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Open House: Try free workouts and get to know RWJ Fitness & Wellness Center

Group Fitness sessions among options at Robert Wood Johnson Fitness & Wellness Centers, whose programs include medical guidance to help members get fit and stay well.Robert Wood Johnson Fitness & Wellness Center in Scotch Plains will be hosting its free Fitness & Wellness 101 and Open House this Saturday, Jan. 16, with introductory workouts and information sessions running from 8:45 a.m. to noon. 

The educational event will help members and visitors become familiar with all the center offers, including the medical and fitness guidance available to those who take advantage of its facilities and programs.

Get first-hand experience through introductory group fitness classes and 15-minute demo sessions. There will be specialty workshops to sample throughout the day. The center's staff, including the general manager, acquatics manager and childcare manager, will be on hand to answer questions.  Have your blood pressure and pulse checked by the staff nurse, and enjoy healthy snacks. There also will be activities and snacks for kids.

Come in your workout gear to try out a class. The options include Intro to Step, Step and Sculpt, a 45-minute Hot Latin Salsa and Dance Worshop, an hourlong session on Dance Fusion/ Ballroom Dance, and a 15-minute boxing-inspired Heavy Bag Workshop. Pilates Barre, cycling, aqua workouts and more will be covered during the day. Check the full Open House schedule here.

Robert Wood Johnson Fitness & Wellness Center is at 2120 Lamberts Mill Road in Scotch Plains. To learn more, call (908) 232-6100 or visit




Paper crafts get postal nod with 2016 Love series stamp 

Copyright 2016 USPSThe U.S. Postal Service is celebrating paper crafts with the release tomorrow of a gorgeous 2016 Love stamp that features a heart made of the colorful paper curls from the process known as quilling.  

Also known as paper filigree, quilling involves tightly rolling and shaping narrow strips of paper around a thin metal rod. The resulting coils are then shaped and glued to a surface to form intricate designs.

The Quilled Paper Heart Forever stamp is the 44th inductee into the Postal Service’s Love stamp series, began in 1973, and 150 million stamps will go on sale at local post offices nationwide tomorrow.  

 “Our beautiful Quilled Paper Heart Forever Love stamp evokes tranquility, peace and love as Americans correspond with beloved friends and family while away from home," says Janice Walker, a Postal Service spokeswoman. "And they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day cards.”  

Renowned paper artist and illustrator Yulia Brodskaya carefully cut, rolled and bent paper strips and glued them to a white background to make the vibrant, three-dimensional artwork featured on the stamp. The central heart shape is filled with eye-catching paper coils and surrounded by white paper swirls.  

According to the Postal Service: "Quilling is believed to date from the 15th or 16th century. The first known quillers were monks and nuns in European religious houses. Inspired by metal filigree, quilling was an inexpensive way to create elaborate decorations normally beyond the means of most churches and religious orders. When gilded or silvered, the curled paper could resemble the work of the finest goldsmiths and silversmiths, while designs made with cream-colored paper or vellum appeared to be carvings of ivory."

The name quilling is believed to have derived from the base or "quill" of a feather, the earliest known tool used to curl paper. The craft has grown in popularity over the last 20 years, with options including beginner projects and more complex designs such as Martha Stewart's quilled cards. The technique has changed very little over time, and quillers only need paper, scissors, glue and a quill-like curling implement to start. For numerous ideas, look for books on the subject and search "quilling projects" online.

Stamp collectors have 60 days (postmark by March 12) to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return envelopes by mail. The first 50 postmarks are free, but there is a 5-cent charge for every additional postmark over 50.

To order, affix the 2016 Love stamps to envelopes addressed to yourself or others, place the envelopes in a larger envelope and mail to:

Quilled Paper Heart Stamp
401 Tom Landry Freeway, Rm 645
Dallas, TX 75260-9998

The seven philatelic products for this stamp issue include framed art ($39.95) and first-day covers (.93 cents each). All items are offered in the free quarterly USA Philatelic catalog, available along with Quilled Paper Heart stamps themselves at or by calling 800-STAMP-24 (800-782-6724).




