MONTCLAIR - It's an awful time to be a clown in New Jersey. With all these crazy, rogue clowns scaring the bejesus out of people, the mainstream clown community is hunkering down, bracing for discrimination far and wide. Case in point: The Montclair schools are banning students from coming to school in "clown-related costumes," while Roselle Park officials are urging residents to not dress up like clowns in the wake of this public panic. Such outright discrimination is painful for the clown community, which has enjoyed the freedom of expression since the founding of this great nation and are now suffering socially and financially. No one, it seems, wants a balloon animal or to squeeze a red nose. (Sorry; just clowning around here.) 

ATLANTIC CITY - Just a month to go before the election, and "the eighth wonder of the world" is closing on the Boardwalk - just another epic real estate failure in the wake of Donald Trump. The Trump Taj Mahal closed for business at 5:59 a.m. this morning, as fellow billionaire Carl Icahn couldn't figure how to squeeze a profit. That means, of the five shuttered casinos on the Boardwalk, two of them feature the "Trump" brand. Expect Trump workers, and crowbars, to hurry over to the Taj Mahal to ensure the glorious "Trump" name is no where to be seen on a once-stunning building that mimicked the famous Indian palace. There are 3,000 workers, or so, losing their jobs, the latest victims of New Jersey's casino industry.  

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PATERSON - A few famous Patersonians fell between the cracks when school officials drafted a list of people who might deserve to have brand new School 16 named for them. Sure, there are a half-dozen ex-school board members and educators, the most prominent is "Crazy Joe" Clark of "Stand By Me" fame. They've got baseball Hall of Famer Larry Doby and elected officials like Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly. But, where's native son Floyd Vivino, star of PBS's long-running "Uncle Floyd Show," or comedy legend Lou Costello? Heck, nothing would scream "Silk City" like naming the new 20th Avenue grade school after Real Housewives star-turned-jailbird Teresa Guidice. And, where-oh-where is the city's favorite rapper, Fetty Wap, in the big decision?

TOMS RIVER - Few things raise people's temper faster than rising parking fees. At the risk of getting chased down Robbins Street by motorists flailing tire irons, the Town Council just doubled on-street meter fees to 50 cents an hour. That's just for the first two hours. Meter costs jump exponentially every hour thereafter. So, eight hours of on-street parking in downtown now cost $14.50, the Toms River Times says. Parking garage meters, near the library and Town Hall, triple to 75 cents an hour. There are ... ahem ... dandy reasons for higher fees, says parking director Pam Piner: They haven't gone up since 1993, plus the authority hopes to replace its 30-year-old, virtually indestructible meters with those fancy electronic ones. So, higher parking fees to pay for new meters? How inspiring. 

MIDDLESEX COUNTY - The domino effect is hitting Democratic circles here after H. James Polos pulled the lever on his freeholder ejector seat. With Polos set to become the director of the county Improvement Authority, someone needs to fill the 26 months left on his term. TAPinto New Brunswick says that someone could very well be North Brunswick Councilwoman Shanti Narra, whose star is rising here. If she's picked at an Oct. 18 meeting, that would also mean North Brunswick Democrats get to scramble for Narra's replacement. The legal aid lawyer just got re-elected to her third council term last fall, so she too would leave a 26-month vacancy. 


ANN ARBOR, MI - Besides the Rutgers football team, there was another huge loser in Saturday's bludgeoning by Michigan. On Friday, the Ruth's Chris Steak House had announced that diners would get a break off their total food bill equal to the final winning point differential in the latest football game. Then, the very next day, Michigan beat up on Rutgers, 78-0. Luckily, the discount is capped at 50 percent and - shrewdly - does not include booze. Yesterday, the Ann Arbor restaurant said it is completely booked through Michigan's next game though this high-steak promotion. So don't call, OK?


It was this day in 1995 that Dutch phone numbers went from seven digits to 10 digits, devastating for the entrepreneurial shoe maker whose phone number proudly read, "BUY CLOG."


Roister [ROY-ster] - verb 

Definition: To engage in noisy revelry  

Example: Plenty of roistering at the Ruth's Chris Steak House in Ann Arbor.