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Local Beat: Thumbelina’s Secret Architect, Creating Fairy Houses on a New Jersey Trail

Thursday Jul 21, 2016  |  0 comments

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

THUMBELINA’S SECRET ARCHITECT, CREATING FAIRY HOUSES ON A NEW JERSEY TRAIL
Montclair State’s own Tara George explores the intricate fairy houses that started appearing on parts of the Rahway Trail in the woods of the South Mountain Reservation about five years ago. George is an associate professor at the School of Communication and Media.

COULD THE NEXT FERGUSON, BALTIMORE OR BATON ROUGE HAPPEN HERE?
Police killings of unarmed black men have made national headlines, and their deaths have been broadcast across our news feeds and our televisions. Angela Jacobs of MercerMe looks at police relations in Mercer County and examines how local police and residents are responding to the crisis.

IS THIS ROSELLE PARK PAY-TO-PLAY ORDINANCE A PAPER TIGER?
Saul Qersdyn of Roselle Park News looks into a local pay-to-play ordinance in Roselle Park that would have removed restrictions on municipal contracts with people and businesses that make political donations to local government officials or candidates.

ASBURY PARK’S ‘REBIRTH’ MEANS MORE THAN A DESTINATION FOR NEW YORKERS
The New York Times has declared Asbury Park to be officially “reborn,” and has given the shore town the nickname “Brooklyn on the beach.” But Paul Goldfinger of Blogfinger says Asbury Park is “more than just a destination for the glitterati.”

MOVING DOWN THE SHORE, DOWN TO BUSINESS
More and more Verona residents have been moving their families and their businesses down the shore. Virginia Citrano of MyVeronaNJ follows one local business owner as she sets up shop and makes her new home in Spring Lake.

A BELOVED CHAPEL RISES FOUR YEARS AFTER HURRICANE SANDY DESTRUCTION
St. Elisabeth’s Chapel-by-the-sea at Ortley Beach is going through a revival nearly four years after it was swept out to sea during Hurricane Sandy. Lois Rogers of Micromedia Publications says the chapel has received an outpouring of support from scores of people across multiple generations, but the reconstruction effort won’t be cheap.

BOOMBOXES ARE BACK, BUT THEY’RE BANNED ON THE SEASIDE HEIGHTS BEACH
The Seaside Heights borough council voted in favor of a 60-day trial ban of “amplified music” on the beach. Daniel Nee of Shorebeat says the ban is a response to several complaints the council received over people setting up DJ speakers and playing loud music with profane language.

SALES ACADEMY APPLICATION DEADLINE JULY 25; ONLY A COUPLE SPOTS REMAIN!
The deadline to apply for the Sales Academy‬ has been pushed back to July 25, 2016. The date of the two-day intensive workshop has also been changed. The Sales Academy will now be held on August 17-18, 2016. Spaces are limited, so click here to learn more and apply today!

SALES WEBINAR: TACTICS FOR RECRUITING AND HIRING SALESPEOPLE
Join Eleanor Cippel for a free sales webinar. Learn tactics for recruiting and hiring sales people on July 27. Click the link to register and learn more.

SUSTAIN LOCAL CONFERENCE SET FOR OCT. 6-7 AT MONTCLAIR STATE
Mark your calendars: The Center for Cooperative Media will host a national conference this fall diving in to issues surrounding local journalism sustainability. Sustain Local will be held Oct. 6-7at Montclair State University. Click here for more info and use the form at the bottom to send us ideas about topics, workshops, panels, or speakers you’d like to see at the conference.

JOB ALERT: CENTER ANNOUNCES NEW NATIONAL-LOCAL EFFORT
The Center for Cooperative Media is launching an exciting one-year pilot project to facilitate collaboration between local New Jersey and national news organizations – and is seeking a manager to lead the effort. The year-long project will be funded by the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and The Democracy Fund. More information and how to apply here.

Want more? Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

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Local Beat: What is Pokémon Go-ing on in South Jersey?

Thursday Jul 14, 2016  |  0 comments

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

WHAT IS POKÉMON GO-ING ON IN SOUTH JERSEY?
Pokemon Go is on track to surpass Twitter in terms of daily active users and is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. Matt Skoufalos of NJ Pen talks to parents and kids to find out how they’re using it to explore their communities, and takes a closer look at some of the case studies, business opportunities, data possibilities and security issues surrounding the latest digital gaming craze.

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Local Beat: Collingswood schools, prosecutor ‘take ownership’ in controversy, refine discipline roles

Thursday Jul 07, 2016  |  0 comments

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

COLLINGSWOOD SCHOOLS, PROSECUTOR ‘TAKE OWNERSHIP’ IN CONTROVERSY, REFINE DISCIPLINE ROLES
The uproar appears to be calming down in Collingswood over a so-called directive from the prosecutor’s office to refer the discipline of schoolchildren to local police, now that all parties involved have met, NJ Pen reports. A joint letter issued by local law enforcement, local government, the school district and the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office clarifies that school officials will internally handle discipline issues except for criminal matters. The entire affair has been dubbed a “miscommunication.”

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Local Beat: A Surreality Tour of Atlantic County

Thursday Jun 30, 2016  |  0 comments

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

A SURREALITY TOUR OF ATLANTIC COUNTY
A welcome center in the middle of an expressway, a bicycle path that goes (practically) nowhere, an abandoned racetrack. These are some of the stops on Route 40’s Surreality Tour of some of the ugliest places and strangest public improvement projects in Atlantic County.

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Local Beat: Ratings Agency Warns Stockton Over Debt for AC Development

Thursday Jun 23, 2016  |  0 comments

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

RATINGS AGENCY WARNS STOCKTON OVER DEBT FOR AC DEVELOPMENT
The debt ratings agency Fitch Ratings says Stockton University may find itself in a “weakened financial position” after it issued new debt to build a parking garage and residence hall in Atlantic City. Elinor Comlay of Route 40 says Stockton is borrowing $70 million to pay for the development, and another $211 million to refund outstanding debts and finance projects at its Galloway campus.

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Local Beat: Beloved New Brunswick Pub to Change Hands

Thursday Jun 09, 2016  |  0 comments

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

NEW BRUNSWICK INSTITUTION, TUMULTY’S, TO CHANGE HANDS
New Brunswick Today editor Charlie Kratovil is usually busy sniffing out political scandal, but this week he shows his colors as a Hub City bro. Kratovil reports that Tumulty’s Pub, a local institution which challenges customers to figure out how to eat the massive $17.95 Death by Burger, is changing hands. Here is the hard-nosed Kratovil at his most wistful: “Despite relocating to new buildings twice during its lengthy run, Tumulty’s remained one of the few spaces in a rapidly-changing area that did not seem to change much at all from year to year.” Okay, he doesn’t really do wistful. A little political scandal also sneaks into the story – involving the closure of a nearby parking deck

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Local Beat: Civic Hackers Make Sure Restaurants Have Digital Chops

Thursday Jun 02, 2016  |  0 comments

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

CIVIC HACKERS MAKE SURE TRENTON RESTAURANTS HAVE DIGITAL CHOPS
Code for Trrenton, a group of civic hackers who use their computer skills for good in the state’s capital, has completed a six-month project helping restaurants in Trenton establish an online presence that includes photos and menus. If restaurants didn’t have a menu online, volunteers went to the eatery to take a photo of one. They then created a Google map of the restaurants. Read about what Code for Trenton did and how they did it on the group’s Medium page.

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Local Beat: Bedminster Startup Aims to Stop Kid-on-Kid Bullying

Thursday May 26, 2016  |  0 comments

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

BEDMINSTER STARTUP AIMS TO STOP KID-ON-KID BULLYING
We all heard the tragic story of a British Columbia teenager, Amanda Todd, who killed herself in 2012 after being bullied online, but Todd Schobel decided to do something about it. NJ Tech Weekly profiles the Bedminster entrepreneur who founded an anti-bullying startup, STOPit, which enables kids to quickly and anonymously report bullying, drug dealing, and other troubling peer behavior.

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Local Beat: Manhunt in Barnegat, Plans to Close Oyster Creek

Thursday May 05, 2016  |  0 comments

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

JSHN STAYS ON TOP OF MANHUNT FOR ESCAPED BARNEGAT PRISONER
The newly-launched Jersey Shore Hurricane News website has been keeping close tabs on the manhunt for a convict who escaped from the prison unit of Ancora Psychiatric Hospital in Winslow Tuesday. JSHN reported that the Barnegat Township School District considered closing schools today if the fugitive wasn’t found, but ultimately decided to stay open with police presence. JSHN is still publishing on Facebook, where it started in 2011 just days before Hurricane Irene.

OYSTER CREEK NUCLEAR PLANT CLOSURE PLANS DETAILED 
Oyster Creek Nuclear Plant, the oldest operating nuclear power plant in the US, is on track to close in November, 2019, The Southern Ocean Times reports. Although a 2019 closure was announced in 2010, shutting down a nuclear plant is not as easy as it appears on The Simpsons. The plant’s owner, Exelon Corporation, is now working out safety plans to prevent, among other things, zirconium fire. The Times report is based on minutes from a meeting between Exelon and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

MAPLEWOOD CONSIDERS LEAF BLOWER BAN DURING SUMMER
The Village Green reports that freelancers may be able to concentrate and babies to nap if Maplewood’s township committee goes through with a plan to ban leaf blowers from June 1 to August 31.

DIGITAL PIONEER CELEBRATED AT BELL LABS
Civic Story joined 250 information theorists, scientists, engineers and researchers at Nokia Bell Labs in Murray Hill last week as they celebrated what would have been the 100th birthday of Claude Shannon, the man who first recognized that all data could be reduced from its analog form into what we now call “bits.” Civic Story founder Susan Haig was particularly charmed by anthropologist and tech designer Amber Case, who spoke about designing “calm technology” to combat the constant interruptions from all the devices that arose from Shannon’s insight.

