HOBOKEN – There may be the need for spit guards and chicken wire, as a Senate Select Committee will be holding a public hearing on NJ Transit’s woes at the Hoboken terminal on Wednesday, smack in the middle of the evening rush hour. From 5-7 p.m., commuters are invited to provide some colorful input – if their trains magically arrive on time from New York. Kudos to Senate President Steve Sweeney and the other senators on this committee, willing to go directly to the weary commuters, as opposed to asking them to be even later to work, for the honor of schlepping to Trenton to testify.
STATEWIDE – Colleges and universities serving a large proportion of minority populations are ringing the warning bells about a potential loss in federal funding. For years, the feds have kept a $255 million pot for “minority-serving” schools, which includes 13 colleges in New Jersey supported with $47 million, NJ.com reports. But that program ended Sept. 30 and funding will dry up by next September. The Dems in the House supported a two-year extension and – wouldn’t you know it – the Senate Republicans blocked the bill. Meanwhile, back in the real world, schools like New Jersey City University are now scrambling, looking at a $5 million loss in financial aid for some of their neediest students.
TOMS RIVER – As a star on the Mets and Yankees, Todd Frazier has stared down some of the biggest and best Major Leaguers. But none of these turkeys can compare to the live turkeys in his backyard, as his Toms River home has been under steady attack. Frazier appears to be striking out with local animal control, tweeting yesterday for relief. Turkeys on his car. Turkeys in his driveway. Turkeys in his yard. Turkeys. Turkeys. Turkeys. Frazier tweeted at 10:45 a.m. yesterday: “So how’s your morning going?,” posting a photo of a turkey sniffing around his sunroof. State officials are rushing to residents’ aid, suggesting they use a broom, garden hose or air horn to scare off the pesky birds. Or just wait 17 more days, when we get our sweet revenge.
TRENTON – It’s Veterans Day, and that means we need a Veterans Day story. Look no further than NJSpotlight, reporting that state lawmakers want more veterans to benefit from a special property-tax deduction. There would be a ballot question for next fall, asking voters if they are willing to give a $250 property tax break to any and all veterans, no matter when or where they served. Currently, the program is only for veterans who served during wartime or during certain peace-keeping missions. Veterans are veterans, state leaders say, questioning why some who served are not included in this relatively small tax break. Who can argue with that?
PRINCETON – New Jersey’s ‘first family’ evidently has more refined tastes, and bigger plans for the governor’s mansion, than its predecessors. The Murphys hired a new $110,000 executive chef for Drumthwacket, paying $40,000 more than the previous top chef, who NJ.com says got flambéed after 17 years or service. To find the cream of the crop, the Murphys looked no further than Red Bank, near their Middletown home, where their new 35-year-old chef makes his bread and butter as the executive chef-owner of a trendy restaurant. For icing on the cake, this chef’s new bride also got hired as Drumthwacket’s $70,000 residence director. A state spokeswoman says Drumthwacket’s new chef won’t just be sautéeing and steaming. He’s getting paid more to serve up tasty new menus for state dinners and to supervise caterers for more public events at the mansion. Sen. Anthony Bucco tells Save Jersey these higher costs are “hard to swallow (and) completely unnecessary … (taxpayers) deserve better.” Sounds like quite a pickle.
AT HOME – Deals are often ‘no deal’ from cable and satellite TV providers with all the sneaky fees slipped into our monthly bills. Assemblyman Paul Moriarty is fed up and wants New Jersey to become the first state to make those hidden fees illegal. Moriarty tells NJ.com: “It’s very simple: if you’re going to advertise your service is $79 per month, that’s what it should be. Not adding $10 for a (cable) box, then a $4 sports fee and a couple dollars for entertainment acquisition.” His frustrations are fueled by a new Consumer Reports study that show surprise fees can jack up our annual TV viewing costs by $450. “Dancing with the Stars” just doesn’t seem worth it.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
BLUE HILL, ME – Call it weird science, as a Twinkie is celebrating its 43rdyear at George Stevens Academy. In 1976, a science teacher was teaching a lesson on food preservatives and decided to bring in a Twinkie for the class to observe. That science teacher as long retired, but the slowly-decaying Twinkie proudly lives on, under glass. Somehow, the Twinkie has managed to maintain its size and shape, but it is now gray and its texture looks cratered. The Twinkie has been passed on to the school’s dean of students, who happened to be one of the students in that infamous class when the snack cake was introduced. It’ll be in interesting when the Twinkie receives its AARP card.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
On this day in 2017, a woman who married her mother was sentenced for incest. According to the Tulsa World, Misty Spann, 26, is heading to jail for 10 years for getting hitched to the woman who birthed her. Apparently, says Misty, there is really no issue here. That’s because she was raised by her grandmother after her mom lost custody. The mom-daughter duo recently re-connected and – wouldn’t you know – they hit it off! This is not the first trip down the aisle for the mother, Patricia Spann, who had married her son in 2008 in Comanche County. That marriage was annulled 15 months later when the son concluded it was getting kinda weird.
WORD OF THE DAY
Pathos – [PAY-thohss] – noun
Definition: An emotion of sympathetic pity
Example: With the Giants still having to play more professional football games this season, I’m consumed with pathos.
WIT OF THE DAY
“Braininess is not attractive unless combined with some signs of elegance; class.”
― Alice Munro
“If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband, what makes her think she can satisfy America?”
- Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun