Morning News Digest: June 15, 2009

New Jersey may change state's alternative graduation exam

Elizabeth High School students Hassan Williams and Vanessa Arias spent time in after-school classes and studying over lunch this year, a bid to graduate with the rest of their class. (Alloway, The Star-Ledger)

N.J. lawmaker seeks to heal political rift over high cost of certain drugs

A high-stakes and emotional dispute over the future of the nation's $100 billion biopharmaceutical industry has exposed a rift among Democratic House leaders — with a New Jersey lawmaker trying to find a compromise solution. (Braun, The Star-Ledger)

Parishioners in Newark protest priest's removal from church rectory

When the bells rang at St. Lucy's this morning, hundreds of people did not go inside. Instead they marched outside, hoping to persuade an archbishop to allow a priest to continue living at the church. (Drobness, The Star-Ledger)

N.J. Assembly may consider disaster preparedness bill

New Jersey already has detailed plans in place to quickly evacuate large numbers of people in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster. (AP)

New Jersey to adopt tougher standards for high school students

Nearly 100,000 students will graduate from New Jersey's public high schools this month, marching across football fields, gymnasiums or arenas in the warm June twilight, collecting diplomas in one of the most important milestones of their young lives. (Rundquist, The Star-Ledger)

Englewood passes $60.5 million budget

The Englewood City Council adopted a $60.5 million budget for 2009 — up 3.6 percent from last year’s $58.4 million budget. (Fabiano, The Record)

Stile: Christie takes a shot at past GOP governors

Not surprisingly, Christopher Christie, the Republican nominee for governor, has plenty of harsh things to say about Governor Corzine lately. (Stile, The Record)

Paterson cuts summer recreation funds

Some parents are worried recent cuts to the Paterson’s summer recreation budget will leave their children without a place to go to camp. (Mandell, The Record)

Municipal budget reviews slowed by furloughs, pension deferrals

It's taking longer than usual for the state to finalize its review of municipal budgets, the result of an influx of pension deferral applications and staff shortages due to state-mandated furloughs. (Counihan, Gloucester County Times)

County GOP aims for resurrgence

A change in leadership last week for Gloucester County's Republican organization is the beginning, some say, of a revitalization. (McCarthy, Gloucester County Times)

Recovery Zone stimulus means jobs, N.J. officials say

A federal stimulus program detailed in Washington yesterday will create thousands of jobs in South Jersey by pouring millions of dollars into building and infrastructure projects, officials said yesterday. (Spolar, The Inquirer)

Two held in A.C. voter fraud

David Callaway and Floyd Tally, awaiting trial in the alleged blackmailing of an Atlantic City councilman with a sex videotape, were charged unexpectedly yesterday with voter fraud in last week's Democratic mayoral primary. (Parry, AP)

N.J. debt-collection act closer to reality

The first call came in late April. Megan Duffy, a 21-year-old college student, picked up the phone at her parents' home in Belmar, N.J., and heard the voice of a debt collector. (DeMarco, The Inquirer)

Manalapan moves to repeal sex offender law

The township is moving forward with plans to repeal its sex-offender residency law, following the state Supreme Court's decision in May that struck local laws restricting where offenders may live. (Boyd, Asbury Park Press)

Middletown sets hearing on land buy

As the population of people diagnosed with autism exploded in recent years, a group of Middletown parents found that much of the discussion and data centered on children with the developmental disorder. (Penton, Asbury Park Press)

Milgram seems determined to get voter-fraud conviction in Atlantic City

Annette Ortiz described Atlantic City’s messenger ballot process in a matter-of-fact way. (Clark, Press of Atlantic City)

More Central Jersey families have opportunity to get insurance for children

Area families stuck in neutral in their attempts to get health insurance for children now have a chance to move to the fast lane. (Lausch, Courier News)

Jersey gas prices climb, still fourth cheapest nationally

It's costing New Jersey motorists more at the gasoline pump, but drivers in neighboring states are still paying higher prices. (AP)–still-fourth-cheapest-nationally

Daggett argues that Christie's NJEA pass and Corzine's CWA deal prove his point

Campaigning at the Belmar Seafood Festival on Saturday, Chris Daggett said Chris Christie's refusal to pursue an endorsement by the New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) and Gov. Jon Corzine's deal with the Communications Workers of America (CWA) epitomize entrenched problems with the two main parties and augment the argument for his independent gubernatorial candidacy. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) Morning News Digest: June 15, 2009