OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY
TRENTON - Unclear the mystery, but Gov. Chris Christie is scheduled to make a "press announcement" at 11:30 a.m. today in the Statehouse rotunda. No more details from the governor's press office, except there will be no reporter questions allowed. The AP is quick to note the governor has not held a news conference in two months, like it matters anymore. Perhaps it is about a Trump appointment. Fingers are crossed.
NEWARK - There's some big international news at 10:18 this morning, as United Airlines launches its first commercial flight to Havana from Newark. There will now be, apparently, regular daily flights from the Garden State to Cuba, an anticipated 3-hour-and-35-minute trip. Or, from Newark, a nine-hour journey, when you add in the late-arriving planes, traffic on the tarmac and efforts to jam as many humans into one aircraft as possible. But at least weary passengers can finally breathe freedom when they touch down in Havana.
ATLANTIC CITY - There has been also this buzz that, somehow, Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve would include a concert at Boardwalk Hall. But, alas, no. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports on a three-year deal, worth $11.25 million, with dick clark productions and the Miss America Organization to promote Atlantic City on the big stage. But the New Year's Eve concert was cancelled, says the Casino Reinvestment Development Authority, due to "scheduling conflicts and other considerations." Silver lining: Atlantic City doesn't have to deal with Ryan Seacrest.
TRENTON - The plum job of being a state judge may soon be handed out to 20 winners, as Senate President Stephen Sweeney is calling for 20 new judges to help handle new criminal justice reforms to be enacted in just five weeks. Adding 20 more black robes to the roster of 443 judges isn't that simple, of no surprise to anyone, as it requires a change in state law. The cost would be $9.3 million, NJ101.5 reports. Add in a heavy dose of politics, and a sprinkling of partisanship, nepotism, and horse trading, and perhaps the new judges will finally be sworn in by the middle of 2017.
TRENTON - If you have served time in jail, the Trenton Housing Authority has a job for you: Security Guard. The Trentonian reports the authority is hiring ex-cons, as opposed to trained law enforcement officials, to patrol low-income housing complexes. City officials say this is about giving people a second chance, which is laudable. But residents must wonder why they aren't entitled to security guards who don't know exactly when morning chow is served at the Mercer County lock-up.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
ALBANY, N.Y. - We all love New York, but apparently the Federal Highway Administration has a big problem with more than 500 "I Love NY" signs that dot state highways. Next month, the feds are meeting with state officials in Washington to hash out a plan to remove the signs with the iconic slogan. If the state balks at this stupid demand, the feds vow to cut nearly $1 billion in funding, according to Newsday. Oof. Uncle Sam says the signs don't comply with standards and are distracting. New York's response? Have a heart.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 2012 that Barack Obama received one of the golden perks of being President, having a new species of fish named in his honor. America welcomed a darter fish, enthusiastically named "Etheostoma Obama."
WORD OF THE DAY
Cabbage [KAB-ij] - verb
Definition: to steal
Example: All those Jill Stein supporters are somehow convinced Donald Trump cabbaged the election.
WEATHER IN A WORD