New Jersey

Earlier this year, when her father was in the final stages of lung and liver cancer, Eva Vega-Olds spoke to him for the final time. Leonardo Vega, 73, had been in hospice care at his home in New Jersey, so weak that he could barely muster the strength to answer his daughter's questions.

But still, Eva asked them — and took the opportunity to tell her father what he meant to her. And she recorded the conversation for StoryCorps, using her smartphone.

On a cold, blustery day at Port Elizabeth in New Jersey, one of several massive cranes whirs along a rail high above the pier, picks up a heavy container from a ship's deck and loads it on a waiting truck back on land. The truck drives away, another arrives, and the whole process starts again.

It's a scene played out every day along America's coasts as massive container ships from across the globe pull into deep-water seaports, waiting to be unloaded. The ships are enormous — some 10 stories high and several football fields long.

Around The Nation: Pot, Gambling And GMOs On The Election Ballot

Oct 4, 2013
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In Colorado, voters will consider a huge tax hike on newly legal marijuana. New Yorkers could expand gambling. And Washington voters are in the midst of a multimillion-dollar campaign over the labeling of genetically modified foods.

A New Jersey judge says the state must allow gay couples to marry, because the current system of civil unions is unconstitutional.

To deny couples the right to marry runs afoul the New Jersey constitution and the equal protection guarantee of the U.S. Constitution, the court found.

Reuters reports:

"Judge Mary Jacobson in Mercer County Superior Court in Trenton issued the order as part of long-running litigation brought by a group of gay couples against the state.

Officials said a fire that raged along the famous boardwalk in the New Jersey Shore last week was caused by faulty electrical wiring likely damaged by last year's Hurricane Sandy.

The Newark Star-Ledger reports:

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said a wind-swept fire that started Thursday and burned through the state's iconic boardwalk destroyed "generations of memories," but vowed that the state would rebuild.

A fire that started in an ice cream shop is spreading elsewhere along New Jersey's famous boardwalk in Seaside Park.

News video shows the boardwalk — located in an area that had just been rebuilt after it was destroyed by Superstorm Sandy nearly a year ago — clouded by thick smoke.

Seaside Heights Police Chief Thomas Boyd tells The Star-Ledger the fire spread to adjacent structures around 2:30 p.m.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie continues to eschew convention: The Associated Press reports that he will sign a bill banning therapy that seeks to turn gay teens straight.

The AP adds:

"In a signing note accompanying the bill that will be made public Monday, Christie said he believes people are born gay and that homosexuality is not a sin. ...

A 19-year Army veteran was given a summons and told to leave the oceanside boardwalk in North Wildwood, N.J., Thursday, after a police officer refused to accept the presence of the veteran's service dog. Jared Goering says it was the first vacation for him and his wife, Sally, in years.

The 16 women and men who won more than $86 million in last week's Powerball drawing validated their ticket and posed with a gigantic check Monday. The group, which calls itself "Ocean's 16," famously worked at the Ocean County Vehicle Maintenance Department the day after they learned they would become millionaires.

"Lottery officials say each will get about $3.8 million after taxes," the AP reports.

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