OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

TRENTON - What is the one thing New Jerseyans hate more than NJ Transit? Hmm. Guess that would have to be property taxes. And, so, time to direct our fury for the moment to President Trump, who - get this - wants property taxes to no longer be tax deductible on federal tax returns, potentially costing you thousands. Read that again slowly, just to absorb the impact. Ouch. Oh, and the kicker? State income taxes - not deductible either! Under the Trump plan, in his marvelous utopian world of blonde hair and blindingly white teeth, Americans would only see federal deductions for mortgage interest and charity, but would reap tax breaks elsewhere. Perhaps, finally, we can deem New Jersey as an official charity case. 

STATEWIDE - NJ.com played around with some federal data to concoct an interesting stat: What are five top jobs that are uniquely popular in New Jersey? (They all certainly tell a lot about us.) And they are....from five on down: (5) Gas station attendant, (4) Fire inspector (3) Marriage therapist, (2) Biochemist and....the Number 1 unique job to New Jersey? Shampooer - 5.5 times more common in New Jersey than the rest of the country, with 2,380 people employed, forming 0.6 out of 1,000 jobs in the state, raking in an annual median wage of $19,940. Head & shoulders above the rest. 

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LONG BRANCH - When Sesame Workshop unveiled its new character, named Julia, on April 10, she had an immediate impact on the members of the New Jersey Speech-Language-Hearing Association, who work every day with children with autism. And that's why the association will be awarding Sesame Workshop at its statewide conference today. Sesame Workshop worked for more than five years with more than 250 organizations and experts within the autism community to create Julia and address the increasingly prevalent condition that affects one in 68 children in America. An added benefit: Oscar the Grouch will not be accepting the award.

SCOTCH PLAINS - As parents sent off their little cherubs to Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School this morning, it wasn't long before they were getting phone calls, emails and texts from the district's emergency broadcast system. Messages were blaring at 7:10 a.m. that a black bear was spotted near the high school at Mountain Avenue and Henry Street. Cops were out trying to find Yogi, while urging "caution" and asking people if, say, they happen to find a black bear wandering around, it would be great if they could let HQ know. 

NEW BRUNSWICK - As if we need more proof that every vote counts just look at the stunning one-vote loss that school board president Emra Seawood endured Tuesday. In this politically-vigorous city, with 24,691 registered voters, only a measly 303 voters showed up to cast ballots in this hotly contested school board race. The result: Seaword's re-election bid ended with 155 votes while her challenger Yesina Medina-Hernandez squeaked into a three-year term with just 156 votes. Read Seawood's passionate parting words at TAPinto New Brunswick.  

HACKENSACK - Getting whacked with a lawsuit is much better than, oh say ... just getting whacked for former Soprano capo Sal "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero. Actor Vincent Pastore, who played the gruff TV mobster, is the target of a lawsuit from Upper Saddle River director Danny Provenzano, who hired Pastore to star in a TV sitcom pilot. But, the actor was a no-show. Pastore's lawyer tells the New York Post that Pastore didn't want a role in a non-union film shoot. Capisce? Both sides will hash it out May 15 in a Bergen County courtroom, rather than, say, in a marsh somewhere in the Meadowlands.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS 

GLASGOW - A local race in Scotland is heating up with one candidate admitting that gorillas are terrifically sexy. "I find a gorilla very attractive," Gisela Allen, UKIP candidate for City Council in Glasgow, admitted in an interview with Scotland's Sunday Herald. "When I go to a zoo and see a gorilla, my hormones go absolutely crazy." Among the policies on Allen's platform: banning golf courses, bringing back the Guillotine, and castrating violent criminals: "You castrate bulls, dogs, horses - it takes the aggression away," she explained. 

THIS DAY IN HISTORY 

It was this day in 1953 that the phrase "pencil neck geek" became a big part of the American vocabulary, courtesy of professional wrestler "Classy" Freddie Blassie. 

WORD OF THE DAY 

Upbraid - [up-BRAYD] - verb 

Definition: To criticize severely  

Example: Don't you dare upbraid my boyfriend, Magilla. 

WEATHER IN A WORD 

Improving