Photo Credit: New Brunswick Today

By NJ NEWS COMMONS

Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best and most topical reporting from local news sites around New Jersey.

ARREST, THEN THANKS: THE STRANGE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CHARLIE KRATOVIL AND THE NBPD
It’s been a busy year for New Brunswick Today and its editor, Charlie Kratovil. In February, Kratovil sued Rutgers University and the City of New Brunswick to get them to release maps showing the division of jurisdiction between the two police departments – and he won. In July, he personally witnessed a New Brunswick Police officer throw two ticket books in a public garbage can, one of which included parking tickets that were never filed in court, leading to an internal investigation.

Days later, he was contacted by someone who claimed to have information about the officer who threw away the ticket books. When Kratovil showed up, however, the “tip” turned out to be a sting and Kratovil was arrested on what he says were false charges. Luckily, he recorded the whole thing.

(more…)

Krystal Knapp (left) of Planet Princeton and NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman (right).

By DEBBIE GALANT

Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best and most topical reporting from local news sites around New Jersey.

Story updated 3:45 pm to correct an error on Knapp’s comment approval process.

The big local story in New Jersey this week, as everybody knows by now, came from Krystal Knapp over at Planet Princeton, who outed NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman for violating a self-imposed quarantine after a cameraman on her reporting team came down with Ebola while they were covering the epidemic in Liberia. The story was so big it got picked up by everyone from Gawker to the New York Times and Knapp’s traffic spiked to 40,000 page views on Monday. That’s the epitome of success for a hyperlocal publisher. But, we wanted to know, what is it really like when you’re the one whose story goes viral?

(more…)

Toms River Indian Football

By JOE AMDITIS

Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best and most topical reporting from local news sites around New Jersey.

THE OTHER FOOTBALL SCANDALS IN NJ
Jaws are dropping across NJ and the country at the lurid details from Sayreville revealed yesterday, but Sayreville doesn’t have a monopoly on local football scandals. In Lakewood, a pack of gridiron stars have been charged with a series of armed robberies. And in Toms River, a parent was arrested Sunday for a tackling a youth football coach who decided to cancel that team’s season. The coach has now been suspended by the league for the tone he used in lecturing 13- and 14-year-olds in the lecture that preceded the fight. Also from Shore News Network: a story on an interesting footnote in Toms River football history from 1968.

(more…)

MONK1

By JOE AMDITIS

Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best and most topical reporting from local news sites around New Jersey.

WANT A STATE SONG? HOW ABOUT 350 OF THEM?
State legislators are finally batting around the possibility of designating a state song — or five — for NJ. A brand new arts news site in New Jersey, NJ Arts, can do them 345 better. Have they considered, for example, Thelonious Monk’s “Hackensack”? Ok, maybe an instrumental isn’t the best choice. But former Star-Ledger arts editor Jay Lustig is offering up one Jersey-themed song a day for 350 days, in honor of New Jersey’s 350’s birthday.

(more…)

feature-pipeline-construction

By JOE AMDITIS

Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best and most topical reporting from local news sites around New Jersey.

This week we decided to do a little experiment. Instead of asking our partners to submit their own stories, we asked them to step out of their comfort zone and submit exceptional local stories from other publications – perhaps even from their competitors. A few participated, most didn’t. To those who did participate, thank you! We’ll be continuing this and other experiments in the future, so keep an eye out for the next call for best local reporting. Now, back to the news!

(more…)

5K Run

By JOE AMDITIS

Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best and most topical reporting from local news sites around New Jersey.

Community fundraisers are a staple of local reporting. But here’s an interesting twist: Several participants in the Downtown West Orange 5K run filed complaints this week regarding the politicization of what was supposed to be a charitable event to raise money to combat ovarian cancer, according to Cynthia Cumming of TAP into West Orange. Participants claimed that several political candidates, including mayoral candidate Eldridge Hawkins, Jr., were campaigning “during, before, and after the race.”

NA Rudy of TAP into North Plainfield/Green Brook reported on a developing controversy surrounding allegations of racial taunting before a high school football game between Summit and North Plainfield. The incident is currently under investigation by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJIAA).

(more…)

Morristown Cheese Shop

By JOE AMDITIS

Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best and most topical reporting from local news sites around New Jersey.

Local businesses in Westfield are in the process of rebuilding after a Labor Day fire swept through the South Ave. strip mall. Jill D’Ambrosio of TAP into Westfield reports that the Westwood Cleaners has been sending smoke-damaged items to a clothing restoration company in Long Island to get the smell out.

The South Orange Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to endorse an amended “pay to play” ordinance that regulates the relationships between government contractors and their political contributions. Mary Mann of The Village Green reports that the ordinance, which is more restrictive than state law, bans any contributions from a contractor regardless of whether or not the government contract was awarded through a fair and open process.

(more…)

Hoops kid

By JOE AMDITIS

Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best and most topical reporting from local news sites around New Jersey.

There’s nothing more local than those basketball hoops people put on the grass strip between the sidewalk and the street. Carolyn Maynard-Parisi of the Village Green reports on the ruckus that broke out when Maplewood residents were told to remove the hoops or get slapped with $1,000 fines. The crisis was averted last night when residents – many of them kids – showed up in force at the Township Committee meeting and the town leaders reversed the policy.

Development projects were big in the news this week. In Morristown, Kevin Coughlin of Morristown Green reports on a proposal to turn the city’s last tract of undeveloped land into a day care center. The project would require the removal of about 200 trees from the one-acre plot.

(more…)

Westmont Theatre

By JOE AMDITIS

Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best and most topical reporting from local news sites around New Jersey.

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 8.50.46 AMRipples from Ferguson, MO continue to be felt in New Jersey. Bill Bowman of the Franklin Reporter & Advocate shows us that not all police departments are as gun-hungry as the stereotype dictates. In fact, not one local department in all of Somerset County has surplus military equipment.

With school right around the corner, Carolyn Maynard-Parisi of The Village Green sat down with South Orange Middle School (SOMS) Principal Joseph Uglialoro for some tips on “How to Succeed in Middle School: By Really Trying!

(more…)

Montclair Jazz Festival

By DEBBIE GALANT

Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly look at the reporting being generated by small news outlets around the state.

How is it that Morristown and Montclair both organized jazz festivals for the exact same day, last Saturday?

Morristown had Bucky Pizzarelli. Montclair had Christian McBride. Morristown’s chief media sponsor was the Star-Ledger. Montclair’s was WBGO. They both had banks: Investors Bank for Morristown, City National and PNC for Montclair.

Imagine the state’s poor beleaguered arts sponsors being forced to choose between jazz fests the same day in two of the state’s tony “M” towns. Imagine the poor jazz fans in Maplewood, essentially equidistant between both festivals. How did they pick? (more…)

Assemblyman

By JOE AMDITIS

Local Beat is NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best and most topical reporting from local news sites around New Jersey.

Montclair PetitionsThe Montclair municipal clerk received more than 1,600 petition signatures this week calling for Montclair to place a local ordinance on the ballot that would give private sector workers the right to paid sick leave, reports Natalie Hackett of TAP into Montclair. Montclair joins four other New Jersey towns – Irvington, Passaic, Paterson, and Trenton – that have received similar petitions. If approved, the proposed ordinance would provide Monctclair’s private sector employees with the right to earn paid sick leave.

(more…)