Monday, April 30, 2007

Evolution of news keeps marching on

Greater Media Executive Editor Greg Bean discusses the evolution of the news business in his recent editorial. I like it. It's very true.

In Courier, typewriters were actually still being kept around in 1998, when I got there. Was someone thinking computers might go away? Perhaps they could be a fad?

The typewriters are gone. Technology is here to stay and just keeps on evolving. It's an interesting transition for us 'old timers.'

Seward is right about McGreevey

Jim McGreevey was the worst governor in the history of the state. I had heard, in college, that it was almost universally agreed at one time that 19th century Garden State Governor Robert Howell was given that 'honor' by some academics somewhere.

Well, all records were made to be broken, and just like Babe Ruth surrendered his season homerun mark to only-legitimate comer Roger Maris, in '61, Gov. Howell must take a bow and bid his place in history farewell.

James McGreevey was and is a disgrace. He is an unabashed disgrace, who works hard at making sure everyone knows he is a great big writing about it in books, teaching his wisdom from the lectern and giving many interviews.

McGreevey's problem was not his orientation, but his abuse of office in granting office to unqualified persons for reasons that are best summed up as 'personal.' His conduct was epically bad. I do not believe that whether someone is gay or straight should be an issue of office. His problem was patently being a poor steward of public trust. He should not be rewarded with prosperity for what he did to government in this state.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Will be back on Monday

Way too nice of a weekend to do an update on the news. Will be back first thing on Monday with more postings.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, April 26, 2007


April 26, 2007

Afshin Mohamadi (Menendez) 202-224-4744
Scott Mulhauser (Lautenberg) 202-224-3224


Senators pleased that individuals in certain hard hit areas can now begin receiving assistance to help recover from storm damage, continue to seek funding for affected areas throughout state

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) were encouraged by today’s signing of a federal disaster declaration for six New Jersey counties but also reiterated the need for a declaration for the rest of the state. Today’s declaration allows the Federal Emergency Management Agency to better help individuals in Bergen, Burlington, Essex, Passaic, Somerset and Union Counties recover from rampant flooding and other damage caused by last week’s Nor’easter that ravaged the state.

“This is a good and important step that should help thousands of our state’s hardest hit residents, but I’m hoping it is only a first step,” said Menendez. “Issuing a declaration for the entire state is the right move to make next, and I’m glad the Acting Governor has requested it. There are many across our state who badly need a lifebuoy. Thousands are still soaked and face a long recovery from the most rainfall here in more than a century. I have visited communities across the state, I have seen firsthand the wreckage caused by the damaging storm, and I know how badly the help is needed.”

"The damage done to New Jersey by last week's storm was devastating,” said Sen. Lautenberg. “FEMA’s decision is a first step to aid state and local recovery efforts already underway. Families and businesses in the counties declared a disaster will begin to receive the support they need to help rebuild their communities. We have witnessed the damage up close, however, and are disappointed that the President excluded affected counties across New Jersey sorely in need of these emergency funds. I urge President Bush to expand this declaration and include the entire state.”

The Senators, along with the New Jersey house delegation, sent letters to the President last week urging him to issue an official federal disaster declaration so that local governments would be eligible to receive federal grants to repair damage caused by storms. To see the letter sent on Monday, April 16, visit: To see the letter sent on Friday, April 20, visit:

The flood, which left an estimated 3,000 evacuated from their homes and 40,000 people without power, was caused by the most rainfall in New Jersey since 1882. This week, Acting-Governor Richard Codey announced that New Jersey had suffered $180 million in damage to both public and private property.

# # #

Middletown public information policy: Is it uniform?

A question is going to be posed to the Middletown Township public information officer, with regard to existing policy involving the protocol for access to elected and appointed officials (them answering questions directly). Specifically, the broad policy that has been expressed by the township is that all communications by all media will go directly through the public information officer. Subsequently, the public information officer will respond with appropriate responses and interviews may be arranged through that office. Direct communications with elected people is, by policy, not allowed without prior approval.

So, theoretically, editors and reporters from other publications or news agencies, aside from Courier, would not be directly in communication with the elected and appointed officials they are seeking in Middletown on the first call.

However, some anecdotal evidence has presented itself that is not the case and it is only confirmed in the case of one other newspaper that such procedures are being adhered to. The questions are going to be asked, not only to the township but also informally to other agencies about the status of this situation.

The answer will be interesting.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Overnight burglary at A&P on 4/16

Middletown Township Police responded to a 6 AM call from a Navesink A&P employee reporting an overnight burglary on Monday, April 16, 2007. Officers Thomas Russo, Ernest Volkland, and Gregory Buhowski, arrived at the supermarket on Route 36 to discover a broken front door, an ATM machine knocked over and pried into, and a dismantled coin machine. Further investigation of the supermarket led officers to discover that a safe had been accessed with the use of a blowtorch, which was lying near the scene of the burglarized safe. Damage to the store’s front office was documented by the police officers, with another safe showing signs of a failed break-in attempt.

A follow-up investigation is in progress by Detective First Class Richard Rast and Detective First Class Adam Finck. Early detective work led them to the Quick Lube Oil Change on Memorial Parkway in Atlantic Highlands, where they discovered another break-in. Acetylene torches were stolen from the Quick Lube Oil Change and used in the A&P burglary.

Undisclosed amounts of money were taken from the A&P ATM machine, the coin machine, and the store’s safe. Detectives Rast and Finck are conducting an ongoing investigation of all incidents.

Job fair will be held at Keyport High School

A job fair will be held at Keyport High School on May 1, between 6-9 p.m. The high school is located at 351 Broad Street. The event is being sponsored by the Spanish Club and the Keyport RTecreation Committee. Both full- and part-time positions will be presented to graduating seniors from a number of agencies, governmental and in the private sector.

For more information, contact Virginia or Carlos Maldonado at 732-620-5632.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Dems sponsor Blueclaws trip

The Lakewood Blueclaws


The Delmarva Shorebirds

Monday, June 25th 2007

Game time: 7:05pm

Ticket price: $ 9.00

Sponsored by the “Middletown Democratic Club”

Kids 12yrs. & under receive voucher for hot dog, chips & soda

For more Information or to Order Tickets


Mike Morris at: or call (732) 495-4581

(732) 687-0028

Mail Ticket Orders to: 174 Geary Dr. Middletown, NJ, 07748

Monday, April 23, 2007

Coda is pretty good this week

Good editorial from Greater Media Exec. Editor Greg Bean about Imus and Vice President Dick Cheney, respectively. Worth a read.

He's been on a roll lately.

Charity walk held on Sandy Hook

There's a great story about a charity walk on Sandy Hook in today's APP. It's definitely worth a read. Lots of miscellaneous activity happening in politics in the area, but the community stuff has been stronger as of late.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Middletown shows up to express sympathy about VT tragedy

The event on Friday night honoring the late Julia Pryde was very moving andsomething that gave the township a chance to show support and remember her,her family and her friends. Her death was a terrible thing, and this is a youngperson who will be very missed.

The national media covering this story, I believe, has made a mistake in giving the play it has to the person responsible for the deaths at Virginia Tech. There is a line. At some point there has to be. Giving the person responsible for these things the news status he has been awarded is something that does harm, I think, and ceases to just inform about relevent fact.

This week, there will be stories in the upcoming Courier by myself and Reporter Scott Shanley. The main story regarding the event will be written by Senior Reporter Matt McGrath.


The Middletown High School North Lion

High School North and South students showed up at the event to demonstrate their support for the Pryde family, and express their sympathy for what happened at Virginia Tech last week.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Middletown Police Press Release


Prepared by Det. Lt. Joseph C. Capriotti

At approximately 6:00AM on Monday April 16, 2007 Officer Thomas Russo, Officer Ernest Volkland and Officer Gregory Buhowski responded to the A & P Supermarket on Highway 36 in the Navesink section of the township for a burglary the occurred overnight.

Employees of the supermarket arrived for work and discovered the ATM machine had been knocked over and immediately called the police. The officers discovered the front door had been forcibly pried open and the ATM and coin machine located in the front of the store were ripped open. Further inspection of the interior of the store revealed a safe had been ripped open by using a blow torch that was found at the scene. Additional damage to equipment in the office was noted and an attempt to gain entry into a second safe was made but unsuccessful.

Detective First Class Richard Rast and Detective First Class Adam Finck responded to the store to begin a follow up investigation. Their investigation lead them to Quick Lube Oil Change on Memorial Parkway in Atlantic Highlands near the A & P where another burglary was discovered and acetelyn torches were stolen that matched the ones found in the store.

An unknown amount of money was taken from the ATM, coin machine and the safe. Detectives Rast and Finck are continuing the investigation.

Atlantic Artisans will exhibit works, April 28-May 19

Atlantic Highlands, NJAtlantic Artisans is exhibiting an art show of “Abstract Expressionism” a dual woman exhibit of local artists Lauren Feury and Jessica Chiaffitella, April 28th –May 19th. Come meet the artists at an opening reception April 28th from 6-8pm at Atlantic Artisans, 68 First Ave, Atlantic Highlands, NJ.

Lauren Feury currently resides in Old Bridge, NJ and will graduate in May from Rowan University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Her paintings are based on abstract expressionism and are inspired by artists such as; Jackson Pollack, Willem de Kooning and Anselm Kiefer. She overlaps oil paint to create a sense of depth. The colors chosen in her paintings give a contrasting push/pull effect. She uses color and brushstrokes to create the overall composition in her paintings.

Jessica Chiaffitella currently resides in Highlands, NJ and was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She left the USA when she was 19 years old, for 7 years, to work and travel around the world. Her travels, especially through the Himalayas and South East Asia, have influenced her paintings. She has a deep interest in philosophy, spirituality and all things creative. Painting is a meditation in action that comes from her soul. She views her paints as a way to evoke emotions and positive energy.

