Saturday, March 31, 2007

D'Amico is in for Monmouth Dems


Democrats choose D'Amico, Schueler to run for freeholder majority

WEST LONG BRANCH (MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ) --
The Monmouth County Democratic Party selected its candidates to run this fall for two seats on the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
Democrats selected retired state Parol Board judge John D'Amico and Bradley Beach Mayor Steve Schueler.

D'Amico has a lengthy career that spans decades of public service. Among other positions he has held, D'Amico is a former state senator and freeholder.
"I have every confidence in Judge D'Amico and Mayor Schueler," Monmouth County Democratic Chairman Victor Scudiery said. "This is a very good year for the Monmouth Democrats."

"Judge D'Amico and Steve Schueler are the guys who give the Democratic Party the best chance to win majority in Monmouth County," Middletown Democratic Chairman Joe Caliendo said.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Ciasca authors a great new blog

Nance Ciasca from Atlantic Artisans in Atlantic Highlands is doing something different on a blog. Click on the headline and go check it out.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bryant indicted by U.S. Attorney's Office

Sen. Wayne Bryant has been indicted by the U.S. Attorney's Office. Seems like a good move. PoliticsNJ has the story.

Yahoo posts on national prosecutor debate

Yahoo posted something about the Attorney General mess going on in DC about a minute ago. It's interesting, albeit about national stuff. What do national-level issues have to do with local? Got me. But it's interesting.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Why all the trouble in the GOP with the "Bayshore Faction"?


OPINION...

There is all this talk that the GOP chairman and some others in the county have about the "Bayshore Faction." Let's clarify some terms here. "The Bayshore" is Middletown, Hazlet, Holmdel, Aberdeen, Keyport, Matawan, Union Beach, Keansburg, Highlands and Atlantic Highlands.

Middletown is commonly set aside from "The Bayshore" in practice if not theory because it is a power unto itself on the county committee since it has 92 committee votes in both parties. So, the monicker "Bayshore" is sort of left to 'the rest of the Bayshore.'

The Bayshore is geographically located in Northern Monmouth County. That part of the county has the largest number of votes in general elections, when Middletown is figured into that tally. Races are fought in the county, but won or lost in the Bayshore (Middletown inclusive)

OK, so why are Republican leaders so joyous about '...putting down the Bayshore faction' in the latest convention? This faction is home to very ardent, independent-minded Republicans, some of whom have been known to try and speak out on the county level to try and get good government principles forwarded on occasion.

In th GOP, Middletown's Republican leadership is treated like some sort of prized calf, while the towns around it are treated like second-class citizens politically. Yet, when it comes voting time, Middletown pre-eminance is really dependent on the ability for Bayshore Republican leaders to either amlify its message on the county stage or not work so hard for that message. Because when the Bayshore votes in contradiction to its 'big brother,' it virtually turns the Middletown vote into a wash. This was clear in the Assembly election four years ago.

What inducement is there for GOP volunteers, the grassroots, helping out their county party come election time if Republicans from that part of the county are looked upon, at the very least, very poorly or, at the worst, adversarially? Where's the part about 'one big happy family' for them. They're getting told to shut up and do as they are told for the privilege of being Republican alone (meaning, supporting certain law firms in their quest for tax money).

So the Monmouth County Republican Organization has 'chalked up a win' against its very own faithful in the Bayshore at its convention. Arguably, it has been proved how little this area's voice does mean to the county party and its loyalists. What's all the celebrating in that party about then? They have left a lot of volunteers and good Republicans wondering why they are jumping through hoops if their communities mean so little to the party they work so hard for every single year.

These are not questions that need to be asked in public to people as much as, I think, they need to be asked among Republicans in the Bayshore.

MENENDEZ, PALLONE TARGET GANGS WITH COMPREHENSIVE LEGISLATION



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2007

CONTACTS:
Afshin Mohamadi (Menendez) 202-224-4744
Heather Lasher Todd (Pallone) 202-226-5248
Scott Mulhauser (Lautenberg) 202-224-3224


MENENDEZ, PALLONE TARGET GANGS WITH COMPREHENSIVE LEGISLATION
Legislators aim to crack down on gang activity and recruiting

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ-6) today introduced comprehensive legislation that would work to cut off the spread of gangs and reduce gang-related crime. The Menendez/Pallone Fighting Gangs and Empowering Youth Act of 2007 comes as law enforcement says that gang activity in New Jersey is increasing and becoming more sophisticated and aggressive in recruiting and preying on young people in all our communities. According to a survey by the State Police, the number of gang members has nearly doubled to slightly more than 17,000 in 2005, up from about 10,000 in 2000.

"Gangs are recruiting children as young as 8, 9, and 10 years old. We must give these kids an alternative to gang life, give them the tools to focus on getting a good education, and give families the peace of mind of a safe home and neighborhood in which to raise kids," said Menendez. "Our goal is to go after gangs aggressively by hitting them high and hitting them low -- we can tie their hands with tougher penalties and a bigger police presence, and we can cut them off at the roots by preventing gang recruitment."

"Senator Menendez and I are deeply concerned about the increasing presence of gang violence in communities around New Jersey ," Pallone said. "Today, we introduce comprehensive legislation that provides our communities with the resources to prevent the spread of gangs by promoting strong coalitions that can show kids there is a better alternative."

“This initiative provides the mentorship, job training and after-school programs needed to prevent our kids from joining gangs,” said Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ), an original co-sponsor of the legislation. “It gives law enforcement officials and local governments the resources, tools and information they need to deter gang violence in our communities. As gang activity increases in New Jersey and across the nation, this bill is a necessary step to combat gang violence in our neighborhoods and on our streets.”

The Menendez/Pallone Fighting Gangs and Empowering Youth Act of 2007 is a comprehensive approach to fighting gangs, focusing on 1) prevention and economic empowerment to give young people constructive alternatives to joining gangs; 2) community planning and gang policing resources to help communities fight local gangs; and 3) increased criminal penalties to crack down on those who commit violent crimes as part of gangs.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Web site posts on Operation Bid Rig, et. al.

Great post at OnOurRadarBlogspot.com. It's long reading but very familiar for Bayshore people. Click on the headline to get there.

King Tut and the Franklin Institute in Philly

I just booked a day trip to Philadelphia's Franklin Mint Institute to check out the King Tut exhibit for Sunday. The tickets are a little pricey, in my opinion, for something like this ($32.50 apiece, $3.75 service fee). There was a $7 audio headset option I went with too.

I'm going as a tourist and not using any media credentials to get in so I fully plan on writing whatever the real deal is about the exhibit and the way its run. But it looks like a great event, and that's how I'm going into it.

In my opinion, though, it's pretty hard to screw up a tourist experience when the promoter has a priceless treasure from antiquity. And, the Franklin Institute is known for putting on a class show. So, I am very much looking forward to checking this out.

For more information, click on the headline to go to the Web site.

D'Amico will appear at Brookdale Community College

"Parole Reform: Is NJ Meeting the Challenge?"
Topic of NJ State Parole Board Chair's Lecture

Lincroft, NJ, March 12, 2007 -Judge John D'Amico, Jr., Chairman, New Jersey State Parole Board, will speak on "Parole Reform: Is New Jersey Meeting the Challenge?" at Brookkdale Community College Monday, April 16. The community is invited to the free presentation to be held at 2:00 p.m. in the MAN building, room 105.

The Judge has been credited for bringing strong reform measures to an agency that often had been described as troubled and not meeting the needs of its clients and the communities in which they reside. He has served as Parole Board chairman since 2003, and soon to be stepping down from his present position, has said his goal from the beginning had been to develop an agency as the national standard for the successful return of ex-offenders into society and for keeping communities safe.

Governor Jon S. Corzine has praised the Judge as an advocate for effective crime-fighting strategies and progressive practices.

The Judge has been a proponent of a new evidence-based practices program that modernizes community supervision by recognizing that public safety is supported by successful community reintegration.

A retired Superior Court jurist, former Oceanport councilman, Monmouth County freeholder and New Jersey state senator, the Judge has stated he is proud of the results achieved by the New Jersey State Parole Board under his leadership. Headquartered in Trenton, the Board oversees a dozen district offices throughout the state, employs over 400 law enforcement officers and 300 civilians in a variety of positions. According to an agency spokesman, it is the sole paroling authority within the state, overseeing the release and revocation decision-making process for all New Jersey offenders. It supervises and provides services for over 14,000 parolees annually and provides lifetime supervision to more than 3,500 sex offenders living within New Jersey.

Earlier in his career, the Judge gained a statewide reputation as a rail commuter activist and helped spearhead transportation improvements in New Jersey. He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

"We are pleased to invite the community to join our students at Judge D'Amico's lecture. There will be an open question and answer opportunity following the presentation," said College President Dr. Peter F. Burnham.

A coffee reception will follow the event.

Parking for the MAN building is most convenient in lots 1, 4, and 3. For more information, call 732-224-2283.
###

APP holds cutest pet contest



The Asbury Park Press has a great feature on pets. Click on the headline and check out some four-legged friends.

RIGHT: My Old English bulldogs, Winston and Baxter.

Monday, March 26, 2007

PoliticsNJ.com covers county convention

Politicsnj.com did a piece about the GOP's March 24 convention.

The GOP is doing the blame game. Once again, terms like "surrender" and all that are involved. It's really disappointing. This politics thing is supposed to be selecting leaders to help families, neighborhoods and communities. It's not an advance on Moscow during World War II.

Enough of this nonsense. Click on the headline to go to PoliticsNJ.com.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

King Tut is on display in Philly

The King Tut exhibit in Philadelphia is a great opportunity for families to have an outing or a weekend day trip. Click on the headline and check it out.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Some more pix from the convention



Top: Former Hazlet Chairman Steve Grossman. Middle: 13th District Assemblyman Sam Thompson. Bottom: The GOP Convention was well attended by the County Committee.

Outside the Republican Convention




Top: Richard Kohler thr elder and younger, of Hazlet, accompanied Mrs. Deanna Kohler to the vote. Middle: Former 12th District Assemblyman Mike Arnone, R-Monmouth, and 11th District Assemblyman Sean Kean conferred in the hallway outside of the main room. Below: Former Red Bank Chairman Jim Giannell, reputed as one of the last of the county GOP's reform-minded leaders, with Keansburg Councilman Jimmy Cocuzza.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Jersey Guys are controversial for some

There is a lot being said right now about the Jersey Guys, Carton and Rossi. They have a show on FM 101.5 and it's a good show, in my opinion. My experience is that these are good guys, who I listen to whenever I get a chance.

They throw humor into politics. OK, maybe some of it is a little immature...so what? Neither Carton or Rossi ever claimed they were going to cure cancer via their program. Frankly, their style is a relief given the fact that weirdos like Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage have been given license to do whatever they want on air, and they are about hating people in the most politically correct fashion possible. I like figuring out for myself what I believe and the Jersey Guys don't try to shove their ideas down anyone's throat. OK, they joke around.

I'm not a big shot, and these guys basically go after big shots, but if they ever lampooned me I'd think it was an honor. I'd probably be embarrassed, but it wouldn't rock my world. If someone is big deal enough to be on their radar it should be a flippin' honor in the first place.

And the Jersey Guys don't venture into libel and defamation, like some bloggers do. They parody public figures, not unlike late night talk show hosts. A lot of what they are doing is what the First Amendment is supposed to be all about.

I want to underline the part about libel and defamation. These guys are professionals who know what they are doing — no matter how much or little anyone likes what they say.

I'm a fan. I'm going to stay one.

I don't like 100 percent of the things they say, so I might turn a show off. I'm still going to be back. They're funny. Most people in politics mistake humor for party line garbage that goes after peoples' families. These guys are irreverent but at least the true spirit of what they are doing is rooted in harmless fun, at least that is what I think.

Some of the bloggers in Monmouth think laughing about the house someone lives in is funny, or talking about the children of public figures, making up the most vile garbage possible. These guys don't even go in the neighborhood of that...and hey, good for them. Don't like them? Don't listen.

Long Branch NAACP to host Monmouth University event


The Greater Long Branch NAACP is presenting "Diversity in the New Millenium," at Monmouth University's Pollak Theater, in West Long Branch, on Tuesday, May 1 between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Coordinating the event is Chapter President Lorenzo W. Dangler. Sponsors include: Monmouth University, Jersey Central Power and Light, NJ Natural Gas Company, Long Branch Public Schools, Scudiery Enterprises, Shore Regional and Hazlet School Districts, and the Monmouth County Superintendent of Schools.

For more information, call (732) 571-9444.

Matawan welcomes new borough businesses




In Matawan, the Downtown area is being revitalized through the hard work of many dedicated business owners, borough officials and citizens trying to make a brighter day for that town. Two improvements to the business district are C-Town, a food store, which will be open in a few months, and La Riviera, a great new reaturant.

La Riviera is still making improvements, though they are open and serving lunch and dinner.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

MENENDEZ REINTRODUCES HOLOCAUST AWARENESS BILL


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 22, 2007

CONTACT:
Allyn Brooks-LaSure (Menendez) 202-224-4744
Joseph Soldevere (Maloney) 212-860-0606


MENENDEZ REINTRODUCES HOLOCAUST AWARENESS BILL

Legislation, sponsored in the House by Rep. Maloney, would increase federal support for Holocaust education programs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today reintroduced bi-partisan legislation that would help increase awareness of the Holocaust. The Simon Wiesenthal Holocaust Education Act, which has also been introduced in the House by Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), would give a boost to programs and institutions that teach about the Holocaust and its lessons.

Under the legislation, educational institutions would be able to receive federal grants to educate about the Holocaust. The bill is named in honor of Simon Wiesenthal, the Holocaust survivor who devoted his life to seeking justice for the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis.

“The Holocaust occurred a few short decades ago, yet there are some who deny it’s very existence,” said Menendez. “Teaching our children about this blight on human history will both honor the memory of those who perished and inspire future generations to fight against similar tragedies. I appreciate Representative Maloney’s leadership on this issue, and I urge my colleagues to join us in making this legislation a reality.”

“The best way to promote tolerance and unity is to learn the important lessons of one of history’s darkest hours,” said Maloney. “Simon Wiesenthal’s work was an inspiration, and we are working to carry on his mission. I applaud Senator Menendez for reintroducing this bill, and I look forward to continuing our work to make this bill law.”

The Wiesenthal Act authorizes $10 million in federal funds over 5 years to help educational organizations bolster their Holocaust education programs, many of which suffer from a lack of resources. Co-sponsors include Senators Arlen Spector (R-PA) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ).

# # #

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

APP pens story about potential school cuts

APP staffer Nick Petruncio from the Freehold Bureau wrote a great story, posted on 3/21/07.

The issue of school funding is something that every community in this styate faces. Cutting art and music programs are quick ways to do something horrible to the learning paths of countless young people.

This is a solid piece of journalism. Click on the headline and take a look for yourself.

Atlantic Artisans open new blog

I was down in Atlantic Highlands today and had the privilege of helping Nance Ciasca from Atlantic Artisans open a new blog. She has a great shop and is really a strong supporter of the community and the Chamber of Commerce. Click on the headline to go there.

It's only the beginning, but I am sure it is going to become a great stop on the blogosphere.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

News from campus at Rutgers on Blue Jersey


J. Melli has a good post on Blue Jersey. It's an eye opener about what's going on at area campuses.

APP comes down on contractor ties

The APP is doing its job, especially insofar as the Editorial Board is involved, in my opinion. The issue of contractors in Freehold and their ties to elected people is something that needs to be discussed to clean the thing up. The APP is getting it done. Click on the headline for the editorial.

Blue Jersey tackles some mythology


Blue Jersey has some interesting work going on. It's worth a read.

Holden makes move to capture Dem nod for sheriff


Democratic Candidate for Sheriff Bob Holden from Oceanport called me. He is one of four people seeking the Democratic nomination at the mini convention being held on March 31, at Branches. He is a 1971 graduate of Monmouth College, in West Long Branch.

He graduated from Vermont Law School in 1977 with his juris doctor degree. Among his experiences, he was a miner in Colorado for a brief stint, between 1972-73.
Holden served as an Oceanport councilman in 2004, serving an unexpired term of office. He owns a law practice that specializes in criminal defense and estates.

But he has served as an assistant prosecutor in towns throughout Monmouth County, including, among others: Highlands, Sea Bright, Neptune and Middletown. In addition, Holden has served as the assistant tax colelctor in Long Branch.
Holden believes he would make an excellent administrator for the county's jail, radio room and Sheriff's Office. He said he would also be very strong in the civil part of the job, which involves serving warrants and civil complaints. Some specific ideas that Holden has is creating more interlocal agreements to stop the duplicatoin of effort with municipalities, and greater outreach to county youths through the creation of innovative programs to address driving and alcohol-related resistance programs. Holden is contending against Belmar Police Chief Jack Hill, Hazlet Detective Glenn Mason and Ocean Township police Lt. Kevin Quinn for the nod.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Middletown commuters need to think about an early day





Northern Monmouth residents working outside the area need to think about making it in early day. Routes 35 and 36 are not great as a result of the sleet, snow and rain. Slush is building up. But secondary roads like Palmer Avenue, New Monmouth Road and King's Highway are getting very bad. Some good news is that Middletown-Lincroft Road, especially in the area near the intersection of Nut Swamp Road and Dwight Road is looking clear and is as passable as can be expected.

There have already been some problems on King's Highway and at least one accident at around 1 p.m. that I witnessed. It did not look serious. But traffic is moving slow and not all roads are getting the same level of play from the sanders out on the road.

It's a definitely good idea to make it an early day. Visibility is not great and there is no sign of a let up.

NYTS hosts 4th Annual Urban Angel Awards Gala


The New York Theological Seminary, in Manhattan, is holding its Fourth Annual "Urban Angel" Awards Gala on April 10, at the Marriott Marquis, 1535 Broadway. The event will take place between 6-10 p.m.

It will be an evening to support the seminary and its many programs. New York Theological Seminary is a diverse and inclusive community of learning with a historic urban focus.

With Christ at its center, and with a curriculum informed by biblical witness and Christian thought and tradition, the Seminary prepares women and men for the practice of ministry in congregations, the city, and the world.

For more information, go to the seminary's Web site by clicking on the headline, or call (212) 870-1257.

Panter comes down on dual-office holding

On his blog, Assemblyman Mike Panter comes down on dual-office holding. It's somewhat interesting. Click on the headline to go there.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Middletown's neglect of Bicentennial Park is alarming


I have a habit of going to parks wherever I happen to be. I think parks reflect the areas where they are located. I went to New York today, and was surprised by the quiet that can be found on the Upper West Side. Meanwhile, last week, I made it my business to go take a look at Lake Carasaljo, in Lakewood.

Lakewood is reputed to be this terrible kind of place by reputation. While I do remember those days, it is clear that Lakewood is the kind of place that is truly on the way up and doing some remarkable things by way of transforming their community. But nowhere have I seen a more negligent approach to public property as in Middletown with Bicentennial Park.

Bicentennial Park is a monument to governmental neglect and mismanagement of both public money and trust. Middletown makes much of its reputation as being a special community. In fact, in many ways, its approach to public management is apparently lacking and short-sighted, as best exemplified by the town's abandonment of Bicentennial Park, on Highway 35.

An unexpected find at Grant;'s memorial





The Grant Memorial Monument at Riverside Park, in Manhattan, hosts a dramatic and practical series of art pieces that are designed for form as well as function. The memorial to Grant, constructed in predictable neo-classical style, is the backdrop for a series of benches, seating areas and linking statues that are anything but predictable.

The artistic approach to seating was a pleasant surprise en route to a standard tourist attraction. The bold use of the entire area around the monument for the statuary and seating is also unexpected.

There was no placard for this, but I will be sure and try to find the name of the artist. Frankly, the work speaks for itself.

Grant's memorial is across the street from Sakura Park and is located prominently along Riverside Drive.

Some more shots of Sakura Park




Top: The stone lantern presented to New York City on behalf of the city of Tokyo. Center: Sakura Park is hidden away, across the street from Rvierside Church, Riverside Drive. Below: The park is a great place to read a book, eat lunch or just enjoy the silence that can still be found on the Upper West Side, in an otherwise too busy city.

Sakura Park is a New York City find for tourists


In Manhattan, New York City, Sakura Park is a quiet getaway on Riverside Drive, adjacent to Riverside Church, near Seminary Row.

Sakura Park was opened on October 2, 1960, when a stone lantern was presented to the city by Crown Prince Akhito and Princess Michiko, on behalf of the Metropolis of Tokyo to the city, as a gesture of good will.

The lantern was crafted in the style of the province of Kasuga in Japan. About 1,500 people attended the opening of the park.

In 1987, Akhito returned, as an emperor this time, and again took part in a ceremony involving the princess, this time also involving then Mayor Ed Koch. As a note, "Sakura," in Japanese, means "cherry tree."

The park affords a great view of the city, the Hudson and Riverside Park. It is quite safe, very clean and attractive and there are also ample park benches for catching up with that good book.

Menendez backs new veterans initiative

MENENDEZ BILL FUNDS ‘NAVIGATORS’ TO ASSIST VETS THROUGH COMPLICATED VETERANS HEALTH SYSTEM

Veterans Navigator Act to help those in need navigate the VA Health Care System

WASHINGTON – Following personal visits to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center of East Orange and the outpatient medical facility at Ft. Dix , U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today introduced the Veterans Navigator Act of 2007 to ensure that those service members transitioning into the Veterans Affairs health care system have access to the medical care they need.

The introduction comes amid further reports of an overstrained veterans health system, unable to effectively care for returning troops. The bill would provide $25 million in federal grants over the next five years to create a pilot program that addresses the myriad problems service members face when transitioning from the Department of Defense to the VA health care systems.

“Our servicemen and –women risk their lives to defend our country and deserve no less than first-class medical care when they return home from battle,” said Menendez. “Instead they find a complicated and convoluted system that can leave many of our nation’s bravest stranded in a labyrinth of bureaucracy. Let’s be clear, we don’t make it overly-complicated for our servicemen and –women to enlist or commission, so we shouldn’t make it overly-complicated for them to receive the critical medical care and services they need.”

While the Veterans Navigator Act targets all veterans or soon-to-be veterans, the bill focuses particular attention on four underserved groups in the military community: seriously injured or wounded soldiers, female soldiers, those suffering from psychological problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and members of the activated National Guard and Reserves.

The veteran navigators would not provide direct care or services to veterans, but instead would be required to conduct ongoing outreach to service members returning home. The navigators would have an extensive understanding of the relevant systems and programs available in the community, whether public or private, to serve the veterans’ needs.

“As I’ve said before, in speaking directly with the brave men and women who are currently processing through the system, I have received first-hand reports on where our process is failing. Some of the stories are downright appalling. If this is how a ‘grateful nation’ treats its wounded and disabled, I shudder to think what an ‘ungrateful nation’ would do. Our men and women in uniform – and retirees – deserve much better,” Menendez said.

Building upon existing programs run by Veterans Service Organizations and other experienced groups, the program will fund “navigators” to help service members as they transition between the Department of Defense and the VA. These grants will enable such organizations to expand existing programs in response to increased demand from soldiers entering veterans status after returning from Afghanistan and Iraq .

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

This just in...

AMATO BOWS OUT OF RACE FOR SHERIFF

Read about an exclusive in this edition of The Courier: SPCA Police Department Chief Victor "Buddy" Amato has decided to bow out of the Republican race for sheriff.

The popular chief has received thousands of calls from animal rights groups and animal lovers around the state asking him to stay on the job in Monmouth County.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

OK, the vampire candidate is calling himself "the impaler"

It just keeps getting better. Click on the headline for the vampire candidate's campaign web site. I don't know what is stranger, that there is a vampire candidate or that he has a web site.

Blue Jersey covers "vampire" candidate

Truth is much, much stranger than fiction. Click on the headline and go to Blue Jersey, where Juan Melli wrote a story about a "vampire" candidate. Yes, I said vampire.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Englishtown's crowds are coming back



In Englishtown, the celebrated Englishtown Auction is starting to see the crowds return for the spring. On Saturday morning, bargain seekers were out in force.

Some more "Lakewood Lake" shots



"Lakewood Lake" is a well-kept secret from tourists


The public park around Lake Carasaljo (commonly called "Lakewood Lake" by area residents) is a well-kept secret just over the Howell border, in Lakewood. It is a great place to bring the family for a nice spring or summer outing and the park is maintained in immaculate condition. Some years ago, during the 1980s, the park was falling into great disrepair.

It looks like someone over in Lakewood and/or Ocean County got on the stick and made something positive happen. The entire area seems to be moving forward and perhaps this is just one sign of that. Regardless, it's a great place and can be a good time.
There is even a small area on one side of the lake with swings as well as an outdoor stage. Around the lake there are well-maintained hiking trails also.

I attended college at Georgian Court University (then Georgian Court College) during the 90s. According to one of my history professors, Lake Carasaljo was named for the three daughters of Ocean County real-estate mogul, Dr. Joseph Brick. His daughters were: Carrie, Sally and Josephine.

There are one or two pieces of local lore that say the lake was named because of some nefarious murder. All wrong: Just three little girls who had a father that wanted to name something after them.

Lakewood's Lake Carasaljo is accessible off of Route 9.

APP Editorial Board comes down against politicians' benefits

In its editorial today, the APP Editorial Board hit the nail on the head. The board applied itself to the issues of politicians' benefits in Middletown and made a call that, I believe, will only benefit taxpayers in the long run.

Congratulations to Committeeman Patrick Short for doing something of substance early in his term, and despite the fact he is in the minority on the committee. Click on the headline to go there.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Bryant won't run, admits no show job

There is an NJ.com story about Sen. Wayne Bryant (D-Camden) stepping aside from running because of a no-show job. Good, but where is the investigation to make sure that it doesn't happen again? Someone gave him that job and someone paid him.

This is why things are comical in New Jersey politics.

New bill aimed at improving low-income schools

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 8, 2007

CONTACTS: Allyn Brooks-LaSure (Menendez) 202-224-4744


MENENDEZ BILL TO IMPROVE SCIENCE EDUCATION FOR LOW-INCOME & RURAL SCHOOLS

New legislation to make partnership
grants
available for equipment, training

WASHINGTON – United States Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today introduced legislation that would authorize $20 million in grants for a pilot program that would allow the neediest school districts across America to enter partnerships to upgrade their science laboratory equipment, develop new methods of teaching science laboratories, and train high school laboratory teachers. The legislation is an effort to improve the science laboratory experience for students in rural and low-income schools, and also increase the number of women and minorities interested in studying math, science and engineering in college.

U.S. Representative Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX) introduced an identical measure in the House of Representatives, which the House Subcommittee on Research and Science Education held hearings on today.

“ America has always been a leader in the global economy due to our innovative and inventive spirit, but it is imperative that we not rest on our laurels,” Senator Menendez said. “To stay competitive we must ensure that all of our country’s students are challenged academically and inspired to pursue a wide range of subjects – including hard sciences – and supplied with the necessary means to study and advance their knowledge in such disciplines. We must ensure that the typically underserved, such as women and disadvantaged students, are afforded the same opportunities as their counterparts in the study of math, science, and engineering. By diversifying those career fields we will not only promote greater equality, but we will guarantee a more competitive America in the global econonomy.

The Menendez measure would authorize $20 million for a matching grant pilot program to be administered by the National Science Foundation. Eligible grantees are partnerships between high-need or rural school districts, a college or university, and the private sector. The legislation has broad support and has to date been endorsed by the American Chemical Society, American Council on Education, ASHRAE, Business Higher Education Forum, Campaign for Environmental Literacy, Hands on Science Partnership, Institute of Food Technologists and the National Science Teachers Association.

“In order to ensure our nation’s global competitiveness, American schools must cultivate the finest scientists, engineers, and technicians – from every part of our society – so that we can create the innovations of tomorrow that will keep our nation strong,” said Catherine T. Hunt, President of the American Chemical Society. “This legislation will enable more high-need schools to provide their students with safe, effective learning environments that will foster scientific inquiry."

“Our nation must reinvest in our children if we hope to participate effectively in the international knowledge economy—we need more students to engage earlier in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” said American Council on Education President David Ward. “We must find new ways to connect with students at the elementary and high school level to spark their interest in these often demanding fields. Exposing these students to hands-on science in a laboratory setting early on could prove to be the way we grow our country’s next generation of scientists and engineers who can then assist in creating our future.”

“PALS partnership grants will be instrumental in helping schools to develop and maintain a safe, well-equipped lab space and bring ongoing professional development to teachers,” said Dr. Gerald Wheeler, Executive Director of the National Science Teachers Association. “Research-based pilot programs will help fill in the gaps in our knowledge about how best to employ labs. The best practices and materials developed in this pilot program can be used as a model by stakeholders who want to strengthen high school lab science in their communities.”

If passed, the bill will allow school districts to use the grants in a variety of ways including: developing a plan for improving laboratory instrumentation and laboratory space; acquiring laboratory equipment and other scientific educational materials; maintaining, renovating, or improving of existing laboratories; and professional development and training for high school science lab teachers.

Grants may also be used for developing instructional materials that integrate lab and classroom learning; safety training; and developing hands-on laboratory experiments designed to encourage women, minorities, and the disabled to enter math, science, engineering, and technology fields.

# # #


Middletown schools welcome new program

There is a good story in the APP by Alison Herget about a pilot program in Middletown schools. Click on the headline and go there.

Friday, March 09, 2007

USA Today pens piece about advocacy

There is a great piece from USA Today about advocacy in journalism. Click on the headline and get there.

More on Bicentennial Park in Middletown


Opinion:

The Middletown Township Committee should clean up Bicentennial Park. It looks pretty bad and it hasn't been done for a long time. This is apparent since there is plant life growing out of the broken walkway. This is not so good.

Some more shots at Bicentennial Park





Natural majesty like this doesn't happen by accident. It takes years of neglect to reach this level. If you click on the photo of the water, you can see it at full size. See if you can pick out the shopping cart, it's like finding "Waldo."

Bicentennial Park, a lost treasure of Middletown?






