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High-Tech The AT&T Foundation has granted $215,000 to organizations across the state in 2022 as part of AT&T’s nationwide commitment to help bridge the digital divide and support student success. The company also is working with local libraries and other nonprofit organizations in the state to offer digital literacy programs and refurbished computers for students.“The pandemic heightened the challenges faced by students here in New Jersey and nationwide,” said Joseph Divis, president, AT&T New Jers...
The AT&T Foundation has granted $215,000 to organizations across the state in 2022 as part of AT&T’s nationwide commitment to help bridge the digital divide and support student success. The company also is working with local libraries and other nonprofit organizations in the state to offer digital literacy programs and refurbished computers for students.
“The pandemic heightened the challenges faced by students here in New Jersey and nationwide,” said Joseph Divis, president, AT&T New Jersey. “Under-resourced neighborhoods were hit particularly hard, which is why we’ve teamed up with organizations across the state who share our desire to help students in New Jersey prepare for success in school, on the job and in life.”
The organizations that received AT&T Foundation grants include:
NPower (Jersey City): $25,000 to support NPower NJ Tech Fundamentals program, which serves veterans, veterans’ spouses, and young adults (age 18-26) from underserved communities with IT training, professional development, wrap-around social services, paid internships, and job placement.
Gateway Community Action Partnership (Bridgeton): $25,000 to support youth in achieving and maintaining academic success and personal wellbeing through access to technology, tutoring, mentoring, counseling, and positive social interactions in a safe, reliable, and comfortable setting.
Community Foundation of New Jersey (Newark): $30,000 to support the Newark Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), an established program with years of success, offers a life-changing opportunity for motivated Newark youth to gain workforce skills, financial knowledge, career exposure, and coaching on a pathway to a sustainable career and financial stability.
Boys & Girls Club Mercer County (Trenton): $25,000 to support the afterschool homework help and supplemental education programs for 800 K-8 grade youth participating in the Boys & Girls Club after school program during the 2022-2023 school year at 12 locations in Trenton & Ewing.
New Jersey Community Development Corporation (Paterson): $25,000 to support New Jersey Community Development Corporation’s (NJCDC) afterschool tutoring program, which will help bridge the digital divide for high school students in Paterson.
Boys & Girls Club Hudson County (Jersey City and Bayonne): $25,000 to support the Teen Tech Center, a program specifically designed to teach technology skills, reduce the digital divide, and encourage youth from Jersey City and Bayonne to pursue post-secondary education in STEM fields.
New Jersey Chamber of Commerce Foundation – JAG New Jersey (statewide): $20,000 to support the Jobs for America’s Graduates NJ program, dedicated to helping youth of promise graduate high school and make successful transitions to post-secondary education and meaningful employment.
Puerto Rican Action Board (New Brunswick): $15,000 to support students who may need additional technological resources to address the challenges of internet-based schoolwork.
Hopeworks N Camden (Camden): $25,000 to support the Hopeworks program, which provides digital skills training, digital access, food support, health support, housing support, and other resources to underserved community members.
Boosting Digital Literacy in New Jersey
As part of their support for digital literacy initiatives nationwide, AT&T is helping Public Library Association (PLA) bring free bilingual, in-person digital literacy workshops to nearly 160 libraries across the country, including in New Jersey.
The workshops utilize online digital literacy courses available through AT&T ScreenReady® and PLA Digital Learn. Created in collaboration with PLA, the courses teach skills ranging from technology basics to avoiding scams.
The selected libraries in New Jersey include Long Branch Free Public Library; Montclair Public Library; Paramus Public Library; Parsippany – Troy Hills Public Library; Piscataway Public Library; Somerville Branch of Somerset County Library System of NJ; South Orange Public Library; Wharton Public Library; and Woodbury Public Library.
AT&T is collaborating with Ironbound Community Corporation (ICC) in Newark and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) on an initiative that assists people in the East Ward section of Newark with digital-skills building and access. Support from LISC and AT&T is helping ICC bring the community up to speed with technology focused on online financial services, state and federal benefits, job training and development, and digital warning signs and safeguarding.
In Jersey City, in collaboration with Digitunity and the Jersey City Housing Authority, young people in the Booker T. Washington housing development received refurbished computers to help them with education. All told, over 300 computers will be provided to JCHA youth over the next year.
And, AT&T also worked with the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, NJ STEM and the Athletic Arts Academy in Orange to run the NJ Kids4Coding program. The eight-week program introduced school-aged children to the basics of coding and how it can empower their imaginations, enhance their education and catalyze career opportunities.
“We truly appreciate the collaboration with AT&T and our collective efforts to mitigate the digital divide and provide our youth for future careers in technology through our coding program,” said John E. Harmon, Sr., Founder, President & CEO, African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.
Plan out your adventures to New Jersey's best stargazing and dark sky locales with this comprehensive calendar of stellar oddities.NEW JERSEY — A full calendar of meteor showers, supermoons and stellar surprises is on the docket for 2023. And there's plenty of time to plan excursions to experience it all from New Jersey's best dark-sky parks.For all meteor showers, unless it’s already dark where you live, it’s best to get away from city lights to get the best views. Some of New Jersey's top stargazing locati...
NEW JERSEY — A full calendar of meteor showers, supermoons and stellar surprises is on the docket for 2023. And there's plenty of time to plan excursions to experience it all from New Jersey's best dark-sky parks.
For all meteor showers, unless it’s already dark where you live, it’s best to get away from city lights to get the best views. Some of New Jersey's top stargazing locations include Wharton State Forest, Island Beach State Park and High Point State Park, according to lists from New Jersey Digest and TheHolidayStory.
While cold weather could get in the way, the first shooting star show of the year, the Quadrantid meteor shower, carries dazzling potential. It began Dec. 26 and runs until Jan. 16, peaking Jan. 2-3, according to NASA.
During the narrow, six-hour peak that starts just after midnight, between 60 and 200 meteors an hour are possible. The shower is known for bright fireballs — explosions of light and color that can persist longer than an average meteor streak.
This marks the final meteor shower in the Northern Hemisphere until the spring.
Below, find a rundown of meteor showers, full moons and supermoons, and other celestial events to put on your 2022 calendar. This guide is curated from NASA, The Farmers’ Almanac, The Old Farmer’s Almanac, the American Meteor Society, and Sea and Sky.
Peak dates for meteor showers may vary, depending on the source. Unless otherwise noted, meteor showers are best viewed between midnight and dawn, as far away from city lights as possible. If you’re planning 2023 meteor-watching excursions, check out dark-sky locations.
Shooting Stars And Fireballs
Quadrantids, Jan. 2-3: This shower, which runs until Jan. 16, produces 80-200 meteors an hour at peak. Best viewed after midnight, it is produced by dust grains left behind by an extinct comet known as 2003 EH1, discovered in 2003. The moon will be about 92 percent full during the peak — but keep in mind the Quadrantids are known for producing fireballs bright enough to be seen in the moonlight.
Lyrids, April 21-22: This show runs from April 16-25 every year. Viewing conditions should be favorable for the peak, with the moon only about 6 percent illuminated. The Lyrids produce about 18 meteors an hour at the peak. The Lyrids are known to produce bright dust trails that last for several seconds. The Lyrids are produced by dust particles left behind by the comet C/1861 G1 Thatcher.
Eta Aquariids, May 4-5: This above-average meteor shower runs from April 15 to May 27. The best place to see it is in the Southern Hemisphere, where it produces about 60 meteors an hour, but it’s a decent show in the Northern Hemisphere, too, and viewers in this part of the world can expect to see about half that many. Comet Haley is the parent of this meteor shower, which has been observed since ancient times. The moon will be about 9 percent full.
Southern Delta Aquariids, July 29-31: This shower runs from July 18 to Aug. 21 and produces about 20 meteors an hour at the peak. The moon will be about 95 percent full for this shower, which is produced by debris left behind by the comets Marsden and Kracht.
Alpha Capricornids, July 30-31: This shower is active from July 7 to Aug. 13, with a “plateau-like” maximum at the peak. It isn’t a particularly strong shower and rarely produces more than five shooting stars an hour, but what is notable is the number of bright fireballs produced during the peak. The moon will be about 95 percent full at the peak, so the show could be a washout.
Perseids, Aug. 12-13: Famous for producing a large number of fireballs, the Perseids meteor shower is regarded as one of the best of the year. The shower runs July 14 to Sept. 1 and produces up to 100 shooting stars an hour at the peak. The shower, discovered in 1862, is produced by the comet 109/P Swift-Tuttle. 2023 could be a good year to plan something around the peak; the moon will be about 10 percent full, so it shouldn’t interfere much with the sky show.
Draconids, Oct. 8-9: This short meteor shower running from Oct. 6-10, sometimes called the Giacobinid meteor shower in honor of the astronomer who discovered the comet that produces it, passes almost without notice most years with only a smattering of meteors. However, Draconid meteor storms can bring hundreds of shooting stars a minute in some years. Notable reports were filed in Europe in 1933, when 500 shooting stars a minute were observed, and in the United States in 1946, when 50 to 100 meteors an hour were reported. This shower differs from others in that it peaks in the early evening. The moon will be about 33 percent illuminated during the peak.
Orionids, Oct. 21-22: The Orionid meteor shower, which runs Sept. 26 to Nov. 22, produces about 15 or 20 meteors an hour but is considered one of the most beautiful shooting star shows of the year. The meteors are both bright and fast, entering Earth’s atmosphere at about 148,000 miles per hour. Meteors that fast can leave glowing trains — that is, incandescent bits of debris that can last several seconds or even minutes — and also fireballs. The moon will be about 37 percent full during the peak.
Taurids, Nov. 4-5 and Nov. 11-12: What makes this long-running meteor shower unique is that it consists of two separate streams — the first created by grain dust left behind by Asteroid 2004/TG10, and the second by dust grains left behind by Comet 2P/Encke. Together, they run from about Sept. 28 to Dec 2. Both streams are rich in fireballs, and are often responsible for increased numbers of fireball reports, according to the American Meteor Shower. The moon will be about 54 percent full for the Southern Taurids’ Nov. 4-5 peak, and about 2 percent full for the Nov. 11-12 peak of the Northern Taurids.
Leonids, Nov. 17-18: The Leonids meteor shower runs Nov. 3 to Dec. 2 and puts on an average show of about 15 meteors an hour — except during cyclonic peaks that occur about every 33 years, when hundreds of meteors an hour can be seen. It happened last in 2001, putting us years away from a similar show from this shower created by dust grains left behind by comet 55P/Tempel-Tuttle, discovered in 1865. The moon will be about 23 percent full during the peak.
Geminids, Dec. 13-14: Meteor experts say the Geminid meteor shower is hands-down the best in the heavens, producing 120 multicolored meteors at the peak. Produced by debris left behind by the asteroid 3200 Phaethon, discovered in 1982, it runs from Nov. 19 to Dec. 24. The moon will be about 3 percent full at the peak, making for ideal viewing conditions.
Ursids, Dec. 21-22: This minor meteor shower runs Dec. 13-24 and offers about five or 10 shooting stars an hour. It is produced by dust grains left behind by comet 8P/Tuttle, discovered in 1790. The moon will be about 10 percent full for the final meteor shower of 2023.
Equinoxes And Solstices
Spring equinox, March 20: Spring officially begins as the vernal equinox occurs at 5:24 p.m., when the sun shines directly on the equator and the hours of sunlight and nighttime are nearly equal throughout the world.
Summer solstice, June 21: Summer officially begins at 10:58 a.m. that day. During the solstice, the Earth arrives at the point in its orbit where its North Pole is at its maximum tilt — about 23.5 degrees — resulting in the longest day — that is, hours of sunlight — and shortest night of the year.
Fall equinox, Sept. 23: The fall or autumnal equinox heralds the arrival of fall at 2:49 a.m., the moment the sun shines over the equator and the hours of daylight and nighttime are again nearly equal throughout the world.
Winter solstice, Dec. 21: Winter officially arrives at 10:27 p.m., the moment the Earth’s South Pole reaches its maximum tilt away from the sun. This is known as the “shortest day” and “longest night” of the year.
Full Moons And Supermoons
Moon shadow chasers, 2023 is your year with four consecutive summer supermoons, two of them in the same month, a phenomenon known as a monthly blue moon. If skies are clear, the moon should be exceptionally bright on and around the evenings of July 3, Aug. 1, Aug. 31 and Sept. 29.
The term supermoon didn’t come from astronomy. Rather, astrologer Richard Nolle coined the term in 1979, defining a supermoon as a new or full moon that occurs when it is at its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit, making it appear bigger and brighter.
“Interestingly, nobody paid much attention to Nolle's definition until March 19, 2011, when the full moon arrived at an exceptionally close perigee, coming within 126 miles (203 kilometers) of its closest possible approach to Earth,” Joe Rao wrote for Space.com.
Until Nolle “branded” the supermoon, astronomers called the full moon that coincided with perigee as a “perigean full moon,” and it passed without notice.
“Now,” Rao continued, “it seems that every time a full moon coincides with perigee, it is referred to as a supermoon.”
Early Indigenous populations named the moons to track the seasons. Below are all the full moons of 2023, including supermoons, and the names given to them by Native Americans:
With reporting from Patch correspondent Beth Dalbey.
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GALLOWAY — Nothing makes a stack of pancakes or waffles taste so delicious than the maple syrup poured on it.What if the maple syrup came from New Jersey?A team of faculty members at Stockton University in Galloway Township has been awarded a three-year U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to promote maple sugaring in South Jersey through research and community outreach.One of the lead team members and Stockton mathematics professor, Dr. Judith Vogel said two grants have been awarded that overlap by a couple of yea...
GALLOWAY — Nothing makes a stack of pancakes or waffles taste so delicious than the maple syrup poured on it.
What if the maple syrup came from New Jersey?
A team of faculty members at Stockton University in Galloway Township has been awarded a three-year U.S. Department of Agriculture grant to promote maple sugaring in South Jersey through research and community outreach.
One of the lead team members and Stockton mathematics professor, Dr. Judith Vogel said two grants have been awarded that overlap by a couple of years. The first grant is for $410,000 and the second grant is for $500,000 to study maple syrup production in South Jersey.
The first grant was a proof of concept.
“Can we actually produce maple syrup at an industry-like level?” she explained. They were never looking to compete with other industries like Vermont or Canada.
But Vogel said they are looking to see if they can create a home-grown industry, a backyard hobbyist industry, and a small farm industry in South Jersey. Coupled with that, Stockton has been charged with some research on the region’s own forests and some outreach to their community.
The second grant picks up where the first grant left off.
“Now that we know we can do this, how can we do it in a way that’s efficient and profitable to the community and we’re not just judging profit by money and business models, but also by community engagement and societal value,” Vogel said.
Maple syrup production is not common in New Jersey. Vogel said above the line between Lakewood and Gloucester, there are sugar maples that are indigenous to New Jersey soil and climate type. But below that line, there are not a lot of sugar maples.
Rather, there are a ton of red maples in South Jersey. Red maples are not ideal because they don’t have as much sugar as sugar maples, but they do have sugar. So, if people are willing to do the work, they can get the syrup out of them, she said.
In South Jersey, there are the Pine Barrens, Wharton State Forest, and hundreds of thousands of acres that are protected.
“What we’re really looking to do is to bring value to this forestry management plan in a way that is fun, exciting and a little bit sweet, gets the kids really interested in preserving our forests and understanding sustainable forest practices,” Vogel said.
There are over 1,000 acres of forested land on the campus of Stockton University. Vogel said they are tapping 400 trees on the campus but her team is reaching out to the public, to residents, and to anyone who has access to multiple red maple trees.
Hopefully, they are willing to invest the time to collect and process the sap into syrup this winter.
The tapping method is pretty easy. All anyone needs are three basic things: a tap, a tube, and a bucket. This is the focus of what a hobbyist would need. Gravity does the rest of the work as well as the time of year, the climate, and the weather patterns, she said.
Tapping is only done this time of year when there are really cold nights and warm days. It’s called the ‘freeze-thaw” that takes place during late winter and early spring.
During that time, it creates this positive and negative pressure in the tree. It’s freezing at night and it’s thawing during the day. That’s when the sap flows. When it flows, and if you can intercept it with a tap, a tube, and a bucket, then you can collect sap, Vogel said.
She said the real hard part is the boil.
“In order to take that sap and turn it into syrup, you have to boil out a large majority of the water. For us, the best-case scenario is about a 60 to 1 boil. With sugar maple, you can probably get it down to 40 to 1,” Vogel said.
That means with sugar maples, it takes 40 gallons of sap to create just one gallon of syrup. With red maples, it takes 60 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup.
So, the second grant has created a hub model. Throughout the South Jersey area, there are six hubs in place where Stockton has supplied some equipment called evaporators to help with the boil.
This equipment boils the sap and siphons out the water from the sugar.
There are various levels of involvement, Vogel said.
Some of it is just taking a tap and tubing, having fun collecting sap, enjoying the process with family and friends, and even keeping the syrup for themselves.
Other sites are more expansive. They have about 20 trees that can be tapped on a property. This may be considered a research site.
“We would ask for more specific data, about how much sap they’re getting, and what the sugar content looks like,” she said.
Scientists would then use the data to correlate how the sugar content is related to their soil.
Anyone interested in helping Stockton tap red maple trees for sap can reach out via email.
New Jersey 101.5 is the first media outlet to receive a “sweet” piece of news from Vogel.
“We’ve just been cleared by the USDA to start selling our syrup. This is the first year that we are going to be able to sell it. Before that, we really used it to thank donors, to give it out to people in the community or who were really involved in the process,” Vogel said.