Fall family movie night in Cranford: 'Home' 

Plan to head to Hanson Park in Cranford with blankets and snacks on Friday, Oct. 2 when the movie "Home," featuring the voices of Rihanna and Jim Parsons, will be shown under the stars.

In "Home," space aliens called the Boov conquer Earth and relocate the human population. One little girl, Tip (Rihanna), manages to hide from the aliens is left behind. When Tip meets a fugitive Boov called Oh (Jim Parsons), there's mutual distrust. However, Oh is not like his comrades; he craves friendship and fun. As their distrust fades, they set out together to find Tip's mom. The 94-minute movie is rated PG for mild action and rude humor.

Hanson Park is at 38 Springfield Ave. in Cranford, and the movie will begin at dusk, about 7 p.m. In addition to the feature presentation, there will be raffles, prizes, popcorn, refreshments and fun for the entire family.

Movies Under the Stars is presented by Hanson Park Conservancy and Spencer Savings Bank.  For more information on the Hanson Park Conservancy please visit, or like the organization on Facebook.


Summit: Free fall tours at Reeves-Reed Arboretum

For the next five Saturdays, Reeves-Reed Arboretum in Summit will be hosting free  garden tours at 10:30am.


No reservations are required, but tours are on a first-come, first-served basis, with a limit of 15 people per tour. These tours are perfect for those individuals who would like to learn more about the Arboretum grounds and its history, including our majestic trees, perennials and varied plants, some dating back to the late 1800’s. The program ends Oct. 24.

Celebrating more than 40 years as a historic public garden, education resource, and non-profit conservancy, Reeves-Reed Arboretum, located at 165 Hobart Ave., Summit, is listed on both the national and New Jersey state historic registers.


For more information, contact or call (908) 273-8787, ext. 1010. Visit for information about other upcoming arboretum events, including the Oct. 25 Celebrate Fall fun day and the Holiday House Tour on Dec. 3.


Gluten-free Girl Scout Cookies to be introduced at Cranford cookie rally

Three new Girl Scout Cookies will be introduced this year, including two gluten-free options: Trios and Toffee-tastic.

Gluten-free cookies will be among offerings from Girl Scouts when their sweetest fundraiser begins in about a month.

Before then, area Girl Scout Cookie lovers can get a sneak preview of the three new 2015 cookies, two of which  are gluten-free, at a Girl Scout Cookie Rally this Saturday, Jan. 10 at Cranford Community Center, 220 Walnut Ave., Cranford.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Jan. 10, area Girl Scouts and members of the public will have a chance to taste the new cookies that will be added in the 2015 Girl Scout Cookie season, which we're told begins in about 25 days for Girl Scouts of Heart of New Jersey.

For the first time in Girl Scout history, gluten-free cookies will be available nationwide from most Girl Scout councils. The two new gluten-free offerings include buttery cookies with toffee bits dubbed Toffee-tastic, and Trios, a chocolate chip cookie made with peanut butter and whole grain oats. The third new cookie, Rah-Rah Raisins, is a whole-grain oatmeal-raisin cookie with Greek yogurt–flavored chunks.

And don't worry, the newcomers won't displace solid favorites like Thin Mints and Samoas (also known as Caramel deLites), the latter of which is being celebrated at the event for its 40-year anniversary.

In addition to cookie tasting, Saturday's free fun in Cranford will include making cookie-inspired desserts and taking photos that celebrate Samoas. There will be presentations on the important life skills that selling Girl Scout Cookies can teach.  The event also will demonstrate why being a Girl Scout is exciting.

Learn more about all the 2015 cookie varieties and find Girl Scouts selling cookies near you through, or use the newly enhanced Girl Scout Cookie Finder app, free for iOS or Android phones or mobile devices. The app's new features include cookie sale searches by start date, driving directions to nearby booths, an Instagram option for sharing, links to Girl Scout Cookie recipes and more.



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