OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

AT THE DINER - Don't expect anyone to rush to refill your coffee cup,as a proposed federal rule would allow employers to take their employees' tips, if workers are paid at least minimum wage. It seems cruel to strip money from workers at the low end of the pay scale, but, hey, this is Trump World.  The Economic Policy Institute (which has a very impressive name, so it must be 100 percent accurate) says this rule could take upwards of $5.8 billion in lost tips from U.S. workers, 80 percent of whom are women. That could equal around $20 million or so in lost tips to New Jersey workers, who now suggest you bring your own damn breadsticks.

VINELAND - A local high school kid is the king of the hallways this morning, after stealing a school bus at noon yesterday and taking it for an apparent joy ride. The Courier Post reports the teen drove the bus into neighboring Pittsgrove, hitting a parked car and a guard rail. There were no injuries, fortunately, but certainly plenty of questions about how the kid got the keys to this bus.

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JERSEY CITY - The federal government is shut down, in case you haven't noticed. But even though Capitol Hill is locked in its latest silly standstill - with only Congress apparently earning a paycheck - we can all be assured the Statue of Liberty will still be open to all the huddled masses, yearning for souvenirs. The State of New York will be footing the bill for federal workers to keep Lady Liberty open today, after it was shut down on Friday.  A shrewd move for Gov. Andrew Cuomo, still desperately trying to convince Americans that the statue is located in New York. A tired and poor argument.

SOUTH JERSEY - Local sporting goods stores opened their doors at 6 a.m. this morning, anticipating a burst of customers desperate for Eagles gear. Of course, if you are a real fan, you apparently need to show it, plunking down a small fortune to buy your merch. So, stop by Dick's and Modell's at locations from Cherry Hill to Manahawkin to join in the Super Bowl frenzy. Pick up a $30 ball cap to display your support of the NFC champs, before any of your friends have a free moment to do so.

LEONIA - Traffic apps, like Waze and Google Maps, are great to steer you away from traffic. But they have been destroying quiet side streets in the process. The Borough of Leonia is officially fed up, launching a ban this morning that keeps George Washington Bridge traffic on the major highways. Local streets are now closed from 6-10 a.m. and 4-9 p.m. every day to non-residents, who can no longer use 60 streets in the tiny borough as a convenient cut-through to the bridge.  CBS reports the traffic apps will be updated, while kids can once again bounce a ball in the street.

GRANVILLE, Ohio - Parents are sending their little cherubs to Ohio to attend a leafy liberal arts college that looks exactly like the brochure. But Denison University also has an unadvertised feature for its $60,000 tuition: circling vultures. In response, the liberal arts school is now hanging effigies in trees and using pyrotechnics to scare away the birds. The Columbus Dispatchreports the vultures have caused $50,000 in damages, to date, picking at roofs and vents, as well as pooping into air-handling units. Students are being encouraged to bang pots and pans to scare off the vultures. Also, it would be helpful if they refrain from carrying squirrel carcasses.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was on this day in 1964 that Wisconsin created the largest-ever piece of cheese, bending the scales at nearly 35,000 pounds. (Some perspective: a 72-count of Kraft Singles weighs just 3 pounds.)

WORD OF THE DAY

Leonine - [LEE-uh-nyne] - adjective

Definition: Resembling a lion

Example: Waiting for a leonine king to appear in a school play near you?

WEATHER IN A WORD

Sunless