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    Linda Daniels, who was in hospice care and using an electric-powered oxygen tank, died last Thursday after PSE&G turned off her power. The utility company says Daniels didn't pay her bill

    A 68-year-old Newark woman in hospice care, who depended on oxygen to survive, died last week after PSE&G turned off her electric because of an overdue bill, her grieving family said Sunday.

    Linda Daniels was in her Shephard Avenue home with her family for hours after the her oxygen tank powered by electricity and air-conditioning stopped working about 10 a.m. Thursday. She died at 4:23 p.m. of heart failure, her family said.

    According to, the temperature in Newark was in the 90s on Thursday afternoon.

    "She was trying to catch her breath - she was gasping for air," said her granddaughter, Mia, 28. "She suffered and she passed right in front of us. She was gasping until the time she died."

    Daniels' daughter, Desiree Washington, said family members called PSE&G throughout the day, pleading with them to turn the power back on.

    "She had just paid $500 two days before," Desiree said. "And she's a senior. We asked them, 'Why are you turning off her electric at the pole?'"

    Linda Daniels suffered from congestive heart failure and depended on her oxygen tank to survive, they said.

    "We made numerous calls. We have a large family and everyone in our family was calling," Desiree said. "They told us they would be rolling a truck. The truck did not come until the next day."

    Mia said at one point the PSE&G operator told her to stop calling. "They started getting nasty after awhile, telling us they had too many tickets out on this," she said.

    Desiree said she applied ice packs to her mother's sides and was fanning her throughout the day.

    Paramedics were called the home during the day and gave Linda oxygen from a portable tank, according to Desiree.

    "We panicked. They cut the power off on what had to be the hottest day of the summer," she said.

    PSE&G said in a statement on Sunday that service to Daniels' home was disconnected "due to lack of payment over several months."

    "As part of our policy, PSE&G had notified this customer numerous times that their account was in arrears and that they would be scheduled for a service termination unless the account was made current," said Jim Namiotka, a company spokesman.

    Namiotka said the family had not notified the utility company about medical issues until after the service had been disconnected.

    "We are reviewing our records to determine what transpired. We encourage customers who have medical issues to contact us so that we can note their circumstances on their accounts," Namiotka said.

    Desiree, however, says family members and hospice workers in the past had informed the utility company in writing of Linda Daniels' medical issues.

    "The point is they turned her lights off after she paid the bill," Desiree said. "And she's a senior. And there are a lot of people like her."

    The family denies Linda Daniels was behind on her bill.

    They provided NJ Advance Media with a statement showing $500 was paid to PSE&G on July 3 -- two days before the electric was turned off for nonpayment.

    Desiree said the PSE&G utility truck did not arrive until Friday morning - about 16 hours after her mother died.

    The power went back on around 8:30 a.m. Friday, the family said.

    "We are horrified. We are angry," Desiree said. "My mother was a taxpayer for 46 years. It's so sad she had to go like that. And I don't want it to happen to anyone else."

    In addition to a son and daughter, Linda Daniels leaves behind five grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, her family said.

    NJ Advance Media reporter Alexis Johnson contributed to this story

    Anthony G. Attrino may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TonyAttrino. Find on Facebook.


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    Dogs and cats patiently await adoption at shelters and rescues across New Jersey.

    We are now accepting dogs and cats to appear in the gallery from nonprofit shelters and rescues throughout New Jersey.

    If a group wishes to participate in this weekly gallery on, which is completely free of charge for qualified groups, please contact Greg Hatala at

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    Find out which schools have the highest average SAT score in your area.

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    The state's Supreme and Appellate courts overturned these convictions in the past year and a half

    new trials (8).jpg 

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    The child was pulled from a backyard pool in Newark on Sunday afternoon

    A pair of Newark police officers resuscitated a 2-year-old girl after pulling her from a backyard swimming pool on Sunday afternoon, officials said. 

    The toddler was not breathing when officers Malikul Aziz and Shaquille Johnson arrived at the home on the 100 block of Third Avenue East in the city's North Ward around 4:10 p.m, Newark police said.

    A deadly start to July as at least 5 people drown in one week in N.J. waters

    The officers gave the girl first aid and cleared her airway as she threw up previously ingested food and water. Emergency workers brought the girl to University Hospital, where she was in stable condition. She has since been released. 

    A police spokeswoman said the child was wearing a flotation device and that the girl's father and a family friend were home. It's not known how the child became submerged or if she was alone in the pool.

    Public Safety Director Anthony Ambrose praised the quick response of the officers in an emailed statement.

    "These officers displayed the character and dedication that every Newark police division member is committed to in providing outstanding community service," Ambrose said. "I am proud that these officers stepped in as if this child was a member of their own family."

    Jeff Goldman may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @JeffSGoldman. Find on Facebook.



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    Linda Daniels was in her Shephard Avenue home with her family for hours after the her oxygen tank powered by electricity and air-conditioning stopped working about 10 a.m. Thursday. She died at 4:23 p.m. of heart failure, her family said. Watch video

    The energy company a family is blaming for the death of its 68-year-old Newark grandmother said it was not aware that Linda Daniels relied on an oxygen machine before shutting off her electricity last week. 

    Daniels died July 5, hours after power to her home -- and her oxygen -- was cut off as temperatures soared in the 90s, her family said.

    "As a company we make it a practice to accommodate customers with special circumstances. We have reviewed our records dating back to 2016 and there is no indication by the customer of a medical condition in the home prior to disconnection," PSE&G said in a statement Monday afternoon.

    "We never would have disconnected service had we been informed of the circumstances."

    PSE&G said power was disconnected because money was owed on the account.

    "While there will be a complete investigation of this matter, our records indicate that this account was severely in arrears and we made at least 26 attempts to notify the customer since January, 2018, including two visits to the residence prior to the disconnection," the company said in a statement. 

    But Desiree Washington, Daniels' eldest daughter, said the family had just made a $500 payment two days before the power was cut off. Online bank statements also show payments in April, May and June -- all over $250 each month. 

    As of May, the woman owed $1,800, a copy of the statement shows. The family showed statements of payments made, but it was unclear how much still was owed to the utility.

    "We haven't stopped paying," she said. "Everybody was praying for her not to suffer but how can you not suffer under those circumstances? How could you not suffer? It's just unbelievable."

    Washington said her mother was on hospice care and workers there had informed PSE&G of her mother's medical condition. She said the family also called repeatedly minutes after the power was cut to let the company know. 

    "You made a mistake, own it, stop lying," Washington said of PSE&G. "The bill was being paid, there were payments made." 

    Karen Yi may be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @karen_yi or on Facebook

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    Police said the girl, who was wearing a floatation device, became submerged in a backyard pool Watch video

    Footage released Monday afternoon by the Newark Department of Public Safety shows two city police officers springing into action to save the life of a 2-year-old pulled from a backyard pool.

    Authorities said earlier Monday that the little girl had stopped breathing after nearly drowning Sunday evening in the 100 block of Third Avenue East.

    Footage from Officer Malikul Aziz's body-worn camera shows him sprinting from his patrol vehicle to where Officer Shaquille Johnson is cradling the unresponsive child in the street.

    As the girl gasps for air, Johnson can be seen giving the child back first aid back blows to force water out of her lungs, while Aziz holds her steady on his knee.

    Additional body camera footage captured inside a nearby residence depicts the girl crying after throwing up ingested water and food, successfully revived.

    Newark police said the girl had been wearing a floatation device at the time of the drowning incident. It was unclear Monday how she became submerged or whether an adult was with her at the time.

    Thomas Moriarty may be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @ThomasDMoriartyFind on Facebook.

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    Linda Daniels, 68, of Newark, worked and lived in Newark for 46 years before she died on July 5.

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    Terry Lawrence Demming drowned July 4 in a residential pool.

    A 7-year-old Montclair boy was laid to rest Tuesday after drowning in a swimming pool last week. 

    Terry Lawrence Demming drowned July 4 in a residential pool just before 8 p.m., an official confirmed. Earlier in the day, the second grader at the Charles H. Bullock School rode his bicycle in the town's Independence Day parade with the Montclair Democratic Committee. His mother, Kathryn Weller Demming, often participated in the party's events and brought her children along, Terry and 9-year-old daughter Gwen.  

    Kathryn Weller Demming is a former at-large Montclair Committee Member and Terry's grandfather, Al Weller, is a former Ward 1 District 6 Committee member. The boy is also survived by his father, Vincent Demming.

    The boy's grandmother, Barbara Weller, was a principal in the Montclair School district at both Bullock School and Renaissance at Rand Middle School. 

    An announcement on the Montclair Democratic Party's Facebook page describes Terry as "an energetic, smart, beautiful and charismatic little boy."

    Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 12.02.07 PM.jpg

    GoFundMe page has been set up to start a foundation in Terry's name to "support the things he loved most - sports, children and his community." It has raised more than $46,000, so far and garnered dozens of messages of sympathy.

    Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 12.40.04 PM.jpg 
    Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 12.39.10 PM.jpg 
    Screen Shot 2018-07-10 at 12.38.53 PM.jpg 

    Terry played baseball with the Montclair Bulldogs and participated in the township's lacrosse program.

    The boy is one of at least 6 people who have drowned in New Jersey during the month of July.  The extended holiday weekend was busy for lifeguards across the state who made hundreds of rescues. 

    Allison Pries may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @AllisonPries. Find on Facebook.


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    A man returned to his Newark home Monday night to find his wife and the mechanic she was having sex with dead after they were overcome by carbon monoxide in the couple's garage.

    A man returned to his Newark home Monday night to find his wife and the mechanic she was having sex with dead after they were overcome by carbon monoxide in the couple's garage, a police department source told NJ Advance Media.

    The 39-year-old woman was apparently paying for work on her car by having sex with the 56-year-old mechanic, the source said.

    The source did not release the names of the woman or the mechanic.

    On Monday night, Newark police spokeswoman Catherine Adams said police responded to the apartment complex at 18th and New Fairview avenues on a call of "sick or injured persons" just before 8:45 p.m.

    Adams said officers discovered the man and woman in a running vehicle inside the closed garage, and that both were pronounced dead at the scene.

    "This incident is under investigation, but appears to be accidental," Adams said Monday night.

    Newark Fire Division evacuated the building to protect other residents, and one person was taken to the hospital for evaluation, she said.

    Chris Sheldon may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @chrisrsheldon Find on Facebook.

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    The killings occurred less than 2 miles and 3 hours apart

    Authorities are searching for suspects after two men were fatally shot in Newark's East Ward less than two hours apart Monday evening. 

    The Essex County Prosecutor's Office, which is investigating, said they do not believe the two incidents are related, office spokeswoman Katherine Carter said.

    At approximately 6 p.m. Monday, Newark police arrived at the scene of 100 block of Boyd Street and found Marquee Bradley-Glanton, 30, of Easton, Pennsylvania. He was pronounced dead at 6:37 p.m at University Hospital. 

    Less than two hours later, police were called about two miles north to the 100 block of Huntington Terrace around 7:30 p.m. where they discovered Wendell D. Lee, 40, of Newark. He was later pronounced dead at the same hospital at approximately 8:30 p.m.

    No arrests have been made in either case. Anyone with information is urged to contact the Essex County Prosecutor's Office Homicide/Major Crimes Task Force tips line at 1-877-TIPS-4EC or 1-877-847-7432.

    Taylor Tiamoyo Harris may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ladytiamoyo.

    Find on Facebook.  


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    Ralph Lauren will relocate its Lyndhurst offices to the former Hoffmann La-Roche campus in Nutley, a move that is expected to create more than 200 jobs, officials said Tuesday.

    Ralph Lauren will relocate its Lyndhurst offices to the former Hoffmann La-Roche campus in Nutley, a move that is expected to create more than 200 jobs, officials said Tuesday.

    The global fashion brand eyed leaving New Jersey for High Point, North Carolina, but was awarded $33 million in tax credits over 10 years to retain 518 jobs and add a proposed 250 employees to its local workforce, according to documents filed with the state economic development authority. 

    Nutley Mayor Joseph P. Scarpelli said the move was another sign the ON3 site along Route 3 was a hub of leading design, research and educational organizations. Ralph Lauren will join Quest Diagnostics, Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University, and Modern Meadow, which makes animal-free leather.

    "It's great for the township of Nutley," the mayor said.

    Ralph Lauren, which is headquartered in Manhattan, plans to complete the move to the 225,018-square-foot facility at 100 Metro Boulevard by late next year or early 2020. The company sought a new space to accommodate various growing office support functions.

    The state Economic Development Authority's Grow New Jersey Assistance Program credits will only be received once Ralph Lauren meets the commitments of its application, a spokeswoman said.

    Tax credits were a key factor in the company's decision to stay in New Jersey, according to EDA documents.

    "The location analysis submitted to the [EDA] shows New Jersey to be the more expensive option and, as a result, the management of Ralph Lauren Corporation has indicated that the grant of tax credits is a material factor in the company's location decision," a project summary stated.

    Ralph Lauren also offered a $28.58 million capital investment with a $95.52 million net benefit to the state over 20 years, according to state filings.

    Noah Cohen may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @noahycFind on Facebook.



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    Dead woman's son was murdered, sister killed in ambulance crash

    Desiree Washington sat in the quiet of her living room. The only sound was the white noise of a window air conditioner, cooling the house where her mother died last week in the stifling heat.

    It was 95 degrees Tuesday, slightly hotter than July 5, when PSE&G cut the power to the tidy brick ranch at the corner of Shepard Avenue and Hunterdon Street.

    "When I walked in here that day, you could not breathe," Washington said.

    The death of Linda Daniels was the latest tragedy to strike this family. Her adopted son, Christopher Daniels, who was a blood relative, was murdered on Newark's city streets around Thanksgiving of 2015. He was 20 when he was shot in the neck by someone in a passing car on Mapes Avenue, one block from his house.

    The family called him Turtle. He graduated high school, had a job at UPS, founded a dance troupe and played drums at two churches.

    "He was an innocent guy," Washington said. "He was on his way to the drug store to get pain medication for a cousin who had a headache. He was just walking down the street, and they just drove by and shot him."

    "They" in that sentence remain a mystery. There have been no arrests in the case.

    MORE: Recent Mark Di Ionno columns 

    Equally incomprehensible was the death of Linda Daniels' sister, Martha "Patti" Conley, almost exactly three years earlier. Conley was being transported to the hospital in an ambulance when it was hit by a six-time convicted felon. James Sterling ran a red light while eluding police and slammed into several vehicles. Also killed in the crash was Keith Chipepo, 30, the ambulance driver. Conley, like Daniels, was a foster mother with a big, open heart, Washington said.

    "They were both put on Earth to care for people, especially children," she said. Her mother fostered 10 children, adopted one and took legal custody of two on her Newark Board of Education salary. Her aunt, Washington said, was once named "Foster Mother of the Year" by one agency.

    In October of 2015, Sterling was convicted of an array of vehicular homicide charges and sentenced to 13 years in prison - a term the Daniels family felt was woefully inadequate.

    One month later, Christopher Daniels became the second of four homicide victims that week in Newark.

    "That's just living in Newark. I call it the city of the walking dead," Washington said. "That's why I got out of here and moved to Pennsylvania.

    "Nobody cares," she said. "That was the problem here (her mother's death). They call it the 'hood, and they're like, 'whatever.'"

    The "they" in that sentence referred to PSE&G, which cut the power to Daniels' house just hours before she died. The family has claimed the utility knew that Daniels, who was under hospice care, was on several medical devices, including an oxygen tank. The utility is investigating, as is the state Board of Public Utilities.

    Compounding Washington's anger is the fact that her daughter Mia, 28, was sitting in the front yard when the utility truck drove by followed by a police car. She made eye contact with the truck driver, who went past and disconnected the house from a pole around the corner.

    "They could have told her. She could have explained the situation," she said. "But they did it sneakily."  

    When the lights went out and the air conditioner went dead, Daniels' son, Sam, thought "it was a power outage because of the heat," Washington said. "He went down to check the breakers."

    The family called PSE&G. And called and called.

    "We made at least 20 calls," Washington said. "Everybody was calling."

    What they got is something we are all familiar with in our modern world of "customer service." Agents, if you get them, reading from scripts, enforcing company rules even if they defy common sense or compassion.

    Linda Daniels' death was coming, with or without the power cut off. She was under the care of St. Barnabas hospice.

    "We knew what it was about," Washington said. "We knew we couldn't remove her from the house or Medicaid would stop paying for hospice."

    The family called hospice, and the agency was going to send over four tanks of portable oxygen but first needed Medicaid approval.

    The power to the house was cut off at 9:53 a.m. The family's first call came when the PSE&G truck was still in the neighborhood and the calls ensued the rest of the morning into the afternoon. As Linda Daniels gasped for breath, an ambulance was called at 2:30 p.m. The ambulance provided oxygen to her for an hour in the home.

    "They were great," Washington said. "They called their chief and he bent the rules to let them stay."

    But no rules were being bent at PSE&G. The family had made a $500 payment to the utility just days before bringing their balance down to $600, Washington said.

    The ambulance left at about 3:30 p.m. The family watched Linda Daniels take her last, gasping breath at 4:20, less than an hour later.

    "All we wanted for her was a peaceful death," Washington said. "She deserved that much for all she did in her life. Instead she died suffocating, struggling to breath in a room where there was no air."

    For the third time in six years, the family is shaken by a death with painful circumstances.

    They say the good Lord only gives you what you can handle," Washington said. "But I don't know how we're going to handle this. It's going to be pretty damn tough to get through this."

    Mark Di Ionno may be reached at Follow The Star-Ledger on Twitter @StarLedger and find us on Facebook. 

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    While state rules allows utility companies to suspend services for overdue bills, there are exceptions for weather conditions or medical issues.


    A Newark-based energy company is under fire after it shut off power to a home and with it, the flow of oxygen to an ailing grandmother, who died a few hours later, according to her family members. 

    The death of 68-year-old Linda Daniels, who suffered from congestive heart failure and was on hospice care, has prompted the state Board of Public Utilities to open an investigation into the incident. 

    "BPU is investigating the circumstances surrounding the tragic death of Linda Daniels last week at her home in Newark. As part of our investigation we are in the process of gathering all appropriate information in order to determine how this could have occurred," the agency, that oversees regulated utilities, said in a statement. 

    PSE&G has said it would not have disconnected the service if it knew that Daniels relied on an oxygen machine

    "We have reviewed our records dating back to 2016 and there is no indication by the customer of a medical condition in the home prior to disconnection," PSE&G said in a statement Monday, adding that it was still reviewing what happened. 

    While state rules allows utility companies to suspend services for overdue bills, there are exceptions for weather conditions or medical issues. Here's a breakdown of the regulations: 

    When can a utility company cut services?

    • Nonpayment of a bill that is more than $100 and/or more than three months behind 
    • When making repairs or changes to the system
    • Fraud
    • If a customer provides services to others without approval

    Are there exceptions?

    Yes. Electric and gas utilities cannot shut off services for nonpayment when temperatures are forecast to be 32 degrees or lower.

    Residents eligible for the Winter Termination Program because they receive certain public benefits cannot have their gas or electric cut between November 15 and March 15, so long as they make a "good faith effort" to make payments. Those customers are also protected from their electric or gas being cut off when temperatures hit 95 degrees or higher. 

    Utilities also cannot disconnect services if there is a medical emergency.

    Do utilities have to notify customers before they discontinue service?

    Yes, the utility should send a "notice of discontinuance" in writing by first class mail, giving the customer another 10 days to pay the past due bill. The company, however, can also request an exemption from doing this from the BPU.

    Are those over 65 years old treated differently?

    They should be. State regulations say public utilities should make a "good faith effort" to identify customers 65 years old or older and notify those residents by phone of any planned service shut off. 

    Electric and gas utilities should also gather information twice a year from customers to determine whether any life-sustaining equipment is in the home. 

    Karen Yi may be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @karen_yi or on Facebook

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    Vote to pick the best athletes in the history of West Orange.

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    City moves forward with plans to lure Amazon to open its second headquarters in Newark.

    The pitch to bring Amazon's second headquarters to Newark got another boost on Wednesday -- worth about $1 billion. 

    Newark City Council approved a payroll tax exemption for any corporate headquarters that intends to create 30,000 jobs in the city and invest $3 billion over 20 years. The corporation would be exempt from paying the 1 percent payroll tax fo employees who live in Newark and would pay 50 percent of the tax for other company workers. 

    The waiver is capped at $1 billion. 

    Council members voted without any discussion or public explanation but the move would clearly benefit Amazon, which has plans to bring 50,000 jobs to its new location.

    Mayor Ras Baraka praised the vote and said it brought the city "a giant step closer to being Amazon's choice for HQ2." 

    The city already waives the payroll tax for companies that employ more than 50 percent local workers. 

    The council also acted to create a fast-track for land use and permit approvals for transformative projects like Amazon. Gov. Phil Murphy will have to authorize the move through an executive order. 

    Newark's application to Amazon that detailed its local tax break was entirely redacted when released publicly but city officials previously promised $2 billion in tax incentives to lure the retail behemoth HQ2. This approval makes official half of that promise.

    Former Gov. Chris Christie already signed off on $5 billion in state tax breaks in January.

    The council will also consider allowing corporate headquarters that promise 30,000 jobs and $3 billion in investment to qualify for a long-term tax abatement for up to $1 billion. 

    "I am proud to stand by the strong leadership of Mayor Baraka and all who are speaking in a clear and unified voice that Newark is ready to lead and win the Amazon bid," Gov. Phil Murphy said in a statement Wednesday. "Let there be no doubt: we are all in this together and Newark will continue to rise as one."

    Karen Yi may be reached at Follow her on Twitter at @karen_yi or on Facebook


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    Women deemed "high risk" of a child dying before age 1 are most often poor, lack health insurance, are victims of domestic violence, diagnosed with addiction and other mental health issues, or lack family support.

    A black infant born in New Jersey is three times more likely to die before age 1 than a white baby -- a "shameful" fact the Murphy administration said Wednesday it wants to change by investing $4.7 million in medical and community programs.

    Targeting "high-risk" communities and families across the state, six nonprofit organizations will share $4.3 million to implement programs working with pregnant and postpartum mothers, according to an announcement from First Lady Tammy Murphy and Health Commissioner Shereef Elnahal.

    The nonprofits will deploy health workers to monitor high-risk families and connect them with local and county public health programs. The New Jersey Department of Children and Families, which promotes safe sleep education and provides home-visitation programs, will also collaborate, according to the announcement.

    Every year, approximately 60 infants die from unsafe sleeping conditions, including half of those who share a bed with an adult or another child, according to an NJ Advance Media investigation. 

    New Jersey's infant mortality rate is among the lowest in the nation, with 4.7 deaths per 1,000 live births, compared to national rate of 5.9 death per 1,000 live births. But the disparity between white (3.0 per 1,000 births) and black infants (9.7 per 1,000 births) is "alarming," Murphy said.

    "Through the Healthy Women, Healthy Families Initiative, Dr. Elnahal and the Department of Health are working to help community-based programs improve services and provide quality access to perinatal care to reduce disparities in birth outcomes," Tammy Murphy said.

    "I find it shameful that race persists as a factor in maternal health and infant mortality rates in New Jersey. We must continue to address the need for greater access to quality healthcare and services for our expectant mothers, especially for women of color," the first lady's announcement said.

    Black infants in N.J. are dying at an alarming rate

    Women deemed "high risk" of a child dying before age 1 are most often poor, lack health insurance, are victims of domestic violence, diagnosed with addiction and other mental health issues, or lack family support. 

    Black women also are more than four times as likely to die from pregnancy-related complications as white women, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state health department. 

    The state awarded:

    • $1,241,389 to The Partnership for Maternal & Child Health of Northern New Jersey;
    • $684,904 to Central Jersey Family Health Consortium;
    • $770,517 to the Greater Newark Healthcare Coalition, Inc.;
    • $171,226 to Project Self-Sufficiency of Sussex County;
    • $1,112,969 to the Southern New Jersey Perinatal Cooperative;
    • $299,646 to The Children's Home Society of New Jersey;
    • $280,000 for Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN) to implement a doula pilot program in Newark;
    • $120,000 for the Trenton doula program by Children's Futures;
    • $50,000 to monitor the effectiveness of the doula program. 

