Want to own an abandoned property in Newark? Land bank website aims to reduce blight across the city.

In an effort to reduce the number of blighted lots and turn more people into homeowners, Invest Newark on Thursday launched a website listing abandoned properties for sale across the city.

The website is a tool is known as a land bank. Invest Newark, a quasi-governmental nonprofit, was selected in April by the city council to run the land bank and launch the website.

The creation of the property database comes less than two years after Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation that allowed for municipalities to set up the system.

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We can’t get enough teachers to open school on Monday, N.J. district says

Posted Jan 22, 2021

The Montclair School District will not reopen for in-person learning as scheduled Monday due to a shortage of staff, the district’s superintendent announced Friday evening.

“It is with deep regret that I inform you that I am unable to properly staff our schools for in-person, hybrid teaching and learning on January 25, 2021,” Montclair School District Superintendent Jonathan Ponds said in a letter to the school community. “As a result, I cannot open our buildings to students as planned.”

Instead, the district will continue the use of remote learning Monday as it has done since last March when schools were shuttered statewide.

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How Menendez hopes to get Biden’s immigration bill passed

Posted Jan 21, 2021

Passing immigration legislation will require business, labor and outside groups to work together to push Congress to act, the bill’s chief Senate sponsor said Thursday.

“We ned you to give it everything you’ve got,” Democratic U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez told the American Business Immigration Council.

President Joe Biden proposed the bill on his first day in office, highlighting its importance to the new administration in contrast to his predecessor’s efforts to revoke protections under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program for unauthorized immigrants brought to the country as children, known as dreamers.

Biden also ended funding for the southern border wall that President Donald Trump promoted, calling the wall “a waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security.”

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NJ municipalities warned they will need to take a bigger role in climate planning

JON HURDLE, CONTRIBUTING WRITER | JANUARY 22, 2021

NJ Spotlight News

 June 20, 2019: Chris Smith makes his way through floodwaters in Westville after severe storms swept across southern New Jerse

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The top state official tasked with prepping New Jersey for the impact of climate change warned local governments that they, not state or federal authorities, need to take most of the responsibility for defending themselves against flooding from a warming world, and should plan their budgets accordingly.

Dave Rosenblatt said towns and cities will be able to get help on science and planning from state and federal governments but should expect to do most of the work on adaptation and mitigation themselves.

“Municipalities have to understand that the state and federal government aren’t going to be able to fund all their projects, all their solutions to climate-change impacts,” Rosenblatt said Thursday during a Pew Charitable Trusts event on how some states are planning for flood resiliency. “Municipalities need to start planning their budgets to include set-aside stores for future climate-change needs.

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Biden Inaugurated as the 46th President Amid a Cascade of Crises

Flags on the National Mall represent the crowds that could not attend the inauguration because of the pandemic.
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WASHINGTON — Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was sworn in on Wednesday as the 46th president of the United States, assuming leadership of a country ravaged by disease, dislocation and division with a call to “end this uncivil war” after four tumultuous years that tore at the fabric of American society.

Mr. Biden sought to immediately turn the corner on Donald J. Trump’s polarizing presidency, inviting Republicans to join him in confronting the nation’s dire economic, social and health crises even as he began dismantling his predecessor’s legacy with orders to halt construction of his border wall, lift his travel ban and rejoin the Paris climate agreement.

The ritualistic transfer of power ended weeks of suspense as the vanquished president waged a relentless bid to hang on, only to be rebuffed at every level of government, clearing the way for Mr. Biden to claim his office. With his hand on a five-inch-thick Bible that has been in his family for 128 years, Mr. Biden recited the 35-word oath administered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. at 11:49 a.m., 11 minutes before the constitutionally prescribed noon hour.

Vice President Kamala Devi Harris was sworn in a few minutes earlier by Justice Sonia Sotomayor using a Bible that once belonged to Thurgood Marshall, the civil rights icon and Supreme Court justice. Ms. Harris thus became the highest-ranking woman in the history of the United States and the first Black American and first person of South Asian descent to hold the nation’s second highest office.

