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NJ Spotlight Daily News

August 10, 2015

Did Question About Economy – and Christie’s Reply -- Open Up a Pandora’s Box?
John Reitmeyer | Politics
Observers say governor’s reply on NJ's fiscal picture scored debating points, but exaggerations and distortions may provide future fodder to GOP foes
Opinion: Why are Municipal Water Utilities Not Up for Mergers and Acquisitions?
Daniel J. Van Abs | Opinion
New Jersey is missing opportunities for better management of these crucial governmental entities

August 7, 2015

Debate Grades From Candidates’ Beat Reporters
Matt Katz | Katz on Christie
Three public radio reporters - each of whom has been closely following their local candidate - "grade" the candidates' performances in last night's GOP debate ...
Senate Committee to Train Its Attention on Tunnels, NJ Transit, and Transportation
John Reitmeyer | Transportation
Topping the agenda at Monday’s hearing will be the stalled Gateway tunnel project; long-term planning for NJ Transit also on the docket
Interactive Map: Tracking Christie’s Cash from People, PACs and Super PACs
Colleen O'Dea | Maps, Map of the Week
Governor’s coffers gained more than $14M in first six months of 2015, including millions from New Jersey
Sponsors of Bill to Stop Surprise Out-of-Network Medical Costs Push On
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Legislators involved in effort ask advocates and opponents to submit changes, plan stakeholder meeting at summer’s end
Charter Teachers Typically Follow Traditional Routes to Certification
John Mooney | Education
New staff at charters thus far follow tried-and-true path to fulfilling requirements, administration reports

August 6, 2015

NJ Expands Funding to Help Pediatricians Address Kids’ Mental-Health Issues
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Budget doubles spending on pilot program linking kids’ physicians with psychiatrists and other behavioral-health experts
New Superintendent Promises ‘Trust’ and ‘Healing,’ But Offers Few Specifics
John Mooney | Education
Cerf pledges steps toward local control while vague on ‘One Newark’ and dealing with looming budget gap
Rate Counsel Files With FCC to Block Verizon Switch to Fiber-Optic System
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Division claims telecom giant’s moving subscribers from copper without telling them; subscribers worry about loss of service during outages
Poll: Can Christie Compete in Tonight’s GOP Candidate Debate?
The governor is going be onstage with candidates who dwarf even his outsized personality. Can he cut it?
Administration Holds Student Test Scores to 10% of Teacher Evaluations
John Mooney | Education
Decision not to boost weighting to 20% comes in response to Democratic pressure, concerns about first-year results of PARCC exams
GOP Senator Sponsors Bill to Cut Tax Rate on New Jersey’s Biggest Earners
John Reitmeyer | Budget
Pennacchio argues that lopping taxes by 1 percent would stimulate state’s economy, encourage companies to relocate here
Confident Christie Vows to Bring Some Jersey Attitude to the White House
NJTV News | Politics
Governor tells GOP supporters at Asbury Park event that he expects to win nomination, become president

August 5, 2015

Garden State Hospitals Lead Nation in Penalties for High Readmission Rates
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Federal agency penalizes problematic readmission rates by reducing Medicare reimbursements
Mixed Evaluation Results Complicate Questions About Newark Schools
John Mooney | Education
Status of return to local control to be addressed as new superintendent meets with State Board of Education today
Power-Grid Operator Pledges to Work Closely With Natural-Gas Sector
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
PJM agreement seeks to ensure reliability as coal-fired plants are phased out and more gas-fired units are built
Profile: She's Tuned Into All Things Transportation in the Garden State
Meir Rinde | Profiles
Janna Chernetz of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign is keeping close watch on NJ’s roads, rails, streets, cars, bikes, buses, and …
Lower Amount Needed in Short-Term Loans May Bode Well for NJ Economy
John Reitmeyer | Budget
But somewhat brighter fiscal outlook may put pressure on Christie to accelerate payments into pension fund
Christie Faces Big Hurdles Despite Participation in GOP Candidate Forums
NJTV News | Politics
Trump steals much of straight-talking governor’s thunder while Ohio Gov. Kasich’s credentials appear to trump Christie’s record in Garden State
Toll Increases Proposed to Pay for Upgrades of Two Busy Bridges in South Jersey
WHYY/NewsWorks | Transportation
Officials say hikes would finance more than $100 million in infrastructure work

August 4, 2015

State Will Be Hard-Pressed to Comply With Obama Climate-Change Plan
Tom Johnson | Energy & Environment
Gov. Christie derides administration’s new rule to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions as ‘overregulation’
Explainer: What Happens When Police Are Involved in a Shooting in NJ?
Hank Kalet | Explainer
Whether or not anyone is hurt or killed, the attorney general’s Shooting Response Team steps in and conducts a probe
Program That Eases Prisoner ‘Reentry’ Wins $4M Contract to Build On Success
Lilo H. Stainton | More Issues, Social
Jersey City Employment and Training Program has turned around the futures of thousands of former inmates -- one life at a time
State Offers Help for Homeowners with Hard-to-Handle Mortgage Debts
John Reitmeyer | Housing
Up to $50,000 in aid may be available to those hit with big interest-rate increases, depressed property values, or economic hardship such as job loss
Agenda: Board’s August Meeting Hardly Suffers from Late-Summer Doldrums
John Mooney | Education
New superintendent in Newark, teacher evaluations and anti-bullying policies among items to be addressed
Bill Aims to Lower Fees Patients Pay to Obtain Their Medical Records
Andrew Kitchenman | Healthcare
Maximum price would be cut in half for paper copies from hospitals, drop even more overall for electronic records
Op-Ed: State DOE's Rankings of ‘Best’ and ‘Worst’ Teachers Serve Neither
Lisa Wolff | Opinion
Private companies are moving away from so-called forced rankings; NJ’s public school system should do the same

August 3, 2015

Public Bank Touted as Way to Raise Funds Without Burdening NJ Taxpayers
John Reitmeyer | Budget
After state provides start-up capital, new financial institution would then provide low-interest loans for infrastructure, new schools and other projects
Fine Print: Here's What Superintendent Cerf’s Three-Year Contract Says
John Mooney | Education
Deal almost doubles Newark school chief’s pay from days as state commissioner, but contains no performance bonuses
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