STATEWIDE – Pass the potato chips, and don’t get chintzy on the dip. Pounding junk food could be a lifesaver, as state officials say that anyone who considers themselves to be overweight is now eligible for the vaccine. Previously, you needed to be “obese” to qualify. But now those ages 16 and over who claim to have a body mass index of at least 25 can now get in line to roll up their sleeves. This pretty much opens the vaccine to all of us, after months of stay-at-home orders, home delivery of beer and stacks of pizza boxes in the recycling container. So, please, stay healthy New Jersey. Demand the extra side order of blue cheese.

STATEWIDE – Nothing screams excitement like utility bills, so let’s talk about them. There’s plenty of us who have ignored the electric, gas and water bills over the past year, as Gov. Phil Murphy continues to extend the moratorium on service shutoffs. His latest extension now runs through at least June 30, as the state’s overdue utility bills have now climbed to more than $700 million as of December 31, the Record reports, with more than 1.2 million customers ignoring those monthly bills. That is equivalent to hundreds of thousands of people who are facing disconnection as soon as the governor lifts the moratorium. It begs the question: Are you a sap to keep paying your utility bills, as debts could be forgiven? Or are you careening toward financial shellshock on July 1?

SWEDESBORO – If you want to get people to support your political cause, vandalize an American landmark. Right? Well, as any face-painted Viking will tell you, the answer is no. A 51-year-old Swedesboro man is now explaining to cops why he may have defaced a group of rock configurations in Salem, NH called “America’s Stonehenge.” It looks like this guy, allegedly, used a power tool to carve “WWG1WGA” and “IAMMARK” into the rock in September 2019. Cops believe it stands for “Where We Go One, We Go All,” a motto affiliated with nutty QAnon conspiracy theories. An added bonus: An 18-inch-tall wooden cross was found suspended between two trees, and attached to the cross were several photographs and hand-drawn images. Lawyers have submitted a “not guilty” plea.

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BRIEFING BREATHER

One-third of all fish sold in restaurants and grocery stores is mislabeled.

WESTWOOD – It looked as if Holly Schepisi had a clear, easy shot at the Bergen County Republican nomination to succeed state Sen. Gerald Cardinale after his Feb 20 passing. That lasted a whole two weeks. However, the assemblywoman’s 39th District running mate, Assemblyman Robert Auth, is now also salivating for that Senate seat, even armed with a glowing letter from Cardinale’s widow, Carole, touting him as “the only person… with integrity and leadership abilities.” The Record says the gloves are off in this GOP squabble with Schepisi accusing Auth of “preying upon a widow’s” grief to snag that key emotional endorsement. She also suggests Democrats would prefer to campaign against Auth, whom she perceives as a weaker candidate. Republicans convene on Tuesday to choose Cardinale’s successor. A dramatic question: Will Mrs. Cardinale appear?

CAMDEN – Two exotic dancers have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against a Gloucester City strip club, claiming they got canned in January “due to racism.” The two young Black women, siblings from Bellmawr, say they “worked hard and performed as well” as their scantily-clad, white co-workers at “Cheerleaders.” But, the Courier-Post says the sisters’ lawsuit alleges that strip club bosses were “unfairly harsh to Black entertainers;” stiffed them on tips; prevented them from earning generous bonuses from lucrative lap dances; and did nothing to stop “white dancers” from berating them with vulgarities. If this is remotely true, the strip club should to pay up. Singles accepted.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

RALEIGH, NC – The national joke, for the moment, is North Carolina, which has decreed that anyone who has ever claimed to smoke at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime is eligible for the vaccine as of March 24. Of course, Aunt Myrna likely accomplishes that feat every night during Wheel of Fortune, but we digress. North Carolina officials are trying to explain themselves, so sit back and enjoy this excuse: They blame the feds. According to the Centers for Disease Control, a current smoker is defined as “an adult who has smoked 100 cigarettes in his or her lifetime and who currently smokes cigarettes.” Twitter has, of course, lit up. One person tweets: “So you have between now and March 24th to pound 100 cigarettes.”

BARRY, WALES – The message here: Don’t mess with Welsh women. A married couple from Wales has smashed a world record for the fastest time that women have ever pulled an airplane a distance of 65.6 feet. The couple, ages 52 and 42, pulled the massive Airbus A320 aircraft the required distance in 37.63 seconds on Sunday, as onlookers rightfully gawked. The pair explained it was all part of their personal celebration of St. David’s Day, held March 1 to celebrate the patron saint of Wales. “It was so weird, because two years ago while on holiday in Dubai, I had a thought that I'd like to try and break a record as the first Welsh woman to pull a plane," said one of the women, in an interview with the Barry and District News. Mission accomplished.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1960 that Lucille Ball files for divorce from Desi Arnaz. No laugh track provided.

WORD OF THE DAY

Prepossessing – [pree-puh-ZESS-ing] – adjective

Definition: Creating prejudice

Example: My necktie is so oddly colorful, so prepossessing, that I am very easy to spot.

WIT OF THE DAY

“Nobody ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

-H.L. Mencken

BIDEN BLURB

“Full disclosure: I do not have absolute faith in the judgment and wisdom of the American people.”

-Joe Biden

WEATHER IN A WORD

Breezy