Saturday, June 30, 2007

The Victory Center at Yorktown, in Va.

During my recent visit to Colonial Williamsburg, I went to the Yorktown battlefield, and its Victory Center (done superbly well by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation with the National Parks System).

I was browsing the exhibit at the center and noted there were attractions featuring English writer John Locke ("The Second Treatise of Gov't," 1690) and American writer Thomas Paine ("The Rights of Man," 1792).

This was interesting because I recalled something an anonymous blogger once said on one of the message boards. I brought up that people like John Locke, Thomas Paine and Jean Jacques Rousseau (a French writer who penned "The Social Contract," 1762) were the 'ideas' behind the founders of this country.

This anonymous blogger, defending the administration for the GOP, disagreed with me about my point that government's mission is to adequately serve all residents, all the time, without bias to parties and the like, and without prejudice to responsible criticism of the government by residents. Yes, this was disputed for some reason. Whatever the blogger's point was lost to me by that time, but fascinated me the way one might be looking at a car wreck as they pass by.

Anyway, I made mention of these writers, and this blogger said he heard of Paine, but "looked up" Locke and Rousseau because he had "never heard of them." Well, according to the research by this anonymous GOP blogger, what he did find was that Locke and Rousseau were "early communists" and suspect.

I dismissed the blogger as at least ill-informed but something occurred to me at Yorktown. First, this blogger was probably somehow affiliated with government or politics in the county where I live. Second, he or she knew next to nothing about the sentiments of the Founders and what they considered good ideas and was involved with government and/or politics. Finally, it was a 'knee jerk' reaction for this anonymous blogger, serving in government and/or politics where I live, to freely label writers (regardless of their historical context or work) as somehow terrible if their work disagreed with the party or person the blogger was defending at the moment. So people like Locke, Rousseau and Paine are out of vogue these days, I suppose, in favor of who? Limbaugh, Hannity and Coulter? Is that the best of ideas for this society today? These opinions are so better informed, I guess, then those that formed the imaginations of people like Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson and the like.

Yet, these ideas are what made this country, inspired the people who created this country, who first "conceived of our liberty." Have notions of rights by citizens insofar as safeguards against their government, and about private property rights, become so threatening to warrant venom from members of this county's ruling party? I know that is not the case in the vast majority, but the small minority is concerning.

I wonder what the guys who started this show in the first place would have thought of that, or the fact that the influences that stirred their ideas of the rights of citizens have basically been forgotten or reduced to a one-line glitch term by some (they were "communists").

Well, if anyone is ever interested, there's this great book, called "Keystones of Democracy," which is printed by Barnes & Noble of New York (Introduction Copyright 2005 by Barnes & Noble). I suggest these are not bad ideas for anyone to be familiar with, and probably more so for people involved with things like politics and government. My anonymous blogger, I recall, had used something called "Wikepedia." Maybe that's not the best. Some things still require reading actual books or cannot be reduced to a few moments on the radio.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Colonial Williamsburg: Lessons to learn then and now

I just returned from a vacation to Colonial Williamsburg, in Virginia. The history was great, educational and cannot help but make one thankful to those who founded this country.

But in this century, I was struck by the great planning and execution that has gone into a business environment that grows 300 percent in the summer, welcoming several million visitors from around the world in an area that is roughly 10 square miles.

While Williamsburg of the 18th century has volumes to teach us about our freedom, and those who gave it to us, Williamsburg of today has many lessons of its own for us -- mostly economic.

The synergy between the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, the local government, Chamber of Commerce and the fine folks over at William and Mary should serve as a model for communities that succeed.

I spent my last morning in Williamsburg at an IHOP, speaking informally to the manager (originally from Chicago). He said that the business environment in Chicago was bad for small business. "It was take, take and more take and absolutely no cooperation." I asked him what the difference was in Williamsburg. He said, "Government gets out of the way and lets business people do business without any games."

I was compelled by the evidence that he must be right. Failing to plan for economic success is planning to fail, which is basically my argument about the Bayshore and, to a broader extent, the county. Common sense and getting politics out of commerce is always going to be the only way for an economy to succeed. Unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be in the offing anytime soon locally.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Yahoo report from the AP

Something about the Guiliani staff from the AP, reported by Yahoo News.

Going on vacation from June 23 to July 1...Seeya then

I will be on vacation from June 23 until July 1. If the blog is updated at all during that time it will be about interesting factoids I find during my trip that may have an entertainment value. Otherwise, thanks for reading and I'll look forward to updating when I get back. Thanks for the readership.

Caption: Yet another totally unrelated way to get photos of my Old English bulldogs, Winston and Baxter, onto my blog.


June 20, 2007

Afshin Mohamadi (Menendez) 202-224-4744

Senator Menendez blasts administration, praises state

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a staunch supporter of stem cell research, today blasted President Bush for again vetoing legislation for federal support of embryonic stem cell research. Bush vetoed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act just a day after New Jersey awarded $10 million in stem-cell research grants aimed at avoiding federal restrictions on embryonic stem-cell work.

“Once again, President Bush has used his veto power to advance ideology, ignore the overwhelming public sentiment and play politics with people’s lives. Once again, he has used the stroke of his pen to dash the hopes of millions suffering from debilitating diseases.

“The president continues to choose the certainty of suffering over the possibility of science. That will not stop me or my colleagues in Congress who believe in the hope this research offers from pushing to override the veto.

“I am proud that New Jersey has its priorities intact. The funds approved yesterday by our state will do what the president refuses. States like New Jersey can reignite the flame of hope that the president has sought to extinguish with his actions.”

The Senate, which passed the current bill 63-34, will have the first opportunity at overriding the veto.

Previous Menendez statements on stem cell research:

Floor Statement on Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act of 2007, April 10 2007



# # #

Thursday, June 21, 2007

MTPD Press Release



Prepared by Detective Lt. Joseph C. Capriotti

On June 20, 2007 at about 4:00AM, Middletown Twp. Police Officer Kimberly Best was patrolling on the southbound side of Highway 35 when she passed a silver colored car parked off the highway with all of its lights out and a person outside the car. The car was parked near the tree line adjacent to Monmouth Cycles, a motorcycle dealership.

Officer Best had to travel past the car to turn around to come back and investigate the car and while doing so called for additional police assistance. As she was coming back northbound on the opposite side of the Hwy. 35 to return to the motorcycle dealership she saw a motorcycle operated by a person wearing a baseball hat leave the dealership southbound on Hwy. 35.

When the motorcycle approached the intersection of Hwy. 35 and Apple Farm Road the driver made an illegal U-turn in the southbound lane and began traveling north in the southbound lane until it met up with the silver colored car she originally saw parked off the highway. The motorcycle then made another U-turn in the southbound lane and began following the car south on Hwy. 35. Officer Best radioed the direction of travel of the two suspicious vehicles to other police officers who were coming to assist. As she was broadcasting this information, Middletown Police headquarters received a burglar alarm activation from the motorcycle dealership.

Corporal Ralph Flannigan, who was further south on Hwy. 35 and saw the motorcycle and the car approaching but prior to reaching Cpl. Flannigan, the motorcycle made an illegal U-turn through the barrier at Rt. 35 and Pine Street and proceeded northbound at a high rate of speed. Officer Lawrence Seymour was traveling south on Rt. 35 and saw the motorcycle on Rt. 35 north at an estimated 100 miles per hour.

The officers radioed for additional assistance to intercept the motorcycle further north on Rt. 35 as attempts to pursue the motorcycle at such high speed would have been dangerous and futile, especially since it was raining and the roadway was wet. Police officers positioned themselves along Rt. 35 in an attempt to maintain visual contact with the motorcycle as it proceeded north on Rt. 35. Officer Seymour was the last officer to see the motorcycle in the area of Cherry Tree Farm Road and Rt. 35 until Officer Brian Dilworth located the motorcycle lying on its side and abandoned at the bottom of the entrance ramp at the Target Department Store on Rt. 35 at Palmer Avenue.

Middletown, Holmdel and Hazlet officers searched the immediate area and requested the assistance of a tracking K-9 from the Hazlet Township Police Department. Hazlet Officer Kevin Geoghan and his K-9 partner, Memphis, responded to the scene. Memphis picked up the fresh scent from the motorcycle and tracked across Palmer Avenue to a gas station where Nicholas Ventarola, age 19 of Staten Island, NY, the operator of the motorcycle, was found lying under some bushes. Ventarola was arrested by Officer Best with assistance from Middletown Officers Lawrence Seymour, Brian Dilworth, Anthony Bumbico and Donald Coates and Sergeant Charles Terefenko. Officers from Hazlet and Holmdel also assisted with the arrest.

Continued investigation at Monmouth Cycles by Officer Best and Officer Seymour revealed the motorcycle, a 2005 Suzuki GSX, had been stolen from the dealership through on opening in a fenced in area.

Detective First Class Jeffery Barner was assigned to conduct the follow up investigation. He was able to identify other conspirators involved. At approximately 8:00PM Lucian Acosta, age 25, of Staten Island and John Vaccaro, age 24, also of Staten Island were arrested by DFC. Barner at Middletown Police HQs and charged with conspiracy to commit theft. Vaccaro was released on his own recognizance. There was a warrant for Acosta issued by the Superior Court in Monmouth County for failing to appear for a court appearance stemming from an incident in 2006. He was held on $10,000 bail.

Nicholas Ventarola was charged with Eluding, Resisting Arrest, Theft of Movable Property (motorcycle) and numerous motor vehicle violations. He was held on $100,000 bail with a ten percent option.

"Monk" is told to take sign down

A good story from GM News' Karen Bowes about a committee decision about a self-described Greek Orthodox monk in town. Click on the headline and go there.

APP piece about arts center incident

The APP has a story about what happened with some of the folks arrested at the PNC Bank Arts Center, in Holmdel. Click on the headline and go there.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Moscuzza joins MT ticket

At a meeting of the Middletown Township Democratic Party Executive Committee, held at the American Legion on Route 36, Tuesday, June 19, a new committee candidate was selected from the party.

Resident Janet Moscuzza will replace candidate Patrick O’Keefe on the ballot this fall. She will join newcomer Sean F. Byrnes in the race for two, three-year seats on the governing body.

Moscuzza is a retired educator who has been active in township and youth sports. She is also active in the St. Mary’s community in town.

Bloomberg won't be running for Prez this year

The best guy in a presidential election isn't running. That's the news from the AP. Click on the headline and go there.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Drinking at Banfield: A bad idea

The Middletown Township Committee last night approved drinking at the Banfield Cultural Arts Center. It's a poor decision, in my mind. It doesn't matter who belonged to what party. It was a bad idea and establishes a bad precedent in town.

It's somehow fitting that the venue involved was and is a $9 million boondoggle, which was supposed to be paid for with the help of donated funds (and wasn't); in a building that was supposed to be "structurally sound" at purchase (and wasn't); and was supposed to earn back the public investment it took (and won't since it's being leased for $1 a year).

Of course, construction delays and poor managerial oversight of the project led to extended costs, and that is pretty much the lighter side of this issue. The drinking on public grounds thing shouldn't go away. It is a poor example that not even self-righteousness from the dais is going to fix.

Mike Bloomberg becomes an Independent

So, New York CityMayor Mike Bloomberg is an Independent. I guess this was important enough for him. Note: I initially noted he was becoming a Democrat. I didn't read it through well. Thanks for the save, Art. Click on the headline and go there.

Normandy finally gets visitor's center

Nice AP story here. Normandy Beach, the site of D-Day on June 6, 1944, finally got a visitor's center. For those interested, click on the headline and go there.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Former Lucent property is written about by APP

A nice piece about the former Lucent property in Holmdel from the Press. Click on the headline and go there.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

About columns and columnists

I have a few passing acquaintances who are active, daily newspaper columnists. Once, one of them made the mistake of asking me what I thought of his column...and I answered.

Columnists have the rare privilege of being able to put their thoughts out to the world. Most people, including columnists, do not want to be controversial every week, or take on issues every single week (myself included). It's work.

So, instead of doing anything meaningful, I said to this columnist that I thought he was playing it safe too much, talking about his wife and small kids instead of anything of any real value, as it relates to taxation and the communities his newspaper services. I thought he had defaulted to the "talking about life lessons" mode. I don't think that a little of that is bad. In fact, a little of that is good for a lot of reasons. But too much ketchup can spoil the burger... and too many family values columns makes for a writer who is more amusing than saying anything about the base's core issues.

I said everyone needs a break now and again, but I just thought he'd been on break for a few years and, as a very talented writer, maybe he might want to start writing again. That was about four years ago. I haven't spoken to him since, so I guess he was offended.

I had the great honor and distinct pleasure (no matter how hard he made it with assignments) to getting to write for the late and great Peter Weiss at the Jersey Journal, as a stringer for awhile. The only person I ever really dealt with there was Peter, for about a year or so on and off. That was more than enough. And the only real reason I wanted to strong there was not for the money, but for getting to know the writer I admired most anywhere -- him.

I met him at the VIP Diner in Jersey City a few times to talk newspapers after work. Actually, just sitting around and talking newspapers with Peter was like getting the opportunity to sit around and talk about the New Testament with one of the disciples. It's hard to eat breakfast, drink coffee and read newspapers when you are absolutely in awe of the person in front of you (and trying not to show it at all).

He was a big one on honesty, not in everything in the world (that's being rude), but when it came to writing, "What are you if you're not honest?" he said. It was his opinion that there was too much flattery in news and not enough honesty. Putting him to the test, I asked him what he thought of my writing. He looked at me evenly and said, "You're a good reporter...maybe even a better than good reporter...but not such a good editor. Maybe OK, but that's it."

Well, the upside was that one of the great editors alive at that time, and maybe all time, thought I could write. The downside was that one of the greats also thought I wasn't such a hot editor (he read the Courier). "Good stories. Good ideas. Editors worry about everyone's work and not just their own, though. And you get self-indulgent with your editorials, which are sometimes gibberish and without a point. Now and again, they're good. But you write news well consistently -- and a lot of it."

I asked for honesty...yes...but I thought I needed to be treated by a paramedic after that. My face was blank. He shrugged. He smiled. He raised his cup and said, "Get better."

I thanked him, and proceeded to work my butt off to get better...and still am. Peter died a few years ago, an event that was a loss for this world on a grander scale than just those who knew him. I had it in the back of my mind to improve and then lure him back to the VIP (with the so-so coffee but great omelets) to tell me what he really thought after the work. But later didn't come and the Lord had other ideas for Peter. Maybe I waited too long. I thought I'd improved, but there was something of wanting to get a real good grade from the teacher in me.

But I learned more from that guy in the hours I had with him than I have anyone about anything in my life. He said to take the criticism I thought was valid (being honest with myself) and ignore it when I thought someone had an agenda. He told me that no one will ever believe what you say unless you do. And he told me if you can't be honest and tell someone you do not like when they've put out something good, then you're not really trying to write news. He said it was easy to give a compliment to your friends, hard to give one to someone you don't like. But harder was better.

He said flattering someone who's a friend about their work isn't being a friend. "And what has 'friend' got to do with making a living anyway in this business?" Lots of things could be said about the guy. I'll stick with 'best writer, best editor ever on my all-time list, with No. 2 about three miles behind.'

APP writes Sunday piece about Ft. Monmouth

Closing Ft. Monmouth is going to take about double what was predicted. Great story in the APP today. Click on the headline and go there.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

The best story I didn't tell this week

Government is a strange thing in the United States, since in its beginning our nation came to existence only because it rebelled against intolerant, unreasonable governance. In overthrowing intolerant government, it was the aim of those who founded the country that a more citizen-oriented structure might replace the tyranny that was in place before.

So, the point to the lawyers, judges, the police officers, the tax collectors and even the uniformed members of the military was not service to some ridiculous monarch anymore.

The purpose of those people in this new republic became to serve the welfare of those governed. Those people came in service to what was right and not what a few people said was right for whatever agenda an alleged monarch set. It was a more common sense way for things to work.

That brings us to today. These towns in Northern Monmouth County, known as the Bayshore, are places where great good and evil can exist alongside each other, and all at once. At a community newspaper, if you look for stories, and not just convenient stories at that, you will find everyday goodness and run-of-the-mill cruelty in equal doses.

When my newspaper is able to help facilitate communication in the community, then that is a time when the best outcome occurs and that is special.

But then there are those things that are found when some petty and cruel official oversteps their authority and terrorizes a helpless resident in one of these towns. Indeed, usually those who are terrorized by these personality types are helpless. And it is a specific type of personality who makes the time out of their day to abuse their oath of office in a way that is so unwholesome.

Well, when some taxpayer is made afraid to a certain order then they do not want trouble, like telling their story publicly, because they may fear this government official they are being vexed with (really "the government" to their view) may be back. When a newspaper approaches them about the issue at hand, they may well explain their case and then say that if they do not create public trouble then the rest of the trouble may well go away.

In my opinion, appeasement never did anything to stop troubled personalities given a badge of office. But my reporters and my newspaper will respect the wishes of people and not bring those things to light that are not willingly offered by subjects. Nevertheless, when an egregious use of government authority occurs against the most helpless segments of our society, apparently out of nothing more than a bully's inclination in a school cafeteria, it is more than disturbing. It is actually far more than just troubling.

Residents are paying an all-time high for the services of government. These residents are paying gold-plated prices for these town officials everywhere in this area, and the very least, the absolute rock bottom, they should be able to expect is common courtesy, the everyday respect that one should give anyone, and an environment free of sarcasm and even physical violence.

Personally, bullies are my favorite thing to confront. I am not impressed with them in any way. I have never abided them to date and I cannot see any reason to change that point of view. And in news, there is no story I tell with more zeal than the one about a bully with a state title. But when a subject declines a story for fear's sake, I usually leave my cell number, tell them to call next time (and there's always a next time) and consider appeasement's track record, in general. So it's done for the moment.

Yet, last week, I found the best story I can't tell just yet. With some confidence, I am sure I will be able to tell it one of these days soon.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Trinity opens in Keyport

Trinity is a new restaurant opened in Keyport. It's a bright spot in the Pearl of the Bayshore and certainly something that is worth a look.

UB takes on coyote problem in Northern Monmouth

Union Beach Councilman Charlie Cocuzza discusses the coyote threat in Union Beach and what the governing body is doing to ensure the public is better informed.

Walsh posts on blog about eminent domain

A good post about eminent domain on Pat Walsh's blog. Click on theheadline and go there.

Caption: Pat Walsh and Middletown Democratic Chairman Joe Caliendo.

Chamber sponsors arts & crafts event in AH

Immediate Release

Contact: Alyson Denzler

May 15, 2007 732-708-9811 /

Arts & Crafts Festival

The Atlantic Highlands Historical Society will hold their 35th annual Arts & Crafts Festival on Saturday, August 18, 2007 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., in Veteran's Park (across from Borough Hall) and along First Avenue.

This year’s event, sponsored by the Atlantic Highlands Chamber of Commerce, is sure to please many. The rain date for the event is Sunday, August 20, 2006.

Unique jewelry, watercolors, prints, ceramics, woodwork, fabric and floral displays, photography, and other items will be exhibited from local crafters. In addition, many businesses along First Avenue and other members of the Chamber will have their “doors open” for your browsing enjoyment.

Live entertainment, children’s activities, home-baked goods, and other great food will make your day most enjoyable. Other events include a 1920's white open-top touring bus on display, courtesy of the Mulheren family of Rumson and an exciting gift auction.

Crafters still needed. For more information, please contact Alyson Denzler at 732-708-9811 or

Send in fund raiser information

Any candidate who has an upcoming fundraiser, from any party, is encouraged to send it in. I can be reached at (732) 957-0070, ext. 6116, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. If someone would like to send a fax for an event, please send information to (732) 957-0143, attn to myself. Thanks

Hill fundraiser to be held at Lakeside, June 20

A fund raiser to benefit the campaign of Monmouth County Democrat for Sheriff Jack Hill, hosted by Hazlet Democrat Glenn Mason, is taking place on June 20th from 7-9 p.m. at the Lakeside Manor, in Hazlet. Tickets cost $50. For information, call 732-865-2517.



