Sunday, August 31, 2008

Gulf Coast could be bracing for another one

The Gulf Coast might be expecting another Katrina-like event, according to the AP. Certainly, this is something of great concern, given what happened there before. Click on the headline to go to YahooNews! and read the story.

PBS: A look at Palin in Alaska

PBS did a story awhile ago about Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who is now Sen. and GOP Presidential candidate John McCain's runningmate. It's an interesting insight.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Great story of hope, courage in Howell

The APP has a great story about hope and determination. There's a story in today's paper about U.S. Army 1Lt. Brian Brennan, 23, from Howell, who was injured in Afghanistan. Despite some tough breaks, this young man is working very hard to recover. Click on the headline to go to the story.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Keyport's Second Annual 5K to be run on Sept. 20

Press Release

KeyportFest 5K – The Keyport Borough Recreation Commission and the Spanish America Club are proud to present the Second Annual KeyportFest 5K. The major sponsors for this event are IHOP of Keyport, Chick-fil-A and Broadway Bagels of Keyport. The KeyportFest 5K is being held on Saturday, September 20, 2008.

The KeyportFest 5K is scheduled for 8:30 AM and the free Children’s Races get underway at 9:30 AM. The fast and scenic rolling 5K course is USATF Certified accurate and ready for championship records as well as beautiful bayside sight-seeing. All pre-entrants for the 5K are guaranteed a stunning commemorative Race T-Shirt. Pre-entry deadline is September 8, 2008, so you can enter the event early to take advantage of the great low price! Post entries will be taken right up until race time. Sign-ups for the Children’s Races are only taken on race day.

For an application, please visit or For additional information, please call the Race Hotline at 732-739-5145 or e-mail We’ll see you at the KeyportFest! McCain set to reveal VP choice

John McCain is set to announce who his pick for VP will be. There seems to be a lot of popular support out there for Mitt Romney. Of course, Tom Ridge is another popular pick, among others.

Click on the headline to go to the story at

Morehead pens piece about young people

Bayshore Young Democrats Chairman Matthew Morehead has written a column about young people and their growing involvement in the Democratic Party.

Matthew is a very involved person who has organized a growing group of Young Dems in Northern Monmouth.

Click on the headline to go to his column at The Courier Online.

Obama accepts nomination; Pelosi closes out convention

Illinois U.S. Sen. Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for president of the United States at Mile High Stadium yesterday. It was a great speech. The convention concluded on a strong note, with Nancy Pelosi encouraging Democrats around the country to work hard for victory.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Clinton hits home run in convention address

Former President William Jefferson Clinton had a big night last night, when he gave a speech at the Democratic Convention. In his address, President Clinton lauded Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama. I saw it, and the speech was a hit.

Passeggio will take center stage editorially

For the next several weeks, Courier Senior Staff Writer Alyssa Passeggio will be writing the editorial in this space.

This is the first time since April 1998, when I started editing the newspaper, that I have done this.

The philosophy of the Editorial Department at the newspaper is that The Courier is usually our reporters’ first steps in journalism, and their first stop along the way, but certainly not their last. Consequently, a great deal of attention is paid to their development as writers, with the idea that after a couple years they will be moving onto writing for daily newspapers, editing weekly newspapers or public relations, as they feel so drawn.

Alyssa joined the staff here at The Courier in May 2007 fresh out of graduation from Georgian Court University, in Lakewood. During her tenure here at The Courier, she has proved truly exceptional in her work ethic, dedication to her coverage area, and development as a news writer.

Alyssa’s coverage of the Highlands bridge, among other storylines, allowed the public to understand that very complex project in a way that was thorough and detailed.

This is the kind of information that voters and residents need to know in order to make informed decisions about their community.

Writing editorials every week is not as easy as it looks. Some weeks, a writer may not have anything at all that they feel all that strongly about. But, taking a stand on issues and saying what one truly thinks is what an editorial should be. Sure, there should be facts and information, but having an opinion is implicit to the editorial: Something is good or it is bad.

When I was a reporter, around the time dinosaurs roamed the world (a.k.a. the 1990s), making public comment was straightforward: I wrote about events insofar as who did what when, and where they did it and why in five paragraphs with short ledes. This is the basic mission of reporters and people that do not enjoy that should probably not be reporters.

Writing editorials is more personal and speaks to the belief structures that people have. In my opinion, it is a great exercise for young reporters, who have had some seasoning, to try their hands at this practice. When everything else is in place with a reporter’s skill set, development of this kind of writing can be an asset. I think this is exactly the case where it involves Alyssa.

Reporters know their areas like the back of their hands. They know the people, the issues and the emerging issues that often take the spotlight in the news. Yet, each of us are residents of a larger community, and reside within a county and a state as well as just a town. Consequently, crafting informed editorials could stretch the skills of a writer in a way that is forward-looking in this industry.

I look forward to Alyssa’s tenure as an editorial voice of the newspaper. I certainly hope that our readers do also.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Inside Clamdigger will integrate new voices

Writers at the Courier have personal blogs, which are intended to give some news and information, insights and opinions about issues and what's happening. The Inside Clamdigger was the second of the personal blogs associated with any writers at The Courier, as it was started by me and I maintained it. Of course, the Bayshore Journalista, Jackie Corley, was the first. Blogs are a way to generate traffic to the main newspaper site (click on the headline to go to The Courier Online), and blogs are a new way to get information out there, relatively speaking.

