News

A measure being considered by New Jersey lawmakers would require public school districts to provide a daily recess period of at least 20 minutes for students from kindergarten through the 5th grade.  

Marybeth Beichert with the New Jersey Education Association told lawmakers that recess is beneficial for kids.

“It’s the only time that students get to be themselves and play and be free. Students need unstructured time to become well advanced in academics, social, and emotional behaviors in an otherwise very structured world that they sit in every single day.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says his administration will reverse the Christie administration’s regulations that make it easier to get a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

“New Jersey cannot and must not become part of the race to the bottom that we’re seeing across the country. There are already too many guns on our streets and simply adding more into the equation will not make us or our communities any safer.”

Ang Santos / WBGO

Ain’t MIsbehavin’ The Fats Waller Musical is a celebration of the Harlem Renaissance and the music that made it a swingin’ time in American history.  Andre De Shields, one of the show’s original five, recalls its climb from tiny off-Broadway musical, to Tony Award winning sensation.

New Jersey lawmakers want to stop teachers who’ve abused children from moving unnoticed from one school district to another.

A bill advancing in the legislature would require public and private schools to disclose whether there were allegations of abuse or sexual misconduct against teachers they fired.

Liza Kirschenbaum with Court Appointed Special Advocates of New Jersey says on the rare occasions when a school employee has been involved in sexual misconduct with a student, it should be disclosed to other schools that might potentially hire that person.

A cost-control measure imposed by former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie might be going away.

Melanie Schultz with the New Jersey Association of School Administrators says the cap on school superintendents’ salaries makes it difficult to retain top talent.

“We have lost many superintendents to neighboring states. It also is very important that communities’ elected boards of education or appointed boards of education have the right to decide on the compensation for their chief school administrator”

 

The flu is now widespread in throughout the United States. The CDC says every state except Hawaii is seeing a high number of cases. In New Jersey it’s causing a drop in blood donations.

 

Alana Mauger is the communications manager for the American Red Cross Penn-Jersey Blood Services Region.

 

She says you can’t donate blood if you have the flu or a cold.

 

New Jersey is joining 15 other states and the District of Columbia in a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program that provides temporary protection from deportation for immigrants who were children when they came into the United States illegally with their parents.

Governor Phil Murphy says if the DACA program ends, it would prevent some of the best and brightest from living their dreams.

“To deny every one of New Jersey’s 22,000 Dreamers the right to become American citizens is to deny justice.”

A measure to restore state funding for family planning services is making its way through the New Jersey legislature.

The Senate Health Committee voted to advance the bill that would provide nearly seven-and-a-half-million dollars in grants for family planning and women’s health clinics.

Former Governor Chris Christie eliminated the funding in 2010 and vetoed efforts by lawmakers to restore it.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is ordering a review of the state’s medical marijuana program.

Murphy says the Christie administration put roadblocks in place that have stifled the spirit of the eight-year-old program.

“The ability of dispensaries to open has been slow-footed.  Doctors have faced stigmatization for participating. And non-smokable and edible products that could benefit patients have been blocked from the market. Quite simply, politics replaced compassionate care.”

  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says it’s time to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for the opioid epidemic.

“Those who created the problem have to feel the consequences, change their ways and finally address the damage they have done.  The suit targets seven manufacturers and three distributors who are most responsible for creating this crisis.”

He says they deceived the public, while putting lives at risk, all for the sake of profits.

In 2011, then Governor Christie pulled New Jersey out of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and vetoed three attempts by the legislature to rejoin it.

Lawmakers expect Governor Phil Murphy will be receptive to their latest effort to get back in.

Supporters and opponents for a measure that would require the state to be part of RGGI testified at a Senate Environment Committee hearing.

Environment New Jersey director Doug O’Malley says the RGGI program improves air quality and reduces pollution that contributes to climate change.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is ordering a full-scale audit of New Jersey Transit.

After recent disruptions for riders and longer commute times, Murphy says the public deserves a full accounting for how the once-model mass transit agency has fallen so far so fast.

Martin Robins is chairman emeritus of the Voorhees Transportation Center at Rutgers. He says there have been a lot of studies and hearings on New Jersey Transit, but doesn’t believe they’ve revealed all the problems.

mandoki-soulmates.com

It’s very likely that you’ve never heard Leslie Mandoki, and he’s ok with that. 

“Everybody thinks in Europe that I’m crazy.  You reload and restart your life in America, but I love America so much.”

It’s likely you’ve heard Peter Frampton, Ian Anderson, Randy Brecker, Al Di Meola.  Those are only a few of the iconic musicians that have performed as a part of the interchangeable super group Man Doki Soulmates. 

NJEA
NJEA for WBGO News

Chris Christie repeatedly blasted the New Jersey Education Association during his eight years as governor. The leader of the state’s largest teachers’ union and the new governor are indicating their relationship will be much different.  

Christie was a constant critic of the NJEA, calling it a political thuggery operation that rules by fear and intimidation. He claimed the union’s leaders put their own interests ahead of their members.

Gabriel Hernandez
Richard Termine for Two River Theater

The world premier of EL COQUI ESPECTACULAR AND THE BOTTLE OF DOOM runs through February 4th at Two River Theater in Red Bank.

The superhero in this play, written by Matt Barbot and directed by Jose Zayas, is actually an out-of-work comic book creator who keeps getting beat up in alleyways, wearing an homemade pajama costume. 

The villain in the show, El Chupacabra, is played by actor and Hoboken resident Gabriel Hernandez. 

Alexandra Hill / News

With the looming federal government shutdown over immigration policies, the Trump administration ending low-level temporary work visas for Haitians, and President Donald Trump reported use of vulgar language when referring to Haiti and African nations. 

