Small Businesses Oppose Affordable Care Act Repeal

Feb 1, 2017

Some small business owners in New Jersey are urging Congress not to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Kelly Conklin owns Foley-Waite, a Kenilworth cabinet-making business.

He spends over $10,000 a month for health insurance premiums to cover him and ten employees. If the ACA is repealed, he believes the costs will increase.

Newark's Living Mayors: Cory Booker

Jan 31, 2017
Newark Public Library

Programming Note: Cory Booker will join us this Friday, February 3rd at 8pm as Newark Today Presents "The Four Living Mayors". He will be joined by fellow former mayors Ken Gibson, Sharpe James and current mayor Ras Baraka for what will be a historic night.

Senator Wants Drug Screening In NJ High Schools

Jan 31, 2017
Senator Joe Vitale
Phil Gregory

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to require high school students to be screened for the risk of substance abuse.

Senate Health Committee chairman Joe Vitale says his bill would have students in 9th through 12th grades answer questions about drug use as part of their annual health assessments.


Senator Jeff Van Drew
Phil Gregory


A measure awaiting final legislative approval in the state Senate would require all county governments in New Jersey to have a Code Blue plan in place to shelter homeless residents during severe weather events.


Mike Oppegaard is president of the New Jersey Association of Emergency Management Coordinators. He’s concerned about the costs of providing shelter and services if the severe conditions persist for several days. He wants lawmakers to consider state grants to offset that expense.


Bill Would Regulate Fantasy Sports In NJ

Jan 30, 2017
Steven Perskie and Chris Grimm testify at Assembly  hearing.
Phil Gregory

Daily fantasy sports games officially would be allowed and regulated in New Jersey if a measure advanced by an Assembly committee becomes law.

Participants in fantasy sports put together imaginary teams of real pro athletes, pay an entry fee, and then compete for prizes by getting scores based on statistics those athletes produce in real games.

Former New Jersey Casino Control Commission chairman Steven Perskie presented a legal saying  fantasy sports are games of skill and should not be considered gambling.

FieldTurf CEO Eric Daliere testifies at Senate committee hearing
Phil Gregory

The leader of a company that makes artificial sports fields told a New Jersey Senate committee allegations made in three-class action lawsuits are disturbing and inaccurate.

Newark schools, the borough of Carteret, and the owner of a soccer club in Clifton claim FieldTurf continued to sell its Duraspine product while knowing it was defective.

Eric Daliere, the chief executive officer of Field Turf, disputes claims that the fields are not living up to their 8 year warranty period.

Newark's Living Mayors: Sharpe James

Jan 30, 2017
NJ Advance Media

Programming Note: Sharpe James will join us this Friday, February 3rd at 8pm as Newark Today Presents "The Four Living Mayors".  He will be joined by fellow former mayors Ken Gibson, US Senator Cory Booker and current mayor Ras Baraka for what will be a historic night.

Mayor Sharpe James served as Newark’s south ward councilman before defeating Ken Gibson in a close 1986 election.  It would end up being his closest election as city mayor.  He was such a presence he ran unopposed in 1990.  James went on to serve five terms, eventually becoming a state senator.  

Martin Brodeur
Doug Doyle for WBGO

Former New Jersey Devils goalie Martin Brodeur was no surprise to make the NHL's 100 Greatest Players List released this past Friday night.  Brodeur is a certain hall of famer and is the assistant general manager of the St. Louis Blues.

In his 21-season tenure with the New Jersey Devils, he won three Stanley Cup championships and five Eastern Conference titles in 17 postseason campaigns. He finished up his career in St. Louis.  Brodeur also won two Olympic gold medals with Team Canada in the 2002 and 2010 Winter Olympic Games. 

The Crypto Party Phenomenon Hits Brooklyn

Jan 27, 2017
Crypto Party

We're going to take you now to a crypto party. It's really more of a teach-in than a party. Privacy advocates and political activists have been organizing crypto parties to foil efforts by corporations and governments to collect data.

The phenomenon started in Australia in 2012 and has since spread around the world.  Reporter Jon Kalish recently went to a couple of crypto parties in Brooklyn.

Click above to hear the story.

The Liar Completes Its Comedic Mission

Jan 27, 2017
The Liar
Classic Stage Company

Theater critic Michael Bourne reviews the Classic Stage Company's The Liar, a new David Ives translation of a French comedy.

