** The Jaffe Briefing will be on a socially-distanced spring break from Monday, March 29 to Friday, April 2 **

TRENTON – If you are a brilliant and committed public servant, does it matter in which zip code you reside? This is New Jersey, so, of course. But now State Sen. Tom Kean says it is high time to revisit the “New Jersey First” law that stipulates hundreds of thousands of public employees must live in New Jersey to have government jobs here. Kean says it makes no sense to establish these artificial barriers, designed as a way to give government jobs to New Jerseyans and not those (spit here) out-of-staters. A Superior Court judge ruled last month that “New Jersey First” is unconstitutional, noting there is gobs of vagueness when it comes to exemptions, like health, personal or financial issues.

BELLMAWR – A gym owner who frequently ran afoul of Gov. Phil Murphy's COVID-19 restrictions last year, is apparently vying to become a charter member of the “Knucklehead Hall of Fame,” offering free memberships to anyone who refuses the COVID-19 vaccine. The Press of Atlantic City reports that this gym owner seems to have been inspired by businesses such as Krispy Kreme, which is offering a free donut for those who get their shots. Instead, this lunkhead is reinforcing the stupid jock stereotype, bringing into question if he knows a leg curl from a cheese churl. Whatever the case, he is getting the media coverage he craves for this promotion that flies in the face of public health.

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LOPATCONG – There will soon be an odd gap on the resume of a local woman, who is looking at a few years of jail time for brazenly ripping off three municipalities as the municipal tax collector. There’s no doubt she did a great job collecting the money in Lopatcong, Harmony and White townships. The sticky issue is that she managed to pocket hundreds of thousands of those dollars collected during her stint of “public service” between 2013 and 2018. The 50-year-old woman, pleading guilty Wednesday, figured out a way to keep the cash, while cooking the books. It worked very well until she was caught by those pesky forensic auditors.

BRIEFING BREATHER

"Dreamt" is the only word in the English language that ends with “mt.”

ORADELL – A Little Free Library – the scourge of the community? That’s apparently the case in leafy Oradell, when a neighbor voiced concerns about a little free library that one of the neighbors placed in front of her Lotus Avenue house in October. Now, faced with this official lodged concern, the town is figuring out what to do. Should the resident reduce the height, go before the zoning board for special permission or seek a new ordinance that allows these libraries to breathe free? Whatever the case, she will have to deal with the complaining neighbor, perhaps worried about honking cars backed all the way down the street, as people clamor for a dog-eared Dr. Seuss and breaking into daily, drunken fisticuffs. Or maybe the neighbor is frantic that the “wrong” books are donated, prompting a mass book burning that would engulf his/her house in flames. An online petition has been circulated – now with more than 1,800 signatures – calling for the mayor and council to figure this out.

MAYS LANDING – Shoppers to the Hamilton Mall rely on the entry doors to remind them of store hours. So, let’s assume they were surprised to see a taped-up shut-off notice from Atlantic City Energy, announcing the power will be turned off by April 7 if the mall owners don’t pay the darn bill. Mall folks responded on Facebook, saying that, uh, yeah, they know all about the notices, and that “corporate” will promptly settle up with Atlantic City Energy. The notices have since been removed, with assurances that shoppers won’t be wandering around in the dark in a desperate search for an Auntie Anne’s pretzel.

CLEMENTON – A ‘white knight’ is rescuing one of our nation’s oldest amusement parks, showing up with $2.4 million at a virtual auction. Bits and pieces of Clementon Park & Splash World, shuttered since 2019, went up for grabs Tuesday, including its vintage wooden roller coaster, carousel, thrill rides, concession booths, and even the gooey trash cans. Then, four hours into the sell-off, a dramatic 11th-hour bid apparently spared this amusement park from being dismantled. Auctioneers tell TAPinto Camden the anonymous buyers plan to refurbish and reopen the circa-1907 park, 14 miles south of Camden, breathing new life into a century-old attraction for those who embrace fun and frolic.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

BISMARCK, ND – Well, it was a nice touch. After much debate and expressed concern, it has been decided that the popcorn machine must be removed from the hall of the state capitol, following two fire alarms that prompted widespread emergency response to the grand building. The Bismarck Tribune reported that Rep. Mary Johnson was on her third helping of popcorn Monday afternoon when the machine triggered the alarms for the second time that day. There was another alarming, um, alarm: North Dakota has a strict policy that no popcorn poppers, toasters or other food appliances be allowed in the building, except within the “Capitol Cafe.” House Majority Leader Chet Pollert expressed sadness about the ultimate removal of the popcorn machine, saying it really helped bring together lawmakers during the pandemic. “Popcorn cheers people up for a reason,” Pollert said. “And now it’s gone.”

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 2012 that Tiger Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitations, and then likely celebrated with an Arnold Palmer.

WORD OF THE DAY

Quash – [KWAHSH] – verb

Definition: To nullify especially by judicial action

Example: I had a gentle suggestion to move the couch in the living room for better TV viewing, which my wife swiftly quashed.

WIT OF THE DAY

“Those who corrupt the public mind are just as evil as those who steal from the public purse.”

-Adlai Stevenson

BIDEN BLURB

“We will require transparency and accountability in our government, root out corruption, and confront the distorting role of money in our politics.”

-Joe Biden

WEATHER IN A WORD

May!