Aquatic ecologist Mike Haberland wades into Newton Lake, grabs a stalk of spatterdock, and struggles to pull it out of the water… “Holy cow,” he says, pointing to the plant’s knobby chunk of root. “I didn’t think it would be so difficult.”… These bumper crops are merely a symptom of the nutrient-rich runoff and sediment plaguing similar man-made lakes in Moorestown, Oaklyn, and elsewhere in South Jersey, says Haberland, a county agent with the Rutgers Cooperative Extension… Haberland, who studies spatterdocks, acknowledges being rather impressed by the tough, tenacious plants.
At Specca Farms in Burlington County, Bill Hlubik stooped down in a large furrowed field, picked a plump red strawberry and took a bite. “That’s the best berry I’ve had in my life, and I’m not just saying that,” he said enthusiastically. Hlubik, a professor and agricultural agent for Rutgers Cooperative Extension, ought to know… Local farmers grow berries bred for conditions in California, where plants produce fruit that can withstand shipping across the country. But they aren’t well-suited for Northeast winters and spring temperature fluctuations. What’s more, their taste isn’t what it could be… So a team of researchers including a Rutgers food scientist, plant biologist, and agricultural agents began working to develop a strawberry that would thrive in New Jersey and strike a better balance between sweetness and acidity.
It was a vacation nightmare. A Wilmington family of four staying in a Virgin Islands condo, with idyllic views of Cruz Bay on St. John, suddenly became seriously ill. So ill that they were airlifted home and hospitalized, the father and two teenage boys in critical condition… The likely scenario that has emerged is that they were poisoned after methyl bromide was sprayed in the condo underneath the one where the family was staying. The pesticide is banned in many countries and is not authorized for use in residences in the U.S… “In many developing counties where there is a protracted man vs. insect battle, lots of misapplications take place,” said Mark Robson, a professor in Rutgers University’s School of Environmental and Plant Sciences. He also edits the Journal of Human and Ecological Risk Assessment. “One should be cautious, avoid the applications when possible, and assume they will occur in developing countries.”… Robson said he has been sprayed as he sat by the pool at a resort in Africa, in airplanes, and even one time in a sauna in Poland. “Many places have unqualified people making these applications, typically in long white coats and wearing gloves and goggles, while you sit there by the pool in only a bathing suit.”
As the stench of backed-up sewage permeated the restaurant, a West Philadelphia McDonald’s continued selling Big Macs, Quarter Pounders, and fries over four days last fall, installing porta-potties in the parking lot but never notifying the city, which would have ordered a closure… A complaint led the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to dispatch an inspector to the franchise at 52d Street and Columbia Avenue on Sept. 15. She found ruptured plumbing in both restrooms and “smelled sewage throughout the facility.”… “I don’t understand why the management didn’t immediately shut down the restaurant,” said Don Schaffner, a professor of microbiology at Rutgers University who also sits on McDonald’s Food Safety Advisory Council. “Not only is it disgusting, it’s a real risk. You can’t operate with nonfunctioning sewage lines.”
If you need to take college courses in the summer, what better place to do it than the New Jersey shore?… Rutgers University for the first time will offer 17 Jersey Shore-based courses, beginning this summmer, the university announced Monday. The decision followed a university poll of more than 4,500 students; 1,200 or nearly 27 percent said they’d be interested in earning credit for seaside learning… Other courses include: “The American City,” “Popular Culture: The Jersey Shore” and “The American Detective in Film and Fiction” (Department of American Studies), “Development of Mass Media” (Journalism and Media Studies), “Introduction to Management” (Management and Global Business), “Introduction to Oceanography” (Marine and Coastal Sciences), “Women and Public Policy” (Political Science) and “Digital Photo Image I” (Visual Arts).
When McDonald’s debuted the slogan “You Deserve a Break Today” in 1971, it was tacked onto a commercial that barely mentioned food. As a team of singing workers cavorted with mops and brooms, they extolled a quality you don’t ordinarily see mentioned in an ad for a fast-food chain: “At McDonald’s, it’s clean!”… Levels of cleanliness – a key part of food safety – vary widely at the individual franchise level, according to city restaurant inspection reports… “In terms of fast food, there’s not much they can do to screw it up,” said Don Schaffner, a professor of microbiology at Rutgers University and president of the International Association for Food Protection. The complex processes that can trip up exotic places that make everything from scratch, for example, are missing from these eateries, which is part of how they produce food fast”Those restaurants do a pretty good job of engineering out the risk factors,” said Schaffner, who also sits on McDonald’s Food Safety Advisory Council. “I’d be more leery going to a fancy white-tablecloth place than a fast-food restaurant.”
Thursday’s heavy snowfall did not deter Doug Maday, the South Jersey used-car dealer who has been plunging into the ocean at Seaside Heights every day since Labor Day, 187 days ago… With the air a brisk 23 degrees, and the water a bone-chilling 32.5, Maday took the latest plunge of his yearlong quest shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday… While he finds the icy water bracing, “it got a lot colder last month than I thought it would be,” he said… His perception was confirmed by David Robinson, the state climatologist at Rutgers University. Last month was the third-coldest February in New Jersey since record-keeping began in 1895, according to Robinson, with an average air temperature across the state of 21.9 degrees.