Corrections or additions?
These articles by Phyllis Maguire, Peter J. Mladineo, Barbara Fox,
and Bob Levine were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on Wednesday, May
20, 1998. All rights reserved.
Much excitement attends the start of any new business
— and a great deal of denial when it comes to insurance. Many
new businesses, for example, are being started in homes — putting
a whole new set of needs and demands on sites that homeowners’
just won’t cover. "Having anyone come to your home as an employee,
a client, or a vendor — your homeowners’ policy will refuse any
claim," says Lisa Harrah of Harrah & Associates, an
agency at 2426 Nottingham Way, Mercerville. Inventory is another item
that needs business insurance, as is the kind of sophisticated office
equipment that businesses accumulate.
"Personal computers are usually covered by homeowner policies,
but typically to only $2,500," says Harrah. "Business owners
get very nervous when the topic of business insurance is raised, but
in fact it is very inexpensive. A $1 million dollar liability policy
can cost as little as $350 a year."
Harrah, who graduated from St. John’s University with a B.S. in
in 1987 and earned an MBA from Rider in 1993, is one of several
speakers at "Succeeding in Your New Business," a seminar being
sponsored by the Mercer County chapter of the New Jersey Association
of Women Business Owners at Stark & Stark, 993 Lenox Drive, on
May 21, from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is $35. Call 609-924-7975.
Another essential item Harrah passes on: the number of the New Jersey
Department of Banking and Insurance (609-292-5360). "People need
to know that our industry is policed. A businessperson, especially
someone who is new, should check on companies and brokers, and get
a referral if they can."
Insurance is for established businesses too, and should be frequently
re-visited. A new type of policy getting attention is Employment
Liability Insurance (EPLI — Business Law section beginning on
page 14). EPLI is a package that protects employers against suits
arising from claims of sexual harassment, discrimination, failure
to hire and promote, and wrongful termination. Although sexual
suits receive more publicity, Harrah says, more claims are filed that
relate to stalled promotions and firings.
"More companies are coming out with these policies, because the
number of suits is rising," says Harrah. "The Clarence Thomas
confirmation hearings were the spark that ignited these lawsuits,
and downsizing has certainly added fuel." The price of EPLI
has come down dramatically, and Harrah & Associates is itself an EPLI
policy holder, with a $1 million policy (based on seven employees)
purchased for $1,000 a year. That is far less than the amount of legal
fees should the company be sued. "Any lawsuit is devastating,
but for a small business owner, it may be a hardship the business
can’t absorb," she says.
Harrah offers this observation: "The more educated your workforce,
the more concerned you should be as a business owner. It is the people
reading the Wall Street Journal who know the progress of employee
claims around the country and have become litigation-savvy."
Business insurance also needs to keep pace with the explosion in
technology, something owners too often ignore. Harrah & Associates
used the protection offered by its electronic data processing policy
last year when the office was struck by lightning. "It destroyed
equipment and resulted in a $35,000 claim," Harrah says. "It
was very instructive for us to be on the other side of the claim and
realize what the client goes through."
A boiler and machinery policy covering equipment breakdown is also
essential. "If you own a building with an air conditioning system
that goes, that breakdown is very costly — while breakdown
is not. The coverage applies to phones and voicemail, all the
your office depends on, and business owners often overlook it."
One break owners can now get is on their workers’ compensation
"Rates have been coming down for the last three or four
Harrah says. "Insurance companies have introduced managed care
into workers’ comp and that has given policyholders significant
With managed care enrollment, some carriers now guarantee 20 percent
off the price of their Workers’ Compensation policies." The
rate on remuneration for different employee classifications remains
the same, "but discounts are taken off the premium total,"
says Harrah, "giving business owners — particularly those
with employees in contracting, manual labor, or delivery services
— some real relief."
Other speakers at the May 21 NJAWBO panel: Richard K. Rein of
U.S. 1 Newspaper, Suzanne Rosenblum CPA, attorney Rachel
Stark of Stark & Stark, and Anne Skalka of Anne Skalka &
Associates. Also featured: a panel called "Know the Facts
with Marcia Guberman, Maid Daily Services, Freda Howard,
Howard Lane Gift Baskets, and Joyce Magliaro, Sylvan Learning
Centers. Call 609-924-7975.
The stock market may have surged, but so have personal
bankruptcies. Last year, almost 1.4 million bankruptcy petitions were
filed in the United States — 33,000 in New Jersey alone, giving
the state the dubious distinction of having the 10th highest
rate in the country. Melanie Willoughby, president of the
New Jersey Retail Merchants Association (NJRMA), offers even more
sinister statistics: New Jersey filings have grown more than 65
over the last two years.
But if the national and state economies are doing so well, why are
consumer bankruptcies a problem? Willoughby says that the $40 billion
in consumer debt being erased every year through bankruptcies
into $400 a year that gets passed on to every American family in the
form of higher prices and credit service rates. And that "amounts
to a hidden bankruptcy tax."
The NJRMA supports bills currently being considered in the federal
House and Senate that, if passed, would bring the first major changes
to bankruptcy law in 20 years. The measures, which are supported by
the banking, credit card, and retail industries, would apply a formula
to those filing for bankruptcy, taking into account their income and
expenses to determine exactly what level of relief they should
Debtors would not be able to file for Chapter 7 if they earn 75
of the national median income of $39,000 and if they could repay 20
percent of their debt over the next five years.
"Those who could repay all or part of their debts would enter
a Chapter 13 repayment plan," Willoughby says. "Individuals
in serious financial distress would still be able to receive complete
relief they need.
"Bankruptcy law was supposed to provide a safety net for those
few individuals who suffer a major life crisis," says Willoughby.
"Instead of a safety net, people now use bankruptcy as a financial
management plan." Soaring bankruptcy rates are not being fueled
by middle and upper-income earners who have lived beyond their means
or who, through downsizing, experience a setback they haven’t saved
"There used to be a real stigma to declaring bankruptcy, one that
is now gone," she says. "People now rely upon debt forgiveness
as a way to start fresh, when in fact the rest of us are paying off
Carol Knowlton, a bankruptcy attorney and partner with Teich,
Groh & Frost of 691 Route 33 in Mercerville, represents both creditors
and debtors and does not see widespread abuse. "Most of the people
who come to us to file are truly in trouble," she says. "It
is not typically a case of people trying to avoid debt. Making
harder for them to declare won’t change that." While the stigma
may not be as strong, the penalties for filing bankruptcy are still
"A bankruptcy will appear on your credit report for up to 10
Knowlton says. "Most institutions will not extend credit to you
for several years, and when they do, you’ll be required to make larger
down payments and pay higher interest rates because you’re considered
There’s no question: Getting quoted in the paper can
be a terrific boon to business. So how is it then that some people
seem to be "go-to guys" for newspaper reporters and others
with just as much knowledge or experience about a given subject seem
to be invisible?
Do reporters take bribes? Do you have to have some special license
to be quoted a lot? Do you have to know the publisher? The answer
is no. There is no one rite of passage to become a regularly quoted
source. But there are ways to improve your chances.
Robert S. Steinbaum, the publisher of the New Jersey Law
will reveal some of them to the Mercer County Bar Association, when
he discusses, "What Every Lawyer Should Know Before Talking to
the Press," on Wednesday, May 20, at 6 p.m. at the Hyatt. Call
609-585-6200 for $55 registration.
Steinbaum, 47, worked as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Newark
criminal division and has degrees from Georgetown University Law
and Yale University. His suggestions for media-savvy attorneys include
how to place the story with the press, what "off the record"
means as opposed to "not for attribution," what to say and
what not to say, and what to do if a story is wrong.
What do regularly quoted sources do that others don’t? First,
reports, reporters and editors like sources who are responsive. There
is never enough time to wait for a call-back. "They answer calls
immediately," says Steinbaum. "And if they’re not immediately
there or an another line they get right back to him or her. So the
reporter knows that he or she is going to get a call back."
Reporters also like sources who can simplify things. "It’s not
talking to an appellate court, it’s talking to human beings,"
says Steinbaum. "I liken it to speaking to a jury. You have to
keep it simple and straightforward, and if you think of the press
as the ultimate juror it helps you explain yourself."
Another desired trait is pithiness. "You have to be pithy,"
says Steinbaum. "You don’t have room for extensive quotes."
Other tips from the lawyer-publisher:
greatest press blunder for attorneys is not speaking "in
enough terms for the general public to understand."
truth will win out."
"Think about who you’re talking to, and what he or she may know
or not know about this subject and orient yourself to the particular
place in the publication and what is it that this is going to be
says Steinbaum. A magazine article will be different than a newspaper
article, which will be different than an article in a trade.
that you want to get across and ask if the conversation is being
If it’s taped you can talk faster than if the reporter were
jotting down your words.
Thirty years ago a group of Princeton area high school
students predicted that in the near future the price of computing
would be reduced by many factors and that there would be a computer
on everyone’s desk. This was almost 15 years before the first Apple
personal computer arrived on the scene. These predictions proved to
be remarkably accurate. Now on the Memorial Day weekend of May 23-24,
they are having a reunion. Who were these kids, what happened to them
and most important, what can we learn from their experiences?
Older members of the Princeton community will remember them as the
R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S (Radically Emphatic Students Interested in Science,
Technology Or Research Studies), a group of students from the Hopewell
Valley and Princeton high schools who met in a barn in Hopewell
and later at the E-Quad at Princeton University. They started in
when a group of students became disenchanted with the
courses they were offered and discovered that playing with computers
was a lot more exciting than smoking pot.
The computers were located in an old red barn on the
Road owned by Claude Kagan, a research leader at the nearby Western
Electric Labs. Kagan, who holds three engineering degrees from
had been collecting leftover and obsolete phone and computer equipment
and, believing that motivated children can teach themselves to use
technical devices by discovery and peer assistance, invited the kids
to his barn. In a few days with manuals and minimum help from Kagan
the students were writing little programs and doing much of what
scientists a generation older were doing at Western Electric,
and other advanced laboratories.
My involvement with the group came in 1968 when my son and his friends
at Princeton High School discovered the barn and got me to drive them
there on Saturday mornings. As an electrical engineer who knew nothing
about digital computers I was fascinated to watch children, some as
young as 10, sit down before a keyboard, and make the computers play
games, print out lists and later interact with the user. My major
contribution was driving them everywhere, and bringing dinner to the
barn ("Tuna Wiggle," prepared by my late wife Ginny and JoAnn
Augustine, mother of one of the kids and now a well known artist).
Their accomplishments were legion and made the local and national
computer press on many occasions. In 1969 at the Spring Joint Computer
Conference in Atlantic City, the forerunner of COMDEX, they were given
a small booth. Just as the conference started the telephone installers
went on strike. All the big exhibitors, such as IBM, RCA, UNIVAC,
and DEC, intending to demonstrate their new equipment and software
by remotely accessing computers back home, were unable to do so —
except for the R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S. They moved their equipment to a
rug in front of a pay phone, and dialed up to Kagan’s PDP-8 computer
at Western Electric. They played games, accessed information and were
the only exhibitors at that SJCC demonstrating on-line. The crowds
around them were phenomenal.
Ted Nelson, the inventor of hypertext and an honorary member (he was
too old), noted in his groundbreaking book, Computer Lib, that the
fun of being with the R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S was that they were bright,
enthusiastic, did not know what they didn’t know, and assumed that
they could learn and do everything.
They originally learned to program in TRAC, an easy to learn but
language. Their installation of TRAC on the various DEC minicomputers
and other machines gave them abilities that were only duplicated at
a much later date with other languages. At one SJCC conference there
was a room full of different brands of computers on all of which the
R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S. had installed TRAC so that all of the computers
could be used by anyone who knew that language. At the time this was
a revolutionary accomplishment. So much so that the president of AT&T
came to one SJCC mainly to meet the R.E.S.I.S.T.O.R.S., or so he said.
They were also invited to at least one ACM meeting in New York City
and to DEC users meeting in Wakefield, Massachusetts, where they
papers. One by Jordan Young, 16, was on intellectual property. He
then thought it was a trivial but interesting subject.
They were asked to do programming for an exhibit on a "conceptual
typewriter" at the Jewish Museum in New York City. They programmed
an IDIOM computer from Information Display Corp., which had the first
computer-aided design program on it. The computer had buttons and
a light pen. The buttons had such labels as "the creative,"
and "the silence," etc. When you pressed the creative button
a drawing of a flower popped up and waved. One of the buttons popped
up a waterwheel. When you touched it with the light pen it reversed
This was one of the first program where programs were written to write
other programs. Since all the data for the project was done on punch
cards to create the images, programs were then written to punch new
sets of cards with slightly different hole patterns to make the images
I remember the project vividly since it was in the very hot summer
of 1970 and the museum was not air conditioned. The computer
so I had to run around to find dry ice to put on it.
