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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.

Ortley Beach
NJ Department of Environmental Protection

A $128 million dollar beach protection project along 14 miles of New Jersey coastline will begin after the Memorial Day holiday.

State Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin says extending the beach farther out into the ocean will begin in Ortley Beach because water is lapping up against homes on that narrow section of shoreline.

"So any storm we have, any nor'easter we have, clearly those homes are in danger. We've had to help get them put more sand on that beach on a constant basis just to provide some basic protection over the last few years."

Gasoline prices are about four cents a gallon higher than a week ago, but you might not be seeing much more of an increase.

Tom Kloza is the global head of energy analysis at the Oil Price Information Service in Wall, New Jersey.

He predicts crude oil prices won’t be going up, and that should keep gas prices about where they are now for most of the summer, about $2.40 a gallon.

Newark Today

May 25, 2017
Alexandra Hill / 4323619530

On this month's edition of Newark Today, on the heels of the opening of the Shani Baraka Women's Resource Center, we discuss domestic violence in New Jersey's largest city and what's being done to address the issue. We are joined by Mayor Ras Baraka, Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose, and domestic volence counselor and founder of Purple R.E.I.G.N. Asia D. Smith. 

A bill introduced in New Jersey's Legislature would establish a system to track and analyze EMS crews' response to medical emergencies.

Assembly Health Committee chairman Herb Conaway is a doctor. He says the tracking system could help identify what procedures improve patient outcomes in emergency situations.

thestephencranehouse.org

Author Stephen Crane and Asbury Park’s paths intertwined at birth.  Asbury Park was founded in 1871. Stephen Crane was born the same year. 

“He was born in Newark; his father was the head of all of the Methodist churches in Newark at the time.  His father had written pamphlets on the evils of reading novels, dancing, and things like that.  All of the things that Stephen liked to do,” said ​Frank D’Alessandro, owner of The Stephen Crane House.

New Jersey officials say the beaches are in good shape for the start of the summer season and the ocean water quality is excellent. 

But President Trump's proposed budget would eliminate federal funds for the program that tests the water at more than 200 bay and ocean beaches in the state.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin says the state has all the money it needs to do that testing this year.

President Trump's budget proposal to increase premiums to preserve the federal flood insurance program is meeting with plenty of criticism in New Jersey.

Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty says a sharp increase in flood insurance premiums would be a mistake.

Phil Gregory / WBGO

Martin Robins with the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers University says diverting access to New York City on only one train line is a simple plan.

New Look Newark Museum Coming in 2018

May 24, 2017
Newark Museum

 

A 5.5 million dollar renovation to the Newark Museum will restore its original entrance on Washington Street.  Museum CEO Steven Kern says it will expand the capacity for more exhibits.

“By opening these doors and reconnecting with the community, replacing big bronze doors with glass doors so people so people can see what is happening in the museum as they walk by.  [It] means that we can also redistribute space on the inside so we can grow the size of our special exhibition space to make us more competitive nationally.”

Governor Chris Christie says an agreement between Amtrak and New Jersey Transit will limit disruptions for commuters this summer as aging tracks and equipment are replaced at New York's Penn Station.

Christie says only the Morris and Essex Line's Midtown Direct train service will be affected by the work that will be done over an eight-week period from July through Labor Day.

"For three-quarters of the New Jersey Transit customers travel patterns will not be modified in any way including the Trenton to New York Northeast Corridor Line."

Advocates are praising Assembly Speaker Vinnie Prieto's plans to improve New Jersey's paid family leave program.

Prieto's bill would increase the maximum family leave from six weeks to 12, raise the current $633 cap on weekly benefits to as much as $932, and expand the family members who qualify for paid leave to include siblings, grandparents, and parents-in-law.

Eric Richard with the New Jersey AFL-CIO says the current paid family leave law does not provide job protection for workers at firms with fewer than 50 employees.

New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition / Center For Food Action

President Trump’s proposed budget would cut $190 billion dollars from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. 

“Some of the people in the program now would no longer be eligible and no longer have access.  There won’t be enough money,” said Adele LaTourette, director, New Jersey Anti-Hunger Coalition.  “Basically we’re talking about gutting the SNAP program.  Which is the frontline of defense against hunger.   I don’t know what the thinking is behind this except there isn’t much thinking.”

Drug users desperate to kick the habit are now turning to some New Jersey police departments for help.

Brick Township police chief James Riccio says about 150 drug users showed up at police stations in Brick and Manchester Township since the Heroin Addiction Response program was launched in January

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