NJ voters say Lautenberg is too old, Stack aide gets Union City contract, remembering Newark’s race riots, Belmar mayor bristles at being called a girl, Miss New Jersey gets another blackmail threat, Miss America pageant leaves Atlantic City behind.
“SENIOR SENATOR” IN MORE WAYS THAN ONE
“More than half of the respondents in a new poll believe New Jersey's 83-year-old U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg is too old to effectively serve another six-year term.
Of the 1,604 Garden State voters surveyed in the Quinnipiac University poll released today, 54 percent agreed that Lautenberg — a Democrat up for re-election next year — was too old to run again, while 40 percent disagreed.
The poll, though, also found 41 percent of voters approve of Lautenberg's performance, with 32 percent disapproving.” (Courier-Post)
“New Jersey voters support dedicating all the money earned from last year's state sales tax increases to property tax relief and borrowing $450 million to fund stem cell research, according to a new poll.
The Quinnipiac University poll released Monday found 66 percent of voters plan to support the November referendum, while 25 percent oppose it. The referendum calls for using the sales tax money to lower New Jersey's highest-in-the-nation property taxes………….
Voters may also be asked this November to support borrowing $450 million to provide stem cell research grants in New Jersey for 10 years. The Legislature approved the plan last month, and Corzine is expected to sign it.
The poll found 49 percent of voters support the measure, with 39 percent opposed.
It also found 71 percent support stem cell research and 65 percent support making New Jersey a national leader in the work, with support coming from 52 percent of Republicans, 79 percent of Democrats and 76 percent of independents.
Meanwhile, 68 percent disagree with President Bush's opposition to federally funded embryonic stem cell research.…………
In other matters, Richards said only 31 percent of respondents support leasing the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway, with 54 percent disapproving. Corzine, though, has said he won't propose leasing the toll roads to a private company to try to make more money off state assets.
The poll also found Corzine maintaining support among voters, with 48 percent approving of his performance and 39 percent disapproving. An April Quinnipiac poll found 51 percent supported Corzine, with 36 percent disapproving.” (Hester, AP)
IT’S JUST THE WAY HE DOES BUSINESS
“The state has given the green light for Union City to hire a media consulting firm that is owned by Mayor Brian Stack's top aide in his other elected position as state Assemblyman.
Wendy Martinez is the chief of staff in Stack's Assembly office and also owns Nuevo Jersey Consulting, which recently was awarded a $48,000 contract from Union City. Stack did not run for re-election to the Assembly this year, instead choosing to run for state Senate; in May, he won the primary to be the Democratic Party's candidate on the November ballot.
In May the state Department of Community Affairs questioned why it had not been notified by Union City of the contract – which was brought to the state's attention by a report in The Jersey Journal, an official said.” (Hack, Jersey Journal)
REMEMBERING NEWARK’S MOST PAINFUL ERA
“In the second-floor office at 415 Springfield Ave., near the corner of Bergen Street in Newark, they had been publicizing the event for weeks, printing fliers on an overworked mimeograph machine and passing them around the neighborhood.
The final flier, dated Aug. 24, 1966, described the event simply as: "Stokely is here."
Stokely Carmichael, a 25-year-old African-American, had come to national prominence earlier that year, when he helped black candidates overthrow a slate of white incumbents in Alabama's Lowndes County. Then he began touring the country preaching something he called "Black Power."
His arrival in Newark came as the city was reaching a significant demographic milestone: For the first time in its 300-year history, Newark had a black majority………….
Heading into the summer of 1967, Newark seemed primed for similar unrest. The city's application for federal funding under the Model Cities program, filed April 25, 1967, described conditions as follows:
"Among major American cities, Newark and its citizens face the highest percentage of substandard housing, the most crime per 100,000 of population, the heaviest per capita tax burden, the sharpest shifts in population and the highest rate of venereal disease, new cases of tuberculosis and maternal mortality. In addition, Newark is second among major cities in population density, second in infant mortality, second in birth rate, seventh in absolute number of drug addicts.” (Parks, Star-Ledger)
BELMAR MAYOR GETS HIS PANTIES IN A BUNCH
“BELMAR — Over the years, Mayor Kenneth E. Pringle has developed a thick skin.
As a result of the vicissitudes of small town politics, the borough's chief executive has suffered through acid thrown on the family car, been the subject of a death threat and was at one time publicly branded as "evil" by a psychologist moonlighting as an opponent's political strategist………………
Nevertheless, there is a line that cannot be crossed: Call Pringle a girl, and you're going down.
Pringle and his wife, Kathleen T. Ellis, once former Gov. James E. McGreevey's communications director, were riding their bicycles through town one night last month when a voice from the darkness called out: "Hey girls, stop and have a drink!"
The voice was Peter Bogda-nowicz, 29, an electrical engineer at Fort Monmouth, seated with a friend on the front porch of the bungalow he shares with three roommates on A Street.
Pringle circled about and pulled up in front of the stoop. A verbal altercation ensued in which Pringle summoned the police and had Bogdanowicz charged with disorderly behavior, a violation that carries a $250-$350 fine. On Tuesday, the matter will be heard before the Lake Como Municipal Court judge, who will hear the case in Belmar to avoid a conflict. Belmar's municipal judge was nominated by Pringle………..
Pringle said when he approached Bogdanowicz he intended only to admonish him with a warning about his behavior before continuing the bike ride with his wife.
"You shouldn't be yelling out at random girls at night," Pringle told Bogdanowicz after he rode up to the stoop, according to Bogdanowicz………….
A full-time resident in Belmar, Bogdanowicz said he did not recognize the mayor. Believing Pringle to be some kind of militant local who had mistaken him for a rowdy summer renter, Bogdanowicz demanded: "Who the hell are you?"” (Larsen, Asbury Park Press)
“Miss New Jersey has received a second package from someone trying to blackmail her into relinquishing her crown, her attorney said.
Anthony Caruso, an attorney representing Amy Polumbo, said he was notified about the package Saturday and that it contained a threatening letter and possibly new photographs of the 22-year-old Howell resident…………
Meanwhile, the first runner-up to Polumbo in the New Jersey pageant denied any involvement in the blackmail scheme and said she hoped the scandal wouldn't affect future competitions.
"I wish only the best for Amy and her family at this time," Ronica Licciardello told the New York Post and New York Daily News. "I hope this situation doesn't overshadow all of the good that these organizations do for society." Asked if she had anything to do with the packages mailed to Po lumbo, she replied, "No, I did not.” (Star-Ledger)
“Caruso and Polumbo, a student at Wagner College in New York, have said the photos are not lewd. He said they were taken before she thought about participating in the Miss New Jersey pageant, only the second pageant of her career. They were on a private Web site meant to be seen only by family and friends, she has said.
Giving up her crown is not out of the realm of possibilities. A spokesman for the pageant has said pageant officials are also reviewing the matter.” (Spoto, Star-Ledger)
“Pageant directors will meet Thursday to determine the fate of Miss New Jersey, Amy Polumbo, after a second package was received in a blackmail attempt against the Howell resident, a pageant spokesman said………
Sources said Polumbo, 22, is expected to make appearances today on NBC's "Today" show and Fox's "The O'Reilly Factor," following this latest development………….
"I can't tell you what I'm going to do (Thursday), but to me the first photos were something taken at a typical college party," Soifer said. "If the person was trying to be fair . . . they wouldn't have tried to put insinuating captions on them.
"We want to be fair to her (Polumbo)," said Soifer, who added he had been contacted by "Today" about Polumbo.” (Williams, Asbury Park Press)
THERE SHE GOES
“The Miss America pageant has already left this seaside resort, and now its headquarters is following suit.
Beginning today, the offices of the Miss America Organization will be located in an office park in Linwood, about six miles west of the city the pageant helped put on the map.
