Morning News Digest: Thursday, December 18, 2008

Former N.J. lawmaker is indicted on child-pornography charges

Former Assemblyman and longtime Union County Democratic leader Neil Cohen was indicted Wednesday on child pornography and official misconduct charges after a lengthy investigation into his use of computers at a state office earlier this year. (Josh Margolin, Star-Ledger)

Corzine: I met Madoff only in ‘social settings'

Gov. Jon Corzine said yesterday he knows Bernard Madoff, the accused Wall Street Ponzi scheme operator, but stressed it was only in "social settings" and that he was never a close associate. (Tom Hester, Star-Ledger)

Some defend affordable-housing deadline

As Gov. Jon Corzine considers asking the state Council on Affordable Housing to extend the Dec. 31 deadline for 214 towns to submit plans for providing affordable houses and apartments, a coalition of housing advocates argues that the action is unnecessary. (Tom Hester, Star-Ledger)

Lawrence councilman quits to avoid conflict

LAWRENCE-After being forced out of an East Orange housing job in 2007 because it conflicted with his duties as an elected official, Mark Holmes has resigned as Lawrence mayor to continue a similar housing job with Asbury Park. (Chris Sturgis, Trenton Times)

Grand jury to hear charge of attempt to bribe Hanover mayor

The case against a Blairstown man who allegedly attempted to bribe the mayor of Hanover Township with $20,000 cash to get his property rezoned so he could build a retail store is scheduled to be heard by a grand jury, Superior Court officials said Wednesday. (Jake Remaly, Daily Record)

N.J.'s unemployment hits its highest rate in 12 years

TRENTON (AP) — Unemployment in New Jersey climbed to its highest level in 12 years in November. (Associated Press)

Tax collections continue to fall

TRENTON – State tax collections fell more than 9 percent short of projections in November for the second straight month, bringing the year-to-date shortfall to $459 million and raising fears the budget deficit may grow even larger than expected. (Michael Symons, Gannett)

Lance's golden endorsement

In an otherwise tough year for Republicans, Congressman-elect Leonard Lance (R-Flemington) gave the party a much-needed victory in the Garden State. Now, a year after being ousted from his post as state Senate minority leader, Lance has built up considerable political capital. (

Governor signs bill to help small businesses in urban enterprise zones

As part of his economic recovery effort, Gov. Jon Corzine today signed legislation designed to make it easier for small businesses to operate in New Jersey 32 so-called urban enterprise zones. (Tom Hester, The Star-Ledger)

New Jersey Unveils Bold Climate Change Plan

On Tuesday president-elect Barack Obama officially selected former New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Lisa Jackson to head the EPA. Simultaneously the NJ DEP and Gov. John Corzine released a far-reaching global warming plan developed largely by Commissioner Jackson and her staff.

Karrow touts Warren County support

In the 23rdLegislative District's battle of endorsements, assemblywoman and state senate candidate Marcia Karrow (R-Flemington) today announced the support of nine mayors from Warren County municipalities. ( Morning News Digest: Thursday, December 18, 2008