Friday, March 27, 2009

Courier trades hands on April 3rd

As a reminder, The Courier newspaper under the Azzolina and Scaduto family ownership will cease as of Friday, April 3rd. The Courier has been sold, though, and will be re-opening under a new owner in May.

On behalf of of the the staff, management and ownership, it has been an honor and privilege serving the residents of Northern Monmouth County.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Corzine needs Federal bailout to pay uunemployment claims

According to the Asbury Park Press, the Garden State has taken its place among those states within the U.S. that is unable to pay for rising unemployment insurance claims. However, badly needed financial help from Washington, DC can allay Gov. Jon Corzine’s fears.

To go to the story, click on the headline.

TOMSA reluctant to release records?

Middletown resident and activist Carolyn Schwebel has an active discussion going with the Township of Middletown Sewerage Authority about the Open Public Records Act. Specifically, Mrs. Schwebel wants access to what, if anything, is the health insurance situation for the commissioners. However, she is reportedly receiving some resistance from TOMSA where it involves actually getting copies of what she is looking for. For more information, go to:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

‘March for Meals’ focuses on needs of seniors

Volunteers serve more than 400,000 hot meals each year

ASBURY PARK – Monmouth County Freeholder Amy A. Mallet joined Interfaith Neighbors at the Comstock Court Senior Housing Complex in Asbury park today to kick off the annual “March For Meals” effort by distributing hot meals to area senior citizens.

“March for Meals” is a month-long campaign that focuses attention on the thousands of senior citizens who, were it not for the partnerships Monmouth County has with Interfaith Neighbors, could wind up in unnecessary hospitalization or institutionalization. Many of them, but not all, are either disabled or homebound and unable to prepare their own meals, but they choose to live independently.

“March for Meals is a national campaign, in which Monmouth County is a participant,” Freeholder Mallet said. “It is aimed at raising awareness on the part of the local community about seniors who, perhaps, live alone and are in need of a hot meal. The county’s participation in the Meals on Wheels program is an example of how public and private partnerships can benefit people in need.

“Meals on Wheels helps not only the elderly, but also those who are homebound, disabled, frail or at risk,” Mallet continued. “It also improves their social, physical, nutritional, and economic well-being. It is important to remind everyone that there are people within our own communities who need help and rely on the assistance of others, even for a hot meal once a day.”

In addition to Comstock Court, meals were delivered to home-bound seniors throughout Monmouth County as well as to those who were able to get their meals at a number of senior centers.

Through this program, thousands of seniors and disabled persons in Monmouth County receive nutritional meals every day. For example, Interfaith Neighbors Inc., Asbury Park, serves nearly 63,000 meals each year to 1,900 seniors who come to 11 nutrition centers across Monmouth County to eat. In addition, Interfaith Neighbors’ volunteers deliver another 352,325 meals to some 1,850 senior citizens or disabled persons who cannot leave their homes.

“For many of these residents, this is the only hot meal they will eat each day,” Mallet said. “When you look at the broad scope of what we do here in Monmouth County, we’re serving a tremendous population. We want to get the word out – if there is anyone 60 or older or who is disabled and needs a meal, we can provide that for them.”

The “March on Meals” program is part of a larger, national campaign sponsored by the Meals on Wheels Association of America. Anyone in need of a hot meal who is 60 years old or is disabled is urged to contact the county’s Office on Aging at (732) 431-7450.

To make a donation to Interfaith Neighbors or to volunteer for the meals delivery program, please call (732) 775-5155, or visit their Web site at

The month of March was chosen to raise the awareness of the Meals on Wheels program because it was during this month that the law was enacted that included senior meal programs in the Older Americans Act.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Saying goodbye to the Courier family


As the production manager at The Courier since January 2006, I have worked with a great team. I became the production manager after working at The Courier for almost four years.

I wanted to work at The Courier because it was family oriented and friendly. It was also one of the few places I have ever worked at where, during the creative process, there is such a high level of teamwork.

Being in the Production Department, my experience was challenging, and I worked side by side with great professionals from production and the other departments. In production, all of the varied and unique talents Courier’s graphic artists possessed were brought to the table and, regularly, produced not only award-winning work but art that represented the best of what we, as a team, could realize.

That is not to say there were not, at times, great challenges. When I began as production manager, there was so much that was new (despite the fact I had been here for while). For two editions during the transition period, production missed its deadline by an hour. Though this was a setback, it also was a challenge that brought the team together in a way that was more solid than ever before. When deadlines are missed, revenue is lost, the issue of job jeopardy shows up, and it’s a lot of responsibility. I learned so much about leadership and teamwork in those moments, lessons I will take with me the rest of my life. Of all the things I learned, though, it was the ones about teamwork that resonate most clearly with me.

Graphic arts was not my first career: it was my second. Formerly, I owned a para-transit company in New York City, but decided to make a change. So, after Skidmore Computer Graphics Institute, in White Plains, N.Y., where I studied computer graphics and web development, I interned at “Seventeen” magazine and Good News Broadcast (the owner was the producer of the hit TV show “All in the Family”). This took me to the Bronx Press and the Riverdale Review, respectively, both in New York.

This was good preparation before coming to The Courier, and its rigorous production needs that were sometimes, due to the nature of news, sometimes very last minute.

I was so fortunate to have Associate Production Manager Christopher Blaszczyk onboard for the past two years. Chris was so detail-oriented that he would catch so many potential errors while I was multi-tasking. What he does was invaluable.

I was so happy to see former Courier graphic artist Tim Kovach win best Black-and-White Ad Campaign in the N.J. Press Association contest. Tim was such a wonderful young talent to work with, and I am sure that The Courier was only his first step along a very bright career.

Graphic artist Tom Fenton joined the team in May 2007, and brought an innovative professionalism to the field of graphic arts that was outstanding. But, above all, Tom has been such a selfless team player that we could not have gotten along without him.

It was said, years ago, that O.J. Simpson had the “Dream Team” for his legal counsel during his murder trial. Well, the truth is that I was the one who had the real “Dream Team,” working right here at The Courier in the Production Department.

I want to thank Joseph Azzolina Sr., his son, Courier Vice President John Azzolina, and Courier Publisher Jim Purcell. “Big Joe,” as Mr. Azzolina Sr. is called, has been someone who appreciates hard-working people and is more than just a fair person: He has been great. John Azzolina has made Courier someplace that people always looked forward to coming to everyday. And, without his leadership it could not have been the same positive experience. Finally, I would like to thank the one person who gave me this opportunity and believed in me, even after I missed a deadline, and still believed in me – Jim Purcell.

Everyone has been wonderful here and I will not forget any of this.

Azzolina, Scaduto families bid farewell to Courier


For the past 11 years, as of April, I have been employed at The Courier: first as its editor and then, later, as its publisher.

Three obvious signs of time passing have been the graying of my hair, my need to use reading glasses to peruse anything in print, and the steady expansion of my waistline. But, the less obvious signs of my service at the paper includes my deep appreciation to the owners of The Courier, the Azzolina and Scaduto families, for their great support over the years; as well as my many friends and well-wishers in the Bayshore. So often during difficult times, these friends have meant so very much to me and have sustained me. Thanks.

When I came to Middletown to edit Courier, from Greater Media Newspapers (when it was still headquartered in East Brunswick), I knew absolutely nothing about the Bayshore. Truth be told, I’d been in this area maybe once or twice in my life.

It was ironic to end up at Courier for so long, though, because, as a child, Keansburg was the first place my parents brought me home to from the hospital. Born in Newark, Mr. and Mrs. Purcell had rented a house in the borough (along Beachway), so the first place I put my feet on the ground was a stone’s throw away from the Boardwalk. In essence, my tenure at Courier has educated me about my first home, the place the family moved away from before I even began kindergarten.

Three decades later, I was back. During my time at Courier, I had the privilege of reporting the good and the bad, the happy and sad. I am immensely proud of our work at the newspaper. There have been highs and lows, without doubt. Yet even with the “lows,” there has been a sense of family and community.

I will forget very little of my time at Courier. But no moment will be quite so vivid as the time when I witnessed and reported upon the darkest moment in U.S. history from the scene of the World Trade Center attack, on Sept. 14, 2001.

I had the privilege of writing about some of the bravest men and women I have ever witnessed. I did this while in the company of a contingent of steadfast police officers, firefighters and public works employees from Keansburg, led by Chief Raymond O’Hare and Deputy Chief James Pigott. In my book, if one were to look up the word “courage” in the dictionary, they should find these men’s photos there.

The Bayshore has never been in short supply of character or courage, though, and that is reflected in the daily lives of the men, women and even children that call this wonderful, special place their home.

While strength is a virtue, so is quiet service, and in no place have I seen so much of that either. Whether it is Jan Vassar, who dutifully serves as a volunteer for the eye center she and her family built at Bayshore Hospital (she can always be found there until 3 on Wednesdays) or Sister Garvey, at the Bayshore Senior Health, Education and Recreation Center, in Keansburg, it is these people who exemplify the best in people here and everywhere.

There are many incredible chapters to my time at this newspaper, and all special. The last one I wish to share, though, was not just an area resident but was a member of our own Courier family. Kristin Kinlin was a Monmouth University graduate who was physically disabled from the time she was born, but overcame so much to lead a life that many of us take for granted.

I saw this young woman, who was so full of promise, grow during the five years I knew her. She first came to Courier as an intern in 2001. Being so spirited, bright and hard working it was impossible not to hire her as the legals and classifieds coordinator for the newspaper right out of college. Sadly, she died April 10, 2006 from a long-standing ailment while vacationing in Chicago. She is still remembered by those of us who knew her, and myself especially. If for no other reason, my tenure at Courier allowed me the opportunity to know this incredible person.

The Courier does have a new owner, who will announce the re-opening of the newspaper during early April. I wish that person all the luck and good fortune there is and encourage our readers to support this new person’s ownership. The Courier is, after all, not just the property of one person, but, in a larger sense, the entire Bayshore. Owners come and go, yet this newspaper is as tied to this area as the beaches at Sandy Hook.

The Courier’s last edition as a property of the Azzolina and Scaduto families will be on the newsstands April 3. It has been an honor serving this company and the Bayshore. All my best.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Leading expert discusses sagging market

What is the future of the U.S. and world economies? Anyone's guess.