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June 22, 2014 | By Tricia L. Nadolny, Inquirer Staff Writer
BALTIMORE - A Methodist church panel on Friday weighed whether to reinstate Frank Schaefer, the Pennsylvania pastor defrocked after he officiated at his gay son's wedding, with some members making clear they questioned the penalty's legality under church law. During the hearing, the members grilled the pastor who prosecuted Schaefer's case about the punishment and how it was imposed, including whether Schaefer, of Lebanon, Pa., could be disciplined for...
NEWS
June 22, 2014 | By Jonathan Tamari, Inquirer Washington Bureau
WASHINGTON - Gov. Christie affirmed his "pro-life" views before a gathering of religious conservatives here Friday, reaching out to a vocal Republican bloc on an issue he rarely emphasizes in New Jersey. But as he spoke to religious voters who can be influential in GOP presidential primaries, Christie also tied his views to causes with middle-ground appeal, saying that valuing life also means taking a less-punitive approach to drug addiction and boosting education for all children. "I believe if you're pro-life, as I am, you need to be pro-life for the whole life," Christie told about 400 conservative activists at a conference hosted by the Faith and Freedom Coalition.
NEWS
June 21, 2014 | By Don Sapatkin, Inquirer Staff Writer
Americans' treacherous relationship with prescription painkillers and other drugs appears to be worsening, with fatal overdoses up 7 percent in one year, according to new federal statistics. Deaths increased at double the national rate in New Jersey, and triple in Pennsylvania. In 2011, for the first time, drug-related deaths topped 1,000 in New Jersey and 2,000 in Pennsylvania. More than 41,000 people died nationwide. Despite the increase, New Jersey's drug poisoning rate remained well below the national average, placing it 36th out of the 50 states plus the District of Columbia.
NEWS
June 21, 2014 | By Clark Mindock, Inquirer Staff Writer
A mist of white chalk sprang from the hands of David Praiss as he dropped a barbell into a shoulder-high stand Thursday morning. He had just come back up from a squatting position when his knees nearly touched his bright-orange "Genuine Jersey" T-shirt - meaning the state, not the fabric. He had 120 kilograms, or 265 pounds, of weight on his shoulders. As many champions do, Praiss pumped his arms in the air while cheers engulfed him inside Kendall Hall at the College of New Jersey in Ewing.
NEWS
June 21, 2014 | By Sandy Bauers, Inquirer Staff Writer
By July 2015, all home heating oil sold in Philadelphia would have to meet new sulfur limits unanimously passed Thursday by City Council. The limits would "make a tangible difference in the health of our citizens" by improving air quality, said Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown, who sponsored the measure. It now goes to Mayor Nutter, who is expected to sign it. The bill was intended to put the city in alignment with sulfur standards in surrounding states - so the city would not become a dumping ground for dirtier fuel - but the timetable actually moves the city to the forefront.
NEWS
June 20, 2014 | By Don Sapatkin, Inquirer Staff Writer
Americans' treacherous relationship with prescription painkillers and other drugs appears to be worsening, with fatal overdoses up 7 percent in one year - and twice that rate of increase in New Jersey and triple in Pennsylvania, according to new federal statistics. Drug-related deaths for the first time topped 1,000 in New Jersey and 2,000 in Pennsylvania in 2011; more than 41,000 died nationwide. Despite the increase, New Jersey's drug poisoning rate remained well below the national average, placing it 36th out of 50 states and the District of Columbia.
NEWS
June 19, 2014 | By Andrew Seidman, Inquirer Staff Writer
TRENTON - Academy Award-winner Meryl Streep has teamed up with New Jersey lawmakers to rally behind the beleaguered elephant - and she hopes Gov. Christie takes notice. The Legislature on Monday sent Christie a bill that would ban the sale, purchase, or possession of ivory and rhinoceros horn. Streep, a winner of three Oscars who has starred in movies including Sophie's Choice and Out of Africa , ramped up the pressure on the Republican governor in a statement Tuesday to the Humane Society of the United States.
NEWS
June 17, 2014 | By Jan Hefler, Inquirer Staff Writer
As a girl growing up in Galloway Township, just outside Atlantic City, Cierra Kaler-Jones was wowed by the beauty pageant queens who visited her elementary school after they won. "All the little girls dreamed of being Miss America - you look at the crown, and the sash, and the glamor and think it's the end-all deal," she said. But as the newly crowned Miss New Jersey, the Rutgers University student said she now understands the role is much more. "It's about working for your community . . . and being intelligent and a mentor to others," she said in an interview Sunday, a day after she captured the title at the Ocean City Music Pier.
NEWS
June 15, 2014 | By Jonathan Lai, Inquirer Staff Writer
The uninvited guest showed up Thursday afternoon with a bang, popping a child's ball in the backyard and then breaking a red bird feeder. Evesham had a bear. "We've been getting reports since last night about sightings . . . basically just walking around, hasn't been aggressive," Capt. Walt Miller, a spokesman for the Evesham Police Department, said Friday. Still, the sight of a large black bear - one resident estimated its weight at 400 pounds - had the neighbors talking. The bear "tossed trash cans around, had a nice lunch" Friday, said Russ Mogell, who for two years has lived in the Sanctuary development, tucked away in the woods.
NEWS
June 14, 2014 | By Andrew Seidman and Jonathan Lai, Inquirer Staff Writers
TRENTON - New Jersey lawmakers voted Thursday to amend Senate President Stephen Sweeney's proposal to expand Rutgers University's board of governors, a day after the Legislature's counsel warned that it might not withstand a court challenge. The board's chairman, Gerald C. Harvey, said that he initially viewed the amendments "as proactive" but that they continue to address a nonexistent problem. In the latest twist in Sweeney's continuing battle to reshape Rutgers' leadership, the senator told reporters that it was Harvey who recommended the changes.
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