OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY
STATEWIDE - Jittery parents are sending their jittery kids to jittery schools this morning, as classes resume after a President's Day weekend filled with wall-to-wall news coverage about gun safety. School districts statewide have been reporting threats - all thankfully not credible - as district leaders are on the highest alert. East Brunswick, for one, is taking this ongoing threat to the next level, stationing armed guards in all its schools. Meanwhile, nationwide student protests are planned for March 14. There's been way too much punditry on this already; now is the time for the White House to offer its sensible, smart solution. And. Now. We. Wait.
TRENTON - Not only is being governor a full-time job, but, if you happen not to be running for President, it requires around-the-clock babysitting of New Jersey. So, do we pay our head honcho fairly? NJ.com reports the $175,000 paycheck isn't outrageous, tied for seventh place among the Top 25 highest paid governors in the nation. For Gov. Phil Murphy, his salary is basically a wash with the $200,000 or so in annual property taxes he pays on his $9.6 million Middletown palace. Perhaps we can boldly say we have the only chief executive in the nation who loses money by working here.
TRENTON - Need a judge? Get in line. There will soon be five judicial vacancies on New Jersey's federal court in a judicial district that needs 17 active judges. So far, President Trump hasn't exactly gotten around to filling any of those vacancies, as we can assume any lawyer that Trump knows is probably working on his latest barrage of gag orders. NJ.com reports that our judicial district is desperate for judges, as the number of cases grew from 9,674 to more than 13,800 filings because of the state's pharma and tech industries. Want justice in Jersey? Call my cousin, Vinny.
MILLBURN - In 2016, this Essex County community took in $1.6 million in prepayments for property taxes. Last year, that number jumped to $39 million. Hmmm. Of no surprise, residents of this highly-taxed town flocked to the tax office by the end of 2017, eager to pre-pay taxes and try to keep glorious tax deductions going for another year. Another fancy stat, courtesy of NJ.com: there were 1,982 Millburn taxpayers lining up to pre-pay by the end of December, compared to just 178 residents in the preceding year. For a fancy town where taxes average $23,327, hey, whatever it takes.
PATERSON - The sun still rises in the east, and authorities are issuing subpoenas at Paterson City Hall, so it is a pretty typical day in New Jersey. The state Attorney General's Office is back in Paterson, asking for more municipal records and not saying why, the Paterson Press reports. Subpoenas and search warrants have been issued more than six times in the last 16 months. With ongoing raids, state and federal authorities now have strong opinions on where to get the best coffee on Market Street.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
XIAMEN, China - "Buy me!" "Buy me!" Those may have been the final words of a fish who flew out of a tank at a Chinese supermarket and landed in the shopping cart of surprised customer and her kid. The video shows a man attempting to use a net to catch a speedy fish. The fish - not koi about its intentions - jumped out of the tank, fell through the cart and landed on the floor, prompting a supermarket worker to sprint over and try to wrestle the fish back in the tank. No halibut about it.
ACROSS THE POND - KFC is coping with an incredible fowl-up: Running out of chicken. Finger-lickin' fans are yelling "What the cluck?," after 900 restaurants in Ireland and England were forced to close. A chicken crossed the road, just not to these KFC franchises, who are blaming delivery errors. Ok, let's keep the puns going: This news is for the birds. Expect the colonel to be demoted to corporal. Scratch KFC off my bucket list. Etc., etc.. etc.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 2014 that the banking industry got loud, complaining that "non-banking companies" like Apple and Google are intentionally gobbling up banking business through their own payment methods and financial products.
"Yep," replied Steve Jobs, from somewhere.
WORD OF THE DAY
Bossdom - [BAWS-duhm] - noun
Definition: The status, influence or power of a boss, especially a powerful one
Example: See that diner booth all the way in the back? Yeah, that one. That's reserved for the bossdom. Stay away.
WEATHER IN A WORD