New York State to Reopen Bowling Alleys

Aug 17, 2020
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Bowling alleys can reopen starting today in New York State.

Governor Cuomo said he has seen enough positive coronavirus data to let bowling alleys reopen, including a week straight of seeing the infection rate below 1%.

Masks are required. Alleys will be at 50% capacity. Every other lane will be shut and Cuomo said there will be no getting up to go anywhere for food and drink.

“They come to you. You don’t go to a bar," he said. "You don’t go to a food concession. They come to you.”

De Blasio Urges New Yorkers Not to Buy Vehicles

Aug 14, 2020
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The number of people buying vehicles in New York City is surging but the mayor advises against it.

Motor vehicle stats show there were 40,000 vehicles registered in the month of July, about a 25% jump from July of last year. Whether people are hesitant to use public transportation because of coronavirus, or whether the increase is a result of car dealers being closed for a bit in the spring no one can say for sure, but regardless, Mayor de Blasio said he does not like it.

NYC Boosting Quarantine Enforcement

Aug 14, 2020
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New York City is ramping up enforcement of the out of state quarantine rules.

There have been more than 1300 out-of-state drivers stopped trying to cross into Staten Island. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the checkpoints are concentrated there because a lot of people come up 1-95 into Staten Island.

“These checkpoints, you will start to see them more and more and they are going to keep rotating around," he said, "and the idea is to educate people that the quarantine is the law.”

New Jersey reported another 585 cases of coronavirus on Friday, bringing the state to a cumulative total of 187,164 infections.

Another 10 residents died from complications of COVID-19, meaning the state has seen some 14,064 confirmed fatalities and another 1,839 probable deaths.

The statewide rate of transmission was 0.92.

General election to follow ‘hybrid’ model used in primary

Like scores of other students this spring, Halimah Herbert’s graduation ceremony from Newark Tech High School was virtual.

That was disappointing enough, but Herbert said her shoddy Wi-Fi made it even worse.

“I missed half of my ceremony because of my internet connection,” Herbert said.

Harlem Week Begins Its Virtual Celebration This Sunday

Aug 14, 2020

Usually during Harlem Week you can hear the sounds of live music and the smell of sweet barbecue wafting through the streets, but COVID-19 halted this year's celebration — but not completely.  

Harlem Week IS happening — but instead of the world coming down to the streets of Harlem — organizers are taking the streets to the world — virtually by going online.

Mayor De Blasio Sticks to Sept. 10 School Opening

Aug 13, 2020
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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is insisting the plan is still to have school open as scheduled September 10th as principals ask for in person learning to be delayed.

Principals and administrators have a lot of unanswered questions and concerns related to the coronavirus. They feel they may not be ready for schools opening in time but Mayor de Blasio says there’s still a month to go.

“The fact that there is a lot of outstanding questions doesn’t scare me. We are going to deal with the questions. We’re going to keep making progress everyday,” he said.

Some NJ Schools Could Start Year Remotely If Health and Safety Standards Aren't Met

Aug 13, 2020

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced Wednesday schools that certify they cannot meet health and safety standards by the first day of class, must start the year with all remote learning. 

The announcement comes a couple of days after the board for the Elizabeth School District in Union County voted to start the school year remotely; counter to Governor Murphy’s insistence that some form of in-person learning take place.

Sunset Park

There’s concern about a surge in coronavirus cases in part of Brooklyn.

The City’s Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi says Sunset Park now has a roughly 7 percent infection rate, way above the citywide average of one percent.

“228 positive cases. In a way, the zip code wide rate was like a beep of a metal detector that told us where to dig.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio says officials will be knocking on doors and making phone calls.

“With a simple message. Everyone needs to get tested. We want to get everyone tested as quickly as possible.”

Jené Elzie
Jené Elzie

Jené Elzie is the Chief Growth Officer for Athletes First Partners and has more than two decades of experience as a global sports and entertainment executive. Elzie, a former All-American gymnast at Stanford University, is charged with developing and implementing growth strategies across international and other non-traditional revenue streams for the agency.

Prior to A1 Partners, Jené served as Vice President of International Marketing for the NBA, where she oversaw the league's marketing endeavors oustide of the U.S.

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  Despite coronavirus concerns, Most New York City students and teachers will be headed back to the classroom in the fall.   

Mayor Bill de Blasio says 74 percent of parents have signed their children up for the combo of in classroom and remote learning while the rest will only learn from home.

“We can do it safely. We set very stringent standards.”

Schools chancellor Richard Carranza says 15 percent of teachers requested to work from home.

Outdoor Dining

The program allowing New York City restaurants expanded outdoor dining will continue next year.

Mayor Bill de Blasio estimates the open restaurants initiative has gotten 80 thousand New Yorkers their jobs back. The program which expands outdoor dining onto the sidewalks and streets will start up again June First next year.

Cuomo: NY Schools Can Open In September

Aug 7, 2020

Governor Cuomo is allowing schools to open throughout New York State for the upcoming academic year.   He says every region in the state meets coronavirus benchmarks for opening schools and New York’s infection rate is one of the best in the nation.

“We are going to watch the infection rate between now and the day that schools open.  If there is a spike in the infection rate, if there is a matter of concern in the infection rate, then we can revisit it.  But for planning purposes, they can reopen.”

As of Friday morning, New Jersey had a total of 183,701 cases of coronavirus since the start of the pandemic.

The state also reported 13,996 confirmed COVID-19 deaths and another 1,853 probable fatalities.

State announces $25 million landlord assistance program

Some New Jersey landlords whose tenants missed rent payments due to the pandemic will soon be eligible for financial help from the state.

FDU's Plans for the Fall Semester during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Aug 7, 2020

In the final part of WBGO's series with representatives of area colleges and Universities , WBGO News intern Tyra Brooks spoke with Farleigh Dickinson University President Dr. Christopher Capuano.

Dr. Capuano talks about how online classes will dominate FDU's approach this coming semester. He became the school's eighth president in 2016.

Click above to hear the entire conversation.

Newark Public Library

WBGO's Janice Kirkel chats with Joslyn Bowling Dixon, the new Director of the Newark Public Library.

Bowling Dixon brings 20 plus years of experience with her from the latest job in Virginia.

Click above to hear the entire interview.

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The Newark Public Library has a new director -- Joslyn Bowling Dixon, fresh from a job as deputy director of the Prince William Library System in Virginia, outside DC.

Dixon recognizes the challenges of taking over a public institution during a pandemic, but got excited about the possibilities anyway. “I got that little spiny tingle when I saw it (the job posting). I really liked what the city was about,” she said. “It made me go look at some further research into the renaissance of the community and the great things that are happening in terms of industry and construction.”

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 New York authorities are ramping up enforcement of the out of state quarantine rules by doing checkpoints at key city entry areas.  Sheriff Joe Fucito says his members will be at bridges, tunnels and transit hubs to flag down and get information from those coming from the 35 states or territories with high coronavirus transmission rates.

“Compliance with the quarantine is our objective and checkpoints are an effective means of ensuring travelers are on notice.”

 New York City’s health commissioner is stepping down while criticizing the De Blasio administration. 

In her resignation letter, Dr. Oxiris Barbot  says she leaves with deep disappointment that the health department expertise was not used to the degree it should have been and that the department was in the background.  

She appears to be referring to Mayor de Blasio handing the coronavirus test and trace program to the public hospital system instead of the health department. De Blasio says there were different viewpoints with the doctor but does not regret that decision.

Care Cube
Care Cube

As concern grows among public health authorities over a surge in coronavirus infection, hospitals struggling to cope with the challenge of caring for people during the pandemic have a glimmer of hope on the horizon.

A new, low-cost portable isolation unit that promises to cut a number of expenditures, including those for personal protective equipment, is set to begin production soon. 

Click above to hear Jon Kalish's feature on Care Cube.



WBGO News continues with its series of interviews with area university and college representatives to find out their plans for the Fall Semester during the coronavirus pandemic.

This week WBGO News Intern Tyra Brooks checks in with Montclair State University's V.P. of Student Life Dr. Karen Pennington.

Click above to hear the entire conversation.

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New York City officials are planning on a combination of classroom and remote learning to start the school year.

The city is submitting its plans to the state on how schools will operate during the pandemic.

Mayor de Blasio says school buildings will only open if the percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus remains below 3%.

“I am very hopeful when I say that, because New York City, thanks to all your good efforts, has been under three percent since June 10th.” 

New Jersey reported another 699 cases of coronavirus Friday, adding up to a total of 181,660 cumulative cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic.

Officials also announced another 10 deaths related to coronavirus. The outbreak has caused 13,944 lab-confirmed fatalities and another 1,875 probable deaths.

Jump in positive cases sets off ‘alarms’

Governor Phil Murphy

The July 30 edition of Ask Governor Murphy prompted plenty of phone calls regarding New Jersey's response to the coronavirus outbreak and it's impact on education, personal income and safety, state government and healthcare.

This edition was hosted by Nancy Solomon of WNYC.  WBGO and WHYY statehouse reporter Joe Hernandez was the social media reporter for the one-hour call-in show.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy joined us via phone from his home.

Ask Governor Murphy is a WBGO News collaboration with WHYY and WNYC.

Mayor de Blasio says New York City residents will feel the impact of the 600 dollar federal coronavirus unemployment assistance ending tomorrow. He lashed out at Senate Republicans, blaming them for not having another round of stimulus money available to struggling New Yorkers.

“This is not gridlock, this is sabotage, literally standing in the way of a stimulus when people in this country are in desperate desperate shape.”

Governor Murphy: Large Indoor Parties Must Stop!

Jul 30, 2020

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, once again, implored young people to not gather for large parties. especially inside.  

"Having that notion." I get it; we get it. We've all had our routines turned upside down for the past four months and we want to blow off some steam with friends. I can't fault -- none of us can fault anyone for having that notion" 

At the same time, Governor Murphy says crowded house parties just can't happen right now.  

"Around more efficiently." They are not safe, period. They are how coronavirus gets passed around more efficiently."

Cristina Spano for NPR

The rate of coronavirus transmission in New Jersey is continuing to creep up and now stands at 1.14. That means each person who catches the disease is spreading it to more than one other person.

Governor Phil Murphy is urging caution.

“When you look at the raw numbers, it’s a mixed bag at best. We’re not out of the woods yet, and we need everybody to remain vigilant.”

New Jersey is doling out another 15 million dollars in small business grants to bolster the state’s economic recovery.  

The latest infusion of cash comes from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund. Governor Murphy says small businesses are the backbone of the state’s economy.

“Seeing both businesses and employees emerge from this pandemic strong and ready for the times ahead is critical to the success of our overall restart and recovery.”

The Governor made the announcement outside the A-List Hair Studio in North Brunswick.

Fall Sports

A collegiate athletic conference in New Jersey has suspended fall sports due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The New Jersey Athletic Conference says ALL Fall 2020 sports competition and league championships will be suspended. Ten of the Garden State's higher learning institutions are full members of the N-J-A-C including the Camden and Newark campuses of Rutgers, Montclair State University and The College of New Jersey. T-C-N-J, particularly, cancelled so-called high risk sports like football, hockey and soccer last month [June].