News

Whitney Museum
Whitney Museum for WBGO News

An ongoing exhibition at the Whitney Museum in Manhattan is giving new meaning to the word “protest”. 

WBGO’s Molly Fichter takes us on a tour of the exhibition that has prompted many visitors to pause and reflect on the various forms of protest.

The Whitney Museum is located at 99 Gansevoort Street in Manhattan.

Governor Murphy’s nominee to be New Jersey’s Health Commissioner spend most of his confirmation hearing answering questions about the state’s marijuana policies.

 

Shereef Elnahal told lamakers than when a 60-day review ordered by the governor is completed, suggestions will be made to improve the state’s medical marijuana program. 

 

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy is directing the Board of Public Utilities to investigate the power companies’ response to the recent winter storms that knocked out electricity to hundreds of thousands of customers.

“We’re going to examine what went wrong and whether the improvements to protect and strengthen our grid devised post Sandy have been implemented.  We will look to see if all preparedness measures were taken before last Friday knowing a major event was coming. My gut tells me they were not, and if they’ve not been, that is entirely inexcusable.”

If New Jersey legalizes recreational marijuana, a state lawmaker wants to have a measure providing new opportunities for some residents and communities ready to go.

Assemblywoman Annette Quijano says if the state allows possession and use of marijuana, it should clear the records of all those previously convicted of marijuana possession.

The New Jersey legislature is looking at establishing a Main Street Economic Growth Program.

Assemblyman Dan Benson says his bill is intended to encourage business development in small towns.

A week before New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy proposes his first state budget, the leader of the state Senate has unveiled a plan to raise taxes to provide more money for education.

Senate President Steve Sweeney wants to impose a tax surcharge on corporations that make more than a million dollars in profits in New Jersey.

He says that would raise about $657 million and be just a portion of the money those companies will save from changes in the federal tax code.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy has declared a state of emergency because of an approaching storm that could bring heavy, wet snow and the potential for damaging winds.

Murphy says the Department of Transportation has 2500 pieces of snow fighting equipment at its disposal to make major highways passable.

“Whether it’s plows spreaders and loaders which can be deployed across the state. The Department has about 207,000 tons of salt available which is 78 percent of its capacity and it’s also at 82 percent of its capacity for liquid calcium.”

caunj.org

Community Access Unlimited was founded over 35 years ago through a one-year grant to take people out of developmental institutions and put them into the community, says CAU Assistant Executive Director of Business Development Joanne Oppelt. 

“Whatever they needed.  Supported housing, supported employment, getting people jobs, recreational trips, and advocacy trips in terms of speaking up for the rights of people with disabilities.  There are a lot of civil rights issues involved for people with disabilities who are not perceived as being equal to people with disabilities.”

Russ Solomon, the founder of the enormously influential and widely beloved Tower Records chain, has died at age 92.

His son, Michael Solomon, told the Sacramento Bee on Monday that his father died of an apparent heart attack on Sunday evening while watching the Oscar awards ceremony and enjoying a glass of whiskey.

A bipartisan group of New Jersey Senators is drafting legislation to counter some of the negative consequences of federal tax code changes.

Senator Tony Bucco says the measure would allow small businesses registered as

S corporations, LLC’s, and other partnerships to pay their state taxes as a corporate entity so their owners and partners could deduct the full amount of the tax on their federal returns.

New Jersey could become the first state to require a warning sticker on opioid prescription bottles.

Assemblyman John Armato says his bill would require a red sticker on the cap of a prescription bottle warning that the medication is an opioid and could cause addiction and overdose.

“One of the reasons is that there’s so many different pain medications out there. I have had people come to me and say thank god my son is not on an opiate. So what is he taking?  He’s taking Percocet. Well that is an opiate. “

Alexandra Hill / News

Thousands of young men from the city of Newark descended on the Prudential center earlier this week for the pathways to success summit. Mayor Ras Baraka in partnership with the my brothers keeper initiative and prudential hosted the summit that provided mentorship opportunities, social services, on the spot hiring but the real goal of the summit was to change the paths of the city’s most disenfranchised and underserved demographic, young black men.

“A lot of us young black males we don’t have a lot of things to look up to.”

David Greenspan
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Veteran writer and actor David Greenspan, the winner of five Obie Awards, brings his adaptation of Thornton Wilder 's The Bridge of San Luis Rey to Two River Theater through March 18th.  This production is directed by Ken Rus Schmoll.

This literary masterpiece which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1928 deals with the nature of love.

David Greenspan also stars in the new production as the narrator and  portrays the character Uncle Pio.

While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the flu season may have peaked, it’s still making a lot of people sick in New Jersey.

State epidemiologist Dr. Tina Tan says there are high levels of flu illness throughout New Jersey, but there are some positive signs.

“We are starting to see that some of our areas that we’re measuring are starting to decrease such as emergency department admissions and emergency department visits that are associated with influenza-like illness.”

Dr. Tan says influenza type B cases are increasing in the state.

Get ready for a variety of potential weather woes from a storm arriving soon.

New Jersey state climatologist Dave Robinson says the nor’easter could dump one to three inches of rain and cause problems in flood-prone areas.

“We just had the third wettest February on record, records going back to 1895. So, the ground is saturated. The rivers are running high. There’s just not a lot of room to put water into those rivers before they would leave their channels and flow into the flood plains surrounding them.”   

A package of bills advancing in the New Jersey legislature would make the state’s tough gun laws even tougher.

The measures include background checks for private gun sales, a 10-round limit on the capacity of ammunition magazines, and a mandate for law enforcement to seize a person’s guns if a mental health professional determines they’re a threat to themselves or others.

