STATEWIDE – It is the day of dread for New Jersey school children (and their parents), as Gov. Phil Murphy is set to announce today if the 600 public school districts will stay closed for the remainder of the school year. It doesn’t look good, if you read between the lines of the governor’s non-committal quotes. Like this one: “I just don't see - I take my cues from the health experts and I'll continue to - I don't see a normal, even if it were to take place, a normal gathering in the foreseeable future, and I would be the happiest guy on the planet if I'm wrong,” Murphy said. Our hearts hurt for graduating seniors.

DOWN THE SHORE – If you're desperate for a silver lining these days, here is one: At least the beach closures are keeping away litterbugs. Clean Ocean Action is out with its latest report about the volume of litter on our treasured beaches. The annual “Beach Sweep” picked up 500,000 bits of trash in just six hours, with 83% of the garbage comprising some sort of plastic. There was the usual trash, like straws, single-use containers, bags and bottles, etc. And there was the unique stuff that always makes the headlines, like a $6,000 engagement ring, a turkey baster, plastic vampire teeth, a coconut, a full jar of pickles and a pregnancy test. And the winner: an empty bag that had held cremated human remains, discovered in Keyport.

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STATEWIDE – The good news: Apple and Google can track your smartphone to learn if you’ve come in contact with anyone infected with COVID-19. The bad news? Well, Apple and Google can track your every movement until your dying day. Knowing where you’ve been and whom you’ve met is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19. It’s also the best way to determine if people are staying at home. But once this data genie is out of the lamp, he’s not going back in. Apple and Google are quick to say that all the data is “anonymized.” But if they can get to it, a smart hacker can do the same. And will. It’s not what tech giants are going to do with our data, it’s how vulnerable we’ll all be when this nightmare is over. NJ Spotlight explains.

STATEWIDE – The three most glorious words for small business owners are “Payroll Protection Program,” a lifeline of federal cash to get them through the next few months without laying off staff. CNBC reports the $349 billion pot may have run out of money by the end of yesterday, as the feds have already approved more than 1.5 million loans valued at $329 billion for the first-come, first-served program. It looks like the average size of the loans is about $240,000. It all means that many, many businesses could be out of luck if Congress doesn’t throw out another rope. Of course, there is squabbling: The GOP wants more money infused in the program ASAP, as everyone is hurting, while Democrats are demanding restrictions, ensuring money flows to minority-owned businesses and others traditionally disadvantaged.

BRIEFING BREATHER: In Aspen, Co. you can have a maximum income of $104,000 and still receive government-subsidized housing.

MAYS LANDING – This curfew violator was easy to find, but hard to moo-ve. A cop in this Atlantic County town is getting kudos for corralling “Yogi,” a runaway bovine. The wayward bull broke the local coronavirus curfew, escaping after dark Tuesday from the 15-acre Funny Farm Animal Sanctuary, off Railroad Boulevard. The livestock rescue center credits Officer Kristi Ware for tracking down Yogi and making sure he got home safely. WFPG-FM also says stunned homeowners helped police after they saw Yogi’s “midnight stroll” Tuesday through their residential neighborhoods.


HALEDON – Of all the lame excuses for speeding, one 20-year-old knucklehead from Haledon has devised something as novel as the coronavirus itself. He told police that he was driving his luxury sedan in excess of 130 mph down Route 80 on Tuesday because he possibly has COVID-19. The lead-footed loser is facing charges of eluding, obstruction, disorderly conduct and violating emergency orders after turning himself in at the Totowa State Police Station. Troopers took him to the Bergen County Jail, where he’ll have time to cool his heels. Of note: the CDC does not list momentary spells of stupidity as a symptom of COVID-19.


ISELIN – Just when quality journalism in New Jersey is more crucial than ever, the owner of The Star-Ledger is announcing pay cuts, furloughs and the suspension of 401(k) contributions among its newspapers. Poynter got a hold of a memo to employees of Advance Local, which plans “temporary” cutbacks to cover the sudden loss in advertising revenue. It seems like the most experienced reporters and editors would be taking the biggest hit, of up to 20-percent of their salaries, along with two-week furloughs and cuts to retirement funding at the point when they need it the most. You can’t blame companies for trying to plug the bleeding during this pandemic, but the media has always been more of a public service, building community trust day after day, especially during emergencies. Let’s hope Advance Local is absorbing some of the impact, as well.


HALF MOON BAY, CA – Eager to make your daily Zoom calls memorable? Then you need to contact a non-profit farm in Silicon Valley. There’s an entrepreneurial farmer who will charge less than $100 for a llama, goat, sheep, pig, turkey or other farm animal to appear on the call as your special surprise guest, Business Insider reports. The farmer cleverly calls it “Goat 2 Meeting,” with animals available for corporate conference calls, happy hours, or just to have a furry friend for 10 minutes as you sit in solitude and weep endlessly. Since Goat 2 Meeting opened up a month ago, there have been more than 300 appearances by these California-based farm animals, showing up at Fortune 500 events down to itty-bitty tech start-ups. Thinking of a memorable graduation party, wedding or Bar Mitzvah online? Thank us later.


It was this day in 1982 that Queen Elizabeth wanted to remind everyone that she is still around, still relevant and still vibrant, proclaiming Canada’s new constitution.


Cadaceus – [kuh-DOO-see-us] – noun

Definition: A medical insignia bearing a representation of a staff with two entwined snakes and two wings at the top.

Example: First question for medical school students: What’s a cadaceus?


“Too often government responds to the whispers of lobbyists before the cries of the people.”

- Andrew Cuomo


“Cuomo’s been calling daily, even hourly, begging for everything, most of which should have been the state’s responsibility, such as new hospitals, beds, ventilators, etc.”

- Donald J. Trump


A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun