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FIRST NEWS PLUS for Tuesday, June 24, 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.
Overhead signs on Interstate 95 in Mercer County
Overhead signs on Interstate 95 in Mercer County (Dan Alexander, Townsquare Media NJ)

Road Trip! – School’s letting out, and it’s time to hit the road for many families but maybe New Jersey isn’t the best spot for a road trip, according to a new report.

Budget Battle Continues – Democrats are calling for a tax hike on the wealthy in New Jersey in the upcoming budget to meet the state’s legally required obligations. Assembly Republicans are bashing the plan as the midnight June 30th budget deadline looms.

Heatstroke in the backseat – A terrifying thought for any parent; as the weather gets hotter, your child can be at a higher risk for heatstroke while in the car.

Iraq Diplomacy Continues – Secretary of State Kerry is back in Iraq for a second straight day Tuesday, in hopes of unsnarling bitter political feuds that have given rise to a bloody sunni insurgency. Kerry will meet with the Kurdish regional president looking for his support in pushing reforms in Iraq’s Shiite-led government, trying to ease rising anger among Sunni groups who feel they have been sidelined from power or equal rights.

Staying on the Job – A south Jersey teacher will keep her job and get almost four month’s back pay in a messy tenure case that was started when she reported two kindergartners had engaged in inappropriate play in a bathroom. Kelly Mascio will be allowed to return to the classroom in Mullica Township but was reprimanded for not keeping a close enough eye on her students.

Grade Hacker Arrested – A 16 year old north Jersey high school student is under arrest for hacking into the school computer and changing the grades of a number of students.  Police say he had the password of a school staffer.  The grades have been changed back at Orange High School.

Senator Raymond Lesniak
Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-20)

Not Giving Up. “It’s not over ’til the fat lady sings.” Those are the words of state Senator Ray Lesniak (D), unmoved by the U.S. Supreme Court decision this week to stick with the federal ban against sports betting in New Jersey.

Abandoned Pit bulls – Someone abandoned three pit bulls in the woods of Monmouth County,leaving them tied to a tree without food or water in Eatontown. Fortunately, a passerby noticed the animals and called police. They are asking anyone with information to call them.

Volunteer Pleads Not Guilty to Abuse – A longtime volunteer of the Monmouth County SPCA is pleading not guilty to cruelty charges. Hundreds of animals died of starvation in her care, their bodies found stored at her home. She was supposed to be rehabilitating them but her attorney says she was overwhelmed.

Capping College Tuition – With the cost of college continuing to spike, dozens of students held a rally outside the Statehouse, calling on legislators to support the New Jersey Higher Education legislative packagage called NJ Help that would cap tuition and make it easier to get financial assistance.

Override Fails – When it comes to veto override attempts against him, Governor Christie (R) remains undefeated. The senate failed in its try to overturn Christie’s conditional veto of the “Sandy Bill of Rights.”



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