Newark to Close 2008 with Over 30% Decline in Murder

Very good news for Newarkers: Newark murders decline as police focus on drug-related shootings.

Since then, representatives of local, county and federal law enforcement agencies have gotten together every couple of weeks to divvy up the city’s worst drug spots. The initiative, called Violent Enterprise Strategic Targeting, focused on busting lots of street-level crews and their managers—picking up four or five at a time on whatever charges would stick, from murder and assault to carrying drugs or holding a gun.

“It seemed to follow that if you reduce the number of narcotics-related shootings, you’ll reduce the number of murders,” McCarthy said.

And it seems to be working. The number of shootings, including drug-related attacks, dropped significantly last year, driving the murder rate further down. As of today, Newark had 67 murders in 2008, compared to 99 the year before, and 107 in 2006. Of this year’s 67 murders, 36 percent were drug related, compared to nearly half of 2007’s killings, police say.

While murder showed a steep decline, we’ll finish the year with a double-digit increase in both burglary and robbery, according to the Newark Police Department homepage, an issue which Police Director McCarthy attributes to better statistical tracking.

Booker: Obama Stimulus Good for Newark

Barack ObamaBooker told CBS News Radio in an interview today that the planned Obama Stimulus Plan will empower cities to face challenges unique to them: Newark Mayor: Cities Stand To Gain From Obama Stimulus Plan (via @rosepena).

In an interview with CBS News’ Nick Young, Mayor Booker identified some of the priorities the mayors brought to the attention of the incoming administration. These include federal support for “greening” the cities as a way to create jobs and a better quality of life.

They want federal investment in — but not handouts for — their cities. And they are especially concerned that the incoming president’s economic stimulus program balances the needs of urban and suburban areas in allocating federal money for infrastructure improvements.

Listen to the full interview from CBS News Radio:

[audio:http://audio.cbsnews.com/2008/12/31/audio4694083.mp3%5D

Ring in the New Year at The Coffee Cave

This in from a Newarker!  Still looking for something to do tonight?  Snow got you rethinking your plans to travel into the wild NJ countryside or take the hectic Path train into Manhattan?  The Coffee Cave, a new cafe and club, is hosting an event just a short walk/car ride/light rail trip downtown.
Have a great New Years and stay safe!

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Still trying to make plans for New Year’s? Don’t feel like schlepping into the city? Wanna bring in 2009 with beautiful people?!

Sounds like you need to come to:
ALL ACCESS 2009: CELEBRITY SWAGGER
December 31, 2008
9pm – until
The Coffee Cave
45 Halsey Street
Newark, NJ 07102
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wine, hors d’oeuvres all night
champagne toast at midnite
DJ Kalie & Max Jerome spinning house, hip hop and neo soul all night
$25 on guestlist; more at the door
byobrown juice

for more information, or to get on guestlist, email TheEliteGroupNJ@gmail.com

Unsung Superheroes

incredibles-146x200My daughter, nearly two-years-old, has been really excited about watching The Incredibles lately. The animated film is about a family of superheroes living a mostly ordinary domestic life, when they’re not fighting crime together.
She loves to talk about the part where Mr. Incredible rescues a cat down from a tree on his way to stop a bank robber. “‘Crables stuck eee-ow!” she exclaims in Dahlia-speak.

But stories like this are the kind I hope take on a deeper meaning for her, especially during the holiday season: An Angel on Her Rounds, With Soup and Sandwich.

If the annual eruption of holiday fellowship has made you wonder how you might do better by the world – or if you are quietly congratulating yourself for some unsung act of seasonal kindness – pause to consider what this 76-year-old retired domestic worker living on Social Security has been doing all year round, every year, noticed by few other than those she has helped. And then recalibrate your estimate of just how much good will a single person can generate.

“It just came into my spirit to do,” Ms. Hines said. “This is my ministry, and they’re depending on me. It’s never too hot or too cold or too anything, because I know the guys are here waiting for me. People don’t realize there’s so many homeless people. They’re not all bums – there are educated people out here, trust me. Been to college, some of them. They’re just down on their luck, and I’m here to help.”

