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EAST RUTHERFORD - The goal - one would think - is for the struggling Meadowlands racetrack to hold on as long as possible, figuring that legalized sports betting, some $6 million in proposed state support and the opening of the super-duper, over-the-top, mega-mall would bring in many more gamblers. Well, the sports betting is finally there, but there's no purse supplement from the state. And, of course, the mega-mall remains under construction for the seventh or eighth decade or so.  The Record reports the Meadowlands is only applying for 68 days of live racing next year, down from 90 this year, as the racetrack braces for other tracks to open in Pennsylvania in March. Perhaps the state could allow a slot machine or two?

UPPER DEERFIELD - Great news for those hoping to flock down to Upper Deerfield to go trick-or-treating: There will be no law blocking anyone over the age of 12 to knock on doors and beg for candy. Town officials had kicked around the idea of an ordinance, prompting media reports in News 12 New Jersey and other outlets. Town officials, responding to this brouhaha, have set the record straight: Anyone, of any age, can knock on any door, with or without a costume, and portray themselves as an authentic Trick-or-Treater. But, town officials caution, they can't control who gets handed those dreaded malt balls, pennies, or pencil erasers.

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HACKENSACK - It's an all-out ballot brawl in Bergen County, with three independents now entering the race for sheriff. In an accelerated nomination process after a scandal forced Sheriff Michael Saudino to abruptly quit, Democrats picked former Englewood cop Anthony Cureton to run against the Republican nominee, Hasbrouck Heights Mayor Jack DeLorenzo. With a few precious weeks remaining until Election Day, the Record says Saddle Brook's police chief, a retired State Police lieutenant and a retired Rutherford cop-turned-lawyer, just filed petitions to squeeze into this race. Each are scrambling to mount campaigns. Good news for voters: The ballot will actually be multiple choice.

TOMS RIVER - Just about anything can happen at public meetings, and it did at Tuesday night's Township Council session as Councilman Dan Rodrick was slapped with a defamation lawsuit. The Globe says Rodrick, a Democrat-turned-Republican, is the target of a civil complaint from Democrat Robyn Gedrich, a Brick housing authority commissioner. She accuses Rodrick of being behind a few "fake" online Ocean County news sites, including one that ran an article targeting Gedrich and damaging her reputation. Her lawsuit claims Rodrick hid his role behind these nefarious websites, which show "a reckless disregard of the truth."

Councilman Rodrick You've Been Served!

UP IN THE AIR - The good news is that we can all still use our driver's licenses as ID to get on a plane. But that newly-announced extension is only until Oct. 10, 2019, when we all need these federally-mandated "Real ID licenses," NJ.comreports. So, expect the chaotic MVC to get slightly more chaotic, as the state needs to desperately upgrade its computer systems and prepare for the onslaught of people eager to get a Real ID when it is offered, beginning in the spring. The good news: the MVC will also add some online services, with the hope, quite possibly, that we may never, ever need to stand in a MVC line ever again. Dare to dream.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

MIDWAY, AR - A geyser of fire from a mysterious hole is still puzzling Arkansas scientists and fire officials. The 24-inch wide hole abruptly opened on private property a few weeks ago in this rural town, shooting flames into the air for about an hour. It stopped as suddenly as it started. State geologists and fire marshals have, so far, ruled out lightning strikes, meteor hits, and underground natural gas or petroleum. Satan was then targeted as a prime suspect. But, after some debate, a fire official now tells the Democrat-Gazette they don't actually think "Satan stuck his pitchfork in the ground and blew fire out that hole. So, it may remain forever a mystery."

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

Great news for the women of Botswana on this day in 2012, when women were finally permitted to inherit their family home.

WORD OF THE DAY

By and large - [BYE ənd LAHRJ] - adverb

Definition: On the whole; in general

Example: By and large, most people don't know this is originally a sailing term meaning "alternately close-hauled and not close-hauled."

WEATHER IN A WORD

Fall!

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