State lawmakers at a pair of budget hearings this week appeared universally pleased with the direction of the Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs, where leadership was changed last October after 156 residents of state veterans' homes died with COVID-19.

As more and more New Jersey residents get vaccinated, the pandemic will hopefully fade, the state will completely reopen, and the economy will rev up. To help guide that process along, New Jersey Policy Perspective has released its new "Blueprint to Secure a Just Recovery."

State-funded day programs for adults with developmental disabilities have been cleared to reopen at reduced capacity, for the first time since the pandemic started.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Jack Ciattarelli told New Jersey 101.5's Deminski & Doyle on Thursday that it is time for Gov. Phil Murphy to take action, now, on lifting COVID-19 restrictions.

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For the second week in a row, the number of new unemployment claims has dropped in New Jersey.

NJ Transit has added more than 100 new engineers to their roster since 2018, taking a big step toward solving a shortage that was causing the agency to cancel or delay trains in and out of Manhattan pre-pandemic.

Even though more people are getting vaccinated and COVID restrictions have been lifted in many parts of the country, most Americans are still taking a wait-and-see approach with ticketed public events, according to a new report.

Montclair State University and Stevens Institute of Technology are joining Rutgers, Princeton, and Fairleigh Dickinson in requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for students returning for the fall semester, but at Stevens, faculty and staff must get the shots as well.

Last year's college seniors had plenty stripped away from them due to COVID-19, and a number of colleges and universities across the Garden State are making plans to welcome back the Class of 2020 for a real graduation experience.

More new research from Oxford University suggests the two-shot coronavirus vaccines made by Pfizer and AstraZeneca, the latter not approved for use in the U.S., both significantly cut the risk of infection after just a single dose.

One section of the population that's been well-represented in the U.S. vaccination campaign is senior citizens, and hospitalizations among those 65 and older have dropped more than 70 percent since the start of the year.

New Jersey gambling regulators have fined BetMGM for an error in the Browns-Chiefs playoff game in January that led to a $10,500 windfall. A digit was dropped, so the bet was that Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes would not exceed "00" yards passing, not 300.

Patrick Lavery is New Jersey 101.5's afternoon news anchor. Follow him on Twitter @plavery1015 or email

NJ towns that actually cut property taxes in 2020

New Jersey property taxes went up by $158 for the average homeowner last year, making the average residential property tax bill $9,111. Here are the municipalities that saw their average tax bill decrease.

DID YOU KNOW: New Jersey has a volcano!

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