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State Health Dept. Promoting Flu Vaccination

NEWARK MAYOR INSISTS HE DIDN'T HIDE LEAD PROBLEM

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Comparing Newark's lead problem to Flint's (as the The New York Times did last week) is "BS," according to Mayor Ras Baraka. The city has reported elevated lead levels in its drinking water since 2017. Responding to allegations that the city spent months downplaying the issue, Baraka said he didn't know it was a "widespread problem" until last month, when a report found the city's corrosion control treatment was no longer working to create a protective barrier inside old pipes to prevent lead from leaching into the water. While city officials have never denied there were elevated levels of lead in its drinking water, a message posted to the city's website in April read: "Newark's water is absolutely safe to drink." That message has been deleted. (NJ Advance Media)

CHRISTIE IN THE RUNNING FOR NEXT ATTORNEY GENERAL

Former Gov. Chris Christie is being considered to replace Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General. Sessions was forced out on Wednesday, a day after the midterm elections. President Trump named Sessions' chief of staff, Matthew Whitaker, as the acting attorney general. No decisions on Sessions' successor are expected soon, and the list of those being considered—which also includes Rudy Giuliani, outgoing Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, and former Attorney General William Barr—is likely to grow. (CBS News)

MURPHY SIGNS BILL BANNING 3-D GUNS AND 'GHOST GUNS'

In a ceremony in Trenton on Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill (S-2465)that outlaws 3-D printable guns and "ghost guns." These firearms are largely untraceable because they lack serial numbers: they are assembled using parts bought or printed, often via the Internet. The new law criminalizes purchasing these parts, making a printable gun or distributing designs for one, and manufacturing, selling or possessing either a “covert” firearm (disguised to resemble other objects) or an “undetectable” firearm, which is made of a material not recognizable by a metal detector. (North Jersey.com)

NJ HOSPITALS TOPS RANKINGS FOR SAFETY, LEAPFROG SAYS

More than three-dozen New Jersey hospitals received the top rating in the latest semiannual Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades report, released Thursday, which means New Jersey has the highest percentage of “A” ratings nationwide. East Orange General Hospital, which had not been graded in three years, earned the only F, and University Hospital in Newark earned the only D, up from an F in the fall survey. The state-funded hospital is now operating under a monitor: the state identified a number of serious infection control deficiencies following a bacterial outbreak that infected four infants. (NJ Spotlight)

COMMERCIAL TOWNSHIP TO GET BACK $910K IN STATE AID

The Commercial Township school district lost nearly $1 million in state aid this year. Now, thanks to emergency aid announced by the Department of Education, it will see that money come back into its coffers. The department approved $6.8 million in emergency aid late last week for 13 districts. Some "overfunded" districts have lost funding due to the school funding formula law that was signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy in July. (Press of Atlantic City)

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