OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY
TRENTON - New Jersey is darn proud of most of its public schools, one of the ways we can justify paying all these taxes. But it never made any sense to throw millions a year at the public schools, yet slap a cap on what the superintendent can earn. After all, smart, experienced professionals can earn a heckuva lot more in private industry, leaving our superintendent pool somewhat shallow. Now, finally, Gov. Chris Christie is thinking of loosening his salary cap on superintendents, while the Legislature wants to scrap the entire thing. One plan would raise the cap to $191,584, a tidy sum for us weary taxpayers, yet still a laughable figure in the break room at Goldman Sachs.
MAPLEWOOD - In the end, the story ended up on a high note. The Boy Scouts have been further nudged into the 21st century, allowing transgender boys to participate. And, last night, a boy from Secaucus put on his Cub Scout uniform as the newest member of Pack 20 in Essex County. The new scout - the first transgender member in the nation - is a member of the pack representing the proud, young gentlemen of Maplewood and South Orange, where he tells the Record, "I am accepted, and I'm actually in Boy Scouts." God speed to all participants in the Pinewood Derby.
STATEWIDE - Jerseyans aren't very adventurous gift-givers when it comes to Valentine's Day. Red roses, chocolates and perhaps a high-five are as romantic as we get. At least, that's what Estately says after examining annual online gift-buying trends since 2004. Garden State residents are much less imaginative than ... say, Iowans, with their tandem bicycle purchases, or as naughty as Tennesseans who seem to enjoy cheap sex toys. Edible undies are all the rage in Pennsylvania, while plus-size lingerie seems really big in Texas. To really see how New Jersey measures up, visit Estately yourself.
Fun Fact: The National Confectioners Association estimated 40 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate get sold each year and the Greeting Card Association says 145 million cards get exchanged each Valentine's Day.
SEASIDE HEIGHTS - Foggy and 62 degrees? It's never too early to think about a Jersey Shore summer. So, ponder this sweet tidbit: Berkeley Sweet Shop, the popular boardwalk landmark destroyed in a 2013 fire, makes its glorious return with a May 1 grand opening. ShoreBeat says the iconic store, known for its saltwater taffy and homemade chocolates, has new digs at the boardwalk's north end between Fremont and Kearney avenues near the lifeguard station. Dentists are thrilled.
TRENTON - Some good ol' journalism at the Asbury Park Press, reporting the state has around 500 in-house attorneys on the payroll, yet brought in politically connected law firms to work on an extra $28.4 million in work. Obviously, many of these firms have strong ties to the governor and have been generous supporters of his various rubber chicken dinners. None of this comes as a surprise; it is business as usual in New Jersey and pretty much all over. But, in this era of a shrinking fourth estate, these basic, follow-the-money stories still need to be told, for the record.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
DILLSBURG, Pa. - Perhaps a local woman figured no one would ever notice if she used a forged $1.2 million check to buy a house. Stunned cops say, "Yes, this really happened." The local woman jumped on the handy-dandy internet to copy the logo of Members First Federal Credit Union, creating the $1.2 million check. The humorless fraud department quickly figured out the caper, stamping a big, red FORGED across the bogus check. Court records show the woman hasn't gotten an attorney yet. Bet she can find a fake one on the internet.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 2014 that a report showed 113,000 new jobs in January, well below the expected 180,000 new jobs. Damn that Obama.
WORD OF THE DAY
Luculent [LOO-kyuh-lunt] - adjective
Definition: clear in thought or expression
Example: Kellyanne Conway may truly believe she makes luculent comments to the media. Alternative facts, yes, but completely, indisputably luculent.
WEATHER IN A WORD