A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What's With Walden University?

I thought I would research Walden University's accreditation status, since Aberdeener has shown such an abhorrence for their master's degree in education. It concerns him that some of our teachers are getting their master's degrees online through Walden. Here is what I've found.

Walden University has been accredited since 1990 by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). NCA was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the US and is responsible for nineteen states, including Minnesota, where Walden is based. NCA is recognized by the US DOE and the Council on Higher Education.
According to HLC's accreditation details for Walden, as of 28 August 2009, Walden had 26,615 full time and 5,358 part time master's degree students and in the past year had issued 6,488 master's degrees. The school is roughly 2.5 times the size of Ohio State University, according to HLC's accreditation details for that school. Ohio State had just over 10,000 full and part time master's students and had issued over 2,500 master's degrees in the past year when the statistics were gathered earlier this year. That means that Ohio State issued master's degrees to over 25% of its students, while Walden issued degrees to only 20% of its master's students.

Fast Company magazine, created by two former Harvard Business Review editors, had high praises for Walden in an article back in 1999. The magazine's current issue has an article advocating for-profit universities with online programs. It focuses on Jack Welch's entry into the market, how the business has overcome its diploma mill reputation, and how it will facilitate President Obama's goals for flexible higher education.

Wikipedia says Walden University was established in 1971 and was taken over in 2001 by Sylvan Learning Systems, which became Laureate Education in 2004. Of course, you could rely on the Urban Dictionary for its ribald definitions of Walden.

I received my bachelor's degree in a non-traditional manner through Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, and my employer paid for my master's degree program, including a sabbatical to attend classes in another city, so I'm unlikely to criticize local teachers for reaching out to the Internet for nontraditional and relatively convenient educational opportunities. I hope the BOE will encourage rather than discourage its teachers to seek this sort of development.

It wouldn't hurt, though, for the Board to require applicants for cash awards upon completion of any degree program -- online or otherwise -- to submit samples of complex class projects that demonstrate their achievement. Some of the projects could even be published within the school district for everyone to learn from, a means of giving back to the district.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Upcoming Keyport Events as of 26 November 2009

  •  Santa will be arriving in Keyport during the borough's holiday tree lighting event this Saturday 28 November. Events will be held beginning at 5 pm at the corner of West Front and Main Streets, according to the Keyport Business Alliance.
  • Keyport will be conducting a contest for the best outdoor holiday light display on 18 December from 7 pm - 9 pm. Residents who want to compete should be sure to have their displays lit during that time. See this public notice for details. Awards will be announced on New Year's Day.
  • Keyport plans to repave its waterfront parking lot next Tuesday 1 December. See notice.
  • There will be a runoff election for a Keyport Borough council member seat in early January, according to APP. The candidates each received 1,064 votes in November, so the borough clerk has to schedule a new election.
  • The Keyport Ministerium Food Pantry is busier than ever due to the difficult economy, according to the Independent. Needy area residents received a $200+ package of food before the Thanksgiving holiday. If you'd like to help replenish the shelves or donate towards the program's building fund, click here to see how to do so. Wherever you live, keep your local food pantry in mind when you're at the grocery store and when you are making charitable donations.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

News Updates as of 25 November 2009

  • Monmouth County was second only to Essex County in the number of heroin addicts seeking treatment last year, according to Department of Human Services statistics cited by APP. That's not tourists from New York City going to the Jersey Shore to score some heroin; it's local county residents who are getting hooked. And we need to admit to ourselves that the dealers live among us. The authorities rightly urge us to fight drug use on every front. And while it is good to see investigation, arrest and prosecution of drug dealers, we really need to look into ourselves to reduce the demand for this stuff and get it off our streets.
  • Alcoeur Gardens, based in Aberdeen, has facilities here on Matawan Avenue in Aberdeen, as well as in Brick, Ocean, and soon in Tom's River for the institutional care of patients with Alzheimer's in home-like environments.
  • Bloomfield is reviewing its recent choice for township administrator, according to Baristanet. Frederick Carr, who used to do work for Matawan Borough, once worked for the company that Bloomfield hired to walk the township through the candidate selection process for the position he now holds. Bloomfield's mayor wonders how the selection was whittled down from 46 candidates to 2 so quickly. Referring to Carr, the mayor is quoted as saying,"Is he a golf buddy, or what?" See also the Star-Ledger article.
  • According to The Leader, Becton Regional School District is seeking to leave NJ School Boards Association and join instead Dollars and $ense, which MARSD and 28 other NJ school districts belong to.
  • Matawan and Manasquan will square off for the NJSIAA Central Group II sectional high school football championship match at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) in Ewing on 4 December at 7 pm, according to APP. Click here for directions to the campus. The school's virtual tour includes a photo and description of Lions Stadium under Recreational Areas.

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Happy Thanksgiving 2009


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Local Media Coverage Wasn't Any Better Fifty Years Ago

Fifty years ago this week, the Matawan Aberdeen Board of Education voted to begin circulating a brochure advocating the expenditure of $2.545 million to build a new high school in the district. Voters would be going to the polls on 1 December 1959 to approve acquisition of the site, erection of the building, and the transfer of about $45,000 of previously authorized funds, so MARSD decided to float an ad campaign of sorts. They also made a press release, which was carried locally as front page news.

According to page 14 of the 19 November 1959 issue of the Matawan Journal, BOE President Harold J Dolan blasted the opposition for starting a whisper campaign that the new high school would cause taxes to double. He assured residents that the board's auditors in Perth Amboy had determined that the average $1,500 tax assessment would only go up about $50.

Less than two weeks before the election, the local press not only took the side of school board officials in explaining away public concerns about potential tax increases, they heavily influenced the readership by giving front page coverage to the architect's design plans. Pay particular attention to how the Journal reiterated the government's view of the minimal tax consequences of the construction right below the image of the plans. Nowhere in the article did the paper offer a credible alternative point of view, instead casting opponents as errant gossips and rumormongers. As for any independent analysis, there was none.

It was a heavy growth period in the Matawan-Aberdeen area, so a new school was definitely needed at that time. But the idea that tax payers would experience only a 3% increase in their taxes by the purchase of a large property and construction of a new multimillion dollar building was probably worth questioning. Taxes have certainly more than doubled and probably did much sooner than those auditors in Perth Amboy would have dared to guess.

As for media coverage, things really haven't changed at all in fifty years. I mistakenly accepted the common belief that local press coverage was suffering today because of their loss of market share due to competition from the Internet. It seems they've always been providing biased and deceptive reporting. Today's Asbury Park Press and Independent continue this pattern of reporting press releases as news coverage and failing to adequately provide alternate viewpoints. Their slogan might as well be: We call 'em as they see 'em. I strongly suspect there was no competition from the Internet in those days, so what was their excuse for bad journalistic practice back then?

Huskies Shoot Down the Rockets (Matawan 46 Raritan 7)

The NJSIAA Central Group II semi-finals are now history: Manasquan defeated Rumson 23-11 on Friday night, and Saturday night Matawan totally crushed Raritan 46-7. The date and location for the tournament's sectional championship did not appear on Bracket Maker as of this writing. Everyone had a different idea of where and when the game would be held when I asked around tonight.

My wife and I got to the school at 5 pm, bought a stadium blanket and found great seats near midfield. I shot a bit of film of the team preparing for the game.

We were early but the stands began to fill around us soon enough. We were surrounded by parents and relatives of the Matawan players. We had a wonderful time hearing from them about the season so far, about the alum in the back row of the stands who always shouts "60-0!" at the beginning of each game, and about the college dreams of the boys they love so much. Throughout the game we shared observations of the plays and ref calls. I discovered about halfway through the game that I was sitting next to the sister of one of the coaches. Her son was carrying the Pop Warner flag up and down the field. And she even had a cousin on the Raritan team.

My throat is sore from all the yelling and cheering I did tonight. It might be due to how the refs began the night by calling an exceedingly tight game -- there were so many penalties! Maybe the boys were nervous, but then again maybe the refs were trying to set the tone? The Matawan fans became restless as they watched these  penalties bring back a number of great Husky advances on Raritan. More than once Matawan had 20 yards or more to go. How many first downs in a row, but going the wrong way across the field??! Well, after trading licks with the Rockets to only minor effect for nearly two quarters of play, the Huskies finally found the handle on the ball and soared to a 20 point lead. Raritan never recovered.  

Despite the score, it was pretty obvious that Matawan was weak against the Raritan passing game. And the Huskies threw away at least three extra points -- two by missed kicks and one by a poorly executed hiked ball. Hopefully the team will be viewing the tapes this week and working out those kinks. Manasquan is no slouch, being the defending champion and having won the sectional a record 11 times. There will be simply no room for lax pass defense and missed field goals at the championships.

Great game, Huskies! Good luck against Manasquan.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Display at Matawan Starbucks

If you live near Route 34 and Main Street and have a teenage daughter who tells you she is going out to hang around with her buds for a while, consider the possibility that she and her friends are loitering at the Matawan Starbucks.

Maybe your daughter is the girl I saw there the other day. She was with four guys and they were making a general nuisance of themselves. My spouse abandoned me for a visit to the powder room, so I amused myself by watching the spectacle for a few minutes.

It's nothing new for young folks to come in and take over the place. Ever been in there and all the tables have lost their chairs? You're walking around with a hot coffee, a scone, and a newspaper and you're looking for a place to sit. As they occupy the place, the kids gradually form a huge communal circle.  If you're lucky, it's like Stonehenge and only the chairs are left. You can sit down in peace. That can happen.

Of course they don't buy anything. The staff used to have to call the cops but now the kids just leave when they're told. The staff mostly tolerate your daughter and her friends. If a customer complains, they're more than happy to toss them.

Sometimes your daughter's male buds get that call of the wild. You know what I mean -- call of the wild? Well, it is a teenage call of the wild, so I guess it's ok. More of a PG-13 rating than anything else. But just think: Maybe it was your daughter with the boys who were leaving the G rating behind on those bulky fabric chairs along the window that overlooks Main Street? She could be the one that had the boy lying across her and breathing down her neck? Hey, customer?! Want to add milk and sugar to your coffee? I suggest you come back later.

To make the scene complete there's the boy getting straws from the counter, chewing them into bright green knots, and spitting their mangled carcasses onto the floor for nothing better to do. Then there was when they started riding on each others' laps, complete with butt slaps. It was a veritable Starbucks rodeo, but without the saddle. Another boy in the group kept picking up napkins. Runny nose. I felt for him. Don't you?

Yeah, maybe that was your daughter and her friends? Just hanging out. That's what kids do. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

News Updates as of 18 November 2009

  • Pop Warner football cuts into some high school varsity rosters, according to an article at NJ.com.
  • Kati Brower, a Matawan resident, is a museum educator at the Museum of Early Trades and Crafts in Madison, New Jersey, according to a news release carried in The Alternative Press. She also makes and sells handcrafted jewelry at a online business she calls C'est Tout.
  • According to its letter to investors, local firm I Green Innovations is having to respond to a flood of letters from its investors seeking clarification on its plan to change the company's name to that of its successful subsidiary, B Green Innovations.Along with the name change, the company has been moving to protect the value of its common stock by changing some stock policies and seeking to buy back shares. The letter spells out a series of positive developments with major corporations to retail the firm's popular Vibe Away product. Most of this information is not new and seems to be generally positive. The letter also mentions product development plans involving recycled plastic and flat composite bottle sheets, something I don't believe I've read before.
  • The First Presbyterian Church of Matawan is collecting items for holiday food baskets for local distribution. They are also taking orders for Christmas wreaths made at the Mission of the Eastward in Maine.
  • Check out Chowhound for recent reader recommendations to a new Matawan resident regarding area restaurants.
  • Tips after Sunday's America's Most Wanted netted a fugitive in Florida of a Sayreville 21st birthday party dispute-turned-shooting. The 2006 crime produced four victims from Matawan, Old Bridge, and Sayreville. See the full story at NJ.com.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Commute from Red Bank to New York City and Back Once Took Six Days

At Matawan Aberdeen Public Library today, I stumbled upon the ship's log of a voyage from Red Bank to New York City that took place 275 years ago this week. According to Historical and Genealogical Miscellany: Data Relating to the Settlement and Settlers of New York and New Jersey, Vol. I, pp 222 - 224, written in 1903 by John E Stillwell, MD, the sloop Portland took six days to accomplish a trip that now-a-days takes about three hours or less. Here are the highlights of the voyage as best I can render them (and a 19th century map of the area courtesy Rutgers Unversity's website, which is all I could find online).
  • Saturday 9th November 1734: Passengers and crew boarded the sloop Portland, but tides were unfavorable so the sloop became stuck and couldn't proceed. Everyone deboarded and went home.
  • Sunday 10th November: Everyone boarded, but there was no wind, so everyone was obliged to row a mile to Mr. Pintard's place. The sloop picked up more passengers there, but winds weren't favorable so progress was halted. Everyone deboarded and walked home in the rain.
  • Monday 11th November: Skies were dark and menacing all day. Everyone boarded again around noon. The sloop got as far as Rocky Point and ran aground. Passengers and crew had to wait for high tide. Set off again, arriving at Black Point by about 9 pm. (The trip from Mr Pintard's to Black Point was 2 leagues, or 6 statute miles.) (Black Point used to be called Passage Point, the homestead of Thomas Morris and his son Lewis, who was appointed the first sheriff of Monmouth County. Lewis, one of many with the same name, was murdered by his slaves in 1695 and reportedly deserved it.) The crew struggled to make it the last mile to the inlet, but many groundings later they decided to set anchor. The passengers went ashore.
  • Tuesday 12th November: The sloop went about a mile towards the Inlet and ran aground when the tides grew unfavorable. The passengers went ashore and barbecued a pig. Once back aboard the crew attempted to set sail again and failed. A Rhode Island sloop sat nearby, also mired in the low tide, and sent a canoe over to pick up one of the Portland's passengers. The crew and the balance of passengers slept aboard ship.
  • Wednesday 13th November: "By break of day we began beat and thump" and were able to cross the shoal. But the Rhode Island sloop borrowed some of the Portland's passengers to help them reach Black Point. While waiting for them to return, the crew and some passengers went ashore to retrieve wood. While ashore, one of the passengers developed an acute ague. After everyone was back aboard, the crew went to weigh anchor but broke a rope while casting off. During the effort to retrieve the anchor, the ship once again went aground. In another two hours the sloop was once again under way. They thumped their way across a sand bar, then sailed along Sandy Hook for a couple of hours. The waters became rough and several passengers became ill and stayed that way all night. By 11 pm the sloop ran aground on a shoal and set anchor.
  • Thursday 14th November: The crew got up and prepared some boiled potatoes. When they got to Permy City Cove, the crew shared half a shoat with a crew from Egg Harbor. The crew took the other half of the shoat ashore and traded it and some potatoes to some local Indians, who provided smoked meats. The crew picked up wood. Two of the passengers left the ship at Spermaceti Cove [rendered in this document as Permy City Cove] and returned home on foot -- this was the third passenger lost. The passenger with acute ague fell ill again. The captain cut his hand badly on a shell.
  • Friday 15th November: A man hailed the sloop seeking a ride from near the Cove to New York City, so the crew deboarded to discuss it with him and pick up more wood. The man decided not to board when the crew explained that their New York arrival time was an open question. After some difficulties, the crew escaped the Cove and passed through the Narrows at 10 pm, arriving in New York at 11 pm. Landing at the dock proved perilous in the night, so the crew chose to wait til morning.
  • Saturday 16th November: The crew delivered a cord and three-quarters of wood. While loading and unloading the ship, the jib snapped, which staved in some of the shipping barrels in the hold and made handling the freight very difficult. The crew worked until nightfall.
  • Sunday 17th November: Two of the lost passengers showed up in the city.
  • Monday 18th November: The ship visited another dock to land barrels of cheese, leather, and flour.
  • Wednesday 20th November: While loading the ship with cider, the crew split a tackle block, making it difficult to load the rest of the cargo -- 8 barrels, 2 crates, and other goods. They prepared the ship to set sail the next day into the wee hours, making arrangements with three other ships to join them for the return trip to New Jersey.
  •  Thursday 21st November: The other three ships set sail while the crew of the Portland slept. Once they realized their situation, tides were bad and there was rain and fog at the Narrows. The crew debated what to do, finally choosing to proceed by compass. But the rough seas caused the casks in the hold to shift and the high winds damaged the main mast. The sloop made it to the relative shelter of Sandy Hook and then to Spermaceti Cove. The ship went aground and set anchor at the mouth of the Cove. The crew and its remaining two passengers burned wood to keep warm overnight.
  • Friday 22nd November: Without a needle, the crew used an old fork and twine to repair the mast. After three tries the crew was able to round the point of rock, then into the river. The sloop went aground again at Black Point.
I found the original text online. While many of the errors are due to the writing of the day, this version is scanned, so there are a few errors from the OCR process. See below.


A journal of our intended voyage by Gods Permission from Red Bank to New York Distant 12 Leagues in ye sloop Portland and back Again.

On Saturday the 9th Novm'b 1734 we went on board In order for to come to Sail but in weighing the best bower it got fast under the Stern and it not being got light we could not clear it untill the tide was so much fallen that we could not get away so we was obliged to go on shore again the wind W S \\' and went home and Likewise the Passengers went home.

On Sunday the loth we went on board without the Passengers early in ye evening and got Down the river as far as Mr. Pintards it being one mile but it was with much labour for their was no w'ind and we were oblidge to Row and set all the way, when we came their 7 passengers came on board but went on shore again for the wind sprung up at E & S and that being contrary we went home again on foot, wet weather.

On Mon'd the ITth at 12 o'clock we went on board again with 5 passengers and sailed
down the river as far as Rocky Point the wind at S and their got aground and Lay untill hy water that being at 9 o'clock when we weighed Again & with Abundance of Difficulty and hard Labour we got to black point then it being Late in the night tho it being but 1 mile yet the wind being at S Contrary we ware oblidg to row and set all the way and got aground several times then being come to an Anchor we went on shore & some of our passengers Lodged on shore the weather being all day Lowering, ye distance from Mr. Pintards to black Point being 2 Lgs.

