A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

News Updates as of 31 October 2009

  • I returned from vacation to find my yard buried in fallen leaves. The giant oaks in our yard are nearly bare. My neighbor John said heavy rains brought down the leaves this week. He's reluctant to check his gutters because he'll just have to get out his ladder and gloves and get to work. Both of us will be pulling out our rakes this weekend. The leaf pickup schedule for November is embedded in the Township calendar. This week's leaf collection focuses on Cliffwood Beach, Heather Glen, Santa Fe, and Strathmore Sections A, D, F, N, and O.
  • The Aberdeen Township Planning Board, which includes most of the Democratic candidates for Council, has invoked belated intentions to review the need for redevelopment of an industrial site at the train station, based on an article in this week's Independent. There are so many caveats to this underwhelming gesture that I wonder, beyond the upcoming election, why it merited a news release and press coverage. Redevelopment is years away if toxic waste must be removed, so nothing is happening soon, if at all. The township manager's statement - We want to have the site cleaned up for the purpose of the public - is beyond interpretation. Actually, this news piece is only the latest example of why we need a more vigorous local media instead of overly obliging local papers that simply publish what they are told.
  • In a recent article for the Maplewood blog at the NY Times website, Alison Greene talks about her travails at beginning an exercise program at the YMCA in Summit. She tried in vain at several malls to locate a swim cap out of season. Exasperated, she asked the clerk at EMS in Somerville plaza for help. Our chamber of commerce would be pleased with his response. The helpful young man told me that I could go to a specialty store in Mahwah, Manalapan, Matawan or one of those other non-Essex county “M” towns where I was not about to venture for a cheap piece of latex.
  • The kids started their Halloween visits at 1 pm today. There was a rush until about 3 pm or so and it's been quiet since then. I think I spent $40 on candy. The Township curfew begins at 8:30 pm.
  • APP published an article this week about the Matawan candidates for two borough council seats. Incumbent Bud Mullaney, a local business owner, and Richard Paolini, a bank executive and attorney, are the Democrats running against Republicans Andrew Lopez, Jr, a retired insurance agent, and Tony Angelini, a social worker. 
    • Like APP's article about the Aberdeen candidates, this unsourced composite piece evidently consists of the results of requests of the candidates for information. It's unclear whether the article contains any original research or information derived from personal interviews. While something of a public service, this sort of article provides little insight into the candidates and is highly biased in favor of the candidates' spin on reality. 
    • The article suggests that all the candidates are going to cut your taxes and spend tax receipts very carefully. It would be nice to know what they plan to do with downtown and the train station, whether they support the library and local business. 
    • I would be interested to see who supports the nonsense that came up earlier this year besmirching local business owners like Mr Mullaney who do business with the Borough and serve on the Council. Seems to me that adequate ethics standards and public participation in the political process will keep most council members on the straight and narrow and bring violators to the fore. Responsible business leaders bring a valuable perspective to local government.
    • Matawan Advocate challenges the Borough Council's decision to shorten town hall's hours when a major condominium project was just beginning. He also urges renewed use of a CPA firm instead of the Borough auditor to avoid insider abuse and waste.
  • Violence and vandalism are down markedly at Matawan Regional High School, per the Independent. If you pay school taxes here you have a vested interest in this issue. You'll want to read this detailed article, which is substantially an annual progress report to the community from the superintendent and high school principal.
  • In football, MRHS Huskies defeated Long Branch 17-16 earlier today, according to Gridiron New Jersey. The Independent gave a rundown on the Central Jersey postseason contest earlier this week.
  • NJSIAA has scheduled its tournament play. APP has a lengthy article about the contests, which begin in two weeks.
    • Girls: 13th seeded MRHS Huskies are paired with 4th seeded Summit in Central Jersey Group 2 girls soccer, per Philly.com. See also the NJ state tournament preview at NJ.com's girls soccer blog.
    • Boys: 16th seeded MRHS Huskies squeezed into tournament play paired with top seeded Raritan in Central Jersey Group 2 boys soccer, per Philly.com.
  • If you're a new resident in Aberdeen, you'll want to familiarize yourself with the Township's parking rules related to snow removal. You'll also want to check out Advice for Property Owners and sign up for Aberdeen Web News.
  • Pacific Health Laboratories, Inc, a local sports nutrition company, experienced 9% growth in revenues in the third quarter 2009, according to a company press release published by Reuters. It lost a penny a share because it is carrying restructuring costs from last year. The business's growth offers promise that the company will turn a healthy profit when those expenses end and the economic climate improves.
  • Did anyone see Independent candidate for lieutenant governor Frank Esposito yesterday at Aberdeen-Matawan train station during the evening rush? A campaign stop was scheduled. Impressions?
  • Bass fishing at Cliffwood Beach discussed at SILive.com. Chris from Crabby’s Bait and Tackle, Keyport, says striped bass fishing improved with fish to 22-pounds landed at Sandy Hook Channel on eels. Eels also produced bass to 24-pounds around the Hook and at Flynn’s Knoll. Birds were seen working peanut bunker and sand eel bait from Keyport to Sandy Hook with a mix of bass and blues schooled underneath. Beach anglers have also done well landing bass to 19 pounds at Cliffwood Beach and Union Beach which also produced a 47-pound drum. Bottom fishing served up red-hot catches of blackfish, sea bass and porgies on area rock piles and at the Sandy Hook Reef.
  • Matawan's Tom Biro is leaving MTV to manage the new Seattle office of a public relations firm, per APP. PRWeek, which hosts a by-subscription-only blog by Biro, has a more detailed rundown on Biro's move to the west coast.
  • I just discovered an ad for a Matawan First Aid Squad flea market fundraiser that was held today. Next time advertise in advance or write me directly as 5:30am on the day of the event is a bit late for me to promote your event.


