concerning. We're going to take a careful look at exactly what those are and how much money they do produce and what type of families we're raising those taxes on."

Alexandra Hill / News

New Jersey’s largest city today passed a pivotal piece of legislation to add additional protections for public employees who are victims of sexual harassment.  

The ordinance, which passed unanimously, is spearheaded by Central Ward Councilwoman and Mayoral candidate Gayle Chaneyfield-Jenkins. It prohibits sexual harassment of city employees by their fellow co-workers, management, union representatives, volunteers or vendors for the city. 

After ordering a 60-day review of New Jersey’s medical marijuana program, Governor Phil Murphy is making changes to expand it dramatically.

Murphy says bureaucratic conditions have stifled the eight-year-old program's ability to help.

"The days of making residents jump through hoops are coming to an end. We will have a medical marijuana program that is compassionate, that is progressive, and that at long last meets the needs of patients."

New Jersey is joining a multi-state lawsuit against the federal government to block the inclusion of a proposed citizenship question in the 2020 census.

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal says asking people if they’re U.S. citizens will discourage immigrants to participate in the census.

Amol Sinha the executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, says that would have negative consequences.

The New Jersey Senate has passed legislation that would allow undocumented immigrants to be eligible for college financial aid.

17-year-old Maria Mendez lives in Plainfield. She came to the United States from Mexico when she was three. She was recently accepted at six colleges and says access to financial aid will determine whether she can pursue her dream to major in communications. 

A package of bills approved by the New Jersey Assembly would make the state’s tough gun laws even tougher.

The bill that passed with the most opposition would make it more difficult to get a permit to carry a concealed handgun. Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi was among the lawmakers who voted against it, saying the restrictions would make it almost impossible to get a carry permit.

“As somebody who was a crime victim if I had a serious threat, if my life was in danger, if my daughter’s life was in danger, I want to be able to protect myself.”

Carly Zien
George Street Playhouse

Philip Goodwin and Carly Zien star in George Street Playhouse's latest production Trying, based on playwright Joanna McClelland Glass' real life experience as Judge Francis Biddle's secretary.

Goodwin and Zien sat down recently with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle to talk about the play and their careers.  Goodwin plays Judge Biddle and Zien plays Sarah, Biddle's young new secretary.

Pamela Morgan
Doug Doyle for WBGO

The theme of the 9th annual Women In Media-Newark Women's History Month film festival is Passages: Women In Transition and kicks of March 27th at the Newark Museum.  

One of the films to be screened there is acclaimed filmmaker, producer and actor Ebbe Bassey's Saving Father.  Bassey says she was introduced to the festival's producer Pamela Morgan by fellow filmmaker Nefertite Nguvu.

Nguvu's latest work, Myself When I Am Real, will screen on Saturday March 31st at the Paul Robeson Student Center on the campus of Rutgers University-Newark.

WBGO News

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy makes his Ask Governor Murphy debut.

The one-hour call-in show is produced by WBGO News, in collaboration with WHYY and WNYC. 

The governor and host Nancy Solomon  of WNYC, discuss everything from medical marijuana, to taxes climate change, and gun violence in schools.

Governor Murphy is also joined by special guest Matt Arco, Statehouse reporter for NJ Advance Media. 

New Jersey lawmakers are considering legislation that would make it easier to register to vote.

Senator Joe Vitale says his bill would automatically put residents on voter registration rolls when they apply for or renew their driver's license.

He says that would eliminate the need to fill out a form to register with the local Board of Elections.

This month’s string of  four nor’easters have taken a bite out of some New Jersey beaches.

New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection says 55 of the 66 beaches it surveyed had minor erosion while 10 had moderate erosion.

Jon Miller is a professor of coastal engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology. He says the storms pulled a lot of sand off the beach and into the ocean.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill that would require inmates be offered an injection of a drug used to treat opioid addiction before they’re released from prison.

Assembly Health Committee chairman Herb Conaway says a single dose of Vivitrol can block the effects of heroin for a month and could help prevent deadly overdoses.

He says people who are incarcerated often have drug addictions that haven’t been treated before they’re released.

Alexandra Hill / News

In his fourth State of the City address last night at The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in downtown Newark, Mayor Ras Baraka both mapped out the direction of the state's largest city and highlighted the achievements of his administration, since taking office in 2014, with the 2018 municipal election less than two months away. 

Baraka touted everything from economic development to reductions in crime, and what may be his biggest achievement since taking office, the return of schools to local control after 20 years at the mercy of the state.

New Jersey lawmakers are looking at legislation to expand the state’s medical marijuana program.

Assemblyman Reed Gusciora says his bill would allow an additional 12 medical marijuana dispensaries in New Jersey.

“Currently the state allows six. Only five are open. Many patients say they don’t have ready access to the dispensaries. It would also be a way of creating competition and lowering the cost of the product itself.”

More forms of the drug including edibles and oils would be allowed at the dispensaries.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy
Governor Murphy for WBGO News

Do you have a question for New Jersey's Governor?

WBGO News, in collaboration with WHYY and WNYC, will present Ask Governor Murphy, a one-hour call-in show with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy.

Our first show airs Thursday, March 22 at 7 p.m. The show will be broadcast on WBGO and hosted by WNYC’s Nancy Solomon.

Submit your question in advance at AskGovMurphy.org, or tweet us with the hashtag #askgovmurphy.

The call-in number for Ask Governor Murphy is 844-677-9283.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says the state is preparing for what could be a major storm.

Murphy says gusty winds could bring down power lines, and utility companies in the state have activated their mutual aid arrangements.

“Their ability to bring in linemen and women from other utilities and other workers to bolster from other states. I think JCP&L has said that they have activated 800 people to come in and god knows we certainly hope that is sufficient.”

The Governor says the state has enough personnel and equipment to clear snow from the roads.

Governor Phil Murphy is breaking down the $242 million increase he's proposed in his budget plan for upgrading New Jersey Transit.

New Jersey Transit executive director Kevin Corbett says the governor's proposal allocates $19 million to expand the workforce with 114 new employees.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says a planned research and innovation center in New Brunswick could be a place for high-growth startup companies to thrive and boost the state’s economy.

New Brunswick Mayor Jim Cahill says a city-owned site in the downtown area is earmarked for the project.

“As a center for innovation for health care, biosciences, technology, artificial intelligence, big data, and analytics this offers the state of New Jersey an unparalleled opportunity for development.”

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