Morning News Digest: August 7, 2009

N.J. credit rating maintained despite concerns from Standard & Poor's

Another Wall Street ratings agency is raising concerns about New Jersey's high debt burden and growing unfunded pension liability, but has decided not to lower the state's credit rating or credit outlook in response. (Reitmeyer, The Star-Ledger)

Ex-Assemblyman Neil Cohen's aide to avoid jail time in campaign funds case

Despite a state prosecutor's objections, Rosemary McClave — who was indicted on charges of stealing campaign funds while working for former Assemblyman Neil Cohen — will enter a pretrial intervention program and avoid possible jail time. (Megerian, The Star-Ledger)

N.J. investigators to review Essex County computers in election-fraud probe

Investigators spent several hours today copying the contents of computer hard-drives at Essex County's Hall of Records in connection with a widening election-fraud probe. (Read, The Star-Ledger)

Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith to remain in office despite calls for resignation

Calling the presumption of innocence a fundamental right, Assemblyman L. Harvey Smith refused to resign from office today despite his arrest in a bribery scandal that has roiled state politics since last month. (Mueller, The Star-Ledger)

Protesters met by supporters of Ridgefield mayor

Ridgefield politics took a turn for the theatrical on Thursday as a crowd of 40 protesters marched on Mayor Anthony Suarez’s house demanding his resignation — and were met by the mayor’s supporters. (Van Dusen, The Record)

North Jersey Latinos hail Sotomayor's confirmation

Whether too young for nightclubs or old enough for senior discounts, whether male or female or Democrat or Republican, Latinos around the state hailed the confirmation of the first Hispanic Supreme Court justice Thursday. (Llorente, The Record)

N.J. agency rules officer was justified in using force

A Willingboro police officer was justified in the use of deadly force against a 15-year-old student, according to the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, authorities announced yesterday. The decision concurred with findings by the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office. (Rao, The Inquirer)

Auditor warns oversight of stimulus aid needed

The state auditor has raised red flags about how efficiently Camden, Atlantic City, and others will manage millions of federal stimulus dollars, in light of recent accounting and fiscal problems. (Tamari, The Inquirer)

Explosives found in N.J. town, authorities say

The New Jersey state police bomb squad and other law enforcement agencies found what they believed to be explosives in a car in Hammonton yesterday, authorities said. (The Inquirer)

Gov. Corzine signs new law limiting New Jersey gun purchases

Gov. Jon Corzine signed a controversial bill into law Thursday limiting handgun purchases to one every 30 days, a measure aimed at slowing the supply of firearms to criminals. (Graber, Gloucester County Times)

Pleasantville, Wildwood hope to keep police officers hired with grants

A government grant is not an endless supply of free money, especially when it creates jobs. (Campbell, Press of Atlantic City)

Police, fire and courts: Ticking in van gives Atlantic CIty's Bomb Squad a chill

The van with Canadian tags parked for days drew concern. The ticking that police heard coming from inside drew the Bomb Squad. (Press of Atlantic City) Survey: More New Jerseyans are buckling up More than nine in 10 New Jersey motorists are using seat belts. (AP)

South River woman admits taking bribes for issuing permits in Jersey City

A South River woman admitted in federal court Thursday to extorting payments from contractors while working as a supervisor for permits and connection fees for the Jersey City Municipal Utilities Authority. (Serrano, Courier News)

Plainfield High School's 'persistently dangerous' label dropped by state department

After in 2008 becoming New Jersey's first school in two years to be labeled "persistently dangerous" by the state Department of Education, Plainfield High School has dropped the tag at its first instance of eligibility. (Spivey, Courier News)

Corzine hails handgun law

Gov. Jon S. Corzine signed legislation Thursday that limits an individual's handgun purchases to one every 30 days and made clear he'll feature the issue prominently in this year's gubernatorial campaign. (Symons, Courier-Post)

Weinberg demands transparency from Christie

Stymied in their repeated attemts to obtain public information about Chris Christie from the U.S. Attorney's Office, the Corzine campaign wants Christie himself to intervene and help deliver need-to-know info, a move the Democrats argue would square the former U.S. Attorney with the GOP candidate advertised. (Pizarro, PolitickerNJ) Morning News Digest: August 7, 2009