It’s Chris Christie’s last day in office — here’s how he became the least popular governor in New Jersey history

Eliza Relman, provided by Published 8:28 am, Tuesday, January 16, 2018 AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, once a star in the Republican Party with a nearly 80% approval rating, will leave office on Tuesday as the least popular governor in his state's history. Christie began his seven-year tenure in office as a big-tent Republican, viewed by many across the aisle as a tough straight-talker. Following the destruction of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, his approval rating surged into the high 70s and he won reelection by a landslide in 2013. Once unafraid to diverge from party orthodoxy, Christie has in recent years tacked right, running for president on a conservative platform and endorsing a president widely despised among New Jerseyans. After several scandals, including the criminal convictions of two of his top aides, and a failed 2016 presidential bid, Christie has just a 14% approval rating and is widely disliked in his own state and party. Here is the series of events that led to Christie's decline:  LATEST BUSINESS VIDEOS Now Playing: Now Playing Ford Ranger Returns to US After 8 Years Away AP Tired of Folding Your Clothes? This Robot Will Do It for You Wibbitz FOX Business Beat: Dunkin' without the 'Donuts’, major auto recall Fox5DC Ford Introduces New Pickup, SUV, Mustang AP Boeing Unveils New Spy Plane Design 'Son Of Blackbird' Buzz60 Boeing Unveils New Spy Plane Design 'Son Of Blackbird' Veuer Mar-a-Lago, President Trump's 'Winter White House,' Has Been Cited for Poor Maintenance TMTime Introducing the Nissan Xmotion Concept Design Bridging Tradition and Technology - Detroit AutomotoTV Honda Accord Named North American Car of Year AP Bridgegate Mel Evans (Associated Press) In 2013, two lanes on the New York-New Jersey George Washington Bridge were ordered closed for several days, paralyzing the town of Fort Lee. A subsequent investigation found that Christie's office ordered Continue Reading

3 Years After Hurricane Sandy, Is New York Prepared for the Next Great Storm?

In the days after Superstorm Sandy hit New York City in 2012, the parking lot at Beach 95th Street in the Rockaways was a commons for the dispossessed. A large crowd milled about the New York Police Department light tower, where people could charge their cell phones and preserve their link to the outside world. An even larger group stood in line waiting for trucks carrying relief supplies to pull into the lot; one end of the lot was piled with huge timbers ripped from the boardwalk and thrown into the street by a raging sea. All across the Rockaways—a narrow peninsula on the city’s far southeastern edge that juts precariously into the Atlantic Ocean—the air hummed with generators, the streets were caked with sand, and cars were scattered across parking lots like toys. In the late-autumn gloom, people spoke ominously of what it felt like when the sun went down on a peninsula without lights. Nearly three years later, on a Thursday in August with the Atlantic hurricane season ramping up, the same parking lot was bathed in sunshine as beachgoers threw towels over their shoulders, grabbed their coolers, and headed for the sound of crashing waves. On their way, they passed a table set up by the city’s Office of Emergency Management offering flood maps, hurricane-survival tips, and a coloring book in which a dinosaur, an octopus, and an anthropomorphized boom-box talk about disaster preparedness. Few bathers seemed interested in the brochures as beach reading. After all, beyond the dunes, the ocean looked anything but menacing—a gleaming stretch of blue that bore tanker ships across the horizon and bounced children on gentle waves at its edge. Veteran surfers surfed; kiters kited from the sand; and bikers biked on the boardwalk, past funky beachside restaurants selling beer and barbecue sandwiches. It was the kind of scene that has made the Rockaways a much more popular place to visit—and even move to—after Sandy than it ever was Continue Reading

