Etc...

No, Tony Soprano's not in it

Many people think of New Jersey as little more than a transportation corridor between New York and Washington. It's oft-scorned and the butt of jokes. But now it has a new distinction that puts it in more select company: its own encyclopedia. The 912-page volume (available online or in bookstores) is full of facts, maps and other illustrations, entries for all 566 cities and towns, and biographical sketches of Bruce Springsteen, Dionne Warwick, NFL coach Bill Parcells, the late Frank Sinatra, and other legendary Jerseyans. "We wanted it to be something people would keep on their coffee tables," coeditor Marc Mappen said - "something they would read." A copy can be yours for $49.95, plus tax.

A suburb that ranks No. 1 on the kid-friendly meter

Naperville, Ill., a fast-growing suburb of Chicago with the metropolitan area's lowest property taxes and one of the highest rates of recycling in the nation, is also exceptionally child-friendly, according to data compiled by the Census Bureau. In a new report, "Children and the Households They Live In: 2000," Naperville emerges as a community with many working families, parents who are married, and little poverty. Only 1 percent of Naperville children live in unmarried partner households, and a mere 0.4 percent live in homes that receive public assistance - the lowest rate in the nation. It also has the lowest poverty rate for children under 18 (2.2 percent). The five cities of 100,000 or more population with the lowest and highest percentages of child poverty, respectively, from the Census Bureau report:

LOWEST

Naperville, Ill. 2.2
Overland Park, Kan. (tie) Gilbert, Ariz. 2.9
Livonia, Mich. 3.0
Plano, Texas 4.5
HIGHEST
Brownsville, Texas 44.7
Hartford, Conn. 40.9
New Orleans 40.0
Providence, R.I. 39.9
Atlanta 38.6

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