What She's Up To Today

A feed of my current articles and tweets

Student, staff cases of COVID plummet in N.J. schools after post-holiday spike

Student cases of the coronavirus dropped nearly 40% last week, as some experts say New Jersey has passed the peak of the omicron variant. There were 17,820 cases of the coronavirus reported by students in the week ending Jan. 16. That’s down 38% from the week before, when over 28,000 cases were reported. This is the first time since mid-October student rates decreased. Staff rates continued to fall for the second week in a row. There were 4,371 cases reported by staffers, a 49% drop from the w

What does policing actually cost in N.J.? How officers quietly added tens of thousands to their paychecks

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is part of The Pay Check, an in-depth look at every dollar earned by 24,000 law enforcement officers across New Jersey in 2019. Find the full database here: The Pay Check. State Police Superintendent Patrick Callahan oversees New Jersey’s largest law enforcement agency, with 4,000 employees and a budget in the hundreds of millions of dollars. For responsibilities that span the breadth of the state, he earned $190,000 in 2019, pay that places him in the upper echelon o

A glossary of terms

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is part of The Pay Check, an in-depth look at every dollar earned by 24,000 law enforcement officers across New Jersey in 2019. Find the full database here: The Pay Check. As journalists, we try to write stories in a way that the average reader will be able to understand — and that means avoiding jargon and overly complicated language. But sometimes, there is no way around specific terms in a lengthy investigation of a complicated topic. That was a challenge in writin

6 key takeaways about police pay

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is part of The Pay Check, an in-depth look at every dollar earned by 24,000 law enforcement officers across New Jersey in 2019. Find the full database here: The Pay Check. How much money do police officers really make? For the first time, New Jersey residents will be able to answer that question. Today, NJ Advance Media published a first-of-its-kind database that breaks down the earnings of 24,000 local police officers and state troopers. The Pay Check: Database | G

8 surprising police contract quirks

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is part of The Pay Check, an in-depth look at every dollar earned by 24,000 law enforcement officers across New Jersey in 2019. Find the full database here: The Pay Check. Katie Kausch is a reporter who covers crime, courts, and breaking news across New Jersey for NJ.com and The Star-Ledger. Riley Yates is the lead data reporter for NJ.com and The Star-Ledger. He has spent most of his career covering criminal justice. Nick Devlin is a reporter on the data and inv

How to make extra cash as a cop in N.J. (We drew a comic to show you)

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story is part of The Pay Check, an in-depth look at every dollar earned by 24,000 law enforcement officers across N.J. in 2019. Find the full database here: The Pay Check. Police officers in New Jersey make some of the best money in the nation. But how much— and for what, exactly— police officers are being paid has never been fully documented. Until now. NJ Advance Media reviewed 2019 payroll records from all of New Jersey’s local police departments and the State Police, an

Rate of staff COVID cases in N.J. schools drops for the 1st time since October

For the first time since October, the rates of coronavirus cases reported within New Jersey’s schools has fallen, as the omicron tsunami shows signs of receding. Staff rates dropped from 58.55 cases per 1,000 during the week ending Jan. 2, to 49.33 cases per 1,000 during the week ending Jan. 9. It’s the first time staff rates have declined since the end of October, as overall cases statewide also start to decline from record-high numbers in the past several weeks. Student cases, however, are c

School staff COVID cases quadrupled over winter break. These 11 counties are being hit the hardest.

School staff case rates of the coronavirus nearly quadrupled during the holiday break, as schools across New Jersey struggled to remain open for in-person learning. Staff rates jumped between the weeks ending Dec. 19 and Jan. 2, from 12.04 cases per 1,000 to 58.49 cases per 1,000, the state coronavirus dashboard shows. Student cases also spiked during that time; case rates went from 7.79 per 1,000 students before the holidays to 24.84 during winter break. Nearly one third of New Jersey schools

81-year-old thrown from ambulance when it crashed into bridge, police say

An 81-year-old man was injured when he was thrown from the back of an ambulance after it crashed into a bridge, Edison police said. The man sustained serious injuries to his wrist during the Saturday night crash, police said. The ambulance crashed into the underside of a train bridge on Parsonage Road in Edison, which it was too short to fit under. The box of the ambulance was partially detached from the front of it, which caused the man to be ejected, police said. Police said the man was awak

ShopRite employee was stabbed 13 times by coworker, police say

A ShopRite employee is accused of stabbing her coworker 13 times with a foot-long kitchen knife after an argument, an arrest report says. Melissa Prince, 57, of Edison, was arrested Sunday afternoon after stabbing a co-worker more than a dozen times in the deli section of the Clark ShopRite, police said. Prince was seen on the store’s security cameras walking up behind the coworker, who is not named, as the coworker stood at a sink, police said. Prince stood closely behind the coworker and the

Here’s the growing list of N.J. schools switching to virtual learning or half days due to COVID

Schools across New Jersey have switched to virtual learning following winter breaks, as COVID cases continue to spike causing staffing shortages. Districts in at least 18 different counties have temporarily gone remote instead of returning students to classrooms this January. Some districts closed on Monday to give educators time to plan, while others announced multi-week closures.

