By Carol J. Kelly

@cjkel

Julie Culley, a New Jersey track star who represented the United States at the 2012 Olympics, was looking forward to running today’s New York Marathon.

Last year, the 5,000-meter specialist was also ready for her first ever marathon, but accepted the decision by officials to cancel the race after Hurricane Sandy walloped the region. Though Culley was disappointed, she understood it was the right move under the circumstances.

Culley’s training was right on schedule to compete in the 2013 New York Marathon, but she’s not among today’s 47,000 runners because an injury forced her to pull out at the last minute.

“It was a difficult decision,” said Cully, “one that my coach, Matt Centrowitz, ultimately had to make for both of us. This is the type of decision I have to trust my coach to make. As an athlete, I always want to push beyond my limits, to be tough and muscle my way through any race no matter the distance.  I needed my coach to talk some sense into me. My injuries are manageable, but aren’t manageable for a race as long, as challenging and as grueling as the marathon.”

Describing her injury as a low-grade strain in her lower back, Culley said “some mechanical issues” were also affecting her gait. A few days ago, her agent, Chris Layne, called the New York Road Runners, the marathon’s organizer, while Culley called her sponsor ASICS with the bad news.

“I’m a track athlete, not yet a marathoner,” Culley noted. “The marathon is a distance (26.2 miles) I wanted to experiment with, but ultimately I’m a shorter-distance track athlete. All in all, it’s been a very difficult year for running. Hurricane Sandy was the kick-off to a bumpy road in 2013.”

Culley had been prepared for tightened security at the New York Marathon in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombings.

“Everyone was shaken – from the bystanders, to the runners, to the race directors, to security and police officers alike,” Culley said. “But in no way has it reduced the amount of competitors or participants.  This is a strong community of runners, and their spirit can’t be broken by a small group of terrorists.

“Ultimately (extra security) is a very good thing.  You don’t walk into an NFL game without going through security, why shouldn’t you expect the same of major road races?”

Peter Macari, a New York advertising executive who ran the Boston Marathon, was upset that terrorists spoiled a beautiful race. Macari, who had finished fairly early (3:14), started getting text messages and calls about the bombing while dining and celebrating with friends and family.

“I was angered by the events at the Boston Marathon this year,” Macari said. “A marathon is a positive, inspiring, motivational event, and it turned negative so quickly. This event is already filled with so many emotions for us runners.  Now for many runners there is added fear, anxiety, stress from added security measures tacked on – all while trying to focus on running the race.”

Macari did not sign up for the New York Marathon, which he has run before, but plans to participate in the Philadelphia Marathon later this month.

“I try not to think about the negative and focus on my running,” Macari added. “That’s the best I can do. I try not to let fear slip into my mind. Running is my sport – my stress reliever – and a passion of mine. If I begin to worry about all the ‘what-ifs,’ I lose the love for running.”

But Culley, a Clinton Township resident and Rutgers University graduate, said she actually feels more secure knowing that everyone’s guard is up.

“Boston was an incredible tragedy,” Culley added. “If there is one good thing that came of it, it is increased awareness and security for all those sharing the same passion of those who ran Boston.”

Culley’s goal has not changed since the hurricane – now the injury.

“New York was always going to be my first marathon,” she said. “I wanted to hold off until I could honor that promise to myself.”

***

James Holmes hosted a community basketball tournament at Maple Avenue Park in South Bound Brook on July 20. Holmes, a member of the Municipal Alliance and a candidate for Borough Council in November, organized the event as a community outreach project. Participants are pictured here. / Photo Courtesy James Holmes

James Holmes hosted a community basketball tournament at Maple Avenue Park in South Bound Brook on July 20. Holmes, a member of the Municipal Alliance and a candidate for Borough Council in November, organized the event as a community outreach project. Participants are pictured here. / Photo Courtesy James Holmes

By Carol J. Kelly

@cjkel

James Holmes, a member of the South Bound Brook Municipal Alliance, saw three-on-three basketball as a means of bringing together three groups — community, church and young people.

The basketball tournament he hosted at Maple Avenue Park in South Bound Brook on July 20 was a rousing success. More than 50 people attended, including South Bound Brook Mayor Tom Ormosi. Music and giveaways added to the fun, and prizes were raffled off. The town’s fire department even provided a fire truck to cool everyone down.

