Morning News Digest: August 31, 2009

Give public its money's worth with debates

In New Jersey, if you’re going to take taxpayer dollars to fund your campaign, you must be willing to face both the public and your opponents in a mediated debate … If you don’t take public funding, though, you don’t have to participate in the debates. That means Republican Chris Christie and independent Chris Daggett are in, but Democrat Jon Corzine, who opted out of public financing, can do what he wants. In mid-August, Corzine said he would “be involved” in the debates. Now, it appears that Corzine may only be involved if all the debates are held in late October. (Murray, Asbury Park Pres)

N.J. hospitals must disclose more about medical errors

New Jersey hospitals will soon have to make public more detailed information on medical errors. (AP)

Seventy-eight N.J. corrections workers fired in 2008

The state Department of Corrections fired 78 officers and civilian employees last year for infractions that included improper relationships with inmates, possessing drugs and simply not showing up to work, according to records and officials. (Megerian, The Star-Ledger)

Budget for vocational program scrutinized

Bergen County Executive Schools Superintendent Aaron Graham is still examining the county Technical School District's evening vocational program budget after a school administrator and union official questioned a $4 million "support services" line item. His inquiry into the matter began in July. (The Record)

Mixed reviews for Dem chief

When Michael Kasparian took over as chairman of the Bergen County Democratic Organization eight months ago, the party's finances were a shambles, the previous chairman had just been indicted by a federal grand jury, and a hotly contested gubernatorial race loomed on the horizon. (Gartland, The Record)

A fight for 2 Assembly seats in 3d N.J. Disrict

The race for two state Assembly seats in District Three pits two conservative Republicans who lack full party support against two Democratic incumbents, including the district's first female legislator. (Hefler, Inquirer)

N.J. residents tell Gadhafi he's not welcome

More than 200 people gathered yesterday to show Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi that he's not welcome in their North Jersey community, including several who lost relatives in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. (Epstein, Inquirer)

New Jersey license plate policy lands in court

If you treasure New Jersey's trees, support Rutgers football or buy local produce, the state has a license plate just for you. (Fuchs, Gloucester County Times) Help still wanted at New Jersey shore To the long-gone summer servers and kitchen helpers, Betty Buonopane was a motherly shoulder to cry on, a giver of advice, a soother of young adults. (Ianieri, Press of Atlantic City)

'Unfamiliar movement' prompts helicopter's beach landing in Atlantic City

A helicopter-tour pilot landed on the Florida Avenue beach Sunday evening after he felt the craft moving strangely 400 feet above the Boardwalk, said Bob Conti, the owner of Steel Pier Helicopters. (Campbell, Press of Atlantic City)

Camden police ask immigrants to report crimes

Seeking to improve the relationship between law enforcement and the immigrant community, Camden Police Chief Scott Thomson and Camden Churches Organized for People will meet tonight to talk about crime prevention and victims' rights. (Hirsch, Asbury Park Press)

Monroe high school on time, on budget

The new Monroe Township High School — expected to open in 2011 — is now more than half built, according to a school official. (Sparta, Courier News)

Proliferation of gambling puts A.C. on notice

When a federal court gutted Delaware's sports betting scheme last week, the gambling industry's watchers and players began puzzling over the financial impact on the state. (Chalmers, Courier-Post)

Coughlin: 'I don't think Judge Rodriguez knows the district as well as I do'

Born in South Amboy to a factory worker father who worked at the Perth Amboy Chevron company, a resident of Woodbridge with family in all of the towns over here, Craig Coughlin considers himself a diehard blue collar creation of the 19th District. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) Morning News Digest: August 31, 2009