Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Look at him, Arnold Schwarzenegger. For him to be such a child, an infant, and make those kinds of remarks … what he should do first is work on himself.” – Former Governor Christie responding to former President Trump’s mocking Christie’s weight, saying he’d ‘kick his ass’ in a brawl
TOP STORY: Port Fire Out but Basic Facts still Murky
Governor Murphy signed legislation to expand access to behavioral health care in K-12 schools.
Governor Murphy unveiled a playbook for governors to address the youth mental health crisis.
First Lady Tammy Murphy unveiled a playbook for addressing the maternal and infant health care crisis.
Governor Murphy announced an additional $20M for the NJ Manufacturing Voucher Program.
Choose New Jersey expanded its business development team.
The Division of Highway Traffic Safety announced a campaign targeting excessive speeding.
The State Game Council approved the black bear plan, according to the Bergen Record.
As warehouses spread, there’s alarm over health impacts for residents, according to NJ Herald.
The state will explore tides as a power source, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
Senator Booker reintroduced the ‘Stephanie Tubbs Jones Uterine Fibroid Research and Education Act’.
Senator Menendez celebrated committee approval of the ‘Peace Corps Reauthorization Act of 2023’.
Fulfill welcomed two new board members.
In Audubon, NJ American Water broke ground on a $1.2M project.
In Hoboken, Councilman Cohen decried anti-Semitism expressed at a council meeting.
In Bernards, the committee honored former Committeewoman Grochala, according to TAPinto.
In Bridgewater, the first phase of a massive Route 202 redevelopment approved, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Caldwell, redevelopment and debt issues highlighted a town hall meeting, according to TAPinto.
In Haddonfield, the police station is moving to a vacant bank building, according to Burlington County Times.
In Hoboken, the council approved new judges, according to Hudson County View.
In Livingston, Gong announced her BOE candidacy, according to TAPinto.
In Jersey City, a civic association launched by former Governor McGreevey could boost a potential mayoral run, according to TAPinto.
In Parsippany, members of the Green Team asked the administration for support, according to TAPinto.
In Sayreville, prosecutors say PTI is a longshot for the ex-Democratic chair, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Toms River, apartments were approved, rejecting the protests of the potential future mayor, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In West Orange, residents expressed outrage over sewer bill increases, according to TAPinto.
In White Township, planners told Jaindl to present development plans or face dismissal, according to Lehigh Valley Live.
ICYMI: In Parsippany, Barberio prevailed in GOP chair race; in Paterson, Mendez secured Council Presidency; in Mount Olive, Roman supporters and critics attend council meeting; in Parsippany, accusations between county, local GOP; in Bridgewater, Hayes seeking comeback, launched candidacy, Moench lambasted Hayes; in Middletown, BOE enacted parental notification policy
AROUND THE WEB:
Ashley Balcerzak, NorthJersey.com
- The political nonprofit run by the wife and close allies of Gov. Phil Murphy declined to disclose who bankrolled the group and filled its coffers with nearly $2.9 million in the first half of last year to boost the governor’s political agenda. Stronger Fairer Forward collected 33 large checks ranging from $7,500 to $1.5 million during the period covering January through July 2022, according to its first tax filing with the IRS last month.
- Middletown has served me well. The education I received through Middletown Public Schools and libraries culminated in my acceptance into an Ivy League school, though I ultimately decided to attend a university in Boston. My experience there helped me realize just how lucky I was to learn from teachers whose passion matched that of my current professors.
Mike Kelly, NorthJersey.com
- America’s public education system is about to face a major crisis. But this problem does not involve such culture war issues as banned books or transgender bathrooms. This is about something far more basic. Far too many elementary school students can’t read or solve basic math equations. An extensive study released earlier this week documents what we’ve long suspected — that scheduling upheavals in schools from the COVID-19 pandemic have impeded the intellectual progress of a generation of public school students.
Tom Bergeron, roi-nj.com
- New York City officials say their congestion pricing system will collect billions for mass transit — and discourage drivers from clogging up Midtown Manhattan. It’s a win-win, as it enables cities to not only raise money to fight climate change, but also help the climate while doing so.
Dino Flammia, NJ1015
- The landscape of firearm ownership may be shifting, and researchers are somewhat in the dark about the most recent trends, according to a study by the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center at Rutgers. In the published study, researchers found that there may be a good number of people who are falsely denying that they own a gun.
David Polakiewicz, NJ Hills
- A former Woodland School mixed-race second grader and his parents have filed suit against the grades K-8 Board of Education claiming a hostile learning environment after receiving white face paint and an afro-style wig in the mail two years ago.
Matt Rooney, Save Jersey
- When NJ.com’s Tom Moran and a right-leaning group like Garden State Initiative (GSI) both agree that it’s a fraud? You know something’s rotten, Save Jerseyans. In this instance, the fraud isn’t hard to uncover. New Jersey Democrats are campaigning this year on “Stay NJ,” a property tax relief program aimed at seniors (a key voting bloc in any election, especially a low-turnout cycle like 2023 when legislative offices top the November ballot).
Tom Johnson, NJ Spotlight
- It wasn’t a good day Wednesday for advancing clean-energy goals at the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. The state agency rejected proposed solar projects that would have generated more than 300 megawatts of electricity and it postponed action on a much-touted plan to begin electrifying buildings, the second-biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in New Jersey.
Hannan Adely, NorthJersey.com
- When Anna Ben-Hur was a college junior, controversy gripped her campus at the University of Massachusetts Amherst when a handful of pro-Israel organizations tried, unsuccessfully, to cancel a panel about free speech and Palestinian rights. The organizations, one of which sued to stop the 2019 event, said the panel would promote antisemitism and make Jewish students fearful. Ben-Hur, who grew up in Teaneck in a Jewish Israeli family, said the attacks on the event and its supporting groups made her feel less safe.
Amy S. Rosenberg, Inquirer
- Ah those sweaty Wildwood days. That whole wacky island was thrust into weirder-than-normal reality over the weekend, after a fire in a substation cut out power to all the Wildwoods, as you may have heard. Setting aside our empathy for those with health or mobility issues, and anyone or business for whom a massive power outage created true hardship, I found myself amazed at how discombobulated people seemed to be when confronted with a Jersey Shore visit that begins with no air-conditioning.
Liam Quinn, NorthJersey.com
- Federal authorities charged a Bergen County man and a New York woman with fentanyl trafficking after the pair were arrested in Wallington on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Phillip Selinger said in a statement. Plinio Junior Pineda Lopez, 33, of Oakland, and Lorendy Diaz Beltre De Inoa, 27, of Yonkers, allegedly were attempting to conduct a drug deal in Wallington when they were caught by law enforcement officers, the U.S. Attorney’s office said.
Jeff Deminski, NJ1015
- It may be time for a rewatch of the film “Idiocracy” because we’re enjoying the bitter sick burns between Donald Trump and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie a little too much. Sure this political season should be about a free and open exchange of ideas to determine who is best to lead our nation in the next four years. But the blistering verbal cage match between these two is a side show that a TikTok-addicted society craves.
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