Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in More Than 500 New Jersey Water Systems …

JON HURDLE | NOVEMBER 5, 2019 

NJ Spotlight

 

The number of New Jersey water systems where toxic PFAS chemicals were found surged by more than 11 times over the past year, largely because of a new requirement that utilities report one of the chemicals that is now regulated by the state, according to data released by an environmental nonprofit on Tuesday.

The Environmental Working Group said there were 517 water systems, most of them small, where some of the chemicals were found in tap water or untreated ground water. Of the total, 470 were not reported the last time EWG gathered the data in February and March of this year.

At that point, only 47 systems reported having found PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) chemicals. Since then, more systems have been reporting the presence of PFNA (perfluorononanoic acid), the first of the chemicals to be subject to an enforceable state limit.

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First, the Tuna Fish ‘Badge of Shame.’ Next, Banned From the Prom?

By Tracey Tully and 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Nov. 1, 2019

Caroline Torres, right, and Lamar Robinson prepare after-school meals at the Community Food Bank of New Jersey.

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A suburban New Jersey school system has wrestled for months with a problem common in other districts: an accumulating pile of student lunch debt.

The policy in Cherry Hill already limited students who owed more than $20 to a tuna sandwich meal.

Over the summer, the school board considered amending that policy and denying lunch to students who were more than $20 in debt, provoking a fierce backlash.

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Trump officials congratulate selves for uninsured kids | Editorial

Posted Nov 03, 2019

President Trump promised “phenomenal health care” and “insurance for everybody,” but what we have today, despite the strong economy, are more kids without coverage.

And as when he abandoned our Kurdish allies to slaughter in Syria, “a big success,” or called his response to the hurricane that killed 3,000 in Puerto Rico “one of the best jobs that's ever been done,” you could show a little appreciation.

This is all because of the improving economy, is the message from his top officials. People got jobs and insurance through their employers, so their families are dropping off the rolls of insurance programs for the poor, like Medicaid.

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Trump and Impeachment Cast a Shadow Over New Jersey’s Elections

By 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Nov. 1, 2019

Bob Andrzejczak, a Democratic state senator, is running in a Republican-leaning district.

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In a legislative district in southern New Jersey, where Trump bumper stickers are nearly as common as American flags, the polarizing national battle over impeachment is playing out in real time.

A Democrat trying to hold on to his seat in the state’s sole Senate contest on Tuesday was pressed into saying that he would not rule out voting for President Trump, and that he certainly would not support two of his own party’s front-runners, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.

His Republican opponent rebuffs criticism from the Democratic incumbent with the hashtag #fakenews.

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Congress may ride to the rescue to save $75M in transit funds for N.J. commuters

Posted Oct 31, 2019

WASHINGTON — New Jersey could lose $75 million in federal transit funds, and Congress is working to try to prevent that.

Both the House and Senate transportation spending bills for the current fiscal year would forestall the reductions, but Congress still needs to reconcile the two versions and send final legislation to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Lawmakers needed to act because federal gasoline tax collections, which fund the transit account, are falling below projected levels, requiring automatic cuts in spending unless Congress acts. Congress also has sent money to the account that funds highway construction for the same reason.

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Really, Rutgers? This again? Softball debacle latest example of failing athletes | Politi

Updated Oct 31, 2019

Put aside the jaw-dropping nugget of a Big Ten athletic director calling a reporter inquiring about abuse allegations on one of his teams “f---ing scum,” just for a moment. I know this isn’t easy, and if the university isn’t soon reviewing this conduct unbecoming of Patrick Hobbs’ high-profile leadership position, we’ll have another only-at-Rutgers moment to throw on the pile.

But let’s separate the ugly quote from the intent. Hobbs is not only responding to allegations of what amounts to intimidation and bullying with more intimidation and bullying. He is blaming the messenger, too. That should be stunning given the seriousness of what seven softball players have told NJ Advance Media about the toxic climate within that program, but this being Rutgers, it is standard operating procedure.

Take a quick stroll through this athletic department’s scandal-littered history:

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Could Newark’s Lead Problems Affect Investment, Development in Resurgent City?

MARK J. BONAMO | NOVEMBER 1, 2019 

NJ Spotlight

Downtown Newark has been transformed since the completion of NJPAC in 1997.

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The New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark was full of fiery rhetoric when Mayor Ras Baraka took the stage at a public town hall meeting earlier this month to address the city’s lead water crisis.

The mayor had come under fire for the city’s handling of the crisis, and Baraka was on the defensive not just about his reputation but also about Newark’s.

“Don’t tell people ‘don’t invest in the city.’ Don’t tell businesses to leave the city,” Baraka said to the crowd. “Stop telling people our water is poisonous. . . Leave my damn city alone.”

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N.J. is sinking, oceans are rising, hurricanes are stronger and it’s only getting worse

Updated Oct 29, 2019

Tuesday marks seven years since Hurricane Sandy made its unprecedented landfall in New Jersey.

The devastating effects are well documented: 39 people dead and more than $30 billion in damage. Unprecedented flooding throughout the state. Millions of people without power for days. Major roadways rendered impassable for even longer.

And climate change likely made it all worse.

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Newark City Council Approves Lead Line Replacement Contracts

Newark aims to replace all 18,000 lead lines serving city residents over the next two years.
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NEWARK, NJ — The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved two contracts to two utility contractors that will conduct parts of the first phases of the Newark’s lead service line replacement program citywide.

The Linden-based Underground Utilities Corporation was awarded a nearly $4 million contract while the Newark-based Roman E&G Corporation won a more than $3.5 million bid. Both utility contractors will replace 500 lead lines each in contracts that span about nine months concurrently.

The money for the contracts comes from part of a $75 million loan the city secured in 2018 from the New Jersey Infrastructure Bank. That loan was intended to pay for the city’s lead service line replacement program before Newark secured a $120 million loan from Essex County to speed up the timing of the project, chief water engineer John George said. 

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A Guide to Help Victims Navigate a Major Disaster

JOHN REITMEYER | OCTOBER 30, 2019

NJ Spotlight

The guide has information useful in the aftermath of any major event that causes significant property damage or loss.

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As victims of Superstorm Sandy know well, recovering from a major disaster can require individuals and businesses to complete many tedious but important tasks. They include preparing insurance claims for damaged properties and replacing credit cards and other lost or ruined personal documents.

To ease the process, the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants has created a comprehensive “disaster-recovery guide” that victims can turn to for key information and suggestions.

For example, the guide — which is available free online — provides detailed instructions to help victims report losses to insurance companies and offers tips on how best to avoid price gouging by businesses and other types of scams that often are targeted at disaster victims.

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