|The Jaffe Briefing will be off Thursday and Friday, celebrating the spring holidays, returning Monday, April 13.|
STATEWIDE – Does Gov. Phil Murphy hate the spring holidays? Does he hate the great outdoors? Is he trying to further destroy our spring break? Assume the answer to all three questions is a resounding "No." But the governor has still decided to close all county and state parks until further notice as it just seems we don't fully grasp this whole "social distancing" concept. These public facilities join the municipal parks that are closed, the playgrounds that are closed and the beaches that are closed. It's all part of Murphy's stay at-home mandate, as he continues to give us less and less reason to venture about. Could that be the point? On the “good news” front, the governor has also waived state testing requirements for high school graduation, putting a smile on those who never exactly mastered Algebra I. Factor that in.
STATEWIDE – This newsletter has devoted considerable space in recent weeks to discussing toilet paper. Now is the time to expand that coverage, focusing on sanitizing wipes. There is a campaign in Central Jersey – commonly known as “No wipes down the pipes!” – to educate consumers about how the coronavirus outbreaks is really messing with the sewer systems, the Courier News reports. People short of toilet paper are now moving to “flushable” wipes that are indeed flushable. But they jam up the pumping stations, clogging valves and messing with everything. With so many more people at home, and so many more flushable wipes being flushed, consider it a municipal menace, bubbling up in a toilet near you.
NEW BRUNSWICK – The Rutgers football team may not be getting a second set of sneakers this fall, with the somber word that the university expects to lose $200 million this quarter because of the pandemic. TAPInto New Brunswick reports the grim news from University President Robert Barchi, who says an expected decline in enrollment and a drop in clinical revenue will be “challenging losses.” Barchi, who is likely relieved beyond words that he is stepping down June 30, says RU is now trying to mitigate the huge financial loss. (Interpretation: Find discarded change in the soda machines.) Perhaps incoming freshman this fall won’t notice that all their meals are either some form of Lucky Charms or Frosted Flakes.
BRIEFING BREATHER: Wind doesn’t make a sound until it blows against an object.
STATEWIDE – It is hard to stay focused, but there’s still that election for President this fall. New Jersey voters still will have their say in the primaries, which are being moved from Tuesday, June 2 to Tuesday, July 7. There’s no decision yet if this election will be vote-by-mail, which would substantially reduce voter participation. But it is obvious that county clerks will be plenty frazzled as they try to prepare for the unknown.
STATEWIDE – Only 5% of New Jersey’s streams meet federal clean-water standards for fishing and swimming. That is the reason why the state is eyeballing 600 miles of rivers and streams for higher protection from pollutants, sewage and bad bacteria. NJSpotlight reports this is the first time in more than a decade the state has reclassified streams and rivers, a designation earned for waterways of exceptional ecological importance whose loss could mean threats to certain endangered species. Unclear what this all means in the real world, or what is really practical. But it is alarming that more than 22,000 streams and rivers in the state – especially in rural areas – do not meet federal water-quality standards.
ELIZABETH – Big Brother is watching; in this case, it is Mayor Chris Bollwage. NJ.com reports that city cops will be flying drones with recorded warnings from the long-time mayor. His message? Stay away from each other and go home. Following a tactic first used in China, the drones will zoom around to remind city residents that we are in a state of emergency here. Don’t be a knucklehead and participate in an outdoor gathering; the mayor will certainly know about it.
HOBOKEN – Pizza is a lifeline for true Jerseyans. And, we’ve never needed comfort food more than now. With table service closed and deliveries backing up at our beloved pizzerias, scores of these eateries now offer a DIY solution. Tony Boloney’s in Hoboken, for instance, is selling at-home pizza kits with two dough balls, homemade pizza sauce, mozzarella and, for extra toppings, pepperoni and mushrooms. For customers who are all thumbs in the kitchen, Tony Boloney’s recently live-streamed lessons on how to toss dough and evenly spread toppings. It turns out the coronavirus crisis is making DIY restaurant sales ‘a thing.’ NJ.com tracked down nearly 60 eateries selling at-home kits for tacos, cheesesteaks, pancakes and ice cream. A Rumson tavern even offers DIY Long Island Iced Tea kits. Guzzle a few of those and you won’t care that your DIY pizza tastes like the dog’s Frisbee.
IN THE MEDIA
An important message from our friends at NJ.com: “By now all of us likely know someone with the virus. Maybe it's someone from work, or a neighbor. The cousin we only see at big family gatherings. This thing is racing across our state. It already has killed more New Jerseyans than 9/11 and we still haven't seen its worst. But every day, our journalists are working around the clock to help keep you safe and informed. Today, we're asking for your help. Simply put: We must have financial support from our readers to provide the essential journalism that serves and informs our communities. Your voluntary subscription to NJ.com — $10 per month — will help us continue this vital work.” Subscribe HERE.
IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS
MONMOUTHSHIRE, WALES – When the kids are away, the sheep will play. That’s what’s happening at a local playground, as a farmer caught a bunch of sheep spinning on the round-about. The playground has been closed because of the pandemic. And because no one was around, the sheep had full access to the playground one foggy morning. The frolicking flock did not disappoint.
HONG KONG – "Honey, finally! Some peace and quiet!" Turn up the Marvin Gaye for these two pandas: zookeepers have been trying to get them to mate for 10 years. But the mood just never seemed right for 14-year-old pandas Ying Ying and Le Le to mate naturally, especially with all these ogling visitors taking photos and chattering incessantly. The New York Times says the lava light has definitely been turned on for the two pandas since Ocean Park closed in late January because of Covid-19. There’s been prancing, splashing in the water and searching for some scents. On Monday morning, the pandas finally let their love fly. “It’s all extremely exciting for all of us,” the zookeeper says, promising to keep us all updated on the feisty couple.
Photo: Ocean Park
THIS DAY IN HISTORY
It was this day in 1986 that Clint Eastwood was elected mayor of Carmel, Calif. No one was allowed on his lawn.
WORD OF THE DAY
Carapace – [ker-ə-pās] – noun
Definition: Something regarded as a protective or defensive covering
Example: “While I’m not looking to Trump for any panacea, is it too much to ask for some sign that the dying has made an impression on him, that the crying has penetrated his carapace and that he’s thinking about something other than his ratings?” - Frank Bruni
WIT OF THE DAY
“I can’t jump in front of the microphone and push him down.”
- Dr. Anthony Fauci
“Light at the end of the tunnel!”
-Donald J. Trump
WEATHER IN A WORD: Clearing
THE NEW 60
A Jaffe Briefing Exclusive
by Andy Landorf & John Colquhoun