The Community Applauds the Return of Outdoor Movies Beginning Saturday, May 15

The curtain goes up once again on Highland Park Outdoor Movies. Save the date SATURDAY MAY 15 for opening night in the Highland Park Outdoor Movie Theater. The first presentation of the season is WATERSHIP DOWN. Vintage cartoons begin at dusk. Feature presentation is at 9 p.m. In addition to being family friendly, the movie series is financially friendly – it is free. READ MORE

REAL ID deadline is extended to May 3, 2023 – an additional 19 months from the initial deadline.

New Jerseyans will have an additional 19 months to get their REAL ID after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) delayed the requirement for air travelers to have a REAL ID-compliant form of identification by Oct. 1. The announcement that the deadline has been postponed until May 3, 2023 was made on April 27, 2021

The announcement comes as a number of New Jerseyans have complained about REAL ID services in New Jersey. Here’s what you need to know about getting REAL ID in New Jersey. 

Officials said the new delay is due to the COVID pandemic, which is making it harder for people to get into state motor vehicle departments and get the new IDs. Fewer than 50 percent of Americans have obtained their REAL ID, according to officials. READ MORE

Restaurants Urged to Apply Immediately for Restaurant Revitalization Fund

The U.S. Small Business Administration will begin registrations on Friday, April 30, 2021, at 9 a.m. EDT and open applications on Monday, May 3, at noon EDT for the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The online application will remain open to any eligible establishment until all funds are exhausted. The Restaurant Revitalization Fund provides a total of $28.6 billion in direct relief funds to restaurants and other hard-hit food establishments that have experienced economic distress and significant operational losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This program will provide restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss up to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Funds must be used for allowable expenses by March 11, 2023. READ MORE

RU Professors Were Among the Winners in the Latest National Book Critics Circle Awards

The National Book Critics Circle Awards  for 2020 were announced late last week, with awards for literature published in the U.S. in six categories (criticism, fiction, nonfiction, autobiography, biography and poetry) as well as three annual prizes. The winners in the main categories included two Rutgers University professors. Nicole Fleetwood, a professor of American studies and art history in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers-New Brunswick won in the criticism category for “Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration” and poet Cathy Park Hong, a professor in the MFA in Creative Writing program at Rutgers-Newark won in the autobiography category for her memoir, “Minor Feelings: An Asian American Reckoning.”

Fleetwood’s book, based on interviews with incarcerated people and their families, prison staff, activists and other observers, explores the importance of people in prison creating art as a means to survive incarceration. In her acceptance speech given during a virtual ceremony on March 25, Fleetwood talked about her cousins who had been incarcerated and had shared their stories and experiences with her. “There has never been a time in my life when prison didn’t hover as a real and present threat over us,” she wrote in “Marking Time.” Justin Rosier, chair of the criticism committee, described her book as “a blistering critique of the penal system and ultimately a testament to human flourishing in spite of it.’’

Hong said she started writing her memoir when she was pregnant because she wanted a better world for her daughter. READ MORE

Quizzing Cousins – in a New Q&A Feature Column – Seek Your Opinion

The Highland Park cousins hit the streets – actually during COVID they go to their screens and telephones- to find friends and relatives and neighbors and teachers who are willing to answer a simple topical question each week.  This week the interviewees are mostly family members, but in subsequent weeks, the Quizzing Cousins hope to branch out.  So check your phones and emails for messages. The reporters are Lily Solomon, HPMS 8th grade; Harry Solomon HPMS 6th grade; Rubin Hersh HPMS 6th grade; and Ilana Hersh Bartle 4th grade. We start this feature with a question about the pandemic, which has upended lives all over the world. In New Jersey as of Feb. READ MORE

Reformed Church of Highland Park Wins Prestigious DCA/HUD Grant for Affordable Housing Rental Project

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) announced that nine New Jersey organizations were awarded a total of $6.3 million in federal Housing Trust Fund (HTF) monies to create rental housing for extremely low-income individuals and families. The federal funding that DCA receives comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The Reformed Church of Highland Park was one of the nine New Jersey projects to win a grant for the acquisition and substantial rehabilitation of three rental units. “Governor Murphy and I are working everyday to make New Jersey a place where housing is more affordable and accessible for everyone regardless of income level,” said Lt. Governor Sheila Y. Oliver, who serves as DCA Commissioner. “These nine projects will certainly help individuals and families who are most in need find stable, safe housing that has a positive effect on their quality of life. READ MORE

Renowned RU Professor is Honored with a Distinguished Service to Agriculture Citation

Long-time Rutgers professor and extension agent Dr. Mel Henninger was recognized with a Distinguished Service to Agriculture Citation by the New Jersey State Board of Agriculture during the virtual New Jersey State Agricultural Convention recently.“Mel Henninger’s significant contributions to New Jersey agriculture have made major impacts on how we grow produce,” said New Jersey Secretary of Agriculture Douglas H. Fisher. “He is known and highly respected across the country for his in-depth knowledge of potatoes and the availability of his expertise, experience and insight to farmers here has heightened the Garden State’s production and agricultural reputation.”

Dr. Henninger graduated from Penn State University with a degree in agronomy and he returned there to earn his Masters and Ph.D. in agronomy as well. Before being a professor emeritus for the last 10 years at Rutgers, he spent 391/2 years of his career as an extension specialist in vegetable crops at Rutgers. His career included nine years as Department Chair.“Working with my fellow Rutgers staff and agents for the farmers in New Jersey has allowed me to have a very rewarding and satisfying career,” Dr. Henninger said. “Receiving this honor is especially significant to me. READ MORE

Rutgers University’s “Earth Day Every Day!” Spring 2021 Series Begins March 8

Rutgers Cooperative Extension’s “Earth Day Every Day” educational webinar series is back for Spring 2021. Open to the public, these free sessions focus on steps everyone can take to protect the environment. We can all do our part to take actions that make our homes more sustainable, from starting a native plant garden, to protecting local watersheds, to choosing the right trees for your property. These actions, more than ever, start at home. The 2020 series was a success with more than 2,900 people from all 21 counties in New Jersey in attendance, as well as representation from 30 other states. READ MORE

Rutgers Astrophysicist Will Use the New Webb Space Telescope to Determine Star Formation in Two Galaxies

Rutgers Professor Kristen McQuinn, an astrophysicist based on the Rutgers New Brunswick campus, has an out-of-this-world stake in the new James Webb Space Telescope. In her opinion, the Webb Telescope will be a giant leap forward in our understanding of the universe. The large infrared telescope with a 6.5-meter primary mirror is scheduled to be launched on an Ariane 5 rocket from French Guiana this fall, according to NASA. The Webb Telescope will be the premier observatory of the next decade, serving thousands of astronomers worldwide. It will study every phase in the universe’s history, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our Solar System. READ MORE

Celebrate Women Artists at the Zimmerli – Marking Women’s History Month with a Virtual Arts Reception on March 2

In recognition of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, the Zimmerli Art Museum and Rutgers Global present Art After Hours: Women on View on March 2. The evening kicks off with a preview of Communism Through the Lens: Everyday Life Captured by Women Photographers in the Dodge Collection, led by Maria Garth, Dodge Fellow at the Zimmerli and Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Art History at Rutgers, who organized this upcoming exhibition. Garth will discuss works by Māra Brašmane, Zenta Dzividzinska, Olga Ignatovich, Valentina Kulagina, Lialia Kuznetsova, Olga Lander, Ann Tenno, and Natalia Tsekhomskaya. In addition, the program spotlights five women artists from other areas of the museum’s collections in honor of the annual #5WomenArtists campaign. This Zoom event is free and open to the public, with registration details at READ MORE