News

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.

A national survey shows New Jersey hospitals have improved their quality of care.

The nonprofit health care watchdog organization Leapfrog Group ranks New Jersey 15th best for protecting patients from harm.

Communications director Erica Mobley says that's up from 22nd a year ago.

"What we've seen overall is an improvement in both the processes and procedures hospitals have in place to prevent errors and in the outcomes. So in things like infection rates, rates of blood clots, rates of air embolism, we've seen improvement across many hospitals."

A Farleigh Dickinson University poll finds that political views are distorting the ability of Americans to tell fact from fiction.

Although there's no evidence to support it, political science professor Dan Cassino says two-thirds of the New Jersey residents surveyed believe that President Donald Trump is not releasing his tax returns because they'd show he has close financial ties to political and business figures in Russia.

abyssinian.org

Cyrus Chestnut wrote 'Saga of the Cross' only a few months back, a new composition to be performed with The Abyssinian Baptist Church Choir in Harlem.

“I teach at Howard University in Washington, DC of which there’s a great music program.  What stands out from the program is this vocal jazz group called ‘Afro Blue’ under the direction of Connaitre Miller.  So I’ve been hearing around the vocalists and hearing all of these vocal arrangements and all.  So it’s kind of gotten planted in the ear,” Chestnut said.

Legislation awaiting final approval in the New Jersey Senate is intended to reduce racial disparities in the criminal justice system.

The measure would require all bills and regulations on sentencing to include a racial and ethnic impact statement outlining how the policies might affect minority populations.

Dianna Houenou with the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey says it’s a smart policy to implement.

Governor Christie is not providing details on additional pension changes he'd like to see before leaving office.

Senate Budget Committee chairman Paul Sarlo says lawmakers would like to hear more about the governor's idea of moving the state lottery into the pension system to reduce its unfunded liability.

He says that has to happen before there's any consideration of talking with public employee unions about more pension changes.

Alexandra Hill

New Jersey’s senior US Senator is calling on the Committee on Foreign Investment to review a potential majority Russian stake in one the country’s ten largest oil companies.

Senator Bob Menendez says the Venezuelan owned oil company Citgo is currently at risk of a Russian takeover. Its all due to the economic crisis in the country which could result in a default on its debt to Russia, leaving the oil giant, which owns 48 petroleum terminals in 20 states and nearly nine U.S. based oil pipelines, under Russian control.

A poll conducted for a coalition of child advocates finds that 85 percent of New Jersey residents believe the youth justice system should focus more on prevention and rehabilitation rather than incarceration and punishment.

Mary Coogan with Advocates for Children of New Jersey says young people who commit crimes should be should be held accountable, but believes community-based counseling and treatment are more effective than putting them in prison.  

The warm, sunny weather may be a welcome relief after all the cool rainy days recently. But it could cause problems for people with allergies.

Dr. Leonard Bielory, is an allergy specialist who tracks the pollen count in New Jersey. He says the release of tree pollen is intensifying now.

"Pollen is primed and pumping. We'll actually see about tenfold increase in pollen over the coming week. So even people mildly allergic will have intense allergy symptoms by the end of the week."

Alexandra Hill

In the wake of the numerous deaths of young black men at the hands of police, the rise of the black lives matter movement, and the mass incarceration epidemic, tensions have been at an all time high in recent years. A new program being launched in the city of Newark is working to change all that. The All Star Project’s Cops and Kids program is working to break the stereotypes that often lead to tension between young people and the police.

“Their cousins, their family members, fathers have been locked up before so it makes them have that negative outlook.”

Mildred Antenor
David Tallacksen for WBGO

WBGO commentator Mildred Antenor wants to know what's the next step for those who participated in the historic march one day after President Trump's inauguration in D.C.

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