The city of Newark, in partnership with its homeless coalition, led by community organizer/activist Kym Gilchrist and Central Ward Councilwoman LaMonica McIver, held a day of service event to mark the MLK holiday, providing hot meals, COVID and HIV testing, as well as other wraparound services. Its all part of the city's ongoing efforts to address homelessness.

Wikimedia Commons

The pandemic has been hardest on those who live in nursing homes, only increasing their sense of isolation and loneliness.

But technology has come to the rescue, allowing nursing home residents to not only have virtual visits with loved ones but play games with them that are fun and therapeutic.

New Jersey reported another 3,694 positive PCR tests for the coronavirus Friday, bringing the cumulative total of positive PCR tests to 584,291. The state also recorded 743 new positive antigen tests, for a total of 66,098 positive antigen tests.

There was a 10.1% positivity rate for PCR tests taken on Monday.

Some 3,328 residents were hospitalized with coronavirus, including 638 in critical care and 445 requiring ventilators.

Food pantries may have to close in New York City with demand rising and a cut in financial aid.   

The de Blasio Administration had been giving large charities millions of dollars through the pandemic to meet increased food demand.   However, that emergency food money stopped last month.  David Greenfield with the Met Council charity sent a letter to Mayor de Blasio requesting the funding continue.

Pittsburgh Penguins Hall of Fame radio play-by-play announcer Mike Lange is taking a cautious approach to returning to the broadcast booth for the new NHL season.  It will be Lange's 46th season.

The Penguins announced earlier this month the 72-year old Lange will sit out the beginning of the 2021 season as a precatuion due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

    There are more problems with coronavirus vaccine supply in New York City.  Roughly 23 thousand New Yorkers scheduled to get their first shot this week are having their appointments rescheduled.  

Mayor Bill de Blasio says for unknown reasons this week’s Moderna vaccine supply shipment is delayed.

“So we already were feeling the stress of a shortage of vaccine. Now the situation has been made even worse.”

Wikimedia Commons

NJ Transit, for the second straight year, has a distinction it would rather not have.

NJ Transit trains had the highest number of mechanical failures of any system in the country in 2019 -- 351-- according to the Federal Transit Administration.

NJ Transit is third largest commuter railroad in the US in terms of miles traveled.

The railroad would only respond with an emailed statement, saying that over the past few years it has ordered new and more reliable buses, train cars and engines, making up for what it called a decade of disinvestment.

New Jersey reported another 3,761 positive PCR tests for coronavirus Tuesday, for a cumulative total of 572,306 positive PCR tests since the start of the pandemic. It also reported another 1,039 positive antigen tests, for a total of 63,395 total reported antigen tests.

Another 54 residents died from COVID-19. There have now been a total of 18,421 confirmed coronavirus fatalities and another 2,091 probable deaths.

The state recorded a 10.12% positivity rate for PCR tests administered on Friday.

Wikimedia Commons

  New York City residents may have their coronavirus vaccine appointments cancelled later in the week due to low supply.   

After putting 220 thousand doses in arms last week alone, Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city is on pace to run out Thursday.  That means vaccine sites would then close into early next week until a new shipment arrives. 

“This is crazy. This is not the way it should be. We have the ability to vaccinate a huge number of people. We need the vaccine to go with it.”

Our first show of 2021! We discuss everything from the city’s ongoing COVID-19 response to vaccine distribution to the newly inaugurated Biden-Harris administration.

Host Michael Hill is joined by Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka and Director of Health and Community Wellness Dr. Mark Wade. 

The Amistad Commission was founded in New Jersey in 2002 to bolster the public education curriculum around slavery and the contributions of African Americans to society.

A new state law aims to strengthen the body by giving it more independence and ensuring that the curriculum it helps develop is used more widely in New Jersey schools.

Covid Variants, Vaccine Supply Pose Challenges

Jan 19, 2021
Wikimedia Commons

A variant of the coronavirus that has been seen in other countries and states is now popping up more often in California.

Experts say they don’t know if it is more contagious, but there is some concern that vaccines may not work as well against it.

 The city of Newark in partnership with its homeless coalition held a day of service event to mark the MLK holiday. Volunteers distributed hot meals and care packages,  COVID19 and HIV testing was also made available. 

Central Ward Councilwoman LaMonica McIver says its all a part of the city’s ongoing effort to address the needs of its homeless population, including Newark’s recently unveiled plans to create housing for the homeless with a site constructed out of shipping containers.   


Wikimedia Commons

At Kean University, Martin Luther King Day was marked with a panel discussion about the importance of teaching African-American history in schools, and how education is the best way to fight racism.

One of the panelists was Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, who talked about how racial injustice led to the events of January 6. “The most secure building in the world was invaded, and if you look at the people who invaded it, you start to wonder, how did somebody dressed up as Chewbacca with a Viking hat get into the Senate,” he asked, as the remark drew some laughter.

The ground-breaking comic strip Doonesbury has been with us for 50 years.

It was the first daily comic strip to win a Pulitzer Prize for tackling social issues, politics and war. The strip also been censored for some of those same reasons.

To celebrate Doonesbury's 50th anniversary, a new history has been published and comes with a thumb drive that has all 15,000 strips. WBGO’s Jon Kalish spoke with its creator Gary Trudeau and prepared this report.

Click above to hear Jon's feature.

Zoom/Doug Doyle

The Summit Interfaith Council in Summit, New Jersey is hosting a special MLK Day event on Monday, January 18.

Two members of the Council, President Rabbi Hannah Orden of Congregation Beth Hatikvah and Vice President Rev. Vernon Williams, Assistant Pastor of Fountain Baptist Church joined WBGO News Director Doug Doyle for a zoom chat about their plans and the need for more education about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Pamela Booker / Where's Your Tree

Structural racism has shaped America’s agricultural landscape. 14% of all farm owner-operators were Black Americans in 1910. By 2012, 1.5%. From 2012 to 2014, white Americans generated 98% of all farm related income from land ownership. Pamela Booker is connecting the community with local black and brown urban farmers and amplifying conversations about urban ecosystems.

New Jersey’s Motor Vehicle Commission approved on Friday regulations for driver’s licenses for undocumented immigrants, bringing a policy change that has been years in the making one step closer to reality.

The move means that immigrants who aren’t legally present in the United States may be able to apply for driver’s licenses as early as May, but the commission still has to grant final approval for part of the regulations and train staff on the new system.

The sale of a mosque on Branford Place in Newark by the Islamic Society of Essex County will be protested again on Saturday as it has been for weeks.

The worshippers say they not only weren’t consulted on the sale but didn’t even know it was planned. They also say the sale is a violation of the mosque’s bylaws.

Wikimedia Commons

The coronavirus vaccine supply from the federal government is being cut to New York State.   

Governor Cuomo didn’t have a reason but says the 300-thousand weekly first doses arriving in New York will be down to 250-thousand for next week.With millions of New Yorkers now eligible there’s already a big backlog. 


“We are now scheduling appointments through the distribution mechanism 14 weeks in advance and most of the distributors are already fully booked.”

Wikimedia Commons

  New York City’s police department is being sued by the state in regards to handling of protesters.  

State attorney general Letitia James accuses the department of violating the rights of demonstrators as throngs of them took to the streets in the Spring to protest police brutality.  She says there was a pattern of abuse including unjustified use of batons and pepper spray.  James names Mayor Bill de Blasio and the police commissioner in the suit.

Cat in Car Stolen from Gas Station Found in Newark

Jan 14, 2021

Willow is back home. The 14-year old, 19-pound calico cat was in Jennifer Carl’s car when it was stolen from a gas station in Harrison a week ago. On Thursday, after a big media and social media campaign, she was found in Newark.

Wikimedia Commons

   New York City is cancelling contracts the city has with the Trump Organization after the deadly Capitol building riot last week. Mayor Bill de Blasio says if a company is engaged in criminal activity, the city has the right to toss their contracts. 

“We all saw a crime committed live on TV. Ugh come on.  It’s quite clear The president of the United States committed a criminal act.  He directed insurrection against the United States Capitol, period that’s criminal.”

New Jersey will dramatically increase the number of residents who can get the coronavirus vaccine this week, expanding the eligibility beyond a few high-risk professions to a much broader swath of the population.

Starting Thursday, residents aged 65 and older, as well as residents aged 16 to 64 with chronic medical conditions, will be eligible for a vaccine.

“We know that individuals in these categories are at greater risk for severe COVID-19 illness and death,” said New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli.

Paterson Vaccination Resumes With New Supply of Doses

Jan 13, 2021

The vaccination program in Paterson is up and running again. The city ran out of vaccine Monday morning, but got another 2000 doses on Wednesday and vaccinated another 359 people.

Gov. Phil Murphy used his annual State of the State speech Monday to again slam the rioters who attacked the U.S Capitol last week and blame President Donald Trump — though not by name — for egging them on.

“We were all shocked to witness a mob, incited and supported by politicians at the highest levels of government, shamefully try to invalidate the votes of 158 million Americans through insurrection,” Murphy said.

Wikimedia Commons

  A New York State lawmaker is trying to get former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s law license taken away following the riots at the Capitol building last week. 

Giuliani spoke to pro trump supporters in DC hours before the chaos at the Capitol building.

“Let’s have trial by combat.”

Wikimedia Commons

Citi Field will soon be used as a huge hub for coronavirus vaccinations.   

Mayor Bill de Blasio says Citi Field will have vaccinations 24-7 starting the week of January 25th and have the capacity for five to seven thousand doses a day,

"We even welcome Yankees fans.  There's no discrimination."


Mets New Owner Steve Cohen.

"We know the suffering that's going on with COVID.  Any way the organization can help support this effort we were going to do it."


Although the mood was celebratory as officials spoke outside New Jersey’s second vaccination mega-site Monday, they also hammered the federal government for sending just a fraction of the supply they could use to inoculate Garden State residents.

“We’re ready. You can see that if you go inside,” said Senate President Steve Sweeney in front of the makeshift facility inside Rowan College of South Jersey in Sewell. “The state of New Jersey is ready to inoculate its residents.”

The pandemic has meant financial problems for those in the military just like everyone else.

So Prudential and the federal Department of Veterans Affairs are joining forces to offer financial services to vets, such as credit counseling, help with student loan debt, and an online budgeting tool.