STATEWIDE – You have a favorite song. You need to wash your hands. A new website has the solution to ensure you are washing your hands for the right length of time. Enter https://washyourlyrics.com. You simply plug in your favorite singer, your favorite song and if you are using soap or gel. Then, Boom! You get a ready-made poster, perfect for sharing with others or printing out for your personal enjoyment. (We can’t believe this is the lead story of this newsletter.) Anyway, try it out. We went with “Trapped” by Bruce Springsteen.

HOWELL – Because it is impossible to find any news unrelated to the coronavirus, we are digging deep this morning. We are digging so deep that we are reporting on middle schoolers from Howell, who created a 90-second infomercial about the dangers of plastic. Now, all would agree that plastic pollution is important and all would applaud these middle schoolers from Howell. And now – because there is so little else to report besides the impending collapse of the economy – we eagerly await the decision of Howell officials. Will they listen to the pleas of these six children? Will they finally ban single-use plastic bags at retail establishments in town? In an email to NJ 101.5, Howell Township Mayor Theresa Berger said the town "was toying with the idea." We eagerly await the response. 

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TRENTON – It’s not clear whether Senate President Steve Sweeney has thrown down the gauntlet or thrown a few jabs in the direction of his favorite sparring partner, Gov. Phil Murphy. In an interview yesterday, Sweeney said the governor’s proposal for free tuition at four-year schools, “makes zero sense,” adding “I don’t support that even a little bit.” The Senate president also bad-mouthed Murphy’s proposed hike in the per-pack tax on cigarettes and the idea of assessing fees on companies that rely on Medicaid to help cover employee health insurance. Even Sweeney’s about-face on the millionaires’ tax was something of a sucker punch. He’ll get behind it if the governor magically finds another billion dollars for the public worker’s retirement fund. The best moment of trash talking? Sweeney threatening, “We’re going to dig in. We want answers,” concerning the budget review. NJ Spotlight reports that Round 1 definitely goes to the big man from Gloucester, but it’s too soon to tell if he’s done any real damage.  

BRIEFING BREATHER: 40% of McDonald's profits come from Happy Meals.

PISCATAWAY – A local man is being praised for heroism after rescuing a family of seven from a fast-moving fire swept through their West 4th Street home early Tuesday. Town officials and neighbors tell CBS News that Mario Reyes used a sledgehammer to break down the front door, bringing one occupant outside to safety. Reyes, who lives across the street, helped other family members escape from first-floor windows, and he caught a baby and a toddler in his arms as their mother dropped them from a second story window. Firefighters from area fire companies battled the fire that ultimately destroyed the home.

STATEWIDE - As politicians blame each other about coronavirus preparation, it is impressive to see what the state Department of Education is doing in regards to free and reduced lunches. The sad fact is that 500,000 or so students in New Jersey rely on these breakfasts and lunches in what could be their only substantial, balanced meals of the day. Fearing for the worst, the state is ordering school districts to prepare for ongoing meal distribution even if public schools ultimately close, NJ.com reports. It could mean that some school districts open food distribution sites or ensure any food is shelf-stable and can be reusable. This is the perfect example of where our attention needs to be, rather than poll numbers, canned talking points and other nonsense that just doesn't matter at the moment.

IN THE MEDIA

NEW YORK – Many awoke this morning, eager to get the latest coronavirus news from CBS New York. But there was no CBS New York, as two staffers were diagnosed with coronavirus yesterday and the offices on West 57th Street were immediately shut down. There was this odd, chilling gap in the national news coverage this morning, as there was no local affiliate for weather, traffic, etc. And then you jump on the CBS New York website to find out what the heck is going on, only to find a video from CBS Boston. It’s certainly proving difficult for TV reporters to “work from home.” The New York location also headquarters “CBS This Morning,” the national show, raising the question of when that will be closed, as well. Gasp. Will we need to ultimately rely on Fox & Friends?

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

EAST YORKSHIRE, ENGLAND – In what has become the “new normal” this week, an amusement arcade owner has found a new, well-sought-out prize for his claw machines: toilet paper. It’s all in response to the shortage of toilet paper in England, which is somehow connected to nervous people stocking up amid this whole coronavirus thing. You can just imagine anxious people with crossed legs, sweating profusely, as they throw money into the machine and beg for the claw to finally get them a roll of toilet paper…before it is too late. The owner told The Independent that he has received “fantastic” feedback with his new amusement. Next up for the claw machine? How about bars of soap?

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It’s a big birthday for New Jersey. On this day in 1664, the territory became an English colony, likely prompting the first Taylor Ham v. Pork Roll debate.

WORD OF THE DAY

Pandemic – [pan-DEM-ik] – noun

Definition: Occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population

Example: Yep, it’s a pandemic.

WIT OF THE DAY

“It’s very easy to make a viral video, but longevity and consistency, that’s hard.” 

- Michelle Phan

TODAY'S TRUMPISM

“Vanity Fair Magazine, which will soon be out of business, and their third rate Fake reporters, who make up sources which don’t exist, wrote yet another phony & boring hit piece. The facts are just the opposite. Our team is doing a great job with CoronaVirus!”

(eight hours later)

“The Media should view this as a time of unity and strength. We have a common enemy, actually, an enemy of the World, the CoronaVirus.”

-Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD: Clouds

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