Recent Articles

Borough Council to Fill Mayoral Vacancy Jan. 24

The six remaining members of the council must take a majority vote to fill the mayor’s position through December 31, 2023. A general election for a full, four-year mayoral term starting January 1, 2024 will occur on November 7, 2023.

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State of New Jersey Programs Focus on Citizens’ Health and Well Being

Plan for Your Child’s College Education With NJBEST

New Jersey’s 529 College Savings Plan, NJBEST, can help you get a head start on saving for your child’s education. Taxpayers with household adjusted gross income up to $75,000 are eligible for a one-time match of up to $750 with an initial deposit into a new NJBEST plan account for new beneficiaries. https://www.njbest.com/?utm_campaign=20221111_nwsltr&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery

Get Covered New Jersey: Open Enrollment Happening Now

More options and lower premiums are available for residents seeking health insurance coverage at Get Covered New Jersey, the official health insurance marketplace of New Jersey. About 9 in 10 residents who enroll through Get Covered New Jersey will qualify for financial assistance with health coverage premiums. No one will pay more than 8.5 percent of their income for health insurance through Get Covered New Jersey. The Open Enrollment Period for 2023 coverage at Get Covered New Jersey will run from November 1st, 2022 to January 31st, 2023. READ MORE

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Today is Election Day

Today is Election Day. Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Find a polling place near you. Find your ballot https://www.ballotready.org/v/

If you requested a mail-in ballot, it is not too late to return it! You can return it one of the following three ways:

Mail: It must be postmarked on or before 8:00 p.m. Election Day and be received by your county’s Board of Elections on or before 6 days after Election Day.Secure Ballot Drop Box: Place it in one of your county’s secure ballot drop boxes by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. Secure Ballot Drop Box locationsBoard of Elections Office: Deliver it in person to your county’s Board of Elections Office by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day. County Election Officials

If you need information about how to vote or if you are encountering any problems while voting, please call the voter hotline at 1-877-NJ-VOTER (1-877-658-6837). Find a Polling Place

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Fall Back: Another Year, Another Time Change, Another Time When Nothing Changes

From the Washington Post, Friday, November 4, 2022 by Dan Diamond:

Early this Sunday morning, Americans will engage in the annual autumnal ritual of “falling back” — setting their clocks back one hour to conform with standard time. If some lawmakers had their way, it would mark the end of a tradition that has stretched for more than a century. But a familiar story unspooled of congressional gridlock and a relentless lobbying campaign, this one from advocates that some jokingly call “Big Sleep.”

A bill to permanently “spring forward” has been stalled in Congress for more than seven months, as lawmakers trade jabs over whether the Senate should have passed the legislation at all. House officials say they’ve been deluged by voters with split opinions and warnings from sleep specialists who insist that adopting permanent standard time instead would be healthier, and congressional leaders admit they just don’t know what to do. “We haven’t been able to find consensus in the House on this yet,” Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J., Highland Park’s representative in Congress) said in a statement to The Washington Post. READ MORE

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George Street Playhouse for 2022/2023 Comes Alive in a New Venue with an Acclaimed Production of a New Play “Her Portmanteau”

George Street Playhouse (GSP)is excited to welcome back audiences to the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center and announces casting for the upcoming production of Her Portmanteau a new play by Mfoniso Udofia, directed by Laiona Michelle. Performances go through October 30, 2022. “We can’t wait to welcome audiences back and jump start our exciting 2022-23 season with Her Portmanteau, a moving play about a mother and her daughters.” said David Saint, Artistic Director, George Street Playhouse. Her Portmanteau by playwright Mfoniso Udofia will be directed by George Street Playhouse’s Artistic Associate Laiona Michelle (Little Girl Blue, Book of Mormon). Mfoniso Udofia’s moving work, which The New York Times called “extraordinary,” touches on universal themes of mother-daughter relationships, forgiveness, reconciliation, and the struggle associated with leaving our countries of origin behind, while still holding on to its rich cultural heritage. READ MORE

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HPPD Averts Potential Suicide on Goodkind Bridge

Two Highland Park Police officers stopped a potential tragedy last week, as they calmed an individual showing suicidal behavior on the Goodkind Bridge in Edison. On the evening of Friday, June 3, Highland Park Police Officer Sean Garley was driving over theMorris Goodkind Bridge on Rt 1 in Edison on his way home from work. As he was crossing thebridge, he observed a car parked on the shoulder and an individual pacing near the railing thatrepeatedly grabbed the guardrail and leaned over the edge, looking at the river below.Believing he was witnessing an indicator of suicidal behavior, Officer Garley parked nearby,exited his vehicle, and started speaking with the distraught individual who confirmed they wereintending to jump from the bridge.Utilizing his training in de-escalation and critical incident management skills, Officer Garleycalmed the individual down and over the span of several minutes was able to bring them awayfrom the edge of the bridge to sit on the curb.Off Duty Highland Park Police Detective Sean McGraw, also on his way home from work, sawwhat was happening and stopped to assist Garley in keeping the individual calm.The off-duty Highland Park Officers notified the Highland Park Dispatch center of what wasoccurring and asked for support from neighboring jurisdictions. Officers from the Edison andNew Brunswick Police Departments quickly arrived on scene and were able to take theindividual to a local hospital for an evaluation and treatment.Highland Park Police Chief Rick Abrams praised Officer Garley and Det. McGraw, saying, “I amextremely proud of both officers. READ MORE

