Newark Straw poll: Booker detractors nurse hurt in Central and West, but Minor largely undefined as challenger | Politicker NJ

Politicker NJ: Newark Straw poll: Booker detractors nurse hurt in Central and West, but Minor largely undefined as challenger

Disappointed with Mayor Cory Booker, a random scattershot of voters in the Central and West wards don’t know enough about challenger Clifford Minor to feel confident he would do better and some question his campaign trail passion, according to a straw poll conducted Saturday.

Dismantling your opponent’s platform while failing to articulate your own is rarely a winning formula, and never sparks meaningful policy.

We received a 10-page pamphlet from the Minor camp lambasting the mayor for everything from his high-powered friends to the city’s long-running battle with crime.  Minor has failed to define his platform as anything but the anti-Booker campaign.

One is left to wonder how Minor would govern City Hall, if given the opportunity.

New York Times: Devils’ Move Paying Off for Team, and Newark –

New York TimesDevils’ Move Paying Off for Team, and Newark

The Devils ultimately fell to the Philadelphia Flyers a few days later, the third straight year they were bounced from the playoffs in the first round.

But off the ice, the team, which moved to Prudential Center in 2007 from the charmless Meadowlands, is starting to find its feet in Newark.

After a shaky start, attendance is up, more fans are traveling to games on mass transit and are spending more money in the growing number of restaurants and shops near the arena. Newark students walk out, protest at City Hall against school budget cuts Newark students walk out, protest at City Hall against school budget cuts

You could hear the protests from blocks around City Hall.

Star Ledger: Newark’s Garden Spires: Attacking, at last, a hotbed of drug trade in the city

Star Ledger: Newark’s Garden Spires: Attacking, at last, a hotbed of drug trade in the city

When Booker was a fledgling councilman, he camped out on the grounds of the complex, with promises he would help improve it. “He launched his career here,” said Bomani.

Now, three and a half years into his term as mayor, Booker was being asked what took him so long.

Joan Whitlow visits a community relations event where police announce the arrest of 149 individuals with ties to Newark’s drug trade.

Star Ledger: Newark residents get tax-preparation help from nonprofit group

Star Ledger: Newark residents get tax-preparation help from nonprofit group

“They got as much for me as I could have possibly gotten,” she said in comparing Newark Now with tax prep services that charge a fee. “The only difference was it didn’t cost me $39.95.”

While Merrill was getting her taxes prepared she noticed signs for financial aid counseling, also offered by the group.

“They were kind enough to walk me through the FAFSA process and give me some guidance,” Merrill said, referring to the form college students fill out to become eligible for low-interest federal loans and aid. “I went back yesterday and did my registration fee for Essex County College for the fall.”

So great. Those folks over at Newark Now just won’t quit changing the world.

Star Ledger: EPA chief tours N.J. two worst Superfund sites in Newark, Pompton Lakes

Star LedgerEPA chief tours N.J. two worst Superfund sites in Newark, Pompton Lakes

She was met with greetings of “welcome home” during a stop in Newark, where she focused on efforts to clean up a stretch of the Passaic River polluted with dioxins from a former Agent Orange chemical factory.

Jackson said the planned cleanup of the Passaic, along the portion known as the Diamond Alkali Superfund site, was one of the EPA’s two largest dredging projects in the nation, the other being a segment of New York’s Hudson River.

Pollution, like debt, is a plague where poor decisions in the past continue to rack up consequences as time rolls forward. The damage to the Passaic will continue to hold up progress in Newark and Harrison until the river can be restored.

New York Times: Once Uniforms, They Are Now Works of Art

New York Times: Once Uniforms, They Are Now Works of Art

Through the Combat Paper Project, which was founded by Mr. Matott, 32, and Drew Cameron, 28, an Iraq war veteran, in Burlington, Vt., in 2007, hundreds of veterans of World War II and of the wars in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan and other conflicts have turned their uniforms into hangable works of art meant to convey something of their experiences.

“The Combat Paper Project: Healing Through Art,” an exhibition that opened at the Newark Public Library on Thursday and will run through June 26, displays some 60 works of art on paper made from former military uniforms.

New York Times: Building a Better Teacher

New York Times: Building a Better Teacher

But what makes a good teacher? There have been many quests for the one essential trait, and they have all come up empty-handed. Among the factors that do not predict whether a teacher will succeed: a graduate-school degree, a high score on the SAT, an extroverted personality, politeness, confidence, warmth, enthusiasm and having passed the teacher-certification exam on the first try. When Bill Gates announced recently that his foundation was investing millions in a project to improve teaching quality in the United States, he added a rueful caveat. “Unfortunately, it seems the field doesn’t have a clear view of what characterizes good teaching,” Gates said. “I’m personally very curious.” …

[Lemov] called a wedding videographer he knew through a friend and asked him if he’d like to tag along on some school visits. Their first trip to North Star Academy, a charter school in Newark, turned into a five-year project to record teachers across the country. At first, Lemov financed the trip out of his consulting budget; later, Uncommon Schools paid for it. The odyssey produced a 357-page treatise known among its hundreds of underground fans as Lemov’s Taxonomy. (The official title, attached to a book version being released in April, is “Teach Like a Champion: The 49 Techniques That Put Students on the Path to College.”)

Fascinating, in-depth Times article about the asking the question: how do you train teachers to be really great?  The article examines a few approaches ranging from financial incentives (pay for performance) to abstract teaching skills (Lemov’s taxonomy, cited above), to content-based, free-form observation.

The piece cites Newark’s own North Star Academy and highlights the work if Teach for America, which also operates here in the city. But, as with many-things-Newark, how we address the question of how we think of schools in our urban centers has the potential to shape our nation and our ever-shrinking world.

Highly recommended read.

West Milford and Newark discussing alternative energy – West Milford and Newark discussing alternative energy

The meeting in Newark, which was also attended by Assemblyman Jay Webber’s legislative aide Frank Hannan, was set up by Webber and Newark Mayor Cory Booker, whose administration has already been examining ways for the city to benefit from alternate energy production. One concept city officials were considering involved potential “green” additions to the uses currently permitted in the 16,000 acres of Newark-owned, Highlands Preservation Area property.

“We may have begun the process of erasing the more than 40 years of animosity that has existed between the City of Newark and West Milford,” Hannan said.

West Milford has held forty years of animosity for Newark?

NJ benefits from IZOD Center and Sports Authority investment – The Star-Ledger – (blog)

The Star-Ledger: NJ benefits from IZOD Center and Sports Authority investment

Headlines from the state Senate hearing proclaimed the fact that the NJSEA has $800 million of debt. It was written about and talked about as if a charge card with an unimaginable credit line had been maxed out. The reality is quite different — as different as the mortgage on your home is from your consumer debt.

In return for 30 years of investment around the state, the taxpayers have gotten a developed Meadowlands Sports Complex and the facilities there, the Atlantic City Convention Center, the historic Atlantic City Boardwalk Hall, the Wildwood Convention Center and major athletic venues at Rutgers. These projects, besides being built and opened on-time and on-budget by the NJSEA management, not only are physical assets that offset the mortgages on them, but generate many millions of dollars a year for the state treasury.

So says Raymond H. Bateman, who, as president of the state Senate, sponsored the legislation creating the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority in 1971.