HIGHLAND PARK - It's been a quick football season for the Highland Park Owls, calling it quits after just one game. The varsity team was blown away by Montclair Kimberly Academy by the score of 41-0, after going winless last year.  With only 19 players on the roster, looking down the barrel of a very, very long season, school officials thought it was wise to take a knee, and just play the jayvee schedule. The Home News Tribune reports the Owls are not unique; Roselle Park dropped out of its season two months ago. One key problem, especially for smaller high schools, the number of players in New Jersey is steadily dropping, with 1,700 fewer signing up last year. Bad news for fans; good news for the kid riding the bench as the team's unofficial statistician.

MATAWAN - Trash talk may be fine in the big leagues, but middle school? Coach Charlie Rogers, a Matawan Regional High alumnus and former Dolphins running back/wide receiver, apparently didn't get the memo before leaving a shocking, profanity-laden voicemail for the parent of an 11-year-old player from a rival team. Even worse, Matawan's American Youth Football organization recommended a measly one-game suspension for Rogers, before finally coming to their senses after public outcry, today announcing the coach has been canned. A little ribbing is just part of the game, but public employees should hold themselves to a slightly higher standard, or at least not leave a voicemail as evidence.

WEST LONG BRANCH - Lots of cheers in the suburban streets surrounding Monmouth University, with word that school officials are banning all fraternities and sororities from doing anything "non-educational." Apparently, there's been a bunch of booze, drugs, big parties, hazing and all the other traditional stuff akin with undying brotherhood and sisterhood. But school officials say if these kids have a fighting chance to actually learn something over their four, five or six years at Monmouth University, the Greek stuff has gotta go.

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TRENTON - Big bucks could be coming in three years, with one consulting group thinking New Jersey's revenues from sports gambling could actually surpass the cash Nevada rakes in by 2021. Eilers & Krejcik Gaming thinks New Jersey can take in $442 million by that year, compared to Nevada's paltry and pathetic $410 million. Why?  More and more sports books, more and more online options, and more and more success in taking the action from the back-alley bookies. Rocko ain't pleased.

IN MARSHLANDS - Turtles from South Jersey's coastal marshes are so tasty that they've spawned a black market to satisfy Asia's hunger. (Who knew?) Poachers illegally scoop up thousands of our diamondback terrapins to illegally ship to China and Hong Kong, where turtles have been gobbled up to near-extinction. Biologist Brian Williamson tells Reuters that diamondbacks are "the potato chips of salt marshes. All kinds of animals, including humans, love eating them." Feds have cracked down on poaching along the East Coast since a former Trentonian reporter got nabbed trafficking 3,500 turtles and their eggs. He goes on trial in Philly next week.  Bring popcorn, not turtle.



IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

HAMPTON, N.H. - It was one expensive cheeseburger. One beachgoer is getting fined $124 for kicking the seagull who ate it. NH1 reports the man was returning to the beach with his prized cheeseburger and fries. Just as soon as he sat on the beach and was about to sink in to that burger, a bird got to it. The man spun around with his leg to shoo it away, but ended up smacking the bird. The seagull struggled to fly away, as bystanders saw all the action. The man says it was a mistake; he didn't mean to boot the bird. Still, seagulls are protected under federal law; the guy has to cough up the $124.

BROOKLYN - Sex workers are turning into campaign workers for a first-time New York State Senate candidate who is stiff competition for a five-term incumbent. A bevy of strippers, porn stars, phone sex workers and hookers are whipping up excitement for 27-year-old Julia Salazar. The Socialist-Democrat is running in next Thursday's Democratic primary to get on November's ballot from her Bushwick-Williamsburg district. Salazar tells the Brooklyn Eagle that her "progressive and radical" platform would decriminalize prostitution and promote sex workers' rights. Could be worth slipping a buck to this campaign.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

You likely already know this, but a reminder: it was this day in 1948 that synthetic rubber was first used in asphaltic concrete, in Akron Ohio.

WORD OF THE DAY

Banshee - [BAN-shee] - noun

Definition: A female spirit in Gaelic folklore whose appearance or wailing warns a family that one of them will soon die

Example: Boy, hope I don't see a banshee in Julia Salazar's campaign for State Senate.

WEATHER IN A WORD

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