Local Beat is the NJ News Commons’ weekly roundup of the best reporting by community news sources.
MORRISTOWN HIGH REMOVES TRUMP SATIRE FROM SCHOOL ART SHOW
Officials at Morristown High School removed junior Liam Shea’s five-foot artwork display from the annual MHS Arts & Design Show. Kevin Coughlin of Morristown Green says the artwork depicted a “porcine President Trump clutching a snarling pussycat.”
CHS STUDENT DEFENDS HER WORK IN WAKE OF SPECIAL DANCE CONTROVERSY
The Village Green has been covering the controversy that arose in the wake of a Columbia High School student’s dance performance, which featured the song “Strange Fruit” about the lynching of African Americans. Faculty members reportedly told the administration that they felt “unsafe” after seeing the performance. Now, Kendi Whitaker, the student responsible for the performance, has released a statement containing her take on the incident.
BRICK WOULD LOSE $2.1 MILLION UNDER NJ LEGISLATORS’ SCHOOL FUNDING DEAL
Brick Township could face a $2.1 million budget shortfall under the school funding compromise plan between state Senate President Steve Sweeney and Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto. Daniel Nee of Brick Shorebeat says the plan would cut state aid to Brick by $2.1 million, further exacerbating the property tax crisis in the area.
PROTESTORS CHAIN TOGETHER OUTSIDE ASSEMBLYMAN BRAMNICK’S WESTFIELD OFFICE TO OPPOSE CHILD MARRIAGE
A group of men, women, and children on Wednesday chained themselves together on the sidewalk outside of Assemblyman Jon Bramnick’s office in Westfield as part of a “chain-in” protest over Bramnick’s proposed child marriage bill. Leah Scalzadonna of TAP into Westfield says the protestors wore wedding gowns, veils, and chains around their wrists as they chanted, “End child marriage now! Ask us and we’ll tell you how.”
HOPEWELL TOWNSHIP SETTLES WITH LANDOWNERS IN AFFORDABLE HOUSING LITIGATION
Hopewell Township appears to be nearing the end of a lengthy affordable housing litigation process with three local landowners and developers. Mary Galioto of MercerMe says the township entered into three resolutions on Monday night authorizing a settlement with the three other parties to the suit.
SHAPIRO TAPS INTO FRANCHISE MODEL TO SPREAD HIS HYPERLOCAL MISSION
Esther Surden of NJ Tech Weekly sat down with founder and CEO of the TAPinto.net franchise network, Mike Shapiro, to talk about the rise of TAPinto. Shapiro founded TAPinto in 2008, which now boasts a network of more than 65 franchised online local news websites across two states, with more than 5.7 million readers.
EAST BRUNSWICK REDEVELOPMENT: REPORT IDENTIFIES PROBLEMS, ALLOWS FOR CONDEMNATION, IMPROVEMENTS
A new report presented to the East Brunswick Planning Board identifies the specific needs and qualifications for a “Redevelopment Zone” between the New Jersey Turnpike and Route 18 South in East Brunswick. Maureen Berzok of TAP into East Brunswick says the report allows the administration to proceed with a new way to look at Route 18 from a creative and contemporary perspective.
SHAVAR JEFFRIES DELIVERS ROUSING SPEECH TO NORTH STAR ACADEMY GRADUATES
Shavar Jeffries, a civil rights lawyer who heads a national organization devoted to reforming education, delivered a rousing speech to the graduates of Newark’s North Star Academy earlier this week. Mark Bonamo of TAP into Newark says Jeffries invoked hip-hop, Beyoncé, and the wise words of his grandmother to remind the class that they have the power to change the world.
SPOTWSWOOD HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS CREATE APP THAT REWARDS KIDS FOR STAYING OFF THEIR CELL PHONES IN SCHOOL
Students at Spotswood High School have created an app that awards points to students for not using their cell phones while they are in school. Dawn Miller of TAP into Milltown-Spotswood says the ChargerPoints app is the result of a year-long project as part of the students’ Special Topics in Computer Science course.
A HISTORY OF DISSENT IN NEW BRUNSWICK
Jack Murtha of TAP into New Brunswick published the first three installments of a five-part series on the Rutgers Conservative Union. Murtha looks at an arguably historic year of activism at the New Brunswick campus and its history of dissent and examines a controversial and little-known side of Rutgers. Click here for part one, part two, and part three.