Friday, November 30, 2007

Matawan will go to polls again to choose new mayor

The match-up between Matawan Mayor Mary Aufseeser and her Republican rival, Councilman Paul Buccellato, continues. Matawan voters will again go to the polls to choose a new mayor. Click on the headline to go to the APP story.

Caption: Mayor Mary Aufseeser

Rutgers falls short after offensive spark

The Rutgers' Scarlet Knights received a tough loss. Let's remember these young men have done a lot to bring a weak program farther than it was. Head Coach Greg Schiano deserves a lot of credit. Nevertheless, a tough loss is a tough one none the less.

Click on the headline to go there.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Gov. Corzine puts plans for stadium expansion on hold

Busch Stadium is the home of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. According to, Gov. Corzine is putting plans to enlarge the arena on hold. I don't know why, as this is one of the things that actually brings in revenue to the state. But that is the way it is for now, I guess.

Click on the headline and go to the story.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

It's all tied up in Matawan

According to the APP, the mayoral election is all tied up in Matawan following a recount of the recent General Election results. A special election is likely to be held within 45 days, which will probably decide this photo finish once and for all. Click on the headline to go to the APP story.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

State issues police new guidelines about immigration

The deputy chief of police in Newark wrongly asked two journalists about their immigration status after the two reported a body in the Ironbound section of the city. The N.J. attorney general has issued guidelines that have ramifications statewide. Click on the headline to go to the story about this.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Matawan: One of the best places in U.S. to raise kids

According to BusinessWeek, Matawan, New Jersey is the 12th best place in the United States to raise kids. Congratulations to everyone over there, especially the kids. Click on the headline to go there.

Method authors piece about state fiscal crunch in APP

The APP's Jason Method has put together a nice article about state taxation and the fiscal crunch the government is under. I think something that is missing out of the discussion is that government, especially government in New Jersey, has simply over-stepped its bounds in many areas that government, in the United States anyway, was never supposed to do. Consequently, it costs too much, doesn't deliver enough and is barely competent, in general.

Especially in New Jersey, many see government as having some universal role in the lives of business and people -- it doesn't. Government has grown large on the fears, laziness, misunderstanding and apathy of the electorate.

The residents of the state of New Jersey have been overtaxed and overburdened for too long. Any solution to the current fiscal crisis does not include increased taxes. The tipping point was some time ago, in my opinion. The state needs to make do, get smaller and be less present -- not more. And the notion of taxpayers feeding into this nonsense is patently out of line. Governments in the U.S. are supposed to exist to support the citizenry, and catering to the idea that government is some large child needing more time and energy than it is already consuming is out of line, in my view.

Time for mass lay-offs in Trenton and around the state. Time for belt tightening to politicians (maybe a reduction in paychecks for every state office holder, since this is their failure), time for a lot of things -- but not increased taxes.

That's my take on it anyway. But, click on the headline to go to the story. It's a good one.

Bean pens piece on hunting in Coda

I genuinely liked an editorial by Greater Media Executive Editor Greg Bean about hunting. He has a perspective about hunting that is insightful, and of worth to the public argument about it. Click on the headline to go there.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Aberdeen Twp. revaluation explained

Click on the headline and go to the Matawan-Anerdeen Observer. The site is run by anonymous blogger "John Paul Jones," and it has a good story about the upcoming revaluation in Aberdeen.

Caption: The holiday light houses featured to the left will not be part of the revaluation. But in this state I am sure that is not far away.

Monmouth County tree lighting ceremonmy

Tree lighting ceremony is Monday, Nov. 26

Oh Christmas Tree, how lovely are your branches

30-foot-tall Douglas fir is donated to county for holiday display

FREEHOLD – A magnificent Douglas fir donated by an Upper Freehold Township farm will serve as Monmouth County’s Christmas tree this year.

The tree, which stand 30 feet tall, rolled into downtown Freehold on Tuesday aboard a flatbed truck and stands in front of the Hall of Records, East Main Street. It is being decorated in preparation of Monday’s annual Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony, sponsored by the Freehold Center Partnership.

The tree was discovered on a 10-acre site on Route 539 owned by High Ridge Farms directly across from the Monmouth County Highway Department’s District 7 headquarters. County Shade Tree employee John O’Connor had spotted a group of tall evergreens in that area and inquired with the owner about the possibility of donating one for a holiday display.

“They gave me a couple of choices and we picked the Douglas fir,” O’Connor said. County workers cut the tree down on Tuesday and brought to Freehold that afternoon, where the trunk was trimmed with a chain saw in order to fit it into the county’s tree stand.

High Ridge Farms owns a total of 1,100 acres of White pine, Serbian Spruce, Douglas Fir, Norway Spruce, Colorado Spruce and Montgomery Spruce, to name a few. The owners were happy to be part of the county’s holiday celebration, said Dawn Matyi, a farm employee.

“We thought we would do something nice for the county,” Matyi said. “It’s nice to give back to the community.”

The annual tree lighting will take place at 5 p.m. outside the Hall of Records. According to Jayne Carr, executive director of the Freehold Center Partnership, the event is a favorite of the community and has drawn as many as 500 people in past years.

In addition to the display of lights, attendees will hear the Freehold Township High School Brass Band and the Saint Rose Bell Choir. The music, together with the background of historic buildings that line Main Street, set the stage for a picture postcard start to the holiday season.

Dignitaries and elected officials from Freehold and Monmouth County are expected to attend. The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders will participate in the tree lighting ceremony, pulling the switch and illuminating the tree.

In addition to the tree, the Freehold Center Partnership will unveil its new and updated lighting decorations around town. There are new banner poles in the downtown area as well as new snowflake decorations on display to enhance the winter setting in the borough.

A special guest of honor, Santa Claus, will be riding a fire truck through town before stopping at the Hall of Records to sit and chat with the youngsters in attendance.

Throughout December, Freehold Center Partnership has a number of other special events planned. In addition to the Christmas Tree Lightning program, a Menorah Lighting Program will be held Dec. 6; the Freehold Comcast Holiday Concert is Dec. 7; Santa’s Train is on Dec. 8; breakfast with Santa is Dec. 18, and a caroling hayride is Dec. 21.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Press Release from Middletown Twsp. PD

Middletown Township Police Department

Press Release

Prepared by Det. Lt. Joseph C. Capriotti

On October 18, 2007 at approximately 1:08PM Middletown Twp. Police Officer Michael Kenney was dispatched to an office complex at 113 Tindall Road to investigate a road rage incident that escalated into the theft of a purse.

Officer Kenney interviewed a woman who explained that as she was driving on Wilson Avenue at the intersection of Chestnut Street another car nearly struck her car necessitating her to sound her horn to warn the other driver.

The car then began to tailgate her as she continued on Wilson Avenue to Cherry Tree Farm Road and then onto Tindall Road. As the suspect vehicle was following, her the driver and three passengers of the car were shouting obscenities and making obscene gestures toward the victim. The victim turned into the office complex on Tindall Road and the suspect car continued on Tindall Road.

The victim got out of her car and opened the trunk and placed her pocketbook inside. She then went to retrieve additional items from the back seat of her car to place in the trunk when she noticed the suspect vehicle had returned and was stopped right behind her.

A female got out of the suspect vehicle and confronted the victim. After some words were exchanged the suspect reached into the trunk of the victim’s car and took her pocketbook and fled north on Tindall Road in the vehicle. The woman is described as approximately 5’5”, long brown hair pulled up, wearing a white color hooded sweatshirt, between 17-20 years old.

The vehicle is described as a white four door, possibly a Chevrolet Malibu, with either dark wheel rims or no hubcaps and a tinted sunroof.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Courier will report on Black Friday and its impact on business locally

Courier Staff Wrtiter J.J. Sullivan is writing a story this week about the impact of "Black Friday" on Bayshore small businesses. It's a great story, which will highlight some differences between the appeal of large retail stores, in contrast with hometown outlets. In addition, Courier Senior Staff Writer Alyssa Passeggio will be writing another story, highlighting the experience of larger retailers in our area.

If you own or manage a small or larger outlet in Northern Monmouth County, the Bayshore, please feel free to give us a call at (732) 957-0070, ext. 6116 if you are interested in adding your input to either story.

Kindle is a holiday idea whose time may have come

Kindle is a new book reader that transcends many of the problems with "E books." It's a controversial new piece of hardware, that has its detractors. But, it is an idea that brings a great deal of promise. I don't know that much about this, but it's getting talked about a lot Online. Judge for yourself.

Click on the headline and start making your own decisions.

Woodward and Bernstein land in N.J.

The APP has a piece about general corruption and the perspectives of two veteran reporter. Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, of Watergate fame, gave Gannett interviews recently. Click on the headline to go there.

Black Friday starts off with a bang this year

Consumerism is celebrated today. In the Bayshore, I passed by an electronics store on Route 35 in Holmdel, yesterday and saw people camping outside. I don't know what kind of sale is worth that, but it is a good sign for Black Friday.

Click on the headline to go to an AP story about this, courtesy of

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Middletown Twsp. Police Dept. Release



Prepared by Det. Lt. Joseph C. Capriotti

The Middletown Township Police Department is urging residents to lock their car doors overnight and cautioning them about leaving valuables inside, especially as the holidays approach. The Police Dept. is investigating burglaries to at least 20-25 vehicles in the Belford section of the townsip occuring during the night over the past week.

The cars that have been entered were unlocked and items such as electronic devices, pocketbooks, wallets and money have been taken.

Several neighborhoods have been targeted in and around the Leonardville Road and Campbell’s Junction area and the Department will be stepping up evening and overnight patrols in the area.

Detective William Strohkirch is leading the investigation and anyone that may have information helpful in identifying those responsible is urged to call the Middletown Twp. Police Department at 732 615-2100.

Caption: A weird traffic shot I took last night on the Henry Hudson Parkway, not related to the release.

Freeholder McMorrow named to NJ driver commission

For Immediate Release:

September 25, 2007

FREEHOLD – Freeholder Barbara J. McMorrow has been appointed to the Governor’s Teenage Driver Study Commission.

“I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to tackle the issues that face young drivers, their peers, their families, and their community,” Freeholder McMorrow said. “I want to ensure that our young drivers are well-prepared to take on the responsibility of driving and that they help to make our roads safe for all.”

As a retired public school teacher and principal, McMorrow brings to the commission 30 years of first hand experience in working for and with teen-agers in New Jersey.

While at Howell High School, McMorrow worked with students and staff after motor vehicle accidents claimed the lives of teens. “These occasions provided the necessity to develop a sensitive and respectful protocol for the school personnel to follow in the wake of a motor vehicle tragedy,” McMorrow explained. “When tragedy strikes a school, it affects the whole community.”

McMorrow was also a founding member of Monmouth County’s Traumatic Loss Coalition, a group that helps students handle the death of a fellow student or teacher. “It’s very close to my heart,” McMorrow said of the coalition program.

The Commission will study and evaluate the driving education and training programs for New Jersey’s teenagers, assess the problems of driving under the influence of alcohol and aggressive driving, evaluate defensive driving and accident prevention programs, and analyze motor vehicle violations that contribute to teenage driving accidents. The Commission is to complete its work by March 2008.

“Teenage driving safety and the graduated license program is a matter of great concern in Monmouth County – as well as to the rest of New Jersey,” Freeholder McMorrow said. “Our goal is to help parents and their teens understand the laws pertaining to young drivers.”

The Commission consists of 15 members, seven appointed by the Governor, four members appointed by the Senate President and four members appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly. Monmouth County’s representation on the commission includes Sen. Ellen Karcher, Assemblyman Michael J. Panter, Freehold Regional School District Superintendent H. James Wasser, and Englishtown resident Julie Farel.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

APP pens positive piece about "Assembly Democrats"

While it is good to see the Assembly is doing something of relative worth (it is rare), the APP seems intent on this idea of "Assembly Democrats" and "Assembly Republicans." While there are a few parties in this state, with different names, it's my experience that Club Trenton is far from a partisan battlefield.

Newspapers deal with politicians every day, probably far more than any member of any Editorial Department wants. The notion that career Republicans and Democrats are not firmly entrenched and are not members of the same "club" is not realistic, based in reality, or practical.

In fact, to foster positive relations across the aisle (far form public view) it is not uncommon for partisan "rivals" in Trenton to be in business together, at least in some way, or supporting each others' campaigns, or lobbying for jobs through 'rival' colleagues in the Legislature.

There are real advocates in Trenton, who work very hard for citizens, and these are refreshing. Perhaps someday these elected Democrats and Republicans could have some kind of meeting in a very small room ( a large one would not be needed).

It would be nice if it were some other way, but it is not. Click on the headline and go to the APP piece.

This week's editorial: Business taking it on the chin, as usual

I wrote an editorial in this week's Courier after I received an e-mail from the Northern Monmouth Chamber, which is doing some fine work these days.

The long story short is this: As usual, Trenton is finding a new and different way to punish business for setting up shop in the Garden State. There is pending legislation that would mandate employees working for small and large companies in New Jersey would receive 10 weeks of paid vacation every year.

Sure, this is a stupid proposal that, in all likelihood, is going to be shot down because of the ridiculous nature of it. But, this is far from the first piece of outrageous legislation to come out of Trenton in even the past year.

Between bear hunts, trans fat nonsense and devising new ways to bleed a stone dry of blood (money from small business), the state Legislature has been little more than an advancing threat to state businesses.

The problem isn't just this proposed law (though there is certainly nothing right about it). The problem is career politicians who have never actually worked in the traditional sense and are basically a new welfare class created by various county political machines -- career politicians.

If anyone wants to try and sell that Republicans in Monmouth are any different than Democrats in Hudson, that argument should be saved for someone who is going to buy it. Corruption is far and away not limited to one party or one geographic area in this state. And the problem starts with a lack of term limits and encompasses the distinct lack of any practical campaign finance reform.

So long as special interests operate the campaign process, help choose candidates and are power brokers on the level they are today then nothing -- absolutely nothing -- of any worth is going to be accomplished in Trenton.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

U.S. auto sales: Will they slump to new low?

It's amazing, a new 'low' seems around every corner these days. This time it's auto sales. I suggest someone, it would be refreshing if it were in the government, would stop killing private business and, it would be too much to hope for, but actually help it.

Click on the headline to go to YahooNews!

State teen driving task force to meet in Colts Neck


November 15, 2007


State teen driving task force to meet in Colts Neck

FREEHOLD – Monmouth County Freeholder Barbara J. McMorrow encourages residents to attend the public hearing for the Governor’s Teen Driver Study Commission to be held at Colts Neck High School on Monday, Nov. 19 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

“As a retired high school principal, I know first hand the tragedy of losing a young person and the impact that this loss has on the family, the school and the community,” said Freeholder McMorrow, co-chairman of the Governor’s Teen Driver Study Commission. “We need to take action now before another life is lost. We need valuable input from residents to make the Graduated Driver’s License process effective and meaningful.”

Anyone unable to attend the public hearing on Nov. 19 may attend one of the other public hearings scheduled for Nov. 29 at the Livingston Public Library, Livingston, and Dec. 5 at the Washington Township High School in Sewell. Additional information about the Teen Driver Study Commission may be found at

When: 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 19

Where: Colts Neck High School
Rt. 537 and Five Points Road
Colts Neck, NJ

# # #

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Matawan hosts Turkey Trot and Fitness Walk



MATAWAN, NEW JERSEY (November 15, 2007) ….. Matawan Recreation Commissioner Dr. Michael Mullaney announced today that the Borough will hold its Second Annual 5K Turkey Trot and Fitness Walk Saturday Morning November 24th. The event will begin at the Matawan Community Center, 201 Broad Street, at 10:00 a.m., and will weave through Matawan’s historic streets.

Registrants, young and old, are invited to burn off their excess turkey gravy and stuffing on this Officially Certified 5K Course.

Registration for the 5K Turkey Trot and Fitness Walk begins at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, November 24th. The entry fee is $ 20.00 per registrant.

This event should prove to be a festive occasion that will kick off with food and music to inspire participants before they begin the race. It will be an opportunity to share some exercise and that competitive spirit with friends, colleagues and neighbors while enjoying lake views and Matawan's historic charm.

An awards ceremony follows the event for each top male and female finisher, within five separate age categories. The 5K Turkey Trot and Fitness Walk will be held, rain or shine.

For more information please telephone Matawan Recreation Commissioner Dr. Michael Mullaney at 732 619-7713 or 732 566-3898 or , or check out this website:

All proceeds from the 5K Turkey Trot and Fitness Walk benefit Matawan’s Parks and Recreation Program. Last year, 172 participants and sponsors benefitted the refurbishing of Jackson Street's Park (Rededicated in September to the memory of Former Councilman Joseph Penniplede).

A free supervised Kiddy Dash for younger runners is also open to all aspiring candidates following the 5K Run.

To be eligible for the 5K Turkey Trot and Fitness Walk registrants must have trained for and are physically able to participate in their respective event.


Friday, November 16, 2007

The Charlotte Chamber: Making a difference

The Charlotte Chamber of Commerce is a great organization, which has played a major role in the growth of the city and its business. Charlotte is home to the NFL, NBA and NASCAR and hosts some of the major banking concerns in the world. With a growing population of more than 1 million residents, Charlotte's growth has been identified by many locals as being the key factor in the area's progress.

For more information, click on the headline, or go to:

Right: Not the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Taking to the trail in Mecklenberg County

Mecklenberg County, North Carolina: Countrytime Carriages operates from the Equestrian Center near the Latta Plantation. The operation is run by director Valerie Pierson, and it's a great experience. The riding trails in the area around the plantation are filled with great sights and the wonders of nature.

If you're ever in the area, it's well worth the $23 per person charge for a trail ride. For more information, go to their Web site at:, or call them at (704) 992-1550. Click on the headline to go there.

Captions: 1: Tracey Whaley was the trail guide during my recent trek through the N.C. woods. He does a great job. 2: Marquis is a steady horse with a wonderful disposition to people.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mooresville Artist Guild: Something special

The Mooresville Artist Guild is a great organization, with a wide array of wonderful work. They offer work in several mediums and there are some strong shows going on. Wayne McGuire is the guild's president, and John Hornirk, formerly of Cape May, was kind enough to show me around.

During my tour of the guild, located at 103 W. Center Avenue, I was treated to seeing some of a watercolor class being conducted by Mr. Frank Saunders, a great watercolor artist who has some very serious students. Some of the work going on is better than local artist guild stuff.

I see art guilds sometimes, and not many of them are all that exciting. This one was. Their Web site is at: Click on the headline to go there.

Captions: 1: Guild volunteer John Hornirk. 2: Watercolor artist Frank Saunders.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The historic Latta Plantation

In Mecklenberg County, North Carolina, the commissioners there bought and renovated the Latta Plantation, which was opened to the public in 1975.

Since then, the attraction has grown to include the entire plantation site, and has been joined by a Raptor Center and Equestrian Center. In fact, this park has become a good vacation destination that serves not only area residents and schools but also tourists from far and wide. The gift shop has several good titles by local historians who present the past from a variety of outlooks.

In short, this place (operated by the county) makes money, is organized and serves as a community touchstone. There's a lot of history and a minimum of fluff. Good stuff.

Some things about Mr. Latta

Leaving behind a wife and two young sons, James Latta, a Scots-Irish Presbyterian, came to America from Ireland in 1785 to settle his father's estate.

Thirty years old with a sizeable inheritance at his disposal, Latta took up the title of traveling merchant. After the death of his first wife, Latta married a woman named Jane Knox, with whom he had three daughters and a son.

In 1799, Latta purchased land on a bend in the Catawba River. Around 1800, construction of the two-story, Federal style home was completed. Mr. Latta died in 1837, with the North and South edging toward conflict. Click on the headline to go to the site.

Captions: The Latta Plantation House (circa. 1800).

On New Jerseyans and 'voting with their feet'

Not so long ago, the Asbury Park Press printed an editorial wherein editor Randy Bergmann wrote about how state voters are casting their ballot with their feet, departing for destinations outside of the Garden State.

The editorial was something of a hit. On my trip, I decided to ask around a little bit and see if there was any truth to it.

So, during a conversation with Mooresville business owner, Mike Wilhelm, who owns Old World Art, I said, "Yeah, there's a lot of talk about how New Jerseyians are moving out." To which Mike finished, "Yeah, and they're coming here."

There has been a vast expansion of housing in the area during recent years. It is generally believed that this is a result of Charlotte's expansion. But, more and more, former residents from New Jersey, New York and even Ohio are starting to call the area home -- for the good and the bad of it, in some cases.

Welcoming veterans home in Mooresville

Mooresville, North Carolina: Ralph Dagenhart served his country during the Vietnam War in the 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry Division (1969-70).

Today, he welcomes veterans at Pat's Coffee Shot, dedicated to honoring America's veterans and active duty military personnel.

The coffee shop is located at 166 N. Main Street, in town, and is a nice place to trade stories and remember old days for veteran types.

For more information about their organization, they can be reached at (704) 662-6299, or go to the Web site at: Click on the headline to go there.

A great N.C. pottery tip

Mooresville, North Carolina: Al Tillis operates Tillis Pottery, 228 North Main Street, in town.

I spent a couple minutes with him today and managed to learn one or two things about pottery. He explained that the "old school" potters of the area used to use some materials that were different than today -- different as in lead.

Lead is harmful anyway it goes. Al is all about the craft of pottery, and also about safety. Lead creates a smoother finish to pottery. Where it involves things like cups, bowls and various other dishes, lead will make them look smoother, but create more of a human hazard.

According to Al (and a quick trip to New Hope, Pa. could confirm it), North Carolina pottery is very popular with Northern shop owners. But, knowing if lead is used in a piece can be an important fact before making your purchase.

Al works totally lead-free and doesn't cut corners. He moved to Mooresville as a young man, when his family arrived from Ft. Myers, Fla. He has a great line of pottery. For more information, he can be reached at (704) 806-8770, or go to: CLick on the headline to go there.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Government can't set the beat -- it's too off track

In general, government does not do things as well as the private sector. In New Jersey, government (the most incompetent area of the economy) has the authority and the desire to compete and even muscle private business.

For example, New Jersey involves itself in the recreation business, the fishing industry and even the arts. Why? The state government cripples private industry with taxation and over-regulation, discourages projects other than those thought up by politicians with developer friends (who have contributed to campaigns or given jobs to our welfare class -- career politicians) and puts the dumbest, most corrupt people they can find into a room to decide the economic fate of whole areas.

Why North Carolina business is competitive is real planning, a strong business-friendly economy, and probably far fewer incompetents in office (though none of us are without them entirely).

What government needs to do in New Jersey is stop getting in the way of business, admit it has failed and start doing something other than making a mess of the economy more than it already has. While government has a regulation responsibility, it does not have an over-regulation or over-taxation responsibility.

SCENES OF SOMEPLACE THAT MAKES MONEY IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR JUST FINE: 1: The fine eating and catering establishments at Biltmore, 2: Another shot of a segment of the working farm, and 3: The visitor's center at the farm, with the main Biltmore house in the background.

Biltmore: A N.C. gem in the Blue Ridge Mountains

Biltmore: It's a Western North Carolina treasure

Asheville, North Carolina – Nestled within the Blue Ridge Mountains is a unique gem, the Biltmore Estate. The sprawling estate was home to the first family of American money, the Vanderbilt family, around the turn of the last century.

Constructed during the 1890s, the estate remains privately owned, by the Vanderbilt family, and is also the home to a working winery and farm. Of course, the centerpiece of the tour is the Biltmore Mansion. In fact, it is bigger than mansions, and if the United States had a palace it would be this place. Mansions are cottages compared to the Vanderbilt casa.

The house is perfectly preserved, right down to fresh-cut flowers in every room (grown on the estate in the garden). There is a great dining area open to the public in the Deerpark area of the estate. The food is great.

Entrance onto the estate is about $50 per person, and well worth the trip. The gardens are immaculately manicured, the home is in pristine condition, the view is – the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the ride is filled with fall foliage. There's plenty to do and see once there, and it's definitely worth a look if you're ever in any kind of proximity to Western N.C.

According to folks that work at the winery, it is relatively uncommon that New Jerseyians make their way to the estate. Yet, if someone is a fan of nature, wineries, working farms, scenic views and a serene get-away, this is definitely the place.

Click on the headline to go to their Web site, at:

Captions: 1: The Vanderbilt mansion. 2: The Vanderbilt's backyard. 3: A scenic shot on the working farm. 4: The winery showroom, which is at the conclusion of the tour.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Mooresville, NC: Something special Down Home

Mooresville, North Carolina: In economic despair during the early 1990s, Mooresville stands revitalized today. The home of the NC Racing Hall of Fame, the town is also home to a thriving Downtown community.

Mooresville has benefited by the growth of Charlotte, but not without an influx of new residents, many searching for a bedroom community on the outskirts of the city.

Since 1993, Mooresville has welcomed a host of new businesses, and most recently has received word that the Richard Petty racing organization will be locating itself there.

Closed stores make Sundays a bit dull, but there is a great municipal golf course that was bustling today. A word about real-estate. Checking some real-estate directories, there are new homes, with yards, in good neighborhoods for between $100,000 and $120,000, on the low end, to $350,000-$400,000 on the higher end (and they're basically mansions). Taxation -- or the relative lack of it -- would make New Jerseyans envious (I was) and anyone looking with an eye toward retirement would probably want to check out the area.

No slums, good schools, Charlotte and all it has to offer 20 or so miles away, and an Artisan's Guild that is strong and thriving. The senior and community centers were large, active and apparently well attended.

If Mooresville was "Mayberry" 25 years ago, it is at least a very nice suburb today.

Click on the headline to go to "Race City's" homepage.

Friday, November 09, 2007

The Inside Clamdigger...Goes On Vacation!

With the completion of this year's Election Edition, and a few things that needed doing around the office, I am going on vacation from now until November 19th.

Insofar as this blog, there is meaning in this. Since my last vacation, I have used an almost endless number of photos from Colonial Williamsburg. Consequently, I have received more than a few requests to stop with the pictures of the people in three-cornered hats and the "whacky Colonials."

Since I only shoot that stuff on vacation, this means a brand new round of tortured vacation photos to come. As always, my best to the readers, thank you for coming.

High school is winner of Blue Ribbon Award

For Immediate Release:

November 7, 2007

County’s Allied Health & Science High School is winner of national Blue Ribbon Award

NEPTUNE – Monmouth County’s Academy of Allied Health and Science has been selected as a national No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School. On Monday at a school-wide assembly, Valarie M. Smith of the U.S. Department of Education presented the school its certificate of distinction.

The No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools award, one of the most prestigious education awards in the country, distinguishes and honors schools for helping students achieve at very high levels and for making significant progress in closing the achievement gap.

“As one of only two high schools in New Jersey to receive this honor, Monmouth County’s Allied Health and Science is a model of excellence and achievement,” Freeholder Barbara J. McMorrow said. “Day in and day out, the staff work to educate and elevate our youth. These students excel because they are interested and engaged in education. I am so glad that the Board of Chosen Freeholders began the career academies as a way to provide more opportunities for students and as a way to enhance our vocational school district.”

“Blue Ribbon schools are proving that when we raise the bar our children will rise to the challenge,” Smith said. She also told the students that Allied Health is the only school in New York and New Jersey that had received the Blue Ribbon designation more than once. Smith added, “It takes a lot of hard work by teachers and students to become a Blue Ribbon school, and it’s a privilege to celebrate their great efforts.”

Allied Health and Science was nominated based on guidelines established by the U.S. Department of Education and a recommendation from the New Jersey Department of Education.

“The students at Allied Health and Science are very focused and committed to a rigorous course of study,” said Brian D. McAndrew, superintendent of the Monmouth County Vocational School District. “Allied Health and Science’s community of inspired students, teachers and administrators join the County’s other career academies in providing students that are engaged and ready to take on the next step of leadership.

The No Child Left Behind-Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors public and private schools that are either academically superior or that demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement to high levels. The schools are selected based on one of two criteria:

· Schools with at least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that dramatically improve student performance to high levels on state tests; and

· Schools whose students, regardless of background, achieve in the top 10 percent of their state on state tests or, in the case of private schools, in the top 10 percent of the nation on nationally-normed tests.

The Monmouth County Vocational School District prepares students for an evolving workplace and further education through specialized academic, career and technical programs and lifelong learning opportunities. The district’s career academies prepare students for higher education through a rigorous program of study and for the evolving workplace through relevant, structured learning experiences and collaborative partnerships.

Other career academies are the Biotechnology High School, Freehold Township; the Communications High School, Wall; the High Technology High School, Lincroft, and the Marine Academy of Science and Technology, Sandy Hook.

For more information about the vocational school programs, visit

# # #

Thursday, November 08, 2007

180, Turning Lives Around receives $100K in grants

The APP has a great story about 180, Turning Lives Around, has received $100K in grant money. This is a great organization and lives up to its name. Click on the headline and go there.

Karcher: Too negative, too out of touch

Everyone has an opinion about why Ellen Karcher lost her 12th District race, and I have mine too. Ellen Karcher's campaign went too negative, too early. An incumbent, Mrs. Karcher should have spent more time letting people know what she had done in office, rather than harp on various negative things about her opponent, Ms. Beck.

When incumbents run, they generally run on their record and try -- as hard as they can -- not to acknowledge their opponent. It is pretty much up to the challenger to demonstrate a need for change.
Instead, Mrs. Karcher fell back on the tactics of her former campaign, when she had no legislative record, and was on the warpath over former Sen. John O. Bennett (who was eventually cleared of any allegations thrown on him, according to the U.S. attorney). This year, people want to know how elected officials were going to lower their taxes, not petty personal issues (e.g. parking tickets).

Mrs. Karcher had the infamous Christmas Tree Scandal, which really goes back to taxation -- and not paying all the taxes she might if she weren't a 'part-time Christmas tree farmer.'
While in office, frankly, some of Mrs. Karcher's initiatives were puzzling. With restaurant districts in two towns within her district, Freehold and Red Bank, why would she push some trans fat issue, thereby ensuring business owners could face more government interference and not less? The preoccupation with bear hunting was a question too.

People need real tax relief these days, and not fluff. There are plenty of ultra-liberal, vegan-obsessed legislative districts in this country -- and Monmouth County doesn't happen to have any of them.
People here want to talk about how Trenton is going to lower their taxes, in my opinion, and that would have been a better public discourse. And $4 million in muck-raking? That has nothing to do with lowering anyone's taxes at all.



November 8, 2007

Afshin Mohamadi (Menendez) 202-224-4744


Menendez a lead co-sponsor of “Homes for Heroes Act”

25% of nation’s homeless are vets, including 34% of New Jersey ’s homeless

– Today, the National Alliance to End Homelessness released a report showing that about one in four homeless people in this country are veterans – approximately 196,000 of the approximately 745,000 who were homeless on any given night in 2006. That includes an estimated 6,500 New Jersey homeless veterans, which would equal almost 34 percent of the estimated 19,385 homeless people in New Jersey .

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez said today that the alarming report is further reason to pass legislation aimed at ensuring that veterans have housing. He is a lead co-sponsor of the Homes for Heroes Act, introduced this year by Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL).

“The rate at which our veterans are finding themselves without a roof over their heads is a moral outrage,” said Sen. Menendez. “These people put their lives on the line every day for our country, no questions asked. And what have they gotten in return? A life of struggle and hardship. A grateful nation would not stand to see so many of its veterans without one of the most basic human needs: shelter. And the problem is growing worse by the day as Iraq and Afghanistan veterans return ‘home’ without the benefit of even a roof over their heads. It is shameful that our men and women in uniform would be sent to patrol the streets of Baghdad , only to have them come back to sleep on the streets of their home towns.

“This report should be a red alert to anyone who had overlooked this troubling issue. And it is yet another reason that we must pass the Homes for Heroes Act. I will continue to stand up for our veterans with my colleagues as we work to pass this critical bill.”

The Homes for Heroes Act would:
Establish permanent housing and services for low-income Veterans and their families; Expand rental assistance; Focus government resources on homeless Veterans; Exclude Veterans benefits as criteria for rent considerations; and Assist housing and service providers.

# # #

Vicinage to Hold Adoption Day Program


TELEPHONE (732) 677-4100

For Immediate Release:

For further information, contact:
Nov. 7, 2007 Marsi L. Perkins
Trial Court Administrator

Superior Court of New Jersey Monmouth
Vicinage to Hold Adoption Day Program

The Monmouth Vicinage will celebrate National Adoption Day on Thursday, Nov. 15, at 1:30 p.m. in the Jury Assembly Room in the lower level of the west wing of the Monmouth County Courthouse, 71 Monument Park, Freehold. The goal of this program is to foster awareness and promote education on the subject of adoption, as well as to acknowledge those who have brought permanency to the lives of children through adoption.

Speakers will include Assignment Judge Lawrence M. Lawson, Family Division Presiding Judge Honora O’Brien Kilgallen, adoptive parent Susan Smith, and Peterson Bellinger, who will reflect on the joy of being adopted. Representatives from the Division of Youth and Family Services (DYFS), the Surrogate’s Office, and the Monmouth Bar Association also will offer remarks. Judge Lawson anticipates that the program will encourage more Monmouth County residents to consider adopting a child.

“Currently, approximately 90 children in Monmouth County are hoping to find a permanent home through adoption,” said Judge Lawson. “The Adoption Day Program will serve as a reminder to the community of those children who are awaiting a family to give them the love and support they deserve.”

Individuals interested in adoption will receive information regarding the adoption process and court protocol. They also will have the opportunity to speak with members of the Surrogate’s Office and the Division of Youth and Family Services regarding adoption of a child currently in foster care.

From July 1, 2006, to June 30, 2007, the Monmouth Vicinage, in collaboration with the county Surrogate’s Office, finalized the adoption of 197 children, an increase from the previous year. Of that total, 104 children were placed through the Division of Youth and Family Services, compared to 52 last year. During the same time period, there were 31 international adoptions and 36 relationship adoptions by stepparents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles. The remaining 26 children were adopted through agencies, private arrangements, or by co-parents.

For additional information, please contact Trial Court Administrator Marsi L. Perkins at

# # #

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Elections congrats: Will be posting again tomorrow at 1 p.m.

Thanks to a short staff and a long day, I haven't been able to post today. And after the newspaper is out tonight, I am thinking that it will probably not be until tomorrow early afternoon that I post again. But, for those of you who have become fans of those wacky colonials I regularly post pictures of -- here's another one.

I'll be posting again by 1 p.m. on Thursday. Congratulations to the winners and those who did not win at the polls, because the process worked yet again. And for all those who voted -- great job. Democracy only works when you work it.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

For those interested in the Beck-Karcher race

I live in District 6, Freehold Township. Despite rain and such, there were more than 35 voters by 9 a.m. today. This is the first time I have voted in the township. So the good news is that people are coming out early.

