Morning Digest: Dec. 26, 2012

Black caucus opposes Christie top court picks

TRENTON – The Legislative Black Caucus expressed its dissatisfaction with Gov. Chris Christie’s most recent nominees to the state’s high court.

Sen. Ronald Rice, (D-28), issued a statement on behalf of the caucus criticizing the governor for not nominating an African American or Latino justice. Rice said the caucus is opposed to the nominations. Arco PolitickerNJ


In Newtown aftermath, Marlboro ready to put cop in each school

Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik said it was a no-brainer to put a cop in each of his district’s nine schools following the Newtown, Conn., massacre in which a gunman killed 20 children.

“The world changed after the tragedy, much like 911,” Hornik told “I don’t care about the gun control/NRA debate. Together with Marlboro’s Board of Education, we need to keep 8,000 kids safe.” PolitickerNJ

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Va. embodies GOP woes

RICHMOND, Va. — Look no further than Virginia to catch a glimpse of the GOP’s national dilemma.

As the Old Dominion becomes a firmly centrist state, more closely resembling the rest of the country demographically and politically, Virginia Republicans are shifting rightward. Martin, Politico



Report warned NJ Transit official of flood risk

A report on climate change completed for NJ Transit months before superstorm Sandy struck New Jersey urged the agency to begin planning for higher storm surges that could envelop rail yards, destroy track beds and corrode switches, gates and signals. Rouse, Record


TCNJ officials claim health issues from chemical odor

“I’m not feeling too good, if you can send someone over here,” an out-of-breath Marisa Hutton told the 911 dispatcher at The College of New Jersey Police Department on Oct. 20, 2011. “I’m having a hard time breathing. There is some kind of smell over here.” Karas, Trenton Times


Legal curbs hamper ATF in gun inquiries

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been without a permanent director for six years, as President Obama recently noted. But even if someone were to be confirmed for the job, the agency’s ability to thwart gun violence is hamstrung by legislative restrictions and by loopholes in federal gun laws, many law enforcement officials and advocates of tighter gun regulations say. N.Y. Times


Reflecting one year later on Glenloch Lake oil spill

It’s been nearly a year since 26,000 gallons of diesel fuel leaked out of underground storage tanks at NJ Transit’s bus facility on Route 42 in Washington Township, contaminating local waterways, streams and lakes. Gloucester County Times


Mental health problems tricky issue for N.J. schools

In the wake of the Newtown, Conn., shootings on Dec. 14, school districts immediately sought to reassure parents and the public that procedures are in place to prevent danger from entering the hallways and classrooms of area schools.

Letters reiterating the safety protocols and vowing to strengthen vulnerabilities went home with kids and were emailed to parents after 20 children and six adults were massacred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Burlington County Times


Newark officials release Facebook grant email

NEWARK — Newark officials have released internal emails related to a $100 million grant to the city’s schools made by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

The Star-Ledger of Newark ( reports that it obtained dozens of emails from the city late Monday. That came just days after a state judge ordered Mayor Cory Booker to release the emails following a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a group representing Newark schoolchildren. Asbury Park Press


Senate Republicans back NRA in opposing gun ban

U.S. Senate Republicans said bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines aren’t the proper response to the Dec. 14 killing of 20 elementary school children and six adults in Newtown, Connecticut. Bloomberg


Shore recovery to stretch towns’ budgets

Belmar mayor Matthew Doherty, faced with a beachfront tax base decimated by Superstorm Sandy, is looking at a lean budget in 2013.

Belmar isn’t alone. Municipalities all along the New Jersey coastline are expecting to struggle through a year with high recovery expenses. Camden Courier Post




Arts can help bring back Jersey shore

“Maybe everything that dies someday comes back,” Bruce Springsteen sings in “Atlantic City.” His adopted town of Asbury Park is coming back, mostly because of creative “placemaking.” It’s a set of strategies to make places better through the arts. It can do a lot to help the Shore rebuild after Sandy. N.J. Spotlight


Immigration enforcement shouldn’t trample individual rights

The staunchest advocates of gun rights often cite the necessity of being armed against a powerful government and its agents who can invade your privacy and trample your rights at will. To most of us, it sounds like so much paranoid fantasy. Star-Ledger