Mark Di Ionno

September 6, 2019

His name, like the names of his victims, is nearly forgotten.  But what Howard Unruh did 70 years ago today in Camden, N.J. foreshadowed the insanity of mass shootings we live with today. Insanity is the operative word here. From lockdown drills in nursery schools to bullet resistant ...

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The boy struggled with a cart filled with beach stuff as he dragged it down the boardwalk. It was fish-tailing behind him and I almost told him to push rather than pull, but decided to mind my own business. I was pushing a small load myself, my sleeping grandson in a stroller. He was with a girl ...

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Let's talk about our rights and our freedoms. How many were free to shop at a Wal-Mart last two Sundays ago without fear that El Paso copycat would announce himself with the staccato fire of an AR-15? You saw the stampede in the theater district in New York City when a motorcycle backfired.

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What I’ve learned in my travels to Europe and South America in the last couple of years is how refreshing it is to get away from English. Not being able to understand the banter of language around you is a chance to luxuriate in your own thoughts. You are in a crowd, but not part of it, free of ...

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The 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11 commemorates the single greatest achievement in the history of mankind. In our world of rankings, I don’t think anyone can argue the point. A man walked on the moon. A member of species earthbound for thousands upon thousands of years, left footprints on ...

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As you watch the rockets glare and bombs burst into the New Jersey skies this weekend, share this little bit of Jerseyana with the people on the blanket or lawn chairs next to you. The first “fireworks” display to celebrate the anniversary of the Declaration of Independence was ordered by George ...

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The art deco movement in architecture came to Newark in a big way in the early years of The Depression, just as it did across the river.  Radio City Music Hall, Rockefeller Center, the Empire State and Chrysler buildings are all shining bronze and marble examples of the movement, and the ...

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My walk to high school in Summit each day took me past a large brick compound called the New England Village Garden Apartments.  The buildings were rectangular and, except for white Colonial door mantels, they were otherwise nondescript. The village was filled with older people, who wanted to ...

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The mansion on North Broad Street in Elizabeth is out of the Gilded Age, the classic kind you see on Bernardsville Mountain, tucked away in Short Hills or on the Watchung ridge roads of Upper Montclair. Its architect, C.H.P. Gilbert, built some of the grandest townhomes on Manhattan’s Upper West ...

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This weekend we gather to lay wreaths and pay homage to the men and women who died in our wars, to create or preserve our way of life. Some are buried in all corners of the world, from Normandy to Okinawa. They have died for us over a 244-period, from Bunker Hill in 1775 to faraway Afghanistan ...

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For most of my life the only time I saw a red fox it was probably a raccoon. They have those same glow-in-the-headlights silvery eyes. But a few years ago, I began to see a once-rare piece of roadkill with greater frequency. No matter how flattened the rest of the fox was, it’s bushy-tail would ...

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I subscribe to the “Falling Safe” philosophy of life. A person walks down a city street, perhaps inexplicably happy or modestly content, or maybe consumed by the routines of their day or bothered by life’s little annoyances. High above them, in the upper reaches of a skyscraper under ...

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The murder of Samantha Josephson by a man she trusted to be an Uber driver, is yet another tragic reminder that when we send our kids off to college these days, the elation of watching them ascend into adult life is tempered by fear for their safety. Claudia Patterson dropped her son Kenny off ...

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Connectivity – a doublespeak word if there ever was one. It is, in fact, dis-connectivity. Life through devices makes us not present in our immediate world and takes us outside of ourselves and into the world of entertainment, sports, social media, etc. My favorite is the commercial for some ...

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Why would they all leave? It’s the question to which I know the answer to, but still find it incomprehensible when I see the rugged beauty and enjoy the simple lifestyle of Southern Italy even for a too-short vacation.  They left to find work. They left for the promise of America, and the ...

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I like Gov. Phil Murphy, but he's making a liar out of me. Me and millions of parents. For a couple of generations now, mothers and fathers have been warning children about the dangers of pot smoking. Now the governor comes along and tells them there is no Santa Claus. I’ve been warning my ...

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Luis Da Silva, Jr., says he got his start in a “two by four” backyard in Elizabeth, where he would spend hours with just a basketball.  “It was a rough neighborhood and my mother didn’t want me down at the basketball courts,” Da Silva said. In those lonely hours of dribbling and inventing ...

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NJ Spotlight, an online news site dedicated to covering state government and doing in-depth analysis of public policy and its aftershocks, has been acquired by WNET, the Public Broadcasting Service operator of NJTV. Together, NJ Spotlight and NJTV, will form a multi-platform news service ...

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You’ve got to love Newark Mayor Ras Baraka’s latest move in the continuing marathon to lure Amazon’s second headquarters to his city. The mayor wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post, the newspaper owned by Amazon gazillionare Jeff Bezos. In it, he makes yet another pitch for Newark, and thereby ...

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So, the kid who went viral in that Lincoln Memorial confrontation is suing the Washington Post. Good. That might sound strange coming from a journalist. But what is happening to people like Nicholas Sandmann, the kid with the smirk on his face and the MAGA hat on his head, isn’t ...

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For a dozen years I was a news columnist at the state’s largest newspaper and in the decade prior to that, I was its editor in charge of all local news. I semi-retired from that company in December and wrote a farewell column expressing gratitude for being able to make a living doing something I ...

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