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July 19, 2018

Undergraduate students at Rutgers will see a 2.3 percent increase in the cost of tuition and fees for the 2018-2019 academic year, the state university’s board of governors decided yesterday. The increase is in line with the trend at the university during the past five years and below the 10-year average (3.2 percent). “We understand that any increase is difficult for our students, but we must balance that with the need to provide access to the highest quality education for our students,” said Sandy J. Stewart, chair of the board of governors.

Here’s what the increase will mean for students’ bottom line: A typical in-state, full-time Arts and Sciences undergraduate at Rutgers University-New Brunswick will be billed $14,975 in combined tuition and mandatory student fees in 2018-2019. If they live on campus, the total charges (tuition, fees, room and board) will go to $27,681, an increase of 2.18 percent over last year. At Rutgers University-Camden, the comparable figures will be $14,836 and, for those living on campus, $27,172 for total charges. And at Rutgers University-Newark, tuition and fees will go to $14,410 and $27,946 for total charges for students living on campus.

Rutgers notes that, although the 2.3 percent increase is for most undergraduates, charges for tuition, fee, room and board may vary across the university’s colleges and schools. Yesterday, the board also approved a $4.3 billion budget for the 2018-2019 academic year.

July 18, 2018

Federal funding for the multistate Delaware River Basin Restoration Program (DRBRP) has been awarded, for the first time ever. The amount — $5 million — isn’t a heck of a lot of money given the scope of the work involved, but advocates are taking it as a good sign and perhaps a harbinger of future funding. The money will go toward conservation and restoration projects in fish and wildlife habitat, water quality and management, repairing flood damage, and improving recreational opportunities and public access. The basin supplies drinking water to about 15 million people.

New Jersey’s portion of the Delaware River Basin covers 40 percent (2,961 square miles) of the land area and includes 22 percent of the state's population. The region’s a real economic engine for the Garden State, with more than 60,000 related jobs and $1.3 billion in annual wages; the jobs are in fishing, recreation, tourism, water/sewer construction, water utilities, and ports. (The basin also encompasses portions of New York, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.)

July 17, 2018

The Murphy administration wants to double the number of medical marijuana dispensaries operating in New Jersey, from six to 12. The dispensaries are known as Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs.) The administration plans to give two new licenses each in the northern, central and southern regions of the state.

If you want to apply, you must pay a hefty application fee — $20,000, $18,000 of which would be returned to unsuccessful applicants. But it’s not just a matter of plopping down the money and hoping to get picked. Would-be license holders must go through a mandatory preapplication conference; that will take place on Thursday, August 9 at the Department of Health headquarters in Trenton. Applications are due by August 31, 2018.

More than 25,000 patients, 1,000 caregivers, and 700 physicians participate in New Jersey’s medical marijuana program. “Due to the steps that Commissioner Elnahal and I have taken since January, we have seen the addition of 10,000 new patients,” Gov. Phil Murphy said. “Accordingly, we have to expand the number of businesses who are growing product and serving patients,” he added. (He was referring to Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal.)

July 16, 2018

It’s been 10 years since one of the most renowned varieties of New Jersey tomatoes was relaunched — after having dropped out of our salads and off the face of the earth.

In general, New Jersey tomatoes are justifiably famous for their size, flavor and juice. But when Rutgers University developed the Ramapo tomato in 1968, it was somewhat of a miracle plant: fast-growing, crack-resistant and immune to diseases. Bernard Pollack of Rutgers’ New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) had spent eight years breeding it to be the perfect Jersey tomato. Gardeners — and gastronomists — loved it.

And then it disappeared.

By the late 1980s, seed companies had completely phased out the Ramapo. They were more interested in marketing new tomato varieties that were firmer, more durable and could withstand being shipped cross-country. But they weren’t nearly as tasty.

Ramapo loyalists got upset and even started a letter-writing campaign demanding the return of their favorite tomato. For a short while, NJAES produced and distributed small batches of the variety to appease them.

Decades after the last Ramapos went off the market, vegetable agents at Rutgers sought to reintroduce the plant. In 2008, they identified a facility in Israel that could produce large enough quantities of the seeds to resurrect the Ramapo variety. The seeds sold out within three months of hitting the market — and were quickly restocked.

Today, the Ramapo lives on, in grocery stores, farmers markets and backyards. Since its reintroduction in 2008 — and the associated launch of the Rediscover the Jersey Tomato program — three more varieties with the “delicious tangy old time Jersey tomato flavor” have been introduced: the Rutgers 250, the Moreton and the KC-146. Fortunately, tomato season is just around the corner.

July 13, 2018

Sports betting became legal in New Jersey on June 11 and gamblers here haven’t wasted any time exercising their new right. They wagered $16.4 million in the first month of the law’s operation, generating $3.5 million in gross revenue.

The figures have put a smile on the faces of those in the legal sportsbook industry; given that only three establishments took in the wagers, the results were above expectations. The Borgata Casino in Atlantic City opened for sports betting on June 14, as did Monmouth Park. The Ocean Resort Casino in Atlantic City got in on the game on June 28. Monmouth Park won the revenue race in the first month. It had $2.3 million in gross revenue, generating $142,448 a day. The Borgata’s total was $986,831, for $61,677 a day. The Ocean Resort grossed $192,671 in revenue, for $64,224 a day.

“Total amount wagered and revenue will increase exponentially as more casinos and racetracks begin to offer wagering, and as online betting kicks off later this summer and into the fall,” said Dustin Gouker, a sports betting analyst for PlayNJ.com. Sports betting is expected to get going at Meadowlands Racetrack on July 14, with more operators to follow (you can bet on it).

July 12, 2018

New Jersey’s overall infant mortality rate is lower than the national rate (4.7 per 1,000 live births versus 5.9 in 2015). But there’s a big disparity between the results for white and black infants in the Garden State (3.0 per 1,000 births for white infants compared to 9.7 for black infants). To improve health outcomes for black infants and mothers, several state agencies under the aegis of the Department of Health have just awarded grants of $4.3 million as part of a “Healthy Women, Healthy Families” initiative. The money is going to six community-based organizations across the state.

In addition, the Department of Health is giving $450,000 for a doula pilot program in municipalities with a high mortality rate among black infants. (Doulas provide patient education, labor support, and home visits. Studies show their involvement in maternity care reduces the incidence of cesarean births, increases the likelihood of a shorter labor, and can lead to a more positive childbirth experience.)

July 11, 2018

Geoffrey the Giraffe, all 550 pounds and 16-plus feet of him, once lived at the Toys ‘R’ Us headquarters in Wayne, New Jersey. But when the toy retailer filed for bankruptcy last September and began liquidating its assets, it couldn’t find a buyer for the gangling fiberglass ruminant; the difficulty of moving him and the associated costs proved too big a reach for would-be takers. What would be his fate? Well, even amid the ashes of an iconic retailer’s demise, there was something to cheer.

This very morning, Geoffrey is being given a welcoming party in the lobby of the Bristol-Myers Squibb Children’s Hospital in New Brunswick. It turns out the big guy found a buyer after all. Joseph Malfitano, liquidation adviser to Toys ‘R’ Us, bought the giraffe and funded the $10,000 cost of packing and shipping him 50 miles to New Brunswick. Then, RWJBarnabas Health board member Ken Rosen said he would donate the $6,000 needed to settle Geoffrey in his new spot in the hospital’s lobby, which henceforward is where he shall be receiving guests. Most other giraffes live in Africa where they browse on tall plants and keep an eye out for lions and leopards.

July 10, 2018

More than 1,000 people will soon be working in Parsippany-Troy Hills at the new U.S. headquarters of Teva Pharmaceuticals USA. Teva is a global company that originated in Israel; it specializes in the manufacture of generic and specialty drugs, as well as other health-related products. Currently headquartered in North Wales, Pa., it looked at several locations for a new HQ before choosing to expand in New Jersey, where it already has more than 200 employees.

The company said it will increase its existing Parsippany-Troy Hills facility, and transfer — and create — 843 jobs there, adding to those already working for it at that location. The median annual wage for the 1,000 jobs is a healthy $128,073. Teva received tax credits from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA).

July 9, 2018

Forty-four percent of children under the age of 10 in New Jersey are non-Hispanic white, placing the state 11th among the states, as sorted by the lowest percentage of whites. Hawaii is 1st (15.3 percent), New Mexico next (23.9 percent), followed by the District of Columbia (25.3 percent), California (25.4 percent), and Texas (31.1 percent). At the other end of the scale, 88.6 percent of children of that age in Vermont are non-Hispanic white, followed by West Virginia (88.3 percent), Maine (87.7 percent), New Hampshire (84.3 percent), and Kentucky (77.6 percent). New York comes 12th on the list (46.2 percent).

The figures, from the U.S. Census Bureau’s recent release of statistics on race and age, also indicate that “for the first time there are more children who are minorities than who are white, at every age from zero to nine” in the country, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution. Those born in the United States in the years since 2007 — the report dubs them Generation Z-Plus — comprise “the first truly minority white generation, at 49.6 percent white, where 26 percent of its members are Hispanics, 13.6 percent African-Americans, and nearly 10 percent include Asians and persons of two or more races.”

July 3, 2018

You can gas up the car for a hot, steamy drive to the Jersey Shore or other Fourth of July destination happy in the knowledge that, if you fuel up at a New Jersey gas station, you’re highly likely to get what you pay for. That’s according to the results found by a task force of inspectors that fanned out across the state between June 11 and June 27, carrying out unannounced fuel-quality tests at 371 of the state’s 3,000 licensed stations.

Conducted by the Office of Weights and Measures (part of the Division of Consumer Affairs), Operation Summer Octane tested the quality of gas being sold to Garden State drivers. The result, reports the office of state Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal, is that “A total of 7 samples were sent to the labs. Samples from two stations — Runway Gas on Greenwood Avenue in Trenton and USA Gas on Landis Avenue in Vineland — allegedly failed to deliver the octane levels advertised by the stations.”

“Operation Summer Octane was a proactive sweep to let stations know we’re watching to make sure they’re not charging consumers premium prices for low-grade gasoline,” said Paul R. Rodríguez, acting director of the Division of Consumer Affairs.

For the Independence Day holiday, gas prices are the highest they’ve been in four years, according to the Automobile Club of America. In New Jersey, the average price of a gallon of regular gasoline is $2.884; premium gasoline costs $3.358 a gallon.

July 2, 2018

New Jersey has the worst funded public-employee retirement system in the country, but the budget deal that Gov. Phil Murphy reached with legislative leaders over the weekend includes a record, $3.2 billion contribution to the various funds that make up the pension system.

The fiscal-year 2019 spending plan calls for the state pension contribution to increase by $700 million compared to the $2.5 billion payment that was made during the 2018 fiscal year (which ended Saturday at midnight). It also represents the latest incremental increase in a multiyear plan to restore the health of the pension system that was established during the tenure of former Republican Gov. Chris Christie.

But New Jersey is still nowhere close to being out of the hole, despite the record-breaking payment in the new budget. Under the ramp-up plan, the state must continue increasing the pension contribution for another four fiscal years to ensure it is making the complete payment recommended by actuaries to fully cover the benefits of current and retired employees.

June 29, 2018

No matter how down you are on the Garden State, the findings of a recent paper, “Psychopathy by U.S. State,” are going to make you look like a cock-eyed optimist. The study ranked New Jersey fourth according to the likely presence of psychopaths in the population. Washington, D.C., was ranked tops, leading the author to observe, “The presence of psychopaths in District of Columbia is consistent with the conjecture found in Murphy (2016) that psychopaths are likely to be effective in the political sphere.” Connecticut and California were ranked two and three, while New York and Wyoming were tied for fifth.

While there’s no foolproof way to ID psychopaths, the paper indicates that “occupations that were most disproportionately psychopathic were CEO, lawyer, media, salesperson, surgeon, journalist (no comment), police officer, clergyperson, chef, and civil servant.”

The safe professions: care aide, nurse, therapist, craftsperson, beautician/stylist, charity worker, teacher, creative artist, doctor, and accountant. The least psychopathic states are West Virginia, Vermont, Tennessee, North Carolina, and New Mexico.

Basically, if your neighbors aren’t beauticians and creative types from North Carolina, you’re in big trouble.

June 28, 2018

The race to fill New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District seat is whisker close, according to yesterday’s Monmouth University Poll, with Democrat Mikie Sherrill at 40 percent to Republican state Assemblyman Jay Webber’s 38 percent.

Twenty percent of likely voters are undecided. Likely voters are those who have participated in an election since 2010 or have newly registered (a group representing about 84 percent of all registered voters in the district).

Among all potential voters, Sherrill has stronger support among fellow Democrats (92 percent to 1 percent for Webber) than the assemblyman has among his fellow Republicans (78 percent to 6 percent for Sherrill). The two are basically tied among independents at 32 percent for Sherrill and 31 percent for Webber.

Neither candidate is particularly well known at this point. Sherrill has a rating of 31 percent favorable, 7 percent unfavorable, and 62 percent no opinion. Webber has a 22 percent favorable, 12 percent unfavorable, and 66 percent no-opinion rating.

That partisan enthusiasm gap is making this traditionally Republican district competitive for the first time in decades. A majority of all voters (55 percent) have a lot of interest in this election, but self-identified Democrats (67 percent) are significantly more likely than Republicans (48 percent) to feel that way.

June 27, 2018

Congressman Leonard Lance, whom Democrats have targeted for defeat in the fall election, might take some comfort from a poll that finds 44 percent of voters in his district have a favorable opinion of him.

The poll, by the Global Strategy Group, recorded an even higher number favoring President Donald Trump (46 percent) but the figure for those holding an unfavorable opinion of the president was also significantly higher (50 percent).

Asked about the hottest issue of the day, the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy at the border, 7th District folks came down clearly against it (50 percent strongly opposed the policy and 12 percent somewhat opposed it), whereas those who strongly supported it numbered 20 percent with 12 percent somewhat supporting it.

June 26, 2018

As of June 30, 2017, more than 37,255 New Jersey residents were living with HIV or AIDS.

While any number of HIV/AIDS cases is one too many, there was some good news on this front. “In New Jersey, the rate of new HIV cases declined 34 percent in nearly a decade because of success in linking people to treatment,” said Christopher Rinn, who served as acting health commissioner for the last few months of 2017. “The number of new HIV diagnoses went from 1,722 cases in 2006 to 1,137 in 2015,” he added.

It is estimated that about one in nine people living with HIV in New Jersey do not know they are infected.

June 25, 2018

When Gov. Phil Murphy signed Senate Bill 427 this past Friday, New Jersey became only the second state to prohibit anyone under the age of 18 from marrying or entering into a civil union.

Previously, New Jersey minors ages 16 or 17 could get married with parental consent. Minors under the age of 16 could be married after obtaining parental consent and approval from a judge. According to the New Jersey Department of Health, more than 3,600 minors got married in New Jersey between 1995 and 2015.

Research has shown that young women married at 18 or younger suffer negative psychological, social, educational, and financial consequences.

June 22, 2018

The distinction goes to Mark Geiger, a Beachwood native. It’s actually a double distinction: Geiger is also the only American referee at the 2018 World Cup; he served as the main referee at the Portugal–Morocco game.

Geiger studied education at Trenton State College and worked as a math teacher at Lacey Township High School in Lanoka Harbor. He received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching in 2010.

Geiger became a United States Soccer Federation National Referee in 2003.

June 21, 2018

More than half (54 percent) of those surveyed in the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll said they can’t remember their doctor or dentist explaining the risks of addiction or overdose when they prescribed opioids. Some 62 percent said they were warned about the dangers of taking opioids with alcohol and anti-depressants, and 47 percent said they were told of other treatment options.

Nearly half (46 percent) of the participants said they or a family member had been prescribed opioids by a medical professional in the past 12 months. And 86 percent said their medical provider discussed why the prescription was necessary for them or a family member.

“Our findings suggest that despite new state mandates that require doctors to discuss with patients the potential risks of addiction, potentially dangerous drug interactions, and alternative treatments when prescribing opioid medicine, such conversations are not taking place as frequently as they should,” said Itzhak Yanovitzky, associate professor at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information and the co-lead of the study, which is part of the “Opioids in the Garden State” series.

June 20, 2018

The Harmony Foundation in Secaucus has just been issued a permit to operate as an Alternative Treatment Center (ATC), dispensing marijuana for medical use in New Jersey. That brings to six the number of centers the Department of Health has issued permits to.

New Jersey’s medical marijuana program is growing at a fast clip, with 100 new patients joining it every day. To date, 23,200 patients are participating in the program. Since the DOH reformed the program earlier this year — adding anxiety, migraines, Tourette syndrome, chronic pain related to musculoskeletal disorders, and chronic visceral pain as qualifying medical conditions — 5,000 new patients have joined.

