Morning News Digest: December 17, 2012

Hearts and prayers go out to Connecticut shooting victims

SEA BRIGHT – Gov. Chris Christie said today that residents’ hearts and prayers are with the people of Connecticut who are suffering in the wake of a mass shooting in the Newtown School District today.

“Ten days before Christmas is unthinkable,” Christie said about the Connecticut school massacre that claimed more than 25 lives

(Minhaj Hassan;

Holt calls for tighter gun control

Following the Connecticut school shooting massacre today that claimed almost 30 lives, U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) called for greater gun control.

“We can’t just keep saying, ‘Our hearts ache for the victims and their families,'” said Holt. “We have to bring gun violence under control. Of course we are all horrified by today’s violence in Connecticut. Such tragedies are always senseless, but it is especially sickening to see gunfire turned against children in a place of learning.

(Max Pizarro;

From the Back Room

Bianchi canned as Morris County prosecutor

Morris County Prosecutor Robert A. Bianchi, a holdover since his term expired in June, was abruptly removed and replaced today by Gov. Chris Christie’s nominee, attorney Fredric M. Knapp, who was sworn in as acting county prosecutor, according to a report in the Daily Record.

(Politicker Staff)


Rice’s loss could be Menendez’s gain

When US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration as the next Secretary of State, she turned Washington, D.C.’s attention to U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.).

The chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is widely reported to be the most likely next choice to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Latest from State Street Wire

Shore businesses heartbeat of economy

SEA BRIGHT – Gov. Chris Christie said today a survey has been created for businesses to provide feedback on how they could get their businesses up and running as soon as possible after Sandy
(Minhaj Hassan;

Updated building elevation maps on FEMA site

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will have available on its web site Saturday updated maps with recommendations on building elevations that residents can use in their efforts to rebuild after super storm Sandy.

The maps, which will involve the 10 N.J. coastal counties, are advisories, FEMA officials said, but can be used as businesses and residents rebuild.

(Bill Mooney; State Street Wire)

Obama struggles for words at Newtown ceremony

NEWTOWN, CONN. – He spoke for a nation in sorrow, but the slaughter of all those little boys and girls left President Barack Obama, like so many others, reaching for words. Alone on a spare stage after the worst single day of his presidency, the commander in chief was a parent in grief.

“I am very mindful that mere words cannot match the depth of your sorrow, nor can they heal your wounded hearts,” Obama said at an evening vigil in the grieving community of Newtown, Conn. “I can only hope that it helps for you to know that you are not alone in your grief.”


(Associated Press)

Democratic senators will challenge Christie’s appointment in Morris County

Two Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee said today that Gov. Chris Christie’s move to make Fredric Knapp the acting Morris County prosecutor will be challenged.

State Sen. Raymond Lesniak (D-Union) called Christie’s move “a constitutional violation to be decided by the courts.”

(Ben Horowitz; The Star Ledger)



Tax hikes will come to New Jersey


If you are walking along a city street and a falling piano is about to land on your head, you owe a debt of gratitude to the guy who screams a warning.

So give it up for Paul Volcker, the Federal Reserve chairman who whipped inflation, and Richard Ravitch, the fixer who helped save New York City from bankruptcy.

(Tom Moran; The Star Ledger)




New Jersey lawmakers call for gun control


Several federal lawmakers from New Jersey have joined President Obama’s call for “meaningful action” on gun safety following the Friday shooting that killed 20 first graders in Connecticut and left eight adults dead, including the 20-year-old shooter and his mother.


(Steve Strunsky; The Star Ledger)


Gunman’s mother kept home life details hidden

NEWTOWN, Conn. — At the bar, everybody knew her name.

Nancy Lanza was the one who, if she heard you were short on cash, regularly offered to pick up the tab at My Place.

Two or three nights a week, Lanza — the mother of the gunman in Connecticut’s horrific school massacre — came in for carryout salads, but stayed for Chardonnay and good humor. The divorced mother of two — still smooth-skinned and ash blonde at 52 — clearly didn’t have to work, but was always glad




New Jersey seeks snow plow operators

TRENTON — New Jersey’s Department of Transportation has sent out the call for snowplow operators.

The state is seeking truckers with commercial driver’s licenses who have six- to eight-ton dump trucks that can accommodate a snowplow or tailgate unit for salt spreading.

(Associated Press)

Bills to cut red tape before Assembly

Assembly taking up bills to end a fine, speed up permits and create jobs.

Lawmakers are pushing forward with their agenda to reduce businesses’ time and expense in dealing with government.

Two bills up for a full vote in the Assembly today would scrap fines for clerical errors made by applicants on state forms and would put all public notices of rule changes and meetings online. Another proposal would require each state agency to review and possibly change the way it issues permits to speed up the process

(Juliet Fletcher; The Record)


Buono starts gubernatorial campaign

TRENTON — Sen. Barbara Buono of Metuchen, the first Democrat to enter New Jersey’s 2013 governor’s race, offers obvious contrasts to the popular Republican governor she wants to challenge in November.

(Angela Della Santi; The Associated Press)


State and federal agencies to hold Sandy forum’

TRENTON — A host of state and federal agencies are scheduled to appear at a forum this week in New Jersey to discuss Superstorm Sandy-related health issues.

(Associated Press)

Christie looks ready for primetime; but is it ready for him

If Governor Christie had a choice, he would have spent the entirety of last week’s appearance on “The Daily Show” sharing intimate details of his recent “man hug” blessing from his idol, Bruce Springsteen.

(Charles Stile; the Record) Morning News Digest: December 17, 2012