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Rutgers Institutes Significant Protocol Changes on Campus in Response to the Surge in COVID-19 Cases

Since so many members of the Highland Park community are connected to Rutgers University as faculty, staff students, alumni, or participants in Rutgers events, it is important to print a letter from Rutgers University’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Antonio M. Calcado, who provided information on significant changes on campus related to COVID-19. “I am writing to you today (January 4, 2022) to inform you of important changes to how we will start the new semester, including the temporary use of remote instruction where possible, critical new vaccine requirements, and other important updates to our operating status. These important changes will affect you and every member of the university community. It is essential that every member of the Rutgers community be familiar with this information. The data and the science surrounding the surge in COVID-19 cases, and the dramatic spread of the Omicron variant, require that we adapt to the evolving situation without sacrificing our goal of returning to a campus experience that is robust, rewarding, and safe. READ MORE

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BUSINESS OPPORTUNITIES FROM THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY

FOR ALL INFORMATION GO TO WWW.NJEDA.COM

Express Interest in the First Autonomous Vehicle-Based Urban Transit System

Firms can submit to the Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) to inform the design, build-out, and operation of a safe and equitable automated vehicle transportation system for Trenton. The Trenton Mobility & Opportunity: Vehicles Equity System (MOVES) Project will provide safe, equitable, affordable, and sustainable high-quality mobility through the deployment of autonomous vehicles. Following the solicitation of the RFEI, there may be formal Requests for Qualifications or Proposals. The deadline for the RFEI response is February 11th, 2022. Submit a Proposal for a State-Owned 26-Acre Property

Businesses and individuals can submit a proposal to purchase or ground lease a New Jersey Economic Development Authority-owned 26-acre property located on Route 1 in North Brunswick. READ MORE

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Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School will serve as a national hub for pediatric sites as part of the NIH’s $470 Million RECOVER research initiative.

Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) is projected to receive approximately $30 million, establishing a critical partnership with the larger National Institutes of Health-funded RECOVER initiative to study long-term and delayed impacts of COVID-19 in children and lead a national collaboration with the potential to recruit from any state to investigate these outcomes. Impacts of infection with the virus SARS-CoV-2 that present or persist more than 30 days are collectively referred to as post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC). Among the first PASC recognized is Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a severe acute inflammatory illness, which typically begins unexpectedly about a month after the initial infection. Children with MIS-C have fever and other symptoms that may include inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, circulatory system and skin that sometimes mimic another rare illness, Kawasaki’s Disease. Beyond MIS-C, children are also susceptible to what is commonly referred to as “long COVID.” A team of researchers at Rutgers have studied COVID-19 and MIS-C from shortly after it was first described in the United States. “Children and adolescents are susceptible to long-term symptoms. Some have brain fog. READ MORE

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Highland Park Borough Council Seeks Residents’ Opinion on How to Remake the Woodbridge Avenue Corridor into a Thriving Economic and Community Asset

Highland Park is seeking feedback from people who live, work, shop, and eat in the borough for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs’ Neighborhood Preservation Program (NPP). An online survey will help determine the projects and priorities designed to revitalize and rejuvenate the borough’s Woodbridge Avenue corridor and its adjacent residential neighborhoods. The goal is to create to a more welcoming gateway into the Highland Park community and to nurture economic development. In October, Highland Park was awarded a five-year NPP designation which includes an initial $125,000 grant to generate visible, tangible change in the Woodbridge Avenue District driven by local residents and business owners. It is anticipated that the Woodbridge Avenue District will receive up to $125,000 a year for five years to assist with economic and community development. READ MORE

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Perspective: American Repertory Ballet’s ‘The Nutcracker’ Conquers the Covid Grinch with Creativity, Determination, and Excellence

Prior to a recent performance of the American Repertory Ballet’s (ARB) The Nutcracker, I heard no one mutter ‘break a leg, the theatrical, ironic, ‘good luck’ wish to performers.  I did overhear, however, one presumptive father tell his daughter: “Go out there and wow the audience. Prove to Mr. Covid that there’s no stopping you.” The young woman smiled, put on her mask, and bounded into the theater. I did a lot of smiling as I watched my granddaughter Lily perform in two routines – dances performed by my daughter on the same stage for the same ballet company decades ago. Although as a grandmother I was focused on Lily’s flawless (of course) performance, I also was stuck by the profound difference between the show of 1987 and that of 2021

‘Mr. Covid’ was this year’s invisible participant, lurking in the minds of the performers,’ instructors,’ and producers’ minds, but thankfully not within the dancers’ bodies. Covid was the Grinch that stole the show last year, but not this year. 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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