Atlantic Artisans is proud to represent two talented women in “Abstract Expressionism”. Atlantic Artisans is an art gallery that exhibits local and American artisans in all styles, all mediums, and not just wall art. Atlantic Artisans also has a custom framing departments with a talented design team and friendly service. Your invited to come and view the show and enjoy the experience of local, talented artisans. For more information please contact Atlantic Artisans, 732-291-0100, or on the web

Policy on candidate interviews for Primary

For the record, to candidates for election in the upcoming Primary, I strongly encourge them to contact The Courier and make arrangements to be interviewed by one of our reporters for the upcoming vote.

The Courier's policy has been and will remain that it does not run around after candidates to interview them for any contest. It is incumbent on those seeking election to pick up a telephone, put in a call and be on time for any meeting that is arranged with our staff.

All candidate profiles featured in Courier will include a brief biography and a description of a few goals. A photograph will be shot at the time of the interview and used with the feature discussed. Subsequently, that photo will be used throughout the campaign, should more photographs not be used by candidates.

Courier adopts this stand because press is something responsible candidates should be approaching in the interest of their own effort for office. Candidates are making their case to the public about why they should be elected. If they are not interested in putting their views out via our outlet, then that is a decision their campaign has made.

Courier will present features on any candidate, from any town in our coverage area, in the manner above. Parties or lack thereof have any bearing on what candidates will be presented.

I encourage all candidates in the Primary to contact the newspaper at their earliest convenience if they want to be interviewed. Restatement of this policy will happen on our Web site next week and in the newspaper the following week. Following the Primary, I guess I'll restate the same thing then about the General.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Area students named to Syracuse Dean's List

The following students enrolled in the Syracuse University Newhouse School of Public Communciations were named to the Dean's List for Fall 2006: Heater Imerman, Matawan, a junior majoring in television and radio; Kevin Parks, Middletown, a sophomore majoring in public relations; Jacquelyn Berlly, Red Bank, majoring in marketing and retail management; David Hayward, Lincroft, majoring in accounting and finance; George Dawson, Middletown, majoring in accounting and finance; and Christopher Horvath, Holmdel, a freshman majoring in mechanical engineering.

Congratulations to the students and parents.

Ft. Dix: Part of the past but playing an invaluable role today

I ran across the Web site for Ft. Dix today and it really has changed from the Ft. Dix of old. New Jersey continues to be a very viable part of the military's ability to project power throughout the world. It's a good site and it is encouraging to see something positive being done with one of the state's great institutions -- Dix.

Click onto the headline and go there.

Above: NJ Guardsmen at the range getting tuned up for deployment, in 2003. posts about 13th District race

There's an interesting post on about the 13th District race, where it involves the Democratic side of the aisle.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Greater Media highlights GOP sheriff candidate

Greater Media has a good profile on GOP sheriff's candidate Kim Guadagno. It's definitely worth a look.

Keyport High School Job Fair


Blogger's Note: Thanks to Joe Sheridan for sending this along. JP

EVENT: Please be advised the Keyport High School Job Fair has been approved by Dr. Hernandez. The Keyport Spanish American Club with the assistance from the Keyport Park & Recreation will host the Job Fair. We are asking for volunteers to organize this event. The tentative date is May 1, 2007 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Please contact me by e-mail or phone (732) 620-5634 as soon as possible. We need to move quickly as it is around the corner.

Thank you for your support.
Virginia Maldonado

Military continues to do an outstanding job; make great sacrifices

The United States military is the greatest in the world, making incredible sacrifices for our nation and other nations. Certainly, not one of our young people serving anywhere in the world should be forgotten.

Yahoo posted a story about the sacrifices our military is making and it is definitely worth a read. Regardless of how anyone feels about anything relating to the war, I beleive it is without question that everyone in the country can get behind our military.

In the same vein, it is important for every citizen to recognize the sacrifices these people are making and understand the contributions these people are making on the altar for our freedom.

Blogger's note: No derisive comments will be permitted to this post in any way.

Above: A photo of New Jersey Army National Guard soldiers I shot at Ft. Bragg, NC, in 2003, preparing to be deployed to Southwest Asia.

NJ Towns Post Little Public Information Online

For More Information Contact:
Michael Skudera

NJ Towns Post Little Public Information Online

Tinton Falls Councilman Michael Skudera urges the NJ Assembly and Senate to expand the Public Records Act

Assemblyman Richard Merkt plans to introduce a bill to encourage municipalities to post more public information online.

(Tinton Falls, NJ) – At Tuesday's council meeting (April 10, 2007 ), Councilman Michael Skudera presented a 63 page report on ways to improve the town's website. This proposal included a proposed ordinance that outlines what information must be posted online including minutes, agendas, public notices, budget information, and ordinances approved for introduction.

While conducting research for this ordinance, Skudera studied 175 municipal websites in New Jersey and found that the majority of towns post very little public information on their websites.

"It is rare to have a municipal website that posts even the basic public information online in a timely manner such as budgets, public notices, and minutes of meetings", Skudera said. "By expanding and improving a town's website, important public information can be made readily available to residents and this will help lower administrative costs, improve the overall efficiency of town employees, reduce consumption of paper, and improve open government."

Councilman Skudera has created a standardized list of basic public information that all municipalities in New Jersey should post on their websites. Skudera is asking the State Assembly and Senate to encourage all municipalities in New Jersey to post this basic information on their websites. Skudera adds that if a State grant were offered to municipalities for doing this, it would encourage towns to provide more information on their sites.

Assemblyman Richard Merkt is planning to introduce a bill in the Assembly to encourage towns to adopt an ordinance similar what Skudera is proposing in Tinton Falls because Merkt “believes it will help make municipal websites be more informative and useful to the public.”

Below is a list of what is proposed for Tinton Falls and encouraged to be done in municipalities throughout New Jersey.

Proposal - Expanding the New Jersey Open Public Records Act

Homepage of Site
The homepage of the [municipality name] website shall include at least the following information which shall be clearly visible directly or accessed through a single link on the home page: preliminary and final budgets, yearly audits, requests for open records, master plan, telephone and e-mail directory of employees and officials, minutes and agendas, forms and documents, voter registration forms, citizens concerns and inquiries form, common permits/licenses, competitive bidding opportunities, municipal codebook, ordinances for introduction, and public notices.

Posting of Budget
The preliminary budget and final budget shall be posted on the [municipality name] website within 48 hours of approval by the governing body and shall remain on the [municipality name] website for a period of no less than five (5) years.

Posting of Public Notices
All notices required to be posted publicly and/or published by law shall be posted on the [municipality name] website simultaneously with the physical posting or publication in paper form of such notices and shall remain on the [municipality name] website for a period of no less than one (1) year.

Posting of Ordinances
All ordinances approved for introduction by the governing body shall be posted on the [municipality name] website within forty-eight (48) hours and shall remain on the website for a period of not less than one (1) year.

Posting of Agendas
All agendas of meetings conducted in accord with the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.) shall be posted on the [municipality name] website simultaneously with the physical posting or publication in paper form of such notices for a period of not less than five (5) years.

Posting of Minutes
All minutes of meetings conducted in accord with the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq.) shall be posted on the [municipality name] website within 48 hours of approval by the governing body and shall remain on the [municipality name] website for a period of no less than five (5) years.

Posting of Forms and Documents
All forms and documents placed throughout the website shall also be placed and accessible on a designated web page reserved mainly for accessing, searching, and downloading all forms and documents on the [municipality name] website.

Posting of Bidding Opportunities
Current bidding opportunities shall be posted along with the following information, official bid notices, RFP#, description of service requested, bid opening date, official bid notices, winning bid amount, winning bid, appropriated amount, status of bid, sign-up form for bidders and shall remain on the [municipality name] website for a period of no less than one (1) year.

Posting of Employment Opportunities
Employment opportunities for [municipality name] shall be posted on the [municipality name] website.

Posting of Vacancies
When there is a vacancy of any elected office or any committee, commission, board, or agency of [municipality name], within forty-eight (48) hours, a notice of vacancy shall be posted on the [municipality name] website along with duties and responsibilities of that position.

Posting of Department Information
Each department shall have its own dedicated web page consisting of appropriate content for that department, contact information and available forms and documents. Each department shall be responsible for providing and forwarding updated information to the webmaster of [municipality name] when it becomes available.

Requests for Public Records
The clerk’s response to requests for public information and documents shall include the use of e-mail, if so requested and provided that the requested information is in electronic format. The requesting entity shall provide the necessary e-mail address so that the request can be fulfilled. The requesting entity shall not be charged any monies for receiving public information and documents through email.

Planning and Zoning Information
Information concerning pending applications before the Planning and Zoning Board for Preliminary and Final Major Site Plans, Subdivisions, and variances under section 70 of the Municipal Land Use Law Use Variance. This information shall include the following:
a. The name and address of the applicant;
b. The address and location of the proposed development;
c. A description of the proposed development;
d. Name and address, where applicable, of the person preparing the plans and the attorney representing the applicant; and
e. The current status of applications.
f. Detailed colored architectural renderings for all proposed buildings


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Codey is in for Corzine

Sen. Dick Codey again fills in for a governor, this time Jon Corzine in the wake of his recent accident. has a good story. Click on the headline and go there.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Menendez releases statement about Corzine


April 13, 2007

CONTACTS: Afshin Mohamadi (Menendez) 202-224-4744


WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today released the following statement about Governor Jon Corzine following his car accident yesterday:

“My thoughts and prayers are with my friend Jon Corzine and his family as he recuperates. I am thankful that his injuries are not life-threatening and that he will make a full recovery. I look forward to his speedy return.

“During this difficult time for our state, I have spoken to and pledged to work with acting-Governor Codey and to lend my assistance whenever it is needed. I have full confidence in his ability to guide our state until Governor Corzine is ready to resume work.”

Public Health Advisory

Public Health Advisory: FDA Re-Emphasizes Warnings to Consumers on Risks of Pet Turtles

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is urgently reminding the public that contact with turtles can pose a serious health risk to infants, small children, and adults with impaired immune systems, as they can be natural hosts to Salmonella, a group of bacteria that can cause severe illness and death. Recently, a four-week old infant in Florida died of an infection caused by Salmonella pomona, a bacteria that was traced to a pet turtle in the home.

The sale or distribution of live turtles of any size is prohibited in New Jersey, pursuant to N.J.A.C 8:23-2.1 (copy attached). Reports of turtle sales should be directed to the local health department where the activity is occurring. The NJDHSS, Infectious and Zoonotic Disease Program can assist local health departments in halting the sale or distribution of turtles and in investigating potential human cases of turtle-associated illness.

Salmonella can be found on the outer skin and shell surfaces of turtles and can be transmitted either directly from contact with the turtle or its feces, or indirectly through contact with the animal's water, as would occur when cleaning the turtle habitat. Turtles carrying Salmonella usually do not appear to be sick. Salmonella may be shed in their feces on an intermittent
basis, therefore a single negative fecal test does not prove they are Salmonella-free.

Although anyone can acquire a salmonellosis infection, the risk is highest in infants, young children, the elderly, and others with lowered natural resistance to disease. Pregnancy, cancer, chemotherapy, organ transplant, diabetes, and liver problems may all make persons more susceptible to infections. Gastrointestinal symptoms begin in 6 to 72 hours (usually 12 to
36 hours) after exposure to Salmonella organisms, and generally last for two to seven days.

The FDA warning can be viewed in it's entirety at:

Blogger's Note: Thanks to Mike Morris for forwarding this. It's great information going into the summer.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Corzine stable in wake of Parkway crash

As most people know by now, Gov. Jon Corzine has been injured in a car crash. The Star-Ledger is doing some excellent coverage with regular updates. Click on the headline to go there.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Middletown cops hunt would-be bank robber



Prepared by Det. Lt. Joseph C. Capriotti

On Thursday April 12, 2007 at about 12:20AM Middletown Twp. Police officers responded to a burglar alarm activation at the Amboy National Bank on Route 36 in the Port Monmouth section of the township. Officer Robert McNair arrived at the bank within a couple of minutes of being dispatched to find the glass in the front door smashed out. Officer Ryan Riffert assisted Officer McNair in searching the interior of the bank where it appeared the suspect looked through money drawers at the teller stations but all the money had been removed at closing.

Video surveillance cameras captured images of a male wearing a dark colored mask, dark baggie pants and a white short sleeve shirt entering the bank and going to the teller stations. It appears that nothing was taken from the bank.

Sgt. William Straniero, the supervisor on the scene, requested a tracking K-9 from Holmdel Twp. Police and Officer William Bernard responded with Harley to assist. Other Middletown officers assisting in the initial investigation and ensuing search were Corporal Douglas Wiatrak, Officers John Kaiser, Carl Roth and Frank Mazza.

The suspect was not located. Detective First Class Adam Finck and Detective William Strohkirch are conducting the follow up investigation.

Imus fired over comments about Rutgers women

Radio talk show host Don Imus was fired by CBS Radio today. Click on the headline and go there. In my opinion, it was probably the right thing to do.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Clinton sends message about comments made by Imus

Hillary Clinton weighs in on the Rutgers Women's Basketball Team comments made by on-air personality Don Imus. Click on the headline and go there.

NYTS holds "Urban Angels" Award Gala

The New York Theological Seminary held its Fourth Annual "Urban Angels" Awards Night at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan last night.

The seminary honored the Rev. Dr. Arthur Caliandro, senior minister of the Marble Collegiate Church, New York City. The Rev. Dr. Caliandro succeeded the celebrated Rev. Dr. Norman Vincent Peale at that post in 1984. The Rev. Dr. James Forbes was also honored. He is the senior minister of The Riverside Church, in Manhattan. Newsweek had recognized the Rev. Dr. Forbes as "one of the most effective preachers in the English speaking world." Business philanthropists Ms. Ester Pacheco, Ms. Noris Cruz, Mr. Gumercindo Cruz and Mr. Vincente Sirias were also honored. The own Quesos La Ricura, a nationwide company since 1990. The founder and chairman of the East Gospel Mission, Inc., Ezra Leadership Institute, Ezra International Inc. and New Vision Equities., Inc., Elder Byung Ik Lee and his wife, Mrs. Hong Eun Lee, were both honored. In addition, Evangelist Mary Ida Vandross was honored. She is the mother of the late popular recording artist Luther Vandross. She is a graduate of the New York Theological Seminary.

