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AHH 24-Hr. News

Cheaper Crude and Winter-Blends Mean Less Expensive Gas for Motorists
Friday, 19 September 2014
The Week Monday marked the beginning of the yearly transition to winter-blended fuel.  Starting on September 15, retailers can begin selling a... Read More...
IMAGE Guilty Plea in Fatal Fort Plains Road Crash
Friday, 19 September 2014
Fatal Crash Took the Life of One Passenger, Injured Another FREEHOLD, NJ -  A Howell man pleaded guilty Friday afternoon to charges related to... Read More...
IMAGE Holmdel Man Sentenced to Two Years Probation for Secretly Recording Women
Friday, 19 September 2014
Man Admitted in June He Secretly Used Cellphone to Record Under Victim’s Skirts FREEHOLD, NJ - A Holmdel man who admitted earlier this year he... Read More...
Stolen Immigration Forms Used to Obtain NJ Driver's Licenses
Friday, 19 September 2014
NEWARK, NJ—A former contract employee for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) was sentenced today to 26 months in prison for stealing... Read More...
FilmOneFest Movie Premier – Meet the Young Cast Members from Infinitely Polar Bear
Friday, 19 September 2014
Atlantic Highlands, NJ - On September 21 at 2pm, the Atlantic Highlands Arts Council’s FilmOneFest presents Infinitely Polar Bear, starring Mark... Read More...

Columns

IMAGE Living in the Daily Tensions
by George Hancock-Stefan
Friday, 19 September 2014
I am currently reading the book of the great prophet Jeremiah. He lived in the time when the Babylonians conquered the nation of Israel.  While... Read More...
IMAGE Skewed View - September 19, 2014
by Tom Brennan
Friday, 19 September 2014
Woman gets outbid on her "dream home" turns it into a nightmare as she plays pranks on the couple who outbid her.  http://abcn.ws/YRFfKS... Read More...
IMAGE The Secret of Old Age
by Anne Mikolay
Thursday, 18 September 2014
Facebook is a playground for adults. You can find pretty much anything there. While some folks share political commentary, others post inspirational... Read More...
IMAGE Romney Seems Ready for Another Run
by Dennis
Thursday, 18 September 2014
For the past several weeks, the media and the Republican Party have been abuzz with talk related to a most unexpected of topics: former Massachusetts... Read More...
IMAGE Uncertain Trumpet-Call
by Woody Zimmerman
Tuesday, 16 September 2014
On the idle hill of summer,Sleepy with the flow of streams,Far I hear the steady drummerDrumming like a noise in dreams.Far and near and low and... Read More...

Upcoming Events

Mon Sep 22 @ 7:00PM -
Flute/Guitar Classical Duo
Wed Sep 24 @ 9:30AM - 10:00AM
Baby Story Time Ages 10 – 24 months
Wed Sep 24 @10:30AM - 10:50AM
Toddler Story Time Ages 2 & 3
Thu Sep 25 @ 9:00AM - 11:00AM
Middletown Mayor Open Office Hours
Thu Sep 25 @ 3:15PM -
Fall Story Time - AH Library

It’s Sunshine Week, that time of year we reflect on the importance of government transparency and how critical it is to our democracy. Much of the conversation during Sunshine Week focuses on the failure of government to be open and transparent. Citizens, Journalists, and Reform groups use this time to highlight how we can expand our current rights and combat government secrecy.

This attention is sorely needed, citizens across the New Jersey are often forced into countless hours in court or before the Government Records Council (GRC) just to get access to the most basic documents like budget data and meeting minutes. We have all seen or heard these stories, local governments operating behind closed doors, in the shadows.

And while we must continue to fight for strengthening the Sunshine Law and for expanded access to information, it is also important to remember why we fight for this information and what we do with it.

James Madison, whose birthday commemorates Sunshine Week, once said, “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own Governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives.” During Madison’s time he and his colleagues took to writing pamphlets to inform their neighbors of important issues facing our nation.

Today’s modern day pamphleteers are the bloggers and citizen journalists in city hall, covering the budget meetings and planning board hearings. We must arm these citizen journalists with the knowledge and tools to make a difference in our towns, school districts, and even the state government.

With local news bureaus shuttering, there has never been a more urgent time for citizens to step up to the plate. Go to your next local meeting and take a look around the room, how many reporters are covering the meeting? You are lucky if there is one.

Imagine what would happen if each of us followed the lead of citizens like Union County’s Tina Renna, who became a citizen journalist and reports to the public how the county’s tax dollars are being spent. Or citizens like Camden County’s Bob Shinn and John Tremble, who use public information to identify and implement best practices for cutting government waste. These three citizens alone have uncovered millions in wasteful government spending – now imagine what would happen if we each chipped and did our part.

So while we continue to expand access to government information, we must also be working to expand the pool of citizen leaders and citizen journalists like Tina, Bob and John – teaching people how to access information and use it to chart a smarter course for government.

Think back to those days, weeks, and months after Superstorm Sandy, we saw first-hand how having access to timely and relevant information is critical.

By using the Open Public Records Act, citizens can monitor how tax dollars are being spent to clean up debris. And through the Open Public Meetings Act, or Sunshine Law, citizens can sit on planning meeting to ensure that our shore towns are rebuilt with the infrastructure in place to withstand another Superstorm Sandy.

That is why we continue to educate citizens on how to constructively use the information they gather through the OPRA process. For example, on April 1, we will be training citizens how to cover news through new forms of media(thecitizenscampaign.org/new_media_post_sandy).

With access to information, citizens are able to constructively participate in the process and give feedback or offer best practices. And the more informed discussions we have, the better off our state will be. 
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Follow The Citizens Campaign on Facebook and Twitter! Visit our websiteTheCitizensCampaign.org for free tools and training!