MIDDLETOWN, NJ — As I sometimes do, I am sharing some photos of my morning walks. This morning, I took my walk in Bicentennial Park, in Middletown. It was a cold morning but very sunny. Bicentennial Park is accessed through a Burger King on Route 35 across from my work. It was opened in 1976, and its attractions include, but are not limited to, a shopping cart overturned in the center of the water, a walkway that has plant life growing out of it, broken guides, a graffiti covered events kiosk, and an overgrown path to get to all of that action from the BK parking lot.

Hidden treasure? No, probably not. This is township park land. Its upkeep is paid by taxpayers. This upkeep is supposed to be done by the township, and the people who are supposed to oversee that things like this happen are...the Township Committee.

Way to go Middletown Committee. Keep up the good work.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Hart takes on neo-conservatives in politics

Former Sen. Gary Hart had some great comments in this article, presented by NJ.com. Click on the headline to go there.

Red Bank Web site is updated (APP story)

The Asbury Park Press has a very good story in it about the Red Bank Municipal and School District Web site. I liked the collaborative process they used with the site's users. I think democracy is a good thing. I suppose people are placed in office because they like it too.

Click on the headline and go to the story.

Bean pens editorial about county leadership problem in GOP


I disagree with Greater Media Executive Editor Greg Bean about the character of the Republican bloggers. He likened them to the Greek Chorus, and I think he is right about that. But I think they are important to the internal process within the GOP on the county level and deserve better than he offered in his editorial this week.

I understand that some people do not like bloggers and I agree that bloggers have to get their acts together, in general. But they are doing something new and I think a certain amount of growing pains are to be expected.

Meanwhile, I do not think he is wrong about the rest of his commentary, which is fair. It is certainly worth reading.

This whole thing is quite dramatic. What will people talk about after it is resolved? I suppose there will be something. Click on the headline and go to Mr. Bean's editorial.

Blue Jersey posts about new FDU poll

Blue Jersey has a new Fairleigh-Dickinson poll that has some good figures in it. I suggest taking a look by clicking into the headline.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Keelen will be parade grand marshal in Keansburg

Keansburg's own Tommy Keelen is going to be the grand marshal for the Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in his town.

The parade will be held on March 31, at 1 p.m. The kick off will take place on Main Street, at the Boardwalk East.

"This parade hasn't been in the borough for over 20 years and so this will be the first annual," Keelen said.

There will be five piper bands aqnd more than 30 local sponsors. There will also be about a half-dozen corporate sponsors for the event.

"We're expecting about 10,000 people for the day," Keelen said. "Itis a great family event and there's something for everyone." The parade will end at the Keansburg Amusement Park, which is also a corporate sponsor.

Something of note is that the amusement park will be opening on the day of the parade for the season. According to Keelen, this marks a first for the park. And, the Keansburg event is also going to be the last St. Patrick's Day celebration in the area, so event-goers will be able to arrange their schedules.

Deputy grand marshals include Father Daniel Cahill, St. Ann's Church, and businessman Charles Hockey, who owns Shamrock Stagecoach in the borough.

For information about the event, call Keelen at (732) 670-3306.

Kris Kinlin Scholarship Program remembers a great person


There is a great cause going on right now. There is a fund raiser for the Kristin Kinlin Scholarship Program happening at American Legion Post 515 in Middletown on March 17 starting at 5 p.m. Donation is $5 and there will be free corned beef and cabbage. For tickets call 732-671-8407.

I had the privilege of knowing Ms. Kinlin. She was employed here at The Courier as our classifieds and legals coordinator at the time when she passed away, in April 2006. Courier was her first job out of college after she graduated from Monmouth University.

She had many challenges she was born with, but none of them included her incredible sense of humor and joy. Kris Kinlin was a great employee and member of our team here and she is still very missed and will continue to be. She was a part of the family here but she was also a role model for many people who face physical challenges in life. People may have lived longer than her, but few have lived better.

Kris Kinlin was an example of what is possible with a lot of hard work and determination, and gave her 100 percent at whatever she did. She is deserving of being remembered through this scholarship fund her parents have created. Kris was always very aware of her being an example. Many people will still not hire people with physical disabilities, regardless of what the law says, because they are worried about costs and inconvenience. I am very lucky to be part of an organization that does not see physical disability, color or anything other than a person's ability to work. Kris proved her value every day, as a person and an employee and the good will she brought with her every day remains here still.

This is a good cause. I do urge people to call her parents for tickets. They can be reached at 732-671-8407.