Ang Santos

Reporter

Ang Santos began his career in news journalism at WBGO in January 2014 as an intern. His love for telling stories about Newark's history landed him a position as a feature reporter. Before his time at WBGO, Ang was an overnight jock at Brookdale Public Radio on the Jersey Shore.

Since joining the news team, Ang prides himself on the ability to report on everything in any situation; hyperlocal stories, political conventions, major league sports teams, music. He's contributed reports to WHYY in Philadelphia and NPR news.

Outside of WBGO, Ang enjoys vegan cuisine with his loving girlfriend and tends to the needs of his many cats.

Ways to Connect

essexbar.com

A one-day gun buyback event is taking place at Bethany Baptist Church in Newark on Saturday.  

Law enforcement officers will be on hand to collect firearms of all types, from BB guns to assault weapons. Essex County Bar Association President Raj Gadhok says they’re taking them with no questions asked.

New York City first lady Chirlane McCray is defending her mental health initiative ThriveNYC.  She was called before the city council budget committee to discuss what the project has achieved.

Some members of the city council say ThriveNYC doesn’t do enough for individuals with serious mental illness, and question whether the initiative is worth its annual $250 million budget.  

It’s been a little more than seven years since New Jersey’s Practitioner Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment law, or POSLT was signed by former Governor Chris Christie, empowering patients to work with their preferred medical professional to create advance directives.  But still people end up in hospitals with no living will.  The Governor's Advisory Council Report on End of Life Care says more than a quarter of adults, including seniors, have no documentation available if they're not able to make healthcare decisions for themselves.

The New York State Legislature has passed a bill to expand the use of speed cameras in New York City school zones.  

The bill would add roughly 600 school zone speed cameras across New York City, while increasing the enforcement period time, 6am to 10pm.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The City of Newark is set to replace up to 1,500 lead service lines over the next year. 

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Catherine McCabe says the state will work with Newark to replace roughly 15,000 lead service lines.  The Lead Service Line Replacement Program is expected to cost about $75 million over eight years.

“At his point our infrastructure is decaying, and these pipes need to be replaced with newer, safer, and more reliable materials, but that’s expensive,” she said.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka delivered his first State of the City address since being reelected last May, with a message highlighting investment in the city and its children, while defending an increase in development.

Amazon passed on Newark as a location for its new headquarters, but Baraka says the consideration was a major victory and believes opponents were wrongheaded for being skeptical. 

New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson wants municipal control of the MTA.

“Municipal control means saying goodbye to the MTA,” he said during his first State of the City address.

Johnson calls the new proposed agency Big Apple Transit. He says the MTA’s current structure has too many decision makers.  In his plan, responsibility would fall on the mayor’s shoulders.

Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey Transit bus operators are calling for several protocols they say would improve their safety if a passenger gets physical.  

A recently introduced federal law, the Transit Worker and Pedestrian Protection Act, would set aside $125 million for bus safety improvements and programs.  Ray Greaves with the Amalgamated Transit Union says operators across the country have little protection from violent passengers.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The Newark Math Success Initiative aims to double the number of city high school graduates that attend NJIT.

“There’s nothing stopping these students from getting the math instruction, mastering their mathematics that they need,” said University President Joel Bloom.  “We work with them over the summer when they arrive there. It’s about the math.”

A scholarship program will offer three students a full ride at NJIT.  In addition, Mayor Ras Baraka says they’ll be offered paid internship opportunities.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Newark Public Schools has plans to launch a new curriculum that will prepare students for a career in teaching.

Superintendent Roger Leon says The Teachers Academy is partnering with two respected institutions to help their plans unfold.

“Montclair State University will be the higher education partner, and the American Federation of Teachers will be the professional organization partnering.”

Aspiring student teachers will pair up with professional educators that offer support.  The High Schoolers gain experience teaching elementary grade classes.  

Phi Nguyen

A bipartisan group of federal lawmakers have introduced a bill to permanently establish the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.  Rep. Carolyn Maloney says the new bill would extend it for 70 years.

“We do not want to do this again. We need to get this authorized, introduced, and passed so there is a permanent fund for those that are sick and need the help,” Maloney said.

Recently the Special Master of the 9/11 VCF said rewards would be drastically cut because the fund is running out of dollars.  Rep. Jerry Nadler says the financial need has increased in recent years.

The New York City Department of Transportation released its updated Vision Zero Action Plan.  

Officials say nearly half of all pedestrian fatalities occur on a small percentage of streets.  Mayor Bill de Blasio is taking immediate action.

“This year you’re going to see more pedestrian head starts at key intersections.  It’s going to give people more time to cross the street and make them safer.  This year you’re going to see traffic lights retimed in certain key areas to reduce speeding.”

The New York City Council is considering a proposed plan to ban businesses from using a payment model that refuses cash and only accepts electronic payments.  Supporters of the bill say it discriminates against low-income customers.

But the ban also has critics.  Michelle Gauthier owns the Manhattan based fast casual restaurant chain Mulberry & Vine.  She says the cashless payment system has only benefitted her customers while improving employee workflow.

nova.gov

The piercing low temperatures come from an arctic air mass that drips down into North America.

“The polar vortex has split," said scientist Jennifer Francis with the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts.  "We now have two smaller circulations that trap cold air inside of them, but they have drifted outward.  One of them over North America.  So, not only are we having that run of the mill of transfer of cold air from Canada, which is kind of the typical thing, but we’re also seeing this reinforcement from this polar vortex in the stratosphere.”

Ang Santos / WBGO

A coalition of New Jersey Mayors are calling on state lawmakers to consider passing a bill that would expunge all misdemeanor convictions for possession of marijuana. They say they’re doing it for people like Ahmad Reed of Newark who was arrested for possession years ago and says it still sets back job opportunities.

“Non-violent cannabis offenders such as myself should be given the opportunity to work and obtain a decent job,” Reed said during a press conference at Newark City Hall.  “It’s hard to move forward with a situation that transpires like this on a daily basis.”

The free tax preparation services are being offered to people in the greater Newark area that earn less than $56,000 a year.  The program found roughly $13 million in total refunds for residents in 2018, says Catherine Wilson with United Way of Essex and West Hudson

nysenate.gov

The New York State legislature passed the Jose Peralta DREAM Act earlier this week.  The bill’s namesake, the late state Senator Peralta, championed for this law, which will set aside $27 million in tuition aid for undocumented immigrants seeking a college education.    

Ang Santos / WBGO

2010 Census statistics show most children under age 5 that weren’t counted live in what’s called “hard to count” areas.  Experts say these are generally majority minority, low poverty municipalities.

“I can say that my wife and I are taking it so seriously, that since the last census count, we’ve had three children,” said Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh, who jokes about it but understands that his city has one of the largest populations of undercounted children in New Jersey.  That’s why Paterson created a Complete Count Committee.

Ang Santos / WBGO

Principal Akbar Cook of Newark’s West Side High School gained national recognition for taking action after noticing students being bullied for dirty clothes.  He installed five pairs of washers and dryers in the school so kids could do their laundry. WBGO’s Ang Santos stopped by West Side High to talk with Principal Cook, who says there’s been no shortage of support since the story aired on NBC’s The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Ang Santos:  That must have been some moment for you?  The $50,000 check.

De Blasio calls the initiative NYC Care, a program that will give any ineligible city resident access to treatment through public hospitals.

“Get the heath care you need when you need it,” de Blasio said.  “You won’t end up in the emergency room.  You won’t end up in a hospital bed if you actually get the care you need when a disease starts, not when it’s already too late.”

“For those who can afford something, they’ll pay on a sliding scale.  It they can’t afford anything, care will be for free.  No one will be turned away and care will be comprehensive.”

New York City is phasing in the new Fair Fairs program which offers half-priced MetroCards to low income residents. 

Initially, only working New Yorkers at or below the federal poverty level receiving cash assistance benefits will qualify for discounted passes.  In April, SNAP recipients are eligible.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says 2018 crime stats show overall improvements from the previous year. 

For the second year in a row, Mayor de Blasio says New York City experienced less than 300 homicides. 

“Less than one homicide a day in this city and we intend to go farther.  It’s extraordinary what has been achieved,” de Blasio said.

Overall arrests are down 37 percent since de Blasio took office.

“You don’t have a mass incarceration crisis if people aren’t being unnecessarily arrested,” de Blasio said.

New York City Commissioner of both the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, and Consumer Affairs Julie Menin has been appointed to direct outreach efforts for the upcoming 2020 Census.  

“There are literally billions of dollars that flow or don’t flow according to the census,” said New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.  “Money that comes down to whether people have health care or food, opportunity or safety, or not.  It comes down to whether we have proper representation in Congress.”

Over 20 candidates already registered with the New York City Campaign Finance Board will have until February 26th to win over voters.  New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio signed campaign finance legislation that clarifies the city’s current referendum covers the special election.

“To get big money out of our local elections and to empower every day New Yorkers who give small donations and strengthen them by adding to the ability of those donations to be matched with public matching funds.”

Ang Santos / WBGO

For a third straight year, Newark police, fire, and medical responders donate and give out toys to families.  Mayor Ras Baraka says they’ve collected 30,000 toys for city kids this year.

“Last year they were pulling people over in their car and instead of giving them tickets they were giving them toys," Baraka said.  "I would like to be there that one time when somebody gets pulled over and ready to cuss and go crazy then they give them a toy.  That is probably priceless to see.  That was innovative and creative and prayerfully that continues to happen this year.”

As the New Jersey legislature prepares to vote on a $15 minimum wage bill, advocates for restaurant employees are making their case to ensure the industry isn’t left out.

Seven states have a ‘One Fair Wage’ bill, where restaurant employees make the state minimum wage with tips on top.  Opponents of the restaurant wage hike say it would hurt the industry, particularly small businesses.  Advocates believe otherwise.

Bruce Caines

Ang Santos:  This is an interesting program.  We have a combination of music, gospel, jazz…bring us into this program a little bit.  What should people expect when they come to see this? 

Chris Whitaker:  This is a version of ‘Handel’s Messiah’ like you’ve never heard before.  It’s basically like Handel landed in the 21stcentury and crafted a modern oratorio for our time.  It’s the original ideas, melodies, and lyrics from the Messiah, but it’s reimagined though a contemporary lens.

AS:  A venue could really make or break this kind of show, am I correct?

The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts is hosting a free panel discussion in collaboration with MOMENT NYC on Saturday, spotlighting the life and legacy of jazz composer Gil Evans. His son, Noah Evans, says the conversation and listening session could be an introduction to Gil Evans but also has something new for enthusiasts.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The Gateway Project has been at a standstill since President Trump walked back on an Obama era deal to cover half the cost.  Democrats in New Jersey’s Congressional delegation believe they’ll have leverage in The House of Representatives come January through party control, but Congressman Josh Gottheimer says he’s cautiously optimistic.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The United States was attacked by the Japanese Military on December 7, 1941.  Exactly one year later, the USS New Jersey launched for the first time from the Philadelphia Navy Yard.

Jack Willard is one of several history buffs you may meet aboard the Battleship New Jersey in Camden, where the dreadnought turned museum annually commemorates the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor.  

To hear about the Battleship New Jersey, click the link above.

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