2. I deleted the node_modules folder and ran npm init. It recreated the package.json file exactly the same as it was in the original downloaded course files, with no errors.
3. I was able to get this corrected – see #4.
4. I wasn’t sure where in my system NODE_ENV was getting set to production – spent a lot of time googling/trying to figure that out. Thought maybe it was from Atom since that created some other environment variables related to node, but I completely uninstalled Atom and was still seeing the same thing. Looks like I just needed to reboot my system to reinitialize. Once I did that, NODE_ENV is no longer set (echo $NODE_ENV returns nothing) and it looks like everything is working.
5. I am able to make changes in the JS now and see them picked up and recompiled.
Thanks for your help in troubleshooting!