The organization was nearing the end of a second five-year lease with the Sheraton Atlantic City Convention Center Hotel.
"We wanted to stay in Atlantic City, but it didn't work out," organization spokeswoman Danielle Harkins told The Press of Atlantic City. "We just don't need that large a space anymore.” (AP)
“Size matters in the world of municipal boasting.
Take Atlantic County's Hamilton Township, which for years has hailed itself on stationary and signs as “New Jersey's Largest Municipality.”
But Hamilton Township residents might want to take another look at the numbers before becoming too smug with its bigness: The federal government says neighboring Galloway Township is actually larger.
U.S. Census Bureau statistics show Galloway Township beats out Hamilton Township by about two square miles. The numbers — 114.8 square miles for Galloway Township and 112.99 square miles for Hamilton Township — popped up most recently in an annual report released last month by the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization.
“I'm surprised somebody didn't check that out before,” said Joshua Rocks, who compiled the report.
Not that it would change anyone's mind in Hamilton Township.
“We're number one in land,” Hamilton Township Mayor Thomas Palmentieri said.” (Barlas, Press of Atlantic City)
GAY-STRAIGHT ALLIANCE STUDENTS FEEL DISCRIMINATED AGAINST
“Chris Domick said anti-gay slurs and racist comments were common in his school's hallways, so he made a proposal to school officials for a student club to promote tolerance. Domick, who is gay, wanted to start a gay-straight alliance, known as a GSA.
He said Lenape Valley High School officials gave him the go-ahead, but didn't support the club and took steps to undermine it — a charge the school denies.
"I noticed the atmosphere was very negative, with people being hateful to one another, even if it was jokingly," Domick, 18, said, explaining why he wanted to start a GSA. "It wasn't unsafe — but it wasn't a friendly atmosphere."
The gay-straight alliance was up and running in the fall of 2005 and former members said it had a positive impact on the school during its one year of existence. They said anti-gay slurs increased at first but then became rare. By the end of the school year, they said, teachers were more likely to respond to students using the phrase "That's so gay," which teenagers use to mean anything they consider to be stupid……………..
Former members and the club's former faculty adviser said the club had a positive impact, but they also said Lenape Valley officials placed limits on the GSA not placed on most other clubs.
They said they weren't allowed to bring in speakers and weren't allowed to use a school bus for a field trip to a state GSA convention. They said the GSA was denied a spot in the school yearbook…………….
Paul Palek Jr., the Lenape Valley Regional High School district superintendent, said he was unaware that the club wasn't allowed to have speakers. Douglas deMarrais, the school principal, said he doesn't recall that being an issue.
"I don't know if that was a misunderstanding," Palek said. (Koloff and Bruno, Daily Record)
“Across the state, most parents of hearing-impaired children are forced to pay out of pocket for hearing aids, but the high and frequent cost can be crippling to the average middle-class family.
North Jersey families have been fighting back, lobbying for a bill that would require insurance companies to partially cover the cost of hearing aids for children under 15.
Despite the support of deaf advocacy groups, education associations and several politicians, a bill known as "Grace's Law" after Grace Gleba, an 8-year-old Warren County girl with severe hearing loss, has been stalled in the state Legislature for nearly eight years…………….
"My complaint all along has been that people who are going through alcohol and drug rehabilitation get coverage, yet there's no coverage whatsoever for people who have a physical disability they can't prevent," said Stuart's father, Stuart Pace Sr., who approached Fair Lawn Councilwoman Jeanne Baratta about passing a resolution in support of the bill.” (Fabiano, Bergen Record)
“Members of the borough's environmental commission are waging a last ditch effort to remain in business as the council is set to dissolve the unpaid advisory board.
Commission members handed out over 1,200 copies this weekend of a letter urging residents to attend Wednesday's 7:30 p.m. council meeting to voice their opinions, according to Joyce Lovell, chairwoman of the environmental commission.
