Before we again look at this week's headlines, I'd like to congratulate Toms River Patch. The whole Patch team did a great job in covering its since our inception in December.
LOCALLY: It's obvious that the big headline locally is the beginning of a new era for the Toms River Regional School District. was definitely close, as it came down to just a few hundred votes.
The ticket who called themselves the "Clean slate" team: , and won the three school board seats.
They campaigned under the proposition of ending the .
"I don't feel that some of the other candidates were really putting new ideas. We were out there talking about how we can move beyond the stain that was left under the Ritacco era, and we wanted to bring transparency and accountability," Ben Giovine told Patch last night.
Voters also narrowly . The budget, which passed with a margin of 473 votes, called for $131 million in taxes. It will result in a 3.3 cent tax rate increase for Township residents.
But, expect some tension when the new school board convenes. Newly elected school board member, Alex Pavliv, was disappointed that the budget was passed because he believed that it included some unnecessary spending (inflated professional contracts).
NATIONALLY: Parts of the South are continuing to recover this weekend after devestating tornadoes killed nearly 300. According to Governor Bentley of Alabama, the hardest hit state, "people's lives have been turned upside down.
The three day tornado outbreak in the South is the second deadliest in the nation's history since 1950. In fact, it was the largest single-day tornado outbreak. Estimates say that as many as 164 tornadoes swept across the South on Wednesday. States affected include: Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Arkansas, Virginia and Kentucky.
Tuscaloosa, Alabama was one of the hardest hit cities. Mayor Maddox told reporters, "I don't know how anyone survived. When you look at the path of destruction that's likely 5 to 7 miles long in an area half a mile to a mile wide ... it's an amazing scene. There's parts of the city I don't recognize, and that's someone that's lived here his entire life."
In the meantime, if you're looking to help, consider opening your wallet. The American Red Cross is providing assistance to those affected by the disaster. Simply text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to give a $10 donation via your mobile phone.
INTERNATIONALLY: Now that the Royal Wedding is over, the world can focus again on 'real issues' like Syria:
President Bashar al-Assad seems determined to join his father in the ranks of history’s blood-stained dictators. He has sent troops and thugs to murder anyone who has the courage to demand political freedom.
Last week, President Assad outlined a reform agenda to abolish laws that gave the government the right to arrest people without cause. However, he seems to have a much different view of what that means for his people.
On Monday, the Syrian Army stormed Dara'a (the center of the political opposition). This ambush left the city with little clean water and no hopes of outward communication.
More than 400 people have died since demonstrations began two months ago. The UN Security Council can't seem to decide what the response will be. France and the United States are calling for "strong measures" if the Syrian president rejects the appeals to end the violence.
In the meantime, if you're looking for good news, I guess we can all be excited that the Spring weather seems to be here to stay?
Did you wake up on Friday to watch the Royal Wedding? I'd love to hear from you.
Until next time...