Happy May Day!

OCEAN CITY - It's safe. Absolutely. No problem here. That's the story at Playland's Castaway Cove, following a test of the GaleForce roller coaster that went very, very wrong. A water-filled test dummy slipped off the ride during a routine test last week. It crashed onto the roof of condos near the ride. Apparently, it was under-inflated, prompting it to fly off the roller coaster, to the obvious surprise of onlookers. Workers quickly made repairs, replacing some shingles and plywood at the condos. Meanwhile, a manager at Castaway Cove says there's also absolutely nothing wrong with the two-year-old GaleForce. Absolutely nothing. Really.

TRENTON - Your town's tax assessor is supposed to be an impartial appraiser of property values. Trouble is, State Comptroller Philip Degnan says, some of these guys have side jobs with firms hired to conduct revaluations in their towns. In fact, the comptroller found many cases in which assessors were working for these firms at or near the time a revaluation was being carried out, "leaving ample opportunity for unethical self-dealing." One person told state investigators "not to worry" and that "this happens all the time." Here's the rub: Apparently the dubious practice is in a gray area, legally speaking. Read the story in NJ Spotlight and make your own assessment.

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STATEWIDE - Are you sitting down? Are you reading this screen? Well, that's bad. A new Washington University study shows that teens now spend an outrageous 8 hours a day lounging around, peering at screens. And adults are nearly as pitiful, with 6 ½ hours a day, staring blankly at computer screens, smartphones, televisions and all the other damn screens that consume our lives. Lead researchers call it all "concerning."  "Sitting" has become an epidemic, as we all sit, sit, sit at work for eight hours, then sit in traffic and come home to sit, sit, sit some more. The solution: Let's all go out and play. See ya.

JERSEY CITY - City council members say their jobs are 24-7, like many other municipal officials and civic volunteers around the state. The difference, the Jersey Journal reports, is that city council members believe their salaries should be nearly doubled. Under the plan, the City Council would earn $65,298 a year, while the council president would rake in $68,354 annually. They argue their pay should match the amount of time they invest. Fair enough, but one question: What makes them different than the thousands of other elected officials across New Jersey who invest the same amount of time and passion in their jobs for less than $5,000 a year?

NEWARK - In a terrific coup for the Brick City, it will be playing host this year to the MTV Video Music Awards. Yep, the Prudential Center - and the businesses surrounding the arena - will be the big winners on Aug. 26, where the hottest names in music - and other beautiful, perfect people - actually discover this side of the Hudson to participate in the must-see show. The VMAs are usually held at Radio City Music Hall or in other glittery cities like Las Vegas, Miami and LA. Somehow, someway, Newark grabbed this one.


MCKEESPORT, Pa. - In a story line fresh from "The Jerry Springer Show," local cops have busted a 33-year-old Pittsburgh man for flushing his grandparents' ashes down a toilet after his mother kicked him out of her home. The Tribune-Review reports that son is facing charges of abusing a corpse. Not only did he grab the box of ashes from his mother's bedroom for the big flush, he also threatened to do the same with hers, once she passes. With such delightful next of kin, perhaps she should opt for a coffin.


The next time you can actually navigate a highway, make sure to thank President Bill Clinton, who announced on this day in 2000 that GPS will no longer be restricted to the U.S. military.


Isocheim - [I-sə-kime] - noun

Definition: A line connecting two locations with the same average winter temperature

Example: I was trying to find a Cracker Barrel, but mistakenly made that left at the isocheim.


"You know you must be doing something right if old people like you."


- Dave Chappelle




A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun