WEST LONG BRANCH - Could there be another glorious sign of summer? Monmouth Park is galloping along with its plans to open the Jersey Shore racetrack by July 3, just in time to salvage the Independence Day weekend. Of course, all the planning and intentions need the blessing of Gov. Phil Murphy, and it still remains unclear what "open" will mean. Will there be spectators, live music, flowing booze, and food trucks? Or will there be an empty grandstand and gamblers watching the action from computer screens at home? Monmouth Park says it all remains "fluid," just like all of our other plans for this entire summer.

STATEWIDE – Time to come home (and save a bucket of cash.) That’s the plea from 10 public colleges and universities in New Jersey, trying to woo back about 120,000 New Jerseyans who are studying (and spending) out-of-state. With obvious concerns about enrollment in regard to COVID-19, admissions counselors are promising a quick review, guaranteed housing and – let's assume – a generous consideration of any and all extenuating factors. So if, for example, you were rejected from NJIT and were forced out to some random school in some random state, here’s your chance to sneak back in. (Note: Princeton University is not among the list of participating schools.)

STATEWIDE – Car dealers are tired of idling in neutral, so they’re making a sales pitch to Gov. Phil Murphy to let showrooms reopen for appointment-only buyers. A few months ago, the NJ Coalition of Automotive Retailers was demanding the state designate dealerships as “essential businesses.” Now, its president went on “Fox & Friends,” initially giving ‘Murphy & Friends’ some attaboys for their “extraordinary job” at keeping people safe. But he now says the lengthy shutdown is costing car dealers nearly 80 percent of their business. Even worse, he says, is New Jersey loses $4.5 million daily in sales tax revenue and motor vehicle fees. Perhaps it's time to negotiate with Murphy again, without a hefty mark-up for floor mats.

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BRIEFING BREATHER

Today is National Nurses Day, a day celebrated annually on May 6 to raise awareness of the important role nurses play in society. It marks the beginning of National Nurses Week, which ends on May 12, the birthday of Florence Nightingale. Thank you to all nurses.

STATEWIDE – So, where’s the beef? That’s the big question at your local Wendy’s, where the burgers are “fresh, never frozen.” They also seem to be elsewhere as part of this national meat shortage. One store owner’s hand-written message went viral on Twitter, explaining “an issue with our meat processing supplier and are unable to serve beef product.”  However, the chicken and side products are still at Wendy’s and plentiful. Lines are already snaking around other drive-thrus, as burgers are replacing toilet paper as the current “must-have” among those who love to frantically respond to any real or perceived shortage. How about a nice bowl of Campbell’s soup?

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Things are tight in Sydney. They are so tight, in fact, that a studio apartment is being listed with a kitchen featuring a sink, cabinets, a stove and … a toilet.  Due to pressing space constraints, the kitchen and the bathroom happen to be in the same small room, barely divided by a glass wall. So, as you cook, you can keep the conversation going with your roommate, only a couple of steps away, in full view, in the convenient shower. The realtor, who vows this apartment is an absolute steal at just $245 a week, notes the glass wall is a tremendous asset, “giving the illusion of more space.” Silver lining: there will always be melons in the kitchen.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1997 that Michael Jackson and the Bee Gees were both inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Hard to tell who squealed the highest.

WORD OF THE DAY

Quintessence – [kwin-TESS-unss] – noun

Definition: the essence of a thing in its purest and most concentrated form.

Example: A first nap of the season in my hammock is the quintessence of May.

 

WIT OF THE DAY

“We all remember who helped elect Trump. The media.”

-Greg Gutfeld

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“Congratulations to Greg Gutfeld, a one-time Trump Hater who has come all the way home. His ratings easily beat no talent Stephen Colbert, nice guy Jimmy Fallon, and wacko `last placer’ Jimmy Kimmel.” 

- Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Sprinkles