Local Beat: Compassion, Creativity, and Construction Across New Jersey


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.


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.

The arts are also in full bloom across New Jersey as Morristown High School students will be finishing up their second annual student film festival on Friday. This year’s theme is “Red,” reports Kevin Coughlin of Morristown GreenNewark Pulse has released its “Summer 2014 Guide to Newark Events,” Blogfinger.net invites us to enjoy Charles Pierre’s poem, “Spring at Ocean Grove,” and State of the Arts has a YouTube playlist of 100 videos entitled “Robert Smithson’s New Jersey,” throughout which Smithson explores his home state of New Jersey and “makes art out of it.”

In the lead-up to this week’s primary elections, Cynthia Cumming of TAP West Orange reported that several parents expressed concerns that using local schools as the location for polling centers places their children at a higher risk of becoming victims of school shootings. Also, an incumbent councilman in Elizabeth accused his opponent’s campaign of offering voters money, tricking them into filling out vote-by-mail applications, and asking them to help persuade others to do the same, according to Gerard DeMarco over at Elizabeth Inside Out.

In Ocean Grove, Blogfinger.net reported that, after some initial delays, the Middle Beach Boardwalk project is now fully underway and is expected to be completed on time. Several other shore towns are also experiencing increased construction as communications and technology upgrades are being implemented in several areas that were affected by Superstorm Sandy, according to New Jersey Tech Weekly.

 Our full roundup:
A Sky Full of Balloons and Heartfelt Words; Randolph Kids Pay Tribute to Loss of Fellow Student TAP Randolph
Runway attitude, battling bots and do-it-yourself sunglasses–welcome to Morristown High Art & Design Week Morristown Green*
Some Chariot Racing, to get you primed for Classics Academy Night in Morristown Morristown Green*
‘Just go for it’ : Grammy nominee John Ginty to join tribute to beloved Morristown music teacher, June 4 Morristown Green*
Second student film fest to cap week of art, jazz and fashion at Morristown High Morristown Green*
Communications Upgrades in the Works for Sandy-damaged Shore Towns, Part 1 New Jersey Tech Weekly*
Red Bank: Jailed Lawyer Gets Out Early Red Bank Green
Summer 2014 Guide to Newark Events Newark Pulse
Relocation of Polling Sites Issue Continues in West Orange West Orange TAP
Mary Kline Classic Held at West Orange High School West Orange TAP
Westfield Town Council Changes Liquor Law for Restaurants with Conditional Licenses Westfield TAP
Westfield Restaurant Owners Speak Out on Proposed Change to Liquor Laws Westfield TAP
Westfield Readers Share Prom Photos Westfield TAP
Westfield Community Helps Family After Sudden Death of Husband, Father Westfield TAP
Robert Smithson’s New Jersey State of the Arts
Positivity in Overdrive: Paralysis Won’t Keep Kevin Gnehm Down Northwest Bergen 
“Spring at Ocean Grove:” A Poem by Charles Pierre Blogfinger
Male-centered clinics a growing trend Blogfinger
Building a Boardwalk: Lickety-Split Blogfinger
Ocean Grove overflows on a perfect flea market day Blogfinger
Elizabeth woman who planned Papa John’s robbery in Muslim clothes gets 9 years Elizabeth Inside Out*
Elizabeth councilman says opponent’s team fooled residents into signing vote-by-mail forms Elizabeth Inside Out*
Union County detention officer had sex with juvenile nearly a year, authorities charge Elizabeth Inside Out*

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

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