Emmy Award-Winning Actress and Rutgers Alumna Sheryl Lee Ralph Encourages Rutgers Graduates to Chase Their Dreams

Sheryl Lee Ralph, an Emmy Award-winning actress, Broadway star, TV sitcom star, and one of the first women admitted to Rutgers College more than 50 years ago, encouraged members of the Class of 2023 to chase their dreams and find their voice in a passionate speech that started with her singing and taking a selfie with the crowd. “Don’t chase money. Money will come,” said Ralph who made history in 2022 when she won the Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as kindergarten teacher Barbara Howard in ABC’s hit sitcom Abbott Elementary. “Figure out what makes you happy. If you enjoy what you do, it doesn’t feel like a job.”

Before Ralph, only the second Black woman to win that Emmy, delivered the commencement address, President Jonathan Holloway bestowed upon her an honorary degree of humane letters during the 257th Anniversary Commencement of Rutgers University-New Brunswick and Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences (RBHS). READ MORE

Highland Park is blooming this spring with Porch Fest, Planting Days, and the Memorial Day Parade

Highland Park NJ Porchfest 2023 is back by popular demand for its 3rd year. This Sunday, May 21, 2023, 12 to 6 p.m. several porches in town will be alive with the sounds of music. Last year was a huge success with over 13 porches and a ton of very talented musicians. For exact locations, go to Facebook.com and search for Highland Par NJ Porchfest 2023.     Main Street Highland Park’s annual Downtown Planting Days are back for two more fun-filled days of downtown beautification! READ MORE

UPDATES: Recreational Use of Marijuana and Rutgers Strike- State Issues with Highland Park Impact


Today marks the one-year anniversary of legal sales of marijuana for recreational use in New Jersey. Some 25 dispensaries are now open to the public, double the initial number approved as of last April; all are major retailers who already held licenses to sell medical marijuana in the state. According to the latest figures from the N.J. Cannabis Regulatory Commission, recreational marijuana users have spent more than $325 million, yielding more than $20 million in tax revenue. ——————————————————————————————————–


RUTGERS strike still threatens the health and well being of the University. Leaders of faculty unions at Rutgers University said today that their members could renew their historic strike in the absence of progress on remaining contract issues in negotiations with management. READ MORE

The Mackinnon Memo – March 29, 2023


Highland Park Middle School baseball hadn’t won a game in at least five years and were down six runs in their next-to-last at bat against Timothy B. Christian in May 2021. Then, there were a couple of walks, then a hit, a few more walks, a double, and a wild pitch. Finally, Lucas Weinberg raced home to score the go-ahead run and three outs later, they secured the long-awaited win. That team was cobbled together in the wake of the worst of the pandemic with more than half the kids having barely ever played organized baseball. These team members now make up the bulk of the current Highand Park High School team. READ MORE

Time Change Goes Forward like a Zombie – No One Can Seem to Kill It

Daylight Saving Time makes its return on Sunday, March 12 at 2 a.m.– time to move the clocks forward one hour. The much debated annual process of changing clocks back in fall and ahead in spring began during World War I as a way to conserve energy. In 1966, the Uniform Time Act established the current practice of Daylight Saving Time, which runs from March through November. The Energy Policy of 2005 made Daylight Saving Time four weeks longer. Only Congress or the Secretary of Transportation can make a time-zone adjustments. READ MORE

Highland Park Schools Get a Big Increase in State Aid in Governor’s Proposed Budget

Highland Park School District came out a big winner in Gov. Phil Murphy’s $531 billion budget proposal with an increase in funding of 34.2 percent. The proposed state aid for 2023/24 HP School District is $6,416,165, an increase of $1,636,138 or 34.2 percent. The biggest slice of Gov. Phil Murphy’s  budget proposal for the next fiscal year is state funding for public education. And the biggest slice of that is direct aid to local schools. Funding is set to increase for 400-plus districts, but 157 districts face cuts. READ MORE

Welcome to the OnkenVerse

“It’s really awesome when some crazy idea I have in my own mind comes true, and I meet someone else out there who also really likes it, no matter how strange It seems.”  READ MORE

Highland Park Travel Owls Baseball Offers a Winning Combo of Expert Instruction and Loads of Fun- 2023 Season Tryouts on Sunday February 5

When asked what inspired him to start a travel baseball squad in Highland Park, coach Rob Kaplan-Sherman gives credit where credit is due: to his wife. “My wife, Alicia, wanted me to get out of the house and do something besides work! So she was the one who really encouraged me to go back to coaching youth baseball.”

Serendipity combined his wife’s urging led Kaplan-Sherman to the Owls. “It was really being in the right place at the right time,” he said. “Just as I was getting back into the swing of coaching, in 2018, the Highland Park Recreation Department decided they were going to offer a 12 and Under (12U) travel team managed by Jeremy Renna. I got involved in coaching that team and started to lead the travel program in the Fall, and the rest is history.”

The program has grown since 2018, and the Owls currently have three teams – 10U, 12U, and 14U – designed for kids ages 9-14. READ MORE

HP Council Selects Foster as Mayor and Hersh as Council President

Highland Park has a new leadership team- Mayor Elsie Foster and Council President Matthew Hersh

At a special meeting of the Highland Park Mayor and Borough Council on Tuesday January 24, council members voted for Acting Mayor Elsie Foster to assume the position of mayor and complete the remaining one year in the term of Gayle Brill Mittler, who resigned on the mayor’s position on Dec. 31, 2022. Foster was one of three candidates nominated to complete the mayor’s term; the other nominees were Council Member Phil George and Council Member Matthew Hersh.Council members also voted for Council Member Matthew Hersh to assume the position of council president, which was vacated by Foster when she assumed the position of mayor. Hersh was one of two candidates nominated for council president; the other nominee was Council Member Stephany Kim Chohan.In her remarks before the vote by the council, Foster identified her priorities: safety, affordability, and downtown development. She stressed her 22 years serving on the council and her considerable experience, including having served on all the committees of the council.After the vote, she stated: “I’m complimented by the confidence my colleagues on the council have placed in me. READ MORE