Newark's Living Mayors: Ken Gibson

Jan 27, 2017
NJ Advance Media / Courtesy of Newark Public Library

Programming Note: Ken Gibson will join us this Friday, February 3rd at 8pm as Newark Today Presents "The Four Living Mayors".  He will be joined by fellow former mayors Sharpe James, US Senator Cory Booker and current mayor Ras Baraka for what will be a historic night.

Ken Gibson was elected as Newark’s first African American mayor in 1970.  A transitional period for Newark; the city was in recovery from the 67’ rebellion.

Experts Torn On Cat Declaw Ban

Jan 27, 2017
Ang Santos / WBGO

New Jersey could become the first state to ban veterinarians from declawing cats.  Feline advocates are split over whether the legislation is a good idea.

A bill passed by the Assembly and awaiting action in the state Senate would fine veterinarians as much as $2000 for declawing a cat unless it’s considered medically necessary.  Kathleen Schatzmann, the state director of the Humane Society, supports the proposed ban.

Nancy Schiliro Beestra
Wounded Warrior Project for WBGO

Nancy Schiliro lost her eye as result of a mortar explosion in Iraq when she was a Lance Corporal in the U-S Marine Corps.  At that time, she was not married and returned home to New York battered and depressed.

The Wounded Warrior Organization gave her the will to fight her way back. Now she is helping other injured veterans return to a normal life. She is currently a Wounded Warrior Outreach Specialist and an inspiration to all Americans.

Oppostion To Proposed Flounder Regulations

Jan 27, 2017
NJ officials and fishing advocates oppose the proposed limits.
Phil Gregory

New Jersey officials say they’ll do everything they can to stop proposed regulations that could hurt the state’s fishing industry.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission is considering increasing the minimum size and reducing the number of flounder that recreational fishermen in New Jersey can keep this summer.

Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin told a crowd of fishermen in Point Pleasant Beach that the proposed new limits are based on unreliable data. He says he’ll fight to keep current regulations in place.

NJ Lawmaker Seeks Trump Stance On Internet Gaming

Jan 27, 2017
Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo
Phil Gregory

A resolution introduced in the New Jersey legislature urges the Trump administration to oppose any measure that would prohibit states from conducting internet gambling.

Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo says comments from Trump’s nominee for Attorney General, Jeff Sessions, prompted him to seek clarification about what the administration might do.

Harlan Jacobson
Susan Jacobson for WBGO

What a work of man Sundance is, namely Robert Redford. It’s his legacy, after all, far more than the Way We Were or All the President’s Men or that near-silent film he starred in, ALL IS LOST, as a sailor adrift at sea. The 33rd Sundance Film Festival wraps up this weekend.

If you stop thinking of film as art—the 7th art, in fact—which the majority of Americans don’t anyway—and think of it for a second as a product, Sundance didn’t invent the independent film. But it did find a way to make it a business.

Hurricane Diane Blows People Away At Two River Theater

Jan 27, 2017
Becca Blackwell
Cassie Galisetti for WBGO

Becca Blackwell is making audiences laugh as "Diane" in Two River Theater's latest production Hurricane Diane.  In this wild comedy, the Greek god Dionysus takes form as "Diane", a lesbian permaculture gardener from Vermont.  She's on a mission to gather followers and restore the Earth to its natural state. Where better to begin than a Monmouth County cul-de-sac and the women who live there?

Blackwell is enjoying working with Two River's playwright-in-residence, Madeleine George:

21 NJ School Districts Report Lead In Water

Jan 26, 2017
Department of Education officials testify at legislative task force hearing
Phil Gregory

New Jersey schools have another six months to comply with a state directive to test their drinking water for lead contamination.

The New Jersey Department of Education says about half of its 586 school districts have completed their testing and 21 have reported elevated lead levels.

Project Manager Jim Palmer says the schools have to shut off contaminated fountains and sinks and come up with a long-term solution to resolve the lead problem.

NJ Assessing Erosion From Nor'easter

Jan 26, 2017

New Jersey officials are assessing the beach erosion caused by the nor’easter earlier this week.

New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection spokesman Larry Hajna says most of the state’s coastline suffered only minor or moderate erosion and there was no property damage.

He says the storm surge carved a 5 to 10 feet sand cliff in some oceanfront locations.

Discussion: Role of Race in the Workplace

Jan 26, 2017
Ang Santos / WBGO

Leaders of several Fortune 500 companies were at NJPAC to discuss race and ethnicity in the workplace. 

