Cops on the streets help Newark set a record 5 decades in the making

Posted Jan 3, 2019

Crime in New Jersey’s largest city has hit a five decade low, with fewer burglaries, carjackings and shootings in 2018 compared to previous years, local and state officials announced Thursday.

U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Craig Carpenito and State Attorney General Gurbir Grewal joined Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose to tout the progress, that they largely attributed to cross-agency collaboration and better forays into local communities.

Overall crime in Newark is down by 15 percent. In 2018, 101 fewer people were shot than the year prior, a 30 percent drop from 2017. Officers last year removed 566 guns off the streets. Homicides dropped only slightly from 72 in 2017 to 70 in 2018. Rapes and aggravated assaults, however, increased.

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Newark Mayor Plans to Wed After 'Union of Families' Ceremony in Ghana

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka says he participated in a "union of families" ceremony in Ghana, but has not been officially married in the United States yet.
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NEWARK, NJ - Mayor Ras Baraka recently made a holiday trip to Ghana, where he says he met with local officials and conducted other business, but the mayor did one other important activity.

The mayor participated in a Ghanaian "union of families" ceremony, which means people in that country now consider him to be married, Baraka said. The Dec. 30 ceremony isn't recognized in the United States since there is no marriage license, he added. 

But the 48-year-old mayor told TAPinto Newark today with a smile, after an unrelated press conference, “I am going to get married.” He did not give a date for when the nuptials would take place. 

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5 Issues in Newark to Watch in 2019

A lot will be happening in New Jersey's largest city during 2019.

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NEWARK, NJ - This past year, Newark made national headlines for being a contender for Amazon's second headquarters and how its leaders are tackling elevated lead levels.

But what does 2019 hold for New Jersey’s most populated city?

Some of the issues in 2018 will carry over into the next year. But, 2019 may be pivotal in determining the political futures of local lawmakers and shaping the public school system, which gained control from the state this year.

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Lead Service Line Replacement Program in Newark to Begin in January

City Council on Wednesday approved a set of contracts with vendors that will begin to replace lead service lines throughout Newark.
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NEWARK, NJ - City council on Wednesday hired two vendors for a total of $10.3 million to begin to replacing lead service lines for homeowners. 

The vendors will start to replace lead pipes for about 1,500 homes in January, city spokesman Frank Baraff said. The work represents the first part of a 10-phase project to replace lead pipes to about 15,000 homes.

“I believe that they start with homes that not only have lead service lines but also have high lead readings when the water was tested,” Baraff said when asked which homes the phase I will target.

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Months after 6-year-old girl was shot by stray bullet, ‘this is a good day’

Posted Dec 20, 2018

Liya Williams doesn’t think much about the firecracker on July 4th.

That’s what it had to be in the mind of this 6-year-old. Not a stray bullet.

Unfortunately, though, it was a bullet that struck this cheery little girl in the leg when she was walking with her father after watching fireworks at Nat Turner Park in Newark five months ago.

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Federal Judge Says Newark Doesn't Need to Expand Filter Program to East Ward

The city's special counsel, Eric Klein (right) and Bina Reddy (center) stand with Newark Corporation Counsel Kenyatta (left) Stewart outside of federal court in Newark.
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NEWARK, NJ - A federal judge today denied a request from a group suing Newark over elevated lead levels to have the city extend a filter program into the East Ward. 

The Natural Resources Defense Council  (NRDC) filed its request via an emergency motion as part of a larger lawsuit that alleges city and state officials caused Newark’s lead problem by violating regulations. But the federal court judge refused to grant the motion since the NRDC did not prove irreparable harm to the East Ward.

“Quite frankly, I don’t think you’ve sustained the burden,” said U.S. District Judge Esther Salas, who repeatedly became agitated that the NRDC was using evidence that did not appear in its original motion during today’s arguments in court.

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VICE News to Air Segment About Newark's Lead Problem Ahead of Court Hearing

VICE will air a segment about the lead problem in Newark at 7:30 p.m. tonight ahead of a court hearing on Tuesday about the issue.
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NEWARK, NJ - VICE News Tonight is scheduled to air a segment about Newark’s lead issues ahead of a hearing tomorrow in federal court, where advocacy groups will try to convince a judge to make the city expand its filter program.

The Natural Resources Defense Council and the Newark Education Workers Caucus alleged in a lawsuit that city and state officials violated regulations that lead to elevated levels of lead in Newark's water. The hearing tomorrow will ask a judge to make the city extend its filter program to the East Ward, which Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and other city officials have repeatedly said is unaffected by the lead issue.

The city began to distribute lead filters to residents in October after a hired consultant found that a chemical the city adds to its water supply to prevent lead from leaching off into pipes had become ineffective. Baraka and others in his administration have said the East Ward gets its water from a supply that uses an effective corrosion control inhibitor that prevents lead from getting into residents’ drinking water.

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State Supreme Court Denies Newark Parents' Appeal of Teacher Layoff Laws

The lawsuit challenged a state law known as last-in, first-out.
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NEWARK, NJ - The New Jersey Supreme Court denied hearing an appeal from a group of Newark parents that challenged state law which requires newer teachers be laid off before more senior - and likely - tenured ones. 

The lawsuit was filed by six parents for their children who attend Newark Public Schools. The suit claimed their children were being academically harmed because of a last-in, first-out statue throughout the state, which requires all school districts to first fire teachers that were hired more recently before senior faculty.

The suit wanted the courts to declare the law, abbreviated as LIFO, unconstitutional since the parents claimed it was "quality-blind." By basing faculty layoffs on seniority alone, the Newark school district would be forced to retain "ineffective" teachers while laying off newer, but more "effective" ones.

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‘Newark Must Not Become Another Brooklyn,’ Baraka Says After Announcing Commission on Gentrification

Newark Mayor Ras Baraka today unveiled a new commission aimed at preventing gentrification in the city.
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NEWARK, NJ - Newark Mayor Ras Baraka stood at a lectern today that was adorned with a sign that had one, simple message: “NO GENTRIFICATION.”

In the hopes of meeting that end, the city has created a new Equitable Growth Advisory Commission. It will draw up to 15 members from the community, academia, businesses and nonprofits to make recommendations to the city on topics about land use laws, housing, public housing and bidding.

“We do not want to wait for the market to dictate to us how to develop and move in our city,” Baraka said at a press conference today unveiling the commission. “We want to influence the market, but we also want to use some of those market forces against itself. So we're going to use some of those market forces to create something different than what the market kind of anticipates.”

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Ethics Complaint Says Newark Municipal Judge Had Woman Jailed for 23 Days Over Being 'Disrespectful'

A judge at the Newark Municipal Court, pictured above, faces an ethics complaint from the Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct.
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NEWARK, NJ - A municipal court judge in Newark faces ethics charges over allegedly incarcerating a woman who he said was "disrespectful" during a court appearance that involved a landlord-tenant dispute.

The Advisory Committee on Judicial Conduct last month filed the complaint against Newark Municipal Court Judge Marvin Adames. The complaints says Adames ultimately had the woman jailed for 23 days while she awaited a contempt of court hearing.

In 2016, Linda Lacey appeared before Adames to face a petty disorderly persons charge in a landlord-tenant dispute, the complaint says. As attorneys were discussing an issue about how Lacey did not allow the landlord to show the property, which was listed for sale, the complaint says Adames remarked that she should have a psychological evaluation.

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