TIME Horse Racing

Triple Crown Winner American Pharoah Finishes First at the Haskell Invitational

American Pharoah Wins Haskell Invitational
Staton Rabin—AP Victor Espinoza aboard Triple Crown champion Amiercan Pharoah heads down the stretch in the lead of the 2015 Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park in New Jersey.

The three-year-old horse is said to be retiring later this year

American Pharoah finished first at the Haskell Invitational Stakes in New Jersey on Sunday, two months after becoming only the twelfth Triple Crown winner in a century.

“This horse, he just keeps bringing it,” Bob Baffert, the horse’s trainer, told the Associated Press. “He’s just a great horse.”

American Pharoah finished the mile-and-an-eighth course in just under a minute and 48 seconds, pulling ahead of the horse Competitive Edge in the final stretch after maintaining a second-place stride for most of the race. The victory earned the horse’s team a purse of $1.75 million, bringing his career winnings to more than $5.5 million.

Nearly 61,000 spectators came to the Monmouth County race track to watch the celebrated colt race. Barring a moment when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was booed in the winners’ circle, the crowd, Baffert said, was electric.

“I couldn’t believe the crowd, how loud it was,” he said to the Associated Press, his voice cracking with emotion. “It was a great crowd. I love bringing my horses here. Thank you for being behind Pharoah the whole way.”

It is reported that the colt, who turned three in Februrary, will retire from competitive racing in October — notably younger than most of his peers, who sometimes continue to race into their teens.

TIME New Jersey

Man Grabs Bag With $150,000 in Cash After ATM Workers Leave It Behind

The workers forgot the bag on a lawn

(MAHWAH, N.J.) — Police say a man drove off with a bag containing $150,000 in cash after two employees who were replenishing ATMs mistakenly left it on a lawn in northern New Jersey.

Mahwah police say in a news release that the ATM employees had stopped at a business on Industrial Avenue when one of them placed the satchel on the front lawn as he moved items around in their vehicle.

They drove off, forgetting the bag.

Sometime after 11:15 a.m. Monday, surveillance video shows a passenger in a white van grabbing the bag.

The van was seen in other video surveillance pulling into a nearby auto repair business and pilfering used tires.

Police say the ATM employees are cooperating with the investigation.

TIME Aviation

12 Flights Hit by Lasers Over New Jersey

There were no major injuries or accidents

Eleven commercial flights and one military aircraft reported being hit by laser beams this week while flying over New Jersey, the Federal Aviation Administration said Thursday.

The FAA said the twelve laser incidents, all reported between 9 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., did not cause any notable injuries or accidents, though one pilot reported blurred vision, according to CNN. Federal authorities have not determined where the laser—or lasers—originated, and whether they were related, though an investigation is underway.

Aiming a laser at an aircraft is “a serious safety risk and violates federal law,” according to the FAA. Laser pointers can compromise the vision of commercial pilots, endangering the crew and the hundreds of passengers who may be on board.

“This is an assault on a pilot as far as I’m concerned,” Rich Frankel, an FBI special agent in-charge in New Jersey, told ABC. “It is a criminal matter. You’re putting the lives of not just the pilot but everyone on the plane at risk.”

The number of flights reporting laser incidents has risen dramatically over the past 10 years, according to FAA data. In 2014, there were 3894 reported incidents of lasers aimed at aircraft, a ten-fold increase from the 384 reports in 2006.

MONEY Student Loans

Win the Lottery, Get Your Student Loan Paid Off

Oliver Cleve—Getty Images

New Jersey Assemblyman John Burzichelli has proposed a new kind of lottery in which the winners would get their student loan debt erased.

Student loan debt has been one of the hotter political topics of the past few years, generating a collection of proposed solutions like free community college, a student borrower’s bill of rights and changes to the bankruptcy law, to name a few. A state lawmaker in New Jersey just tossed out another idea: a debt-payoff lottery.

Of course, anyone with student loan debt could enter their state’s lottery (though not all states have them) for the chance to win and pay off their loans that way, but Assemblyman John Burzichelli proposed a smaller, targeted lottery for people with education debt, reports NJ.com.

His bill describes a lottery in which borrowers can register information about their debt to play, and they can buy tickets online, according to the news report. Someone else can also buy a lottery ticket (no more than $3) to benefit a borrower. Borrowers could not spend more than 15% of their loan balances on the lottery tickets — the typical borrower who graduated from a New Jersey school in 2014 had $28,109 in loans, according to the Project on Student Debt, and 15% of that is $4,216. Like any other lottery winners, borrowers would be subject to taxes on their prize. If a borrower wins a pot that exceeds his or her debt, the remaining prize money would go to other borrowers.

While the number of people who could enter a student-loan-payoff lottery is smaller than the potential number of ticket holders in a general lottery, the odds of winning likely wouldn’t be great. Imagine getting to the point where you’ve maxed out your allotment of ticket purchases and realizing you spent thousands of dollars for a chance at paying off your debt, when you could have just paid off thousands of dollars in debt. That would be depressing. Then again, that’s how these things work. With every purchase, there’s always the argument that the money could have been better spent.

Meanwhile, as this bill lingers in the New Jersey Legislature, millions of borrowers across the nation have student loans to pay. Maybe a few of them will win lottery jackpots and use them to pay off their debts, but most people need to figure out a way to afford these things with the financial resources they’ve got. Failing to pay your student loan bills will certainly destroy your credit, and you may have your wages garnished or tax refunds seized, if you default on federal loans. If you’re concerned about your ability to repay your student loans, talk to your servicer (the company that handles your loan payments) and look into any student loan repayment options that could make your debt manageable.

More From Credit.com:


Here’s Another Reason to Hate the New Jersey Turnpike

Vehicles on the Pulaski Skyway at the entrance to the New Jersey Turnpike near Newark, New Jersey
Julio Cortez—AP Vehicles on the Pulaski Skyway at the entrance to the New Jersey Turnpike near Newark, New Jersey

The haters have good reason to hate, hate, hate, hate.

Once again, New Jersey has been named the Most Hated in the Nation, this time by survey by YouGov.com. In fact, it’s the only state that’s disliked more than it’s liked. Survey participants bestowed an overall favorable opinion upon every other state except the Garden State—only New Jersey had more haters than likers, with a net -10% rating.

“People in New Jersey are unusually likely to take a hardnosed attitude towards life,” the researchers wrote in a section attempting to explain what makes New Jerseyans so unloved. “They’re also unusually likely—compared to Americans in the rest of the country—to say that they enjoying going out drinking in bars.”

The outsider dislike of New Jersey may be shaped by the way people are exposed to the state, such as via “The Jersey Shore,” “Real Housewives,” or those sweet guys from “The Sopranos.”

It’s also no coincidence that the photo chosen by YouGov to accompany the study’s results showed cars on a traffic-clogged road, with two signs indicating a choice of the Garden State Parkway and, most notorious of all, the New Jersey Turnpike. Besides traffic and the “hardnosed attitude” of drivers, the Turnpike is notorious for greedily gobbling up billions of your toll dollars.

According to the 2015 report from the International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association, toll agencies in the United States collected $13 billion in toll revenues in 2013, the year covered in the new study. Of that sum, roughly $4 billion—nearly one-third of the total for the entire country—comes from tolls paid by drivers in the New York tri-state area.

The MTA’s bridges and tunnels, which include the Throgs Neck, Bronx-Whitestone, and Verrazano-Narrows bridges and the Queens Midtown Tunnel, took in the third-most toll revenues of all agencies in the nation, with $1.227 billion. In second place, the Port Authority, which oversees the George Washington Bridge and both the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, received $1.33 billion in tolls.

And in first place, bringing home a whopping $1.413 billion in gross revenues to the Garden State, is the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

[UPDATE: A previous version of this story stated that the New Jersey Turnpike charged rates that were “vastly more expensive” than most toll roads in the country. In fact, the per-mile rates charged by the Turnpike ranked 15th most expensive in a recent study of 37 toll roads.]

States have been adding more tolls for years, as a way to boost revenues without raising taxes, so expect more of the same. As NJ.com pointed out, New Jersey Turnpike officials expect to take in $1.48 billion in tolls in 2015. And the money paid for drivers heading from New Jersey into Manhattan may come close to beating even that: The four bridges and tunnels operated by the Port Authority are on pace to collect $1.51 billion in tolls this year.

MORE: 4 Tips to Avoid Road Tolls This Summer

TIME States

Proposed Law in New Jersey Would Keep the Walking Dead From Driving

More than 300 dead people received official documents or licenses

The “walking dead” are aiming higher—and in New Jersey, it appears they have been driving.

But on Thursday, NJ.com reports, the state’s Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee released a bill to put an end to the behavior.

This legislative move follows a state audit in March that revealed the Motor Vehicle Commission had issued official documents, such as licenses, to more than 300 people who were already deceased. The proposed law would require that the Commission cross-check their records with the Social Security Administration databases to avoid issuing significant legal documents to anyone no longer alive.

If the bill sponsored by State Assemblyman Wayne DeAngelo is eventually passed, it could only improve the reputation of New Jersey drivers by ensuring, well, that they’re all alive.


TIME global health

Man Dies of Rare Lassa Fever in New Jersey

He had recently returned from traveling in Liberia

A man died of a rare African virus in New Jersey Monday after recently returning from Liberia, officials confirmed.

The man died of Lassa fever, a virus that causes hemorrhagic symptoms but is very different from Ebola, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. Lassa fever is only fatal for 1% of those who are infected, while Ebola can be fatal for 70% of those infected without treatment. Lassa fever is also much harder to spread from person to person (it’s usually picked up from rodent droppings). About 100,000 to 300,000 Lassa fever cases are reported in West Africa every year, resulting in about 5,000 deaths.

The man with Lassa fever had arrived at JFK airport from Liberia on May 17, and went to a hospital the following day complaining of fever, sore throat and tiredness, officials said. At that time, he did not say he had been traveling in West Africa, and he was sent home the same day. On May 21 his symptoms worsened and he returned to the hospital, at which point he was transferred to a facility equipped to deal with viral hemorrhagic fevers. The patient was in “appropriate isolation” when he died Monday evening. The CDC is working to compile a list of people who may have encountered the patient while he was sick, and they are monitoring close contacts for 21 days to see if they develop the virus.

TIME People

A Beautiful Mind Mathematician Killed in New Jersey Taxi Crash

John Nash and his wife, Alicia Nash, died Saturday

John Forbes Nash Jr., the subject of the 2001 Oscar-winning film A Beautiful Mind, and his wife were killed Saturday in a taxi crash on the New Jersey Turnpike, police said.

Nash, 86, and Alicia Nash, 82, were in the taxi when the driver lost control and crashed into a guardrail, NJ.com reported. No charges were expected to be filed in the crash, according to the Middlesex County prosecutor’s office.

Nash, a longtime resident of Princeton Junction, N.J., won the 1994 Nobel Prize in Economics for his work on game theory. His genius in economics and mathematics, in addition to his struggle with schizophrenia, became the subject of his 1998 biography, which years later inspired the film A Beautiful Mind.

The actor Russell Crowe, who played Nash in the movie, posted his condolences on Twitter, calling them “beautiful minds, beautiful hearts.”

Princeton University, where Nash worked as a mathematician, said in a statement the community was “stunned and saddened” by the news of the deaths of Nash and his wife.


TIME legal

Why New Jersey Doesn’t Let You Pump Your Own Gas

California Gas Prices Fall 9.6 Cents In One Week
Justin Sullivan—Getty Images A gasoline pump rests in the tank of a car on June 12, 2012 in San Anselmo, California.

The ban dates back to 1949

Lawmakers in New Jersey and Oregon are considering bills that would finally give drivers in those states the option to pump their own gas. But why was that practice banned in the first place?

Let’s start with the case in New Jersey. The Garden State’s ban on self-service gas stations, which are allowed in 48 states, began in 1949 when the New Jersey Legislature passed the Retail Gasoline Dispensing Safety Act. That law, enacted over concerns about the safety of consumers pumping petroleum themselves, was later followed by many other states. However, almost every state has since overturned their self-serve bans.

Some contend the New Jersey law was rooted in corruption, not safety concerns. There are also worries that young, inexperienced drivers run into trouble when visiting neighboring states and forced to pump their own gas for the first time (that was an issue for the author of this story when he drove in Pennsylvania as a teenager).

In both states, advocates say gasoline could be several cents cheaper if stations weren’t required to pay staff to pump gas. But thousands of jobs are also at stake if the practice ends.

That could all change now that lawmakers in New Jersey said Monday they intend to introduce legislation that would give drivers the option of self or full service at gasoline stations. That proposal comes about a month after a measure would allow drivers in rural parts of Oregon to serve themselves.

In some ways, these potential law changes could be a sign of the times. Roughly a year ago, a survey found that while Oregonians are almost evenly divided on self-service gas, voters under the age of 45 are strongly in favor of controlling the pump.

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com.

TIME portfolio

On the Fringe of Society with Christopher Occhicone

Christopher Occhicone was the recipient of the TIME award at the 2014 Eddie Adams Workshop

Photographer Christopher Occhicone spent months following a group of addicts who live on the outskirts of Lakewood, N.J., in a tent city in the forest. The result is his long-term project titled Fringe. “They live outside the boundaries of social norms,” he writes in his introduction to the series. “Their food and clothing needs are satisfied through donations. Their drug and alcohol needs are met by cash gotten from odd jobs, petty crime, sympathetic relatives, and social security and disability payments.”

Today, the camp is gone. Promoters acquired the land it used to sit on, buying out its former occupants. But, in 2013, when a group of 15 to 20 people still lived in tents and makeshift home, Occhicone documented their everyday lives.

“It took time to get the access,” he says. “In the eight months I spent there, I really shot a lot for four months. The first two months, I was just hanging around, talking to people and not taking any pictures. I wanted to get to know the guys.” That also meant eating and drinking with them. “They invite you to eat, you eat. They offer you a beer, you have a beer,” he says. “Obviously, there are certain lines you don’t cross, certain things you get offered that you don’t accept.”

Quickly, two main characters appeared in Occhicone’s work: Chris and Eve. The married couple, featured in many of the New Jersey-based photographer’s work, had a turbulent relationship. “She was a 30-year-old alcoholic, and he was only 19,” he says. “And it felt like he thought he was in a summer camp. I don’t think he realized what he was doing. They would call the cops on each other all the time.”

Now, with the camp dismantled, Occhicone’s work is done. “I think I said what I wanted to say,” he tells TIME.

Christopher Occhicone is a New Jersey-based freelance photographer.

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