News

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie leaves office in January and says the opioid crisis will be his primary focus until then.

He says he’s ready to work with the legislature to do anything in the lame duck session that makes sense.

He’d like lawmakers to send him a bill that would eliminate accumulated sick time payouts for public employees.

“It’s a disgrace that we have billions of dollars being paid to people for not having been sick. It’s a disgrace. It’s an outrage to the taxpayers. I’ve been saying it for eight years.”

Some New Jersey businesses that rely on foreign students to fill seasonal jobs are hoping President Trump backs away from a campaign promise to eliminate a work visa program.

More than 5,000 foreign students each year participate in the J-1 visa program in New Jersey, working in seasonal jobs for about ten weeks and then spending a month traveling the country.

New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association president Marilou Halvorsen says curtailing the program would hurt businesses that rely on those workers before and after the height of the summer tourism season.

Get ready for a big jump in gasoline prices because of the flooding in Texas.

Tom Kloza, global energy analyst at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey, says gas prices could rise as much as 60 cents a gallon because of refinery shutdowns that are reducing the supply.

Layla Fanucci
Allan Wolper for WBGO

For 25 years, Layla Fanucci, taught music at St. Helena Catholic School in California. But her life turned around when she bought paint and an art board at a Ben Franklin arts and crafts store.

Today, Layla, who never took an art class, has had her cityscapes shown at galleries and museums in Paris, Morocco, San Francisco, and New York City.

Ang Santos / WBGO

  A pair of industrial fans blow in the gymnasium at West Side High School in Newark.  A yoga instructor introduces the mountain pose to about one-hundred members of the school’s staff.

“We’re going into our ninth year in some city schools,” said Debbie Kaminsky, founder of Newark Yoga Movement.  “We found that after a twenty-minute session of yoga, that 64 percent of students were more peaceful and less stressed.  So with that, we started bringing yoga to more schools in Newark.  It really has traction after we taught over 26,000 students and over 3,000 educators.”

Ang Santos / WBGO

From exhibitions spotlighting Brazilian culture, to a film festival hosted at the Newark Public Library, there’s a little something for everybody during Brazil week 2017. 

“I’ve been doing this for twenty-five years.  It’s a great thing for the city of Newark because a large population of the Brazilian people here want to show the city who we are.”  said Jose Moreira, president of Newark’s Brazilian Day Festival.  “

Silvana Magda is the curator of various special Brazilian exhibitions around Newark.  In city hall this year, it’s all about female empowerment.

New Jersey is providing more manpower and supplies to help with the emergency response to flooding in Texas caused by Tropical Storm Harvey.

Governor Christie says two Blackhawk helicopters and some National Guard members with experience in Superstorm Sandy recovery efforts are going to Texas, and additional 3500 Guard members could be deployed if necessary.

Christie says New Jersey will do anything Texas officials need.

Governor Christie say 15 service areas along the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway are in line for renovation or replacement.

Christie says HMS Host and Sunoco have agreed to invest $250 million to upgrade those rest stops in exchange for contracts to operate food and fuel concessions on those toll roads for 25 years.

Specially trained New Jersey search and rescue crews are on their way to assist Texas flood victims.

Laura Connolly with the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management says 16 members of New Jersey Task Force 1, three members of the State Police, six boats and five trucks have been deployed to Texas.

"They'll be assisting with swift water operations, with people that drove into floodwaters and are trapped, or they could be going door to door and rescuing people with the boats that we have. So, they'll be taking care of all those water operations down there."

Gasoline prices in the area are starting to move higher because of the storm that's dumping huge amounts of rain in Texas.

Patrick DeHaan is a petroleum analyst at GasBuddy-dot-com. He says refinery shutdowns on the Gulf Coast because of Hurricane Harvey are curtailing the supply of gasoline.

"I would expect gas prices would rise anywhere from 5 to 15 cents a gallon, perhaps even higher, over the next one to one-and-a-half weeks or so. It could go as high as 10 to 25 cents a gallon, maybe even 15 to 30 cents a gallon in kind of the worst-case scenario."

New Jersey Transit's management and culture came in from some blistering criticism at a legislative hearing.

Nancy Erika Smith is a civil rights lawyer. She told state lawmakers there's a toxic, corrupt, sexist, and racist atmosphere at the agency.

"If HR and EEO won't help victims, and they don't at New Jersey Transit, and employees who complain are openly retaliated against, who in their right mind will complain?"

Michael Moore
Playbill.com

Theater critic Michael Bourne gives us his thoughts on Michael Moore On Broadway.  Moore, the Academy Award-winning filmmaker behind Bowling for Columbine and Fahrenheit 9/11, brings his unrivaled powers of provocation and satire to the stage for the first time in The Terms of My Surrender. 

The world premiere one-man play is directed by Tony winner Michael Mayer.

Lisa Bloom: Civil Rights Lawyer, TV Legal Analyst

Aug 25, 2017
Lisa Bloom
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Lisa Bloom is an activist civil rights attorney who has won a national reputation by representing clients whose cases are on the cutting edge of woman’s issues. She appears on The Today Show, MSNBC, The Situation Room, and was a former host of Lisa Bloom Open Court on Court TV.

She says she received her early training at home listening to her mother, Gloria Allred, a celebrity attorney who is often involved controversial cases involving woman’s issues.

