Newark Wants To Give 40 Students a Debt-Free College Education

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Pump Your Own Gas? No Thanks, Say New Jerseyans

New Jersey is the only state where self-service gasoline is illegal statewide and attendants must refuel vehicles.Credit...
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Sabrina Banks, an 18-year-old college freshman, has never pumped her own gasoline. Growing up in New Jersey, she never had to.

“I don’t even know how,” Ms. Banks said with a quick laugh before heading into a Bed Bath & Beyond store in Brick, N.J.

For now, she need not learn: A brief but intense push to abolish a law that bars drivers in New Jersey from pumping their own fuel at gas stations has hit a speed bump, if not a complete dead-end.

Nicholas Scutari, the Democratic president of the State Senate whose backing would be crucial to any law change, put an end to speculation earlier this month when he said he did not support changing the state’s unique policy.

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N.J. minority-owned businesses to get $25K in marketing support from new accelerator program

Since the start of the pandemic, NJ Advance Media Cares provided more than $1.6 million in marketing support to help New Jersey businesses through one of the most economically devastating times residents and the business communities have ever experienced. At the same time, the NJ Advance Media newsroom launched N.J. is Open* to connect businesses with their customers.

Continuing the corporate mission to “strengthen and empower the communities we serve,” NJ Advance Media, which publishes NJ.com, The Star-Ledger, The Times of Trenton and other affiliated papers, will add a focus on minority-owned businesses, which historically face more economic and systemic challenges to achieving success.

The Mosaic Empowerment Program is currently open to minority-owned businesses located in Essex County and Mercer County. The free application period is open through April 17.

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Sobering test scores show Newark students struggling to recover from learning loss

PATRICK WALL, CHALKBEAT NEWARK | MARCH 31, 2022

NJ Spotlight News

Newark schools Superintendent Roger León (pictured) said interim test scores released last week underscore the extraordinary effort it will take to help students recover from the pandemic. “The road is long,” León said.

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Newark students have made scant academic progress so far this school year, according to sobering new test scores that underscore the severity of the pandemic’s toll on student learning and the extraordinary measures that will be required for students to recover.

Based on mid-year assessments, no more than 6% of students in any grade from 3-7 are expected to reach the “proficient” level on the state math tests slated to begin next month, according to data that Newark Public Schools officials shared last week. By contrast, 27% of students in grades 3-8 met the state’s benchmarks on the annual math tests in 2019, before the pandemic shut down schools and drastically curtailed learning.

Reading scores on the mid-year tests, which students in grades 1-7 took in February, were only slightly higher. In each of the tested grades, about 10% of students or fewer are expected to meet state English standards this year, the data show.

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Campos Says He has One Key Factor His Rivals Lack

By Max Pizarro | March 29, 2022

Insider NJ

NEWARK – Jim Morrison once said the west is the best, but they don’t subscribe to that point of view around here, where “The East Ward community is the crown jewel of the city, and the city is the crown jewel of the state,” said Anthony Campos, Newark’s former police chief and former police director, who wants to occupy the East Ward Council seat that Augusto Amador will vacate at the end of his 2022 term.

This four-man May 10th race here in the East arguably represents the most competitive ward contest in the city this year, in part because Amador sat on the throne for 25 years, and in part because insiders perceive Mayor Ras Baraka to be less strong here than in the South, West and Central. Baraka backs Louis Weber for the seat, a move that either speaks to the mayor trying to transfer his popularity even into the East for a win; or to a strategy of keeping the ward sufficiently scrambled to impair the genuine rise of another iconic figure like Amador; or maybe because Weber as the city’s sitting ABC director neutralizes, without even having to say anything, a chunk of the restaurant owners on the endorsement front. Whatever the case, the sources in this politically charged ward see Campos as a very tough out, confirmed by the fact that the retired chief nearly beat Amador in 2018 before succumbing by a few votes in an ugly runoff.

With the councilman gone, Campos wants to build on his momentum of four years ago to get through Mike Silva, who enjoys the backing of Amador. Three of the four contenders in this race are former cops (Weber, Campos, and Silva). A fourth is businessman Jonathan Seabra.

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Fourth COVID-19 shot approved, but disputed

LILO H. STAINTON, HEALTH CARE WRITER | MARCH 30, 2022

NJ Spotlight News

Vaccinated individuals 50 years or older — and those as young as 12 who are significantly immunocompromised — can now get a second COVID-19 booster shot, thanks to federal government decisions Tuesday designed to increase protection among those at higher risk of infection.

But experts appeared split on the need to allow for a second booster, or fourth shot of the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna. Some saw little downside and welcomed the potential additional protection in the announcement that has been rumored for weeks. “I think the benefit outweighs the risk,” said Rutgers School of Public Health Dean Perry Halkitis.

Others questioned the government’s decision-making process, which didn’t involve the same public review as previous COVID-19 vaccine policies, and the timing of the move, given the current low prevalence of disease. “In my opinion, there really doesn’t appear to be — right at this moment, today — an urgency for people to go out and get a fourth dose,” said Dr. Eddy Bresnitz, a vaccine expert and former adviser to the state’s pandemic response team.

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Newark converts old bank into artist live-work space to help spark neighborhood revival

Published: Mar. 29, 2022

Officials are hope that a $9 million investment in Newark’s South Ward will soon start paying human and economic dividends, with the mixed-use redevelopment of an abandoned bank building into apartments plus work and performance space for artists.

Seven years in the making, the Gant-Gilbert Arts Collective includes 27 1- and 2-bedroom apartments, 10 art studios, a performance space, and a café in a four-story beaux-arts building on Clinton Avenue in what was once home to Howard Savings Bank.

The project, which marked its opening with a ribbon-cutting on Tuesday, is a long-awaited lynchpin in the effort to rejuvenate the city’s faded Clinton Hill neighborhood, in the hope that — as has happened from Soho in Manhattan to Deep Ellum in Dallas — artists will lead the way.

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Biden’s proposed budget includes $100M for Gateway Tunnel

Published: Mar. 28, 2022

President Joe Biden’s proposed budget includes $100 million for the Gateway project, a down payment on the federal share of the $12.3 billion train tunnel under the Hudson River.

The money would come out of the Capital Improvement Grant program, which Biden proposed funding at $4.5 billion for the 12 months beginning Oct. 1. Federal Transit Administrator Nuria Fernandez said that future funding for the tunnel would come from future allocations, based on a final agreement for building the tunnel.

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Developer Proposes to Bring 81 Units to Branford Place Building

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NJ clamps down on apparent violations of fair housing law

COLLEEN O'DEA, SENIOR WRITER AND PROJECTS EDITOR | MARCH 29, 2022 

NJ Spotlight News

Advocates recently complained about a lack of enforcement of a new law designed to help those with criminal records to secure housing. Now, with the help of a little online sleuthing, New Jersey is beginning to crack down.

The New Jersey Division on Civil Rights announced Monday that it has sent cease-and-desist letters to seven landlords or housing managers over rental ads that appear to violate the three-month-old Fair Chance in Housing Act (FCHA) that makes it illegal to discriminate against a potential renter based on a criminal record.

The properties are in East Orange in Essex County, Jersey City and West New York in Hudson County, Lafayette in Sussex County, Phillipsburg in Warren County, South Amboy in Middlesex County and South Bound Brook in Somerset County.

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