CHERRY HILL – Hard to tell when tuna fish became so darn punitive, but that may be the punishment for local students who run a debt in the cafeteria. The Philly Inquirer reports the school district wants to crack down on deadbeats. If a kid amasses a $10 debt, he or she gets slapped with a tuna fish sandwich for lunch. If the bill grows to $20, the kid goes hungry. School officials have announced the so-called “Tuna Fish Policy,” citing a $14,343 meal debt incurred by about 343 students. Community activists and parents immediately blasted the plan, as it would highlight all the kids from poor families who are munching on tuna sandwiches and praying their debt doesn’t hit $20. Yes, people need to pay their bills. But what if they can’t afford it?

NEW BRUNSWICK – So, football season is coming back to the banks at Rutgers, and all are praying for some miracles after last year’s disastrous season. The aftermath is still being felt, NJ.com reports, as only 64% of fans have renewed their season tickets. There’s been a dramatic, but not unexpected, 46.8 % decrease from 2015, when the school sold 31,000 season tickets, and the team was able to amass four non-impressive wins. The silver lining: Rutgers still has the ability to draw a strong fan base, the potential is unlimited and the tailgating is still the absolute best thing you can do on a fall Saturday morning in Jersey. So, if the team can just squeeze out a couple more wins this year, the fans will come back… Please?

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STATEWIDE – At an undisclosed location somewhere deep in Salem County, nine little bog turtles are cavorting in a muddy kingdom all their own. That’s because of a project to restore habitat for what happens to be New Jersey’s endangered state reptile. (We are sure you already know about the state shell, the knobbed whelk; the state microbe, Streptomyces griseus, and the state dance, the square dance). Numbers of the bog turtle have plummeted — it’s estimated there are only about 2,000 of them left in the Garden State. Their habitat has been shredded by development, roads, farming and poachers; they’re valuable creatures and can fetch thousands of dollars. Hence the super secrecy over the habitat project, NJ Spotlight explains.

CLIFTON – Parallel parking isn’t that easy for most of us. And it surely wasn’t for a hapless Connecticut man who somehow managed to launch his white Toyota on top of a parked, unoccupied Ford hatchback while trying to squeeze into a parking space. Police tell the Daily Voice the 54-year-old driver was unhurt in Wednesday morning’s bizarre accident on residential Trimble Avenue. Next trick: Getting that Toyota’s tires back on the road. Time to revisit a second mandatory drivers’ tests for people like this?

EATONTOWN – A poorly-worded email soliciting campaign cash from would-be borough vendors has four Democratic candidates in hot water with their own party. The puzzling email, apparently sent by two incumbent council members and two newcomers, says attorneys, accountants, engineers and other professionals who missed a June fundraiser can still donate. It immediately adds: “Next year’s professionals will be chosen solely on their merits, not based on political connection. We’re hoping you’ll apply.” Huh? State ELEC officials tell the Asbury Park Press the wording isn’t illegal, but other council Democrats are denouncing it as “unethical” and “wildly inappropriate.” Noting that Eatontown has one of the state’s strictest local pay-to-play ordinances, Council President Patti May Kelly says “the (email’s) implication is we don’t normally appoint people based on merit … I took exception to that personally.”

OUT TO LUNCH – New Jerseyans relish our hot dogs as much as pizza and pork roll. That’s why the 16th-annual Hot Dog Nation Tour is visiting six popular hot dog hot spots, mostly in Union County, on Aug. 24. Organizer John Fox tells TAPinto the Garden State is, frankly, the “hot dog capital of the world,” well known for its wide variety of specialty-topped boiled, grilled and steamed dogs. Two busloads carrying more than 100 wiener-lovers are to visit Bayway Diner in Linden; the Fanwood Grille; Galloping Hill Inn and Manny's Texas Wieners, both in Union; Pastrami & Pickles in Roselle Park; and the not-to-miss Hot Dog Hut in Colonia. Wanna beat the rush? Well, get your buns to one of those joints soon.



WOODBRIDGE – It is known as the “Crossroads of New Jersey,” but that doesn’t make it the crossroads of crime. Woodbridge has been ranked as the safest municipality in New Jersey, according to a group that has crunched a bunch of FBI stats. A research group with “Safewise” gave the township a safety score of 91.61, noting the high rate of high school graduation, solid household income and the minimal amount of violent crime. Researchers were also particularly impressed with the remarkably low number of registered sex offenders residing in Woodbridge, as well as the township’s green sustainability efforts. Woodbridge came in 23rd nationally in the rankings. Lakewood came in 28th; Toms River fell in at 46.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

LAS VEGAS – WTF? That’s what members of the WTF Party in Las Vegas are asking this morning, after Nevada election officials rejected the name of their political party. WTFers are now suing Nevada, which makes the obvious contention that WTF is “an acronym that commonly serves as a substitute for a well-known profanity.” WTFers claim with a straight face that WTF has no particular meaning. Election officials aren’t buying it, rightfully declaring that it is an “offensive” name that might “convey contempt for the election process.” In court papers, WTF’s argument will be summarized with a “WTF?”

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

The next time some cop tells you traffic tickets are just about maintaining order, tell him about this day in 2016. That’s when the Paterson Press reported about a proposed city budget requiring city cops to dish out another 30,000 traffic tickets each year – or 80 more a day – to generate an extra $3 million for the cash-strapped city. The Paterson Press says the ticket blitz – fair or not – was part of a formal revenue program that also includes widespread layoffs and furloughs, leaving the city short “only” $2.1 million for fiscal ’17.

WORD OF THE DAY

Slugabed – [SLUHG-ə-bed] – noun 

Definition: A lazy person; someone who stays in bed long after they should be awake.

Example: Kids returning from sleep-away camp are a bunch of worthless slugabeds.

WIT OF THE DAY

“People say nothing is impossible, but I do nothing every day.”

- A.A. Milne

WEATHER IN A WORD

Terrific

THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun