Newark mayor calls for temperature checks for airport travelers coming from coronavirus hotspots

Posted Jul 20, 2020

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka is asking state and federal officials to require temperature checks at Newark Liberty International Airport for travelers arriving from the 22 states designated by Gov. Phil Murphy as high-risk coronavirus areas.

Baraka also wants passengers to be quarantined if they have coronavirus symptoms and fill out forms for potential contact tracing, according to a news release.

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Murphy Offers ‘Virtual-Only’ Option for 2020 School Reopening

JOHN MOONEY | JULY 21, 2020

NJ Spotlight

File photo.“The details will be coming out later this week,” Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.

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New Jersey’s attempts to come up with a plan for reopening its schools in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a frenetic whirlwind.

And we’re still six weeks out.

Facing pressures from all sides, Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday created a bit of a stir and said families that want to sit out the physical reopening of schools now will have a choice to stay with virtual instruction after all.

He didn’t say much beyond that, saying state guidelines were forthcoming and leaving open many questions about exactly how his announcement would work.

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Trump cites few coronavirus deaths among kids in N.J. as reason for reopening schools

Posted Jul 19, 2020

President Donald Trump continued Sunday to push for schools to reopen this fall despite the surging coronavirus pandemic in the United States and during a “Fox News Sunday” interview cited New Jersey’s death rate for children to support his position.

“Let the schools open,” Trump said. “Do you ever see the statistics for young people below the age of 18? The state of New Jersey had thousands of deaths. Of all of these thousands, one person below the age of 18 — in the entire state — one person and that was a person that had, I believe he said diabetes. One person below the age of 18 died in the state of New Jersey during all of this — you know, they had a hard time. And they’re doing very well now, so that’s it.”

The actual number was two children, both of them below age 5, according to the state Health Department. In May, a 4-year-old with an undisclosed underlying medical condition was the first child in New Jersey to die from complications related to the virus. A second child, described only as a “very young individual,” died in June.

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Husband and Son of a Federal Judge, Esther Salas, Are Shot in New Jersey

By Neil Vigdor, Aimee Ortiz and 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Published July 19, 2020

Police investigators outside the home of the federal judge, Esther Salas, in North Brunswick, N.J., early on Monday.Credit...

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A gunman shot the son of a federal judge at her home in New Jersey on Sunday, according to an official with knowledge of the situation. The Associated Press reported that he had died and that the judge’s husband also had been shot.

The judge, Esther Salas, was home at the time of the shooting at her residence in North Brunswick, N.J., but was not injured, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the authorities had not made any public statements.

Her son, Daniel Anderl, a college student, died in the shooting and her husband, Mark Anderl, was injured, Chief District Judge Freda Wolfson told The Associated Press.

The F.B.I. office in Newark said on Sunday night that it was looking for “one subject” in relation to the shooting.

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Despite Commitment to Transparency, Murphy Less Than Open About COVID-19 Spending

COLLEEN O'DEA | JULY 20, 2020 

NJ Spotlight

Gov. Phil Murphy at a briefing on the coronavirus

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Today, it is virtually impossible for any member of the public — and even some members of the New Jersey Legislature — to know how or even if the state is spending more than $5 billion received so far from the federal government to deal with COVID-19.

To address this, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Friday that he is creating a disaster recovery office and compliance task force to oversee all funding and ensure it is spent properly. There will also be a website where the public can track that money. That is welcome news for transparency advocates and lawmakers who say they have been unable to get information about pandemic relief from the governor’s office.

But some complain it’s too late in coming.

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I Knew George Washington

By Max Pizarro | July 18, 2020

Insider NJ

John Lewis

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“Sit here, next to me,” said the man in the most friendly and gracious, down-to-earth manner, and I did. This was in Georgia, too many years ago, and we talked, just before he spoke to the room in that urgent, impassioned way of his, about injustices that seem, in many respects, to have only worsened and intensified since that day.

