Thursday, May 31, 2007

Middletown Twsp. PD Press Release


Prepared by Detective Lieutenant Joseph C. Capriotti

On Monday May 28, 2007 at approximately 1:49AM Middletown Twp. Police Officer Thomas Meckier, Officer Sean Sweeney and Sergeant William Colangelo arrested Dennis Smith, Jr. age 32, of West Keansburg, NJ, and charged him with three counts of aggravated assault on police officers, resisting arrest, possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of under 50 grams of marijuana, driving while intoxicated and numerous other motor vehicle violations. His bail was set at $30,000 with no 10 percent option.

A resident of Wilson Avenue in the Port Monmouth section of the township was hosting a party at the home when Smith arrived at the home uninvited. He was driving a blue Chevrolet pick up truck and began driving across the front lawn of the home. The resident of the house called police and provided the responding officers with the vehicle description and the license plate number.

Officer Meckier and Officer Sweeney observed the truck traveling west on State Highway 36 at Main Street in Port Monmouth being operated erratically and at a high rate of speed . They attempted to stop the truck but the driver continued on and finally stopped at Thompson Avenue and Ocean Avenue in Middletown.

Once the vehicle had stopped, Officer Meckier approached the driver and detected an odor of alcoholic beverage and burnt marijuana coming from the driver, Mr. Smith. Officer Meckier requested Smith step out of the truck to determine if he was driving while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs but he refused. After several requests by Officer Meckier and Officer Sweeney Smith eventually exited the vehicle and Officer Sweeney noticed what appeared to be a knife in Smith’s pocket. The officers asked Smith if he had a knife in his pocket and he replied he did and began to reach in his pocket for it. The officers ordered him to remove his hand from his pocket and they would retrieve the knife.

He resisted the officers attempts retrieve the knife and began flailing his arms striking the officers. The officers were able to bring him to the ground and subdue Smith and retrieved two knives from his pocket and a small clear jar of suspected marijuana. While the officers were walking Smith to the police car he began to struggle violently, kicking at the officers and refusing to get into the police car. They were able to get his body into the car but his feet remained outside the car and he continued to kick the officers and the door of car. Sergeant William Colangelo had arrived to assist and repeatedly tried to get Smith to cooperate with the officers but he continued to refuse and fight and spit at the officers.

Off-duty Middletown Police Officer John Kaiser was driving past and saw the three officers struggling with Smith and stopped to aid the officers. Due to the continuing struggle with Smith and the increasing risk of injury to the officers and Smith, Sgt. Colangelo utilized pepper spray to obtain compliance from Smith and the officers had to restrain Smith’s feet to avoid being kicked any further.

Smith was finally brought to police headquarters where he was treated for exposure to pepper spray and processed on the charges.

McGreevey: No one ever said he was a class act has an article about former Gov. Jim McGreevey running down his former wife, Dina Matos, in court. His claims are really critical, and it's unfortunate.

Ex-Gov. McGreevey is a Garden State nightmare that just keeps on happening. After blaming his personal woes on state residents, embarassing anyone who ever supported the guy, abusing his ability to appoint public officials, dragging this state through the mud to the delight of talk show hosts from sea to sea, I guess he's going to start doing that to his family now. It doesn't stop.

It's really unfortunate. He's like a train wreck that won't stop blowing up. Click on the headline and see the latest crash.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bush visit led to NJTP problems on Wednesday

Traffic Report...

The president coming to New Jersey was a big thing for some people in the GOP. It's a nice thing the president showed up for them in a fundraiser. But in the meantime, areas of the NJ Turnpike were completely shut down, causing more than a few traffic delays along the turnpike today.

If Mr. Bush needs that much space and privacy (which really isn't readily available in the Greater New York Metropolitan Area in a functional way) then the question of the overall wisdom of the trip has to be asked. The turnpike is already maxed out every day. There really isn't enough room for anyone, president of the U.S. or anyone else, to get their own lane, without creating an even greater traffic hazard for everyone else.

This trip was a fundraiser, not some matter of state. Putting New Jerseyans throughout North and Central Jersey into disarray because of some chicken dinner is ridiculous and dangerous to the driving public (which I was today to and from the city).

The whole city of New York was shut down during the GOP convention in the last presidential contest. I was in the city during the convention then. It was not an overall positive experience for residents, business people, students or most vacationers. Business suffered, the law enforcement issues and general disruption were not welcome to people that regularly travel the city on business. New York is not just another city. It is the busiest city on the planet. If someone needs to shut down whole areas of the city, ruining commerce and fostering a heavy handed police presence, it would be easier to pull something like that off in Nebraska or Oklahoma...or just somewhere else. Not here.

Enough with the drama: New Jersey needs to keep its major thoroughfares open to the public, business and travelers, and not afford star treatment nonsense to celebrities of any caliber, other than perhaps heads of state on the people's business. If someone of such status cannot travel in a reasonable way through the area, maybe they just shouldn't show up. This is true of Mr. Bush, Mr. Romney, Mr. Gore, Mrs. Clinton, or whoever else.

This isn't a partisan thing as much as it is a common sense idea. The safety of the public and commerce first; political fundraisers somewhere lower on the list.

Click on the headline to go to the article.

APP reports on Southern Monmouth coyote attack

The Asbury Park Press has a story about a new coyote sighting in Manasquan. As everyone knows by now in the area, a coyote recently claimed the life of a small dog in Middletown. In this week's edition of The Courier, staffer Scott Shanley has a detailed story about the attack and some safety tips dealing with this recent coyote scare.

For the new APP coyote story, click on the headline and go there.

Caption: This is yet another shameless way for me to show off my two Old English bulldogs, Winston and Baxter. They have nothing to do with coyotes, but they are dogs.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

APP pens piece about Board of Freeholders

Well, the APP nailed this one, I have to give it to them. When they're right, they're right.

Government is being run in a reckless manner, and not like a business. When worst practices are used, is it a wonder when the worst results come out? Leadership is not easy, but if someone cannot do it then people more able should be elected.

Politics cannot keep being business as usual. Politics is not seen as esteemed service anymore -- it's viewed as a paycheck for life by the least qualified.

I do not agree with all editorials from the APP, but I agree with this one.

Government needs to stop getting in the way of the private sector


Some economic news about the U.S. trade deficit from the U.S. Census Bureau. Click on the headline and go there.

I think the whole idea of sending jobs and companies out of the United States hasn't really worked all that well so far. Maybe something should be done about that at some point. Economic news impacts every area of society.

Manufacturing and industrial concerns helped to build this country. Today, in many parts of the country and even in this state and county, manufacturing plants and the like have been given a hard road by government. Every economy needs to grow things, refine things, make things and serve people to work. Right now, it's not doing that.

The end result is that everyone loses when government wants economies to stop functioning properly. Government should be about getting out of business' way as much as it can, while ensuring that safety and human issues are attended to. That isn't going on at any level anymore. Government has become a leach on business, bleeding it out to heap more and more taxation upon it. With the loss of business comes the loss of jobs...and then the losses just keep piling up.

Government has no respect for the private sector anymore, quiote possibly because politicians have become a career class, more bureaucrat and show people than serious minded business people in service.

Offer to candidates...

In the interest of trying to get as many thoughts and ideas out there this campaign season as possible, I am asking candidates to Email me at if they are interested in me linking them on the blog.

I will link all state, county and local candidates who send in, regardless of party. I will only be dealing with legislative districts involved with Northern Monmouth (the Bayshore). All county candidates are certainly welcome, and certainly all local candidates.

AP pens story about May in Iraq

Our troops serving overseas are making many sacrifices today. May has been especially challenging for U.S. forces, according to an AP story presented by Yahoo. I know Americans everywhere appreciate the gallantry of our members of the armed forces.

Click on the headline to go to the AP story. Not all news is good. But certainly the trials our service people face should be known and appreciated.

CAPTION: Weapons training at Ft. Bragg, NC during 2004, as Reservists geared up for overseas deployment.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Atlantic Highlands pays tribute to armed forces

This year's Atlantic Highlands Memorial Day Parade began in the harbor at about noon. The streets were lined with people as this small town event went over in a very big way. Courier staffer Alyssa Passeggio covered the annual parade. Be sure to look for her story and more photos in this week's issue.

Middletown holds Memorial Day Parade

Middletown began its parade this morning at Bayshore Middle School. Here are some sights from the event. Courier staffer Scott Shanley will have the story this week.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Monday Memorial parades from Memorial Day parades in Atlantic Highlands and Middletown!

Menendez makes Memorial Day statement

May 25, 2007

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

As Memorial Day weekend begins, Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) today released the following statement honoring those who have served our country.

“On Memorial Day our country takes the time to remember and honor the brave men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of our country. Throughout our nation’s history, our servicemen and women have courageously fought to protect our freedoms, and Memorial Day serves as a yearly reminder of their heroism and a way for us to show our appreciation. I salute their service and sacrifice.

“While our tributes and honors are important, a grateful nation must match words with actions. We must take care of those who have served our country, and ensure that their needs are taken care of when they return from war. These issues are always critical, but they carry particular import with hundreds of thousands of our troops oversees, and tens of thousands returning with serious injuries. Yet from healthcare to housing needs, we have seen our veterans sorely neglected. This year, Congress has taken important steps to address these problems, and I will continue to work in the Senate on behalf of our veterans.

“This Memorial Day, I hope that we all take the time to reflect on bravery of the men and women who have served our country, as well as how we can serve them in return.”

# # #

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Middletown welcomes home one of its own!

Word has it that Middletown is welcoming back one of its own this Memorial Day Weekend. U.S. Navy Reserve non-commissioned officer Steven Borlebly has returned from overseas service on active duty. I know this is a great time for Steve and his wife, Kelly, and their two boys.

I'll bother him with telephone calls after he's had a chance to enjoy being back for awhile. Welcome home, Steve!

Grill a healthier hamburger for Memorial Day

Found a great hamburger recipe. Try it out for grilling if you want to do something different, and maybe a little healthier, this Memorial Day Weekend.

Click on the headline and go there.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Happy Memorial Day Weekend!

I'll be posting during the weekend about various events taking place throughout the Bayshore. Hopefully, this will be a safe and happy Memorial Day Weekend for people.

During the welcome to summer, let's not forget about the great guys and gals in uniform, serving at home and abroad, not to mention the scores of fine servicemen and women who have sacrificed so much for our nation.

AP reports on gas woes for U.S. drivers

The AP has a report about gas guzzlers and gas on the headline to go to Yahoo News for the article.

