City skipped payments in shelter dispute, now animals' futures are threatened

Posted Oct 31, 2018

Once under fire for its failed state inspections and reports of gruesome conditions, Newark's independently-run animal shelter announced on Wednesday it will no longer accept animals from the city or its residents beginning Nov. 8.

John Bergmann, acting executive director of Associated Humane Societies, said the city has not paid its bills since July and the shelter could no longer afford to continue their services.  

"By not paying what is due, the city of Newark is acting contrary to the interests of its own citizens and animals," he said in a statement. "It's not right that the city expects to get our services for free."

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Baraka, Ex-Campaign Treasurer Still Face Campaign Finance Accusations

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka (left) and his ex-campaign treasurer Frederick Murphy (center, in right photo) both still face a civil complaint from the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission.
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NEWARK, NJ - Newark Mayor Ras Baraka still faces a civil complaint from the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) alleging he and his ex-campaign treasurer incorrectly reported campaign contributions.

The case is still ongoing despite the conclusion of a separate federal criminal case against Baraka’s ex-campaign treasurer, Frederick Murphy.

Murphy in May pleaded guilty to embezzling about $223,000 in campaign funds with forged checks. He was sentenced to two and a half years in prison last week for the scheme, which lasted from 2014 to 2017. 

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PROBE INTO DEATH OF NEWARK WOMAN DUE TO POWER SHUTOFF FINDS PSE&G AT FAULT

TOM JOHNSON | OCTOBER 30, 2018

NJ Spotlight

Human errors and systemic failures at Public Service Electric & Gas were blamed for delays in restoring service to a home where a 68-year-old woman on hospice care died hours after the utility shut off power, an investigation by a law firm found.

The death of Linda Daniels, a Newark resident who relied on an electric-powered oxygen supply in the middle of a heat wave in July, has triggered numerous investigations by the state, PSE&G, and legislators regarding utility shutoffs.

PSE&G cut off power to the Shephard Avenue home in Newark on the morning of July 5 because the bill was substantially in arrears. Almost immediately family members contacted the utility, pleading for it to restore service.

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Newark City Council Postpones Vote for Handicapped Parking Changes

Newark City Council is considering increasing fees for handicap-accessible parking spaces.
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NEWARK, NJ - City Council deferred changes to an ordinance that would have increased fees for reserved handicap-accessible parking spaces from $50 to $250, causing concern among some disability advocates.

The increases would have offset the costs of a physician employed by the city who would examine applicants for the parking spaces. Under the proposal, renewal fees would also have increased from $25 to $100.

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Newark Public Schools' Former Interim Superintendent to Lead Marion P. Thomas Charter School

Robert Gregory has been named the new superintendent of Marion P. Thomas Charter School in Newark.
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NEWARK, NJ - The prior interim superintendent of Newark Public Schools was selected yesterday as the chief incoming administrator to lead Marion P. Thomas Charter School (MPTCS). 

A. Robert Gregory was unanimously approved by MPTCS' Board of Trustees yesterday to take the helm as superintendent, effective Nov. 5. He formerly served as interim superintendent of Newark Public Schools immediately after it regained local control last year from the state.

“We were impressed with Mr. Gregory’s background, commitment and compassion for the children of Newark,” Marion P. Thomas Charter School Board Chairperson Greg Collins said in a statement. “But when we met him we were instantly overwhelmed by his energy, enthusiasm and internal drive for excellence. I welcome him to MPTCS with excitement and optimism about the future of our village.”

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Former Councilman Returns to Newark as Fighter for Charter Schools

Ron Rice, Jr. was a councilman under Cory Booker’s administration and now lives in the Washington D.C. area where he advocates for charter schools.
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NEWARK, NJ - The first thing people usually ask when looking to move to a new neighborhood?

How are the schools?

In the case of Newark, building up the school system may be one way to attract newcomers to the city while also providing for long-time residents. The best way to do that starts with choice, according to a city councilman-turned-charter-school-advocate.

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Newark Tenants Can Call This Hotline if Heat or Hot Water Isn't Working

Landlords in Newark are required by municipal ordinance to keep homes at 68 degrees between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. from Oct. 1 to May 1.
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NEWARK, NJ - Residents who live in apartments without heat or hot running water can reach out to the city for help, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka reminded tenants. 

Landlords in Newark are required by municipal ordinance to keep homes at 68 degrees between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. from Oct. 1 to May 1. Between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., the temperature must be maintained at 65 degrees.

Landlords who don’t meet the minimum temperature requirements could face legal action in municipal court. Fines could exceed $1,000 per day until the heat is fully restored.

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Group Suing Newark Over Lead Levels Says City is 'Misleading' Residents

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka on Oct. 12 told reporters that the East Ward was not impacted by the city's ineffective corrosion control method.
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NEWARK, NJ - An environmental group that is suing Newark officials over elevated levels of lead in the city’s drinking water is alleging that statements made by the mayor at a Friday press conference about the issue were "misleading."

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) alleges there are numerous homes in the East Ward with elevated levels of lead, contrary to what Mayor Ras Baraka on Oct. 12 told reporters.  

The mayor’s statements came during a press conference announcing that lead filters would be distributed to certain homes after a preliminary study found that the chemical used to prevent lead from dissolving into pipes was no longer effective. The process is known as corrosion control.

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IN NEWARK, REPORTING LAPSES HIDE THOUSANDS OF STUDENT SUSPENSIONS FROM PUBLIC VIEW

PATRICK WALL | CHALKBEAT | OCTOBER 17, 2018

NJ Spotlight

The state says Weequahic High School suspended no students in 2015-2016. Federal data show it gave 233 students in-school suspensions.

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Newark schools are suspending thousands of students, the majority of them black, according to 2015-16 federal data collected by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.

But because of reporting lapses, those suspensions are nowhere to be found in the state’s published school report cards, where parents typically turn to seek out such data. Instead, the reports give the false impression that Newark has all but eliminated suspensions.

The flawed reports reveal the district’s longtime struggle to track suspensions — a data challenge that has impeded efforts to stop schools from inappropriately removing students or punishing students of one race more harshly than others.

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Newark mayor unsure how long drinking water contained unsafe lead levels

Lead filters will be distributed door-to-door while a new lead corrosion method is implemented, Newark officials said today.
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NEWARK, NJ - Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka today said he was unsure exactly when the chemical used to prevent lead from dissolving into pipes stopped working, but it will be fixed in about six to eight months.

In the meantime, Baraka said the city will begin handing out water filters to homeowners who have lead service lines—the pipe that connects the water main under the street to the meter in a house—to reduce the risk of exposure.  

The announcement comes after the city received preliminary findings this week from a Lead and Copper Rule Compliance study conducted by CDM Smith, an Edison-based engineering firm. The study recommended the city use new corrosion control measures to inhibit the release of lead from service lines into drinking water.

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