TRENTON – They are sleek, high-tech and easy to hide. They look like USB flash drives and can be charged in a computer, and they can be fit in a closed hand. Yet defenders of e-cigarettes told a governor’s task force that kids are not being targeted, and everything is just swell. So, sure, vapes come in such delicious flavors as mango, fruit, creme, mint, menthol and cucumber and deliver the same powerful dose of addictive nicotine as cigarettes. But they just seem so darn fun, so how can they be dangerous? Recommendations to the task force: Ban the flavoring. Ban sales at convenience stores and gas stations. Create task forces to crack down on the black market. The task force is expected to make recommendations to the governor by Oct. 3, with the hopes of turning the tide on the number of vaping-related illnesses in New Jersey hospitals, projected to double over the past two years and reach 16,000 cases by the end of 2019. Having fun yet?

OFF THE RAILS – Timing, as they say, is everything. All the effort the state has dedicated to tweaking its application to the Trump administration for matching funds for the Portal Bridge may be naught if the big guy is consumed with impeachment. Yet another tough break for New Jersey Transit, the project sponsor, and Amtrak, the owner of the 109-year-old bridge, which periodically gets stuck in the open position, halting train traffic along the Northeast Corridor, NJ Spotlight reports. More than a year ago, the state doubled its original $300 million funding pledge, but the feds never signed off on support. The proposed cost for the entire project is $1.6 billion, equivalent to one of the President’s dreamiest military parades.

Sign Up for New Brunswick Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

NEWARK — Rancid stink from rotting animal carcasses being turned into feed and fuel at an Ironbound recycling plant have triggered enough complaints for the state to act. The unrelenting odors got so bad that people living in Society Hill and Droyers Point recently began calling the NJDEP’s hotline with scores of complaints about migraines, nausea and their inability to open their windows since 2017. Now, Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has filed a four-count lawsuit against Texas-based Darling Ingredients Inc., telling Patch.com it is “act of environmental justice” on behalf of disgusted homeowners. Could this bring a breath of fresh air?

LAKEWOOD – Bad things can bring out the good in people. Take, for instance, a good Samaritan who anonymously bought 150 sandwiches to feed the army of firefighters battling Sunday night’s blaze at an East 8th Street catering shop. A manager at the Glatt Bite restaurant tells NJ101.5 a walk-in customer paid $1,559 to “order an enormous amount of sandwiches” about an hour after an 8 p.m. fire swept through Greenwald Caterers. The buyer didn’t leave a name or seek credit for their kindness. Tired, hungry firefighters were undoubtedly grateful, as they held the mayo.

ONLINE – Could it be true? Could The Far Side be making a triumphant return? Gary Larson’s cultural phenomenon last appeared in newspapers 24 years ago and has been sorely missed ever since. Larson walked away from a business worth $500 million or so, when you factor in all those calendars, greeting cards, coffee mugs and T-shirts. The strip’s official website has now been updated with a new cartoon and this message: “Uncommon, unreal, and (soon-to-be) unfrozen. A new online era of The Far Side is coming!” Bummer of a birthmark, Hal.



IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

HERE – We all love America. Hey, what's not to love? But every so often, on those especially rare occasions, we start to wonder if our fellow Americans are a bit, well, batty. YouGov just came out with a survey that shows 15% of us don't believe climate change is real. That is the highest proportion of any developed nation. The runner up would be oil-rich Saudi Arabia, of course, which likes things just the way they are, for obvious reasons. One reason so many Americans are duped? That darn media. A recent University of California study showed that climate deniers get nearly 50% more visibility than actual scientists, armed with actual college degrees and actual facts. 

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 2011 that Saudi Arabia crawled into the 20th century, announcing plans to finally allow women to vote and run for political office.

WORD OF THE DAY

Viva Voce – [vee-və-VOH-chay] – adjective

Definition: By word of mouth, orally

Example: I expressed myself – viva voce – about my love for The Far Side.

WIT OF THE DAY

“`Be Yourself’ is about the worst advice you can give to some people." 

― Thomas L. Masson

WEATHER IN A WORD

Perfect

THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun