Newark brings COVID vaccinations to people at homeless shelters

Newark has started to vaccinate people at homeless shelters and will soon unveil a mobile plan to inoculate those who are not staying at a shelter, the city announced Wednesday.

People staying at the YMCA on Broad Street were the first to get vaccinated on Tuesday night. Nurses and practitioners will also be sent to offer vaccinations to people staying at 18 shelters across Newark, the city said in a release.

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No fare hike in sight for NJ Transit. You can thank drivers on the Turnpike and Parkway.

Posted Mar 11, 2021

The good news for NJ Transit riders continues to be there are no proposed fare increases at least until 2023, based on a four-year budget projection.

How it happens relies on another group of commuters -- drivers who use the NJ Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.

A four-year budget projection approved by NJ Transit’s board of directors Wednesday night counts on higher subsidies from the Turnpike Authority, which increase as state general fund subsidies to the agency decline. The forecast in NJ Transit’s latest budget projection, is sent to the state in April and made public in advance of the traditional July adoption of the agency’s budget, under a reform law signed by Gov. Phil Murphy in Dec. 2018.

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Newark Projected to Receive $182M in Stimulus Aid

NEWARK, NJ — Newark is slated to receive nearly $182 million in aid as part of the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package signed by President Joe Biden on Thursday. 

With Newark having suffered some of the highest reported positive cases and COVID-related deaths in the state since the pandemic began, local officials have rolled out multiple efforts to combat the virus. Those efforts, however, have come with a cost, putting a strain on the city’s budget.

In order to cover these expenses, North Ward Councilman Anibal Ramos Jr. said the aid could potentially alleviate things such as overtime paid to public safety, law enforcement and other municipal agencies connected to the city’s pandemic response.

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Murphy raising swath of indoor capacity limits

By Nikita BiryukovMarch 10 2021

New Jersey Globe

Gov. Phil Murphy. 

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Capacity for restaurants, gyms and a host of recreational and personal care businesses will rise to 50% next Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Wednesday.

“We feel confident in these steps given the data that we’ve been seeing over the past five weeks since the last time we expanded the indoor reality,” Murphy said. “For example, on February 5th, when our restaurant capacity last changed, our hospitals were treating just under 2,900 patients, that number’s come down by about a thousand and has been consistent since then.”

At the same time, the state is raising limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings. Indoor gatherings will see their capacity rise from 10 to 25, while outdoor gathering limits will double, from 25 to 50.

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N.J. unemployment claimants should be spared lapse in benefits with quick signing of stimulus bill by Biden

Posted Mar 10, 2021

New Jersey residents collecting unemployment would likely be spared a lapse in benefits if President Joe Biden fulfills his promise to sign the new stimulus bill by the end of the week.

The House passed the massive $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill on Wednesday, and Biden said he’ll sign it on Friday. Under the bill, those on unemployment would receive an extra $300 a week through Sept. 6.

Claimants across the country were more likely to experience their benefits stopping if the new package wasn’t signed by Sunday, spokeswoman Angela Delli-Santi said in a statement to NJ Advance Media.

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N.J. college radio station named best in the country

Posted Mar 09, 2021

Montclair State University’s radio station, 90.3 WMSC Upper, was named the best college radio station in the country for colleges with over 10,000 students, officials said.

The Essex County college was given the award during the 81st Annual IBS Conference -- the annual awards ceremony for collegiate broadcasters -- on Saturday, March 6.

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Variants are a complicating factor in NJ’s COVID-19 battle plan

LILO H. STAINTON, HEALTH CARE WRITER | MARCH 10, 2021 

NJ Spotlight News

Experts say more testing needs to be done to identify emerging coronavirus variants.

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New COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths have been declining for nearly two months in New Jersey, thanks to slowly growing vaccine coverage and continued infection-control protocols.

But the novel coronavirus isn’t done with us yet, experts note.

Viruses “constantly change through mutation, and new variants of a virus are expected to occur over time. Multiple variant strains are circulating globally, and have different combinations of mutations,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli said at a media briefing Friday.

At least a half-dozen variants of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, have been identified in the United States and three types have been found in New Jersey, beginning in late January. While the total case number of people infected with those variants remains low — 176 diagnoses, as of Tuesday — testing capacity for those specific variants is somewhat limited. And public health officials worry that the evolving virus could create new challenges, like greater potential for spread or mortality, which would slow the pandemic recovery process.

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$100M could be on the way for N.J. small businesses, restaurants, bars, daycare centers

Posted Mar 08, 2021

New Jersey’s smallest businesses, child care centers, bars, restaurants and nonprofits suffering from a year of business disruptions and restrictions could receive $100 million in aid, under a bill package that cleared a state Assembly committee Monday.

The slate of five bills would set aside federal funds for employers in these sectors, including $25 million for microbusinesses, $35 million for bars and restaurants, $10 million for daycares, $15 million for arts and culture organizations million and $15 million to other businesses and nonprofits.

Business revenue during the pandemic has plummeted and unemployment skyrocketed. Nearly four in 10 small businesses in the Garden State businesses have closed their doors, according to the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.

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Amtrak watchdog to audit Gateway project crucial to N.J. to clear way for future federal OK

Posted Mar 08, 2021

The Amtrak inspector general is auditing the Gateway Tunnel project in advance of what could be federal approval for the long-awaited construction job this year.

In its announcement, the government watchdog did not indicate any problems but said the project had “reached a phase where they are appropriate to audit to help ensure the company is positioning itself for successful implementation.”

Amtrak and the New Jersey and New York transportation agencies plan to build two new tracks under the Hudson River and then close the existing tubes to repair damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.

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Meet the N.J. entrepreneur whose mission is to help other women succeed

Posted Mar 08, 2021

Alexandra Bernard-Simmons exudes confidence. She’s assertive, knowledgable and witty. She commands your attention just by being in the room.

And she spends much of her time helping other women learn to exhibit those same qualities, especially in entrepreneurship.

Bernard-Simmons, 35, is the owner of Think Like A Boss: No Woman Left Behind. It’s a business focused on women’s empowerment, with locations in Newark and New York City. Through her organization, the Brick City resident says she’s helping to break down barriers to entry for women business owners, while creating a network of women who support one another’s dreams.

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