The southern Ocean County team that is finding success in the Air and Climate portion of the national Lexus Eco Challenge, for a project showing wind power can increase hybrid car batter life are, from left standing, Sean Nauta, Shannon Nauta and Michael Dunlea. Kneeling are Alexandra Jones-Twaddell, left, and Jenna Tompkins.

No single student takes credit for coming up with the name “Breaking Wind” for the group that just won a national science competition by showing that hooking up to wind power can extend the life of hybrid car batteries.

“We all kind of came up with it,” said team member Jenna Tompkins, 14, of Waretown. “We thought it would catch the judges’ eyes.”

The team was among 16 middle school and high school teams nationwide to win $10,000 in the Air and Climate portion of the Lexus Eco Challenge.

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Now the team enters the final competition, ending in March, for two $30,000 prizes, said Leslie Jones, mom of team member Alexandra Jones Twaddel, 15, of Manahawkin in Stafford Township.

The members started the project last year, when they attended All Saints Regional Catholic School in Stafford Township. They continue to meet twice weekly, even though only Sean Nauta and Michael Dunlea, both 15 and from Manahawkin, are freshmen at Southern Regional High School.

Tompkins, a dancer, is a freshman at the Performing Arts Academy at the Ocean County Vocational Technical School District’s Lakehurst Center; Jones Twaddel is a freshman at the private Peddie School in Hightstown, Mercer County; and Shannon Nauta, 13, is still in middle school.

Last year, most of the same students were on a team called “Get Mugged,” which also advanced to the finals with a project that studied the environmental hazards of plastic-lined paper coffee cups.

In spite of their science success, only Alexandra Jones Twaddel and Shannon Nauta plan science careers.

“I want to be a math professor ... and I also want to be a Rockette,” Tompkins said of the Radio City Music Hall dancers.

For more about the competition, visit

Slicing art for charity

Cape May artist David Macomber raised $3,350 for  to benefit New Jersey shore towns by slicing an 8-by-20-foot mixed medium mural into 30 pieces and auctioning them for Sandy relief.

The mural symbolized the strength and unity of New Jersey communities affected by Hurricane Sandy, Macomber said. He created the mural in a day at Morey’s Piers in Wildwood.

Intimacy through art

Glynnis Reed, an art teacher at Texas Avenue School in Atlantic City, is exhibiting digital photo collages in her Elements of Love series at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey Art Gallery in Galloway Township through March 21. 

Reed, of Egg Harbor Township, said the show explores dynamics of power and vulnerability in intimate relationships. She will give a gallery talk 2:30 p.m. Feb. 7, and a reception is set for 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. March 3.


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