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Runners rejoice!

The HiTOPS Princeton Half Marathon will offer in-person and virtual race options on Sunday, November 14. There will also be special youth run options for the youngest athletes.

The live half-marathon is currently 50 percent full. Register today at https://bit.ly/3ymJ6R7.

For all in-person runners, the start gun will go off at 7 a.m. at Paul Robeson Place. The field is currently limited to 1,200 participants. The beautiful course will carry runners through the heart of historic Princeton, as well as the Princeton Battlefield, Institute for Advanced Study, past the home of Albert Einstein, Princeton University, the Princeton Boathouse on Lake Carnegie, Westminster Choir College, Mount Lucas, and Herrontown Woods. more

Image Source: https://www.facebook.com/groups/RVRoadRunners/

Raritan Valley Road Runners will host its 5K Summer Series on July 27, August 10, and August 24. 

Registration for this 37th edition of the race series opens at 5:30 p.m. on the evening of each race day. 2.5K run/walk options are also available. All race registration will be held near the boat launch in Donaldson Park in Highland Park. 

Races are cross country style, meaning that the terrain will include mostly grass and dirt following the path of the scenic Raritan River.  more

JFCS of Greater Mercer County invites you to join them for the first annual Wheels for Meals Bike Ride Fundraiser to Fight Hunger, taking place on Sunday, October 3, 2021 at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor. Route options include a 32-mile, 8 a.m. start; 10-mile, 9:30 a.m. start; and 3 mile, 10:15 a.m. start. For registration and event details, visit jfcswheels4meals.org.  more

Bicycling is Booming  -with Princeton at the Epicenter                                                                  By Donald Gilpin

There’s a bicycling boom going on, Princeton is at the center of the action, and there are good reasons for both of these facts.

The cycling industry was already thriving before COVID-19. Then lockdowns and anxiety over public transportation brought about a sharp increase in bike sales and repairs, as people of all ages, whether they’d ridden a bike in the last 20 years or not, were eager to get outdoors and exercise safely. They found old bikes in the garage to refurbish or headed to the bike stores.

The waiting time to buy a new bike can be as much as a full year now, as bike stores struggle to keep up with demand. People may also buy standard bikes and 29er mountain bikes online to avail of quick service and get extra benefits. These bikes can be beneficial for both, competitive cyclists as well as amateur riders and newcomers.

A sustained surge in interest in bicycling seems likely at this time in the history of our planet. This is when concerns about the environment and an emphasis on personal health and wellness are at the forefront. Also, people are more concerned with tracking their fitness parameters while cycling. In order to do that, they usually use fitness trackers, such as Fitbit Versa 3 (for more info, read about it here), which assist them with calorie counting, heart rate monitoring, sleep monitoring, and exercise tracking. Because of this, they know how to get the most out of bicycling. That said, whether for pure fun and fresh air, for sociability, for exercise, for transport, or for commuting and working, bicycling appears to be an activity that will continue to grow.

Princeton – formerly best known as a town of scholars and educators or a bastion of American history or perhaps as an enclave of genteel elegance or a mecca for sophisticated suburban shoppers – was recently designated the most “bike-friendly” town in the state and is well poised to ride the crest of this wave of popularity. Presented with a silver-level Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) award by the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) in December 2020, Princeton is one of only six BFCs in New Jersey and the only one in the state to attain the silver level. Since 2016 Princeton had been ranked at the bronze level along with Hoboken, Lambertville, New Brunswick, Ocean City, and West Windsor.

Blessed by its geographical location and some resourceful, foresighted leaders, Princeton has been developing its Bicycle Mobility Plan for many years. Its recently upgraded Bike Boulevards provide a network of routes that connect the schools, the public library, and the downtown area to other parts of the town; with a variety of different routes ranging from a 16-mile fitness loop around the perimeter of town to the 4.5-mile town and gown loop near the center of town. The recently published Princeton Bicycle Map is available at Kopp’s and Jay’s bike shops and online on the municipal website at princetonnj.gov.

For more ambitious riders the Bike Boulevards connect with the 22-mile Lawrence Hopewell Trail, which meanders from just west of Princeton through the environs of Lawrenceville, Pennington, and Hopewell. The 77-mile Delaware & Raritan Canal Trail goes about 15 miles north from Princeton to New Brunswick, about 13 miles south to Trenton, then from Trenton about 32 miles north along the Delaware River to Frenchtown. more

Laura Huntsman, board president of Whole Earth Center.

Three Area Markets with Distinctive Personalities

By Anne Levin | Photos by Jeffrey E. Tryon

During the first several months of the COVID-19 pandemic, there were noticeable changes in the way people shopped for food. While some opted for stores that had user-friendly websites (perhaps designed by website development agencies like Cefar) where they could shop in the peace of their minds, others, who wanted to visit physical stores, looked for smaller, independent stores that felt safer. Many began to avoid big chains, fearful of exposure to the virus.

Three such stores in the Princeton area – Whole Earth Center, McCaffrey’s Food Market, and Pennington Quality Market – have each weathered what was hopefully the worst of COVID. These are distinctly different organizations. Whole Earth and Pennington Market are single stores; McCaffrey’s in Princeton Shopping Center is one of seven owned by the McCaffrey family. What the three companies do have in common is a focus on their local communities, and a dedication to their customers and staff who, in turn, have been exceedingly loyal.

“Our staff has been incredibly supportive,” said Jen Murray, general manager of Whole Earth Center. “We did lose a bunch of staff when it first started, but we continued to employ everybody who wanted to work. It’s a lot of heavy lifting on the team that’s here. Resiliency has been the word. We serve our community.”

“With COVID, our customers were tremendously supportive of us, and expressed appreciation for staff that continued to work despite the challenges,” said Mike Rothwell, who co-owns Pennington Quality Market with his two sisters. “It’s our staff, and the personal relationships with customers, that make us unique. And we have kept that going.”

“Overnight, our associates became something we at McCaffrey’s always knew they were – essential workers,” said Jim McCaffrey IV of the company’s response to COVID. “They came to work, day in and day out, while others were sheltering in place, to serve our customers and communities. Most importantly, they did it with a smile – behind their masks, of course.” more

Webinar June 10, 2-3PM EDT

In this IT4cannabis Insights and Opportunities webinar, cannabis entrepreneurs and other industry participants will hear from medical experts who will explore the misinformation and uncover the facts surrounding medical cannabis. Join this session for these key takeaways: more

The Princeton Farmers’ Market returns to Franklin Avenue lot this Thursday, May 13 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The market will reoccur every Thursday through November 18. Shoppers can expect to find farm fresh produce, local meats, baked goods, and more. 

Masks are still required to be worn by all vendors and shoppers at the market. While waiting in line, visitors are asked to practice social distancing and to be mindful of others. Any updates on market policies can be viewed at www.princetonfarmersmarket.com.  more

Indoor flora is a great mood booster and helps clean and purify the air. Many studies have shown that houses that have indoor plants have healthy air and remain allergy-free. Comparatively, homes without any indoor plants have degraded breathable air (as have been observed by homeowners who perhaps underwent Indoor Air Quality and VOC Testing in Sunnyvale and Hayward) and are more likely to be affected by seasonal allergies.

The residents in such dwellings might, therefore, be inclined to fall sick frequently. However, such homeowners tend to opt for some countermeasures to combat the problem. For instance, they often get their air ducts cleaned (using the help of professionals at Pure Air Duct Cleaning
https://www.pureairllc.com/) in order to avoid indoor air degradation. Plus, the frequent use of air purifiers can be witnessed in such dwellings. Needless to say, all this can be avoided to some extent only if homeowners consider adopting indoor plants.

Certain indoor plants, though attractive and useful, may not be suitable for domestic pets such as dogs and cats. They might develop an allergic reaction to certain plants or may suffer from stomach-related issues if they ingest them. In addition, some plants may also have crevices or a thin bark within which fleas and ticks may hibernate and wait to latch onto the next host. Such problems should concern you as they may spread from your pet to yourself in some cases which could require you to purchase a flea spray for humans or call in an exterminator.

However, there are certain plants that you could purchase that could be pet-friendly, nontoxic, and may clear the air of your home. So you needn’t worry if your dog or cat nibbles and snacks on any of these plants:

 more

Image Source: glo.com

Upgrade your at-home yoga practice with these beautiful and convenient accessories.  

 more

Outdoor space provides a great refuge in the warmer months. A place to unwind, decompress, and forget about general stress for a little while; however, these green spaces can also become host to an unwanted mosquito habitat. Many species of mosquitoes use containers of water as egg-deposit sites, but really any hot, humid environment can lead to unwelcome infestation. The following plants actually act as natural mosquito deterrents, largely due to the smell and essential oils contained in the plants.  more

Princeton women’s lacrosse players Grace Tauckus, Taylor DeGroff, Sam Fish, Ellie Mueller, Meg Curran, and Mary Murphy explore the Grand Canyon.

Princeton University Student-Athletes Benefit from Pods During COVID

By Justin Feil | Photos Courtesy of Princeton University Athletics

Bridget Murphy expected to be a passenger when her mother picked her up from the airport in November, but mistakenly climbed into the car on the driver’s side.

“I got in thinking it was the other side of the car and I just started laughing,” recalls Murphy. “I said, ‘This is going to take some getting used to.'”

The Summit, New Jersey, resident had just returned from Canterbury, England, a town with roughly twice the population of Trenton that attracts thousands of visitors annually to its medieval culture, lively nightlife, and renowned shopping and dining. Murphy lived, studied, and trained in Canterbury with the four other freshmen on the Princeton University field hockey team while they began college remotely during the fall semester. Murphy was nervous to live with people she didn’t know well, but the group clicked instantly upon arrival in August.

“We weren’t forced to do anything together, but we loved doing everything together,” says Murphy. “We spent a lot of time together because we wanted to and because we’re such a close-knit group. This trip really bonded us as a class.”

Murphy reunited with her classmates on campus this spring semester along with most of the enrolled Princeton University students for a more traditional college setting, but over the fall they were not alone in forming their own de facto pod. Princeton University sent all students home in March of 2020, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. When the school announced that students would not return to campus during the fall 2020 semester due to continued precautions, and the Ivy League canceled all fall and winter sports, groups of Princeton student-athletes buoyed their physical and mental health by living, training, and spending time together throughout the country as well as abroad.

“From being on a huge team that’s been really close, and then not being together all of a sudden for multiple months, I know some guys were struggling at home – whether from a loneliness standpoint or academic standpoint or baseball and taking care of their work for baseball – so to be together was huge,” says Sy Snedeker, a senior baseball player who lived with four teammates in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Student-athletes from across a range of Princeton sports originally tried to organize getting larger groups together in one place. “It sounded a little too good to be true because it was,” says Taylor Beckett, one of Snedeker’s Myrtle Beach housemates. “It’s tough to get dozens to all agree on one place and all move in one direction.” more

Alzheimer’s disease shown on MRI.

New Medical Innovations You May Have Missed

By Taylor Smith

2020 will surely be remembered as a year that rocked the medical, political, social, economic, and cultural world as we know it. While schools, colleges, and traditional work environments were dramatically altered, families around the world were unable to gather to celebrate holidays or visit loved ones.

Of course, all this upheaval and change was incredibly distracting and understandably dominated news headlines. What people may have missed were the medical breakthroughs and advances that occurred beyond the COVID-19 vaccine. Medical researchers and scientific labs took no breaks in 2020. As a result, the past year saw radical improvements in the treatment of heart health, cancer, diabetes, and more.

