Morning News Digest: April 9, 2009

$34M deal awarded for N.J.-NYC rail tunnel

TRENTON — NJ Transit will pay a Newark-based firm $34 million to oversee construction of a commuter rail tunnel between Manhattan and northern New Jersey. The agency's Board of Directors approved the contract with CM Consortium on Wednesday. (AP)

Corzine fills city schools vacancy

Gov. Jon S. Corzine has appointed a 23-year city resident who has experience in economic development, fundraising, administration and consulting to the Camden Board of Education. Wednesday's action fills a post that was vacant almost six months. (Gidjunis, Courier-Post)

Veto urged for toxic cleanup bill

TRENTON Environmentalists called on Gov. Jon S. Corzine Wednesday to veto a bill that would hand off the cleanup of contaminated sites from the state to private contractors, calling the measure dangerous, unconstitutional, and a move that could lead to future cases like Kiddie Kollege. (Graber, Gloucester County Times)

State reverses on $3G fines for bowling alleys

The Legalized Games of Chance Control Commission, a division of the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, voted Wednesday to suspend the $3,000 penalties it had levied against 59 bowling alleys in the state for conducting 50/50 raffles in violation of the Raffles Licensing Law. (Driscoll, Gloucester County Times)

Wright says Lonegan campaign should worry about cutting taxes, not spying on him

New Jersey Republicans can rest easy, as Assembly Republican Executive Director Rick Wright did have a John McCain sign on his front lawn this autumn after all – even if the yard space was shared with a Barack Obama sign. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ)

Sweeney would consider LG, believes Lonegan can defeat Christie in GOP primary

With South Jersey’s rolling ten-year headline to finally take over the state diminished somewhat by U.S. Rep. Rob Andrew’s (D-Haddon Heights) doomed run for the Senate, then redeemed when U.S. Rep. John Adler (D-Cherry Hill) won later the same year, a lot of establishment eyes turned to state Sen. Majority Leader Steve Sweeney (D-Bridgeton) as the most likely South Jersey Democrat to make a statement this year, and in the process, further embolden the South Jersey Democratic Organization. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ)

Residents call for more oversight for Jersey City's Division of Animal Control

About a half dozen people spoke before the City Council tonight to urge them to adopt two ordinances that would create more oversight for the city's Division of Animal Control. (Clark, Jersey Journal)

John Solecki returns to family in South Orange after Pakistan abduction

After being held hostage for 61 days by Pakistani militants, his hands and feet bound and his life under constant threat, John Solecki found himself taking a familiar walk around his parents' South Orange home today. (Giambusso, Star-Ledger)

N.J. getting $86 million in homeland security funds

New Jersey will receive $86 million in new federal homeland security funding, New Jersey Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. announced today. Pascrell said the money will be used to protect the Garden State's chemical plants, ports, rails and other infrastructure. (AP)

Top N.J. higher education official to join Obama administration

Jane Oates, one of Trenton's leading higher education officials, has been nominated to join the Obama Administration at the U.S. Department of Labor, the White House announced today. (Whitley, Star-Ledger)

Newark council president's aide sentenced for accepting bribes

The former chief of staff to the Newark city council president was sentenced today to four years and three months in federal prison after being caught in a statewide bribery sting. (Ryan, Star-Ledger)

Same-sex marriage opponents target N.J. in $1.5M ad campaign

A national organization that opposes same-sex marriage is targeting New Jersey in a $1.5 million advertising campaign, launched today on broadcast and cable television. (Reitmeyer, Star-Ledger)

Judge: Ex-Sen. Coniglio's lawyer can't argue lawmaker was target of political prosecution

A federal judge today denied a request from Joseph Coniglio's lawyer to argue to the jury that the former Democratic state senator was the target of a political prosecution by ex-U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie. (Ryan, Star-Ledger)

Colleagues back Coniglio as trial testimony wraps up

Testimony ended today in the federal corruption trial of Joseph Coniglio with two former state Senate colleagues buttressing the ex-lawmaker’s contention that he had no hand in securing millions of dollars in state grants for Hackensack University Medical Center while on its payroll as a consultant. (Sampson, Record)

NJ Transit closer to building 2nd commuter rail tunnel

NJ Transit took another significant step toward building a second commuter rail tunnel to New York City today, agreeing to pay $34 million for a construction manager. The Board of Directors' approval, however, was ripped by critics who say the tunnel is poorly designed and ill-conceived. (Davis, Record)

Project begins to eliminate Marlton Circle

One of South Jersey's most dangerous intersections is set to be transformed after state and local officials broke ground on a $63 million project yesterday. The project would eliminate the Marlton Circle, which links Routes 70 and 73. (Rao, Inquirer)

N.J., U.S. officials probing fairness of ticket brokers

TRENTON – The Texas company has roughly 100 computers and its own software programs that buy concert tickets in bulk the instant they're available. A broker prearranges to buy the tickets from the company and sells them at a markup. (Segall, AP)

Oyster Creek nuclear plant gets 20-year license renewal

LACEY TOWNSHIP, N.J. – The nation's oldest nuclear power plant was granted a new license yesterday that will allow it to operate for 20 more years. (Parry, AP)

Oyster Creek OK'd for another 20 years

LACEY — After four years of public hearings, special meetings, litigation and debate, the Oyster Creek Generating Station in Forked River received its license renewal from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission this afternoon. The decision made formal an announcement by the NRC on April 1 that the 40-year-old power plant owned by Exelon Corp. would receive a new license to operate. The current license expires tomorrow. (Vosseller, APP)

Corzine announces $27 million for Cumberland County infrastructure

MILLVILLE — Gov. Jon S. Corzine announced Wednesday that while Cumberland County was the only county in the state to miss out on federal stimulus money, its infrastructure needs will not be overlooked by the state. (Van Embden, Press of Atlantic City) Morning News Digest: April 9, 2009