Lautenberg won't seek re-election in 2014
February 14th, 2013
04:18 PM ET

Lautenberg won't seek re-election in 2014

Frank Lautenberg, the New Jersey Democrat who has served five terms in the U.S. Senate since 1982, will not seek re-election next year when his term expires, the senator said in a statement Thursday.

Lautenberg, 89, returned to the Senate in mid-January after missing key votes over a weeks-long absence due to a cold which "turned into the flu, turned into a severe case of bronchitis with fluid in the chest," he said last month.

Newark Mayor Cory Booker formed a Senate campaign committee last month to explore a run for the seat while a Quinnipiac University poll released around the same time found Booker would lead Lautenberg 51% to 30% in a head-to-head matchup.

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Filed under: New Jersey • Politics
February 10th, 2013
04:17 AM ET

Northeast digs out after deadly blizzard; Midwest to get next storm

The mammoth blizzard that buried the Northeast under feet of snow has drifted away, leaving millions on a path of hefty recovery.

At least nine deaths in three states and Canada are blamed on the snowstorm, which was spawned by two converging weather systems.

Residents from Pennsylvania to Maine are trying to dig out from as much as 3 feet of snowfall.

"There's just really no place to put the snow," Bostonian Allison Rice said, trying to shovel away what she could.

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Filed under: Connecticut • New Jersey • New York • Rhode Island • U.S. • Weather
85 hurt in New York ferry crash
January 9th, 2013
06:32 PM ET

85 hurt in New York ferry crash

  • 85 people hurt in Wednesday morning ferry crash at lower Manhattan pier, two critically, authorities say
  • Ferry was carrying passengers from New Jersey to New York City's Pier 11 near Wall Street
  • Below are the latest updates as they come to us. You also can read our full story.

[Update 6:32 p.m. ET] Eighty-five people were injured in the crash, including people who were treated and released at the scene, according to Charles Rowe, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman.

Two people had been listed in critical condition, but now authorities are saying only one person's condition remains critical.

[Update 1:46 p.m. ET] Coast Guard records indicate that the same Seastreak ferry has been involved in prior crashes, including one in 2009 when the vessel slammed into a New Jersey dock and tore a 2- to 3-foot gash in the starboard bow of the vessel.

A year later, a collision with a dock pile punctured a hole in the port side of the same boat.

[Update 12:33 a.m. ET] Seastreak LLC, the company operating the ferry, has released a statement on its website. In part, it says that "our thoughts and prayers are with those that were injured."

"Seastreak LLC will work closely with the federal, state and local authorities to determine the cause of the accident," the statement says.

[Update 12:28 a.m. ET] Two of the 57 hurt passengers are critically injured, authorities say.

[Update 11:43 a.m. ET] U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey, releases a statement saying that National Transportation Safety Board chairwoman Deborah Hersman assured him "that this serious accident will receive a full and thorough investigation."

“Ferry systems are crucial for New Jersey commuters, and the public must have every assurance that the ferries they ride are operating safely. I have every confidence in Chairman Hersman and the NTSB, and I know they will conduct a first-rate investigation so we can take steps to ensure that this doesn’t happen again.”

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January 2nd, 2013
03:36 PM ET

House will vote on Sandy aid by Jan. 15, lawmakers say

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has assured lawmakers that the House will vote on $60 billion in aid related to Superstorm Sandy by January 15, a group of lawmakers from New York and New Jersey told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

The announcement came hours after those same lawmakers began expressing dismay that Boehner, as the 112th Congress was winding up Tuesday night, declined to put to a vote a similar aid bill that the Senate had passed.

The lawmakers met with Boehner Wednesday afternoon and then made the announcement.

"As far as I'm concerned ... it was an extremely positive" meeting, said U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-New York, who earlier Wednesday called Boehner's Tuesday move a "knife in the back."

The new, 113th Congress will be sworn in on Thursday.

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Filed under: New Jersey • New York • Politics • Superstorm Sandy
January 2nd, 2013
02:22 PM ET

'Shame on Congress,' Christie says after House drops Sandy vote

[Update 3:57 p.m.] U.S. House Speaker John Boehner has assured lawmakers that the House will vote on $60 billion in aid related to Superstorm Sandy by January 15, a group of lawmakers from New York and New Jersey told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

[Initial post, 2:22 p.m.] New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie says he doesn't know why House Speaker John Boehner didn't allow a vote on a $60 billion aid package to help Superstorm Sandy victims Tuesday or Wednesday, but he's steamed about it.

"There's only one group to blame for the continued suffering" of Sandy victims, and that's Boehner and the House Republican leadership, Christie told reporters Wednesday afternoon.

“Shame on you. Shame on Congress,” Christie, a Republican, said.

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Train with toxic cargo crashes off bridge into creek
Train tanker cars dangle from a collapsed railroad bridge near Paulsboro, New Jersey, on Friday.
November 30th, 2012
09:17 AM ET

Train with toxic cargo crashes off bridge into creek

bridge collapsed in the West Deptford area of New Jersey on Friday, sending several train cars carrying toxic chemicals crashing into a creek near the Delaware River, the U.S. Coast Guard said.

Vinyl chloride, a highly toxic and flammable chemical, is believed to be leaking into Mantua Creek, Petty Officer Nick Ameen told CNN. No serious injuries have been reported, but nearby schools are on lockdown, a borough emergency official said, and people in the immediate area have been evacuated.

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Filed under: New Jersey
Gay men sue over conversion therapy
A lawsuit contends conversion therapists made false promises to turn gay teens straight.
November 27th, 2012
04:21 PM ET

Gay men sue over conversion therapy

Before Sheldon Bruck told his orthodox Jewish parents he was gay, the teenager looked for a way out of homosexuality.

His search led him to JONAH - Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing - which claimed on its website to help people "struggling with unwanted same-sex sexual attractions."

JONAH co-director Arthur Goldberg promised Bruck, then 17, that "JONAH could help him change his orientation from gay to straight," according to a consumer fraud lawsuit filed Tuesday against JONAH, Goldberg and a JONAH counselor.

"This is the first time that plaintiffs have sought to hold conversion therapists liable in a court of law," said Samuel Wolfe, a lawyer with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

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Filed under: Courts • Lawsuit • New Jersey
November 9th, 2012
12:19 PM ET

Cold threatens Northeast residents without power

Low nighttime temperatures over the next couple of days aren’t going to make things easy for East Coast residents still without power after Superstorm Sandy and this week’s nor’easter.

But warmer daytime conditions will be ideal for recovery crews, including utility workers hoping to get many more homes powered and heated by this weekend.

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Holland Tunnel linking New York, New Jersey to reopen after storm
November 6th, 2012
08:06 PM ET

Holland Tunnel linking New York, New Jersey to reopen after storm

The Holland Tunnel linking New York and New Jersey will reopen at 5 a.m. on Wednesday, the governors of the two states said Tuesday in a joint press release.

The tunnel (pictured), which carries some 91,000 vehicles a day, closed October 29 ahead of Superstorm Sandy.

The tunnel has been open to limited bus traffic since Friday.

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Filed under: New Jersey • New York • Superstorm Sandy • Weather
Coming nor'easter prompts evacuations in seaside New Jersey town hit by Sandy
Sandy devastated parts of Brick, New Jersey, as shown here last week, and a new storm could bring more damage.
November 5th, 2012
10:32 PM ET

Coming nor'easter prompts evacuations in seaside New Jersey town hit by Sandy

One week after Sandy devastated many seaside communities in northern New Jersey, one of them is telling some of its residents to evacuate yet again - this time because of  a new storm.

The Office of Emergency Management for Brick, New Jersey, issued the mandatory evacuation order for residents in low-lying areas as a nor'easter approaches. According to the National Weather Service, the community of about 75,000 people will get more than an inch of rain and wind gusts as strong as 55 mph.

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October 30th, 2012
10:34 AM ET

Christie: Jersey Shore devastation 'unthinkable'

Superstorm Sandy left wreckage in its wake "beyond anything I thought I'd ever see," New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said at a news conference today.

"The level of devastation at the Jersey Shore is unthinkable," he said.

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Filed under: Flooding • New Jersey • Superstorm Sandy • U.S. • Weather
Judge: New Jersey brothers accused of killing girl will remain detained
Autumn Pasquale, 12, was found dead Monday in a recycling container in southern New Jersey.
October 26th, 2012
06:04 PM ET

Judge: New Jersey brothers accused of killing girl will remain detained

Two teenage brothers accused of killing a 12-year-old New Jersey girl were ordered Friday to remain in a juvenile detention center at least for the next two weeks, a prosecutor's office spokesman said.

Superior Court Judge Colleen Maier remanded the brothers, ages 15 and 17, to stay in the detention center because she felt it would be "contrary to the well-being of the juveniles” to free them, said Bernie Weisenfeld, a spokesman for the Gloucester County Prosecutor's Office.

Autumn Pasquale, 12, was found dead Monday in Clayton, a southern New Jersey community of about 8,000 people roughly 25 miles south of Philadelphia. Her alleged killers turned themselves in Tuesday, accompanied by their attorneys.

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FBI arrests mayor of Trenton, New Jersey, in corruption case
Mayor Tony Mack speaks in Trenton, New Jersey, in August.
September 10th, 2012
11:17 AM ET

FBI arrests mayor of Trenton, New Jersey, in corruption case

FBI agents arrested Trenton, New Jersey, Mayor Tony Mack in connection with a corruption case Monday, a spokeswoman said.Mack was arrested early Monday according to Barbara Woodruff, a spokeswoman for the agency's Newark field office.

The 46-year-old mayor is charged with conspiracy to corrupt commerce by extortion, according to a complaint filed in federal court Monday.

The complaint accuses the mayor, his brother Ralphiel Mack, and Joseph A. "JoJo" Giorgianni of corruption in connection with a project to build a parking garage on city property.

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Filed under: New Jersey
August 31st, 2012
10:10 AM ET

Man kills 2 co-workers, then self in N.J. supermarket

A 23-year-old gunman killed two co-workers at a Pathmark supermarket in Old Bridge, New Jersey, on Friday before shooting himself dead, said Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce J. Kaplan.

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Filed under: Crime • New Jersey
Ex-Rutgers student convicted of bullying roommate is released
Dharun Ravi is seen at his trial on May 21.
June 19th, 2012
09:24 AM ET

Ex-Rutgers student convicted of bullying roommate is released

[Updated at 9:36 a.m.] A former Rutgers University student convicted of spying on and intimidating his gay roommate - who later committed suicide - was released from jail Tuesday morning after serving a 30-day sentence, according to the warden of the Middlesex County Office of Adult Corrections.

Ravi was found guilty in May on all counts including invasion of privacy, witness tampering, hindering apprehension and bias intimidation.

His former roommate, 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, killed himself by jumping off New York's George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River in 2010 after learning Ravi had secretly recorded Clementi's intimate encounter with another man.

While Ravi could have been sentenced to 10 years in prison, New Jersey Superior Judge Glenn Berman instead gave him a 30-day jail sentence, three years of probation and must complete 300 hours of community service aimed at assisting victims of bias crimes.

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Filed under: Courts • Crime • Justice • New Jersey
Ex-Rutgers student Dharun Ravi appears in court, one day before jail term
Dharun Ravi is seen at his trial on May 21.
May 30th, 2012
12:04 PM ET

Ex-Rutgers student Dharun Ravi appears in court, one day before jail term

Dharun Ravi, the former Rutgers University student convicted of bias intimidation, appeared in court Wednesday, one day after he apologized for spying on his roommate with a webcam.

"I accept responsibility for and regret my thoughtless, insensitive, immature, stupid and childish choices that I made on September 19, 2010, and September 21, 2010," Ravi said in a written statement.

His court appearance Wednesday formalized his decision to head to jail Thursday, waiving his right not to serve jail time twice for the same crime, as prosecutors appeal his sentence.

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Filed under: Crime • New Jersey
May 22nd, 2012
12:56 PM ET

Were Cory Booker's comments a slip of the tongue or a slick political move?

It's not like Newark Mayor Cory Booker to say the wrong thing to the media.

He's a media darling, who was talked about as the man likely to be the first black president before Barack Obama was elected to the White House. Since Obama has taken office, Booker has been a go-to for the president's camp.

But many say he went "off-script" during an interview on "Meet the Press" on Sunday. They say Booker swerved from the Obama campaign's script - attacking GOP presumptive nominee Mitt Romney's former private equity firm Bain Capital - when he called Democratic attacks "nauseating." Booker said he was not going "to sit here and indict private equity."

His comments caught many off guard,  including the White House.

Which has led some people to this question: Was it a political gaffe or a strategic move?

Since his first remarks, Booker has been on an apology tour of sorts. He went on MSNBC to clarify, saying his comments were taken out of context and were being used for cynical political gain by Republicans seeking to portray Democrats as fractured. And he's also taken to social media to declare his support for Obama, tweeting repeatedly to clarify his support for the president along with the hashtag #IStandWithObama.

[tweet https://twitter.com/CoryBooker/status/204748789796454400%5D

It is no surprise that Booker would take to Twitter to amplify his message. He has long been a social media maestro. But in this case, has he taken it too far?

Some mocked  his flurry of #IStandWithObama posts, joking that it appeared he was in detention with Bart Simpson and stuck writing on a virtual blackboard to make up for his mistakes.

But The Star-Ledger,  his local paper, says Booker's remarks shouldn't shock anyone.

"Booker’s independence from Democrats should come as little surprise," reporter Steve Strunsky wrote. "Before Sunday’s 'Meet the Press,' the most recent of his frequent appearances on the small screen was in a video last week with Republican Gov. Chris Christie, who endorsed Romney in 2012 and is often mentioned as a possible running mate."

He is talking about a viral video in which the pair spoof Booker's heroic actions of the past and joke about Christie's potential to be a vice-presidential nominee.

"Booker's chummy relationship with Christie isn't just about doing work for the people of Newark, it's also likely a strategic move based on his own personal ambition," Zerlina Maxwell, a writer for The Grio, wrote in an article that asked if the pair were too close for comfort. "Booker's last office will certainly not be as the mayor of Newark. His bright future could be as a Senator and a bipartisan track record in a mixed bag state like New Jersey certainly enhances his credentials."

Salon took Booker to task, calling him the "surrogate from hell" and looking at what exactly Booker had to gain from his exchange on "Meet the Press."

"It wouldn’t be surprising if Booker has already heard from the White House, and surely he’s now in for a world of abuse from Obama supporters. But that hardly means he made a mistake, at least in terms of his own ambition," the article said. "Financial support from Wall Street and, more broadly speaking, the investor class has been key to Booker’s rise, and remains key to his future dreams."

Does that mean Booker is looking to switch sides? Not necessarily. A bit of distance? Perhaps. But it's also worth noting that Booker hasn't been a fan of labels when it comes to politics, often saying that he doesn't think everything should be thought of in strict terms of Republican versus Democrat.

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May 2nd, 2012
11:11 AM ET

Buccaneers sign paralyzed Rutgers player Eric LeGrand

[Updated at 1:14 p.m. ET] Eric LeGrand's football coach at Rutgers helped him emotionally in the months after his on-field paralysis. Now the coach is symbolically helping him realize his dream of making it to the NFL.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, now coached by ex-Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, announced Wednesday they've signed the former defensive tackle who was partially paralyzed in a 2010 game to their 90-man off-season roster.

Schiano, who joined the Buccaneers this year after more than a decade with Rutgers, offered the symbolic deal to his former player by phone on Tuesday, LeGrand told reporters in a conference call.

"I said, 'Are you serious? You want to use this on me?'" LeGrand said. "(Schiano) said, 'It's the least we can do.'

"Honestly, it's amazing. It really is," he said.

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Filed under: College football • Florida • Football • New Jersey • Pro football • Sports
Nets end 35-year run in New Jersey, head to Brooklyn
A fan holds up a sign bidding farewell to the New Jersey Nets at the Prudential Center in Newark on Monday night.
April 24th, 2012
11:46 AM ET

Nets end 35-year run in New Jersey, head to Brooklyn

When the New Jersey Nets game ended Monday night, Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" blared over the loudspeakers at the Prudential Center in Newark.

When the Nets play their next home game, expect "Brooklyn (Go Hard)" - from Nets co-owner Jay-Z - to be the song of choice.

That's because the NBA team ended their 35-year run in New Jersey on Monday night with a 105-87 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. Come fall, the team will become the Brooklyn Nets and play their games in the brand-new Barclays Center in the New York borough.

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Filed under: Basketball • NBA • New Jersey • Sports
April 14th, 2012
09:53 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Cory Booker, Newark's 'super' mayor

This week, Newark, New Jersey, Mayor Cory Booker rushed into a burning building to rescue a neighbor.  That wasn't the first time Booker has gone above and beyond the standard mayoral duties for his constituents.  You Gotta Watch Brick City's leader at work.

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Mayor Cory Booker's 'superhero' moment

Newark, New Jersey Mayor Cory Booker rescues his next door neighbor from her burning home. CNN's Mary Snow reports.

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2011: Mayor Booker's door-to-door warning

Mayor Corey Booker of Newark, New Jersey, explains why he went door to door to encourage residents to seek shelter.

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2010: Newark mayor digs out

Mayor Cory Booker helps citizens dig out of the snow in Newark, New Jersey.

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2009: Changing 'Brick City'

Forest Whitaker has a new documentary about Mayor Cory Booker and his efforts to turn around Newark, New Jersey.

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Filed under: Gotta Watch • New Jersey • Politics • Rescues • Twitter • U.S. • Weather
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