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Trenton, NJ

(609) 433-0489

Jacque Howard's Trenton 365 is a community building program that advocates for and endorses private citizens, nonprofit groups and businesses in the greater Trenton area. 

Lifestyle By Amans Brindled

Trashed Art Exhibit - Mercer County Library, Lawrenceville Branch

Matt Pilsner

Frequently I like to spend a few hours in a local library catching up on administrative items, researching or some quiet time reading.  The Lawrenceville NJ Branch of the Mercer County Library System is one of my favorites.

They have a decent Internet connection, the staff is very helpful, friendly and the location is usually on my route into or out of New Jersey’s capital city, Trenton.

On a recent trip my attention was captured by a piece of art.  While inspecting the sculpture I was approached by one of the staff members who explained that this piece of art was a part of the annual event, “TRASHED ART- A Contest for Creative Trash Transformation.”

The event coordinator Karen Serach was not available at the time but I was given information about the event, a tour of several pieces from previous events and asked to contact Karen with any other inquiries.  I did just that and was delighted to sit down with Karen Serach and to chat about her, and her efforts.  Have a listen to our conversation.


On the day of the reception I bumped into longtime Artworks Trenton supporter Glen Moore who entered a piece.  We chatted about the local art scene and of course Artworks before our recorded chat.  Have a listen to that conversation.

In addition to seeing Glen I met a new friend Marilyn Dombroski who was representing her Husband Gene Domborski and his submission.  We chatted for several minutes about mutual friends, aquaintances and of course artwork.  Have a listen to our chat.

Karen Serach is a very warm spirit who is passionate about the environment, art and sustainability.  I appreciate art in most forms and encourage the efforts of people who want to incorporate more art into the lives of the general public.

Female Fashion & Civic Engagement "Fashion To Figure" Quakerbridge Mall Lawrenceville NJ

Jacque Howard

March 2015

On Saturday March 21, 2015, Trenton 365 coordinated a fashion event to showcase several women from the Mercer County Region who are committed to civic engagement and enjoy the art and craft of fashion!

This event was held in partnership with Fashion To Figure a women’s fashion retailer that specializes in trendy fashions for women size 12-26.

Store Manager Alicia Thomas and Regional Manager Sandra Havertong were immediately on-board with the concept and handled in store logistics.

CEO Michael Kaplan understands the importance of the surrounding community where his stores are located.  Have a listen to our chat.

Company founders Michael and brother Nick are the great-grandsons of Lena H. Bryant the revolutionary businesswoman and visionary dressmaker who pioneered plus-size fashion more than 110 years ago.  The great-grandmother of the Kaplan brothers affectionately known as “Gram” had a passion and belief: “never ask women to conform their figures to fashion, but rather bring fashion to the figure.  This statement continues to inspire the Kaplan brothers and drives their mission as they encourage the notion that fashion is a state of mind, not a size range.

Will Foskey of Trenton Going Global handled the photographic documentation.

Kakeya Floyd of The Doll House handled the hair and makeup for the participants.

Participants included
Megan Wear – Visual Fine Artist and Endangered Animal Activist.

Megan is continuing her work on her endangered species series as well as working on some new repurposed furniture.  Megan states, “civic engagement is very important, if one cares about ones community one should be active and supportive of people and institutions fighting for change. It doesn't have to be on a grand scale all the time but just being aware of what you can offer and do to help is what's important.”

“If I could say one thing to encourage it would just be to do it, don't over think it do it. Cause if u don't u never will, and you could miss out on a life changing experience.”

Neisha Kelly – Writer and Spoken Word Artist.

Neisha is currently working on her first novel "Trapped: Inside the Mind of an Addict" a three volume series on my personal battle with addiction.

My quote about civic engagement is "Kindness and courtesy goes a long way, learn to give a little bit each and every day." 
A quote to encourage others "Never let a dream be deferred." Inspired by Langston Hughes poem A Dream Deferred 

Marisol Sanchez – Street Outreach Counselor with Anchor House NJ (A Multi-Service Agency for Runaway and Homeless Youth & Their Families)
609-218-5630  office

Currently, Marisol is a Street Outreach Counselor at Anchor House, Inc., a non-profit multi-service agency for runaway and homeless youth and their families.  “Anchor House’s mission is to work with homeless, runaway and abused children and youth to utilize their strengths and the support of their families and communities in order to ensure a stable and successful home.  Anchor House offers a continuum of care from birth to 21 years of age.”  Marisol is responsible for providing outreach and education services to run away, homeless and street youth, she provides crisis intervention to youth who are at risk for sexual abuse and exploitation, emergency shelter placements, referrals, home based interventions and counseling and education services throughout Mercer County and the State of New Jersey. 

Marisol is a dedicated mother of a 16 year old son and a 10 year old daughter, a member of the Mercer County Council for Young Children, an advocate for children and literacy, an advocate for the youth, for families, for the homeless population, for the undocumented community and for education; her most important advocacy is for Juvenile Diabetes.  

“Civic engagement cultivates and shapes communities for the better.  I strongly believe that we must engage and enable people in the community to enact the changes they want in their community and thrive.  Through civic engagement, we have the power to bring residents together, encourage local leadership, cultivate creativity and strengthen neighborhoods.”

“A confident woman is BEAUTIFUL…especially when she knows who she is, why she is and what she’s supposed to do.  A confident woman is not afraid to be herself and she understands her purpose.  She knows that there are certain things only she can contribute to the world!”

“This is where Fashion to Figure comes into play….Fashion to Figure brings out the Beauty and Confidence in all Full-Figure and Curvy Women; through their vibrant and trendy, affordable, everyday fashions!!!”

I had an amazing experience at the Female Fashion & Civic Engagement Event.  I was able to share some great laughs and the spotlight with beautiful, positive, talented, inspiring and extraordinary women from our community…doing great things!  Thank you for the opportunity and experience; it was an honor to be a part of this event. 

“Sometimes the BEST thing you can do for yourself is REFLECT…”

6. Taylor Pickett Stokes – Performing Artist and Instructor

Facebook: Taylor Pickett-Stokes
Fanpage: SoulfulT&TheBand
Instagram: Soulful_tee
twitter:Soulful T 

Soulful T and The Band at Ramapo College May 2nd more projects to be confirmed in the month of May.

A quote about the importance of Civic Engagement
Give 100% or Don't Give at all.
A quote about your experience at Fashion To Figure
Love the Skin you're in, You are S.O.U.L.F.U.L
A quote to encourage others
You Never Lose you either Win or Learn.
If you have any questions feel free to contact.   
Taylor Pickett-Stokes A.KA. Soulful T @ 609-643-3971

Thank You.
"God. Requires. Obedience. Worship. Truth. & Humility."

7. Caitlin Fair – Community Organizer and Activist

The OneTrenton Project does a monthly Books and Breakfast program at Shiloh Baptist church every third Saturday of the month. We serve hot breakfast to the community and give out books to youth 18 and under. Our next one will be a special edition in the month of May in conjunction with the Capital City Book Fair. We will be having a #BooksAndBBQ in Mill Hill Park on Saturday, May 2nd from 12pm-2pm. We will have a DJ, food, books, and children's characters for the kids to take pictures with. We also do a weekly Teach-in at the Carver Center on Thursdays from 6:30-8. We discuss various civic engagement topics, as well as Black history, current events, and social justice issues. We also run a "Poetry in Protest" campaign, through which we use various mediums of art to promote awareness about issues of social justice and raise money for grassroots organizations around the country.

Civic engagement is the difference between a reactive community and a proactive community. The more we engage with each other as a community, the stronger and more powerful we become. If we believe it is the responsibility, or the intention, of our administrations to educate and empower us, we are sorely mistaken. It is both our responsibility and our most powerful tool to educate ourselves and each other, and therefore empower and embolden our communities to create the kinds of places we want to live.

The Fashion to Figure event was both fun and powerful. I think that often times, women are the silent workers and unsung heroines within our communities. They are quietly and unassumingly doing much of the work, while getting little credit. I think these are often the same women who tend to overlook themselves in order to help others. To have a whole event not only to honor, but to pamper and celebrate those women, is outstanding. It gives those women the opportunity to be the ones in the spotlight for once, and rightfully so.

Keep pushin. I tell myself this daily. This kind of work is never easy, never pretty, and never glorious. And that's not what its about. If you do this work, it's because you know it is way bigger than you, and way bigger than all of us. And for that reason, we always gotta keep pushin, and may to God be the glory!

Ayana Tru Beauty Rah – Educator and Owner of Timbuk2 Academy Pre-School and Daycare

Public contact info
Work for TPD in the Juvenile Unit as a Youthstat coordinator.
CEO/Director of Timbuk2academy Academy, LLC 
Phone: 6099776406
PO BOX 267
Ig&twitter @timbuk2academy

Currently we are fundraising to purchase supplies for the academy. Our goal is to raise between 10-15k, however, if we raise more this will help us to secure all of the things we need. Payments can be sent or via mail Timbuk2 Academy, LLC 
PO BOX 267, Trenton, NJ 08602. 
In addition, we are selling items at the school store all shirts are on sale for $15.00, all proceeds benefit the Academy. Link here:
We will have a Gofundme posted this week, be on the lookout for it. Last, we will host something very special for Mothers day so please be on the lookout for that as well. Please follow us on facebook and instagram for daily updates, and share our information with family and friends. ALL PROCEEDS BENEFIT THE ACADEMY!

Civic engagement is about bringing communities together to identify, disect and solve our problems together. It's about applying the knowledge, skills and values to improve the lives of those within the community. It's a form of empowerment...people need to know that they have a voice, a right and a responsibility to speak out on issues which effect the quality of their lives. We have to start working together and we must instill such values in our children to do so as well. 

The fashion to figure experience was uplifting, fun and empowering. As women, we must remember to embrace our femininity, be soft, yet confident and love who we are unapologetically; be a woman. I work with young ladies daily and weather I choose to accept it or not, these girls look up to me, they watch how I move, how I dress, how I style my hair, the way I speak, how I treat myself etc. This event reminded me to always keep that in mind.  In addition, the other women who participated in the event are pretty amazing. 

My advise for others, especially our youth, is to always stay true to self. Be honest.  Whatever you do, do it with integrity and good intention; good character goes a long way. Find your purpose in life and never give up on yourself or your goals.  Lastly, have fun and don't be afraid to celebrate you!! 

5. Tina Hamlett – Proprietor of House of Fashionz

I had a wonderful experience! The staff was very professional and pleasant. I felt like a celebrity! 

We should all work together to become successful. Always compliment and support the next person.

I am a true believer in customer service! Always treat others as you want them to treat you. I was taught that when I was younger and I never forgot. I tell my kids all the time.

Thank you so much for this opportunity. I received a lot of positive feedback.

House of Fashionz LLC
Instagram: houseoffashionz

8. Penny Praline – Performing Artist

Latonia Brown-Dickerson
(973) 444-0876

Brown Magnolia Presents, "BROWN FACES ON THE GREENS" Junior Golf & Enrichment Summer


Brown Faces on The Greens is a Junior Golf and Enrichment Program offered to the youth of Trenton, Hamilton and the surrounding areas ages 5 to 16.

This program introduces the youth to the game of golf while they learn to apply the principles in golf to their everyday lives. Our program Core Values (Dignity, Accountability, Integrity, Loyalty, Fortitude,Dedication, Sportsmanship and Civility) are integrated throughout the entire program. The program also introduces enrichment and empowering workshops to help address the concern of the youth. The workshops focus on Positive Self – Esteem, Healthy Lifestyles and Anti – Bullying/Peer Pressure.

Trenton 365 is committed to encouraging civic engagement as a model to improve communities.  To accomplish this, partnerships are critical to be successful, thank you to:

Hot Sauce 4 Good
Happy Wanderer Bakery

Joe Canal’s

Thank you to all of the partners for this event and an extra special thank you to the staff of Fashion To Figure Quakerbridge!

Nordstrom Rack Princeton Grand Opening

Jacque Howard

March 2015
Nordstrom Rack Grand Opening

On Location for the Nordstrom Rack Princeton Grand Opening at the Mercer Mall in Lawrenceville NJ.

The potential of rain didn’t halt ~ 300 people mostly women, from lining up to enter the “upscale fashion” retailers outlet store, the first in Mercer County NJ.

Many shoppers in the Delaware Valley Region travel to the Cherry Hill NJ and Pennsylvania locations for the discounted offerings of brands such as Cole Hann, Original Penguin, Calvin Klein, Kate Spade, English Laundry, Michael Kors and many more.

The Nordstrom Rack outlet store offers a little bit of everything fashion related including clothing in segments; casual, dress, semi-formal, sleep/lounge wear, accessories, beauty supply/toiletries for women, men and children as well as linens and other items for the home.

My personal experience was a good one.  The store was well presented and staffed with some employees having moved from as far away as Atlanta GA for this employment opportunity. 

Most of the customers I chatted with were very pleasant and looking forward to having a Nordstrom Rack in the area.  Depending on whom you talk to they may have several choices for upscale fashion in the Trenton NJ region.

Of course I made a new friend Anita, who asked me for some advice regarding men’s fashion, specifically shirts and ties for her conservative husband whom she is slowly introducing to the modern world of men’s fashion.  Stay tuned for more about Anita!

I am often asked of the method behind what I cover, what I do, what I endorse etc., well there is a method, a plan and in short it’s to build a better community through civic engagement.  If you are interested get in touch, I am always looking for partners, contributors and of course interesting things to cover!

Garden Cities: Urban Ag in the Garden State Conference Information

Jacque Howard

March 2015

Urban Agriculture
Ag In The City Conference
Newark NJ

The sold out event included panel speakers:

Karen Washington of Let’s Get Farming

Have a listen to my conversation with Karen.

Mary Seton Corboy of Greensgrow Philly

Laura Lawson Professor and Chair of the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences

The event was coordinated by the newly created Ag In The City non-profit located on State St. in Trenton NJ.

The importance of food is never under debate as it shouldn’t be, however there is a long history and a number of growing efforts to educate the populous about access to food. 

Urban areas are often called “food deserts” because they have limited access to foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables.  This debate will continue as many players voice opinions about the hierarchy of food not to mention the merchants and the economy of food.

The Isles organization with over 30 years of experience has a database of over 50 gardens in New Jersey’s capital city including school, share and community gardens.

In short Urban Agriculture is growing fruits, herbs and vegetables as well as raising animals in cities.  So much more information is available on the Internet have a look at these links.

New Jersey is called the Garden State and conferences like this are fine examples of the efforts of many from various backgrounds taking an active approach to address a fundamental need, FOOD.

City-Wide Community/Police Dialogue

Jacque Howard

February 2015

Trenton 365 On Location
February 23, 2015
Community/Police Dialogue

City-Wide Community/Police Dialogue. Continuing our Local Conversation.

6:30-8:30pm, door open at 6pm.

This is a moderated dialogue and everyone has a voice.

Moderators: Rev. Karen Hernandez-Granzen and Patrick Hall 

Mayor Jackson and Police Director Parrey will be joining us for the dialogue.

Organized by the Trenton Citizens-Police Advisory Council and the Trenton Police Department.

FREE PARKING is available behind the building, on the street and in the State parking lots across the street and the other side of the War Memorial off Memorial Drive. There is also a paid parking garage next to the Wyndham Garden Hotel.

For more information on the dialogue: Maria Kelly ( 609-273-3490) 

For more details see:

Approximately 200 people were in attendance for this rescheduled event held at the Historic Masonic Temple, which proved to be a good location.

Moderators Rev. Karen Hernandez-Granzen and former Mayoral Candidate Patrick Hall did a fine job keeping the evening flowing along with coordinator Maria Kelly and the other members of the team.  The City of Trenton Administration was represented along with the TPD-Trenton Police Department and various organizations, business and community leaders.

This gathering of “who’s who” in Trenton Civic Engagement provided a first step to address concerns and the sharing of information between citizens and the police.  The panel included CPAC-Citizens Police Advisory Committee, TCCA-Trenton Council of Civic Associations members, residents and Police Director Ernest Parrey.

The audience was an adequate representation of citizens in Trenton including the 3 largest ethnic populations, African American or Black, Caucasian or White and Latino Hispanic however noticeably missing were the youth and the under 25 years old population.

Although much of the comments from the citizens were an opportunity to vent or get issues off ones chest, questions were asked regarding efforts to improve quality of life issues, traffic units, treatment of residents by law enforcement, newly acquired vehicles and more. 

This event was a good start to developing better relations between the police and residents of New Jersey’s Capital City however the fact remains we have work to do in several areas but not limited to the engagement of citizens in the process to make Trenton a better community, including and actively listening to the youth and young adult residents, addressing quality of life issues such as the enforcement of ordinances regarding noise control, cleanliness, traffic violations and many other items that are a staple to life in the surrounding communities of Ewing, Lawrence, Hamilton, Princeton and Bordentown.

Dan Fatton, former President of the I Am Trenton Foundation and a resident of the Mill Hill neighborhood, made suggestions regarding policing and offered to work with Director Parrey and any others in an effort to research the idea of decriminalizing marijuana in Trenton NJ. 

I find this subject very interesting considering the early success of the 23 + States that have some law on the books regarding the legalization/decriminalization or medical usage of the plant.

A lack of person power, attracting new business and funding are often brought up when it comes to the current status of Trenton NJ, would a progressive step like legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana turn Trenton around overnight?  Probably not but I haven’t heard many other suggestions that can/are either.  I believe we have a wonderful opportunity to think and act  aggressively/progressively/creatively and globally in an effort to improve Trenton NJ.
Remember “Trenton New Jersey is where George Washington became George Washington” and therefore where the United States of America was born!

Photo Clubs

Jacque Howard

March 2015

Photo Clubs

More than 50% of the US population has a camera as per Forbes.

Well the Trenton Region has several and recently I spent some time with let’s say 2+ of them. 

The 30 plus year old “Princeton Photography Club” is led by the Husband and Wife team Carl and Sheila Geisler. 

I met the Geisler’s at the “Subway to Gallery” opening held at the “Lakefront Art Gallery” located on the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Hamilton Campus.  The event featured several familiar artist including Leon Rainbow, Andrew Wilkinson, Ricardo Barrios and Will “Kasso.”

The Princeton Photography Club has a long history and encourages people visit the website or a meeting and consider joining.

The Trenton Photo Club is lead by Chris Marinari; recently I joined him and some of the members for an event.  We met at the Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie. 

It was a sunny but chilly Saturday afternoon in the 1 of 2 Frederick Law Olmstead designed parks in Trenton.   Have a listen to the brief conversation we had.

Finally I had the pleasure to me Keith Swango from an Ewing NJ based Photo Club who recently connected with Chris and the Trenton Club. 

It's Just A Tree Right?

Jacque Howard

February 2015

It’s Just a Tree right?

In 2011 myself and several other residents wanted to be more civically engaged and spoke to South Ward Councilman George Muschal and South Ward CPAC President Christine Donohue about Civic Associations in our area.  We attended TCCA-Trenton Council of Civic Associations meetings and began the process to create our own association.  This was done under the organizational model that neighbors who live closer together would have similar concerns and therefore be more united regarding a particular issue.

Later that year FPNEBA-Franklin Parks Northeast Block Association was formed and recognized by TCCA at it’s Annual Dinner.

FPNEBA members decided one of our areas of focus would be to address the cleanliness and maintenance of Franklin Park, making it more appealing and accessible to adults and children.  We contacted several people in the applicable City of Trenton departments and positions about our concerns and desires.  We were told the City had staffing issues and budget restrictions that would limit the ability to have our concerns addressed.  It was suggested that we could handle the maintenance ourselves. 

Shortly after as we began organizing, Supervisor James Mack and I met at Franklin Park and walked throughout.  I was specifically told what was and was not acceptable to do regarding our efforts.  One item specifically was to not remove any shrubbery, trees, plants or flowers from the root.  Trimming was allowed and encouraged however removal would violate City Law and responsible parties would be subject to disciplinary action.  It was also necessary to obtain a permit to clean the park.  

Since that time FPNEBA and several organizations like the Mercer County SLAP Program, CARETRENTON, Franklin Park Civic Association, Trenton Bicycle Modification Association and others have worked on a regular basis as volunteers to maintain the park.

After Hurricane Sandy in October 2012 several trees in Franklin Park were damaged and in need of trimming or removal if the tree was deemed unhealthy.  At least 4 trees were listed as damaged, unhealthy or dead and were trimmed to the point that they resemble “totem poles.”  I was told that the City does NOT have the ability to “grind stumps” therefore the “totem pole” look of the dead trees would have to stay.  As of December 2014 the “totem pole” trees were in the same state.

The ~35 foot evergreen tree was taken from Franklin Park not Villa Park.  Franklin Park is 1 of 2 parks in Trenton NJ designed by Fredrick Law Olmsted, arguably known as the founder of Landscape Architecture.  He also designed Prospect and Central Park’s in NYC, The Lawrenceville School and several others.

Pop Up Businesses and more

Jacque Howard

February 2015

Jacque Howard – Pop Up Store

You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one” John Lennon – Imagine Lyrics

I think pop-up Artisan Shops are exactly what Trenton needs.  Economically we have a lack of people who want to invest in the Capital City.  There are several reasons behind why Trenton lags behind in thriving businesses however this should not deter us from trying a variety of methods. 

We live in a global community and have more successful examples at our fingertips because of the progress in technology than at anytime in history.  Why not consider trying a new method?

In the past 18-24 months I have had several conversations with various people about the subject of abandoned commercial buildings in Trenton.  Because of my education and early professional experience I am always looking at the Art of Fashion.  Today “Fashion” is not just garments you wear but a complete market with the most famous designers/artists having hands in clothing, accessories, footwear, bedding, housewares, automobiles and much more. 

I like to use Ralph Lauren as an example.  He started his business selling ties and now he is the 155th wealthiest person in the world according to Forbes.  Have a look at this from his wiki page.

In 1966, when he was 26, he was inspired to design a wide, European-style necktie he had seen Douglas Fairbanks Jr wearing, but the idea was rejected by the company he worked for as not being commercially viable. He left to establish his own company working out of a drawer in the Empire State Building, taking rags and turning them into ties. He sold the ties to small shops in New York, with a major turning point when he was approached by Neiman Marcus, who bought 1,200.[10]
In 1967, with the financial backing of Manhattan clothing manufacturer Norman Hilton, Lauren opened a necktie store where he also sold ties of his own design, under the label "Polo."[11] He later received the rights to use the trademark Polo from Brooks Brothers, however Brooks Brothers managed to retain its rights to the iconic "original polo button-down collar" shirt (still produced today), in spite of Lauren's Polo trademark. In 1971, he expanded his line and opened a Polo boutique on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.[12]

Options or opportunities like this exist today and they will tomorrow as well.  The issue is will we see them, invest in them, support them or work harder for them to not exist or succeed.  Unfortunately I believe Trenton has more people with “power” working for things to not succeed.  Stay tuned for my post about “Power” in the near future.

Imagine pop-up Artisan Shops that could change monthly or within other short-term limits, here are a few suggestions:

Chocolates and other baked goods
            Happy Wanderer Bakery by Estelle Edwards Orr
            Vintage Sweets by Meaghan Callahan Singletary


Custom/Tailored clothing
            Men’s and Women’s fashions by Ray Vincente
            Custom Art Applied by Clifford Ward

            Functional Artwork
            Furniture by Megan Uhaze Wear

Or maybe a Butcher, Fromagere, Florist, Candlemaker Hot Sauce or a Barista!  Why not have your mobile device case turned into artwork like William Kasso did for me, or source products to other artists to create custom pieces like Anthony Fearron with his headwear and belts or hire a local DJ for your next event like DJ John Tangency or DJ Its Just Ahmad, maybe a mural in your home, office or as a gift by Robin Robinson, Kelly Ingram, Jonathan Conner aka Lank Williams Jr. or hire a food truck to cater your next event like Trenton locals Tim McRae of the “WTF-Where’s The Food Truk” or Adriano Redante of Braz BQ.

I can speak personally of the Trentonians listed in this piece and challenge you to find out yourself.  What team are you choosing to be a part of?  The inclusive one who seeks to edify or the one that sees or believes that nothing good can come out of or from Trenton?

Some people design, some construct, some coordinate, I come up with ideas and work to make them happen!  There is a place for everyone in the marketplace and the sooner we recognize and galvanize all of the pieces the better our community will be because of the evolution.



2015 MLK Day of Service - Social Clean Up

Jacque Howard

MLK Day of Service Event “MLK Day Social Cleanup”

Have a look at the press release distributed to media outlets within Trenton NJ and the Region.

Monday January 19th, 2015

On the National Holiday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., several local organizations, residents and supporters of Trenton will gather for a non-traditional day of service.

At Columbus Park located on Hamilton Ave in the Chambersburg section, Trenton Going Global, CARETRENTON, Bethany House of Hospitality the Center for Faith Justice and Trenton 365 will partner for this one day/rain or shine event.

At this gathering to cleanup the park and surrounding areas of litter and light debris, several attendees will read passages of the historic “I have a dream” speech by the slain civil rights leader.  In addition spoken word artists will have the chance to perform original works in the context of Dr. King’s work and literature will be distributed to the community regarding social programs and services.

Volunteers of all ages are encouraged to participate, please dress appropriately including proper footwear and gloves.

Donations of supplies and water are welcome.  Non-perishable food will be collected and donated to the Crisis Ministry of Mercer County.

This event will be documented via video and photograph to be shared through various networks to encourage non-traditional efforts to honor the work of Dr. King.

Approximately 100 people of various ethnicity's, ages, cultures, communities and states came together for the annual event coordinated by Trenton Going Global, CARETRENTON, Bethany House of Hospitality and Trenton 365.

Will Foskey of Trenton Going Global documented this event in 2014 and shortly thereafter during debriefing conversations, Foskey of Trenton NJ thought the event could be larger and have a broader message.  Later that year he organized a meeting with original coordinators Elissa Horan of CARETRENTON, and Jacque Howard of Trenton 365.  Kimby Heil who helped to coordinates volunteers during the 2014 event from the Lawrenceville NJ based, Center for Faith Justice and Keianna Childs of Trenton Going Global met and the 2015 foundation was laid.

Elissa Horan a Trenton NJ resident for over 45 years, started CARETRENTON as an effort to improve the community through cleanups and beautification projects.  Art Educator Elissa is the daughter of Joeseph Horan of the Horan Funeral Home.  She began this movement by cleaning not only curb and street side by her home and the former funeral home but also her neighbors.  Shortly neighbors and others joined in.  Elissa stated “this is very simple, no long meetings, politics or drama, give what you can, time and effort wise.”  CARETRENTON has coordinated dozens of events in Trenton with organizations and events like Art All Night, the Trenton St. Patricks Day Parade, SAGE Coalition and more.

Kimby Heil met Jacque Howard a few years ago and offered to coordinate volunteers for the 2014 MLK event and the friendship took off.  Heil now a resident at the Bethany House of Hospitality where Howard was the Project Manager for the rehabilitation of the former “manse” was a natural partner for this years event.  Along with other residents the 2015 event would now have a “tirage” site.

Kianna Childs, a friend of Foskey also representing Trenton Going Global although new to Horan, Howard and Hiel, brought several other groups into the effort, coordinated volunteers and handled logistics.  Her son was the lead in the promotional video for this years event.

After a brief meeting the volunteers were off picking up litter, downed branches and debris at Columbus Park.  They then traveled East on Hamilton towards Chambers St. with others groups going North on Monmouth St. towards Walnut Ave.

Literature from several organizations such as TASK-Trenton Area Soup Kitchen, Crisis Ministry, Isles, CARETRENTON, Meals On Wheels Trenton/Ewing and Trenton 365 were hand delivered to residents in an effort to share about services available in both English and Spanish as well as to promote civic engagement.

Special thank you to Photographer Michael Mancuso of the Trenton Times and and Nora Muchanic of 6abc Action News of Philadelphia, The City of Trenton, Councilwomen Marge Caldwell-Wilson and Verlina Reynolds-Jackson.

Shortly footage will be produced into a segment to encourage more activities on MLK Day.

Trenton YMCA Begin your New Year & New You 2015

Jacque Howard

Trenton YMCA New Year & New You Event
Saturday January 10, 2015

“Begin your New Year & New You at the Y! Join us on Saturday, January 10th from 9 am to 2 pm for Fitness, Fun & Friends - A FREE Fitness Open House featuring Youth Sports, Zumba, Hot Hula, Butt n' Gutt, Cardio Kickboxing and more! Free healthy lunch served!”

9a to 11a: Youth Sports
11a to 12p: Free sessions with personal trainer
12p to 2p: Fitness party, giveaways, raffles and healthy lunch

The Trenton YMCA located at 431 Pennington Road offers a myriad of services to the community.  On this particular day myself and ~100 others came to the brightly lit and buzzing with activity facility.
The following message from CEO Samuel Frisby says it all.

The YMCA of Trenton is an organization with a long standing history in the Mercer County area. Founded in 1856, this Y was one of the very first in the United States of America, considering that YMCA’s did not come to the USA until 1850. The very first professional basketball game was played at the YMCA in Trenton; our history has been proud and strong, but our future is even stronger.
Here at the YMCA of Trenton the Board of Directors and the Staff share a commitment to nurturing the potential of our most valuable asset as a community, our children, promoting healthy living and fostering a strong sense of social responsibility. During these tough economic times Trenton like many other cities is going through many difficult challenges, but there are no challenges that communities who genuinely care about the well being of each other cannot overcome. The YMCA of Trenton is committed to creating an environment that allows families and communities to grow together.
Our organization stands on the foundation of Y-USA, our national organization which is 21 million strong and has more than 2,600 Y associations nationwide. With the assistance of this network we will continue to build stronger programs, engage more volunteers and strengthen the connections of the communities we serve in Trenton, Ewing and Lawrence. This Y is more than memberships; we are building healthy and strong relationships one person at a time.

During my tour of the facility and conversations with staff and visitors the feeling of happiness was throughout.  This included my time chatting with Noemi from the American Diabetes Association in partnership who was on site as a vendor sharing information about the Diabetes Health Management Program at the 140+ year old St. Francis Hospital.
Fitness, Dance and Special Events Director Renee Riddle-Davison introduced me to Faith-Based Dance team that practices in 1 of the 2 studios.  The music of LE-EM Productions provided an appropriate mix of music for the diverse crowd.  Going forward I expect the Trenton YMCA to continue to build upon its history of providing an environment for the family.

McCarter Theater Center for Education presents - Unrelenting Voices Read-In

Jacque Howard

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Unrelenting Voices Read-In
A Celebration of Freedom, Justice, Mandela and More

On Thursday January 8, 2015 the McCarter Theatre Center for Education held a “read –in” event.  Approximately 50 people gathered at the newly renovated Trenton Free Public Library for this event.  The group was a cross section of Trentonians past & present, students and “seasoned” individuals with multiple languages and ethnic backgrounds represented.
The mission statement for the 80 plus year old Princeton, NJ Theater Company states “McCarter’s education and engagement programs are designed to facilitate discovery, develop agency, and build community.”
The multi-cultural/multi generational readers passionately read the pre-chosen pieces.  The Free Trenton Library provided a wonderful space for the event.  The upgrades to the facility are well appointed and well crafted.

