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Ragweed season has arrived in NJ. That story and more in today’s Monmouth and Ocean County News from Townsquare Media.

It’s ragweed season in NJ. Pollen is already being released in spots nearly a week early, but allergists say there’s no need to panic because it may not necessarily be a bad ragweed allergy season. That’s because the non-allergy-causing Pennsylvania Smart Weed has taken over many places where there used to be large amounts of ragweed.We haven’t had a major ragweed season in at least 5 years.

Scammers trying to rip you off by pretending to be federal agents are still at it in Ocean County. Police warn that the caller usually claims to be from the Federal Investigation Department and demands money to clear up a warrant under threat of legal charges. If you get this call, take down the caller’s number and report it to law enforcement.

There may be a fix for an Ocean County beach that continues to make the list of the nation’s and state’s worst beach year after year: Beachwood Beach. Ocean County engineers say they’re planning to begin a project to relocate existing outfall pipes late this year. The work will include new drainage infrastructure. Dye tests show that several areas  have been keeping the same water and pollution circulating without moving it out. Pollution may also be coming in from the north.

Homeless advocates continue pushing for a shelter and more affordable rental housing in Ocean County. Atlantic City officials want Ocean County officials to step up and take care of its homeless instead of sending them to AC. The Executive Director of the NJ Coalition to End Homelessness says while a shelter is needed, people really need homes. She questions where federal and state money is being spent and points to the county’s long-term recovery plan as an example, saying it doesn’t include any provisions for new, affordable housing.

Authorities say the man who was beaten after he struck and killed a woman on Rt. 88 was driving with a suspended license. Lakewood police say 26-year old Juan Gregorio-Chacon hit 41-year old resident Chandra Martin on Saturday. She suffered multiple injuries, including head trauma, and later died at a hospital. Police say the woman’s relatives and friends witnessed the crash and attacked the driver who hit he. He remains hospitalized. The MVC says Gregorio-Chacon’s license was suspended last year for unlicensed driving. He was eligible for reinstatement but failed to pay the $100 restoration fee.

Police have very little to go on in finding whoever stole a dog and then tossed it out of a moving car on the Parkway in Holmdel over the weekend. Witnesses were unable to provide any description of the car or the driver. A $1,000 reward is being offered. Lima continues to recover this morning and has been reunited with her owner in Keansburg.

More than 100 family members and friends held a candlelight vigil in Lakewood last night to remember township resident David Rudy Gaines, the former Chief of the Ridgeway Volunteer Fire Department, killed Sunday in a motorcycle accident. Gaines collided with a car at the intersection of Cedarbridge and Arlington Avenues.

The 2 day Electric Adventure Music Festival in Seaside Heights could return next year despite 42 arrests and 34 drug overdoses. According to reports, Ocean County Prosecutors met with the organizer and reached an agreement on issues to allow the festival to return. Founder John D’Esposito of Colts Neck will reimburse the Prosecutor’s Office up to $15,000 and make a donation to Community Medical Center in Toms River.

No one was injured when a car went crashing through a Hallmark Store in Freehold last night, shattering the glass window front while the store was open. The Raintree Plaza Hallmark could possibly reopen as early as today.

The Coast Guard plans to rebuild its Sandy-strewn station in Point Pleasant Beach. It has taken a forward step with the filing of environmental assessments. The report is on view at the Ocean County Library Point Beach Branch until August 16th.

While more than three dozen states have speed limits of 70 mph on some roads, NJ is sticking with 65. The Turnpike Authority says they have to strike a balance between moving people efficiently and moving them safely. Meanwhile, the NJ Chapter of the National Motorists Association says faster maximum speeds would be reasonable for certain segments of our main roads.

Governor Christie’s approval ratings are not moving much…still hovering at about 50%. But the latest Eagelton Survey finds most people think he is planning a run for president and believe the decisions he’s making about our state are influenced by his national ambitions.

Bon Jovi is closer to his dream of owning an NFL team. Reports say he has advanced to the final bidding process for the Buffalo Bills, but his bid is still considered a long shot.

Our state’s school report card should include indicators of student’s career readiness, says the Assembly Speaker. He says not every high school kid wants to go to college or needs to go directly to college after graduating. So they should have some clue as to whether they can hack it in the real world. Some available jobs for high school graduates pay more than careers that require a Bachelor’s degree, says a lawmaker who wants high school students to know if they are ready for a job immediately after graduation. Perhaps, he says, they could get a well-paying job and save for college later on.

You don’t hear much about shark attacks in our waters, but you’d be surprised to learn how common sharks are along the Jersey Shore. Marine experts say, though, that the sharks are not interested in people. And in most attacks, sharks mistake a person for other marine life. According to the Global Shark Attack File, there have been four non-fatal attacks in our state since 2005.

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