Local Beat: A camp of homeless, making life in the woods

Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources.

A CAMP OF HOMELESS, MAKING LIFE IN THE WOODS
The well-known homeless camp in Lakewood known as Tent City no longer exists, but several former Tent City residents and a minister named Steve Brigham have set up a smaller version in Howell more than a year after the original location shut down. Chris Lundy of Micromedia Publications took a trip to Howell and came back with a three-part series that looks at how some live life in the woods.

MAYOR TORRES PROPOSES HALF-BILLION DOLLAR ‘NEW DEAL’ ECONOMIC REDEVELOPMENT PLAN FOR PATERSON
Paterson Mayor Joey Torres unveiled a new economic redevelopment deal for Paterson during a three-hour presentation at a town council meeting on Tuesday. Ali H. Aljarrah of TAP into Paterson says the “New Deal” plan, estimated at around $500 million, will focus on improving quality of life, job creation, retention and ratable properties.

RESIDENTS DEBATE MAKING WESTFIELD A SANCTUARY CITY
The immigration debate in New Jersey continues in Westfield. Jackie Lieberman of TAP into Westfield says a local resident asked the mayor at last week’s town council meeting to consider making Westfield a sanctuary city. The question sparked a long debate between residents on both sides of the issue, but no resolution was introduced and no formal action was taken as a result.

MORRISTOWN MAYOR WANTS TO START A REVOLUTION
Morristown Mayor Tim Dougherty declared on Saturday that he and his fellow anti-Trump activists are “definitely starting a revolution,” and urged them to take their message next door to neighboring Morris Township and other Republican strongholds across Morris County. Kevin Coughlin of Morristown Green says Dougherty also called on U.S. Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.) to host a town hall meeting at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, but Frelinghuysen’s staff has yet to respond.

SOUTH JERSEY FAITH COMMUNITIES RALLY TO SUPPORT KATZ JCC AFTER BOMB THREAT
Christian, Muslim and Jewish community members rallied during rush hour at a busy intersection in Cherry Hill on Tuesday to show their support for the Katz Jewish Community Center after the JCC was evacuated in response to a recent bomb threat earlier this week. Steve Lubetkin of State Broadcast News was on the scene with this video report.

BOARDWALK HALL, CONVENTION BIZ FALLS AS CASINOS TAKE MORE OF THE MEETING PIE
The good news is Atlantic City attracted more visitors in 2016 than it did in 2015. The bad news is those visitors mostly gathered at the casinos in the Marina District instead of congregating at Boardwalk Hall or the Atlantic City Convention Center. Elinor Comlay of Route 40 News says New Jersey is supposed to be helping Atlantic City increase revenue and lower costs as part of the state takeover, but a closer look at how the state has been running the Convention Center and Boardwalk Hall is raising some serious questions about the state’s management skills.

ON HEROIN AND HOMELESS IN NEW BRUNSWICK
Jack Murtha of TAP into New Brunswick brings us a harrowing inside look at the life and struggles of two homeless heroin addicts living in New Brunswick. The couple, identified only by their first names, has a story that is all too familiar to many across the state – and country – as many continue to suffer from the effects of heroin and opioid abuse.

AT FIRST FORMAL ENDORSEMENT, GUADAGNO PREDICTS 45K GOP VOTES IN HUDSON
At her first formal county endorsement event, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno said she expects Hudson County to put her on a path to the governorship by delivering 45,000 Republican votes in November’s election. John Heinis of Hudson County View says Republicans have rarely been able to shake up the Democratic establishment in Hudson County, and Guadagno has yet to give any indication as to whether or not she plans to draw on bipartisan support to bring out the vote there.

HOW WILL THEATRE REACT TO THE CHANGING POLITICAL CLIMATE?
New Jersey Stage takes a look at how theatre will react to the changing political climate. Gary Wein spoke with two artistic directors for New Jersey-based theatre companies, Dreamcatcher Repertory Company and Centenary Stage Company, and two area playwrights to get their perspective on the state of politics and theatre.

THINK YOU KNOW TRENTON? THINK AGAIN.
State of the Arts travels to South Jersey to explore the cultural life of New Jersey’s capital. Trenton is quickly becoming a center for cultural activity – and it’s growing fast thanks to outdoor concerts, graffiti festivals, punk rock flea markets, cutting edge theater, destination restaurants, an amazing community of artists, and big plans for a new downtown arts district. Find out more on this special episode of State of the Arts.

SAFETY CONCERNS RESURFACE AFTER MERCER STUDENT ARRESTED
Tensions are running high at Mercer County Community College after a student who is also a convicted sex offender was arrested in connection with an incident at the campus gym earlier this month. The news team at MCCC’s The College Voice has the full story.

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