Corrections or additions?
This article by Kathy Spring was prepared for the October 29, 2003
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Jed Horovitz, president of Video Pipeline, a
company, discusses the restrictive nature of new copyright laws and
his documentary on the subject, "Willful Infringement," in
a free lecture Thursday, October 30, at noon in the Communications
Building of Mercer County Community College.
The documentary focuses on the impact of the recently passed
Copyright Act and how it will place restrictions on the creators of
audio and video. It also looks at the restrictions already being
by individuals and businesses. There will be a question and answer
period following the film.
Video Pipeline creates movie previews and has been in a legal battle
with two Disney-owned movie companies, Buena Vista Home Entertainment
and Miramax Films, over its use of these previews on the Internet.
In August the U.S. Court of Appeals, 3rd Circuit, upheld an injunction
handed down by a lower court that found Disney would suffer
harm if Video Pipeline continued to make clips of its films available
to the public through its VideoDetective.com site and to video
through its Videopipeline.com site.
In its decision, the court wrote that "given the verbatim copying,
lack of ingenuity, and profit-driven purpose of the clip previews,
we have no concern that this case is one in which the creative and
expressive goals of copyright law would be served better by denying
It is likely that Horovitz has a different opinion, and that he will
elaborate during this talk. He holds a master’s degree in film and
television production from New York University and an MBA from the
University of California at Los Angeles. Founder and president of
Video Pipeline, he has worked in film and television for 30 years.
His company was the first to distribute movie previews to the video
Friday, October 31
Ruby Lee, a professor at Princeton University
will deliver a keynote speech at the Emerging Information Technology
conference, set for Friday and Saturday, October 31 and November 1,
at Princeton University’s Friend Center on Olden Avenue.
Focusing on science from Asia and Pacific Rim, the conference has
five tracks — nanotechnology, micro-electromechanical systems
(MEMS), system-on-chip (SoC), bioinformatics, and content, computer,
communications, consumer electronics, and integration (C4I) systems.
This year’s program is being organized by scientists from the
National Laboratory, Case Western Reserve, IBM T. J. Watson Research
Center, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. For information
call 212-752-2340 or go to www.eitc.org.
The Trenton Chapter of the Association of Government
Accountants holds its annual day-long seminar on Friday, October 31,
at 8:30 a.m. at the new Mercer County Conference Center of Mercer
County Community College. The cost is $115. Call Evelyn Richardson
at 609-292-1259 for more information.
David Kaschak, a state auditor, is president of the group. A
graduate of Penn State (Class of 1983), he has been working for the
state since 1984. "Most people who go into auditing in the private
sector don’t stick," he says. But he finds continual challenge
in his work for the state, where two assignments are rarely the same.
During the past two decades he has seen tremendous change in his
"Technology has had a huge impact," he says. "It’s put
information at our fingertips, instead of rooting through files."
The upcoming seminar reveals the range of interests of the
200-plus members. Most provocative is a talk by Mark Boyd on
his thesis that county government should be eliminated. Boyd, formerly
commissioner of the Department of Labor, is a Westfield attorney and
head of End County Government Now. The group’s website
states that New Jersey pays the highest property taxes per person
in the United States and the second highest property taxes as a
"This over reliance on the property tax is a public policy
for New Jersey because the property tax is a regressive tax, meaning
that poor people pay a higher percentage of their income in property
taxes than the rich," the site states. It goes on to say that
the reason for this situation is that the state has too many units
of local government, specifically, 566 municipalities, 611 school
districts, 21 counties, and hundreds of local authorities and
fire districts, all of which rely on the property tax as their
source of revenue.
Florida, the site declares, has twice the population of New Jersey
and one third fewer municipalities. Maryland has only 25 school
and Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island have eliminated their
county governments. County government in New Jersey, in the
view, is an artifact of history that causes public confusion through
redundant service delivery.
New Jersey, says Boyd’s group, should eliminate county government
and take over the delivery of necessary services by dividing itself
into eight administrative districts of 1 million people per district.
Instead of 21 county prosecutors the state could have eight district
attorneys. The state could then cut government expenditures by
redundant supervision expenses such as the county board of
administrators, executives, treasurers, and attorneys. This would
be the first step in reducing local property taxes, says End County
Government Now, and could save a taxpayer approximately 20 percent
of his local property tax bill.
Moving from proposals to shared concerns, the seminar schedule
talks on IT security and identity theft by Adel Ebeid, executive
director of technology program development for the New Jersey Motor
Vehicle Commission. Also addressing this issue is Ray Bolling
of New Jersey Business Systems.
David Sweeney of the Department of Environmental Protection
talks about bioterrorism planning and response, Gerald Miller,
a Rutgers professor, addresses trends in local government budgets
and John McCormac, New Jersey Treasurer, talks about the future
of the state’s pension system.
There is good news and bad news for human resources
professionals. Dick Stone, an HR consultant and the founder
of HR networking group Princeton Human Resources Network, reports
that "there are still tremendous lay-offs." But, he adds,
"it doesn’t take any longer to find a job than it ever did."
Stone speaks on "The Human Resource Professional’s Job Search"
at the 12th annual conference of the Garden State Council of the
for Human Resource Management, which takes place Monday and Tuesday,
November 3 and 4, beginning at 7:15 a.m. each day, at the Westin Hotel
in Forrestal Village. Keynotes are by Barbara Lee, dean of the
School of Management and Labor at Rutgers, and by Kenny Moore,
director of human resources for KeySpan Energy. Cost: $350 for the
entire conference, or $275 for each day. Call 732-248-9200, ext. 3307
for more information.
Stone’s talk takes place at 7:15 a.m. on Monday, November 3. It is
one of dozens of workshop sessions. Other topics include "Caging
the Tiger: Controlling Benefits Costs in Inflationary Times,"
"E-mail = Evidence," "The Jobseeker Experience of Your
Company Web Site: Flight or Fright?," "Reducing Violence in
the Workplace," "Using Profiles to Improve Recruiting and
Retention," "So You Think You Want to Be a Consultant?,"
"2003 Employment Law Update," "Best Practices in HR
"Deconstructing the Performance Management Paradigm," "The
Legal and Practical Implications of America’s Aging Workforce,"
"The Future of Outplacement Services," "Performance
and "Returning Trust to the Workplace."
Stone, whose consulting company, the Stone Group, is based on Sayre
Drive, grew up in Amsterdam, New York, where his family had run the
Stone Clothing Store for two generations. Stone worked in the store
for one summer, and during every Christmas season. But neither retail
nor small town life were for him. "I wanted to get away,"
he says. A full scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania’s
School was his ticket. Attending his first college football game,
he marveled to find himself in the stands with three times more people
than lived in his hometown. "This is life!" he recalls
After college, Stone joined Equitable Life, now AXA Financial, where
he ran training programs, and rose to become director of personnel.
After 20 years, he moved on, working for architectural and accounting
firms, before going into consulting.
Consulting, Stone declares, is the direction in which human resources
is moving. He, for one, thinks this is a good development. It works
for companies, which can draw upon a professional’s skills when they
are needed, without carrying him on staff. It also works for HR
who get in, do a job, and move on, all the while making a good amount
of money and avoiding most of the snares of office politics.
Stone is now setting up a human resources department for a start-up
that was recently spun off from a big pharmaceutical company. He has
written an affirmative action plan for architectural firm CUH2A, and
done contract recruiting for a number of companies, including Covance
and Novo Nordisk. For Galderman R&D in Cranbury, he says he
and ran a HR department, did some recruiting, and replaced
A consultant for 25 years, Stone says he likes the project lifestyle.
In 1990, well into his consulting career, Stone founded the Princeton
Human Resources Network, a group where HR professionals who are job
hunting full-time network, pick up search tips, and exchange leads.
His executive committee includes Mark Mehler and Gerry Crispen
of CareerXroads fame, Emily Thorne, Mike Urdanick
Don Doele. The group meets at the Nassau Club every 21 days.
"We now have 106 active members and 400 alumni," says Stone.
The group is geared for HR professionals with at least 5 to 10 years
experience. "It doesn’t work well for kids right out of
he says. People who are employed, but looking around, are not welcome.
These job switchers tend to soak up leads without providing any in
return, Stone has found. He vets potential members, who can reach
him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Largely because of ongoing lay-offs, the group is seeing "10,
15, 20 new members at a meeting," says Stone. Most come from
including telecommunications, and from manufacturing. A fair number
of members have been cut loose by pharmaceutical companies, where,
Stone says, there is higher turnover than occurs in many other
A bright spot is that there are not many new members from the finance
While some HR professionals decide to go into consulting, others want
the stability of a paycheck. This is not an elusive goal, says Stone.
