A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, July 20, 2009

New Hiking Trail in Cliffwood Beach

There is now a hiking trail in Cliffwood Beach, if you can believe it. Just north of the Lenox Road recycling center and municipal facilities, there is a patch of woods to the west that I believe belongs to the state. They've added the Kavanaugh Trail, which has been marked as the Red Trail for hiking. Someone let me know what's in there. Looks rather jungly, if you ask me.

View Larger Map

Be alert for the guard cat. I saw him there twice today.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Matawan Creek Shark Attacks of 1916

Several of the famous Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916 that spawned the movie Jaws took place right here in Aberdeen Township.

The attacks were national news. Here's the headline and selected paragraphs (not for the squeamish) from the Washington Post of 13 July 1916:

Boy and Young Man Victims of Sea Monster
Terror of the Deep Appears in Raritan Bay, N.J.
Dozen or More Boys in Bathing
Hear Comrade's Screams for Help.
Young Man Standing on Bank
Goes to His Rescue and Both Per-
ish - Leg of Another Lad Torn Al-
most to Shreds from the Knee Down.

MATAWAN, N. J. July 12 - Lester Stillwell, 12 years old, was killed by a man eating shark while bathing in an arm of the Raritan Bay near here this afternoon. Stanley Fisher, 24 years old, who went to his aid, was so badly injured in a struggle with the sea monster that he died while being taken to a Long Branch hospital. Joseph Dunn, 12 years old, bathing some distance away in the same inlet, was attacked by a shark, and one of his legs was so lacerated it will probably have to be amputated.

A dozen or more boys, who were also bathing in the inlet, heard Stillwell's screams for help. Fisher, who was standing on the bank, went to the rescue. He had gone only a few feet when the shark attacked him, tearing a piece out of one thigh.

In spite of his wound, Fisher caught the boy up in his arm, and had started for shore, when the shark renewed the attack. Burdened as he was, Fisher was helpless, and the shark snapped off his leg. Fisher released his hold on Stillwell and himself sank beneath the surface, unconscious.

Heedless of the danger, another boy sprang into the inlet and dragged Fisher out. No trace of young Stillwell was found and it is believed he was devoured by the shark.

The Dunn boy, according to persons who were standing on the bank of the inlet, also was attacked soon after going into the water. An elder brother and another boy went to the rescue. They succeeded in driving off the shark but not until after the younger Dunn's leg had been torn almost to shreds from the knee down. He is expected to recover.
The next day's Washington Post carried this additional news:

Dr. George G Reynolds, of Matawan, who attended Stanley Fisher who was so seriously mangled in a battle with a shark yesterday that he died a few hours later performed an autopsy on Fisher's body today. He declared that the flesh torn by the man-eater's teeth was impregnated with a peculiar poisonous liquid which seemed to have deadening effect on the nerves and muscles. This probably explained, he said, why Fisher apparently had little sensation of pain when the shark took off his leg.

Little hope is entertained for the recovery of the body of 12-year-old Lester Stillwell, the other victim of the Matawan Creek tragedy. It is believed that he was devoured by the shark, as persistent dragging of the inlet and dynamiting of the waters have failed to bring up the body.

New Jersey Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities, and Other Offbeat Stuff, by Peter Genovese, 2nd edition (Guilford, CT: Insider's Guide, 2007) has a chapter on pp 125-126 titled The Original Jaws, Matawan, which says that Stanley Fisher and Lester Stillwell are buried at Rose Hill Cemetery in Matawan.

Rose Hill Cemetery is on Ravine Drive near the intersection with Middlesex Road. The cemetery is a local treasure but kept in less than ideal condition. The cemetery has turned and broken grave stones, poison ivy, and no website. Many local leaders are buried there. It deserves better.

My wife and I visited the cemetery on Saturday. We definitely found the marker for Lester Stillwell. And I believe but cannot yet confirm that we located Stanley Fisher's grave. If you enter the cemetery's main gate and drive straight to the back of the cemetery, you will come to a spot with a split rail fence on your left and a hill on your right. Over the fence is a large lily pond. I recommend parking along the fence somewhere below the vault of Abram J Vreeland, which will be on the hill to your right. The photo on the right is a view from the Stillwell stone looking back at where I parked (left of center, behind a bush) and the pond (right).

To find the Stillwell grave, get out of your vehicle and continue down the path you were driving. The path will turn to the left and you'll see graves on your right on a small hill. Just before the road turns sharply to the right, you will see a row of five small gravestones. Those will be for William (1870-1944), Louella (1880-1946), Lester (1904-1916), Harry J (1898-1952), and Russell Stillwell (1899-1957).

A second marker for Harry J Stillwell notes his service in World War II as follows:

Harry J Stillwell
New Jersey
World War II
Jul 9, 1898 Dec 29 1952

To find the Fisher grave, get out of your vehicle and climb the hill on your right up and past the Vreeland vault. The hill is steep to the left, so you might want to stay to the right. When you get to the top, turn sharply left and make your way to the treeline above where Lester Stillwell's marker is located. Small stones with the first names of Stanley, Florence, and Nana are located next to a large stone labeled FISHER. I didn't get a good photo of the FISHER stone, so I'll have to suffice to show you Stanley's ground marker. I don't know if it is by design, but Stanley rests on a hill just above where Lester is buried.

If you visit the cemetery, please be respectful and show some care towards the grounds and the stones.

News Updates as of 19 July 2009

  • An Obama supporter from Matawan was interviewed in the Asbury Park Press.
  • APP and the Atlantic Highlands Herald cover the opening of the Monmouth County Fair. (Click here if you missed my blog article about the fair.)
  • The 114th Monmouth County Horse Show begins 12 August 2009. Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore are selling tickets to the Stillwell-Hansen $30,000 Grand Prix, which will be held Sunday 16 August 2009 at the county fairgrounds. (See the APP for further details; the link on the Monmouth County Horse Show Association webpage is either very sluggish or isn't working.) NJ.com reported back in March 2009 that Beacon Hill Horse Show, like many others, had lost too many sponsors due to the bad economy and was having to shut down. NJ.com went on to say, "Beacon Hill is not alone in its difficult financial situation. Other shows also are contemplating cancellation or have canceled. Interestingly, 145 shows canceled by March 25 of the 2008 show season; for 2009, the number is 114." In other words, the Monmouth County show is a rarity that deserves our support, so help out the Girl Scouts and support horse shows at the same time.
  • Atlanticville has a rather informative article about library funding. The West Long Branch library wants to leave the Monmouth County Library system in order to save money. The town wants to demunicipalize the library and make it a branch of the county library system. This rather detailed article even discusses tax rate changes being proposed at the state level. The situation at WLB will be worth watching.
  • Matawan councilman's law suit prompts APP letter to the editor.
  • Aberdeen Police seek help with Cliffwood and Cliffwood Beach thefts (9 so far) from unlocked vehicles, per APP. Keep your vehicles locked and report suspicious behavior.
  • I applaud Charles Kenny's APP letter to the editor in response to the APP's Stunning Raises Costly to Taxpayers editorial. (If you missed it, here's my response to the APP editorial.)
  • Three On Three basketball tourney set for Matawan on 25 July 2009. Check APP and the borough's website for details.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Once On This Island - Spotlight Players

The Spotlight Players will be performing the one-act musical Once on This Island starting 1 August 2009 at the First Presbyterian Church of Matawan. Set in the Caribbean, the play retells Hans Christian Anderson's story of The Little Mermaid, but in the French Antilles. General admission is $18; $15 for seniors; snacks and beverages included. For reservations and information, call 732-583-7874 or visit their website.

  • Sat 1 August 3 pm and 8 pm
  • Sun 2 August 3 pm
  • Fri 7 August 8 pm
  • Sat 8 August 3 pm and 8 pm
  • Sun 9 August 3 pm

Henry S Terhune (1859-1942); Judge, NJ State Senator

To follow up on my question of whom Terhune Park is named after, the Matawan Aberdeen Library was kind enough to forward me a 25 July 1930 article from the Matawan Journal that summarizes the donation of land to the borough. I've excerpted the beginning of that article below.

Judge Terhune Presents Park to Matawan
Also Gives $1,000 Toward Cost of Beautifying
Always to be Used for Park Purposes
Mayor Heuser Gives Land and
Ex-Mayor Sutphin Use of Land
for Approaches to Lake Lefferts

The Borough Council meeting on Tuesday night was a series of pleasant surprises.

The first of these was the announcement of a gift of a large tract of land on Main Street, South Street, and Broad Street, next to the gully bridge, which Hon. H. S. Terhune offered the Borough, together with $1,000 toward the expense of beautifying it as a permanent park and bird sanctuary. Mr. Terhune's letter to Mayor Christian Heuser was as follows:

During one of his visits at Matawan, Mr. Carl F. Pilat, of New York, recognized as one of the best landscape architects in this country, after looking carefully over the lot on the southwest corner of South and Main Streets, said to me that this lot could be made into an attractive park and an ideal bird sanctuary.

With this end in view, I am willing to deed this property to the Borough. The deed contains a covenant that the land shaill always be used for a public park and for recreational purposes, and that no building of any kind , at any time, be erected thereon. Recognizing the fact that some expense would be incurred in shaping up this lot for recreational purposes and being desirous of relieving the taxpayer of at least part of such expense, in case the Board of Commissioners, after due deliberation, decided to accept said deed of gift containing the conditions above indicated, I agree, upon said acceptance, to present the Board with $1,000 . Said sum, of course, to be set aside by the Commissioners for the purpose of beautifying said land.

Respectfully yours,

H. S. Terhune

Mayor Heuser said that the gift was a most unusual one and the members of the Council were quick to offer a resolution praising the generosity of Mr. Terhune and accepting the gift for Matawan.

According to Scannell's New Jersey's First Citizens (1917-1918), Henry S Terhune was born in Matawan, NJ on 8 June 1860, the son of William L Terhune. His namesake was apparently his mother's brother, Henry Stafford Little, who was "a dominant force in the politics of New Jersey." He graduated Princeton and Columbia Law School. He apprenticed under John S. Applegate of Red Bank. He was admitted to the bar in 1885 and became a Counsellor in 1890. He was appointed in 1913 by President Woodrow Wilson to a six-year term on the New Jersey Court of Errors and Appeals. He maintained a law practice at Long Branch. He chaired the Monmouth County Democratic Committee for many years and was elected to the New Jersey State Senate in 1890.

The 1920 Federal Census for New Jersey shows a widowed 59 year old Henry S. Terhune living at 213 Main Street in Matawan, along with a nurse from Pennsylvania named Myra L. Walter and a Japanese butler named George Susuda. As a favored nephew of Henry S Little, Terhune's wealth was at least partly due to inheritance, according to Scannell's above. The 1930 census showed Terhune's occupation as President of BAWC. (?)

The 1900 Federal Census shows a 39 year old Henry Terhune and wife Mary, who had been married for five years at the time, living in Henry's father's household in Matawan. Henry was the breadwinner as a lawyer, while his parents, in their eighties with 56 years of marriage, were retired.

The 1860 Federal Census shows a 1 year old Henry and three brothers living in Matawan with their parents, William L and Margaret (Little) Terhune, as well as their uncle Henry S. Little, under their maternal grandfather's roof. William Little, 80 years old, was a wealthy retired Irish merchant with $60,000 worth of cash and properties in 1920. Both Henry's father and uncle were lawyers with a combined wealth of $20,000. And there were two Irish servants in the household.

Rutgers University Libraries' Women's History Sources: A Guide lists several manuscripts held in the university's archives. Here's their entry on Terhune:

TERHUNE, Henry S. (Henry Stafford), ca. 1859-1942.
Letters received, 1878-1883 (bulk 1879-1882).
ca. 34 items (1 envelope).

Lawyer and state legislator, of Long Branch, N.J.; was graduated from the College of New Jersey (now Princeton University) in 1882 and from the Columbia University School of Law in 1885.

