A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

News Updates as of 29 April 2009

  • B Green Innovations, a local environmental manufacturer mentioned in an earlier blog article, successfully registered its EcoPod product with the US Patent Office.
  • Kingdom Development LLC of Matawan is buying the site of the former Irvington General Hospital, but the deal isn't locked in yet, according to NJ.com. The Irvington NAACP is unhappy that the hospital closed in the first place and doesn't believe Kingdom's redevelopment ideas have greater value than local medical care. Irvington wants to sell the former hospital to avoid a local tax increase if the deal isn't approved before the end of June. Online research shows no Matawan address for Kingdom Development LLC, only small branch offices in Las Vegas and Florida, the latter address shared with a mortgage brokerage and a builder. Caveat emptor, Irvington.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cliffwood Man Bags 21 Pound Striper at Long Branch

The Asbury Park Press reports that Paul Moomjian of Cliffwood Beach caught a 21 lb striper in the Long Branch surf on Monday. Maybe Paul reads Striperspace. com, which offers surf fishing strategies for catching striped bass at the Jersey Shore? Or perhaps he was inspired by the Striper Blitz article back in 2007 on NJ.com's blog? Check out all the pictures from the shore, people having fun in the sand and surf. Can't wait for summer.

Congrats, Paul! (Those aren't Paul's rods or fish, btw.)

Dreamcoat at MAMS

My wife and I caught the final performance of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Matawan Aberdeen Middle School on Sunday. Kudos to Joseph, played by Anthony Barberio, who played in last year's Beauty and the Beast. Luke Shapiro stole the show with his Pharaoh impersonation of Elvis. The good and evil narrators told the tale in high style. But my favorite scene was when Issachar, played by Carlos Reyes, reminisced about Those Canaan Days as if he and his brothers were all en Paris.

The orchestra, which was stocked full with students and alumni, performed the complex score quite well. It's one thing to see our children enjoying the district's musical instrument program as they perform in concerts and marching bands, but it is quite another to see that woodwinds, brass, and percussion remain a part of the adult lives of a number of our alumni.

Parents and school staff provided the backbone to the production, as is the tradition at MAMS. A special nod to Mary Ellen Crumlish, who designed the costumes, and the Shapiros, who created the sphinx.

Infrastructure was the downside of going to the show. Despite the unusually hot weather for April, the auditorium at least started out fairly comfortable. But as the show went on, I began to literally melt into my seat. I was fully merged with my chair by the time a few too many gifts were presented and we were free to go. The auditorium has serious issues with its sound equipment that need to be addressed before the next musical is staged. If a fix isn't budgeted, local commercial establishments ought to consider sponsoring the necessary repairs or replacements to the sound system.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Seaweed Brings Fond Recollections of Vacations at Cliffwood Beach

At Flickr there is a photograph of a natural beach in New Brunswick, Canada. The photographer comments that she remembers visiting Cliffwood Beach on vacation as a youth. I wonder if she swam at the pool and walked the old boardwalk, all destroyed by Hurricane Donna?

Attention Focuses Away From Aberdeen-Matawan for MOM Line

It looks unlikely that the Aberdeen-Matawan train station will serve as a hub for the Monmouth-Ocean-Middlesex (MOM) rail line, based on my reading of an Asbury Park Press article in Saturday's paper. The momentum is for this new train line, which will originate in Lakehurst, to attract customers from Ocean and western Monmouth counties who are currently driving the Route 9 corridor. Red Bank doesn't want the line because it would cause only more traffic congestion. And I'm pretty sure, even though APP offered no discussion of it, Aberdeen and Matawan residents would prefer that the line went elsewhere for the same reason. So all eyes are on two variations of the Monmouth Junction solution, with connections to either South Brunswick and the Northeast Corridor Line or South Amboy and the North Jersey Coast Line.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Central Jersey Council of Governments Holds First Meeting

The inaugural meeting of the Central Jersey Council of Governments (CJCG) was held on 7 April 2009, according to the Bayshore Independent. At the encouragement of Governor Corzine, representatives of our area's governments will strive through this new body to find innovative ways to share municipal services and save the taxpayers money. HardNewsNJ reported in December 2008 that the council will likely initiate a regional solid waste management feasability study as its first project. Middletown's mayor confirmed this to the Independent last week, saying a pilot program to collect trash county-wide could begin as early as spring of 2010. The initiative would save individual governments 20% on local trash collection services, according to the consulting firm that looked into the matter.

Aberdeen Township is not listed as one of the governments that have proceeded to join the new council, at least not in the news articles above or in the Asbury Park Press. And I found no mention of the council in a search of the township website, which leads me to believe there's been no action in the township council.

Actually, obtaining or even deriving the list of member towns is a puzzlement. You sort of need graph paper, a calculator, Silly Putty, and lots of patience. For example, the APP article suggests that the council has 22 or more members and provides a precise list of those attending:

The Central Jersey Council of Governments consists of: Asbury Park, Atlantic Highlands, Bradley Beach, Colts Neck, Eatontown, Englishtown, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Hazlet, Manalapan, Marlboro, Middletown, Neptune City, Wall. Another eight or more towns have passed resolutions to participate but were not at Tuesday's meeting, according to Marlboro Mayor Jonathan Hornik.

... while the Independent, written more recently, suggests the council has only 20 members and mentions 7 municipalities that weren't named in the APP article:

The organization is dedicated to seeking shared services across Monmouth County. Towns involved in the group include Eatontown, Hazlet, Little Silver, Long Branch, Matawan, Middletown, Ocean Township, Oceanport and Sea Bright. "Twenty municipalities joined together in what is the largest group of municipalities in the state," Middletown Mayor Pamela Brightbill said last week.

As far as I can tell, the webpage of the Office of the Governor provides no details on these new regional councils in general and ignored the 7 April event entirely, even though Gov. Corzine reportedly spoke to the mayors at that first meeting of CJCG and is supposed to be an advocate for regionalization. I consider myself a pretty good researcher, but I've come up empty looking for information about these councils, or CJCG in particular, at both the official website for the State of NJ and Monmouth County's website.

Too many cooks already?

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Anchor Glass Property Redevelopment - What's Up?

At the juncture of Cliffwood Avenue and the railroad tracks in Cliffwood is a large fenced in commercial property with a factory, a high watertower, and a dedicated rail siding. During my thirty years in the area, the plant was first Midland Glass, then Anchor Glass, and now it is just a large vacant facility (See photo of Midland Glass plant and rail siding in Railroads of Monmouth County).

Anchor Glass Container Corporation announced that it was closing its factory in Cliffwood in January 1996, according to the NY Times. The company, based in Tampa and with 14 manufacturing plants nationwide, was paying a much higher rate for electricity at its Cliffwood plant than elsewhere, according to Public Utilities Reports in February 1996. Since the business was profitable only on a tight margin, Anchor Glass sought a reduction in electric rates from JCP&L. Failing that, they promoted municipalization of the electric utility with the Aberdeen town council.

Public Utilities Reports provided a nice synopsis of the company's situation as of 1995:

Anchor, selling more than $1.1 billion in bottles and glass containers each year, is headquartered in Tampa, FL, and has 14 manufacturing plants nationwide. It employs about 5,000 people, and its energy costs exceed $100 million annually. In 1994, its plants used 90 megawatt-hours of electricity. The plant in Aberdeen, NJ, called Cliffwood, uses 7,000 kilowatts each year. Anchor, in fact, accounts for more than half of the power load in the small township of 17,000 people. The 326 employees at the Cliffwood plant keep it running 24 hours a day, 350 days a year. Annually, the plant makes 750 million bottles for beer, soda, food, wine and liquor. It's a high-volume, low-margin business.

JCP&L threatened to sue if Aberdeen opened it own local power plant, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer in September 1995. The municipalization referendum failed and the plant was closed soon thereafter.

Jobs With Justice's report NAFTA's Impact on New Jersey claimed that the 300 jobs were lost at the Cliffwood glass factory because of NAFTA imports. According to the Federal Register, Vol 61, Issue 86, the Federal Office of Trade Adjustment Assistance agreed, concluding in March 1996 that the Cliffwood workers lost their jobs due to Mexican plant competition for the glass bottle market.

The plant has been vacant since 1996. The parking lot was used for recycling at one time and is now used for parking school buses. EHS Today reported in 2001 that Anchor Glass was fined $43,400 for violations to the Toxic Substances Control Act at its Cliffwood, Salem, and Elmira, NY facilities. The property is designated a brownfields site.

The property was sold in 2004 to Somerset Development, according to BNET. The article said,"Somerset Development plans to re-develop the site and is working with the township on an overall development plan. Somerset Development is a full service development company, with several industrial, office and residential properties located in the tri-state area."

The Asbury Park Press reported the following in February 2006, according to Glass On Web:

The blighted 52-acre property that once held the Anchor Glass Container Corp. on Cliffwood Avenue could be converted into a township center with hotels, town houses, three anchor stores, and hundreds of office spaces and apartments.

That was the conceptual plan rolled out by Somerset Development, the Lakewood-based company that owns the property.

The company’s ambitious conversion plans took a positive step Tuesday night, when the township council signed off on designating the land an area in need of redevelopment. The council during the workshop session also designated Somerset the project’s developers. After their hourlong presentation, Mayor David Sobel said the development must “give people from the entire area a reason to go. If they accomplish that, that will make (the venture) successful, and it will thrive for years to come.”

Somerset President Raphael Zucker said the company is eager to get started but will incorporate input from “major stakeholders and community members, at the right time.”

An even more detailed report on the redevelopment plan from the Bayshore Independent in March 2006 can be found at Press Archives. It reads, in part:

By passing a pair of resolutions at the Feb. 21 council meeting declaring the Anchor Glass site an area in need of redevelopment and designating Somerset Development as the developer, the council will begin a 90-day negotiation period with Somerset in order to set deadlines, approve designers and plot what responsibilities the township expects of the developers, according to Aberdeen Township Manager Stuart Brown. These resolutions are precursors to planning the mammoth redevelopment project, which is expected to take several years to complete.

Republican candidates to Aberdeen town council in 2007 claimed that the Democratic council was looking to convert the plant property to residential, according to the Bayshore Independent. In an interview by Aberdeener in April 2008, Aberdeen Mayor Sobel said the plant property had been purchased by Somerset Development but he hadn't seen much progress so far. The town council discussed redevelopment of the Anchor Glass property in closed session in June 2008, per council minutes. Someset was bragging about its role in the glass factory property redevelopment as late as August 2008, based on an article in Tri-Town News, but more recent articles show that the company may have turned its attention to the Westmont project in Woodbridge.

Is there more recent information on redevelopment of the site?

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Soloist

I'm hoping to see The Soloist this weekend with my family. Robert Downey, Jr plays an LA Times journalist who befriends a talented but homeless cellist (Jamie Foxx) in a true story brought to the big screen. It's being heavily promoted, but it looks like a good movie anyway.

I belatedly listened this morning to a podcast of Michael Caine being interviewed on NPR's Leonard Lopate Show as part of its April 7 2009 broadcast. They discussed Caine's latest film -- Is Anybody There? The character played by the boy from Son of Rambow -- Bill Milner -- spends an uncomfortable amount of his youthful days at a home for the aged run by his parents. Caine has just entered the home due to a case of Alzheimer's disease. The movie tells the story of how the old man and the young boy gradually reconcile their individual struggles with each other's help. I'd love to see it -- it got great reviews -- but it's showing nowhere close. I guess it will end up being a Netflix if Red Bank never picks it up. You can hear the NPR broadcast here.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

News Updates as of 23 April 2009

Here are a few local news updates:

Weekend in Old Monmouth, 2-3 May 2009

This weekend, 2-3 May 2009, the Monmouth County Historical Commission is hosting a Weekend in Old Monmouth. The Bayshore Independent just ran an article that focuses on the Burrowes Mansion, in Matawan, which will be on the tour. But not far from here you will also be able to get free tours of the Twin Lights in Highlands, the Hendrickson House and Longstreet Farm in Holmdel, Old Tennent Church and Monmouth Battlefield State Park in Manalapan, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse at the Gateway National Recreation Area (pdf), or the Friends Meeting House in Shrewsbury. There will be lots more to see and do, so be sure to check out the tour details.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What We've Borrowed And What They'll Owe

Thomas Jefferson wrote to James Madison 220 years ago, wondering rhetorically whether "one generation of men has a right to bind another." He then pronounced his treatise: "I set out on this ground, which I suppose to be self-evident, that the earth belongs in usufruct to the living."

I suppose his words can be interpreted to mean that the fruits of the earth are to be held in trust by the current generation, enjoyed by faithful stewards and yet not encumbered in detriment to those who will inherit them. We ought to have been able to live well yet put things back as we found them. Put another way: each generation should be able to open the box as if the game were new, get out the pieces and board, play a while, then put the game back in its box for someone else to use. Use of the fruit - usufruct.

Given my generation's overuse and abuse of the land, sea, and air and now its mismanagement of the global economy, we've obviously tapped our line of credit and are running up the next generation's debts. This Earth Day we should each consider what we have, what we need, and what we owe to our children. Let's hope we can set things right.

To read more about Jefferson's words, see Chapter 9 of Jeffersonian Legacies. The chapter was written by Herbert Sloan.

2009 Matawan-Aberdeen School Board Election Results

The Asbury Park Press posted the results of the school board election and tax levy last night. Good to see that the budget passed. Congratulations to Gerry, Joey, and Liz.

Tax levy: $43,801,859
√ Votes for — 1,225
Votes against — 786

(2 three-year terms)
√ Joseph Warren — 694
√ Elizabeth Loud Hayward — 779

(1 three-year term)
√ Gerald F. Donaghue* — 521

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Township Events For the Environmentalist In All of Us

Aberdeen Township has some really great Captain Planet sorts of stuff going on this week. On Friday 24 April 2009 at 4 pm you can plant a tree for Arbor Day at Storyland Park. Then from 9 am to noon on Saturday 25 April 2009 you can help with the Earth Day beach cleanup at Cliffwood Beach.

The first Arbor Day, held in Nebraska in 1872, was the brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton, President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of Agriculture (1893-1897). His son founded the Morton Salt Company. Check out The History of Arbor Day, an interactive book at the Arbor Day Foundation's website.

Details regarding both events, as well as the 16th Annual Family Fishing Contest coming up on 2 May 2009, are highlighted on the township's webpage. Instructions and directions to the Earth Day beach cleanup are available online. Storyland Park can be reached from an entrance near 11 Warren Drive or from Woodman Place. (see map below)

View Larger Map

Vote for School Budget Tuesday 1 pm - 9 pm!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pizza and a Beer at the Kat Shack

After an hour or so at the Matawan Starbucks, my wife and I decided to pop across Main Street to the Kat Shack for a pepperoni pizza and $2 Yuengling drafts. The service was first rate, the pizza was good, and the tab was only about $12. The bar-sponsored softball team was back from Middletown to celebrate a huge victory, so they were whooping it up a bit down front. And the eighteen seats at the five-sided bar were filled with an assortment of customers.

We sat at one of several tables for two situated around the room. We could see about a dozen big screen televisions from where we were sitting. There was a fireplace, skylights to bring in the sun, and lots of light from the windows. The Kat Shack is all new construction, with some brickwork and a light wood floor. I saw maybe nine beers on tap, including my favorites Guiness, Yuengling, and Stella Artois.

There is a pool table in one corner and darts in the other, probably for the slower times. I'm not sure anyone could level a cue stick or throw feathered projectiles with as many people in the room as there were today. A guitar stood on a stand next to a table and stool near the side door, but no one came up to play while we were there. It was Sunday afternoon and such entertainment is usually later in the day I'm sure. Rhyme & Reason performs there from time to time.

I saw a few hostile comments about the bar at Topix, but the criticisms are unwarranted and probably some sort of provocation. I've stopped in twice and the clientele, while a bit noisy at times, were always polite and fun-loving. The barkeep was very friendly and helpful. I don't imagine anyone is discussing Chaucer around the bar, but conversation was animated and there were plenty of smiles on people's faces. My only criticism: the vaulted ceiling could probably do with some noise suppression panels to reduce the din when things get noisy.

I'll be dropping in again. Be sure to check out the Kat Shack.

Matawan-Aberdeen Public Library's 2009-2012 Strategic Plan Released

The Matawan Aberdeen Public Library has posted its 2009-2012 Strategic Plan on the Library Information page of its website. I encourage you to support your library by perusing this meticulously formulated yet heart-warming product.

For a taste of the report, here's the library's vision, mission, and basic goals and objectives:


The Matawan Aberdeen Public Library will partner with individuals and the community in search of a better life for all.


The Matawan Aberdeen Public Library, the community’s hometown library, provides resources to help people realize their dreams.

Goals and Objectives to Help Achieve the Vision for the Library

During the next few years, the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library Board of Trustees and staff will focus on the following key goals to help achieve the vision and mission.
  • Develop a great library collection
  • Create a warm, friendly and satisfying library experience and facility
  • Build community through the library
  • Support lifelong learning, information literacy and educational support
  • Create a modern library infrastructure that assists in achieving the vision and goals

News Updates as of 19 April 2009

Here are some updates to local stories that you might find of interest:
  • Matawan defeated Shore Regional in girls softball on Friday 17 April 2009, according to the Asbury Park Press. MRHS girls track didn't favor as well that day at the Blue Devil Relays in Westfield, based on the results listed at MyCentralJersey.com.
  • Christian Keller, a graduate of Matawan Regional High School, placed third in the hammer throw for Monmouth University at the 2009 Moravian Greyhound Invitational in Bethlehem, PA on Friday, according to the university's sports site.
  • The Matawan-Aberdeen Library is hosting an event for seniors on Monday 20 April 2009. Understanding Memory Loss will be presented by the Greater New Jersey Chapter of the Alzheimers Association beginning at 7 pm.
  • New Jersey librarians are hosting a new Get Help website that offers a wide array of useful links for when you are struggling to find your way through the difficult but currently all-too-familiar issues of unemployment, homelessness, and financial hardship, as well as concerns with health, parenting, and aging. For your convenience, the website's Get Help icon (right) appears on the Matawan-Aberdeen Library home page.
  • The library also recommends a site where you can get help with resume writing and other job hunting skills. Check out the Learning Express Library, another feature with a link on our local library's webpage.

Springtime Walking Tour Program - 8 June 1975

On Saturday afternoon I went through one of the many boxes of local and regional history materials at the Matawan Public Library. The boxes, which contain post cards, booklets, news articles, and other goodies, can be found right across from the Reference Desk. You can take them to a desk and have a good look through them, but you can't check these reference materials out and take them home.

There are a number of brochures with Burrowes Mansion on the cover. One of them turned out to be a program guide to a springtime walking tour of Main Street conducted in June 1975. The pamphlet offered an historical background and the then-current ownership of property after property along Main Street from Memorial Park (at the corner of Broad and Main Streets in downtown Matawan) to Mount Pleasant Cemetery (at the juncture of Broad and Main Streets and Route 516). It would be great to see a remake of that piece, but I fear that Main Street isn't what it was 35 years ago and that can dampen enthusiasm for exploring the past.

A brochure by Rensselaer L. Cartan titled Notes on the Early History of Matawan, N.J. and Vicinity, mentions that the first railroad tracks passed through Matawan in 1875. According to Cartan, President Grant owned a summer home in Long Branch, so a line was run from South Amboy to Long Branch to facilitate his travels. The Grant Monument Association says Long Branch was Grant's Camp David from 1869-1877. He spent every summer at the shore, played poker with his buddies on Friday nights, spent quality time with the family and conducted affairs of state, according to the site. Cartan, who served as President of the Matawan Rotary Club from 1956-57, is cited in Helen Henderson's Matawan and Aberdeen.

How Freneau Got Its Name

Philip Morin Freneau, 1752-1832
Poet of the Revolution

Eloquently fired the spirit of the people with poems and ballads promoting the cause of liberty. Friend of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, published the Jersey Chronicle, first newspaper in Monmouth County.

When the US Post Office sought to eliminate duplicate town names, Matavan Township's Mount Pleasant section was renamed Freneau in honor of Philip Freneau (1752-1832), a local poet who inspired the cause of liberty during the time of the American Revolution. Freneau owned a home in Mt Pleasant and was known to have conspired against the British from a nearby tavern on Mill Road operated by Major Thomas Hunn and his wife Phoebe. The tavern -- now known as Hawkins House and restored in the 1980s by John Lockwood -- is thought to be the oldest house in the township. (See Matawan Colonial Home Endures Through Changes, The Register, 7 November 1988, p. 10A.) A nice photo array of the Freneau gravesite can be found at Flickr. The Smithsonian maintains a record of the sculpture atop Freneau's grave. A cover story in the Matawan Journal issue of 23 November 1972 titled Hawkins House, Four Other Historic Sites to Be Noted discussed the erection of commemorative signs at Hawkins House, Burrowes Mansion, the Freneau grave, and the old hospital on Ravine Drive.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Junk eMail Wastes My Time -- And Energy

On Friday, Cool Green Science, the conservation blog for the Nature Conservancy, pointed to a piece on Scientific American's 60 Second Science blog that touted a McAfee study which concluded that spam emails cause recipients to waste tons of electricity sorting through the junk. PC Magazine disagrees. The New York Times says spam accounts for 94% of all email, so I'm not sure PC Magazine is living in the same world as I am. All I know is that dealing with spam may not run up my electric bill to any noticeable extent, but it wears me out.

Aberdeen to Raise Liquor License Fees, Build COAH Housing in Cliffwood Beach

When Aberdeen Town Council meets on Monday 20 April 2009, there will be a public hearing on a revision to the General Ordinances Section 6-3, which deals with alcoholic beverage control licenses. A public notice posted in the Asbury Park Press said the Council plans to raise the fee for liquor licenses by 20%. The Council will have its regular meeting immediately after the workshop meeting beginning at 7pm at town hall.

Affordable Housing Alliance is proposing construction of a COAH qualified house at 817 North Concourse in Cliffwood Beach, according to the agenda for the Aberdeen Zoning Board meeting scheduled for Wednesday 22 April 2009. The meeting is scheduled for 7:30 pm at town hall. Plans to construct a house at 329 Fairfield Way (across from Veterans Park, at the corner of Fairfield Way and Cliffwood Avenue in Cliffwood Beach), where a house was demolished at the request of the township due to deficiencies, will also be discussed.

The map below marks the 817 N Concourse location with a red icon; the Fairfield Way address can be found on the same map, down and to the left, south along Cliffwood Avenue.

View Larger Map

Friday, April 17, 2009

Alan Katz Visits Lloyd Road Elementary in Aberdeen

Alan Katz, a writer of children's books, was the honored guest for Author Day at Lloyd Road Elementary School on 26 March 2009, according to an article in the Asbury Park Press yesterday. The article names the 4th and 5th graders who won the school's writing contest.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spring Is On Autopilot in Aberdeen

Springtime has come to Aberdeen, New Jersey, without much human intervention, I suppose. The daffodils, forsythia, tulip trees, and flowering cherries are all in bloom despite all the gloom and doom we hear on the evening news. Household economies might remain a bit cold and clammy, but neighborhood yards are coming out from under winter's oppression to become warm showpieces of color. Would that our checking accounts were so rosy. Flowers teach us that all life happens in cycles.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

News Updates as of 14 April 2009

I came across these stories tonight and thought I'd post them right away.
  • Donna Joy Alexander, a Seton Hall University sophomore from Cliffwood Beach, will go to All Big East postseason tournament in the triple jump, according to the SHU Pirates website. The website says Donna holds the Matawan Regional High School record in triple jump (39’1”). She is the Central Jersey Group 2 triple jump record holder (39”1.25”). She was the Monmouth County Champion in the triple jump in 2005 and 2007. She was Central Jersey Group 2 Champion in the 200-meter dash, long jump, and triple jump. She finished 10th in the triple jump at the Nike Nationals in 2007. And she's a journalism major at Seton Hall. Congrats, Donna!
  • Red Bank Catholic defeated Matawan in girls softball 4-0. See the Newark Star Ledger article for full coverage.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Could Old Bridge HS Really Have A Matawan Address?

Is Old Bridge High School really in Matawan??! It's a different county, for heaven's sake. Seems to me it is deep in Old Bridge Township, but hey, I could be wrong. If it is just a mailing address, how could any reasonable person make OBHS put Matawan on all its mail? I thought that some hack job called Edline had gotten it wrong, but that turned out to be the school's actual website. I guess they would know their own address.

I did some research this evening and got more and more worked up. I wasn't so concerned that Local School Directory and School Matters might have gotten the town wrong -- as if they mattered anyway. It would have been no surprise that Merchant Circle didn't have a clue, or that Digital Sports had it wrong. Even though City Data had a map that clearly shows the school in Middlesex County, they had seemingly gotten it wrong, too. I wasn't surprised that Great Schools didn't seem to know that Old Bridge was in Middlesex County. But I was really surprised that Monmouth University's Go MU Hawks site thought that one of their track members had graduated from Old Bridge HS in Matawan. And the big class reunion site Classmates thought so too. And even My Central Jersey had seemingly gotten it wrong too.

But it was me. I got it wrong, I guess. Me and Wikipedia. And Rate My Teachers. I guess I have to accept this new reality. And MU tracksters Gibbs (OBHS) and Kloc (MRHS) have to reconcile the fact that they both somehow went to high school in Matawan.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

News Updates as of 13 April 2009

Here are some recent items from the web related to people and events from the Aberdeen area:

Saturday, April 11, 2009

An April 2009 Walk in Cliffwood Beach

I took some photographs today on my afternoon walk. I passed the Bayview Presbyterian Church on West Concourse and made my way down to the path towards the Raritan Bay. The path goes past where the old Cliffwood Beach pool is hidden by bushes and then up a knoll to a stand of trees near Treasure Lake. We had quite a rain storm most of the day, so the ground was covered with puddles, the sun was peaking out from a sky still swarming with clouds, and both the bay and the lake were uneasy.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Outerbridge Crossing

Whenever I am online looking for a movie theatre, dentist, or some such thing and I'm using a search engine that looks for places within, say, 10 concentric miles of Aberdeen, the computer automatically includes places in Staten Island among its recommendations. We're not that far from New York City's most southern borough, after all. At least not as the crow flies.

I don't think my neighbors are popping across the Outerbridge Crossing to go bowling, see films, or get their fillings, though. There's a big toll involved to cross into Staten Island. And, unless a family has roots in the city, people around here just don't see SI as being part of their extended neighborhood.

Did you know that the Outerbridge Crossing is actually named after someone? Eugenius Harvey Outerbridge (1860-1932) was the first head of the Port Authority. Who knew? I don't know what I thought the name meant, but the idea that there was some guy named Outerbridge out there who was being honored was the furthest thing from my mind.

If you're so inclined, you can watch video of people driving the bridge towards New Jersey or back to New York. You can even make out the bridge in this video taken from the vantage point of the Perth Amboy waterfront, or should I say you can spot it when the video operator isn't zooming in tight on his girlfriend's face. I guess they're in love. Whatever.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Professional Office Building at Cliffwood Avenue & Cross Road?

The Aberdeen Planning Board will hold its next public meeting on Wed 15 April 2009 at 7:30 pm. The agenda is posted. The board will be hearing a proposal for a two-story professional office building and associated parking to occupy 38,000 sq ft on Cliffwood Avenue at Cross Road. An existing dwelling would have to be demolished for the plan to be completed. This proposal follows up on a concept plan, which was submitted last year.

The map below shows the intersection, which should be familiar to most area drivers.

View Larger Map

Out for Drinks and Drained of Cash

We were at McDonough's in Keyport the other day and they charged me $8.25 for a Jack Daniels on the rocks. Is that outrageous or what? I'm usually a beer drinker, so this Jack on ice was a special occasion for me. But oh what a surprise when I saw the bill. I guess I'm not velocitized to such a high price for liquor. This is Keyport, right?

My daughter was going to order a Black Velvet, which is a mixture of Guiness and hard cider, but she backed off when the bartender warned her that she would have to charge her for both a Guiness and a hard cider to make the drink -- again $7 or $8 for a drink. The barkeep could have at least offered to make two drinks out of it.

My wife wisely ordered a ginger ale. She was the designated driver.

In these hard times, when people really need a good stiff drink once in a while, it shouldn't break the bank to go out to the local pub. We really like visiting McDonough's, but even Happy Hour isn't safe ground when it comes to unhappy surprises. It's easy to order something that costs full price, and full price can be a significant chunk of change. I've never had to do this before, but I guess I'll have to quiz the bartender each time I order to see how much my drink order will set me back. Caveat emptor!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Interfaith Discussion of Forgiveness

Today I attended an interfaith panel discussion sponsored by the Monmouth Center for World Religions and Ethical Thought, as mentioned in an earlier posting. The moderator and five guest speakers representing Hinduism, Reformed Judaism, Christianity, and Christian Science each addressed the concept of forgiveness briefly from their individual perspectives. After the panelists asked each other questions, those in attendance joined in with their own questions. There was a table full of snacks and drinks to go with the pleasant company and enlightening conversation.

Through the sharing of parochial perspectives, those in attendance hope to expose the frequent commonalities of faith experience that cross seemingly deep religious divides, with an aim towards understanding.

The next meeting is scheduled for 21 May 2009 at 7 pm at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Lincroft.