At the 2020 Medical Innovation Summit, the Cleveland Clinic released its own list of the modern medical breakthroughs of the past year. Leading the list is a novel drug for primary-progressive multiple sclerosis (MS). The FDA-approved therapeutic monoclonal antibody is the first and only MS treatment for the primary-progressive population of patients. In addition, a new universal hepatitis C treatment is proven to be 90 percent effective for hepatitis C genotypes 1-6, which can serve a broader scope of hepatitis C patients. Thirdly, two PARP inhibitors have been found to greatly delay the progression of prostate cancer in men. Approved in May 2020, the PARP inhibitors have shown promise for treating women’s cancers, as well. more

Protesters rally in support of the legalization of marijuana in front of the White House in Washington D.C., in 2016. (Shutterstock.com)

Now legal for recreational use, it’s about to make a big impact in the state

By Donald Gilpin

A coronavirus we hadn’t even heard of fourteen months ago and a president who, at least for now, has moved on dominated the headlines and our consciousness over the past year, but the big story of the year ahead might be a very different issue that promises to provoke some of our deepest concerns and beliefs: cannabis, bringing its far-reaching impact and billion-dollar industry to New Jersey.

With more than two-thirds of New Jersey voters supporting the November 3, 2020 ballot issue to legalize recreational use of cannabis and New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on February 22 signing into law the legislation that permits and regulates marijuana use, the state has embarked on the numerous complex steps to create a cannabis industry.

Almost every faction of the state’s population is involved in one way or another, and thousands are eager to weigh in on the determination of who, when, and how the state proceeds in growing, processing, testing, marketing, regulating, selling, and educating the public.

At stake as New Jersey anticipates the effects of legalization are the future of a potentially huge economic juggernaut for growers, distributors, and the state, the development and growth of minority businesses, and nothing less than social justice itself for all. Along with the growth of minority businesses, the cannabis industry may see a steady rise in the number of cannabis franchises and firms. These may include dispensaries like Sky High with their big bear menu that can offer medical and recreational marijuana products. While the rise of such firms may be seen as business-oriented, it may also have led to the rise of employment rates, with people of numerous communities working in mutual understanding.

“This legislation will establish an industry that brings equity and economic opportunity to our communities, while establishing minimum standards for safe products and allowing law enforcement to focus their resources on real public safety matters,” said Murphy in signing the bills. “Today we’re taking a monumental step forward to reduce racial disparities in our criminal justice system, while building a promising new industry and standing on the right side of history. I’d like to thank the legislature, advocates, faith leaders, and community leaders for their dedicated work and partnership on this critical issue.”

Disparities in law enforcement over the years have seen Black New Jersey residents more than three times as likely as white residents to be charged with marijuana possession, despite similar rates of usage. The recently signed bills, however, decriminalize the use or possession of up to six ounces of marijuana. Marijuana for medical purposes has been legal in the state since 2010, but patients are not allowed to grow their own cannabis. They can, however, order online from the options of the New Jersey or philadelphia dispensary menu, as per their need.  more

Pilot the rescue dog peers out at the October sunrise at Segment 14 of the LHT. 

For the COVID-weary, the Lawrence Hopewell Trail Has Provided Relief

By Anne Levin | Photos by Sarah Emily Gilbert

 

The Great Blue Heron that frequents the Pole Farm at Segment 13 is captured before taking flight.

Four strategically placed counters keep track of foot and bicycle traffic along the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT). In recent months, they have recorded a stunning statistic: a 205 percent jump in usage during the third quarter of 2020, compared to the same quarter a year before.

Clearly, the 22 miles that wind through scenic stretches of Lawrence and Hopewell townships have become a refuge from the COVID-19 pandemic. There are more joggers, walkers, cyclists, families, photographers, birdwatchers, wildlife observers, and naturalists making use of the trail than any other time in its 18-year history.

“We get emails from people saying the trail makes such a difference in their lives right now,” said Eleanor V. Horne, co-president of the nonprofit that oversees the LHT. “They tell us that getting on the trail makes them feel normal in this crazy time. They need to have that experience in nature, to have that feeling that all’s right with the world.

Evan Kaplowitz discovered the LHT after moving to the area from Philadelphia three years ago. His property, he was happy to learn, is right next to a section of the trail. “I work from home in corporate finance. I’m crunching numbers all day,” he said. “So sneaking away for an hour in the afternoon, and seeing people out there, has been really nice. It’s a way to get outside and reconnect with neighbors without having to worry about proximity. I can keep my distance. And it’s beautiful. I jog, and I have also taken my bike on the trail. Whatever your needs that day, there’s an area that calls to you.” more

It’s January, the time of year when many people find themselves a bit house cooped, which can lead to the increased spread of flu and COVID-19. Turns out, the symptoms for both viruses look and feel very similar. more

The winter series returns to Franklin Avenue in Princeton 

The Princeton Farmers Market has announced that its Winter Market Series returns on Thursday, December 3. The market will remain outdoors for the foreseeable future, providing ample space for social distancing. Shoppers are required to wear masks at all times, and practice adequate social distancing while waiting in lines and perusing the vendors.  more

By Taylor Smith

Vaccines have played a central role in the fight against contagious diseases among human populations for the past 200 years. For instance, global vaccination initiatives have helped to eradicate smallpox and polio in all but the most remote populations. Even yearly influenza vaccines have greatly reduced the number of mortalities each year from the common flu, and childhood vaccines have made a major impact in lowering childhood and adult morbidity resulting from infectious diseases.

However, there are certain diseases that have eluded scientists and researchers. Specifically, malaria and HIV/AIDS have posed continual challenges as these diseases ravage parts of the world where vaccines are needed most. Distribution is actually a significant roadblock in the effectiveness of vaccine development and use. Many of the globe’s poorest regions lack the infrastructure to inoculate their populations. For vaccine development and distribution, the companies and government organizations may need medical equipment and devices, for instance, portable vaccine freezer for transportation and medical-grade cold storage facilities. The lack of these resources can highly affect the vaccine distribution system in small countries. In addition, ethical and religious reasons pose potential deterrents, giving rise to the resurfacing of historic diseases that the majority of the world is protected from.

Finally, cost has been known to undermine efforts in vaccine development. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), “the cost of developing a vaccine – from research and discovery to product registration – is estimated to be between $200 million and $500 million per vaccine. This figure includes vaccines that are abandoned during the development process.” (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov).  more

The Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey invites runners and walkers to the upcoming Virtual 5K and Fun 1 Mile Run/Walk on November 7.

Did you know that New Jersey is one of the wealthiest states in the nation, yet hunger is a daily occurrence for many members of the community? Hunger and food scarcity may strike one of your child’s classmates, a coworker, an elderly neighbor, and people in your own family. The realities of COVID-19 have resulted in lost jobs, lost wages, and often, an inability to provide for oneself. All proceeds of the Soles for Harvest race will benefit programs dedicated to fighting hunger in New Jersey. more

Join the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta (HOSR) virtually on October 18-24, 2020. Compete on your favorite indoor rowing machine or body of water by self-submitting times and distances traveled during October 18-23. Live racing will be held on October 24. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the famed Philadelphia race that typically draw rowers from around the world. Registration is now open on Regatta Central (https://www.regattacentral.com/regatta/?job_id=6266). more

How Equine Assisted Therapy Changes Lives at a New Jersey Farm

By Anne Levin | Photos courtesy of Equineassistedtherapyofnj.org

Therapist Jeanne Mahoney sees it happen, again and again. A person in the depths of depression, a child silenced by autism, or a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) emerges stronger, more confident, and more at peace after spending time in the company of horses.

Informally called “horse therapy” and formally known as equine assisted psychotherapy, use of the majestic animals for emotional and physical healing is a recognized branch of mental health. Mahoney’s Salem County farm is the headquarters for Equine Assisted Therapy of NJ, a nonprofit corporation that practices this route toward positive change.

It is one of more than 800 centers across the globe dedicated to the concept. According to the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International (PATH), there are nearly 4,800 certified instructors and equine specialists like Mahoney, helping almost 69,000 children and adults.

Horses are iconic. They stand for power and freedom. They are effective in therapy, experts say, because they give immediate feedback to the handler or rider’s actions. They react strongly to body language. Their quiet sensitivity helps people by mirroring their emotions; they almost have a sixth sense. more

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