On Tues'd we went on board Again with all our passengers In ye morning & set sail & sailed towards the Inlet about 1 mile and there got aground & tho we carried out an Anchor & strove verry hard for it yet we could not Get off that tide, then their came a Cannoe & fetch't one of our passengers & some of us went on shore & barbecued a pig and Eat him, then towards Evening went on board Again and at hy water we strove to get off again but cannot tho we carried out an Anchor & took much trouble, in the evening came in a sloop from Rhode Island Capt John Watson Commander & run aground in call of us at Dark came a Cannoe on board and took one of our passengers on shore. So we finding our Labour in striving to get off to be in vain we went to sleep the wind at W & N clear weather.

On Wednes'd by Break of day we began beat and thump and at hy water we got off and got over ye shole, we lay upon and came to an Anchor. Likewise the other sloop got ofi' and slipt her cable & left her boat with it & got some of our passengers to carry it to black point, in the after'noon they came back with that passenger that Left us the night before, then we went on shore 4 of us and got some wood, while we were on shore one of the Passenger that came on shore with us had a fit of feaver & Ague, when we came on board Again we weighed Anchor & in casting the Anchor the Cat-roap broak & ye Anchor fell down Again and before we could get it up again we got aground & was obliged to carry out an Anchor Again & in about 1-2 an hours time we got off & sailed Down to the bar, but it being low water we struck upon the baar & lay thumping bought 1 hour, by this time the sun was Down & when we got out the wind was at W B[ ?] N. we sailed
along Sandy hook about 2 miles & then the wind began Scant upon us and at last came to N. W then we were oblidged to turn it & in 3 trips we got within the hook, we had a verry rough time and several of our passengers ware sick, we ran against shole harbour & came to Anchor there at 11 o'clock at night &a went to sleep, some of our passengers ware yet sick the weather indifferent & Clear, she rid all ye night wind still at N W & blew fresh.

On thurs'd towards day we awoke and boiled a pot of potatoes & eat of them by Day light, we weighed Anchor and came to sail, the wind still at N W that morning we got into Permy City Cove where lay 2 Vessels one of them from Egg Harbor which was full of water. ye people came on board of us to get some meat we having a small shoat let them have half of it & took part of the other & carried it on shore with some potatoes which we Exchanged with the other people for musty Indian meal & made Doboys of it at an Indian wigwam. so having Eat our Doe boys potatoes & pork & got some wood, towards Evening we went on board Again all but 2 passengers which Left us & went home on foot, so then we had lost 3 of our passengers, ye wind still at N W clear weather, the man that had a fit of the fever & ague yesterDay had another this Day. Also I cut my Right hand with a Shell very badly.

On Fri'd we boiled more potatoes & pork & Eat that for our bread was all spent, towards Evening their came a man & hail'd us, 4 of us went on shore to him & he told us he wanted a passage to York, we told him ye wind was contrary & we could not tell when we should go for it was at N W still, so he Left us. then having got some wood we went on board Again, by this time we found ye wind was shifted fair for us, we quickly come to sail and with much Difficulty we got out of the Cove, the wind at S W by this time it was dark, however we steered our course, then we boiled more potatoes and Eat them without Anything, then being oblidged to steer by the Compass we had no Candle but were oblidged to put some tallow in a rag & Do with that, then having made the narrows at 10 o'clock at night we had 1 small bottle rum which finished by the time we got into the narrows, then the wind dyed away and we hoisted our Square sail but presently the wind sprung up and Broak the Oar. we burn'd it out with & had like to have carried the Square sail away but haveing a brisk gail & fair we got to York by 11 o'clock that night but in comeing to run into the Dock we run with our Bolt Sprit upon ye Long Bridg. I had like to have Broak it & tore ye jib but haveing clear'd her again we with much difficulty haled her along the Dock where having fastened her & Landed part of our passengers & secured all things the rest of us went to sleep the wind at S W, clear weather.

On Saturday we haled Clofse to the wharf (for we could not get Clofe Last night the tide being too low) & Landed our wood which was a cord & 3/4, then haveing some barrels upon Deck we went to Lower them into the hold & they laying upon the side next to ye Dock when we took them off she Listed off & broak ye down hale of ye jib which was made a fast off and stove a barrel of flour and a barrel of meat and broak a cheefse but having lighted her again and put things in order. In this time it was night, the wind W B[ ?] N, clear weather.

On Sun'd ye 17th Novem'br at night, came to town 2 of the pafsengers we left behind — this day all good weather.

On Mon'd we landed some Leather & Cheefse we then being got unto Connches Dock, the weather clear.

On Wednes'd we took on board 4 pipes of Syder. in takeing of them on we split one of the takel blocks and was put to much trouble to get them in. Also we took on board 8 barrels and 2 Crates and other goods, at night by candle Light we spliced the Down hale of ye Jib intending to sale at 4 o'clock ye next morning, for then the tide did serve, and ye wind at S, fair and good weather.

On Thurs'd by 2 o'clock in the morning we got all things in order for to sail and got water on board, but their being 4 Vefsels of us, all Defineing to sail togethcr, and had Appointed to Call upon one another & we trusting to that, went to sleep, they all went away without calling upon us, so when we awake our vessel was aground and we could not go that tide tho ye wind was fair, when we floated again we came to sail, ye wind at E B [ ?] N and rain by the time that we got down to ye narrows, the wind was got to N E and ye tide of Eb was made for us then we had a Debate Among us whether we should come to an Anchor their and stay untill better weather or stand along, but at Length we concluded to stand along and see it out, but the fog was so thick that we ware oblig'd to steer by ye compafs and in crofsing ye bay the Cask shifted in ye hold ye Seas being so rough — Likewise our main sail give way out of the bolt Roap, ye wind being so hard,
however after some time we made Sandy Hook, we then being w'ithin we made for permy City Cove but in going in we grounded upon ye point of the Cove, but haveing a fresh breeze we rub'd over but being Desireous to get as far in as we could we went to put her in stays, but she mifstayed several times, then we wore her but with mifstaying so often we were got so near ye shoal that in waring she struck, but rub'd over, then we find the wind so hard that it was impofsible to bring her to stays we come to an Anchor in ye mouth of ye Cove, so haveing put things in order we went and kindled a fire and warm'd ourselves, their being but 2 pafsengers, we went to sleep, ye wind still at N E and rain and cold uncomfortable weather.

On fry'd morning went to mending ye main sail, but for want of a nedle we were oblidg to make one of an old fork, which we made holes through ye sail and put ye twine through and so round ye bolt roap. so having mended some part and hoop ye other by taking a reef we come to sail ye wind at N W and in 3 trips we got round ye point of ye Rock the wind then being fair we in a little time got in ye River but just as we come to black point ye wind being contrary thare we got aground and was oblidg'd to carry out an Anchor before we could get her off but having got her afloat.

[This paper was copied from the original for me by a painstaking friend, and while I believe it to be correct, I have never had the opportunity of comparing it.]

* This trip to New York City, taking six days in 1734, is now made daily in three hours.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Monday Nite Football Fun in and near Aberdeen

Court Jester off Route 34 in Aberdeen has $2 plates of wings or tacos and (I believe they're $2.75) monster mugs of Yuengling, Coors Light, or Killians on Monday evenings after 9 pm. Also, they have a wing-eating contest during Monday Nite Football halftime. You're liable to catch me there on a Monday evening after work.

Big Ed's BBQ is just north of Aberdeen on Route 34 in Old Bridge. It has a 10% off coupon featured on its website promoting its NFL coverage all day this Sunday and after 7 pm on Monday. Be sure to click and print the coupon if you plan to go.

Friday, November 13, 2009

News Updates as of 13 November 2009

  • A Matawan resident turned himself in on an outstanding Verona Municipal Court warrant and was arrested on Thursday 5 November, per North Jersey.com. Verona, NJ is in Essex County and was once part of what was called the Horseneck Tract.
  • One of the six bottles of Lowenbrau beer that Matawan Fire Chief Leroy Smith recovered  from the wreckage of the Hindenburg back in 1937 is expected to bring up to £5000 at auction, according to the Press Association. BTW, the bottle remains unopened.
  • H1N1 vaccinations are available by appointment only and for Matawan Aberdeen Regional School District students pre-K to 12th grade only on Saturday 14 November, according to a flyer at the MARSD website.
  • Joseph Uglialoro, a member of both the Matawan Aberdeen Middle School (MAMS) staff and the Jersey Shore Running Club, finished the NYC Marathon in 4 hours 5 minutes, according to Headlines at the MAMS website. He also competed in the 37th Annual Jersey Shore Half Marathon at Sandy Hook back in October, according to the Cranford Patch. He's been at this awhile. He competed in the George Sheehan 5 Mile Classic back in 2001, according to Cool Running, and the New Jersey Marathon back in 2004 and 2005, according to Best Racing Systems. You're an inspiration, Mr Uglialoro.
  • Matawan Regional High School's marching band finished in 18th place in Chapter X Group 2 competition at the 37th Annual Tournament of Bands Atlantic Coast Championships held on 1 and 8 November in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

