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Morning Briefing 11/19/14

ATLANTIC CITY

No matter where you stand on the efforts to salvage the Trump Taj Mahal, you have to appreciate the scrappiness of the labor union representing casino workers. The union has selected one of the busiest hours of the League of Municipalities conference to stage a protest on the boardwalk, with hundreds of workers braving the chill at 5 p.m. today to march from the Taj Mahal to the Tropicana, rallying against the shutdown and billionaire investor Carl Icahn. Typically, such a strategic protest would be the talk of local and state politicians walking the boardwalk from event to event. This year, however, conference-goers are sticking to the warm cabs.

FREEHOLD

Let's forgo any discussion about how to improve public education for the next generation, and waste time and resources debating if the "Pledge of Allegiance" is discriminatory. A judge in Freehold will be hearing arguments today in the case plaguing the Aberdeen-Matawan school district, as a local family says the phrase "under God" flies in the face of its atheist views. School officials say kids are not forced to recite the pledge. Most probably mumble through it anyway. But this case is still going to be national news, with the pro-pledge and anti-pledge factions digging in.

PEMBERTON

The "most unpopular" couple in Pemberton must be the pair charged with ripping off the local girls' softball organization of $3,600. The county prosecutor's office says the couple - now the former leaders at the Central Burlington Girls Fastpitch Softball League - was using the league's money as a personal expense account. Funds paid for cigarettes, groceries, movie tickets, car insurance and even a veterinary bill, NJ.com reports. Unclear how this spending couldn't end with an arrest, as the girls next spring wonder why the league can't afford softballs.

ON THE ROADS

AAA is stepping up for all of us toll-plagued motorists today, heading to court in a last-ditch effort to block a planned toll hike at New York-bound bridges and tunnels, to go into effect Dec. 7. The Port Authority says it needs even more money to pay for all its construction projects, such as the World Trade Center. AAA argues the Port Authority can't use toll money for work unrelated to the interstate transportation network. Good point, but how else does the Port Authority pay for all the work it has already done? Raising revenue via panhandling and squeegee work is no longer permitted. Damn that Giuliani.

MONTGOMERY TOWNSHIP

Max Spann auctioneers are describing a 32-acre estate as an "architectural showplace," as it goes on the block Dec. 12. But more interesting than the wine-tasting room, art gallery, rooftop terrace and the other many features is the story behind it all. NJ.com reports the unfinished dream home was the brainchild of a chiropractor who made his fortune running an insurance scam worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. He tells NJ.com that selling the house is a way to pay his debts, though he's sad to part with it. "I put my heart and soul into the place," he said.

Posted in Morning Briefing

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