Officials and activists in and around New Jersey’s largest city are taking a stand against the Trump administrations list of ever growing anti-immigration policies.

“For the record all of us are immigrants, if he wants us to teach him history, we definitely will.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has signed an executive order directing the state comptroller to conduct an audit of the Economic Development Authority’s tax incentive programs.

Murphy says the EDA approved $8 billion in tax incentives since 2010 and the audit will compare the actual economic impact with the projected benefits when the awards were granted.

“We’re going to look back at the types of jobs that were created and where they were created. And we’re going to examine the entire application process including the fees that were paid to lobbyists and consultants.”

The future of New Jersey’s ad campaign to combat the opioid epidemic is being examined.

The state spent about $42 million on the ‘Reach NJ’ ads that featured former Governor Chris Christie telling people where to call for help.

“If you’re struggling with addiction, supporting someone who is, or just don’t know where to turn, don’t suffer. Help is within reach.”

Senate Health Committee chairman Joe Vitale says the state needs to determine whether the ads are having the desired effect.

 

Republicans in the New Jersey Assembly say they’re willing to work with Democrat Governor Phil Murphy, but they have concerns about the fiscal impact of his proposals.

Murphy has a progressive agenda that includes paying more to fund pensions and full funding for the school funding formula, universal pre-kindergarten programs, free county college tuition, and fixing New Jersey Transit.

Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick says some of those proposals are good ideas, but believes they would cost 5-to-7 billion dollars.

Medieval Times
Medieval Times for WBGO

The times...they are changing at Medieval Times housed at the Lyndhurst, New Jersey castle. In the Medieval Times’ 34-year tradition, a queen has never ruled the land…until now.

It started late last week. Queen Isabella is now in charge. Isabella is cast as firm but kind ruler respected throughout the kingdom, inheriting the throne after her father passed away.

Medieval Times leadership team developed the idea to cast a matriarch, based in part on guest feedback that they would like to see women having more significant roles.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is tightening the rules on the disclosure of gifts he can receive from personal friends

Murphy signed an executive order that makes a change in the governor’s code of conduct.

“The most meaningful tweak and this is one that I think is important is a very bright line distinction between preexisting relationships and folks that we’ve met in a political context.”

Murphy says if he were friends with someone at least three years before his inauguration, he would not have to disclose gifts they gave him. 

New Jersey now has the nation's first Sikh Attorney General.

There was no opposition when the New Jersey Senate voted to confirm former Bergen County Prosecutor Gurbir Grewal as the state's top law enforcement officer.

Judiciary committee chairman Nick Scutari says he's confident Grewal is the right person for the job.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Arnetta Johnson, a New Jersey-born trumpeter, was onstage with Beyoncé during the Super Bowl 50 halftime show. But in her last semester at the Berklee College of Music, she had trouble finding other female trumpet players to practice with.

“Ultimately it never happened, unfortunately,”  Johnson said at the New School on Monday, during a Winter Jazzfest talk called Jazz and Gender: Challenging Inequality and Forging a New Legacy.

Percussionist Terri Lyne Carrington was one of Johnson’s professors at Berklee. 

In his inauguration speech, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy vowed to take the state in a new direction.

Murphy promises a stronger and fairer New Jersey that creates better jobs and provides higher wages, funds public schools and delivers on the promise of property tax relief.

Murphy says he’ll put his ideals into his first state budget in a few weeks, but believes there’s no need to wait for that to alter the state’s trajectory.

Just hours after being inaugurated, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed his first executive order. It promotes equal pay for women.  

Murphy says the order prohibits any effort by a state agency to ask a job applicant about their wage history.

“Here and now we begin the process of bulldozing the roadblocks that have kept women from being paid fairly, that have kept many women of color from fulfilling their dreams of entering the middle class and that have allowed our wage gap to persist.”

Newark YMCA

 

The Newark YMCA held its annual MLK day of service breakfast honoring the late Civil Rights leader.

Local and federal officials in attendance say Dr. King’s message continues to ring true to this day.

“We are one, and we have to fight this injustice and inequality so that everyone has an opportunity to succeed in life.”

Michael Bright president and CEO of the Newark YMCA, says Dr. King’s legacy needs to be kept alive now more than ever.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Page after page of paperwork is one of many hurdles a non-American recording artist faces coming stateside.

“US immigration law requires that somebody coming to the US to perform have an employment visa,” said Mathew Covey, immigration lawyer and director of Tamizdat, an organization that helps foreign artists address the hurdles presented by US Immigration policy.

Spongebob Squarepants
Michael Bourne for WBGO

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews Farinelli and the King, Meteor Shower, and SpongeBob SquarePants.

The schools superintendent in Asbury Park is Governor-elect Phil Murphy’s choice to be New Jersey’s next Education Commissioner.

Murphy says Lamont Repollet is an educational leader who’s focused on students.

“What Dr. Repollet has accomplished is nothing short of a turnaround. Literacy rates are up. Test scores are up. Attendance is up. Confidence and morale among staff are up.”

Repollet says the long-term success of the state relies on the ability to provide children with access to quality education.

Governor-elect Phil Murphy wants to end the use of the standardized PARCC test in New Jersey.

New Jersey started using PARCC assessments to measure student skills in the 2014-15 school year.

At an elementary school in Asbury Park where he announced Lamont Repollet to be the next education commissioner, Murphy said it’s time to scrap those tests.

“We are asking Dr. Repollet to end the failed experiment that has been PARCC testing and create new more effective and less class time intrusive means for measuring student assessment.”

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