STATEWIDE — Another thing we kvetch about: Our state's gas tax. Well, fuel up for some more complaining because, according to NJ Spotlight, “If you buy gas in New Jersey, you might be paying more before long.” It’s all based on the current pace of gas-tax collections — uh-oh! — and what affect they’ve had on the state’s Transportation Trust Fund (the pot of dollars that helps to maintain our roads, bridges and mass-transit systems). Treasury officials are analyzing the data and getting ready for a mid-August meeting with still other public finance officials. If the receipts show a shortfall, then – Boom! – another bump in the gas tax. We’re no Einsteins, but with fewer cars on the roads for months now, we see where this is heading, with more tax at the pumps on Oct. 1. Luckily, no one goes anywhere anymore.

FREEHOLD TWP – Catching a porky runaway pig turned into a three-hour ordeal for animal control officers, cops and the SPCA. The spirited 400-pound swine led pursuers on a romp through backyards, soggy marshes, creeks and woods with thick underbrush. SPCA chief Scott Crawford tells the Asbury Park Press: “She really gave us a run for our money,” saying three tranquilizer darts couldn’t even slow her down, unable to pierce her thick hide. The chase began Thursday afternoon when motorists saw the plump pig dashing along busy Route 9, near Route 33. It finally ended when Crawford lassoed her, then fearlessly climbed on the rowdy pig’s back as others harnessed her neck. The pig, nicknamed “Babe,” is temporarily penned at a Marlboro farm until its owner is found. Hey, anyone missing a 400-pound pig?

BRIEFING BREATHER 

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Grooves in the road on Route 66 play “America the Beautiful.”

MIDDLETOWN – The governor couldn’t exactly call some of his neighbors “knuckleheads.” So, instead, Gov. Phil Murphy implored a bunch of teenage partygoers and their parents to stop being reluctant to help health officials find out how 31 high schoolers tested positive for COVID-19. The new cases are believed to be linked to a July 11 indoor party at a West Front Street home fueled with beer and booze. Murphy, whose mansion is two miles from this party house, reassured his neighbors “this is not a witch hunt (for) anyone drinking underage … (it’s) a race against the clock to ensure (anyone) exposed to coronavirus is identified before they infect anyone else.” His appeal worked. Health officials tell the Asbury Park Press that more families are coming forward, identifying others who their kids were in contact with and being told to self-quarantine.

LBI – There’s more ‘knucklehead news’ from two Long Beach Island towns where more than two dozen lifeguards attended an after-hours shindig and ended up testing positive for COVID-19. Health officials made all 26 guards hang up their damp swimsuits for a 14-day quarantine and the search is on for anyone else they potentially infected. LBI’s health director tells WHYY that 11 infected lifeguards work in Harvey Cedars and 14 other lifeguards work on Surf City beaches. It’s believed all partied together on July 12 and 14. To reassure beach-goers, Harvey Cedars and Surf City posted social media notices Saturday saying they still have plenty of fit, healthy lifeguard on duty and strict social distancing protocols are in place on their beaches. Surf’s up. C’mon down.

RIDGEWOOD – C’mon, let’s pick a day for all local elections and stick to it. That’s what a group calling itself “One Village, One Vote” is demanding of the Village Council: Hold municipal and school elections on the first Tuesday of November. Here’s their gripe: Until 2013, school elections were in April; from 2014–18 they got moved to the fall; then last year they switched back to April. Non-partisan council elections are held every other May, in even years. And, of course, there’s always November elections. It’s just too much and too confusing. So, the Record says, the ‘One Voters’ submitted 570 petition signatures seeking to end this madness. The council has two options: Consolidate elections on its own or put a referendum on November’s ballot. Wait. Another vote? 

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

TAMPA – Who says TV viewers don’t pay attention?  A local TV reporter says she is “forever grateful” to a viewer who diagnosed her thyroid cancer while watching her segment on WFLA-TV. Victoria Price says she received an email in June, concerned about a glaring bulge. The email read: “Hi. Just saw your news report. What concerned me is the lump on your neck. Please have your thyroid checked. Reminds me of my neck. Mine turned out to be cancer. Take care of yourself.” While most skeptical reporters would dismiss such an email, Price decided to have some tests. A specialist at Tampa General Hospital confirmed it last week: Yep, cancer. Price, scheduled to have surgery today, sent an email to the viewer with her heartfelt appreciation. “If you're reading this, don't feel obligated to write back. You've already done so much more than you may realize,” she wrote.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1988 that Tommy John somehow makes three errors on one play, yet the Yanks demolish the Brewers, 16-3.

So, how?

In the top of the fourth, John faced left fielder Jeffrey Leonard with a man on first and one out. Leonard tapped one to the first-base side of the mound. John moved quickly, but couldn't get a clean grip: Error No. 1. 

Despite the fact that Leonard was nearly at first already, John hurriedly threw over anyway, sailing the ball over Don Mattingly's head and into right field: Error No. 2.

In the chaos, Brewers second baseman Jim Gantner rounded third. Right fielder Dave Winfield got to the ball quickly and unleashed a laser to home plate. Until, that is, John got involved again:

John cut off Winfield's throw and fired home himself - well wide and into the visiting dugout. Thus, Error No. 3

WORD OF THE DAY

Noblesse Oblige – [noh-BLESS-uh-BLEEZH] – noun

Definition: The obligation of honorable, generous, and responsible behavior associated with high rank or birth

Example: My princehood comes with a strong sense of noblesse oblige.

WIT OF THE DAY

“Bad officials are the ones elected by good citizens who do not vote.”

-George Jean Nathan

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“Rigged election and everyone knows it!”

- Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Florida?