Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “We certainly don’t need Democrats in our kitchens dictating how we cook our dinner.” – Senate Minority Leader Oroho and Senator Pennachio on legislation aiming to prevent any ban on household gas appliances
TOP STORY: The DeCroce Comeback
See the daily COVID-19 numbers on the NJDOH’s dashboard.
The state’s unemployment rate held at 3.4% in December.
The NJDHS implemented a minimum $50 SNAP benefit for all eligible households.
Economic challenges are stacking up for offshore wind, according to NJ Spotlight.
A study finds the state’s nursing shortage continues to worsen, according to NJ Spotlight.
New COVID-19 cases may be underreported, according to NJ Herald.
A New Jersey native was appointed Ambassador to Mali, according to NJ.com.
Buddhism is booming in the state, according to the Daily Record.
Atlantic County Executive Levinson presented his annual budget message.
Camden County is encouraging residents to participate in a broadband survey.
Public art displays in Middlesex County highlight social justice issues, according to MyCentralJersey.
The gas stove culture war is spreading to NJ as the GOP heats up the debate, according to NJ.com.
The Palisades Interstate Park Commission supports a NJDOT takeover of the Palisades Parkway, according to NJ.com.
ICYMI: Murphy took advantage SOS opportunity; NJ residents more pessimistic about race relations; HPAE eying NYSNA patient ratio pact; Murphy approval 53%; Murphy sets national tone, whiling honing Jersey theme in SOS
In LD26, former Assemblywoman DeCroce formally launched her candidacy for Assembly, as she attempts to make a comeback after her defeat in the 2021 GOP primary.
In CD7, residents held a rally urging Rep. Kean to hold town halls, according to TAPinto.
The Passaic County Democrats are seeking candidates for this year’s elections, according to TAPinto.
ICYMI: In LD24, crowded primary heating up; Vogt managing Guy campaign; in LD32, Mejia won’t seek re-election; in LD16, Jaffer won’t seek re-election; in LD24, Oroho kicked off re-election bid; in Essex, all roads lead to Timberlake; LIUNA endorsed Benson; Stanfield to retire; Donlon and Peterpaul announced LD11 candidacies; Blistan elected Cape May Dems chair; Morris GOP primary brews for commissioner seat; HCDO flexed collective muscle; DeCroce on the move; ELEC filed complaints; Connors won’t seek re-election; 2023 political questions
Governor Murphy announced a legislative package to ensure fiscal accountability and public higher education institutions.
Treasurer Muoio announced the appointment of Darryl Isherwood to Director of Communications.
The LD10 legislators introduced legislation to mandate that the state BOE meet in-person.
The United Black Agenda criticized Governor Murphy’s CBT cut proposal.
ICYMI: Here’s what happened in Trenton on Thurs; Murphy signed legislation on contraceptives; front office touted SOS reactions; here’s what happened in Trenton on Tues; Murphy signed Siblings’ Bill of Rights; Murphy took action on legislation; GOP trashed Murphy’s SOS
In Wayne, the council withdrew a proposal to make the mayoralty a full-time position.
In Woodbury, Sam Ferraino was appointed to the council.
In Trenton, the Trenton Downtown Association announced their executive board.
In Asbury Park, residents want to save the Westside Community Center, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Atlantic City, the council approved a settlement with an embattled cop, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Bayonne, the council is seeking to prevent further suicide attempts from the Bayonne Bridge, according to TAPinto.
In Berkeley Heights, the town received a state grant for tree canopy restoration, according to TAPinto.
In Brigantine, the town called for a moratorium on offshore wind projects following whale deaths, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Edison, plans to relocate Clara Barton Library were shelved, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Elizabeth, Mayor Bollwage attended the US Conference of Mayors, according to TAPinto.
In Hamilton (Atlantic), environmentalists asked the town to rein in ATVs, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Hoboken, the council approved the first reading of the rent control ordinance changes, according to Hudson County View.
In Jackson, the town is looking to swap land with a religious school developer, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Madison, BOE President Fischer says the board will undergo a self-evaluation, according to NJ Hills.
In Manasquan, voters will decide on a $13.8M school referendum, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Maplewood, the town signed a contract with Bloomfield Animal Control, according to TAPinto.
In Millburn, the town received a affordable housing update, according to TAPinto. Residents urged the committee to continue to resume using Zoom, according to TAPinto.
In Montclair, pedestrian strikes are on the rise, according to NorthJersey.com. The council started budget discussions, according to TAPinto.
In Morristown, the revaluation deadline was extended after inspection delays, according to the Daily Record.
In Ocean Township, the BOE race results may be flipped, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Randolph, Conti will remain BOE President, according to NJ Hills.
In Ridgefield Park, the schools reinstated the superintendent in a surprise move, according to the Bergen Record. Three new BOE members were sworn-in, according to the Bergen Record.
In Roxbury, the town hired an engineer to study three parcels slated for affordable housing, according to NJ Hills.
In Somerville, neighbors are asking for a crackdown on speeders, according to MyCentralJersey. The mayor enlisted residents to fight a Bridgewater warehouse proposal, according to MyCentralJersey.
In South Brunswick, some utility bills contained printing errors, according to TAPinto.
In Sparta, the planning board seated new members, according to TAPinto.
In Springfield, two variances were granted for a proposed self-storage facility, according to TAPinto.
In Ventnor, Mayor Holtzman will step down, according to Downbeach.
In Washington Township, new members were appointed to the Historic Preservation Committee, according to NJ Hills.
In West New York, a new BOE trustee was appointed, according to Hudson County View.
ICYMI: In Garfield, Pascrell announced funding to remove lead pipes; in Wayne, council weighing full-time mayor; in Mendham Township, ongoing election dispute; in WNY, Sires officially launched mayoral bid; in JC, some question timing of Fulop election announcement; in Mendham, Spirig sworn-in amid election challenge lawsuit; in Teaneck, Mayor Pagan addressed leadership election; in Morris, Gyorfy selected mayor; in Haledon, Johnson sworn-in; in Lumberton, Benson selected mayor; in Millburn, Miggins re-elected mayor; in Mount Holly, Banks selected mayor; in Palisades Park, bruising politics; in Newark, Shabazz lands gig w/ Adams; in West New York, mayoral race heats up, Stack could be deciding factor; in Bayonne, Davis to nominate wife as Deputy Clerk; in Orange, Page passed away; in Trenton, city gov’t takes shape
AROUND THE WEB:
Monmouth County Polling Error uncovered by Belmar resident
Jack Slocum, TAPinto Belmar/Lake Como
- When Belmar resident Jim Bean filed an OPRA (Open Public Records Act) request on the most recent election results, it was simply out of curiosity. What he did not expect to find were 311 additional votes that were counted twice in the borough’s mayoral race.
Assembly panel advances bill making ‘sextortion’ a crime
Sophie Nieto-Munoz, NJ Monitor
- Lawmakers took another step toward making it a crime to use sexual images to extort victims during a committee hearing Thursday. Known as sextortion, it can involve someone hacking into a person’s computer or phone to steal sexual images and threaten to distribute them, or coercing a victim into taking explicit photos or videos and then using them to demand more. The bill (A343) would make it a third-degree crime.
NJ looks to mandate practice hours for young drivers
Dino Flammia, NJ1015
- That newly licensed driver in the next lane may have not had any practice over the past six months, or even longer. But a panel of New Jersey lawmakers has unanimously voted to advance a measure that would force young motorists to undergo a certain number of practice hours before they can get their hands on an actual driver’s license.
Ed the Trucker secures N.J. concealed carry permit
Matt Rooney, Save Jersey
- Amid a Murphy Administration legal and intimidation campaign designed to thwart the U.S. Supreme Court’s Bruen decision, New Jersey are still seeking and obtaining concealed carry permits. The latest recipient: state Senator Ed Durr (R-3), better known as “Ed the Trucker.”
Joe Biden gets burned on gas stoves | Mulshine
Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger
- Here we go again. Back from the edge of the precipice, I mean.