Ethnicity and race can be uncomfortable topics in a workplace setting.  Elena Richards, talent manager with PwC moderated the roundtable discussion.  She says racial insecurity is still very much an issue.

Coalition Urges Action To Fight Climate Change

Jan 26, 2017
Coalition members outline their goals.
Phil Gregory

A coalition of more than 30 environmental, labor, and community organizations says climate change poses a massive threat to New Jersey and is urging the state to do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase clean energy.

Dan Fatton is executive director of the Work Environment Council. He says the collation is a ray of hope in the Trump era.

Ang Santos / WBGO

A former treasury official under the Bill Clinton administration is stepping up his campaign to run for New Jersey governor. 

Jim Johnson’s new campaign office in downtown Newark isn’t quite as spacious, or at the highly visible location of democratic front runner Phil Murphy’s, but Johnson says he never planned a high profile run to the Governor’s office.  No big endorsements or dollars, Johnson says no problem.

Bill Would Improve Access To Recovery Schools

Jan 24, 2017
Advocates express support for the measure.
Phil Gregory

Advocates are urging New Jersey lawmakers to enact proposed legislation that would help students trying to recover from drug addiction.

The measure would allow any child clinically diagnosed with substance use disorder to transfer to a recovery school that provides programs and peer support to help them stay off drugs.

Gina Vaccaro says her daughter returned to Livingston High School after completing an inpatient treatment program and the school board rejected her request to transfer the state’s only recovery high school in Roselle.

NJ Might Ban Declawing Cats

Jan 24, 2017
New Jersey Statehouse
Phil Gregory

New Jersey could become the first state to ban veterinarians from declawing cats.

A bill passed by the Assembly and awaiting action in the Senate would fine veterinarians as much as $2000 for performing the procedure unless it’s considered medically necessary.

Kathleen Schatzmann, the state director of the Humane Society, supports the proposed ban.

“It is an unnecessary surgery most often performed for convenience issues such as to address problems scratching of household furniture and it provides no benefit whatsoever to the cat.”

JALC Tuning Up For Dizzy's Centennial

Jan 24, 2017

Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy Gillespie centennial celebration kicks off this week. 

Dizzy’s music will take over JALC for a four-day weekend of shows starting Thursday, Jan. 26.  Trombonist Vincent Gardner is leading the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra through various arrangements in Rose Theater.

Ang Santos / WBGO

The Hahne & Co. building on Broad St. in Newark has reopened its doors.  It’s transformed into much more than a department store.

Many Newarkers remember it as the ‘Hahne’s’ building.  The 21st century version will house the city’s first Whole Foods, a restaurant from celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, and housing units both luxury and affordable.  Mayor Ras Baraka says 65 of those will be affordable housing units.

NJ Lawmakers Worry About Obamacare Repeal

Jan 23, 2017
Senate Democratic leaders worry about Affordable Care Act repeal
Phil Gregory


Democratic leaders in the New Jersey Senate are troubled that one of President Trump’s first actions was signing an executive order that seeks the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

Senate President Steve Sweeney says New Jersey would be hurt by the repeal of Obamacare and the accompanying expansion of Medicaid.

“It expanded health care for hundreds of thousands of people in this state and millions nationwide. And it’s not a game. We’re dealing with people’s lives right now, and it’s concerning.”

Lesniak Want Gun Law Change

Jan 23, 2017
Senator Ray Lesniak
Phil Gregory

A New Jersey lawmaker wants to change one of the state’s toughest gun laws.

Legislation introduced by Senator Ray Lesniak would eliminate the mandatory minimum three-to-five year sentence for unlawful possession of a handgun and leave the punishment up to a judge.

He says legal gun owners, many from out of state, with no intention of committing a crime, should not face that harsh penalty.

Newark Today

Jan 23, 2017
Alexandra Hill

On this month's edition of Newark Today we are joined by Mayor Ras Baraka and  Bill Fitzsimmons with the Essex County Public Defender's office to talk about bail reform and how the new system will affect communities in Newark. 

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Doug Doyle for WBGO

UCLA  honored basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar at this past Saturday’s game at Pauley Pavilion, the famed court where the center dominated at the college level.  The Bruins won three national championships with his amazing scoring touch.

This past weekend's honor is just one of many accolades the Bruins alumnus has received lately.  Abdul-Jabbar was among 21 recipients of the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House Ceremony in November of last year.  The hall of famer also received the Sports Illustrated Muhammad Ali Legacy Award in December in Brooklyn.