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NJ Hospitals Tapping Antibodies of the Recovered in Battle Against COVID-19 | NJ Spotlight

NJ Hospitals Tapping Antibodies of the Recovered in Battle Against COVID-19 | NJ Spotlight

In the race to identify useful treatments against COVID-19, hospitals across New Jersey have started to tap the blood of those who have recovered from infections of the virus in the hope that they can turn their antibodies into medicine for current patients.So-called clinical convalescent plasma trials are underway at numerous medical centers on the front lines of the pandemic, including Hackensack University Medical Center, Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, University Hospital in Newark and St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston. A limited number of patients have already been infused with...

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April 14, 2020
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Lottery Shortfalls Spell Bad Luck for State Public-Worker Pensions | NJ Spotlight

Lottery Shortfalls Spell Bad Luck for State Public-Worker Pensions | NJ Spotlight

There’s a new cause for concern about New Jersey’s chronically underfunded public-worker pension funds — sagging state Lottery revenues.That’s something of a double whammy for one of the nation’s worst-funded state retirement systems, which has seen investment returns during the coronavirus pandemic.So far this fiscal year, Lottery revenues, which serve as a dedicated source of funding for the pension system, are down more than 12% compared with the same period last year, according to the latest data released by the Department of Treasury.During the month of March, the year-over-year...

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April 21, 2020
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Black People Far More Likely to be Arrested for Marijuana Possession in NJ, ACLU Study Finds | NJ Spotlight

Black People Far More Likely to be Arrested for Marijuana Possession in NJ, ACLU Study Finds | NJ Spotlight

Black people are three-and-a-half times more likely to be arrested for possessing marijuana in New Jersey than whites, and the disparity has increased over the past 10 years, according to a new national report from the American Civil Liberties Union.The study, covering 2010-2018, for New Jersey blacks by the end of the study period compared with less than 300 for whites, even though the two racial groups use marijuana at about the same rate. Nationally, black people were 3.6 times more likely to be arrested for possession, which represents some 90% of marijuana-related arrests.Legalizing...

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njspotlight
April 21, 2020
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After 40 Years, Superfund Program in NJ is Still Work in Progress | NJ Spotlight

After 40 Years, Superfund Program in NJ is Still Work in Progress | NJ Spotlight

Forty years after former New Jersey Congressman Jim Florio piloted the Superfund law through Congress and on to the desk of President Jimmy Carter, the reviews are mixed on whether it has succeeded in its goals of cleaning up toxic sites and making corporate polluters pay.The law, which originally designated federal dollars and a special tax levied on the petrochemical industry to fund major cleanups across the country, has been hobbled by a reduction in funding, a reluctance by some Environmental Protection Agency administrators to hold polluters accountable for their contamination, and...

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njspotlight
April 22, 2020
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Pressure on Food Banks and Pantries as Demand Surges with Rising Jobless Ranks | NJ Spotlight

Pressure on Food Banks and Pantries as Demand Surges with Rising Jobless Ranks | NJ Spotlight

In the windswept parking lot of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church in Long Branch, Roderick Sanders got out of his car and walked up to a table where volunteers wearing masks against the COVID-19 pandemic were handing out boxes of food to anyone who wanted them.Sanders lost his job preparing food and washing dishes in a nearby restaurant on March 15 when the restaurant closed in response to the pandemic, and he said he is now dependent on food handouts like the one he got from St. Luke’s food pantry — which is supplied by the Fulfill food bank — on Friday.“I wouldn’t be able to eat if it...

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April 13, 2020
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Op-Ed: The Need for a Fundamental Culture Change in Our Police Departments | NJ Spotlight

Op-Ed: The Need for a Fundamental Culture Change in Our Police Departments | NJ Spotlight

The cold-blooded killing of George Floyd provides yet another costly reminder that a fundamental culture change is needed in our police departments. It is the case that some progress has been made in implementing certain elements of de-escalation, but in too many police departments, progress is blocked by a resistant warrior culture that stands in the way of truly “protecting and serving.” To be effective in changing the culture of police forces in order to stop the excessive use of force, a comprehensive approach that is tied to officers’ promotions must be put in place.The Citizens...

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njspotlight
Jul 6
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NJ Primary Elections 2020: A Few Fiery Contests to Watch in a Year Like No Other | NJ Spotlight

NJ Primary Elections 2020: A Few Fiery Contests to Watch in a Year Like No Other | NJ Spotlight

Tuesday is primary day in New Jersey and this year’s elections, being conducted a month late and primarily by mail, are like no other in state history.While a presidential election usually attracts high interest, it’s unclear how focused people are on these primary races given the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. But in parts of the state, there have been some high-profile campaigns and some Jersey-style mudslinging.The Democratic and Republican presidential nominations are all but locked up, but there are contests for both parties’ nominees for U.S. Senate and for one or both parties in 10 of...

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njspotlight
Jul 6
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Some South Jersey Farmers Won’t Let Seasonal Workers Be Tested for COVID-19 | NJ Spotlight

Some South Jersey Farmers Won’t Let Seasonal Workers Be Tested for COVID-19 | NJ Spotlight

A roadblock has emerged in the state’s COVID-19 campaign to test the thousands of migrant workers harvesting fruits and vegetables on New Jersey farms: An increasing number of growers are refusing to allow health care professionals test the seasonal laborers they have hired.The state Department of Health said some farmers are not participating in the testing program but refused to disclose how many and their locations. Those familiar with the process in the communities say the number of growers is in the dozens, with most in Cumberland County and recently six blueberry growers in Atlantic...

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njspotlight
Jul 3
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A $50M Fix for NJ’s Overworked Unemployment System Underway | NJ Spotlight

A $50M Fix for NJ’s Overworked Unemployment System Underway | NJ Spotlight

A $50 million share of New Jersey’s federal coronavirus-relief funding would be used to improve the state’s outdated system for processing unemployment benefits claims under a bipartisan measure that cleared a key legislative committee on Monday.The bill was introduced earlier this year in direct response to major delays many out-of-work residents have faced when applying for unemployment benefits following the onset of the pandemic and the economic-shutdown orders that Gov. Phil Murphy issued.Sponsors of the legislation say the federal funding would give the state Department of Labor and...

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njspotlight
Aug 11
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Gas Station Owners Ask Murphy to Allow Self-Service During Pandemic | NJ Spotlight

Gas Station Owners Ask Murphy to Allow Self-Service During Pandemic | NJ Spotlight

With gas stations closing as attendants quit because they’re afraid of contracting COVID-19, a trade organization is asking the Murphy administration to lift temporarily the ban on self-service gasoline.In a series of letters to Gov. Phil Murphy, the New Jersey Gasoline, C-Store, and Automotive Association is urging the state to allow self-service stations as a way of easing the staffing concerns and other issues its members are facing due to the outbreak of the coronavirus.Attendants at gasoline stations — some of whom have already tested positive for the coronavirus — are walking off...

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njspotlight
April 14, 2020
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