Regional Briefs – December 25, 2019

13 More Bears Killed as New Jersey Concludes Black Bear Hunt

(AP) – Thirteen bears were killed last week as New Jersey finally concluded the second phase of its black bear hunt, according to state wildlife officials

The hunt initially was scheduled for six days and ended Dec. 14, with 37 bears being culled overall. But it was extended for four more days because the harvest objectives for the year had not been met, and the hunt resumed Thursday.

New Jersey’s bear management policy mandates that the hunting season be extended by four days if less than 20% of tagged bears are killed. The harvest rate for the season stood at 14.7% when the decision to extend the hunt was made, marking the third consecutive year that the hunt has been prolonged.

That harvest rate is deemed necessary to provide better ecological balance to the bear population and reduce the potential for bear-human encounters.

Bus Driver Pleads in Crash That Killed Teacher, Student

MORRISTOWN, N.J. (AP) — A school bus driver has pleaded guilty in a New Jersey crash last year that killed a teacher and a fifth-grade student.

Hudy Muldrow Sr., 79, entered pleas Monday in Superior Court in Morristown to reckless vehicular homicide, assault by auto and child endangerment. Prosecutors agreed to recommend a 10-year sentence as part of an agreement that included dismissal of 20 additional charges of assault by auto.

The Woodland Park resident was charged following the May 2018 crash on Route 80 in Mount Olive, which occurred as he was driving students on a field trip.

State police said that he tried to make an illegal U-turn on the highway and that the bus carrying 44 people was broadsided by a dump truck and broke apart.

Bloomberg Axes Company Using Prisoners for Campaign Calls

WASHINGTON (AP) — Democratic presidential contender Michael Bloomberg cut ties with a contractor that used prisoners to make calls for his presidential campaign, he said in a statement Tuesday.

The former New York mayor said that his campaign was unaware of the arrangement until a reporter sought comment. Earlier Tuesday, online news site The Intercept reported that Bloomberg’s campaign contracted a New Jersey-based call center company that, in at least one instance, used Oklahoma inmates to make calls on behalf of the billionaire’s campaign.