Lovell said she's hoping to rally enough community support to convince council to reject the ordinance.
"I don't know whether it will change council's mind," Lovell said. "It would take somebody coming in with a good argument to get them to change their current paths. But we want to let them know that there are people out there who care and would like to see the commission continue." ” (Counihan, Gloucester County Times)
“A resident of a trailer park here said he is appealing to the state a local ethics board decision that his complaint — about a Zoning Board of Adjustment member's Internet message board conduct — was "frivolous."
Paul Schlaflin, president of the Hamilton Trailer Park Homeowners Association, accused Zoning Board member Joseph Sparacio of disparaging residents at the affordable-housing park on the forum, part of a Web site affiliated with several New Jersey newspapers……………..
Sparacio said he has made comments about the trailer park, although he could not recall specifically what he has said. But Sparacio said his comments are irrelevant because his decisions as a Zoning Board member have not impacted the park. If the park came before the board for any reason, Sparacio said he now would recuse himself…………..
Schlaflin said Sparacio on the forum demanded residents provide "some justification for what appears . . . to be a free ride" and asked residents to "spread the word, Hamilton Trailer Park must go."
Schlaflin said Sparacio's comments showed "a contempt for people who don't have a lot of money." Schlaflin added he believes that attitude could unfairly influence Sparacio's Zoning Board decisions.” (Williams, Asbury Park Press)
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT – NEWS FROM THE WEEKEND
“WHEN SOMETHING IS SEPARATE, IT’S NEVER EQUAL.”
“A company that provides health care coverage to married gay couples in Massachusetts has denied the same benefits to a couple who entered a civil union in New Jersey.
United Parcel Service's decision to deny coverage to a Toms River couple boils down to a single word: New Jersey law does not call them "spouses."
"We were supposed to be treated equally. We should be treated equally," said Heather Aurand, who was denied health care coverage by UPS, which employs Aurand's civil union partner, Gabriael "Nickie" Brazier.
In its letter denying coverage, UPS said it does provide health benefits to its employees' spouses, including spouses of the same sex who are married in Massachusetts. But it said New Jersey's decision to recognize same-sex relationships as civil unions rather than marriages tied its hands.
Gay rights activists called it the starkest proof to date that New Jersey's civil union law has failed to deliver on its promise to provide all the benefits of marriage, but by a different name…………..
"This is a problem the Legislature created," added Steven Goldstein, chairman of the gay rights group Garden State Equality. "Civil unions are never in our lifetime going to be respected by employers like marriage.”……….
"I'm shocked," said Assemblyman Wilfredo Caraballo (D-Essex), who sponsored the civil union law. "We made it clear through the language and the intent that when it came to issues like this, we fully expected civil-unioned couples would be covered." (Schwaneberg, Star-Ledger)
“Another longtime UPS driver, Tom Walton of East Brunswick, said he was verbally rejected when he sought health coverage for his civil union partner, Mermon Davis. Walton, though, said he has not received a formal explanation for the decision.
"It's upsetting," Walton said. "We were told this law was going to give us the same benefits as everybody else, even though they weren't calling it marriage. It just goes to show when something is separate, it's never equal." (AP)
READ CORZINE’S LIPS
“New Jersey's tax-raising binge may be over.
While stopping short of a no-new-taxes pledge, Corzine administration officials say they want this year's budget — which reduced taxes for the first time in six years — to start a trend.
"We feel like the state's fully taxed," Treasurer Bradley Abelow said during an interview last week. "There is a strong desire not to raise taxes."……………
This year, however, the survey found only two other states — Ohio and New York — sought to reduce taxes more than New Jersey. Eighteen states proposed higher taxes this year.
Republicans say this year's tax cuts were tailored to help Democrats retain their rule over the Senate and Assembly in the fall. They predict the party will soon be back to its tax-hiking ways.
"Remember this, they passed 94 taxes. Reducing them by three or four doesn't do a hell of a lot for the state of New Jersey," said Assembly Minority Leader Alex DeCroce (R-Morris). "It's part of a feel-good budget. It's an election-year gimmick because this is a year everybody's up in the Legislature." (Donohue, Star-Ledger)
NEW JERSEYANS REJOICE AT BEING FEATURED IN AL GORE’S SLIDESHOW
“Challenging generations of naysayers who have painted the state as a toxic backwater, New Jersey yesterday adopted the country's toughest anti-global warming law, which could, over decades, reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to safe levels.
In doing so, the contingent of government, business and environmental leaders won instant accolades from former Vice President Al Gore, one of the world's best known environment advocates, who was on hand in East Rutherford to kick off the Live Earth concert series. The event, which starts today, will be staged at venues on seven continents and raise funds to combat global warming worldwide.
Standing in the shadow of Giants Stadium, one of nine concert sites worldwide, Gov. Jon Corzine signed the state's Global Warming Response Act, bringing praise from Gore.
"New Jersey will be in my slideshow," he said, referring to a PowerPoint presentation depicted in his Academy Award-winning movie, "An Inconvenient Truth," which makes the scientific case for climate change and man's role in inducing it. ” (MacPherson, Star-Ledger)
"Vice President Gore has done more than anyone to promote awareness of global warming, and I thank him for his tremendous leadership and advocacy," Corzine said. "I am proud that he will be in New Jersey to witness the signing of this legislation, which places into state law my executive order calling for some of the most sweeping reductions in greenhouse emissions in the nation." (Delli Santi, Philadelphia Inquirer)
While clearly one of the main attractions for the worldwide concerts, Gore tried to keep too much attention from being paid to his role.
"That's nice, but it's not about me," he said. "It's about the message. I think everybody understands that."
Gore turned back criticism that the concert series lacked immediate goals beyond generally raising awareness about climate change. The concerts are just the first step in a three-year public relations campaign, he said.
"I've been trying to deliver this message for 30 years, and I know that it doesn't take in just one delivery," he said. "You've got to keep going." (Schelzig, AP)
ANDREWS ON IMMIGRATION
“The Senate's failure to pass a bill that would create a path to legalization for an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the United States does not necessarily block House lawmakers from taking a piecemeal run at some of the same immigration subjects this year, according to U.S. Rep. Robert Andrews.
"Tying together the enforcement improvements and the earned path to legalization was a good political strategy that didn't work," said Andrews, D-1st Dist. "Because it didn't work, we should not postpone consideration of the enforcement tools. Just about everybody you listen to on this says that they're in favor of better enforcement … We should move ahead and do that." (Cahir, Gloucester County Times)
“NEWARK, July 6 — Four decades later, many people here still cannot agree on what to call the five nights of gunfire, looting and flames that disemboweled the geographic midsection of this city, leaving 23 people dead, injuring 700, scorching acres of property and causing deep psychic wounds that have yet to fully heal.
To the frightened white residents who later abandoned Newark by the tens of thousands, it was a riot; for the black activists who gained a toehold in City Hall in the years that followed, it was a rebellion. Those seeking neutrality have come to embrace the word disturbance.
“There is not one truth, and your view depends on your race, your age and where you lived,” said Linda Caldwell Epps, president of the New Jersey Historical Society.
The society has planned a series of panel discussions and film screenings to mark the 40th anniversary of the violence, which began the night of July 12, 1967, after false rumors spread that an African-American cabdriver had been killed by police officers after his arrest for a traffic infraction. Avoiding the semantic controversy, the society has titled a planned exhibit “What’s Going On? Newark and the Legacy of the Sixties.” (Jacobs, New York Times)
WHAT YOU KNOW BECAUSE OF OPRA
“Five years ago today, a law intended to let the public dig into New Jersey's notoriously secret government filing cabinets took effect.
Thanks to that law, the public knows: Towns in legislative districts represented by the ruling Democratic Party got nearly 90 percent of the $86 million distributed through special state grants from 2002 to 2005. Taxpayers in Linden paid nearly $100,000 last year for cellular phone bills rung up by city employees. Twenty-six of the state's 120 lawmakers had their driver's license or registration suspended at some point in their lifetime. Those are just a few of the stories reported by The Star-Ledger on the basis of records obtained under the Open Public Records Act, also known as OPRA.” (Schwaneberg, Star-Ledger)
GANNETT LAUNCHES PUBLIC INFO DATABASE
“Average residents might not know how to fill out an Open Public Records Act request form, or what types of information they're entitled to, but most are able to go online and navigate databases full of government records.
So goes the thinking that prompted Gannett New Jersey newspapers to launch Data Universe in December, offering free and instant access to scores of public information, from crime reports to campaign contributions to public employee salaries.
"It really puts the power of information at every citizen's fingertip," said Paul D'Ambrosio, investigations editor at the Asbury Park Press. "And that's a good thing in that if they have a question about their government, they can research it quickly online………….
Ed Trawinski, a Fair Lawn councilman and member of the New Jersey Foundation for Open Government, said there's no reason in this digital age why records aren't a mere click away.
"There has to be a better, more streamlined way of doing this," Trawinski said. "In this day and age of e-mails and faxes, business almost turns around documentation instantaneously. Unless there's something that's truly unduly burdensome, there have to be improvements that can be worked into the statute.” (Volpe, Gannett)
CRESTILLO’S IMMIGRATION PLANS
“Ceyda Castellanos and her 7-year-old daughter Erica were asleep when federal immigration agents came to their Morristown home an hour after sunrise on June 6.
The gun-wielding agents broke through their bedroom door, took the 7-year-old aside and questioned the girl about who lives in the home, according to Castellanos.
"She felt afraid," Castellanos said of the girl, a first-grader at the Hillcrest School. "They didn't have to do that. She was born here, she didn't have anything to do with it, and she's only a child.”
Later that morning, agents arrested Castellanos' brother Edward Castellanos at a nearby home, during a series of raids that resulted in seven arrests. Edward Castellanos and two other suspects were charged with immigration violations, and four other men face drug charges.
Local immigrants fear such raids could become more common, if Mayor Donald Cresitello succeeds in his effort to get local police deputized as federal immigration agents.
The town's application — under review by the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency — has inspired controversy far outside the town's borders. Supporters say it's a long-called-for strike against illegal immigration, while opponents fear it could lead to civil rights abuses and drive crime victims away from police protection.
If local immigrants are not committing crimes, they have nothing to worry about, according to Cresi tello.
"Our intention is not to round up illegals," Cresitello said. "Our in tention is to round up criminals, some of whom may be illegal.” (McDermott and O’Connor)
IN GLOUCESTER COUNTY
“Lawyers defending Gloucester County Freeholder Director Stephen Sweeney and other county officials in a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit say they are preparing to file to have the case dismissed.
The reason, they say, is that the accusations are nothing more than a "political shakedown."……….
Diane Kirwan-Patterson, a former top executive in the county Democrat Party, has accused the officials of punishing her with a suspension last year from her job in the Gloucester County Office of Economic Development.
She claims it was because she spurned prior sexual advances from Sweeney and James Cannon, director of personnel for Gloucester County.
Records show that Kirwan-Patterson was suspended for 32 days without pay in June 2006 for allegedly getting an agency that routinely does business with the county to pay for her hotel room during a convention in Atlantic City.
In her lawsuit, she said there is proof she paid for the room.” (McCarthy, Gloucester County Times)
STATEHOUSE FLAG MADE IN CHINA
“If the state's paying for a flag with taxpayer dollars, it better say "Made in the U.S.A."
That's the message Assemblyman Jeff Van Drew began pushing after discovering a flag in a Statehouse office that was crafted in China.
"If our own government can't fly a flag that was produced in our country, then something is wrong," said Van Drew, D-1 of Millville…………
In 2006, the bureau reported, $5.3 million worth of American flags were imported to the United States, $5 million of them from China.
Van Drew's bill, which has more than 30 co-sponsors, would make it illegal for the state to buy a foreign-made New Jersey or American flag.” (Graber, Gloucester County Times)
“If passed, a new bill winding its way through the state Legislature would limit the number of absentee ballots that can be hand-delivered by one messenger — a measure the bill's supporters say could help curtail election fraud.
But several critics in Union County say the bill misses the biggest flaw of absentee ballot voting: people don't always follow the rules.
"The laws that are in place are fine, if people are willing to follow them," said attorney Allan C. Roth, who last year represented the defendant in a Roselle election challenge based on absentee ballots. "I don't know how that's going to safeguard the process."……….
Assemblyman Jim Whelan, (D-Atlantic), the bill's primary sponsor, said limiting the number of ballots a single person may deliver would help prevent campaign workers from taking advantage of the law.” (Rothman, Star-Ledger)
CHRIS SMITH IN MOSCOW
“U.S. Rep. Chris Smith has gone to Moscow to address his concerns over human trafficking in Russia.
Smith (R-4th Dist.) is the author of America's first anti-trafficking law, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protect Act.
"Russia has made progress toward stopping the flow of trafficked persons — mostly women and children — in and out of their country by criminalizing human trafficking," Smith said in a statement is sued by his office. "But more work remains to be done and the greatest gap in their approach remains their ability to protect traffic victims."
Smith is in Moscow to encourage the Russian legislature to bolster their existing laws. Smith has visited the Angel Coalition Trafficking Victim Assistance Center in ad dition to offering guidance to Rus sian lawmakers on how to more effectively enhance their anti-trafficking legislation.” (Friedman, Trenton Times)
OLD BARRACKS MUSEUM NEEDS HELP
“As the setting for the First and Second Battles of Trenton and as a home to soldiers during the Revolutionary War, the Old Barracks Museum on Barrack Street in downtown Trenton is both a state and national historic landmark.
Each year, more than 20,000 students and 10,000 other visitors watch living-history programs at the 249-year-old site, which was built in 1758 to house troops during the French and Indian War. Year- round lectures, concerts, exhibits and special events also spotlight New Jersey's role in early American history.
But the Old Barracks Museum's level of state funding only covers fundamentals such as salaries and benefits and the purchase of basic supplies for programs. Earlier this year, the museum was forced to close for two months due to a budget shortfall. Additional private and corporate donations are needed to help preserve and expand this piece of history.
The Times-Roma Bank Preservation Campaign for the Old Barracks Museum begins today with the goal of raising $75,000 by Sept. 2. Roma Bank, a longtime supporter of the Old Barracks, has pledged to match $37,500 raised by the community, challenging people to be generous in this effort to help secure Trenton's place in history.” (Pellichero, Trenton Times)
THE BATTLE FOR FORT MONMOUTH
“Maryland's victory in the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure round is squeezing the state's ability to afford the spoils, and its congressional delegation is asking for more federal money to subsidize the job boom the state lobbied to get.
In the two years since state officials touted Maryland's readiness to accept Fort Monmouth's mission, state planners have identified at least $16 billion in unfunded infrastructure improvements necessary to accommodate the largest job influx since World War II………..
If Fort Monmouth closes as scheduled in 2011, New Jersey also will lose an estimated $3.3 billion the post contributes annually to the state economy. Maryland, however, expects the results of the 2005 BRAC round to pump nearly $10 billion into its economy……
Rep. Frank J. Pallone Jr., D-N.J., said he wasn't surprised that Maryland is now asking for federal help.
"What happens with BRAC is that they make their case and try and say it's not going to cost them anything, and then when the decision is made they go back and ask for everything imaginable," Pallone said. "That's what you're getting.” (Brown, Asbury Park Press)
SAFE HAVEN LAW
“Monroe Township police dispatcher Joe Colavita will never forget the teenage girl who entered the department in 2003 with a bundle in her arms, and slid a note under the bullet-proof glass.
"It said, I'm in trouble and I'm going to leave this baby,'" he recalled.
But Colavita persuaded the teenager to wait with the hours-old infant at the department on Williamstown Road until an ambulance arrived.
During those few minutes, the girl revealed that she had planned to drop the little boy in a Dumpster at the Heritage's store nearby, but at the last minute changed her mind…………
“The state's Safe Haven law was enacted to provide women with an avenue for turning over unwanted children safely. It came after a string of abandonments and on the heels of a high-profile infant killing by a young woman dubbed the "prom mom."
Seven years later, the law has saved 33 babies who may have otherwise turned up like the child Melissa Drexler gave birth to at a Monmouth County prom in 1997 and stuffed in a trash can.” (Graber, Star-Ledger)
IN ESTELL MANOR
“Tempers flared between big rivals in this small town June 27 after a verbal dust-up between the mayor and members of City Council left the town's top official censured — and his attendance at future meetings in doubt.
The war of words erupted between longtime political rivals Mayor Joseph Venezia and Councilman Creed Pogue and focused on the limits to the authority of the mayor's personnel committee, which consists of himself and Councilman John Baker.
“You are nothing but a troublemaker, Mr. Pogue,” Venezia said as he abruptly left the June 27 meeting. “Now go ahead and run the meeting and run your mouth like you always do……………
“You are impossible to deal with,” Venezia said. “Why don't you explain why you're not the mayor, Mr. Pogue?”
“Because you're a liar,” Pogue replied.” (Dunford, Press of Atlantic City)
IN WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP
“A local lawyer petitioning for a tighter ban on the political practice known as "pay-to-play" said he must have at least 1,311 signatures of registered township voters by Aug. 2 or else months of effort will be lost.
Josh Aronovitch and members of the grassroots group Democracy for Gloucester County have collected at least 900 signatures since the spring in support of a stronger ban on the shunned practice of awarding municipal contracts to campaign contributors.” (Beym, Gloucester County Times)
“The township's free movies in the park may be costing taxpayers more than they think and council members are demanding to know why.
A recent advertisement sent by the township listing the schedule for its annual summer Movies Under the Stars events cost nearly $7,000 to send to every township household.” (Isherwood, Trenton Times)
IN ATLANTIC CITY
“A former city truck driver reportedly fired for helping ex-Public Works Director David Callaway tidy up his Pleasantville home with a municipal truck and worker told the resort he may sue for wrongful termination.
David Thomas, 31, said in the claim he seeks $1.3 million. He named Mayor Bob Levy, Business Administrator Domenic Cappella, Solicitor Kim Baldwin and Callaway.” (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)
IN ATLANTIC CITY
“Resort residents said they plan to hold a rally later this month to protest against both “crime and police brutality.”
The event is planned for 6 to 9 p.m. July 27 in the community room of the Stanley S. Holmes Village housing complex, at Kentucky and Adriatic avenues. Residents in the complex and in other neighborhoods have complained that some newer resort police officers have acted disrespectfully while on calls.
Residents said some officers have used racial slurs while others joked about residents who live in public housing.” (Harper, Press of Atlantic City)
“Newly appointed township manager Thomas Czerniecki doesn't officially take the post until the end of August, but he's not waiting to begin as the top municipal administrator here.
The Eastampton resident met Friday with Ed Sasdelli and Bob Morley, the current township manager and deputy manager, to start the transition.” (Camilli, Burlington County Times)
“The New Jersey Department of State earlier this week awarded this city thousands of dollars in grant money to help update its aging and inefficient record-keeping systems.
City administrators initially applied for a $42,000 grant through the state's Public Archives and Records Infrastructure Support, or PARIS, program. It was awarded only $24,900.” (Martins, Press of Atlantic City)