Pam Hersh

Recent Articles

Parents and Students Are Tired of Being Tired – Earlier School Start Times for Bartle and Irving Schools Keeps Many Awake at Night with Worry

Monday night Feb. 26, 7 p.m. (Highland Park Middle School Cafeteria,330 Wayne Street), the Highland Park School Board will hear exhaustive accounts about exhaustion. Bartle Elementary students in particular are exhausted from the very early school opening time that was implemented in September 2023. Their parents are exhausted from waging a long and thus far futile battle against the early opening. And now Highland Park High School students – who are not exhausted thanks to the 9:02 a.m. high school opening – intend to wage a tireless battle to support their younger siblings and friends by persuading the district to give every student a later school opening. READ MORE

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Vote by Mail, Vote in Person, just Vote: a Guide to the Rules and Deadlines Pertinent to the June 4, 2024 Primary Election

The 2024 General Election will be held on Tuesday, November 5, 2024. The 2024 Primary Election will be held on Tuesday, June 4, 2024. There are a few changes to New Jersey Vote-By-Mail for 2024. Here’s a brief guide to voting by mail in this year’s elections in New Jersey. Eligibility: All active registered voters are entitled to vote by mail.  Unaffiliated mail-in voters must declare their party affiliation with the Democratic Party or the Republican Party to vote in the June 4, 2024 Primary Election. READ MORE

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NJ Senior Freeze Program is Warming Up for 2024 – Get Reimbursed for Property Tax Increases

The Senior Freeze Program reimburses eligible senior citizens and disabled persons for property tax or mobile home park site fee increases on their principal residence (main home). To qualify, you must meet all the eligibility requirements for each year from the base year through the application year. Eligibility requirements, including income limits, and benefits available for all property tax relief programs are subject to change by the State Budget. 2023 Applications

We began mailing Senior Freeze applications on February 12, 2024. If you do not receive your booklet by late March, you may contact us. READ MORE

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New Year Begins with New Grant Program for Real Estate Developers that May Help Highland Park’s Revitalization Plans

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Board ended the year by approving a new $20 million pilot program to support rising real estate developers. The Emerging Developer Fund will help developers gain access to capital and build additional capacity to expand their existing portfolio. Access to capital for small-scale developers in the real estate development industry continues to be a challenge. These barriers are due to predatory lending, excessive carrying costs, and predevelopment expenses a developer may encounter. These predevelopment costs are necessary for the developer to incur before they can seek short-term construction financing. READ MORE

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Minimum Wage in New Jersey Gets a Raise on January 1, 2024; Here are the Basic Facts

How much is the minimum wage in New Jersey? Effective January 1, 2024, the New Jersey minimum wage is $15.13 per hour for most workers. Please refer to New Jersey’s Minimum Wage Chart for scheduled increases. Do all workers have to be paid the minimum wage?Most employees have minimum wage protection under the law. There are exceptions, such as automobile salespersons, outside salespersons, and minors under the age of 18, except for minors working in retail, food service, the first processing of farm products, beauty culture occupations, laundry, cleaning and dyeing occupations, light manufacturing and apparel occupations, and hotel and motel occupations. READ MORE

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Today, November 7th, is Election Day–Update: Local Democrats Retain Their Offices

Highland Park Mayor

Elsie Foster (D) — 2,131–winner

Leora C. Wenger (R) — 450

Highland Park Borough Council

Matthew Hersh (D) — 2,081–winner

Jason Postelnik (D) — 2,065–winner

Concetta J. Bongiovanna (R) — 508

Deborah L. Israel (R) — 499

Middlesex County Board of Commissioners

Charles Tomaro (D) — 72,819

Leslie Koppel (D) — 73,294

Peter Pedro Pisar (R) — 48,390

Gary Hagopian (R) — 48,689

Today, November 7th, is Election Day. Polls are open from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Find a polling place near you –go to: .

If you are voting by mail, you have several options for returning your ballot. Select one of the following three ways:

Mail: It must be postmarked on or before 8:00 p.m. Election Day (November 7th) and be received by your county’s Board of Elections on or before 6 days after Election Day (November 13th). 

Secure Ballot Drop Box: Place it in one of your county’s secure ballot drop boxes by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day (November 7th). 

Board of Elections Office: Deliver it in person to your county’s Board of Elections Office by 8:00 p.m. on Election Day (November 7th). County Election Officials–Go to:

Middlesex County Elections Office: Board of ElectionsAddress: 26 Kennedy Boulevard, Suite B, East Brunswick, NJ 08816Office Hours: 8:30am-4:15pm, Tues: 8:00am-6:30pm732-745-3471 (FAX) 732-296-6560Website:

Please keep in mind that if you have received a mail-in ballot but decide to vote in person instead, the ballot you receive at your polling place on Election Day will be a provisional ballot. 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). READ MORE

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Reminders: Time Change, Vote, Vaccines, Health Insurance Open Enrollment


Turn your clocks back one hour with the return to Eastern Standard Time at 2:00 a.m. on Sunday, November 5th, 2023. Daylight Savings Time will return on Sunday, March 10th, 2024.  Use that extra hour to contemplate our democracy and the importance of voting. Elections have consequences. VOTE TUESDAY NOV. READ MORE

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Contribute to the Public Good and Go See ‘The Pianist’ at the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick through October 22, 2023


By writing about the stage production of The Pianist, a Holocaust-themed play set in Warsaw, Poland, I am violating two of my rules of journalism:

Never review or opine on a topic or a piece of art unless I am an expert by virtue of education and/or experience. I am neither a theater critic, a Holocaust historian, or an immediate relative of anyone whose life was shattered by the Holocaust. 2. Refrain from writing about someone whom I featured within the past six months. A few weeks ago, I wrote a column for a Princeton publication about acclaimed artistic director, playwright, and longtime Princetonian Emily Mann, who directed and wrote the stage version of The Pianist now at the George Street Playhouse through October 22, 2023. READ MORE

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NJ Taxpayers Say ‘Give Us a Break – a Property Tax Break’- and We Are Getting a Substantial One

In case you missed it, here are the highlights from New Jersey Spotlight’s summary of New Jersey’s property tax breaks and rebates. JOHN REITMEYER, BUDGET/FINANCE WRITER  for NJ Spotlight SEPTEMBER 18, 2023 

The next round of state-funded Anchor property-tax relief payments are set to show up in the mailboxes or bank accounts of more than 1 million New Jersey residents (senior citizens and non senior citizens)within weeks.   

But the extra Anchor income will not result in paying higher NJ income taxes. The money from Anchor property-tax relief benefits will not trigger higher income tax bills for homeowners receiving tax breaks worth as much as $1,750, according to the state Department of Treasury. The wait for a game changing tax breakwill be much longer for seniors who were promised by lawmakers earlier this year their property-tax bills would be cut in half.   

That won’t happen until 2026 at the earliest, under current law.  

Still, New Jersey residents ages 65 and older will find out next year when they apply for Senior Freeze property-tax relief benefits that key changes enacted earlier this year will make it easier to qualify for benefits provided through that program.  

Indeed, from the Anchor to Senior Freeze programs, to the promised program that would slash property taxes for seniors, much has changed recently when it comes to state-administered efforts to ease local property-tax bills that now average close to $9,500.  

The following is a rundown of what’s new, and what still remains just a promise in property-tax relief. 


The first round of benefits paid out under Anchor, a program Gov. Phil Murphy and lawmakers established last year as a successor to the Homestead Benefit, totaled from $450 for eligible renters and up to $1,500 for eligible homeowners. Earlier this year, Murphy and fellow Democrats who control both houses of the Legislature announced eligible seniors — homeowners making up to $250,000 annually and renters making up to $150,000 annually — would receive an additional $250 in the next round of benefits. READ MORE

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American Repertory Ballet Lifts its Audiences with Season Opener “Elevate” October 13-15

American Repertory Ballet (ARB) announces the opening of its  spellbinding 2023/24 season – “Elevate” – at the state-of-the-art New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC), October 13-15. The program features world premieres by celebrated choreographers Stephanie Martinez and Meredith Rainey, along with the highly anticipated return of ARB Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel’s rousing Wood Work, set to modern renditions of Nordic folk tunes by the Danish String Quartet. Plus, Stiefel will create a new solo set to “If I Could Only Fly” by American singer-songwriter and poet Blaze Foley. (Photo is ARB Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel, photo credit Harald Schrader)  Award-winning artist Stephanie Martinez will present a new creation in which she “explores and discusses how we never truly understand our desires, but the effort is necessary to attain happiness.” Her versatility pushes the boundaries of contemporary ballet movement so much that the Chicago Tribune dubbed her “a chameleon,” of choreography. Martinez’s psychologically revelatory works challenge the viewer’s notion of what is possible. Philadelphia-based choreographer Meredith Rainey says his work “leaves space for audiences to make connections to their own personal experience and draw their own conclusions.” For his world premiere ballet titled Intrare Forma, Rainey partners with up-and-coming composer Miranda Scripp, who is currently studying composition at New York University. READ MORE

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