STATEWIDE – On top of everything else, what’s the deal with these stupid seeds? New Jersey mailboxes, like those from around the country, are receiving these strange packages from China that we did not order. Sure, we were expecting knock-off handbags, bogus sports jerseys and fake watches in the mail from everyone’s favorite Communist superpower. But seeds? It seems these unordered items are the brainchild of Chinese online merchants, looking to make claims of all this overseas business in America. The scam: Send these cheap seeds to a home in America and then post a positive online review from the unwitting recipient. Meanwhile, U.S. authorities are urging everyone to dump the sealed packages in the trash without bothering to even open them. Most certainly, don’t plant them, eat them or pass them to the dog, as everyone is pretty unclear about what would grow and if it would mess with our domestic ecosystem. Really, can 2020 get any worse?

CAPE MAY – Nothing beats a dip in the ocean these days. That saltwater is legendary. Whole towns make their living off it. It’s made rich guys of paupers and paupers of rich guys. But now, that same water is becoming trouble, according to the downers at NJ Spotlight. Ocean water is creeping into private wells and deep aquifers on the Cape May peninsula, forcing some homeowners to consider other sources of drinking water, and prompting Cape May City to think about sharply expanding the capacity of its desalination plant (which takes the salt out of salt- water). The best defense against a threatened water supply is water conservation. We’ll see how that advice goes down… down the Shore. Just don’t mess with the saltwater taffy. 

TRENTON – Should we just give up on having kids in school this year? The confusion got just a little bit more confusing, as three Assembly Democrats are set to drop a bill that would require every single public school to remain closed this year, relying on many more months of remote learning, except for special ed. The proposed bill flies in the face of Gov. Phil Murphy, who is pushing for schools to have some degree of live learning. The main concern: With summer quickly ticking away, many believe there is still not a magic plan that ensures all students and staff can be safe if and when the late bell rings. One obvious, overall statement: The state’s economy can’t recover if parents can’t go to work.

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STATEWIDE – There’s another looming deadline for property taxes – Aug. 1. But the Record ponders what could happen if many property owners just say, “Whoops, sorry, can’t afford it this quarter.” Tax delinquencies are an obvious big deal for municipalities, as there are 1.1 million New Jerseyans who have been living off unemployment checks that don’t exactly cover the property tax bills in one of the most expensive places on the planet. Unlike the May tax deadline, there’s no grace period. So, if towns get stiffed, what happens? Bloomfield Mayor Michael Venezia says a drop of just 3% from the city’s usual 98% collection rate would be a loss of more than $1 million in revenue. And where is Bloomfield, for one, going to find the money?

BRIEFING BREATHER

Around half of the United States lies beneath the ocean.

STATEWIDE – If you have been closely following the “Kanye West for President” campaign in New Jersey, you must be devastated to learn that his petition to be on the state ballot is under fire. West, or whoever works for him, submitted 1,327 signatures to get on the state ballot, far beyond the 800 signatures required. But a Scotch Plains native and Congressional hopeful – Scott Salmon – noted some glaring inconsistencies, like the same handwriting on different signatures and the names of people unregistered to vote. Politico notes it appears 640 signatures are ineligible, which would chuck West – and this ludicrous, Kardashian-fueled distraction – off the ballot. Perhaps we can now return to the real dire issue at hand: Biden v. Trump.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

BOULDER, CO – If it isn’t hard enough to figure out a Rubik’s cube – which we never exactly mastered – a local kid has added a whole new challenge to it. A 14-year-old boy decided to set a speed record for figuring out the maddening puzzle with an added twist – hopping on a pogo stick. According to the Boulder Daily Camera, this little overachiever was able to figure it out, while hopping around, in just 16.710 seconds, smashing the world record, which was 18.642 seconds. While overachieving, the boy also created a website –  cubingawaycorona.com – to teach others how to “cube,” raising money for pandemic response.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1975 that Jimmy Hoffa disappeared in suburban Detroit, never to be seen, apparently, again.

WORD OF THE DAY

Whinge – [winj] – verb

Definition: To complain or whine

Example: I think I’m going to whinge about the hot weather.

WIT OF THE DAY

“Biden leads Trump in three key battleground states in new Fox News polls.”

-Fox News

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“It is amazing in watching @FoxNews how different they are from four years ago. Not even watchable. They totally forgot who got them where they are!”

-Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Heat