Some of the ways that blogging can be useful have been identified through this experience, and there certainly has been a lot of activity surrounding area blogs. But all things come to an end. The Inside Clamdigger will continue to operate, giving news, information and opinion. I just may not be the one posting here anymore in a little while, though.

There is a period of transition that will take place, wherein some new voices are going to start being heard at The Inside Clamdigger. In a little while (as soon as we can work the bugs out), I'll stop posting here because it is time. Blogging is a very interesting concept. It's got a lot wrong with it, and a lot right with it. It's a great experiment that I am gratefully turning over to the reporters and interns at Courier.

I'll be sticking around for a couple weeks (in a cyber sense) before I fully turn over the site to these great young people. There'll be more about this before I stop posting altogether. I'll be sure to post a parting message before that happens.

I do appreciate the support this blog has received, and encourage readers to keep on coming back. In my opinion, it will only get better with the fresh blood. The Inside Clamdigger is a nice outlet for news, opinion and information about Northern Monmouth County.

Thanks for stopping by.

Booker will run for second term as Newark's hizzoner

According to, Newark Mayor Cory Booker said he will definitely be running for a second term as the city's mayor and affirmed he would not accept a job in the Obama Administration, should the Illinois U.S. senator garner victory at the polls in November.

Click on the headline to go to the story at

CR 537 is undergoing work

CR 537 is a main artery between Western and Northern Monmouth. There is a lot of work going on. The Courier Online has the story. Click on the headline to go there.

Clinton gives unity address at national convention

I stayed up a little later than usual last night to catch a great speech by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton at the Democratic National Convention. It was a great speech. Here is one part of it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Atlantic Artisans hosts "Tri-Fest" on Sept. 9

Atlantic Highlands, NJ – If you, a friend, or family member have ever been touched by cancer or you would like to support cancer survivors then you definitely want to join us Tuesday, September 9th,, 2008 for “TRI-FEST” to eat, shop, educate.

Atlantic Artisans, Always Elegant Gift Baskets and Posh on First of 68 First Ave. mini-mall are hosting an event to raise money for “Team Survivor” a non-profit organization that provides free exercise and health education and support programs for women affected by cancer.

“Tri-Fest” will take place at 68 First Ave. Atlantic Highlands, NJ on Tuesday September 9th from 6:30pm-9:00pm. A $10 donation is asked and you will receive a goodie bag filled with more then ten dollars with of goodies. You will be entertained by live music donated by Sherilyn and Frankie, a local duo that perform around the area and are about to release their first album. Delightful treats by Chef Raymond Prezelomski will provide the energy need to enjoy “Tri-Fest.

A chance to win donated items from Belinni shoes, IM=X Pilates, Sherman and Sons Jeweler and many other merchants in the area. But, that is not all you get for your $10, there will be a presentation by Team Survivor and Dr. Julie Page of Page Chiropractic on nutrition and exercise for a healthy you.

Plus, 10% of all purchases during “Tri-Fest” will go to Team Survivor and this will also help Nance S. Ciasca of Atlantic Artisans raise money for “Team Survivor” as she competes in the Danskin Triathlon. That’s a huge amount of food, fun and goodies for your ten dollar donation so, please come on out for a night of fun and help us support a good cause.

If you can not make it and still would like to support the cause you can send checks made out to Team Survivor/BCRF to Atlantic Artisans 68 First Ave, Atlantic Highlands, NJ 07716. So SWIM, BIKE or RUN to “Tri-Fest” September 9th from 6:30pm-9pm. For more information call 732-291-0100 or Please note there are a limited amount of goodie bags so come early.

Are pigs AH or anywhere else?

Courier Senior Staff Writer Alyssa Passeggio has a good story about an Atlantic Highlands pet controversy at The Courier Online. The question is pretty straightforward: Can potbellied pigs be pets that are permitted under the law in town?

There are good sides of this argument on both sides, in my opinion, but at the end of the day a decision has to be made. I won't spoil the ending on this one. Click on the headline to go to the story.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Velasquez gives lowdown for 2008 Rutgers season

Star Ledger reporter Vin Velasquez has shot a great video that includes interviews with Scarlet Knights Kenny Britt, Capt. and QB Mike Teel and San San Te, among others. The players talk about their expectations for the 2008 season.

Traffic lights on Highlands bridge

Courier Senior Staff Writer Alyssa Passeggio has a great story about lights on the Highlands bridge during construction. Certainly, the bridge hasn't gotten any safer due to the ongoing improvements. Click on the headline to go to Read All About It, by Alyssa Passeggio.

Courier TV is added to website

The Courier Online has added a new feature to its lineup--Courier TV. As well as presenting videos on YouTube, The Courier Online now has the ability to show its own digital features. This is good for a lot of reasons, among them is the length of features can be expanded (YouTube is sort of a problem after 3 minutes) and, very shortly, commercials can be sold on this medium. We're working the bugs out, but this is an exciting innovation for us here. Start looking for additions to this part of the site in the next week. Click on the headline to go there.

Minard visited by Bush, given key to city at home

Courier Editor Somdatta Sengupta penned a great piece about Union Beach resident Michael Minard, an injured veteran from Iraq. Sgt. Minard was visited by President George Bush during his rehabilitation. He has also been given the key to the city by Union Beach Mayor Paul Smith. This is a wonderful story about hope overcoming adversity. Click on the headline to go to The Courier Online.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Have a great weekend!

As the summer is starting to wrap up, I really suggest trying to grab as much of it as is left. Taking that advice myself, I'll be back blogging away on Monday. In the meantime, here is Louis Armstrong's classic "What a Wonderful World." Thanks for coming by and have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Area legislators help out the Food Bank

Congrats to Sen. Sean Kean and the 11th's legislative delegation for helping out at the Food Bank. The Food Bank is a great organization that can use the support. Click on the headline to go to the story at The Courier Online.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Gannett cuts 120 jobs in Jersey

Gannett Co. Inc., which operates six newspapers in New Jersey (the Asbury Park Press among them) has eliminated 120 full- and part-time jobs from its organization. A company spokesman has credited deteriorating economic times as one reason for the move by the company.

This announcement by Gannett comes weeks after Advance Publishing, which operates several newspapers in New Jersey (the Star-Ledger among them) announced that the company could close, among other options, by Sept. 1.

My take on it: Print is changing. Newspapers have to redefine themsleves and how they operate or they will die or change hands. Synergy between printed and online products are going to mean a lot in the future. I think the market for news has changed, and newspapers are just sluggish about reacting to that change and finding a new way to carve out a living. The Star-Ledger and the Asbury Park Press, for all of their popularity or lack thereof in certain circles, are great Jersey papers. It's always a shame to see these things happen.

Click on the headline and go to the story about the APP.

Committee honors Dailey as employee of the year

The Middletown Committee recently honored township Superintendent of Motor Pools Howard Dailey as the town's employee of the year. Mr. Dailey went into public works in 1974. Mr. Dailey manages about $400,000 worth of township assets in the motor pools, and apparently is doing a great job.

He was honored recently by Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger and the Middletown Committee. Click on the headline to see the story at The Courier Online.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Simply Sable has M'town meeting story about Fitzgerald

Jim Fitzgerald is a Middletown resident who is mad as heck and doesn't want to take it anymore where it involves trash being thrown near his yard. Click on the headline and go to Sable Minded for the very lively YouTube about this.

Caption: Neither Kevin Smith or Jason Mewes were accused of throwing any trash in, near or by Mr. Fitzgerald's house. This is just a shameless use of a good stock photo I have.

County Rt. 537 in Colts Neck to close for paving

Monmouth County Press Release

In Colts Neck, the Monmouth County Roads Department will begin milling and repaving County Route 537, between Laird Road and Hominy Hill Road at 6 p.m. on Monday, August 18. The work will be performed for the rest of the week from 6 p.m. until 6 a.m.

Motorists should expect some delays and use the signed detours. The work schedule is weather dependent. If an adjustment to the work schedule is necessary, updates will be posted to the county’s Web site at

Improvements on Route 537 are anticipated to be as follows: Monday, August 18, Milling West of Route 34; Tuesday, August 19, Milling East of Route 34; Wednesday, August 20, Milling & paving East of Route 34; Thursday, August 21, Paving East of Route 34; and Friday, August 22, Paving West of Route 34.

“The county resurfaces about 20 miles of roadway each year,” said Freeholder William C. Barham. “The Route 537 project is part of the county’s efforts to responsibly maintain its roadway infrastructure and to keep traffic moving.”

In total, the county maintains of approximately 380 miles of roads, 980 bridges and culverts and 200 traffic signals.

Good morning to the Bayshore

Since it's sort of a slow morning in the Bayshore, I thought I'd post the Beatles' "Good Day Sunshine." I'll post a new update about meeting coverage from last night after 1 p.m. In the meantime, you can't exactly go wrong with John, Paul, George and Ringo.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Holocaust Center hosts survivors of the St. Louis

The story of the SS St. Louis is a powerful one. It was an ill-fated voyage in 1939, where German Jews were literally set adrift from their country. It is one of the earliest tales of terror during World War II. Today, at the Student Life Center at Brookdale Community College, the Holocaust Center is hosting the 11 survivors of that journey that started with 1,000 souls so long ago. I will be posting more about this. In the meantime, Courier Staff Writer Melissa Gaffney will be writing a piece about it in this week's upcoming Courier.

Click on the headline to go to the center's website.

As an FYI: I also bumped into Etzion Neuer, the regional director of New Jersey for the Anti-Defamation League. The ADL is simultaneously hosting a workshop for campus police and security people from around the state about hate groups today. For more information about the ADL, they have a website at: The ADL is a great organization and doing some fine work. I saw some of the materials they were using for the presentations and they were very powerful.

Interesting match-up happening in 3rd District

John Adler is the Democrat running against longtime GOP incumbent Rep. Jim Saxton this year. The APP has an interesting story, which is notable because of the undertones it expresses.

Times have gotten difficult for so many that 'change' seems to have become something of a theme. There are some tough issues at the bottom of a 'change' vote, which asks for something different than 'more of the same.' It's going to be aninteresting year.

Click on the headline for the APP story.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Will be posting again on Monday

I'll be posting again on The Inside Clamdigger as of Monday. In the meantime, there are regular updates at The Courier Online, just click on the headline to check them out.

In-between then and now, in-keeping with summer on the Jersey Shore, click on the YouTube to see some nice work someone put together for a "Surfin' USA" video. Have a great weekend, be sure to check out some area beaches.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sandy Hook: An ideal summer getaway

This is a great video about Sandy Hook that gives a wonderful overview of not only the park but the surrounding area. But, where it involves recent bridge construction, it pays to show up early and have a little patience where it involves traffic.

M'town celebrates its vols in ceremony

The Middletown Committee honored its volunteers for various boards and commissions yesterday at Croydon Hall. Courier Staff Writer Melissa L. Gaffney has this story in te upcoming edition of the newspaper next week. In the meantime, there's a brief at The Courier Online. Click on the headline to go there.

CAPTION: Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger was at the event last night, along with Deputy Mayor Pamela Brightbill. has Rutgers football update

The Scarlet Knights are going to be kicking off their season in a few weeks. has all the latest team updates. Click on the headline to go to the story.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tribute to teams, fans for upcoming season

With the NFL kicking off the season in just a few weeks, it seemed like the right time to present an old school musical tribute to the fans and the teams that someone sent me a link for.

Obama: People need a break from politics

Sen. Barack Obama, the Democratic contender for the presidency, recently talked about his extra-long primary and the lack of a pause before going into campaign mode against Sen. John McCain, the Republican contender for president.

K'burg funeral director dies at 65

Bill Cousin, 65, was the manager and funeral director at Ryan Home for Funerals, in Keansburg. Sadly, he passed away on Aug. 3. Mr. Cousin died at Jersey Shore Medical Center, in Neptune. He moved to the area in 2001, when he took up residence in Hazlet.
Click on the headline to see the story at The Courier Online.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A 501(c)3 in the making?

Union Beach resident Sgt. Michael Minard was injured in Iraq on Oct. 1, 2007. He was a vehicle commander who served with the 1-2 SCR Striker Brigade. He is a married father of two who has been a real example of good citizenship. It is unfortunate for Sgt. Minard that he lost both legs above the knee during his injury.

However, Sgt. Minard's family and the community are really rallying behind this young man, who is 27. According to Sgt. Minard's sister-in-law Danielle Muller, there is talk about a foundation being set up to help soldiers coming home who are coping with serious injury, like Sgt. Minard's. Notably, retired Reserve First Sergeant Frank Wells, who sits on the council over in the borough, has been very helpful to the family.

This is obviously a great cause. If anyone is interested in helping this along, please reachout for Danielle at (732) 739-8703. She is a very dedicated person and there aren't enough great things to say about this wonderful family.

Reminder: Scarlet Knights Fall Schedule

The Rutgers "Scarlet Knights" Football Program is a brightspot in the area. These young men are doing something very special on the gridiron. For a reminder about the team's 2008 schedule, click on the headline and go to the team's homepage.

Giannell named as Curley's replacement

When Red Bank Councilman John Curley stepped aside to focus on running for freeholder, the governing body had to name a successor. That successor is former Red Bank Republican Chairman Jim Giannell.
Jim is a well-known reformer in the Monmouth County Republican Party who has been very active during county conventions in recent years.
Best of luck to Jim in this new office. There is certainly a lot that needs to get done in the borough. One thing about the APP report: They keep on referring to Mr. Giannell as James "Jack" Giannell. I've known Jim for some years now. I don't recall anyone ever calling him "Jack." Someone might have mixed something up there.
Anyway, click on the headline to go to the APP story about it.

Christie-Corzine match-up would make a good one

According to a recent poll, the candidacies of Gov. Jon Corzine and U.S. Attorney Chris Christie would make for a spirited contest were they to run against each other for governor next time out. Click on the headline and go to the story at

Monday, August 11, 2008

Blaszczyk pens piece about Nadolny

Lindsey Nadolny is a Belford resident and a softball player at William Paterson University. She has showed a lot of heart and dedication on the diamond over the years and has fought hard to come back from injury.

Ms. Nadolny is a great example for younger players and a real credit to the sport. Courier Associate Editor Christopher Blaszczyk has a great story about Ms. Nadolny in this week's edition of The Courier. Click on the headline and go there.

Rielle Hunter is critical of Elizabeth Edwards

Rielle Hunter is the woman at the center of the Sen. John Edwards scandal. In an article in the NY Daily News, Ms. Hunter is quoted as saying some negative things about Mrs. Elizabth Edwards.

What the heck is that all about?

According to the Daily News story, Ms. Hunter had a real ambition to be rich and famous. Well, I suppose those aren't bad goals. But is this the best way to do it? I'm thinking it isn't.
For the record: Elizabeth Edwards has been an incredible example for those struggling with cancer. There's no call to be running her down. It's just unnecessary.
Click on the headline and go to the story at the NY Daily News.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Families should think about parking when planning games

Last year, when I attended a Jets home game, parking was a nightmare. According to the Jets organization, the Xanadu project will be completed in 2010. But, last year was incredibly bad. Really, the only real parking option (meaning a normal experience) is only going to be possible by showing up many hours before the game.

I was talking about this with a friend who is going to a few home games with me during the season. Our plan is going to be something to the tune of showing up at about 7:30 a.m. on game day. We tried showing up three hours early last year. The lot was already over-filled, and parking became a major issue.

There aren't a lot of references about this online right now. But, for anyone interested in attending any games this is going to become a very big deal. Especially where it involves the game as a family event, it can be a strong challenge if the commute to the game and parking is not strongly factored into the plan.

The natural thought is that the organizers at the Meadowlands, or perhaps the teams, would really put a lot of thought into how to avoid this problem. Well, they didn't last year and I haven't seen anything giving me an inclination that there is any planning going into it this year. So, the planning part is going to be left up to those attending. And, as I see it, the only real plan is going to be showing up before the crowd hits. I have to think that means getting there obscenely early. I'll be checking this out more as the weeks click by and will blog more about this.
Click on the headline to go to

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Highlands roadwork continues to plague residents

Highlands has been having a heck of a time, with the bridge destruction, reconstruction and vibrations from work and the traffic (the traffic has been especially terrible due to road closures).

Sandy Hook is a great attraction, but getting there has become as easy as the Cubs clinching the Pennant. Long lines of cars and motorcycles on Rt. 36, or moving through Rumson and, sometimes, all for nothng. I attempted the journey to Sandy Hook twice in the last month. But, by the time that I got to the entrance the park was full.

Courier Senior Staff Writer Alyssa Passeggio has a story about what is happening with bridge construction. Click on the headline to go to The Courier Online.

McGreevey owes Dina child support, not alimony

The trench warfare going on between Jim and Dina Matos McGreevey has loosened up some, with the former governor ordered to pay chld support, but surprisingly no alimony. The former Garden State first lady had sued to live in the style she had become accustomed as the wife of the state's top elected official. I guess that didn't work out so well.

However, this could be a sign that front-page McGreevey updates could be coming to a conclusion. There has been so much attention on the he said, he said, she said going on with the divorce that the fact this former governor abused his appointment powers horribly has all but been forgotten.

Jim McGreevey was an epicly bad governor who did nothing but bring shame onto the office. Click on the headline to go to the story at

Friday, August 08, 2008

Edwards admits extra-marital affair

Former presidential candidate John Ewards admitted to an extra-marital affair today. Were he to have secured the Democratic nomination, as he sought earlier this year, he would have created an untenable candidacy for not only himself but for his entire party.

Sen. Edwards' problems are his own, and would be private if he indeed was a private person. But, he isn't. Instead, he has sought and secured high public office and he even sought the highest office in this country.

This is someone without a lot of good sense. It is up to Mrs. Edwards to decide what kind of husband this fellow is. But, where it involves being a U.S. senator and presidential candidate, he has proven himself to have exceedingly poor judgment, in my opinion. I wouldn't vote for the man to be dog catcher. Click on the headline to go to the story at YahooNews!

Pennginton draws attention from usual suspects

With "The Favre" coming to NYC and Chad Pennginton heading out the door, the Ex-Jet has a market waiting for him around the league. The usual suspects are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Minnesota Vikings and the Miami Dolphins.

While Pennington has his moments, the injury-prone former Jet leader is a problemed pocket passer that has little mobility or speed and frequently hesitates when he doesn't have the time. The outgoing Pennington wasn't the guy in NYC and he's not going to be the guy anywhere else.

Click on the headline to go to the story at

NYC planner says the city takes a ton of care

Daily News Correspondent Jason Sheftell has a story in today's newspaper featuring New York City Planner Amanda Burden. Burden talks about what it takes to plan the city, and keep it up. Through regular re-visitation and constant work, she helps to keep the Apple polished. Click on the headline and go to the NY Daily News.

Caption: A view from the Gazebo at Sakura Park, off Claremont Street, in the Upper West Side. In the background is the steeple at Riverside Church.

Tropical Smoothie is the new cafe in M'town

Tropical Smoothie Cafe is located in the heart of Middletown, at Middletown Plaza. Courier Editor Somdatta Sengupta has the story about it this week at The Courier Online. Click on the headline and go there.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Burry comes out swinging against FEMA

THIS JUST IN: Freeholder Director Lillian Burry announced that the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders is continuing its fight to block re-issuance of FEMA flood maps in Northern Monmouth County. Click on the headline to go to the Web Update at The Courier Online.

CAPTION: Freeholder Director Burry at a recent event involving Naval Weapons Station Earle.

Favre to wear Jet green this season

Packer future Hall-of-Famer Brett Favre will presumably be starting for the New York Jets this season. This news was released as the Jets front office announced that former Gang Green QB Chad Pennginton has been notified he will be traded or released from the team. According to the NY Daily News, Pennginton is scheduled to earn $6 million this year.

For Pennginton, this brings an end to a spotty stay in New York. Finally an end to the flashes of brilliance punctuated by the string of injuries from the Marshall University alum. Never decisive enough against the pass rush, in my opinion, Pennington's fate as a good back-up would have been more meaningful than his troubled time in the fermament of the starting spot.

Meanwhile, Favre enters into the "Joe Montana in Kansas City" period of his career. This is not a knock, as Montana elevated the play of the Chiefs of his day and brought them into meaningful contention for the first time in a long time. Perhaps some of Favre's Madison magic can spark the ever-languishing Jets to new heights (or at least crawling out of the cellar of the AFC East).

While Favre is a great, how competitive will he be in the AFC, which many regard as having a more competitive schedule than the NFC? I think it is clear that Favre will be able to produce well -- better than the Jets have seen in many moons. But how far can Favre drive the Jets? That's a good question and it's probably going to make for strong attendance and greater enthusiasm for fans (some of whom I witnessed trying to give away Pennington #10 jersies at the escalators after their first encounter with the Pats last year).

Click on the headline to go to the AP story.

Is there a need for a federal apology about slavery from gov't?

Middletown Mike brings up an interesting issue on his blog. Is it necessary at this point to apologize for slavery in the United States?

The Federal Government has issued an apology to Japanese Americans for internment in camps during World War II. The move was met with mixed reviews at the time (it was during the 1980s). However, I recall there were at least a few people from the Japanese-American community that believed the move was a good one. The fact is that America was wrong in creating internemnt camps and doing what it did to those citizens then and, in a real way, the government owned up to its error, albeit late.

This apology would come much later, true. No one alive actually lived in slavery. But, the stigma of slavery to an entire people, and the destruction of various cultures (African and other) has been a powerful one for black Americans to cope with through the years.

I cannot see how an apology could be bad. If even one person found meaning in it, then the whole thing would be worth it. Slavery in America was an abomination that cannot be scrubbed clean with historical apologists that focus on economic arguments and the necessity of this beastial aspect of American history. America was not truly free until 1968, more than 100 years after the Civil War. So the truth is that salvery was wrong, and how can the government formally acknowledging that be bad?

Race and issues involving race continue to be areas of challenge for our society at-large. Why not an apology? The American Federal Government did sanction the private ownership of human beings. This behavior cannot be mitigated, but it can be apologized for (which is only good manners).

CAPTION: A bust of Union Gen. William T. Sherman resides in the vault of Grant's Tomb, in Manhattan. The vault houses the remains of former Commander of the Army of the Potomac and U.S. President Ulysses Grant and his wife, Julia.

Click on the headline to go to the post at Middletown Mike.

Will Matawan FD receive new fire truck?

Will the Matawan Fire Department receive a new fire truck? Courier Senior Staff Writer Alyssa Passeggio has a full report at her blog, Read All About It. Click on the headline to find out the complete story, or pick up a copy of this week's Courier at your local newsstand.

The plan for HRC explained

Click on the headline to go to exclusive video about the future for of the Middletown Human Rights Commission at Courier Staff Writer Melissa Gaffney's blog. In the video, Middletown Administrator Anthony Mercantante explains what is next for the commission, which has been a part of the local government for about 40 years.

Gosling killer is sentenced in Middletown court

Michael Gonzalez was convicted yesterday on a total of six counts related to the murder of three goslings at McGuire's Grove. He was arrested in May on the charges by Monmouth County SPCA Chief Victor "Buddy" Amato.

Click on the headline to go to a Web exclusive at The Courier Online.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

It's a good thing Edwards didn't get the nod

Sen. John Edwards was a popular choice by many Democrats when they considered their presidential options for this year. He is articulate, has a good record legislatively and knows how to communicate well to mass media, among other virtues. But what possessed him to enter into a national-level race of any kind with this mistress and "love child" issue hanging around his neck?

Sen. Edwards was busted by the National Enquirer recently and this very private situation became public. Funny how those things tend to happen when you are a public person who represents your state in Washington DC who then tries to run for president.

What would have happened if he had gotten the nod over Sen. Obama? What was in his mind on this one? Someone is either able to run for president or not. He should have known better.

Click on the headline to go to the NY Post's Page 6 to see the story about Edwards.

What's in a name? Ask the folks from W. Keansburg

Will West Keansburg continue being called what it is, or will its name be changed officially to Hazlet. The area is already a part of Hazlet Township officially, but its name might finally be changed. Of course, the postal authorities have something to say about this issue. To read more about it, go to The Courier Online by clicking on the headline.

APP: Economy slows but tuition costs are going up

No one in business within New Jersey needs a reminder that times are bad. But, just to add a little more misery to the equation, college tuitions are going up as well. According to the APP, the most expensive Garden State college is Drew University, and the least expensive is Kean. Click on the headline and go to the APP.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008


Sen. Menendez’s Tax Certificates Legislation Would Increase Competition, Diversity in Telecommunications Industry

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is supporting diversity in media ownership with new legislation to restore the tax certificate policy for sales of telecommunications properties to socially disadvantaged businesses, or SDBs. The tax certificates policy will mean newfound opportunities for America’s socially disadvantaged broadcasters and encourage investment in their companies. It would encourage diversity of voices in the nation’s media outlets, and enhance competition by enabling SDBs to unlock their full entrepreneurial, managerial and creative potential. Sen. Menendez’s bill would provide $350 million in tax certificates for use over a six year period to qualified SDBs to use as incentives for corporations to sell telecom properties to them.

“This is a very effective way to promote diversity of voices and increase competition in the telecommunications industry. I support diversity in media ownership because it provides a window into communities, languages, views, and values that might not otherwise be heard without these outlets,” said Sen. Menendez. “Unfortunately, we see major news outlets airing too many sensationalist stories on outlandish topics, such as immigrants with leprosy, black street gangs or Mexican plots to re-conquer the United States. Americans should be able to flip to stations where we can hear about Asian-American CEOs revolutionizing their industries, African-American doctors saving lives, and Hispanic soldiers, many of whom are not yet citizens, bravely fighting overseas under the flag of the country they’re proud to call their own.”

Senator Menendez added, “When we talk about minority-run outlets, we’re not just talking about broadcasters, we’re talking about advocates—advocates our communities depend on.”

Despite comprising more than a third of the U.S. population, and despite owning almost 1-in-5 businesses in the U.S., the proportion of radio stations minorities own is less than 1-in-12. For television stations, that number falls to 1-in-33.

The bill encourages large corporations to sell properties to smaller ones by providing $350 million in tax certificates for use over a six year period to SDBs certified by the FCC. These certificates can be used by the eligible seller to either defer the portion of capital gains covered by the certificate for three years or to reduce the basis of any property already held by the seller or purchased within one year after the transaction by that amount.


COAH is coming home for township

The Middletown Committee meeting last night adopted a new resolution involving COAH. There was some discussion about the language of the resolution, and comment was made by Committeeman Patrick Short that there may be some drama going on in statements about this issue being made in some corners, in general.

Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger is convinced that complying with COAH (a.k.a. the law) will have a result that is something like a meteorite hitting Middletown. I suppose that leaves the township with two alternatives: Either notify Bruce Willis and a maverick group of wildcatters or obey the law. Since Bruce Willis is busy, I suppose that leaves obeying the law.

Will COAH compliance mean the 'gloom and doom' that is being portrayed by the administration? Some say it will and others say it won't.

Compliance with COAH is dramatic in the township because, for over two decades, the township has put off its obligations or used RCAs to remove its obligations. Not so long ago the governor signed legislation that wiped out RCAs. Long story short: The township's poor planning is catching up with it.

Be sure to pick up a copy of The Courier this week for more news about COAH.

Gaffney pens piece about race in Web exclusive

Courier Staff Writer Melissa Gaffney went the extra mile in writing this piece about race. She asked college students around the country about the state of race and some very telling responses came back.

Click on the headline to go to the story at The Courier Online.

Boscov's files for bankruptcy

Boscov's is filing for bankruptcy. It seems like the hits keep on rolling with the economy. Click on the headline and go to the

Monday, August 04, 2008

McGreevey divorce is wrapping up

Few things in modern Garden State history have been as drawn out, as painful to watch or as preposterous as the McGreevey divorce hearings. Four years ago, Gov. Jim McGreevey jumped New Jersey from the frontpages to fodder for the late night talk show hosts when he loudly proclaimed he was a "gay American."

He stepped down, but has lingered in the news ever since like the creepy preacher in "Poltergeist." From tales of the strange and bizarre where it involves 'extracurriculars' to demands by an ex-wife of being kept in the condition she was accustomed -- first lady of New Jersey (as if anyone would elect the guy for dog catcher), it has been one thing after the next.

The McGreevey divorce proceedings have been nothing if not proof positive that there is something very wrong with our political system here. Next door, former NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer got into hot water, stepped down and was gone from the stage in moments. Meanwhile, McGreevey just keeps on keeping on where it involves the news. I can't wait for the day when the guy finally moves on, taking his twisted legacy with him. Maybe people haven't heard of McGreevey in Vermont. Are ex-governor exchanges possible? There's something worth finding out about.

Well, reportedly, the divorce is wrapping up. All I have to say is I'll believe it when I see it.

Click on the headline to go to the story at

Sableminded has audio clip of HRC meeting

There is a whole lot of 'not being candid' going on about the HRC meeting in Middletown last week. Courier Staff Writer Melissa Gaffney happened to be recording parts of the session. Click on the headline to go to Melissa's blog, Simply Sable, for some audio about what was said.

There is some controversy, apparently, because Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger reportedly said he didn't call the special meeting of the HRC. In general, though, members of the body weren't sure about much else when the meeting began aside from the fact that the mayor called the session.

Anyway, click on the headline to go to the audio on Simply Sable.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Arts, Craft,s Music and More in Atlantic Highlands

The 36th Annual Arts & Crafts Festival in Atlantic Highlands has finally arrived.

The event will be held on August 16, from 10 a.m.-4p.m. (rain date August 17), and is filled with fun and exciting things to do alone or with the family. The festival features over 50 arts and crafts vendors, food, musical entertainment, and local businesses bringing their wares out on to the sidewalk. Entertainment is of high priority and there is plenty of it. The radio station 94.3 The Point will be in front of the Renaissance Emporium from 10 a.m.-noon.

Classically trained soprano Carly McIlvaine will be performing at borough hall from 10-11 a.m. From 11:30-12:30 Sherilyn and Frankie M will bring the sound of oldies and motown. MTM Dance Factory will showcase the talents of their students at 12:30 p.m.

Michael Burke will take the stage at 1:30 p.m. to play a mix of old rock and folk music followed by the acoustic rock sounds of Astronaut Jones at 2:30 p.m. Not only is there music entertainment, but there is art entertainment as well. The Atlantic Highlands Arts Council will have demonstrations throughout the day at their booth and attendees can also view the 1920’s White touring bus. This bus is one of the last of its kind being lent for viewing by the Mulheren Family.

There will be a representative on hand to explain its history as a tour bus in Yellowstone National Park. There will also be children’s games and entertainment available.

All proceeds from the festival will benefit the Atlantic Highlands Historical Society, a non-profit organization established in 1974. The Society builds awareness of our common past to the residents of today and ensures the preservation and protection of our physical heritage. The Atlantic Highlands Historical Society welcomes you to the festival and hopes you enjoy the entertainment.

Any questions or for more information you can visit or email the Society at Myers

Something special going on with Holmdel site

When Bell Labs left Holmdel years ago, it was a let down for the area. Now, a developer is talking about doing something with the vacant building and grounds. It will be interesting to see how it is received throughout the area.

Go to by clicking on the headline and read the story.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

U.S. Senate passes travel ban for consumer commission officials

The U.S. Senate approved major consumer safety legislation, bolstering the agency in charge of overseeing consumer products and implementing stricter product regulations on July 1.

The bill includes provisions closely mirroring an amendment by Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., along with Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., that would prohibit employees of the Consumer Product Safety Commission from accepting travel paid for by industries regulated by the commission. The travel ban was proposed in 2007 after it came to light that commission staff had accepted thousands of dollars of travel at industry expense.

"The alarming product recalls and revelations that the federal watchdog agency was asleep on the job begged for this type of substantive, bipartisan action," Menendez said. "I am pleased that this bill will prevent officials at the Consumer Product Safety Commission from traveling on the dime of the industry they regulate, which is a change I have championed. These product gatekeepers should look out for one interest and only one: the well-being of the American people. This is toxic travel, and we are putting an end to it."

Menendez introduced the "Restoring Truth in Regulator Travel" Act last November in the wake of revelations of industry-sponsored trips taken by current and former CPSC officials over the course of years. Menendez has also called for the resignation of CPSC officials that have taken part in such travel.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Rutgers in Top 25 in USA Today poll

The Rutgers Scarlet Knights Football Team is in the Top 25 for USA Today's coaches' poll. Congrats to Rutgers Head Coach Greg Schiano and this year's edition of the team.

Click on the headline and go to thr story at

Caption: News of the poll can bring a smile on the face of even the most serious fan.

The best and worst of American fast food

Click on the headline to go to a survey of the best and worst fast food choices in the country. It's not just about a battle between Burger King and McDonald's. Check out the story from YahooNews!

Gaffney pens post about MHRC session last night

Courier Staff Writer Melissa Gaffney has penned a post about the Middletown Human Rights Commission session last night. As usual, she has crafted a fine post and she will be submitting a Web update for The Courier Online. Click on the headline to go to Sableminded, but also be sure to go to The Courier Online later today to check out the full story.

Middletown Human Rights Commission takes on issue of race

Last night, at the Middletown Township Municipal Building, at a meeting of the Middletown Human Rights Commission, the body condemned the July 17 post of an area blogger that included the n-word.

The event was attended by presidents of three branches of the NAACP, as well as about 22 township residents. There was a lot of input about the use of the n-word. According to the commission, the meeting was convened at the request of the mayor of the township, Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger, who was not in attendance during the session.

The body allowed me to speak, as The Courier and its alleged ongoing affiliation with the site that included use of the n-word was an issue in front of the commission. I made it clear to the commission that The Courier is a family friendly newspaper that has never, and will never include racial slurs in the context of any written content of the newspaper.

I offered my belief to the body, which is that the n-word or any racial slur is terrible. In particular, the n-word is a representation of violence in language, reminiscent of a tragic past. To evoke the n-word is to recreate the violence and hatred of the past. To do this, and then hold a reasonable conversation with regards to race is, in my opinion, impossible.

There was a great deal of input from the public last night, and it was very productive and positive, to my view. Middletown's lack of diversity demographically did not prevent the Human Rights Commission from making a call that stood up for what is right, family friendly and positive in this community and every community.

My thanks to township Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger for referring this matter to the commission, since otherwise this issue could not have been a matter of public discussion in Middletown. In the beginning of the meeting, which took place at 7:30 p.m., there was a feeling by the commission that Courier had some kind of culpability in the use of this word. However, upon closer examination, the commission was satisfied that the newspaper had done everything in its power to distance itself from the offending material. In addition, Deputy Police Chief Eugene Hannafey, who sits on the committee, lauded Courier's efforts to get this dialogue into the public, and that thanks is greatly appreciated.

In general, those in attendance were very appreciative. I truly thank everyone for coming and supporting the issue and, in this case, the newspaper and its work. Thank you very much.