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Local Beat: Voting Block partners talk election issues with NJ voters

Friday Sep 22, 2017  |  0 comments

Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources.

VOTING BLOCK PARTNERS TALK ELECTION ISSUES WITH NEW JERSEY VOTERS
Reporters and local news partners involved with the ongoing collaborative reporting project known as Voting Block published some of their first stories this week. Each reporting partner was tasked with profiling a particular neighborhood or “block” within their respective communities to get a better understanding of the most important issues facing the state as we prepare to elect a new governor in November.

  • Mark Bonamo of TAPinto Newark focused on Halsey Street in Newark, where many voters are concerned about the spectre of gentrification and development.
  • Donny Levit of Village Green covered a well-trafficked stretch of Elmwood Avenue between Prospect Street and several blocks past Boyden Avenue in Maplewood, New Jersey.
  • Jeff Schwachter of SNJ Today asked a group of voters in Vineland, New Jersey to lay out the issues that they feel should be at the top of the new governor’s priority list.
  • Daniel Nee of Shorebeat visited Hurricane Sandy’s “ground zero” in Ortley Beach where he spoke with voters to find out what they expect from the new governor when it comes to the ongoing Sandy recovery efforts.
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Local Beat: Mayor Baraka hires Bridgegate defense lawyer Michael Critchley

Friday Sep 15, 2017  |  0 comments

Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources.

MAYOR BARAKA HIRES BRIDGEGATE DEFENSE LAWYER MICHAEL CRITCHLEY 
Newark mayor Ras Baraka has hired Michael Critchley, one of the top criminal defense attorneys in the state who represented Bridget Anne Kelly in the Bridgegate trial, to defend him in a civil suit brought by the city’s former attorney. Elana Knopp of TAP into Newark says the high-profile attorney will defend Baraka in a discrimination and retaliation suit brought against him by Willie Parker and three co-defendants in June.

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Local Beat: Local communities and officials reject, condemn DACA rollback

Friday Sep 08, 2017  |  0 comments

Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources.

NEWARK SCHOOL, ELECTED OFFICIALS CONDEMN DACA ROLLBACK
City and school officials in Newark were quick to strongly condemn the Trump administration’s announcement on Tuesday that it will end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Elana Knopp of TAP into Newark says protests in support of DACA and the nearly 800,000 people under its protection sprang up across the Newark in the days following the announcement.

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Local Beat: Cooper to acquire Lourdes, creating largest health system in South Jersey

Friday Sep 01, 2017  |  0 comments

Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources.

COOPER TO ACQUIRE LOURDES, CREATING LARGEST HEALTH SYSTEM IN SOUTH JERSEY 
Two of the largest hospital groups in Camden City have proposed a merger, Matt Skoufalos of NJ Pen reports, as Cooper University Health Care announced this week its intention to purchase the Lourdes Health System. Cooper says if the acquisition gets regulatory approval, it would create the largest health system in South Jersey and fourth-largest in the state.

BELMAR MAYOR LAUNCHES BEACHFRONT FUNDRAISER TO ASSIST RESIDENTS OF SMALL TEXAS COASTAL TOWN
During the Labor Day weekend, donation collection boxes will be placed at all of Belmar’s beachfront entrances, TAP into Belmar/Lake Como reports, with all money raised going to residents in Rockport, Texas, which was hit by Hurricane Harvey. Belmar’s mayor noted that Rockport is similar to Belmar in its population and was hit as hard with Harvey as Belmar was with Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

MORRISTOWN BOARD REJECTS REQUEST TO SUBPOENA PARKING OFFICIAL FOR POWERBALL WINNER RESTAURANT PLAN
Morristown’s top parking official won’t be forced to testify at a hearing regarding the plans for Sandi’s SoulBites, a restaurant being pitched on Bank Street by a 2010 Powerball jackpot winner. The restaurant owner, Sandra McNeil Rogers, has been seeking a zoning variance to operate without having to provide parking, Kevin Coughlin of Morristown Green reports. A nearby building owner is objecting to the plans.

NEW JERSEY OFFERS ‘CARE CAM’ TO NURSING HOME PATIENTS, FAMILIES 
A state-run program that installs hidden cameras to protect the elderly from abuse is being expanded, Jeanette Beebe reports for NewsWorks. The Safe Care Cam, launched in December, works by lending small surveillance cameras disguised as everyday objects to New Jersey residents for up to 30 days. Previously the cameras were only available to families who had home health aides or live-in caretakers; now, it can be used in nursing homes and assisting living facilities.

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Local Beat: Families silent after plea deal in Creato case

Friday Aug 25, 2017  |  0 comments

Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources.

FAMILIES SILENT AFTER PLEA DEAL IN CREATO CASE
After a lengthy investigation, a formal indictment, and a 10-day trial that failed to reach a consensus verdict, David “DJ” Creato, Jr. of Haddon Township pleaded guilty on Wednesday to aggravated manslaughter in the death of his three-year-old son, Brendan. Matt Skoufalos of NJ Pen says Creato will face a minimum of eight-and-a-half years in prison if his plea deal is upheld at his sentencing hearing on Sept. 29.

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Local Beat: The persistence of Trump in Atlantic City

Friday Aug 18, 2017  |  0 comments

Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources.

THE PERSISTENCE OF DONALD TRUMP IN ATLANTIC CITY
Bill Sprouse of Route 40 published this piece on Donald Trump’s legacy in Atlantic City – which now seems to be mostly scratched, smashed and painted over from anywhere it might have previously appeared. The piece looks into efforts by local historian Levi Fox to set up a Trump Museum and help the city bring in some revenue from its connection to the President. It also looks at the intravenous drug paraphernalia outside the Taj Mahal human resources office and how that dovetails with Trump’s approach to the opioid crisis.

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Local Beat: Want to stop fake news? Check your own assumptions first

Friday Jul 21, 2017  |  0 comments

Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources.

WANT TO STOP FAKE NEWS? CHECK YOUR OWN ASSUMPTIONS FIRST
Matt Skoufalos of NJ Pen sat down with University of Pennsylvania reference librarian Samantha Kirk, who offered tips to help readers weed out the junk from the volume of information they encounter. Kirk says the problem of misinformation is not a new one, and the solution starts with people reflecting on their own biases and media consumption habits.

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Local Beat: Judge rules Rahway must release police video

Friday Jul 14, 2017  |  0 comments

Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources.

JUDGE RULES RAHWAY MUST RELEASE POLICE VIDEO
A Union County Superior Court judge has ruled that city officials in Rahway must release body camera footage of a police response to the mayor’s recent car crashes. Mark Hrywna of Rahway Rising says Judge Robert Mega ordered the city to release the videos within seven days after the order is signed.

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Local Beat: Six more Lakewood residents arrested in $673K welfare fraud

Friday Jun 30, 2017  |  0 comments

Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources.

SIX MORE LAKEWOOD RESIDENTS ARRESTED IN $673K WELFARE FRAUD
Two days after eight Lakewood residents were arrested for alleged abused of the state’s welfare system, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office announced the arrest of six more individuals on similar charges. Daniel Nee of Brick Shorebeat says all six were arrested in raids just after midnight on Wednesday.

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Local Beat: Millburn parents angry, dismayed at blackface incident in elementary school

Friday Jun 23, 2017  |  0 comments

Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources.

MILLBURN PARENTS ANGRY, DISMAYED AY BLACKFACE INCIDENT IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 
Parents and community members are outraged over what they perceive as a tepid response by administration officials to a blackface incident at an annual historical festival at a Millburn elementary school. Jaleh Teymourian of Village Green says a fifth-grade girl appeared at the school’s annual Wax Museum event dressed as Martin Luther King, Jr., complete with black makeup on her face.

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Local Beat: Morristown High removes Trump satire from school art show

Friday Jun 16, 2017  |  0 comments

Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources.

MORRISTOWN HIGH REMOVES TRUMP SATIRE FROM SCHOOL ART SHOW
Officials at Morristown High School removed junior Liam Shea’s five-foot artwork display from the annual MHS Arts & Design Show. Kevin Coughlin of Morristown Green says the artwork depicted a “porcine President Trump clutching a snarling pussycat.”

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