Check the weather for the holidays

Check the weather for the Memorial Day Weekend holiday with This is a great time for Americans to consider the great sacrifices our men and women in uniform have made over the years, and to show respect for those sacrifices.

Click on the headline and go there for weather advisories.

Hill will be profiled in the next edition of The Courier

I just concluded an interview with Belmar Police Chief Jack Hill for next week's edition of The Courier. I think it's going to make for a good profile, so I encourage people to pick up next week's edition. For those of you who do not know it already, Chief Hill is running as the Democratic candidate for Monmouth County sheriff.

In the meantime, I want to restate that any candidate, from either party, seeking a profile should call the newspaper at (732) 957-0070, and ask for anyone from the Editorial Department. We do not run around looking for candidates to do profiles, but if they take the initiaitve then so will we.

As for Chief Hill, he outlined some ideas he had for improving existing programs at the Sheriff's Department, while innovating some new concepts in the county war on gang activity.

Nationally, the home market isn't so good

Yahoo News posted a piece about the national housing market by the AP's economics writer. It could be a lot better.

Government in Middletown: Opening taxpayers up to liability?


An interesting case is happening in Middletown. The Middletown Committee is seeking to serve alcohol at the Banfield Cultural Arts Center, adjacent the railroad tracks, during a fundraiser.

Here are my concerns.

No. 1: Is it the role of government to compete with private business? A cultural arts center (a business government is not intended to be in by any standard) is looking to serve liquor (like a bar) to patrons to attract their business. Neither the entertainment or bar businesses are supposed to be supported by tax dollars. It's not American.

No. 2: What happens if an event patron drives away from Banfield drunk? God forbid property is harmed or, far more grave, someone is injured by a patron who had too much to drink at this town event. No government of this country should put itself in a position of vulnerability because of alcohol.

No. 3: Who is financially liable if someone from a municipal event involving liquor drives away from such an event in a way that makes them unfit to drive? If it is a municipal event, then how can it be argued that the town had nothing to do with it? If there is liability then how does the town escape it? More importantly, why should the town escape liability if harm occurred due to a town event, which included drinking?

No. 4: Is including drinking at town events a good idea when, at the same period of time, Middletown's assemblyperson, Amy Handlin, is lobbying for the PNC Bank Arts Center, in Holmdel, to have their liquor license lifted? Regardless of the detached nature of the surrounding events at PNC Bank Arts Center, in Holmdel, and the Banfield Cultural Arts Center, in Middletown, the equation comes down to this: Government is seeking to lift the liquor license of a private concern for safety reasons as a result of excess and harm to a recent center patron; Government is trying to grant a liquor license to itself at a smaller, government-owned venue to make money on a fundraiser (that is in competition with private concerns in the area, e.g. the Basie, Two River Theatre, etc.).

So, government is making the assumption it should have a liquor license, based on its need, while government is seeking to remove a liquor license from private industry because of safety reasons. I agree with Mrs. Handlin, that the level of potential harm in liquor could make lifting the arts center's liquor license necessary. Of course, this could also cause great economic harm to the center. Nevertheless, safety first. With that said, what is the defense for allowing liquor served on government property, especially when it is in competition with private concerns? People are not even allowed to smoke indoors on government property...but they are allowed to drink?

In America, capitalism was the way this nation decided to go a long time ago. It is not a capitalist notion for government to compete with private industry. Similarly, it is not prudent to open the taxpayer up to liability by serving liquor on government property, understanding the risk the town opens the taxpayers up to as a consequence of that decision.

Any government that opens the taxpayers up to irresponsible risk is heading in the wrong direction, in my opinion. Governments that are moving in the wrong direction need new leaders to put them in the right direction (or at least a direction that does not move toward risk and away from core principles of this republic).

If the risk at the PNC Bank Arts Center is too great to serve liquor in the future, and I agree it may be, then the risk of a town potentially losing millions to raise thousands is similarly too high. The bottom line is this: It is OK for the area to lose many millions at the PNC Bank Arts Center, because people come first. Just the same: Government should not give different rules to itself than it does to the private sector.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mason appointed as public information officer for flotilla

Hazlet resident Glenn Mason was appointed as the public information officer for U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 2-4 tonight.

The USCGA serves to augment the U.S. Coast Guard's active duty component. Among other missions, the USCGA conducts vessel inspections and assists in waternorne rescue operations in the Raritan Bay.

When he is not serving the community in the USCGA, Mason is a detective on the Hazlet Police Department. Flotilla 2-4 is based in Keyport and regularly meets at the Senior Center.

Courier will be covering the USCGA extensively throughout the summer, focusing on the varied missions the group performs and services they offer to area residents.

New Courier staffers start up blogs

Courier reporters Scott Shanley and Alyssa Passeggio are beginning blogs, titled "The Slammer" and "Monmouth Health." Mr. Shanley will be talking about news and commenting on the news of the day. Meanwhile, Ms. Passeggio will be talking about health and fitness. Check out my blog roll off to the left and stop by their sites when you get a chance.

AH receives $300K to build field in town

Atlantic Highlands is receiving approximately $300,000 to construct an athletic field in town, according to Mayor Pete Donoghue.

Donoghue briefly discussed the matter before the council’s May 23 session.

The borough is receiving the sum from Conover Realty and Middletown Township, as part of an agreement between the parties to facilitate a Route 36 building project on the Atlantic Highlands-Middletown border.

As part of the agreement, Conover Realty has paid $125,000 to the borough, while Middletown is responsible for paying the balance of the sum.

