Getting Away: Train to the Islands

New in Genetics at Rutgers

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This article by Barbara Fox & Kathleen McGinn Spring was prepared for the August 6, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.

Hire With Care

Pay as much attention to hiring as you do to buying

equipment, says Thomas D. Hollmann, a consultant on organizational

effectiveness, management training and development.

"The average cost of a professional employee including benefits

is often around $100,000 a year, and you would like the person to

stay with the company for 10 years, so you are talking about a million

dollar investment. You need to spend time thinking about what the

real job it is you want to fill — what the new person will

do over the next 12 to 18 months."

The son of a German professor at Princeton, Hollman went to Rutgers,

Class of 1966, and has a PhD from the University of Minnesota. He

was a senior industrial psychologist at General Electric and started

his own practice in 1985. He moved his office in Princeton from 353

Nassau Street to 30 Harrison Street last month. (Mainsail Associates

Inc., 609-430-1300;

If as an employer you are worried about getting too many resumes,

write your ad or job postings so that you get only a few resumes,

the right ones. "Most people stress the positive. Instead, describe

the job in very challenging terms with some of the difficulties and

problems that the new incumbent would have to face. That helps unqualified

people screen themselves out," he says.

What most interviewers look at is a job screen, the ability to do

the job. Hollman also advocates using a quality screen. "As you

get a person’s history, you are sensitive to these areas."

Results orientation : willingness to make sacrifices to

get a job done, to conform to the culture of the workplace, to report

to a client effectively.

Analytical ability : both quantitative and qualitative,

which can include planning, intuition, street smarts, and drawing

accurate conclusions from incomplete information.


Innovation: coming up with not just new ideas but usable

ideas, and having the ability to sell that idea to other people.

Interpersonal skills.

"All selection and promotion decisions should enhance the

organization," says Hollman. "Maintaining the status quo should

be looked at as a step backwards."

— Barbara Fox

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Getting Away: Train to the Islands

So, you’re dying for a summer break, have no plans yet,

don’t want to spend a fortune, and would really rather give the whole

airport thing a rest?

Consider taking the train to the islands.

"It’s been 30 years since cruise ships docked in Manhattan year

`round," says Colleen Robinson, owner of West Windsor-based

cruise booking franchise CruiseOne (

In the past, it was possible to catch a train in Princeton Junction

between June and September, take a cab to 55th Street, board a cruise

ship, and take off for Bermuda. The choices have expanded, and continue

to do so, says Robinson. A whole raft of new ships, among them the

biggest and fastest, and also the smallest and most exclusive, are

making New York City their home port.

Thanks to new, faster ships, it is now possible to sail out of New

York Harbor in the evening and be in warm waters the next morning.

Reaching the Bahamas, let alone making it deep into the Caribbean,

used to be impractical from northern ports because travel time was

so long that there would be scant time left for snorkeling. Thanks

to expanded horsepower driving the superliners, New York to Caribbean

cruises are now practical — and seeing demand, cruise ship operators

are responding with more and more offerings.

In a conversation during the last week in July, Robinson says, "As

of today, Norwegian Dawn, a brand new ship, has extended to November

2004." The ship first berthed in the Hudson in May, offering cruises

to Florida and the Bahamas. Extending its range, it is now booking

10 and 11-day trips to what Robinson terms "the deep Caribbean"

in January and February.

The Carnival Legend, a new superliner with no fewer than four swimming

pools, is heading south from Manhattan this summer too, and the luxe Radisson

Seven Seas Navigator is adding a twist to the New York/Bermuda

vacation by extending the cruise to include a stop in Virginia.

The newcomer that excites Robinson the most is Royal Caribbean’s Voyager

of the Seas. "It’s the largest ship in the world," she says.

"It has ice skating, a roller blading track, a rock climbing wall,

a mini golf course. It’s an absolutely phenomenal ship." This

super-ship has announced that it will sail into New York next May,

and stay through October to ferry vacationers on 9-night Caribbean

and 5-night Canadian vacations. "Formerly these ships were available

only from Florida and San Juan," Robinson says of the new offerings.

Why the increase in New York cruise traffic?

"A lot of it has to do with 9/11," says Robinson. "A lot

of people don’t want to fly." But there are other reasons, as

well. "When you take a plane," she points out, "you lose

a day of your vacation on either end." Maybe more. A vacationer

who gets up at 4:30 a.m. to allow enough time to get through security,

spends a few pre-flight hours guarding take-on luggage while entertaining

toddlers and teens, and encounters even low-end flight delays may

need at least one more day to unwind after the plane lands.

Consider the alternative. Get on a train at 10 a.m., catch a cab to

a West Side pier, take an elevator to your cabin to drop off your

carry on bags, and then take another elevator to the pool. After securing

a deck chair, get a fruity drink, and splash around for a few hours

before moving to a forward deck to watch the Empire State Building,

Chelsea Piers, Battery Park City, the Statue of Liberty, and the Verrazano

Bridge slowly recede into the distance.

"It’s instant relaxation," says Robinson.

Robinson strongly urges vacationers to book well in advance. But for

those who have not done so, there are some amazing last minute deals.

A good place to find them is website icruise. Its URL is the somewhat

strange, but just typing "icruise" into

Google brings it up. The site is showing a seven-night Bermuda cruise

on the Pride, a Carnival superliner, starting at $510 per person for

an inside cabin and just over $730 for a cabin with a private balcony.

These prices do not include port charges or taxes. A disadvantage

of sailing from New York, Robinson points out, is high port taxes.

When all is said and done, this cruise in the least expensive cabin

will come to about $800 per person, unless there are further price

cuts, which there well could be. Prices on this same cruise in mid-July

continued to slide, dropping week by week.

Among the many search options on icruise is a search by departure

port. Plug in New York and the month you want to leave, and a complete

list of cruises from the city pops up. Click on any one for more details.

Another outstanding cruise website is CruisesOnly, at

While it is not as easy to search as icruise, this site has at least

one very cool feature. About one-third of the way down on its menu,

on the left-hand side of the home page, there is an icon for "360

degree Ship Tours." Click on a ship and a menu of IPIX (360 degree,

revolving, interactive pictures) choice comes up, showing details

of every class of cabin, every restaurant, every swimming pool, and

every other public space.

A third good cruise website is that of Arthur Frommer travel, at

Its extensive cruise information and links include breaking news,

great deals, detailed destination guides and ship reviews.

Even with all of the cruise help available on the Internet,

many travel writers suggest that the last step, the actual booking,

is best done through a travel agent, preferably one specializing in

cruises. Robinson says that she, like many of her colleagues, monitors

cruise prices and obtains money back for his customers if cruise lines

drop their prices as sailing date approaches. In addition to competitive

prices, travel agents can help vacationers decide from among a growing

number of cruises.

Some ships have outstanding child care programs, while others are

just learning about how to keep kids happily busy. Some ships make

a big deal of dining, requiring formal attire on two or more nights,

while others offer casual options, including a plethora of small come-when-you-want

restaurants. Some ships have extensive fitness facilities and long

stretches of decks for walks under the stars, while others have just

a few pieces of equipment and jogging tracks that resemble squirrel

cages. Some ships offer most passengers a private balcony, while others

have no balconies at all.

Choosing a ship does not end the questions. Far from it. There can

easily be 14 classes of cabin on each ship. Is it worth the money

to get a balcony? Will an inside cabin feel claustrophobic? These

are questions Robinson hears all the time. And then there are questions

uninitiated cruisers never think to ask. They can be small things,

but they add up.

Helping Robinson to untangle the options is her husband, Frank, a

semi-retired electrician and part-time travel agent, who, says his

wife, "Loves to be on a boat. He doesn’t care if he ever leaves."

Also supplying unique insight are the couple’s children. Jackie, who

is nearly 18 and is preparing for a role in Dracula at the Kelsey

Theater, has been on 17 cruises. Her sister, Kristen, soon to be a

seventh grader at the Grover School, has been on 14 or 15. The pair

are experts on shipboard kids programs, and, says their mother, give

Royal Caribbean high marks, and also like Celebrity and Princess.

Cruising from New York can really cut vacation stress for parents,

says Robinson. "There’s no whining," she says. "No dragging

kids through airports." Once onboard a ship with a good children’s

program, it’s smooth sailing all around. "The parents can enjoy

themselves," she says. "When my kids were little, they left

dinner before dessert to rejoin their group, and they stayed until

10 p.m."

All is not bliss with a New York sailing, however. "On weekends,

with four ships in dock, it can be chaos," says Robinson. This

is especially so for debarking passengers in competition with thousands

of their shipmates for a cab. There is a way around this bottleneck,

however. Instead of heading for the taxi stand, take the elevator

to the street, walk a block or two away from the piers, and then hail

a cab. Anyone with the discipline to pack light (hey, it’s the islands,

how much do you need?) could just take to the new walkway along the

Hudson on foot, and hoof it back to Penn Station.

There is parking available on the piers, for about $20 a day, and

the parking lot could be a good option for anyone traveling with four

children and/or a trunkload of formal gowns.

For the ultimate in vacation relaxation, though, try the train/ship

connection. No car, no plane, no hassles. Really, it feels like beating

the system.

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New in Genetics at Rutgers

Rutgers will be home to a new genetics resource for

scientists worldwide intent on solving the hereditary puzzles at the

core of such diseases as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and

kidney disorders. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive

and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a unit of the National Institutes

of Health (NIH), has awarded a five-year, $9.3 million contract to

create the genetic repository.

"We are interested in studying genetics of the many diseases that

NIDDK investigates," Jay Tischfield, Duncan and Nancy MacMillan

Professor of Genetics, and chair of the department of genetics at

Rutgers, said in a prepared statement. "Rutgers’ repository will

now enable investigators around the world to conduct population and

family-based research on the genetic bases of these painful and debilitating


The Rutgers University Cell and DNA Repository (RUCDR), of which Tischfield

is scientific director, will collect, maintain and distribute cell

lines and DNA for the NIDDK from human populations worldwide. Consistent

with NIH initiatives that mandate the sharing of human biomaterials

and research data, the new repository will provide researchers opportunities

to collaborate internationally and study common pools of subjects

to find genes that predispose individuals to such diseases.

The NIDDK award comes on the heels of a $22.6 million cooperative

agreement award to Rutgers from the National Institute of Mental Health

(NIMH) for a similar project in support of research into the genetics

of mental disorders. Rutgers is now the genetic repository and resource

for four NIH institutes: NIMH, NIDDK, the National Institute on Drug

Abuse (NIDA), and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism


Established in 1998 on Rutgers’ Busch campus, the Rutgers cell and

DNA repository supports NIH and privately funded charitable research

on mental diseases; disorders such as heroin, cocaine and tobacco

abuse; diabetes and obesity; and aging and longevity. In these efforts

RUCDR produces from 1,200 to 1,500 cell lines per month, approximately

five times as many as any other research facility.

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Please Donate

The Stony Brook Millstone Watershed is sponsoring a car raffle

at this year’s WatershedFest, to be held on October 4. The organization

hopes to sell 1,200 tickets for $50 each. The prize is a 2004 Honda

Civic gas-electric hybrid car.

The Watershed, promoting its prize, says that the car, which has a

battery as well as a fuel-efficient gasoline-burning engine, gets

48 miles per gallon.

To purchase a ticket call 609-737-3735 for directions to the Watershed’s

Pennington office, or log onto the non-profit’s website,

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Corporate Angels

The MTAACC Empowerment Fund, an initiative of the Metropolitan

Trenton African American Chamber of Commerce, together with Rider

University, presented awards to participants in a two-and-a-half

week entrepreneurial program on Tuesday, July 15. Participants were

12-year-old Trenton public school students who learned how to start

and run a business. Each student came up with a business idea and

supported it with a business plan.

The New Jersey Association of Realtors , through its education

foundation, has awarded 20 scholarships totally $27,750 to students

pursuing careers in real estate related fields.

The education foundation was established in 1969 and provides scholarships

to members of the New Jersey Association of Realtors and to members

of their families. To date, $344,100 in scholarship money has been


Starbucks stores in New Jersey have collected 32,000 books for

the Boys and Girls Clubs of New Jersey. The community-driven effort,

geared toward giving children the books they need to get started on

a lifetime of reading, surpassed its goal by a large measure, bringing

in twice the number of books that the coffee house chain sought to


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