OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY
STATEWIDE - Arrival of the Vernal equinox at 6:29 a.m. means it's Free Cone Day at your nearest Dairy Queen ... oh, and yeah, it's also officially Spring. So, ignore those grungy curbside snow piles and go grab yourself a free small, vanilla soft-serve cone at any of New Jersey's participating Dairy Queens. This annual giveaway helps Dairy Queen raise money from customer contributions for the Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. Last year, $200,000 was raised nationwide and more than $120 million since 1984. That's the real scoop.
STONE HARBOR - The Star-Ledger is out this morning with a fun fact: Which school district in New Jersey, of around 600 districts, will get the least state aid in the upcoming year? The, er, winner is Stone Harbor, which just has one school and 70 students, yet still pays $3.7 million for a grades K-4 school it shares with Avalon. Proposed state aid for 2017-18? A whopping $53,971. Other "winners" rounding out the top five include: Avalon, Essex Fells, Sea Girt and Alpine.
TRENTON - A would-be burglar got put on ice ... literally, until police arrived at an Ashmore Avenue pub to slap on handcuffs. A worker at Sabor Latino Bar & Restaurant noticed a stranger enter the pub's back door on security monitors last week and then wander into the pub's walk-in freezer. The fast-thinking employee slammed the freezer door shut before calling police. Lt. Stephen Varn told the Trentonian that cops found the shivering suspect "sitting on a milk crate just shaking his head." Now, he's cooling his heels in the Mercer County jail.
DOWN THE SHORE - Reality TV just can't get enough of the Jersey Shore. At least, this time, no hair gel and spray-on tans. HGTV's "Island Life" shot two episodes on Long Beach Island with real estate agents helping two families - one from Union County, another from Rockland County N.Y. - find ridiculously expensive vacation homes. Producers told the Sandpaper that "most people fantasize about living on an island, we prove 'Island Life' is possible for anyone." Well, sure, for anyone who can afford it. The first LBI episode aired last night, check it out on HGTV. The second episode airs at 10 p.m. next Sunday. Let's all silently pray these families find their perfect get-away.
IN THE MEDIA
NEW YORK - Quintessential New York reporter Jimmy Breslin has died, at age 88. Anything we write now will do little, if any justice, to describe one of the most colorful characters to ever grace a city tabloid. Known as equal parts Charles Dickens and Yogi Berra, Breslin wrote about New York for five decades. He is likely best known for writing about the hapless 1962 Mets, the Son of Sam and interviewing JFK's gravedigger, showing an ability to see what most can not. Rather than to sputter on with more descriptions that you can read anywhere else, we will leave you with a link to Breslin's JFK story. Experience him yourself.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
MADISON, Wis. - Apparently, there's a big black market for butter in dairy-obsessed Wisconsin, with people trading their wares in back alleys and basements, with code words, secret knocks and plenty of intrigue. That's because of the state's antiquated law that bans any butter that has not been graded for quality. On the books since 1953, the law requires butter to be carefully assessed for flavor, body and color via the federal government or expert butter and cheese graders, licensed by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. So, if you want, say, Kerrygold Irish butter, you better stock up on your next trip to Nebraska and then smuggle it across the border, praying the armed guards and tanks don't pull you over and dispatch you to Milwaukee.
INDIANAPOLIS - Always good to have your spouse's support at work. But maybe, just maybe, Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall needs to have a side chat with his wife, who security guards escorted from the lower bowl of Bankers Life Fieldhouse after she started screaming obscenities after yesterday's 65-62 loss to Kentucky in the NCAA tournament. Nearby fans strongly suggested she get bounced, and a cop was actually called in and escorted her up the steps. But she was permitted to attend her husband's post-game press conference, which is nice.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 1994 that actor Dudley Moore was arrested for punching his girlfriend, apparently swinging upwards to hit a knee cap.
WORD OF THE DAY
Overwinter - [oh-ver-win-ter] - verb
Definition: To pass, spend or survive the winter
Example: I overwintered in a dormant stage and need to hit the gym.
WEATHER IN A WORD