Donoghue said a site for the proposed athletic field has not been decided upon in town, though the administration is discussing several options available to the community.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Scouts band together to help in service project

Scouts band together to help comrade gain Eagle award

During a meeting of the Atlantic Highlands Borough Council, held on May 23, local elected officials congratulated several Boy Scouts helping a fellow scout.

"I want to recognize some special young men in attendance tonight, who cleared a trail over at the Lenape Woods as part of a scouting project," Councilman Jack Archibald said.

Several scouts from Atlantic Highlands Troop No. 97 assisted a fellow scout, John Archibald, the councilman's son, with his Eagle Scout project. The scouts at the meeting, Mark Niederberger, Scott Monahan, Tony Carestia, Austin Daust and Pierce Osborn completed clearing a new trail in Lenape Woods as part of the project.

"We've been working on the trail since October or November," Niederberger said. "It's a lot of work but it was fun."

Osborn said the scouts have been together as a group since preschool at St. Agnes School. Currently, the group of boys range in age from 14-16 years old. While they may attend different school now, scouting has remained a common bond.

Carestia said camaraderie in the troop is strong and noted that the troop is behind their fellow scout working toward the organization's highest award.

The entrance for Lenape Woods is located in the vicinity of the former Hoffbrau House in the borough.

Notably, the scouts' preschool teacher at St. Agnes was Kimberly Spatola, who is currently a sitting councilwoman on the governing body.

Making the grade as an Eagle Scout

According to the U.S. Scouting Service project's Web site, candidates for the Eagle Scout Award have a wide range of criteria they have to satisfy before earning scouting's highest award.

Scouts must attain the senior rank of life scout, and demonstrate a positive example on an every day basis. Then the scout-candidate has to earn 21 merit badges, in areas that include: first aid; citizenship in the community, nation and world; communications; personal fitness; lifesaving; environmental science; personal management; swimming, hiking or cycling; camping; and family life.

Scouts must also serve in a number of positions within their troop, from patrol leader to venture patrol leader, and several between. In addition, scouts seeking to become Eagle Scouts must also conduct a community service project and take part in a scoutmaster conference before they appear before an Eagle Scout Board of Review.

For more information about scouting in Monmouth County, call (732) 536-2347, or go to:

Paterno teaches character on the gridiron

Football builds character, or the lack of it sometimes. Penn State Football Head Coach Joe Paterno has insight into common sense and responsibility. Click on the headline to check it out.

How to save money at the pump

A nice piece on Yahoo about how to save money at the gas pump. Click on the headline and go there.

Corzine wants gunnery range closed

I think Mr. Corzine is right about closing the range in Ocean County. The APP has a good story about it. Click on the headline and go there.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Middletown's Coyote Strikes Again

Middletown Township Administator Robert Czech and state biologist Tony McBride discuss the latest coyote attack, which happens last night, Monday, May 21.

Middletown, state officials give press conference

There was a press conference held on Hopi Drive a few minutes ago, involving Middletown Administrator Robert Czech and officials from the NJ Dept. of Fish and Game. Four traps have been set in various sites where it is believed the coyotes could be traveling. The traps are body restraints not intended to kill the animal(s).

According to Mr. Czech, there is a possibility coyotes are using the Navy Road running through the township as a thoroughfare.

The child injured in last night's attack is doing well, though he received injuries to his neck and face, according to Mr. Czech. Hopi Drive was the scene of the attack. One coyote took part in last night's attack, but six to eight weeks ago, Czech said approximately three coyotes took part in an attack on another child (who was injured during the incident).

The seasonal change could represent a time of greater activity by coyotes, Czech said. Previous to these two attacks, town officials could not recall a time when coyotes represented such a threat in the township. Last night, when the attack took place, police were able to take a shot at a coytote without possible harm to any person or private property. However, Czech said it is unclear if the shotgun round struck the animal.

Coyote attacks Middletown child

The coyote problem in Middletown has not gone away. A child was attacked. Click on the heradline and go to the APP story.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Gasoline prices could be better

Gasoline prices nationwide...not so good. It could be a lot better. Click on the headline and go take a look.

Gas prices are a motivator for action. Whether it is along the Jersey Shore or the Texas plains, gasoline and petroleum products currently make this country go...or not go.

Is it a responsibility of the government to ensure gasoline does not rise to a certain level? Maybe or maybe not. But when gasoline is on a steep increase, it is not the time for government to continue business as usual with a relatively cavalier approach to the budgetary process.

Bush defends Gonzalez about congressional problem

More about national politics...whatever that means to the local situation. I don't think I've ever seen anything that gives a definite correlary between national and local politics. But click on the headline for an update from Yahoo.

The virtue of local lawmakers should be judged against their actions in office, rather than their party affiliation. At this moment, things could be doing better for Republicans.

After all, whether someone is a good public official or a bad one should be judged against their performance in office rather than registration. It is pretty clear that, nationally, Republicans are struggling. While there are political people on both sides of the aisle who tend to exploit national issues to try and gain local partisan victory, I think the point is that a close examination about what local people are doing with office, rather than party, is the idea here. A Republican may not be a good office holder, but it's not because of George Bush. Contrastly, there may well be poor office holders who are Democrat. National marketing of news can be a bit pervasive. The best of all worlds comes with an informed votership.

State lawmakers meet with military about range

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 21, 2007 CONTACT: Afshin Mohamadi (Menendez) 202.224.4744 Scott Mulhauser (Lautenberg) 202.224.3224


After call for accountability, Generals meet with Senators to discuss safety, operations, training at Warren Grove gunnery range

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today met with leaders of the Air National Guard and the New Jersey National Guard to discuss the forest fire in South Jersey last week that destroyed thousands of acres of the Pine Barrens.

The fire -- which burned more than 17,000 acres and displaced thousands of residents -- began when a flare was dropped by a New Jersey Air National Guard F-16 jet on a training mission.

“Public safety is our first and foremost concern. We have to determine if the military training mission of the Warren Grove range can be reconciled with the safety of New Jersey residents. I eagerly await the Guard’s thorough review and recommendations to make sure that threats to public safety can be eliminated. I appreciate the cooperation of the Generals, and I look forward to continuing to work with them on this important issue,” said Sen. Menendez.

“We are all determined to improve safety and training at the gunnery range,” said Lautenberg. “We need an investigation that yields real results – the community must be assured that there will be specific changes to prevent mishaps in the future.

The Guard’s investigation must yield a plan of action to allow the community to feel safer and include input of local residents. The Guard understands the serious concerns of the community and I am confident that they will make real changes.”
Sen. Menendez visited Barnegat , New Jersey last week to view the damage caused by the fire and speak with residents in the area. Last week, Sen. Lautenberg wrote to the Air Force and the Air National Guard urgently seeking a meeting to discuss the fire and plans to improve safety and operations at the range.

In response, General Sid Clarke, Deputy Director of the Air National Guard and Adjutant General Glen Rieth, Commander of the New Jersey National Guard, were in Washington today to meet with the Senators.
Last week’s fire was the latest in a string of incidents near the Warren Grove range:

* In April 1999, a Pennsylvania National Guard A-10 jet aiming for the range instead dropped a dummy bomb a mile off-target over the Pinelands in Burlington County , touching off a fire that burned 12,000 acres and lasted four days.

* In June 2001, another errant bomb dropped by an F-16 caused a fire that scorched 1,600 acres when the pilot missed a target area that had been cleared of trees and brush.

* In January 2002, an F-16 crashed near the Garden State Parkway -- the third such crash at the range since 1992.

* And in November 2004, the most notorious accident occurred when an F-16 mistakenly shot up an elementary school when the pilot applied too much pressure on the trigger. That caused the plane to fire 25 rounds from its artillery cannon instead of simply activating a targeting laser beam as he had intended. Fortunately, the school was empty aside from a custodian, and no one was injured.
# # #

Friday, May 18, 2007

Seeya Monday

Way too much on the schedule this weekend for posting. Will be back again on Monday. Have a safe and restful weekend.

Bean pens piece about cell phone use when driving

Greater Media Executive Editor Greg Bean has written a strong editorial about cell phone use/abuse. He also offers very thought-provoking insight into the law supposedly banning cell phone use by drivers.

In general, I believe that government trying to regulate the behavior of citizens is wrong, except where behavior directly harms or endangers others. Yet there is a correlation between cell phone use when driving and increased driver hazards to themselves and others. So, for as much as I hate governmental intrusion into the lives of Americans, I have to say this law is probably right.

Private property is worth fighting for

Will Seward has a good post about eminent domain abuse. Here's the bottom line: If private property is a privilege that bureaurcrats can amend, rather than a solemn right of every American, then America today is not the America the Founders conveived of, and that would be a terrible shame. Sometimes, rights have to be re-asserted by the citizenry through the accepted channels afforded Americans.

Private property is the bedrock of a democratic republic. The sacred nature of private property ownership is worth replacing any and every elected and appointed official in government whose actions adversely contributed to the amendment of these rights by citizens.

Click on the headline and go there.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

George Bush coming to Edison

George Bush is coming to Edison this month. For those who are interested, the link to the state Democratic site is there. Click on the headline for more information. Be's partisan. Check it out if you are so inclined.

A post mortem on the Don Imus scandal from Yahoo

This is a pertinent feature. Click on the headline and go there. Personally, I think CBS Radio did the right thing and if someone wants to be offensive like that then they can find another career field.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007 posts about South Jersey fire

A great big piece of South Jersey has a fire going on that everyone has heard about by now. Click on the headline and go to's most recent update.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell dies at 73 years old


I was about 9 years old when I joined the Moral Majority. I filled in a form, sent it into the main office in Lynchburg, Virginia and there it was. I sent some money...I think it was $9.

I got a card back, not lamenated but that was ok. I was interested in being Republican (I debated in favor of Ford in a classroom project at school in a little exercise) and I really believed in President Ford the way that only small kids can.

Well, I expected to get political tracts in the mail, as well as religious ones. This is why I didn't tell my parents I was doing it before I did. And there were some religious things that came. There were some political mailers. But there really was an overwhelming amount of requests for money. Alright, the Moral Majority was a PAC.

Even as a kid I knew that was a big part of what they did. And I sent the few dollars I saved up from allowance and the like (not all but some). I thought it was a kind of duty. But then one day I received another request for money almost immediately after I sent out my few dollars to the group in a recent request (a big appeal). I knew Republicanism had a lot to do with Moral Majority (remember, this stuff was all new at the time), so I usually tried to send something.

But this particular mailer was not signed from the Rev. Falwell. It was signed from some secretary at Moral Majority. The mailer said the office was soliciting funds from members to throw Rev. Falwell a "surprise party" for some occasion (I think it was a birthday). Well, as a kid of about 10 by this time, even I knew I had been took. In that one mailer, I was entirely satisfied that this Moral Majority movement was not a straight deal. I stayed Republican after that (until just a few years ago), but left the Moral Majority, et. al. in the rearview mirror in writing several times (they kept sending requests for money) sometime during 1976 or 77.

I reasoned that you can't argue in one breath about how important it was to raise every dollar for "the cause" and then turn around in the next and the same organization throw the same fervor into a cake and an office party for someone who was supposed to be a serious leader.

Disenchantment? Yes.

Even a kid knows that one.
And, oh yeah, I remember quite clearly the letter said it was a "surprise party," so no one should tell the Rev. Falwell. This was on a form letter.

I know the Rev. Falwell did some good works in his life. He founded Liberty University. I am sure he believed in what he did. His church did some very good things. His ministry has apparently helped many people.

Certainly, a lot of people followed Rev. Falwell. I even believed in him at one time. I did agree with him about supporting President Reagan. I definitely believed in his support of President Ford. But that was really about it.
I disagreed with him a great deal, in general, as I got older. An engaging person, with great conviction and persuasiveness, he is gone at 73 years old. He was very controversial and left a legacy that will probably be debated for some time.

Victory for open access to information

APP has a good story about open access to information. Click on the hwadline and go there.

State nixes funding for historic preservation

Bad news from Trenton about historic preservation. Click on the headline and go to

Custom One-Hour Photo helps out SPCA

MAY 14, 2007


JUNE 2, 2007


On June 2nd (rain date June 3), Custom One Hour Photo(Middletown, NJ) will help raise much needed funds for the Monmouth County S.P.C.A's new building fund. Arthur Levitt, professional photographer, and owner/Custom One Hour Photo, will be taking photos from 1:00PM - 4:30PM. Anyone who would like to have their picture taken with their pet can come to the shelter (260 Wall Street, Eatontown, NJ). Everyone is welcome!

A 5X7 color print is $10.00 and an 8X10 is $15.00. 100% of the money collected from the photos will be donated to the Monmouth County S.P.C.A.'s new
building fund.

" When Nan (Leonard) told me about her idea and asked if I would take photos at the S.P.C.A. to help raise money for their renovation, I didn't hesitate for a moment. I have always loved animals and all the dogs my family had over the years were animals adopted from shelters." states Levitt.

According to Ursula Goetz, Executive Director/ Monmouth County S.P.C.A, " The kindness and thoughtfulness of Nan Leonard and Arthur Levitt, will make a big difference in the lives of the many needy animals that will enjoy their stay in the newly renovated S.P.C.A Care and Adoption Center. The Homeward Bound Capital Campaign is well on it's way thanks to the support of the community. Together we can all make a difference in the lives of the animals."

Once developed, all photos can be picked up at Custom One Hour Photo (1159 Hwy 35, Middletown, NJ* 732-671-2888). Custom One Hour Photo, established in 1984, is a family owned business providing numerous photographic and video services.

According to Nan Leonard, (Nanette Leonard Public Relations, Middletown, NJ) "I've been a customer of One Hour Photo and have also been associated with the Monmouth County S.P.C.A. for many years. I felt this was a perfect way to raise much needed funds for this wonderful organization. Pet owners go home with a professional photo of their pets and the S.P.C.A raises more money for their's a 'win, win' for all concerned. I hope everyone will take time to pose with their pets for a great cause."

Note: All animals must be vaccinated, on leashes or in carriers.

# # # # #
For Further information:

Monmouth County S.P.C.A.

APP pens piece about corruption

A nice initiative about corruption on the state level in the APP. But this is eyewash. Career politicians make their living feeding off of tax money. It is what they do. For every rule they create, a backdoor is likewise created, making real accountability more of a hope than a reality. Cynicism has yet to fail me in dealing with the Legislature. Yet hope springs eternal ... or at least every November.

Monday, May 14, 2007

For Newspaper Publishers and Editors: Important

There is currently an initiative under way from the NJ Dept. of Labor that will, if allowed to happen, fundamentally change the print news business in this state. Basically, the Dept. of Labor is trying to classify newspaper route delivery drivers and stringers as part-time employees, with all the financial obligations that means.

This is a serious matter. Not only are NJPA members involved here, but basically everyone in the print news business.

For those in the association (at appropriate managerial levels) who are familiar with our counsel, I suggest you call him or at least someone at the association at the earliest convenience to get an update. There is an important meeting happening between NJPA and the NJ Dept. of Labor within the next day that will mean a great deal.

There are newspapers that have already retained counsel to challenge decisions already made. Now is definitely not the time to ignore what is happening on the state level because every single newspaper in this state is impacted by this situation.

There are times when bureaucracy tries to amend the rights of the press, either directly or indirectly. In my opinion, this is one of those times.

Click on the headline to go to NJPA's Web site for contact information. Personally, I have never previously been big on the NJPA membership or its value, but in this moment I can see the use for the association in a dramatic manner and am glad Courier remained a member.

If they square this one away, I will not complain about dues again.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

A Mother's Day Message From Menendez, Holt


MOTHERS Act introduced in Senate, similar to Melanie Blocker-Stokes Act in House

WASHINGTON – A group of lawmakers and postpartum depression awareness advocates joined today on Capitol Hill in a call for an increased federal commitment to combating postpartum depression. U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) – along with actress Brooke Shields, former New Jersey First Lady Mary Jo Codey, Carol Blocker and other leading advocates – announced today’s introduction of The MOTHERS Act in the Senate.

The bill is similar to Rep. Rush’s Melanie Blocker-Stokes Postpartum Depression Research and Care Act (H.R. 20), which has been introduced in the House of Representatives.
“Moving forward on legislation to address postpartum depression would be a terrific Mother’s Day gift for the hundreds of thousands of new mothers who are struggling with this serious condition,” said Sen. Menendez. “We must attack postpartum depression on all fronts with education, screening, support, and research so that new moms can feel supported and safe rather than scared and alone.

I would like to thank Representative Rush for his leadership, as well as Mary Jo Codey, Brooke Shields, Carol Blocker and the other leading advocates in attendance for their commitment to beating this often debilitating condition.”
“We must not stop until new mothers facing depression are given new hope. I believe that after six long years, Congress is now poised to finally do the right thing for millions of mothers,” said Rep. Rush. “As we honor not only Mother’s Day, but also recognizing that May is Mental Health Month, we must not stop until research, screening, treatment and prevention of postpartum depression is the law of the land.” Postpartum depression is a serious and disabling condition affecting hundreds of thousands of new mothers each year.

The new legislation would increase federal efforts to combat postpartum depression by:
· Requiring medical professionals to educate new mothers and their families about postpartum depression before they leave the hospital,

· Offering the opportunity for new mothers to be screened for postpartum depression symptoms during the first year of postnatal check-up visits,
· Providing social services to new mothers suffering from postpartum depression and their families,

· Increasing funding for research on postpartum conditions at the National Institutes of Health.
It is estimated that postpartum depression (PPD) affects from 10 to 20 percent of new mothers.

In the United States , there may be as many as 800,000 new cases of postpartum conditions each year. The cause of PPD isn’t known but changes in hormone levels, a difficult pregnancy or birth, and a family history of depression are considered possible factors.
To view a short video of segments of the press conference, click on the headline.

# # #

Friday, May 11, 2007

Saving tax money means getting rid of career politicians


The economy: It’s not good in the Bayshore or Monmouth County. It’s not good in the United States, but I live in Monmouth County, New Jersey. I care about the economy right here.

Government: It costs too much at every single level.

Taxpayers: Are not making enough money. They are not making enough money because the economy is bad. One reason the economy is bad is because the government rolled out the red carpet to send jobs overseas from businesses (some of which were in Monmouth County). Somehow, this is supposed to be a smart move.

Locally, every single taxpayer feels it. Government wants more money. The economy is bad so taxpayers do not have more money.

When all of the bull is done getting thrown, this is the state of affairs.

One significant place to find cost savings in government is by cutting the benefits and pay of every single elected and politically-appointed official in government today, on every level of government, without any exception whatsoever. This does not include the workers of government, who are the police officers, firefighters, town employees or people with actual jobs. I am talking about the people who are prominent Republicans and Democrats.

Why are elected and appointed people of every level given lavish benefits? Why are appointed people, who are really nothing more than friends of elected officials or party hangers on, given the star treatment on the taxpayers’ dime with the same benefits as elected people?

There is no excuse. None of these people should receive state-sponsored benefits.

When the United States of America was created, the people who did this were termed “Founders.” These Founders were people like George Washington, John Hancock, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and the like.

None of them believed government should be a career. All of them had jobs before government and all of them kept their businesses or at least an avenue back to those businesses while they served their communities in government. The idea was that none of the founders conceived of themselves as “professional politicians,” a profession that was generally discredited by these Founders.

So, if someone was looking for benefits and a big check, then they needed to provide that for themselves. These were the principles that founded this nation; made it great and will always work (then, now and in the future).

If I made the assumption that everything the Founders did was right, which I do, and little of what they did (by way of structuring the ideology and bodies of government) was wrong, then there is “right” and “wrong” in my opinion.

When I hear some whiney politician telling me about how they need some taxpayer-paid benefit, it is wrong. Elected office is not supposed to be a “profession,” and anyone who characterizes it as such is basically publicly abdicating his or her participation in the private sector in favor of being a “career politician.” Career politicians are everything that is wrong with municipal, county, state and national government.

When someone is a politician as a career option, then his or her political life is afforded by the support of some party or other. Party chieftains and not his or her own conscience then regulate the politician’s “ethics” and behavior. Should a career politician use their own judgment and not the traditional party wisdom, and then they are not in the party and thereby not in office.

So making the water comfortable for career politicians and their hack buddies is perilous to the efficient conduct of the government’s affairs on behalf of the people and really cannot be condoned in any way. Turning out this breed of leach is imperative if someone wants to vote for less government and best government.

Give me someone with a job in the private sector and enough self-discipline to hold it for a number of years, has some good ideas and earns no money from government (and has no aspiration to) and they have my vote. Make sure candidates are not feeding into any political machine and, there we have it, someone who is a good potential candidate.

Some ways to make sure of all the above: Take away the benefits from elected and appointed people, take away all of the take-home cars for non-emergency personnel in government and get the State Pension System out of local and county governments for elected and appointed people and the result will be cleaner, better-managed government.

Yahoo News on the national divorce rate

Some good information about the divorce rate in the country. A little anthropology.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

No coyotes yet

Check out the 'no coyote report.' Click on the headline and go there.



May 9, 2007

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


Security grants for ports up $1.6 million over last year, though state given smaller percentage of overall port funds

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security today announced the allocation of port and transit security grants. Among the key figures are:

· $32.1 million for New Jersey ports ($27.3 million for NY/NJ; $4.8 million for Camden )

· $70.7 million for New Jersey transit security ($61 million for New York City/Northern New Jersey; $9.7 million for Pennsylvania/New Jersey)

· $1.5 million in ferry grants for New York City/Jersey City/Newark

· $1.54 million for the Buffer Zone Protection Program

“Security funds like these are much needed in our state – this year and every year,” said Sen. Menendez. “ New Jersey is a target-rich state, and if we are going to continue to be prepared for potential attacks, it is going to take a long-term homeland security commitment and investment from the federal government. I welcome the allocation of these grants, and I hope for a sustained and robust level of security funds in the coming years.”

Despite the increase in overall funds to New Jersey in this latest round of port security grants, the state’s share of the nationwide total decreased from 18.3% last year to 15.8% this year.

# # #

Yahoo posts on partisan divide in DC

An update on the national front. Let's see if the grass can get a little greener.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 recent military news has posted about some recent military news. While some news is very sad, the heroism of our young people should be remembered.

Caption: The "Iron Mike" statue at Ft. Bragg, North Carolina commemorates the American airborne effort during the Normandy Invasion on June 6, 1944.

Audubon Society holds Sandy Hook summer event

Monmouth County Audubon Society holds Sandy Hook event in June

MIDDLETOWN -- The Monmouth County Audubon Society is hosting an evening bird walk to look for nesters and shorebirds Sandy Hook. The event is scheduled for Thursday, June 7 at 6 p.m.

The trip will be led by members of the Monmouth County Audubon Society who are familiar with Sandy Hook birds. "The evening is a great time to explore the quieter areas of Sandy Hook," explained Linda Mack, trip leader and past president of the Monmouth County Audubon Society. "We never know what we will discover on these summer walk -- herons, shorebirds, Ospreys and gulls are all the regulars -- and we may be able to sneak a peek at piping plovers, the endangered shorebirds that nest at Sandy Hook."

Anyone interested in participating in the event can meet at 6 p.m. in the parking lot of the Sandy Hook Visitor's Center.

The trip is open to both members and non-members of the Monmouth County Audubon Society, and participation is free. Advance registration is not required. Participants should bring binoculars and field guides and should dress appropriately for the weather, including clothing suitable for rain if the forecast is questionable. Insect repellent is also recommended. The walk will take place light rain or shine. Pets are not permitted.

Click on the headline to go to the group's Web site.

Something to keep in mind for early scheduling

I always like to plan holiday events well out. Time off has to be requested. Schedules have to be arranged. It's usually for the best with a little planning.

This coming November 9th, Hazlet Recreation is sponsoring a trip to the Radio City Music Hall for a performance of the "Christmas Spectacular." The cost is of the ticket is $44, including transportation.

The bus will leave for the Liberty Overflow Parking Lot on Middle Road at 11 a.m. for a 2 p.m. show. Rear mezzanine seating.

Tickets may be purchased at the James J. Cullen Center in Veterans memorial Park on Union Avenue, in Hazlet. Payments accepted by check or money order only.

The contact on this is Barbara Ronchetti, and her number is (732) 739-0653. Click on the headline to go to the Web site.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

APP editorial is strong

The APP's Randy Bergmann has some strong insights today. I think it's worth a read. Click on the headline.

6 men nabbed in alleged terror plot

There were six men arrested for plotting to kill U.S. servicemembers at Ft. Dix. U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie announced the arrests today.

If convicted, the men get a life sentence each. Good. This is a solid application of law enforcement energies. It's why taxes are paid, and it's money well spent.

Caption: A Reserve sergeant at an ammunition resupply point at a Ft. Dix range from 2004.

Corzine does post-hospital interview

Governor Corzine does interview after hospital stay. Click on the headline and go there.

Opinion: No excuse about the seatbelt thing. Anyone in elected office has to be held to the same standard as everyone else. That being said, hopefully he'll buckle up and this will serve as a reminder to anyone else who doesn't. Bucklin up saves lives, unnecessary injury and drama.

LiveScience discusses psychology of 'authority' published a good piece about the psychology of 'people in power.' It's strong and well researched.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Courier circulation manager heads west

Courier Circulation Manager Michael Kenny will be leaving the homestead come the end of June, for parts west. Mr. Kenny, a Loyola College graduate and circulation manager for the past four years, is taking part in a family move to the land of 100 degrees F.

In those four years, Michael, who had never considered doing circulation before in his life, has done an incredible job at the task. To say he will be missed is to say nothing. All the best to Mike and the Kenny clan.

Feature from Yahoo on national politics

Yahoo looks like it posted a well-cited story about the national scene.

Presidential poll from May 6...kinda interesting

Alright, well, the hits keep coming. An interesting Newsweek poll. Click into the headline and check it out if you're interested in the national-level polls. What do they mean to local races? Who knows?

An interesting post from Kentucky on Prez race

The quote was from USA Today. It's from February, but I think it says something about where that publication is going, for whatever that is worth in the scheme of things. Click into the headline and go there.