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  • Steve Adubato Admires the Powerful and Dramtic Example Set By Genuine Jersey Hero Eric LeGrand-www.njmonthly.com
    pound defensive tackle a junior suffered a severe spinal injury that left him paralyzed from the neck down In an instant he went from a strapping collegiate athlete to a seemingly helpless victim unable to move The future looked terribly bleak Doctors told him he might never breathe without a ventilator The idea of walking on his own was something he probably shouldn t have even thought about But immediately the Rutgers community and the entire Garden State rallied behind LeGrand Supporters started raising money for him and his family and signs incorporating the word bELieve started appearing all over the state There was the Eric LeGrand Believe Fund and the Walk to Believe 5K fund raiser It wasn t just a Rutgers thing it was a New Jersey thing While no one can know LeGrand s innermost thoughts from the moment this horrific freak accident took place the Avenel native acted and spoke in ways that only a courageous inspiring hero would Here are just a few of the things that LeGrand has said publicly that make him so special Recommended Reading 7 Spots to Watch Super Bowl 50 I don t talk to doctors Initially they told me I would never get off a ventilator Five weeks later I was breathing on my own I enjoy telling my story Who knows how many chapters there are but it s not over yet I do miss football I see my friends out there But I know there s a path for me to follow it s just not that way I ll always be involved in sports which is why I want to be a sportscaster ESPN is on my screen basically 24 7 There is a reason why this happened I was picked for this to happen to I believe God put me through this because he knows I can fight through this In January it was reported that LeGrand had surprised his doctors gaining movement in his shoulders and sensation throughout his body So there it is Eric LeGrand I say he is a hero don t you Heroes come in all shapes and sizes They put their lives on the line in covert military operations like the Navy Seals who pursued and killed Osama bin Laden They land planes safely on the Hudson River with amazing skill and calm like Captain Chesley Sully Sullenberger And they inspire us with their personal courage like Eric LeGrand We need to celebrate the Eric LeGrands of this world for many reasons One of them is that people like LeGrand are the heart and soul of New Jersey He s the best we have to offer Every once in a while we have to remind ourselves and the rest of the world of that There are no photos with those IDs or post 54147 does not have any attached images Read more Sports Steve Adubato Only in NJ Towns Schools articles By submitting comments you grant permission for all or

    Original URL path: http://njmonthly.com/articles/towns-schools/eric-legrand-best-of-the-best/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Steve Adubato Debates the Merits of Legalizing Sports Betting in New Jersey-www.njmonthly.com
    while some of those illegal sports betting activities still go on there is a big push to make sports betting legal in New Jersey According to a recent Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind poll 53 percent of New Jerseyans support allowing sports betting at Atlantic City casinos as well as at whatever horse tracks are left Only 30 percent of those polled opposed sports betting while 17 percent were undecided There is a referendum to legalize sports betting in New Jersey on the ballot in November Even if it passes the existing federal ban on sports betting which applies to every state except Delaware Nevada Oregon and Montana would have to be overturned in court for you to make a legal sports bet in our state In March a lawsuit filed by state senator Raymond Lesniak to overturn the ban was dismissed in federal court because the voters had not yet spoken Recommended Reading Court Street School Fortified Students for Anything Awhile back I wrote about the Lottery s Powerball game asking if this is really the way we want to raise revenue in New Jersey I ve long argued that these lotteries prey on those who can least afford them and that policy makers should be more responsible by raising taxes on those who have the greatest ability to pay But now is the time to face some cold hard facts There won t be a millionaire s tax anytime soon in New Jersey The governor has made it clear he simply won t sign it The gas tax isn t going up and whether it makes sense or not we are going to keep giving out property tax rebates Simply put these are drastic times and I ve come to realize that they call for drastic fiscal measures I say roll the dice Let s make sports gambling legal True people who can least afford it will be drawn into the vortex worsening economic and social stress But the alternative of creating no new significant revenue streams is even worse because more and more state programs that help the poor and working class are going to be slashed in order to balance the state budget Just wishing that a policy like a millionaire s tax gets implemented isn t a strategy it s simply wishful thinking Legalizing sports betting is real very real It s going to pass in November and there is a decent chance the federal ban can be overturned too When and if legalization passes the state needs to set up meaningful regulatory and administrative structures that protect the integrity of the process There should also be a means to encourage those who can t afford it or those who are addicted to gambling to sit on the sidelines Government can t actually mandate it but an aggressive public service program in this regard is warranted It may sound hypocritical for me to take this position after expressing so many reservations about expanding the state s

