OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

ON THE ROAD - Not surprised to learn that New Jersey drivers pay more tolls than motorists anywhere else in the country, and likely on the planet and most solar systems. And not surprised that the President is shoveling a proposed budget that would end the free tolls on federal highways. It's all about encouraging "private investment" to pay for all the crumbling roads, bridges, etc. So, Boom! Toll plazas would pop up on Routes 78, 80, 287, 195 and 295, unless Congress stops nodding at all Trump's baffling ideas and finally puts down a wingtip.  

NEWARK - Thursday is the first day of June. Or, as airline travelers will note, the first day of the worst month of delays at the nation's airport with the worst delays. NJ 101.5 is reporting a study that showed 34 percent of the arrivals and departures at Newark Liberty are late, following a 10-year trend, with LaGuardia coming in second for the most chronic delays. The trick is to get the earliest flight possible, before the planes get all screwed up in the plate of spaghetti known as our air space. And go to places like Hawaii, where there is oodles of space and little excuse to get the planes away from the gate.

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IN THE WEEDS - Home-grown pot businesses are taking a hit. Paterson firefighters stumbled upon a marijuana grow house when they showed up at a Church Street apartment fire over the weekend. Police seized 40 full-grown plants over the plume of happy smoke. And, last week, East Orange cops arrested a Springfield Avenue couple after finding 1,500 pot plants, worth a cool $3 million, growing in their four-car garage. While the couple probably argued, "That's not ours!" or "We've never seen that before!," Essex County authorities note it's one of their biggest pot seizures ever.

AT THE POLLS - Let's assume there is no ulterior political motive behind a scheme to strip tenure from New Jersey's seven Supreme Court justices. Never mind that state Senators Gerry Cardinale and Mike Doherty told Save Jersey they're fuming over the court's recent affordable housing and school funding decisions. The pair are just pro-democracy and now think the judges should have to be elected, just like them. New Jersey voters already choose state, county, municipal, school board and fire district candidates. So, what's the harm in a few more names on our clogged ballots? Yet calmer minds ponder: Do we really want our judges to also be politicians? 

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS 

AKRON, Ohio - A local hospital has clawed its way into the 20th century, ditching a requirement that women wear pantyhose. Summa Health system notified its 8,000 employees about all these fancy changes, like letting women wear open-toe shoes and even capri pants, as long as they are deemed "professional." It gets better, reports the Akron Daily Journal. Women can also get themselves some nice small-studded nose piercings and no longer need to cover over those "non-offensive" tattoos. Yet the hospital isn't going crazy here. Women must still have "natural" hair, with a list of corporate-approved colors. Miss Manners would be pleased.



THE FREEZER - Ivanka Trump is taking some heat about a tweet from her company, suggesting champagne popsicles are a lovely way to celebrate Memorial Day. People are howling "Insensitive!" and "Disrepectful!," as this holiday is about commemorating sacrifice. And so let us run to poor Ivanka's aid. Back off the first daughter, folks. There are many, many big issues in Trump World to get appalled by. Throwing a tizzy at every single tweet dilutes your message and will make you crazy. And, as a side note, champagne popsicles sound like a terrific way to celebrate July 4.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY 

It was this day in 1917 that the first American president was born in the 20thcentury - the uber-hip John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

WORD OF THE DAY 

Skosh - [SKOHSH] - noun 

Definition: A small amount; a smidge  

Example: My champagne popsicle is a skosh better than yours. 

WEATHER IN A WORD

Clouds