ON THE ROADS - "Crisis Communications" seems the standard course of the day at NJ Transit, now responding to the latest round of social media backlash. It involves a pregnant commuter kicked off a bus yesterday morning because the MyTix app wasn't working, NBC reports. The rider tweets: "I am 7 months pregnant and the bus driver took me off the bus bc the app didn't work and I only had $3 on me instead of the $4.50." NJ Transit is again apologizing, adding the driver is being "retrained."​​​​​​​

READINGTON - When North America's biggest hot air balloon festival returns to Solberg Airport next weekend, it will have new POTUS-size contingencies. Organizer Larry Konash tells NJ.com he is accustomed to handling bad weather and relentless air traffic. But, with Solberg just a short hop from Trump National Golf Course - the President's weekend getaway - Konash is getting a crash course in Secret Service protocols. Plans are in place in case the President shows up for a balloon ride (can't have the big guy float away to the 'Merry Old Land of Oz.') On the upside, the President supplies his own hot air. 

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WILDWOOD - When is Mister Softee not Mister Softee? Apparently, when you don't pay royalty fees to the Runnemede-based parent company. The owner of two Wildwood Boardwalk ice cream stands had his Mister Softee franchise licenses stripped in June because he got behind by $1,728 in royalty payments, NJ.com says. And that's not all. Mister Softee Inc. has also filed a federal lawsuit against this franchise owner, saying it now cannot guarantee the quality of his ice cream. And, corporate is demanding he return all Mr. Softee logos from both stands. Mr. Softee, while soft, is no pushover.

JERSEY CITY - In a city where politics is a blood sport, Mayor Steve Fulop has been able to fend off political foes trying to jack his property tax bill. Some pretty personal stuff here, as opponents pleaded with the Hudson County tax board to increase the assessment on the mayor's house. It's assessed at $104,000, similar to other properties on Ogden Avenue, but opponents argued the assessment should be $800,000, potentially costing the mayor tens of thousands of dollars in additional property taxes each year. The county board rejected the appeal. Now, reports the Jersey Journal, opponents want to take this case to state tax court. And remind us again why people run for political office.


ASBURY PARK - Well, it's official: Asbury Park is a neat town. That's because the New York Post has deemed it so, in an article that makes it appear as if the tabloid is unveiling something of which we were completely unaware. Check out this groundbreaking "discovery" from across the Hudson: "Few towns along the Jersey Shore have enjoyed a more visible beachfront revival over the past few years than Asbury Park, the vibrant summer enclave about 60 miles south of New York City. After decades of neglect, the working-class town that helped launch Bruce Springsteen's career has been transformed from a gritty backwater in the shadow of more popular locations along the shore to a hip beach destination sporting surf, sand and more palatable real estate prices than its affluent neighbors." Next up: the New York Post reveals that Hoboken has nightlife.


SPARTA, TN. - A couple of quick snips will cut 30 days off jail sentences for non-violent offenders in this backwater Tennessee county. Male inmates who voluntarily get vasectomies, or females who agree to a birth control implant, are getting freed sooner from the White County jail. The county judge concocted this taxpayer-funded sterilization program, telling ABC News that local inmates - many addicted to drugs and/or alcohol - should not have kids. So far, 38 men and 32 women have signed up. Opponents argue that it is not the court's role to steer family planning.


It was on this day in 1780 that General "Mad Anthony" Wayne led an army to destroy a fortified blockhouse four miles north of Hoboken, in Bull's Ferry. This observation shelter, surrounded by iron stakes and defended by 70 Loyalists, held on. Mad Anthony lost 18 Patriots in the failed assault. He was mad.


Al desko - [al-DES-koh] - adjective

Definition: Eaten at one's desk

Example: The cleaning crew hates all our al desko writers.