PRINCETON - So, the sale of a choir college will bring down the United States? Apparently so, says two Republican lawmakers from Sussex County. They are trying to block the sale of Westminster Choir College to Chinese Communists. Assemblymen Hal Wirths and Parker Space say the buyer, Kaiwen Education, was in the steel business before buying Westminster and has zero experience in music education, NJ 101.5 reports. The assembly members theorize: "It appears that the Chinese government may be using the guise of academia to infiltrate the choir college for nefarious purposes, including the collection of U.S. intelligence and intellectual property theft." That's possible, as the U.S. is known to hide top-secret intelligence in tubas. Other concerns: the commies may change the college's official color to Red.
TRENTON - Marijuana is coming! Marijuana is coming! OK, we have reported that before. We have reported that, in fact, since Gov. Phil Murphy took office on Jan. 16, 2018. But, now, says Senate President Steve Sweeney: Marijuana is coming! He tells reporters he is hoping to have a vote on the overly-debated bill this month. First, however, lawmakers need to actually introduce the bill, which would legalize, regulate and tax recreational weed. Expect Murphy to enthusiastically sign this bill - if it ever gets to his desk - as his fiscal 2020 budget already assumes $80 million in tax revenue from it.
TRENTON - Next year's school aid figures are out. And you can find out if your town's public schools are big winners with NJ Spotlight's searchable database. A quick snapshot: Lakewood, up $14 million, Atlantic City, up $11 million. Jersey City, the biggest loser, down $27.2 million. Overall, NJ Spotlight reports, almost 370 districts are set to receive more aid while close to 200 are set to get less. It wasn't a bolt out of the blue; it's part of the seven-year phase-out of so-called "adjustment aid" that was put in place a decade ago to save districts from cuts imposed at that time. Click here to see where you land in the school aid sweepstakes.
JERSEY CITY - Nice work if you can get it. And, by that, we mean any school superintendent who can collect a fat paycheck for watching "The Price is Right" at home, rather than showing up for work. The Jersey Journal just outed two of them: Frank Gargiulo - Hudson County's highest paid superintendent at $279,494 - now on a paid "sabbatical" from the county's Schools of Technology until he officially retires this August. The other is Jersey City's superintendent Marcia Lyles, who got permanently benched in January - but technically, "was not fired" - by the city's school board... for reasons undisclosed. She'll be getting her $231,000 salary until June 2020. Hey, it's good work if you can get it.
STATEWIDE - It may soon get exceedingly more difficult to buy useless things for a dollar, with word that Dollar Tree plans to shutter 390 of its Family Dollar stores and change the name of 200 other locations to the Dollar Tree brand. Apparently, among dollar-store shoppers, the "Dollar Tree" name is much more glamorous than the "Family Dollar" name. Meanwhile, Dollar Tree execs, dealing with $2.3 billion in losses, plan to spend much more than a dollar to renovate 1,000 of their stores, and will soon be selling bargain alcohol at select sites. That should be a big draw for the college crowd, who appear to be the only ones who will drink any type of booze, at all, as long as it costs a dollar.
MILLTOWN - It's never too cold for ice cream. Especially the sweet, creamy kind from this tiny town's iconic Ice Cream Depot where, on warm summer nights, lines of customers stretch across its Washington Avenue parking lot. That won't be happening this summer. After 24 years, Ice Cream Depot's owner Joan Trent missed out on a new three-year contract to run her popular shop. Instead, Middlesex County, which owns the property, awarded it to an ice cream chain. That's okay! Trent tells Patch.com she's moving Ice Cream Depot to a South Main Street storefront. The big scoop: It'll now be open year-round, not just seasonally.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
GENEVA, Switzerland - Complaining about the cost of your car payment? If it is under $200,000 a month, consider yourself lucky. That's because there's someone out there who actually bought the most expensive car in the world: a one-off Bugatti luxury sports car that went for $18.9 million. (Love to know the car salesman who got that commission.) The overpriced thing is absolutely gorgeous, with its roaring 16-cylinder engine and Bugatti's trademark front grille. The identity of the buyer was not revealed (assume Batman). But don't assume you'll ever see him parking in front of the Prudential Center for Devils games.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
We bet you are an expert on late 20th Century presidents of European countries. That's right. And we'll prove it with the following trivia question:
It was this day in 1995 that Costis Stephanopoulos became president of what country?
(If your answer was anything other than Greece: seriously?)
WORD OF THE DAY
Syncretism - [SING-krə-tizm] - noun
Definition: A fusion of different beliefs, practices, cultures or traditions
Example: I like my egg roll with heaps of duck sauce and spicy mustard - the perfect syncretism between America and a mish-mosh of random Pan-Asian cultures.
WIT OF THE DAY
"The best way to teach your kids about taxes is by eating 30 percent of their ice cream."
- Bill Murray
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun