Part 1 of a Series

By Trudy Capoman
Staff Writer

A lengthy investigation by this publication has revealed that Lake Como has been in the grip of a major brain drought for the past several years.

It has also been learned that the current governing body has been actively attempting to cover-up the situation.

Mike, a local resident who wanted only his first name used said, “They’re dry, man…bone dry. They’ve been running on empty for a long time. Anyone who’s paid attention could see it. Man, I wish I was in the red flag business, I’d be rich now, cause’ there’s been lots of em’ goin‘ up”.

 “It’s not easy keeping ‘it’ hidden“, said a borough official who wished to remain anonymous “When you run out of brains, keeping that fact a secret can be problematic. Think about it, a lack of brains impedes the ability to come up with ways to hide that same lack of brains. I’ve seen brain droughts before but, never as bad as this. This one’s a doozy.”

He continued, “Basically, they have been slinking by on obfuscation, denials and, when all else fails, prevarication. Bad decisions are blamed on others…finger pointing is a favorite tactic. Putting out misinformation is common. And, bullying, they love to bully.”

While the brain drought seems to have affected all parts of town, the worst hit section appears to be the area in and around Borough Hall.

For many residents, one of the first signs that trouble was brewing was when the town launched an unprovoked attack on man’s best friend. Citing no logical rationale, canines were suddenly banned from enjoying the grassy area around the town’s namesake lake with their owners.

The towns of Belmar and Spring Lake which also border the lake, have no such bans. (When asked to comment for this article, officials of both towns expressed puzzlement over Lake Como’s actions and assured their residents that no such bans were in the works in either town.) “That was the wake up call for me, when they went after our dogs” said dog owner, Rex Helmsley. “I mean, who doesn’t like dogs? That’s just unAmerican.” Red flag number one.

Another issue that has some residents on edge is the annual setting off of fireworks at the lakeside, a well-populated area. Our investigation has found that for several years now the town has mysteriously been able to circumvent commonsense fire safety laws so as to allow fireworks to be launched and exploded dangerously close to domiciles. Local resident, Justin Case, expressed concern, “I love fireworks, I really love them. But, just a few feet from my home? No, bad idea…real bad…get those away from my house!”  

In past years, witnesses have reported glowing skyrocket embers falling to the ground thereby forcing local firefighters to fan out on foot and search nearby backyards for any potential hotspots. Another major red flag

For residents who still retained their wits, the fallout from the lack of brains reached a fever pitch with a colossally mishandled fiasco on Parkway. As part of an ill-conceived plan to relocate the town‘s sewage pump station to the heart of a residential area, the town, acting in conjunction with the South Monmouth Regional Sewage Authority, unveiled a scheme to destroy every old-growth tree on Parkway. Such a plan would turn the loveliest street in Lake Como into the ugliest street in town. In that episode, the absence of brains could no longer be denied…or ignored. Residents protested passionately. Anti-pump station yard signs went up and battle lines were drawn.

For the town, baseless finger-pointing became the defensive ploy of the day. “Their standard operating procedure became saying things like, ‘It’s not our decision’ and ‘It’s a done deal’…things of that nature.” said one resident. “This used to be a great little town. But, without brains anymore, we’re becoming a hamlet of buffoons with a steadily deteriorating quality of life. We’ve become a laughing stock.”

In the end, commonsense and informed logic lost. The trees were removed and where a house once stood, a diesel-powered pump now runs endlessly, filling the surrounding area with noise and air pollution. The neighborhood has been devastated.

Our anonymous source explained, “The brain drought hasn’t stricken everyone in town. There are still pockets of intelligence scattered around Lake Como but, they are outnumbered. Those whose brains have withered have the upper hand. As we have seen recently on a national level, in today’s political climate, stupid trumps smart…and that’s a damn shame…for everyone. Now that the truth is out, hopefully some outside agency will step in and find the cause of the drought and fix it before more damage is done.”


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By DIXIE WILTON staff writer

TRENTON – As widespread reports of little or no damage from “hurricane” Irene keep pouring in, the Governor is standing by his previous proclamations. Also known as “The Prophet of Doom“, the Governor has deployed a team of investigators to scour the state in search of the “tens of billions” of dollars of damage he assured the public would occur.

As lead investigator, Phil McCracken, put it, “Right now, our number one priority is to help the Governor save face and that’s a rather big face to save. As all New Jerseyans know, he made some pretty wild, irresponsible and downright terrifying statements before tropical storm Irene hit us and it is now up to us to make those statements seem circumspect and prudent. Clearly, we have our work cut out for us…we could be out here a very long time”.

The team is also seeking a way to verify that the governor’s bluster saved the lives of all but 4 of the 8,791,894 residents of the state. “Another tall order” McCracken stated.

On the other hand, merchants state-wide are lauding the Governor as a retailer’s dream come true. The Petroleum Refiners Association of America has honored him with its prestigious Golden Pump Award for the prominent role he played in setting the all-time record for gas sales in a 4 day period in any state.

Association spokesman, Walt Turnbuckle remarked, “Governor Christie really sold those gas-chugging, nimrods a bill of goods. The public’s fear is our shareholder’s gain and he scared the bejesus out of them. We are deeply indebted to him…what a salesman”.

The National Electric Generator Association awarded the governor the organization’s coveted, #1 Sales “Generator trophy. In their press release, NEGA communications officer, Shelby Mahoney stated, “Our generous campaign donations to the Governor have produced returns that wildly exceeded our expectations…he paid us back in spades. This guy really knows how to play ball with big business. He’s a great Republican”.

Similar sentiments were echoed by representatives of the grocery, home repair, bottled water and duct tape industries. All of which are also reaping the benefits of the Governor’s doomsday predictions.

The Governor’s office has not responded to our request for a comment for this story.

BELMAR - Ocean Avenue

 Belmar residents are kept at bay by police and firefighters as emergency personnel clean up tens of billions of grains of sands.


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      AVON DECLARED A GHOST TOWN(partially) 

By TRUDY CAPOMAN staff writer


AVON – Decaying merchandise sits behind dusty display cases. The storefront windows of abandoned businesses stare out at a deserted Main Street. Prime parking spots beckon to be used but find no takers. Tumbleweeds now meander freely where pedestrians and business patrons once trod.

The section of Avon-By-The-Sea that lies south of Sylvania Avenue has joined the ranks of such places as Centralia, Pennsylvania; Bodie, California; Oatman, Arizona; Medicine Mound, Texas and even New Jersey‘s own Ong’s Hat…it has been officially declared a ghost town.

The closure of the Main Street bridge that connects Avon with Belmar so that it may undergo repairs has resulted in a complete lack of vehicular traffic in Avon’s business district. This, in turn, has caused the economic engine that drove the downtown area to completely collapse. Like dominos, one small business after another has fallen victim to the “rehabilitation” of the bridge.

“They swore it wouldn’t be like this,” said a former Avon business owner who wished to remain anonymous, …“they assured us that the impact would be minimal. Just look at it! Minimal, my ass! Rehabilitate the bridge? Who‘s going to rehabilitate the town!”

The “they” being the New Jersey Department of Transportation who masterminded the glacial-paced repair job on the bridge and declined to comment for this story.

While the bridge closure has devastated the town of Avon, it has been an absolute boon for the union workers employed on the bridge. At a time when unemployment in New Jersey is nearly ten percent, these workers are flush with cash from the project.

As one welder told us, “This is freakin’ great! I hope this job never ends! Thanks to the Main Street bridge, I was able to buy a new boat and take the family skiing in Europe for the holidays.”

Another worker commented, “We’re following the lead of those who worked on the Route 35 bridge years ago. They set the bar pretty high as to how long a cash cow like this can be milked. We’re determined to break their record for feeding at the public teat.”

He continued, “ Yeah, some stores may bite the dust in the process, but hey, that’s the law of the jungle, right? The strong survive, the weak die. If they can’t handle something like this, they deserved to go under. They had their chance to make money and they blew it, now it’s our turn and God willing, this will last a long, long time.”

Another worker, who also wished to remain anonymous, offered a solution to the situation, “What this town needs is a tunnel. That’s right, a tunnel. Go under the inlet instead of over it. If they had a tunnel we wouldn’t have to listen to all the whining cry babies around here…that crap is gettin’ old. And, you know what? We’re just the guys to build it. Hell, we could knock that puppy off in no time…4 or 5 years, no problem. And just think, no one will ever have to wait for an open bridge again…or a closed one for that matter.” His co-workers seemed to be unanimous in their approval of this idea.

Despite the valiant efforts of local business owners to get some form of relief from their elected officials before things worsened to the point of no return, the only assistance they were able to elicit was the erection of a few signs around town (see photo) that indicated that Avon was still open for business.

“Far too little, far too late” remarked Avon resident, Mitch Nagleson. “It’s a joke, an insult. It’s always the same, the ones who make the decisions about this sort of thing always make decisions that don’t affect themselves…not one of those SOB’s live here.”

Looking for ways to replace the lost income, the Avon town council is considering promoting the town as a tourist destination…the only ghost town in America with lifeguards.

Even the proofreaders have left town.

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