What She's Up To Today

A feed of my current articles and tweets

Gas prices near record highs (again). See costs in every N.J. county.

Gas prices are once again nearing record highs just in time for the busy travel weekend for the Memorial Day holiday. The average price for a regular gallon of gas in New Jersey is $4.761, according to AAA. That’s fractions of a penny lower than the $4.766 record set on May 20. Don’t expect prices to ease up this summer, experts told NJ Advance Media. It’s not a question of if, but of when, New Jersey will see average gas prices top $5 a gallon. Gas is most expensive in Somerset County, where

Masks now recommended in 10 N.J. counties with high COVID transmission, CDC says

Masks are now recommended indoors and on public transportation in 10 New Jersey counties, after coronavirus levels increased in Salem County and pushed it into the “high” transmission category, the Center For Disease Control and Prevention said on Thursday. Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Gloucester, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Salem and Sussex counties are considered “high” community levels of the virus, the CDC says. Cumberland County is the only level with low counties; the others are a

Rutgers celebrates first in-person commencement since coronavirus pandemic began

Undergraduates who were sophomores when COVID forced Rutgers to hold classes remotely came together on Sunday morning, as the university celebrated its 256th commencement — the school’s first full graduation ceremony since the start of the pandemic. With nerve-tinged excitement clear in the air, students gathered in SHI Stadium in Piscataway, wearing matching stoles boasting of their involvement in athletics, sororities, and other college activities, as they clustered in groups and posted photo

Two-thirds of N.J. now has medium levels of COVID transmission, CDC says

Two-thirds of New Jersey counties have hit “medium” community transmission levels, just two weeks after the entire state had low levels of the coronavirus. Fourteen of the state’s 21 counties have a medium COVID-19 community level as of May 5, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention said. Levels are calculated based on admissions to hospitals and the percent of inpatient beds used by COVID patients. Levels are re-evaluated every Thursday. There is no mask advisory for residents living in

N.J.’s plastic bag ban starts today. Tips to know before you go to the store.

New Jersey’s plastic bag ban is officially in effect. As of Wednesday, May 4, single-use plastic bags are banned at all store registers, and paper bags at large grocery stores. The bill to ban bags and other single-use plastic items was signed into law in November 2020, but it gave stores and consumers 18 months to prepare. The ban is likely to be the strictest in the nation, as it’s the only one that bans paper bags at grocery stores (most other states with bag bans allow for paper bags, eith

See an N.J. bag ban rule breaker? Here’s how to report it.

The days of picking up your groceries in those thin plastic bags and struggling to get them all into your house are about to be over. Starting May 4, single-use plastic bags will be banned in all New Jersey stores, and paper bags will be banned in grocery stores. The ban will go into effect nearly 18 months after the law was signed by Gov. Phil Murphy. There are some exceptions to the ban, like produce bags and bags used to wrap up raw meat, but for the most part, plastic bags will be a thing

Historic N.J. cemetery destroyed, with ‘headstones piled up’

A historic Quaker cemetery in Burlington County was destroyed earlier this month, and residents say no one is being held accountable. Victor Ramos said he was driving along Route 206 in Mansfield just before Easter when he saw construction equipment tearing through the Old Friends Cemetery, which dates back to pre-Revolutionary times. When he drove by later, the construction equipment was gone and the cemetery was ruined. “I saw headstones piled up, just trashed, the whole thing,” Ramos, a mem

Thousands who drank water tainted by ‘forever chemicals’ can join class action suit against N.J. company

A lawsuit filed against a New Jersey water company over too-high levels of “forever chemicals” has been granted class action status, a judge in Middlesex County ruled. Middlesex Water customers in six towns— South Plainfield, Clark, Edison, Metuchen, Woodbridge and Carteret — were told to buy bottled water after Middlesex Water reported levels of Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOAs) that exceeded safety limits from its South Plainfield treatment center. Customers with specific health needs were also

Faulty Dunkin’ Donuts cup holder caused my 3rd degree burns, N.J. woman says in suit

A Delran woman who sustained serious burns from Dunkin’ Donuts coffee is suing the chain, saying a better-designed cup holder could have prevented her injuries. Samantha Picklo said she was seriously injured after having hot coffee spilled on her lap at the Route 130 Dunkin’ Donuts in Delran last August. She sustained second- and third-degree burns as a result of the spillage, a lawsuit, filed in Superior Court in Burlington County, says. In a phone call with NJ Advance Media, lawyer Paul D’Am

How grocery stores will handle your online order after the bag ban

Online grocery ordering exploded in popularity during the first months of the coronavirus pandemic, giving customers a way to get their groceries without leaving the house. And that popularity has stayed high even as life has gotten closer to normal. But another major change is about to happen in New Jersey: the start of the bag ban. Beginning on May 4, plastic bags will be banned in all stores. But the ban goes a step further in grocery stores, also banning paper bags (paper is still allowed

N.J. plastic bag ban: You still have questions. We still have answers.

New Jersey’s plastic bag ban will go into effect in just two weeks, and residents still have a lot of questions. Just one third of residents say they know “a lot” about the upcoming ban, a Monmouth University poll found, and one third of residents haven’t heard about the ban at all. The plastic bag ban will go into effect on May 4. Boiled down to the simplest terms, the law bans plastic bags everywhere, and paper bags in grocery stores. Residents have had questions about the finer points of t

Jersey Cash 5 lottery ticket worth $1.1 M sold at deli

A Jersey Cash 5 lottery ticket worth $1.1 million was bought for Thursday’s drawing at a deli in Burlington County. The lucky ticket was sold at Columbus General Store and Grille on Atlantic Avenue in Columbus, New Jersey Lottery officials said Friday. Thursday’s winning numbers were: 26, 28, 34, 37, and 41. The XTRA multiplier was: 2. The deli will receive a $2,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket. The last time all five numbers were matched was April 12. That jackpot was worth a little

Mental state of N.J. cop accused of killing wife at center of hearing

Did former Newark Lt. John Formisano intend to kill his wife? A psychiatric report commissioned by the defense says his mental state meant he couldn’t have intended to kill her— but the state doesn’t want a jury to see that report. Formisano appeared in Superior Court in Morristown Thursday morning for the highly technical hearing about whether the doctor’s report met a legal standard to set up what’s called a “diminished capacity” claim. Formisano is accused of murdering his estranged wife,

Most residents don’t know all the details about N.J.’s plastic bag ban, poll finds

Will there still be bags at the mall? What’s going to happen to garbage bags? What bag ban? With two weeks until New Jersey’s plastic bag ban goes into effect, residents still have questions — lots of them — because very few residents know “a lot” about the law, a new poll found. While 7 in 10 residents know stores will be barred from handing out single-use plastic bags starting May 4, just a third say they know a lot about the ban, according to a poll released by Monmouth University on Tuesda

A bizarre shopping trip down memory lane in this N.J. Kmart’s final days | Opinion

The most surprising part of the news to me that the Avenel Kmart, one of just four left in the country, was closing, was that it was still open. It was my local Kmart, but I couldn’t remember the last time I went in there before going this week, days before it was set to close for good leaving only one more in the state — just 3 left in all of the U.S. I’d visit the Home Depot across the street, or drive past it on my way somewhere else, and be surprised that they hadn’t taken the signs down y

Ex-NJ Olympian Barisone found not guilty by reason of insanity in shooting at his farm

A New Jersey Olympian has been found not guilty by reason of insanity in the attempted murder of his former trainee, a jury found. A Morris County jury on Thursday found Michael Barisone, a one-time Olympic equestrian and coach, not guilty by reason of insanity in the shooting of Lauren Kanarek. The jury returned a standard not guilty in the attempted murder of her fiancé, Robert Goodwin. They deliberated for over 17 hours. Barisone was also found not guilty of aggravated assault and weapons c

N.J. plastic bag ban: How to keep your reusable bags clean

Right now it’s weeks. But soon it’ll be days and before you know it, New Jersey’s strict ban on single-use plastic bags will be in full effect statewide — and grocery store shoppers will likely start relying heavily on reusable bags. May 4 will mark the start of the ban, meaning all stores in New Jersey will no longer be able to hand out or sell plastic bags at the registers, with paper bags also being banned at grocery stores. Stores can opt to give away or sell reusable bags. Customers can a

Rates of N.J. students taking the SAT plummets as colleges go ‘test optional’, new data shows

The SAT, a time-honored rite of passage for students applying for college, stopped being required by many colleges when the coronavirus pandemic upended education. So what did New Jersey students do? They stopped taking it in big numbers. The cancellation of several spring 2020 test dates by the College Board limited the number of chances Class of 2021 students had to take the exam, and almost certainly contributed to the drop in test-taking for students who were juniors when the pandemic bega
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