OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

VENTNOR - Based on the $16 spent over the weekend on a bourbon with bitters, one would assume a beachfront bar is a huge cash cow in a shore town. But the City of Ventnor can't seem to sell a liquor license. There are no bars or restaurants that sell booze in Ventnor, just a few steps south of Atlantic City, so officials thought that auctioning off a license for a minimum bid of $100,000 would have created a frenzy. But, as the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, there were no takers. City officials are now reviewing all "formal and informal" information they received to see how to woo the upscale purveyor of a cucumber-infused martini.

LAKEWOOD - Great to see the federal government cracking down on wealthy people abusing a system designed to help the poorest people feed their families, live in safe homes and access health care. NJ 101.5 reports on the arrest of four couples, including four individuals that have apparently earned millions of dollars in recent years, on charges of welfare fraud. Cops say these families enjoyed large homes and owned their own businesses, yet collected Medicaid, subsidized housing benefits and food stamps because they reported low incomes. As social services agencies struggle to maximize each and every Medicaid dollar, in an era when Republicans want to cut billions from the federal program, there must be zero tolerance for people trying to game the system.

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BRIDGEWATER - Hey kids, are you smarter than a freeholder? On a chessboard, that is. If you're game, so is Freeholder Brian Levine. He's offering to compete simultaneously against a dozen youngsters in a Chess Challenge at the Bridgewater Library tomorrow. Levine assures NJ.com that he's no chess master, but he has played since age 7 and he won a state championship as a senior at Edison's J.P. Stevens High School. Youngsters who can checkmate the freeholder will win a free e-reader from the Somerset County library system. Register here to take on the freeholder.

NEWARK - Some palace intrigue this morning at City Hall, as TAPinto Newark reports that a former city attorney has slapped Newark Mayor Ras Baraka and his brother with a federal complaint for retaliation. Willie Parker, the city's former municipal prosecutor, alleges he was pressured to sign off on a last-minute addition to a development deal that would have robbed the city of millions in tax revenue; when he refused, the mayor's brother, Middy Baraka (who also happens to be his chief-of-staff), allegedly used a few choice, threatening words in an angry phone call or two. (Hard to believe that's illegal in this state.) Who to believe, and how much all this drama has to do with the Mayor's just-announced election bid, remains to be seen; read the complaint and get the juicy details for yourself here.

TRENTON - Watch out! "Dog the Bounty Hunter" is expected to crash our Statehouse again today.  Duane "Dog" Chapman continues his national campaign to lobby against bail reforms. "Dog" and "Mrs. (Beth) Dog" - whose eight-season reality TV show made them celebrities - say reforms like those New Jersey enacted in January are a threat to the bail bond industry. Chapman also told the Burlington County Times these reforms turn penny-ante offenders, like "NJ Weedman" Ed Forchion, into "political prisoners ... trapped in jail'' because getting released on bail is much tougher, he thinks.

MILLVILLE - It is the burp heard around Millville. A 22-year-old man, in the courtroom for a court case on June 19, burped. Judge Lauren Van Embden ordered him to apologize for being impolite and disrespectful; he refused. Now, the Vineland Daily Journal reports, the guy is facing a summons for contempt of court and has to return to answer to the new charges. Duh. 

IN THE MEDIA

ON THE AIRWAVES - Great news for morning radio host Bill Spadea, ripped apart by Gov. Chris Christie. You can't beat such great publicity when the governor calls you "a dope" and your show "stupid." Christie suggests Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, if somehow elected as the next governor, to not "waste" her time going on Spadea's morning program. "It's just awful," Christie said last night on his "Ask the Governor" show. Spadea responded, via Twitter: "Haha. The issue isn't personal. It's as simple as @GovChristie has used the office to benefit himself and his friends. #disappointment."

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

BOSTON - Those $13 turkey wraps sold on airplanes just aren't worth it. So, you can't blame the passenger who attempted to stuff a 20-pound live lobster in his luggage at Boston's Logan International Airport. Airport security officials say it was the biggest lobster they have ever seen. Perhaps it could even feed everyone in the cabin not enjoying first class. Actually, our bespectacled researchers have discovered a fun fact: You can bring a live lobster on an airplane; it just needs to be in a "clear, plastic, spill-proof container." So don't waste your money in the airport food court.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

After 12 years of forgettable movies, questionable music and about 10,000 cheeseburgers, Elvis Presley began taping his "Comeback Special" on NBC on this day in 1968. Showing he is just as cool as Dylan, the Beatles and the Stones, the plump Presley led an "unplugged" jam session for adoring fans, reinvigorating the King's career.

WORD OF THE DAY

Scapegrace - [SKAYP-grayss] - noun

Definition: An incorrigible rascal

Example: Oh, those scapegraces on Capitol Hill! They keep trying to use Medicaid funds to buy war planes!

WEATHER IN A WORD

Scattered