ASBURY PARK – Yes, we all can’t wait for indoor dining. Yes, we are all tired of restrictions. But there is a reason why Gov. Phil Murphy is holding back: to save lives. Yet, in direct defiance of common state law, the City Council has taken it upon itself to reopen Asbury Park for indoor dining beginning June 15, the Coaster reports. Laws are put into place to create order, if we like them or not. It is not within the power of Asbury Park officials to simply choose to ignore a state mandate. For those interested in respecting the law, kindly refer to Executive Order 108, which invalidates any municipal or county regulation that attempts to usurp the state order. Translation: Asbury Park can’t pass its own willy-nilly laws. It's a dangerous precedent and city officials should know better.

UNION CITY – It’s certainly time for ingenuity. So look no further than a barber shop in Union City, where the owner has devised his very own “Shield on Wheels” as he awaits state approval to reopen his business. The barber, who owns 201 Stylez, has designed a simple way to protect customers and employees, as his portable plexiglass shield features cutouts large enough for barbers to fit in their arms and scissors, as they work from head to head. The barber, who also happens to be a carpenter, has been making about 30 of these simple, yet ingenious, shields each day, selling them to other barbershops for $300 a pop, WPVI reports. Maybe it’s time for this inventor to hang up the scissors. 

AT THE DOOR – If a young man or woman wearing a surgical mask shows up on your doorstep, asking questions about where you’ve been and who you’ve been with, don’t slam the door and trip the silent alarm. More than likely, they’re part of the 1,600-strong contact-tracing corps the state is rolling out to help local efforts to control COVID-19. Just to be sure, ask to see their ID. Likely, they’re undergrads or grad students in public health from Rutgers University. They’ve been trained in interview skills, ethics and privacy, NJ Spotlight reports. The information they gather is confidential, and they will never ask about things like immigration status, criminal history, or personal financial information. No one likes to answer intrusive questions, but with the state reopening, we are desperate to prevent a second surge of COVID-19.

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ON THE PHONE – Meanwhile, bogus text messages are popping up on phones across New Jersey, preying on people’s fear about the COVID-19 virus. These scary messages say: “Someone who came in contact with you tested positive, or has shown symptoms for COVID-19, and recommends you self-isolate/get tested.” There is also a phony medical link. Don’t click on it! Law enforcement agencies warn that link allows hackers to infect your devices with malicious software, giving them access to your personal information including your phone contacts. It’s yet another way for really awful people to find victims to scam, profiting on pandemic.

BRIEFING BREATHER

The U.S. military operates 234 golf courses.

PATERSON – Mayor Andre Sayegh will be outgunned by adversaries on the City Council, if the latest results from May 12’s topsy-turvy election stay as they are. Sayegh got dealt a blow when a second ballot recount gave Councilman Shahin Khalique a one-vote re-election win. The Paterson Press says it initially looked like the mayor’s ally, Mohammed Akhtaruzzaman, had ousted Khalique by eight votes. The mayor lost more support when Councilman William McKoy lost his seat after two decades. Unless there’s another turnabout when both defeated candidates head into Superior Court, Sayegh will face a firing squad of five critics on his nine-member council after July 1. That’s when new council members get sworn-in and lots of actual swearing will start. Yet another harsh lesson that every vote counts.

PATERSON – And one adversary just can’t wait to take shots at Mayor Sayegh, already accusing him of abusing his authority. Councilman-elect Alex Mendez says Sayegh misused city cops to “surveil candidates” he did not like and to intimidate voters, particularly Hispanic voters. Standing outside City Hall yesterday, Mendez said he has video of a police sergeant and two other men engaging in post-election misconduct. The Paterson Times says Mendez has filed complaints against the mayor with federal and state law enforcement agencies. Mendez defeated Sayegh supporter, William McKoy, by 240 votes to win a council seat. The mayor denies engaging in any sort of abuses, saying he has always “safeguard(ed) the ideals of democracy.”

STATEWIDE – It’s Thursday morning, so the feds are releasing, once again, the weekly unemployment numbers. It looks like another 1.5 million Americans sought unemployment benefits over the past week, bringing the total number to about 44 million. Meanwhile, 2.5 million Americans returned to work last week, as things slowly recover. The lingering question: What, exactly, is the unemployment rate? Officially, it is 13.3%. But CBS thinks that number is likely 16.3%, as it seems like no one really knows who is looking for a job, who is taking the summer off, who is sliding by on unemployment benefits and who is simply not being counted.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

LEXINGTON, VA. – For those opting to be unemployed this summer, here’s one place to consider applying: A local brewery is seeking a “Chief Hiking Officer.” The microbrewery is willing to pay you $20,000 to spend the next five to seven months hiking the Appalachian Trail and drinking beer. You need to show a demonstrated love for both beer and hiking, as you host “some big ol' beer parties along the way,” while promoting the beer brand. It’s not a job for someone with a huge beer gut, as the job requires you to trek 2,200 miles and likely cart a lot of bottles. And, of course, you need to be social media savvy, as the beer company wants to track your every move to promote their product. Hey, ma, a job is a job.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1994 that the largest popcorn container was unveiled in Jacksonville, Fl., able to store 6,619 cubic feet of popped deliciousness.

WORD OF THE DAY

Armscye – [ahrmz-ahy] – noun

Definition: An arm hole in a shirt

Example:  Say, does this armcye make me look fat?

WIT OF THE DAY

“[The Democratic Party]; it’s a party with an incredible century-and-a-half history of institutional racism.”

-Sean Hannity, FOX News

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“FOX News just took Congressional Hearing off the air just prior to important witness statements. More like CNN!!! Fox is lost!!!

-Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Soupy