The Jaffe Briefing will be on Thanksgiving break next week, returning Monday, November 30

STATEWIDE – Ugh, another darn coronavirus story? Yeah, you are sick of reading them and we are sick of writing them. But this lingering pandemic is sucking up all the news attention in New Jersey and, sadly, for good reason. This second wave, as promised, has become a runaway train, with 4,320 more cases reported yesterday in the state. Sigh. New Jersey will soon hit 300,000 positive cases since March among those who actually got tested. The real number of COVID cases remains unknown, but the death toll is crystal clear: 16,689 New Jerseyans. Yes, there is pandemic fatigue here, but let’s advise, yet again, for those unaware: wash hands, wear masks, social distance, etc.

STATEWIDE – It has been an impossible year for landlords, who haven’t been able to evict those unable to pay rent as per the governor’s directive. Imagine eight long months of paying taxes, maintaining property and fixing that running toilet – without a nickel of rent to offset the time/expense. The Record notes that landlords are desperate for this COVID eviction moratorium to expire, as they prepare to pounce with a massive bill for tenants. Housing advocates are now bracing for a tsunami of evictions numbering in the hundreds of thousands over the cold, harsh winter if there is no bail-out. State lawmakers introduced a bill that would provide a cushion to cover the back rent, but it has gone nowhere, as all eyes look to the feds. This is not just a looming disaster for New Jersey; it is a nationwide conundrum, appearing in a nicely-typed, double-spaced memo on the President-elect’s desk.

Sign Up for Nutley Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

STATEWIDE – Hey, we can write happy stuff too? Right? It is the holiday season, darn it, so let’s find something positive in this heaping, smoldering news pile. Here is one: Unemployment claims in New Jersey had a significant drop last week, down an impressive 38%. There were 12,896 new weekly claims filed, down by nearly 8,000. The last time claims were this low was Aug. 8, NJ.com reports. No doubt, there are jobs out there for people as the seasonal hiring ratchets up. But the same old barriers remain: Many kids remain home from school, childcare centers are limited in capacity and many of those available jobs require PPE protocols for hours on end.

BRIEFING BREATHER 

In 2010, someone bought two pizzas with 10,000 bitcoins. Seven years later, 10,000 bitcoins were worth $20 million.

TRENTON – New Jersey has patiently waited for legal weed for three years now, so consider the latest delay just a hiccup. The state Legislature was racing to pass a bill by next Monday, but it has proven difficult to get everyone on the same page. (Insert astonished gasp here.) It looks like the Assembly has a version of a bill, and the Senate has another version. And since Gov. Phil Murphy can’t sign two different bills on the same topic, leaders of both houses need to get together and negotiate. The tinkering seems minor, in a macro sense, with squabbles over mushrooms, a limit on licenses for pot growers and workplace safety. Like everything else, this will be ironed out.

STATEWIDE – In 2019, you waited for hours to get into that hot, trendy, new restaurant. In 2020, you stand around the local CVS for hours, waiting to get a COVID test. Yep, the year can’t suck any more. And the Asbury Park Press says it’s getting worse, as there is an insatiable need for testing statewide. The newspaper reports the number of tests has doubled since the summer, as more and more people are hanging around those 24-hour medi-clinics, or the pharmacies, hoping the number of allotted tests does not run out. With the kids coming home for the holidays, and winter fast approaching, many are bracing for the demand to run through Valentine’s Day – when nothing screams “romance” more than a COVID test.

IN OTHER IMPORTANT NEWS

NEW YORK – It seems like the only one who likes this year’s Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is a tiny owl, found amongst its sagging branches. This little feller, which of course is now named “Rockefeller,” was a bit dehydrated and hungry from the long commute into NYC, but otherwise ok. The plan is to release Rockefeller back into the burbs this weekend, while, unfortunately, Manhattan is still stuck with this 75-foot-high spruce. While the always-chipper Today show loves the tree, like everything else that appears in Rockefeller Center, Vanity Fair calls it “bald, anemic, haggard, busted and actually dead.” And that is its good points, according to all the Twitter buzz, after an apparently harrowing trip from upstate.

THIS DAY IN HISTORY

It was tame in Philadelphia on this day in 1997; the Flyers’ Eric Lindros tried to bite San Jose defenseman Marty McSorley.

WORD OF THE DAY

Emigrate – [EM-uh-grayt] – verb

Definition: To leave one's place of residence or country to live elsewhere

Example: On January 20, 2021, Donald Trump will be emigrating from the White House.

WIT OF THE DAY

“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” 

―Albert Einstein

TODAY'S TRUMPISM 

“The election was a HOAX.”

-Donald J. Trump

WEATHER IN A WORD

Climbing