OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

ON THE RAILS - It is another day ending in "y," so that must mean NJ Transit trains are hopelessly delayed. This morning promises to mark the fourth straight day the train schedule is a mess. Pick your problem: disabled trains, decaying tracks, overhead service problems. Really, the choices are endless for the conductors, who have to announce the latest problem that will make you late for that big meeting at work and late for coming home to read a bedtime story to Little Susie. Here's the cherry on top: NJ Transit is now announcing 15-minute delays on weekdays and 30-minute weekend delays in and out of New York Penn Station "until further notice" because of, ...well, does it really matter anymore?  

TRENTON - Sure, New Jersey needs billions of dollars to create the modern-day rail infrastructure that we sorely need. But, take heed, at least our state lawmakers are focusing on the big issue stuff that will really affect our lives. Like, for example, blowing $300 million to restore the Statehouse. The State Capitol Joint Management Commission voted 7-0 yesterday to approve a resolution calling for the state to borrow money for this project. Apparently, the 18th century building is being fused together with duct tape, cardboard and saliva. We agree with Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, (who reportedly has yet to die after spending eight years in the building): Find someone in the private sector to pay for emergency repairs. There are just too many other priorities at the moment.  

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STATEWIDE - Our kids hate getting up early for school. Just like their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, etc. before them. But even though the state has deemed our teen-aged kids in need of more sleep, it would be a nightmare to delay the school bell each morning. The official-sounding "Study Group on Later School Start Times" has issued its final state report agreeing with the obvious fact that sleep deprivation has negative affects. (See Guantanamo Bay.) But shifting schedules is "fraught with obstacles and challenges," like transportation, athletic schedules and childcare. So, as with the work of most "study groups," this report will go on a shelf.

NEWARK - Companies headquartered in Newark are not hiring enough people from the city, concludes a new report by the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice. There are nearly 140,000 jobs in Newark, but city residents hold just 18 percent of them, WNYC reports. And for the jobs that do go to Newark residents, only 10 percent earn at least $40,000 a year, keeping plenty in poverty "as a result of a discriminatory system," the report says. Unclear if this report also tracks former Newark residents who were able to land a local job and then moved away for better schools and safety. Meanwhile, the mayor is trying to land jobs for 2,000 Newarkers by 2020. There's hope his program includes more education, job training, internships and other factors that make hiring Newarkers the smart and obvious choice for local companies who make decisions based on meritocracy, not which zip code job applicants happen to reside in. 

IN THE MEDIA 

WASHINGTON - Blonde women continue to steadily infiltrate the Trump Administration, with the latest being assigned to the State Department as a spokesperson. That would be Fox News anchor Heather Nauert, who has about 20 years of guzzling the Fox Kool Aid to justify a move into a prominent position in the federal government. Besides looking oh-so-fantastic in front of the camera, Nauert has covered plenty of real news, we have been assured, according to the press release.  

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS 

CORTLAND, N.Y. - Maybe you are a bowling fan. Or maybe you see the "sport" as a chance to drink cheap beer, wear funny shoes and mutter. Whatever the case, you gotta be impressed with the 23-year-old Cortland bowler who rolled a perfect 300 game in less than 90 seconds. We're talking 12 straight strikes in 86.9 seconds on April 5, as he raced from one lane to the next, banging strikes with a different ball on each lane. He also works at the bowling alley, and probably has his own monogrammed towel.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY 

It was this day in 1989 when New Jersey welcomed the area code 908, with AT&T deciding to finally split up good ol' 201. 

WORD OF THE DAY 

Cartographer - [kahr-TAH-gruh-fer] - noun 

Definition: One who makes maps  

Example: "Yep, I'm studying to be a cartographer. My career goal is to find an undiscovered continent. I'm feeling pretty good about it." 

WEATHER IN A WORD 

Warming