June 14, 2007

Afshin Mohamadi (Menendez) 202-224-4744
Heather Lasher Todd (Pallone) 202-225-4671


Bill includes provisions authored by New Jersey legislators

WASHINGTONThe Senate Judiciary Committee today voted on and passed gang legislation introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), which is closely tied to the Fighting Gangs and Empowering Youth Act of 2007( introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and co-sponsored by Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ). The legislation also included two specific provisions from the New Jersey legislators’ bill that would provide demonstration grants for innovative approaches to gang prevention and increase funds for mentoring programs for youth involved in the juvenile justice system.

“I am proud that Sen. Feinstein included provisions from our bill in her own, and grateful that the Judiciary Committee has shown a commitment to fighting gang activity,” said Menendez. “Gangs are ravaging our communities, and a comprehensive, national approach to combating this problem is long overdue. We must focus on prevention, empowerment and enforcement in order to stop the scourge of violence in our towns and cities.”

"I believe that overcoming the gang crisis takes more than just law enforcement, it takes an entire community," Pallone said. "That is why I applaud Senator Menendez's work to ensure that key provisions of our Fighting Gangs and Empowering Youth bill were included in Senator Feinstein's comprehensive gang legislation. These are encouraging developments, which will only help me press for action in the House."

"Gang violence finds its way into our schools, our neighborhoods and even our homes and we're working to stop it on the street, where it happens most," Lautenberg said. "Our bill would help communities work with at-risk youth to show them the possibilities of a productive life out of gangs and off the streets.

Law enforcement officials recently reported that gang activity in New Jersey is increasing and becoming more sophisticated and aggressive in recruiting and preying on young people in all communities. According to a survey by the State Police, the number of gang members has nearly doubled to slightly more than 17,000 in 2005, up from about 10,000 in 2000.

Senators Menendez and Lautenberg are both co-sponsors of Sen. Feinstein’s legislation. For further details on the similarities between the two bills, visit:

# # #

AP publishes piece about consumer confidence

Consumer confidence is down overall. But in New Jersey, as of the moment, gasoline prices are not as bad as the national average. So that is a brightspot. Going into the summer tourism season, I'm interested about what that means for the area. Specifically, I'm interested to see what the summer does for Keyport, Keansburg, Highlands and Atlantic Highlands' business districts.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

How to avoid problems with your 401k

Here's a good piece from Yahoo News about 401k troubles. These days, pensions cannot be counted on, often do not even exist, and the Federal Government is probably not the best bet for anyone's long-term retirement needs.

With that said, individuals taking care of their own 401ks are pretty much the status quo. Click on the headline and go there.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Flyer from Dem candidates in 30th Legislative Dist.

Democratic Candidates - NJ State Legislature
“Cruise To Victory”
The River Queen
Thursday July 19th, 2007
3 Hr Cruise Sails From Bogan’s Basin, Brielle, NJ
Board 7:45pm ~ Depart 8:00pm Sharp!
Return 11:00pm
NJ 30th Legislative District Democratic Candidates

Steve Morlino - New Jersey Senate
Howell Democratic Chairman - Former State Senate Candidate

Jeff Williamson - New Jersey General Assembly
Past President AFSCME Local 3790 - Former General Assembly Candidate

Sharon Atkinson - New Jersey General Assembly
Former Mayor New Hanover , NJ - Former Burlington Co. Freeholder Candidate

Price Includes: 3 hour Inland Waterway Cruise, Complete Buffet Dinner,
Open Bar Throughout the Cruise, Musical Entertainment and Fireworks!
For Reservations & Information Call
Sue Ryley - 732-276-0889

GM pens piece about PNC Bank Arts Center

Greg Bean has a good editorial about the PNC Bank Arts Center, in Holmdel. It's a thoughtful piece about an important subject. It's worth a read for anyone interested in the subject.

Click on the headline and go there.

Gas prices are a bright spot in NJ economy -- for now

I found a great site that gives some statistical information about New Jersey gas prices. Personally, I think the only good news out there these days is that New Jersey gas prices are low compared to the rest of the country. Of course, if this state tax being considered in Trenton takes place then the only economic highlight in the Garden State will be gone. But for now the numbers aren't bad, which is going to help the tourist trade in the Bayshore during the summer.

The process vary from area to area in the state. Yesterday, I filled up in Freehold for $2.87 a gallon and, for a change, I spent less than $25 to go from a quarter of a tank to full.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

PNC Bank and Banfield Cultural arts centers at a crossroad

The issue of drinking at Holmdel's PNC Bank Arts Center: This private venue has been responsible for some erratic law enforcement where it involves alcoholic consumption. Though it would result in a great Garden State venue to suffer, people have got to come first and people seeking to drink need to fall somewhere about last. So, the issue that Assrmblywoman Amy Handlin is bringing up is not a bad one. Public safety first; above money.

OK, now the Banfield Cultural Arts Center and drinking: Why? For the couple of dollars the arts center would make off of drinking, the insurance liability this practice would bring is enormous. Yet, the entire idea of serving alcohol at a township facility....for any at least incredibly bad. This idea is being forwarded by the Middletown Township Committee is ridiculous, it is bad government, it flies in the face of common sense.

The entire Banfield Cultural Center has been a boondoggle. Why the parcel was bought, why public investment was placed into it in the first place, what the mission of the building actually is, how it will make money, how it will earn back the $9 million it cost to build, and to what end are all very good questions. These are questions the township has had scant or bad answers for thus far. But to complicate this issue by adding alcohol service to this multi-ton elephant in the center of the room thoroughly jumps the shark. If anything, I would think the common sense approach by the governing body toward their Frankenstein would be to be as low key, as non-controversial as possible. Instead, for the sake of whatever random desire by the committee majority, they are going to force this issue through, common sense be damned. Smoking may not be permitted on town premises, but I suppose someone can always get a drink at the bar.

The Truth Squad pens an interesting post

The Truth Squad put together an interesting post. I think this is an unconventional blog, but this person has something to say and they have a cogent argument (albeit expressed strangely).

The GOP bloggers are an active bunch. If nothing else, they are marked by their individuality in many ways. This is strange, since they are part of a party that patently does not abide with individuality. Click on the headline and go there.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Walsh posts on Monmouth County freeholders' decision

Mrs. Walsh has a well thought-out post on her site, discussing patronage and Monmouth County, a big subject. She also references the Sunday Press and its editorial about the Tobia hire by the freeholders.

One thing struck me: If Monmouth County voters voted for change last year, as they did, then probably the newer members on the Board of Freeholders should do something other than what everyone else has always done. It's not what the voters wanted. It's what is wrong with this county. And, Mrs. Walsh is right in her post and, respectively, the Press is right in its editorial.

Saturday, June 09, 2007



June 7, 2007
CONTACTS:Afshin Mohamadi (Menendez) 202-224-4744

Senator reiterates his call for the

President to sign legislation into law

WASHINGTONU.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), a staunch supporter of stem cell research, applauded the passage of the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act in the United States House of Representatives today.

The bill, which has already passed the Senate, will now be presented to the president to sign into law or veto. Menendez, whose mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, reiterated his call for President Bush to retract his veto threats.

“Today, Congress voted in favor of hope,” said Menendez. “Now it is time for the President to turn the hopes of millions suffering from debilitating diseases into reality.

“A threat to veto is a promise to kill hope. And for those who insist on playing politics with people’s lives, make no mistake about it: the American people are watching and they will not take kindly to seeing their last flicker of hope being extinguished.

“I urge the president to withdraw his warnings and to embrace the will of the American people and the possibilities of science.”

President Bush last year used his first veto in office to strike down similar legislation that passed the Congress.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Monmouth County Fire Academy graduates 81

June 7, 2007

Ceremony includes first-ever Firefighter II graduates

FREEHOLD – The Monmouth County Fire Academy recently graduated 81 volunteers from Firefighter I Classes #70 and #71 and Firefighter II Class #1. The ceremony was held May 31.

Twenty-three Firefighter II graduates became the first advanced firefighter class to graduate from the Monmouth County Fire Academy after completing course work and more than 100 hours of training in fire rescue and extinguishment that included incident command, specialized search and rescue, communication, and safety procedures. The 58 Firefighter I graduates also attended weekend classes and completed more than 130 hours of course work. They received training in rescue, fire extinguishment, hazardous materials response, cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, electrical safety, and care of hoses and other equipment.

Freeholder Lillian G. Burry, who spoke at the graduation, commended the new and advancing firefighters for their dedication and willingness to serve. “Firefighters, like any emergency responder, must be available all hours of the day and night. They are at times, confronted with life and death situations and their ability to react properly and safely can be attributed to the training program they have just completed at the Monmouth County Fire Academy,” Burry said.

“This new crop of firefighters joins the ranks of 6,000 other local firefighters who serve their neighbors, friends and communities. Volunteer firefighters provide a necessary service and assist in the delivery of quality public services at the local level,” said Freeholder Director William C. Barham who also attended the graduation. “The men and women graduating today will provide a high level of safe and valued service because they have proven themselves throughout this County training program.”

Each firefighter was awarded a certificate of course completion by Freeholder Burry and Monmouth County Fire Academy Training Officer William Itinger.

* Attached are lists of the graduates.

Firefighter I graduates from Class #70

Homan M. Alavi, Oakhurst; Sebastian J. Bianchi, Matawan; Mark T. Biddle, Millstone; Richard C. Brady, Jr., North Centerville; David C. Burns, South Wall; Jenson J. Chundamala, Freehold Township; Robert L. Cole, Allentown; Vincent E. Ernst, Avon; Mike A. Ford, Monmouth Beach; Matthew C. Greimel, Oakhurst; Aubrey J. Guldager, Freewood Acres; Eric A. Halle, Cliffwood Beach; Jason R. Halpern, Freewood Acres; Joshua T. Modlin, Oceanport; Gregory J. Penn, Millstone; Justin N. Penn, Millstone; Wilson Plaisimond, Wayside; Christopher S. Poles, Allentown; Ryan S. Romano, Ramtown; Carmin J. Roth, Gordon’s Corner; Michael A Seaman, Freewood Acres; David A. Shotwell, III, Ocean Grove; Robert E. Taylor, Neptune City;
Richard Trombetta, Robertsville; Michael D. Vollbrecht, Neptune City ; Trevor J. Wellet, South Wall; Donald W. West, Freehold Township

Firefighter I graduates from Class #71

Joseph Barbato, Englishtown;Mark T. Bennett, Holmdel;Thomas J. Butler, Holmdel; Jonathon L. Carter, Matawan; Anthony Castro, Matawan; Matthew J. Clemente, Colts Neck #2; David Vincent Dochnahl, Union Beach; Timothy J. Durkin, Pinebrook; Robert William Eyers, Holmdel; Vincent J. Ferrante, Jr., Matawan; Allen Keene, Glendola; Patrick N. Kesler, Manasquan; Kevin Felix Ketelson, Colts Neck #2; Jason W. Kirkland, Englishtown; John Kruse, Oakhurst; Joey J. Laguna, Keansburg; James A. Lasky, East Freehold; Cody T. Lovgren, East Freehold; Andrew Lydick, Allentown; John P. Mazza, Millstone; Daniel McGaheran, Millstone; Dennis M. Mignone, Spring Lake; Cenildo V. Moreira, Gordon’s Corner; Alfred Louis Mottola, Allentown; Andres J. Paganucci, Holmdel; Anthony Page, Englishtown; Jeremy J. Schulte, Wanamassa; Brian M. Spitzfaden, Keansburg; Christian Stevens, Ocean Grove; Peter A. Thierry, Morganville Vol. ; Ian P. Thompson, Morganville Ind.

Firefighter II graduates from Class #170

Oliver C. Chang, Marlboro; Thomas J. Ditre, Freehold Township; Michael Egnatowicz, Gordon’s Corner; Richard A. Gallo, III, Oceanport; Ryan Howlett, Adelphia; Michael D. Johnson, Freewood Acres; Richard W. Leswing, III, Keyport; Kenneth M. Lucas, Freehold Township; Robert A. MacGeorge, Glendola; Alonzo Meachem, IV, West Keansburg; Sean Polito, Colts Neck # 1; William M. Scanlon, Freehold Borough; Gregory T. Shinn, Spring Lake Heights; Michael Silvani, Squankum; Daniel J. Spicuzza, Jr. Freehold Township; Robert P. Tice, Adelphia; David M. Weir, Long Branch; Thomas G. Weldon, II, Morganville Ind.; Christopher C. Willms, Sea Girt; Robert J. Woodhead, Jr., Union Beach; Douglas Ziemba, Jr. Holmdel; Douglas Ziemba, Sr. Holmdel; Bryan Zuccarelli, Freehold Township

Editor's Note: Congratulations to these volunteers, and thanks for the great work you all do.

Kenny takes on circulation manager role at Arizona weekly

Congratulations are in order for Courier Circulation Manager Michael Kenny. The Kennys are moving to Arizona at the end of this month, and Mike is going to be put to work as the circulation manager for the Peoria Times, a great weekly out there.

For those who are not involved in the newspaper business, perhaps the most pivotal position on any staff is the circulation manager. In addition to his circulation duties, Mike has been very active as a columnist and sports reporter for Courier, a role he will be keeping with his new paper. Mike has done a great job at Courier and, in my opinion, the Peoria Times is getting a great asset.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

An interview with Sean Byrnes, Democratic candidate for Township Committee

Recently, at an event held by the Middletown Democrats honoring Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, I interviewed Sean Byrnes. Mr. Byrnes is running for one of two seats up on the governing body this year locally.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Bean pens strong editorial in "Coda"

Great editorial from Greg Bean at Greater Media. Give it a look. Click on the headline.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Are coyotes making their home on the wetside of 36?

According to a local eyewitness, coyotes have been seen in a few areas of the Bayshore in the vicinity of Route 36. The Courier will be checking this out tomorrow with a look into the areas and what was found, if anything. Whatever we find will be in this week's upcoming edition of The Courier, in stories by Alyssa Passeggio and Scott Shanley.

Caption: Yet another shameless way to get my Old English bulldogs, Winston and Baxter, on my blog.

Burry marks battle's anniversary at NWS Earle

June 4, 2007

Freeholder Burry, Navy mark the Battle of Midway

COLTS NECK – Monmouth County Freeholder Lillian G. Burry and representatives from Naval Weapons Station Earle marked the 65th anniversary of the Battle of Midway today with an overview of the famous World War II battle and the placing of a wreath.

The battle, fought June 4 through June 7, 1942 near the central Pacific island of Midway, is considered the most decisive single naval battle in U.S. history. It signaled a turning point in the war in the Pacific and helped shape the future of Europe as well. Before this, the Japanese were on the offensive, capturing territory throughout Asia and the Pacific.

The Japanese had planned to capture Midway to use as an advance base, as well as to entrap and destroy the U.S. Pacific Fleet. Because of communication intelligence successes, the U.S. Pacific Fleet surprised the Japanese forces, sinking the four Japanese carriers that had attacked Pearl Harbor only six months before. After Midway, the Americans and their Allies took the offensive in the Pacific.

“The Battle of Midway was the turning point of World War II and the victory signaled the beginning of the end for the Imperial Japanese Navy,” Freeholder Burry said. “We can never forget the ultimate sacrifices that were made by our U.S. Navy seamen and U.S. Marines.”

