STAFFORD – Hard to imagine that anything you read on social media is untrue, but beware! The Stafford cops are trying to correct the raging rumor that they are banning a Beach Haven West resident from blasting “God Bless America” at 7:30 p.m. every night. No, the cops are saying, we are not against America. No, the cops are saying, we are not against the song. No, the cops are saying, we are not ordering the resident to quit it. It’s just that there’s this noise ordinance in town, so if you could turn the music down a few notches, that would be great. That’s it.
TRENTON – The very, very good news: New Jersey has the lowest number of unemployment claims in weeks. The very, very bad news: Over the past two crazy months, New Jersey has processed more than 1.1. million unemployment claims – in a state with 8.9 million adults and children. There were more than 34,000 new claims last week, down from the insane record of 215,000 claims that hit the state in the beginning of April. New Jersey is recovering, slowly, it seems, with high hopes that the eventual reopening of the state could get many, many people back to work, with $4.3 billion already spent on unemployment benefits.
TRENTON – What a bunch of gloomy guses the Murphy administration has become. That, at least, is the word from the non-partisan Office of Legislative Services. After consulting their abacuses (or is that “abaci”?), OLS has concluded that while New Jersey state revenues are going to be hit hard by the pandemic’s economic fallout, things won’t be quite as bad as Team Murphy is forecasting. So, sounds like things will be very bad, just not very, very bad. Meanwhile, State Treasurer Elizabeth Maher Muoio (who’d have her job?) spent time on Thursday trying to convince lawmakers why they should support the administration’s proposal to give it emergency borrowing authority. NJ Spotlight has a bead on all the numbers.
JERSEY CITY – No time like the present pandemic to restore City Hall to its 1896 grandeur. But, buying pricey new office furniture may have gone too far. With most city workers (supposedly) working from home, maintenance crews ripped up layers of old linoleum from hallways, exposing the original, intricately-tiled floors. That find earned Mayor Steven Fulop tons of social media applause from as far off as England where those ceramic tiles were handcrafted in the 1880s. But the city just got dinged for wasting $180,000 on state-of-the-art office furniture for city council members and their staff. The Hudson County View details $7,200 for chairs and tables, and $13,000 for motorized desks. Critics say it’s a senseless expense as this city faces a $45 million pandemic-fueled deficit that has council members mulling layoffs and furloughs. Perhaps with their feet up on their new desks.
In 1992, U.S. emergency rooms treated 5,840 people with pillow-related injuries.
WILDWOOD – There’s a good chance the mayor wishes President Trump will make another business-boosting visit to his seaside city. For now, however, Mayor Pete Byron joins a chorus of South Jersey officials pleading with Gov. Phil Murphy to reopen more businesses to avoid “economic catastrophe to the Jersey Shore.” Byron tells the New Jersey Globe that Memorial Day weekend was a big bust, so “it is time to reopen shore towns.” The mayor says: “Countless workers, small businesses and their families depend exclusively on the twenty or so weeks of our seasonal economy … (delays will) permanently cripple people’s year-round survival.” Businesses here got a surprise windfall in January when Trump held a political rally, attracting thousands of visitors. For a reprise, maybe Byron should tell Trump that Wildwood has a half-dozen mini-golf spots.
IN THE MEDIA
ISELIN – It’s certainly no longer your father’s Star-Ledger. The state’s largest newspaper, formerly of Newark, has greatly shifted its strategy for survival during the COVID-19 pandemic. First, for likely the only time in generations, the newspaper/online operation has been actively soliciting subscribers on its editorial pages. And now, it has made two other noteworthy moves. The newspaper is freely admitting that its editorial board leans left, while most other editorial boards staunchly defend their opinions as simply pro-reader. And, much more importantly, the newspaper has announced that it will be presenting more national news. That’s odd; New Jersey is forever thirsty for local news. The Star-Ledger thrived in the 1970s, 80s and 90s with its robust coverage of local news and high school sports, hiking its Sunday circulation over 700,000. Ever since, local news has been cut and cut, and the circulation has dropped and dropped. So, why would the state’s paper of record willingly shift resources, leaving TAPInto to build a network on the same successful formula of local news that made the Star-Ledger thrive? Look, we all love our Ledger. But if we want national news, there’s already plenty of established places to get it.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
NEW YORK – Expect this bottle of cognac to taste, well, a bit musty. But we strongly suspect the purchaser of this bottle corked in 1762 will never take a sip, after plunking down $146,000 during an online auction. This Gautier cognac is one of only three surviving bottles of the spirit on the planet. Auctioneers looking to gin up the cost explain that the cognac is a shining example of “pre-phylloxera viticulture,” whatever the heck that is. The bottle also apparently offers a unique glimpse into early cask maturation preceding the French Revolution. Still not sold? Well, this bottle was unearthed in the early 1900s by a guy named Alphonse, who left home to work in the Cognac region and returned with a cart full of these special bottles before he perished in World War I. And there is probably other interesting stuff, too. Cheers.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 1984 that the Red Sox finally got around to retiring the number of their best player ever, Ted Williams.
WORD OF THE DAY
Xeriscape – [ZEER-uh-skayp] – noun
Definition: A landscaping method developed especially for arid and semiarid climates that uses water-conserving techniques, such as mulch.
Example: My wife is wondering if I will ever get around to xeriscaping around the trees.
WIT OF THE DAY
“Twitter is a great place to tell the world what you’re thinking before you’ve had a chance to think about it.”
“Twitter is doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party. They have targeted Republicans, Conservatives & the President of the United States.”
- Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD