Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Post-Standard: NY measure would end political welfare for lawmakers

This is a great article about a great initiative in New York state. Here is what it comes down to: A measure that would mandate elected officials need to have a way of receiving benefits before, during and after public service, and not on the public dime. This is what American government is supposed to be about, not the gravy train that has become a way of life, and an embarrasment to this state.

This is a county level measure and something that at least one legislative candidate, Pat Walsh from District 13, has been talking about. If this is not the future, then it should be.

Click on the headline and go there. It's worth the reading.

Corzine to use helicopters to get around

On Page A2 of the Asbury Park Press today is a brief titled "Corzine leaving his vehicle choice to 'experts.'" The brief discusses how the governor is traveling by helicopter more, as a result of recent injuries he received following a car crash.

In the third paragraph of the brief, though, it states: "With gas prices soaring in spring 2006, Corzine said he wanted to get rid of his State Police-driven SUV in favor of a smaller, more fuel-efficient car. But following a near-fatal car crash in April, he now seems less eager to push the issue."

Well, if Mr. Corzine can't get around in reasonable transportation on public money, then maybe he should consider hiring something private to do so and not helicopter rides on the public dime. In the meantime, Middletown Administrator Robert Czech was issued the exact same make of vehicle the governor uses, which is a Tahoe SUV, for his 24-hour use.

This is a waste of taxpayer dollars in Middletown. He should have a fuel-efficient and reasonably priced sedan, if anything. In reality, a township administrator should not receive an form of free car, in my opinion. It is an unnecessary expense for taxpayers. The job pays enough for him to buy and operate a car.

Monday, July 30, 2007

NJ.com posts column by Amy Gottlieb about immigration

A story on NJ.com by columnist Amy Gottlieb is thought provoking. Her column addresses a recent Morristown protest invovling a group opposed to illegal immigration. She raises some points. Ms. Gottlieb said her impression was that, despite the public sentiments expressed by group organizers, there was a lot of feeling in the crowd that was against illegal immigrants rather than policy.

As an American, I can understand why Americans are upset that foreigners try to circumvent laws to come into this counttry, take jobs away from Americans and absorb benefits. But this problem is far more pervasive and widespread than I believe media communicates. A former Harlingen, Texas resident who has done stories about immigration in the 80s, I had seen local, state and federal authorities struggling with this chronic problem 20 years ago. It was not for wont of effort or expertise that the U.S. Border Patrol or INS (as it was known then) failed in this goal. They were swamped. Just the Southern Texas leg of this problem boggles the mind when it comes to the sheer number of Central American people who enter the U.S. illegally.

Yet, in fairness, the life these people are fleeing is terrible and, if the shoe were on the other foot, I may do the same if circumstance made me desperate enough (e.g. fleeing corrupt totalitarianism for a better future for myself and my family). Our respective families came to America, and some had these very reasons. Nevertheless, especially when entering a new country, its laws should be observed or there have to be consequences. But this is not an academic exercise. What these illegal immigrants go through to get to this country is, in some cases, a nightmare beyond description (being victimized by traffickers known as coyotes, among others).

This issue is a growing one, and I suppose it isn't going to be on the backburner anymore. There is going to be trouble about this situation, and I really do not believe I have heard a good solution to this issue. A major roadblock to solving this, I think, is that it is difficult to translate the border country in Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California to the rest of the country. Without having a real sense of the mechanical problems of stopping illegal immigration, I do not think a satisfactory answer is going to show up. Perhaps if the Army were deployed in great strengths (an infantry division or better along each border state?), augmenting existing border units and agencies, it would actually put a dent in illegal immigration.

Flimsy fences or giving amnesty doesn't seem to make sense. And right here in Central New Jersey, Monmouth County, illegal immigration is an issue. Where's this one going? No idea but I don't think it's going to get solved right now. Still, a good piece by Ms. Gottlieb. Click on the headline and go there.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

MLB: Not the game it was or could be

Major League Baseball is an interesting American rite. This being summer, it is "prime time" for the national pastime. Personally, I do not watch MLB games anymore.


Pitchers are so specialized it's a joke. The complete game is a dinosaur stat. Free agency has evolved into a mercenary practice whereby team loyalty is comical. The addition of expansion teams has watered down the talent level it requires to become a major league player. Games are played so kids can't watch them. Steroids has enhanced the abilities of players to put up freakish stats because of their use. Hot dogs are $8 apiece. Beers are $9 apiece. Oh yeah, these ball players expect to hit the mint for every year in the sun.

All in all, in the MLB today, a good journeyman of yesteryear would be a superstar, because darn near everyone walking off the street today with a speck of talent hits the big time.

With that said, baseball is great. The teams are great. One day, maybe the owner and player problem will get solved.

Barry Bonds and his quest to top Hank Aaron

There is a great story in Sports Illustrated this month about Hank Aaron, on Page 41, titled "The People's King." Henry Aaron eclipsed Babe Ruth on April 8, 1974, with home run #715, in a shining moment while still a member of the Atlanta Braves. Aaron retired two years later, having knotted a career total of 755, closing his career with the Milwaukee Brewers.