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Post-Trump: The Three Imperatives of Healing American Democracy

By Alan Steinberg | January 20, 2021

Insider NJ

President Joe Biden

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Today, with the end of the presidency of Donald Trump, history’s most dangerous domestic assault on the fabric of American society and democracy is over.  Yet the wounds remain.

From the time Trump descended down the steps of Trump Tower during the summer of 2015,  I had warned in my columns of this pending nightmare for our nation (https://observer.com/2015/08/george-corley-wallace-and-donald-john-trump/).  I was the first mainstream New Jersey columnist to define him in print as an outright fascist. (https://www.nj.com/opinion/2018/11/i_left_the_gop_because_trump_is_not_a_reaganite_he.html ) And during the Fall, 2020 campaign, I noted that Trump was now fully engaged in utilizing such fascist techniques as 1) racist voter suppression and conspiracy theories (https://www.insidernj.com/trump-fascism-suppression-vbm-promotion-rac); and 2) threats to jail his opponents (https://www.insidernj.com/clasical-fascism-trump-proclaims-intention-jail/).

Recently, a number of Republicans have contacted me to apologize for not heeding my warnings.  Yet the polls indicate that a majority of Republicans still believe Trump’s lies that the election was stolen from him.

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Health department’s predictive modeling shows NJ about to turn COVID-19 corner

LILO H. STAINTON, HEALTH CARE WRITER | JANUARY 21, 2021

NJ Spotlight News

New COVID-19 diagnoses and hospitalizations could peak within days in New Jersey before beginning a gradual, months-long decline, according to state predictive modeling that also indicates 70% of eligible residents could be immunized by June 1, allowing for significant community protection against the pandemic.

State health officials were quick to explain that the immunization timeline is heavily dependent on federal supply of vaccines and the June 1 target assumes that the single-dose Johnson & Johnson serum not yet approved by federal regulators is available in March. Until then, the vaccine rollout will have limited impact on infection trends, the model notes.

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New Jersey will likely see another mostly mail primary

By Nikita BiryukovJanuary 20 2021

New Jersey Globe

New Jersey will likely see the return of mostly mail elections in the spring and summer as the state continues to grapple with the pandemic.

The state last began to administer vaccines that, so far, continue to be in short supply. Before taking office, President Joe Biden said he planned to invoke the Defense Production Act to boost the nation’s vaccine production.

Officials aim to have vaccinated 70% of residents, a figure they say will be enough to achieve herd immunity and begin a return to pre-pandemic normalcy, by Memorial Day. It’s not yet clear how increased vaccine production will affect that timeline, but health officials have identified supply shortages as the current bottleneck in the state’s vaccination strategy.

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Auction for Chance to Implode Trump Plaza Casino Is Canceled

THE NEW YORK TIMES

Jan. 19, 2021

Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino, center, once one of Atlantic City, N.J.’s premier destinations, is being demolished. Credit...

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The auction was promoting a “once in a lifetime” experience in Atlantic City, N.J., that would raise money for a youth charity: the right to push a button to implode the vacant Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino.

But the auction, which had drawn a high bid of $175,000, was canceled after objection from the building’s owner, a subsidiary controlled by a company run by Carl C. Icahn, a billionaire investor who has supported President Trump, the auction house overseeing the bidding announced on Tuesday.

The proceeds would have gone to the Boys & Girls Club of Atlantic City.

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N.J. sues Trump 9 more times as his presidency ends

Posted Jan 19, 2021

Just a day before the end of Donald Trump’s presidency, New Jersey announced a flurry of new environmental lawsuits to counter last-minute policy changes.

The state has filed nine complaints just since Friday against the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other offices, officials said.

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to reverse many of Trump’s environmental rollbacks. But state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal previously told NJ Advance Media that he couldn’t count on Biden acting quickly since the rule-making process was often laborious.

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