News

Ang Santos / WBGO

Ella, Ella: A Centennial Celebration of Mama Jazz the latest installment of the Schomburg Center’s annual Women’s Month events.  Novella Ford is the manager of public programs at Schomburg.  She says it’s all about making sure that people leave informed.

Senator Gerald Cardinale
Phil Gregory

Donating blood or organs could get you a tax break in New Jersey.

Senator Gerald Cardinale is sponsoring legislation that would allow New Jersey taxpayers who donate blood at least four times a year to get a $100 state income tax credit.

“We need people to give blood. We should encourage it. People can give blood several times a year if they’re healthy. So, we thought good idea. Let’s create an incentive for people to do that.”

New Jersey could become the first state to offer a tax incentive to organ donors.

Senator Ron Rice
Phil Gregory

New Jersey has an old law banning students from bringing pagers to school without written permission from the school board.

Lawmakers are moving to repeal it.

Senator Ron Rice was the sponsor of the 1989 law that he says has outlived its usefulness.

“We were at a time when you didn’t have cellphones and all the text messages and things like that. So, the pager was really used by drug dealers to take advantage of kids to be their street runners and their salespeople, and they were disturbing the schools.”

The Modern Side of Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor

Mar 13, 2017
Merry Wives of Windsor
Two River Theater

Featuring only three actors—Nicole Lewis, Jason O’Connell, and Zuzanna Szadkowski—this production of The Merry Wives of Windsor explores the darker undercurrent of one of Shakespeare’s silliest comedies. In the play, the lecherous buffoon John Falstaff decides to seduce both Mistress Page and Mistress Ford, respectable married women of Windsor. When the two women immediately see through Falstaff’s plot, they decide to turn the tables on him and devise a plot of their own.

Senator Ron Rice
Phil Gregory

Every student in every class should have a textbook, according to legislation approved by the New Jersey Senate.

Senator Ron Rice is the primary sponsor of the measure.  He says students shouldn't have to share a textbook.

"You need those books to do homework. You need the books to get the home support for education. In urban communities, particularly where you have the majority of minorities and immigrant population, there's no reinforcement of what takes place in the learning process in school in many cases."

food in trash can
United States Department of Agriculture

A package of bills advanced by a New Jersey Senate committee aims to reduce food waste and help ease hunger.

The legislation calls for an income tax break for businesses that give food to charitable organizations and liability protection for schools that donate edible items.

Paul Jensen with the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen says that would help food pantries.

Coach Christiansen
Berkeley College Athletics for WBGO

The Berkeley College Men's Basketball team in New York City won 53 games in a row to claim it's third consecutive USCAA Division 2 Championship.  Berkeley defeated Penn State-York 80-76 in overtime to grab the title.

Coach Chris Christensen sat down on the bench when it appeared their opponents only had to make a free throw to win the championship game.  It was the first time the coach had taken a seat the entire contest.  He says divine intervention may have led to another victory:

Ang Santos / WBGO

The city of Newark openly invites every resident to take a ten to fifteen-minute paper survey of questions addressing their thoughts on Newark-police community relationships, based on personal experiences.  The site in central ward felt sort of like a school testing area, but the participants didn’t fill out their questionnaires in silence.  Many were openly voicing their support for the federal monitor over the Newark Police Department.

Workers install solar panels at project being constructed at Delaware Valley Regional High School in Frenchtown.
Phil Gregory

Nationwide employment in the solar industry increased 25 percent last year, but solar employment in New Jersey fell 15 percent. There are still plenty of projects underway in the Garden State, but a slowdown may be on the way.

You can see solar panels on many rooftops, utility poles, and in fields in New Jersey.

There are 66,000 solar installations in the state that generate 2 gigawatts of electricity.

And more are being put up.

John W. Kennedy
Doug Doyle for WBGO

The head of the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, John W. Kennedy, came from a family who tinkered and gave back. Kennedy is doing just that as he leads NJMEP, a not-for-profit that helps the state's manufacturers become more profitable:

“Manufacturing seems to be on an upswing in many ways, because people are talking about it. But it needs the support to exist and to grow.”

The Penitent
Michael Bourne for WBGO

WBGO's Theater Critic Michael Bourne reviews David Mamet's The Pentinent, which is running off-Broadway at the Atlantic Theater.

Zachary Carter
NYC Law Department for WBGO

Recently when Mayor Bill de Blasio was asked by reporters how he planned to defend the city’s law abiding undocumented immigrants from President Trump he turned to his top lawyer Zachary Carter, the city’s Corporation Counsel to explain the city’s legal strategy. WBGO’s Bob Hennelly has this one on one with Carter who also has the distinction of being the first African-American to serve as the US Attorney for New York’s Eastern District, where he prosecuted the NYPD officers who were involved with the brutal assualt of Abner Louima.

Senator Brian Stack
Phil Gregory

The New Jersey Senate is scheduled to vote Monday on a bill that would prevent landlords from requiring tenants to pay their rent with automatic electronic fund transfers.

Senator Brian Stack says he’s received hundreds of complaints about that practice.

“Many of these tenants might to looking to get repairs done in their apartment. Their only mechanism, the only hammer they have over a landlord’s head to get the repairs done, is to withhold their rents and use that rent to make repairs under New Jersey state law. They wouldn’t be able to do that.”

Senator Jennifer Beck
Phil Gregory

New Jersey’s ‘move over law’ could be expanded to include garbage trucks.

Drivers in New Jersey are already required to reduce speed and change lanes when approaching a police car, ambulance, or tow truck parked along a roadway with its emergency lights flashing.

Legislation sponsored by Senator Jennifer Beck would extend the law’s protections to sanitation vehicles.

‘I think it’s common sense and fairly simple, but has the potential to make a great impact locally for our public workers.’

V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai
Allan Wolper for WBGO

V.A. Shiva Ayyadurai received a United States Copyright in 1982 crediting him with being The Inventor of EMAIL, a title he earned as a 14-year-old research scholar at the University of Medicine and Dentistry in Newark, New Jersey.

He said he received a copyright certificate on August 30, 1982 , rather than a patent, because patents were not awarded to software discoveries at the time.

The Professional Firefighters Association of New Jersey opposes the measure.
Phil Gregory

A measure advanced by a New Jersey Senate committee would shift the management of the Police and Firemen's Retirement System from the state to the fund's board of trustees.

Senate President Steve Sweeney is the primary sponsor of the legislation.

"I don't think there's anything more important than what we can do right now but to give the people that are putting their money into the pension fund the ability to basically manage their money

The two unions representing police in that pension system support the measure, but firefighter unions are split.

The Senate Budget Committee voted to advance the legislation.
Phil Gregory

Governor Christie proposed it in his state budget -- and now the Budget Committee in New Jersey's Senate has voted to advance a measure allocating $400 million from the Transportation Trust fund for needed improvements.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says $140 million in gas tax revenues will go to New Jersey Transit for safety and technology upgrades.

"New Jersey Transit is a critical, critical component of our quality of life in this state. Getting dollars to them quickly so they can start maintaining their equipment better is critically important."

Irvington Announces Lyons Avenue Bridge Reconstruction

Mar 9, 2017

Standing on Lyons Avenue Bridge, above the Elizabeth River, Irvington Mayor, Tony Vauss and Essex County Executive, Joseph DiVincenzo announced a rehabilitation project for the Lyons Avenue Bridge. The project, which will start on Monday March 13, will take three months.

“We’re going to start next week, next Monday,” said DiVincenzo. “We expect it to be done in three months, or earlier. This is something we are looking to do more and more of throughout Essex County. We have done a lot so far. This is an important bridge to do, so we made this a priority.”

Ben May
Ben May for WBGO

The Legend of Swee' Pea is Ben May's first film and it's already won several awards at various festivals.  It's officially being released today.

Lloyd Daniels was one of the most sought-after college basketball recruits in the 1980's, but he got busted buying cocaine in a police sting operation and two years later was nearly killed after getting shot three times in the chest while negotiating an expensive crack deal:

ormer Governor McGreevey and company officials at Trenton summit.
Phil Gregory

Employers, government officials, and some ex-offenders gathered for an Employment Opportunity Summit in Trenton to discuss how to help former convicts rejoin society.

