News

The Gateway Project to construct two rail tunnels under the Hudson River between New Jersey and New York could take until 2030 to complete. But it might not begin if federal funding is not forthcoming.

New Jersey state Senator Bob Gordon says the two states have agreed to put up 50 percent of the construction costs, but there's no clear commitment from the federal government for the other half.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is asking residents and local elected officials to make  Red Cross donations to aid hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.

“To raise the kind of money and resources using the American Red Cross designated to Hurricane Maria and Puerto Rico.  People can be rest assured that the money that we raise will go directly to hurricane relief efforts in Puerto Rico.”

State Senator Terisa Ruiz is hoping the entire state contributes to Hurricane Maria relief efforts in Puerto Rico.

City and county officials in New Jersey are asking the state Legislature to keep in place rules that limit how high salary increases can go when police and firefighter contracts are settled in arbitration. That limit - currently at two percent - expires at the end of this year.

Hunterdon County Freeholder John King says the cap has proven to be a valuable tool.

Governor Christie has pardoned a Greenwood Lake, New York woman who was convicted of two felonies in New Jersey.

Gail Naples grew up in Cresskill, New Jersey.

After taking prescribed painkillers, she says she became addicted to heroin.

“It became difficult to keep a job and my need for the drug increased as my disease progressed. I had no income so I turned to stealing. That supported my habit but I was arrested a number of times. I wound up with two felonies.”

Ang Santos / WBGO

During a rally to oppose the Republican Party’s latest efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Senator Bob Menendez promised to be on Capitol Hill when a vote takes place.

“No matter what personal sacrifice I will face, when republicans bring the bill to the Senate floor, I will be there to vote against it and resist against it,” Menendez said.

Alexandra Hill

8 year old Deion Searles is a third grader at Camden Street School in Newark’s central ward, one of seven schools in the district to receive a share of the 250 brand new instruments donated through the VH1’s Save the Music Foundation. At Camden Street School, students in grades K-4 will now be able to learn to play the violin.

“I never ever, ever, ever used a real guitar or a violin or a tuba, nothing like tat. It feels one hundred percent good, and plus I’m really really, really, really, really excited.”

The New Jersey Society of CPAs says reducing property taxes should be the top priority for the state's next governor.

The certified public accountants who were surveyed also want the state to focus on improving infrastructure, increasing the use of shared services by municipalities and school districts, auditing state agencies for overspending, and converting pubic pensions to 401k plans.

Ralph Thomas is the society's CEO. He believes the CPA's have a good read on what residents are worried about.

 

Even many Donald Trump supporters are taking a more moderate view about unauthorized immigration. That's the finding of a new Monmouth University poll.

Poll director Patrick Murray says support for severe policy measures of deportation or a border wall has declined since the harsh rhetoric of the presidential campaign. Republicans are mainly responsible for that shift.

Rutgers Newark / The Cornwall Center

Fashion changes at such a rapid pace in the 21st century, yesterday’s styles can literally end up in a landfill.  Experts call it fast fashion. 

Health Conference
Believe in a Healthy Newark

The first annual Building a Culture of Health in Newark Conference will take place Thursday, September 28th at the NJIT Campus Center at 150 Bleeker Street in Newark.

The director of the Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition, Keri Logosso-Misurell sat down with WBGO News Director Doug Doyle to talk about the day-long conference.

The conference will feature a number of breakout sessions that will focus on healthy homes, food and fitness, adverse childhood experiences and other issues related to social determinants of health. 

Ang Santos / WBGO

The NJIT science building is situated with the latest research technology in the biomedical field.  The 21 million dollar project was partially funded by the Building Our Future Bond Act signed by Governor Chris Christie.

Helen Benedict
Allan Wolper for WBGO

Helen Benedict is a professor in The Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, a writer, and a journalist, whose work has won the attention and admiration of both the Pentagon and the White House.

Her latest novel Wolf Season, the second book of her trilogy about the Iraq War, will be released next month.  The book is a sequel to Sand Queen.  It is being published by Bellevue Press.

The Jersey Shore is still feeling some effects from Hurricane Jose.

Jon Miller is a coastal research professor at Stevens Institute of Technology.  While the storm stayed far out at sea, he says it churned up the waters along the New Jersey coast, and it’s still too dangerous

to take a dip in the ocean.

The top Republican in New Jersey's Assembly worries his party will have less of an influence on state government policy if Democrats maintain control of the legislature and win the election for governor.

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick worries what might happen if Democrats hold the reins in both the legislative and executive branch.

Nate Burleson
Joe Favorito for WBGO

Former NFL wide receiver Nate Burleson's transition into sports television has been impressive.  Burleson is the co-host of the NFL Network's Good Morning Football and he's also an analyst on CBS' NFL Today.

Burleson sat down recently with SportsJam host Doug Doyle to talk about his work in television, his NFL career and his family.

Burleson, his wife and children have recently moved to Ridgewood, New Jersey.

Governor Chris Christie

Governor Chris Christie is detailing his plan to shift $200 million from New Jersey's budget for new initiatives to combat the opioid crisis.

Christie says 25 programs will be implemented or expanded.

A $40 million pilot program will reward treatment providers whose clients stay in treatment, are employed, and have stable housing that helps with their recovery.

New Jersey's gas tax won't be going up again this year.

The law that raised the tax 23-cents-a-gallon last November requires the state to determine annually whether it's generating enough money for transportation projects.

The state treasurer says the tax rate won't need adjustment this year.

Sal Risalvato, executive director of the New Jersey Gasoline, Convenience Store, and Automotive Association, is concerned that might change in the future.

September is hunger action month, a national initiative urging the public to take action against hunger, and the Garden State's largest anti-hunger and anti-poverty organization, is partnering with WBGO during this fall fund drive to do just that. WBGO's Alexandra Hill recently caught up with Karen Leies, Vice President of Development for The Community Foodbank of New Jersey, to find out how your pledge can help feed families through it's Family Pack Program. 

Ang Santos / WBGO

The city of Paterson has a rich and well-documented industrial history.   On the site that was once the Rogers Locomotive and Machine works plant, is where the Paterson Museum is today.  Giacomo Destefano is the museum director.  He says revolutions in the silk and firearms industries crossed paths not too far away.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Phil Murphy has unveiled a proposal to enhance job training and workforce development in New Jersey.

Murphy says no one should be shut out of today's competitive economy because they cannot afford to learn.

"I'm committed to making community college tuition free for all New Jerseyans. That won't happen overnight but if we grow our economy and prudently manage our finances we will get there sooner rather than later."

Murphy said that would be phased in over three to four years and might cost about $200 million a year.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie says a public-private partnership will help combat an opioid epidemic that's killing thousands of people across the country.

Christie says leaders of 17 pharmaceutical companies and government agencies intend to work together to fast-track development of new non-opioid medications for pain.

Dr. Francis Collins is director of the National Institutes of Health. He's excited about the effort but says it'll be difficult.

Michael Shannon
Theatermania

Michael Shannon has been a success on stage, screen and television and he has plenty of hardware to prove it.  The Tony and Oscar-nominated actor is bringing his talents to McCarter Theatre in Princeton for the latest performance of Simpatico. 

Buried secrets, blackmail, and false identities race onto the stage in Simpatico, a tragicomedy about the slippery netherworld of thoroughbred racing from the late Pulitzer Prize-winning dramatist Sam Shepard.

Alexandra Hill

WBGO's Alexandra Hill chats with tap master and NJPAC Dance Advisor Savion Glover talks about his latest project, an original song-and-dance piece that salutes the genius of jazz icon John Coltrane, starring 40 kids representing his home city of Newark, his love of jazz, and what's next for the dance phenom. 

TIFF
Harlan Jacobson for WBGO

The 42nd Toronto International Film Festival concludes this weekend.

Toronto has been the home of big titles for the past two decades, ramping up from a local festival at its inception to becoming the dominant film festival in North America—the other key festival in North America being Sundance -- and one of the three or four key debut festivals in the world. Think American Beauty some 18 years ago and Moonlight last year. That achievement reflects how the business model has changed over the last two or three decades, with the word festival something of a misnomer.

If you want to get an early start on pumpkin purchases for Halloween, New Jersey farmers say you'll have a lot to choose from.

Jim Giamarese grows about 25 acres of pumpkins on his farm in East Brunswick. He says a lot of rain this summer caused bigger than usual pumpkins.

Even if Democratic Senator U.S. Bob Menendez of New Jersey is acquitted of federal corruption charges, a Quinnipiac University poll finds he could have a tough time winning reelection.

Pollster Maurice Carroll says 49 percent of New Jersey voters surveyed disapprove of the way Menendez is handling his job and only 20 percent believe he deserves to be reelected.

“He’s got a lot to overcome, but assuming that the trial comes out on his side, he’s got a year to work on it, and I wouldn’t rule the guy out because he is one tough cookie.”

Dr. Michael Crane: Treating 9/11 First Responders

Sep 15, 2017
Dr. Michael Crane
Dr. Michael Crane for WBGO

Dr. Michael Crane treats the selfless 911 responders who came to New York City from all over America to help the victims of the horrific attack on the World Trade Center that cost 2996 people their lives.

Dr. Crane, who directs the World Trade Center Health Program at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, says the religious and moral lessons he learned growing up was behind his desire to counsel and help those first responders.

Ken Downey Jr. / WBGO

It’s been over two decades since plundering graduation rates, and overall poor performance forced the state to seize control of Newark Public Schools.  In recent years, a combination of state and city led initiatives changed education in Brick City.  New Jersey Governor Chris Christie calls the return of local control a watershed moment.

“In the last six years, the accomplishments of this system are very impressive.  The job is certainly not complete, but we’ve made real progress at times in the face of real emotional opposition.”

Advocates are urging New Jersey officials to do more to encourage the use of electric vehicles.

Pamela Frank is CEO of the ChargeEVC coalition. She says the costs of electric vehicles are too high for many consumers and creating a $300 million fund to provide rebates would make them more affordable.

"Giving a $5,000 cash rebate at the point of sale and having that rebate decline by $500 for each $100 million bloc allocated would give us 67,000 new cars on the road with a plug in three years."

A non-profit group is urging New Jersey's next governor to put more emphasis on transportation.

Fund for New Jersey says last year's 23-cent gas-tax increase won't provide enough money for all the state' transportation needs.

The group recommends policymakers consider leasing toll roads to private operators and charging tolls on interstate highways to generate more money for transportation projects.

Martin Robins is director emeritus of the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers.

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