Good morning everyone!
It’s been a busy week here in my neighborhood. Looking out the home office window, I watched builders begin work on a new home, the folks directly across from us had a crew in replacing floors, and the family next door is having their main bathroom redone. In other parts of town and all over the state, repair and rebuilding from Ida is just getting underway.
So long Hot Vaxx Summer, and get ready for Fix-Up Fall — it’s home repair season! And Burt Schlosberg, the gentleman in the photo above, is ready to work.
OK, not really. Mr. Schlosberg is 88 and not what we’d call “handy” with the DIY stuff. “I need an instruction booklet to change a light bulb,” he told our Karin Price Mueller.
Karin’s latest must-read, “Hire At Your Own Risk,” details how with very little effort and zero demonstration of qualification, training, or ability, Schlosberg obtained a valid state Home Improvement Contractor registration and the required insurance.
Looking to rip out that giant corner bathtub you haven’t soaked in since the first Obama administration? Driveway crumbling? Want one of those super-trendy gabled pool sheds? Burt Schlosberg is now one of 48,525 folks in the state who can legally get hired to do any of those jobs.
Schlosberg said he has no intention of taking on side work hanging drywall. But lots of other people are. Over on our South Jersey: Locals Only Facebook group, I often approve posts from small businesses looking to hire. But ones from local painters, builders and handymen trying to find clients are a no-no, and Karin’s story illustrates why: There’s no way to filter out the scammers, grifters and incompetents from the majority of those who are skilled and above-board.
Anyway, give it a read, and compare the Jersey way with, say, Florida, which has a rigorous, expensive and lengthy process that borders on onerous. What’s the right move for us?
Also this week, we need school bus drivers, is Greg Schiano worth it, new views of a 116-year-old bridge, the fastest-growing towns, and American Dream goes luxe:
MOVE THAT BUS: School districts are facing a critical shortage of bus drivers, and it’s beginning to have an effect. One district is now dismissing its middle and high school students 45 minutes early.
FOLLOW THE MONEY: Is Rutgers getting its money’s worth from football coach Greg Schiano? It’s still pretty early, but Sarge looks at ticket sales, game day revenue and the “Schiano Effect.”
GET AN EYEFUL: Like finding beauty in old, abandoned stuff? Me too. Don’t miss Lori Nichols’ gorgeous photo essay on the 116-year-old “New Bridge” in deep South Jersey, with stunning drone shots by our Andre Malok.
HOW IT’S GROWING: If you’ve lived in the same town for 10 years or more, think about how it’s changed in that time. Then take a look at this list of the 25 towns that have grown the most, based on census data.
TOO RICH FOR MY BLOOD: Need a new Birkin bag, or a little something from Saks? Head to American Dream, where the high-end The Avenue wing has opened. It looks fantastic, if pricey. Allison Pries has the details.
Finally, if you have a middle or high school student in the house, and if they’re on TikTok, ask them if they know about “devious licks.” Depending on how they react, you’ll know if the latest social media-fueled foolishness has hit their school. It involves vandalism and theft but, mercifully, no licking.
Have a gorgeous week. R-U Rah Rah!
P.S.: Look, I’m not telling you your business, but it really is the best county in Jersey.