Kafka is sworn in at N.J. municipal court | Editorial
South Jersey Times Editorial Board
- Kafkaesque” is defined in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary as “… suggestive of Franz Kafka or his writings especially : having a nightmarishly complex, bizarre, or illogical quality.” Just about any dictionary you can find will give a similar definition.
As test scores plummet, Newark rehires schools chief in secret | Editorial
Star-Ledger Editorial Board
- The superintendent of the largest school district in New Jersey won a new 5-year contract about eight months ago, and the Newark Board of Education told no one. Parents and others in the community were cut out of the decision entirely. That’s outrageous.
South Jersey bank says cannabis cash nicked from armored car firm vault that held $9.5 million
Jim Walsh, Cherry Hill Courier-Post
- An investigation is underway into the apparent theft of cash from a vault that held $9.5 million for “cannabis-related customers,” a local bank has disclosed. Parke Bank said the size of the loss is not known at this time, but its CEO and president described the sum as “significant.”
‘I cry every night’: Mom seeks justice year after Paterson teen’s shooting
Joe Malinconico, Paterson Press
- Ivernis Santiago said she will never get over the pain of losing her 18-year-old son, Robert Cuadra, who was killed last year in the crossfire of a gang shootout. A high school honor student, Cuadra earned a full college scholarship through a program for teens facing hardships, volunteered with community nonprofit groups and was bringing home groceries for his family when he was killed. “I cry every night,” Santiago said, “just me and my pillow.”
How would you improve this part of Route 17? Your chance to weigh in starts now
Kristie Cattafi, NorthJersey.com
- The public will have a first chance to view plans to address traffic congestion along the Route 17 bottleneck. The virtual public information center will be open from Thursday, Jan. 19, until Feb. 2. It can be accessed online at any time. After viewing the study, which was prepared by the Bergen County Department of Planning and Engineering, the public will have the opportunity to submit comments.
Man charged in fatal hit-and-run of Centenary president’s wife was drunk, prosecutors say
Lori Comstock, New Jersey Herald
- A Hackettstown man who was drunk and driving without a license when he fatally struck the wife of Centenary University’s president before he fled the scene on Jan. 7 initially told police he had not been driving and the damage on his vehicle was “new to him,” prosecutors said at his detention hearing on Wednesday.
Alligator dumped in NJ finds a home at Cape May Zoo
Eddie Davis, NJ1015
- An alligator found in a plastic container dumped in an empty lot in Neptune Township on Sunday is headed for a safe and warm home in South Jersey at the Cape May Zoo. The 3-foot-long gator, thought to be a juvenile based on his length, was found by a neighbor described as a good Samaritan who found the container next to his home and called the Monmouth County SPCA. They brought the alligator to their shelter and put him in a climate-controlled tank more favorable to the temperature an alligator prefers.
After eight long hearings, Morristown group home wins approval for caretaker cottage in Historic District
Kevin Coughlin, Morristown Green
- An epic saga ended Wednesday with the Morristown zoning board voting 5-2 to allow a group home to use a cottage as a caretaker’s apartment, in the Historic District zoned for single-family homes. It was the eighth virtual meeting since November 2021 on an application that sparked intense opposition from neighbors, including a former zoning board member who testified as an expert witness.
Investigative series details risk of hazardous material storage in NJ
Briana Vannozzi, NJ Spotlight
- A massive, 11-alarm fire in Passaic last year threatened a site storing large amounts of chlorine next door to a public housing complex. Crisis was averted by firefighters and first responders, but the incident inspired a team of reporters and editors at The Record and NorthJersey.com to examine the lurking risks of hazardous material storage around the region.
Our view: Fund tourism marketing to grow economy, NJ revenue
Press of Atlantic City
- Sen. Vince Polistina, R-Atlantic, has a proposal to get New Jersey to quit eating the seeds of its tourism and grow a bigger hospitality economy that produces more state revenue. South Jersey and this newspaper have sought exactly this for decades with limited success. State government often tries to designate adequate funds to advertise and market its attractions and destinations, but too often winds up diverting them to other uses.
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