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The Morning Briefing May 22, 2012

on Tuesday, 22 May 2012.

ATLANTIC CITY – You’ve been sitting at your favorite slot machine for, say, eight hours. A disinterested cocktail waitress regularly stops by with another Miller Lite, as you continue to drain your 401(k) into this large beeping box. But – wait – nature is calling. You start to sweat; you cross your legs; the pressure builds, but, heck, you keep playing. Problem? Well, this all-too-common inconvenience may soon be a thing of the past. The casino industry wants to give you a hand-held device to continue gambling during those precious moments when you just can’t sit in front of a slot machine. A state Assembly committee moved on legislation to bring these devices in, ensuring all casino bathrooms will soon be filled with plenty of beeping.

NEWARK – The hatred between the Devils and Rangers was on full display last night during Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Eastern Conference Finals. The Devils tied the best of seven series 2-2 with a 4-1 victory. But who could pay attention to hockey with all those fists flying, including Ranger forward Michael Rupp's sucker punch to former teammate Martin Brodeur, which knocked the sainted Devils goalie off his skates and sparked a shouting match between Devils coach Peter DeBoer and Rangers coach John Tortorella. Afterward, DeBoer opted for the high road while the whining Tortorella said somewhat unbelievably that he didn't understand why a penalty was called. Game 5 returns to MSG Wednesday. See more here.

WESTAMPTON – The only thing more thrilling than the Devils v. Rangers match-up is Day Two of the state’s cosmetology exam, taking place at the Burlington County Institute of Technology.  Day One was brutal, with plenty of primping, poking and puffing of hair. This morning, as the bleary-eyed cosmetology students pull up in their cherry red Hyundai Elantras, turn down the club music, adjust their leopard-skin tights, throw their gum in the car ashtray and adjust the car air freshener, they can be relieved the exam is almost over. By this weekend – if all goes well – they can be at their local mall, working the afternoon shift at SuperCuts, living the dream.

NEWARK -- Some of that Facebook cash flowing to Newark may be used to clear the dead wood floating around the Newark Public Schools. The Wall Street Journal's Lisa Fleisher reports that Newark Schools Superintendent Cami Anderson has pitched the Newark Teacher's Union a proposal to use a portion of the $100 million donation to offer incentives for lousy teachers to pack up and leave. Newark Public Schools currently has 84 teachers that no school wants, yet the district is spending about $8.5 million on their salaries for little in return. Mark Zuckerburg's money has been spent on far less worthy investments in Newark; this idea may actually have some legs. Read more here.

UPPER TOWNSHIP – A controversial fence that was designed to protect the Great Harbor Bridge from a terrorist attack is now coming down, following public outcry. The Press of AC reports the $250,000 fence – eight-feet-tall and topped with barbed wire – wasn’t exactly an amenity for the Atlantic City tourism brochure when erected last year. Motorists on the Garden State Parkway often wondered if they were driving into a prison, or out of it. Someone, somewhere, sees this bridge as a terrorism concern, but they apparently play second fiddle to casino execs who want gamblers to have a bucolic drive into their nurturing, outstretched arms.

WAYNE – Some more prom season drama to report. Last week, we told you about a local prom shop failing to deliver on dress orders, or providing the girls with ill-fitting or damaged goods. The Record reported the prom shop owner claims she was burglarized. But police have carefully reviewed surveillance tapes, revealing the owner taking the dresses off the racks herself (OMG). Police are considering charges for filing a false complaint, or maybe just throwing the shop owner to the livid North Jersey moms, who will grind her to a stump.

TRENTON – Is anyone surprised that all these grandiose talks of sweeping tax cuts in Trenton are slowly petering out? Reality can be a real downer, as the Assembly Budget Committee is trying to figure out how the state can possible afford competing plans proposed by state Republicans or Democrats. Assembly Budget Chair Vincent Prieto offered a dose of reality yesterday, saying the state has to live within its means. While that doesn’t exactly one-up the other political party, it’s one of the most sensible comments we’ve heard this budget season.

GLASSBORO – Well, we didn’t expect this: Even the faculty at Rowan University is not supporting the proposed takeover of Rutgers-Camden. NJ Spotlight reports the faculty’s labor union has endorsed recommendations that oppose the Governor’s plan, saying Rutgers-Camden must remain a part of Rutgers University. It will be interesting to see if the Rowan teacher’s union has any weight in this debate, as they will be the ones likely commuting to Camden to teach angry, disillusioned former Rutgers students. 

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

 It was this day in 1995 that “Laverne and Shirley” broadcasted its 20th anniversary reunion special. It was also the last day the actor who played Squiggy had a paying gig. (Hello!)

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