Any profits made from selling syrup will go directly go back into the program. The money will support this unique, and interesting project in the future.
Gallery Credit: Dennis Malloy/Townsquare Media
8th District Legislators Urge Public to Voice Opposition to Road Permits in Wharton State Forest In recent virtual public meetings, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has floated the creation of permits for using the roads in Wharton State Forest. “Visitors and residents of the Pine Barrens have never had to pay to use the roads in Wharton State Forest and shouldn’t have to at any point moving forward,” said 8th Legislative District Senator Jean Stan...
|8th District Legislators Urge Public to Voice Opposition to Road Permits in Wharton State Forest |
In recent virtual public meetings, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection has floated the creation of permits for using the roads in Wharton State Forest.
“Visitors and residents of the Pine Barrens have never had to pay to use the roads in Wharton State Forest and shouldn’t have to at any point moving forward,” said 8th Legislative District Senator Jean Stanfield. “This is government overreach and something that New Jersey residents already pay for with their highest-in-the-nation taxes.”
Stanfield and her assembly counterparts, Assemblyman Michael Torrissi and Assemblyman Brandon Umba, chastised the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for holding virtual meetings on such an important topic to the people of their district.
“If the state thinks paid-for vehicle permits are what’s best for the users of Wharton State Forest, then it should hold in-person, public meetings and face the people. But I guarantee you, you’re going to see a bunch of pissed-off Pineys come out to give them a piece of their minds,” Torrissi said.
The first virtual meeting was held on September 27, where the DEP announced intentions to create a mandatory permitting system for vehicles that use the 125,000-acre park’s giant interconnection of dirt and marked roads.
The Department has stated it envisions a system at Wharton similar to the Mobile Sport Fishing Permit system at Island Beach State Park, which mandates residents pay $195 annually for vehicle access to the park in order to fish.
“This not only affects drivers who drive the park for recreational use, but hunters and fishermen who use their vehicles as a means of getting to proper locations. This plan needs to be shut down, and I urge all residents to voice their opinion on it, one way or the other,” said Umba.
Residents can write a message to the DEP by using its contact page here – https://www.state.nj.us/cgi-bin/dep/contactdep_general.pl
Or fill out its park use survey here – https://nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/wharton/
The world's largest beverage bottler has been fined $49,724 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for "serious violations" that could endanger employees at their plant in Wharton.Employees of the Refresco bottling factory and community groups rallied outside the facility on Nov. 15 to...
The world's largest beverage bottler has been fined $49,724 by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for "serious violations" that could endanger employees at their plant in Wharton.
Employees of the Refresco bottling factory and community groups rallied outside the facility on Nov. 15 to demand better working conditions and recognition of their union. A week later, OSHA began a series of inspections at the plant that continued through last week.
An OSHA citation and notification dated May 19 lists four "serious violations" including wet walking surfaces on four occasions, employee exposure to continuous noise levels at 217% of the permissible action level exposure limit, failing to document the basis for determining that all hazards in a permit space had been eliminated, and failure to certify that propane-powered forklift and electric pallet jack operators had been trained and evaluated.
Refresco claims to be the world’s largest independent bottler for retailers and branded beverage companies in Europe and North America, producing more than 30 million liters of drinks per day. It employs about 4,000 workers in 31 facilities, 26 located in the United States,
Workers at Refresco in Wharton bottle and ship beverages such as BodyArmor Sports Drink for Coca-Cola, Gatorade by Pepsi, Juice Bowl, Arizona Iced Tea and Tropicana juices.
A majority of the 250 workers there voted in June to join the United Electrical, Radio, and Machine Workers of America union. The majority Latino workforce cited unsafe working conditions, treatment by supervisors, low wages and long hours as reasons for starting the union.
"Refresco is committed to the health and safety of its employees," a Refresco spokesperson stated. "As part of these efforts, the company continues its cooperation with OSHA. Refresco welcomes this opportunity to further review and enhance workplace health and safety at its Wharton facility."
In 2015, OSHA cited the plant for eight serious violations, including two "willful violations" for not providing hearing tests for workers exposed to prolonged noise.
The company has until June 13 to abate the current violations and June 19 to pay the fines, or risk incurring additional penalties, interest and administrative costs.
At the November rally, Anthony Sanchez, a machine operator at Refresco for the last 15 years, said employees were "working in unsafe conditions, with low salaries."
"It's been four months since we had our union election," Sanchez said. "Refresco ran an aggressive anti-union campaign to intimidate and try to silence us and now is refusing to negotiate with our union.”
William Westhoven is a local reporter for DailyRecord.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.