Today in New Jersey’s First News:

A nine-year-old girl remains in critical condition this morning, shot in the chest by her 12-year old brother.  The kids were playing in their Newark apartment, when the boy got a hold of the 9mm handgun. Police are still investigating but the mother has been charged with endangerment. The gun was reported stolen in Alabama.

The parents of the latest western hostage to be killed by the Islamic state group say they're "heartbroken" by their son's killing, but "incredibly proud" of his humanitarian work. A video shows the severed head of 26-year-old aid worker and former U.S. Army ranger Peter Kassig, as well as the beheading of a dozen Syrian soldiers. Kassig was abducted October 2013 while helping victims of Syria's civil war.

We've heard plenty lately about how the high cost of living in Jersey is driving a lot of people out, especially baby boomers approaching retirement but a new report casts doubt on that.

A Long Branch landscaper is jailed this morning after trying to kill his boss and then holding police at bay for hours this weekend.  41-year old Moises Espinoza-Sanchez shot a rifle through the window of his boss’ truck but missed him then ran into a nearby home.  He surrendered about five hours later.

Tired of seeing sandy victims low-balled by insurance companies, Senator Bob Menendez is calling on FEMA for major reforms.

Police in New York have released surveillance video of a man wanted for questioning in the death of another man police say was pushed off a subway platform and onto tracks before he was killed by an oncoming train. Police say a 61-year-old man and his wife were standing on the subway platform in the Bronx Sunday morning when he was pushed. The attacker fled.

There is word this morning that county jails in New Jersey have been letting illegal immigrants facing possible deportation go free.  Immigration officials are not happy about it.  Typically, these inmates are held until immigration can question them but civil liberties groups have been threatening to sue over these detainees so a good number have been set free.

 NJ County jails setting free alleged criminals facing deportation /

New Jersey is already one of the most diverse states in the nation and the trend is expected to continue for decades to come.

Federal drug enforcement agents are investigating former players' claims that NFL teams have mishandled prescription drugs. The agents showed up unannounced Sunday to check the medical staffs of at least three visiting teams. The staffs were with the San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks. There were no arrests.

Student loan debt is no big deal for a solid segment of today's Millennials. In a new survey, nearly a quarter say they believe their debt will ultimately be forgiven. And they may have a good reason.

Another hacker attack on the U.S. government has taken place, this time the state department.  The breach was so bad, the U-S has shut down the entire unclassified email system.  That's never happened before.  The state department says none of it's classified systems were breached.  As for who is responsible, there is talk of the Russians or the Chinese but no one in our government will confirm it.

Bill Cosby will have nothing to say about rape allegations that have been making headlines in recent weeks. His attorney says they are decades old and just because someone is repeating them does not make them true.  Cosby was never charged but did settle a civil suit in 2006.

The vast majority of states offer a childcare tax credit, but New Jersey isn't one of them. Experts say the credit could allow more low and middle income parents to get full-time jobs without worrying that the bulk of their salary will go to child care.

Philadelphia could be facing the same problem as Atlantic City of having too many casinos.  Philly officials are deciding who gets the final gaming license but with four casinos already in the surrounding market, experts say another one in unsustainable.

Pope Francis will visit Philadelphia.  He announced this morning that he will attend the world meeting of families next September.  Details of the visit are still being worked out but he is expected to preside over a mass on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

The holidays are approaching and from Cape May to Vernon, charity organizations across New Jersey need donations for those in need now more than ever.

Open enrollment has begun for Obamacare.  In New Jersey, some 160-thousand are already signed up, more than was expected.  Of those, the majority are subsidized.  People who are already enrolled can seek different coverage.

A nasty crash on the Turnpike involving a bus and a military vehicle.  The accident happened Sunday near exit 14.  Other than a few bumps and bruises, it looks like everyone is ok.

Last week senate president Steve Sweeney unveiled a plan to help Atlantic City survive and two days later he sat in on Governor Christie's second summit on the future of the resort town. None of that means Sweeney isn't still all-in on casinos outside of Atlantic City because he definitely is.

A south Jersey teachers union treasurer is jailed on theft charges this morning.  Police say Wayne Wedderman was writing checks from the Barnegat education association to himself to cover personal expenses.  Union officials noticed 23-thousand dollars missing from their account last week.

What's so great about the Garden State?  Each Monday, we are profiling some of the individuals and groups that make the garden state such a great place to live.  A Jersey animal welfare organization announces the opening of a new adoption center.


WEATHER from chief meteorologist Dan Zarrow:

TODAY... Rain on and off. Windy and cool. Highs 47-56

TONIGHT... Rain and wet snowflakes possible through midnight. Then clearing and turning colder. Lows 24-30

TOMORROW... Sunny, windy, and cold. Highs 30-36

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


Pick 3: 8-7-7

Straight pays $276. Box pays $92. Pair pays $27.50.

Pick 4: 1-3-9-0

Straight pays $2,448.50. Box pays $102.

Cash 5: 01-05-11-15-40

5 of 5 pays $0. 4 of 5 pays $362. 3 of 5 pays $12.

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

Pick 3: 8-3-4

Straight pays $370. Box pays $61.50, Pair pays $37.

Pick 4: 5-2-2-2

Straight pays $2,738. Box pays $684.50.

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