News

Ntozake Shange
Kenny Miles for WBGO

The art scene in Newark continues to grow. One of the exhibits featured in the city’s annual festival will be up through November.  The 16th annual Open Doors Citywide Arts Festival is Newark’s biggest celebration of the arts.

Sponsored by Newark Arts, the festival was designed for the public to discover artist studios, galleries, and pop-up events in the downtown area. Lauren Craig, Marketing Manager for Newark Arts council believes Open Doors offers something for everyone.

Advocates for opposite sides of the political spectrum are urging New Jersey lawmakers not to approve subsides to get Amazon to consider locating its second headquarters in the state.

Jon Whiten with New Jersey Policy Perspective says offering Amazon huge subsidies distorts the state’s tax policy and economic development efforts.

“With a proposal like this and $7 billion in tax breaks we’re acting as if we’re South Dakota, we’re begging companies to come here. We’ve got a lot of other reasons for companies to want to be here.”  

Five years after Superstorm Sandy, many New Jersey residents are still feeling the effects.

Waretown resident Nancy Caira and her husband live a short distance from the Barnegat Bay.  She says they used a $30,000 insurance payment to make enough repairs to get back home three months after the storm.

But a few months later when new flood maps came out, they learned that the house was certified as substantially damaged, which meant it had to be elevated.

New Jersey's State Commission of Investigation says waste and abuse are still a big problem for the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
 
Commission spokeswoman Kathy Riley says problems investigators identified 17 years ago are getting worse.
 

roundabouttheatre.org

The Broadway season is underway, but theater critic Michael Bourne is looking back -- way back -- You can listen to Michael Bourne's review by clicking the link above.

Jonterri Gadson
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Bloomfield College's Assistant Professor of Creative Writing/English Jonterri Gadson will be attending the New York Television Festival's Scripts Competition as an Official Artist.

Gadson's half-hour pilot comedy script was named an Official Selection of the festival that runs from October 23rd to October 28th in Manhattan.

Ken Downey Jr. / WBGO

After more than two decades under State control, Newark will soon regain local control of its schools. On this live broadcast of Newark Today tonight at 8pm, we will look back and look forward to the course for the state's largest school district. 

Keanna Faircloth

Democrat Phil Murphy says he’d never be in position to run for New Jersey governor if he never knew Barack Obama.

“He’s always had our backs and New Jersey will always have his back,” Murphy said.

Obama kept his focus mostly on the New Jersey Governor’s race.

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to limit the use of motor vehicle surcharges.

Senator Shirley Turner says her bill would restrict the surcharges to drunken driving offenses.

"If it's for reasons like a moving violation or parking tickets, then there would be no surcharges. Now with DWI that's a whole different category."

The surcharges assessed on drivers who have excessive points for traffic violations can amount to thousands of dollars.

Turner says many drivers have their license suspended because they can't afford to pay.

A new group in New Jersey wants to make it easier for voters to get information about candidates for legislative and local offices.

Yael Niv helped start the Good Government Coalition of New Jersey.

Some information is available on government and candidates' websites, but she says the state doesn't offer a centralized way to find out who is running for office and where they stand on important issues.

A Fairleigh Dickinson poll finds there’s a Trump Effect in New Jersey’s race for governor.

Poll director Krista Jenkins says 25 percent of likely voters say the way they believe President Donald Trump is handling his job is a factor in deciding the candidate they support in next month’s gubernatorial election.

We’ll be discussing local control of Newark Public Schools during our live broadcast of Newark Today Thursday October 19 at 8PM.  We invite the community to be a part of the audience at Express Newark in the downtown district’s historic Hahne’s building.  Your host, NJTV’s Michael Hill will be joined by city Mayor Ras Baraka and a panel of guests.  Doors open tonight at 7:15. Newark Today live October 19 at 8PM on WBGO and wbgo.org

Now that Newark Public Schools are in position to regain control of governance from the state, parents are asking if the city is ready. 

With just three months left in his term, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is naming a new Superintendent of the State Police.

Superintendent Rick Fuentes is retiring on November 1st. He enlisted in the State Police in 1978 and served as is leader since 2003.

“I would sum up my 40 years probably in two sentences. There were days and there were times when I wanted to go home from work early. There was never a single day I can remember when I didn’t want to come to work.”

A non-profit foundation that works to improve public policy decisions in New Jersey says prompt action is needed to provide a high-quality public education for all children in the state.

Former Chief Justice Doborah Portiz chairs the Fund for New Jersey. She’s says it time for the state to give the school districts what they are were promised under the 2008 School Funding formula.

“We need to fully fund SFRA under the formula, not in any transition mode anymore, not with transition funding, but fully fund it.”

Advocates are urging New Jersey’s next governor to increase the state’s investments and support for higher education.

New Jersey Policy Perspective president Gordon MacInnes says a pattern of disinvestment in the state’s public colleges and universities over the last quarter century has resulted in high costs and rising debt for students.

He says the Secretary of Education lacks the resources to analyze the performance of colleges and maximize opportunities.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The defense team in Senator Bob Menendez’s trial opened with testimony from family members.  The senator’s son Robert Menendez Jr. recalled several trips to the Dominican Republic with his father’s good friend Salomon Melgen.   He called them "family gatherings." 

Prosecutors accuse Menendez of taking bribes from Melgen, a Florida eye doctor in return for helping him resolve business problems with government officials.

Governor Christie is advancing Newark’s bid to win Amazon’s competition to determine where the internet retailer will build its second headquarters.

Christie says Newark represents the heart-and-soul of what Amazon is seeking.

“Newark is a growing technology hub. They are a growing education for the state of New Jersey. Unparalleled transportation options and unique cultural options in this city as well.”

U-S Senator Cory Booker, a former mayor of Newark, says Amazon would be smart to come to Newark.

This is usually the time to think about a weekend drive to check out the fall foliage. But so far, we’re not seeing a dazzling display of color.

New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson says the change in leaf color is getting a late start because of warmer than average temperatures in recent weeks.  

“That tends to delay the season. It doesn’t necessary destroy the season. So, I would think right now unless it turns cool pretty quickly, we’re probably going to see a one, maybe even longer than, a week delay in getting the peak foliage.”  

Republican gubernatorial nominee Kim Guadagno is under fire for a campaign ad attacking Democrat Phil Murphy for saying he might make New Jersey a sanctuary state for undocumented immigrants.

The ad says Murphy would protect unauthorized immigrants including deranged murderers.

Louis DiPaolo with the New Jersey Working Families Alliance says that mischaracterizes what Murphy was saying and calls the ad shameful.

Eli Yamin
Doug Doyle for WBGO

What a treat for you this Saturday at the WBGO Kids Jazz Concert at Newark Symphony Hall.  Not only will the one-hour event be hosted by WBGO's Gary Walker, but it will feature the work of jazz and blues pianist, composer, singer producer and educator Eli Yamin.

Yamin remembers when he was a teen he worked for WBGO and couldn't resist playing the piano in the station's performance studio.  That same piano is still there today.

Yamin will be joined by many terrific performers including singer and educator Antoinette Montague of Newark. 

President Trump's executive order to make cheaper health insurance plans more widely available is meeting with resistance in New Jersey.

Betsy Ryan is the President and CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association. She's concerned the President's order could end up increasing the cost of insurance for people with pre-existing conditions.

Democrat Phil Murphy has raised more than three times as much as Republican Kim Guadagno in New Jersey’s race for governor.

Murphy collected $10.3 million while Guadagno raised $3 million.

Murphy still has $5.4 million left in his campaign coffers, Guadagno less than a million.

Fairleigh Dickinson political science professor Peter Woolley says there’s a simple reason for the big fundraising disparity.

Alexandra Hill / News

After months of debate and contentious city council meetings over how to keep housing affordable for residents in New Jersey’s largest city, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka today signed two groundbreaking affordable housing ordinances. The “Inclusionary Zoning for Affordable Housing” ordinance requires developers to set aside 20 percent of their residential units for affordable housing in projects consisting of 30 or more units. Baraka says for the city of Newark the timing is right.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Objections for relevance, a lack thereof, pulled the jury from the court room multiple times before the prosecution rested.  Attorneys for US Senator Bob Menendez spent hours on offense.  They say the prosecution has presented insufficient evidence to prove the US Senator guilty of bribery under a 2016 US Supreme Court ruling.  The prosecution seemed to be having some difficulty convincing US District Judge William Walls that they have enough proof to charge Menendez.  The New Jersey senior senator refused questions from reporters after court adjourned.  The trial continues on Monday.

The New Jersey legislature is not scheduled to meet until after the election.  It's uncertain what might be enacted before a new governor takes office and the current legislative session ends in January.

Governor Chris Christie says he wants lawmakers to pass a measure in the lame duck session that would extend the two-percent cap on arbitration awards for police and firefighters.

He'd also like to get some nominations done.

A philanthropic foundation says many New Jersey residents struggle with the high costs of housing.

The Fund for New Jersey is making several recommendations to increase the amount of affordable homes.

Staci Berger leads the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. She says one proposed initiative would provide $600 million in tax credits for developers to build affordable housing for working families, seniors, and people with disabilities.

Ang Santos / WBGO

There’s a lot of common ground between Newark and New Orleans.  Both the largest metropolitan areas in their respective state’s.  Both majority minority communities with a history of poverty and crime.

“America since the 1950’s and 60’s underinvested in its cities primarily because of the issue of race.”

Marc Morial is the president of The National Urban League and two term mayor of New Orleans from 1994 to 2002.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Republican candidate Kim Guadagno says she’ll lower Garden State property taxes if elected Governor.  Democrat Phil Murphy says she’s already had eight years to make it happen.

“So she can talk all she wants about audit’s and consolidations and property tax relief, all good and well, but where have you been?  With all due respect, we may not have everything right but I’ll tell you one thing we do have right.  We represent change.”

Governor Christie's Task Force on Drug Abuse Control has release its report, making 40 recommendations to combat opioid epidemic.

Christie says many of the recommendations were included in the $200 million initiatives he announced last month. And he's directing is staff to develop plans to implement all of them before he leaves office in January.  

He's directing New Jersey's Department of Health to immediately revise guidelines so first responders can carry four milligrams of Narcan.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Recent polling shows a good number of Garden State voters don’t know enough about the Democratic or Republican gubernatorial candidates to decide who they’ll vote for in November’s election.

Republican Kim Guadagno is a former assistant attorney at the state and federal levels, and the first woman to serve as Monmouth County Sheriff. 

Democrat Phil Murphy is a former Goldman Sachs executive. He was an Ambassador to Germany under the Obama Administration, and is running his first campaign for elected office.

The debate will air live on WBGO starting at 7PM.

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