ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL – The primary Presidential elections are irrelevant in New Jersey, as the candidates are usually figured out in states that hold their primaries earlier in the election cycle. But with the Iowa Caucuses today – officially kicking off the election season – New Jersey Democrats are eager to feel some relevancy. So, as New Jersey Globe reports, more than 200 Democrats held their own mock caucus on Friday. And the results? Elizabeth Warren got the nod, with Andrew Yang coming in a surprising second and Joe Biden falling into third. Sure, it doesn’t count, yet the vote probably means just as much as the Iowa Caucuses, comprising just 700,000 of 42 million Democrats in the U.S.
STATEWIDE – It’s no longer merely anecdotal that millennials and other subspecies of young’uns — and a fair few boomers too — are migrating en masse to New Jersey’s cities. NJSpotlight reports on a “monumental shift” in the state’s development pattern in a strikingly short period, according to Dr. John Hasse, a Rowan University professor of geography. We don’t know how the urbane residents of Newark, Jersey City and other cities are taking to the influx, as demand raises rents and changes the landscape. But there’s at least one significant upside to the trend— the Garden State is losing wetlands, farmlands and forests at a significantly slower rate because our newer generations are flocking to cities that are already fully developed, embracing the urban, mixed-use, vibrant lifestyle. Bad news for all those people living in McMansions out on former farms, who had hoped to cash in on all these young people. Scratch your soul patch while you ponder that one.
EAST BRUNSWICK – Hey, there’s never a traffic jam here, right? So, there’s no concern that Route 18 is about to get a $500 million mixed-use redevelopment. All the planning and players are in place to revitalize 44 acres with residential and commercial buildings, a hotel, a high-tech center, medical arts facilities, a new commuter bus stop and more public parking. The site includes Loehmanns Plaza, home to many boarded-up stores. The Home News Tribune says Mayor Brad Cohen is calling these sweeping changes “a true downtown transit-oriented development,” and saying it would make use of the “most modern aesthetic and successful live-work-play design(s) from around the country.” Admire the view, as you wait 15 minutes to pass through a traffic light.
BRIEFING BREATHER: The largest landowner in New York City is the Catholic Church.
EDISON – At least there is one plan to deal with all the cars piling up in Middlesex County. The state is willing to spend $450,000 to design an access ramp onto Route 287 north from traffic-swamped Route 27. That ramp has never been built, for some unknown reason, forcing vehicles to weave through residential streets in Metuchen and Edison. And, getting onto Route 287 South has been no picnic either. Construction is still years away, and funding of this multi, multi-million-dollar project has to be secured, but at least state officials are acknowledging the problem.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
ON THE INTERNET – If you find yourself drunk-Googling “Corona Beer Virus,” you gotta stop. Your favorite summer cerveza has absolutely nothing to do with the new global health emergency from China. But, Google Trends says internet searches have skyrocketed 2,300% since Jan. 18 for “Corona Beer Virus,” and similar terms like “Beer Coronavirus” and “Beer Virus.” That's disturbing in so many ways. But not to brewers of Corona Extra. Their beer is getting tons of free media mileage from all this confusion. And, a company flack tells the Business Insider “we believe, by and large, consumers understand there’s no linkage between the virus and our business.”
ON VACATION – Just when you thought Atari was a little, well, outdated, it is undergoing a renaissance. It won’t be a video game system, thankfully, but a string of theme hotels. Atari, which hit the pre-teen scene in the early 1980s, is still a company, now based in Paris, and is breaking ground on its first hotel in Phoenix. It won’t be your grandfather’s Atari, as these hotels promise fully immersive experiences for gamers of all ages and abilities. Eight Atari Hotels are in the works, and you can bet there will somehow be plenty of Asteroids, Centipede and Missile Command. The big question: what type of hotels will ColecoVision and Intellivision now create? We’ll leave the light on.
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was a good day for the remaining bald eagles on this day in 1973, when President Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act.
WORD OF THE DAY
Prognosticate – [prahg-NAHSS-tə-kayt] – verb
Definition: To foretell from signs and symptoms
Example: Shall I prognosticate the winner of today’s Iowa caucus? A five-way tie.
"Congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs on a great game and a fantastic comeback under immense pressure. You represented the Great State of Kansas, and, in fact, the entire USA, so well. Our country is PROUD OF YOU.”
- Donald J. Trump, via Twitter
WIT OF THE DAY
“It's Missouri you stone cold idiot.”
― Former Missouri Sen. Claire McCaskill, via Twitter
WEATHER IN A WORD
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun