OUR TAKE ON THE NEWS IN NEW JERSEY

ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL - It is now the day after Labor Day, the official start of the election season. So are you joining a throng of people who are terrifically excited about the race for governor, as well as the 120 seats in the state Legislature? Uh, likely not. A new Rutgers-Eagleton poll says only 40 percent of voters have an opinion about the major candidates running for governor, with only nine weeks until Election Day. Meanwhile, 40 percent say they have absolutely no clue who is running. No surprise here; as all the political discourse is sucked up by President Trump's daily tweets. Sad! But let's hope the attention is soon placed where New Jersey needs it most, with robust, intelligent, informed debate on solutions for our state.

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NEWARK - For the first time in 36 years, a sitting U.S. senator is facing federal bribery charges. And where else could that be but New Jersey? The long-anticipated trial of Sen. Robert Menendez is set to begin tomorrow, our own little piece of a messy Congress in Trump World. The senator proclaims he will be exonerated; he now has the daunting task of convincing a jury that he is not guilty, and then somehow convincing voters that he deserves another term in the Senate representing all that is great about New Jersey.

ON THE ROAD - This week, about 1 million or so kiddies will be returning to school in New Jersey. And that means we actually need to start paying attention when we drive between the hours of 7-8 a.m. and 3-4 p.m., when the children are out walking. AAA says commuters should be extra vigilant over the next couple of days, as they juggle their coffee, cell phones and satellite radio, while zipping along local roads. Traffic will be especially heavy as people re-learn all the same Back to School routines, and those over-excited kids skipping across the street will assume you are somewhat paying attention.

TOMS RIVER - Forgive us for saying this, but $78,000 is a lot of money. But, apparently not, in the world of New Jersey real estate. Take, for example, this little gem discovered on Realtor.com: A collapsing, dilapidated shack on Dolly Road that features one bedroom and even one bathroom. Unclear if a toilet is included. "Just minutes from Seaside Heights," this tidy little fixer-upper could be yours for just $78,000. A true bargain for those who have nothing else to do with $78,000, apparently.



IN THE MEDIA

STATEWIDE - NJ 101.5 is reporting an important story about a bunch of hate-filled losers who are running a white supremacist group in New Jersey. On one hand, it is important to tell you all about the backwater racists who claim the Garden State has one of their most active chapters. But then we would be giving them free publicity. So, in summary, they exist, unfortunately. And they will do some senseless vandalism and hopefully go to prison, where they can spend plenty of time with minority groups who, apparently, are the cause of all their misfortune.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

BAVARIA - It's official: There is now a world record for everything.Some guy in Bavaria has beat his own record for carrying mugs of beer. In this corner of southeastern Germany, where people consider Oktoberfest more important than the rising of Jesus, good ol' Oliver Struempfel has been confirmed to have cradled 31 beer-filled tankards. He stacked them in two tiers, walked 40 meters and then safely set them down. But - augh - two of the mugs tipped! So, the record now stands at a still-impressive 29 jugs, equivalent to 152 pounds of glass and beer. It's a tough record to beat; start your training now, mein Freund.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1987 that John McEnroe was fined $17,500 for his screaming tirades at the U.S. Open - therefore earning a fortune in endorsements.

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WORD OF THE DAY

Confrere - [KAHN-frair] - noun

Definition: Colleague; comrade

Example: I asked my confrere at the bar to kindly pass the beer nuts to good ol' Oliver Struempfel.

WEATHER IN A WORD

Beauty