Girl Scouts say $1.8M gift from Amazon’s Mackenzie Scott will fund Newark STEM program

Published: Oct. 19, 2022

MacKenzie Scott, the novelist, billionaire philanthropist and former wife of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, has made a $1.8 million donation to be used for a STEM mobile classroom and a related building in Newark, the Girl Scouts announced Tuesday.

Scott’s gift will help fund an initiative involving the Newark Board of Education and the Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson, said Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey, a regional council for Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Somerset, Union, Warren and Middlesex counties.

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In N.J., Gannett has huge salary disparity among women, reporters of color

By David WildsteinOctober 19 2022 

New Jersey Globe

A Gannett office building in Indiana.

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Gannett newspapers in New Jersey and New York are paying journalists of color a median salary of $11,500 less annually that white reporters earn, according to a study released by NewsGuild, a union a number of local Gannett employees have joined.

Female reporters are paid an average of $9,500-per-year less than men and white journalists outnumber people of color by a margin of nearly 9-1.

At The (Bergen) Record, Daily Record and New Jersey Herald – the three newspapers that are part of the RecordGuild — the pay disparity between whites and journalists of color is $10,793.  Women are paid $4,614 less than men at those three papers, and experienced female journalists make $9,581 less than men.

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Teacher at Center of Hijab Uproar Sues Olympic Medalist for Defamation

Ibtihaj Muhammad, an Olympic medalist who fences in a hijab, denounced the teacher’s action as abuse in an Instagram post that went viral.Credit...
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A seconds-long interaction in a New Jersey classroom unleashed a national firestorm last October as it ricocheted across social media platforms. A 7-year-old girl had come home from school upset, telling her mother that her teacher in Maplewood, N.J., had tried to pull off the hijab the girl wears as an observant Muslim.

Her mother recounted the story on Facebook, and Ibtihaj Muhammad, an Olympic medalist who fences in a hijab, immediately denounced it as abuse in an Instagram post that went viral. By the next day, Gov. Philip D. Murphy had weighed in on Twitter, and a statewide Islamic organization was calling for the teacher’s “immediate firing.”

One year later, the matter has landed in court. The family sued the school district and the teacher, Tamar Herman. And this month, the teacher filed a defamation suit in New Jersey’s Superior Court that accuses the Olympian and the New Jersey chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Rights and its director of causing “irreparable harm.”

Ms. Herman is also suing the school district, South Orange-Maplewood, in federal court, claiming it was complicit in what she called “relentless discriminatory treatment.”

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NJ Transit fixing accessibility problems feds found at 5 train stations

Published: Oct. 18, 2022

NJ Transit has reached an agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office to fix issues at five train stations on the Northeast Corridor line that don’t meet federal standards for access by people with mobility, visual or hearing issues.

The U.S. Attorney’s office identified violations of the 1990 Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) at Newark Penn, Princeton Junction, MetroPark, Trenton, and New Brunswick stations, which are owned and operated by NJ Transit.

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced the agreement on Tuesday. It avoids court action to get the repair work done. NJ Transit officials said the agency has done work needed to make the stations accessible and that only minor repairs remain.

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Pilot program prioritizes NJ youth with complex health needs

LILO H. STAINTON, HEALTH CARE WRITER | OCTOBER 19, 2022

NJ Spotlight News

Eric Volz-Benoit embraces his two sons, Zachary, right, and Tyler, as his partner Dennis Volz-Benoit, left, administers a blend of about 12 different medications shortly before bedtime. at their Massachusetts home.

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For low-income families with children who have complex health needs, coordinating medical care can be a struggle. And it is likely one of many challenges these families face, like finding affordable housing, healthy food and educational opportunities for their kids. The COVID-19 pandemic and the economic fallout that followed only compounded these problems, experts agree.

New Jersey is looking to help these families connect with quality medical and behavioral health care and sustainable social services through a Medicaid pilot program launched earlier this year in Monmouth and Ocean counties. The program, New Jersey Integrated Care for Kids, or NJ InCK, is one of seven federal trials nationwide and will receive nearly $16 million for this work, slated to run through 2026. The big-picture goal: healthier kids, happier families and stronger communities.

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Depleted N.J. Supreme Court will get 2 justices after Senate confirms them, ending logjam

Published: Oct. 17, 2022

New Jersey’s depleted state Supreme Court will soon get two new justices after the state Senate confirmed Rachel Wainer Apter and Douglas Fasciale on Monday, formally breaking a political logjam that left the state’s highest court with an unprecedented three vacancies for much of the year.

The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 23-14 along party lines to approve Wainer Apter, a civil rights attorney whose nomination had stalled for a year and a half after Gov. Phil Murphy, a fellow Democrat, picked her for the post.

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Newark Contributes $2M to Aid Minority-Owned Businesses

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Spread the word: You have a right to take job-protected, paid family leave in New Jersey | Opinion

Published: Oct. 16, 2022

By Debra Lancaster

Debra Lancaster, executive director of the Center for Women and Work at Rutgers University, explains how the Paid Leave Outreach Collaborative is working to increase educational outreach, community engagement, and awareness and use of paid leave in New Jersey, to help reach potential leave tak

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Working families thrive when they feel like they can do both successfully, but many are unaware that they can support their families financially, emotionally and physically with New Jersey’s paid leave programs. Others fear they’ll lose their job or suffer workplace repercussions if they pursue benefits that they’re entitled to have.

Many working adults, especially those with growing families or aging loved ones, feel pulled in different directions as priorities feel like they conflict with each other. For new parents, adjusting to the responsibilities of caring for a child and meeting workplace obligations can be daunting. Those challenges intensify when health circumstances unexpectedly arise and workers take on unplanned caregiving responsibilities.

Recognizing that caregiving demands and earning an income shouldn’t be “either/or” decisions, New Jersey in 2009 became the second state to implement a paid family leave program, Family Leave Insurance. The program provides working families economic security when they need to take time away from work to care for a newly birthed, fostered or adopted child, care for an ill family member or cope with domestic or sexual violence.

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Newark schools’ crossing guard shortage prompts search for solutions

JESSIE GOMEZ | OCTOBER 17, 2022 

NJ Spotlight News

Students and parents make their way toward Newark’s Lafayette Street School on the first day of classes as a crossing guard halts traffic.

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As the school day ends, students at McKinley Elementary School in Newark’s North Ward rush for the exit. Some get into relatives’ cars and head home while other students start their journey home by crossing nearby 7th Avenue with the help of one crossing guard.

With cars zooming by on the busy street at around 2:30 p.m., older students hold hands with their younger siblings as they look both ways before crossing the street. The crossing guard on 7th Avenue holds up his hand, signaling drivers to stop, and lets children cross as he waves goodbye.

The scene may look routine, but it’s not necessarily universal. Over the last couple of years, local advocates have repeatedly raised concerns about the safety of students walking to and from school. “We really need some help here because somebody is going to be killed,” said Sharon Redding, an advocate with the Newark Community Street Team, a nonprofit that focuses on reducing violence in the community.

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New $10 Million Cherry Blossom Welcome Center Coming to Branch Brook Park

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