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To Celebrate Columbus Day or Not To Celebrate – that is the Question Answered by RU Scholar

Rutgers scholar Camilla Townsend offered her opinion on the nationwide debate over whether Columbus Day should be abolished and statues of Christopher Columbus removed. “Abolishing Columbus Day will not change what happened. But we should add an Indigenous Peoples’ Day and encourage schools to take it seriously, as Canada has done. Many students graduate high school thinking that perhaps they shouldn’t celebrate Columbus without knowing exactly why, and still knowing next to nothing about indigenous peoples’ history. Helping them learn that history might yield better results than abolishing a holiday,” Dr. Townsend said. READ MORE

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Rutgers Scientists Discover New Antibiotic in Tropical Forest

Scientists from Rutgers University and around the world have discovered an antibiotic produced by a soil bacterium from a Mexican tropical forest that may help lead to a “plant probiotic,” more robust plants and other antibiotics. Probiotics, which provide friendlier bacteria and health benefits for humans, can also be beneficial to plants, keeping them healthy and more robust. The new antibiotic, known as phazolicin, prevents harmful bacteria from getting into the root systems of bean plants, according to a Rutgers co-authored study in the journal Nature Communications. “We hope to show the bacterium can be used as a ‘plant probiotic’ because phazolicin will prevent other, potentially harmful bacteria from growing in the root system of agriculturally important plants,” said senior author Konstantin Severinov, a principal investigator at the Waksman Institute of Microbiology and a professor of molecular biology and biochemistry in the School of Arts and Sciences at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. “Antibiotic resistance is a huge problem in both medicine and agriculture, and continuing searches for new antibiotics are very important as they may provide leads for future anti-bacterial agents,” Dr. Konstantin Severinov said. READ MORE

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Middlesex County Vote by Mail Opt-Out Deadline Is Extended

The decision to extend the deadline has been made in order to accommodate those voters added to the Vote by Mail list due to a recent change in the law, who have not had sufficient time to submit their opt out requests previously. READ MORE

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Metra Lundy’s Harriet Tubman Walk Moves Along in Pursuit of a Moving Mission

Four weeks ago, the HP Planet
ran the story of how Highland Park resident Metra Lundy, the owner and founder
of Kinetics, was inspired to lead a walk
that followed Harriet Tubman’s Underground Railroad route, all the way to
Canada. She invited Highland Park residents to accompany her on the portion of
the walk from Highland Park to New York City on July 19th. Ms. Lundy
provided updates for our readers by answering the Planet’s questions.  A final
update will come upon completion of the walk. (The initial story is reprinted
after the Q&A)

Q- What was the route the
walkers took to New York? READ MORE

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Letter to the Editor: Environmentalist Praises HP’s Commitment to Electric Vehicles

To The Editor:

Air pollution threatens the sustainability of the environment and harms human health by causing multiple respiratory diseases. Transportation is the leading cause of air pollution, and, as such, I was happy to see that Highland Park passed a municipal resolution supporting increased electric vehicle usage. The actions of the Highland Park Council members result in better air quality in Highland Park, as well as throughout New Jersey. Environment New Jersey, a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy group, commends the Highland Park council members for their commitment to reducing air pollution and protecting human health. Electric vehicles are cleaner than petroleum fueled vehicles resulting in fewer environmental impacts and health problems.

Through the work of Governor Phil Murphy, New Jersey has taken several steps towards creating a more sustainable environment. READ MORE

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