    Original URL path: http://njmonthly.com/articles/towns-schools/roll-the-dice/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Steve Adubato Argues That The Time To Pass Legislation to Promote Action on Shared Services Is Long Overdue-www.njmonthly.com
    school We want our own police chief and fire department But the expense of all these layers of administration add up and it is one of the biggest reasons why New Jersey s property taxes are still the highest in the nation Since we can t force towns to merge we should force them to save by sharing more services That s what Senate president Stephen Sweeney has proposed in recent legislation that would give a state commission the power to take away state aid from any school district municipality or government entity that says absolutely not to a shared services agreement The commission the Local Unit Alignment Reorganization and Consolidation Commission or LUARCC rolls off the tongue doesn t it would recommend which towns should share services and how much money would be saved Recommended Reading There s Work to be Done Legislation in 2016 Under the bill local voters would be able to reject any shared services plan and towns would be given 14 months to comply but if in the end they opted not to share they would potentially lose state aid That would likely send their property taxes even higher I honestly believe everything can be shared says Sweeney and we not only need to look town to town but county to county and regionally rather than being so narrow minded and into your own backyard Asked why his legislation does not call for the mandatory consolidation of municipalities and school districts Sweeney says I don t think I ll see that in my lifetime In other words if you can t get the whole pie you might as well get a piece of it I can t imagine any reasonable or right thinking government or community leader being against Sweeney s effort Funny the Tea Party has been silent on this topic We ve been protesting high property taxes for decades in our state We like to call it property tax reform but that s a crock The best we ve done is to have some people get a rebate check from the state or a tax credit But that s not property tax reform that s a property tax Band Aid Short of mandated consolidation the best we can do is a plan like Sweeney s It will save money and might actually bring us closer together in our balkanized state We need quick movement on Senator Sweeney s legislation I am hopeful Governor Chris Christie will support it he was calling for such action even before he became governor Once the legislation is in place it will fall to local leaders to work together on shared services agreements But if voters reject such deals they d better not show up at the Statehouse yelling that their taxes are too high There are no photos with those IDs or post 54172 does not have any attached images Read more Politics Public Affairs Steve Adubato Only in NJ Towns Schools articles By submitting comments you

    Original URL path: http://njmonthly.com/articles/towns-schools/stop-the-madness/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Former Governor Tom Kean Wonders About the Future of Higher Education in the State-www.njmonthly.com
    Kean says it s time to stop the bleeding After all we have been cutting funding to higher education year after year I agree with Christie that state spending is out of control and I m pleased to see that his newly proposed budget while making cuts in many programs holds the line on direct aid to state colleges and universities Unfortunately the budget does cut funding for facility improvement at the state s campuses Increased higher education funding is essential Kean says We can start small with a revolving fund for infrastructure he suggests The way it has been is that the state says to a college that they must accept more and more students to meet the need with declining state support new unfunded mandates and a cap on their ability to increase tuition The colleges have to pick up these increased costs out of their own budgets inevitably leading to a decline in quality Recommended Reading On the Frontline in the Fight Against Cyberterrorism Kean says a number of states have a constitutionally dedicated fund that goes to infrastructure at their universities It makes perfect sense in New Jersey he says given long term maintenance needs But it hasn t happened here for more than a decade because as Kean says higher education has not been a priority Still there is a potential silver lining Governor Chris Christie has been very positive and supportive of the recommendations put forth by our task force Kean says He said he didn t see anything he didn t agree with One of the key recommendations is the creation of a new position of secretary of higher education to report directly to the governor Since New Jersey no longer has a higher education chancellor de facto there has been no higher ed advocate We don t need a chancellor since he had autocratic control Kean says However what we do recommend and support is having an advocate in the governor s office who would be there with a small staff to advocate for higher education and step in if there are major problems As of now every interest in the state and every important area of the budget has an advocate in the governor s cabinet with the exception of higher education What does Kean say to parents who are convinced that the best higher education for their children is outside our state s borders I don t think that s true he responds We have several first class institutions in the state depending upon what the child s interests are A lot of our institutions are doing really well However if we want to have the best state university in the country we need to change our policies and if we don t we are all going to suffer The bottom line is I don t know a great state that doesn t have great institutions of higher education For information on the Higher Education Task Force go to nj

    Original URL path: http://njmonthly.com/articles/towns-schools/heightened-goals-for-higher-education/ (2016-02-11)
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  • New Jersey Heroes Celebrats Residents Who Contribute in Unique Ways to Their Communities-www.njmonthly.com
    every month and to inspire others to make a difference I got to see firsthand how New Jerseyans are contributing in unique ways to the community Christie says Now each month we will salute a New Jersey Hero to thank them for their dedication kindness and willingness to go the extra mile One of the first recognized through the initiative was Beverly Gordon president of Project Self Sufficiency ps s org founded in 1986 to assist low income families in Sussex County Gordon says the project helped her find her calling she has been indispensable in creating a fundraising program that drives the organization s operations Then there is Kathleen DiChiara founder and executive director of the Community FoodBank of New Jersey njfoodbank org DiChiara is a hero for her efforts even though she seeks no attention for herself Rather she does everything she can to raise money and awareness for her organization and the people that it serves Recommended Reading There s Work to be Done Legislation in 2016 Over the years I have learned of others who work every day to help those less fortunate Through a PBS series that I ve hosted for many years called Make a Difference in cooperation with the Russ Berrie Making a Difference Awards and through the New Jersey Governor s Jefferson Awards I have been fortunate to meet some of these heroes People like Mike and Elaine Adler who founded the Adler Aphasia Center in 2003 after Mike a successful business executive suffered a stroke and sought without success a long term program to help him cope with the resulting aphasia The Adler Aphasia Center has become the national leader in therapeutic care for survivors of brain trauma strokes tumors and injuries who lose their ability to communicate effectively while retaining their full cognitive abilities adleraphasiacenter org Shannon McNamara was taught from a young age to give back When McNamara was 15 she discovered the book famine in Africa Determined to help she founded SHARE an organization whose mission is to empower young girls in Africa through education ShareInAfrica org SHARE has created four libraries serving more than 3 000 students in rural Tanzania Africa Finally Saranne Rothberg is a cancer survivor who after discovering the therapeutic benefits of comedy while battling her own illness founded the ComedyCures Foundation in 1999 comedycures org Rothberg now cancer free brings humor to kids and grown ups living with illness depression trauma and disabilities If you know of another New Jersey hero write to me at sadubato aol com or go directly to the First Lady s website at state nj us governor firstlady home heroes shtml New Jersey Monthly also recognizes service to the community through its Seeds of Hope honors You can nominate volunteers for Seeds of Hope at njmonthly com seedsnomination Click to enlarge images Eric LeGrand Read more Steve Adubato Only in NJ Towns Schools articles By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to

    Original URL path: http://njmonthly.com/articles/towns-schools/more-than-our-share-of-heroes/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Steve Adubato Writes About The Impact of Massive Police Layoffs on Public Safety in New Jersey's Major Cities-www.njmonthly.com
    s largest city The picture isn t much better in Jersey City where Mayor Jerramiah Healy re cently told me This administration has hired more police officers than any administration in probably the last 50 years 250 police officers Why Because it s issue number one However here s what we re asking for some concessions from our police unions We are asking that they give up their 1 300 uniform allowance just for the calendar year If we do this as well as a pay lag which would mean each officer s last paycheck in 2011 is pushed into January 2012 we won t have to lay off a police officer or demote a superior officer But now it s getting personal Recently a group of angry cops protested and stopped traffic at a Healy political fundraiser in an effort to gain support in the community Union officials told the media that if cops were laid off in Jersey City people shouldn t feel safe It s not a new scare tactic for cops but the message seems more pervasive than ever Recommended Reading There s Work to be Done Legislation in 2016 In Camden where 180 cops are being laid off the police union handed out 3 000 flyers saying Layoffs More Crime More Assaults More Shooting More Murder Can We Afford This Says John Williamson Camden s union president We are open to discussing concessions What we are not open to is unreasonable demands and having things rammed down our throats Who will define what is unreasonable How do we distinguish a strong mayor from one who rams something down union throats It s the kind of stalemate that jeopardizes our urban communities where things can get worse in a hurry More cops will be laid off Crime will likely go up and with that those who can leave our cities will do so in a heartbeat Sooner or later some municipalities will no longer be able to handle public safety on their own I remember the summer of 1967 in Newark where I grew up when the riots exploded and state troopers and the National Guard came in to take control It s a scary thing And if those who can move out do so ask yourself who is left behind Those who have the least those who need the most and the vicious cycle continues It s hard to see a way out of this crisis as long as police union leadership takes a hard line If we maintain the status quo more cops likely will be laid off Then who wins Not the cops not the mayors but most of all not the citizens of New Jersey s cities Tell me what you think at sadubato aol com Steve Adubato PhD is an Emmy Award winning anchor for Thirteen WNET and a media analyst and columnist for MSNBC com who also appears regularly on Fox 5 in New York He is the author of