Middlesex County school closings, schedule changes due to snow for Monday, Jan. 3, 2022

A winter storm expected to bring up to 12 inches of snow to parts of New Jersey through Monday afternoon has led Monmouth County districts to announce school closures and other schedule changes for Jan. 3. Many school districts throughout the state already temporarily switched to virtual learning or planned for half-days after the winter break due to a record-breaking spike in COVID cases. However, state law prohibits schools from having a single virtual day due to the weather and have it coun

Speeds reduced on Parkway, N.J. Turnpike due to snowstorm

Speed restrictions are in effect on several major New Jersey highways Monday morning, as the first major snow storm of the season makes for a messy commute. The winter storm is expected to dump up to 12 inches of snow across southern New Jersey, with “near blizzard conditions” expected. The snow began before 6 a.m., with up to 2 inches per hour expected during the heaviest snowfall. • None How much snow will you get? Click our map to check any town. The snow will likely not reach much of North

Gov. Murphy seeking extension of some COVID emergency powers as cases, hospitalizations spike. That includes masks in school.

Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday he has asked the state Legislature to extend some of his remaining COVID-19 emergency powers in New Jersey, including mask mandates in schools, for 90 days — a request he said is needed to battle skyrocketing case counts and hospitalizations. “Look, this omicron tsunami has changed the game yet again,” Murphy said Monday during his latest coronavirus briefing, which was held virtually after First Lady Tammy Murphy tested positive for the virus. “We cannot summ

Rapid COVID tests are hard to come by. So why is there a shortage in N.J.?

When I needed a coronavirus test after an exposure about ten days before Christmas, it was easy: I went to the CVS down the road and grabbed two boxes, containing three tests total. It was still that simple two days later, when I threw two more boxes of tests into my shopping cart, alongside a cut of prime rib and some potatoes for mashing, so I could take a rapid test before a family party. And then, five days before Christmas, when a friend asked where he could find a test, they were gone. I

7 reasons the New Jersey Devils need a hockey dog, and why it should be my pup Ollie

I don’t really know all that much about hockey. I have called it “soccer on ice” more than once and recently said the Seattle Kraken could probably be my favorite team solely because a Kraken is an insane idea for a team name. And I love when sports teams have cheesy social media presences (yes I love Gritty). So when it became “a thing” that hockey teams could have their own dogs, well, that got my attention. It would be way cuter if they let the dogs actually play the hockey, a la the Puppy B

$2M Powerball ticket sold in N.J. as jackpot goes unclaimed

A $2 million Powerball lottery ticket was sold in New Jersey for Monday night’s drawing, as the jackpot remains unclaimed. The ticket was sold at Little Store at 1503-1507 Clinton Ave., South Plainfield The ticket was one of two that matched all five white balls and the Power Play number, with the other sold in Florida. A ticket worth $1 million was also sold in Florida. Lottery officials have not yet said where in New Jersey the $2 million ticket was sold. The winning numbers were 36, 38, 4

The 24 thoughts I had while visiting the new Jon Bon Jovi rest stop

Only in New Jersey would there be a Jon Bon Jovi Service Area — partially because he is from New Jersey and not somewhere else, but also because I’m not sure any other state would be hip enough to name a rest stop after their second-biggest rock star (there is no Springsteen Service Area). “This is about putting New Jersey greatness on full display,” Gov. Phil Murphy said when he announced the renaming of nine rest stops along the Parkway, all in honor of New Jersey Hall of Fame inductees. It

In-school COVID cases rise before winter break. See which counties are hit the hardest.

In-school cases of the coronavirus continued to rise in New Jersey the week before Christmas, continuing a multi-week spike in cases. Staff cases increased nearly 60% between Dec. 13 and Dec. 19, while student cases rose 33% in the same period. There were 7,719 student cases and 2,092 staff during the week ending Dec. 19. That’s 7.79 cases per 1,000 students and 12.04 cases per 1,000 staff members. Those numbers don’t include all districts, with about 40% of schools not reporting any data. Th
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