I am thankful to have been chosen as a reader of passages by Desmond Tutu and Cornell West.  During the closing comments I shared the emotions I felt from reading and hearing others read the numerous passages and left with this statement, “Well done to all involved, I hope, pray, expect and encourage US to act on the hearings from this event.

Trenton High School West 5th Annual Alumni Breakfast

Jacque Howard

December 18, 2014
Trenton High School West
5th Annual Alumni Breakfast

~100 Seniors of Trenton H.S. West gathered for the 5th Annual Alumni Breakfast.  Coordinator Tom Montanari friend, educator and Artist shared details with the Trenton 365 audience during our Live On-Air Interview.

This alumni event was created to have peer to peer dialog around the subject of life after high school.  Each of the past 5 years the event has grown in popularity and attendance. 

I had the pleasure to chat with several of the students, graduates and educators about this event and the future happenings at Trenton HS West. 

US Army PFC Ebony Smith

Aliya Grooms from Spelman College  

Danicka and Horatio of the College of New Jersey and Paola from Muhlenberg College

Going forward Montanari feels the event has the ability to expand and he will be exploring options in the near future.

American Repertory Ballet’s Nutcracker

Jacque Howard

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American Repertory Ballet’s
Nutcracker- A Holiday Tradition Since 1964

Saturday December 6, 2014

The season on the East Coast of the USA has changed and as I get older I prefer warmer temperatures more and more!  However I enjoy the holiday atmosphere during this time and one of the traditions is seeing the Nutcracker.

This annual event takes place in the Patriot’s Theater at the War Memorial in downtown Trenton NJ from November 22 – December 21 2014.

Through the years the American Repertory Ballet’s Nutcracker at the War Memorial has become a tradition that we celebrate with our immediate family, now friends and friends of friends join us.  We usually attend the matinee followed by a evening of holiday festivities.

In my opinion this years performance was one of the best I have seen in recent memory.  I felt the set designs and costumes were much more vibrant and ornate than recent years and the marketing/merchandising teams were more engaged regarding the souvenirs and other offerings.

Going forward I will continue to encourage people to attend this event in hopes they will find it as enjoyable as I do and hope they will make this a part of their holiday traditions!

Little Rock - An American Play

Jacque Howard

Little Rock
An American Play
Written & Directed by
Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj
October 2-26, 2014
Passage Theatre Company

I am not old enough to remember the Civil Rights Movement but I can recall conversations from family members sharing personal experiences.  I can also think back to the times I would hear “nigger” yelled from a passing car as I played in my suburban neighborhood in Ewing.

The play “Little Rock” does a good job to shine more light on the experiences of the young people and families who were part of the original “Arkansan Nine.”

The play is very dramatic as you could imagine and flows very nicely with elements of humor mixed within the seriousness of the subject matter.  The performers playing multiple roles moved in and out of various characters and do what good performers do, take you there!

The packed house at Passage Theatre in the Mill Hill Playhouse of approximately 100 people were a diverse group on the edge of their seats, laughing, gasping and I would guess crying like me during some more dramatic spots.

All in all the performance was a delight and Passage Theatre continues to provide Trentonians far and near a experience usually found in a larger city by a larger theater company.

Retrospective of REJS Entertainment Jazz Concert Series at Tavern on the Lake

REJS Entertainment at Tavern on the Lake
Review for Trenton 365 by Ritu Mukherjee

In a series of intimate concerts REJS Entertainment and partner Trenton 365 have showcased the talents of a new generation of jazz artists.  Local jazz lovers and the larger community have whole-heartedly embraced young musicians, including jazz bassist Gregg August, saxophonist Nick Biello, pianist Steven Feifke, and percussionist Thomas Galliano.  

Tradition and innovation are key to all REJS artists.  In addition to playing live, August, Biello, Feifke, and Galliano maintain tradition through original arrangements of old standards thereby introducing classical pieces and artists to a new generation of jazz lovers.  Youth aside, the sophisticated and elegant styles of these artists exude maturity well beyond their years.  While their purpose may be uniform, REJS musicians speak to jazz lovers of selective and varying tastes, bringing their unique and individual talents to the stage.  For example, August’s seductive bass playing, reminiscent of a film noir score, was followed by Feike’s celebratory big band sound. 

Often playing alongside these young artists are their mentors. Recently, legendary jazz bassist and musical visionary, John “Jellybean” Benitez, played as part of the The Nick Biello Quartet.  In an interview with Trenton 365’s Jacque Howard, Benitez humbly defined his success as achieving “a connection with the people” each time he takes the bandstand. While Biello, on playing with his mentor and teacher, Phil Markowitz, stated:  “I’m never satisfied…Phil [Markowitz] introduced me to a whole new musical language…showed me a level of excellence…and showed me where the bar was set.”  

International musicians have also been introduced to American audiences via REJS Entertainment.  In 2011 Jazz Percussionist and Composer, Galliano, a native of France, relocated to New York City in order to refine his musical skills by immersing himself in America’s historic jazz roots.  Speaking to Howard, Galliano stated that he had made it a point to encourage his fellow European Jazz musicians to follow suit. 

The international and intergenerational set of musicians and concertgoers attests to the fact that the world has indeed grown smaller and more personal through musicianship, live performances and the exchange of ideas rather than social media.  REJS also works to bring music and education to teens and adolescents via their Youth Spotlight program.

On Friday December 5, 2014 REJS Entertainment will proudly host Violinist and Composer Sonya Robinson at Tavern On The Lake in Hightstown, New Jersey.

Graffiti Fine Art in Trenton NJ

Jacque Howard

November 2014
CSE-Can someone explain?

I spend a decent amount of time with the Artists and Art Appreciators in the Trenton Region and we are currently in the midst of an issue.

Unless you have decided to avoid mainstream media for the last several months you would have heard about the Mike Brown incident in Ferguson MO.  I call it an incident because the information is still being processed to some degree, but please do not let that distract you from this blog piece.

Here in Trenton NJ where George Washington became the “George Washington” that we know as the 1st President of these United States, we like some many other places have issues that need to be dealt with, here is one.

Trentonian Will “Kasso” Condry is known for his talent as an Artist.  In this piece I would like to focus on him as a “Graffiti Fine Artist.” 

Graffiti strikes up imaginations most are very far from the talent of “Kasso” and his peers.  A simple web search for Graffiti or Murals in Trenton NJ will show you several artists including Leon Rainbow and many more who debunk the visuals of subway cars/trains and “confusing letters or tags.” 

BTW-by the way the internationally popular book “The Birth of Graffiti” also known as the bible of Graffiti Art has ties to Trenton NJ as well.  Jon Naar who has photographed Andy Warhol is the Author and friend to both Kasso and Rainbow and chooses to live in Trenton NJ.

A mural depicting the image of Mike Brown in a Cap and Gown was created by Kasso and then removed for various reasons.  Please make up your own opinion regarding those issues however Trenton 365’s intentions are not to “blast,” or condemn anyone but to bring attention to other items and create dialog.

In a Capital City of less 7.5 sq. mi. and a steadily declining population of less than 90,000 people, budgetary, personnel, safety and cleanliness concerns I think more focus/emphasis could be placed on the “organic growth” to improve the community and ART is the organic growth.

In the interim have a look at a few of the recent pieces by Kasso and his peers.

Stay tuned for how you can join us!

DESHAIR Thoughts

Jacque Howard

The NFL Under Heavy Fire
By Will Foskey

The reality all NFL fans are facing right now is, “The NFL is NOT about the Players.” It is a BUSINESS. We are entertained by the NFL Business. Roger Goodell became a Commissioner with the sole intent of running a Business, not watching Marshawn ‘Beast Mode’.
The NFL is providing job opportunities to the most talented athletes across the country to play a Professional Sport; to run a BUSINESS. Once sponsors pulled out of the Minnesota Vikings, it was clear that Adrian Peterson had to be dismissed on paid-leave. They’d rather pay him 690,000 a week to sit on his couch than lose more money by allowing him to come back to ‘work’.
The NFL is under scrutiny because of its employees and how they handle them. I knew when Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely, the rules changed. Where do you go as a disciplinarian after that? Now, the new trend on its way, players will be placed on exempt (banned with pay) while under investigation. They can now test players for HGH. Some of your favorite players are about to be sitting at home very soon without pay because of that.

Players will come and go. But if you believe the NFL will stick their necks out for one of these players again, don’t hold you breath. The playing while under investigation is over. The slap on the wrist suspensions to protect a players livelihood are over. Are you ready for some Football though?!?

Review of the Thomas Galliano Quartet at Tavern on the Lake

Review of the Thomas Galliano Quartet at Tavern on the Lake, August 15, 2014
Ritu Mukherjee for Trenton 365 

In the 1950s and 1960s, American jazz musicians fled to France to escape racism.  Fifty years later the French go back to the source.  In 2011 Jazz Percussionist and Composer, Thomas Galliano, a native of Nice, France, relocated to New York City in order to refine his musical skills by immersing himself in America’s historic jazz roots.  During a recent interview with Jacque Howard of Trenton 365, Galliano stated that he had made it a point to encourage his fellow European Jazz musicians to follow suit. 

This past week, at an intimate concert presented by REJS Entertainment at Tavern on the Lake, in Hightstown, New Jersey, the talented young artist’s joy and humility from being whole-heartedly embraced by local jazz lovers and the larger community was evident.   Accompanied by saxophonist Myron Walden, bassist Gregg August, and pianist David Bryant, the Thomas Galliano Quartet electrified the cozy room and excited the diverse and multi-generational crowd of concertgoers.  The Quartet seamlessly moved together while highlighting the unique talents of each member.  Galliano’s powerful drum solos elegantly juxtaposed with Walden’s intricate and fiery sax solos. The international set of musicians and concertgoers attested to the fact that the world has indeed grown smaller and more personal; and on this evening specially through musicianship and the exchange of ideas.

A younger guard of talented jazz percussionists was also given the well-deserved opportunity to showcase their talents.  The REJS Ent Youth Spotlight included, Tobias Richardson (14), David Korey (16), Deven Patram (14), and Tobias Prall (13).  Sighting their parents and music teachers as their biggest musical influences, these talented young men enthusiastically filled the room with their raw and fresh percussionist stylings.