Sunday, September 23, 2012
The latest data includes four years of income, insurance and job losses.
There was new evidence last week of the damage done by the recent recession. The U.S. Census Bureau released numerous new social, housing and economic estimates for larger geographic areas, including New Jersey's counties. And the results confirm the pain many are feeling. Median household income dropped again last year in Morris, Passaic, Somerset and Sussex counties. And it's been a steady decline in three of the four from 2008 to 2011. In Morris County, the typical household had $91,332 in income, down about $3,000 from 2010 and nearly 11 percent lower than the $102,147 median in 2008. Those changes are in real, inflation-adjusted dollars, so the impact is clear: Morris County households lost about $11,000 to save, invest and spend in …
Monday, September 17, 2012
Bedminster arts center says promotion by Brighton and Brighton Collectibles raised money for kids' arts programming.
Monday, September 17, 2012
To the Editor, During the months of June and July, Brighton together with its Brighton Collectibles store in the Bridgewater Commons Mall and its other retailers nationwide rallied in support of arts programming for kids. The promotion generated over $1 million. With this valuable mission in mind of giving America’s next generation of artists in communities across the country a bright future, Brighton selected The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster, NJ as the local recipient organization for this wonderful win-win promotion. Brighton created a limited edition stylish silver Americana Bracelet with red, white and blue Swarovski crystal accents and offered it to their customers at a $48 retail price point, with 50 percent of each …
Sunday, September 16, 2012
Instead of starting work on $790 million project before getting final approval, how about clearing trees along power lines?
Construction has begun on Public Service Electric and Gas Co.'s transmission line upgrade through Northwest New Jersey. That would seem to be slightly premature, as the National Park Service still technically has not given final approval for the work—upgrading the existing 230-kilovolt transmission line for about 45 miles, adding 500 kilovolts onto towers that would be as tall as 195 feet in some cases. The park service's approval is only for its property, but it is still critical, given the line runs smack through the Delaware Water Gap. And while the NPS won't make a final decision for at least a month after releasing its environmental impact statement—expected sometime this month—its approval appears to be a given. Still, it has not …
Sunday, September 9, 2012
Legislators should act quickly to increase penalties and force better management before next storm.
A month after receiving it, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities finally released last week the long-awaited consultant's report on the power outages that resulted from Tropical Storm Irene and the October 2011 snowstorm. Its 263 pages get into minute details of what happened and provide some important background on issues of statewide concern, including the pros and cons of burying power lines. But its overall message, that power companies did a less than sterling job in dealing with the massive outages that resulted from both storms, and in doing the maintenance work that could have prevented some of the problems, was already well-known. There was no reason why Gov. Chris Christie had to wait for the report, done by Emergency …
Sunday, September 2, 2012
The genesis of the holiday has nothing to do with shopping or barbecues, but it's to celebrate the gains unions won for all workers.
On Monday, politicians are pressing the flesh, people are swimming at the Shore or barbecuing with friends, shoppers are searching for bargains and children are beginning to lament the imminent start of school. Labor Day has come to signal the unofficial end of summer, but it didn't start off that way. It's called Labor Day for a reason. The U.S. Department of Labor calls it "a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity and well-being of our country." For labor, it's supposed to be about the contributions that unions have made to society, both in terms of the improvement of general working conditions and in terms of pay and benefits for workers. These days, there's not a lot to celebrate. “…
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Two candidates are running for one open seat on the township council.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
Only one seat will be up for election in the 2012 Bridgewater Township Council elections. Two people are running for the one position, one Republican incumbent and one Democrat. Incumbent Filipe Pedroso was chosen to replace former councilman Daniel Hayes, who was elected mayor in November 2011, and Pedroso is running to complete Hayes' term. Patch asked the candidates to answer questions about their education, work experience and previous political experience. Click on the links below to view their profiles.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Fast bridge repair like that of Route 202 in Bernards shouldn't be the exception.
Transportation officials just replaced the bridge connecting Morris and Somerset counties along Route 202 in what has to be record time, at least in New Jersey. After a full closure for less than 10 days, the bridge just north of the Olde Mill Inn in Harding is expected to be open again on Monday. While the closure inconvenienced drivers along the busy highway for the last week, it's still better than six months of complete or intermittent closures, which is what it could have taken to complete the work. In this case, state officials accommodated local ones concerned about the effect the bridge work was going to have on local businesses and the resulting solution was good for all. Built in 1924, the bridge carried about 10,000 vehicles a …
Monday, August 20, 2012
More New Jersey schools bring technology to students' fingertips.
The Morris School District is giving 400 iPad2s to middle schoolers next month; extending a pilot program that begins at the elementary level. This keeps them on the cusp of an education movement in which a growing number of districts in New Jersey, including Parsippany and Hillsborough, and across the nation are slowly giving students access to cutting-edge technology. The trick is ensuring the devices are put to maximum use for student learning. That’s not easy. For one thing, the typical pre-adult knows more about apps—including the very non-educational Angry Birds, Fruit Ninja, Temple Run and thousands of others—than the typical teacher. For another, technology continues advancing so rapidly that it’s hard to keep up with the volume of…
Saturday, August 18, 2012
Upendra Chivukula discusses providing reliable water service.
Saturday, August 18, 2012
To the Editor: Recently, I was at New Jersey American Water’s Canal Road Water Treatment Plant to discuss New Jersey’s Water infrastructure organized by the Somerset County Business Partnership and New Jersey American Water. I was thankful for the opportunity to share my thoughts as an engineer who worked in the industry for 30 years and became a policymaker and chairman of the Assemblyman Telecommunications and Utilities Committee. One of the important outcomes of the session was the need to accelerate the replacement and rehabilitation of this critical infrastructure using a BPU program that can be used by water companies to address aging infrastructure in a way that is both accelerated and financially prudent to rate payers. A report …
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Appellate judges rule only the Council on Affordable Housing can force municipalities to give their local funds to the state.
New Jersey municipalities' affordable housing funds are safe. For now. Late Friday, the Appellate Division of Superior Court issued an order preventing the state from taking $142 million in local trust fund dollars. The move seemed a bit contradictory, given the court—different judges—had refused to put out a similar injunction last month. But Friday's ruling came as part of a different, yet connected, case. Warning: This gets really complicated and convoluted. A majority of the judges agreed Friday with an argument made by the Fair Share Housing Center that only the Council on Affordable Housing can order towns to give the state the money they have been collecting in development fees, some for decades. This is because in a March 8 order, …