PROFILE: NEWARK INTERIM SUPERINTENDENT COULD BE IN FOR THE LONG HAUL

JOHN MOONEY | FEBRUARY 2, 2018

NJ Spotlight

Robert Gregory

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Name: Robert Gregory

Position: Interim Superintendent of Newark Public Schools

Why he matters: Gregory takes the helm of the 36,000-student school district in its first steps of local control, starting yesterday, after 22 years of state operation. A former principal and assistant superintendent in the district, he was named to serve as the interim for the next several months as the newly empowered school board launches a search for a more long-term leader.

Why he really matters: Gregory has not hidden his hope to be that long-term leader, and with his track record and early popularity inside the district, he is clearly a frontrunner for the position to lead the state’s largest — and most attention-grabbing — district.

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Newark woman confronts the man she says molested her as a child

As Iyonah Fard delivered remarks during her cousin's funeral last September, she looked up and saw an awful piece of her past seated in the pews at an Irvington church.

It was her aunt's ex-boyfriend, a man, Fard says, who molested her when she was 6 years old while two cousins and a younger brother slept beside her.

"I choked up," said Fard, now 23, of Newark. "I didn't expect to see this person."

She asked a family member to make the man leave.

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AFTER 22 YEARS, NEWARK ENTERS NEW ERA OF LOCAL GOVERNANCE

PATRICK WALL | FEBRUARY 1, 2018

NJ Spotlight

Baraka and Cerf at the state board's vote in September to end takeover.

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For two decades, votes cast by Newark's elected school board have carried mostly symbolic weight. Today, as the board reclaims control of the city's schools after a 22-year state takeover, even its smallest decisions will acquire new significance.

A preview of that transformation was on display at a board meeting last week, as members debated when to hold their next round of elections. Moving them from April to November, when other local elections are held, could save the school district about $250,000 per election. But doing so could also politicize the board race, discouraging ordinary citizens from throwing their hats into the ring.

As they weighed their options, board member Crystal Fonseca urged her colleagues to choose carefully.

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Newark School Board Chair Lewis will not seek reelection: "The quarterback needs a rest"

January 30, 2018

TAPintoNEWARK

Board Chair Marques-Aquil Lewis at the recent ribbon-cutting of the district's new headquarters in downtown Newark, with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and outgoing Superintendent Christopher Cerf.

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Newark, NJ--Newark School Board Chair Marques-Aquil Lewis announced Sunday that he will not be seeking reelection to the board as an emotional crowd of 150 supporters looked on.

Lewis, who has served on the Newark Board of Education for nine years, made the announcement as the district readies for a return to local control after 22 years under state control.

Lewis was an elementary school student on April 13, 1995, when administrative law judge Steven Weiss put forth a 56-page ruling on his decision to hand over the district to state control. Lewis returned to serve the district 15 years later on a mission to return autonomy to the city he holds dear, the memory of state seizure burned into his memory.

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Leader of Newark Bloods admits to five murders, takes 45-year plea deal

January 28, 2018

TAPintoNEWARK

The leader of one of Newark’s most violent street gangs on Friday admitted his role in five murders and has agreed to a 45-year plea deal.

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NEWARK, NJ – The leader of one of Newark’s most violent street gangs on Friday admitted his role in five murders, an armed carjacking, an armed robbery of a drug dealer, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and drug conspiracy as part of a racketeering conspiracy involving the South Side Cartel, according to U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito.

Farad Roland, 33, had been charged with violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) as part of a 27-count second superseding indictment, which was returned in June 2013.

“With today’s guilty plea, Farad Roland’s reign as the leader of the South Side Cartel is over,” Carpenito said. “It is the mission of this office to make the streets of New Jersey safe for all of its citizens. The Roland case is a perfect example of cooperation between my office, the FBI, Newark police and the Essex County prosecutor effectively working to remove a dangerous felon from our community.”

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Newark firefighter alleges years of sexual harassment, discrimination at NFD

January 26, 2018

TAPintoNEWARK

Newark Firefighter Latina Byrd says she endured years of sexual harassment, discrimination and retaliation at the Newark Fire Division.

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Newark, NJ--A Newark firefighter has come forward with allegations of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and retaliation at the Newark Fire Division.

LaTina Byrd, 47, claims she was sexually harassed and discriminated against during her 14 years at the NFD by a fire captain and several other firefighters and that her superiors turned a blind eye and started a campaign of retaliation against her.

Repeated complaints regarding the discrimination to Newark Chief of Staff Amiri "Middy" Baraka, Jr., brother to Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, allegedly went ignored.

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New HQ is symbol of a school district 22 years in the making

The new headquarters for Newark public schools was inaugurated Wednesday -- lauded by school and city leaders as not just a new space but a symbol of a new school district. 

After 22 years, Newark will resume full control of its schools next month, including to power to hire its own schools chief.

"The narrative of failure is disappearing and it's replaced by one of progress and promise," Christopher Cerf said in his last public remarks before stepping down as the city's last state-appointed superintendent next week. "The people of Newark have control of their schools."

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Sure, Amazon would be great, but there are other signs Newark's on the rise

By Karen Yi | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

Posted Jan 21, 2018

 

For a long-blighted city that has suffered for its reputation, any shift in perception -- and confidence -- can be a game changer.

The latest news that mega-retailer Amazon picked Newark as a top 20 finalist for its second headquarters is bolstering the city's hope that steady investment and growth could stick around.

Citing ongoing redevelopment efforts, Moody's Investors Service this month also revised Newark's outlook from negative to positive -- meaning the city's low investment grade rating could get an upgrade in the next year or two.

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Celebrating Newark, One Supper at a Time

NEWARK — The Brick City Supper Club began with a simple idea. Explore Newark. Meet people. Break bread.

It was 2010 and Frank Martinez, a Midwestern transplant, was tired of eating alone. He found a taqueria in the Ironbound neighborhood and invited fellow workers from the city’s Department of Economic and Housing Development to join him. Six people showed up. Mr. Martinez christened the gathering with a nod to the city’s industrial history and the old-fashioned supper clubs surrounding his grandparents’ dairy farm in Wisconsin.

Word of the weekly dinners began to spread: shared between cubicles at City Hall; passed from one neighbor to another in apartment elevators; overheard on walking tours, in local parks and from a tableful of strangers at Sunday brunch. Now, eight years later, the Brick City Supper Club counts nearly 400 members.

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Newark's iconic Bell Building slated for mixed-use conversion

January 18, 2018

TAPintoNEWARK

 

Newark, NJ—Newark’s iconic Bell building may be Newark's next hot spot.

Built in 1929 and designed for the New Jersey Bell Telephone Company, the 21-story tower—located on Broad Street in downtown Newark—is being converted into a mixed use project by 540 Broad Street LLC, a joint venture comprised of principal partners L+M Development Partners, Inc., Prudential Financial, Inc. and Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group.

The Bell Building conversion, which began in June with an anticipated completion date of Dec. 2018, is slated for a mixed-income, mixed-use development featuring 263 residences on the top 15 floors—20 percent of which will be affordable to families making between 40 and 50 percent of the Area Median Income—as well as 17,000 sq.-ft. of retail and office space on the bottom floors.

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