The highlight of the evening was, undoubtedly, when Miss Patti LaBelle presented the Rev. Vandross with her Urban Angel Award, it was both moving and inspiring.

O'Connell, Gambino are running for school board

CAPTION: Larry O'Connell and Thomas Gambino

O'Connell, Gambino are in the race for 2 board seats

Matawan-Aberdeen Board of Education incumbent Larry O'Connell and newcomer Dr. Thomas Gambino are featured in this week's edition of The Courier, in a story by myself. Both men are running in a field of five candidates competing for two seats on the board that are open this year.

Mr. O'Connell is seeking his third term on the body. He is currently the chairman of the Programs Committee for the board and sits on several other committees. He is employed by IBM, in Piscataway. Mr. O'Connell holds two Master's degrees.

Dr. Gambino is running on a platform of improving research-based decision-making by the board. He believes better decisions can be made by integrating better fact-based analysis into the process. He holds a Doctorate as well as a Master's.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Menendez seeks to provide homeless veteran relief

April 10, 2007

Afshin Mohamadi (Menendez) 202-224-4744

Homes for Heroes Act would provide support to nation’s 200,000 veterans in need

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today joined Senators Barack Obama (D-IL), Charles Schumer (D-NY), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) in introducing the Homes for Heroes Act, a bill that would expand housing and rental assistance for homeless veterans. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) estimates that approximately 200,000 adult veterans live on the streets or in shelters on any given day, and nearly twice as many are homeless at some point during the year.

“A grateful nation should work to ensure that the men and women who risked their lives serving their country are not left stranded when they fall on hard times back home,” said Menendez. “Just as we have acted to improve health care for injured veterans, we should act to make sure veterans can put a roof over their heads.”

“As we work to end the war in Iraq , we must also prepare to deal with the generation of service members returning home from war,” said Senator Obama. “As long as there are veterans or veteran family members searching for shelter on the streets, and as long as there are wounded service members receiving substandard medical care, we have failed in our duty to honor the commitment of the brave men and women who chose to serve. We must provide our returning heroes and their families with every resource they need to rebuild their lives.”

“As we’ve seen at Walter Reed and elsewhere, our veterans returning from war have not received the help and resources they deserve,” said Senator Schumer. “The thousands of homeless veterans are just another stark example of how the Administration has let our veterans down. This bill will right this wrong by providing the men and women who have served our country with housing assistance. Too many veterans need a roof over their heads and it’s time we provide it now.”

“There are more than 2,000 homeless veterans in Ohio . They fought for us. We should fight for them. That's what this bill is about, and I am proud to support it,” Senator Brown said

Monday, April 09, 2007

AH Herald reports on coyote attack


The Atlantic Highlands Herald has a great story about the coyote attack in Middletown. Click on the headline and go there.

Monmouth Beach welcomes Freedom Boat Club


For Immediate Release Contact: David Roller


Premier Membership-Only Freedom Boat Club Comes to
Monmouth Beach

Many, many moons ago, a boater dreamed about the prefect boating experience.

He had a team do all the work so he had all the fun. He dreamed of having a water-sport boat for the morning and a nice cruiser to share with his special friend that evening and a fishing boat next week. He moved from dreamland into fantasyland when he had this hassle free boating on a wide selection of boats at all the key boating locations along the East Coast and Florida. Just before he awoke, he heard this is available at 60% less than the cost of boat ownership. The amazing thing is, this dream boating experience is a reality for Freedom Boat Club members.

Established in 1989, Freedom Boat Club is the oldest and world’s largest membership-only boat club catering to new and experienced boaters in 50 cities from Florida to Massachusetts. Freedom Boat clubs 50th location in Monmouth Beach now provides hassle free boating on a variety of boats including cruisers, center console fishing boats, deck boats and cuddy cabins and the members save 60% compared to boat ownership.

Owners of the Monmouth Beach club, Steve and Theresa Clark said “Freedom Boat Club provides its members with the benefits of the boating lifestyle without the hassles or cost of boat ownership. Members simply reserve the boat desired on-line, show up at the dock, shove off for a day of fun on the water, return the boat to the dock and go home. Freedom Boat Club takes care of the rest”. Boating offers a myriad of fun activities for the whole family.

The club’s easy-to-use on line reservation system ensures that all members have equal access to the boats, plus enabling members to maintain four guaranteed reservations at a time. Of course if at the last minute you want to have a day on the water, just call the Dock Master and reserve a boat that day. Having no previous boating experience is not a problem as they provide the New Jersey boat safety certification class and “on-the-water” training with a licensed Captain as part of the membership. Clark stated, “We will be happy when the member is completely comfortable on the water”.

Summarizing, Clark said “Dream boating has arrived in Monmouth Beach. In addition to saving members 60%, Freedom Boat Club provides hassle-free boating with unlimited usage to a variety of boats and access to an additional 49 locations. Freedom Boat Club is the cost effective alternative to boat ownership.”

Freedom Boat Club’s eighteen years of experience has led to being ranked in the top 500 franchises by Entrepreneur magazine for the past three consecutive years. If you’d like additional information, or to schedule a membership presentation at nearby Monmouth Beach, please call David at 732-832-9458 or visit the website at .

Believe it or not...coyote sighting rumored in Middletown

Not joking around blog joke about it... there is a rumored problem over the weekend, in Middletown, regarding coyotes. Speculation has been offered, and this newspaper is investigating the reality behind it, that a Middletown resident was injured by a coyote.

I never actually believed there were coyotes in Middletown, but that may not be the case.

Courier reporter Matthew McGrath is working on the story and, if there is any truth in this, we will have it out in this upcoming week's edition of The Courier.

Sengupta will feature Atlantic Artisans on April 19

In The Courier's April 19 edition, Editor Somdatta Sengupta (top right) is featuring First Avenue, Atlantic Highlands business owner Nance Ciasca (top left) and her store, Atlantic Artisans.

The work coming out of Nance's store is very fresh, in my opinion, not unlike the kind of quality coming out of New Hope or Lambertville, or even Philadelphia. It's definitely worth a look. Click on the headline to go to Atlantic Artisans' new blog.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Bane is running for school board

Atlantic Highlands, NJ – April 17th is a very important day in Atlantic Highlands, a day to go out and vote for the school budget and vote for new candidates for the Atlantic Highlands Board of Education. Jenn Bane is a new voice with a big heart who will embrace changes and challenges; she is running for a position on the Atlantic Highlands Board of Education. Be sure to write Jenn Bane’s name in on your ballot.

Jenn Bane was born and raised is Staten Island, but in 1998 she found her “home” in Atlantic Highlands. She resides in Atlantic Highlands with her husband and two school aged children. Jenn currently takes an active roll in the school getting very involved with the PTO, class mom, and supports all events that the school encourages.

Jenn is a graduate of Seton Hall University with a degree in Social and Behavioral Sciences and a minor is Business. After graduation Jenn worked on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. After two years of the NYSE she realized her real passion, “helping others”. She then pursued a new career as a personal trainer. Using her business degree she worked to establish a very successful business as a personal trainer for the past 10 years. This is where her dedication to others is clearly exhibited in her current involvement at 365 Fitness, where she runs the Senior Aqua training program. A program designed to train the “Sassy Seniors” and give them realistic health goals to accomplish the best for the lives.

Jenn Bane’s motto is “Just Do It – Whatever you mind can conceive you can achieve”. She is a great motivator and lets the individual see that they too can accomplish their healthy well being. What better person to sit on the Atlantic Highlands Board of Education, but a woman with such a positive and motivated personality. So, when you go to the voting booth on April 17th write in Jen Bane for Atlantic Highlands Board of Education. She is the candidate with a new voice and big heart that will embrace changes and challenges.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Monmouth County remployees donate $45,766 to charity


For Immediate Release

William Heine
Department of Public Information
Phone: 732-432-7310 March 26

Monmouth County employees donate $45,766 to charity

FREEHOLD -- This year, Monmouth County employees donated nearly $46,000 to support the work of more than 1,300 charitable organizations throughout the United States.

The Public Empoyees Charitable Campaign, begun last September with bi-weekly payroll deducations administered by the United Way of Monmouth County, raised $45,766, said Luis A. Navarro, who has served as the county's Charitable Campaign chairman for the past 14 years.

"Through voluntary payroll deducations, Monmouth County employees have demonstrated their generosity by digging even deeper this year and raising more money for charity than ever before," Navarro said. "I am very pleased by this show of generosity."

Freeholder Burry salutes American women in keynote speech


William Heine
Department of Public Information
Phone: 732-431-7310

For Immediate Release

April 3, 2007

Freeholder Burry salutes American women in keynote speech

Freeholder Lillian Burry attributes her success in buisness and politics to the generations of American women who came before her.

"I've been able to achieve my goals because I stand on the shoulders of American women who have helped me shape my life," she said during a celebration of Women's History Month, held March 29 in the Chapel at Naval Weapons Station Earle. "As we honor Women's History Month, we pay homage to the women who came before us, and we hold the torch high for all those who will follow."

Burry, deputy director of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders, was keynote speaker at the celebration, titled "Generations of Women Moving Forward in History."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Handlin calls on Gov. Corzine to rein in state overtime


March 14, 2007

Assemblywoman Amy Handlin/732-787-1170

Assembly Republican Office/609-292-5339

In response to a recent Asbury Park Press article which reported the state's Executive Branch spent more than $230 million on overtime pay last year, Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, R-Monmouth/Middlesex, on March 14 said such expenditures are a prime example of why New Jersey is on the fast track to bankruptcy and called on Governor Jon Corzine to end this practice now.

"Even as Governor Corzine was laying out his Fiscal Year 2008 budget, he was telling us that the state is facing a structural budget deficit for next year. On Monday, OLS told the Assembly Budget Committee there's a very good chance the governor's proposed budget may have a $633 million shortfall," Handlin said. "Is it any wonder this state is in such a hole when we're paying out exorbitant amounts of taxpayer money for overtime pay?"

According to the article, 79 percent of the Executive Branch's overtime was paid to employees in the departments of Human Services, Corrections and Law and Public Safety. Sixty-six state employees racked up more than $60,000 in overtime in 2006, with some more than doubling their salaries. Six employees made more than $80,000 in overtime. Executive Branch overtime pay accounted for five percent of its $5 billion salary budget.

Menendez expresses concern about regulation laws

Afshin Mohamadi (Menendez) 202-224-4744

New Jersey, other states with strong regulations could be preempted, hamstrung from taking future action

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today released long-anticipated chemical security regulations, which again raised the possibility that the federal government might preempt states’ strong regulations and curb states’ ability to implement tough regulations in the future. Though DHS sought to clarify preemption provisions from its original proposal, the regulations released today are nearly identical on the preemption issue.

U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), who has been a lead sponsor of legislation to tighten chemical plant security, said today that DHS has yet to go far enough to protect the citizens of New Jersey and other states with heavy chemical plant presences.

“These regulations seem to leave the door open for the federal government to disregard strong state security laws, now and in the future,” said Menendez. “The Department continues to crawl toward the goal of stronger security, while many of the states know that we should be running toward it.

“As the threat evolves and new ideas emerge, states that want to improve security should not have their hands tied by the federal government. The people of New Jersey want the peace of mind that comes with knowing our chemical security laws are among the strongest.”

Menendez was an original sponsor of the Chemical Security and Safety Act (S. 2486), which was introduced by Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) in the 109th Congress. Menendez also joined Lautenberg to include language in last week’s Supplemental Appropriations bill that would prohibit the pre-emption of state chemical security regulations.

DHS chemical security regulations (state preemption section begins on p. 215):

# # #

Afshin Mohamadi
Press Secretary
Senator Robert Menendez

SPCA is making a difference for pets

The Monmouth County SPCA is a great organizatoin. I think its mission is a vital one. If anyone is considering adopting a new four-legged member of the family, they can click on the headline above for more information.

In the meantime, this is another time when I can again have an excuse to use a photo of my nine-year-old Old English bulldog, Winston. If nothing else, Winston is relaxed.

Monday, April 02, 2007



For Immediate Publication

POC: Patricia A. Walsh
Democrat for 13th District Assembly,
Tel: (908)601-1252


MIDDLETOWN TOWNSHIP (MONMOUTH COUNTY, NJ): Middletown school board member Patricia A. Walsh is running for the 13th District Assembly as a Democrat this fall.

“In Middletown, Committeeman Patrick Short has proposed a significant reform for that governing body. Indeed, he is proposing reform for all part-time elected and appointed politicians in that township,” Walsh said.

The Democratic Assembly candidate said this is a worthy message for every municipality in the state, and something that will bring some tax relief to residents throughout the Garden State.

“It is time for the gravy train to come to stop and for the emphasis of good government to be serving the people and not politicians, their families and their political friends,” Walsh said.

“I intend to bring Committeeman Short’s message to Trenton and put it into a bill and get it introduced and get that bill adopted,” Walsh said.

Walsh said she intends on serving the district full time, 24 hours every day, 365 days per year. “My only intention is to bring tax relief to our residents, while bringing comprehensive funding to our schools and supporting our police and fire departments,” she concluded. “As for part-time municipal politicians, they can get a job like everyone else who has to work hard to get benefits.”


Caption: Democratic Assembly candidates Robert Brown and Patricia Walsh.

King Tut exhibit is a great day trip to Philly

The 14th century BCE is made remarkably accessible by the exhibit currently under way at the Franklin Institute, in Philadelphia. With an entire floor of artifacts from Howard Carter's 1922 dig of the Tut burial chamber, and other finds from around the same period, the $32.50 per person ticket price is well worth the money and gas getting there.

It is something of a disappointment not to see the actual boy king's death mask and the like, but it is made up for with the artifacts and elaborate coffin of another of the nobles of Tut's era. Of course there are many artifacts directly from Tut's tomb and they are remarkable. There are some one-of-a-kind pieces that are the only remaining things of their kind from that era, such as various boxes and oil containers. In the outer portion of the exhibit, there is a great area that talks about the modeling that was done to create life-like images of Tut and others, based on the remains discovered thousands of years after entombment.

The mummification process is discussed, in conjunction with some of the religious ideas of the day, and it was an incredible education experience. Click on the headline and go to the Franklin Institute's site.

By the way, no photography anywhere near the exhibit, and they are pretty serious about turning off cell phones.