Jeff Xie

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.

West Orange PharmacyWe’ll start with the sad stuff, but I promise it’ll get better toward the end. In West Orange, head pharmacist Leonard “Lenny” Stefanelli and his twin counterparts Robert and William Carlucci were arrested and sentenced to 37 months in prison for illegally selling oxycodone painkillers out of the longstanding West Orange Pharmacy, reports Cynthia Cumming of TAP into West Orange. The team of pharmacists had also been filing fraudulent bills to healthcare providers like Medicare and Medicaid in an attempt to cover up their illegal activities.

In South Plainfield, Jane Dornick, a journalist and the “Busy Busy Mom” columnist for the South Plainfield Observerplead guilty to one out of three counts of sexual exploitation of a child, according to Darlene Tedesco Cullen of TAP into South Plainfield. In 2010, Dornick coerced a female minor to perform sexually explicit acts in front of a webcam and broadcasted them live over the Internet to former South Plainfield Police Captain Michael Grennier. Grennier would then view the images on his laptop in his home in South Plainfield.

(more…)

Camcorder

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 videos came pouring in this week. First up, Kevin Coughlin of Morristown Green published an article on Jens and Erwin Velasquez, otherwise known as the “VeeBros.” The VeeBros are a renowned competitive frisbee duo who were recently inducted into to the International Frisbee and USA Guts Hall of Fame. RJ Meyer, a student at Morristown High School, made this video about the freestyle frisbee legends.

(more…)

Telvin Sign

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.

Brendan TevlinThe town of Livingston, NJ was struck by a horrible tragedy last week as news continued to surface about the murder of Brendan Tevlin, a 19-year-old University of Richmond student who was found dead in his car. Cynthia Cumming of TAP into West Orange first broke the story last Thursday, and the community responded with an outpouring of support and coverage from the surrounding towns.

TAP into Livingston published several stories on Tevlin’s death and memory as the community grieved, offering emotional and financial support to the victim’s family. They also published a beautiful eulogy for Tevlin written by Chuck Granata titled, “A Fragile Thread (for Brendan Tevlin).”

(more…)

West Orange HS Graduation

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 arts are in full swing across New Jersey this summer. The radio series Words Matter from NJ Arts News is picking up some serious momentum in humanities councils from Maine to Oaklahoma. State of the Arts NJ just released a special feature that focuses on New Jersey as the birthplace of cinema, where the first film ever made in the United States was made. Of course, one of the most successful films to come out of Thomas Edison’s original film studio consisted of two cats fighting each other while wearing little boxing gloves. Oh how times have changed.

(more…)

SoccerFundraiser

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. 

A large crowd gathered this week at the Assumption Church for the premiere of The White Man on a Bicycle, a short documentary about the humanitarian work of local Morristown man, Tom Johnson. The film, according to Marie Pfiefer of Morristown Green, profiles Johnson’s volunteer work in Sierra Leone, where he lives for several months out of the year, with no running water or electricity, delivering medicine on a bicycle.

(more…)

Converge Tech Coworking Space

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.

In Newark, Ester Surden of New Jersey Tech Weekly reported that the Brick City Development Corporation (BCDC), Capitol One Bank, and several local tech groups have come together to create Converge, a tech coworking space that will “provide tech entrepreneurs from Newark and other nearby towns [with] a place of their own.” Converge will also host events, hold classes, and serve as a location for local tech meet-ups.

Eldridge Hawkins JrThe Superior Court of Newark recently dismissed all remaining charges against the town of West Orange after former West Orange police officer and current mayoral candidate Eldridge Hawkins, Jr. filed a series of five lawsuits against the town, its mayor, and various city employees. The lawsuits, as reported by Cynthia Cumming of TAP into West Orange, alleged that the West Orange Police Department hired officers “with prejudicial reasons to the benefit of Irish males and detriment in particular of females, African-Americans and Italians.”

(more…)

Balloon Release

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. 

New Jersey’s local news was pleasantly upbeat this week.

Chris Manderioli of TAP Randolph tells us about a crowd of middle school students who flooded Freedom Park to hold a heartwarming “balloon release” ceremony to honor and say goodbye to their recently-deceased classmate.

Kevin-Gnehm-2

The Northwest Bergen Press has a story about Kevin Gnehm and his battle to cope with paralysis in the wake of a motorcyle accident. Jill D’Ambrosio of TAP Westfield reports on a Giveforward.com fundraiser that received more than $34,800 in donations to help support the wife and daughtersof long-time Westfield resident John Clark, who died last month after suffereng two strokes.

(more…)

Morristown's Memorial Day parade will be led by a banana car. Credit Liz O'Neill/Morristown Green

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

Sometimes an animal story is irresistible. Kevin Coughlin of Morristown Green found that to be the case this week as a cow ran away from its farm in Harding, forcing police in Morris Township and Morristown into a low-speed cow chase and ultimate roundup. See the pictures here.

(more…)

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 10.38.41 AM

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

Elections for mayors in five major New Jersey cities this past week brought out some of the best in local media.

Insider angles on the Newark mayoral race were provided by WBGO News, including a broadcast of the testy final debate between Ras Baraka and Shavar Jeffries, and Brick City Live, which provided a live feed of media coverage on election day and a roundup of responses to Ras Baraka’s victoryGlocally Newark provided a breakout of results across all city races and wards.

The Paterson PressThe Paterson Times, and Reporte Hispano provided 360-degree coverage of the mayor and council races in Paterson, where a former mayor defeated a current mayor — with Reporte Hispano providing coverage for Spanish-speaking voters. (more…)

New Brunswick Today profiles local artist Sam Romero. Credit: Sam Romero

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’re pushing the hashtag #40best to collect examples of excellent in local news.

Not everyone gets the importance and seriousness of local news coverage.

Social media favorite Buzzfeed is running a piece called 40 Reasons Local News is the Best News — a fun collection of weird and wacky local news.

While we appreciate Buzzfeed’s upbeat headline, we know that local news outlets in and outside New Jersey are producing excellent journalism — not just nut job stories. (more…)

Marathoners in Ocean Grove, NJ. April 27, 2014. Credit: Paul Goldfinger.

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

The mayoral race isn’t the only game in town in Newark: Newark Now profiles assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo who is running for Council at Large. In the engaging video, Caraballo discusses his calls for school superintendent Cami Anderson to apologize or resign, and his proposal for new legislation that would create a public advocate in Newark City Hall. (more…)