CAMDEN - County residents may soon once again show their faces in the public library, with word the county library system is forgiving all fines for overdue library books. Of course, you'll need to return that "Pride and Prejudice" novel that you were forced to take out in high school and never cracked open. Library officials have suspended your library card, as well as about 2,000 others, over the years, with all these patrons vanishing, seemingly forever, from the premises. Library officials figure it is better to forgive all the grudges and have you back, rather than chase you for $36.70 in fines that they will never, ever see. It all starts July 1, involving all eight county libraries. You'll be surprised to know libraries have ditched the Dewey Decimal system. Yes, much has changed since your last visit in 1987.
STATEWIDE - Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise in New Jersey,which is surprising because studies show we are all having less sex these days, for some reason. NJ Spotlight reports lawmakers are eager to nip this STD trend by allowing healthcare providers to prescribe medication not just for the itchy person with that nagging STD, but also for that person's sexual partner(s). That's even if the doc has never set eyes on the absent partner. It all seems a bit radical, but apparently New Jersey is way late to this party - 43 states already allow "expedited partner therapy." And in the say-no-more category: Kentucky and South Carolina expressly prohibit all this.
NEWARK - You'd think our immigration detention facilities are akin to prison, but apparently are much worse. The feds made a surprise inspection to the facility in Newark, where they were welcomed by rotting food, busted toilets, and a complete lack of outdoor space, NJ.com reports. The visit went so bad that the kitchen manager was fired on the spot. Remember that these detainees are not criminals, just undocumented immigrants in limbo. At the Essex County Correctional Facility, inspectors found raw chicken leaking blood all over refrigerators, moldy bread, slimy and foul-smelling lunch meat and other super disgusting stuff. There were punishments without proper hearings and misuse of handcuffs and strip searches. The "outdoor" spaces were mesh cages under glass, with some detainees only allowed out of their cell for an hour each day to shower, talk on the phone and "recreate," whatever that heck that is. Welcome, you huddled masses, to the home of the free.
ON THE RAILS - Commuters on NJ Transit's Raritan Valley line are demanding a return of one-seat service into NYC - rather than being forced to switch trains in Newark. They shouldn't expect it soon, but perhaps NJ Transit may soon be launching another study. (Yippee.) That seems to be the next step, under a bill that zipped through the State Senate. It requires NJ Transit to study restoration of off-peak direct service, which was unceremoniously cancelled in September on the Raritan Valley line, NJ.com reports. The agency would have to examine the feasibility of providing permanent one seat rides in and out of New York. You would think NJ Transit would have already done such studies, and there would be no need for actual government law to force them to find conveniences for riders. But, whatever, as the law would order NJ Transit to produce a detailed report in six months, with a timetable of action. Meanwhile, commuters are expecting to keep switching trains in Newark until, say, retirement.
TRENTON - They were willing to carry a gun, so they now deserve to carry a textbook. Some lawmakers want to make sure that veterans who live in New Jersey at the moment - even if they are not official state residents - would pay in-state tuition rates if they enrolled in our public colleges and universities, NJ 101.5 reports. Typically, you need to live in New Jersey for 12 months prior to paying the cheaper tuition. Under the bill, their spouses and children would also be eligible for the perk, which would perhaps encourage these military families to stick around the state for awhile.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
MOORPARK, Calif. - Notice anything unusual about the license plate on this tractor-trailer? Cops with the Ventura County Sheriff's Department noticed a couple of oddities. The plate looked hand-painted, for one. Also, instead of "CALIFORNIA," the plate read "CALIFAS." And it apparently was supposed to look like a state license plate, from, say 1960. Not only is the driver a failed artist, he also was nabbed with methamphetamine. Also, the trucker didn't have a license. And he was wanted for other warrants. And, oh, the tractor-trailer was towed away because it was falling apart.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 2014 that Tesla showed it was a very different car company, making public the hundreds of patents for its Model S electric cars and encouraging others to compete. Response from Henry Ford from the grave: "Say what??"
WORD OF THE DAY
Numinous - [NOO-min-əs] - adjective
Definition: Filled with a sense of the presence of divinity
Example: It will be a numinous experience to reconnect with my favorite Camden County librarian.
WIT OF THE DAY
"Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit."
- Oscar Wilde
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun