OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

TRENTON - If New Jersey raises the sales tax back to 7 percent, will anyone notice? That's the big question from New Jersey Policy Perspective, which questions last year's gimmick that cut the sales tax rate to 6.625 percent. NJ 101.5reports that tax cut equates to $2 a week in "savings" for middle-class families. Meanwhile, this questionable tax cut costs the state treasury $600 million or so a year. This think tank also thinks sales tax should be charged on plenty more stuff, too, like accounting, investment counseling, gym memberships, etc. Next up: sales tax on Turnpike tolls?

UNION COUNTY - For decades, the Union County Democratic Organization strived to do its business behind closed doors, while showing a unanimous, uniform front for an unengaged public.  And that is why the very public war for the chairmanship over the past few weeks has been so fascinating. The final vote was last night, with Sen. Nick Scutari defeating Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr for the top job, 412-341, amongst Democratic committee members. This is a deeply split committee, obviously, with Scutari now enormously challenged to bring everyone together under solid, unquestioned leadership. Just like the good ol' days.

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IN THE TOYCHEST - You may still have fond memories of your Easy-Bake Oven, but kids today seem more interested in another type of toy: Poop. The Bergen Record was at the New York toy fair this week, noting all these poop-related toys coming to a store near you. There's the "Flush N Frenzy game," in which players push plastic feces into a toilet, roll the dice, and crank a plunger until it all pops out. (What fun.) There's "Don't Step in It," in which players form poop-shaped mounds out of modeling clay and place them on a mat. They then walk the mat blindfolded and try to avoid stepping in it. (Whoopee) Industry insiders think this percolating poop trend was prompted by the popular poop emoji. What a load.

PRINCETON - Ever wonder the going rate to buy a choir college?  OK, likely not. But Rider University seems to have landed a great deal from a Chinese education company, willing to plunk down $40 million to buy Westminster Choir College in Princeton. It seems the greatest value is the real estate of this beautiful campus on Walnut Lane.  That's likely why the Princeton Theological Seminary is suing to block the sale, claiming that the original land donor intended for their school to acquire the land, Planet Princeton reports. Nevertheless, to sweeten the deal, Rider is also throwing in 21 pipe organs, 165 pianos, 5,400 choral music titles and 439 paying customers, at more than $50,000 a year each.

PERTH AMBOY - There will be a great honor tomorrow for Middlesex County Sheriff Mildred Scott, who the Puerto Rican Association of Human Development (PRAHD) will be honoring with the "Arturo Alfonso Schomburg Award." Scott is considered a trailblazer in the African-American community, as the first female sheriff in the county and the first African-American sheriff in the state. Plenty of accolades as PRAHD holds its fifth-annual African American History Month Celebration, an event that typically attracts hundreds.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

ROBERTSDALE, AL. - It used to be that sicko teachers at least had the smarts to have sex with students in cars, rest stops, motels or wherever. But one middle school teacher from Alabama has taken it to the next level: having ongoing sex with a student in his classroom at Central Baldwin Middle School during the school day. This brazen teacher is looking at 20 years in jail if convicted of second-degree sodomy, WKRG reports.  Apparently, this teacher was well-liked and "loved by all," said one unidentified source. That fact, coupled with a sodomy conviction, should play well in an Alabama penitentiary.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1991 that actor Bill Bixby, 57, marries Laura Michael, 32. Hulk: not invited.

WORD OF THE DAY

Nebbish - [NEB-ish] - adjective

Definition: A timid, meek or ineffectual person

Example: Woody Allen - official dictionary image of a nebbish.

WEATHER IN A WORD

Galoshes