Letters, June 15, 1879-August 21, 1882 (and March 21, 1883), received by Terhune while he was a student at the College of New Jersey in Princeton, N.J. Most of the letters were sent from Matawan, N.J., by members of his family, including his father (William), mother (Margaret L.) and sister (Margaret). Also included are three letters (1879) written by Terhune's uncle, Henry Stafford Little, and two letters (1878 and 1879) received by Little.


The New York Times mentions Senator Terhune in an article called The New Appointees dated 21 March 1893. I don't have a subscription, but someone who has one can check its contents.

I've written to Political Graveyard to let them know that Henry is buried at the top of the hill at Rose Hill Cemetery on Ravine Drive in Matawan. A large rectangular monument has markings on all four sides with a number of the members of the Terhune and Little families. Small stones with initials surround the monument to mark the individual graves.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

News Updates as of 12 July 2009

  • Brookdale sports facilities are getting an upgrade, including a new fitness center and gym at the Collins Arena, according to The Examiner.
  • Route 9 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) could be extended from Old Bridge south to Lakewood, providing improved transportation through Monmouth County, if and when engineering and funding issues can be resolved, according to the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. The article might be a fluff piece by state agencies, but it provides some useful background on obstacles to BRT in the region. BRT is a possible alternative to the MOM Line and should be advocated for by Aberdeen-Matawan residents.
  • Heading to the Shore for underage drinking? NJ State's Attorney General has plans for you.
  • Some folks can't imagine there are folks in need in Monmouth County. Mission Matawan certainly had a long list of projects this year. The team spent a full week helping the poor and elderly, and the calls for assistance keep coming in even though the program is over until next year.

Monmouth County to Facilitate Deportation of Criminal Illegal Aliens

Monmouth County is one of eleven communities that have applied to sign on with a new Department of Homeland Security agreement that facilitates the deportation of illegal aliens who commit serious crimes in the US. According to a recent AP article:

Monmouth County, N.J., Sheriff Kim Guadagno, whose department is seeking an agreement, said, "If you are an illegal alien and commit a crime in Monmouth County, you will be identified, turned over to federal authorities and deported if appropriate."

A previous Federal program was halted when it was criticized by the Government Accountability Office. The AP article explains how the new program has been improved:

The revised program now requires local and state law enforcement agencies to first resolve any criminal charges that led to the arrest of the immigrants.

It also creates three priority levels for the immigrants who are to be arrested and detained. Immigrants convicted or arrested of major drug offenses or violent offenses such as murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery or kidnapping are the top priority.

The revamped program creates a consistent standard for state and local agencies and gives law enforcement tools "to identify and remove dangerous criminal aliens," said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

It also establishes a complaint process and requires participating agencies to provide language interpretation, the agency said. All participating officers are bound by federal civil rights regulations and nondiscrimination guidelines.

Philly.com says the agreement was reached on Friday. It adds that immigration rights groups are opposed.

The program has drawn strong opposition from immigrant advocates and divided opinions among law enforcement officials who feel it may undermine trust in immigrant communities where crime is often underreported.

Lest you think Monmouth County is a backwater for immigration matters, check out the story of Tanveer Ahmad, a New York City cabbie who was detained in New York in August 2005 and transferred in shackles to Monmouth County Correctional Institute in Freehold, where he died the next month, according to The New York Times.

A Hundred People in Town Don't Know

Aberdeener suggested in his Mid-Year Review the other day that few local citizens could name even half of the 2009 candidates for Aberdeen Town Council. I admit that I didn't remember many of their names, even though I voted in the June 2nd primary election. So I checked out the primary results online and thought I'd post the roster of candidates (and the June primary results, in parentheses) here in this blog. Maybe it will facilitate discussion, either here or in another forum, as we move towards the fall elections.

Mayor (vacated by Democratic incumbent David Sobel)
  • Democrat - Fred Tagliarini (178)
  • Republican - Thomas Alijian (394)
Councilmembers-at-Large (vacated by Democratic incumbents Thomas Perry and Joseph Raymond)
  • Democrats - James V Lauro (195), Margaret M Montone (184)
  • Republicans - Anthony Garaguso (394), Sheila Balavram (377)
Councilmember-at-Large (2 year unexpired term of Fred Tagliarini, who is running for mayor)
  • Democrat - Gregory J Cannon (187)
  • Republican - Michael Vail (400)

First Presbyterian Church of Matawan

For those of you interested in knowing more about that big church by the lake on Route 34, the place near the Buttonwood where the Matawan fireworks display originates every year, I've established a web blog that might give you some idea of what goes on there. Beyond worship and music and Christian education, First Pres opens its doors to the community for events like American Boychoir concerts, Spotlight Players stage plays, and a host of Twelve Step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and other social organizations. Outreach to the community includes Mission Matawan, an annual project aimed at helping the poor and elderly with small home repair jobs; Club 60, which keeps local seniors active; and Presbyterian Nursery School, which has been providing quality education to youngsters for about forty years. No doubt a blog can help spread the news.

If you don't have a church home and haven't visited First Pres before, I recommend that you check it out. Summer services are at 9:30 am. And if you aren't Christian but want to help out one of the community efforts, give the church a call and see how you might contribute.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

APP Takes Nasty Swipe at MARSD Salary Increases

What villainous spirit has possessed the editors of the Asbury Park Press to cause them to run such a crass editorial against our local school board? It sounds like a hostile Letter to Editor, not a professional editorial by a prominent regional newspaper. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The current editorial is in like tone to their commentary against Helen Rappaport last December. (Which, btw, applauded Mr O'Malley's prowess in saving the district money.) They've obviously forgotten their positive reporting on 1 April 2009 after the recent school budget passed. OMalley was masterful then, saving us beaucoups d'argent. Now it's irresponsible to reward his effort and tout a l'heurs?

I'm not necessarily taking sides on these pay raises, mind you. I would like to better understand the strategy the BOE had in mind or the pressures they were under to provide this level of compensation at this time. If the motivation was to bring salaries into parity with local districts, those criticizing MARSD for trying to keep quality personnel running our school district need only look at the Old Bridge school budget to see that the salary offerings are now comparable. But meeting the baseline compensation package required under contract surely posed no risk of O'Malley going elsewhere in the near term. The BOE could do everyone a favor by providing some sort of explanation of the why behind these salary increases.

2009 Area Outdoor Concerts

  • Red Bank's Jazz in the Park series began this week on 9 July and runs each Thursday at 7 pm thru 20 August at Riverside Gardens Park. (Note that the Red Bank website currently has the date wrong for Chuck Lambert's appearance in Red Bank. He will be there 6 August, not 6 July. He will also be performing at the Monmouth County Fair on Friday 24 July.)
  • Keyport has two weekly summer music events: one is Jazz and Blues on Front Street, which is held on Thursdays at 7 pm through 3 September; and the other is the Twilight Concert Series, which is on Saturdays at 7 pm through 29 August.
  • Aberdeen will present Special Request as the main act for Doo-Wop Night this Thursday 16 July at 7 pm outside of the Aberdeen Town Hall. (Special Request is also performing in Red Bank on 30 July with Funktion 11.)

Five Minutes of Heaven

Five Minutes of Heaven, a Sundance Film Festival winner for both directing and screenwriting, looks like an exquisitely dark movie about how two men coped with a murder committed during The Troubles. Watch the trailer below but also take a look at reviews at Cinamatical and Sundance. I'll be looking for it when it is released in August. It might be a better choice than Bruno for your movie bucks.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Allegations of Crack Cocaine Distribution By Cliffwood Resident

Aberdeen Police say they arrested a Cliffwood resident for possession of crack cocaine with the intent to distribute during a traffic stop on Cliffwood Avenue, according to the Asbury Park Press. The guy was reportedly driving on a suspended license and had an outstanding warrant from Mount Laurel, so he was taken to the county jail in Freehold, where he is being held in lieu of $12,500 bail.

2009 Monmouth County Fair Begins Wed 22 July at 5 pm

You will definitely want to plan to attend one or more days of the 2009 Monmouth County Fair on Kozloski Road at East Freehold Park in Freehold. The 35th annual festivities start in just a few weeks.

The fair runs Wednesday 22 July through Friday 24 July from 5 pm to 11 pm, Saturday 25 July from 11 am to 11 pm, and Sunday 26 July from 11 am to 6 pm. Admission is $7.00 for those over 12; children and parking are free; for those 65 and older, Sunday's admission is free; rides, crafts, and food are between you, your wallet, your knick-knacks shelf, and your diet.

Motor Sports Night: On Wednesday, you can get an autograph from racing's Kory Rabenoid, hear The Atlantic Watch Band on the main stage, and see opening day fireworks.

Circus Nights: On Thursday, Mark Nizer will amaze from the main stage with his juggling and comedy act. On Friday, the Barbeque Competition begins, Josh Tanner performs his Tribute to Springsteen on the main stage, and the Chuck Lambert Band plays the blues in the outdoor entertainment area.

Children's Day: On Saturday evening, Total Soul will be performing R&B, soul, and classic disco on the main stage at 8:30 pm. The BBQ Competition will be judged.

Seniors Day: On Sunday, the Colts Neck Swing Band will be performing on the main stage. There will be an antique autos show.

And of course there are lots of farm animals being shown under the tents by the 4-H Club, plus lumberjack shows, pig races, horseback riding competitions, home and garden competitions, kids races, and lots more fun. And lots of amusement rides.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Late Blight Disease - Check Your Tomato and Potato Plants

Newsday says the plant disease that caused the Irish potato famine in the 1840's has been discovered in tomato plants being sold on Long Island. According to the Franklin County (NY) Cornell Cooperative Extension, Late Blight Disease is being found in big box stores from New Jersey to Maine, even Montreal, Canada, and as far west as Ohio.

If you are a home gardener in the Aberdeen, NJ area, it is important that you read up on this disease and follow the guidance provided by agricultural specialists. The disease can easily move to commercial farms through the wind, so gardeners must control any outbreaks of the disease in home gardens.

I've excerpted sections of the Franklin County article below:

Late blight arguably remains the single most important disease of tomatoes and potatoes in the world today, with new, more aggressive strains of the fungus causing widespread damage and creating epidemics in, among other places, practically every major tomato- or potato-growing region of the United States.

The ease with which late blight can spread from garden to garden, from garden to farm, or from farm to farm, even over great distances, cannot be overstated. This puts farmers who grow tomatoes or potatoes at serious risk of losing their entire season's income. To prevent that from happening, Extension educators are asking that we, as gardeners, neighbors and community minded individuals, unite in our efforts to protect both garden crops and the commercial field crops produced by the local farming community.

Gardeners must learn to recognize late blight symptoms and use all available disease management practices. An effective prevention program should include cultural and chemical management practices that will reduce the potential for occurrence, spread and losses from late blight. This is best accomplished by buying disease-free tomato plants and certified disease-free potato seed, planting late blight-resistant varieties, destroying volunteer tomato and potato plants (those growing from last year's planting, cull or compost piles) and regularly using protective fungicides.

The Cornell University Department of Horticulture is recommending that gardeners act quickly to protect their home garden tomato and potato plants and to make sure that their plants don't become a source of spores that could infect other plantings, including those of commercial growers and farmers. If you are growing tomatoes or potatoes in your home garden, you should take the following steps:

  • Examine tomato and potato plants thoroughly at least once a week for signs of late blight
  • Spray fungicides preventively and regularly and/or
  • Be prepared to destroy garden tomato and potato plants should late blight start to become severe.

World War I Service Memorial - Matawan (Column 3)

This is the last of three articles listing those from Matawan who served during World War I. It shows those listed in Column 3 of the war memorial at the corner of Main and Broad Streets in downtown Matawan, NJ.

Moran, John
Moran, William
Morgan, Lee
Munning, August
Munning, J A
Muscio, George

Nagle, James
Napoli, Nueste
Osterweiss, Dayton
Pasture, William
Peace, Robert
Phelan, Theo A [Phelan, Theodore A]
Powers, James
Pueppo, Dominick
Quarles, Harvey
Robert, Francis G
Saccone, Joseph

Schock, Everett
Schweitzer, Alfred
Shaw, James H
Shepherd, William A
Shemo, Preval
Short, Frank
Simpson, Francis F
Sheridan, Arthur B
Smith, William E
Stilwell, Arthur
Sutphin, William H
Suydam, Myron
Thompson, Frank G

Thorne, Glenwood
Tibbs, Edward
Towler, Clarence
Vaccarella, Alphonso
Van Brackle, Floyd J
Van Brunt, William
Van Pelt, Charles G
Veluasco, Guiseppe
Venche, Tony
Vreeland, Milton A
Walling, Thomas R
Warne, Ronson J
Welstead, Thomas G

Wilson, John A
Wilson, Joseph L
Woodey, Frank
Woodruff, John
Uhl, George
Ziegler, Arthur D
Zobarowski, Michael

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Matawan Grad Heading to World Championships With US Sabre Team

Monica Aksamit, a Matawan Regional High School graduate and associated with the Polish-American Fencing School, will compete with the US senior women's sabre team at the Senior World Championships 30 September to 8 October 2009 in Antalya, Turkey, according to the Asbury Park Press.

Monica is entering her sophomore year at Penn State, where she majors in biology and specializes in sabre on the school's fencing team. I located a few of her other competitions online.

Check out the Nahouw fencing site to see her meteoric rise in the statistics since February. Monica is ranked 37th in the world after competing in the World Cup in Dallas last month. She is rated third by the US Fencing Association, which should yield her a position on the US team. Monica has her eyes on the 2012 Summer Olympics. See Tim Morehouse blog for his Do or Die in Dallas post from 16 June, as well as his current post with comments and a link to the above APP article.

Check out Monica in competition with a fencer from Notre Dame in the video below.

A Hopeful Sign For Reform in Iran

The New York Times is reporting that Iran's leading clerics have come out against the recent Presidential election results, a direct challenge to the Ayatollah. Maybe things will finally change there for the better?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

A Fishy APP Editorial

The Asbury Park Press ran an editorial today that reads more like a balanced news story than any sort of expressed opinion. Or even worse. The topic was NOAA Chairman Jane Lubchenco's appointment of three environmentalists to the Mid-Atlantic Regional Fishery Management Council. While APP dared to predict that these new members "may well bring a better balance to a group long influenced by the industry" and one might anticipate "a sea change in fishing regulations" in a few years, the editors were less than enthusiastic about taking sides.

Their seeming lack of resolve may actually mask ambivalence or support for the fishing industry. After all the perhapses and may very wells, the editors have buried in the counterpoint prominent hints of their unease with the candidates. Their equivocation ultimately steals their opening's meager thunder and leaves the reader wondering what the paper wishes to say. "[S]ome in the fishing industry have a sinking feeling the council will be overly influenced by those who know relatively little about fishing and may be inclined to make rules that will unfairly restrict the work and play of anglers." The editors went on to question why Lubchenco was not treating New England similarly, instead renewing four fishing industry members to the 25 member board.

Maybe the editors think they've been bold to take whatever slight stance they have taken, but to me this is no editorial and maybe not even an advocacy of the "sea change" it describes. They could just as easily written: Change will be slow and might not even pan out in the end because these environmentalists are only getting a small stake on a large board. Hopefully, these people, who don't know the fishing industry very well, won't screw things up too much while they are there. And what's with New England not having to accept these outsiders?

FishnLand makes a firmer statement, saying it believes that the appointments might help reverse commercial overfishing of the Mid-Atlantic fishery.

Jeremiah E Hourihan Field in Matawan

A sports field next to the Broad Street Community Center on Broad Street near South Street in Matawan was dedicated in 2007 to Jeremiah E Hourihan, a borough employee until his retirement in 1988 and long an active member of the community. (Gannet NJ Retirees in 2007 and Independent) A member of the borough's Shade Tree Commission for about ten years, Jerry was nominated to another five-year term in January 2009. (Independent and Matawan Borough Council Organizational Meeting)

At the age of five, Jerry lived in Matawan as the eldest of five children of Jeremiah P Hourihan and wife Elizabeth. His paternal grandparents were born in the Irish Free State and his maternal grandfather was born in Denmark. (Those with an Ancestry account can click here to see him in the 1930 Federal Census for New Jersey.) According to the Social Security Death Index, Jerry's father was born 17 April 1898 and died in April 1974. His father's last known residence was in Cliffwood.

Jerry made the New York Times in 2003 over a dispute over a neighbor's skateboard halfpipe. He discussed the Matawan train station with the Asbury Park Press in 2007. And the Independent cited him among many Claire Court residents who complained earlier this year at a Borough Council workshop meeting about JCP&L tree trimming.

Jerry's family has also been involved in local public service. His son, Jeremiah Jr, is a retired Aberdeen police officer. And in July 2008, his grandson, Jeremiah III, with eight years service with the Matawan PD , was promoted to sergeant. (Independent)

Friday, July 3, 2009

In Honor of Thomas Jefferson

The artist Maria Kalman has created a wonderful tribute to Thomas Jefferson at her blog at the NY Times. It is called Time Wastes Too Fast. I encourage you to browse through this colorfully worded and artistically accomplished treat.

July 4th is notable for the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776, but also for being the day exactly 50 years later that both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Matawan Fire Prevention Bureau

At this time of year, with fireworks, cookouts, and other hazards in the offing, the Matawan Fire Prevention Bureau must be very busy keeping people in their community safe. Not to mention the efforts they must go to to protect homes, churches, and businesses. If I have time, I'll have to do a little digging and see if I can get enough to write a good article. If you have any ideas, let me know.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Raritan River Crossings

The Alfred E Driscoll Bridge is a major artery on the commute from Central Jersey to New York. It can be raining or snowing on the north shore and dry on the south. It is an appropriate spot to consider the beginning of North Jersey, but many would disagree. It's all a matter of perspective.

If you are in Monmouth County, there aren't but so many ways to cross the Raritan by car -- you can go west on Route 18 to New Brunswick and head north on 1, or you can take the Victory Bridge on Route 35, or you can cross the mighty Driscoll.

Named after a former New Jersey governor, this bridge arches so high above the Raritan River that ships easily pass underneath it.

The Driscoll Bridge was widened in a huge construction project that recently ended but seemed to drag on for umpteen million years. Here's a December 2008 video of a vehicle crossing the bridge, but it is woefully unrepresentative of the current situation since a new traffic pattern began in May 2009. In December, there was only one northbound express lane crossing the bridge. See the far left lane that splits off? It bypassed the busy morning exits for Routes 287, 440, and 1/9. This May 2009 video takes you on a shaky ride across the bridge in that single lane. (Now you know what Jersey drivers are doing when they aren't on their cell phones.) A subsequent May 2009 video shows two lanes open on the bypass, with cones blocking a couple of other lanes which would soon be opened as well. Today, fully half the northbound lanes are included in that left lanes bypass, while those stuck in the right lanes during rush hour are typically just creeping along towards Woodbridge, Piscataway, or Staten Island. Stay to the left and take the bypass if you are heading for the NJ Turnpike or Metropark.

Have you ever been on a North Jersey Coast Line train and had to wait in the Amboys for a ship to clear the Raritan River Railroad Bridge? The railroad bridge is in a major shipping lane to the North River and beyond, so it has to open to let ships by. Here's an interesting perspective on the situation, next time you have to wait until the bridge is down and locked.

Matawan Aberdeen Public Library - Mid-Summer's Nights and Afternoons

Matawan Aberdeen Public Library can be your choice for entertainment this summer.

Check out the afternoon movies being shown this month.
There are also clubs and speakers.
  • Thursday 9 July at 7:30 pm - The Book Club will be discussing Three Cups of Tea, by Greg Mortenson
  • Thursday 16 July at 7:00 pm - The Knitting Club
  • Thursday 30 July at 7:00 pm - Speaker on Reverse Mortgages?
And music.
  • Monday 3 August at 7:00 pm - The Al Wright Unit, a bebop jazz trio, has previously performed at Dublin House, Riverview Hospital, , and the Public Library in Red Bank, as well as a middle school in Leonardo. They have even been mentioned in the New York Times. See Al Wright on drums, Greg Murphy on keyboard, and Ruth Wright doing vocals. Bob Farley will entertain and inspire during intermission. Event is free but pre-registration is required.