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Congratulations Main Street Highland Park for Winning a $22,530 Grant to Bring Joy and Community to the Downtown

Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler said the following about Highland Park’s $22,530 grant for installation of parklets in the downtown and how this initiative fulfills an important goal of community life. “One of the things we learned from the pandemic was the importance of community and the need for more public gathering spaces. These two issues don’t go away when the virus recedes. Public spaces for human contact, sharing ideas, sipping coffee or tea, or just connecting with neighbors outside of our usual contact groups all help to build a better sense of community. This goes beyond supporting our local businesses. READ MORE

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Cannibis – An Update on the State Timetable for Applications; for Highland Park, with Sales Only Permitted, Applications Start on March 15

This article was published in NJSpotlight, Saturday, November 20, 2021https://www.njspotlightnews.org/2021/11/

It has been over a year since New Jerseyans voted to amend the constitution to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. 

But for many prospective cannabis retailers, their first sales are still a ways away with only the next phase of the process, setting up who and how they can sell marijuana, scheduled to begin in December. 

 During a recent public meeting, the Cannabis Regulatory Commission (CRC) announced that they will begin accepting applications for cultivator and manufacturer cannabis licenses as early as Dec. 15. They plan to start accepting applications for retailer licenses by March 15. 

The initial law passed as a ballot question in the 2020 election cycle and authorized the expansion of the state’s current medicinal cannabis program. It also opened the door for the expungement of about 360,000 cases of marijuana-related offenses. Those cases were all considered low level and involved the cancellation of fines and penalties for folks caught possessing and selling small amounts of marijuana. 

As a prime sponsor of the bill, Assemblyman Jamel Holley advocated for the social justice policies that shape much of the law. Holley said the goal is to give marginalized individuals who have been wrongly criminalized by past regulations not only a second chance at life, but also the opportunity to open their own businesses.  

“A minimum of 20% of licenses will go to minorities, women and disabled veterans,” he said, continuing, “70% of sales tax will go back to communities in need in order to repair the harm caused by the so-called war on drugs.” 

Holley also noted efforts to remove the stigma associated with minor drug offenses. “If you have been convicted of a marijuana charge in the past, you are still eligible to apply for a cannabis business license,” he said.  

However, Holley agreed that the legalization process has taken quite a long time. “The CRC are doing their due diligence, but the green light is long overdue,” he said.  

 Edmund DeVeaux, president of the New Jersey CannaBusiness Association, argued that the last several months have been pivotal to the establishment of the recreational market. Now that there is a more substantial timeline, DeVeaux’s organization is concerned with ensuring that prospective applicants have the knowledge, skills and abilities to succeed. When it comes to how minorities and other marginalized groups will make their way in the cannabis industry, DeVeaux is cautiously optimistic.  “I say that because many people that have expressed an interest in being an applicant will be establishing businesses for the first time,” he said.  

 For many of those who were initially denied a license or struggled during the medicinal application process, DeVeaux reinforced the importance of reapplying.  

“The beauty of New Jersey’s cannabis market is that there is a second chance,” DeVeaux said. “We absolutely encourage, especially minority applicants, to come back and take part in the new and improved licensing process.” 

In October, the NJCRC approved 14 of the 2,019 medical cannabis business applications that had been previously held up due to a court-ordered stay of the review process. These businesses could eventually grow and sell recreational marijuana to the public, but first they must have enough supply to meet medicinal and recreational needs, pay fees to the state and sell in the medical market for at least one year. 

According to NJCRC Chairwoman Dianna Houenou, this could pose an issue for medicinal businesses looking to transition to the adult-use market. 

“The current alternative treatment centers have not kept pace with patient need,” she said. “We constantly hear from patients that prices are too high and that there are too few dispensaries with too few product options. READ MORE

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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

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HP’s Human Relations Commission Responds to the Recent Spate of Anti-Semitic Events

The following is an open letter to the community from the members of the Highland Park Human Relations Commission

The Human Relations Commission is outraged, angry and saddened by the spate of anti-Semitic events that have happened in New York City and in New Jersey, including right here in Highland Park. It is essential for us to identify t he origins of this rising hatred and to address it deliberately. The Human Relations Commission welcomes the opportunity to work with the members of our community and with our elected officials on the local, county, and state level in order to make sure that hate truly has no home here. As a community, we have a moral obligation to learn fro one another and to understand one another through policy programming, education, and compassion

We all must act from a position of hope to empower and engage our neighbor so we never live in fear. We refuse to live in fear. READ MORE

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