DOWN THE SHORE – Jersey Shore towns typically love this time of year, when the cash starts flowing from out-of-towners who are willing to pay anything. The suckers, er, or, “tourists” are the backbone of the shore’s economy. But, as the Asbury Park Press reports, towns are now bracing for the worst. Without the, um, “tourists,” there is no one to fleece with ridiculously high parking fees and $10 daily beach badges, there are no knuckleheads to get hauled into municipal court for dumb infractions and fleeced out of their last nickel and there are no outrageous building fees charged to people trying to build or improve their seashore homes. But there are a lot of new, unexpected expenses. For example, these towns need to buy PPE and build protective barriers at public buildings to buffer employees and visitors. It looks like these towns will have no choice but to increase property taxes and cut back on staff – all of which hurts full-time residents, not the “tourists.” Hey, that’s never been part of the plan.
HAMMONTON – Art Galletta proudly operates the Atlantic Blueberry Co., a thousand-acre farm in Hammonton, the Blueberry Capital of the World. Although an eternal optimist, Galletta told NJ Spotlight that he is nervous about the 2020 season. Not the least of his worries is that he will be responsible for the health and safety of 500-plus migrant workers who will arrive next month. They are among the thousands of workers from Mexico, Haiti, Puerto Rico and Central America who come to New Jersey every year to pick our fruits and vegetables. State Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli says there’s a plan to test farmworkers for the coronavirus. Still, there’s growing concern among the state’s fruit and vegetable growers about their ability to harvest their crops — and if enough workers will be here to get the job done. Something else to worry about.
STATEWIDE – Not only are we frantic about coronavirus, beach badge fees and a potential shortage of Hammonton-based blueberries. Now we also need to worry about 'murder hornets,' which pose a major threat to the honeybee population. Really, can 2020 suck any more? While this yellow/orange headed insect (Trump?) has been spotted on the West Coast, it has not yet infiltrated New Jersey, state agriculture officials say. A reality check: 'Murder hornets' have only been spotted in Washington State, it is unclear if they survived the winter and they would have to sting you a bunch of times to kill you. Still, expect a run on Murder Hornet Spray at your local Costco.
GARFIELD – Not to be morbid here, but local school officials have plenty of anxiety about the school board elections next Tuesday. That’s because a long-time school board member who has served since the early 1980s is on the ballot, but passed away from COVID-19 after the ballots were printed. A popular guy, he is a shoo-in for re-election. So, the Record asks, what happens when he wins? Well, the board would need to advertise for the vacancy and select someone to serve until next April, when voters can then decide a replacement. Here’s hoping that voters read the obits.
In Tokyo, you can buy a toupee for your dog.
NEW BRUNSWICK – Lets assume you are a die-hard Rutgers fan. And, lets just assume you will be home this crappy Saturday with oodles of time. We’re talking some serious oodles because the Big 10 Network will be celebrating Rutgers Day. That means 24 hours of never-ending Rutgers sports. Get in front of your TV by 6 a.m. and watch and watch. By noon, you will see Rutgers demolish Michigan in football (10-4-14). Then, around 5 p.m. when your pajamas seem a little, well, pungent, watch the 1976 basketball team kick some serious scarlet ass. Then, around 9 p.m., when you are on your fourth can of Pringles and everyone in your house has stopped talking to you, cozy up to RU vs. Penn State (3/9/89) before things get really crazy at 2 a.m. on Mother’s Day morning. That’s when the network shows Rutgers vs. Louisville (11/9/06) as you keep high-fiving your sleeping dog. Crash around 6 a.m. with an exhausted smile, after Rutgers beats Ohio State in women’s lacrosse in the Big 10 tourney, as you dream of the Schiano return this fall.
EDISON – A balloon artist is lifting the morale of local healthcare workers, first-responders, mail carriers and grocery employees. Eddie Lin, 22, is giving away his clever balloon creations to people he sees working hardest during the coronavirus pandemic. Lin, diagnosed with autism at age 3, is known as the Ausome Balloon Creator and ordinarily makes intricate creations for children’s parties, bar mitzvahs and weddings. NJ.com says he recently began to honor “essential workers” for their service, creating balloon doctors and nurses, a balloon-shopping cart for his local supermarket manager, and a balloon-mail truck for his neighborhood post office. Now, who doesn’t love a balloon?
KNUCKLEHEAD OF THE DAY
ROADSIDE – Gov. Phil Murphy’s famous knucklehead road signs got the owner of the “Smokin Chicks Got Wood” food truck so steamed that he tells the governor on social media: “You know who’s a knucklehead? You are!” Shore News Network says this food truck owner also resents a state plan “to give illegal aliens a $600 weekly allowance” during the pandemic, while he is ineligible for grants and cannot get an SBA loan. His food truck, which serves up smoked-meat dishes, usually does lots of business in May and June, catering graduation parties. Not this year. Calling the governor “an idiot,” the 54-year-old challenged Murphy to “open up our f--king country, do the right thing.” Only one Murphy on the meter. (His brisket is to die for.)
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
SACRAMENTO, CA – Unclear what colleges will be open this fall, but one 14-year-old music prodigy is ready to go. This brainiac with a beautiful singing voice has been accepted to eight schools, ABC News reports. “OK, let me try not to forget any,” the girl laughed, before rattling off USC, University of the Pacific, UC Davis, Sacramento State University, San Francisco State University, San Jose State University, UC Berkeley, and CSU East Bay. She seems to be the only high school kid at this point who doesn’t mind missing the prom. View the video here.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 2015 that Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Tom Brady was implicated in “DeflateGate” for his former team. Brady’s father claimed his boy was framed; fans thirsty for another touchdown immediately agreed.
WORD OF THE DAY
Truckle – [TRUK-ul] – verb
Definition: To act in a subservient manner
Example: Watch the Big 10 Network on Saturday. Rutgers won’t truckle.
WIT OF THE DAY
“When Dr. Fauci said 12 to 18 months, I thought that was ridiculously optimistic. And I'm sure he did, too.”
-Paul Offit, MD
“A vaccine will be available soon.”
- Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD