N.J. isn’t sending out mail-in ballots to everyone for June 8 primary. Here’s how to get one.

Posted May 10, 2021

This year’s primary election in New Jersey won’t look like last year’s, so you may not automatically receive a ballot in the mail this time.

In 2020, the state sent out mail-in ballots to all of New Jersey’s 3.6 million registered Democrats and Republican living here to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

But with the state’s COVID-19 numbers improving, Gov. Phil Murphy has already announced that this year’s June 8 primary election — a big one, with the governor’s office and all 120 seats in the state Legislature on the ballot — will be conducted “primarily in-person.”

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Food pantries share $3.5 million to strengthen hunger-relief services

JON HURDLE, CONTRIBUTING WRITER | MAY 11, 2021

NJ Spotlight News

Almost 300 New Jersey food pantries and soup kitchens are sharing in $3.5 million to improve their services to people who have become food-insecure because of the pandemic and are expected to remain as COVID-19 infection rates drop and vaccinations increase.

The funding is to enable the distribution network for New Jersey’s food banks to more efficiently meet demand for food assistance that, though lower than its pandemic peak, is still much higher than it was before the pandemic began.

Most of the money has been raised by three food banks — the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Mercer Street Friends, and NORWESCAP — and has been supplemented by the New Jersey Pandemic Relief Fund’s Endurance Grants program, said Carlos Rodriguez, president of the Community FoodBank, the state’s largest hunger-relief organization.

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Murphy’s Handling of the Pandemic: The Worst News for the Republicans from the Monmouth Poll

By Alan Steinberg | May 9, 2021

Insider NJ

The Monmouth Poll is considered to be the Gold Standard of polling in New Jersey.  And under the leadership of its Executive Director, Patrick Murphy, the poll now has a top-flight national reputation as well, rated as A-plus by Nate Silver’s Five Thirty Eight Blog.

So when the Monmouth Poll releases its findings, New Jersey political players and journalists stop what they are doing to evaluate the latest news from Sir Patrick.  And if the New Jersey Republican Party was a stock, there would have been a substantial amount of short selling by its shareholders last week.

The news released from the Monmouth Poll last Wednesday, May 5, 2021 regarding NJGOP prospects in this November’s gubernatorial election was most discouraging.  In a nutshell, incumbent Governor Phil Murphy continues to enjoy substantially positive job approval (57%-31%) and reelect (48%-43%) ratings.  While not as high as before, the Murphy numbers continue to presage a most comfortable reelection margin.  https://www.insidernj.com/monmouth-poll-murphy-job-approval-rating-57/

Yet the following news, released by the Monmouth Poll the next day, Thursday, May 6, 2021, would be even worse for the NJGOP. New Jerseyans, by a wide margin (66%-27%) say that Governor Murphy is doing a good job handling the Coronavirus Pandemic, and nearly as many say the restrictions he has imposed to slow the spread of Covid-19 have been appropriate.  Specifically, 58 percent of New Jerseyans say the measures Murphy took to slow the spread of coronavirus have been appropriate, while 27 percent say they went too far and 14 percent say they didn’t go far enough.

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Find Out Your Options If You Are a Newark Homeowner At-Risk If the Eviction Moratorium is Lifted

NEWARK, NJ — Newark’s financially burdened homeowners who face a looming eviction moratorium expected to end this June can seek help and information during a virtual seminar hosted by nonprofit United Community Corporation this month.

The free virtual seminar’s goal will emphasize options available to residents in Newark and Essex County - including rights already built into their leases. It will be available via Zoom on May 22 from noon to 2 p.m. 

All participants must register for the event by contacting UCC’s Housing Coordinator Pam McNeill at [email protected] or UCC’s Housing Counselor Damon Redmond at [email protected]

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Two nursing homes close and may signal a trend

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

NJ Spotlight News

After 83 years as a nursing home that filled a unique cultural niche in Emerson, Bergen County, the Armenian Nursing & Rehabilitation Center closed its doors on Easter Sunday, a victim of a changing industry and the coronavirus pandemic.

The Villa at Florham Park, a nursing home in southern Morris County with a 130-year history, is scheduled to follow suit in the weeks to come.

