ON THE ROADS - Go before you go. That's the polite suggestion of state highway officials, with word that two rest stops on the New Jersey Turnpike will be closing for huge renovations after the Labor Day weekend. No longer will you be able to make pit stops at the service areas in Woodbridge and Wall. Keep those legs crossed until Memorial Day of next year, when these two rest stops will gloriously reopen with fancy new restaurants and other nice amenities. Oh yeah - and there will be toilets too.

YOUR BACKYARD - The state is noticing a nice decline in the number of bear complaints this year. And that is surprising, as bears are just as interested in your cupcake and seeing what Uncle Mel has thrown on the grill. And it's not like we've suddenly stopped tearing down trees and encroaching on their native habitat. State environmental officials say since the end of 2016, the number of damage and nuisance claims have fallen in half, the Record reports. Of course, the state-sanctioned annual bear hunt could be a reason, as an average of 428 bruins are mowed down each year in this "sport." Yet there is still a big, elusive population out there. And they are still eager to see what's cooking.

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STATEWIDE - Perhaps you've seen them around New Jersey, in places like Toms River and Atlantic City. They're certainly hard to miss; men in white outfits with what looks like blood all over the crotches. And it's hard to miss their signs, with such catchy slogans as "End Male Genital Mutilation" and "Vote No on Circumcision." These fellas are on a 21-day tour to argue against circumcision. "It's a valuable part of the body with most of the sexual sensitivity in the foreskin, so the part that's cut off has most of the sexual sensitivity," explained a group spokesman for "Bloodstained Men & Their Friends.""Very few men want to lose that. If it weren't being forced on them, it would basically disappear." Want to learn more? Mark your calendars for Aug. 8, when they plan to appear in Newark.

RED BANK - Looks like all bark, no bite. This borough was set to ban pet stores that sell dogs and cats from breeders (a.k.a puppy mills.) Then after seven months of rabid howling, prodding from animal rights advocates and lawsuit threats, the Borough Council is burying the plans in the backyard. The Asbury Park Press says the council jumped and rolled over to appease all sides, even exempting a Front Street pet store that only sells those super cute, hypoallergenic puppies. Still, no dice. A local animal welfare committee member calls it "shameful" for the council to "ignore the will of its constituents."



DEAL - So, what's the deal with all the garbage on the beach?  (Sorry about that one.) There was an emergency beach cleanup required over the weekend, in which needles, syringes and other junk was collected - netting about 200 pounds of plastic on a Deal beach. There were more than a dozen beaches in Monmouth County that were forced to close last week when some believe all those heavy storms pushed North Jersey sewage and other awful things onto our cherished sand. Of course the clean-up also generated countless plastic straws, plastic cups, plastic bottles and plastic lids, revealing the real ongoing concern on public beaches.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Here's hoping a Texas girl likes fast-food chicken, now that she will have a lifetime supply of it. This little nugget was born in a Chick-fil-A bathroom last Tuesday. Mom was having contractions when she and the new dad stopped at the restaurant for an emergency pit stop. It was closed, but the couple desperately banged on the front door. The store director told KSAT-TV that by the time she opened the door, mom was screaming. Into the bathroom they all went, with the store director getting towels and dad working to unwrap the umbilical cord from around the baby's neck. (Lots of drama here.) Suddenly, out came little Gracie. Besides a clean bill of health, an unbelievable story and relieved parents, she also gets free Chick-fil-A for life and a job at 14, likely cleaning bathrooms.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was a tough night for the Mets on this day in 1993 when Vince Carter throws a cherry bomb at Dodger fans, injuring three, while pitcher Anthony Young loses a record 27 straight games.

WORD OF THE DAY 

Festinate - [FESS-tə-nayt] - verb

Definition: To hasten                    

Example: If all these drivers would just put down their damn phones and festinate, I may get to work on time this morning.

WEATHER IN A WORD 

Clammy

 THE NEW 60
a Jaffe Briefing exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun