NJ’s Largest Paper, Star-Ledger, Cuts 40 News Jobs

The Star-Ledger

The Star-Ledger (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) – New Jersey’s largest newspaper is cutting about 170 jobs, including 25 percent of its newsroom positions, as it moves to consolidate operations and cut costs.

The Star-Ledger reported Thursday on NJ.com that the cuts will mean the loss of 40 of the 156 newsroom staffers at the paper.

Other journalists at the newspaper are being offered jobs at NJ Advance Media, a new company being created by parent company Advance Publications to provide content, advertising and marketing services to all of its papers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20140403_ap_bcb3f7ff38f04519b9d0130680554985.html#yfmrwV6huUd6q3Sx.99

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After Sandy, Feds Mull Plan For Artificial Islands

Map of New Jersey

Map of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (AP) – A string of artificial islands off the coast of New Jersey and New York could blunt the impact of storm surges that proved so deadly during Superstorm Sandy, according to a proposal vying for attention and funding as the region continues its recovery.

It’s a big proposal that would cost $10 billion to $12 billion. But it’s also the kind of innovative idea that federal officials requested as they consider how best to protect the heavily populated region from future storms.

“We’ve discussed this with the governor’s office of Recovery and Resiliency and the Department of Environmental Protection, and they all look at me like, ‘Whoa! This is a big deal!” said Alan Blumberg, a professor at New Jersey’s Stevens Institute of Technology. “Yes, it is a big deal. It can save lives and protect property.”

The “Blue Dunes” proposal is part of Rebuild By Design, a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to come up with novel ways to protect against the next big storm. It is one of 10 projects that will be evaluated and voted on next week, but there’s no guarantee any of them will receive funding. Other ideas include building sea walls around cities, re-establishing oyster colonies in tidal flats to blunt wave action and creating water-absorbent nature and recreational preserves.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20140329_ap_1e8e64f34e79453995e001fecbadea40.html#Az12YvxsczmA1fud.99

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Pa., N.J. Lawmakers Launch Effort To Rein In Delaware River Port Authority

English: A shot from the Pyramid Club of the B...

English: A shot from the Pyramid Club of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge at night. First posted at: Brozzetti Gallery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Republican legislators in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are planning a coordinated effort to change the Delaware River Port Authority and alter its federal charter.

Bills will be introduced in Harrisburg and Trenton to prohibit economic-development spending by the DRPA, give Pennsylvania’s governor the same veto authority over DRPA actions now held by New Jersey’s governor, and require state Senate confirmation of gubernatorial appointments to the DRPA board in Pennsylvania, as is now done in New Jersey.

The bills would also:

- Require a two-thirds majority of the board to approve any toll increases on the DRPA’s four toll bridges;

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/politics/20140326_Pa___N_J__lawmakers_launch_effort_to_rein_in_DRPA.html#b3cTW5MXkkoRHgws.99

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Bolaris: Models Align For A Brush With Snow

It looks like the storm we have been watching for days will take on a similar track as the one two weeks ago, when most of the snow fell across southeast New Jersey and Delaware. This storm should generally follow the same path.

Computer models for the last several days have differed largely on the outcome for this storm. Ranging from the North American model blasting us with heavy snow, the global forecasting model ejecting the storm off the Florida coast and the European and Canadian models painting a swath of heavy snow just east of Philly.

Then a wild swing with the global models put Philly back into the heavy snow as the North American model completely went the other way – with no snow for Philly.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Bolaris_Models_align_for_a_brush_with_snow.html#LLxlhBm6vi7G5wU7.99

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Acme Parent Company Buys Safeway for $9 Billion

Acme Markets’ corporate parent, the Albertsons grocery-store chain, on Thursday purchased Safeway Inc., for about $9 billion.

Albertsons is controlled by an investor group led by Cerberus, a New York-based private-equity firm. Other investors included Philadelphia-based Lubert-Adler Partners, Kimco Realty Corp., Klaff Realty L.P., and Schottenstein Real Estate Group.

With the purchase of Safeway, the group will now control about 2,400 grocery stores, making it one of the largest chains in the country.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140307_Acme_parent_company_buys_Albertsons_for__9B.html#yfZ07Jksrr6jsbWd.99

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In Happiness Rankings, Pennsylvania Feeling Kinda Blue

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HOW YOU feeling, Bunkie? Something got you down?

In the annual Gallup poll measuring Americans’ sense of well-being, also known as the happiness poll, Pennsylvania was No. 36 in 2013, down sharply from 29 the year before. (Thank you, Gov. Corbett?) Since Philadelphians are the single biggest geographic group of Pennsylvanians, our civic angst probably drags down the ranking.

We have a schools crisis and send in a hothead as a healer. Crime by criminals is down but crime by cops is up. Buildings collapse, water mains explode, the mayor adds deputy mayors and bike lanes. Poverty is up, employment is down, as are the Phillies, Sixers and Flyers. No wonder we’re not happy.

Do I hear laughter from across the river?

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140303_Don_t_be_glum__chum.html#yTgJ8HAsd3rKLEHi.99

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Bolaris: Significant Snow, Sleet Late Sunday

March is the most volatile month of the year weatherwise as winter and spring duke it out.

It’s when winter transitions into spring and huge contrasts in air masses make for a nasty March cocktail. A battle zone of air masses results when lingering arctic fronts set up the dividing line between polar air colliding with spring-like milder temps. In this zone, you get massive outbreaks of severe storms and the tornado season launches, starting usually in late March and hits a peak by mid-late April.

But March in Philly has had some record snowstorms, including the infamous blizzard of 1888 when Philadelphia got smacked with 10.5 inches of snow along with winds approaching 80mph along the Jersey Shore.

And of course the very first “storm of the century” March 13-14, 1993, when we got buried with 12 inches of snow and sleet.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Bolaris_Significant_snow_sleet_late_Sunday.html#JMgsyXl2Ee0zVy6G.99

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Nor’easter Gone, More Snow On Way

The nor’easter that crippled the region yesterday dumped more than 20 inches in parts of Chester County, according to newly revised figures – and a bit more could be on the way for the entire Philadelphia region.

The official National Weather Service reading at the Philadelphia International Airport was 11.5 inches of snow. But totals varied with Birdsboro, Berks County, recording 20 inches, and Allentown, Lehigh County, with 18.8 inches – good news for skiers on a long President’s Day weekend. Closer to the city, West Caln, Chester County recorded 18.7 inches.

New Jersey saw higher amounts farther north, with Florence, Burlington County, seeing 12.7 inches and Washington Township, Gloucester County, seeing 12.7 inches. The shore was largely spared snow.

See storm totals for your area here.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Noreaster_gone_leaves_big_headache.html#OxeMvtAK9VEwllXD.99

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Bolaris: Snow This Weekend? Probably. Mega-Storm? No.

So, no, there are no signs of a break in this vicious winter.

However, we will — thank goodness — miss a mega-storm this weekend, which should help in the recovery process of restoring power to many homes still in the dark.

Over the upcoming weekend, a storm system well off the coast, combined with energy racing across the upper Ohio Valley, could produce a period of snow showers from Saturday night into Sunday morning. The region is should expect light accumulation, from a possible coating in most places and up an inch or two. The most likely areas to see accumulation is coastal Cape May County, N.J., and Central and Southern Delaware.

After snow subsides early Sunday, the rest of the day will be windy and cold. Earlier in the weekend, starting Friday, temperatures will be hard pressed to crack the freezing mark.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Bolaris_Snow_this_weekend_Probably_Mega-storm_No.html#rtzT92yoXuz0uHmZ.99

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Go Away Joe Cool: CVS To Stop Selling Cigarettes

English: Used in CVS/pharmacy to convey brand ...

English: Used in CVS/pharmacy to convey brand identity. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The pharmacy chain CVS announced this morning that it will stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products at its 7,600 stories nationwide later this year.

The sales will stop Oct. 1 and will cost the company an estimated $2 billion in revenue, but many believe it could be a turning point in retail.

“Ending the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products at CVS/pharmacy is the right thing for us to do for our customers and our company to help people on their path to better health,” Larry J. Merlo, President and CEO, CVS Caremark said in a statement. “Put simply, the sale of tobacco products is inconsistent with our purpose.”

Merlo continued, “As the delivery of health care evolves with an emphasis on better health outcomes, reducing chronic disease and controlling costs, CVS Caremark is playing an expanded role in providing care through our pharmacists and nurse practitioners.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/Go_away_Joe_Cool_CVS_wont_sell_smokes_anymore.html#FA1FbQtbvhW28Awr.99

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Poll: More In NJ Want Pot Than Online Gambling

Map of New Jersey

Map of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) – A new poll finds more New Jersey residents want to smoke pot than gamble over the Internet.

A Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll finds 41 percent of respondents would support smoking marijuana recreationally if it became legal. That compares with only 32 percent who support gambling over the Internet, which is legal in New Jersey now.

The poll finds support for online gambling has fallen, even as it enters its third full month and more than 150,000 online gambling accounts have been set up in the state.

“The public’s attitude was, for several years, warming up to online gambling,” said poll director Krista Jenkins. “But there has been a clear change in direction now that the practice has actually been legalized. Part of the public has always shown deep reluctance to make gambling so accessible in their own homes. Now that it is in fact legal, they may be more concerned than ever.”

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/new_jersey/20140203_ap_ea57de2926384e6087d93750dc244999.html#uC9fqrd0erf0e8Y4.99

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Bolaris: Snow Amounts Climbing A Bit

Snow has been falling at rates of 1-2 inches per hour, with some places, such as northern Chester County counting 7 inches as of 11 a.m., and Horsham and Worcester in Montgomery County and West Rockhill Township in Bucks County, counting 6 inches.

Some places in Lehigh Valley are reporting 6 inches, as well.

Closer to the City of Philadelphia, Brookhaven in Delaware County, near the airport, was reporting 3.5 inches as of 10:30 a.m.

Just across the river, as of 11:15 a.m., the rain-snow line has halted, and actually in Haddonfield has changed back to some rain and sleet as that line oscillates around 10 miles south and east of the city.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Bolaris_Snow_amounts_looking_like_4-8_inches.html#4O5Kac2dYdbyZwqk.99

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Fulton Financial To Cut 14 Branches, Including 1 In Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fulton Financial is closing 14 branches, including one in Lancaster County, as part of a cost-cutting program worth $8 million annually.

The action was disclosed Wednesday by E. Philip Wenger, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Wenger spoke during a conference call to discuss Fulton’s fourth-quarter and 2013 results with analysts who follow the firm.

Fulton is closing six branches in Pennsylvania, five in Maryland and three in New Jersey by the end of the second quarter.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/business/local_business/fulton-financial-to-cut-branches-including-in-lancaster-county/article_10b11eee-8436-11e3-bf19-001a4bcf6878.html

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$155M Approved To Link I-95 And Pennsylvania Turnpike

Map of Pennsylvania

Map of Pennsylvania (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The long-awaited, $420 million direct connection between I-95 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike moved closer to reality Thursday, with the approval of a $155 million section of the work.

The Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, which oversees federal and state funding for transportation projects in the Philadelphia region, agreed to separate the $155 million project to allow work to start in June.

The $155 million will pay for widening and reconstructing about four miles of the turnpike in Bristol Township where the connection with I-95 will be built. It will also pay for building three new turnpike bridges and installing the piers for the “flyover” ramps for the connection.

When the first stage of the direct connection is completed in 2018, I-95 will be rerouted onto the Pennsylvania Turnpike east of the connection and then onto the New Jersey Turnpike. The current I-95 north of the connection will be redesignated as I-195.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/transportation/20140124__155M_approved_to_link_I-95_and_Pa__Turnpike.html#IaGkJCmaqMOSQbBg.99

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Bolaris: Old Man Winter To Drop Bombogenesis

BOMBOGENESIS (a rapidly intensifying storm) will take place Tuesday afternoon off the Virginia coast.

Computer models had an extreme reversal on the intensity and track of this storm over the last 24-36 hours, and that’s why snow amounts were jacked up Monday as computer models came late to the snow party.

Hinting started to take place late Sunday as my forecast called for a significant storm for some with 4+ inches of snow possible across parts of New Jersey. But a big uptick in moisture being fed into the storm combined with a piece of the polar vortex sending another package of severe cold. This time, it gets pulled into the storm’s circulation leading to rapid intensification and high snow ratios.

Normally we receive a 10-1 ratio, with one inch of liquid equaling 10 inches of snow, but in this case we have an overall ratio of 13-1, to as much as 15-1, meaning more snow with less liquid.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/Bolaris_Old_Man_Winter_to_drop_a_bombogenesis.html#3R4LGxSgscHmB4Od.99

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J.C. Penney Closing 33 Stores – 2 In Philadelphia Suburbs

English: JCPenney store at the Holiday Village...

English: JCPenney store at the Holiday Village Mall in Great Falls, Montana, taken March 4, 2007. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Struggling department-store operator J.C. Penney Co. announced it will cut 2,000 jobs and close 33 stores – including its stores in Exton and Burlington – as it tries to get back on the path to profitability.

The news raises concerns that Penney’s holiday season sales were not what the company hoped for and that the chain needs to do even more to recover from a turnaround plan that has had disastrous results.

J.C. Penney said earlier this month said it was pleased with its holiday results but declined to give sales figures, raising worries among Wall Street analysts about how the season actually fared.

Penney has 116,000 staffers and operates more than 1,100 stores.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/business/20140116_Penney_closing_33_stores_-_2_in_Phila__suburbs.html#uJtvJ5BOgUjA4UKO.99

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Expect Heavy Snow But Not Blizzard In Lehigh Valley, Northwest New Jersey, Experts Say

A snowstorm headed toward the Lehigh Valley will likely fall short of becoming a blizzard locally, but meteorologists are expecting heavy snow to arrive Thursday evening and Friday morning.

The National Weather Service is putting out a winter storm warning for Lehigh, Northampton and Warren counties. The three counties under the warning could face 6 to 10 inches of snow and wind gusts ranging from 15 to 25 miles an hour, according to the weather service.

Snow is expected to start around 1 p.m. in the three counties, according to the service.

The same report placed Hunterdon County under a winter storm watch, saying it could see 3 to 7 inches of snow beginning around 2 p.m.

Read more: http://www.lehighvalleylive.com/breaking-news/index.ssf/2014/01/reports_project_between_4_to_1.html

Two Camden Killings End Year On A Fatal Note

English: Camden, New Jersey is one of the poor...

English: Camden, New Jersey is one of the poorest cities in the United States. Camden suffers from unemployment, urban decay, poverty, and many other social issues. Much of the city of Camden, New Jersey suffers from urban decay. 日本語: ニュージャージー州カムデンのスラム. Svenska: Camden, New Jersey is one of the poorest cities in the United States. Kiswahili: Camden, New Jersey ni moja ya mataifa maskini zaidi katika miji ya Marekani. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CAMDEN, NJ — Two men were killed Tuesday in Camden in what authorities said appeared to be a drug-related shooting.

They became the city’s 56th and 57th homicide victims of 2013, pushing the homicide rate to the second-highest level on record and the number of victims to its third-highest level. In 2012, 67 people were slain.

Around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, police were called to a house on the 700 block of Division Street, also known as Ramona Gonzalez Street, in the Bergen Square neighborhood.

They found Jorge Chavis, 31, and James Anderson, 23, dead from gunshot wounds, the Camden County Prosecutor’s Office said in a news release.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20140101_2_shot_dead_in_Camden.html#uxyK08fKAQjQsho0.99

New Jersey Minimum Wage Rises By $1.00

Map of New Jersey

Map of New Jersey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Effective Wednesday, New Jersey’s minimum wage will rise by $1 to $8.25 an hour, boosting the paychecks of more than 250,000 New Jerseyans and bumping up costs for businesses with low-wage workers.

While the wage increase is immediate, the reaction by businesses may take longer to assess – especially in light of the automatic annual increases voters approved in November, guaranteeing minimum-wage workers future raises.

Businesses will “over time decide how they’re going to deal with it,” said Thomas Bracken, president of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. “I don’t think there’s going to be any huge impact in 2014 on employment statistics or anything of that nature.”

New Jersey is one of 13 states that will raise their minimum wage Wednesday, according to the National Employment Law Project, a nonprofit that advocates for raising the wage.

Read more at http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20140101_N_J__minimum_wage_to_rise_by__1_on_Jan__1.html#3TmFBGTdz1KdCXTH.99