PCTV Asks Council to Continue Funding

At a meeting of the Princeton Council on December 18, Princeton Community Television leaders as well as numerous community members asked the council to reverse its decision to eliminate its support for the TV station. The council had provided around $230,000 a year in funding to the station from cable franchise fees, but decided to halt the funding in May. (U.S. 1, June 12, 2019.)

“Over the last 23 years, we’ve established ourselves as one of the jewels of this township,” said PCTV chairman Lew Goldstein in a letter before the meeting. “We are not allocated as much money as other institutions in town, but we serve a huge need, not only for the residents of this town, but also to students who do internships with us, to the nonprofits and organizations who request our services, and we have grown as evidenced by our potential viewing audience of over 100 million viewers. We have grown to become the premier community local access station in the Northeast.”

PCTV began in 1997, when it was founded using funds the town collected from cable TV providers as compensation for serving customers within town limits. The law required cable franchise fees be used to support community television. When the law changed during this decade, allowing towns the option of using the funds for community television or for property tax relief, Princeton decided to continue to support PCTV.

However, this spring, the township chose instead to use the money for the municipal budget after negotiations with the TV station broke down.

PCTV employs two full-time employees and one part-time staff member.

Mayor Liz Lempert and town council members declined to restore the funding and instead urged PCTV to raise funds from other sources.

Management Moves

Judith Sheft

The New Jersey Commission on Science, Innovation and Technology has named Judith A. Sheft as its executive director beginning January 13.

In August, 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation re-establishing the former New Jersey Commission on Science and Technology as the CSIT. Composed of representatives from the public and private sectors, as well as academia, the commission is tasked with leading the way in promoting the state as a home for academic and technological research, development, and commercialization.

Sheft spent the past 18 years as an associate vice president at NJIT.

“New Jersey already has the resources necessary to restore its innovation ecosystem to preeminence, including globally recognized academic institutions and a highly talented workforce,” Sheft said. “I am honored to accept the executive director position and am excited to work with the Commission members and our partners throughout the Garden State to ensure that entrepreneurs worldwide know all that the state has to offer.”

At NJIT, Judith oversaw the Enterprise Development Center (now known as Venturelink), the university’s high-tech accelerator/incubator and managed the university’s Office of Technology Development.

She also serves on the NJEDA’s Technology Advisory Board and Einstein’s Alley. She was a member of Governor Murphy’s transition team and serves as a member of the New Jersey Israel Commission and the board of the Women’s Center for Entrepreneurship Corporation.

Arts Council of Princeton, Paul Robeson Center for the Arts, 102 Witherspoon Street, Princeton 08542. 609-924-8777. Jim Levine, interim executive director. www.artscouncilofprinceton.org.

Caroline Cleaves

The Arts Council of Princeton has named Caroline Cleaves director of development effective January 2.

“Caroline joined us in March, 2019, as a development consultant and has quickly brought discipline and insights to our efforts,” says Jim Levine, the interim executive director. “Both the board and the staff have been impressed with Caroline’s perspectives, work ethic, wit, and her knowledge of the development field. Everyone’s excited to have her join the team.”

Cleaves says it is especially meaningful to be working with the Arts Council of Princeton. “Art played a central role in my childhood; both paternal grandparents and my father were artists. One of my favorite memories of growing up in Princeton was a watercolor class my dad and I took with the Arts Council — when classes were held at a barn on Ettl Farm in the 1970s. I’m grateful to the Arts Council for that memory and want to ensure it remains a vibrant part of our community for generations to come.”

Cleaves is a graduate of Smith College and the University of Chicago, where she received a Fulbright Scholarship for her doctorate research in cultural anthropology. Previously, she held fundraising positions at Rider University and Grounds For Sculpture in Hamilton.

Microloans Available from NJEDA

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority is now accepting applications for its Micro Business Loan Program. Designed to provide financing to early-stage and micro businesses in New Jersey, the pilot program makes financing of up to $50,000 available to for-profit New Jersey businesses, who can use the financing for working capital or to purchase equipment.

To qualify, a business must have annual revenues of less than $1.5 million in the most current fiscal year and cannot have more than 10 full-time employees at time of application. Startup businesses may be eligible for financing but must first demonstrate that they have completed an entrepreneurship training program or Small Business Development Center counseling sessions.

“The new Micro Business Loan Program will help to fill a gap in the NJEDA’s suite of resources by enabling us to offer low-cost financing to very small, often early-stage companies,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Improving access to capital and supporting micro businesses as they grow, create jobs, and invest in our communities is critical to building a stronger, fairer New Jersey economy.”

The Micro Business Loan Program will operate as a pilot program for a period of up to three years from the date applications were made available to the public, or until the $1 million total funding pool is fully exhausted.

Last month, Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order #91, establishing a Public Bank Implementation Board, which will be tasked with planning the development of a public bank for the Garden State. Under Murphy’s vision for a public bank, public funds could be directed toward reducing unmet community capital needs.

The Micro Business Loan Program will serve as the initial demonstration project for how a public bank could serve to make financing available, at a low-cost and with flexible terms, to early-stage businesses that may have difficulty accessing conventional bank financing.

Crosstown Moves

Hanu Software, 4390 Route 1, Princeton 08540. 732-368-3691. Anil Singh, president. www.hanusoftware.com.

The software company has moved from Independence Way to 4390 Route 1 in Princeton.

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