ASBURY PARK - Fire safety takes a back seat this summer in Asbury Park, where the City Council is delaying requirements for a sprinkler system to be installed at the landmark Convention Hall. Apparently, the sprinkler system is very expensive and the developer just couldn't get to it, following Superstorm Sandy, The Asbury Park Press reports. City officials would be lambasted for closing the historic theater – the cornerstone of the boardwalk – this summer. So, hey, the developer just now needs to ensure plans for the sprinkler system are submitted by September 30 – after all the summer tourism cash has been counted.
NEW BRUNSWICK – Before taking over as president of Rutgers University, Robert Barchi had this nice, comfortable gig at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Today, he will likely reminisce about the good ol' days, as he is grilled in front of the Assembly Budget Committee. Expect him to cough up answers about these obscene payouts to three university officials fired during the basketball debacle. The state is about to hand Rutgers nearly $500 million in aid; taxpayers need assurances it won't be squandered on severance packages in the athletic department.
TRENTON – Democrats are uncontrollably salivating as they eagerly await the state's new unemployment data, to be released at 11 a.m. The data has been red meat for the anti-Christie faction – eager to prove the Governor is just smoke and mirrors appearing in a suit. The latest figures from February have the state's unemployment numbers at 9.3 percent. Meanwhile, the national rate is 7.7. percent. Our projection: Democrats blast Christie for whatever numbers are released. Christie, meanwhile, blasts the numbers for being inaccurate.
ATLANTIC CITY – While the $2.4 billion Revel clings to an image of wealth, glamour and glitz, the harsh reality is to play out today in a bankruptcy court in Camden. Lawyers will be talking about how 83 employees were laid off yesterday, NBC 40 reports, and about a "debtor-in-possession" deal that keeps the hulking mass from becoming, well, a decaying hulking mass. Through bankruptcy protection, the Revel hopes to eliminate around $1 billion in debt or so, trading it for equity. Gotta love the magic of bankruptcy lawyers.
NEWARK – Want your own little slice of heaven? Newark will be auctioning off unneeded city-owned structures and vacant lots today at Newark Symphony Hall. Investors can't get more on the ground floor than this.
BELMAR – A press conference is scheduled in Belmar today to learn the gory details about a New Jersey woman's $1 million discrimination lawsuit against CVS. NJ.com reports the woman, of Korean descent, saw the phrase "Ching Chong Lee" on her ticket when she was picking up her photos. That was not her correct name. Wrong? Absolutely; it's an obvious slur. Worth $1 million? Well, hey, that's for the jury to decide.
GLEN ROCK – Pornography is showing up on teens' cell phones these days, prompting ticked-off parents and school officials to attack an app known as "Snapchat." CBS reports the pics have spread like wildfire at the Glen Rock schools. Snapchat automatically deletes photos seconds after they are opened, but the photos can still be saved. Life was so much simpler when a high school sophomore could just hide Playboy behind the Atari. (Or so we have been told.)
HIGHLAND PARK—As if we needed another reminder that nothing draws a crowd better than free chicken and beer, it's somewhat surprising that the opening of a Korean barbecue chicken restaurant can draw the likes of state and local legislators, including a campaign stop from Barbara Buono. Heck, even Sen. Joe Vitale, from the neighboring LD 19 was in attendance. This begs the question: Is chicken and beer the silver bullet for struggling downtowns? The answer is clear.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
NEW YORK - A globe-trotting male exotic dancer – known on stage as the "Punisher" – is suing NBC for $2 million. He claims the "Dateline" news program destroyed his career by using his trademarked shirtless photograph in a segment about a scam artist, the NY Post reports. The dancer says he was in no way connected with the scam – for which he is now forever linked. Terrible to see the fine reputation of a male exotic dancer be besmirched by the media.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
Everyone is talking about Jackie Robinson these days, with the movie "42" now in theaters. So, let's jump on that bandwagon, reporting that it was this day in 1946 that Jackie Robinson debuted as second baseman for the Montreal Royals.