Friday, February 29, 2008


Melissa Gaffney

The Courier is welcoming a new correspondent to the line-up. Ms. Melissa Gaffney, Forked River, is going to be covering Union Beach, Keyport and the Hazlet school board for The Courier and The Courier Online. She will also be opening a blog in August, which will be dealing with news from the Bayshore.

Ms. Gaffney will be a Georgian Court University graduate in Dec. '08. She is a communications major at the university and the editor emeritus of The Georgian Court Report. Ms. Gaffney is a member of the Sigma Tau Delta English Society and she is very eager to begin governmental reporting.

To see Melissa's newspaper at GCU, you'll have to take the drive to Lakewood. But, you can see some of her work next week, when she interviews and YouTubes Hazlet school board candidate Will Kolibas. The YouTube will be up on Thursday, the Online story will be up on Friday, and the feature article will be in the following edition of the newspaper.

For all candidates out there, please remember it is your responsibility to call us for interviews because Courier reporters will not chase around candidates. To request interviews, call (732) 957-0070, ext. 6112, for our Associate Editor Chris Blaszczyk.

To contact Melissa by E-mail, she can be reached at:


Caption: Sen. Robert Menendez at an appearance in Atlantic Highlands during 2006. Photo Jim Purcell

February 28, 2008

Afshin Mohamadi (Menendez) 202-224-4744
Lautenberg Press Office 202.224.3224

Vivian Stringer last night became the eighth coach in college basketball history to win 800 games

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) today introduced a Senate Resolution to honor Vivian Stringer, the coach of Rutgers women’s basketball team on her 800th victory. Yesterday, she made history by becoming the eighth coach in college basketball history to win 800 games with a 60-46 win over DePaul.

"Coach Stringer's contributions to our community are measured not just in her number of wins but also in the number of outstanding women her program has produced,” said Menendez. “It is a tremendous asset to have a world-class coach and world-class teacher in our state. I congratulate her for her accomplishments, for the advancement of women’s basketball and for her service to our community. It is my pleasure to work to honor her in the U.S. Senate.”

“Coach Stringer's 800th win is a tremendous accomplishment for her, her team and the entire Rutgers community. She is a remarkable coach and a true Hall of Famer, deserving recognition not only for her impressive accomplishments on the court, but for her work with student athletes off the court as well. Congratulations to Coach Stringer on this tremendous accomplishment,” said Sen. Lautenberg.

A native of Edenborn, Pennsylvania, coach Stringer’s many accomplishments include being inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and being named by Sports Illustrated as one of the 101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports.

The text of the resolution can be accessed below: Http:// Click on the headline to see the resolution.


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Young people are organizing and have something to say in M'town

I had one of the more interesting interviews today. I was going to meet with Matt Morehead, Middletown, 27, chairman of the Monmouth County Bayshore Young Democrats; and John Swift, Spring Lake, 21, president of the Brookdale Community College Democrats. The two groups have joined forces and are going to be addressing affordable housing issues in Middletown.

Instead of just Mr. Morehead and Mr. Swift showing up, Mr. Swift's executive board for his club, which includes: Vice President Evan Melendez, 19, Old Bridge; Public Relations Coordinator Karissa Borrelli, 21, Howell; Media Correspondent Ashley Drager, 20, Hazlet; and Eddie Peteet, 21, Old Bridge, showed up with the two gentlemen.

The editorial about the town issue is going to be coming out this next edition. But, what was startling was the decided and determined nature of these young people. The group indulged me with a few questions.

I asked, with a show of hands, who became involved because of Barack Obama. Most of them are involved with politics today because of him. Actually, Mr. Swift, who is without doubt a young leader to watch in Monmouth, was a Republican until college. Consequently, he said that with broadening his horizons he discovered he was a Democrat.

Moreover, I asked how many people receive their primary political information from Facebook, MySpace, blogs and YouTube. All but one said those were primary places for obtaining information.

The Brookdale Dems are about 20 students strong. According to Mr Swift, it is a club on the rise. With what I saw, I believe it. The cooperation between Mr. Morehead's group and Mr. Swift's is amazing.

One of the young people there made his motivation clear: "I'm not fond of corrupt politicians."

This group of young people said they are going to make a difference (not I did say 'hope to'), and they intend on getting involved locally.

Frankly, I think this was the most refreshing display of true concern for government and change for the better I have ever seen from young people. This includes my own youth, when the only thing young people were voting on was their favorite hair band. If I have any heroes in local politics these days, it's these kids.

As for Mr. Morehead, this is a leader who is going to be around for a long time. Furthermore, he is not a leader like those 20 years ago, or maybe even 10. He's something new and he's going to make a difference, in my opinion.

If this is the effect that "Hope" has on young people and, apparently, in this country -- then I'll vote for it. This country needs inspiration, maybe more than anything else now. There's not that much of it out there. These kids are inspirational.

GDL takes center stage in Middletown

At last night's Middletown school board meeting, the issue of "GDL" came up. GDL is a pilot program from Monmouth County, conceived by Assemblywoman Amy Handlin, R-Monmouth.

Long story short: "GDL" stands for Graduated Driver's License, which means a 17-year-old driver. The purpose of the sticker is so, I suppose, police know if there are too many people in a car being driven by such a driver.

Drawbacks (not all of them but some of them): Predators and other folks who might have bad intentions will know when there is a young, and perhaps vulnerable, driver behind a wheel. Another issue is one of profiling -- what compelling reason makes this into some kind of sense?

The idea is to save lives, but if that great idea actually ends up putting a life in peril (e.g. the predator scenario) then it's not a great idea. It's not a good idea. It isn't even a fair idea. It's dangerous and unnecessary. But if there is something that government has been in recent years, it's dangerous and unnecessary.

The Middletown school board raised numerous concerns that were echoed by the public at last night's session. Administration was asked for a complete review for the implementation of the program. This will be followed by a public meeting. This is an issue that Middletown parents, whether they are pro or con, should be aware of.

Thompson Middle School Pat Hueston is against this, and he's someone that makes a lot of sense.

GM report is strong about Schwebel; but I got something new

According to a GM News story, the president of the Freehold Chapter of the NAACP has sided with Carolyn Schwebel where it regards her removal from the Human Rights Commission in Middletown. In addition, though, I know from speaking with Long Branch NAACP President Lorenzo W. Dangler, he is also supporting Mrs. Schwebel's opposition to being removed from the HRC.

Nevertheless, GM Staff Writer Jamie Romm wrote a nice report. Click on the headline and go there.

"The Decider" says we're not going into Recession

According to an AP story today, the president says the U.S. isn't going into Recession. So, whatever he says must be true given his track record on being right.

The economy is in trouble. Government is not helping, in my opinion. Government is killing the economy. Whatever 'house' has been built by this adminsitration economically, is shaky at best.

Whether it is locally, or at the county, the state, or federally, whenever government spends in an irrational manner, there will be peril. When government interferes with business for a long enough time, then there is Recession. When government doesn't reverse itself, it can get worse.

Not everything is the fault of government in the economy. So government actually has to work to screw up an economy. I believe the effort has been put in and is yielding sufficiently dismal results.

Click on the headline and go to the story.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Coyote sighting on Palmer Avenue, in Middletown

I was driving down Palmer Avenue, toward Route 35, at about 4:40 p.m. today, and passed a coyote eating something on the front lawn of a house, right before the Middle Road light. While I was passing the coyote, so was a Middletown police car, which stopped and was surveying the situation. Usually, I have a camera on me or in my car at all times -- and then there was this time.

I pulled over and watched things progress. The Middletown police officer surveyed the situation, and the coyote moved on to the next house, and then to the backyard of that house. The police officer left his car and moved toward the back of the house (where the coyote had disappeared to) and I drove off.

The paper is done already, so this was the story that wasn't. Yet, even as a story, what is the relative worth? All in all, it is established that coyotes live in the Bayshore. I would not bet against the coyote pulling a slip on this one, and that isn't a knock on police. Coyotes are nature's best-trained thieves and are incredibly elusive.

Coyotes generally do not come after people, though there seems to have been an exception made in a few instances within the township during the recent year. Hopefully, no one was harmed today. Certainly, great credit to the officer (will find out more later) who displayed great powers of observation catching sight of the coyote while passing by.

The only thing wrong about this was I didn't have a camera. There is an outside possibility this could have been a coy dog, I just really don't think so. I got a look at the coyote from about 70 feet and I'm pretty sure. For the record, I didn't get a chance to speak with the officer, or the coyote, for interviews.

Reminder: Good event coming up in the city

Reminder: Good event is coming up in the city. Former state Sen. President (and Acting Gov.) John Bennett is being recognized with the Urban Angel Award by the NY Theological Seminary, at the Marriott Marquis, in Midtown, on April 15. Click on the headline to go to the seminary's Web site.

Third Festival of Sacred Music

The Third Festival Of
Universal Sacred Music

Presenting the Works of Eight Composers
Roger Davidson, United States | Sungji Hong, Greece
Anatoly Korolyov, Russia | William Thomas McKinley, United States
Maya Raviv, Israel | Johannes Somary, United States
John White, United States | Judith Lang Zaimont, United States
Harold Rosenbaum, Artistic Director/Conductor

Saturday, April 26th and Sunday, April 27th • 7:30-9:00 p.m.
Landmark on the Park
Fourth Universal Society of Manhattan

160 Central Park West (76th Street), New York City
Box Office: 416 West 42nd St., NYC | Between Ninth and Tenth Avenues
12:00 Noon to 8:00 PM Daily

Voice: 212-279-4200 |
Information: 732-291-0168 |

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

It takes faith

According to the AP, where it involves faith, Americans are a mobile society. Frequently, those raised in a faith do not end up staying there. The highest number of people who marrying within their faith are Hindus (90 percent) and Mormons (83 percent). According to the story, the biggest flight from the pews occurs in the Jehovah's Witnesses, where two-thirds of the polled said they departed after being brought up there.

On the television news today (forgot what channel), there was a national statistic that, of Christian believers, the country was made up of 49 percent Catholic and 51 percent Prrotestant denominations.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Princeton University Museum of Art: Great Stop

The Princeton University Museum of Art is a great stop for a day trip during the weekend. Especially for Sunday visits, it can't be beat. The Sunday hours are between 1-5 p.m. Photography inside the gallery is permitted, for museum-owned exhibits, after a waiver is signed.

I'd really like to show the pictures but I think that would be against the rules. There are a lot of really incredible works there. The Roman sculptures, the Greek pottery and the Chinese section are incredible.

A painting that was especially striking for me was George White's portrait of Paul Robeson, in black and white. There are also some examples of Warhol, for those that indulge. There are a number of 16th-18th century masters in the gallery that will merit a look every day of the week. And, the gallery's staff is top shelf. This is one of the better galleries I've ever been to, and is just as exciting as the national gallery in DC.

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

Caption: Outside the Princeton University Museum of Art there is a fine sculpture, which is thought-provoking.

Nader throws his hat into ring for president

At 10:30 a.m. today, on Meet the Press with Tim Russert, Ralph Nader announced he would run for president this year as a third-party candidate. He said he is looking to expand the discussion on the Campaign Trail, and talk about health insurance initiatives not being discussed, and he will talk a lot about a wasteful military spending.

Saturday, February 23, 2008


For Immediate Release: Monday, February 15, 2008
Media Contact: Carla Cefalo-Braswell, President - 732-291-4713


The Highlands Business Partnership will paint the town green on Saturday,March 29, 2:00 PM, when more than 100 marching units, including bagpipers,marching bands and floats, line up to march in the Sixth Annual St. Patrick’s Parade and Celebration.

Mr. Jim Filip will lead the parade as the 2008 Grand Marshall. Jim is the owner/operator of Doris & Ed's Restaurant, Highlands, NJ. Jim Filip and his landmark seafood restaurant have become living legends in the culinary world.

This one-of-a-kind restaurant, with the Manhattan skyline sparkling across Sandy Hook Bay, has been awarded countless prestigious dining awards, reviews, national recognition and feature television segments. Doris & Ed's resides in a tastefully restored 100-year-old Bayside Inn. The inn was a nineteenth century rest-over for fishing boat captains, Coast Guard brass, Honeymooners and Clammers. The Highlands Business Partnership is proud to have a long-standing, (30 years) business owner serve as our 2008 Grand Marshal.

The parade will begin at Huddy Park, with hundreds scheduled to march along a one-mile stretch of Bay Avenue in the Highlands business district. The Highlands Business Partnership will host the “Competition of Floats”; all of the Businesses and/or Organizations in Highlands will be competing in three (3) categories; “Best of Show”, “Prettiest” and the “Most Original”. A trophy will be awarded to the winners. The floats will be judged at check-in. The leading float will be the Highlands Water Taxi carrying HBP members, friends and families. The parade will feature entertainers along with many marchers representing the military, including the Color Guard. Political, civic, church, environmental and community organizations represented will include County Freeholders, members of local American Legion and VFW posts, fire companies, first aid and rescue units, the Highlands Recreation, and the Lakewood Blue Claws with “Buster”, the baseball team’s mascot. The Henry Hudson Regional Marching Band and Cheerleaders will be performing.

There will be a special guest appearance by Miss New Jersey Princess, Miss Ava Tortorici. Ava, daughter of Mary Saint-Pierre and Carmelo “Mel” Tortorici of Jackson, New Jersey, was crowned Miss New Jersey Princess Queen at the State Pageant in August for the National American Miss Organization for 2007 -2008.

The Parade entertainment will include the Monmouth County Police Pipes and Drums, the
Lia Fail Pipes and Drums of Mercer County, the Trenton Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Middlesex County Police and Fire Pipes and Drums, St. Brendan the Navigator Pipes and Drums, Pipes & Drums of the Blue & Gold, the Greater Trenton Pipes and Drums Band, the Union County Police and Fire Pipes and Drums, and the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh Bagpipe Band.

“Be on the lookout for the all of the festive floats which will be throwing many goodies to the crowds,” said Carla Cefalo-Braswell, president of the Highlands Business Partnership. “This parade is shaping up to be pretty big, and if the weather’s good, we should get a huge turnout."

Green balloons and bows will decorate participating businesses along the line of march, and a VIP grandstand for dignitaries, Borough officials and their families will be located in front of Borough Hall at 171 Bay Avenue for the marchers and bands to make a brief stop. Pastor Marty McGrail of the New Life Christian Church will emcee the Parade at the Grand Viewing Stand. Members of the Highlands Garden Club will be selling green carnations to spectators along the parade route, and parade-goers can be sure to receive many free giveaways thrown from the many floats competing in the parade.

If you have not had enough pipes and drums, be sure to visit one of Highlands’ 20 restaurants where a band will be performing.

The Highlands Business Partnership is a commercial alliance dedicated to the continued revitalization of Highlands, as well as preserving the area’s historic
past. This parade is made possible by the Highlands Business Partnership’s generous sponsors, Comcast, Seastreak, Frank Rahm Landscaping, Hufnagel Tree Experts, and Foodtown/Food Circus. For additional information visit: or call 732.291.4713.

Press release from Monmouth County about snow removal

County highway crews tackle first major snow storm

FREEHOLD – Residents woke up to a blanket of snow this morning, but for Monmouth County road crews the battle to keep the roads cleared of snow and ice began at midnight.

Yesterday, road crews from the county’s Department of Public Works & Engineering began applying 4,400 gallons of liquid salt brine to many of the county’s roads in order to prevent the snow and ice from bonding to the road surface. The county has 871 lane miles of roads. Then overnight – hours before the snow began falling – road crews began applying rock salt treated with magnesium chloride, totaling 325 tons by 1:30 p.m. today.

“We began preparing for this storm yesterday afternoon and we activated the snow room at midnight,” said John W. Tobia, director of the county’s Department of Public Works & Engineering. “We began monitoring the storm as it approached and started applications of treated rock salt at 1:30 a.m. By 6:30 a.m. we switched from spreading to plowing, and then reapplied the treated rock salt. We had a full complement of crews out clearing the roads.”

The county put into service all 95 trucks outfitted with spreading and plowing capabilities to battle the storm, Tobia said.

The salt brine and magnesium chloride-treated rock salt are new this year. The salt brine and a pre-application of treated rock salt prevent the snow and ice from bonding to the roads, and the treated rock salt is environmentally friendly.

“The key is to keep the ice and snow from bonding to the road surface,” Tobia said. “You may have noticed that while the roads appeared to be snow-covered, the lanes were slushy instead of iced over. That’s the first step before the plows come by and push it all aside.”

As a result, there were far fewer telephone calls from local police departments with regard to trouble spots, Tobia said. Typically, when police dispatchers call to report icy conditions – usually on bridges or curved roadways –the county dispatches additional trucks to do some spot treatments.

The new rock salt works much better than the old rock salt, which was very corrosive to bridge structures, roadside vegetation, the roadway itself and trucks and equipment, Tobia said. “We have found that magnesium chloride-treated rock salt is much more effective and, therefore, there is a savings in man hours and material,” he said. “We use approximately 30 to 50 percent less material, depending on the snow event, for the same result.”


Friday, February 22, 2008

AP: Hillary's campaign could be on last legs

According to an AP story in the NY Post, Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign could be on its last legs since many of her super delegates might be jumping ship.

Personally, I think Sen. Clinton would make a great president. But if it's not in the cards then it's not. Sen. Obama would also make a great president. That's certainly not meant as a back-handed remark about Sen. John McCain, the Republican front-runner.

Sen. McCain is a true American hero, a great statesman and a great example for Americans. I just disagree with many of his issues, so I'll be voting Democratic this year, regardless of if it is Clinton or Obama.

But, this is probably going to be a terrible election from the point of view of all the name calling. I suppose that is the way it is today. Click on the headline to go to the NY Post story about the super delegates.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

McCain targeted by media because they can

There is a story out there about John McCain, involving his personal life and it is out of line, in my opinion. Similarly, there are stories out there about Barack Obama. There have, similarly, always been stories out there about the Clintons.

All of this is so much nonsense. Talk about tax money, and if it was abused, then I'm all ears. Talk about poor judgment in office, and it's fair game. Start talking about candidates' personal lives, families or ancestors and it is just so much tripe.

John McCain, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are all great Americans, who are each running for president and have demonstrated a great deal of commitment toward the nation and what it stands for. The garbage going on during this race is terrible, to say the least. To say the most, it's a zoo.

The presidential contest has become a contest where the most talked about things are seldom initiatives being discussed insofar as government. It's a shame, because with government having failed this government for so long, it would be good to hear some ideas about how to pick it up out of the open grave it has been languishing in for some time.


Union Beach Police Det. Michael Woodrow is also an adjuunct professor of criminal justice Brookdale Community College, in Lincroft. He is also teaching a tutorial on the New Jersey Dept. of Personnel Public Safety Examination, commonly referred to as "The Civil Service Test." The test comes out once every two years. For more information, call (888) BCT-1980.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bean makes a point: Coyotes are smarter than N.J. critics

Coyotes are very bright, and apparently brighter than those tracking them in Northern Monmouth County. The coyotes 'plaguing' the Bayshore, which have had their natural habitats infringed upon by condos and other building, in my opinion, are a public subject. Some coyotes have behaved badly -- without doubt.

But people have not had an impressive record of catching them yet (really anywhere -- they're coyotes). Being raised for some part in Southern Texas, if I was a betting person I would put my money on the coyotes rather than the hunters. I think there is a pretty good chance the coyotes like being around people as much as people want them around.

The executive editor for Greater Media Newspapers, Greg Bean, offers comment and insight in this week's column about this, which is well worth the reading. Click on the headline and go there.

AP: Bush gives U.S. military 3.5 percent increase

I am not a fan of pay raises in government, with some notable exceptions. The most prominent of those exceptions are members of the military. They do not make enough. There are not enough benefits for them and their families in uniform of when they return to the world outside of the military. President Bush recently signed a bill that gives military members a 3.5 percent increase.

The military is, in many ways, the most functional part of government. Well, this was at least something positive. I suppose it isn't possible for the Federal Government to get absolutely everything wrong, regardless of how hard it tries. This must have slipped through the cracks somewhere, allowing Americans to actually benefit from American tax dollars.

Click on the headline to go to the story.

Caption: Members of the NJ Army Reserve training for deployment at Ft. Bragg, NC, in 2004.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Gov't steriod investigation: There aren't bigger problems?

The U.S. economy is in the toilet. Governmental spending is out of control. Consumer confidence is not great. Oh, and the housing market -- yeah -- 'nuff said there. But the thing that needs governmental oversight -- because that is working so well in so many other areas -- is Major League Baseball (one of the few businesses in the U.S. that is making money).

If someone wants to send law enforcement over to the stadiums with testing equipment and handcuffs -- great. I think the Millionaire's Club that is professional baseball can handle the bails that get set for the possession uses.

But government should have no place in sports. Congressional Democrats are trying to show they can stand up for something, while Congressional Republicans can try and get peoples' minds off of other things. Government can only be competent at the most basic of functions, at best. Yet, this congress and this president aren't remarkable. There is nothing about them that inspires inordinate trust or even scant confidence in decision-making. This panel and this investigation are a reach.

Whether it is baseball, football, or most other businesses (and most other things that matter in the life of ordinary Americans), government could just as well stay out of it.

Click on the headline to see a good NY Post story about Yankee pitcher Andy Pettite getting grilled by a house panel. It's ridiculous.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Hillary slugs it out with Obama

Hillary Clinton and Barak Obama: Good times on the campaign trail? Maybe not. The NY Post has a great story. Click on the headline and go there.

Have to reinstate links, counter after technical issue

There was a technical issue with the Clamdigger's template whereby links have to be re-entered (I screwed something up). Thanks for your patience during this time. They should be back up, at most, in a few days.

Along the way, I also killed my counter. But on a upside note, thanks for more than the 50,000th visit.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

The Aspen Times: Take a trip back to the bad ol' days

A friend of mine forwarded me a column from the Aspen Times. It's about the "Angry White Man" vote in this year's election. It is one truly unique work, as in it is from another age -- like before the Civil Rights Movement, or before women received the vote, or persons with non-traditional lifestyles could walk around on the street without fear. Basically, columnist Gary Hubell makes it clear that white men are a little more equal than everyone else, and isn't shy about it. If you're looking for a 'feel good redneck white guy' read, click on the headline for the hillbilly point of view.

Up front: It's going to be offensive to some -- well most. But it is something that some folks are still believing. What sex or race, religion or heritage someone should not be a challenge to their integrity, intelligence or their right to be an American.

I suppose not all the garbage being put out there today is by Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck or Rush Limbaugh. People are entitled to their opinions, no matter how unenlightened, dim, uninformed or vulgar. But watching those opinions is like passing by a car accident that you just can't stop watching until you pull past it.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Courier Web site is back...and it's better

The Courier Web site is back from the Great Beyond. Thanks to the hackers for making us start from scratch again, it made for a better site and will make for something very strong over time.

The best thing about getting a site flattened is that it affords the opportunity to do better than the first time without trying to patch anything up.

Courier is back and we're ironing out the wrinkles and will be updating five times per week beginning on Monday. A genuine thanks to our long-time readers. There would be no need to do it without you.


Red Bank Councilman John Curley has thrown his hat inito the ring for a nomination for Monmouth County freeholder. Mr. Curley has served on the Red Bank Borough Council for more thuan five years. Personally, I respected the fact that Mr. Curley, once a Democrat, become a Republican to not have to tow the party line that the Red Bank Democratic Party was laying down.

Mr. Curley has an independent mind and he said he is seeking to reunite the GOP. It is no great secret there are a few cracks in the glass in Monmouth County. Mr. Curly believes it is time for a change, to unite the GOP, and to take the perception of corruption out of GOP.

Mr. Curly said he is going to do his best to ensure efficient government, if elected. He said that a tax cut cannot be promised in Monmouth County, but he said he believes government can be streamllined.

Mr. Curly doesn't know how much support he has from mainstream elected officials in the county, but he said he is determined to make an argument for a better government. It is fair to say that a number of reform-minded leaders in the GOP are starting to talk about a possible Curly nomination.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Web special tomorrow

The Courier Online will be posting a Web Exclusive of an interview, with accompanying YouTube presentation, tomorrow to kick off the site. I've been told I have to keep it under wraps until then -- to add to the drama.

The Courier Online turns on tomorrow

The Courier's Web site, hacked during late last year, will be up again tomorrow. The site will have new features, updates will be more frequent and there will be more photography. As can be expected, there are a great many more security features with this site and the problem with hacking won't be happening again.

Story content will be slightly different. On the Web, readers are looking for news fast. So stories will be written for a readership that is keen on getting the news and getting moving onto something else. Updates will be throughout the week, with photography, so whatever is happening during the course of any given day will be Online, courtesy of The Courier's News Dept.

The Courier Online is editorially designed to survey news five times a week from the 10 towns the newspaper has covered since 1955, Northern Monmouth County's Bayshore.

Whether you are a local looking for what's happening, a realtor looking for some helpful tips about the Bayshore, or someone who moved away and want to keep up with the news, The Courier Online will be a helpful stop along the Information Super Highway.

I thank our Online readers for their patience, and look forward to feedback on our new product. The Courier Online's launch has been quite a project for Courier Editor Somdatta Sengupta, who has done a truly outstanding job on this work. She will be joined in this launch by graphic artist Timothy Kovach, a new face to The Courier who joined us a week ago.

So with finger's crossed, please be sure to stop by The Courier Online tomorrow.

Corzine plan doesn't need trimming -- it needs to go away

Gov. Corzine is, in my opinion, not a bad governor. He works in the interests of residents, in my opinion. But then there is this toll issue. The toll issue he is trying to push is, in fact, a catastrophe. Democrats are talking about 'paring it down.' There are some plans that just start bad, and trying to make them better is an exercise in futility.

No part of this plan should be adopted. It should be forgotten about entirely, categorically. It is a disaster for this state, its businesses and residents. Click on and go to the story.

Study: Attack ads work

A study finds that young voters are more influenced by negative advertising. There are candidates out there that believe positive campaigning can work, and perhaps it can. But there appears to be enough cynical in human nature to make negative campaigning big business.

Click on the headline and go to UPI.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Use of sedan, not elaborate SUV, is a good move

The Middletown Committee has taken a step in the right direction with the Impala for the new administrator, when they decide who that is.

Former Administrator Bob Czech was issued a Chevy Tahoe SUV, which is the same kind of vehicle used by the governor of the state of New Jersey to get around. Obviously, the needs of the governor of the state are not the same as a township administrator. Such a practice spoke directly to waste.

It was an observed practice that Mr. Czech used this vehicle all the time, and 'all the time' is not the same as 'only on township time.'

The point is this: Money is tight and taxpayers are fed up with affording extravagant luxuries to what should be only sufficiently-equipped elected appointed officials on all levels of government in this state. When times are tough, it is not the time for luxuries being thrown to bureaucrats.

This practice, if actually implemented and not somehow back-handedly gotten around, should save taxpayers some money. If enough little things are attended to, it adds up to a lot of money being saved. This is not the whole thing, but it is something and something is always better than nothing.

Congrats for saving a few bucks. It's what government is supposed to do. Perhaps first responders who need to carry things could better use a large SUV vehicle, as they try and save lives. There is no limit as to what a life costs, but there are plenty of limits where it amounts to what bureaucrats are worth.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

MT Official Response

Township Response:

Response (as determined by the Middletown mayor individually):

1. A Chevy Impala is available for use by the administrator and assistant administrator for travel to official meetings and other township activities.

2. There is no written media policy. No plans to draft one are being discussed.

Cindy Herrschaft


Middletown Matters when it comes to money too

This morning, I stopped by Town Hall, in Middletown, again. The purpose of the visit was to again hear why Courier staff writers are not permitted the same access to the governing body as are other newspapers or the public. In fact, this newspaper has not reported on any matter that did not bear public review. The newspaper attends to matters of tax money and how it is spent.

In the midst of Recession, amid a time of skyrocketing taxation, it is not out of line to cover and discuss the Municipal Operating Budget candidly. Indeed, items of great excess have been revealed through previous examination of the township’s budget in the past.

Lawmakers and administrations that have something to hide are not transparent: It is as simple as that. That The Courier does not practice institutional flattery of the municipal governing body is neither out of line nor expresses discourtesy. Newspapers should not ignore the issue of tax money for any nicety’s sake. What is discourteous is making residents of any tax bracket pay more than they should for municipal government. Residents should possess wealth, and businesses should possess wealth. Since all of government’s money is derived through taxation, it would be wrong for government to be wealthy, as wealth connotes that excess taxation has taken place. Personalities have nothing to do with that, though the ego of politicians (as all elected officials are) dictates that this is somehow a ‘personal’ thing.

A question I posed to Public Information Officer Cindy Herrschaft also involved the future administrator — whomever that may be. The question was simple enough: ‘What vehicle is the new administrator going to be assigned?’

Ms. Herrschaft said that Mayor Scharfenberger would be the authority as to if either of the questions I posed would be answered.

Mr. Scharfenberger is not an elected mayor. He is the president of the board, elected by a simple majority not of town voters but of committee people (and he had to vote for himself to win the job).

Why is a committee person with what amounts to an honorary title awarded the prerogatives of a strong-mayor form of government under Robert’s Rules. Specifically, this mayor is given an aide, which is superfluous under this organization, and executive oversight of staff, which is not a prerogative I have ever seen a mayor under a "township" form of government possess (meaning not a strong mayor, or even a weak mayor form). This is not a doctrinal road and, in my opinion, panders unnecessarily to this mayor, who is not elected by municipal voters. He was elected by a simple majority of five people, apparently to make financial decisions and rate a personal staff that township voters and taxpayers subsidize.

If the Republican Party in town wishes a strong-mayor form of government, and it certainly operates as such, I do not see why this issue cannot go to voters. What is more the shame is that actual oversight of this government does not take place by regulatory state or other agencies, ensuring the standard statutory propriety within the operation of the municipal government. There are exceptions being made in this municipality that represent what I believe is a dangerous precedent for governments organized in this state. I believe the first order of business relates to the transparency of government, but that is only where this situation begins, in my opinion.

Meanwhile, I believe it is wholly improper for any one committee person, who represents only one vote among five, to have broad executive powers when they were patently not elected to do so under this form of government.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Study: Whites will be minority by 2050

According to a recent study, Whites will be a minority group in the United States by 2050. My opinion is that while diversity has been an idea whose time has come in many places, still other areas are going to be challenged more dramatically by a demographic turn-around on that scale.

Where it involves political races, I think it is plain that the party with the biggest tent is much more likely to be the early winner of this change of the tide. As seen in the ongoing presidential campaign of Sen. Obama, "minority" voting has become much more mainstream as previously marginalized groups are taking a position far more in the center of the political landscape than has previously occurred.

In Monmouth County, an area notoriously un-diverse in many corners, I think this change is going to translate into a modification of views in many communities. Personally, I think the United States was built upon the idea that change is not a bad thing; change represents new opportunities.

Click on the headline to go to YahooNews!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Clintons blast MSNBC over commentator slur

An NBC News correspondent, who probably is looking at some lean vocational times ahead, made a degrading remark about Chelsea Clinton. The Clintons didn't take it well, neither did NBC, or anyone with any notion of civility for that matter.

That's what news needs now -- more card readers with wisecracks. Of course, the alternative would be sticking to the news.

For more information, click on the headline and go to a NY Daily News story about it.

Obama, Clinton in dead heat

So senators Obama and Clinton are in a virtual dead heat in this year's Democratic Primary for the nomination.

I think it is safe to say that there is a Republican front runner, Sen. John McCain. The question is going to be about who is going to have that title on the other side of the aisle.

The New York Post has a great story about it. Click on the headline to go there.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Mrs. Clemens named in HGH scandal

Is it right for the wife of New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens to be brought into this HGH scandal going on? Nope. Not at all. Not a bit.

I heard about Roger Clemens' YouTube about how he has never taken steroids. I don't know. It's not even important what I think about it. Major League Baseball has been something I have not given a darn about since 1994. The game is different now, does lack real meaning and is filled with 'sports entertainers,' as opposed to ball players.

With that said, Debbie Clemens doesn't deserve to be put under a heat lamp because her husband is in the midst of a steroid scandal. I think this is a bad story, and something that is wrong. It's going to sell papers, but it shouldn't.

Click on the headline for the NY Post story today.

Friday, February 08, 2008



February 8, 2007

CONTACT: Lautenberg Press Office 202.224.3224 or Menendez Press Office 202.224.4744

New Jersey Lawmakers Release Analysis of
Bush Budget Impact on NJ Health Care System

WASHINGTON , D.C. – U.S. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) today released their assessment of the Bush health care budget and its impact on New Jersey residents. The budget makes clear that providing access to comprehensive, affordable health care programs is not a top priority for this administration. Instead of putting resources into an already-strained health care system, the president is attempting to balance the budget on the backs of our nation’ seniors and low-income families. It also allocates far less than what is needed to provide adequate health care to low-income children and undermines the future of State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), known as FamilyCare here in New Jersey .

“The president has decided to tighten his fist when it comes to health care solutions for our seniors, our children and our low-income families in New Jersey ,” said Menendez. “This is exactly the opposite of what we should be doing, I believe it is our job to invest significantly in solutions that will strengthen our health care system, and I will continue to make it a priority to help more New Jerseyans afford the health care they deserve.”

"President Bush's cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and other vital health care services are the wrong prescription for New Jersey . It hurts families and children who are already struggling to see a doctor and pay for the prescriptions and medical care they need. As a member of the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committees, I will fight to make this budget a better deal for New Jersey -- so our residents can get quality health care at an affordable price," Senator Frank R. Lautenberg said.