Assembly Judiciary Committee chairwoman Annette Quijano says the deadly school shooting in Florida was the latest unfortunate result of a failed national gun and mental health policy.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The Truth, Racial, Healing, and Transformation Campus Center, TRHT, is a grant program awarded by The Association of American Colleges and Universities to ten institutions of higher learning across the country. Dr. Sheri-Ann Butterfield is the Executive Vice Chancellor of Rutgers University Newark. 

keanstage.com

Birdman was the first film drummer Antonio Sanchez scored.  A great challenge presented to him by director Alejandro G. Inarritu.

“In the beginning I had no idea how to approach it,” Sanchez said.  “But when Inarritu told me that what he wanted was me improvising, being really free, expressive and emotional like the way I try to be when I’m playing drums, then I understood.  It was very easy once we figured out the approach.”

Sanchez will perform a live set to Birdman as its projected on a screen at Wilkins Theater on Kean University’s campus in Union. 

Governor Phil Murphy says New Jersey is getting lapped by other states in job creation.

 

He’s signed an executive order aimed at stimulating job growth.

 

The order establishes the Jobs and Economic Opportunity Council in the Governor’s office.

 

“I’m directing the council to analyze state and national economic trends and data to design the policies needed to attract, expand, and retain good jobs.”

Health care groups are seeking a New Jersey law requiring all employers in the state to provide earned sick days for their workers.

Beth Cohen is an emergency room nurse at Virtua Hospital in Mount Holly. She says some people who don't have paid sick leave aren't getting treated for the flu.

"They come in so sick. It's not even just the flu or pneumonia. They're septic from letting it go so long. And then we're sending so many people to intensive care, many hospitals not just ours, because of that." 

Some New Jersey lawmakers are introducing legislation to restore voting rights to people with criminal convictions.

Senator Ron Rice says his bill would end the practice of taking the right to vote from residents on parole, probation, or in prison.

"There is no relationship between voting and committing crimes. To disenfranchise those who have made mistakes and are paying for them is wrong. "

Senator Sandra Cunningham says African-Americans are disproportionately denied the right to vote because of a criminal conviction.

New Jersey lawmakers are considering a bill to expand participation in a program that provides breakfast to public school students in their classrooms.

The measure would require schools where 70 percent of more of students are eligible for free or reduced-price meals to have a ‘breakfast-after-the-bell’ program.

Senator Shirley Turner says that would help ensure kids have enough food.

Lamoureux Twins
Doug Doyle for WBGO

The United States women's hockey team has claimed its first Olympic gold medal in 20 years by downing Canada, 3-2 in a shootout.

Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson scored in the first extra round of the shootout after her twin sister, Monique Lamoureux-Morando, tied it with six minutes left in regulation.

The Lamoureux Twins from Grand Forks, North Dakota come from an amazing family of athletes.

A bill to provide subsidies for nuclear plants and renewable power incentives is scheduled for a vote in the New Jersey Senate on Monday. It's not clear whether it has enough support to pass. 

Senator Bob Smith is one of the bill's primary sponsors, but he's not sure if he'll vote for it.

"I think the bill is still a work in progress. So, like any bill you want to wait until you see what is in the final bill. The bill started out tremendously with really good stuff. I'm really concerned about the solar portion at this moment."

Ang Santos / WBGO

There was a somber feeling in the auditorium at Rafael Hernandez Elementary as Principal Patricia Goyce read names of the seventeen killed in a Parkland, Florida high school last week.  Students held photographs of each victim as their names were called, lighting a candle in honor of them.

“The eighteenth candle that we have there, and the empty picture frame is for all of those in Newark who have lost their lives to a senseless crime through shooting.  Our babies, our students, their students, their family members.”

Patrik Elias
Doug Doyle for WBGO

This Saturday night Patrik Elias will become fifth New Jersey Devil to have his number retired. Elias' number 26 jersey banner will be raised to the rafters of Prudential Center prior to the Devils' game with the Islanders.

After his Thursday news conference, I had a brief chat with Patrik about his big night and his thoughts on playing in Newark.

Some New Jersey lawmakers are introducing legislation to ban the state's public employee pension funds from investing in companies that manufacture guns.

Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling is one of the bill's sponsors.

"I don't think gun manufacturers should profit from the pensions we have in the state of New Jersey and we want to set an example. I think if we're really committed to gun control, we need to have a starting point and move and continue forward."

Senator Vin Gopal says gun manufacturers should not benefit from pension fund investments.

The governors of New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Rhode Island are forming a regional 'States for Gun Safety' coalition.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy says more than 80 percent of the gun crimes in New Jersey are committed with guns from out of state.   He says the four states already have tough gun laws but believes they can be stronger.

“We’re working with the legislature to enact a whole series of steps, but it has to accept the reality that getting engaged with other like-minded states and hopefully beyond, we can mitigate this awful scourge.”

The NAACP's Great Debate America is reviving the art of debate with some of the nation's leading institutions of higher learning. The Debate recently made a stop in Newark New Jersey for black history month, where Newark Public School children got to see and participate in a debate between Rutgers Newark and Harvard University inspiring a new generation of scholars.

You don't have to travel very far to find potholes on New Jersey roadways.

New Jersey Department of Transportation spokeswoman Judy Drucker says it's shaping up to be one of the worst pothole seasons in years. State crews tackled nearly 35,000 of them last month.

"We've had frequent snow storms very early this winter. We had heavy rains, severe swings in the temperature, so it's been pretty rough on our roads. We've begin our statewide annual pothole campaign this year specifically because of that."

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