    Susan K. Livio may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @SusanKLivio. Find Politics on Facebook.


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    Baseball, softball, professional, amateur - the roots are strong in New Jersey.

    With Major League Baseball's All-Star Game approaching, here's a look at hitting the ball and touching 'em all in New Jersey.

    MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

    And here are some other vintage photo galleries you might like:

    Vintage photos of summer eats and treats in N.J.

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    Vintage photos of famous folks spotted in N.J.

    Greg Hatala may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.

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    Many New Jerseyans sneer at the idea that Amazon might choose Newark as the location for its new headquarters. Like they sneered at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. And the Prudential Center. But they are both here, going strong. Also going strong is the downtown construction of luxury, market-rate housing. About 2,000 units are going up in new buildings...

    Many New Jerseyans sneer at the idea that Amazon might choose Newark as the location for its new headquarters.

    Like they sneered at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center. And the Prudential Center.

    But they are both here, going strong.

    Also going strong is the downtown construction of luxury, market-rate housing. About 2,000 units are going up in new buildings or restored historic buildings.

    The new One Theater Square apartment building, across from NJPAC, has 245 units, and Shaquille O'Neal and developer Wasseem Boraie will open 168 apartments on Rector Street in the downtown by the end of the year. Next up for them is "The House That Shaq Built," a 35-story building with 350 units on McCarter Highway.

    All around the downtown, in places like the Griffith Piano building, the New Jersey Bell building and the completed Hahne's project, new apartments are being built or now available.

    This is important because Amazon wants 20 percent of its staff to be able to walk to work -- and be able to afford living there. Newark provides both.

    Newark's pitch to Amazon is back in the news after the city council approved a $1 billion payroll tax exemption Wednesday, sweetening a deal that already includes $5 billion in tax breaks from the state. Amazon is predicted to bring 50,000 jobs to the city it chooses for the new headquarters.

    So why Newark? Why not?

    Amazon already has a formidable presence in Newark and New Jersey. Amazon's subsidiary, a producer of audiobooks, is putting $100 million into the magnificent Second Presbyterian Church to create a tech center and already leases office space in other Washington Street buildings.

    The internet shopping giant is opening warehouses along the New Jersey Turnpike as fast as Newark is building housing. It has seven distribution centers and warehouses, including a newly opened 1-million-square foot center in Carteret and Edison, and one of equal size planned for Florence. The company already employees 13,000 people in the state and is growing.

    Why else? Newark is a transportation hub like few other cities, by land, sea or air.

    Super container ships can now dock at Ports Newark and Elizabeth since the Bayonne Bridge was raised a year ago. Two interstates and the Turnpike traverse the city, and the airport is one of the most accessible in the country to a major city, for both business travelers and freight.

    Newark's fiber-optic infrastructure is equally impressive. Audible CEO Don Katz lauded Newark's "lightning fast Wi-Fi."

    Add the presence of Rutgers and the New Jersey Institute of Technology, which give Amazon hands-on opportunities to build a savvy and sophisticated workforce.

    In addition to Audible, Newark anchors Prudential, PSE&G, IDT, Panasonic, and Broadridge Financial Solutions, and Mars Wrigley Confectionery is coming soon. It is a growing corporate city, with plenty of room for new building and expansion.

    So why do so many New Jerseyans trash our biggest city? It's disheartening at times to hear so much negativity, born out of ignorance and fear. Yes, there is crime, drugs and gangs, like any other major American city. But this is a place clawing its way back toward an often-forgotten history as a national industrial force, led by insurance, chemicals, leather and beer.

    Let's root for it. For once.

    Mark Di Ionno may be reached at Follow The Star-Ledger on Twitter @StarLedger and find us on Facebook.

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    The group is hoping to raise $100,000, to be handed out to anyone who brings in a gun. Watch video

    If you would like to see less violence and fewer guns on the streets, the Essex County Bar Association wants you to put your money where your mouth is.