Tell Obama how to fix Healthcare

This in from a Newark tipster: Club Sport-Portugues will be hosting a discussion about Healthcare reform next week on Dec 29.

President-elect Obama is asking Americans to host health care
community discussions. The goal is to solicit impressions, thoughts, and suggestions from the public that will help inform the Obama Administration approach health care reform.

Sport Clube Portugues, with the support of Assemblyman Albert
Coutinho, will be hosting this discussion on December 29th at 6:30 pm.

Taking Newark Back, One Piece at a Time

City Hall has issued a press release about the city’s efforts to take Newark back, one piece at a time.
Taking advantage of state legislation that gives cities expanded authority to reclaim properties that have been “vacant for more than six months and have unpaid taxes, or have been deemed blighted and hazardous to public safety.”

Think of it as Eminent Domain on steroids, but doubtless a law that’s been asked for across the state as beleaguered homeowners find it easier to walk away from homes with far higher mortgage payments — and far less value — in the midst of a massive market correction.

“Even in this tough economy, the revitalization of our City’s West Ward is beginning in earnest,” said Deputy Mayor Pryor. Private owners are responding to our actions by fixing up their buildings. Our development team is intervening to rehab five key properties. And we’re creating a garden and park where there was a vacant lot. All while involving local and minority participants in the process of creating new affordable housing. Thank you to the City Hall staff leaders and our many partners for making today’s progress possible.”

Continue reading “Taking Newark Back, One Piece at a Time”

Theater Square Grill Annual Holiday Wine Party: Wed, Dec 17 6:00-8:30pm

Got plans for Wednesday night? Theater Square Grill will be hosting a Holiday Wine Party with a prix fixe $65 menu with a special menu (all inclusive: tax, gratuity & parking).  Mention Zing Marketing and get more than 20% off.
Click through for the full menu.

Continue reading “Theater Square Grill Annual Holiday Wine Party: Wed, Dec 17 6:00-8:30pm”

Crawford Street Partners Breaks Ground on Development in Lincoln Park

Crawford Street Partners breaks ground on a planned 28,000 sqft facility to open in September, 2009 for education, performance and retail venues. The development will add green space including grass areas and landscaping visible from both Crawford and Washington Streets to the neighborhood.

Crawford Street Partners’ history includes a strong track record of rehabilitating distressed properties, including five buildings in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. The Crawford Commons project builds on other recent improvements in the Lincoln Park area, including newly constructed “LEED-certified” lofts and apartments produced by the Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District, the Colleoni Building located at 39-41 Lincoln Park and the former Dryden mansion, also rehabilitated by Crawford Street Partners.

“Crawford Street Partners is very excited to continue our work in the redevelopment of Newark including the Lincoln Park neighborhood,” said Crawford Street Partners’ Principle Steve Burns. “This project combines unique facilities in which to learn and perform with new green space and landscaping to enhance what is becoming Newark’s newest Arts and Cultural District. We look forward to the neighborhood being active with children, residents and visitors alike and appreciate the support of our Lincoln Park neighbors to make The Crawford Commons a reality.”

Click through to read the full press release.

Continue reading “Crawford Street Partners Breaks Ground on Development in Lincoln Park”

UMDNJ Fights Rumors of Hospital Closure

UMDNJ, a key healthcare provider in the city, fends off rumors of closing its hospital: UMDNJ board assures community Newark hospital won’t close.
Despite the assurances from UMDNJ and Gov. Corzine, it’s scary how close we are to seeing yet another hospital closure — Newark saw two other hospitals close just this past year. The business of providing healthcare is not as profitable as it once was, and is particularly difficult in cities like Newark where much of the casework involves people who can’t pay their medical bills.

In fiscal year 2008 alone, the gap between the cost of the services the hospital provided and what it was reimbursed was $32 million, and annual shortfalls going back almost a decade amount to more than $172 million, said Denise Rodgers, UMDNJ’s provost.

The hospital does not get what it might otherwise receive for services because three-quarters of its patients are charity care, self-pay or Medicaid/Medicaid HMO patients, she said.

“Any other hospital that’s had a financial crisis like University Hospital has, without a commitment from the university, would have closed a long time ago,” Rodgers said.