Chief Rick Abrams of the Highland Park Police Department announces that a man from Highland Park has been charged with the vandalizing of the mural located at 75 Raritan Ave. Thomas Santo, 54, of Highland Park, New Jersey, was charged with NJSA 2C:16-1 Bias Intimidation, a 4th degree criminal charge, as well as NJSA 2C:17-3 Criminal Mischief for the actual physical defacement of the mural. A preliminary investigation by Highland Park Police Detective Sgt. J. Culver and Det. Palumbo determined that Mr. Santo first vandalized the mural on the morning of 4/29/22 and then returned later in the day to vandalize the mural again. READ MORE
Several faith and service leaders led a vigil on the evening of May 2, 2022 after a newly installed mural, titled “Home is Where We Make It,” was vandalized last week. Discussions are ongoing among community leaders as to when the mural will be restored. Speakers at the vigil included Josh Pruzansky, president for the Raritan Valley Orthodox Jewish Community Association, Dr. Alex Kharazi, director of Masjid-e-Ali Mosque, Pastor Seth Kaper-Dale, Reformed Church of Highland Park, and Rebecca Cypess, Middlesex Black-Jewish Coalition. Members of The Shelter Project, a group of faculty from Rutgers University and the New Brunswick Theological Seminary that commissioned the mural, also attended. The mural, located near Papa John’s pizzeria parking lot at 75 Raritan Avenue, was designed to facilitate conversations with the local refugee community by being in a prominent place for motorists and pedestrians alike. READ MORE
NJ on April 21, 2022 finally joined the growing roster of states where marijuana can be legally purchased for recreational use by adults — a milestone marked both by state officials and happy customers proclaiming “at last.”
Gov. Phil Murphy, who campaigned on legalizing pot, was among the dignitaries on hand at Zen Leaf in Elizabeth, one of 13 locations across NJ now in the legal retail recreational-pot business.Sales for now are limited to existing medical-marijuana dispensaries that won approval to expand their operations to recreational users; more locations are due to come online in the future.It’s been nearly 18 months since state voters overwhelmingly approved the legalization of recreational pot in a referendum; 17 states and the District of Columbia have already taken the step. The state Cannabis Regulatory Commission has issued the following tips for cannabis customers in New Jersey:
Do: Be patient – expect long lines and wait your turn to be served.Do: Start low and go slow – follow product instructions and remember ingestible products can take longer to take effect than smoking or vaping. Call NJ Poison Center at 800-222-1222 if you are concerned you may have ingested or used too much.Do: Store your legal cannabis products securely, out of the reach of kids. Legal cannabis products are in child safe packaging, but always keep them secure and out of the reach of anyone under the age of 21.Don’t: Drive while high. Driving under the influence of cannabis is illegal and dangerous.Don’t: Cross state lines. READ MORE
Highland Park High School graduate and former high school football star Tyler Rios, now of East Orange, pleaded guilty in mid-April, 2022, to one count of first-degree aggravated manslaughter and one count of second-degree desecrating of human remains in the death of 24-year-old Highland Park High School graduate Yasmein Uyar, who was a resident of Rahway at the time of her murder. The tragic ending to the abusive relationship that began when they were both Highland Park High School students occurred in July 2021, with the arrest of Rios and discovery of Uyar’s body. Their son was unharmed. The 27-year-old Rios was charged with killing his ex-girlfriend and kidnapping their two-year-old-son, after an Amber Alert and statewide manhunt last July. He is facing a 30-year sentence after a guilty plea, according to Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel. READ MORE
Announced during the 2022 State of the County address at the beginning of April by Middlesex County Commissioner Director Ronald G. Rios, the County is doubling down on its commitment to its residents with programs and initiatives specifically focused on revitalizing our education system, continuing to build programs centered around the health and wellness of residents, and ensuring Middlesex County is the best place to live, work, and play for all.
This year’s State of the County was held in-person for the first time in two years at the Carteret Performing Arts Center with more than 200 county residents, business leaders, students, and government officials in attendance. A link to the full event can be found here. “Middlesex County has been on a transformative journey over the last decade centered on making strategic business decisions to improve our overall fiscal health and investing in the vital services we provide our residents, all laddering up to our Destination 2040 master plan,” said Ronald G. Rios, Director of the Board of County Commissioners. “At our core, Middlesex County is committed to making decisions that enable us to offer services and launch programs that have a lasting impact on those who call and will call Middlesex County home.”
Additionally, County Commissioner Director Rios shared that, despite the pandemic and the economic challenges of the past two years, it grew its surplus fund to nearly $89 million and decreased its debt by more than $10 million. This surplus, combined with the County’s receipt of the coveted AAA bond rating from Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings, reaffirms County’s robust fiscal health.
Additionally, during the address, County Commissioner Director Rios highlighted how the County plans to leverage key partnerships and funds to support essential services while also investing millions in capital projects including performing arts centers, parks, recreation, and open space this year. While the overall physical and mental health and well-being of Middlesex County residents continues to be at the forefront, the County will be focusing on sound business strategies meant to expand career and job opportunities. READ MORE
New Jersey is poised to be an important player in the emerging offshore wind (OSW) energy industry development throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S. A strong OSW energy industry can only be technologically efficient and cost-effective with the existence of a nearby robust supply chain support.
To help sustain this emerging industry, Rutgers EcoComplex has launched the “WindIgnite” accelerator program to provide support to the OSW supply chain. Located at the EcoComplex facility in Bordentown, New Jersey, the program will serve as the hub of an innovative wind supply chain entrepreneurship ecosystem. It is being tailored for entrepreneurs and small businesses, with a particular emphasis on women and minority-owned enterprises. The EcoComplex “Clean Energy Innovation Center,” affiliated with Rutgers University, is dedicated to moving inventions from the lab to successful real-world applications and to promote New Jersey as a center for clean energy and environmental innovations and enterprises. “Given the complexity of the supply chain for OSW energy technology, WindIgnite will utilize a network of resources to assist new and existing OSW energy supply chain technology companies to successfully maneuver the innovation pathway,” says Serpil Guran, director of Rutgers EcoComplex.
This pathway includes discovery, concept assessment, business model assessment, technology verification, scale-up and commercialization to support emerging offshore wind industry in New Jersey and the Mid-Atlantic region.
The ultimate goal is to provide a solid network for supply chain industry growth and to maximize the economic development impacts that it can generate. The WindIgnite program is funded by Atlantic Shores LLC.
American Repertory Ballet (ARB) presents a fantastical forest of faries, eleves, and mischief grows in New Brunswick, N.J. with the world premiere of Ethan Stiefel’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, April 1-3, 2022 at the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center. His first full-length ballet for the company since being named Artistic Director in the summer of 2021, Stiefel’s magical production for audiences of all ages will be performed in collaboration with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Kenneth Bean. Set to Felix Mendelssohn’s iconic score with additional music written for film by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, the enchanting production will transport audiences to a fantastical forest filled with fairies, elves, mischief, romance, joy and love. ARB’s Artistic Associate and American Ballet Theatre principal ballerina Gillian Murphy will dance the role of Oberon, leader of the elves. “I can’t wait to dance in the world premiere of this incredibly unique, magical, and entertaining production,” says Murphy. “The story of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is such a treat to watch or perform, and I’m thrilled to portray Oberon for the first time in such a brilliant new version created by the one and only Ethan Stiefel.”
Stiefel’s artistic vision employs an expansive choreographic vocabulary, with a style and dynamic that veers from tradition. READ MORE
The ordinance permits the operation of cannabis dispensaries (up to six retail dispensary licenses and one medical dispensary license) and delivery of cannabis products in the borough. The retail cannabis outlets can operate only in the Central Business District. The ordinance prohibits cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, and wholesale
businesses from operating in the borough. READ MORE
Germany was the first to adopt daylight saving time on May 1, 1916, during World War I as a way to conserve fuel. The rest of Europe followed soon after. The United States didn’t adopt daylight saving time until March 19, 1918. It was unpopular and abolished after World War I.
On Feb. 9 ,1942, Franklin Roosevelt instituted a year-round daylight saving time, which he called “war time.” READ MORE
Middlesex County’s photography contest, Picture Middlesex County, is back by popular demand this Spring. The contest runs from March 8 – May 17, 2022, and is open to all New Jersey residents.
“Once again the Picture Middlesex County photography contest is giving individuals the chance to shine by submitting photos that showcase life in Middlesex County,” said Director of the Board of County Commissioners Ronald G. Rios. “From photos of landscapes to close-ups of plants, insects, birds and other wildlife, there are many remarkable photograph opportunities in Middlesex County, and we look forward to seeing what residents submit this Spring. Not only is Spring a great time to get outdoors and explore what our beautiful County has to offer, but it’s the ideal backdrop to showcase Middlesex County’s diverse communities as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The photo contest is open to all amateur and professional photographers, youth to adult. Ages 17 and under require parent/guardian consent on the entry form. Photos must be taken within Middlesex County, New Jersey, and must be taken within the timeframe of the contest. READ MORE