    Original URL path: http://njmonthly.com/articles/towns-schools/police-stalemate-is-deadly-business/ (2016-02-11)
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  • The Medical Marijuana Debate in New Jersey Reaches a Fever Pitch-www.njmonthly.com
    2010 but that didn t happen Governor Chris Christie through the Department of Health has raised concerns regarding who should grow the marijuana and in what potency Further Christie and certain legislators want to make sure no one can take advantage of the new law for recreational use or profit The bottom line is that as I write this medical marijuana still is not available to patients regardless of their pain and suffering Once again a serious situation involving people who need help is caught up in partisan bickering bureaucratic wrangling and political posturing There are also legitimate disagreements on how best to implement the program In December the Democratic Legislature was trying to outmaneuver the administration by passing legislation to throw out Christie s proposed rules on administering the medical marijuana program Senator Nicholas Scutari D Union and Assemblyman Reed Gusciora D Mercer the two lead sponsors of the original medical marijuana bill have accused the Department of Health of creating unnecessary obstacles to implementing the law In reply the administration has said it is just trying to create safeguards and standards Recommended Reading There s Work to be Done Legislation in 2016 According to Gusciora the administration s restrictions are clearly outside the legislative intent He says the focus of implementation should go back to being about patient care Sounds simple enough but Dr Poonam Alaigh Commissioner of the Department of Health and Senior Services told nj com that Christie s proposed rules are necessary to guarantee that the law does not fuel underground illegal activity Once again Christie is playing hard ball At a town hall meeting in late November the governor made it clear that if the Legislature continued to fight his restrictions things would only get worse for sick patients in need of medical marijuana If they get rid of the regulations I have then I have to go back and rewrite those regulations Christie said adding I want this to be finished I want to implement it and be done with it I take the governor at his word and believe that he does in fact want those in pain to get the medical marijuana that could ease their suffering Further I m convinced that the Democrats in the Legislature who are leading this fight are also coming from a place of caring and compassion The problem is neither side trusts the other EDITOR S NOTE At press time the New York Times reported on a compromise between the governor and advocates for medical marijuana The apparent settlement would make marijuana available for certain medical uses by next summer according to the Times There are no photos with those IDs or post 54128 does not have any attached images Read more Steve Adubato Only in NJ Towns Schools articles By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly 7 Songs to Comfort Christie on His Failed Presidential Bid Podcast Why

    Original URL path: http://njmonthly.com/articles/towns-schools/medical-marijuana-debateis-relief-on-the-way/ (2016-02-11)
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  • Steve Adubato Writes About All The Things He Loves About New Jersey-www.njmonthly.com
    New Jerseyans care deeply when one of our own is facing adversity and we show it not just in our words but in our actions Another thing We don t like people poking fun at us Oh we can make fun of ourselves but I ve lost my patience with Jersey jokes When I got out of graduate school at Rutgers I moved to Washington D C to work on Capitol Hill When I came back I shared an apartment in Brooklyn Heights with a friend It was during that brief period that I really began to get a sense of how some people looked down their noses at us When I would tell people I was from New Jersey it would bring out the snide hackneyed Jersey comments like somehow we were lesser beings not as smart as or as cultured as those in other states At the time when people would ask where I was from I might reply I m from the New York area leaving out the small detail that the area was a state of 8 million people that was not part of New York at all Today I know there s no reason to apologize for being from New Jersey Recommended Reading There s Work to be Done Legislation in 2016 Ultimately the vast majority of us choose to live here despite our ridiculously high property taxes insufferable traffic and all those awful jokes That s right we choose to be here because every state has its problems but at least in New Jersey we know who we are and most of us try to make things better every day not just for ourselves and our families but for our neighbors and our community Does it sound corny Sure But it s true Sometimes even the unconvinced come around For years my in laws vacationed on the Outer Banks in the Carolinas One year my wife forced me to go there I wasn t impressed My in laws believed that if you vacationed outside of New Jersey it was somehow a better vacation What a crock Twelve or more hours of driving to get to a beach area that had nothing on our beaches Plus I was looking for some Outer Banks attitude but couldn t find it anywhere Guess what They are looking to rent this summer at the JRZ Shore and have said goodbye to the OBX In the end our love affair with our state is summed up best by Jon Bon Jovi who isn t Springsteen but is still pretty great Listen to the words Who says you can t go home You can go home and for some of us who have been other places when you finally get back to New Jersey you appreciate it more than ever in spite of our quirks and kookiness and all of the critics Like I said I love New Jersey and I make no apologies about it Steve Adubato PhD is

    Original URL path: http://njmonthly.com/articles/towns-schools/i-love-new-jersey-you-got-a-problem-with-that/ (2016-02-11)
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