A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Starbucks Sponsors Sylvia's Children Clothing Drive

The Matawan Starbucks has a big box in the back of the store where they are collecting toys and clothing for Sylvia's Children now through 15 June 2010. Proceeds benefit children in Africa. Check the signs in the store for details on how you can help.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Keyport's Memorial Day Parade Is Saturday 29 May 2010 at Noon

The Borough of Keyport is havings its annual Memorial Day Parade tomorrow at noon. It begins on Broad Street, turns left on West Front Street and ends at Fireman's Park.

According to the Borough:
Members of local American Legion and VFW posts representing the military, including the Color Guard, will lead the parade. There will be over 30 parade participants featuring marchers and floats with our local Civic, Church, Environmental and Community organizations, the Keyport Senior Center, Recreation Committee, Keyport Fire, First aid and Rescue units, Keyport Schools and more.

Keyport’s downtown stores, restaurants and cafes will be open offering parade specials.

HTC Droid Incredible

A coworker just acquired the HTC Droid Incredible, a new phone available from Verizon. It looks really great. I'm eligible for a new phone in August and am thinking of adopting a Droid.

Here's a video comparing the Incredible to the Apple iPhone in two episodes.

ZDNet gives the Incredible about fifteen minutes of detailed review. Somewhat tedious, I have to admit, but certainly detailed.

And here's the Verizon ad providing a more biased description of the Incredible's features.

St Joseph's Carnival in Keyport Running Through Sunday

 The annual St Joseph's Parish Carnival began on Wedneday and runs through Sunday 30 May 2010. The gates open tonight at 6 pm, with the festivities running through 11:30 pm. Fireworks begin about 9:45 pm. Saturday and Sunday the carnival opens its gates at 4 pm and closes them on Saturday at 11:30 pm and Sunday at 10:30 pm.

There will be lots of food -- lobster bisque, clams, mussels, etc. There are also lots of rides and games. Entrance is a dollar. Rides and games are extra. (Rides cost x number of tickets at 50 cents a ticket.)

The Super 50-50 drawing will be held on Sunday evening. 50-50 tickets are $5 each.

The carnival is located in a field behind the church along Broadway, between Geran and Gerard Streets. (see map) There is some limited parking in the church lot.Valet parking is also available.

I just realized that St Joe's has a new website. Looks very nice. Their link to the carnival isn't very informative, though. More of a request for volunteers. Hope the above is helpful.

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Goodwill Industries Coming to Cliffwood

The mystery is apparently over. A sign was just posted in front of the old Eckert Drugs at the corner of Route 35 and Cliffwood Avenue. A Goodwill Industries store is going into that vacant building.

It's nice that the vacancy will be filled, but a Goodwill store sets the tone for future development of the area. Seems to me that Cliffwood is more likely to get a bail bondsman and a check cashing service to move into the other vacant storefronts at that corner than a tax service and an optician.

With less funding of our schools, though, Governor Christie is making it more likely that we'll all be shopping at Goodwill, so maybe it's a blessing in disguise?

Matawan's Memorial Day Parade Begins 2 pm Sunday 30 May 2010

This year's Memorial Day Parade in Matawan begins at St Clement's at 2 pm. The parade route follows Main Street across Route 34 to Memorial Park at the corner of Main and Broad Streets. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy the parade. I usually find a comfortable seat in the grass across the street from the Quick Chek so I can pick up a snack. It takes a while for the parade to get there, but I'm in the right spot for end of parade festivities. There are usually a few speeches delivered in the park at the end of the parade. Plus, for those interested, the MRHS marching band director traditionally announces the next year's drum major to the band members at the end of the parade.

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Bayshore Watershed Council Plans Holiday Measurements at Cliffwood Beach

The Bayshore Regional Watershed Council plans to take measurements at several sites, including Cliffwood Beach, on Memorial Day weekend, Fourth of July Weekend, and Labor Day weekend, as part of its Summer Seining Project, according to The Independent.

A 30-foot seine net will be dragged through the water to estimate the seasonal abundance and distribution of fish, crabs and other estuarine species that use the near-shore waters of the bay as feeding and/or nursery area. All native and non-native fishes, crabs and other aquatic creatures will be identified, measured and cataloged, and then returned to the water. In addition, watershed members will collect water temperature and turbidity information, and document the tidal stage, the maximum depth of the area seined, and note the aquatic vegetation in the area. 

The public is encouraged to meet in the parking lot off Ocean Boulevard at Cliffwood Beach on Saturday morning 29 May 2010 at 10 am.

You may also want to learn more about the Watershed Council's Horseshoe Crab Monitoring Project.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Tyler Blackmore, Incoming MAMS Principal

I did some research on Tyler Blackmore, the incoming principal for Matawan Aberdeen Middle School. Here's what I found:

Tyler Blackmore is on the board of trustees of the Center for Family, Community, and Social Justice (CFCSJ) in Princeton, NJ. Its Spring 2009 Newsletter provided this biography of Mr Blackmore: He grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. He began his career as a high school English teacher and coach. He is currently in his 8th year in high school administration. He has worked in urban high schools in South Los Angeles and is currently the Principal of Asbury Park High School. He is an advocate for family empowerment and believes that saving our urban schools is the single most important goal for our society in the 21st century. Mr. Blackmore has a master’s degree in Educational Administration from University of the Pacific and enjoys spending time with his wife, Amy, and studying the art and science of leadership.

His one-year contract to replace Kathleen Olsen as Principal at MAMS was approved by the Matawan Aberdeen School Board on 10 May 2010 and begins 1 July, according to The Independent and APP.

Mr Blackmore may have shopped around for a new job because the Asbury Park School District gave him the impression that his job wasn't secure, per APP. The mixup was resolved and his tenure was assured, but not before he found a job elsewhere. Mr Blackmore has not spoken as to his reasons for leaving.

While at Asbury Park High School, Mr Blackmore worked closely with a company called Madison-Marquette, which sponsored the school's arts and humanities academy, per NJ.com. Blackmore said of that relationship, "We have an open dialogue. Basically, they're saying to us, 'Tell us what you need.' It could be any number of things. It might be equipment for the graphic arts department, or some technical equipment or even artistic support for the shows we do."

Madison-Marquette helped with funding for state championship rings for the high school football team, according to APBoardwalk.  Bruce Springsteen and his wife funded the purchase of championship jackets for the team.

He spoke on the "Urban Calling" at the 2008 Future Educators Conference, according to NJ DOE.

He was married at the SeaOaks Country Club in Little Egg Harbor, NJ in August 2006, per Wedding Mapper.

Aberdeener welcomed Mr Blackmore in a recent blog article. Asbury Radio also posted a blog article.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Red Bank Jazz Fest Relocated to Monmouth Park

Red Bank's Marine Park could not be guaranteed to be available this summer due to renovations, so the annual event has been renamed the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Festival and will be held the weekend of 5/6 June 2010 at Monmouth Park, according to Red Bank Green. Click here for the schedule.

Note that Long Branch has a jazz and blues festival planned for 4 September 2010.

News Updates as of 26 May 2010

  • Matawan-Aberdeen Idol auditions are scheduled for 16 July 2010 at AARIUS Studios in Sayreville, according to MACAC. (Check the Chamber's site for the various releases you must sign to enter) The event itself will be held 3 August 2010 at the corner of Ravine Drive and Main Street from 6 pm to 9 pm. Winners will get to sing at Matawan Day (12 September at Terhune Park) and Aberdeen Day (26 September at MRHS).
  • Business students from South Brunswick High School visited Matawan's Art Associates Design Group, according to The Independent. The company has provided design and marketing services for over twenty five years. Joseph Kanaska, who founded the company in 1984, met with the students for about an hour.
  • The Huskies softball team fell last week to Delran Township High School in the first round of the Central Jersey Group II Tournament, according to The Trentonian.
  • Matawan Makes It Look Easy is the title of the APP article about the high school boys track and field team's victory at the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group III championships. It's the team's second straight championship. See also the coverage by NJ.com. The girls came in 5th place in Group 2 competition, per NJ.com.
  • An APP editorial bemoans the loss of Tyler Blackmore by Asbury Park High School and congratulates Matawan Aberdeen Middle School on its fine acquisition. He is described as follows: Blackmore, 36, was a principal who got things done. Among other things, he started a mentoring program, administered through the Boys and Girls Club, in which 37 high school students have signed up. Another 15 teenagers attend a college-bound mentoring program run by Monmouth University. He recently received a special Spirit of Asbury Park award from the city Chamber of Commerce.
  • Be sure to check The Independent's Notes Around Town for a local story about a new Eagle scout in Matawan as well as announcements about upcoming events.
  • It's time again for Mission Matawan. Community volunteers and members of the First Presbyterian Church of Matawan dedicate one week each year to serve their neighbors in need by doing small chores, yard work, small paint jobs, etc. As you can imagine, the requests are piling up and volunteers are needed to meet the need.  Sign up for a day or two of community service. The project runs from Saturday 26 June to Saturday 3 July 2010.
  • The Post-Bulletin has some great coverage, including photos, of Brookdale's national softball championship victory in Minnesota last week.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Festive Flutes to appear at Matawan Aberdeen Library

Wednesday, May 26, 2010 at 7:00 pm - Free

"A Musical Menagerie" is the theme of tomorrow evening's show, featuring light classical music, show tunes and old favorites. The flute choir features a piccolo, C flutes and an alto flute.

Majorie Koharski, founder and director of the Festive Flutes, is a member of the Monmouth Symphony Orchestra, and is a member of the New york Flute Club and the national Flute Association.

To register for this program, call the library at (732) 583-9100 or sign up at the circulation desk.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

News Updates as of 23 May 2010

  • As of 3:06 pm, Brookdale Community College is winning 2-0 in the first inning over Monroe in the 2010 NJCAA Division III National Softball Tournament championship game at Rochester, Minnesota.
  • Matawan boys track team was leading Central Jersey II after 7 events at the NJSIAA Sectional Track & Field Championships at Tinton Falls on Friday, per APP. Dylan Spadaccini won the 400 m hurdles; Tyrone Smith took long jump; Andre Hodge won shot put; and Brian Ramcheran outpaced the field in the 400 m.
  • Texas State Board of Education continues to memorialize its conservative social bent, affecting our schools' text books for years to come. I've marked the New York Times article on the subject for you, but many others exist.
  • Be alert to the security concern that public copiers and fax machines now have hard disks that can store copies of your documents. Read this discussion at NYTimes, which cites this CBS News video.
  • Friends of the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library have learned that the library's elevator is still not operating because Trenton didn't immediately authorize the work permits, even though the elevator company asked for expedited permit approval and the money was overnighted to Trenton. The state has 20 days to handle the permit processing and provide the permits. Work is scheduled to begin on 28 May 2010.
  • MAPL Friends will soon be collecting book donations again. The book sale is ongoing across from the front desk.
  • I've heard that the Keyport Waterfront Grand Opening was relatively lightly attended this afternoon. Maybe it started out slow because of all the inevitable political speeches? The music didn't start right away, except for some bagpipes. I imagine things will pick up once the music gets going. Food starts around 4 pm.

Spaghetti Dinner at Bayview Presbyterian - 22 May 2010 4:30 pm

There will be a spaghetti dinner this afternoon at the Bayview Presbyterian Church at the corner of Greenwood Avenue and West Concourse in Cliffwood Beach. Cost is only $10 for salad, dinner, and dessert.

Keyport Waterfront Grand Opening

The Keyport Waterfront Grand Opening celebration is today.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Rail station lights at night at Aberdeen

Dusk at Aberdeen-Matawan Train Station

The Art of Eating In by Cathy Erway is my current read. Erway wrote a blog for 2 yrs about not eating out in NYC.

NJT Rail Schedule Reductions Begin Sunday 23 May.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Environmental Cleanup of Waterfront Park in Old Bridge

Here's a Star-Ledger produced video from April 2010 with interviews of local residents talking about the need for rapid cleanup of the toxic lead slag environmental hazard at the Laurence Harbor Waterfront Park.

Construction of Union Beach Wind Turbine Expected in September

According to Two River Times, the wind turbine long planned for Union Beach is expected to be built in September. A local group of citizens maintains a No Turbine website in opposition to the project. The Independent and APP wrote on the subject back in February, when Conti Construction of South Plainfield was granted the construction contract. Conti's renewable energy operation includes its Alternity Wind Power subsidiary, presumably the company that will handle the details of this project.

What's Happening at MAPL - Mid-May to Mid-June 2010

Matawan-Aberdeen Public Library's film series continues with the following movies:
And then there are the following special events that you'll want to find out more about:
Be sure to check out the Eventkeeper to find the complete schedule of events and the particulars for registration, etc.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

News Updates as of 18 May 2010

  • See photos from the 2010 Aberdeen Township Family Fishing Contest.
  • Aberdeen is the first municipality in Monmouth County to put its auto accident reports online. For a small fee to Police Reports US, you and your insurance company can obtain copies of these official reports online. Here's a link to the search engine.
  • There are some unfortunate typos in the 6 April 2010 Council Regular Meeting minutes related to the remarks of Frank Huza.
  • The Matawan-Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce (MACOC) has begun posting blog articles to its new website. The Chamber had a board meeting on 4 May and a networking meeting a week later. Their 9th annual business expo was held on 23 March. They've published a new directory that is available to the public for the asking. They have a Father's Day (20 June) trip planned to go see the Lakewood Blueclaws and another National Night Out Against Crime singing contest is in the works for 3 August. They didn't mention a corporate banker speaking on Selling and Relationships at Columbia Bank of Aberdeen earlier this evening
  • The Chamber's regional partner, the Northern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce, has a newspaper called the Monmouth Monitor. That paper mentioned the above event at Columbia Bank. It tends to publish stories about high profile charity events, national politicians from our area, and business networking. The news comes in fits and starts, though, as if the person in charge is squeezing this responsibility in on top of a host of other obligations. For example, the most recent series of articles was posted at 3 am, and before that -- 3 weeks earlier --- after 1 am. Check it out. It might be only a flash in the pan and be gone, but then again you might happen to find the occasional article you're interested in.
  • The Matawan Huskies baseball team defeated top-seeded Middlesex 5-3, according to My Central Jersey.

Green In the Green

I periodically mention the local company B Green Innovations, the maker of recycled rubber products. According to Market Watch, our little green company made quite the profit this past quarter. Presumably these monies are the result of their national advertising campaign. Part of that profit, ironically, is from the sale of its net operating loss from the end of year 2008. The company made a series of 8-K filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, like this one, in February 2010.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Flaming Pants

I think I found the guy who keeps dumping shopping carts in the neighborhood. He also might be the guy who forgot to put the school budget vote on the Aberdeen Township Council agenda for this Tuesday. (Hat tip to Aberdeener) Heaven forbid, he might be our library's elevator repairman!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My neighbor's roses are beautiful

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A butterfly on my neighbor's rhododendrons

Matawan Aberdeen Public Library - Elevator Still Not Working

MAPL Elevator Still Not Working

Is Football All There Is, My Friends? Then Let's Keep Dancing

Matawan Football Alumni Foundation is asking the Aberdeen Township Planning Board to allow them to build a memorial park at the high school in honor of school alumni. It would be named the James C Dwyer Alumni Park. See SP10-517. MFAF considers the project a done deal, based on their website's description of the project and timeline. They've already invited the mayors and school district officials to the groundbreaking on 5 June.

Isn't it a boorish slap in the face of teachers, administrators, and janitors for local high school football fans to be embellishing their sport's legacy with their private donations at the same time the community has overwhelmingly voted down the school budget because everyone is so damned strapped for cash?

And, to top it off, football fans plan to honor their sacred football tradition by dedicating their "memorial park" on September 11th. What a mixed message. A memorial park is meant to honor the dead, but this park has nothing to do with September 11th.

The Foundation says this is supposedly an "alumni park," but they really mean sports alumni. And then they say it is meant to promote Huskies sports, but of course it will be a Mecca for football alumni and fans.  The Planning Board agenda doesn't even mention the sports theme. Could they reasonably expect this will be an alumni park?

I guess it's true: football is all there is.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kagero Live in Keyport

I'm sitting on Front St enjoying live music at the bay, just across the street from Espresso Joe's, which hosts these events on the mini-mall on Friday and Saturday evenings. The plaza is full of spectators, some sitting, some standing, some dancing to the music, some drinking a latte from Sonny's shop.

I got to Keyport in time to hear most of Mad Feather Group. They were a lot of fun to listen to. The photo above gives a flavor of the backdrop of Keyport Harbor and Cliffwood Beach.

Kagero was up next. They came all the way from Brooklyn and put on an exciting show of what they call Japanese Gypsy Rock. They were truly masters of their instruments -- violin, acoustic guitar, electric bass guitar, and accordion. And the words to the songs were inventive. One of my favorites was Rock Star in a Grocery Store. A crowd favorite was the drinking song 2 + 1 Is Almost 5. After the performance they greeted the crowd and peddled some of their CD and t-shirts.

Distractions, Conflicts and Annoyances

I've had some distractions, conflicts, and annoyances this week that have kept me from blogging as much as I'd like.

My wife is working for Uncle Sam as part of the effort to collect data for the decennial census. She's got a canvas bag that says US CENSUS across it. I would have thought that barking and biting dogs would be the biggest problem for her, but all that Dog Whisperer training has served her well. No, it's the barking, biting people who give her the most grief. She's a displaced worker just trying to make a little money, but people getting a knock at the door berate her or hide from her because to them she's a representative of a government that annoys or scares them. She's getting the job done, but some people can be real asses sometimes.

Anyway, her census work keeps her from picking me up at the train some evenings, which should be a minor distraction. I took the glass half full perspective and decided I'd get some exercise. Did you know it is three miles walk from Matawan train station to Cliffwood Beach? More importantly, did you realize it's even longer when the tide is high and the road is flooded at the bridge on Amboy Road/West Front Street near the appropriately named Up The Creek bar? It is truly a harrowing journey to walk Route 35 from Keyport to Cliffwood in the rain, but that's the only alternative.

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My iPod suddenly got too big for its britches this week and had to be banished to the corner of the room for punishment. The device has tons of memory capacity, but I didn't realize that all those songs were also being stored on my computer. Well, I knew it, but I didn't. When my computer started getting sluggish this week, I checked and found that my drive was nearly full. When I moved my music files, it wreaked havoc on my iPod, which is now stupid. I've been playing games all week trying to "sync" the little scoundrel. In the meantime, I've been offline while I resolve memory issues and try to get my favorite music and podcasts back in working order. Truly a work in progress.

Let me tell you: commuting is hell without my iPod. People on the train actually spin the ball on their Blackberries while they read long text messages. It sounds like they're winding their watches incessantly. And then there are the inane conversations. An elderly couple sat across from me yesterday. The husband kept talking loudly, either to his wife or on the phone to his adult child. The wife would shush him, but he never paid attention to her. He would make observations for all to hear. The train conductors are probably happy to have me in the real world when they come to check my ticket, but the passengers pay me no mind one way or the other. I've been reading Malcolm Gladwell's What the Dog Saw.

BTW, the trains seem less crowded now that NJ Transit raised its fares to the moon. My tickets are partially subsidized by my employer, but there's been no change in the allotment, so the 25% whack is all out of my pocket.

My daughter is allegedly home from college. But that's another story.

I'll see what I can find out about the old Eckerd Drugs at Route 35 and Cliffwood Avenue. I hadn't noticed any activity, except the Aberdeen PD sitting in the lot now and then.

I heard that there will be a retirement event for Kathy Olsen at the Buttonwood Manor. I first met her when she was working in the children's section of the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library in the early to mid 1990s. She's served the community well and I hope she retires locally and finds ways to continue to serve.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

MAMS Gets New Principal

Tyler Blackmore, current principal of Asbury Park High School, has been selected to be the new principal at Matawan Aberdeen Middle School beginning 1 July 2010, per APP. Kathy Olsen is retiring at the end of the current school year. He's done nothing with the high school's website. I hope that isn't an indicator of things not to come.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Killdeer at Cliffwood Beach

I went for a stroll down to the beach today and came upon a killdeer and her three tiny chicks. They were so cute. I just stood there while the mom shepherded them down the path and into the reeds.

I wish I had a nice zoom lens to snap that kind of picture for you, but I don't. Here's a photo of a killdeer and her baby that I found at Flickr.

If you walk your dog down at the shore, keep an eye out for these little critters for the next week or so.

Christian Bros Edged Out Matawan Boys Track for County Title

CBA finished strong to edge out the Matawan Huskies in boys track at the Monmouth County Track Championship at Neptune this weekend, per APP. Unfortunately, the girls team placed very low in the standings. Elite performances were recognized as national silver standard by Huskies Sara Isaacson (pole vault), Brian Ramcheran (400 meter dash), and Andre Hodge (discus).

Prepare Yourself for Sobriety Check Points: Know Your BAC

For those of you who want to be prepared for the occasional weekend evening sobriety check point on your way home from a restaurant or bar,  you'll want to check out this handy chart on blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The chart helps you figure out how many drinks you can safely have without going over the legal limit. The chart is only a guide -- a blood test is the only way to know for sure what your BAC is -- but you need some sort of yardstick to make decisions when you're out, and this is what's available.

Find your weight on the chart and move to the right on the chart one box for every drink you've had. When you go out, you'll want to plan to be under the legal limit, which in NJ is 0.08%. (See NJ Motor Vehicles Commission for details)

Remember: 1 drink equals
  • one ounce of 100-proof liquor;
  • one five-ounce glass of table wine; or 
  • one 12-ounce bottle of regular beer
Don't forget that time affects the BAC number downward. The chart offers a relatively simple formula for figuring out the percent of alcohol "burned up" since your first drink. Simply subtract .015% from your BAC level on the chart for every hour that you've been drinking.
  • If you're a 180 lb man and have had 5 drinks, the chart says you are over the legal limit at .104%. But if you have spent 4 hours chatting with friends while you drank those 5 drinks, you can subtract .060% (.015% x 4), which puts you back in the legal zone at .044%.
  • If you're a woman at 130 lbs and have had 3 drinks, the chart says you're over the limit at .087%. If you spent 2 hours having those drinks, you can subtract .030% (.015% X 2) from your number, which puts you under the legal limit at .057%.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Papa Ganache in Keyport

I'm hearing good things about Papa Ganache, an organic, vegan bakery at 25 Church Street in Keyport. They have many gluten-free options, too. Check out their menu. Also take note of their effort to be green.

They are open 7 days a week, Mon- Sat 10 am - 8 pm, Sun 9 am - 5 pm. I plan to drop in soon.

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MAPL Trustees Fine Tune Posting of Agendas and Minutes

The Matawan Aberdeen Public Library Board of Trustees will post agendas of upcoming meetings and the approved minutes of previous meetings at http://maplminutes.blogspot.com/. The minutes that were posted last week were removed but should be re-posted soon. So far all that is up there is the 5 May 2010 agenda.

It might be better to create a place on the library's website to keep separate files for trustee agendas and minutes rather than posting them on a blog. Most municipalities and many libraries post distinct files for each document. A blog is like a diary, recording things chronologically, so it's very nature discourages the posting of older versions of the minutes and agendas.

I'd like to see the library's minutes and agendas have a spot not only at the library's webiste but a link at both the borough and township websites. For example, Aberdeen already has a page for the library board, so a link to view minutes and agendas would be an easy matter. Matawan has a link to the library's website but doesn't have a page for the library board as far as I can tell, but it could be easily added. I'd like to see at least a year's worth of agendas and minutes posted on the site, more if available in electronic format. Related documents, like publicly available financial statements and statistics produced by or for the board, could also be posted in the Library Trustees area of the website.

Pritchard Industries Hiring Locally

Pritchard Industries has already begun trolling for janitors. They posted a classified ad at Find Jobs seeking custodians in Matawan. (Note that the phone 973-301-4010 traces back to Pritchard Industries, per Manta.)

Aberdeen Seniors to Enjoy Spirit Cruise in July 2010

Aberdeen Township Recreation Department has scheduled a senior citizens trip to Philadelphia for 14 July 2010, per the Township website. Those attending will enjoy a cruise along Philadelphia's Delaware River shoreline aboard the Spirit of Philadelphia. The event comes complete with lunch buffet and musical entertainment. See the township announcement for details such as prices, qualifications, and contact information.

Don't forget that the Renault Winery and AC casino senior trip is scheduled for 20 May 2010.

Cliffwood Beach Fishing News as of 8 May 2010

  • The 17th Annual Aberdeen Township Family Fishing Contest was to be held this afternoon at Cliffwood Beach. (see township calendar) The event is free, sponsored by the town's environmental board. (Note that Bass Fishing News lists this as a Fishing Tournament and erroneously provides the date of the event as 22 May 2010.)
  • The Township Council's Workshop Meeting on 16 March 2010 agreed to a 60-day trial period for special parking rules that would allow fishermen to park on Lakeshore Drive at Cliffwood Beach after 9 pm and before 6 am, per the posted agenda. The trial parking rules passed in the regular session of the Council as Resolution 2010-59. It is unclear what the Township Council plans to do when the trial period expires on or about 15 May 2010.
  • Sean Wagner of Edison caught a 13 lb bluefish off Cliffwood Beach on Wednesday, per Bass Fishing News.

MRHS Girls Spring Track Won County Relays Last Week, Competing Now in County Championships at Neptune

Matawan Huskies Girls Spring Track Team took first place at the Monmouth County Relays, which The Independent says Matawan hosted on 1 May 2010. According to the school's website, the girls defeated all competitors in the 400 meter hurdles, 4 x 100 meter relay, 4 x 400 meter relay, discus, javelin, pole vault, and triple jump. Sarah Isaacson reportedly broken the school's pole vaulting record again.

Follow the results of Monmouth County Championships at Neptune this weekend at NJ Runners and Shore Track Coaches.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

MAPL Trustees Get to Work; Trying to Put Past Behind Them

The Matawan-Aberdeen Public Library (MAPL) Board of Trustees had a long but productive meeting this evening. The Board has adapted nicely to publicly attended meetings -- about twenty citizens showed up this evening. Each Board member has a name placard. Members turn and make sure the public understands particular issues, even passing around selected handouts that have circulated at the table among the Board. The public for its part has learned the rules of the Board and saves its questions and (most of its) comments to a portion of the meeting dedicated to all matters of concern.
  • The Board's first order of business was a disciplinary hearing involving the Youth Services Librarian. Ms McGovern faced charges involving her violation of the privacy of patron records and representing herself as a library spokesman and policymaker. After lengthy discussion along many lines, Ms McGovern was issued a written reprimand and ordered to submit to quarterly personnel reviews til year's end.  The Board acknowledged its need for a media relations policy and moved to rectify that this evening. Grievance procedures and the need for a personnel policy manual were discussed.
  • The Interim Director and President of the Board both thanked the Friends of the Library for hosting a staff appreciation luncheon recently.
  • A survey shows that library book circulation has been marching upward ever since the strategic plan was implemented, from 100,000 (2007) to 111,000 (2008) to 130,000 (2009). The latter represents a more than 20% increase in both adult's and children's book circulations over the previous year. The interlibrary loan program grew substantially since 2008, both in books lent to other libraries (153%) and books received from them (191%). The number of adult programs increased 42% to 160, with 1,763 participating (36% increase). Over 4,500 children participated in 312 programs in 2009. It's unclear whether the New Collection Development Policy was approved, but the strategy seems to be working. (All this for less than $42 per person living in the joint municipalities. Note that the average per capita municipal appropriation in the state is nearly $60.)
  • The Board President read an eloquent letter the Board addressed to Superintendent of Schools asking him to reconsider his decision to eliminate the librarians at MAMS and MRHS. I especially liked the parts where the letter said O'Malley had "substituted good sense for a few cents." The Interim Director has begun talking to the local middle and high schools about a library partnership to contend with the imminent loss of these school librarians.
  • The Board agreed with a preparatory committee's recommendation to hire Alan Burger of Library Development Solutions as the consultant who will help MAPL find its next library director. The Board hopes to fill the vacancy by 1 July. The search committee and its schedule have yet to be established.
  • A masonry company will replace 8 sections of concrete sidewalk. Brown's Heating and Cooling will replace an air conditioning compressor. The handicapped door button was fixed. Lighting projects have been completed and others are yet to be done. Shrubs were purchased at an excellent price at Gasko's Family Farm in Monroe and planted outside the library. And the famed broken elevator will be fixed next week. It will be a two phase process, including a cab refit, but the Board promises that the elevator will be running by early next week.
  • The Interim Director has been checking evacuation and fire safety aspects of the library. A basement cleanup resulted in a full dumpster. LMXAC consulted on the library's PCs to see which remain viable and which need to be replaced. The library has switched to Cablevision and now has a Symphony network upgrade. The State Library team made its first visit to look at the library's CD display and made some interesting suggestions. The library's fence was significantly damaged by a car. The insurance company is being consulted about replacement. Illegally parked cars in the parking lot are an issue. Arrangements are under way to put signage at the Broad Street entrance to the library parking lot.
  • The library had 16,133 visitors in April!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

News Updates as of 5 May 2010

  • Erin O'Brien has been awarded a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship. She will teach English in Taiwan for nearly a year after graduating next month from Indiana University in Pennsylvania (IUP), according to the school website. She attended high school in Pasadena, California but calls Matawan home these days. The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review has a nice article that adds details to the school's piece.
  • Matawan PD reported a Monmouth County HAZMAT Response Team investigation into a potential hazardous material leak involving a creek within the Borough on 2 May 2010, per APP. There's been no follow up to the story that I can find. Anyone know the status?

Pritchard Industries Sweeps Up MARSD Janitorial Services Contract

Pitchard Industries, of Florham Park, was the janitorial services company seeking a contract with the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District on Monday, per APP. The board voted unanimously to proceed with the contract.

Pritchard is a huge company. (Their website reminds me of Luddite Industries.) Pick New Jersey from the pulldown menu on the Contact Us page if you need the name, address, phone, and email address of someone in Florham Park. Those seeking work with Pritchard should click here.

Marlboro's decision to go with Pritchard back in 2006 involved the same public statements for the janitors as we just had in our district, based on reporting by the News Transcript. But while just as emotional a meeting, the Marlboro board seems to have explained its position and answered public questions. Note that the 2006 janitorial talks were rushed to an unsatisfactory conclusion just like ours, again due to a short deadline, based on more reporting in the News Transcript. I wasn't surprised to see that Marlboro's move to outsource the janitors was advocated by the NJ School Board Association, an organization that has turned out to be a cheerleader for Governor Christie's anti-union policies.

BTW, I noticed that a couple of school districts tried to back out of their deals with Pritchard and the latter promptly took them to court.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Wall and the Public Right to Know

The Matawan-Aberdeen Board of Education met last night to pick its poison among janitorial service companies seeking a contract with the district. The board is replacing several dozen school janitors. About 150 members of the public gathered to learn more about the contract and to object to outsourcing, but the board literally would hear none of it. After the public asked its questions and was stonewalled by the board's president, verbal tempers began to flare at the public podium.

When public discussion ended, the board portrayed themselves as quietly suffering. They'd listened patiently to the angry tirades of an ill informed public and were hurt by the sentiments. They complained about ill treatment from the community, saying some people had actually been rude to them. They said they'd covered all this ground in earlier meetings and had nothing more to say about it tonight. And then they voted unanimously to engage the company in question.

The board showed utter contempt for its community last night. The public has a right to make statements, express opinions, and ask questions, even at the last minute. The president of the board should have allowed individual members of the board to field questions. He repeatedly shied away from responding, answering no questions from the dais, explaining that members had their own viewpoint. But the public never became privy to their opinions or how they reached their decisions on the matter at hand.

The public has a right to know that its board members are competent on the issues before they vote. Some members have only been on the board a couple of weeks, so what was their decision making process? Ms Esposito seemed to think she was voting on firing teachers last night, so what was she voting on? Certainly the town council wasn't fully aware of the issues before it voted to allow development on County Road, so why shouldn't the public be skeptical of the board's thoroughness?

One member of the public complained that the board consisted of an emotionless, unresponsive wall. They will no doubt protest that perspective, but we don't have to listen to them either.

Monday, May 3, 2010

BOE gets earful from public

BOE gets earful from public but keeps mum on its rationale for choosing a private janitorial service.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Matawan Man Charged with Assault in Stony Creek, NY

Richard Barber, Jr, of Matawan, was jailed Thursday in Upstate New York in connection with charges of second-degree assault against a woman trying to call 911. The alleged assault took place in the town of Stony Creek, according to The Post-Star of Glens Falls, NY and CBS6 Albany. The latter, which has a mug shot of the defendant on their site, says Barber was also wanted on an outstanding warrant from Warren County Family Court related to his failure to pay child support.