Not for those who put energy into looking in the right places.
seen people get jobs before they even come to their first
he says. Others are landing on their feet in a matter of weeks. Here
is his advice for doing so:
day, Stone says the two reminisced about their early employer.
who we all worked for?" he recounts. "GE in Schenectady."
One brother was in advertising, one in engineering, and one in
All worked for the same company, as did a huge percentage of their
neighbors. It was the same in New Jersey, he points out. "The
biggest change in the nature of jobs," he says, "is that there
is no more AT&T with 385,000 jobs." The mega-employer is gone,
and is unlikely to return. "That isn’t going to happen again,"
he says, "not even in pharma."
Name an industry, and for every big company, there are hundreds, even
thousands, of small companies. "There are hundreds of foreign
banks in New York City," Stone gives as an example.
Job hunters need to widen their scopes to locate employers whose names
are anything but household words. This reality makes the job search
more difficult, Stone admits. But that can’t be helped.
make, says Stone, is wasting a lot of time in researching a company.
Common wisdom mandates finding out all about a prospective employer’s
products, markets, and missions before walking in for an interview.
Forget it, says Stone. "The company knows what it does," he
says. "It wants to know what you can do."
Scanning annual reports and digging deep into company websites just
eats up precious time.
how many companies they have contacted," says Stone, "and
they say 13." In his opinion, that is the reason they are still
unemployed. Contact 100 companies, he says, and you will get 10
and 1 job offer, "two if you’re really young."
He says this system is infallible. It works for everyone. He has seen
weak candidates, "people I wouldn’t hire," get jobs within
90 days using this wide-net approach.
Of the 106 current members of his job search group, he says "I’ll
bet there aren’t 20 operating at the level." Those who ramp it
up, he says, "absolutely will land a job."
The Internet can be overwhelming, but it needn’t be.
Jeremy Caplan, a journalist who has written extensively on the
Internet, says most research needs can be met with just a few
At the same time, he points out that there is always something new
on the Internet. Each day brings a new, potentially amazing, site
Caplan talks about must-have bookmarks, reveals new wrinkles in old
favorites, and mentions a few favorite new sites when he gives a free
talk, "Savvy Surfing: The Only Sites You Need," on Tuesday,
November 4, at 6:30 p.m. at the Princeton Public Library. Call
for more information.
Caplan, a New York City resident who maintains a website full of
tips at www.jeremycaplan.com, is a graduate of Princeton University’s
Woodrow Wilson School (Class of 1997). He spent his first post-college
months playing the violin professionally. He was Concertmaster of
the Schleswig-Holstein Festival Orchestra in Germany and the
Symphony Orchestra in Jerusalem. A violinist since the age of four,
Caplan was also drawn to writing.
Now an associate editor of Time Magazine for Kids, he wrote a column
for Princeton Alumni Weekly when he was a student, and got his start
in professional journalism under George Plimpton at the Paris Review.
He has written for Newsweek, where his technology reporting led to
a staff job at Yahoo! Internet Life, a now defunct publication that
kept early Internet users up to date on the hippest, most useful
Internet hype has died down, but the medium only becomes more
Caplan logs on every day, and he and his friends in journalism keep
each other au courant on the best new websites. Here are the ones
he consistently finds most helpful:
but he never uses it. Neither does he thumb through a thesaurus or
seek information for his articles in a medical or a legal dictionary.
Refdesk has replaced all of these books, and more. "It’s Colin
Powell’s favorite site," he says of the omnibus reference tool.
"There’s a translation tool," he says. "You can translate
from English to other languages." The site also provides headlines
from around the world, people search tools, currency converters, job
banks, world clocks, obituaries, crude oil prices, commodities
a daily fuel gauge report, the Old Farmer’s Almanac, NOAA weather
warnings, federal toll free numbers, information on how to clean
zip code finders, college rankings, phone rates, a genealogy search,
Ellis Island records, two airline flight trackers, a weather glossary,
drug information, a perpetual calendar, and a plethora of news-based
jokes. (Letterman: Earlier today, Jack Nicholson announced that he
is addicted to prescription sunglasses.)
Truly, with a refdesk (www.refdesk.com) bookmark, it would
be entirely possible to forego the rest of the Internet.
of the thousands of pages on a big corporation’s website. Chances
are that the address of the page where the information rests will
go on for lines and lines. Try to copy and paste it, and it may break
apart. Try to type it, and there is a good chance you will tear out
your hair and/or make a couple of mistakes.
Caplan has just found a website that cuts those long Internet
down to size. It’s called TinyURL (http: inyurl.com). It replaces
unwieldy addresses with teeny, tiny addresses that never expire. In
addition to references you want to pass on, TinyURL can be used in
place of your home page address if it is too long for potential
to easily remember.
its WayBackMachine. It has indexed and stored pages from Internet
sites large and small, still functioning and defunct. It is a way
to find full text news stories by date, and to re-read articles in
websites that no longer exist.
researchers, and journalists may wonder how they ever functioned
this site. It provides comparative data by country for a host of
including government, health, labor, language, media, military,
transportation, and crime. Each large category has many subcategories.
Under crime, for instance, it is possible to find detailed statistics
for bribery, car theft, burglary, and for a number of kinds of
Data can be presented as a table, a graph, or even a pie chart.
We learn, for example, that the country with the greatest longevity
at birth is Andorra, where males are expected to live to be 80.58
years old, and females should make it, on average, to 86.58. The
States comes in at number 43 for males (74.55 years) and 45th for
females (80.0). As for female decision makers, the United States comes
in first, with 45 percent of all decision makers wearing skirts, at
least in theory. Sri Lanka trails in this category, drawing only 4
percent of its decision makers from the fairer sex.
At the end of each table, NationMaster (www.nationmaster.com) cites
it sources, and, if necessary, explains how it came up with the stats.
For decision makers, it reveals that it drew the numbers from a tally
of legislators, senior officials, and managers.
This site has only been around since June, and promises that "big
things" are on the way.
everything, a boutique site may be a better choice for homing in on
one area. One of Caplan’s new favorites, www.idealist.org, aggregates
articles on social issues. On a recent afternoon, it had posted
on adoption, AIDS, feral cats, health care, housing for artists,
warming, and nutrition in poor countries on its home page. Its sources
are everything from national magazines to small town newspapers.
The site also lists employment and contract work opportunities for
non-profits, upcoming non-profit job fairs, and internship and
because "it gives all perspectives." Avoiding over-heated
rhetoric, the site attempts to give a balanced picture of the major
issues occupying both policy makers and the public. Included are
America’s global rule, campaign finance, child care, crime, gay
immigration, race, the right to die, and Social Security.
For each issue, the site gives an overview, a digest of recent
three perspectives, links to facts, findings, and perspectives, a
list of important players and their contact information, people’s
chief concerns, major proposals, areas of public consensus and
division, cautionary notes about survey findings, and a rundown on
how the site’s editors choose public opinion findings.
a keyboard. But Caplan points out sections of the master-search site
that many surfers miss. One is its catalog of images. Simply click
on the work "images" above the Google logo and type in the
name of a person, place, or thing. The result is page after page of
pictures. Often, links to more information are included.
Another Google progeny is Froogle. A comparison shopping engine, it
is found at www.froogle.com Still another Google sub-site is Google
News. It can be accessed from Google’s main page. Just click on the
"news" tab. Google News lists the top news stories in real
time, providing links to nearly every news outlet in which they
It also lets users know how many papers currently have a story about
Kobe Bryant or the latest Iraq casualties or the progress Roy Hunt
is making after being attacked by a tiger. The numbers in themselves
are a snapshot of the culture. For example, you could see that at
one point there were 2,467 recent articles about Kobe’s trial and
345 about an Israeli/Palestinian dust up.
Each article is given an age notation — 20 minutes ago, 14 hours
old, 22 hours old, and so forth.
The articles, in full text, come from news outlets around the world.
In addition to the big stories, there are sections for leading stories
in a number of categories, including the arts, science, business,
sports, health, and technology.
For Internet trends, which tend to closely mirror trends on dry land,
Google has Google Zeitgeist. Found at www.google.com/press/zeitgeist
or simply by typing the words "Google Zeitgeist" into the
search engine, the site lists top searches for the preceding week
and month overall and by category. For the week ending October 13,
the California recall claimed the top spot, with Kobe at number 3,
right behind Arnold. Napster was at number 6, Uma Thurman at 8, and
Christopher Columbus at 10.
Zeitgeist not only tracks hits in the U.S., but also lists top queries
from other countries. Eminem came in 9th in France and 1st in the
Netherlands, but did not show up in a list of popular subjects in
Italy, Germany, or Canada.
One more Google find Caplan reveals is Google Answers at
Users type in detailed questions, and send them off to Google’s 500
certified researchers. Prices for the responses begin at $2.25. Many
are answered for under $10, but prices can go up to $200. The person
posing the question states what he is willing to pay. In its
the site suggests that fairly simple questions, requiring about 30
minutes research, are fairly priced at $10 to $15. Questions that
require four hours of research should fetch more like $200.
There is a list, by subject, of questions that have been answered,
the price they fetched, and how satisfied the questioner was. The
answers appear to be sophisticated. In addition to the reply, most
researchers provide extensive citations and a number of links to
Caplan says he uses the service to save time, and has been most
both with the quality of the answers and with the speed of the
which can range from a few minutes to the better part of a day.
who use the Internet a lot are constantly surprised by what is out
Industry loses more than $3 billion a year in
due to stress. This according to Eileen Strong, a forensic
and professional speaker whose subject often is how to reduce stress.
Strong, whose business, Strong Incentives, is located in Neptune,
speaks on "The Six Facts of Life that Keep You Balanced and
on Tuesday, November 4, at 6 p.m. at a meeting of the Central Jersey
Women’s Network at the Wyndam Hotel in Mount Laurel. Cost: $35. Call
Strong is no stranger to stress. She recalls the days when her husband
was traveling internationally "non-stop" as part of his job
as a pharmaceutical rep, she was covering a 30-state territory as
a marketer for Sperry Hutchinson, and her daughter was in day care.
She recalls her life as a blur of dashes for the Turnpike, hunts for
parking spots, forages for someone to look after her child, and
phone calls with her husband to find out whether his in-coming flight
would put him anywhere near their child’s caregiver’s house.
The scramble spelled the end of a 20-year career in advertising and
marketing. Strong, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin, had
been a model and then a flight attendant before beginning a career
in advertising at agencies in Chicago. It was there that she met her
husband, Bill Thonack. Early on, he revealed that he was from New
Jersey. "That just about ended the relationship," Strong says.
But he persevered, and the two settled in New Jersey, where Strong
and her team developed Sperry & Hutchinsons’ S&H greenpoints swipe
card promotion — a sort of Green Stamps, Part 2.
Strong took three years off after leaving her S&H greenpoints gig,
and studied hypnosis, becoming, she says, one of only a few forensic
hypnotists in the state. She has a second business, Jersey Shore
also based in Neptune, that works with police departments, including
those in Middletown, Lakewood, and Monmouth on plumbing the
of crime witnesses.
Strong, the mother of 19-year-old Kristin, an opera major at the
of New Jersey, and 15-year-old Grant, has reduced the stress in her
life, but sees effects of the modern malady as she goes about her
rounds as a speaker.
pink slip," she says, "three other employees are emotionally
and physically affected." These employees may shut down
peck idly at their keyboards, or call in sick. Many will actually
become sick, suffering from everything from headaches to heart
seven hours a week, on average, says Strong, but often there is little
extra work to show for the extra time. The added face time, put in
with hopes of avoiding a pink slip, may or may not achieve that
but it almost certainly cuts into valuable time with family and
and decreases opportunities for exercise.
that secretaries suffer more from stress than do CEOs, and no wonder.
Control, says Strong, is a crucial element in reducing stress. No
matter what the rank, employees need to gain whatever control over
their work that they can.
"Write down three things that you can realistically accomplish
during the day," urges Strong. "And don’t just say them, write
them down." As each task is completed, check it off. In doing
so, she says, you are making a contract with yourself, in effect,
becoming your own boss. "When you put it in writing, it gives
closure," she says. "It allows you to feel accomplishment.
It is very satisfying. It is a catharsis."
Another way to control a workday is to reduce stimuli. Go to a quiet
place to write a report. Leave the laptop and the cell phone behind
during your lunch break. Close your door.
a glut of drive-thrus," exclaims Strong. "How many people
sit down to dinner with the whole family three times a week?"
The run-run-run culture means that people are not taking care of
Ironically, she finds that it is women busy taking care of everyone
else who are the most lax in meeting their own needs.
Reverse course, is her advice. Make time for relaxation, family, and
and realize you don’t have to make friends with everybody." With
boundaries in place, and a life’s full of interests you refuse to
skimp on, chances are that even the most stressed-out workplace won’t
drag you under.
The federal estate tax, recently skimming up to 49
of assets over $675,000, appeared to be on the way out. But now,
at least in part to expenses involved in rebuilding Iraq, it may be
poised for a comeback. As part of President Bush’s tax cut package,
explains attorney Valerie Howe, the estate tax exclusion will
rise each year through 2010. But then, in 2011, it returns to where
it was a year ago. The shifts, she says, "make planning
Where not too long ago, a couple could make an estate plan and leave
it alone for a decade, relatively sure that nothing would change,
it is now prudent to rebalance assets every two years or so.
A surprisingly large number of people need to be thinking about estate
planning, and many more urgently need to draft wills, living trusts,
and durable power of attorney. There is an understandable impulse
to put off these tasks, given that they signal an acceptance of
but doing so can have a devastating effect on the family’s financial
Howe talks about must-have documents, and smart estate strategies
when she speaks on "New Jersey Estate Law Changes, Trust Planning,
and Wills" on Wednesday, November 5, at 6:30 p.m. at a free
sponsored by her firm, Mason, Griffin & Pierson, at the Nassau Club.
Call 609-436-1205 for a reservation.
A Hopewell native, Howe studied psychology at the University of
(Class of 1980), and worked as a psychologist for a year before
in the law school of George Washington University. She worked as a
prosecutor for four years, but decided that litigation, with its long,
unpredictable hours, was not a good fit with family life. She enjoyed
tax law, and decided to obtain a master’s degree in the specialty
from William and Mary. With Mason, Griffin & Pierson since 1991, and
a partner for five years, she also returned to Hopewell, which
she praises as an excellent place to raise children.
Many of Howe’s clients are in their 50s and 60s, but she says that
after 9/11 she began seeing much younger people. Bouncing along in
good health, people in their 20s and 30s rarely give a thought to
estate planning. Or they didn’t until 9/11 demonstrated just how badly
things could go wrong. Here is her advice on protecting a family’s
stability, at any age:
did not have wills, Howe says. While it is a common assumption that
assets pass to the surviving spouse, that is not the case. The first
$50,000 of an estate goes to the spouse, but 50 percent of the
goes to the children. "Infants inherited millions of dollars,"
says Howe. One of the biggest problems, she points out, is that,
a will, these babies will have full control of that money when they
turn 18. Parents worry that the children will not go to college and
will not handle the money wisely.
It doesn’t take a tragedy on the scale of 9/11 to create a situation
few young parents would intend. Howe speaks of a client, a woman in
her 20s, whose young husband was killed in a car accident. His estate
was split between his wife and their baby. In addition to worries
about a teenager gaining control of a substantial amount of money,
the surviving spouse has to worry about paying the bills with only
half of an estate.
These problems can be mitigated if there are beneficiaries, and if
the will sets up a trust mechanism for them. In the case of minor
children, for example, a will can state that money is to be put in
trust, and is to be paid out at a given age. Howe says it is often
a good idea to make the payout gradual, perhaps one-third at 21,
at 25, and one-third at 35. Or a teen-ager could receive income from
the trust, and gain access to the principal at a later age.
a grown child’s feelings, often want to name all of their children
as executors of their wills. She discourages this, saying that
executors, and even two executors, complicate the process of settling
the estate. There tend to be differences of opinion, and even in the
best of cases, each of the scores of documents that have to be
signed, and notarized have to be passed back and forth.
"Beneficiaries have significant rights," she points out.
children not named as executors do not have to worry much about being
Howe suggests that naming the eldest child can be a good way to go,
as can naming the child who lives closest. Giving such a relatively
objective rationale to the executor’s siblings can ease any feelings
a good idea to take care of these chores during the visit to the
to prepare a will. The first document states wishes in regard to
treatment in case of incapacitation and the second transfers financial
tasks, also in case of incapacitation.
While thinking of the unthinkable, it is a good idea to take the
a step further and to factor in the doubly unthinkable. "Provide
an alternate," says Howe. That way, should you and the person
you name be seriously injured in the same accident, there will be
someone else to decide on medical care and to keep signing checks
to the mortgage company.
of assets are sheltered from federal estate tax. That figure, not
so long ago the mark of extravagant wealth, has descended to a pretty
routine estate figure for many middle class families.
says Howe, "life insurance is included in the estate." Add
a home, the value of which may have increased 10-fold in the past
three decades, and a lot more people have an interest in sheltering
assets from federal estate tax.
and tends to be very different for different families, but there are
some general principles. A start could be taking an insurance policy
out of the estate by putting it in a trust. This works well for term
insurance policies, which are pure insurance. It can get more tricky
with whole life policies, Howe points out, because placing them in
an estate puts them off limits. It is no longer possible, for example,
to borrow from a policy once it has been put in a trust.
million for each person, therefore it is generally a good idea to
divide assets between spouses, to keep each, if possible, under that
mark. This is where rebalancing needs to occur for many families.
Next year the exclusion rises to $1.5 million. In 2006, it is $2
and in 2009, $3.5 million. The increases might mean that ownership
of a business or a summer house or a stock portfolio should be
a spouse to pass $1 million into a trust for his mate upon his death.
This money typically is used for the mate’s needs after other assets
have been depleted. Upon the death of the surviving spouse it passes,
untaxed, to the other beneficiaries. The tax-free status applies,
Howe explains, even if the money has appreciated significantly in
at the federal level, states were losing revenue. Some, New Jersey
among them, decided to do something about the situation. So, while
the federal exclusion is now $1 million, and will rise considerably
over the next few years, New Jersey has passed a law under which it
collects 11 to 14 percent of everything over $675,000.
how well their adult children get along. Few anticipate problems when
the will is read, but says Howe, "I see the other end." There
are often squabbles after a parent dies, but, surprisingly, they are
most often not over money. The bone of contention? Personal
"I had two sisters go to court over photographs," she says.
listing of bequests of personal belongings in an addendum to a will,
and, says Howe, it is easy to draw one up. No witnesses or notaries
are required. Just name the gifts and their recipients, and date and
sign the list.
your affairs in order," but a knowledge of the full consequences
of not doing so should be enough to encourage many to schedule an
appointment to plot estate strategy.
If Governor James E. McGreevey has his way, the state’s
three public research universities will merge. To pay for this
venture, he proposes to float a $1.5 billion to $2 billion bond
in 2004. All of this is part of the governor’s overall plan to
the state as a research center for the life sciences. P. Roy
former chairman and chief executive officer of Merck & Co. and
of two committees working on this merger, speaks about this reform
at the Princeton Chamber on Thursday, November 6, at 11:30 a.m. at
the Doral Forrestal. Cost: $33. Call 609-520-1776.
The plan would consolidate Rutgers University, the University of
and Dentistry of New Jersey, and New Jersey Institute of Technology
into a single university system. There would be campuses in Newark,
New Brunswick, and Camden, but one chancellor and one board of regents
in Trenton would be in charge of the 65,000-student system.
McGreevey’s education advisors think that this plan would help the
universities attract more federal research grants, keep students from
leaving the state for their college experience, and help the state
stay competitive as a leader in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology.
New Jersey is not perceived as being in the upper echelon of the
public research universities, say these advisors.
Of the three institutions, only the president of UMDNJ opposes the
plan; he has said he believes his Newark-based institution would not
fare well under the new system. If all goes according to plan, a bond
proposal will be on the ballot next fall, and it will be positioned
as a job-creating tool rather than a reorganization of funding for
The David Sarnoff Library is holding a fundraising
reception after this year’s performance of the War of the Worlds on
Saturday, November 1, at 7 p.m. A Martian Costume Contest at 6 p.m.
precedes the performance.
The reception includes a personal tour of the inventions and
on display at the library. They trace the evolution of radio,
computers, and modern electronics. Tickets are $35. For more
cleans, and distributes thousands of coats to those in need throughout
our area. The company has distributed over 10,000 coats and other
garments to children and others in need over the past 13 years.
Anyone with a gently worn coat to donate is asked to drop it off at
the company’s facility at 92 North Main Street, Windsor. Betty Brite
will also pick up coats from regular customers and is collecting coats
through many retailers, schools, and professional offices. Look for
the Coats for Kids poster.
Any organization that would like to collect clothing, or help in
is asked to call Arthur Weiss of Betty Brite at 609-426-4600.
Energy Services (NJ Shares) is now collecting donations through
iGive.com to assist people in temporary need with their natural gas
and electric utility bills. Donations are made through funds its
have raised by doing their everyday online shopping through iGive.com,
an online charity shopping mall. Up to 25 percent of every purchase
is given to NJ Shares at no extra cost to the shopper or to the
NJ Shares is a statewide non-profit that provides grants to pay the
utility bills of households in need through a network of 50
social service agencies. For more information call 1-866-NJSHARE or
YMCAs throughout the region will help children Grab
Some Knowledge this Halloween with KFCs new local book solicitation
program. Grab Some Knowledge is an initiative of KFC, the YMCA, and
local communities to help increase early childhood reading skills
and promote a love of literacy.
The book drive, sponsored by the Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern
New Jersey, and Delaware KFC restaurant owners and operators,
has provided bookshelf drop-off displays to more than 50 YMCAs. The
displays include a receptacle that allows the individuals to drop
off books, which will be placed on the shelves, and used as a lending
library. In return, KFC will offer each person who donates a book
a coupon for one free individual popcorn chicken.
The program began on Monday, October 20. For more information, call
Allyson Gross at 610-667-7313.
400 free pizzas in a three-hour span to show its support of the
Hamilton Half Marathon, which took place on Sunday, October 26. The
race was organized by the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
Hamilton Foundation to benefit the Cancer Institute of New Jersey
at Hamilton. Rue Insurance was a sponsor of the event.
Melissa Walker, a cancer survivor and director of the Cancer Care
Program at Hamilton, served as honorary chairperson. She ran her first
half marathon in the fall of 2002, shortly after her 30th birthday,
in celebration of her one-year remission date.
Brothers Pizza served its pies at the finish line.
with VIDISolutions, America Online
to offer a video messaging system to military families. The initiative
is called Project Video Connect.
Project Video Connect enables military families to create and send
video messages by installing VIDITalk, a video communication software
application on computers at Red Cross chapters and stations around
the world. VIDITalk lets individuals easily create a high-quality
video and send it to any E-mail address using video and audio
instead of large file attachments. Service members can open their
E-mail and get up to 10 minutes of video from home, regardless of
where they are.
To schedule a one-hour appointment, military families can call
Hours of operation are Monday and Thursday from 5:30 to 8 p.m.,
and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Saturday from 9 to 11:30
Information on other Red Cross outreach services is available at
As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Prescriptives
division of the Estee Lauder Companies is holding a cocktail
party and silent auction fundraiser at Drumthwacket on Sunday,
2. Attendees are asked to donate $150 to benefit the Breast Cancer
For more information, call 212-572-4018.
Anyone wishing to apply to Middlesex Community College
may do so online. By logging on to www.middlesexcc.edu and following
prompts on the home page, students may submit all the information
needed to process their applications. The $25 application fee may
be charged through Visa, MasterCard, or Discover.
All instructions, prompts, and deadlines for applications appear on
the college home page. There is also a telephone number which students
may use to call a help line for assistance in working through the
Raritan Valley Community College in North Branch has signed a new
transfer agreement with Montclair State University that will make
it easier for RVCC graduates to enroll in the teacher education
program at Montclair.
The agreement enables RVCC’s Associate of Arts graduates to transfer
into Montclair’s teacher education program with full junior standing.
For more information, contact Janet Thompson at 908-526-1200, ext.
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) has
two new features on its website (www.njmvc.gov). They are designed
to improve customer service by reducing visits and/or wait times at
The first is the option to schedule a road test online. Customers
may now make an appointment for their road test by choosing from three
Driver Testing Centers, one each in north, central, and southern New
The second feature allows customers to request a copy of their own
driving history online. With a few keystrokes, motorists can view
and/or send away for their driving record. There is not additional
fee for requesting the information online.
The MVC plans to add new online services every six months.
Corrections or additions?
This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.