OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

CLIFTON - What the heck? How can it be that a New Jersey diner doesn't top the national list of the best diners? Apparently, we are only Number Two, with the Tick Tock Diner claiming that slot, according to The Daily Meal website. The Number One diner is some rat-infested hole in Manchester, N.H., where the pancakes likely taste like Frisbees, the coffee is akin to prison toilet water and the eggs are still attached to the hens. If The Daily Meal knew anything about the glory of a breakfast burrito/Belgian waffle combo at 3 a.m., the list should have been dominated by Jersey's 24-hour egg-slingers. Shame on them for missing the obvious. 

STATEWIDE - Likely Donald Trump couldn't give a hoot if someone smokes pot. One can only imagine the lazy haze in the marble-entombed Trump Plaza in, say, 1983. But our thrice-married president is now the standard bearer of the national conservative movement and is pushing for tighter restrictions on recreational marijuana. NJ 101.5 reports that New Jersey has been gliding toward allowing pot sales, joining the party now taking place in eight other states. With a Democrat likely to win the governor's office in November, it seemed almost guaranteed. But if Trump ratchets up enforcement on the federal level - which seems a complete waste of resources - local bong sales could be in jeopardy. 

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TOMS RIVER - They're not exactly a pitchfork-and-scythe-waving mob, but more of Ocean County's closet Democrats seem ginned up for change in this Republican stronghold. Democratic consultant Marta Harrison tells WOBM-FM that "people are really frightened by Trump's agenda ... and want to do their part to resist." She says standing-room-only crowds now show up at Democratic workshops, looking to get involved or run for office. Last night's packed workshop at the Barnegat Library was no exception. More workshops are planned. Good to see Trump bringing people together.

CHERRY HILL - There's a big vote this morning in Cherry Hill, where state officials will be deciding if a natural gas pipeline should cut through the federally protected Pinelands region, proudly safeguarding a million acres of farms, forests and wetlands. South Jersey Gas says it needs more capacity as the population grows; environmentalists want the pipeline to go elsewhere or nowhere. Bottom line: No one wants to know, see or hear about natural gas pipelines. But we want heated homes, working stoves and efficient clothes dryers. So the conversation must focus on keeping the pipeline along existing roads and developed areas, where possible. And that's about it.  

ON THE PHONE - As Rep. Leonard Lance dived on the sword and was skewered by hundreds of constituents at a town hall meeting on Wednesday, Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen quietly had his own form of "community outreach." Apparently, he had a little-publicized teleconference Tuesday that was invitation-only and attended by only one reporter who learned of the "event" at the last minute, MSNBC reports. According to that journalist, Frelinghuysen said the House Appropriations Committee would deny funding for President Trump's infamous Mexican border wall. In response, Frelinghuysen's office said the claim was not true. So, there's the outreach. At least all voters are guaranteed to see Frelinghuysen - when his name appears on the ballot on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018.  

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS 

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - Cartwheels are more fun than the usual field sobriety test that cops give to drunk drivers. So, a 23-year-old cheerleader opted to do gymnastics after police found her listless and reeking of booze in her Volkswagen. Stumbling and laughing, the woman did two shaky cartwheels last Friday, kicking a cop before going splat on the sidewalk. She got charged with battery and aggravated DWI, and the Albuquerque Journal says her escapades got her fired from her cheerleading gig with a local indoor football team. Perhaps they saw the body-camera video. 

SANDUSKY, OH - Giving a lap dance to a 100-year-old nursing home resident wasn't considered "therapeutic." That's why a 26-year-old former caregiver now faces felony elder abuse charges for her gyrations on the dementia patient. Another employee gave police a cellphone video of the woman also exposing her breasts and butt to the elderly man. The woman's lawyer told the Sandusky Register it was all a prank: "The man knew exactly what was going on and had no problem whatsoever with it." Let's see what a judge says. Meanwhile, other residents note it seems more interesting than canasta. 

THIS DAY IN HISTORY 

It was this day in 1972 that the Cardinals made a ridiculous trade, sending future Hall of Famer Steve Carlton to the Phillies - who then went on to win four Cy Young awards - for some pitcher named Rick Wise..... Huh?

WORD OF THE DAY 

Scapegrace - [skeyp-grays] - noun 

Definition: A rogue or rascal  

Example: Boy, that nursing home lap dancer is a real scapegrace! Who's next?  

WEATHER IN A WORD 

Spring?