Now onto Barry Bonds: Barry Bonds is a father, a taxpayer somewhere, and someone's son, husband and friend. He does not have a criminal problem. He is not profane. Vilifying anyone who is not a criminal is wrong, and should not be done. But as a baseball player, Mr. Bonds invites criticism because of his role in the sport.

On Arsenio Hall many years ago, he characterized himself not as a "ballplayer" to Arsenio, but as an "entertainer."

Well, there it is. I stopped watching professional baseball in 1994, after a previously life-long obsession with Major League Baseball. I watched guys who made a living but were generally not millionaires. I watched guys who signed autographs and enjoyed the game, just as if they were still kids. It is a great blessing to be able to play professional ball, on any level. But to be a big league player, that is an honor (which is now treated with great disregard and scorn by those who do it).

Barry Bonds may or may not have used steroids. There are certainly those who think he did. Maybe I would form an opinion about it, if I still watched baseball. I think what Mr. Bonds said about being an "entertainer" and "not a role model" all those years ago is true not only of him, but most of the major leaguers these days. Ball players these days might as well collectively have sent a note to the American public after the last strike that it's not a game anymore, first and foremost, but a business with no boundaries.

Fine. Good to know.

But before baseball was a business to every player, before it was a 'labor' for those who struggled with celebrity the sport brought, it was just a game...America's national pastime. People from everywhere in this country loved the game, because they would go to a field and watch baseball players do their best on the field. Well, that was then: Now, sports entertainers take to their stage and perform for their audiences.

Whether Barry Bonds hits 756 homers, stops now, or hits 1,000...he may reach Hank Aaron's numbers at the plate, but Hank "The Hammer" Aaron will always be the home run king in my book. This is not to vilify Mr. Bonds. He is from all observations an OK guy, if not a bit eccentric. Nonetheless, as baseball players go, he's the best sports entertainer.

Around the time I stopped watching baseball, I was doing public relations work on the side with a sports collectibles company, in New Jersey. I worked with one Hall of Famer in particular. The ex-diamond star made it clear about what he thought of the "fans" for me. This was a celebrated person who made it clear his public respect for fans, and even the sport, was a sham. Disappointed? Yes. Playing professional baseball is a gift. It is a reward for hard work, and it carries responsibilities. I think that was forgotten long ago, so the records pretty much stopped around 1994 in my book. But this Hall of Fame guy I am speaking of made me acknowledge that even some from the "Golden Age" of baseball thought the American baseball fan was a sucker; suckers who made this guy rich. I am not using his name because I do not want to disillusion anyone out there...he's a big name.

Yet, if the myth of the "Great Game" was (and is) only a myth...it was a good myth. That myth was great. And many ball players for many years lived up to the myth. For some players, their ability was greater than their judgment, their character or their kindness. But that is how the ball bounces. For me, the show is over, the credits have rolled and the lights are turned up: The ball players are being played by actors and it's not such a "Great Game"...it's just "Another Game."

Best of luck to Barry Bonds. Congrats on hitting more home runs than Aaron (when it happens). By the way, Henry Aaron is still going to be the home run king in my book, and Babe Ruth will always be No. 2. I am not disrespectful of Barry Bonds as a person, but of the way he and his generation (and those after) played and play the game and where they took the sport and where it is going. As ball players, they should be remorseful about what they did to this sport.

Barry Bonds' father...Bobby...now there was a player, when he was in his prime. Bobby Bonds may have had a shorter career, and a more obscure career, than his son. But Bobby Bonds didn't entertain. He played ball. He had problems...true...as people sometimes do. Yet he never turned the sport into a circus act.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Health concerns for reporters who worked at Ground Zero

For journalists who reported from Lower Manhattan or Ground Zero during September 2001, they may or may not have health concerns resulting from their experiences there. Below is a brief someone sent me. If it applies to you then you might consider giving Mr. Handschuh a call or drop him a line.

9/11 Aftermath
New York Daily News photographer (and three-time Pulitzer nominee - but who's counting?) David Handschuh is trying to find journalists who have suffered - or fear they will suffer - health problems because of exposure to the World Trade Center site after the 2001 terrorist attacks. Handschuh is fighting to have journalists added to those groups eligible to file workers compensation claims with the state of New York . Questions? Handschuh invites you to contact him at H2Photo@Optonline.net or (212) 210-2344.

Yahoo News! reports on 'utilikilt' phenomenon from Seattle

Yahoo News! reported about the "utilikilt" phenomenon coming out of Seattle. I tried to get the embed for the video but failed. In the meantime, I clicked onto the site for the company making them and recovered that. So click on the headline and go there.

Point: Social fads are a barometer about what's going on in our society. Some fads are interesting, and most are superfluous. But, every now and again, one turns up that's just funny. A little light-heartedness these days is not going to hurt anyone. In the meantime, though, an opinion is that this fad needs to die on the drawing board.

Caption: Town Hall in Philadelphia, Pa. Notably, no one on street level was wearing a kilt.

Menendez hails 9/11 bill's passage


July 27, 2007

Afshin Mohamadi (Menendez) 202-224-4744


Cargo security provisions spurred by Menendez amendment and move to more risk-based homeland security funding included

– Late last night, the U.S. Senate passed legislation implementing the remaining 9/11 Commission recommendations, thus sending it to the president’s desk. The bill includes a provision to scan 100% of cargo in a few as five years, which was spurred by Sen. Robert Menendez’s (D-NJ) successful cargo scanning amendment attached during the original Senate debate on the bill. The legislation also moves toward a more risk-based homeland security funding system, which stands to benefit first responders in New Jersey .

“This bill fills some major gaps in our security that were exposed three years ago by the 9/11 Commission but went unaddressed by the previous Congress,” said Menendez. “ New Jersey has the busiest port on the east coast, and we are fully aware that the current level of cargo scanning creates a major weakness for terrorists to exploit. I am proud to have helped move our country toward a 100 percent scanning system.

“As the nation’s most densely populated state, New Jersey has been losing out on valuable security resources to states that are nowhere to be found on the terror target list. We learned last week that al Qaeda has regrouped along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, which only heightens the need to protect our high-risk areas here at home.”

Menendez was able to attach the only cargo scanning amendment to the earlier Senate version of the bill, an amendment that required the Secretary of Homeland Security to report on efforts to achieve 100% scanning.

Regarding homeland security funding, the bill lowers the minimum amount every state, including low-risk states, receives to from 0.75% of the total amount to 0.35%, thus freeing up more money to be distributed based on risk.

# # #

Afshin Mohamadi
Press Secretary
Senator Robert Menendez

Caliendo hosts Democratic event in M'town

M'town Dems host event at chairman's home

MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP (MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ): Middletown Democratic Chairman Joe Caliendo hosted an event at his township home on Daniel Drive this past Wednesday.

About 200 local Democrats came out for the mixer.

Dignitaries included county Democratic candidates: Jack Hill, for sheriff; John D'Amico and David Schueyler, both for freeholder; Amod Choudury, for clerk; Patricia Walsh and Robert Brown, for 13th District Assembly; and Sean Byrnes and Janet Moscuzza, who are running for Township Committee.

Other dignitaries included Middletown Committeeman Patrick Short.

"It's always great to get a chance to come to Middletown and get an opportunity to speak with people here," said Hill, who is also the chief of police for Belmar.

D'Amico said the county candidates have been working hard to spread their message of reform in Monmouth. "There is a lot of energy around the campaign and I am enjoying the chance to work with so many people who are dedicated to governmental reform," he said.

Caliendo appreciated that the candidates took time out of their busy schedules to attend the event. "This is the best slate of candidates I can think of to represent Monmouth. Every resident in this county will be fortunate to have this group of people representing them beyond November," Caliendo said.

Caption: Taken during the county convention: (L-R): Jack Hill, candidate for sheriff; Patricia Walsh, 13th District Assembly candidate; John D'Amico, candidate for freeholder; Leonard Inzerillo, 13th District Assembly Senate candidate; and Robert Brown, candidate for 13th District Assembly candidate.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Countdown to RU Football: 34 Days

There are 34 DAYS until the opening day kick-off for RUTGERS FOOTBALL in Buffalo. The summer is great but there is a predictable drought of football. If politicians truly want to do something for New Jersey, they may want to look to lengthening the college and pro seasons. Those are the people who get my vote.

Click on the headline to go to the RUTGERS FOOTBALL countdown clock on the RU Sports homepage. There is also some good off-season news about the team.

PoliticsNJ.com posts "Most Powerful" list

PoliticsNJ.com has posted a "power list" of 'most influential' people in politics within New Jersey. This list is an opinion by the folks over there. Taking a look at it, in my opinion, I find a lot of entries dated, others not necessarily on the mark and a few exaggerated. There are a few that look about right. But the insider stuff politically in this state is fundamentally distasteful, though watching it is a little like passing a car wreck you can't take your eyes off.

Click on the headline to see what's left on the road at PoliticsNJ.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

APP: Nursing home cat predicts when patients about to die

The APP published a piece today about a nursing home cat that predicts when patients are going to pass on. This definitely falls into the category of unusual. Click on the headline and go to the story.

Middletown's Commerce Bank was robbed; man being sought



Prepared by Det. Lt. Joseph C. Capriotti

On Wednesday July 25, 2007 at approximately 1:38PM a branch of Commerce Bank located on Harmony Road in Middletown was robbed. The robber is described as a black male, stocky build, approximately 5’6”- 5’10” inches tall, wearing a baggy green and white striped shirt and dark colored baggy jean pants. After leaving the bank the actor was seen running north toward Bertha Road. A dark colored sport utility vehicle was seen leaving Bertha Road north on Harmony Road but it has not been determined if this vehicle is related to the robbery.

The actor approached the counter in the bank and handed a note to the teller demanding money. He fled the bank with an undisclosed amount of cash. No weapon was threatened or shown and no one was injured during the robbery.

Attached are two photographs of the suspect from the bank surveillance cameras.

The Middletown Township Police Department is asking anyone who may have seen this person or any suspicious vehicles near Commerce Bank is asked to call the Middletown Township Police Department at 732 615-2100. The Monmouth County Prosecutors Office and the Red Bank office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are also involved in the investigation.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Upcoming editorial addresses Rt. 36 flooding in Belford

The upcoming edition of The Courier has an editorial about the flooding situation in Belford, on Thompson Avenue, by me. It makes the observation that there may be some issues involving the Monmouth County Parks Department and water accumulations on Route 36 during inclement weather. I think the comments are fair. The editorial is in this week's upcomoing edition of the newspaper. Click on the headline to go to The Courier's site.

NJ.com publishes piece about Newark riots

Nice piece of work about the aftermath of the Newark riots on NJ.com. Click on the headline and go there for the story. Worth a look for anyone interested in the history.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Courier will be running story about Bayshore flooding

In the Thursday edition of The Courier, staffer Scott Shanley is writing a piece about flooding along the Route 36 corridor of Middletown. For more information, pick up a copy of this week's newspaper, or check Online.

Scarlet Knights football schedule published

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights season schedule has been published for the football program. Click on the headline and go to the schedule.

Monday, July 23, 2007


The Bayshore, Northern Monmouth County, is prone to flooding. That is the experience of area residents from Sea Bright (not technically a part of the Bayshore but close enough) to Aberdeen. Some areas flood faster than others.

This morning, Courier staffer Scott Shanley and myself went out to survey the rain and what we found was better than normal conditions in Sea Bright, Highlands and Union Beach. Meanwhile, what appeared to be flooding was starting to become apparent on Leonard and Thompson avenues, respectively, in Belford. In addition, water was starting to significantly collect on Palmer Avenue, near the Route 35 intersetion, also in Middletown.

According to the Middletown police, at about 10:30 a.m., there is no flooding in Middletown as of yet. Above is a photo of a car driving through water at about 10:30 a.m. at the intersection of Thompson Avenue and Route 36.

Pilgrim Baptist holds upcoming HIV/AIDS event

Pilgrim Baptist Church, in Red Bank, is hosting an upcoming HIV/AIDS event. This kind of program is really what community outreach in the church environment is about. Click on the headline and go to the APP staff report.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

APP publishes piece about hurricanes

The Asbury Park Press has a great article talking about the upcoming summer and the possibility of hurricanes this year. Well, anyone who has lived on the Shore knows that if you don't have a basic plan for hurricanes that hurricanes will have a basic plan for you.

With that said, I think laying up some flashlights, batteries and maybe some extra water won't kill anyone. Since it might get used later on, you might be glad you did. Click on the headline and go to the article.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Holmdel bans dual-office holding

Holmdel recently banned dual-office holding. Good for them. It's a sound idea. Click on the headline and go there.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Bean pens piece about privacy in editorial

Good editorial by GM Exec. Editor Greg Bean this week Online. Click on the headline to go there.

Caption: Glass blower is not Greg Bean: This was a great attraction on Jamestown Island, Va., called the Glass House. The attraction is located in the vicinity of Jamestown Village and the folks there work pretty hard in some pretty tough heat.

Opinion: Voting patterns do not change randomly


Politics is not an easy thing to speculate about in Northern Monmouth County, among other places. Once a predominantly Republican area, Northern Monmouth is today seeing a shift in voting patterns that cannot be boiled down to a few arguments between individuals in partisan camps. Once-Republican strongholds like Matawan, Keyport and Hazlet have seen large increases in Democratic voting patterns, which eventually led to those communities having a new party with a majority of seats on the governing bodies there. Meanwhile, all of the towns in the Bayshore have traditions of strong Democratic representations.

There are bloggers and political people who will offer that spats between a few individuals within certain parties may have something to do with this shift at this time. I strongly disagree with the motivation for fundamental change and offer that the personalities involved on the inside of these parties offer little, if anything, of substance about the generalized movement of voters away from a one-party system of representation in this county, and in this area.

Anyone who believes what they write as opinion has the weight to sway even one informed person is thinking a bit much of themselves. Nationally and locally, the Republican Party has struggled at times. This is widely perceived as one of those times. At alternate times, the Democratic Party has struggled. It is the nature of democracy: Two opposing parties, acting in an adversarial way to ensure another system of check and/or balance.

Whenever things are not going well for any party, Democrats included, the inclination is to 'find blame.' So devout Democrats fume at certain public figures and publications when they are upset with the status quo and Republicans do the same. It is the way of the world, on every level of political life.

But Rush Limbaugh did not get George W. Bush elected, as much as he'd like to think he did. Meanwhile, Air America did not get Hillary Clinton elected as a United States senator in New York. In fact, most newspapers have given up the practice of offering endorsements of candidates because there is good research showing that newspapers cannot change anyone's mind about anything. Editorials serve to reinforce the existing ideas of some and offer dissenting ideas to others. Anyone who has made their mind up about any issue is likely to remain wherever they first arrived.

So what does change peoples' minds? I suggest it has something to do with their tax bill, their garbage getting picked up, the police and fire departments in their towns, perhaps the trend of the national dominant parties, or maybe it's all just the luck of the draw.

My opinion is that people vote for government that intrudes least, costs less and encourages commerce. In the Bayshore, home to a diverse group of middle- to upper-class families with a broad range of educational and vocational experiences, I think it is a bit much for anyone to put too much stock in any paper (let alone weeklies) to make much of a dent given the media carpet bombing every Bayshore resident receives daily as they wake up and trek to work.

If I were a Republican looking for why the GOP is more challenged this year than in those past, I might look to...the Republican Party and its elected and appointed people and how well or not these folks are: keeping taxes down, getting the garbage picked up, clearing the roads of snow, keeping out of peoples' lives, encouraging business and assisting police professionals and fire volunteers in protecting our communities. These things and not talking heads are what motivate voters.

What could Republican office holders do to secure their positions more comfortably in Northern Monmouth? Their jobs are great places to start, I think. The way it generally works is that if some party isn't doing something or a series of 'somethings,' then people can vote for the other party, to send a signal and to get desired public actions to happen. That is sort of the point of democracy. I think some people sell voters short. Political office is not an inherited right of kingship in the United States, it is a stewardship with serious responsibilities.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

NJ.com posts about seventh Harry Potter book

NJ.com has a great article about "Harry Potter mania" in the Garden State. It's an interesting enough cultural phenomenon. While there has been great intrigue about the book's security, the series has also served as a doorway for the imaginations of countless young people.

Well, today the new seventh book is out, and the "secret endings" on the Internet won't be all that sensational anymore.

Smith donates money to Highlands bridge group

Breaking News from Courier staffer Alyssa Passeggio: Celebrated writer/actor/producer/director Kevn Smith has donated money to a local citizens' group in Highlands. The group is concerned about the Highlands Bridge. Click on the headline to go to the story.

CAPTION: Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes in the parking lot of the Spirits Unlimited, in Middletown, during filming of Clerks II.

Older drivers can be better than younger ones

A study has come out stating that older drivers are, in fact, better drivers than many young people. Hard as it is to believe, click on the headline and go to Yahoo News! for more information.

Caption: I guess this would be considered a very old driver based on the vintage of his transportation.

Blue Jersey posts new report on civil unions

Blue Jersey's Juan Melli has posted about the status of civil unions in the state. According to Mr. Melli's report, there is still widespread discrimination reported by couples joined in civil unions. Click on the headline and go to Blue Jersey. Click on the headline and go there.

Shields interviews Asbury Park police chief

The APP's Nancy Shields interviewed Asbury Park Police Chief Mark Kinmon in today's issue of the APP about Asbury Park's recent crime statistics (some good news there) and a little about the PD's personnel deployment status.

Yahoo News posts about steam in explosion

The air in Manhattan is supposed to be asbestos free at this point following yesterday's steam explosion (which was really bad). With respect, I remember a few years ago when the air was deemed "officially safe" to breath in Lower Manhattan but maybe wasn't. This is a different situation -- true -- but it still makes people like me think twice.

Click on the headline and go to Yahoo News.

CAPTION: Unrelated shot: "Seminary Row" in Manhattan. Pictured is Union Theological Seminary, located across the street from Riverside Church (nowhere near yesterday's problem).

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Vick faces suspension from federal charges

Falcons Quarterback Mike Vick may or may not be taking the field this season in Atlanta. Click on the headline to go to Yahoo News!

Walsh posts on Middletown Committee

Thirteenth District Democratic Candidate Patricia Walsh has a good post on her blog about the Middletown Committee. It is thought provoking. Click on the headline and go there.

Caption: The photo has nothing to do with the post. I just liked it a lot. The Victory Center at Yorktown is great if anyone has any ideas about vacationing in Virginia.

Upcoming story about Melissa Farmer and Erica Lopez-Mulligan

The death of Melissa Farmer, Union Beach, and Erica Lopez-Mulligan, Upper Freehold, was tragic. It took place on Sunday along the Parkway in Wall. Yesterday, Alyssa Passeggio and I went to Union Beach and spoke with some of Ms. Farmer's teachers and neighbors about her. We were unable to get in touch with her family, as of yet.

But it is clear that a very special and talented person was lost from our area. We did not have a chance to interview any of Mrs. Lopez-Mulligan's family or friends. But the loss of these two young ladies must be devastating to those who knew them.

The Courier has a feature about Ms. Farmer's life and untimely end coming out this week, including what we know about Mrs. Lopez-Mulligan.
These were wonderful young people and stories like these never fail to evoke empathy for writers. Stories like these happen, but the young people who pass away always leave a big hole in families and communities. My sympathy to the Farmer and Lopez-Mulligan families.

If the newspaper is unable to get in touch with the Farmer family for this issue, then we are certainly open to a subsequent tribute celebrating Ms. Farmer's life later, when the family is more available. In the meantime, the sympathies from everyone at the newspaper.

The story about Melissa Farmer and Erica Lopez-Mulligan is not just another story to us.

Click on the headline for the APP treatment. Courier will be out on Thursday.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Benefit for Riley Franklin on July 21st

There is a BBQ and gift auction fund raiser for Riley Franklin on July 21st at the American Legion in Leonardo from 1 to 6. It costs $20 to get in; that includes food, beer, soda, entertainment, horseshoes, kids games, and kids under 12 are free.

Middletown, NJ: Not in the top 100 anymore

Money Magazine's "Top 100" places to live is out...and Middletown, New Jersey is not on it anymore. There are all sorts of factors that go into the "Top 100" listing, which are explained at the site. FYI: Marlboro made it. Click on the headline and go there.

Monday, July 16, 2007

INPRINT notes top Web sites

INPRINT is a monthly newspaper for newspapers in New Jersey, put out by the New Jersey Press Association. In this month's edition, on Page 6, there is a small story about top-producing Web sites. According to Nielsen//NetRatings, NYTimes.com had the largest Online circulation, with 12,775,000 unique visitors in May. The visitors spent an average of 29 minutes on each site.

This was a national-level poll.

NJ.com was 28th in the nation, with 1,319,000 visitors, who spent 9 minutes each, during May. NJ.com was just nominally behind 24th-place winner Philly.com, which welcomed 1,485,000 unique visitors for 10 minutes each during the same period.

Note: I have looked on the NJPA site for an Online version of INPRINT and haven't been able to find it yet. But INPRINT has great information in it. Click on the headline to go to NJPA's homepage to check out the association...and maybe get a little luckier than I was finding an Online version of INPRINIT.

CAPTION: Just another picture from Williamsburg vacation...nothing to do with the story.

APP publishes piece on commercial fishermen

The APP has a good story about the potential imposition of a fishing ban for commercial fisherman in an area of the county where recreational fishermen want it (the Shark River Reef).

When it comes to the idea of recreational fishermen trying to take away business peoples' ability to earn a living...and it being taken seriously by government... that is the problem with business and New Jersey in the first place.

When will New Jersey's economy improve? When New Jerseyans take their economy seriously and stop discouraging business. In this case, we're talking about a discretionary limit on business, based on a desire by recreational boaters to enjoy an area more. When does that trump private sector commerce?

The commercial fishing business in this state has been brutalized by government regulation in this state for some years. This is just another thing area fishermen will lose. By the way, as our commercial fishermen are pushed out of local waters, so is a tradition dating back hundreds of years. Click on the headline and go to the article.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

APP writes good editorial about Sharpe James case

This is a great editorial from the APP. In my opinion, partisanship has become a luxury the New Jersey taxpayer cannot afford. Whether it is Essex County with its Democratic Machine or "machines" anywhere else, abuse of government office is a Garden State joke, and an old one. New Jerseyans often clearly see corrupt politicians in front of them, in full display, and do nothing. Perhaps the standard bearer for this idea is former Newark Mayor Sharpe James, once referred to by some people as "mayor for life" of the state's largest city.

It would be wrong to try Mr. James in the media, as I am sure a legal venue will work just fine.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Rutgers Football dedicates a site to Heisman candidate

RUTGERS FOOTBALL has put up an official site for 2007 Heisman Trophy candidate Ray Rice. Click on the headline and go there. Click on the headline and go there.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Banfield, Pt. 2

Banfield, Pt. II

Banfield, Pt. 1

This is Part I of Banfield, outside of Town Hall.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Letter in APP discusses WTC air quality

There is a letter in today's APP, by Atlantic Highlands' Holly Hall Kluck, about WTC-related breathing ailments. Ms. Kluck is assessing blame on former EPA head Christine Todd Whitman and the Bush White House for saying the air at the site was safe. I agree about the Whitman part of that blame.

Well, the air quality at the site was treated like some PR gimmick by the EPA, and Mrs. Whitman is doing a dance and should step up to the plate and accept blame. I don't think it was the White House's fault (even though she's saying things were re-written by the White House). Hey, she was the EPA chief.

She was the one with the job, the desk and the responsibility. Her putting the blame on anyone else, or side-stepping her role in this blunder that has harmed so many people is disingenuous at best.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rutgers Football gets Wilson's attention

The Rutgers Football Program recently received a visit from top prospect Christian Wilson. Click on the headline and check it out.

TRT: McGreevey ex-wife comes to Red Bank

Two River Times Editor Eileen Moon penned a nice piece about Dina Matos McGreevey's recent appearance at the Molly Pitcher Inn. Click on the headline to go there.

Burglary being investigated on Polly Way



Prepared by Det. Lt. Joseph C. Capriotti

The Middletown Township Police Department is investigating a burglary to a residence on Polly Way in Middletown that occurred some time between July 1st and July 10th while the residents were on vacation. Upon their return home they discovered the entire house had been ransacked and a vehicle in the garage had been vandalized with large scratch marks.

Corporal William Kennelly conducted the initial investigation which revealed entry to the home was made by forcing a locked window. The residents are in the process of compiling a list of missing item from the house. Detective Paul Shanley and Detective William Strohkirch are assigned to conduct the follow up investigation.

Catholic church comes out with a new ruling for faithful

The Washington Post has just published this Reuters piece on Catholicism that is interesting. It's always easier for writers to find disagreement rather than common ground.

I am sort of left with the impression that the writer, Mr. Phil Stewart, was looking for controversy. I think it's an important topic to read about, but also believe it could have been done a little less sensationally.

Click on the headline to go there.

APP publishes nice piece about Keyport

APP staffer Kevin Penton wrote a good piece about the annual Keyport fair. Click on the headline and go there.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Sailboat stolen from backyard in Middletown



Prepared by Detective Lt. Joseph C. Capriotti

The Middletown Township Police Department is investigating the theft of a sailboat from the backyard of a home on Main Street in the Port Monmouth section of the township. The owner of the sailboat reported to Corporal Bernie Chenoweth that his sailboat was taken between the late evening hours of July 8th and early morning hours of July 9th. The boat is described as a 12 foot, white fiberglass Sunfish sailboat with Connecticut registration numbers affixed to the hull. Anyone who may have information about the theft of the sailboat is asked to call the Middletown Twp. Police Department at 732 615-2100. Detective First Class Jeffrey Barner is assigned to conduct the follow up investigation.

Wanted: Candidate releases

As a note here, if any candidates would like to send in press releases for publication on the blog, please feel free. Political parties and affiliations have aboslutely nothing to do with what gets published here.

Goldstein pens story about potential rate hikes

NJBIZ reporter Scott Goldstein works the statehouse beat for his publication. In the July 9 edition of NJBIZ, in a story titled "Corzine Likely To Seek Higher Tolls," it discusses how drivers could pay more under a forthcoming monetization plan.

In his story, Goldstein spoke with Philip Kirschner, president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Assn. Mr. Kirschner was quoted in the piece as saying, "We have been led to believe they are going to propose toll hikes that are close to inflation increases, somewhere in the neighborhood of 2.5 percent to 4 percent. If that's true, reaction will be muted. Increases higher than that will be tough for both business people and residents to swallow. They will want to know what they are going to get for it."

The story appears on Page 3, and jumps to Page 10, and it's worth the reading. This is a well-researched and written piece that deserves some attention. Click on the headline to go to www.njbiz.com.

Changes to the dictionary

Click on the headline and hold onto your seats about how the language is changing.



For Immediate Publication

July 9, 2007

POC: Joe Caliendo,
Chairman, Middletown Democrats
8 Daniel Drive, Middletown, NJ 07748
Tel: 732-299-6470/Email: joe_caliendo@yahoo.com


MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP (MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ): Middletown Democrats for Township Committee Sean Byrnes and Janet
Moscuzza will be taking part in a press conference outside of Middletown Town Hall at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 16th.

The press conference will be taking place in the vicinity of the North Entrance to the Middletown Town Hall and will be hosted by Middletown school board member and 13th District Assembly candidate Patricia Walsh.

The public and media are invited to attend the press conference, which will be about 25 minutes long. Candidates will answer questions from the public and the press following their presentation.

Other dignitaries expected to attend include 13th District Senate candidate Leonard Inzerillo.

For more information, call Middletown Democratic Chairman Joe Caliendo at (732) 299-6470.


Summer is going to be rocking in Atlantic Highlands

Atlantic Highlands, NJ Summer is a “Rockin’” time in Atlantic Highlands. Atlantic Highlands will have music Saturday nights on First Avenue in July and August from 6:30-9pm. While you are listening to live music stroll the town to check out the “Rockin’ First Avenue Businesses”. Many businesses throughout First Avenue will decorate their windows with their favorite music genre.

Atlantic Highlands Chamber of Commerce combined forces this year with the Atlantic Highlands Council of the Arts to present the 3rd annual “Music on First”. The line up is a great so, Check it out – Write down the dates!

July 14th - Solo guitar- David Crowton, eclectic finger-style guitar

July 21st - Jazz--Sergio DuBois, piano and Gary Mazzaroppi, bass

July 28th - "Drifter"-Outlaw Country

August 4th - Country/Folk/Bluegrass --"Firelight", featuring Jeanne O'Neill,

Wendy Bartel and Jimmy Bentley

August 11th - Singer/Songwriter Mary McCrink, guitar/vocals

All music is free and provided for your entertainment as you stroll the Avenue and get to know the town.

Atlantic Highlands is the “Jewel of the Bayshore”. It houses many eclectic stores, great restaurants and a marina fit for walking with breathtaking views of NY. So make a point to enjoy an evening of fun and a family atmosphere like no other. There really is no other town like it on the Jersey Shore! For directions and more information contact the Atlantic Highlands Chamber of Commerce, 732-872-8711 or visit us on the web at www.atlantichighlands.org.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Blue Jersey posts on Al Gore

Blue Jersey posted a piece about Al Gore. I want to go on the record about that. If someone wants to be a presidential candidate, they should have announced it by now, in my opinion. An intelligent guy, no doubt, Mr. Gore seems like someone who has something to say, but if that something is "I wanna be president," then it should have been awhile ago.

Moscuzza joins MT ticket

Middletown Democratic Candidate for Township Committee Janet Moscuzza at a recent Democratic event, held at the American Legion on Route 36.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

The Banfield Cultural Arts Center...yes, again

The Banfield Cultural Arts Center (2002-date): The project was begun when the Cultural Arts Commission pushed the purchase of the building, which happened to be owned by a major Republican contributor to GOP political campaigns. The building was pretty much falling apart, but the township bought it anyway and then-Mayor Rosemarie Peters declared the building "structurally sound." This was despite the fact that, after the building was bought, it was pretty much ripped apart and rebuilt.

OK, the plan was for private contributions to mingle with public money to make a venue in town that was supposed to have something to do with artistic culture (not plowing roads, not clearing branches from the street, not cleaning up public parks that have been rundown...culture). I want to make note that artistic culture isn't hard to find in this area: Broadway and most of the notable galleries on the planet are across the river, Red Bank is over the bridge, and the state theater (not to mention the George Street and Crossroads theaters) are all in New Brunswick (about a half-hour away).

So the private contributions didn't work out, and the town bonded for the whole thing(even though they have a ton of room they're already not using at Croydon Hall). The town says the total cost was like $6.5 million. But they aren't willing to talk about the legal fees it took for the town to build this (there was a lawsuit and some legal messes through the years). Thus, without reliable information (since the town won't give it) about how much money that part of the deal soaked up, some folks, myself included started thinking the whole thing was probably closer to $9 million. Of course, my mind is open about the legal fees and I could be wrong about that total number but since the government refuses to say how much money went into the legal part of this then it's hard to gauge.

Now, when Banfield was being built, some people (I was one) was asking for the business plan for the thing. Since so much public money was going into it, then I thought there must be a plan for the township to make that money back and then some because they took out a 30-year bond to pay for the construction.

But there was no business plan. Then, when it was opened, the town leased it to a community group for $1 a year. It employed someone from the township to be a director of some kind, and they gave the building a liquor license. The questions I've always had is why the taxpayer is paying for this, what are they getting out of it, who is paying off this note they took and why does anyone need liquor at this place?

After all that, just what was this Banfield thing good for? It was GREAT for Middletown GOP Boss Pete Carton's firm, which got the bonding, for the Republican contractors, lawyers and good ol' boys that turned a dollar. How does that save any taxpayer one buck or do one thing for the citizenry? It doesn't.

For questions I've raised about Banfield and some other stuff, people have had some hard things to say about me. Well, that's just how it goes. I guess I'm not going to be filling my refrigerator door up with Christmas cards this year.

Caption: An example of early American construction at the Jamestown settlement during the 17th century,

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Post pens piece about Miss New Jersey

Miss New Jersey is a Howell girl, Amy Palumbo, 22. Right now, there is some anonymous person on the Internet threatening her with exposing some pictures she had posted on a Facebook site she had. Well, there's intrigue o' plenty.

The Internet and anonymity. It has been abused. It has caused hardships for people when abused. And an argument that it shouldn't exist, on many levels, has merit. But in banning anonymity with a broad brush, it's possible to throw the baby out with the bathwater. America has to be the freest nation on the earth, despite the abuses that will sometimes occur and have to be ironed out.

But in spite of the frustrations, we still live in America and everything that means (from 1776 to right now). Yet there must be a way for bloggers, posters and the like to face the accountability of their actions in a responsible way. I applaud Ms. Palumbo for not being a victim to this type of person and not surrendering a crown I am sure she worked very hard to win. And it is with the determination of people like her that this issue of Internet abuse will one day be laid to rest in a way that is reasonable and responsible.

Click on the headline and go to the feature in the NY Post.

Caption: This photo is from Colonial Williamsburg and has nothing to do with the post. I just liked the photo.

Democrats hold Chairman's Ball at Addison Park, Aberdeen

Top: Sisters Edwina and Elizabeth Garvey with Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Victor Scudiery. Second from top: Middletown Democratic Chairman Joe Caliendo and Matawan Councilman and Democratic Chairman Joseph "Bud" Mullaney. Third from top: Middletown Democrats Mike and Debbie Morris. Second from bottom: Democratic Party members Mary Foster (l) and JoAnn Dinan (r) were honored for their service by Chairman Scudiery. Bottom: Middletown Democratic team (l-r) Committeeman Patrick Short, Committee candidate Janet Moscuzza, Middletown school board member and 13thDistrict Assembly candidate Patricia Walsh, Democratic Committee candidate Sean Byrnes and 13th District Senate candidate Leonard Inzerillo.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Highlands Bridge: A hot topic in the Bayshore

The Highlands Bridge: Now there's a hot topic.

The state Department of Transportation wants a bridge that's 30 feet higher. There is a movement by some in Highlands and Sea Bright to just refurbish the bridge that's there.

Some people are for the new bridge and some are against. My biggest problem with the bridge as it stands now is that any guy with a sailboat can weigh anchor and hold up traffic by having to have the bridge raised, creating a back up on Rt. 36. Adding 30 feet to the bridge would change that and allow for an uninterrupted traffic flow along Rt. 36.

I respect other peoples' points of view, but that's where I'm coming from.

Bowes pens piece about sign in Middletown

Karen Bowes wrote a great piece about a Middletown issue. The headline is great. It's worth a look and you'll probably get a laugh out of it.

Courier will create Boardwalk archive this summer

The Courier is creating an archive about the Keansburg Boardwalk; a historical record that basically goes over the beginning of the attraction until today. The way we intend to do this is by locating historical records, news articles and by conducting interviews of people who have Boardwalk memories stretching back from more than 80 years ago to very recently.

After we've collected enough information, The Courier will create a Web site, which will basically be permanent. We'll add to it every few years. We could care less about politics associated with the Boardwalk or who doesn't want the Boardwalk recorded.

Long story short: The Keansburg Boardwalk is an invaluable part of Garden State history that has played a great role in the mystique of the Jersey Shore.
How many people have had first dates there? Spent endless summers with their friends and family there? And had their lives wonderfully touched by this Jersey Shore staple? If area residents want to talk about it, our reporters will be creating a living archive, conducting digital recordings of favorite Boardwalk memories.

This archive has nothing to do with who owned what or did this or that. It's about the Jersey Shore experience the Boardwalk has to offer, and that's really about it.

People who want to take part in this can, if they don't then no one is going to be twisting anyone's arm.
The project manager for this is Senior Reporter Scott Shanley, on vacation this week. But he can be reached by calling (732) 957-0070.