The Harmony Foundation dispensary is open and will operate from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. The five other ATCs are the Greenleaf Compassion Center in Montclair, Compassionate Care Foundation in Egg Harbor, Garden State Dispensary in Woodbridge, Breakwater Alternative Treatment Center in Cranbury, and Curaleaf NJ, Inc. in Bellmawr.

June 19, 2018

Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-4) introduced yesterday a bill that would call on the Division of Travel and Tourism to establish the Anthony Bourdain Food Trail in New Jersey.

Bourdain, a well-known restaurateur, raconteur, best-selling author, and TV personality, was born in Leonia. He died by suicide on June 8.

Bourdain celebrated the food and culture of his native state in a 2015 episode of his television program “Parts Unknown,” visiting 10 of his favorite eateries in different parts of the state and recalling a childhood spent on the beaches and at the restaurants of Long Beach Island.

The Assembly Resolution specifies that the trail — which Moriarty called a fitting way to honor the memory of one of New Jersey’s best-known chefs — would comprise the 10 places Bourdain visited in the 2015 program.

Those locations were Kubel’s in Barnegat Light; Hiram’s Roadstand in Fort Lee; Knife and Fork in Atlantic City; Dock’s Oyster House in Atlantic City; Tony’s Baltimore Grill in Atlantic City; Tony and Ruth Steaks in Camden; Donkey’s Place in Camden; Lucille’s Country Cooking in Barnegat; Frank’s Deli in Asbury Park; and James’ Salt Water Taffy in Atlantic City.

June 18, 2018

About $48.5 million in federal grants from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have been announced for federally qualified health centers across New Jersey. The funds support local FQHCs, which serve hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans every year.

“Today is a great day for patients, for families, and for community health providers across New Jersey,” said U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, who helped secure the grants. “More than three-quarters of the half-million New Jerseyans who rely on community health centers come from minority communities or families that live just a paycheck away from poverty,” he added.

Menendez is a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee.

June 15, 2018

New Jersey jumped from 12th to sixth place nationally for serving meals to children during the summer when school is out and hunger sets in for many students who rely on school meals during the academic year, according to a national report released yesterday.

In July 2017, New Jersey communities served nearly 1.5 million lunches to children and teens across the state — a 32 percent increase over 2016, according to the Food Research & Action Center.

On an average day this past July, 101,138 New Jersey kids ate lunch at hundreds of sites across the state, including parks, libraries, pools, camps, schools, and other places where children congregate in the summer.

Despite this progress, New Jersey communities still reached just 24 percent of students who receive free or reduced-price school lunch. If the Garden State reached the nationally recommended benchmark of 40 percent of these children, it would collect an additional $5.2 million in federal dollars to feed hungry kids in the summer, according to FRAC's annual report.

June 14, 2018

New Jersey is holding steady in the fifth spot for states ranked by total megawatts of solar energy deployed, according to the latest market report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA). Good news, but it should be noted that it wasn’t all that long ago the Garden State was second only to California.

The state’s solar market has grown 15 percent since this time last year, adding 53 megawatts in the first quarter, bringing total solar installed to 2,446 megawatts — enough to power 381,796 homes. New Jersey has 7,106 solar jobs, the eighth-highest count in the country.

June 13, 2018

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has issued an alert that a stinging jellyfish native to the Pacific Ocean has been identified in Ocean County’s Metedeconk River. The Clinging Jellyfish (Gonionemus vertens) is typically 1 inch in diameter, about the size of the dime, has 60 – 90 tentacles, and packs a painful sting. It tends to attach itself to submerged plants and algae in sheltered, shallow bays and estuaries. Waders in these areas are advised to take precautions, such as wearing boots or waders, and swimming near lifeguarded beaches.

The Clinging Jellyfish was first confirmed in New Jersey in 2016 in the Monmouth County’s Shrewsbury and Manasquan rivers.

Waders or swimmers who run afoul of this petite powerhouse should take these steps:

  • Apply white vinegar to the affected area to immobilize any remaining stinging cells.

  • Rinse the area with saltwater and remove any remaining tentacle materials using gloves, plastic card, or thick towel.

  • Apply cold packs or ice to alleviate pain; a hot compress may also be effective.

  • If symptoms persist or pain increases, seek prompt medical attention.

June 12, 2018

New Jersey has had a net loss of nearly $25 billion in adjusted gross income (AGI) over the past 12 years, according to the New Jersey Business & Industry Association. Tie that to the state’s imminent status as worst in the nation for corporate business tax (CBT) and the fact it’s lagging in the rate of millionaire growth and you’ve got a recipe for a state the NJBIA says is “faltering in key economic areas.”

When it crunched new Internal Revenue Service data for the 2015-2016 tax year, the NJBIA said New Jersey’s net loss in that period for potential AGI was $3.5 billion, exceeding the Garden State’s average annual loss of approximately $2.1 billion over the past 12 years. “The change,” the NJBIA contends, “is driven by taxpayers moving out of state and taking their incomes with them.”

June 11, 2018

The most recent Fairleigh Dickinson University “quality-of-life” poll found that 61 percent of New Jerseyans believe kids have a better chance of getting a good public education here, compared with the country in general. The same percentage thinks race relations in the Garden State are more harmonious than they are in the United States overall.

The results were nowhere near as sunny when it came to cost of living: 85 percent of participants said it was more expensive to live in New Jersey.

“Property taxes are the perennial bane for homeowners. And yet, there seems to be some appreciation for how the money is spent, given the clear consensus that the schools here are better than what you’d likely find nationally,” said Krista Jenkins, professor of political science and director the poll.

The financial state of the state also earned respondents’ disapproval, with 2 percent saying New Jersey isn’t doing as well as the rest of the country, and that perennial sore point with residents — road infrastructure — earned a thumbs down from 61 percent.

June 8, 2018

This is some fish story. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has recommended a 40 percent cut in the size of New Jersey’s 2018 summer flounder catch quota. That follows a reduction of the same size in 2017, and it’s got some state lawmakers worried.

“Our state’s recreational fishermen have already suffered from last year’s slashed catch limits and shortened season,” said Assemblyman Edward H. Thomson. “Going forward, any further reduction of summer flounder limits would be nothing short of devastating to our state’s recreational and commercial fishing industries.”

There are more than a million recreational saltwater fishermen in New Jersey. The fishing industry contributes $7.9 billion to the state’s economy and supports 50,000 jobs. Tourism is worth $44.1 billion annually and supports over 500,000 jobs.

Also known as fluke, summer flounder is one of the most sought-after saltwater fish on the Atlantic Coast and is crucial to both the state’s recreational and commercial fisheries.

Summer flounder is managed cooperatively by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission in state waters, the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council and NOAA Fisheries in federal waters. Catch limits are set by the commission based on stock-assessment reports published by the NOAA.

“NOAA’s recommendations for the 2017 and 2018 seasons were based on flawed data collected from inconsistent sampling and methodology,” argued Thomson. He is a sponsor of a resolution (AR-45) that urges Congress and the president to enact the Transparent Summer Flounder Quotas Act and freeze summer flounder catch limits to those adopted in 2015, until a new stock assessment is complete. The measure was approved yesterday by the Assembly.

June 7, 2018

More than half of New Jerseyans (51 percent) think the cost of housing in the Garden State is a “very” serious problem. Another large group (35 percent) view it as “somewhat” problematic. (The numbers come from the latest Rutgers-Eagleton Poll in collaboration with the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey.)

Forty-nine percent of New Jerseyans say it’s “very” difficult to find reasonably priced housing in the state, while 38 percent characterize the quest as “somewhat” difficult, according to the poll. The cost of housing worries most residents — 44 percent worry “a lot” and 31 percent worry “some” about putting a roof over their heads. Meanwhile, the percentage of those who “hardly worry at all” about it is 24 percent.

The poll also found that New Jerseyans, by a large margin, want the Affordable Housing Trust Fund to be used only for what it was originally intended — building affordable homes in the Garden State. Seventy-nine percent of residents say that, and that alone, is what the fund should be spent on. A small percentage (16 percent) think the state government should be able to use the fund for other purposes, and five percent are not sure. In recent years, the money has been diverted to pay for other programs.

June 6, 2018

The HIV Emergency Relief Project in Middlesex County is to receive $1,597,077 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The project helps low-income people who are dealing with the virus — its focus is on places that have been severely affected by the HIV epidemic, with the goal of improving access to effective, affordable care.

"New Jersey has one of the largest populations of residents living with HIV/AIDS in the nation, so we have an obligation to ensure they have the resources necessary to receive comprehensive and efficient care in their communities,” Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said.

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