AT THE POLLS – Last-minute changes to the election laws in 2018 created mass confusion about who could vote and how: voting machine, paper ballot, traditional mail, messages telepathically beamed through the ether, whatever. And now in 2019? The same problem. NJSpotlight reports tens of thousands of registered voters are mystified by the new regulations, and county clerks all across the state are scrambling to meet a Saturday deadline for sending out vote-by-mail ballots to those who want them. It would be laughable. But it isn’t.

AT THE POLLS – Grandma may be getting a hundred bucks more for those long, tedious hours she and other poll workers – most, senior citizens and women – work whenever there’s an election. There’s endless opportunity: From primaries and generals to school and districts races and referendums. Assemblyman Rob Karibinchak tells NJ 101.5 that poll workers “deserve a little bit more” than the $200 they’re paid for working a 15-hour day, drinking coffee, handing out “I Voted” stickers and making sure people sign the book in the right place. He’s trying to get them another $100, their first raise since 2001. His bill calls for the state, not counties, to cough up an extra $5.5 million annually. If it happens, Caesars better oil up those slot machines and prep the buffet, cuz Granny is on her way.

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OLD BRIDGE – Running for mayor turned into a life-saving opportunity for Councilman Dave Merwin, who rescued a senior citizen who’d fallen and spent five days unable to get up. Campaigning door-to-door on Saturday in the Cheesequake Village adult community, NJ 101.5 says the candidate saw the Louisiana Drive woman sprawled on the floor through her window after he noticed her mail piling outside. He dialed 911, then with the help of a neighbor, the councilman – a 47-year first aid squad member – kicked in the front door and comforted the woman until paramedics arrived. Then, we can only presume, he gave her a flier, mentioned the polling hours and asked if she might need a ride?

JACKSON – Six coffins. 4,000 contestants. 30 hours of hell. And all just to win $600 and some free amusement park passes?  Pretty chintzy there, Six Flags Great Adventure. But it is still great fun to see all these crazy people vying to be contestants at the annual Coffin Challenge on October 13. If you are “lucky enough” to be one of six contestants, you spend 30 hours in a closed coffin (with a mesh top so you don’t end up a corpse.) There are some challenges over those 30 hours, dealing with snakes, spiders, skunks and other fun things. There is also a looping playlist of awful, never-die songs like “Baby Shark” so you go mad, as well as a guest emcee whose career may be rising from the dead, the guy who played the kid vampire “Eddie Munster” in the mid-1960s. Apply now through the Six Flags website, or you can just earn the 600 bucks by raking our lawn all fall.

LAKEWOOD – He must be one heckuva attorney. There doesn’t seem to be any other possible reason why this perennially-broke school district has likely one of the highest paid school contractors on the planet. The school district attorney – whose name we won’t mention because we don’t want to be sued – received a whopping $715,000 in the last school year with another $102,000 in July, the Asbury Park Press reports. The guy gets a $50,000-a-month retainer, which seems more in line with a blue-chip Manhattan law firm, not an Ocean County school district that is always pleading with the state for millions of dollars in bail outs. Last year, he also banged taxpayers for $8,000 in legal transcripts and $29,000 in reimbursements for medical expenses. The newspaper noted his pay was enough to educate 24 children for one school year. School officials likely have a perfectly good explanation for this expense, which would be fascinating.

MENDHAM – A nice “gotcha” story from New Jersey Globe, reporting the leader of NJ Transit pays less than 20 bucks a year in property taxes on his five-acre property in Mendham. Why? Because the $281,000-a-year CEO also happens to be a sheep farmer who sells products from the wool. He makes about $900 on the farm, and, with the farmland assessment, saves $19,000 or so each year in taxes on glorious property in one of the nicest towns in the state. Another thing for commuters to seethe over.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

CHICAGO – What a great way you illustrate your point. A state legislator was giving a television interview yesterday at the city’s train station about problems of pooping pigeons. And then, on cue, a bird dropped a turd on the head of Rep. Jaime Andrade. You can’t buy this type of timing at CBS News, especially from an on-site reporter whose last name happens to be Victory. “I'll just have to go clean up,” Andrade muttered. “That's what happens to my constituents. They get [expletive] on all time.” He added that $6 million has been approved to improve the station, but not a nickel to address falling feces.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1884 that Judge Allen disposed of 13 criminal cases in Oakland in just six minutes, setting a speed record for dispensing his special version of justice.

The following transcript from one of his trials appeared in the Oakland Tribune:

“I didn’t think I was drunk, your Honor,” said Gus Harland.

“Not drunk?” said Judge Allen.

“Not very drunk.”

“How drunk?”

“Well–I could see the moon.”

“It was raining hard Sunday night when I arrested that man,” said the officer.

“Six dollars or three days. Next.”

WORD OF THE DAY

Vicissitude – [və-SISS-ə-tood] – noun

Definition: A favorable or unfavorable event or situation that occurs by chance 

Example: There’s plenty of vicissitudes in life, like ending up in Judge Allen’s courtroom.

WIT OF THE DAY

“I make Jessica Simpson look like a rock scientist.” 

- Tara Reid

WEATHER IN A WORD

Tranquil

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