STATEWIDE – A billion here, and billion there. It is hard to tell what is really significant these days, as the loans are flying all over. The latest news: New Jersey wants to borrow $1.7 billion from the feds to pay for all the unemployment claims that will be coming in through October, Politico reports. The loans would be interest-free until the end of the year, which is nice. But how long will it take for New Jersey to pay this back? And how will it all affect the employers and employees who contribute? Before this mess began around March 15, New Jersey had a nice kitty saved up for unemployment claims. But the state has shelled out $2.1 billion, to date, and the balance has dropped around $1.5 billion, which won’t get us too far if businesses remain shuttered. 

LITTLE FALLS – And speaking of shuttered businesses: there are many victims of COVID-19, big and small. But what we are learning now - with the steady opening of businesses statewide - is the many untold people who have been silently suffering over these past weeks. Take the Six Brothers Diner - a landmark on Route 46 known for great food, friendly service and patience with drunken Montclair State students - is throwing in the kitchen towel. This diner dealt with four years of a massive, noisy, endless road construction, sending hungry customers fleeing to its competitors day after day. But with the shutdown over the past few long weeks, diner owners said they simply couldn't last a second longer. So, as all the other diners begin slinging eggs and flipping flapjacks, Six Brothers - after 20 years - will be closed.

SALEM – Break out the noisemakers, Salem County! Gov. Phil Murphy unveiled plans yesterday to go all-in on offshore wind power and make New Jersey the hub for the industry on the East Coast. How? By developing a port in South Jersey as the assembly point for those gargantuan turbines and other heavy components used in offshore wind farms. NJ Spotlight reports that Artificial Island in Salem County has been chosen as the site of the planned New Jersey Wind Port. A big plus is that the turbines (about 850 feet tall and which must be shipped out to sea vertically) wouldn’t have to pass under the Delaware Memorial Bridge to get out to the farms. Folks in the industry are understandably breathless at the possibilities. One even said it was the best thing they’ve heard to come out of New Jersey since the Boss. Now, that might be going overboard, though.

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NEW BRUNSWICK – Rutgers University is looking at a $262 million loss for the upcoming school year, the perfect excuse to raise tuition and fees for students. But, as TAPInto New Brunswick reports, the university is recognizing a cold, hard fact: Students and families are struggling, big time, and many won’t be enrolling this fall. And, so, recognizing the glaring facts of the current situation, Rutgers officials voted yesterday to keep costs the same as last year, taking a $67 million hit. The hope is that the university can still soak out-of-state students and international students, just like all the other schools in the Big 10 who see dollar signs from New Jersey.

BRIEFING BREATHER

72% of Americans sign their pets’ names on greeting cards.

OLD BRIDGE – Congrats to former Hamilton Township Mayor Kelly Yaede, who landed a job here as Mayor Owen Henry’s spokesperson. This calmer community should be a pleasant change for Yaede after seven, often turbulent, years as mayor, always bickering with her town council and neck-deep in a series of controversies. She was also a public piñata for critics, opposed to her $121,000 salary and her costly, round-the-clock police protection. An alert Trentonian reporter noticed Yaede’s name on a recent press release from Mayor Henry’s office. Reached by phone there, she politely declined to answer anything about her new job or salary, offering only to relay questions to her new boss. The irony: No communication from the person who’s getting paid to communicate with the news media.

PATERSON – School officials here moan about money - a lot. They wring their hands year after year about state aid losses and rising education costs. Yet, somehow, they find plenty of cash for a plethora of lawyers. This year is no different. This district is getting $16.4 million less from the state; it’s raising taxes by $250, on average; and cutting 54 teachers. But, the Paterson Press says tonight the school board is awarding a $230,000 contract to its new top attorney. This former city law director had a paltry $75,000 school contract last year. Her law firm is also getting a separate contract (cost undisclosed) to handle the district’s workers’ comp cases. Plus, the school board is no longer capping how much 16 other approved law firms can charge for their legal wizardry. We’d say something more snarky, but too many bill-by-the-hour lawyers might read this.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

CONEY ISLAND, NY – First, the good news: Nathan's Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest will go off as planned, thankfully. But, Major League Eating is sadly announcing that the July 4 eat-a-thon in Brooklyn will take place in a private, closed-to-the-public, undisclosed location. Besides the fact there will be no fans cheering on the gluttony, the number of contestants will also be drastically reduced, from 15 to just five, to abide with social distancing. Other big changes: masks and gloves must be worn by all workers, and all contestants are required to take coronavirus testing before gobbling away. Still, we will be able to see last year’s winners, Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo, when the first hot dog hits the throat at high noon on ESPN.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was this day in 1991 that President Zachary Taylor’s body was exhumed to finally find out how he died. Was it?

A. Eating acidic cherries and iced milk

B. Stomach virus

C. Heat stroke

D. Arsenic poisoning

E. All of the above

The much-anticipated answer is below.

WORD OF THE DAY

Divigate – [DYE-vuh-gayt] – verb

Definition: To wander or stray from a course or subject

Example: This newsletter divagates and meanders through a labyrinth of subplots and asides.

WIT OF THE DAY

“Anything that's secret, clandestine, loaded with such a supercargo of speculation, misinformation, disinformation and, for that matter, accurate revelations, creates an appetite.”

-Charles McCarry

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“The Far Left Fake News Media, which had no Covid problem with the Rioters & Looters destroying Democrat run cities, is trying to Covid Shame us on our big Rallies. Won’t work!”

- Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Pleasant

THE ANSWER

B