Below is Insider NJ’s Morning Intelligence Briefing for 8/12/2020:
QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Reopening schools for in-person instruction under the current conditions poses too great a risk to the health of students and schools staff.” – NJ educators urging Governor Murphy and the NJDOE to reopen schools with remote learning only
The statewide COVID-19 count stands at 185,437 cases and 14,037 fatalities (and 1,853 probable fatalities) as of Tuesday. The rate of viral transmission is .94.
NJEA President Blistan and others called on Governor Murphy to direct schools to open remotely this fall, without an in-person option, arguing that ‘current conditions poses too great a risk to the health of students and schools staff’. Most sources expect Murphy to kayo in-person learning for the fall (iLine post).
Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden selected California Senator Kamala Harris as his vice presidential running mate. Governor Murphy and NJ Democratic Chairman Currie applauded the choice. Speaker Coughlin praised the selection as the ‘right choice’.
The state’s travel quarantine advisory was updated to include the Virgin Islands and remove Alaska, Ohio, New Mexico, and Rhode Island, bringing the total to 33 states and territories.
The state has spent more than $573M battling COVID-19, according to NJ Spotlight.
Burlington County is partnering with non-profits to distribute food to struggling families during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Camden County Freeholder Director Cappelli mourned the loss of teacher and coach Joe Murphy.
Hunterdon County’s Voorhees State Park has been closed by the NJDEP so workers can be deployed to busier parks, according to MyCentralJersey. The county freeholder demanded accountability from JCP&L, according to MyCentralJersey.
Middlesex County will award grants to 51 small businesses in the county.
Morris County is targeting underperforming towns in an effort to promote census participation.
Ocean County is joining Monmouth County in petitioning the NJBPU for representation on the board for the Jersey Shore.
The Union County Freeholders are sponsoring the placement of Black Lives Matter murals in Hillside and Roselle. The county reached the milestone of 100 days of COVID-19 testing at its drive-through location at Kean University.
Rep. Pascrell announced $3.6M in CARES Act funding for several housing authorities.
Three Kean University professors received national recognition for their research.
WalletHub released a nationwide survey finding 55% of parents want in-person learning when schools reopen.
New Jersey has the 5th most restrictive COVID-19 restrictions in the nation, according to a WalletHub study.
Apple Montessori Schools announced a reopening plan with 5-full day in-person and at-home options.
ICYMI: Murphy highlights ‘knucklehead’ behavior; Governor, LG announce Small Landlord Emergency Grant Program; the storm within the storm; state ‘got whacked’, as 1.4M were without power; Murphy cracked down on parties, acknowledges ‘mad as hell’ atmosphere; face masks req’d for students; Murphy sounds alarm bell, gets tough again
PAC fundraising fell 32% in the second quarter, according to ELEC.
A Monmouth University poll finds Democrat Joe Biden with a 10-point lead over President Trump among registered voters nationally.
In CD2, Democratic candidate Amy Kennedy released her agriculture and farming platform.
In CD4, Democratic candidate Stephanie Schmid was endorsed by CD6 Rep. Pallone.
In CD5, GOP candidate Frank Pallotta slammed Rep. Gottheimer as a ‘Murphy apologist’ for calling for the Paramus Veterans Home CEO’s resignation while ‘failing to hold Governor Murphy accountable’ for nursing home deaths due to COVID-19.
In LD25, Democratic Senate candidate Rupande Mehta was endorsed by the NJDSC South Asian Caucus.
NJLGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus praised Joe Biden’s selection of Senator Kamala Harris as his running mate.
ICYMI: Official primary results; Sherrill accepted debate challenge from Becchi; Insider NJ’s Who’s Up and Who’s Down: The Week NJ Got Whacked; Singh slammed AG’s office; county fundraising has lowest six-month haul in twenty years; NJEA endorsements
Governor Murphy and the NJEDA announced the first phase of the New Jersey Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program to ensure businesses and non-profits have access to fairly-priced PPE to provide safe working conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Senators Sarlo, Ruiz, Singleton, and Oroho commended the Governor and the NJEDA for acting on the plan.
Sources say the state’s revenue losses aren’t as bad as expected, according to Politico NJ.
Senator Codey called on the NJBPU to examine JCP&L’s lack of customer service following Tropical Storm Isaias and set deadlines for improvement.
Senator Pennacchio called on Governor Murphy to ‘stop politicking‘ and find ways to make federal unemployment assistance possible.
Assemblyman Scharfenberger introduced legislation to deter ‘virtual bombings’ of meetings on digital platforms.
The NJ Business Coalition urged Governor Murphy to end the ‘pause’ on business closures.
ICYMI: Senate panel hearing with gym and health club owners; viewing and funeral detail for Shirley Rice, who passed away earlier this week; Murphy conditionally vetoed PLA bill; protesters rallied outside Statehouse; Senate, Assembly passed legislative redistricting bill
Insider NJ’s Fred Snowflack analyzes the results from the July 7th primary.
Insider NJ’s Max Pizarro, Fred Snowflack, and Jay Lassiter each won NJ Press Association Awards.
Be part of Insider NJ’s 2020 publications with an all-inclusive ad package that includes everything from now until the end of the year.
In Bellmawr, the council voted to revoke the license of Atilis Gym, which had repeatedly defied Governor Murphy’s closure order, according to the Courier Post.
In Paterson, Bill McKoy and Alex Mendez agreed to a ‘do-over’ election in Ward 3, according to the Paterson Press. Overtime spending has increased by 28%, according to Paterson Times. The teachers’ union says the schools reopening plan is ‘dangerous‘ and ‘reckless’, according to Paterson Times.
In Atlantic City, Snoop Dogg says he’s looking to invest in real estate in the city, according to the Press of Atlantic City.
In Branchburg, Women’s March founder Elizabeth Meyer called for the resignation of Committeewoman Columbus over a racist remark on social media.
In Fair Lawn, residents are looking for answers as to why a protest escalated, according to the Bergen Record.
In Hillsborough, the schools will have two in-person learning days in the fall, according to MyCentralJersey.
In Lacey, the hearing on Oyster Creek nuclear waste was postponed after the crowd got too big, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Teaneck, the high school suspended fall sports, according to the Bergen Record.
In Lakewood, the schools want to sell land that could be used for 15 homes, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Howell, the schools released their back-to-school plan, according to the Asbury Park Press.
In Princeton, the town hired a new emergency management director, according to Planet Princeton.
In Livingston, four candidates are vying for a BOE seat, according to TAPinto.
In Union, twenty-four people filed to run for three BOE seats, according to TAPinto.
In Hamilton, the township’s 2021 calendar will feature frontline workers.
In Roxbury, the BOE incumbents drew the top ballot positions, according to TAPinto.
Insider NJ columnist Alan Joel Steinberg writes ‘A Murphy for a Kamala Harris Running Mate in 2024 – Phil or Chris?‘
Insider NJ columnist and ELEC Executive Director Jeffrey Brindle writes ‘Not Alone in Thinking Stronger Political Parties Will Improve Our Politics‘
Insider NJ columnist Bob Hennelly writes ‘Trenton 1936 Washington, D.C. 2020 Deja Vu: Greed Wins as Labor Loses Leverage‘
Insider NJ columnist Jay Lassiter writes ‘Managing COVID (+ Getting the Feds out of your Bong!)‘
Insider NJ reporter Fred Snowflack writes ‘Emergencies are not the Time for OPRA Darkness‘
AROUND THE WEB:
Tom Moran, Star-Ledger
- When we finally emerge from our Covid caves and resume normal lives, or something close to it, we will need effective tools to contain the inevitable outbreaks that will come with social mingling.
Kaitlyn Kanzler, NorthJersey.com
- The Millburn High School community has rallied around Principal William Miron after he was thrust into the national spotlight for issuing an apology for a photo in the 2020 yearbook. The photo shows the football team waving a Thin Blue Line flag in October during a community outreach day that celebrated the D.A.R.E. program and the districts’ athletic teams.
David Matthau, NJ1015
- As schools prepare to reopen in September, bus companies are scrambling to make sure they have enough school bus drivers. For years there’s been a shortage of school bus drivers in part because a commercial driver’s license is required and other driving jobs that require a CDL pay more. But this year with the COVID-19 pandemic, the problem is even worse, according to Richard Bozza, the executive director of the New Jersey Association of School Administrators.
