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Howard Stern rest stop closed,

 New Jersey cites $1 million in savings

AP from South Florida Sun-Sentinel on the Web, February 6, 2003

TRENTON, N.J. ó Thieves couldnít shut down Howard Sternís rest stop, but Gov. James E. McGreevey will. New Jersey canít afford to keep open the Route 295 rest area that carries the radio hostís name. It will be shuttered, reportedly at a savings of $1 million a year.

The closing was part of McGreeveyís budget, which he introduced Tuesday. McGreevey also cut funding to the arts, sciences and cultural programs. Aid for higher education, rebates and social service programs were also cut to balance the $23.7 billion budget.

Twenty-three state workers are needed to staff the area around the clock, state officials said. Itís one of three operated on state highways; rest areas on the New Jersey Turnpike and other toll roads are independently operated.

Former Gov. Christie Whitman, now head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, joked that she would christen the rest area after Stern during a 1995 campaign stop.

Whitmanís decision drew criticism from several groups, including the New Jersey chapter of the National Organization for Women, which says Stern demeans women.

In March 1995, workers installed a black-and-silver plaque complete with a caricature of Stern peeking from an outhouse at the Springfield Township rest stop.

It was stolen within days, but someone later mailed Stern the plaque, which had been paid for by the state Republican Committee.

A voice mail message seeking comment from Sternís radio producer was not immediately returned. His agent also didnít respond to an e-mail request for comment.





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