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June 24, 2016

A 2016 Rutgers University study examined 2,372 apartments in northern New Jersey and found about 12 percent of the rooms had bedbug infestations. The study found that half of the residents with bedbugs were completely unaware of them and that women were more likely to report bites. The study focused on 43 buildings in low-income communities in Bayonne, Hackensack, Irvington, and Paterson.

While those in the study often didn’t know they had bedbugs, the methods for finding them were fairly simple. 75 percent of infestations were discovered with short visual inspections taking 10 minutes or less. The researchers estimated that professional bedbug checks would cost about $12 per apartment.

June 23, 2016

We’re in for a good year in New Jersey if you believe in the plans being laid by members of the state Chamber of Commerce: 81 percent said they were planning to maintain or add to staffing over the next 12 months. About the same number said they expected revenues to either stay even or increase.

Meanwhile, these same leaders are looking to invest in technology. Since 34 percent now say they get most of their customers via the web (about the same find face-to-face customer generation best), they are looking to buy more tech in the coming year. About 63 percent say they will invest in “the cloud,” 38 percent say they are looking for more mobile technology, and 38 percent say they need more analytics to crunch customer data -- something 57 percent said they were not effectively collecting.

June 22, 2016

The latest Kid’s Count report, produced each year by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, ranked New Jersey second in the nation when it comes to education. The survey, which has ranked New Jersey second since its inception, looks at issues such as early childhood education, school age, young adults, and test scores.

Overall, the state ranked seventh for child wellbeing, behind Minnesota, Massachusetts, Iowa, New Hampshire, and Connecticut.

When it comes to economic wellbeing, a category New Jersey fared worst in, the state fell to 20th place. One in four children lives in a family that has no member of the household with full-time, year-round employment. What’s more, 16 percent of children live in poverty. The study tracked New Jersey conditions in 2013 through 2014, when the economy was still poor in the Garden State.

There were other bright spots, however. The teen birth rate dropped 46 percent between 2008 and 2014. Drug and alcohol abuse also dropped 29 percent.

June 20, 2016

New Jersey’s nine national parks hosted 4.2 million visitors and generated $135.8 million in visitor spending according to the federal Department of Interior’s annual economic report for Fiscal Year 2015. The parks also supported 2,000 jobs and the state economic output came in at $189.1 million.

On a national scale, the DOI reported that the country’s national parks, wildlife refuges, monuments, and other public lands hosted an estimated 443 million recreational visits in 2015, an increase from 423 million the year before. These visits supported $45 billion in economic output and 396,000 jobs.

June 20, 2016

In January 2016, Princeton University researchers Steven Englehardt and Arvind Narayanan sent out 90 million requests to the top 1 million sites on the internet to see how web users are being tracked. They assembled the largest dataset ever used to study web tracking.

Web tracking happens to every internet user whether they know it or not. As someone searches or browses through websites, they are interacting with “first parties” (the websites that the user is visiting directly) and “third parties,” which are hidden trackers like ad networks that can access users’ browsing history employing tracking technology like cookies.

The Princeton study found that news sites have the most trackers, with an average of 40 third parties recorded across 100 of the top sites.

June 17, 2016

Income inequality, the gap between the rich and, well, everybody else, is typically thought to be a national concern — and an oft-mentioned issue in the speeches of some presidential hopefuls. It’s just as much a concern on the state level, as a new report from the Economic Policy Institute, “The Unequal State of America” makes clear.

According to the research, the average annual income of the top 1 percent in the Garden State is $1,453,741, while the remaining 99 percent average $57,447 a year. Looked at another way, those at the top of the economic ladder earn 25.3 times more in a year than the rest of the state’s residents.

The report also indicates that the New-York-Newark-Jersey-City metropolitan area has the dubious distinction of being the most unequal in the state. The top 1 percent there earns 39.3 times more than the bottom 99 percent: $2,156,193 versus $54,895.

The county with the greatest inequality gap is Hudson. There, the top 1 percent makes 44.8 times more in a year than the rest of the wage earners. That works out to an average annual income of $2,298,753 compared with $51,303 for the bottom 99 percent.

June 16, 2016

By the end of 2017, 2,801 troopers will be employed by the state police. This 158th recruit class is the eighth class trained since 2010 and, after graduation in 2018, will have the most state troopers since 2011. The state expects to graduate 130 troopers and lose 45 to attrition in fiscal year 2017, according to the state budget report. At the end of FY2016, the number of troopers was listed as 2,716.