Following welcoming remarks by Lt. Cmdr. E.M. Prezioso, Master Chief Joseph Eppolito and Cmdr. Richard Valentine presented an overview and interpretation of this important battle.

The Japanese were shaken by an April 1942 air raid led by Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle, in which targets in Tokyo, Yokosuka and a score of other towns were hit. A battle scheme was drawn up by the Japanese to attack the U.S. Pacific Fleet in the waters around Midway in order to move the line of battle away from Japan. However, earlier that year, Americans had broken the Japanese naval code and had been able read at least 10 percent of the Japanese Navy’s radio transmissions.

“The Battle of Midway changed the world forever,” Eppolito said. “The balance of sea power shifted from the Japanese to the United States and set the table for our later successes.”

Valentine said that it was because of Midway that the United States did not have to fight the enemy on its own soil, because the Japanese never got that far. “England had its Battle of London,” he said. “The only reason we didn’t have a Battle of America is because there was a Battle of Midway. The Japanese turned back and their opportunity was lost forever.”

Japan’s loss of four out of its six fleet carriers, plus a large number of their highly trained aircrews, stopped the expansion of the Japanese Empire in the Pacific.

“The Battle of Midway enabled the U.S. Navy to go on the offensive, which is why this battle was so important,” Freeholder Burry said. “Thanks to American signals intelligence, judicious aircraft carrier tactics and some luck, the U.S. Navy inflicted a devastating defeat on the Japanese.”

The wreath-placing ceremony led by Valentine with assistance from Freeholder Burry.

New coyote sighting...along Route 36 near Union Beach

I met a Northern Monmouth resident at a Blue Claws baseball game yesterday, at First Energy Park, in Lakewood. He went on the record about a coyote sighting not far from the Henry Hudson Trail. Click into the You Tube video for more information.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

AP reports on Dems' "pork barrel" issues

The AP reports about Democrats and their "pork barrel" items in the federal budget. These 'unnecessary' items include support for hospitals, dams, beach issues, among others. If federal money is being spent in this country, to help with the welfare, safety and quality of life of Americans, I cannot see how it is a "pork barrel" issue.

Nevertheless, if the Democratic Congress has sidestepped rules, that should be examined. There have been enough shortcuts in government in this country for quite some time.

Click on the headline and see the AP report.

Farewell to Mr. Carton

The Asbury Park Press printed attorney Larry Carton's obituary today. He served as the Middletown Planning Board attorney. He died on June 1, peacefully at home. Sympathies to the family. Click on the headline to go to the obit.

Shore residents react to terror plot

A good story in the APP about the reaction by locals to the JFK terror plot. Click on the headline to go there.

Rutgers still alive in NCAA tourney

Rutgers Baseball rallies to stay alive in Charlottesville tournament, wedging past defending champ Oregon State. Click on the headline and go to

Terrorists stopped in JFK terror plot

Click on the headline to go to the Asbury Park Press, which gives a good report about the alleged terrorists stopped in their plan to destroy JFK Airport and kill U.S. citizens.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Carton dies after long illness

Reportedly, Middletown Planning Board Attorney Larry Carton died yesterday, at his Middletown office. It is unknown what Mr. Carton died of but he was reportedly ill for a long period.

Rutgers Baseball handed loss in Charlottesville tourney

Rutgers Baseball fell to Oregon in their opening game against them in a Charlottesville tournament the team played. Click into the headline for the story.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Chivukula given award by Middletown Democrats

Assemblyman Upendra Chivukula, D-Middlesex, was honored this evening by the Middletown Democratic Party. Chivukula was presented the award by Democratic candidate for Township Committee Sean Byrnes on behalf of the club.

The event took place at the American Legion, in Middletown, on Route 36.

In attendance was, among others, Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Victor V. Scudiery, Middletown Committeeman Patrick Short, Deocrat for 13th District Assembly Patricia Walsh, Democrat for Monmouth County Freeholder John D'Amico, Democrat for Monmouth County Sheriff Jack Hill and the Chivukula family.

Middletown Democratic Chairman Joe Caliendo lauded Chivukula's work in Trenton on behalf of the state's residents. Meanwhile, Chivukula noted that the work of township Democrats through the years has culminated in an election this year where control of the municipal governing body is being competed for by both parties in town.

Scudiery said he is optimistic about Democratic chances this year, and noted that the determination of the Democratic faithful in the township has been a key part of that optimism in races throughout the county this year.

Book Expo America 2007: Filip Sablik from Top Cow Comics

At Book Expo America 2007, at the Javits Center, held in Manhattan, New York, I interviewed Filip Sablik today, the vice president for marketing and sales from Top Cow Comics. He was talking about a new product coming out, from the "Darkness" series. A new game is coming out relating to the title. Click into the YouTube video for the interview, or go into the headline for the comic's Web site.

Book Expo America 2007: Steve Wilson on Springsteen book

At Book Expo America 2007, at the Javits Center in Manhattan, New York, I interviewed Steve Wilson, vice president for business development for The Music Sales Group about a new Springsteen book that is on the shelves. Click into the You Tube video for more, or click inito the headline for the Web site.