Just a friendly warning: Sleds, gloves and toasty sweaters could come off as slightly ridiculous if they’re unwrapped beneath the Christmas tree next week. A T-shirt and sandals might be more appropriate… A mild winter would follow on the heels of a year already shimmering in record-breaking warmth. New Jersey has experienced its third-warmest May and September as well as its fifth-warmest November and fall since record keeping began in 1895… “December is already almost a lock to be our warmest on record,” said David Robinson, the state climatologist and a Rutgers University professor.
The Record: Controlling Sewage
When it rains, as it often does in North Jersey, that can mean trouble regarding sewage discharge for many towns still operating with ages-old wastewater infrastructure. During heavy storms especially, these systems can become overwhelmed, resulting in raw sewage flooding into the state’s waterways, where it can create both environmental and health problems for thousands of people.. The problem is especially evident in Paterson, where antiquated pipes are connected to old sewer and stormwater systems. During heavy rains, the extra surge of water overwhelms the system, dumping a toxic mix of ordinary street pollution with sewage through 24 so-called overflow pipes that lead directly into the Passaic River… Encouragingly, Chris Obropta, an environmental sciences expert at Rutgers, has met with Paterson Mayor Joey Torres on ways the city can improve the situation. They talked about rain gardens, which Obropta said would “not only capture rainwater but clean the air and provide wildlife habitat.”
New Steps to Keep Sewage from Passaic River
During heavy rains, Bergen and Passaic county towns along the Passaic River are the recipients of raw sewage swirling down the river from Paterson… The issue affects communities that have what’s known as combined-sewer overflow pipes, which handle bo…
Red Wine Headaches? The Whys, and Ways to Prevent Them
Love red wine but, alas, it doesn’t love you back? After drinking a glass, instead of feeling mellow, you feel a headache. Why? The answer, it turns out, is as complex as wine itself… “A whole lot of people are worried about sulfur, and they shouldn’t be worried at all,” said Gary C. Pavlis, Rutgers professor and Atlantic County extension agent of the Garden State Wine Growers Association… Still another possible factor for those headaches: poor wine quality. “If you’re drinking a cheap wine, they’re probably adding everything under the sun into the barrel,” says Ken Flaherty, certified sommelier and owner of The Happy Corkscrew Wine Tastings in Hoboken. When making cheaper wine, winemakers often use less desirable grapes and grape parts like stems and seeds, which have more tannin. Also tossed in is lots of extra sugar and preservatives, all of which could cause headaches.
How to Control Holiday Debt Without Being a Humbug
“It’s only once a year,” Bob Cratchit tells Ebenezer Scrooge in “A Christmas Carol.” And it’s that kind of un-Scrooge-like thinking that can turn the merriest holiday season into one that piles on months of debt… As Barbara O’Neill, personal finance professor at Rutgers Cooperative Extension, notes, “People could save themselves a whole lot of stress and money if they just had a plan. But so many don’t.”… If paperwork gives you migraines, O’Neill recommends using online planners. Google “holiday spending calculator” and several options will come up. The budget planner at practical moneyskills.com has spaces for all of your holiday expenses, from gifts and home entertaining to travel and charitable donations… As far as holiday entertaining is concerned, O’Neill says a potluck is a time-honored option, but why not add a little fun to it? Have your guests vote for the best soup, entree or dessert, with a $50 gift card going to the top vote-getter.
New Rules Would Expand N.J. Bear Hunt
The Christie administration formally adopted a black bear management plan Monday that brings several major changes to New Jersey’s annual bear hunt, broadening the area where hunting can occur and potentially extending the hunt by an extra four days if the state’s targeted number of kills is not met… “Hunting is an important tool in maintaining an ecological balance with our black bear population and is necessary to reduce the potential for conflicts between bears and people,” said Bob Martin, commissioner of the state Department of Environmental Protection. “The comprehensive policy we have adopted is based on the most up-to-date science and population estimates, and continues to stress the importance of research and public education.”… Wildlife experts say that there is so much food here that bears here are having more cubs than usual. While the typical female black bear has a litter of one to three cubs, those in North Jersey tend to have three to six cubs, according to Brooke Maslo, a wildlife ecologist at Rutgers University.
Program Trains Veterans for Green Careers, Gives Back to Towns
The engine of the skid loader churned while soil was tilled. It looked like routine work taking pace in the Riverside County Park along Riverside Avenue; just some trees, shrubs and grasses being planted. Replacing trees and shrubs is nothing unusual b…
N.J. Bears Don’t Scare Away So Easily
When Joyce Miller’s 10-year-old son stepped out the front door of the family’s Wanaque home recently to walk his puppy, the family saw a black bear lumbering across the lawn. They quickly jerked their son and the dog inside, then banged garbage can lids to shoo the bear… The Millers have lived in a development at the edge of Ramapo Mountain State Forest for 15 years. The bears used to hustle away when they saw people. They’re not nearly as wary these days. “There seems to be a shift now in our coexistence,” Miller said. “I don’t feel as safe.”… One thing is certain: There are more bears, so there are more bear-human encounters. “When you have increasing human and bear populations, you’re inherently going to have more interactions,” said Brooke Maslo, a wildlife ecologist at Rutgers University. “And when they have benign interactions with people, they might start to stick around when they see a person rather than immediately run away.”… There is so much food here that bears here are having more cubs than usual. While the typical female black bear has a litter of one to three cubs, those in North Jersey, because of plentiful food, tend to have litters of three to six cubs, Maslo said.
Rutgers Dedicates New $55M Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health
The $55 million New Jersey Institute for Food, Nutrition and Health, which is intended to make the state a national model in promoting healthier lifestyles, was dedicated Tuesday at Rutgers University in New Brunswick… The 78,000-square-foot building on Rutgers Cook Campus will allow for new collaborations, research and teaching on food-related issues, officials said. It was financed by a $10 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, $10 million from an anonymous donor and $35 million from a voter-supported bond referendum for higher education building projects… “New Jersey is number three when it comes to childhood obesity,” said Peter J. Gillies, founding director of the institute. “We need to pay attention to that.”
From the Ground Up: A Bigger, Heartier Catnip Plant
A bigger, heartier catnip plant – whose enriched oil may be more potent for felines and an alternative mosquito repellent – has been developed for specialized commercial farmers by Rutgers University… The Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES), which has spent more than a decade developing the new breed, CR9, recently licensed the product to Ball Horticulture, an Illinois company that will produce the seeds for commercial farmers… “In the past catnip wasn’t grown much because the plant itself was never developed to generate commercially acceptable yields from its leaves and flowers, which produce its aromatic volatile oils, and thus wasn’t profitable,” James Simon, professor in the Department of Plant Biology and Pathology at the Rutgers School of Environment and Biological Sciences, said in a statement. Simon led the plant breeding in the development of the new catnip variety… The NJAES expects to release a line of smaller catnip plants, also with unique essential oils, for home gardeners. The new breed of catnip should be available as seed by 2017.