Holmes, 30, who came up with the idea for the tournament at a meeting of the Municipal Alliance, expects to host many such events.

“I’m looking to get more involved with the youth and the community, church and schools of South Bound Brook,” said Holmes, an elder at the World Vision Ministries in Bridgewater. “I wanted to bring people together to have a good time. It’s the first one in a long time, but it won’t be the last.”

Among the participants in the tournament was Bound Brook High School junior Michael Mosley.

“It was very good,” Mosley said. “It’s all about kids not getting in trouble, and kids having fun. It was the first time I ever saw people come together for South Bound Brook.”

The tournament champions — Keith Hunter, Julian Smoot and Maino Beasely — received prizes, but there were giveaways for other participants. Mosley said he scored a pair of headphones.

Holmes was appointed by the mayor to the combined South Bound Brook/Bound Brook Municipal Alliance, where he has contributed his time fighting drug, alcohol and tobacco abuse in his community.

Holmes, who with his wife, Kimberley, has run the ministry for almost four years, also started a nonprofit organization called The Movement.

During a community basketball tournament on July 20, the South Bound Brook Fire Department showed up with the company's truck and took the opportunity to refresh participants. / Photo Courtesy James Holmes

The South Bound Brook Fire Department showed up at the tournament with the company’s truck, refreshing participants on a hot July day. / Photo Courtesy James Holmes

“We do outreach with hip-hop music, live DJs and different local bands,” Holmes said. “It’s really an outreach to the community — to the young adults. We use hip-hop music to draw them in and get them to do something positive. We hope to prevent drug and alcohol use as well as gang violence.”

Once young people become part of The Movement, Holmes said, he and his wife identify their strengths and empower them to develop interests and job skills.

“For example, we have a concession stand at the church, where we sell candy and little snacks,” Holmes continued. “The kids interested in business and entrepreneurship help out at the concession stand and learn to do things like take inventory.”

Meetings are conducted at the church, housed in a conference room of the Bridgewater Days Inn on Route 22.

“Sometimes we set up a club scene with soft lights and music going on,” Holmes explained. “But everything is Christ-centered.”

Jarod Bright is one of the young people Holmes mentored in The Movement. Bright showed an interest in writing rap lyrics. He now makes a living penning gospel hip-hop.

“When I went to Bible school, I did an assessment of the town,” Holmes noted. “I saw all three groups working by themselves: community, school and church. My endeavor is to bridge all three gaps so they all work together as one.

“Having a tournament was my way of giving back to the community,” Holmes added. “I’m bridging that gap by showing the church wants to be involved with the community.”

* * *

caroljoykelly@gmail.com

BMX racer Cassidy Hall competed in the Empire State Nationals in Kingston, N.Y., Friday through Sunday. / Photo courtesy of John Hall

BMX racer Cassidy Hall competed in the Empire State Nationals in Kingston, N.Y., Friday through Sunday. / Photo courtesy of John Hall

By Carol J. Kelly

@cjkel

PISCATAWAY — While many people have never heard of BMX racing, five-year-old Cassidy Hall is so skilled at the bicycle sport that she’s ranked fourth in the country in her age group.

And her ranking is rising.

Cassidy, who lives here with her family in Piscataway, notched a standout performance at the Empire State Nationals in Kingston, N.Y., last weekend. Cassidy won five of nine races she entered and placed second in four. This could propel her national ranking in “Girls / Age 5 & under” as high as No. 2 when the listings officially are updated.

BMX, or Bicycle Motocross, took off in the late 1970s, and became an Olympic event in 2008. Cassidy got the bug when she was only 3 years old after watching her older brother, Johnny, practice on their backyard dirt track.

“I saw him riding his bike and it looked like fun,” said Cassidy, who also is the state champion in her age group. “I wanted to try it, and I love to ride fast.”

John Hall recounted how BMX racing became a family affair.

Cassidy Hall with her brother, Johnny, who also is a BMX racer. / CAROL KELLY/STAFF PHOTO

Cassidy Hall with her brother, Johnny, who also is a BMX racer. / CAROL KELLY/STAFF PHOTO

“My son was on his bike every day; after trying football and hockey, he really loved bike racing,” Hall said. “We bought Johnny a new racing bike for Christmas when he turned 8. We had built a practice track for him and Cassidy started racing on it and beating kids in the neighborhood her age and older.

“When Cassidy was 3, she was riding a department store bike — she actually started on a strider, which has no pedals. On her fourth birthday, we gave her a customized bike, along with a helmet and other protective gear.”

Cassidy soon began competing against other girls her age in local events — racing, jumping and maneuvering her custom bike around a dirt track consisting of jumps, rhythm sections and tall asphalt turns.

“She’s won more than 25 races locally and nationally, with competition ranging from Florida to California,” Hall continued. “Initially it was her brother who gave her the drive — she idolizes her big brother. Now she’s very competitive, and that motivates her. She wants to get better.”

“I love to go fast and beat other girls,” Cassidy chimed in, “and I love to win the trophy.”

Cassidy sits atop all age-group rivals in the Redline Cup Qualifiers, a regional race. In October, she plans to compete in the Redline Cup Finals (East) in North Carolina.

Five-year-old BMX racer Cassidy Hall holding her trophy after finishing first in her age group at the East Coast BMX Nationals in Maryland in June. / Photo courtesy of John Hall

Five-year-old BMX racer Cassidy Hall holding her trophy after finishing first in her age group at the East Coast BMX Nationals in Maryland in June. / Photo courtesy of John Hall

Competing in big events can be grueling, especially for young children. Take the Empire State Nationals this past weekend, for example. To prepare, Cassidy practiced sprints — the initial burst of speed at the start of a race — for almost two hours on the Monday before the event, then went with her dad to Hunterdon County BMX Track for a three-hour practice session the next day. On the next two days she spent six hours competing in local races to warm up for the big event.

On Friday the family, including mom, Christine, and middle sister, Sydney, drove to Kingston, N.Y., where Cassidy competed in three events a day. Johnny competed in BMX races and also on a larger bike called a cruiser.

“It works as a transfer system,” said Hall about the BMX races. “You have to qualify to advance to the next round. Sometimes you have a moto (qualifying race) that starts off with 50 kids, and only eight of them make it to the main event.”

The sport can get expensive, so sponsors help. Almost all BMX racers are on a team, Hall said. “Both of my kids are sponsored by a team,” he noted, adding that teams consist of from five to about 40 riders who wear the same uniform.

The two top sponsors for Cassidy and Johnny’s team are Hyper, a manufacturer of bike frames, and Body Armor, a sports drink — hence the team name, Hyper BodyArmor.

“There are eight or nine other sponsors that give the teams a discount,” Hall said. “In exchange, we run their logos on our shirts and our bikes, and they get the exposure.”

The sport’s governing body, Arizona-based USA BMX, was formed when two competing groups joined forces in 2011. USA BMX oversees more than 375 sanctioned tracks around the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico, and serves as the sole sanctioning body for its 70,000 members. The organization coordinates national, regional, state and local scheduling for all tracks, and also manages the 2016 U.S. Olympic BMX Trials, in conjunction with the United States Olympic Committee and USA Cycling.

Cassidy and Johnny train with a professional BMX racer, Danny Smith, who has full jumps and a starting gate in his Chatham backyard.

“He’s been practicing gate-starts with them,” Christine Hall said. “Cassidy can’t do some of the strength-training exercises that her brother does because she’s too small.”

Like all parents, John Hall wants to support his children and help them grow as athletes and as people.

“I’ve always been around bikes my entire life but I just didn’t race competitively,” Hall said. “I’m happy to see my kids develop socially and athletically, and I’m proud of their achievements.”

* * *

caroljoykelly@gmail.com

Jocelyn Elise Crowley is Professor of Public Policy at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. / Photo courtesy of Jocelyn Elise Crowley

Jocelyn Elise Crowley is Professor of Public Policy at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. / Photo courtesy of Jocelyn Elise Crowley

By Carol J. Kelly

@cjkel

A pivotal event in a young girl’s life can sometimes set the course of her career.

Jocelyn Elise Crowley’s parents split when she was 7 years old. Watching her stay-at-home mom struggle to adjust to changing circumstances triggered a lifelong interest in parenting challenges and public policy, women’s rights, family law, as well as workplace flexibility.

Crowley is Professor of Public Policy at the Edward J. Bloustein School Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University, a member of the graduate faculty in the Department of Political Science, and an affiliated faculty member of the Department of Women’s and Gender Studies. She has done extensive research on the lives of women, some of whom remind her of her mother.

“After my parents’ divorce, my mother had to go back to work,” Crowley said. “The first couple of jobs, secretarial work and her job at Sears, were temp jobs without benefits or sick days. When my sister and I got sick, my mother would lose a day’s pay if she stayed home with us.

“All of these experiences in my childhood really motivated me to think about these issues, and I ultimately got my Ph.D. in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).”

In the late 1970s, child support programs and policies were not strong, Crowley added, which made life very difficult after her father left.

“My grandparents stepped up and helped my mother get relief with childcare,” she noted.

Born in Englewood, Crowley and her family lived in Franklin Township for six years before moving to Warren Township. She graduated from Watchung Hills Regional High School as class valedictorian in 1988.

Crowley feels fortunate that her mom was able to keep their house so she could remain in the same school district after the divorce. Her mother eventually got a master’s degree and an administrative job with the state.

In her latest book, “Mothers Unite! Organizing for Workplace Flexibility and the Transformation of Family Life,” published by Cornell University Press, Crowley advocates changing the relationship between home and the workplace to give all mothers greater flexibility. A global commitment to workplace flexibility would benefit companies as well as mothers who stay home, mothers who work part time, and those who work full time, the professor argues.

Crowley analyzes five diverse national mothers’ organizations: Mothers & More, which supports mothers moving in and out of the paid work force; Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS), which promotes Christian values; Mocha Moms, which aims to assist mothers of color; MomsRising, which focuses on online political advocacy; and the National Association of Mothers’ Centers (NAMC), which highlights community-based networking.

She points to opportunities for these groups to come together, suggesting actions that would unite and mobilize mothers of all stripes in the battle for greater workplace flexibility.

“In interviews with mothers working for pay, and those who stay at home and will most likely return to paid work,” Crowley said, “I found there was so much commonality between and among them in what they want as their ideal job.”

Eschewing the “mommy wars,” Crowley said differences blown up by the media were not supported by her research.

“Across the board, they all told me that having some kind of job flexibility would be important to their happiness,” she continued.

They all talked about these important factors: First, the ability to take emergency time off, Crowley said. As well, they want flexible work arrangements, including the freedom to telecommute, adjust work hours and compress work schedules.

“They all shared this commonality of wanting to be in the work force and also wanting to be the best parent they can be,” Crowley added. “More things bring moms together than divide them.”

Employers also benefit, Crowley noted.

“Research shows that workers with these options tend to be more productive, healthier mentally and physically, and happier,” she added. “If mothers are not afforded these opportunities, they have to make some difficult choices.”

Among the programs and policy measures supported by mothers in the five groups — educating businesses on the “win-win” windfall of workplace flexibility, and drumming up support for governments to increase tax incentives for businesses that prioritize flexible work schedules.

“Though the five groups I studied have mostly white, middle-class women, workplace flexibility is just as important to low-income and working-class women of all backgrounds,” Crowley said. “Hourly workers often can’t plan for childcare because schedules aren’t posted in time, and there’s usually no advance notice regarding overtime.”

* * *

 

Charles A. Jones Jr., who lost his wife of 68 years on the 4th of July, recalls family stories at his home in Plainfield, N.J. / Photo by Carol J. Kelly

Charles A. Jones Jr., who lost his wife of 68 years on the 4th of July, recalls family stories at his home in Plainfield, N.J. / Photo by Carol J. Kelly

By Carol J. Kelly

@cjkel

PLAINFIELD — Four days after family members and friends gathered to celebrate the 68th wedding anniversary of Lorraine Laneuville Jones and Charles A. Jones Jr., death parted the couple.

Dr. Lorraine Jones, who got married on June 30, 1945, and practiced medicine for more than 60 years, died of natural causes on the Fourth of July at the age of 92.

She opened her home office on West Fourth Street in the early 1960s, founded the Plainfield Health Clinic and fully committed herself to the community. She was often asked why she stayed in the neighborhood.

“I want to be here in the West End with the people, to practice with the people who need it the most,” was her usual response.

Charles A. Jones Jr. and Dr. Lorraine Laneuville Jones in 1995 at their 50th wedding anniversary party in Plainfield, N.J. / Photo courtesy of Jones family

Charles A. Jones Jr. and Dr. Lorraine Laneuville Jones in 1995 at their 50th wedding anniversary party in Plainfield, N.J.

She later became the first black female pediatrician affiliated with Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center in Plainfield, and the first to be a trustee on its Board of Governors. The hospital closed in 2008.

“It speaks to the love and fight in her to make it to that day,” said granddaughter Ava Joseph, speaking of the anniversary. “She even gave the family a bit of a buffer, a few extra days before she passed.”

The couple met as college students in Nashville, Tenn. She attended Meharry Medical College, and he was studying mortuary science at Gupton-Jones College.

“It was just a normal meeting at Stuart’s Restaurant,” said Charles Jones, also 92. “We were in a group. There were a lot of medical students at the house where I stayed, and every night I’d be their guinea pig — they’d listen to my heart, look down my throat.

“After two weeks of knowing her, I told her I wanted to marry her. She wanted to finish her internship and residency before making any plans.”

He didn’t need to wait too long because she always was on the fast track.

A 1950 newspaper article announcing Lorraine Laneuville Jones's medical practice at a hospital in Farmville, Va. / Photo Courtesy of the Jones family

A 1950 newspaper article announcing Lorraine Laneuville Jones’s medical practice at a hospital in Farmville, Va.

Born on Dec. 12, 1920, Lorraine Laneuville graduated high school at 14, got her undergraduate degree three years later at Xavier University (La.), where she started a Delta Sigma Theta chapter, and earned her medical degree from Meharry in three years. She was a practicing physician at 24.

After she completed her residency in Scranton, Pa., her future husband popped the question and they married the following year.

“When we were first married, we lived in Atlantic City for a couple of years,” Jones said. “Then my wife took over my uncle’s practice in Farmville, Va.”

Jones established his own funeral home in Farmville.

The couple’s first child, Charles A. Jones III, was born in 1949; daughter Gueringer Ann arrived in 1952 and another son, Michael Jones, was born in 1960.

The move north

The 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision Brown v. Board of Education changed the course of the family’s life.

Virginia’s Prince Edward County closed its schools rather than integrate, forcing the couple to send their two older children to live with an aunt about 100 miles away to attend school.

The situation was rough on both the children and their parents.

“We decided to come to Plainfield (in 1961) to get out of the segregated South,” Jones said. “We had a lot of connections in medicine, and there were many black professionals here. Plainfield used to be called the Queen City — there were factories and several businesses. It was easy for my wife to establish herself in her practice.”

Jones opened his own business, a luncheonette, on Prescott Place and Fourth Street.

In the summer of 1967, the Newark riots triggered riots in Plainfield, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage. “White flight” ensued, and many major businesses and factories moved out of town.

Jones closed his luncheonette, which was struggling like other small businesses, and went to work for Prudential, where he stayed for 13 years.

He retired to work for himself again. This time, he started an insurance company, Insurance Unlimited, which he sold only five years ago.

The secret to a long, happy marriage, Jones said, is picking someone who has your back.

“Having a real partner, and knowing you have each other’s back and each other’s love,” is important, he added.

“My marriage means a lot to me because if it wasn’t for my wife, I wouldn’t have been as successful in business as I was. She was the backbone of the family, really. She always told me there’s nothing you can’t do. She would always build me up when I got discouraged.”

The couple continued to be Plainfield community stalwarts, even after they both retired. Over the years, she received many awards. In 1995, the American Medical Association honored her for practicing medicine for 50 years. Xavier University also lauded her for starting its Delta Sigma Theta chapter.

But her richest legacy is her strong family — her three children, six grandchildren and one great-grandson. Among them is a school principal, an engineer and a doctor. Her nephew, Eric Laneuville, is a well-known actor, director and martial artist.

Of course, she also is survived by her husband and partner of 68 years.

“We always did things together,” Jones said. “We did a lot of traveling together. We always thought things out together. We enjoyed family life — we always enjoyed the family.”

SERVICES: Viewing today at Rose of Sharon Community Church, 825 W. Seventh St., Plainfield, from 6 to 9 p.m. Mass at 10 a.m. Wednesday at St. Bernard Church, 1235 George St. in Plainfield. Repast will follow at Rose of Sharon Church immediately after funeral.

By Carol J. Kelly

@cjkel

Khalil Malamug considers himself a craftsman, an artist whose canvas is a head of hair.

Malamug, 28, dreamed of owning a barbershop ever since he picked up his first pair of clippers as a teenager. He was drawn to the ambiance and the easy conversations between men and their barbers while visiting local barbershops as a child with his dad.

Last month, Malamug opened the sleek and stylish Razorsharp Barbershop & Shave Parlor – his own art studio for hair – on Middlesex Avenue in the heart of Metuchen. …

CONTINUE READING IN PAID ARCHIVE.

Paula Adhikari, a 2012 graduate of Hunterdon Central High School, is the youngest of six elite NASA interns. Photo courtesy of P. Adhikari

Paula Adhikari, a 2012 graduate of Hunterdon Central High School, is the youngest of six elite NASA interns. Photo courtesy of P. Adhikari

By Carol J. Kelly

@cjkel

Not every summer intern gets to work on a project slated for orbit.

Paula Adhikari, a 2012 graduate of Hunterdon Central High School, is the youngest of six elite interns selected for a 10-week stint at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Adhikari is one of two students assigned to the Cold Atom Laboratory (CAL) project.

A resident of Readington, Adhikari declared her dream to become an astronaut way back in eighth grade. She just completed her freshman year as an Aerospace Engineering major at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

“The main function of me being here is to learn,” Adhikari said. “I work as a project systems engineering intern for the Cold Atomic Laboratory. Part of my job is managing the requirements (baselines) of the mission. I was surprised by all of the steps needed to put something in space. There are years of planning, reviews, tests, checks, double checks, and so on.”

Adhikari explained that requirement documents are the “nuts and bolts” of any mission or project. Keeping meticulous records is crucial, she added.

“Requirements, once identified, are then verified and validated by the team,” Adhikari continued. “An example would be ‘CAL shall launch from (TBD location),’ that would be a requirement that states the specific location from which the project will launch, which is yet to be determined for our project.”

Adhikari didn’t actually apply for the internship.

“I sent out my resume to a few contacts, some in NASA, and eventually it got passed down to someone who saw something in it,” Adhikari said. “That person passed it on to some researchers, who gave me an interview — and here I am.”

The Cold Atom Laboratory is a new multiuser facility being developed for the International Space Station (ISS) at the Jet Propulsion Lab. The facility will study ultra-cold quantum gases in the microgravity environment of space, leading to temperatures as low as 10 picokelvin.

CAL will conduct groundbreaking atomic physics experiments on the space station. The facility is in the design-development phase, with an anticipated delivery date of December 2015. The instrument is slated to launch in April 2016. The facility, installed inside the space station, will then be remotely operated by a team of scientists at the Jet Propulsion Lab for at least a year.

The purpose of the CAL project is to study microgravity-cooling processes of ultra-cold quantum gases.

“I am most impressed by the actual aspect of sending something you’re working on into space,” Adhikari noted. “It’s amazing that something you took part in is going to be up there in orbit someday if everything goes as planned.”

As an eighth grader at Readington Middle School, Adhikari was the youngest presenter at a professional conference after an abstract she submitted to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics was accepted.

Now six years later, Adhikari is closer to her dream of becoming an astronaut. One big step — making the transition from high school to college — went smoothly.

“Freshman year was great,” Adhikari said. “I made a ton of friends and learned a lot. I feel that the school (USC) is the perfect fit for me regarding social and academic atmosphere. Leaving home, I feel, would have been difficult no matter how far I went. But moving across the country was a big challenge. I quickly adjusted, however, and the sunshine definitely helped.”

* * *

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