Alexandra Hill

As the debate over the removal of confederate monuments continues  across the country following the violent race riots in Charlottesville Virginia earlier this month. WBGO’s Alexandra Hill recently visited Monmouth Battlefield State Park to talk with military historian Dr. David Martin about New Jersey’s ties to the confederacy and how the removal of confederate monuments could affect American history.

 

Democrat Phil Murphy says if he becomes New Jersey's next governor he'd sign the gun control bills Governor Christie has vetoed. And he's proposing some additional measures to stem violence.

Murphy says he'd approach neighboring states to talk about coordinating strategies to prevent gun violence.

"We think about 80 percent of the guns involved in crimes in New Jersey come from out of state, so not only to we have to do a better job in our state, we have to engage with our neighbors."

Governor Christie has signed legislation authorizing and regulating fantasy sports games in New Jersey.

Participants pay an entry fee to manage an imaginary team and compete for a predetermined prize.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli says many residents have been playing and the new law will protect consumers.

Five months before he was planning to retire, New Jersey State Senator Jim Whelan has died after suffering a heart attack at his Atlantic City home.

State officials are remembering him as a dedicated public servant.

Senate Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg says Whelan was a role model for lawmakers.

“He seemed to be able to be part of the team, be part of the unified effort, and yet signal out the things that were important to him even if it was going against the tide a bit. He was an eminently decent man, full of integrity.”

A study by a national research group finds that states have cut funds for higher education by nearly $9 billion since the 2008 recession.

Mike Mitchell is an analyst with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He says lower state funding for colleges has meant tuition increases, forcing students to incur more debt to pay for college. 

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to change how water providers respond when they find elevated levels of lead in the system.

Assemblyman Dan Benson says current law requires a utility that finds high lead concentrations to send a letter to residents, but not municipalities and school districts.

"You'd want that because so often these municipalities have reverse 911 systems. They can hopefully provide additional information or coordinate a response to make sure that residents are protected."  

Governor Christie once called it the ugliest building in New Jersey. Now he’s saying a multi-billion dollar retail and entertainment complex in the Meadlowlands will be vital to the state’s economy.

Known as Xanadu when it was approved in 2003, the project was plagued by a series of financing problems and construction delays. Christie says what’s now called the American Dream is on the way to becoming a reality.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says President Trump's comments that both sides were equally responsible for the violence in Charlottes, Virginia, were a mistake.

“The people who wanted to cause violence in Charlottesville were the neo-Nazis and the white supremacists who came there to cause violence. And the very underpinnings of their philosophy, if you can call it that, is the use of violence based upon bias and prejudice. And that’s unacceptable in our country.” 

Carl Cofield
Carmen Balentine for WBGO

The latest production of Lorraine Hansberry's iconic play A Raisin In The Sun runs from September 9th through October 8th at Two River Theater in Red Bank, New Jersey.

Several stars of the show including Brandon J. Dirden, Crystal A. Dickinson and Brenda Pressley and the play's director Carl Cofield joined WBGO News Director Doug Doyle on the stage at the Joan and Robert Rechnitz Theater for a live audience panel discussion to talk about the relevance of the play in today's world.

STF/AFP/Getty Images

Jerry Lewis, a comedic fixture on big screens and charity telethons for decades, has died at the age of 91.

His death was first reported by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and confirmed by NPR with his publicist and spokeswoman Candi Cazau.

Cazau provided the following statement:

 

"Famed comedian, actor, and legendary entertainer Jerry Lewis passed away peacefully today of natural causes at 91 at his home in Las Vegas with his family by his side."

Dick Gregory, the comedian and civil rights crusader, died Saturday. He was 84.

His family announced the news on his public Facebook page.

General Longstreet
Gettysburgdaily.com

Scott Hancock is an associate professor of History and Africana studies at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. He has some strong opinions on whether or not Confederate monuments and memorials should remain on the Gettysburg battlefield.

He chats with WBGO Journal host and news director Doug Doyle in this in-depth interview.

Hancock came to Gettysburg College in 2001. His scholarly interests focus on the African American experience from the mid-seventeenth century to just before the Civil War.

Van Gogh's Ear
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Theater Critic reviews the off-Broadway production of Van Gogh's Ear at Pershing Square Signature Center. The show is presented by the Ensemble for the Romantic Century.

UWF
UWF for WBGO

Back in 2014, the City of New York settled a $100 million landmark discrimination lawsuit with the Vulcan Society, the African-American fraternal organization for the FDNY. In that settlement, it committed to a major outreach to achieve diversity in its ranks. As a consequence, the department has had success in hiring more men of color.  Adding women to the ranks remains an even greater challenge.

(Sound of training video and instruction)

An advocate for children's educational rights is conducting an investigation into schools' compliance with New Jersey's anti-bullying law.

John Rue is the president and general counsel of the Innisfree Foundation. He says the investigation is focused on how school officials interpret the law and decide whether to pursue bullying complaints.

Political analysts believe it's likely Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy's proposed tax increases will be approved if he's elected and Democrats maintain control of the New Jersey legislature.

Nearly half of the $1.3 billion Murphy's tax hikes are expected to raise would come from a millionaires' tax.  Governor Christie has vetoed five attempts by Democrats to impose that levy. Rider University political science professor Ben Dworkin believes Democrats will get it done if Murphy becomes governor.

V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai
Allan Wolper for WBGO

V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai received a United States Copyright in 1982 crediting him with being The Inventor of EMAIL, a title he earned as a 14-year-old research scholar at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark, New Jersey.

He said he received a copyright certificate on August 30, 1982 , rather than a patent, because patents were not awarded to software discoveries at the time.

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