To Celebrate Columbus Day or Not To Celebrate – that is the Question Answered by RU Scholar

Rutgers scholar Camilla Townsend offered her opinion on the nationwide debate over whether Columbus Day should be abolished and statues of Christopher Columbus removed. “Abolishing Columbus Day will not change what happened. But we should add an Indigenous Peoples’ Day and encourage schools to take it seriously, as Canada has done. Many students graduate high school thinking that perhaps they shouldn’t celebrate Columbus without knowing exactly why, and still knowing next to nothing about indigenous peoples’ history. Helping them learn that history might yield better results than abolishing a holiday,” Dr. Townsend said. READ MORE

Rutgers Scientists Discover New Antibiotic in Tropical Forest

Scientists from Rutgers University and around the world have discovered an antibiotic produced by a soil bacterium from a Mexican tropical forest that may help lead to a “plant probiotic,” more robust plants and other antibiotics. Probiotics, which provide friendlier bacteria and health benefits for humans, can also be beneficial to plants, keeping them healthy and more robust. The new antibiotic, known as phazolicin, prevents harmful bacteria from getting into the root systems of bean plants, according to a Rutgers co-authored study in the journal Nature Communications. “We hope to show the bacterium can be used as a ‘plant probiotic’ because phazolicin will prevent other, potentially harmful bacteria from growing in the root system of agriculturally important plants,” said senior author Konstantin Severinov, a principal investigator at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology and a professor of molecular biology and biochemistry in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “Antibiotic resistance is a huge problem in both medicine and agriculture, and continuing searches for new antibiotics are very important as they may provide leads for future anti-bacterial agents,” Dr. Konstantin Severinov said. READ MORE

RUTGERS JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL CELEBRATES 20TH ANNIVERSARY NOVEMBER 3–17

The Rutgers Jewish Film Festival celebrates 20 years of exploring Jewish history, culture, and identity through film. Running from Nov. 3-17, the festival will feature 19 films, including four New Jersey premieres and a closing night preview screening, and discussions with filmmakers, scholars, and other noteworthy guests. The event will be held at three venues: New Brunswick Performing Arts Center, 11 Livingston Avenue, New Brunswick (NBPAC – Opening Night Only); AMC New Brunswick, 17 US Highway 1 South, New Brunswick (AMC); and Princeton Garden Theatre, 160 Nassau Street, Princeton (PGT). The festival is sponsored by Rutgers’ Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life and is made possible by a generous grant from the Karma Foundation. 

The festival kicks-off on Sunday, Nov. READ MORE

Milestone: Longtime HP Resident and Arts Enthusiast Susan Lichtig Dies at the Age of 67

Susan Avis Lichtig, age 67, died on Sept. 18, 2019 in her home in East Windsor, N.J. Prior to September 2018, she had been a longtime resident of Highland Park, N.J., and active in the community. 

Susan was born in Wilkes-Barre, PA on Dec. 25, 1951, daughter of Edwin Lichtig, Jr. and Edna Frieder Lichtig.  Early in her life, Susan was one of just a handful of women to be selected to attend Dartmouth College’s first Exchange Program.  After graduating from Wheaton College, in Norton, MA as a French major, she received an EdM in Educational Media from Boston University. For most of her career, she served as a quality assurance professional and corporate training instructor/designer at Bellcore, Telcordia, ADP and the International Monetary Fund. Her greatest passion was in creative expression. She devoted
herself to cooking special gourmet meals for family and
friends, developing her own mixed media art forms, and teaching art at local senior centers,
at the Highland Park library as well as regionally, e.g., as a teaching intern
at the International Center for Photography in NYC and as a teacher’s aid for
artist Mary Taylor. READ MORE

Middlesex County Vote by Mail Opt-Out Deadline Is Extended

The decision to extend the deadline has been made in order to accommodate those voters added to the Vote by Mail list due to a recent change in the law, who have not had sufficient time to submit their opt out requests previously. READ MORE