News

House Framing
Jon Kalish for WBGO

On this weekend after Thanksgiving we thought we'd re-visit a character in Maine we met on the WBGO Journal last spring. Gardner Waldeier has been producing videos for YouTube about his quest to build a house from trees on his property.

These days he's very grateful for friends and neighbors who helped him raise the frame of that house on a chilly weekend earlier this month.

Jon Hendricks
npr.org

Legendary and pioneering jazz singer and songwriter Jon Hendricks died on Wednesday.  He was 96.  WBGO's Doug Doyle has a special tribute to the man Time Magazine called the "James Joyce of Jive."

For more on the life of Jon Hendricks, you can check out this post on our website.

Avishai Cohen
Simon Rentner for WBGO News

The So What's Next? Festival in the Netherlands recently wrapped up its fifth edition.  The Checkout from WBGO's Simon Rentner was there to report on the event that focuses on modern sounds that are "jazz and beyond." 

Click above to hear Simon Rentner's report.

Jon Hendricks, Genre-Pushing Jazz Vocalist, Dead At 96

Nov 22, 2017

Some retailers are getting an early start on their holiday promotions, but Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is when many stores offer special deals to attract shoppers.

New Jersey Retail Merchants Association president John Holub says even with the ease of shopping online, the allure of Black Friday is not fading.

Preparing that big Thanksgiving Day meal can be a real chore.

Some shoppers have found a way to make it easier.

Manasquan resident Carole Lyons says buying a cooked turkey should help her have a more enjoyable Thanksgiving.

"You have to reheat it in the oven. When you put it in, you're able to run around, do other things, get the table set, prepare everything, enjoy your family's time. This way you could eat on time."

Sea Girt resident Mike Sullivan had a different motivation for his cooked turkey purchase.

It’s costing more than last year to drive to your Thanksgiving weekend destination.

 

Tom Kloza is the global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey. He says gasoline prices are about 35 cents a gallon higher than last year, with the average price now $2.56. 

 

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear legal arguments next month in New Jersey's quest for legalized sports betting.

Advocates are optimistic the state will win its case.

Lobbyist Bill Pascrell the Third believes the state's chances of success are better than ever.

Congressman Frank Pallone is also confident, but as a backup he's working on a measure that would allow all states to legalize sports betting and online gaming.

A bill moving in the New Jersey Senate legislature would prevent former offenders from being disqualified from consideration for public sector jobs or state-issued professional licenses.

Senator Sandra Cunningham says her bill would allow offenders who’ve completed their sentence to petition a court so they could once again get a professional license or be hired for a public job.

Della Reese
celebritynetworth.wiki

For one generation Della Reese, is best known for her role as Tess on the CBS TV Series Touched by an Angel.  Details of her death on Sunday were revealed by her family and her longtime friend and co-star Roma Downey.

But Della Reese’s career began long before that TV series.  In Detroit, she found her voice singing gospel in her local church and at the age of 13, she was selected to sing with famed gospel singer Mahalia Jackson.

An advocacy group says steps some public schools are taking to reduce chronic student absenteeism in New Jersey are making a difference.

Peter Chen with Advocates for Children of New Jersey says 9.7 percent of students in kindergarten through 12th grade missed 18 or more days of school last year. That's down from 10.3 percent the year before.

"Even though the decline was only 0.6 percent, that's about 8,000 fewer students who are chronically absent, which is 8,000 fewer students who are more on track to graduate from high school."

Governor-elect Phil Murphy says legislation to phase-in a $15 minimum wage in New Jersey will be a high priority when he takes office in January.

Murphy joined legislative leaders and labor officials at a Statehouse event where some workers said it's tough to get by on less than $15 an hour.

Sayerville resident Anthony Banos says he works at a warehousing distribution center and has a part-time job at a retail store.

Senator Bob Menendez
NBC News

New Jersey U-S Senator Bob Menendez is walking away a free man after the federal corruption case against him ended in a mistrial. it came after the jury in Newark deadlocked on a verdict.

For the second time this week the jury told the judge they could not come to a unanimous decision on the corruption charges facing Senator Menendez and a co-defendant. That’s when the judge declared a mistrial, saying it would be futile to go any longer.

Illyria
Playbill.com

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews three off-Broadway production during the year-end theatre marathon: Illyria, Jesus Hopped on the A Train, School Girls; Or the African Mean Girls

Denzel Washington
Harlan Jacobson for WBGO

At 58, Dan Gilroy has mostly been a screenwriter noted for Two for the Money in 2005 with his wife Rene Russo caught up in a gambling thriller with Al Pacino and Matthew McConaughey, the Bourne Legacy in 2012 directed by his brother Tony Gilroy—that’s the one where Jeremy Renner stepped in for Matt Damon.

On Thursday, November 16th Newark Today presented a public forum on housing and foreclosures in Newark.  

In one of his first major speeches since winning the election, Governor-elect Phil Murphy told the League of Municipalities conference in Atlantic City that New Jersey is poised to be the comeback story of the nation.

Murphy did not propose any new initiatives. He reemphasized his commitment to improving New Jersey’s economy, funding education, and investing more in the state’s transportation infrastructure.

“New Jersey Transit barely functions. I’m embarrassed by the service that we provide our customers.

New Jersey is using a million dollars from criminal forfeiture funds to pay for an information campaign intended to prevent conflict during police and civilian encounters.

Attorney General Christopher Porrino says traffic stops are the most common place where misunderstandings can escalate to dangerous situations.

He says videos that will air on television, social media, and in movie theaters provide tips to ensure those encounters are safe and mutually respectful.

Republicans in the New Jersey Congressional delegation were divided when the House of Representatives voted to pass legislation to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program.

The legislation would increase flood insurance premiums for many property owners to fund a program stressed by frequent storms.  It would also make it easier for private companies to get in the flood insurance market.

Congressman Bill Pascrell voted against the bill, saying it does not apply the lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy.

A Trenton-based recycling company has received an award from the United Nations for creating a shampoo bottle that’s made with plastic waste collected from beaches and waterways.

TerraCycle chief executive officer Tom Szaky says 25 percent of the world’s plastic ends up in oceans, rivers, and lakes.

New Jersey Governor-elect Phil Murphy has decided who will fill two top positions in his administration.

Murphy has selected Metuchen Mayor Pete Cammarano to be chief of staff. He'll oversee all the workings of the Governor's Office and the Executive Branch. It's a role he's had before. He served as chief of staff to Senator Dick Codey when he became Governor in 2004. He's also a former member of the New Jersey Casino Redevelopment Authority.

Cammarano will step down as mayor by the end of the year. 

Foreclosure
Bob Hennelly for WBGO

Years after the Great Recession there is one age group  still having a really tough time getting traction.  Across the country there are over five million 16 to 24 year olds who are neither in school nor working. This idleness, experts warn, puts these young people at an increased risk for opioid addiction. For this first edition of WBGO NEWS INVESTIGATES, Bob Hennelly went to Cumberland County where over 1 in 5 of young people find themselves idle and opioid addiction is taking a terrible toll.

In response to a recent State Commission Investigation report claiming that the New Jersey SPCA is failing to consistently respond to animal cruelty laws, state lawmakers are considering some changes.

At a legislative hearing Brian Hackett, the state director of the Human Society of the United States, said many of the officers in the SPCA that enforce animal cruelty laws serve on a voluntary basis with virtually no funding.

Majority Democrats in the New Jersey Assembly have selected their leadership team for new legislative session that begins in January.

Assemblyman Craig Coughlin from Middlesex County will be the new Assembly Speaker. He’ll take over for Vinnie Prieto who lost a leadership fight and will end his term as Speaker in January.

Coughlin says he intends to be a Speaker that leads by consensus to help move the Democratic agenda forward.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey Republican Congressmen Rodney Frelinghuysen and Tom MacArthur are the only two yet to publically oppose the tax overhaul.  Governor-elect Phil Murphy is asking them to vote no.

“I plead with our republican brothers who represent the five districts that they do to look at what the facts are in their districts.  They are overwhelmingly compelling in terms of the devastation this bill would wreak upon the middle class and seniors in their districts.”

M. Butterfly
Michael Bourne for WBGO

The Broadway season is heating up for the holiday season, although not all the plays are light-hearted.  

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews the revival of the play M. Butterfly.

Click above to hear Michael's review.

Dizzy Gillespie Bigger Than Life

Nov 10, 2017
Dizzy Mural
WBLS Program Director Skip Dillard for WBGO News

Last month, Harlem hosted a 100th birthday tribute to trumpeter and innovator Dizzy Gillespie. The celebration included wonderful music and the unveiling of huge colorful murals of the jazz legend.

Global street art and human rights campaign, Education Is Not A Crime, announced the creation of the John Birks "Dizzy" Gillespie 100th Anniversary mural at 229 West 135th Street. The mural is the project’s 20th and largest in New York.

With Democrats about to take full control in January, Republicans in the New Jersey legislature know that a higher minimum wage is not far off.

The top Republican in the state senate now wants to make sure that Democrats don’t go too far.  

Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean says the issue of affordability is the greatest challenge confronting New Jersey lawmakers and he’s calling for a bipartisan compromise.

Governor-elect Phil Murphy takes office in January. He met with Governor Chris Christie in Trenton today for about an hour and half to discuss the transition.     

Murphy says it was a terrific meeting.

“Just a great willingness on the Governor’s part to be as helpful as possible and we welcome that obviously. So, it was a good discussion.”

Murphy did not provide any specifics about what they discussed.

He’s decided his Lieutenant Governor Sheila Oliver will serve as Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.

Now that he’s won reelection, New Jersey Senate President Steve Sweeney says Democrats who control the legislature want to work with Governor-elect Phil Murphy to advance legislation they couldn’t get through during the Christie administration.  

Sweeney says Democrats’ plans include funding for women’s health care, expanding paid family leave, a higher minimum wage, and phasing in higher pension payments and more money for schools.

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