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NJ Spotlight Daily News

October 3, 2014

Rise in Drug-Treatment Admissions in NJ Reveals Progress of a Plague
Colleen O'Dea | Social, Maps, Map of the Week
With heroin and opiate abuse on the rise in New Jersey, data and anecdotal evidence tell heartbreaking tale of addiction and death
State Clears Sale of Environmentally Sensitive Property -- for Second Time
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Golf course and senior housing could displace endangered species, including Pine Barrens tree frog
Assembly Leaders Lend Support to Teacher-Training Proposals by NJEA
John Mooney | Education
Support creation of study panel, propose legislative and regulatory moves to enact reforms
PARCC: A Five-Letter Word for Difference of Opinion in Education
John Mooney | Education
State’s announcement of PARCC path to high-school diploma earns kudos and criticisms from teachers, administrators, legal experts
In Increasingly Diverse State, NJ’s Police Forces Are Mostly White and Male
While some see hiring bias, other observers say it’s not necessarily bigotry behind racial make-up of departments

October 2, 2014

Prescribing Alternatives to Pain Medicines Is Easier Said Than Done, Doctors Say
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Constraints on patients’ time and money, insurance delays cited among obstacles to reducing use of oft-abused opioids
Administration Wants to Be Clear About PARCC’s Role in High-School Graduation
John Mooney | Education
State officials look to lay out their position on new online tests, while NJ’s largest teachers union voices its displeasure

October 1, 2014

‘Housing First’ Advocates Look to Expand, Take Program Statewide
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare, Social, Housing
Finding homes for the homeless is seen as first step toward improving health, lowering costs of medical and social services
NJ Education Officials Unveil Test Requirements for High-Schoolers to Graduate
John Mooney | Education
While plan offers options in lieu of passing PARCC exams, critics say plan breaks promise to delay mandate
Natural-Gas Bills Will Drop This Winter for Most Customers in New Jersey
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Heating bills will decline for Garden State consumers served by three of four gas utilities
Federal Funding Should Bolster Resilience of Water-Treatment Plants
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
EPA announces the awarding of $229 million to finance projects at drinking-water, sewage-treatment facilities
Possible Rate Cut, Refund for JCP&L Customers Hits Yet Another Delay
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
BPU grants administrative law judge’s request for more time to reach decision in long-running case
Poll: Who Should Run the Show When Gov. Chris Christie’s Out of State?
New legislation would allow Christie to sign and veto bills -- and perform other executive actions -- when he’s far from the Garden State
Opinion: Ballot Question to Preserve Open Space Could Hurt More Than It Helps
R. William Potter | Opinion
Siphoning off $4 billion from corporate taxes would drain budget, decimate staff at state Department of Environmental Protection
11 Schools in New Jersey Win Coveted Federal ‘Blue Ribbon’ Designation
John Mooney | Education
This year’s recipients include eight public schools, two private schools and one charter
NJ Legislators Vote to Officially Allow Electronic Votes in Absentia
WNYC/NJPR | Politics
Lawmakers regularly let staffers push ‘yes’ or ‘no’ buttons for them, even though law required their physical presence in legislative chambers

September 30, 2014

On The Campaign Trail, This Is Not 2012's Chris Christie
Matt Katz | Katz on Christie
Independence, OH - Three potential presidential rivals stood on a makeshift stage in a cavernous warehouse: There was Gov. Chris Christie, of course, continuing his rapid return to the top tier of possible Republican candidates . . .
Christie's GOP Campaigning Takes Him To Ohio
Matt Katz | Katz on Christie
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's role as head of the Republican Governors' Association will see him travel to six state in eight days campaigning for GOP candidates across the country . . .
Former Ratepayer Advocate Socked With $11,000 Fine for Ethics Violations
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Commission faults Seema Singh for simultaneously serving as ratepayer advocate and president of special-interest group
More Insured People Could Mean Less Reimbursement for Charity Care
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Advocates argue against drastic funding cuts even if hospitals see drop-off in uncompensated services provided to low-income patients
State Assembly Targets Governor’s Suppression of Rebate Data
Mark J. Magyar | Politics
Legislation would require Christie administration to publish town-by-town data on net property taxes it removed from state’s website
Explainer: Getting Inside the Urban Hope Act -- and ‘Renaissance Schools’
John Mooney | Education, Explainer
Opening the way for charter networks to gain a toehold in the city, new law could transform education in Camden
Agenda: NJ's Teacher of the Year Will Get Day in the Sun as Board Honors Winner
John Mooney | Education
State Board of Education will announce recipient for 2014, discuss familiar topics of testing and teacher quality
Op-Ed: NJ Can Protect Consumers without Promoting Lawsuits
Marcus Rayner | Opinion
A few simple, common-sense amendments to the current Consumer Fraud Act would punish deceptive business practices while curbing nuisance litigation against honest businesses

September 29, 2014

Is Christie's Barnstorming a Preview of 2016?
Matt Katz | Katz on Christie
Over the next eight days, Gov. Chris Christie will visit six states to campaign for Republican candidates . . .
Analysis: Merger of Cash-Starved NJDOT with Turnpike Authority ‘Cash Cow’ eyed
Mark J. Magyar | Politics, Transportation
Turnpike, Parkway generate $400 million a year in excess toll revenues -- and most of it already goes into state budget
Bills Would Protect Developmentally Disabled from Abuse and Neglect
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Family members urge state to more closely monitor workers at group homes and similar facilities
No Shortage of Challenges for New President of Board of Public Utilities
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Agency must wrestle -- among other issues -- with building resiliency into NJ’s power grid without spiking customer bills
NJEA, Other Education Groups Push Own Proposals for Teacher Improvements
John Mooney | Education
‘Taking Back the Profession’ report includes call for new tier of ‘teacher leaders’ and more mentoring
The List: Top 10 Challenges to Keep Raw Sewage From Polluting NJ's Water
Tom Johnson | The List
After years of neglect, New Jersey is addressing problems associated with aging sewer infrastructure, some of which is more than 100 years old
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