OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY
TENAFLY - A much-needed rally in support of the Jewish community is taking place at 11:15 a.m. today at the Kaplen Jewish Community Center on the Palisades, as the state's top leaders are showing solidarity following the recent rash of bomb threats at JCCs. It is important to mention who is attending: Gov. Chris Christie, as well as Sens. Cory Booker and Bob Menendez and Reps. Bill Pascrell Jr. and Josh Gottheimer, as well as many other state and local officials. It is a strong, unified message that there is no place in New Jersey for anti-Semites and other ignorant, hate-filled racists.
WARREN - Bookies were probably chomping at the bit for this weekend's return of the Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour. Despite a measly $15,000 purse, starting tonight, nearly 200 of the world's top female racquetball players will descend on the Warren Racquet Club. As you likely know, it's the Northeast's most prestigious racquetball tourney, attracting more than 200,000 online viewers. And, Paola Longoria - racquetball's version of Tom Brady - even slipped across the Mexican border (don't tell Trump) to defend her international title. Sorry, folks, no tailgating at the Warren Racquet Club.
PLAINFIELD - To raise quick cash, towns usually auction off land or new liquor licenses. But, fine art? Officials here hope to sell two large oil paintings that a Scotch Plains doctor gave as gifts to the Queen City in 1919. The paintings, by German-American artist Albert Bierstadt, are worth millions and the city must leap through legal hoops to unload them. But it plans to use the proceeds to give all kindergarteners their first bank account and offer college scholarships to high school grads. Mayor Adrian Mapp tells the Home News Tribune: "The value of changing lives far outweighs the sentimental value of holding on to these paintings." Well said. Just don't sell those Disney sketches of Goofy.
ENGLEWOOD - Start digging for loose change in your couch cushions. If you scrape together $17 million, one of this city's most historic mansions could be yours. That's the opening bid for "Gloria Crest," when it goes up for auction April 21. It's got four full kitchens, eight bedrooms, nine baths, a movie theater, gym, sauna, pool and a lake. Not enough? It's also got a storied past to dazzle your cocktail guests: Built in the 1920s by an heir to Poland's throne, the mansion was bought by JFK's father as a gift for mistress Gloria Swanson. It's around the corner from Alicia Keys' Bubble Hill mansion and was featured in a film by Woody Allen. Sorry, it doesn't come with Soon-Yi.
ATLANTIC CITY - And here is an interesting, unconfirmable stat: 87,000 senior citizens in the state have a gambling problem. That is according to 800gambler.org, and reported by NJ 101.5, as Gov. Chris Christie has declared March as "Problem Gambling Awareness Month." So, here is the message from Trenton: Make Atlantic City your top vacation spot. Roll the dice. Split your aces and eights. Buy a ton of lottery tickets. And, for god's sake, be "responsible."
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
NATIONWIDE - In this world of transgender, bigender, cisgender, agender, etc., there has been plenty of debate about Garfield the Cat. Boy? Girl? Something else? The controversy erupted two years ago when creator Jim Davis stated that Garfield is "not really male or female." This week, Davis offered some clarification for the inquisitive masses: "Garfield is male," he says, adding the lazy cat even has a girlfriend named "Arlene." Pretty boring and mainstream. But he added that he likes doing cartoons about a cat, as animals are not perceived as being of any particular gender, race, age or ethnicity. Just ask Piglet.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 2014 that Bill Gates was named the wealthiest person in the world, at a not-too-shabby $76 billion, putting him in the running for those paintings going to auction in Plainfield.
WORD OF THE DAY
Cabotage - [KAB-uh-tahzh] - noun
Definition: The right to engage in coastal trade or transport
Example: If Iran was granted cabotage, would there be sabotage at the Cabot Lodge?
WEATHER IN A WORD