Stefan Oberman is chief of staff at AeroFarms in Newark. He says from a business perspective hiring past offenders makes sense.

Alexandra Hill

    

Nearly 40 troubled youth from Newark and the surrounding areas recently took part in the National Day of Empathy, an initiative devoted to creating empathy for those affected by incarceration. One particular workshop allowed them to express their feelings about their experiences within the juvenile justice system through art. It's all part of a partnership with The New Jersey Insitute for Social Justice, Youthbuild Newark, My Brother's Keeper, and Yendor Productions. 

Governor Christie delivers keynote speech at Employment Opportunity Summit in Trenton
Phil Gregory

Governor Christie says he wants to work with New Jersey lawmakers to help former offenders erase their criminal records.

Christie says he'd like an expungement measure to be approved by the end of June.

"I am open to doing this and doing it in a right and smart way. Now we have to find the right standard by which to institute expungement."

Senator Sandra Cunningham has a proposal she wants to discuss with the governor.

Assemblyman Ron Dancer
Phil Gregory

New Jersey lawmakers are considering changing a program that gives a property tax break to eligible senior and disabled residents.

Instead of having to wait to get a rebate, the measure advanced by an Assembly committee would provide what's called the senior freeze benefit in the form of a credit applied directly to property tax bills.

Assemblyman Ron Dancer says one of his constituents experienced such hardship, it inspired him to introduce the legislation.

New Jersey Statehouse
Phil Gregory

Governor Christie's decision to change the rules on applying for a handgun carry permit in New Jersey is getting a mixed reaction.

Christie's new regulation allows police officials who approve carry permits to consider evidence of serious threats not directed specifically against an individual.

Scott Bach leads the Association of New Jersey Rifle and Pistol Clubs, and he says it's a good move.

Baby box advocates testify at Assembly committee hearing.
Phil Gregory

A bill advanced by a New Jersey Assembly committee would require the Department of Children and Families to put easily printable and updated information on its website about the ‘baby box’ program.

After registering online at babyboxuniversity.com, watching a video about safe sleep, and taking a short quiz, expecting and new parents in New Jersey can obtain a free laminated cardboard box with a snug, fitted mattress.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The former Port Authority Chairman who pled guilty to using his position to coerce a United Airlines flight to his vacation home in South Carolina was sentenced in federal court. 

David Samson was sentenced to a year of home confinement, 4 years of probation, community service, and a $100,000 fine.

Steven Rogers opposes the measure.
Phil Gregory

A bill awaiting final legislative approval in New Jersey's Assembly would keep employees of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey from enforcing President Trump's order to bar residents of six countries from entering the United States.

The Assembly Transportation Committee voted along party lines to advance the measure.

Assemblywoman Annette Chapparo is among the Democrats supporting it. She  says her son is a marine and she knows it's vital to keep the nation safe.

Ang Santos / WBGO

An influential music venue set to close in New York City is moving to a revamped performance space at the New School’s College of Performing Arts.

The Stone was founded by multi-instrumentalist composer John Zorn, an experimental music extraordinaire who’s saxophone stylings have graced the stage alongside thousands of musicians over the last twelve years.  He opened the East Village hub so musicians wouldn’t need to depend on venue income to get booked.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey state and federal elected officials were at a Jewish Community Center in Tenafly to condemn the recent string of antisemitic acts across the country.

Governor Chris Christie says New Jersey law enforcement is aggressively perusing a recent spike in bias crimes.

“We now have $10,000 rewards available for any leads that lead us to the violation of bias crimes.  And anyone in this state who commits that type of crime will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and sent to prison,” Christie said.

Assemblyman Troy SIngleton
Phil Gregory

A bill advancing through the New Jersey legislature would create a tax-free savings account program to help first time homebuyers accumulate the money for a down payment.

Assemblyman Troy Singleton says the money deposited in those accounts would be excluded from gross income.

“We realize that one of the biggest stumbling blocks for folks trying to get their first home is having the resources necessary to make that first payment. So what we’ve tried to do is mimic the highly successful 529 plans that folks have used for college education.” 

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