“This whole thing is so scary. You’re just hoping the next place isn’t going to close too,” said a New Jersey woman whose brother will be forced to move from The Villa, where he has lived for a year-and-a-half. “I guess it’s survival of the fittest — or the ones that can change,” said the woman, who declined to be identified because of concerns over her brother’s privacy and care.

The Armenian home and The Villa, both nonprofits, have received high marks for quality care over the years and together cared for dozens of COVID-19-positive residents who survived, and others who did not. But a combination of long-standing financial challenges, increasingly costly regulatory requirements and expenses associated with the pandemic appear to have pushed them over the edge.

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New Jersey, one of the hardest hit states last year, is seeing cases decline significantly.

Michael Gold and 

THE NEW YORK TIMES

May 7, 2021

Nassau Street in Princeton, N.J., last month. The state is making great progress in the drop of coronavirus cases.Credit...

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New coronavirus cases have fallen drastically in New Jersey, where at times this spring the virus was spreading faster than anywhere else in the United States.

Over the past two weeks, the state has seen its average number of new daily drop by 61 percent, according to a New York Times database.

New Jersey’s case numbers are dropping along with the rest of the country’s. But the state’s decline is the steepest in the United States and its rate of new daily cases per person is now just above the national average.

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Murphy announces $40 million for undocumented immigrants, others excluded from benefits

Posted May 07, 2021

Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday announced a $40 million fund for undocumented immigrants and other workers excluded from economic aid during the pandemic, as part of a larger $275 million economic relief package.

The news comes after a nearly month-long hunger strike by undocumented immigrants who were desperately seeking financial relief after being excluded from most forms of direct economic aid, including unemployment benefits and stimulus checks, since the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the job market and economy 14 months ago.

Groups representing the workers on Friday called it an important first step but fear it still won’t be enough to help the community.

New Jersey residents who were excluded from relief like unemployment and stimulus benefits will be eligible for the fund regardless of immigration status or whether they file taxes.

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Newark Community Leaders Reach Out to Disabled with Vaccination Clinic

Newark resident Juan Palacios receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up clinic hosted for the disabled community.
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NEWARK, NJ — The city of Newark is taking its first steps to vaccinate nearly 34,000 people with disabilities after community leaders hosted a pop-up clinic for residents with visual, hearing or physical impairments. 

Although officials may have a long way to go before a majority of the city’s disabled residents are fully vaccinated, more than 50 registered residents walked through the doors of Chosen Generation Ministries on Friday morning to receive a Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Among the dozens of people who came in to roll up their sleeves and receive a shot, one resident, Terrence Coleman, said that he is looking forward to traveling this fall. 

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HUD Secretary Visits Newark, Determined to Increase Vaccine Response

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Sec. Marcia Fudge visited Wynona Lipman Gardens on Thursday to attend a mobile pop-up clinic hosted by Saint James Health.

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NEWARK, NJ — Less than a quarter of Newark residents are fully vaccinated, however, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge said the Biden-Harris administration is determined to raise those numbers.

Joined by local health professionals and area officials, Fudge visited Wynona Lipman Gardens on Thursday to attend a mobile pop-up clinic hosted by Saint James Health. Aimed to increase accessibility to the city’s most underserved communities, pop-up clinics have been one of the city’s most consistent methods to provide access rather than relying on larger vaccination sites

As of May 6, more than 100 million U.S. citizens have been fully vaccinated, but the numbers in so many underserved communities throughout the country like Newark tell a different story. In a city where roughly 22% of its residents are fully vaccinated, the HUD secretary, a Cleveland native, stressed that the Biden-Harris administration needs to do more for its minority communities. 

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N.J. would be hit hardest by Biden’s tax hikes on the rich, study shows

Posted May 05, 2021

President Joe Biden’s proposed tax increases on the wealthy would prompt a greater percentage of New Jersey taxpayers to pay more than in any other state, according to a new study.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a progressive research group, found 1.2% of New Jersey taxpayers, or 53,000, would see their taxes go up. That’s tied with Massachusetts for the highest percentage of a state’s taxpayers facing a tax hike.

Still, that means that 98.8% of New Jersey’s taxpayers would see no increase. Nationally, the percentage would be 99.3%, leaving 0.7%, or 1.1 million filers, who would be affected.

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