STATEWIDE – Likely the only ones in New Jersey who know its “Primary Day” are the people on the ballot and those stuck counting the votes over the next days and weeks. This is the postponed primary from June, you may or may not recall, and includes very little drama, such as who will get New Jersey’s Democratic nod to run for president. (No, not you, Sanders) Much more interesting than the slate of candidates is the method by which so many of us are casting ballots: Vote By Mail. It is fraught with peril, as so many hands at the U.S. Postal Service need to be put on each ballot to make sure its ultimately delivered. And there is the unforeseen stuff, like the postal truck that blew up in Morris County, likely with ballots in it. And so, as we count the votes and wearily kiss this primary election goodbye, all voters should ask: So, is New Jersey prepared for Vote By Mail in November, when it all really, truly matters? 

STATEWIDE – The conspiracy theorists convinced that COVID-19 was “invented” solely to ensure that President Trump is not re-elected have yet another kernel of news in which to wag their fingers: Gov. Phil Murphy is stopping the gradual reopening of New Jersey because of an increased number of people getting sick. “SEE???,” shouts all the theorists. “The anti-Trumpers are at it again! They just want our King, I mean, president to look bad again!” And, in yet more news for these well-informed theorists in which to seethe, Murphy also is thinking about mandatory face coverings, indoors and outdoors, as he tries to keep us healthy. Of course, that would only be until Election Day, right? RIGHT??

FLORHAM PARK – Phil and Tammy Murphy’s daughter isn’t a knucklehead. So, she’s not going to ignore her dad’s ban on indoor dining with some large, lavish wedding reception here. For that matter, who says the 20-year-old First Daughter even plans to wed? Or, if she’s even engaged? Really, none of our business. Yet, NJ 101.5 says social media rumors about her indoor soirée got so “persistent” that the elegant wedding venue, Park Savoy Estate, felt obliged to dispel them as “false and patently untrue.” More likely: It’s another hoax just like last month, when social media photos supposedly caught the Murphys eating inside a Bayville restaurant. Turns out, the First Couple actually dined outdoors at its rooftop Tiki lounge. And they filmed a video to show people how to be socially distant and still have good time. Conspiracy theorists have other theories, like how to do we really, truly know Murphy is a U.S. citizen. Really, how can we be sure? Hmm.

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BRIEFING BREATHER

Nearly one third of NYC public school teachers send their own kids to private school.

HACKENSACK – Our state’s oldest, most iconic Sears store may soon sell its last screwdriver. The looming liquidation of this downtown landmark since 1932 means the only place to buy Craftsman tools or Kenmore ranges will be Sears final outpost in Jersey City’s Newport Mall. Already gone from New Jersey are nearly two dozen other Sears, the Record reports. Once the Amazon of its heyday, Sears encyclopedic catalog let home shoppers mail-order everything from women’s fashions to prefab homes. But the retail dinosaur got dealt a death blow by the current pandemic coupled with years of online competition and the fallout from its 2018 bankruptcy. Blame anyone; but mostly Sears which had years to adjust to the modern-day marketplace.

BARNEGAT LIGHT – The mayor is getting ringing applause for rescuing a thousand-pound ship’s bell from a rusty demise. Not just any old bell, but a relic of this tiny LBI town’s nautical past. Buffed and polished to a mirror-finish, this bronze bell was hung with lots of hoopla last week in a local park pavilion. From 1927 – after the Barnegat Lighthouse got decommissioned – until 1966, it was the warning bell aboard the Lightship Barnegat, a floating lighthouse anchored offshore here. Mayor Kirk Larson tells The Sandpaper he “hemmed and hawed” about the $10,000 price to buy and restore the bell. Once the historical society came up with some cash, Larson – a commercial fisherman – got a crew together to “snatch it off the bow of Lightship Barnegat” that’s currently rotting in a Camden boatyard. 

IN THE MEDIA

NEWARK – New Jersey is not exactly known for having royalty among our media. No, there’s no Pete Hamill or Jimmy Breslin. But we do have our “Dean of the State House Press Corps,” which is Michael Aron of NJTV, who has been covering New Jersey since 1982, beginning with NJN. Aron is still sticking around, but he is now stepping down from his daily reporting as a “Chief Political Correspondent.” He’ll still do weekly “special” contributions for NJTV News, just no longer dealing with the daily grind. Aron looks forward to some well-deserved personal time; we wish him well.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

SOMEWHERE IN IDAHO – You live in Idaho. It is empty. It is boring. The pizza is god-awful. How do you survive? We, of course, would flee to somewhere much more exciting, crossing the border at night into Montana. But one couple has appeared to find a way to live in Idaho, spending their long days and nights trying to break worthless world records. Their latest coup? The wife dressed the husband in 18 T-shirts in 30 seconds, shattering the earlier world record of 14 T-shirts. Oh, my. You can capture the breathless action in this video as you pray, yet again, for the start-up of baseball, basketball, hockey or really anything with a ball, bat, net or puck.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It took until this day in 1972, but finally two women became FBI agents – giving Hollywood producers a stream of new story lines.

WORD OF THE DAY

Legerdemain – [lej-er-duh-MAYN] – noun

Definition: A display of skill or adroitness

Example: Will there be any political legerdemain in today’s primary election?

WIT OF THE DAY

“Blaming others is excusing yourself.” 

-Robin Sharma 

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“China has caused great damage to the United States and the rest of the World!”

- Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

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