NJIT Receives $800K From PSEG to Expand STEM Learning in Newark

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What’s Likely to Go Missing in Newark’s 2022 Election? Voters

By Bob Hennelly | May 3, 2022

Insider NJ

If past is prologue, just a tiny fraction of Newark’s 165,000 voters will turnout for next Tuesday’s municipal election.

The likely anemic local voter engagement comes at a precarious time in our national narrative. Respected scholars are positing that a ‘democratic’ country where tens of millions of voters believe the last national election was stolen maybe actually be ungovernable. 

That widespread distrust, when combined with the kind of apathy and voter disengagement that’s on display in a city like Newark should alarm us.  

Even in 2020, when the nation set a record for the number of voters casting a ballot, only 49 percent of Newark’s voters turned out. By 2021, with Governor Murphy at the top of the ticket, just 20 percent bothered to turnout. 

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Prominent Newark Education Activist, Community Leader Dies

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As NJ gets back to work, agencies struggle to keep up

JOHN REITMEYER, BUDGET/FINANCE WRITER | MAY 3, 2022 

NJ Spotlight News

Some of the state’s most important transportation agencies enhanced services during the COVID-19 pandemic, but they still face a series of difficult challenges due to that ongoing health crisis.

That was a key takeaway for lawmakers after several high-profile department heads from Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration spent hours answering questions during the latest round of budget hearings in Trenton.

For example, the head of New Jersey Transit told lawmakers his agency has launched several new or improved services, like a “flex pass” to better accommodate customers who may now be commuting to work on a part-time basis coming out of the pandemic.

Yet NJ Transit continues to face questions about its long-term ridership outlook and fiscal health as the agency carries on operating without a dedicated source of state revenue.

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In New Jersey, thousands of Black and Hispanic students are shut out of AP classes

PATRICK WALL, CHALKBEAT NEWARK | MAY 2, 2022 

NJ Spotlight News

In the Newark school district, where most students are Black or Hispanic, just 19% of juniors and seniors took an advanced course last year — about half the statewide rate. Above, students took a college-level class at East Side High School in 2018.

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When Rasheed Adewole’s friends from other high schools used to complain about their heaps of homework, he would feel a flood of shame.

The other teens, whom he met through a college-prep program, attended magnet and suburban schools in New Jersey that offered an array of demanding Advanced Placement courses. He attended a Newark charter school that offered just one advanced class: AP U.S. History, which he took his senior year. In most of his other classes, expectations were low and homework was scarce.

“The regular classes sometimes were just sad,” said Adewole, who graduated from Marion P. Thomas Charter School in 2017. “I felt like I was just going to school to sit there rather than to learn.”

Adewole, who is Nigerian American, was on the losing end of a stark divide in New Jersey. Students who are Black, Hispanic, or poor are far less likely than their white and Asian peers to take the most rigorous high school courses, including Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate, which often serve as springboards to college.

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Meet The Candidates: Here’s Who’s Running For Mayor in Newark

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NJ immigrant fund has distributed $18M

KAREN YI, WNYC NEWS | APRIL 29, 2022

NJ Spotlight News

April 7, 2021: Workers rally for COVID-19 relief aid. New Jersey later created a fund for undocumented immigrants and other workers excluded from pandemic relief programs

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Six months after New Jersey launched a fund for immigrants excluded from other forms of pandemic aid, only about 20% of applicants have received their checks, and thousands more are awaiting approval, state officials said.

The state Department of Human Services, which is overseeing the Excluded New Jerseyans Fund, said $18.1 million has been distributed to about 8,000 applicants. Another 28,000 applications are pending review or missing paperwork, DHS spokeswoman Eva Loayza-McBride said. Four hundred were denied.

Gov. Phil Murphy’s administration launched the $40 million fund in October using federal coronavirus aid. The program opened after months of rallying and protests by advocacy groups who said immigrant workers had lost jobs and money during the COVID-19 pandemic but were ineligible for federal stimulus checks or unemployment benefits.

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N.J. legal weed’s opening day crowds topped 12,000 — and they spent big

Published: Apr. 27, 2022

The opening of New Jersey’s legal weed industry at a dozen stores statewide last Thursday drew more than 12,000 customers, exceeding expectations, the panel that green-lighted the launch said Wednesday.

The state’s 12 participating dispensaries sold cannabis and cannabis products to 12,438 recreational cannabis customers for a total gross sale of nearly $1.9 million, according to the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory Commission.

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Newark’s Queen returns home to build housing on a troubled block

Published: Apr. 26, 2022

Queen Latifah returned home to Newark on Tuesday, warmly welcomed by fans, family and public officials at a groundbreaking ceremony for a mixed-use project she is partnering with local developers to build in the city’s South Ward.

“I was born here, St. Michael’s Hospital, so this is definitely my home,” said Latifah, 52, who spent some of her early years in neighboring East Orange and Irvington. But getting back to Newark, she added, “This is where Sarah Vaughn is from, so I’m proud to be from here.”

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In Newark’s May 10 election, a former officer’s history of force raises concerns over candidacy

Published: Apr. 26, 2022

When the U.S. Justice Department concluded in 2014 that Newark cops routinely violated residents’ civil rights and used unjustified force, Mayor Ras Baraka called for a civilian complaint review board with subpoena power over the police.

So some people are perplexed over Baraka’s endorsement of former officer Louis Weber as an East Ward city council candidate on his slate in the city’s May 10 municipal election.

“It’s totally inconsistent with what he portrays to the public on where he stands with police,” said Sheila Montague, who is running against Baraka in a bid to become Newark’s first woman mayor. “How do you ask for subpoena power with the CCRB, but then you back a candidate like Weber. That’s ridiculous.”

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