News Updates as of 11 November 2009

  • Matawan's Giaimo twins and their mom can be seen cheering the Yankees at the 2009 World Series parade in Manhattan last Friday in an APP photograph. Click here to read the article.
  • My Central Jersey.com provides a detailed report on the Spotlight Players and their upcoming performances of the musical Pajama Game. See this blog's discussion of Pajama Game from late last month.
  • Kevin Cook of Matawan is one of several people helping out a friend in North Jersey whose teenage son was seriously injured in a 2006 baseball game, according to North Jersey.com. (Sorry, but North Jersey.com throws a banner ad at you when you visit their site. You can click to close it or wait ten seconds.)
  • Gordon Felt, President of Families of Flight 93, is a key player in the push for development of a 2,200 acre park and memorial in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, where the plane came down on September 11, 2001. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Mr Felt's brother, Edward Porter Felt, who was among the 40 who perished aboard that ill-fated flight, was a resident of Matawan.
  • Anthony Sesely of Matawan competed last Saturday in both the tour type Modified and SK Modified features at the seventh North-South Shootout at Concord Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, according to Courant.com. Sesely placed tenth in Modified and 21st in SK Type, according to the published results. North South Shootout shows Sesely to have grabbed the King's Crown and qualified to compete in the Shootout by winning Sundance's King of the Crown event. Drivers from Red Bank and Oakhurst, New Jersey won vintage events at the Shootout. Sesely won over $6,000 at the Tommy Comerford Memorial at Wall Stadium a couple of weeks ago, according to South Jersey Dirt Racing. Sundance Vacations Speedway shows Sesely ranked 41st in Tour Type Modifieds and 16th in Sport Modifieds as of 16 October.
  • This writer has been contributing a series of articles on the history of the First Presbyterian Church of Matawan for that church's blog. So far the topics have included: the Reverend J Henry Kaufman, who had a heart attack in the pulpit in 1873 and died the next day;  the Reverend John M Rogers, who was the local pastor from 1850 to 1867, owned a local dairy farm, and went on to serve as Chaplain at the NJ State Prison in Trenton (1878 to 1893); the Reverend Edwin I Stearns, who was pastor from 1909 to 1912; the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, and the time leading up to the construction of the second Mount Pleasant Church (1777 -1820); New Year's Eve after the Christmas 1955 fire; women named to church boards (1950s); and the Reverend Robert Berger (1936 - 1949).
  • The Super Foodtown and Bethany Wine and Liquors are doing brisk business at Bayshore Plaza at Route 35 and Hazlet Avenue in nearby Hazlet. After shopping at Staples, I dropped around the corner to the liquor store, which moved from a much smaller location on Bethany Road and has been open in this new location for about five weeks, and was pleasantly surprised at the huge assortment of chilled beers and the nice selection of wines and liquors. I picked up a six pack of Rogue Dead Guy and a bottle of white zinfandel. I'm resigned to the market prices for microbrews -- about $12 for RDG, but the wine was comparable in price to my local store. They should give the well-stocked but messy and poorly situated Spirits Unlimited more than a run for its money. Garden Commercial Properties announced the signing of these two Hazlet shopping center leases back in April. The Hazlet Business Owners Association is talking up Bethany Liquors' new digs.

Palpable Lies, Contradictions, and Absurdity

Donald L Kemmerer, in his book Path to Freedom: The Struggle for Self-Government in Colonial New Jersey, 1703 - 1776 (Princeton University Press, 1940), says elections were few and far between in the 18th century. This made such occasions into "excuses for holidays to interrupt their unexciting lives" that would often as not "signal for a general and hilarious outing." Kemmerer laid out the evidence of one such outing on page 38, with the final tab reimbursed in full by the legislature in Trenton:

The candidates sometimes showed appreciation for the conscientious support of their constituents. In 1769 an innkeeper in South Amboy presented two assemblymen with a bill of over £50 for an election celebration. The itemized account listed 37 mugs of beer, 38 jills of rum, 47 bowls of punch, 141 bowls of sangarie, 37 bottles of wine, 35 bowls of toddy, dinners for 89, and 33 quarts of oats for their 168 horses.

Kemmerer then quotes New Jersey Governor Robert Hunter from earlier that same century on the sad state of affairs with New Jersey voters:

Palpable Lyes Contradictions and Absurdity backed with a large dram botle have more force upon the minds of the lower Rank of men in these parts than Self-Evident truths and their own Interest it Self.

