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Archive for April 8th, 2009

 voteUNION COUNTY – Six Democrats are challenging incumbent Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs in the June primary as she pursues a second term. She became the first woman to serve as Plainfield’s chief executive after defeating Robert Ferraro in 2005.

Two-term Democratic City Councilman and former Freeholder Adrian Mapp is the best-known challenger, but the crowded field also includes five other candidates. Ferraro, Carol Ann Browkaw Boles, an attorney; Thomas Turner, an IT consultant; Martin Cox, a Board of Education member and recently retired city employee; and Rebecca Kelley, a political newcomer, are also seeking the Democratic nomination. James Pivnichny will run unopposed on the Republican slate.

The other race of note is the Republican primary for the 21st Assembly District, which includes Berkeley Heights, Cranford, Garwood, Mountainside, New Providence, Roselle Park, Summit City, Watchung, Westfield and parts of Somerset, Morris and Essex counties.

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Mayor Jun Choi

Mayor Jun Choi

EDISON – Mayor Jun Choi officially announced his re-election campaign and named his running mates on Monday. The mayor, a Democrat seeking his second four-year term, is again running without the backing of the township’s Democratic organization.

“We need to revitalize Edison Township and the Democratic Party, with an infusion of fresh talent, untarnished by old guard politics and willing to stand up to special interest politics,” Choi said.

Joining the mayor on the ballot are Rachel Callen, a teacher and community activist; Meiling Kravarik, president and owner of a local realty firm; and Edward Fitzgerald, a retired captain in the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.

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 down-arrowSTATE – Gov. Jon Corzine’s $29.8 billion budget proposal relies on revenue projections that are too optimistic, according to a consensus of economic reports used by the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services to analyze it.

David Rosen, the office’s budget and finance officer, told the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee Monday that Corzine’s budget will leave New Jersey with a $100 million deficit instead of the $500 million surplus projected by the governor.

The state constitution does not allow deficit spending, so a revenue shortfall would require additional cuts to a budget that is already $3 billion less than the one approved last year.

Rosen also criticized the governor for not including a larger surplus margin in a year where revenue is extremely difficult to predict due to the bad economy. “You would want even bigger surplus than normal as a hedge,” Rosen said.

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 arrestLINDEN – At least three teens mugged a man on East Curtis Street last week, but a good Samaritan helped police capture one of them, authorities said.

The victim, a 31-year-old man, was walking on the street’s 500 block shortly after 9 p.m. on Friday, April 3. He told police that he was attacked from behind. His attackers knocked him to the ground, hit him several times in the head and took the cell phone from his pants pocket, authorities said.

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RAHWAY—Members of the U.S. Steelworkers, Local 4-575, staged a protest outside Merck’s Rahway facility in opposition against the company’s plans to cut as many as 178 jobs held by union members.

The union is currently negotiating a new contract with the drug maker. The current three-year contract expires at the end of April.

Jim Conway, the union president, said Merck wants to contract a California-based management service to provide workers who will replace permanent employees. “It’s just an attempt to do away with good-paying American jobs,” he said.

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 appleLINDEN – The Board of Education unanimously approved a four-year contract for Superintendent of Schools Rocco Tomazic on Monday.

Tomazic will earn $182,000 this year, rising to $202,758 by the fourth year of the deal.

Since mid-March, school board members have clashed over the contract. Tomazic, a former district educator, has served as the schools superintendent since Jan. 1 without a contract.

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SAYREVILLE–Following a March 30 roundtable discussion with education and fire safety experts, Assemblyman John S. Wisniewski stressed the need for improvements in the way New Jersey educates students about the dangers associated with fire on Monday.

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, FMBA President William Lavin and Dr. Frank Field speak to school children at a fire safety assembly at Samsel Upper Elementary School in Sayreville on March 30. (Photo credit: Michele Doughty)

Assemblyman John Wisniewski, FMBA President William Lavin and Dr. Frank Field speak to school children at a fire safety assembly at Samsel Upper Elementary School in Sayreville on March 30. (Photo credit: Michele Doughty)

“Every year, hundreds of young lives are lost in residential fires, mainly because the children do not know how to act in a fire emergency,” said Wisniewski (D-Middlesex), chairman of the New Jersey Fire Safety Commission.  “We need to improve on how we teach our children about fire safety so that the first thing they think of in a blaze isn’t ‘Stop, Drop and Roll.’ ”

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