Trump has given up on COVID -- that’s terrifying

America now has the highest COVID death toll of any country, yet still no national plan for doing the testing, contact tracing and isolation that stops big outbreaks.These measures have allowed other countries to tamp down on new infections early, by identifying them even before people show symptoms. You need a low transmission rate to ensure that enough customers are willing to go out and support local businesses.Yet incredibly, President Trump now has a plan to cut funding for testing and contact tracing from a Republican proposal – exactly what you need to keep things open in a pandemic.Thi...

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John Lewis taught us to tell uncomfortable truths

By Ryan Haygood“You have to tell the whole truth, the good and the bad, maybe some things that are uncomfortable for some people.” - John LewisIt was five years ago March when I had the privilege of joining Congressman John Lewis on a walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, for the 50th reenactment of the iconic Bloody Sunday March in 1965.After we reached the top of that bridge along with the late Rev. C.T. Vivian, the late Amelia Boynton, President Barack Obama and other civil rights leaders, Congressman Lewis led us in a moment of reflection and prayer, just as he did when h...

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Police seek robber who attacked gas station attendant with screwdriver and punched his co-worker

Police in Bergen County on Monday released a surveillance photo of a man they say attacked a gas station attendant with a screwdriver and punched his co-worker in the face during a robbery.The incident occurred about 10:19 p.m. Friday at Woroco Gas on Maple Avenue in Fair Lawn, according to police Sgt. Brian Metzler.Officers called to the scene on a report of a dispute found three employees, including a 31-year-old man with a cut to his left arm, Metzler said.The victims told officers a man wearing a black shirt and black baseball cap approached the business looking for a gas can. When an empl...

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NJ councilman presses for reform after his entire family is pepper-sprayed by cops in his home

A protest is scheduled Thursday at the Woodlynne Police Department, where one officer has been charged with assault and another accused by a borough councilman of barging into his house and pepper-spraying his entire family. The incidents were unrelated and on two separate occasions. Woodlynne Councilman Clyde Cook and his son, Timothy Cook, 17, were charged with aggravated assault on two police officers after the incident at their home in February. Police responded when Cook’s teenage daughter called 911 after her cellphone and social media privileges were taken away for punishment, the councilm...

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Rutgers is named for a slave owner, but school’s first Black president says the name will stay

Jonathan Holloway, who last week became the first Black president in Rutgers University’s 254 year history, said he has no plans to change the school’s name, which honors a man who owned slaves.But he did use his first press conference, which took place indoors on the school’s New Brunswick campus Monday, to say he hopes to increase diversity among faculty and have conversations about race and inclusion on campus as the nation grapples with racism and police brutality.“We are not going to change the name of the university,” Holloway said, after speaking about plans keep the school mostly remot...

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Great minds think alike: Bob Dylan’s and Jimmy Buffett’s new CDs have a Key West connection

I woke up the other day, hooked up my intravenous coffee drip, and looked at the news headlines on my phone.It was bad news all the way down. A bit of escapism was in order. And there are few better escapes than Key West. The good news is that two of America’s greatest living songwriters have just released new albums connected to the southernmost point on the Atlantic Coast. Jimmy Buffett’s “Life on the Flip Side” was recorded in Key West. And Bob Dylan’s begins with a song about Key West that includes references to the man who made the margarita famous.Dylan long ago named Buffett as one of his ...

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Propeller wounds likely caused death of young, endangered whale found off Jersey Shore

Officials on Monday said the critically endangered whale that was discovered off the coast of Monmouth County likely died from wounds it suffered in a collision with a vessel.The carcass of the male whale calf was spotted floating off Monmouth Beach around noon Friday after it was first seen a couple miles south in the water near Long Branch a day earlier, according to officials.Though officials initially suspected a boat collision was to blame, a necropsy confirmed the likely cause of death. Preliminary findings from the procedure revealed signs of at least separate vessel collisions, accordi...

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Trump criticizes Princeton’s decision to remove Woodrow Wilson’s name from school

President Donald Trump on Monday entered the fray over renaming institutions, tweeting out his opposition to Princeton University removing former President Woodrow Wilson’s name from its school of public policy.Trump likened the Wilson decision to recent calls to remove actor John Wayne’s name from the international airport in Orange County, California.Can anyone believe that Princeton just dropped the name of Woodrow Wilson from their highly respected policy center. Now the Do Nothing Democrats want to take off the name John Wayne from an airport. Incredible stupidity!— Donald J. Trump (@real...

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I inherited an IRA from my spouse. Can I convert it to a Roth IRA?

Q. My wife passed away in 2010 and I inherited her workplace IRA contributions. I received the disbursement check in 2011 and promptly created an inherited IRA. About a week ago, I asked the investment company if I could convert it to a Roth and they said no, but I feel they’re giving me the runaround. Can I convert it?— Considering optionsA. We’re sorry to hear about your wife.Unfortunately, the opportunity to convert the account has passed.When you received the funds, you could have established the account as your own. Instead, you created an inherited IRA, which has different rules.Only spo...

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Pro-Trump, anti-Trump boaters planning epic clash on the largest lake in New Jersey

Supporters of President Donald Trump are planning to turn Lake Hopatcong into a floating Trump rally on Saturday, one day after Trump’s arrival in New Jersey.But, the “boat parade” of vessels tricked out in Trump flags, organized by the Sussex County Republican Party, is prompting a simultaneous protest against it, dubbed, “No hate on our lake.”Protesters will “ride alongside the Trump supporters and demonstrate that our community doesn’t stand for hate,” according to an event flier.V. Matthew Steinbaum, a protest organizer, said those without boats will stand on the River Styx Bridge starting...

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Mitch McConnell fails tenants and struggling landlords. Everybody, really

In New Jersey cities, many thousands of families will soon be homeless, once the governor lifts his moratorium on evictions during the pandemic.Some are already being evicted, illegally. Yet even a decent landlord is in an impossible situation without federal help. And Mitch McConnell is standing in the way.The Senate Majority leader and President Trump have been blocking any more help to states, including as much as $100 billion for tenants and landlords, in rent and utility assistance.Miserly Mitch also pledged not to renew the unemployment benefits that have been helping tens of millions of...

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Internal affairs records of ex-police director who used racist, sexist slurs to remain private

Internal affairs reports about former Elizabeth Police Director James Cosgrove - who resigned last year after using racist and sexist slurs - will remain shielded from public view, a state Appellate Court ruled Friday.Richard Rivera, a former West New York cop who became a whistleblower, filed a request under the state’s Open Public Records Act (OPRA) for all internal affairs reports about Cosgrove and sued the prosecutor’s office after its denial. Rivera filed his OPRA request after NJ Advance Media first reported on the complaints against Cosgrove, which were later sustained by the prosecut...

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‘Why not a Black woman?’ Consensus grows around Biden’s VP

Joe Biden is facing growing calls to select a Black woman as his running mate as an acknowledgement of their critical role in the Democratic Party and a response to the nationwide protests against racism and inequality.The shifting dynamics were clear late Thursday when Amy Klobuchar took herself out of contention for the vice presidency. The Minnesota senator, who is white, told MSNBC that “this is a moment to put a woman of color on that ticket.”Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, has already pledged to select a woman as his vice president to energize the party’s base wit...

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Judge deals blow to owners of gym that defied governor’s lockdown orders

The owners of a gym that made national headlines after it opened in defiance of Gov. Phil Murphy COVID-19 lockdown were dealt a blow in their legal fight to convince the courts that shuttering their place of business was unconstitutional. In a decision reached during hearing held over Zoom Friday, U.S. District Judge Robert B. Kugler denied the request of the owners of Atilis Gym of Bellmawr to open via a temporary restraining order as they continued litigation with the state.In a federal lawsuit filed last month, attorneys for the gym claimed Gov. Phil Murphy “arbitrarily” deemed some businesses ...

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Negative COVID-19 tests needed to enter in Trump’s NJ golf club fundraiser

Entry into Donald Trump’s re-election fundraising event at his Bedminster golf club Saturday evening carried a hefty price tag and a negative COVID-19 test.The 15 guests who attended had to not only take a test for the virus on the day of the event but also were required to complete a wellness questionnaire, as well as pass a temperature screening, officials said.The costs for the tests were covered by Trump Victory, a joint fundraising committee benefiting the Trump campaign and the Republican National Committee and 22 state parties, though not New Jersey.The site was professionally cleaned a...

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Happy Holidays!