Life at the Barn was not all fun and games with the computers. The
members had to pay for the use of the considerable amount of
the computers then used. In addition Kagan insisted that the group
be responsible for keeping the place reasonably neat and also cleaning
out the stalls of the two donkeys who lived there. One person said
at the barn he learned the value of providing an environment in which
others could do worthwhile things.
How were they able to learn to use and to program computers? When
queried, the most common answer was that they looked at a manual,
got help from another member and played around until it made sense.
This follows well known pedagogical theories that state that given
the right motivation and a little help children will learn most things
more easily outside a structured classroom.
I can attest to the success this particular group of children had
in learning to use some very complicated machines and programs. I
tried to learn the TRAC language most of them had picked up so easily
but could not learn it. I obviously had too much education and
In one bit of revealing insight, one of the group observed that as
easy as it seemed to be for some of students it was not all that easy
and required an innate talent not all of them possessed.
The group lasted to the late 1970s when the last of the Princeton
members went off to college. There was no built-in method for
new members other than enlisting friends. What will they do at the
reunion? My guess is that they will do what they always do when they
meet: Shmooze, swap computer related stories, show one another some
new neat program, wax sentimental over their times at the barn and
at the E-quad, and cement the friendships which have lasted these
by Bob Levine
My comments on what has happened to them is limited
to the relatively few members who hung around my house and whom I
have kept up with. At the time I did not realize that the children
I drove around were so bright, although it was obvious that some were.
dollar computer communications company. Although I met Len I did not
know him since he drove up from Philadelphia every Saturday.
Massachusetts, a data warehouse/decision support consulting firm.
English-language web sites.
Corp., a software firm in Los Gatos, California.
Hospital, Cambridge, Massachusetts. He was 10 when he started.
food and bioprocess engineering, in the agricultural and biological
in technology and education at the University of Southern California.
at Fauquier Hospital in Warrenton, Virginia.
and many other Dummies books. He is also the sewer commissioner in
Trumansburg, New York.
he is an NT engineer.
"Word Perfect for Windows for Dummies" and many other Dummies
books. She also raises chickens in Cornwall, Vermont.
lives in Cornwall, Vermont. He helps with the chickens.
Internet, http://www.resistors.org. Find links to home pages
or E-mail addresses of some members and details of the upcoming
Adult School. He uses his computers to help a number of non-profit
organizations. He can be reached at RJL@GURUS.COM.
Leering bosses, disgruntled ex-employees, swooping
demanding reporters — the world is teeming with excruciatingly
difficult people. Mark I. Rosen, the author of "Thank You
for Being Such a Pain," urges us to take the high road with a
spiritual perspective on those who bedevil us the most. Subtitled
"Spiritual Guidance for Dealing with Difficult People," the
book exposes those who make us furious as our most important mentors.
Rosen will read and sign copies of the book at Borders Books on
May 27, at 7 p.m. Call 609-514-0040.
The real problem, says the author, is not the difficult people
our lives but our response to them. If we return malice or
with anger or coldness, resentment or vengefulness, then we compound
their problem. Learning new techniques to cope with manipulative
is the solution.
There are, says Rosen, spiritual implications to behavior, ours and
theirs. The book grows out of self-help workshops based in
where Rosen is adjunct professor of management at Bentley College.
The program is founded on four premises: that life’s seemingly random
encounters are not random at all; that pain and suffering are just
as important for personal growth as love and fulfillment; that
how to transform enmity is one of life’s most important lessons, and
that healing relational problems requires paying attention to life’s
ongoing spiritual lessons. Planet Earth is a school, Rosen claims,
and difficult people are the faculty. If you try to weasel out of
a challenge they present, or attempt to ignore it, life will simply
toss you another one just like it.
The best business advice for dealing with difficult people? Rosen
would suggest that you bestow silent blessings and practice spiritual
principles. We might add that you also retain a good attorney.
— Phyllis Maguire
Learn about "motion capture technology" or how
the computer can capture the realistic movement of human beings to
animate three-dimensional dancing gas pumps, walking airplanes, and
characters in fighting games.
Stephen Lane, a principal of Katrix, will present interactive
3-D character animation technology and authoring tools at the Moving
Image Professionals meeting on Wednesday, May 27, at 6:30 p.m. at
the Princeton Theological Seminary television studio on the ground
level of Templeton Hall. The cost is $10 for non-members including
food. Call Andy Kienzle at 609-394-4818 for reservations.
