Betty Wardell sifts through plastic bags and bins to see what she can salvage Credit: Patricia Miller/Patch

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

Hyperlocal doesn’t mean small news for New Jersey’s small town news sites.

This week we saw Point Pleasant Patch go beyond the headlines to focus on how people are picking up their lives after the devastating motel fire in Point Pleasant Beach where Sandy victims were living — and were victimized yet again. Hackettstown Patch covered a cocaine, heroin and gun bust. Midland Park Press published a message from the mother of a heroine victim.

Newark Now featured an interview with mayoral candidate Shavar Jeffries. State of the Arts NJ debuted an 11-minute profile of the late poet Amiri Baraka, father of Newark mayoral candidate Ras Baraka.

New Jersey Jewish News wrote about how the New Jersey Muslim-Jewish Solidarity Committee came to the aid of a mosque in Morris County.

MercerMe.org‘s reporter sat through a painstakingly detailed board meeting to give readers the scoop on declining enrollment in the Hopewell Valley School District.

After New Brunswick Today sued the city to obtain jurisdiction maps for Rutgers and New Brunswick police, the site provides perspective on the announcement that the two departments will do joint patrols.

With warm weather coming (really, any day now), local sites are also stepping up their sports coverage. TAP Westfield has previews for boys’ and girls’ lacrosse. South Orange TAP writes about the Seton Hall women’s basketball team in the NIT tournament.  Muckgers takes a close look at Rutgers University’s athletics budget.

High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ. Credit: Wikipedia Commons.

High Point Solutions Stadium, Piscataway, NJ. Credit: Wikipedia Commons.

Speaking of New Brunswick Today, NJ News Commons Director Debbie Galant will be a guest speaker at the local media site’s launch party on Sunday, March 29 in New Brunswick. Find out more about the event and register here.

Our full roundup this week:

Paterson Family seeks answers in Fairlawn recycling truck death Paterson Press

Paterson targets restaurant that was scene of weekend’s fatal shooting Paterson Press
Toms River Teen Arrested, Charged in Fatal Accident Toms River Patch
HVRSD Future Planning: Taxes, Budgets and Plowing Ahead MercerMe.com
Princeton Home Deemed ‘Uninhabitable’ After Fire Princeton Patch
Prosecutor: Cocaine, Heroins, Shotguns, Rifles Recovered in Hackettstown Bust Hackettstown Patch
Morris Has Highest Tourism Sales Growth in New Jersey in 2013 TriBoro Patch
OPINION: Christie Appearance in Belmar – What You Won’t Hear Manasquan Patch
Fire Survivors Comb Through What Little They Have Left Point Pleasant Patch
Asbury Park: A parade was held here to promote “unification” Blogfinger
The High Price of High Point Stadium Muckgers
South Orange Middle School Teachers Appeal to Board of Education for Changes TAP Maplewood
Seton Hall Hosting Women’s NIT Game; Coach Purchases 250 Tickets to Give to Students TAP South Orange
NBPD Announces First-Ever Joint Patrols with Rutgers PD After Attorney General Gets Involved New Brunswick Today
City Man Already In Custody Charged In Killing of Billy McCaw New Brunswick Today
An Evening with Newark Mayoral Candidate Shavar Jeffries moderated by Tamsen Fadal Pix 11 anchor Q & A Newark Now
Westfield High School Boys’ Lacrosse Aims to Win TAP Westfield
Westfield High School Girls Lacrosse Focuses on Teamwork TAP Westfield
South Orange Middle School Teachers Appeal to Board of Education for ChangesMaplewood TAP
Seton Hall Hosting Women’s NIT Game; Coach Purchases 250 Tickets to Give to StudentsSouth Orange TAP
Sayegh takes hundreds of dollars in contributions from developers Paterson Times
Arrests Made in Ramsey Drug Overdose Death Midland Park Press
Heroin Epidemic: A Mother’s Plea To Parents Midland Park Press
Christie: Federal Law Keeping RREM Applicants in Limbo More Monmouth Musings
Amiri Baraka State Of The Arts NJ

Professors Seek Smarter Buildings Develop Flexible Materials at NJIT NJ Arts News*
Meetings solidify Jewish-Muslim coalition New Jersey Jewish News

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

Andrew Guadagnino, NJ News Commons intern, contributed to this report.