OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

STATEWIDE – The state has found a new, innovative way for you to wait on a line, unveiling a pair of mobile MVC offices. It is all about getting those friendly folks at the Motor Vehicle Commission to serve you even better, without the need for you to visit one of those dreadful offices and join various lines of equally-bored wannabe motorists. State officials say these two trucks will be equipped with about 90 percent of the abilities of a full-fledged MVC office, perhaps even with 90 percent of the surliness. These MVC vehicles, which we assume someone had to stand on a line to register, may be appearing in a parking lot near you. Tailgate anyone?

CENTRAL JERSEY — Long tossed aside in the debate between Pork Roll v. Taylor Ham and Sub v. Hoagie, Gov. Phil Murphy has finally legitimized the existence of “Central Jersey,” mentioning the long-ignored area in his inaugural speech. The utterance of this previously undefined region that lies roughly between Routes 78 and 195 has emboldened the state's midsection, so often disregarded in the North v. South debates. But with its ambivalence to the Mets and Yankees, the Giants, Jets, and Eagles, and WCBS-TV and KYW-TV, it's hard to say what exactly defines Central Jersey. Here’s what we do know: Central Jersey is now home to our Governor and Assembly Speaker, as well as royalty like Bon Jovi and Springsteen. So maybe Central Jersey is just something you know when you see it.

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TRENTON – Who are the governor’s friends? That’s what Gov. Phil Murphy wants to clarify in his six-page “Code of Conduct for the Governor.” Murphy has defined his “long-time personal friends” as people he has known for three years before taking office. As such, Murphy won’t disclose any gift, travel or meals from these long-time, well-established pals, NJ Spotlight reports. Why does Murphy feel compelled to clarify this?  Remember Chris Christie and all his new friends? Like billionaire casino owner Sheldon Adelson, King Abdullah of Jordan and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, all of whom bestowed generous gifts on their close buddy, the governor.

TRENTON – There was some question if Gov. Phil Murphy would accept the governor’s annual salary of $175,000, as we all have heard about his hundreds of millions of dollars earned as a Goldman Sachs executive. The answer is yes; he is taking the paycheck, NJ.com says.  But this is also a person who pays $200,000 or so a year in property taxes on his mansion in Middletown, so maybe its all a wash.

STATEWIDE – New Jersey continues to be the foreclosure capital of America; seven counties with the worst foreclosure rates sit in the Garden State, NJ 1015 reports. New Jersey has the highest rate of foreclosures in the nation, with 1.61 percent of all homes going south. In 2017, there were 57,559 properties with a foreclosure filing, with default notices, auctions, bank repossessions and plenty of boarded-up windows. New Jersey is also one of the worst states to run a property through foreclosure, dragging an average of 1,298 days. The silver lining: With the robust economy, the number of foreclosures have substantially fallen in New Jersey. But, with the state’s signature snail process, there’s still a mess in Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester, Salem and Sussex counties.

NEWARK - Apparently $5 billion has gotten the attention of Amazon. The company has announced that Newark has made the top 20 finalists, out of 238 competitors, for the proposed second headquarters of this online giant. One of the last agenda items of the Christie administration was to propose this huge tax break as a massive dangling carrot. It looks like Amazon could nibble, TapInto Newark reports.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

BOSTON – One high-priced psychic apparently had no clue what would happen next if she decided not to pay taxes. But Massachusetts authorities had their own crystal ball, forecasting 26 months in prison after this fortune teller accepted $3.5 million from an elderly woman to apparently cleanse herself of demons, and without paying a drop in taxes. The judge suspected heaps of fraud here, as well, as the client was a Martha’s Vineyard woman suffering from dementia. The judge ordered the psychic to refund the $3.57 million (apparently the demons never left), as well as $752,912 to Uncle Sam. The psychic, who amazingly never passed the second grade, also ran up $20,000 or so on her victim’s credit card. At least now we know the identity of the demon.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

When was the last time you used camera film? Kodak knows that answer all too well, declaring bankruptcy on this day in 2012.

 

WORD OF THE DAY

Homiletic – [hah-muh-LET-ik] – adjective

Definition: Of or relating to the art of preaching

Example: It seems whenever Sen. Cory Booker participates in a committee hearing, people expect homiletic insight.

WEATHER IN A WORD

Brrrr