N.J.'s top health official has a new job. He will run the beleaguered University Hospital

Updated May 1, 2019

New Jersey’s sole public hospital, under scrutiny since last year for a deadly outbreak in its nursery for medically fragile newborns and a failing safety report card, will be led by state Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal.

The Board of Directors for University Hospital in Newark voted unanimously Wednesday to approve Elnahal’s appointment as president and CEO, which is expected to begin July 15.

Elnahal, a physician and Obama appointee to the Veterans Health Administration, joined Gov. Phil Murphy’s cabinet in January 2018. His 16-month tenure was dominated by expanding the medical marijuana program and responding to the deadly outbreaks at University Hospital and Wanaque Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

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Newark institutions want their employees to live in the city, and they’re willing to pay you for it

Posted Apr 30, 2019

NJIT is joining a growing list of Newark institutions offering to pay their employees extra cash if they move to the city.

This month, the university launched its “live local” initiative, which will offer about 16 workers a one-time $3,000 housing stipend to rent in the city’s downtown. Audible launched something similar two years ago, while Rutgers-Newark, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and Prudential are also rolling out their own programs.

“We think the community is moving in an upward trajectory and our futures are intertwined,” said Matthew Golden, Chief Strategy Officer at NJIT.

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Newarkers Question Funds to Address Lead, City Says Plan Reduces Cost

Residents speak during a Newark Water Coalition meeting on April 18 at Ivy Hill Elementary School.
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NEWARK, NJ - Newark residents need to “make their own minimal effort” to properly install free water filters that were distributed in order to protect themselves against the effects of lead, attorneys for the city said.

That was the response given in part by attorneys for Newark after the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) asked a judge for preliminary relief in its ongoing lawsuit against the city over lead. The NRDC asked a federal judge to make the city provide bottled water and monthly inspections to households to make sure water filters are properly working.

“Newark’s program relies, in part, on Newark residents themselves to share a small part of the responsibility for their own protection – in particular, to find a way to install, or to have installed, their own filters,” attorneys for the city said in court filings.

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Shhh. Here’s a secret, education advocate says. Newark’s schools are actually doing really well.

Posted Apr 25, 2019

By Kyle Rosenkrans

The national media can’t stop talking about Cory Booker’s record as a champion for Newark’s public schools -- but too many get the story flat wrong. “Cory Booker has a school choice problem,” writes New York Magazine. The Los Angeles Times says Booker’s past support for charter schools “could shadow” Booker’s campaign. And Vox writes that “reform opponents and supporters fight bitterly to this day about whether Booker’s overhaul failed or succeeded.”

These stories are hard to read, because national reporters seem content to ignore the realities of Newark today. Instead of relying on old tropes and tired narratives about the Brick City, reporters should dig a little deeper. If they did, they would come to see the truth about Newark: it’s a city that has made remarkable educational gains over the 13 years since Booker took office, and has transcended the divisive politics that surround education in so much of the country.

Let’s start with the kids, who have been conspicuously absent from the national debate around Booker’s tenure as mayor. Objectively, by any measure, Newark’s children have made remarkable progress since 2006. In 2006, as Booker took office, reading and math levels for Newark’s children were far below other low-income districts. This status was essentially unchanged for decades, even after the state took control of Newark’s schools in 1995. It wasn’t until the Booker administration launched a bold vision that things began to change.

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Newark Council President Calls for Essex County to End Contract With ICE

Newark Council President Mildred Crump stands with activists at the Essex County Hall of Records to call for the end of Essex County's contract with ICE.
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NEWARK, NJ - City Council President Mildred Crump called for the end of Essex County’s contract with federal authorities that allows for immigrant detainees to be housed at a county jail in Newark.

The Essex County Freeholders first approved the contract worth over $49 million with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) authorities in 2011 to detain immigrants at the county correctional facility on Doremus Avenue. The contract was reauthorized in about three years ago. 

“Their choice is not one I would make,” Crump said yesterday on the steps of the Essex County Hall of Records. 

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Payne, Planned Parenthood protest proposed family planning Title X 'gag rule'

U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D-Newark) met with advocates of the Title X federal family planning program, expressing concerns about proposed changes that could strip funding for certain organizations.
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U.S. Rep. Donald Payne Jr. (D - Newark) met with advocates of the Title X federal family planning program, expressing concerns about potential controversial changes that will remove funding from any participating family planning organization that offers abortions or refers patients to abortion providers, while maintaining that the program provides needed and multifaceted health care options for the community. 

"This is hypocritical. The federal government should not be squeezing itself into examination rooms to dictate what a doctor can and cannot say to a patient," said Payne at a round table meeting held at Planned Parenthood's offices in downtown Newark on Wednesday. "This is terrible policy, and it is unacceptable." 

The congressman's comments came the day after a federal judge in Oregon said he would grant a preliminary injunction blocking the Trump administration from setting new rules that would have stripped millions of dollars in government funding from Planned Parenthood.

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The father of civil rights was in N.J. in 1849. His great-great-great grandson just came back.

Posted Apr 18, 2019

This was history waiting to be told -- an archival snippet of fascinating information that Kenneth B. Morris Jr. didn’t know about his great-great-great grandfather.

Frederick Douglass, a 19th century civil rights pioneer, visited Newark 170 years ago and delivered remarks to the city’s abolitionist community at the Plane Street Colored Church, also known as the First African Presbyterian Church.

It happened April 17 -- the same date this year that Morris was in Newark to speak about his famous relative, an escaped slave who became a leader in the abolitionist movement. In 1849, Douglass was invited by abolitionists in Newark, where he came to speak against slavery and raise funds for the North Star, his anti-slavery newspaper.

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Mayor-Endorsed School Board Slate Sweeps Election

(From left) A'Dorian Murray-Thomas, Tave Padilla, and Shayvonne Anderson celebrating their school board victory at Don Pepe's restaurant.
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NEWARK, NJ - The mayor-backed slate of candidates running for the Newark school board handily won in today’s election.

A’Dorian Murray-Thomas and Shayvonne Anderson were elected for the first time while Tave Padilla was re-elected to the board as part of the Moving Newark Schools Forward slate. The trio were part of a field of 11 candidates vying for three seats. They will be sworn in next week.

In addition, voters for the first time in over two decades, came out to the polls to approve a 2% levy increase to help balance the district’s $1 billion budget. Previously, voters didn’t have a say in the district’s finances when the district was under state control.

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Newark Voters Will Pay More in School Taxes Than They Were Told

Newark School Board Election Day is April 16, 2019. Polls are open from 7am-8pm. Newark voters can find their poll sites by visiting http://voter.njsvrs.com.
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NEWARK, NJ - When Newark residents vote tomorrow on the public question to increase local taxes for the school budget, the amount coming out of pocket will be slightly larger than the district has been advertising these past few weeks.

The public will vote on a property tax levy to raise taxes by $2.7 million, 2% overall increase over the 2018-2019 school year last year, adhering to the federally allowed minimum, to help the district fulfill the $135.6 million it needs to balance the budget. 

The board presented and approved the 2019-2020 budget in March, explaining the tax levy dollars included in the budget would mean that the average homeowner in Newark would also see a 2% increase in their share of the taxes. That translates to $38 more than last year for a home assessed at $175,000. 

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5 Things Newark Voters Should Know About 2019-2020 School Budget

Central office investments for FY 19-20 include renovations to reopen Harold Wilson School in the near future.
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NEWARK, NJ - In less than a week, residents will vote on the Newark Board of Education (NBOE) school budget, the first time since 23 years ago when the district was run by the state. Newark Public School Board election day to vote on the budget, as well as three school board candidates is Tuesday, April 16.

The Newark Board of Education unanimously approved the 2019-2020 School Budget in March, which totals nearly $1.1 billion.

The budget considers a number of factors including an increase in state funding, rising payment to Newark charter schools and costs to educate children, predominantly those with additional needs, who attend programs outside of the district.

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