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NJ Spotlight Daily News

April 11, 2014

Charter School Applications Remain Strong, Despite Few Approvals by State
John Mooney | Education
Administration's reluctance to sign off on new charters doesn't do much to discourage nearly 40 new applicants

April 10, 2014

Playing Ball With Chris Christie
Matt Katz | Katz on Christie
On May 13, 2013, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno had a now notorious chat with the mayor of Hoboken, Dawn Zimmer, in the parking lot of a Sandy-damaged ShopRite. Zimmer remembers Guadagno threatening her: If she didn’t approve a development project . . .
S&P Turns Thumb Down On Christie Budgets, Downgrades Bond Rating
Mark J. Magyar | Budget
Credit agency criticizes overstated revenue estimates, retiree liabilities, high debt, and one-shot gimmicks that add to future budget woes
Christie Vetoes Minutes of Pinelands Commission, Slams 5 Percent Raise for Staff
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
In harsh veto message, governor accuses commissioners of "conscious disregard of the fiscal realities" of Pinelands and state of New Jersey
Ruling Hampers Probe Of Political Malfeasance In Governor’s Office
Mark J. Magyar | Politics
Republicans seize on Stepien-Kelly victory to urge Bridgegate committee to stop investigating and start legislating
NJ FamilyCare Adds More Than 100,000 Residents to Health Insurance Rolls
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare, Affordable Care Act
State’s decision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare appears to pay off as federal funds cover cost of new enrollees
Appeals Panel Rebuffs Foes of Online Instruction in Two Charter Schools
John Mooney | Education
Teachers union, citing concerns over unregulated teaching methods, vows appeal to state Supreme Court
Poll: Are Gov. Christie's Town Halls a Good Idea or Just Good Politics?
Politics, Polling
The governor has racked up almost 120 town halls -- are they an effective way to communicate with the people of New Jersey?
Opinion: Christie & Co. -- Fanning the Flames of the Bridgegate Scandal
Carl Golden | Opinion
The administration seems more out-of-control than capable of effective spin control or damage control
Op-Ed: The Achievement Gap Can't Be Bridged by Schools Alone
Patrick J. Fletcher | Opinion
Everyone has a stake in helping economically disadvantaged students accelerate their learning until it's on par with their more affluent peers
Former NJ Governors Seek to Safeguard Palisades' Tree Line -- But at What Price?
Energy & Environment
Englewood Cliffs company says new headquarters means thousands of jobs for NJ -- and first building that 'breaches' pristine timberline
Judge To Dems: No Bridgegate Docs For You
Matt Katz | Katz on Christie
In a victory for both Gov. Chris Christie and his former aides, a New Jersey judge has ruled that two key figures in the Bridgegate scandal do not have to turn over documents to a state legislative panel.

April 9, 2014

Much Ado About Nothing: No Tapes, Transcripts of Mastro Interviews
Mark J. Magyar | Politics
Wisniewski: If Christie’s lawyers did not record interviews, report’s conclusions are just ‘hearsay’
Along NJ Coast, Offshore Wind Developer Refuses to Quit Without a Fight
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Fishermen's Energy files motion of reconsideration with state BPU, arguing against agency decision to shut down pilot wind project
Union Blasts State for Letting Salem County Hospital End Maternity Care
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Nurses express concern about poor public transit affecting women in rural county
Profile: He Covered Major News for Big Networks – But Calls Sandy His Biggest Story
John Mooney | Profiles
NJ Public Television host lists Chris Christie – along with Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton -- among most impressive politicians he has encountered
Opinion: Can Traditional Schools Learn to Play Well With Charters?
Laura Waters | Education, Opinion
It’s time to retire the rhetoric and help both types of schools do what they do best: educate our children
Teacher Evaluation Rules Will Change Only Slightly Next Year, State Decides
John Mooney | Education
Portion of evaluation that’s based on student test scores will remain at 30 percent for 2014-2015

April 8, 2014

State Agencies Explore Initial Framework for Energy Resiliency Bank
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Low-interest loans and grants should help critical facilities deploy technology to stay in service even if grid is knocked out
At Small-Business Roundtable, Sandy Survivors Share Frustrations, Anger
Scott Gurian | Sandy
Assemblyman Greenwald listens to tales of lengthy delays and checks that never came, despite repeated promises of NJ Economic Development Authority
Providing a Solid Foundation for Improving the Health of the Homeless
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare, Social, Housing
Helping patients find a permanent place to live called crucial part of effective medical care
Hespe Assures Senate Panel PARCC Is on Track, Despite Lingering Doubts
John Mooney | Education
Technology readiness remains largest concern, with recent reports showing only 70 percent of field trials were up to the task
Explainer: Trying to Find a Stable Source of Funds for Open-Space Preservation
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment, Planning, Explainer
Despite continued support from voters, open-space preservation is flat broke, and it may take a constitutional amendment to bring it back to life

April 7, 2014

Trouble Ahead: Christie’s Bridgegate Gamble Creates New Challenges
Mark J. Magyar | Politics
Mastro report gives Christie political cover, but now legislative panel and federal grand jury will subpoena interviews with Christie, top aides
'Energy Strong' Case Has Wider Implications for Regulators, Customers
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
How far will BPU go to limit PSE&G infrastructure spending, costs to ratepayers?
Policy Experts Call for Easier Access to Healthcare Data for Research
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Privacy laws and network of government agencies stifle flow of information that could help improve delivery of medical services in NJ
State-Controlled Districts: Acting Commissioner Hespe's First Headaches
John Mooney | Education
New schools chief must walk fine line between administration and local districts
The List: Hospitals and Insurers Lobby Up on Healthcare Reform
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare, The List
Hackensack, Horizon, Barnabas lead pack in lobbying expenditures in 2013
Would Higher Minimum Wage for Tip-Earners Help or Hurt Struggling Low-Pay Workers?
Hank Kalet | More Issues
Advocates decry current $2.13 per hour as unfair, while restaurant owners say hike would eliminate jobs, might backfire by reducing tips

April 4, 2014

How Christie's Office Used Government Employees to Win Endorsements
Matt Katz | Katz on Christie
The thrust of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s re-election strategy last year was to secure endorsements from Democratic officials -- and new Bridgegate documents show just how intent he was to make sure that happened. The documents, culled by WNYC from thousands of pages released by his attorney last week as part of an internal review,