It seems we've turned a corner. No one attempted to pay for my horse's oats this election.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

News Updates as of 5 November 2009

  • The Matawan Aberdeen Public Library now has its own blog! You'll want to establish an RSS feed and keep up with events at the library. They're redesigned their web page, which is accessible from their blog by clicking HOME along the top bar in blue. You'll find the online catalog on the blue bar as well. Don't forget that you can renew books online at My Account.
  • MRHS Soccer: According to Manley's Blog, Raritan was dominant without Pat Langan, who was sick today and missed the game. Matawan had a nice flurry in the middle of the first half and had the shots at 6-2 in favor of Raritan at one point, but Raritan outshot them 20-3 the rest of the way. I can see why Matawan was a tough team this season, but Raritan is on a different level than the rest of A Central.
  • MRHS Football: The Sentinel reports on the Trojans' upcoming match with Matawan this weekend: The Trojans will look to win their seventh straight game when they take on Matawan this weekend. Bishop Ahr heads into the contest averaging 37 points per game while the Matawan defense is only allowing seven per contest. Obviously, something will have to give when the two teams lock horns. "Our offensive line is going to have to take control once again," Hilliard said. "If our line can control the line of scrimmage, we can manage the clock." Matawan also enters this week's game 6-1 on the season. The Trojans will need to tighten up their defense if it plans to be 7-1 by this time next week. "We didn't tackle well the other night," Hilliard said. "Matawan is another fast team, and we'll need to do much better bringing their guys down to prevent them from breaking big plays." NJ.com expects Matawan to place high in the seeding for Central Jersey Group 2 in the Shore Conference.
  • Former MAMS principal Walter Uszenski to become Spotswood school superintendent, according to MyCentralJersey.com.
  • The Independent reported on a state grant received by Aberdeen Township to investigate a Church Street site for possible hazardous waste.
  • Operation Medicine Cabinet will be held 14 November.  It is an effort to get expired and unused prescription drugs out of people's homes before they are found and abused. Note that teenagers abuse prescription drugs found around the home at an alarming rate. Disposing of drugs properly can also keep medicines out of our water table. Aberdeen Township will participate in this collection event.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Continue to Wonder

Despite the Republican victory in the gubernatorial race, the Democrats swept the local election here in Aberdeen, according to APP. It seems that a slight majority of Aberdeen voters are content with one-party rule and what that means for inclusion in the political process. For one thing, it means the Cliffwood Homeowners Association will just have to continue to wonder what the Council will do about COAH development of County Road. Voters have sealed the doors of town hall's backroom deliberations until the next election.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Sample Ballots - 3 November 2009 General Election

In Aberdeen, we're voting this Tuesday for:
  • 1 Governor/Lieutenant Governor (State)
  • 2 Members of the General Assembly, 13th Legislative District (State)
  • 1 Freeholder (County)
  • 1 Mayor (Local)
  • 2 Councilmembers at large (full term) (Local)
  • 1 Councilmember at large (partial term) (Local)
  • 1 Public Question: Shall we fund $218 million in bonds for Green Acres projects, $146 million for farmland preservation, $24 million for Blue Acres, and $12 million for historic preservation?
Here are some of the local sample ballots for this week's general election in Monmouth and Middlesex counties:

Union Beach Wind Turbine Visible from Keyport and Cliffwood Beach?

The Bayshore Regional Sewerage Authority (BRSA) has cleared most of its hurdles to its plan to build a wind turbine to power its 100 Oak Street sewer treatment plant in Union Beach. NJ DEP approval has been granted, according to APP. Union Beach opposes the regional facility, per an August 2009 APP article found at Wind Watch, even though it will provide income to the strapped local budget. County and state officials made no effort to thwart the turbine plan, according to an October 2009 article in the Independent.

Back in 2007, when BRSA first proposed the concept, Atlantic City was operating the first five wind turbines in New Jersey, according to the New York Times. Frank A Wells, a Union Beach resident and BRSA commissioner, came up with the current idea after seeing wind turbines in action in California. Wells discussed the potential cost savings of the plan, as well as its environmental values, in an 2007 APP article available at the Bayshore Regional Watershed Council website.

Weston Solutions conducted a wind assessment for BRSA and found the Union Beach site had the capability to power a wind turbine.

Today's article says the turbine will support the sewer plant at 100 Oak Street (marked A on the map below) but would be constructed in the Raritan Bay somewhere off the westernmost portion of Union Beach Township. This means that the turbine will likely be more visible in Cliffwood Beach and Keyport than Union Beach.

View Larger Map

MRHS Huskies Are Liberty Division Champs

As reported yesterday, Matawan defeated Long Branch to win the Shore Conference championship. For details, see stories at NJ.com and APP.

APP has a photo blog where you can share your photos from the game and print out copies of others' pics. I didn't see any explanation of copyright on these pics; if you discover any rules, let me know.

APP has begun to offer its professional pictures for sale online at Pictopia. They can run about $25, but if your child happens to be in one of their shots it might be worth it. You might even want to buy copies of particular photos for the high school. They don't offer an easy way to obtain rights to their pics for this blog, so I'll just point you in their direction to see them.