Hurricane Sandy hits New York City in 2012

(Originally published by the Daily News on October 30, 2012. This story was written by Matt Lysiak, Kerry Burke, Corky Siemaszko, and Tracy Connor.) Hurricane Sandy gave a terrifying preview of its fury Monday, knocking over a high-rise crane in the heart of Manhattan hours before the storm was even slated to make landfall. The massive shaft of the 850-foot crane swayed in the air some 70 stories over W. 57th St. —triggering a huge emergency response even as the city braced for historic flooding and power outages from an expected 11-foot storm surge. Buildings near the unfinished condo skyscraper were being evacuated, but emergency workers said high winds would prevent them from securing the crane, which was plagued by problem seven before the storm. Food vendor Tony Twitty, 40, said he saw the machinery snap at 2:30 p.m. “The crane was waving in the wind,” he said. “The neck started to break up. You could hear the crunching of metal. “It’s gonna come down,” he said. “It’s definitely gonna come down.” There were no injuries in the collapse at One57, a dizzying tower that will be 90 stories tall and boast a $90 million penthouse duplex. The mishap was the most dramatic sign of Sandy’s power as the storm churned up the East Coast—but not the only one. Streets were flooded and tens of thousands had no electricity. The major bridges were closed. And all that before Sandy was expected to roar ashore in northern New Jersey. “The worst of the storm has not yet hit us,” Gov. Cuomo said at an afternoon briefing, surrounded by National Guard troops while the power flickered on and off. As night approached, it was still unclear how much damage Mother Nature’s monster would ultimately inflict on a city paralyzed for two days. But things will not even start getting back to normal until Wednesday at the earliest, with schools, subways and the Continue Reading

Recovery from Hurricane Sandy prompts new projects and fresh customers in New Jersey’s waterfront cities

Two days after Superstorm Sandy slammed the New York region, the developer of the Madox, a new rental building in downtown Jersey City, was scheduled to have its final construction inspection. Four feet of rainwater had flooded the building, and the owner, Fields Development Group, would later realize that ice makers in the apartments were leaking, warping hardwood floors. The building lost power for about a week and a half. James Caulfield, a partner at Fields Development Group, remembers pushing back the inspection date by 45 days. The 12 renters who had already signed leases were thrown into disarray. Half would relocate to other buildings, and the other half would scrap their commitments in the wake of the storm. Fields Development regrouped, discounting rents as much as 4%. The company spent around $45,000 for a new generator to prevent another disaster. But almost a year after the storm, the 122-unit Madox is more than 95% occupied. Rents have climbed back up, with studios starting at $1,700 and three-bedrooms going as high as $4,900 per month. Fields Development is now planning for the second phase of the Madox across the street, on a brownfield about to undergo an environmental cleanup. Fields is also at work on a 59-unit rental in northwest Hoboken. Sandy inundated Jersey City and Hoboken as bad as anywhere. The surge crested at 6 feet, soaking thousands of properties. But not long after the waters receded, real estate hunters began flooding back into Jersey’s Gold Coast. The only thing rising now are home prices and rents. “The way these cities have bounced back, it’s given customers we’ve seen assurances that we’ll be prepared for the next storm,” Caulfield said. “Anything that’s decently priced is moving.” The market froze for about 30 days after the storm, but by the end of 2012, renters and buyers began clamoring to get into new Continue Reading

Message in a bottle discovered 50 years later after Sandy unearths it in New Jersey shore town of Seaside Heights

A New Jersery man has discovered what happened to a message in a bottle he hurled into the ocean - 50 years ago! As a 12-year-old, Dennis Komsa often carried out scientific experiments with his father and one day decided to write a note on a piece of paper, put it into a glass jar and toss it into the Atlantic Ocean in Seaside Heights. He hoped that one day it would be returned to him, along with the answers filled out to the questions he had asked. That was on Saturday Aug. 16, 1963, and much to his surprise the bottle was found last November — a half-century later and about two-tenths of a mile away from where it was thrown in. The bottle was found by Norman Stanton, while he was picking through debris outside his sister's home shortly after Hurricane Sandy devastated the New Jersey coast. Stanton, 53, told Asbury Park Press: "It looked like it was meant to be found." And so he kept it. The note had written on it in capital letters: "TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN, PLEASE FILL OUT THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS AND MAIL. "THIS IS A SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENT BY DENNIS KOMSA, AGE 12." The questions read: "WHERE WAS THE JAR FOUND? WHEN WAS IT FOUND? HOW WAS IT FOUND? AND ANYTHING ELSE WHICH MIGHT HELP ME?" Komsa included his address in nearby Patterson and five cents for the finder to buy a stamp. Although the discovery was made last year, Komsa, now 61 and living in Hillsborough, N.J., was only reunited with his boyhood jar and letter when he attended a luncheon Saturday in honor of the borough's 100th birthday. "Things happen for a reason," Komsa said. "I guess it's good it came to shore. It shows anything is possible." Continue Reading

NY Giants quarterback Eli Manning rode out Hurricane Sandy in waterfront Hoboken, New Jersey apartment

Eli Manning – no stranger to major storms in New Orleans, where he grew up – came back to his New Jersey home just in time to witness Hurricane Sandy’s wrath. “I saw water coming over the Hudson River into the streets. Very quickly a car is completely covered with water, so it can be scary,” Manning said after returning from Dallas, where the Giants escaped with a victory.   “The wind was blowing, the windows were shaking. You hope everything holds up, the windows don't crack.”   RELATED: FOLLOW OUR LIVE COVERAGE OF SANDY'S AFTERMATH   The storm approached so quickly that the two-time Super Bowl MVP didn’t have time to “get out of Dodge.”   So Monday night, he hunkered down in his waterfront Hoboken home with his wife and young daughter checking his windows for cracks and waiting for sunrise.   A picture of him in a red shirt and sweatpants, looking at flooding in the lobby of his building, went viral on the Web, along with rumors of him losing his home. Manning said the windows held up and that the water now was “back where it should be.” His home and family were all fine when the storm settled. Manning's home lost power, and like most players, he has moved to a hotel.   “When you have a young child, it's kind of different. You have to make sure she's well-kept,” Manning said of his toddler. “We have gotten out of Hoboken and are at a hotel where we have power and some other things.”   Manning and his teammates were back at the Giants' training facility on Wednesday and confident they were on schedule getting prepared for Sunday's game against the Steelers at MetLife Stadium.   PHOTOS: HURRICANE SANDY STRIKES THE EAST COAST   “I had a feeling the storms would be bad, so I came in Monday morning and got my film on my computer,” Manning said.  “I had time [Tuesday] to watch a bunch and I feel caught up. I Continue Reading

Dogs from Texas moved to shelters in New Jersey after Hurricane Harvey

MORRISTOWN — A kennel of 78 dogs made the voyage across the country to escape the ravages of Hurricane Harvey and seek shelter in New Jersey and surrounding states on Tuesday.The dogs arrived at Morristown Municipal Airport around 10 p.m. to find a group of volunteers from St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison waiting for them. “I think a lot of us had tears in our eyes when the animals pulled up and the plane pulled up and we heard the barking,” St. Hubert’s President and CEO Heather Cammisa said. “It’s really meaningful. It’s great to see a lot of shelters come together to help the community.”The dogs of various breeds, sizes and ages were already in Texas shelters before Hurricane Harvey dropped more than 50 inches of rain in the Houston area. Relocating those dogs allowed the pets displaced during the hurricane to stay closer to home and help their owners find them, Cammisa said.A white dog named Rosco was the first off the plane on Tuesday followed by the other 77 canines. The dogs were kept in their crates for safety reasons as they were transported out of the plane and into vans to go to various shelters in and out of New Jersey. STORM: Hurricane Harvey remnants to bring rainy Labor Day weekend HARVEY: Pets from Texas looking for foster homes in New Jersey GLEN ROCK: 'Dog friendly' clerks help reunite sartorial pup with ownersThe dogs will go to 12 different shelters in addition to St. Hubert's: Animal Alliance in Belle Mead Animal Welfare Association in Voorhees Delaware Humane Association in Wilmington, Delaware Father John’s Animal House in Lafayette                      Humane Society for Greater Nashua in New Hampshire Monmouth County SPCA in Eatontown Mount Pleasant Animal Shelter in East Hanover New Hampshire SPCA in Stratham, New Hampshire Somerset County Animal Shelter in Continue Reading

Legal fees mount as New Jersey dune battle drags on

Almost four years after Superstorm Sandy devastated New Jersey, an ambitious plan to protect vulnerable areas of the Shore is stalled in the courts amid growing doubts about the state’s ability to pay the long-term costs of the project.Newly released documents reviewed by The Record show taxpayers have already spent more than $4 million in legal fees to battle more than 300 shorefront property owners who want no part of a plan that would erect 25-foot-high dunes along a 14-mile stretch of northern Ocean County that was battered by Sandy.“We can protect ourselves far better than the state can protect us,” said Thacher Brown, one of 14 Bay Head property owners who pooled $2.5 million of their own money after Sandy to rebuild dunes and revetments across the town’s mile-long waterfront. PHOTOS: 10 miles of protected dunes at Island Beach State Park“Why,” asked Brown, “should I sign my property over to a government that can’t even find the money to make basic road and bridge repairs?”A review of the dune project, a joint venture of the state and federal government that was formally launched in mid-2014, shows that costs to build and maintain the massive sand piles will reach nearly $1 billion in the next 50 years. That cost would cover about 22 miles of shoreline, the Ocean County stretch in addition to an 8-mile-segment of beachfront from Atlantic City through the communities of Margate, Ventnor and Longport.Agreements between the state and the Army Corps of Engineers signed two years ago obligate the federal government to pay for about two-thirds of the overall cost. State taxpayers, however, would still have to come up with more than $372 million in an era when New Jersey faces perennial budget shortfalls, a distressed transportation fund and an underfinanced public pension system. DUNES PROJECT: Ocean Co. dune project could start next yearMost of the spending is planned to go not for building the Continue Reading

State of emergency declared in New Jersey

Gov. Chris Christie declared a state of emergency in New Jersey Friday night as a major storm threatened to dump up to two feet of snow on parts of the state and cause flooding at the coast.Christie held a briefing with his Cabinet Friday night and then a news conference, in which he told people to be smart and stay off roadways on Saturday.Most of the state was facing a blizzard warning from Friday evening until Sunday that called for up to 24 inches of snow, with the deepest accumulations in the central part of the state.Postal officials announced a suspension in retail and delivery operations as well as of collection of mail in southern and central New Jersey because of blizzard warnings and hazardous conditions predicted.New Jersey state climatologist David Robinson says back bay flooding and beach erosion at the shore could range from moderate to major, but he doesn’t expect storm surge levels in the northern part of the state to be as bad as they were during superstorm Sandy.He says they might approach becoming as bad as during Sandy at the southern shore, but counties there got less damage than their northern counterparts.Christie said that there is concern over beach erosion, but that there’s nothing that shows the need for wide evacuations and flooding is expected to be limited to street flooding.The snow could fall in some areas at the rate of 1 to 3 inches an hour on Saturday.A coastal flooding warning is in effect from Ocean County south.There are concerns the snow will down trees and wires, causing power outages.Winds gusts along the coast of New Jersey are expected to get up to 70 miles per hour during the day Saturday, according to the National Weather Service at Mount Holly. Winds are considered hurricane force at 75 miles per hour.The organization is calling the blizzard "crippling and potentially historic." Tweet from Gov. Chris ChristieSouth central New Jersey is expected to get the heaviest snowfall during the Continue Reading

Why are these Florida birds in New Jersey?

A Floridian, flamingo-colored bird has drawn the attention of bird watchers throughout the Jersey Shore.A roseate spoonbill, named for its color and the unique shape of its beak, has left its habitat in Florida and Texas and made the Garden State its summer home. See more in the video above.“It’s only one. It’s so out of place,” said Joe Gliozzo, a 56-year-old wildlife photographer from Jackson.To see this southern bird, he drove all the way to Heislerville Wildlife Management Area in Maurice River Township, Cumberland County, for the chance to photograph the animal.Last Saturday, he watched the spoonbill lounge in a tree with egrets. Then, he photographed the bird trying to get comfortable in a bald eagle nest before the eagle urged it away.Local bird enthusiasts have reported seeing the spoonbill in Sedge Island off Island Beach State Park and in Tuckerton as well.It is not the only Floridian bird getting attention in New Jersey. Wood storks, another resident of marshy areas of Florida and Georgia, have been spotted by birders.“Right now with all the storms and everything else, a lot of the inland states are seeing rarities,” said Alyssa Della Fave, an avid birder and environmental scientist who lives in Island Heights.Hurricanes Irma, Harvey and other tropical storms in the Atlantic Ocean have helped push bird varieties that live at sea into areas where they are not normally found, particularly through the Carolinas and Tennessee, she said.But these powerful storms are likely not responsible for driving the spoonbill and wood storks here, Della Fave said.“A lot of the (rare) birds that we’re seeing in New Jersey, unfortunately, aren’t the storm birds that everywhere else is getting," she said. Della Fave said the spoonbill was spotted in New Jersey back in July, before hurricane season was underway. “It’s just one of those years where these southern species Continue Reading