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FIRST NEWS PLUS for Tuesday, July 22, 2014

New Jersey’s First News, hosted by Eric Scott, written and produced by Matthew White and Patrick Lavery. Full podcast available below. Digital support, with additional links, by Dan Alexander.

Sunny. Humid. High: 85-90
Partly cloudy. Low: 60s
TOMORROW: Partly sunny. Humid. Chance of afternoon showers & thunderstorms. High: 88-92


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Finger Pointing – Pro-Russian separatists have handed over the black boxes from the Malaysian jetliner blown out of the sky last week. They have also released a train packed with the bodies of those aboard the doomed flight. More and more fingers are pointing squarely at the Kremlin for giving the separatists the missile that brought the flight down and tampering with evidence at the crash site. The European Union is demanding tougher sanctions against Russia some even want an arms embargo. France is building two warships for the Russian navy.

Questioning Sandy Relief Spending – A lot of you are still asking us how the state is spending all that sandy relief money. Senate President Steve Sweeney is blasting Governor Christie for releasing underwhelming Sandy integrity monitor reports that include very little detail. Christie’s spokesman says the administration is in full compliance with the law that created the oversight monitors.

Search for the Snake in the Lake – While on one hand, state wildlife officials are trying to downplay reports of a 16-foot green anaconda in Lake Hopatcong they did set snake traps around the lake to try and catch it. There have been no confirmed sightings and no photos of the snake but several unconfirmed sightings. A snake expert says, “Unfortunately he doesn’t carry a camera in one hand and a snake stick in the other.”

As the search continues for the snake, swimmers in other parts of the state are being warned about another kind of danger from a much less scary creature.

Tops on the Boards – Seven New Jersey towns have made a new list naming the top places for boardwalk food in America. California and Maryland take the top spots but Wildwood and Atlantic City make the top five. Seaside Heights, Ocean City, Asbury Park, Keansburg, and Point Pleasant all made the list.

Bad To Worse – The news is getting worse for Atlantic City. A deeper look at the impact of three casino closures shows not only 8,000 out of work but small businesses and the housing market will also feel the ripple effects. Dwindling tax payments could also impact programs that help seniors.

Cop vs. Dog – A north Jersey police officer shot himself when he was attacked by a dog. The department isn’t saying much and it looks like the officer will be ok. In Bloomfield, a dog lunged at the officer and as the officer drew his gun, it went off.

Little League Tournament Returns to Shore – Starting today the New Jersey State Little League Tournament returns to Ocean County for the first time since 1994 and for the first time ever the junior little league tournament will also take place in the same location.

Healthy Kids – A new report finds the health and well-being of children in New Jersey is improving in some areas, and decreasing in others, but overall, the trend is positive.

Trending Upwards – Just before the Bridgegate scandal broke, 61% of Jerseyans approved of the job Governor Christie was doing, but in today’s FDU-Public Mind Poll that number sits at 44%. The survey also shows that Bridgegate fatigue is setting in.

Christie in Connecticut – Governor Christie (R) was met by angry anti-gun protestors at a campaign stop in Connecticut last night. He was in town to raise money for GOP candidate Tom Foley. Protestors are angry with Christie for vetoing legislation to reduce gun magazine capacity.

“Lost Cause” – Gov. Christie says he will not campaign for the New York GOP gubernatorial candidate because he only make appearances for a candidate he thinks can win. Rob Astorino trails incumbent Andrew Cuomo by a large margin.

Swimmer Search – The Coast Guard has called off the search for a missing boater in south Jersey. Andrew Biddle hit the rocks off the shore of Longport. A man with him made it to shore but Biddle is still missing.



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