President Bush, in his budget, proposes cutting Medicare and Medicaid by $200 billion over five years. This is particularly troubling because more than 40% of New Jersey hospitals are facing financial difficulty. Any additional cuts could pose problems for the more than 1.2 million New Jersey Medicare patients that depend on these hospitals for their life-saving care.

The president’s budget, among other things: reduces our ability to fund life-saving medical breakthroughs and eliminates funding for the Patient Navigator program, which coordinates care for people with cancer and other serious illnesses.

Additionally, the president wants to balance the budget on the backs of our children. Not only does he provide less funding than Congress proposed for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, he has also vetoed a proposal from Congress that would have provided 125,000 children in New Jersey to continue to receive health care coverage and allow an additional 100,000 children to gain health care coverage.

Sens. Menendez and Lautenberg, both members of the Senate Budget Committee, pledged to work within the Congressional budget process to ensure New Jerseyans are not shortchanged by President Bush.

President’s FY2009 Health Care Budget:

Weakening health care access, quality and widening disparities

· Jeopardizing the Health Care of Our Seniors and Low-Income Families: The president’s budget proposes cutting Medicare and Medicaid by $200 billion over five years, with 82% of that, or $178 billion, coming from Medicare. Specifically, the president proposes to cut $12.4 billion from Medicare next year. These savings would largely come from freezes in payments to doctors, hospitals and other health care providers. New Jersey hospitals stand to lose more than $246 million in 2009 and $2.6 billion over five years under these steep spending cuts.

· Leaving New Jersey ’s Low-Income Children’s Health Coverage Out in the Cold: The President’s budget proposal includes an additional $19.7 billion for SCHIP, short of the approximately $21.5 billion in addition that is needed to maintain coverage for children already enrolled. At this level of funding, not only would it be difficult to maintain current enrollment but it would be impossible for additional uninsured children to be added to the program. This proposal is in stark contrast to the reauthorization plan passed by Congress. Under Congress’ reauthorization plan, 125,000 New Jersey children would have continued to receive vital health care coverage and 100,000 additional New Jersey children would have gained health care coverage. It is clear that the president does not prioritize children's healthcare as his proposal leaves us far short of Congress’ plan to provide coverage to over 10 million children nationwide.

· Cutting Effective Health Programs: Federal funding for Medicaid family planning services would be cut by $570 million this year and $3.3 billion over five years under the Bush budget. It proposes to reduce the federal match for family planning services under Medicaid. This means that New Jersey could lose more than $18 million in Federal funding. This would result in a 400% increase in costs for New Jersey for these services.

· Reducing Our Ability to Fund Life-Saving Medical Breakthroughs: The Bush budget freezes funding for the National Institutes of Health at $29.3 billion, which would make next year the sixth year in a row that our nation’s investment in life-saving research failed to keep up with biomedical inflation. The projected success rate for research grant applications would fall to the lowest level, 18%, since 1970.

· Leaving Our Nation’s Food and Drug Supply at Risk: The Bush budget proposes to increase funding for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by $42 million which is barely enough to keep up with inflation. In addition, an FDA scientific task force found that the budget request represented less than 20% of the funding needed just to keep up with their current operations. This insufficient funding is clear evidence of the president’s lack of commitment to keeping America ’s food and drug supply safe. Without proper protections and oversees inspections, New Jersey residents are at-risk of possibly tainted and harmful drug imports. Americans should to feel confident and safe when they take their medication or buy their groceries but the only way we can ensure this is to properly fund the FDA. Furthermore, New Jersey ’s pharmaceutical companies and their 65,000 employees depend on timely approval of drugs and devices by the FDA to keep the New Jersey economy moving. The president’s budget paces the health of New Jersey ’s citizens and our economy at risk.

· Slashing Funding for Preventions Efforts: The President’s 2009 budget surrenders the fight against chronic disease and obesity in America . Chronic disease programs at the CDC are cut by $29 million and the budget eliminates the Prevention Health Services Block grant, which helps New Jersey prevent and reduce the incidence of various health problems, such as childhood obesity, cancer, and lead poisoning. In New Jersey , 18 percent of sixth graders are overweight and another 20 percent are obese.

· Cutting Funding for Tobacco Control and Prevention: The President’s budget cuts funding for successful tobacco control and prevention programs despite a recent report that found that smoking rates are no longer declining. More than 4,000 people died of lung cancer in New Jersey last year.

· Harming Proven Reproductive-Health Programs: The president’s budget again requests a $28 million increase for Community-Based Abstinence Education, for a total of $137 million. Abstinence-only programs have been found to be ineffective and frequently use misleading and medically inaccurate information. The president also recommends no increase for the Title X family-planning program, which provides access to health care for low-income women. In New Jersey , more than 50 clinics rely on this funding.

· Providing Insufficient Support for Community Health Centers: Community health centers receive a meager 1% increase in this budget, which is intended for new centers in high-risk areas. However, the budget includes nothing for base adjustments to cover inflationary costs for existing health centers. Without these increases, the 19 community health centers in New Jersey may have to turn uninsured patients away.

· Lacking Support for HIV/AIDS Care and Prevention: The budget requests a less than 1% increase for HIV/AIDS care over this year and provides no increase for HIV/AIDS prevention. The lack of a substantial funding increase puts the health and well-being of the more than 48,000 HIV/AIDS patients in New Jersey at risk.

· Eliminating Key Screening and Outreach Program: The president’s budget eliminates $3 million in funding for the Patient Navigator program, which coordinates care for people with cancer and other serious illnesses. The administration contends that this initiative would be ineffective or duplicate other government initiatives, but President Bush himself signed this bill into law. This is particularly shocking in light of the fact that models for this program have proven effective and show that expanding access nationwide would save lives and health care costs.

· Slashing Health Professions Training: Our public health workforce shortage is worsening, and this budget will only exacerbate that shortage. Instead of helping alleviate the nursing shortage, this budget proposes a 29% in funding to train nurses and completely eliminates health professions training for primary care and geriatric providers and programs aimed at diversifying the workforce. It is estimated that by 2020, New Jersey will have 50% of their nursing positions vacant because of the shortage.


Doing a story about young people and voting

Courier Intern Melissa Gaffney is working on an upcoming story about young people voting, and why they should be involved. The story will feature input from Monmouth County's public information officer, Bill Heine, and Freeholder Director Lillian Burry.

This election, perhaps more than any other in recent history, is setting a new course for our state and nation. Be sure to read next week's Courier for more on Decision 2008: The Youth.

To contribute to the story, call Melissa at 732-957-0070.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Bayshore Senior Center needs meals-on-wheels drivers

The Bayshore Senior Center, 100 Main Street, in Keansburg, is looking for meals-on-wheels drivers to help out home bound seniors by delivering meals. There are more than 60 seniors that need this service.

The center is currently looking for volunteers that can help out with this. If anyone has any time and they are looking for a worthwhile activity, there is none better. For more information, call Sister Elizabeth Garvey, RSM, at (732) 495-2454.

CAPTION: Sister Elizabeth Garvey has been working with Bayshore seniors since she joined the program as its executive director in 1981.

Hillary, McCain are top vote getters

Hillary takes Super Tuesday in Monmouth! McCain is top GOP vote getter! Click on the headline and go to the APP story.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

About Rush Holt and the Parkway sale

Rep. Rush Holt is one of the brightest people I have ever had the pleasure to meet. He is articulate, dedicated and very insightful. He's not my congressman, though I certainly wish he was. But, at the Marlboro meeting where Gov. Corzine tried to push his plan to sell the toll roads the other day, Rep. Holt took the governor's side very publicly.

Everyone should have the right to defend their point of view, because that is what America is about. But, I think that Rep. Holt is making the kind of name for himself during this proposal process that, in the long term, may harm him unnecessarily on a political level.

I think what Gov. Corzine is trying to do, on a theoretical level, is very noble. I strongly disagree with his plan, though do believe in his commitment to the state and its residents. Yet, his plan is absolutely fraught with peril for taxpayers. There are way too many 'ifs' in this plan, which hardly makes any promises carved in stone after the 800 percent hike in tolls it advocates.

In my opinion, New Jerseyans have made enough sacrifices for too long. It's time to cut government, cut governmental spending permanently, cut deeper than just layoffs and the like, and really make state government as small as possible. This experience should be replicated on every level, and the excess that New Jersey governments are famous for cut to shreds. Then it might be time to talk about some added measure to curb state debt. Neither party in this state is good at saving money, truth be told, and neither can be trusted to be the cavalry coming over the hill.

The first people to sacrifice should be our elected officials -- their pay, their benefits -- for each and every elected person in this state. And then, when sacrifice is more than a punchline for our elected people -- and only then -- let's talk about hikes, though toll road hikes are probably just not the way to go. These hikes would kill business, no matter how politely the plan is put.

It is good that Gov. Corzine is personally trying to sell this plan. It speaks well to his conviction about the plan and his commitment to transparent government. But, stump this project as loud as he may want to do, I just don't think this dog is going to hunt.

I think Rep. Holt is making a mistake picking this fight to wage, and I certainly hope this doesn't come back to haunt him in elections to come. Everyone makes a mistake. I really believe this is Rush's.


There's a Giant victory party going on in New York right now for the World Champion Giants. The Giants, under the steady hand of quartback Eli Manning gained a spectacular victory in a total team effort. As a Pats fan, that's the most praise for the Giants that anyone is going to get from me -- hopefully ever. When your team lost one they were supposed to win, the only thing left to do is to be gracious, I guess.

Monday, February 04, 2008

Pats end 'wasn't as shocking as it seemed'

The Boston Herald said it like it was about the Pats. They had a great season. It was almost perfect...right up until it wasn't. Click on the headline to see what Boston is saying about the end of the Pats' season.

Another Super Bowl in the books

As a lifelong Patriots fan, last night was disappointing. The Giants outright beat the Pats in a four-quarter defensive battle. Last year, with the Colts beating the Bears, it was tough given the fact that the Pats suffered a fourth-quarter collapse in Indy preventing them from advancing to the Super Bowl.

This year, despite all of the winning during the regular season, the most important game was lost. A shame? Not for Giants fans.

The Pats could have beat the Giants. Some will argue that they should have beat the Giants. But, at the end of the day, the Pats didn't beat the Giants. Congratulations to the Giants and their fans.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Limbaugh takes aim at McCain

I'm not a supporter of any of the Republicans out there for president. Nevertheless, just because someone is running for president doesn't mean they should be publicly scandalized by someone likeRush Limbaugh (or Ann Coulter or fill in the blank).

I think Sen. McCain has done a lot for the country. I do not generally agree with many of his positions on the issues. But I think this kind of public mockery of someone like Sen. McCain shows clearly how the stranger parts of the GOP does business.

Rush Limbaugh is, in my opinion, the standard-bearer for most of what is wrong with politics these days. It would be good to get a break from that sort of thing for a few years. Click on the headline and go to a story about this.

Fans show Giant pride

When the Giants take the field tomorrow they'll have a couple fans rooting for them back home. Click on the headline and go to a good story.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Bayshore Young Dems making their mark

There is a new blog out there, organized by Bayshore Young Dems Chairman Matthew Morehead, Middletown, which is really worth reading. Click on the headline and go there. Good to see young people involved.