Former NJ Governor James J. Florio/NJ Spotlight

Former NJ Guvs Take the Spotlight

Over the holidays, a number of local media sites took a hiatus (although many continued to cover breaking news — including New Brunswick Today’s coverage of a homicide in Franklin).

At NJ Spotlight, staff took a holiday break but provided a “holiday sampler” in which four past New Jersey governors accepted an invitation to pen essays about issues each felt was important as New Jersey entered 2014.

Ninety-year-old Brendan Byrne wrote that New Jersey is taking on debt through bond issues with no plan — long-term or otherwise — to pay it off. “Don’t say I didn’t warn you,” Byrne finishes his brief essay. (Byrne was governor from 1974 to 1982).

James Florio (governor from 1990 to 1994) wrote about the state’s Energy Master Plan — which he reported sets out a 10-year-plan for lowering energy costs and promoting clean, alternative energy in the state. Florio detailed a plan to provide capital for the program through municipal special property tax assessments.

Former NJ Governor James J. Florio/NJ Spotlight

Former NJ Governor James J. Florio/NJ Spotlight

Not surprisingly former U.S. EPA administrator Christine Todd Whitman wrote about public health and the environment. Whitman argued that recent studies linking health issues to environmental contamination should impact legislation and regulation. Whitman particularly targeted links between pesticides and Parkinson’s, air pollution and autism, and elevated lead in gasoline with crime rates.

Christine Todd Whitman, former NJ governor and U.S. EPA Administrator/NJ Spotlight

Christine Todd Whitman, former NJ governor and U.S. EPA Administrator/NJ Spotlight

State Senator Richard Codey — who served as governor for more than a year between 2004 and 2006 — writes about the fatal dangers of texting while driving. Codey highlights legislation that he sponsored and that went into effect last June that puts more teeth into the state’s ban on talking and texting on handheld devices while driving.

NJ Spotlight also did a top stories list — as did some others like Patch, Morristown Green and Muckgers. We especially like Muckgers #11 top story of 2013 (out of a list of 12): “We knew Julie Hermann was trouble when she walked in“.

Our full local media roundup this week:

Passing Bond Issues Without a Payoff Plan — Business as Usual? NJ Spotlight*
Effective Planning to Meet New Jersey’s Energy Goals NJ Spotlight*
ASsessing the Long-Term Costs of Ignoring the Environment NJ Spotlight*
The Fatal Dangers of Texting While Driving NJ Spotlight*
The Year in Review: NJ Spotlight’s Most-Read Stories for 2013 NJ Spotlight*
New Brunswick Rap Artist Shot Dead in Franklin Barbershop New Brunswick Today*
2013 Roundup: Top 12 stories of the year (and then some) Muckgers
Four Arrested, Fifth Person Wanted in String of Recent Homicides Newark Patch
Five Stories to Watch in 2014 Newark Patch
Patch’s 25 Most-Read New Jersey Stories of 2013 Cherry Hill Patch
Red Bank: Burnham Still Fierce on Cove Red Bank Green
5-year-Old Livingston Resident’s ‘Loom Boom’ Invention Hits Toys ‘R’ Us Shelves for Christmas The Alternative Press Livingston
Contemptful Hudson Arrested: Division By Definition Is the Breakdown of Units News of Salem County
So this is Christmas… News of Salem County
Prowlers in the Grove. See something, say something, and then what? Blogfinger*
Our Vote for Greater Morristown’s Top Story of 2013 Morristown Green*


*Asterisks are available for reposting through the NJ News Commons Story Exchange.

NJ News Commons’ intern Andrew Guadagnino, a senior Communications and Media Arts major at Montclair State University, contributed to this report.