The state police are responsible for general police services and operate four branches: administration, homeland security (including emergency management and special operations), investigations (including the office of forensic sciences and special investigations), and operations (which deals with traffic and public safety). The NJSP is also charged with protecting the governor and lieutenant governor.

Gov. Chris Christie’s fiscal 2017 budget will commit $1.5 million to the 158th recruit class of state troopers.

June 15, 2016

The Office of Attorney Ethics (OAE) of the NJ Supreme Court released its annual Attorney Disciplinary System Report showing a total of 1,191 new investigations added in 2015.

Of the total investigations, 234 were added complaints. These are filed at the end of each investigation if there is a chance of proving unethical conduct by “clear and convincing evidence.” The case then goes to hearing and could result in disciplinary actions referred to as “sanctions.”

In 2015, 149 attorneys were sanctioned by the Supreme Court, a 14 percent decrease from the 174 attorneys sanctioned in 2014 and a 11.8 percent decrease from the five-year average of 169.

Of the 149 attorneys, 115 received “final sanctions” including six disbarments, 17 disbarments by consent, 25 term suspensions, one indefinite suspension, 19 censures, 28 reprimands, and 19 admonitions. The Supreme Court also issued 33 temporary license suspensions.

The report also showed an increased backlog of 20 percent for 2015. The percentage of investigations over one-year-old was 10 percent.

June 14, 2016

Last year there were more than 3,000 new cases of New Jersey children under the age of 6 with elevated levels of lead in their blood -- and more than 225,000 have been found to have the problem since 2000.

Although the scare about lead in the water throughout the state has caused concern, if not outright panic, most officials say the biggest danger of high blood levels comes from old homes and lead paint.

The federal government announced on Monday, through U.S. Senators Bob Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ), that Newark and Trenton would get a total of about $5.5 million in remediation dollars to address the lead in housing problem.

Newark was awarded $3 million from the Lead Hazard Reduction Demonstration grant program and $400,000 in Health Homes Supplemental Funding, which will address lead hazards in 150 low-income housing units. Trenton was awarded $1,955,886 and $194,445 from the same two programs and will address 145 low-income housing units

June 13, 2016

Thirty-six percent of New Jersey’s children are members of an immigrant family, while only five percent are foreign born, according to the new Kids Count survey which is conducted by the Advocates for the Children of New Jersey. That equates to 733,000 kids, or a 5 percent increase since 2010. Of those, 103,338 children are foreign born, a drop of 12 percent since that year.

Only 21,000 of those children were born to immigrant families who have lived in the United States for five years or less.

Of these 733,000 immigrant families, 19 percent live below the federal poverty line and 40 percent live below 200 percent of the poverty line.

Only 28 percent of these children speak a language other than English at home; 74 percent are in married-couple families, compared with 65 percent in U.S.-born families. And 49 percent own their homes.

June 10, 2016

Gov. Chris Christie recently appeared on NJ 101.5 FM taking a side on the Taylor Ham versus pork roll debate. "It's Taylor Ham, egg, and cheese. I just declared it right now," Christie said on his radio show last month. "I may do an executive order on this. It's Taylor Ham, egg, and cheese. Of course it is."

Christie has issued 206 executive orders since taking office in 2010. This puts him at an average of 34.3 executive orders per year. His total is the second highest of any NJ governor since 1947. The only governor to surpass him was Thomas Kean who issued 226 orders during his eight years in office from 1982 to 1990.

Christie’s orders have dealt with issues like pension reform, Sandy recovery efforts, housing opportunity, privatization, and higher education. The orders created 12 task forces for purposes like “educator effectiveness,” addiction treatment, “Ebola Virus Disease Joint Response Team,” and recidivism reduction. A total of 98 orders have concerned flying flags at half staff; 23 declared a state of emergency (including fiscal emergency); and 12 rescinded or modified other executive orders.

June 9, 2016

A new study commissioned by Forward New Jersey, a coalition of businesses that favor investing in transportation, said that a $2 billion Transportation Trust Fund would support 34,165 jobs with a payroll of $1.4 billion. The study, conducted by the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, said the investment would stimulate $4.7 billion in economic output or $2.35 for every $1 spent.

Other findings of the report included that spending $2 billion on highways, roads, and bridges would drive $258.9 million in new tax revenues and that the biggest winners would be the manufacturing and real estate sectors. According to the report, investing in this part of New Jersey’s infrastructure would increase $553 million in manufacturing output and $305.8 million in real estate.

New jobs would not only be created in construction, but also in retail trade (3,473); healthcare (2,124); and professional, scientific, and technical services (1,936).

Tom Bracken, chair of Forward New Jersey, noted that only three weeks remain before the TTF runs out and that “properly funded TTF will both protect the safety of New Jerseyans and provide the job creation and economic growth that our state needs.”

June 8, 2016

New Jerseyans are divided over the status of casinos in the state. A question on the upcoming November ballot would amend the state constitution to allow two new casinos to be built in the northern part of the state. These would be the first casinos built outside of Atlantic City. According to the latest Monmouth University Poll, 48 percent of registered voters said they would vote for the change and another 48 percent said they would vote against it.

NJ residents are also split over how they view Atlantic City itself. Thirty-eight percent think the city is worse off today than it would have been if gambling had never been allowed and 31 percent think it is actually better off. Some 24 percent said they thought gambling has had no impact whatsoever.

But residents are also unsure about what to do about it. Forty-three percent said they think a state takeover would help and 41 percent think it would hurt.

June 7, 2016

New Jersey had 50,792 children under supervision by the state Division of Child Protection and Permanency, a 4 percent increase since 2011, according to the new Kids Count survey. Kids Count is an annual report produced by the Advocates for Children of New Jersey. It includes children that are being monitored for neglect or abuse, those in foster homes, and those awaiting adoption.

Of these children, 33 percent are African-American and 28 percent each were classified as white or Hispanic.

There were 57,079 referrals for abuse or neglect, with 13 percent of them being substantiated. There were 7,501 children in out-of-home placements, including foster care, residential homes, and living with relatives. There were 1,057 adoptions through the state system in 2014, a drop of 10 percent. Last year, 984 children in the system were awaiting adoption, which typically takes two to three years.

June 6, 2016

The NJISAA will have a budget of $5.3 million for the 2016-2017 school year, representing only a 2 percent increase from the current year. The NJSIAA represents 433 schools in New Jersey, both public and private. It sets the rules of competition, runs tournaments, and provide officials for 31 sports.

Funds are raised through dues, as well as corporate sponsorships and tournament entry fees. The association has a relatively small staff of about 16.

June 3, 2016

It has become a drumbeat. Despite being one of the wealthiest states in the country, New Jersey comes up short year after year for its poor fiscal health. The Mercatus Center of George Mason University has just released its annual report regarding the fiscal health of the individual United States. The good news: New Jersey moved up. The bad news: The state moved up only one slot to 48.

The two worst states, according to this report, are Connecticut (50) and Massachusetts (49).

The ranking looked at five factors. New Jersey performed best at “service-level” solvency, which basically rates states regarding their relative wealth to the services they offer. New Jersey’s “long-run” solvency, which rates whether the state has enough assets to protect itself against future shocks, was ranked the worst in the country (other than Puerto Rico), given that it has such high long-term liabilities.

New Jersey did not perform much better when it came to “budget-solvency,” which looks at current costs and budget shortfalls. In this category, New Jersey ranked 49th.

Trust-fund solvency was rated 40th in the country, and again, the state’s relative wealth seemed to protect it from faring worse, since this category looked at unfunded liabilities and debt compared with personal income. Cash solvency was also identified as a problem; the state ranked 38th. That category looked at whether a state has enough cash on hand to cover short-term debts.

June 2, 2016

Although New Jerseyans (71 percent) are playing close attention to the news about bathroom accommodations and curriculum additions regarding gay and transgendered individuals, they are split on the issue, according to a recent FDU PublicMind poll. Equal numbers (47 percent) say the state government and privately owned businesses should allow transgendered individuals to use public bathrooms that match their identity. Fewer support it in schools (37 percent).

Some other statistics: 21 percent say they know someone who is transgendered (and those who do are more supportive of bathroom accommodations). Democrats (63 percent) are more supportive than Republicans (27 percent), just as women and millennials are.

When it comes to school curriculum – there is pending legislation in New Jersey to require the curriculum to include “political, economic and social contributions” of people with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Some 49 percent support it, 45 percent oppose.

June 1, 2016

The burn may be beginning to fade by now but not a few New Jerseyans found they had too much sun this past weekend. And although it may get tiring to constantly hear about sunblock, the fact is that the rate of melanoma cases is rising. A recent report by the American Cancer Society estimates that in 2016, New Jersey will see 2,470 new cases of melanoma skin cancer -- up from the 2,250 confirmed cases in 2013.

Over the past 15 years, melanoma incidence has increased substantially in New Jersey, according to the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

The two major risk factors involved in getting melanoma are genetic predisposition and exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation that comes from the sun. The best way to protect yourself is a sunscreen with a high sun protection factor (SPF)

New data from Consumer Reports shows that 43 percent of sunscreen claiming to be SPF 30 --the minimum level recommended by the American Academy of Dermatology -- tested at much lower levels. The report shows that 28 of the 60 lotions tested failed to meet the SPF claim on the label. Consumer Reports says that this isn't an isolated incident. Over a four-year span, researchers found that half of the 104 products tested came in below the SPF number printed on the label, and a third registered below an SPF 30.

May 31, 2016

No one can argue that New Jersey’s coastline is one of its greatest assets. Tourism ranks high in terms of New Jersey’s economic engines -- totaling $43.4 billion in 2015, according to recent statistics released by the Christie administration.

What other Jersey Shore facts did the administration highlight? The coastline from Sandy Hook to Cape May is 130 miles. The ferry ride from New York to the shore takes only 30 minutes. And there were 95 million visitors to New Jersey last year.

Some other stats? There are 19 rides at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk amusements in Point Pleasant. There are 10 dog-friendly beaches at the Shore. And Lucy the Elephant weighs 90 tons. What’s more, over this past weekend, many visitors became familiar with the Shore’s 16 breweries. According to the administration there are also 16 Shore wineries, but the definition of Shore or winery may have been expanded in order to make that stat correct.

May 27, 2016

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the nation’s medicine cabinet, as New Jersey has long been known, spends quite a lot ($9.1 billion) on pharmaceuticals at its local drugstore, according to statehealthfacts.org, a website maintained by the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation. That’s 3.2 percent of what’s spent nationally ($287 billion).

While that may sound like a lot, it’s a rather modest rate per capita, at 11.7 separate purchases annually on average. States as varied as West Virginia (21.8), Mississippi (17.7), Tennessee, (18.7), Vermont (17.4), Pennsylvania (15.4), and Oregon (14.2) all have higher rates of per capita prescription drug use. As in most states, New Jersey women use more prescription drugs than men (13.3 vs. 9.9). And the older you get, the more prescriptions you take. In New Jersey, the average is 25.9 for those over the age of 65.

May 26, 2016

There are currently 16 confirmed cases of the Zika virus in New Jersey, all travel-related, according to the state health department. A travel-related case of Zika means that it was contracted outside of New Jersey and imported here. Zika, which can cause catastrophic harm to a fetus if the mother contracts the virus, can be transmitted sexually and is spread primarily by mosquitoes. Parts of South America and the Caribbean have seen outbreaks of the disease.

Of the cases in New Jersey, seven are in Bergen County, two each in Passaic and Morris counties, and one each in Hudson, Camden, Burlington, Union, and Essex counties.

Although there is debate as to how far north mosquitos that can carry the Zika virus are able to survive, most do not believe the New Jersey climate will be hospitable to the type of mosquitos that spread the disease. There have yet to be reported cases of Zika that have been locally contracted in the United States.

Nevertheless, the state health department is warning that mosquito controls should be stepped up this summer and that those who are travelling to the tropics should obtain prevention information.

May 25, 2016

Approximately 4 percent of New Jerseyans regularly use marijuana, according to a new report by New Jersey Policy Perspective and the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey, for a total of 2.5 million ounces annually. They spend up to an estimated $869 million each year, at a cost of $343 an ounce.

If New Jersey should legalize the use and sale of marijuana to adults, as other states have and California is considering this year, it would raise about $300 million, according to the report. The authors used a 25 percent retail tax to come up with that number.

The report argues that the increase in tax revenue and the added benefit of an estimated $1.1 billion to the legal economy is not a good enough argument for the drug’s legalization. However, there are 24,000 marijuana arrests each year. Eliminating that effort would save money, increase racial justice and public safety, and alter a criminal-justice system that jails nonviolent drug offenders and creates a criminal record for the use of marijuana.

Advocates are preparing to build a public campaign for the legalization of marijuana in New Jersey within the next few years.

May 24, 2016

New Jersey’s Democratic Legislature and the Republican Christie administration have been battling over how much reform is needed at the Port Authority of NY and NJ since the Bridgegate scandal erupted in 2013. The Democrats want the Legislature to have some oversight. Christie says it’s not needed.

So once again yesterday, Christie vetoed reform legislation approved by the Legislature, saying it would be wasteful, protects union workers, and is unnecessary. That’s because there is a competing bill sponsored by Senator Thomas Kean (R-Union) that is identical to one passed by New York State, which Christie supports. In order to take effect, both states must adopt identical legislation.

Govs. Chris Christie and Andrew Cuomo acted quickly after the Bridgegate scandal to appoint a special panel to look into Port Authority abuses. The panel recommended a series of changes, including a change to the administration of the authority. New York State quickly took up the recommendations and approved them, with Cuomo’s support.

But New Jersey Democrats don’t believe it’s enough. The main sticking point is the lack of legislative oversight. In the past, the state Legislature has asked Port Authority to testify to no avail. Their bill would require testimony, if asked, at least twice a year.

In an effort to make their point, New Jersey has gotten the support of the original New York State sponsor to the legislation, who said he would quickly make sure the New York bill mirrored New Jersey’s if the more robust bill gets passed. But it has yet to pass Christie’s desk. Meanwhile, no reform measures have been codified. The Democrats say they have only one chance to get this right, and so don’t want to approve a weaker bill.

“We need real reform, not a halfhearted effort,” said Sen. Bob Gordon (D-Bergen). He noted that the Port Authority will be responsible for building a new $500 million bus terminal and overseeing the construction of the new multibillion dollar Gateway Rail Tunnel. “It is crucial that we have the ability to monitor the cost and progress of these and other projects on an ongoing basis in the years ahead.”

Christie, however, disagreed, saying that it would interfere with the ability of the Port Authority to root out fraud and waste by enabling Port Authority employees to impede the efforts of the Inspector General.

May 23, 2016

There are nearly 30,000 certified emergency medical service personnel – that fill the ranks of volunteer services around the state – but New Jersey is moving toward a more professional system of paramedics run by hospitals. There are 1,600 licensed paramedics in the state.

Last week was national emergency medical services week. Gov. Chris Christie issued a proclamation honoring their service, and the New Jersey Office of Emergency Medical Services handed out thank you notes to each of the EMS workers.

But state legislators have been trying to reduce the number of volunteers, who provide basic life support, and increase the number of paramedics, who are responsible for advanced life support. They also want the state to start monitoring EMS services and set standards for licensing.

Christie has twice vetoed a bill that would call for that, citing its effect on volunteers and property taxes if municipalities were required to provide these services.

Still, the ranks of paramedics, typically employed by hospitals, are growing while the ranks of volunteers thinning, as medical support becomes more complicated and there are fewer volunteers. According to the state, EMS personnel respond to more than 1 million 911 calls each year.

May 20, 2016

New Jersey is Clinton country, according to a recent Quinnipiac poll released Thursday, despite the fact that people here don’t seem to like her much (45 percent to 38 percent). Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton leads her primary rival Bernie Sanders by 54 percent to 40 percent, and she would beat Republican Donald Trump by 7 percent in the general election.

Even though Trump is closely associated with New Jersey due to his casinos and golf courses, he would lose to Sanders by even a greater margin than Clinton: 49 to 37 percent.

But despite her dominance in the polls, Clinton has very high unfavorable ratings in the Garden State, just as she does in the rest of the country. Fifty-eight percent of those polled said they had an unfavorable opinion of her. That is due to 95 percent of Republicans saying they don’t like her, while white men (76 percent) and those ages 18-34 (61 percent) also don’t like her. That was somewhat outweighed by the split among women -- 47 percent vs. 47 percent.

Trump’s unfavorables are just as high. He also had an unfavorability rating of 58 percent. The difference was in those with college degrees. Trump’s unfavorables there are 65 percent, while Clinton’s were 54 percent.

The decision for the Democratic primary seems pretty solid; 84 percent of those asked said they had their minds made up. Indeed, 85 percent of those supporting Clinton said they were firm in their choice, while 81 percent of Sanders supporters expressed the same opinion. Only 1 percent said they hadn’t made their minds up.

May 19, 2016

Gov. Chris Christie’s job-approval rating continues to plummet, reaching its lowest point yet: New Jersey voters disapprove of Christie 2 to 1 (64 percent to 29 percent), according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll. That’s Christie’s lowest approval rating yet, but whether it’s bottomed out is anybody’s guess.

The only folks who award the governor a positive rating are his fellow Republicans, and they’re not all that keen on the job he’s doing -- approving by a tepid 56 percent to 38 percent. Democrats disapprove 86 percent to 9 percent, and independents are down on him 66 percent to 26 percent.

New Jersey voters are even more adamant that likely GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump would do well to steer clear of Christie as a running mate: lining up 4 to 1 (72 percent to 18 percent) against the idea. Even Republicans say that it’s a bad idea: 64 percent to 27 percent).

“New Jersey voters give Christie abysmal job-approval numbers. Even a third of his fellow Republicans disapprove,” said Quinnipiac University Poll Assistant Director Maurice Carroll.

May 18, 2016

Nonviolent crime dropped 7 percent in 2014, according to the most recently available crime statistics, with the most significant drop coming from the theft of motor vehicles. Motor vehicle theft was down 15 percent, with 11,702 autos stolen.

Burglary was down 11 percent, to 31,740 cases. Residences were the targets in 76 percent of the cases, and 56 percent involved forced entries. Most residential burglaries occurred during the day (10,497), while nonresidential burglaries occurred at night (3,345).

The average loss due to a burglary was $2,347, with a total of $75.4 million in stolen property due to burglaries statewide.

Although burglaries were up, arrests were down 9 percent, with 5,214 people arrested. Of those, 85 percent were men and 15 percent women. Sixty-five percent of those arrested were white.

Larceny was also down 5 percent, to 111,620 incidents. The largest incidents of theft were due to shoplifting, with 24,284 incidents and a value of $7.2 million.

Thefts from motor vehicles or motor vehicle parts accounted for 24 percent of thefts. Total value of motor vehicle theft was $104 million, with the average being $8,992. Most cars -- 65 percent of the value -- were recovered.

Twenty-two percent of the larcenies were cleared, with juveniles accounting for 8 percent. Sixty-three percent of larceny arrests were white.

May 17, 2016

There were 23,004 violent crimes reported in New Jersey in 2014, the most recent year in which full statistics are available. That represents a 10 percent drop and 2.6 violent crimes per 1,000 permanent residents.

There were decreases in the rate of murders (354 or -12 percent), robberies (10,492 or -13 percent), and aggravated assault (11,208 or -7 percent). The only crime that rose was rape, which saw an increase in reported crimes of 9 percent to 950.

A similar pattern could be seen in the number of offenses “cleared” -- someone was charged or the charges were dropped. More murders, robberies, and assaults were cleared while the number of rapes that were cleared dropped 10 percent.

Firearms were responsible for 72 percent of the deaths, with 248 committed with handguns. Juveniles were involved in a significant number of crimes, especially rapes (13 percent) and robberies (17 percent).

When it came to murders, the age group of 20-24 accounted for 23 percent of the victims. Only 11 percent of the murders were committed by strangers. While quarrels (84), domestic violence (42), and drugs and gang-related violence (26) were the cause of many of the deaths, circumstances could not be determined in 124 instances.

May 16, 2016

A biotech industry magazine -- GEN, which stands for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News -- has ranked the New Jersey/New York region number three when it comes to biopharma clusters. South Jersey -- the New Jersey/Philadelphia region – was ranked sixth.

The annual list of the top 10 regions is based on five criteria: the amount of funding from the National Institutes of Health; venture capital funding; number of patents awarded since 1976; lab space; and number of jobs.

The report said that the New Jersey/New York region ranked first in the nation when it came to jobs – 127,651 -- but that it only ranked fourth when it came to VC funding. It ranked second in the country when it came to NIH funding but lagged when it came to patents. And although lab space was ranked third -- the majority in New Jersey -- it dropped over the past year due to higher demand in the top two regions -- Boston/Cambridge, MA, and the San Francisco Bay.

The Greater Philadelphia region, which includes Princeton in this survey, ranked best in terms of lab space (fifth), jobs (sixth, with 54,627) and patents (sixth). It didn’t do as well when it came to NIH or VC funding.

May 13, 2016

It may come as a shock to many New Jerseyans, but Gov. Chris Christie is not the most unpopular governor in the country, as rated by constituents. He was ranked the fourth least-popular (or 46th most-popular) governor in the country by Morning Consult, a digital media and polling company. Christie has a 60 percent disapproval rating according to the poll.

How has his endorsement of Donald Trump for president changed the minds of New Jerseyans? It hasn’t moved the needle much, but it certainly hasn’t made him more popular. Christie had been sitting at a 59 percent disapproval rating before the endorsement; afterward it bumped up to 61 percent.

Despite his low rankings, Christie does sit one position higher on the approval list than fellow Republican Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder who experienced the steepest drop due to the Flint water crisis. Democrat Dan Malloy was ranked second most-unpopular and Sam Brownback of Kansas was ranked No. 1.

At the other end of the scale, Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker was ranked as the most popular with an approval rating of 72 percent.

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