I called him a few times, too, after that, and the subjects were the same: fair housing, healthcare, jobs with living wages, and I spoke to many people about him, including an old civil rights activist who wouldn’t eat catfish because it was the last meal his friend, Martin Luther King, Jr., ate at the Lorraine Motel. Years later I saw him, and with him gone now it feels like I can say I knew George Washington. That’s the feeling, having met and spent even just a little time with the late U.S. Rep. John R. Lewis (D-Ga.).

We don’t come across too many people in this life whose passions transcend narrow parochialisms or the enduring paroxisms of special interest, or whosse words, rooted in real courage, bridge chasms, certainly not here in New Jersey, which downgrades gravitas to eccentricity and submits vision to political machinery. Maybe we encounter a few, or two or one. I remember when Mario Cuomo was still alive and he spoke to a New Jersey room that looked like Stag at Sharkey’s, and by the end of his remarks, the caricature faces of gangsters appeared angelic.

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Murphy: no decision on general election in-person voting

By Nikita BiryukovJuly 17 2020 

New Jersey Globe

Gov. Phil Murphy.

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Gov. Phil Murphy has made no decision on what this year’s general election will look like, and elections officials are saying he’ll soon be brushing up against a deadline.

Elections officials, including some from within Murphy’s administration, have told the New Jersey Globe they’ll need a decision on the November elections by Aug. 1 if that race is to be held using mostly vote-by-mail ballots, as July’s primaries were.

“We’ve made no decisions on the fall, on the Nov. 3rd election,” Murphy said. “I don’t have any reactions specifically to the Aug. 1st date, but I think it’s our collective judgement that the sooner we make that decision the better.”

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Newark program hopes to turn low-income residents into homeowners

Posted Jul 18, 2020

Three Section 8 recipients will soon be able to use their vouchers to pay their mortgage on a home as part of a pilot program in Newark.

It is one of the first programs to be rolled out under the city’s newly established land bank, a soon-to-be-created online database of vacant or abandoned properties that are up for sale. Invest Newark, a nonprofit whose sole client is the city, operates the land bank by being able to acquire property on the city’s behalf.

The Newark Housing Authority will also assist with the Section 8 Homeownership Conversion Program, which aims to increase homeownership for Newark residents regardless of income level.

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Welcome back to the MVC. This is what hell is like | Editorial

Posted Jul 16, 2020

The longest-running Jersey joke, the Motor Vehicle Commission, is in Week 2 of a reboot best described as soul-crushing — largely the result of dodgy workforce management, ill-timed furloughs, a constipated computer system, and customer messaging that would have been better delivered by semaphore.

Yes, things have improved since they popped the lid on July 7. In the first few days, people showed up hours before dawn, hundreds endured abject misery as the heat sat on them like a possessive parent, and too many forgot to wear masks and mind their distances.

Some actually did a crab-crawl on MVC sidewalks for 10 or 12 hours before giving up and returning the next morning. To put that in perspective, weep hysterically.

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Can Schools Reopen Safely? Newark Pilot Program Offers a Trial Run

PATRICK WALL, CHALKBEAT NEWARK | JULY 17, 2020

NJ Spotlight

Newark: Students at Thirteenth Avenue School’s in-person summer program must wear masks and sit behind barriers on desks spaced 6 feet apart.

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Even as a national debate rages about whether it will be safe to reopen schools this fall amid surging coronavirus cases in most states, some districts aren’t waiting for answers — they’re trying in-person learning now.

One of those districts is Newark, where a small number of students and teachers returned to classrooms last week for summer school after spending about a third of this past school year learning remotely. Newark had recorded more than 8,000 coronavirus infections and 636 deaths as of Tuesday, but like the rest of New Jersey, its number of daily new cases has declined since peaking in April.

The in-person pilot at two elementary schools is designed to test out safety measures — from morning temperature checks to face mask requirements to spread-apart desks — while giving the district an opportunity to make necessary adjustments before thousands more students and staffers are expected to return in September.

Just as important, the summer school programs at Thirteenth Avenue and First Avenue schools might assuage the fears of people who seriously question whether brick-and-mortar schools can operate safely during the ongoing pandemic. If the pilot avoids virus outbreaks, the district will be able to point to local examples of safe in-person learning, which might be more compelling to families and educators than scientific studies or official assurances.

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