Jayed Rahman, Paterson Times
- The delivery of nearly 14,000 Chromebooks for Paterson students has been delayed because of U.S. sanctions against a Chinese manufacturing company. School officials had hoped to equip every student with a Chromebook before the start of the 2020-21 school year. The district ordered 13,825 Chromebooks for $3.4 million in June from CDW expecting delivery in late July or early August.
Lori Comstock, NJ Herald
- A Newton man who claimed he was unlawfully arrested and charged by a top officer in the Franklin Borough police department has been paid $7,500 to settle a lawsuit he filed against the town.
Jessie Gomez, Morristown Daily Record
- As part of its reopening plan, the borough’s school district plans to equip students with new technology to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Accwell company donated armband thermometers equipped with Bluetooth technology to provide students’ daily temperature readings and reports to nurses in the Butler School District.
Paul Mulshine, Star-Ledger
- I was on the phone Sunday commiserating with a fellow scribe about how difficult it is to cover this presidential campaign, with its many virtual events.
Joan Quigley, For The Jersey Journal
- This is the year we were supposed to get new $20 bills featuring a portrait of Harriet Tubman. I can’t say it would have been perfect timing because having a woman on American currency was already long overdue, but it sure is a really bad time for a postponement.
Rebecca King and Esther Davidowitz, NorthJersey.com
- Cuban Pete’s, a popular Cuban restaurant in Montclair, was issued a violation on Aug. 7 for serving food indoors, a breach of Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order prohibiting indoor dining. But owner Dominick Restaino, who admits he served diners indoors, insists, “I did the right thing.”
John Reitmeyer, 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.
Dennis Malloy, NJ1015
- After going through the 62-page guidelines of a central Jersey school reopening plan over the weekend, I was confused but grateful. Grateful that my kids are out of public school and very grateful that I don’t work in such a confusing and utterly ridiculous government-run tangle of a bureaucracy.
Nanette LoBiondo Galloway, Down Beach
- This week’s Margate City Board of Education and Ventnor City Commission meetings will not be held in-person. Instead, both meetings will be held using the Zoom online meeting platform. The Margate City Board of Commissioners has also scheduled a special in-person meeting.
Gary Herzog, New Jersey Hills
- The Board of Education of the Chathams got an earful from young people at its meeting Monday, Aug. 10 in the form of a petition to reinstate a swimming coach and emails calling for an anti-racism curriculum.
Art Gallagher, More Monmouth Musings
- Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik sent a scathing four page letter to Board of Public Utilities (BPU) President Joseph Fiordalsio today wherein he blasted JCP&L’s response to Tropical Storm Isiasis and demanded that the State hold the public utility accountable.
Tom Bergeron, roi-nj.com
- The ideas come fast and furiously — and from all angles. Everything from lowering the New Jersey’s sales tax to streamlining infrastructure projects, to providing tax incentives to banks and landlords that forgive bills, to easing linen-changing legislation. It’s thorough. But know these two things about the document produced by Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin’s Economic Advisory Council: They were created after lengthy discussions among some of the smartest and most successful business leaders and advocates in the state — and they’re only asking for elected officials to debate and discuss what they came up with.
- With coronavirus worries clouding the reopening of school this fall, Jamie Lombardi didn’t feel comfortable sending her third-grader back to the classroom, so she asked on social media who would be interested in joining a small, at-home learning group.
Jeremy Roebuck, Philadelphia Inquirer
- Maaz Ahmed Shamsi and Zeeshan Khan appeared no different than any of the hundreds of other international students who usually arrive in Centre County, Pa., each fall on visas allowing them to study or receive on-the-job training in the United States. They lived in a modest apartment in Boalsburg, less than 10 minutes from Pennsylvania State University’s flagship campus. They hung out in State College, mixing among the students.
Cheryl Makin, Bridgewater Courier News
- Like many who had COVID-19, the experience is not one David Brook would like to repeat. But, the 66-year-old knows he is fortunate. With the U.S. mortality toll now past 160,000 and climbing, he considers himself a survivor.