BIEBER-COP SELFIE MAKES NEWS 
That wily bad boy of pop music, Justin Bieber, has had several run-ins with the law over the years, but this week Bieber initiated one himself when he “pulled over” a Bergen County Sheriff’s officer in Wood-Ridge and the two then posed for a selfie. The report by Jerry DeMarco of DV Pilot, a reincarnation of DeMarco’s Cliffview Pilot under the Daily Voice brand, was picked up by NJ.com and New Jersey 101.5.

HYPERLOCAL REPORTS ON BIRTH OF A COMPETITOR
This story is heartwarming to those of us who have worked hard to foster cooperation among media in NJ. The Fairlawn-Glen Rock Daily Voice yesterday ran a generous feature on hometown competitor Julie Maxwell Allen’s startup Banana Tree News, which covers some of the same territory. The DV story explained the choice of the Banana Tree name: “Her inspiration was a fake banana tree that has been a fixture in Kilroy’s Wonder Market for all of the grocery store’s 100 years in business.”

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Verona Voting Place Moved Over Mayor’s Objections

Thursday Apr 28, 2016  |  0 comments

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

VERONA VOTING PLACE MOVED TO CONDO OVER MAYOR’S OBJECTIONS
Over objections of Verona’s mayor, the Essex County elections board has decided to move the voting location for one of the town’s districts to a private luxury townhouse building, MyVeronaNJ reports. The mayor calls the polling place change, which goes into effect with the June primary, “politically motivated,” and argues that the condo not only lacks handicap parking spaces but has a steep grade that may make access difficult for some voters.

DJ, DECRYING TICKETMASTER FEE, CREATES A WORKAROUND
When DJ Rich Russo of the syndicated radio show “Anything Anything” discovered that Ticketmaster was marking up tickets for a July 15 show he’s hosting in Asbury Park by 45 percent, he was outraged. But he figured out a way to help music lovers bypass Ticketmaster. He’s offered to go to Asbury Park himself, buy the tickets locally at a more reasonable 15 percent markup, and distribute them to concert-goers himself. NJArts.net has the story.

WHAT’S KILLING THE FISH IN A PRINCETON LAKE?
Hundreds of dead and rotting fish have floated to the surface of Princeton’s Lake Carnegie this spring, and nearby residents say they’ve never seen anything like it. Planet Princeton reports that the state’s Department of Environmental Protection sent an officer to investigate after resident complaints, but the official was not alarmed, saying that temperature changes this time of year can result in fish deaths. An investigation, however, continues.

TOMS RIVER MAY FINALLY GET MUNICIPAL BOAT RAMP
Despite its miles of waterfront, Toms River has never had a municipal boat ramp. The Toms River Times reports on efforts to get one built.

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Local Beat: Two Versions of Shooting at Franklin/New Brunswick Border

Thursday Apr 14, 2016  |  0 comments

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

 

FRANKLIN MAN SHOT BY FRANKLIN POLICE, IN NEW BRUNSWICK: TWO VERSIONS
The police shooting Saturday of a 27-year-old man, Diahlo Grant, near the border of New Brunswick and Franklin Township became a story for two local news outlets, New Brunswick Today and Franklin Reporter & Advocate. The victim, Diahlo Grant of Franklin Township, was black; police reports say he carried a gun and exchanged fire with police officers. He was being pursued for outstanding warrants.

Although the Franklin Township police began their chase in Franklin, the shooting actually took place across the border in New Brunswick. That means that the Middlesex County prosecutor, rather than the Somerset County prosecutor, will investigate – and that is the focus of Charlie Kratovil’s story for New Brunswick Today. “Now it is up to [Middlesex Prosecutor Andrew C.] Carey and his controversial agency, which has been accused of covering for cops in the past, to investigate the fatal shooting and determine if the out-of-town police ought to be charged with crimes,” Kratovil writes.

Kratovil’s story also points out how rare it is for police to be charged for shootings in NJ: “New Jersey police officers shot and killed seventeen people in 2015, and killed another five by running them over with vehicles, but only one cop was charged with crimes stemming from the incidents.”

The Franklin Reporter’s initial story covers the same ground about the shooting, but has been updated with a series of articles from the community perspective: the creation of a Facebook group called #JusticeForDiahlo, a GoFundMe campaign to pay for Grant’s funeral, the reaction of the local NAACP and photos of a candlelight vigil.

CHALLENGER TO DONALD NORCROSS LOSES COURT BATTLE
NJ Pen writes about a court challenge by Alex Law against Camden County Clerk Joseph Ripa, charging the clerk with “secrecy, stonewalling, and carrying out partisan political agendas” in the construction of the primary ballot that pits Law against incumbent Donald Norcross in the Democratic primary for the 1st Congressional District. Law lost his case, which involves extremely technical and complicated issues about “bracketing” of candidates, in superior court. Norcross, of course, is the brother of NJ power broker George Norcross.

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