News

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to raise the minimum age to buy rifles and shotguns in the state from 18 to 21.

Assemblyman Roy Freiman (says his bill would bring the purchase age in line with those for handguns and believes it would prevent gun violence.

“18 and 20-year-olds commit gun homicides as a rate nearly four times as high and adults 21 and older. And you look at the recent gun shootings that we’ve had across America and you look at the teens that have it, are there things that we can do?” 

New Jersey Transit might be seeking additional time to implement the Positive Train Control system that can automatically stop trains and prevent collisions.

NJ Transit executive director Kevin Corbett says a letter from the Federal Railroad Administration expressing concerns about the agency’s progress in implementing PTC by the December 31st deadline also mentioned a potential alternative schedule.

Newark’s first lady of Jazz and WBGO Co-Founder and special events coordinator will celebrate her 80th birthday this summer. The New Jersey Performing Arts center is commemorating the occasion with a special night of jazz in her honor. Dorthaan Kirk has had a tremendous influence on the world of jazz over her more than 40 year career.

Jazz saxophonist Don Braden has worked with Dorthaan Kirk for the last two decades producing three jazzathons together.  Braden describes the moment the two met in 1998 when he became director of NJPAC’s jazz for teens program.

Harry Potter
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews several pop culture related shows on Broadway, including Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.

Click above to hear the full review.

Eric Jackson
WGBH

The Dean of Boston Jazz Radio, WGBH's Eric Jackson and WBGO's midday host Rhonda Hamilton have known each other for many years.

WGBH is celebrating Erick Jackson's 40th anniversary at that public radio station in Boston with a series of events and honors.  Who better to chat with Eric than Rhonda Hamilton?  Hamilton is nearing her 40th year at Newark's jazz institution WBGO.

Click above to hear their conversation.

The New Jersey Attorney General’s office is charging three more people with filing fraudulent applications for Superstorm Sandy relief funds.

New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice director Elie Honig says the defendants are accused of obtaining loans and grants from a program designed for people who lost their primary home and it was actually their seasonal residence that suffered Sandy damage.

The Senate Ethics Committee has strongly admonished New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez for accepting gifts from a wealthy doctor and taking official actions related to his interests.

Political analysts don't expect it to have much of an effect on Menendez's re-election effort.

Federal prosecutors decided not to retry Menendez after a mistrial in his corruption case when jurors couldn't agree on a verdict.

Montclair State political science professor Brigid Harrison says the ethics committee’s action probably won't sway a lot of voters.

Bright Moments! Celebrating Dorthaan at 80!

Apr 27, 2018

Celebrating Newark's 'First Lady of Jazz,'  the WBGO News team spoke with WBGO founder Bob Ottenhoff, NJPAC president John Schreiber, and Bethany Baptist Church member Linda Caldwell Epps about Dorthaan Kirk's influence in jazz and the community.

New Jersey lawmakers have some concerns about the $50 million Governor Murphy wants for a multi-year program to make community college tuition-free.

says that funding would help about 15,000 students who don’t have state and federal grants to cover the costs of attending community college.

The childhood autism rate continues to rise, and New Jersey's rate is the highest in the nation.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that one in 59 children were diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in 2014, a 15 percent increase from two years earlier.

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez says prevalence in New jersey is nearly double the national rate, with about 3 percent of children in the state affected.

There are now more than 19,000 patients in New Jersey’s medical marijuana program and the recent addition of five qualifying conditions is expected to boost that number to more than 40,000 by the end of the next fiscal year.

Deputy Health Commissioner Jackie Cornell says they’re evaluating how many new medical marijuana dispensaries will be needed.

Ang Santos / WBGO

What could have once been a waiting room in the vacant St. Michaels Hospital building, will be a traditional glass blowing studio, known as a hotshop.

“This is 2,500 square feet of 23,000 square feet,” said GlassRoots CEO Barbara Heisler.  “GlassRoots has the chance to work in partnership with the city of Newark and others to be a catalyst for the development of the entire neighborhood.  Attracting other creative businesses, galleries, restaurants, small shops leading to redevelopment and economic growth through our creative economy.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is highlighting the accomplishments of his first hundred days in office.

He says the changes he’s made are already having an impact on people’s lives.

“We’re fixing problems – from revamping a broken mass transit system, to beginning the task of fully funding our public schools both to create opportunity and to control property taxes, to protecting our environment and our economy.”

New Jersey’s top law enforcement official is preparing for the possible legalization of recreational marijuana in the state.

Attorney General Gurbir Grewal told lawmakers legalization would pose challenges for law enforcement.

“How do we assess drugged driving? What’s the metric for it? Do we have enough drug recognition experts to do this job?  Do we have to train up our officers on field sobriety testing procedures? Do we have to have more education and prevention efforts?

After years of vetoes by his predecessor, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed what he calls the most sweeping pay equity legislation in America.

“Closing the wage gap and ensuring that the only consideration literally the only consideration for deciding an employees pay is the job she was hired to do is not just a matter of fairness. But have no doubt it will also make our economy stronger" 

The Diane Allen Pay Equity Act is named for a former New Jersey state Senator who was a victim of pay discrimination.

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. 

An exotic East Asian tick that was not believed to exist in the United States until it was found in a pasture in Hunterdon County, New Jersey, in November has survived the winter.

And officials are now trying to wipe it out.

Manoel Tamassia is the director of the New Jersey Agriculture Department’s Division of Animal Health. He says the Longhorned tick is known to transmit diseases in East Asia, but no disease has been detected in the ones found in the state.

Ang Santos / WBGO

St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Paterson implemented a program in 2016 that researches and uses certain pain management methods, as an alternative to prescription opioids. 

“At a time where we have a national crisis, at a time where we have models some of which are here in New Jersey that we know work.  We should be funding those models and expanding those lessons learned,” New Jersey US Senator Cory Booker said. He’s calling for federal funding to create alternative pain management programs in hospital emergency departments nationwide.

Ang Santos / WBGO

A New Jersey Assemblywoman is introducing legislation to help bridge the gap between incarcerated parents and their children.  WBGO’s Ang Santos reports…

Assemblywoman Yvonne Lopez says her bill specifically targets incarcerated women.  She says often times they struggled with abuse and financial instability before their convictions.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says planned improvements will bring some relief for hundreds of thousands of New Jersey Transit bus riders.

Kevin Corbett is New Jersey Transit’s executive director. He says the agency is recruiting 40 additional bus drivers and taking other steps to minimize bus delays.

“These enhancements will involve the adjustment of running times along with some additional buses with the additional bus drivers needed to provide bus stop arrivals more in sync with the actual time points on the schedule.”

Newark Mayoral Debate
Brandy Wood for WBGO

Tap Into Newark reporter Mark Bonamo gives his thoughts on the WBGO Newark Mayor Debate last Thursday.

Current mayor Ras Baraka is being challenged by Councilwoman Gayle Cheneyfield Jenkins.

The debate was moderated by Newark Today host Michael Hill of NJTV.  The reporters who asked questions at the debate including WBGO's Alexandra Hill and Ang Santos, Karen Yi of NJ Advance Media and Tap Into Newark's Mark Bonamo.

The segment begins with highlights of the opening of the debate at Express Newark Lecture Hall.

Frozen
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews three musicals from movies.  Frozen, Mean Girls and The Sting are now on Broadway.  

Disney's Frozen won an Oscar.  Now it's going for a Tony.  Bourne wasn't sold on that possibility, unless Olaf the snowman picks up an award.

Tribeca
Harlan Jacobson for WBGO

This is as good a time as any to take a little time out from the crazy-making news cycle and check in at the movies. The Tribeca Film Festival opens this week, and it’s the festival that counts now in NYC, with close to 100 films in the feature film lineup of which 46 are directed by women.

There are 10 films in this Year’s Tribeca International Competition, and I’m looking forward to seeing Amateurs a Swedish comedy about competing films about a small town—the one by the town investment board and the other one by a couple of teenagers, who tell a different story.

Historic preservation advocates say a decision by New Jersey's highest court will make it difficult for churches to get the money they need to renovate their architecturally-significant structures.

The state Supreme Court has ruled that the Religious Aid Clause of New Jersey's constitution prohibits using taxpayer funds to repair and restore churches.

Courtenay Mercer, the director of Preservation New Jersey, says churches often appear on the group's annual list of the 10 most endangered historical places in the state.

As New Jersey awaits a ruling from the United States Supreme Court on whether sports betting will be allowed in the state, a bill introduced in the legislature would set some regulations for that wagering.

Assemblyman John Burzichelli says the bill has some rudimentary points on the operation and licensing of sports wagering activities and will be expanded depending on what the Supreme Court decides.

Newark Today Presents: Mayoral Debate 2018

Apr 19, 2018

The May 8th general election will determine if Mayor Ras Baraka receives a second term or if Councilwoman Gayle Chaneyfield-Jenkins will become the first woman to lead New Jersey's largest city. Join us for Newark Today's Mayoral Debate 2018. 

A New Jersey lawmaker has introduced legislation that would require pet groomers to be trained and licensed.

Senator Kip Bateman says his bill is a response to the death of three dogs in the past five months while in the care of groomers.

“Dogs are members of people’s families. They’re loved ones. When you drop it off at a groomer, you suspect that they’re going to be treated well. And there’s been some horrible stories in recent weeks about individuals dropping off their pets only to get a phone call saying come pick up your dog, it’s dead. I mean that’s outrageous.”

Governor Phil Murphy wants New Jersey to rejoin the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.

But indications are that won’t happen quickly.

Acting Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe told

lawmakers the nine other states in RGGI are ready to welcome New Jersey back but it’ll take a while to negotiate the specifics of the agreement.

The Administrative Director of New Jersey courts says the transformation of the cash bail system has eliminated injustices and created a fairer system.

Judge Glenn Grant says bail reforms that took effect last year mean defendants accused of low-risk crimes no longer have to sit in jail because they can’t afford to pay modest amounts of bail and those who pose a significant risk of violence can’t buy their way back onto the streets.

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