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A bill passed by the New Jersey Assembly would allow police departments to set up designated areas for the public to complete purchases made on craigslist or other internet marketplaces.

Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker says having a lighted area on police department property that’s monitored with video cameras will make it safer for the buyer and seller to meet.  

Ang Santos / WBGO

Thomas Chapin’s undeniable talent could have been enough inspiration for an Emmy-Award winning documentarian to make a movie. Stephanie Castillo who has just put the finishing touches on Night Bird Song:  The Incandescent Life of Thomas Chapin has another pretty important reason.  She’s his sister in-law.

Lacey Schwartz
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Lacey Schwartz is a woman whose personal and professional journey of race and religion has won attention across the country. She grew up white and Jewish in predominantly white, Woodstock, New York only to learn after entering Georgetown University that her biological father was Rodney Parker, an African-American friend of her mother.

Parker, a legendary New York City college basketball scout was featured in a bestselling basketball book, Heaven is a Playground, by Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist Rick Telander.

The sale of real-looking toy guns could be banned in New Jersey if a bill passed by the Assembly becomes law.

Assemblywoman Sheila Oliver says the imitation weapons can be a hazard.

“Children were bringing them to school. They would sometimes intimidate other students. Their classmates did not know they were toys.”

Oliver says there could be tragic consequences if police don’t realize a gun a child is holding is a toy. And she says the replica guns have fooled crime victims.

The top Republican in New Jersey's Assembly has introduced legislation to stop very early marriages in the Garden State.

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick says his bill would ban anyone under 16 from marrying or entering into a civil union. 16 and 17 year olds could marry only if a judge finds clear and convincing evidence that a denial would cause them substantial harm.

Two New Jersey Senators want to hold landlords accountable for dangerous, unsanitary conditions in subsidized rental housing.

Democrat Ron Rice says the bill he's sponsoring with Republican Jennifer Beck follows investigations about deplorable conditions at rental complexes in Newark and Asbury Park.

"We have some units where the landlords continue over the years to flip properties, don't maintain them. You have roaches and rats and all kinds of violations taking place in these buildings, the ceilings falling."

Many New Jersey residents were upset when the gas tax was raised 23 cents a gallon last year to replenish the Transportation Trust Fund, but they didn’t take it out on lawmakers in the primary election.

Monmouth University political analyst Patrick Murray says all the state legislators who voted for the tax increase won.

“On the Republican side which is where there was some concern that it could hurt some incumbents there who has supported it, the turnout was so low that there just wasn’t much enthusiasm about voting about anything.”

Former Goldman Sachs executive Phil Murphy has won the Democratic nomination in the race to succeed New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

In his victory speech, Murphy says people all across New Jersey are demanding change and he’s here to change things.

“Four more years of Christie style politics won’t change New Jersey’s unfair, unsuccessful, unsustainable course but we will.”

Murphy says he’d fully fund education and put the state on the path to making full payments into the public employee pension fund. And he has a way to pay for it.

Light Turnout Expected at the Primary Polls Today

Jun 6, 2017
Primary Polls
heavy.com

Polling experts are expecting low voter turnout for today's primary election.  Patrick Murray of the Monmouth University Polling Institute estimates 600,000 voters will turn out at the polls, which would be a record low for two contested primaries.

Murray says the low voter turnout may have an impact on the outcome of the election.

The Ballad of Little Jo
Two River Theater for WBGO

Singer-Songwriter and legendary football star Mike Reid is always looking to what's next in his life.  One of the musicals he's written is running at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ from June 3rd through June 25th. 

Reid wrote the music for The Ballad of Little Jo in 1997, but he thinks this performance of the show will be the best yet.  The book by Reid, Sarah Schlesinger and John Dias was based on the film The Ballad of Little Joe by Maggie Greenwald.

New Jersey lawmakers are hearing plenty of concerns about federal immigration agents entering state courthouses to arrest unauthorized immigrants.

It's not clear just how often that's happening, but advocates for immigrants say it's having a chilling effect.

Sara Cullinane is the director of Make the Road New Jersey that provides legal services to immigrants.

Legislation advanced by a New Jersey Assembly Committee would increase the penalties for domestic violence-related assaults. 

27-year-old Andrea Strony told lawmakers she was attacked by a boyfriend three years ago at her parents' shore house in Brigantine.

"He shoved me into the bedroom closet, repeatedly kicking me, closed fist punched me, attempted to choke me by pinning me against the slanted ceiling, all while saying some of the most horrific things I dare not repeat." 

Next weekend the Tony Awards will be celebrating Broadway, but according to theater critic Michael Bourne, not all of the best shows were nominated.

Whatever the jury, at the 70th  Cannes Film Festival, decided were the films worthy of its top prizes, the festival, which concluded this past week, seemed like a cinematic scrum between the past present and future tenses of storytelling our film critic Harlan Jacobson reports from Cannes. 

bongiornoproductions.com

  

'The Black Monk' is a fiction film inspired by the Anton Chekhov short story. A Newark documentary filmmaker, struggling with sanity, encounters a legendary monk and uncovers the meaning of life and a lost love.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey US Senator Cory Booker says President Trump’s actions on the environment could jeopardize the future health of America’s urban communities.

A measure awaiting final approval in the New Jersey Senate calls for dedicating one percent of the state's cigarette tax revenue to anti-smoking initiatives.

Senator Brian Stack is the bill's primary sponsor. He says it would provide about $7 million for anti-smoking programs.

"When you look at the total amount of money that's spent in this state, I think this would be small and I think it would be something that definitely helps people. Whatever you can spend on prevention definitely helps down the road with treatment."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is criticizing a front-runner in the race to be his successor.

Phil Murphy has spent $20 million in his primary election campaign and polls show him with a commanding lead in the Democratic primary. If he gets his party’s nomination, he says he’ll accept public matching funds that would limit his general election campaign spending to $13.8 million.

Governor Christie believes that promise is meaningless.

Michael Weintrob / instrumenthead.com

You may have already seen photographer Michael Weintrob’s work on album covers.  His photos have graced the pages of dozens of publications.

“A lot of times in music photography, stylists and make-up artists are hired and they’re creating an illusion.  A lot of times, the musicians don’t like the photos later because it’s not them,” Weintrob said.  “I’m trying to lose the ego and just show the human with their instrument.”

Casino executives who have met with Governor Christie say they're more optimistic about Atlantic City.

Jim Murren, the chairman and CEO of MGM Resorts, says he believes strongly in the future of the struggling city.

"We have a lot of ideas for Atlantic City. We're going to be working with our friends at Caesars to find out how we can move Atlantic City along. I will tell you it will not be easy, but we're up for the challenge."

Caesars CEO Mark Frissora says the company is seeing improvement in its Atlantic City properties.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie wants to centralize the state government's information technology functions.

Christie says it's absurd that each state department has its own I-T staff and operations and he believes the Office of Information Technology could better perform those functions.

He says a lot of information from private citizens is safeguarded by state government.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey Democrat Jim Johnson likes his chances to secure his party’s nomination for governor on June 6th.  During a town hall meeting in Newark, he delivered a message to people who doubt he can win the primary.

“I think we saw on November 8th that polls can be a little bit off.  I believe particularly because there hasn’t been a lot of polling in this state, one thing.  The polling that matters is going to be on June 6.  And on June 6 I will prevail,” Johnson said.

A contaminated site in Trenton is among 179 nationwide to receive Environmental Protection Agency funding to clean up contamination.

A $200,000 grant will be used to get rid of petroleum at the former Federated Metals site with hopes of turning it into an industrial park.

Diana Rogers leads Trenton's Department of Housing and Community Development.

She says remediating contaminated properties helps cities offer sites for development.

Governor Christie says an Urban Blight Reduction Program will provide $11.5 million dollars for New Jersey's capital city to demolish about 500 vacant homes.

Trenton Mayor Eric Jackson says the abandoned and blighted homes stand in the way of bringing in developers to enhance the city.

"This is a game changer for us. It really gives us a unique opportunity to go into various neighborhoods. Instead of taking down one house here, one house there, we can focus on whole blocks at this point to revitalize city streets one block at a time."

Mike Reid
Cassie Galisetti for WBGO

Singer-Songwriter and legendary football star Mike Reid is always looking to what's next in his life.  One of the musicals he's written is running at Two River Theater in Red Bank, NJ from June 3rd through June 25th. 

Reid wrote the music for The Ballad of Little Jo in 1997, but he thinks this performance of the show will be the best yet.  The book by Reid, Sarah Schlesinger and John Dias was based on the film The Ballad of Little Joe by Maggie Greenwald. 

Memorial Day: Remembering JFK's Legacy

May 29, 2017

This Memorial Day is also the centennial of President John F. Kennedy's birth. Honoring the President's legacy, WBGO reporter Naomi Brauner speaks with the photographer who took the image of President Kennedy that recently became a Forever stamp by the United States Postal Service.

Ted Spiegal took the photograph of President Kennedy in Seattle, Washington, during the first week of his presidential campaign.

To Spiegal, the photograph portrays Kennedy as the thoughtful politician he was.

Ken Downey Jr. / WBGO

When Newark manufacturer Amos Van Horn died in 1908, his will ordered to set aside part of his fortune for erecting three sculptures in Newark.  One of those, the iconic 'Seated Lincoln'.

"This statue was the dream of Amos Van Horn, who owned a store right down the street on Market Steet where the statue stands," said city historian Guy Sterling.

Come From Away
comefromaway.com

Theater critic Michael Bourne selects this season's best musicals. 

Click above to hear Michael's picks.

Bus Huxley
Jon Kalish for WBGO

On YouTube there's a thriving genre in which woodworkers, mechanics, chefs and other makers document the step-by-step process behind their creations.

WBGO’s Jon Kalish went to Waterford, Maine where Gardner Waldeier has been entertaining viewers from the workshop attached to his 18th Century farmhouse.

Click above to hear Jon's feature on Bus Huxley's.

U.S. Women's Open Championship
Doug Doyle for WBGO

The 72nd U.S. Women's Open Championship is coming to New Jersey in mid July.  The USGA held its media day at Trump National Bedminster Wednesday. 

The day included a clinic for young girls featuring three of the top players on the women's tour, reigning U.S. Open Champ Brittany Lang, 2007 U.S. Open Champion Cristie Kerr and the current world number one ranked player Lydia Ko.

The U.S. Women's Open Champion runs from July 13th through July 16th.  WBGO's Doug Doyle gives us an audio postcard from the event as well as a chat with Brittany Lang on the putting green.

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