Founded by Lane and David Handelman, Katrix is the parent company
of Millennium Rush (U.S. 1, May 11, 1994). The pair graduated from
Princeton University in 1988 with degrees in mechanical and aerospace
engineering, and then started a commercial robotics firm, Robicon
Systems. Now these proponents of virtual reality hope to eventually
create flawless illusions of everything from a trip to Jupiter to
sex by using computers to simulate sight, sound, and even physical
Located on Airpark Road Katrix and its content division, Millennium
Rush, will debut high-profile interactive game animations at what
is described as "a major tourist attraction in Orlando,
"With his broad knowledge of motion capture technology, he will
be able to talk from personal experience about the strengths and
of this type of approach to character animation," says Dennis
Nobile, of Nth Degree Media. "He’ll also bring along a rudimentary
motion capture system so we’ll be able to see how human movement can
be used to animate 3-D characters in real time."
Business leaders will have a hands-on experience with
the lawmaking process on Thursday, May 28, from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.,
when the New Jersey Chamber sponsors the "Day Under the Dome"
at the State House Annex. At 10 a.m. the state chamber’s government
relations team will give a workshop on the legislative process and
legislative priorities. Don Sico, assembly majority executive
director, and Fred Butler, assembly Democratic executive
will talk about the role of party offices at 10:30 a.m. Various
will give an overview at 11, followed by a session in the governor’s
office at 11:45.
DuPont is sponsoring the lunch, and then everyone gets to see the
Senate and the Assembly in action at 1:30 p.m. The state chamber holds
an open house at its new quarters at 216 West State Street at 4 p.m.
For registration call Jim Leonard at 609-989-7888.
Here’s a new benefit to being a New Jersey State Chamber
of Commerce member: Get free advice from Andrea Schutz, formerly
in charge of human relations at Educational Testing Service; she has
also worked at Lenox and Mathematica Inc. Her time is worth up to
$90 an hour, but members can call her for free at 800-561-4602.
Questions about the service itself can be answered by Jill
director of marketing, at 609-989-7888.
Legal Services of New Jersey, with help from the state
bar association, has launched a statewide legal hotline aimed at
New Jersey residents who need an attorney for civil legal problems.
"They can make one call for legal help," says Michael R.
Cole, board chair of LSNJ, "and get either prompt legal advice,
general legal information, or a useful referral, depending on the
circumstances. Call 888-LSNJ LAW (576-5529) between 9 a.m. and 3:30
p.m. and be prepared to answer questions about your financial
This hotline is a way for Legal Services to stretch its dollars; it
can meet only one-fourth of the need for its services in New Jersey,
says Melville D. Miller Jr., LSNJ president. The state bar
will develop a panel of volunteer lawyers to help with the calls.
Emergencies will be handled immediately, and non-emergencies will
be scheduled for a return call by a lawyer within 48 hours. The lawyer
will not go to court but will give quick advice, help fill out forms,
and explain court procedures.
This summer Legal Services of New Jersey is publishing new editions
of guidebooks on the legal rights of battered women, how to clear
your record, and tenants rights. The system represents more than
state residents every year and provides referrals and information
to tens of thousands more.
The New Jersey State Bar Foundation also regularly holds free public
seminars at the New Jersey Law Center at One Constitution Square in
New Brunswick. Though the seminars are free, registration is required
by calling 800-FREE LAW.
On Wednesday, May 27, at 7 p.m., Lawrence Friedman and Glenn
C. Guritzky, both with the Florham Park law firm of Schwartz, Simon
et al, will discuss wills and estate planning.
Cynthia S. Jenkins, Thomas D. Begley Jr., and Friedman
will hold a conference entitled "Seniors in the 21st Century"
to observe Senior Citizens Law Day on Thursday, May 28, 10 a.m. to
1 p.m. Jenkins has offices in Princeton and Haddon Heights, while
Begley is based in Moorestown.
Two breakfast meetings remain in the Business and
Women’s series sponsored by the Princeton YWCA and held at the Nassau
Club, 6 Mercer Street. Karen Adley, business coach of Peak
speaks on power networking on Wednesday, May 27, at 7:45 a.m.
Expectations in Business Relationships" is the topic for Linda
M. Kibrick, LCSW CADC, of Crossroads Counseling and Communication
Center, on Wednesday, June 24. Register for $16 by the Monday before
the Wednesday meeting by calling 609-497-2100. For more information,
call the coordinators, Pat Marsheck at 609-655-8500, extension
454, or Meryl Miller at 609-897-0036.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.