  1. If you want investigative reporting in this town, you'll need to quit your day day. :)

    The local reporters don't get the support or recognition to investigate. That's why you'll only see quotes from local officials and sometimes a resident who speaks at a meeting.

    If newspapers don't find a way to make money, this is the future of journalism.

  2. The future of journalism, while bleak, has nothing to do with this. Our local reporters will get little support or recognition from me until they begin to do their job correctly. There are schools where people learn to be able reporters, you know. It is an art, but it is also a trade with best practices and ethical standards. They have responsibilities to their readership that they are not fulfilling. They're not doing their job.

    If local officials don't provide them access, the media should report that in their stories and explain the sorry perspective from which they are left to describe the stories they are presenting. There is really no excuse for disguising press releases as news. If press releases are their only option, fine, but say so. Sourcing is a hugely important part of any news story.

    I'll keep my day job, thank you. If the press go under, it will be because they stopped providing a reliable service. Like any bad company that goes under, they need to make a profit and provide a useful service. And they're doing neither at this point, so your prognosis is probably accurate.

    I'd like to be able to pick up a local paper and trust that it was telling me something I needed to know instead of what a local official wanted me to think. I'm surprised you're willing to settle for less.

  3. I've had the opportunity to know some of the local reporters. They're generally recent college graduates who work the local beat for two years before moving on to bigger and better.

    Over the past year and a half, there have been several major local news stories that received little to no coverage. Brown's termination, Gallo's resignation, Vinci's tax-free land grab, a BOE member resigning the day after the board learns Quinn worked without proper certification, the teachers union consenting to a board member soliciting campaign contributions from teachers, the town balancing the budget through a pension deferral, etc.

    I asked the local reporters why not. They answered because investigative reporting required a lot of time they didn't have and there was no encouragement from their employers.

    During my time as a blogger, only two stories were researched in depth, the pool club sale (Independent) and Rappaport (APP).

    Am I going to criticize a 22-year old for doing his job and not going after the tough stories? No. Of the 17,000 people who live in Aberdeen Township, you and I are the only ones who do any research. Unfortunately, we, the citizenry, are the answer.