    The group is working with the Essex County prosecutor to launch an unusual kind of gun buyback event that needs community members -- from residents to businesses and corporations -- to provide the money that will buy the weapons.

    Attorney Matthew Adams, who is spearheading the association's efforts, is hoping donors will raise the $100,000 they expect officials to dole out to everyone who turns in weapons at the no-questions-asked event.

    Essentially, your money is melting down firearms.

    "It helps everyone," Acting Essex County Prosecutor Robert D. Laurino said Wednesday. "It makes the community safer and our job easier. There's one less gun out there that could wreak havoc."

    Laurino and Adams said the publicly-funded event may be the first of its kind in New Jersey. Private groups and residents do sometimes make donations to support county- or police-run buyback events, but it's very rare in New Jersey to have a public fundraising campaign to finance the whole buyback pot.

    "I thought it was a great idea. I think it's one of the rare public-private partnerships," Laurino said of the bar association's efforts. "Funding is always a problem when we do these kind of events and having the public step up, to be able to participate through the funding aspect, it shows their concern about the community."

    Typically in New Jersey, gun buyback events are supported with grants or drug forfeiture money, either from county or local authorities, the Attorney General's Office, or both.

    And not just a little forfeiture money. A year ago, the Attorney General's Office worked with local authorities on three buyback events and handed out $481,620 in exchange for 4,775 guns.

    Laurino said that before the 2017 event, there hadn't been one an Essex County buyback since 2013. The high cost and limited forfeiture money is a big part of why there haven't been more, he said.

    With the bar association committed to raising the money for this event, the acting prosecutor agreed that his office would handle the logistics and staffing of the event. New Jersey State Police and other county and local authorities will also be assisting.

    The biggest gun buyback in N.J. history

    Adams said bar association President Raj Godhok came up with the idea of funding a gun buyback as the group's annual community service project.

    "We want to do our part," Adams said Monday. "This isn't about gun rights or the Second Amendment. It's about trying to get illegal and unsafe guns off the street."

    The attorneys were the first to chip in, with some donating in the thousands of dollars. The Essex County Prosecutor's Office pledged $5,000 in forfeiture money, too. They've raised approximately $40,000 so far, Adams said, mostly from people donating $50 or $100.

    For donations, Adams said the attorneys are tapping their corporate clients and looking to other businesses -- especially those in the health care industry -- but individual residents can also donate. A "Bowling for the Buyback" fundraising event is taking place Aug. 14 at a West Orange bowling alley.

    The buyback will be held on Sept. 15 at Bethany Church in West Orange. A person turning in a gun can get anywhere from $25 for a long gun to $200 for an assault rifle, and cops won't be asking any questions about where the weapons came from or if they're legal or registered.

    While many tout buybacks as a way to keep guns off the streets and out of the wrong hands, experts have said that they are one of the least effective ways to reduce gun violence. They argue that most of the people exchanging guns for cash are not criminals with illegal weapons, they're residents handing in antiques or hunting weapons unlikely to be used in crimes.

    The 2017 buybacks in New Jersey collected 1,973 handguns, 1,142 shotguns, 1,025 rifles and a range of other firearms including 129 firearms that police described as "assault weapons."

    Carole Stiller, president of the Mercer County Million Mom March chapter and a statewide advocate for stricter gun control laws, said she's a firm believer in gun buyback events.

    Even if people are handing in legal guns, she said, they could still be preventing future homicides, suicides or accidental discharges. "You never know. Someone can have a handgun in their home and it can be [stolen] and then used in a crime," she said.

    Laurino said there's no way to tell how many of the weapons collected at these events are illegal because officers can't ask or even search their serial number.

    Adams said that the bar association would like to hold future buybacks, if they can raise the money. The melted-down guns are worth something in scrap metal, he said, and September's event, that money can go toward the next event.

    Donations to the buyback event can be made via the bar association's non-profit foundation at the Essex County Bar Association's website or by check.

    Rebecca Everett may be reached at Follow her on Twitter @rebeccajeverett. Find on Facebook.

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