Inside one of N.J.'s last Black-owned bookstores, where ‘your Black is beautiful’

Posted Feb 14, 2020

This story is part of a new NJ.com series: “Black in N.J.,” which celebrates Black culture in the Garden State and seeks to further discussion about issues facing New Jersey’s Black community.

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When you walk into Source of Knowledge in Newark, you’re in a space that is unapologetically Black.

Incense burns. Soulful music plays in the background. Books by Black writers line the shelves and art pieces from Senegal adorn the walls.

Yet the small book shop, located downtown on the corner of Broad and Lafayette streets, is easy to miss. Other than a tiny beige banner displaying the store’s name, the building’s worn facade is nearly invisible, outshined by the gleaming buildings nearby: chic new apartments, a Courtyard Marriott hotel, the cavernous Prudential Center arena.

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New Jersey dioceses push victims fund deadline to Feb. 29

Posted Feb 14, 2020

New Jersey’s Roman Catholic dioceses have given a two-week extension to childhood victims of sexual assault considering filing for compensation from a fund the church set up, the account’s co-administrator said Friday.

Camille Biros, the co-administrator of the fund covering all five dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Newark, said in a phone interview that so far more than $10 million in 81 different cases has been paid out. The previous deadline for submissions to be filed with the fund was Feb. 15. It is now Feb. 29.

This is the second time the deadline had been extended.

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Murphy pledges workplace reforms amid allegations of harassment in N.J. politics

Posted Feb 13, 2020

As the focus tightens on allegations of harassment against women in New Jersey politics — including in his own campaign — Gov. Phil Murphy said Thursday the state government will re-evaluate its current workplace standards and training.

The goal, the Democratic governor said, is to make sure all state employees are treated equally, regardless of sex, race, or gender identity.

“I have said time and time again that my goal is to make New Jersey stronger and fairer for everyone," Murphy said in a statement. “Make no mistake: I believe that a more respectful culture for women in our state is a moral imperative.”

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State Lawmakers Move to Halt NYC Homeless Relocation Program

COLLEEN O'DEA | FEBRUARY 14, 2020

NJ Spotlight

Detail of an apartment in Newark that was rented under the NYC SOTA program.

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New Jersey landlords would not be allowed to accept housing assistance from an out-of-state agency under a bill that cleared a Senate committee Thursday, designed to prevent the future relocations of homeless families from New York City or elsewhere into cities like Newark.

A controversial New York City program that prepays landlords for a year’s housing of individuals and families in city shelters came to light last year when Newark officials complained that it had resulted in a number of people living in squalid conditions and verging on homelessness again — this time in Newark — once the year was up.

Individual stories of families living in Newark in poor or dangerous conditions — some without heat or hot water, others infested by roaches or rats — drew headlines and outrage. But New York City records show that its Special One-Time Assistance (SOTA) program has relocated at least 2,226 families into some other 60 New Jersey communities, including East Orange, Irvington and Jersey City, as well.

 

 

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Hudson River tunnel closing would hurt U.S. economy, Trump’s Fed chairman says

Posted Feb 12, 2020

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s Federal Reserve chairman said Wednesday a lengthy closing of the Portal Bridge or Hudson River tunnels could deliver a hit to the U.S. economy.

Powell, testifying before the Senate Banking Committee, acknowledged the economic threat if the century-old infrastructure should fail before it is replaced.

"If it were sustained, yes,” Powell said. “Things happen and we fix them and they don’t show up much in GDP, but if they’re sustained, then, yes.”

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Nothing to see here: Trump takes over the Justice Department | Editorial

Posted Feb 12, 2020

The powers of the Justice Department are among the gravest our government has, to strip people of their liberty. And now, apparently, they are subject to the stormy impulses of one man: The Mad King.

President Trump is interfering with a purpose that is nakedly political and getting what he wants, thanks to his loyal henchman, Attorney General William Barr. In an extraordinary reversal, the DOJ just downgraded its recommended prison sentence for Trump’s buddy, Roger Stone, hours after the president fumed about it on Twitter.

“This is a huge deal,” Elie Honig, a former New Jersey and federal prosecutor, told us on Wednesday. “There’s a long-standing norm that has been observed, going back many decades in both political parties, that you just do not mess with DOJ.”

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Mistreatment of Women in NJ Politics: Weinberg’s Group Holds First Hearing

COLLEEN O'DEA | FEBRUARY 12, 2020 

NJ Spotlight

First hearing of Workgroup on Harassment, Sexual Assault and Misogyny in New Jersey Politics took place Feb 11, 2020.

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An ad hoc group looking into the treatment of women in New Jersey politics heard Tuesday about lewd comments, groping, intimidation and bullying as well as promises of imminent reforms to improve the political culture in the state. 

Even before the Workgroup on Harassment, Sexual Assault and Misogyny in New Jersey Politics began its first hearing, Gov. Phil Murphy announced that he will be implementing changes in state government soon and apologized for any ways his 2017 gubernatorial campaign failed women. The workgroup was formed by Sen. Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen).

“We built that campaign based on the tenets of equity, justice, fairness and respect for all New Jerseyans, and we know that those ideals must be achieved in both word and deed, both externally and internally. To those we failed in that mission, I apologize,” Murphy told reporters following an unrelated event Tuesday.

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Trump stiffed Gateway Tunnel while giving OK for Portal Bridge funding. Here’s why.

Posted Feb 11, 2020

WASHINGTON — Joy that the federal government finally green-lighted funding for the Portal Bridge was tempered when the Gateway Tunnel failed to win support.

The U.S. Department of Transportation said that the sponsors of the new Hudson River tunnels failed to show that they had the local funding in hand to qualify for federal dollars.

Gateway supporters, however, said they did everything required to ensure that they had the money to cover their share of the project. They submitted a new application last August that lowered the tunnel’s cost by $1.4 billion and sought $4.4 billion rather than $5.6 billion from Washington.

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NJ Supreme Court Will Hear Challenge to Expansion of Charter Schools in Newark

JOHN MOONEY | FEBRUARY 12, 2020

NJ Spotlight

New Jersey Supreme Court

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New Jersey’s charter schools will soon get their day before the state’s highest court — twice.

The state Supreme Court yesterday agreed to hear a lawsuit that had challenged the expansion of charter schools in Newark, arguably the state’s nexus for the alternative schools with more than a third of its students enrolled in them.

By apparent coincidence, a group of charter school parents and the sector’s association on the same day filed to become “friends of the court” in a separate case before the high court regarding the state’s epic Abbott v. Burke school equity rulings.

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Gateway 2020: A tunnel in peril, and an oblivious president. This is a recording. | Editorial

Posted Feb 10, 2020

The president mentioned infrastructure exactly once in his State of the Union Address Tuesday, as a yawning prelude to how Congress should pass a highway authorization bill, but he never said one word about all the things that needed fixing decades ago.

All together, Donald Trump read 6,200 of his best words, and not one was “rail” or “transit” or “bus.” He never mentioned “airports” or “bridges” or “water systems.” America First? Not in ways that actually help Americans.

This was predictable but still infuriating, especially if you were among the thousands stranded for three hours the night before by a power failure on a New Jersey Transit train, parked inside a Hudson River tunnel that is still — broken record alert — in danger of failing.

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