STATEWIDE - Did you know that gray hair has been trendy for a while now? And not just in Hollywood or Montclair. This is fortuitous for New Jerseyans, whose daily trials - taxes, Transit, Trenton pols - would drain the color from the most pigmented mane. It's no accident that we are seeing more gray heads than ever, given an analysis of new census data by NJ Spotlight, which reports that the percentage of the state's population aged 65 or older has risen by more than 21 percent since 2010. Must be that fewer Baby Boomers are fleeing to Florida; instead, they're sticking around to be near the kids and grandkids. And clearly not stocking up on "Just for Men."

LAKEWOOD - As lawmakers battle it out in Trenton, trying to mash together a 2019-20 state budget, the local school district sits in the crosshairs, sweating it out.  That's because Gov. Phil Murphy included $30 million in extra state funding to help the perennially-broke school district with its massive funding issues in transportation, special education and other areas. Yet, reports the Asbury Park Press, the state Legislature has its own proposed budget, stripping Lakewood of the cash at this moment, which would decimate the district. Lakewood school officials are closely watching the budget process, likely from under their desks, with silent prayers.

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LINDEN - Well, this is a new one. Four members of the Linden Presbyterian Church have filed a lawsuit, claiming the church minister for nearly 40 years sexually molested them. In separate therapy sessions, the minister explained that "Native American exorcism" was the reason for all the oral sex and masturbation, the members claim. NJ 101.5 reports on the alleged ritual: the minister would have them remove their clothes. He would then place gemstones, an angel coin, plastic bags, feathers and a magnetic strip on their bodies from head to toe to "scan" their bodies as he masturbated and performed oral sex. One plaintiff is a woman, who claimed he sucked on her naval and spit out metal pieces he claimed came from her body. The minister has resigned, but this case is certainly not closed.

TOMS RIVER - For a large school district, $21,000 is a drop in the bucket. But the optics look terrible for the local school board, which handed a total of $21,000 in raises to four top administrators, the Asbury Park Press reported. In any other year, that wouldn't really matter. But, this year, the school district is getting hit with a $2.8 million cut in state aid for the next school year, resulting in a loss of 58 teaching jobs, 12 secretarial positions, 55 assistant coaching jobs, six facilities jobs and one administrative position, as well as a 10 percent cut from accounts for supplies and textbooks. It's not the time for raises to those who earn deep into the six-figures.

SEASIDE HEIGHTS - Why, oh, why won't it end? Just like taxes, traffic and other Jersey traumas, the "Jersey Shore" show just goes on and on. There is yet another season of all the nonsense, as the show that has been torturing airwaves for nine years now will be somehow be back. This time, we all get to learn about marriages, births, prison, divorces and many, many other things we possibly couldn't care less about, as the hard-partying crew that brought us tanning and laundry debuts the new season on July 11, on a self-proclaimed "Jerzday" Thursday. No matter how many times we remind visitors that Jersey Shore has absolutely nothing to do with New Jersey, we are forever linked to bimbos and boneheads, courtesy of MTV.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

POOLSIDE - It's an obvious and shameless PR stunt for a travel website, so we won't mention the company's name. But we will tell you about the stunt. The site is looking to hire a "Poolhop," whose single job it appears is to travel the country and research the most "epic" hotel pools this summer.  The chosen candidate would get $10,000, plus travel and other expenses, to visit six pools and gush about all of them on social media. Of course, $10,000 is a drop in a national marketing budget, and you can assume the six hotels aren't charging the website for the reams of free publicity. So, it looks like a win-win, all around. Candidates have to write a measly 100 words explaining why they would make the best pawn in this marketing gimmick, as well as a 100-word sample review. Expect a big "unveil" in the upcoming days. The press release also named the six swanky hotels that the Poolhop will visit as part of this "news." Nah, we won't mention them either.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY 

They became the two most famous polyps in American history, removed from President Ronald Reagan's colon on this day in 1986.

WORD OF THE DAY

Vagary - [VAY-gə-ree] - noun

Definition: An erratic/unpretictable occurrence or phenomenon

Example: There were a great many vagaries in the President's colon.

WIT OF THE DAY

"For a poet he threw a very accurate milk bottle."

 

- Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

WEATHER IN A WORD

Thunder

THE NEW 60
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by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun