N.J. Republicans sue to overturn congressional district map that favors Democrats

Published: Dec. 30, 2021

The Republican members of New Jersey’s independent redistricting commission asked the state Supreme Court Thursday to throw out the district maps that all but ensured Democratic domination of the congressional delegation for the next decade.

The lawsuit charged that the commission’s chair and tiebreaking member, retired state Supreme Court Judge John Wallace Jr., used “an arbitrary, capricious, and unreasonable vote and reasoning” when he chose the map drawn by the Democratic commissioners over the Republican proposal.

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Newark Schools Will Go Remote Starting Jan. 3, District Officials Say

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How LEAD Charter School Helped this Student Turn His Passion for Problem-Solving Into a Career Path

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N.J reports 50 COVID deaths and 20,483 cases, breaking another daily record as positive cases spike

Published: Dec. 29, 2021

New Jersey on Wednesday reported another 20,483 COVID-19 cases, shattering the record for the most positive tests the state has announced in any single day during the 22-month-old pandemic.

The state also reported another 50 confirmed deaths just two days before New Year’s Eve will be celebrated.

New Jersey’s previous one-day high for positive tests was 16,626 cases on Saturday.

The new mark comes as the Garden State region and the nation face a new winter surge, the rise of the omicron variant, and a massive demand for testing ahead of holiday gatherings.

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Newark mourns the passing of longtime activist, ‘The Street Doctor’

Published: Dec. 28, 2021

Earl Best robbed banks, got caught and went to prison. The Newark resident was locked up for 17 years, spending much of it in solitary confinement, which gave him lots of time to think.

When he got out, he told friends, and the thousands of youths he would later reach out to, about the single, transformative moment he experienced in all those years spent behind bars - cereal.

“One day, he was counting the Rice Krispies they had given him for breakfast, just so he could keep his mind straight,” recalled Bashir Muhammad Ptah Akinyele, a Newark school teacher. “And he thought to himself, this is no place for anyone, but especially a Black man. In that moment, he turned over his life, committed himself to working to stop the violence once he got out of prison.”

The year was 2000. He was freed from prison, came home to Newark, and became “The Street Doctor.”

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He Went to Jail on Minor Charges. He Left in a Coma.

Jayshawn Boyd, 22, pictured with his mother in July, was badly beaten as he was awaiting sentencing at the Essex County jail in Newark.
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NEWARK — Jayshawn Boyd, a 22-year-old with schizophrenia, does not remember the brutal jail attack that left him in a coma for more than two months.

His mother, Nacolia Boyd, said she intended to wait until he regained more strength to tell him all the details about the beating by fellow detainees at the Essex County jail in Newark and the long road ahead to what his family hopes is a full recovery.

“He’s making little words,” his father, Shawn Bouknight, said, “talking a little bit.”

The Sept. 23 attack was stunning in its viciousness and duration.

In surveillance video of the assault shared last month on social media, seven men in a jail day room are shown knocking Mr. Boyd to the floor and stomping his head. One by one, they return to pummel him with their fists, a microwave, a water cooler, a broom and an industrial bucket filled with bleach during an attack that continues well after Mr. Boyd appears to lose consciousness.

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N.J.’s Chris Smith was once celebrated by conservatives. Now Trump wants him gone. What happened?

Published: Dec. 27, 2021

Republicans cheered when Chris Smith, a leading anti-abortion advocate, flipped a Democratic-held district and was elected to Congress in 1980. He’s won in landslides for the following four decades.

But now the leader of Republican Party, former President Donald Trump, wants Smith out of office. Two GOP candidates are answering Trump’s call to challenge New Jersey’s longest-serving congressman in next year’s primary just as Smith’s new district gains more loyal supporters of the former president.

The reason? Smith, who often split with Trump and House GOP leaders during his 41 years on Capitol Hill, went too far in the eyes of the ex-president when he was one of only 13 House Republicans to back President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

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One big step toward dumping dirty diesels | Editorial

Published: Dec. 27, 2021

There are 423,000 medium and heavy-duty trucks on New Jersey’s roads, and every year they travel more than 6.2 billion miles in our state and burn 653 million gallons of petroleum-based fuel. Many are diesels with outdated pollution control devices, and their emissions cause high levels of asthma, cancer, and developmental defects – particularly in the urban neighborhoods where hundreds pass through each hour on their way to the cargo ports.

In the Ironbound section of Newark, one in four children have asthma – that is three times the state average. In some areas with heavy truck traffic, such as Elizabeth and Bayonne, diesel pollution can be 150 times higher than the level that is considered safe. No one should have to breathe poison, much less raise children in such an environment, also known to scientists as “diesel death zones.”

Clearly, it is long past the time to replace these filthy vehicles, so Gov. Murphy and the Department of Environmental Protection began the process by adopting what is known as the Advanced Clean Trucks rule. It is not the whole solution, but it is a hopeful and commendable start to one.

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N.J reports 7 COVID deaths, 12,538 cases as hospitalizations climb to a 10-month high

Published: Dec. 26, 2021

New Jersey on Sunday reported another seven confirmed COVID-19 deaths and 12,538 confirmed positive cases, bringing the state’s seven-day case average to a new pandemic record just as statewide coronavirus hospitalizations reached their highest number in nearly 10 months.

The number of cases reported Sunday represents a significant decrease, approximately 24%, from the high reported Christmas Day, but the state’s seven-day case average still increased to 11,905, the highest ever recorded. It’s more than double the average a week ago and is more than 500% percent higher than this time last month.

Numbers in the Garden State have been on a record-breaking tear as the omicron variant has surged, cold weather has driven people indoors, and demand for testing has spiked ahead of holiday gatherings. Before this week, the previous daily record for reported cases was 6,922 on Jan. 13. Then, on Wednesday, the state reported 9,711 confirmed cases. Since then, the state has been reporting five-digit case tallies.

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Homeland Security teams in Newark to wear body cameras in pilot program

Published: Dec. 25, 2021

By The Associated Press

Agents with an investigative unit of the Department of Homeland Security in Newark and two other cities will wear body cameras for the first time as part of a six-month pilot program that will focus on the costs and benefits of using the technology in federal law enforcement, officials said.

The cameras will be used during the test by 55 members of the SWAT-like special response teams at Homeland Security Investigations in New Jersey, Houston and New York, a senior official told reporters earlier this week.

Homeland Security Investigations, which focuses on transnational federal crimes such as drug and human trafficking and fraud, is a component of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better known as ICE.

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