WOODBRIDGE – Move over, Mister Rogers: you have some competition. Mayor John McCormac is now taking to the public airwaves to read stories to kiddies throughout the township. Typically, the mayor enjoys touring the elementary schools, in which he is often armed with a favorite book to read. But now with the schools closed, McCormac is relying on WoodbridgeTV to help teach the ABCs in his own unique way, with plenty of digression. So far, the “Mayor Mac Reading to Kids Show” had more than 1,500 views of his last reading. People can’t wait to see what’s next. Perhaps a cardigan sweater and special guests? We’ll be watching.

STATEWIDE – Who knew littering would be part of an evolving story about a global pandemic? Local authorities are getting royally peeved with the people who are chucking their used gloves, tissues and masks on the ground after they leave stores. Police in Edison, North Brunswick and East Brunswick dispatched their own reminders this week, calling all this dumb littering "reprehensible." North Brunswick cops, who seem particularly annoyed, say that a virus should not "change the fact that we are a civilized society." East Brunswick cops ratcheted it to the next level, threatening summonses to anyone caught being a litterbug with medical supplies. C’mon people.

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STATEWIDE – As it feels like Groundhog’s Day, again, how about another story regarding the proposed PennEast pipeline? Yep, the pipeline that will just not die is back in the news. Now, New Jersey, Delaware and the EPA are asking the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to do another environmental impact statement regarding the plan. NJ Spotlight reports the next step can only go one of two ways: FERC greenlights the project (at least Phase 1), or FERC deep-sixes the pipeline, prompting PennEast to release a horde of lawyers with piles of lawsuits. This story will certainly Rinse & Repeat, as the pipeline company pursues Phase 2 over the next decade or so.

STATEWIDE – Here’s the situation: New Jersey is taking some lumps on social media after enlisting “Jersey Shore” celeb Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino to do a public service announcement urging people to stay home during the coronavirus pandemic. In a Twitter video on the state’s official site the 37-year-old says: “New Jersey is tough. We love to party… but the time for parties is over.” The New York Post says some Twitter readers didn’t take kindly to advice from a guy who’s been arrested for assault and did federal prison time for tax fraud. One tweet reads: “THIS DOOFUS! Come on @NJGov you can do better!”

BRIEFING BREATHER: Your tongue is the only muscle in your body that is attached at only one end.

STATEWIDE – New Jersey transit systems are getting a huge bailout from the feds, to the tune of $1.625 billion, NJ.com reports. The cash windfall is designed to recoup all the lost business from the pandemic, as well as to fund a massive cleaning of all buses, trains, stations, etc. It is terrific news, but we need to state the obvious: New Jersey is historically known for squandering piles of cash whenever it hits our shores. This rare infusion of capital into our often-broke public transit systems should be stretched as far as humanly possible. No one knows when more money will come again.

IN THE MEDIA

MONTPELIER, VT – A public appeal to save journalists’ jobs is not something too many politicians might lead. But Gov. Phil Scott took to Twitter to encourage Vermonters to subscribe to their local newspapers and donate to news websites. The progressive Republican suggests this could spare local reporters from joblessness as coronavirus takes its toll on businesses. In a brief video that has gotten more than 400,000 views, Scott admits “there are times I don’t like the way a story comes out,” but people “deserve transparency and the truth. These news sources work hard every day to keep you up-to-date… few things are more important now than having the facts and being informed.” So, hey, kiss your local reporter.

STATEWIDE – With a record 206,253 people filing unemployment claims last week in New Jersey, the Star-Ledger’s “Bamboozled” column is offering up some news that so many can use. Plenty of questions are swirling, like “When am I getting money?” and “How long will I be getting money?” and “How can I get more money?” Bamboozled tries to sort it all out in an interview with state Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. Here’s the article; hope it is helpful for you or someone you know.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

YOUNGSTOWN, OH – A man missed his mommy. And he was fortunate enough to own a tree service. And so, because his 80-year-old mother is living in a locked-down nursing home these days, he backed his tree-trimming bucket truck up to her third-floor room so he could say “hello.” “I called her on the phone, and I said 'Mom, look outside, look outside your window right now.' And there I was," Adams told WFMJ-TV. This prompted a flurry of phone calls from seniors living in surrounding rooms, telling their sons how Myra has such a nice son with a bucket truck. And where are their bucket trucks???

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 2015 that French models likely enjoyed a baguette, after the government outlawed using Body Mass Index minimums before and during each modeling job.

WORD OF THE DAY

Laissez faire – [less-ay-FAIR] – noun

Definition: A philosophy or practice characterized by a usually deliberate abstention from direction or interference especially with individual freedom of choice and action.

Example: These days, I am taking a laissez faire attitude to changing my sweatshirt.

WIT OF THE DAY

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

- John Adams

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“Will be interviewed on @foxandfriends at 7:55 a.m. USA STRONG!”

-Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD: Gusty 

THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun