Today in New Jersey’s First News:


It was a largely peaceful protest, after a grand jury decided not to indict a police officer for the death of an unarmed black man.  Lines of police officers, some in riot gear, closely trailed the roaming groups. Protesters converged on the heavily secured area around the annual Rockefeller Center Christmas tree lighting. But the grand jury determined there was no reasonable cause to bring charges.  Garner died in police custody on Staten Island last July.

The legislative panel probing the Bridgegate scandal is still working behind the scenes and today members are expected to get a report summarizing what's been learned and what hasn't. The panel's co-chair tells us what comes next.

Christie pollster Adam Geller proclaimed people were over the whole Bridgegate scandal.  Speaking to rider university students last night, Geller said people in New Jersey are over it and it's not even on the radar of people outside of our state.

A Jersey guy is entering the belly of an anaconda and we all get to watch. The discovery channel special is expected to get a lot of attention this weekend, but the reason for the stunt goes way beyond ratings.

There is more on the Bill Cosby scandal this morning. He has postponed more show dates, this time in Tarrytown and at Foxwoods Casino.  All of the shows were sold out, prior to the latest rape allegations. Meanwhile, a lawyer for three of the woman who accuse Cosby of assaulting them years ago wants him to put 100-million dollars into a fund for his alleged victims and allow a panel of retired judges to decide if these claims have merit.

A U.S. Terrorism watchdog says Al-Qaida's affiliate in Yemen is threatening to kill an American kidnapped more than a year ago if its demands are not met.  In the video, a hostage identified as 33-year-old Luke Somers, an American British-born photojournalist, says his "life is in danger." a local Al-Qaida figure speaks about alleged American crimes against the Muslim world and says the U.S. Is "aware" of militants' demands.

It's happening more and more in Jersey, kids guzzling cough medicine to get high. However, there is a growing awareness of the problem, and it may soon be illegal for youngsters to get their hands on the stuff.

A North Jersey teacher was caught pleasuring himself while he watched a group of kids at a bus stop.  33-year old John Watson was ticketed for public lewdness.  He is a music teacher at Morris Catholic High School and also runs his own music business out of North Brunswick.  Police say this is not the first time and that Watson was caught doing this at least three other times.

FEMA may give Sandy victims another chance to appeal claims that were first rejected.  Hundreds of homeowners missed the deadline for appeal, many because the process was too confusing.  There were also many cases where insurance companies stonewalled residents, perhaps in an attempt to avoid payment.

It's becoming less affordable to buy a home in two New Jersey counties and some experts fear we could be in for a housing bubble.

Governor Christie is in Canada today talking energy and trade.  The trip also comes as he considers a run for president and looks to boost his international relations credentials.

Animal rights protesters were hoping a box of vegan doughnuts would be enough to get a meeting with Governor Christie today, but he'll be in Canada.  The protesters will be in Trenton today opposing the annual beat hunt, which begins in four days.

Tuesday's school bus crash in Tennessee that killed two seven-year-old students and a teacher's aide is further, tragic proof that kids need to be better protected. That's according to a Jersey state lawmaker who is renewing his push to require all new school buses to come with lap and shoulder restraint harnesses.

Catholic schools across the state are dropping like flies. Another two schools at the shore are shutting down in June as enrollment numbers plummet.

The future of the Taj Mahal remains in doubt this morning.  A bankruptcy hearing for trump entertainment has been postponed for a week but no reason was given.  Talks remain ongoing to try and save the casino and it's three thousand jobs.

With support growing for a north Jersey casino, intensive lobbying is underway for the location.  The Meadowlands and Jersey City are already putting together plans.  The Essex County executive says Newark makes more sense, given the high unemployment in the state's largest city.

Anxiety is becoming more common in children and adolescents and the upcoming winter break can make it more difficult.

New jersey's vocational education system gets a boost.  Governor Christie is signing into law three bills that support career and technical education and expands partnerships with schools and industry.   Supporters say it shows there are well-paying careers in the trades or with an associate's degree.

As efforts continue to strengthen the Jersey economy, the state is increasingly offering corporate tax breaks to companies large and small.

WEATHER from chief meteorologist Dan Zarrow:

TODAY... Sun and clouds.  Highs 41-46
 
TONIGHT... A few clouds.  Lows 26-33
 
TOMORROW... Increasing clouds, then evening showers.  Highs 41-50

To view Dan’s extended 5-day forecast, click HERE.

Lottery

Pick 3: 8-5-0

Straight pays $273.50. Box pays $45.50. Pair pays $27.

Pick 4: 4-4-0-0

Straight pays $2,076. Box pays $346.

Cash 5: 09-12-30-36-42

5 of 5 pays $488,895. 4 of 5 pays $671. 3 of 5 pays $17.

Here are the winning numbers selected Wednesday In the midday New Jersey State Lottery drawing:

Pick 3: 2-0-4

Straight pays $287.50. Box pays $47.50, Pair pays $28.50.

Pick 4: 7-7-0-3

Straight pays $2,816. Box pays $234.50.

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