OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY
EN ROUTE - If you need a New Jersey politician today - and who doesn't? - you won't find one. Most will be on a train to Washington, D.C., departing out of Newark around 11:45 a.m., for the annual train ride sponsored by the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce. This frolicking group will include 1,000 lobbyists and business owners hoping to hobnob with the politicians for the 80th annual trip. Expect the train to be chock full of gubernatorial candidates and others looking for access to campaign supporters, and business owners looking for access to power, or perhaps an on-board Bloody Mary. A special guest this year: the new archbishop of Newark.
EN ROUTE - As the train chug-chugs to D.C., expect plenty to thank Cardinal Joseph Tobin, the archbishop of Newark, for allowing girls to play on the boys' teams. There has been plenty of controversy - and some national news. And perhaps that's what prompted Tobin to reverse the expulsion of two sisters at St. Theresa's School in Kenilworth, as well as allow the 5th grade basketball team at St. John the Apostle School in Clark to play co-ed for the rest of the year. At least one Bloody Mary will be consumed in Tobin's honor.
ON THE ROADS - Great news for drivers ages 95 and over, who took their last driving test in a 1938 Packard. Apparently, they are not the worst-behaved drivers on New Jersey roads. That distinction goes to young millennials, ages 19-24. AAA reports these drivers are the absolute worst at speeding, texting while driving and running red lights. Meanwhile, very old drivers can never be accused of speeding in their sky blue Buicks, don't own smartphones and never actually reach a traffic light.
AT THE RESTAURANT - Big power lunch today? Better call ahead. New Jersey restaurants are bracing for immigrant workers to sit out the lunch-and dinner-rush for "A Day Without Immigrants." It's a statewide protest of President Donald Trump's immigration orders. Marilou Halvorsen, head of the state Restaurant & Hospitality Association, tells The Record many restaurant owners recognize "it's their (workers') right to freedom of speech." At least one owner is still paying no-show immigrant workers to show their enormous value. So, if you dine out tonight, expect to wash your own plates. Message Received.
VOORHEES - Awesome kindness from a 12-year-old girl who delivered 1,300 books to a children's hospital outpatient center on Valentine's Day. Charlotte Olson began her children's book drive on social media just before Christmas, with publicity help from family and her church. Children's Regional Hospital at Cooper's told the Courier-Post that it's the largest book donation it has ever received. Physicians and hospital staff will distribute the books to young patients as part of Cooper's Reach Out and Read program.
ATLANTIC CITY - The city continues to dig its way out, somehow convincing Borgata to accept only a $72 million tax refund, when the most successful casino in town was owed $165 million in tax overpayments over a number of years. And, in another example of moving away from a disastrous past, the name "Trump" is mercifully being removed from the shuttered Taj Mahal.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
MEDINA, Ohio - At least one student at the University of Akron has a future - named the nation's top grocery bagger for two years in a row. The Medina Gazette reports that a 23-year-old accounting student has likely scored a full-time job, following his convincing win at the National Grocers Association's Best Bagger championship. He is now a proud employee of Buehler's Fresh Foods, where his apron is hung on one of the most prominent pegs.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 1985 that the Devils score their fastest hat trick - in just 42 seconds.
WORD OF THE DAY
Sward [sword] - noun
Definition: a patch of grass
Example: Even though it is February, I can still see a green sward in front of my house. Damn that global warming.
WEATHER IN A WORD