There was no Democrat candidate for the local governing body. I don't know what a high voter turn-out in Freehold Twsp. means, but it's going on, I guess.

As for the four questions: I figured the government already compels enough money from me without me doing it myself and voted "No" to each. If it isn't about taking out the garbage, hiring cops, buying fire trucks or paving roads then the government has no place being involved, in my book.

BayshoreNewsBlog: Where the coverage is today

The Courier is going to be going to various polling places throughout the Bayshore to report on voter turn out, talking to candidates and party officials on both sides of the aisle throughout the day. Click on the headline and go there.

Monday, November 05, 2007

This just in...from Matawan

I just received a call from Mr. Robert Bunyon, a candidate for the Matawan Borough Council. He said that information is being spread by some folks in town that he is a nephew of Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Victor Scudiery. In fact, Mr. Bunyon is not. He works at the New Jersey Highway Authority, and Mr. Harold Scudiery (who is a nephew of Victor Scudiery) is his supervisor. He wanted to clarify that information.

Mr. Bunyon is running on the Democratic slate tomorrow.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Patriots top Colts in 24-20 thriller

The New England Patriots edged out the World Champion Colts, in Indianapolis, today by a score of 24-20. Big days for Quarterback Tom Brady and receivers Wes Welker and Randy Moss. Of course, it was also an enormous day for the New England defense, which held one of the NFL's greatest quarterbacks ever to a mark that didn't hit the bar.

Of course, this one was a thriller right up to the last minute, meeting the expectations of many across the country. At the office, I said New England would win it by 3. On the blog I said they would win it by 7. I guess 4 is somewhere in-between.

While there is all kinds of speculation that the Pats may go unbeaten, or be anointed likely Super Bowl champs by some right now, I think this game tonight did prove that the AFC championship is probably going to go through Foxboro. I think home field during the playoffs for the Pats is not an out-of-line expectation. And whatever team is going to try to win at New England, in the playoffs, against this team had better bring it. Click on the headline to go to the Yahoo News! story.

Atlantic Artisans hosting reception on Nov. 9th

Atlantic Highlands, NJAtlantic Artisans, LLC is excited to announce a new addition to its gallery – ART SUPPLIES - Come join Atlantic Artisans in celebrating with an opening reception on Friday, November 9th from 7-9pm.

Atlantic Artisans was designed by owner Nance S. Ciasca with a vision for the artisans in the area to exhibit their work. What started as gallery of local artisans, 5years ago, has transformed into a dynamic studio for all your creative needs. Atlantic Artisans not only exhibits art by local and American artisans, they also custom frame.

Now with adding art supplies, Atlantic Artisans is your one stop shopping, creative experience. Whether you are looking to buy art, create art or frame art, Atlantic Artisans is the place to shop. They have a knowledgeable and creative design team with the personal service you deserve.

Mark your calendars to join Atlantic Artisans celebrate this new endeavor Friday, November 9th at 68 First Ave. Atlantic Highlands, NJ, 732-291-0100, or

Baltimore Sun has great story about today's Colts-Pats match

The Baltimore Sun has a good piece in it about today's match up between the unbeaten Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots. Being a Patriots fan, I'm partial, but I am thinking that at the end of the day it will be New England by a touchdown, 42-35. That being said, Indy is a superb team and this game being hailed as the best regular season game in years is on target. This is sport.

North Carolina presents some interesting optinos for summer places

The New York Post has a great article in it today about vacation homes in North Carolina. It's worth a look.

Click on the headline and go there.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

NAACP holds annual Freedom Luncheon

The Greater Long Branch Chapter of the NAACP held its annual Freedom Luncheon today at Branches, in West Long Branch.

The keynote speaker for the event was Gov. Jon Corzine, who spoke out about the need to embrace diversity in the state. During the luncheon, Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Victor V. Scudiery was among those who were honored by the chapter.

Other honorees included Lawrence Hamm, a public advocatewho has been working on behalf of human rights for more than 30 years; Dr. Mary Jane Celli, a former member of the Long Branch Library Board and the city's Planning Board; State Police Maj. Wendy Galloway, a graduate of the 99th State Police Class; Hermaine Sue Harrison, a leader in the Long Branch NAACP Youth Diversity Program; Odessa Dangler, a prominent city business woman who has a long history of working on behalf of the Civil Rights Movement; and Mrs. Beulah M. Jelks, a leader in the Mattie E. Johnson Scholarship Committee and the Greater Long Branch Chapter of the NAACP.

About 200 guests attended the event, from both political parties and all walks of life. "It is wonderful to see the support that the chapter has received. This event keeps becoming bigger every year and I am very grateful," said Lorenzo Dangler, chapter president.

Captions: 1: Gov. Corzine and Greater Long Branch NAACP President Lorenzo Dangler. 2: Gov. Corzine and Chairman Scudiery talk before the event.

Some shots of Hartshorne Woods, in Middletown

The weekend is a great time to spend some time with the family. Here are some shots from Hartshorne Woods, in Middletown.