Morning News Digest: June 19, 2009

Christie Aims at Democrats Unhappy With Poor Schools

He’s white, he’s conservative, and his support is strongest in New Jersey’s suburbs, where the public schools include some of the nation’s best. Yet Christopher J. Christie, the Republican candidate for governor, is hunting for votes in cities like Newark, Camden and Trenton, where Democrats routinely pile up big margins, but where black and Hispanic parents are increasingly running out of patience with the public schools, among the nation’s worst. A battered economy, rising unemployment and tax increases are expected to be the major focus of this year’s campaign for governor, as Mr. Christie seeks to oust Gov. Jon S. Corzine. But what could emerge as the sleeper issue is Mr. Christie’s push for education reform: merit pay for teachers, more charter schools, and above all, vouchers as a way to give poor and minority children better educational choices and create competition that would improve the public schools. (Halbfinger, New York Times)

Windfall expected from tax amnesty program

A $617 million budget bonanza disclosed today, hours before the Legislature was to vote on the state spending plan, wasn't completely found money. (Young, The Star-Ledger)

N.J. Senate passes bill expanding coverage of therapy for developmentally disabled children

State-regulated insurance companies would be required to cover screenings and any medically necessary therapies for children with autism and other developmental disabilities, under a bill the Senate passed unanimously today. (Livio, The Star-Ledger)

N.J. Senate passes bill requiring hospitals to publicly disclose mistakes affecting patients

For the first time, hospitals would have to publicly disclose certain mistakes they made that jeopardized patient health and safety, under a bill that earned final legislative approval today in the Senate. (Livio, The Star-Ledger)

Tax amnesty windfall may restore property tax rebates this fall for some N.J. residents

A surprise windfall from a tax amnesty program may restore property tax rebates this fall for New Jerseyans earning up to $75,000, Gov. Jon Corzine and state lawmakers said today. (Heininger and Reitmeyer, The Star-Ledger)

Residents speak out against Valley Hospital expansion plan

Valley Hospital’s towering expansion will bring years of construction, clogged roadways and deflated property values to the village, residents complained to Planning Board members weighing changes to the master plan. (Layton, The Record)

Squabble over school board attorney continues

The feud over who should represent the school district on legal matters continues with no apparent end in sight. (Yoo, The Record)

Medical error bill goes to Corzine

Certain errors made in hospitals – such as surgery performed on the wrong body part or a medical tool left inside a patient after a procedure – would have to be disclosed to the public, under a bill given final legislative approval by the state Senate Thursday. (Graber, Gloucester County Times)

Vote on state budget delayed in wake of $400M revenue windfall

Gov. Jon S. Corzine announced Thursday that the state got a cash windfall of at least $400 million from its tax amnesty program, a development that halted a scheduled vote on his austere $28.6 billion budget so that lawmakers can decide how to use the money. (Graber, Gloucester County Times)

Boy sides with Brazilian relatives in N.J. custody battle

Sean Goldman, the focus of an international custody battle between his father, David Goldman of Monmouth County, N.J., and his mother's family in Brazil, has told a psychologist he doesn't want to return to the United States. (Muzell, The Inquirer)

Municipal workers rally as contracts near expiration

Several hundred unionized municipal workers crammed into LOVE Park at the close of the workday yesterday to warn Mayor Nutter that they are in no mood to give up anything in their contracts. (Gelbart, The Inquirer)

Others closely watch fallout from police mergers

Three years ago, Woodlynne dismantled its police force and arranged for Collingswood to provide patrols, for a fee. Audubon Park had negotiated a similar arrangement with Audubon in 2004. (Hefler, The Inquirer)

Redistricting riles Howell parents

With 264 Southard Elementary students expected to join their student body next year, Aldrich Elementary parents are beginning to wave a red flag. (Gladden, Asbury Park Press)

Developer in Lakewood wants to open age-restricted community to younger people

A developer asked the Township Committee tonight to permit a zoning change that would void a senior community's age-restriction status in order to attract younger family-oriented homebuyers and stave off hits from the poor economy. (Patberg, Asbury Park Press)

n Atlantic City, 'Dr. Feel Good' dealt drugs from office, DEA says

His prescription pad says Dr. Manuel Nigalan, but many knew the man as "Dr. Feel Good," according to a 65-page complaint that paints the picture of a drug dealer with a medical license. (Cohen, Press of Atlantic City)

Edison unveils proposed budget outlook

The township administration's budget outlook for fiscal year 2010 shows a projected municipal tax rate increase of 2.25 percent. (Courier News)

Amnesty develops into tax windfall

New Jersey is on course to collect $500 million more in back taxes than state officials anticipated from its tax amnesty program, and Gov. Jon S. Corzine and lawmakers say they will use that windfall to reverse cuts in property tax relief. (Symons, Courier-Post)

Bryant sentence due July 23

The U.S. Attorney's office announced Thursday the sentencing for former state Sen. Wayne Bryant has been scheduled for July 23. (Mast, Courier-Post)

Giuliani courts Bloomberg in search of Christie endorsement

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani is trying to talk current Mayor Michael Bloomberg into endorsing Chris Christie for governor of New Jersey, and Bloomberg may be listening. (Friedman, PolitickerNJ) Morning News Digest: June 19, 2009