911 Calls to be Handled by County Sheriff's Office

The Aberdeen Township Council agenda for Tuesday 4 May 2010 includes Resolution No 2010-77, which gives the Mayor and Township Clerk permission to contract with the Monmouth County Sheriff's Office for 911 emergency services through the end of 2014. (It's unclear why we'd be negotiating a contract that began 1 January 2009.)

Presumably we're following Freehold Township's lead. Freehold sought tax savings last summer by having the Sheriff's Office 911 Communications Center take over their 911 calls and police dispatches, according to page 7 of the Monmouth Co Sheriff's Department's May-Sep 2009 newsletter. The newsletter said the county sheriff's office handles 911 calls for 44 towns and dispatches for 9 police departments and 33 fire and EMS crews.

The county claims that shared services can save a municipality lots of money. One government claimed to be saving over $600,000 annually because they switched to the county's shared service dispatch system. Check out Monmouth in Focus segment 1 and segment 2 for further information on the county's 911 service.

African Americans in the Matawan Journal - 2 March 1928

According to a front page news story in The Matawan Journal, William Heron of Atlantic Street in Keyport was cutting lath in preparation for plasterwork in the basement of the Salz Building back in 1928 when Christian Jensen, the electrician on the project, arrived on the scene. Mr Heron had begun to seal the wall before the electrical inspection had been completed, prompting Mr Jensen to begin ripping the lathing from the walls, presumably in a rage. It was just the two of them down in that basement, so what happened next is up to you to decide. Mr Heron says the electrician was so angry that he began to choke him, prompting Mr Heron to pull a woodworking tool from his belt and hit him with it across the back of the head to get free. Mr Jensen says he leaned down to pick something up off the ground and the lath worker hit him with a hatchet across the back of his head because he was so angry about his lath work being ripped down. While Mr Jensen was being tended to and removed to a hospital in Perth Amboy, Mr Heron fled the scene, ran home, then went to the home of a judge to get an escort to the police station. Mr Heron was taken into custody and held without bail. A medical officer at the jail found no indications of choking on Mr Heron.

Unfortrunately, the Journal doesn't give a very balanced account of the circumstances. I suspect it is because one of the men was an African American. You'll want to read the newspaper's account in Negro Strikes Keyport Man With Hatchet. It would be interesting to see how the case turned out.

BTW, I understand that the Salz Building is where McDonagh's Pub is currently located.

Jacob R Lefferts, Namesake of Lake Lefferts of Matawan

The headline of the 2 March 1928 edition of The Matawan Journal reads  

Contributors Adopt Resolution
An Ambition Realized

Jacob Lefferts Had Worked Long and Faithfully to Secure Large Lake - Honored for His Efforts.  The article reads, in part: 

A meeting of the contributors to the fund for the construction of the new dam and the present property owners along the site of the new lake was held Monday evening at the store of Charles C Schock.

The object of this meeting was to select an appropriate name for the new lake on the north side of Matawan.  It was the popular sentiment of those present, that in consideration of the efforts put forth by Jacob R Lefferts in promoting this project, and in consideration of the desire of Mr Lefferts to have the lake bear his name, that it should be named "Lake Lefferts," if it were to bear the name of any individual, as he has been one of the most instrumental in getting the money subscribed, in securing the co-operation of the County Freeholders in building the new bridge over the dam and the construction of the new county highway.

At the meeting a resolution was passed to the effect that the name be named after Jacob R Lefferts, who was instrumental in its creation, and that it be known as "Lake Lefferts." The resolution was adopted.

Jacob was born in April 1882 in New Jersey, according to the 1900 Federal Census, which showed him living in Passaic with his parents (married 35 years) and siblings. His father, W C Lefferts (Dec 1842), was a lawyer. His mother was Catherine(Aug 1843). The family moved from NY to NJ between 1872 and 1879. Jacob's siblings were Annie (Aug 1867), Paul (Mar 1871), Joseph R (Jun 1872), and Donald (Mar 1879).

Jacob R Lefferts (28) lived in Passaic with his brother Donald (29) and family, per the 1910 Federal Census. They were both born in NJ to NJ parents, and the brothers were both lawyers.

For his World War I draft registration in 1918, Jacob listed his full name as Jacob Rapelyea Van Mater Lefferts and his date of birth as 16 Aug 1881. He was a lawyer at the time, living on Jackson Street and working for himself from an office on Main Street. His wife was Madeleine Klemm Lefferts.

Jacob (38) was still a lawyer in the 1920 Federal Census, but he was married and living with his growing family at 314 Main Street in Matawan. Jacob's wife was Madeleine Klemm (34); she was born in NY. Their three sons were Donald (7), Douglas (5), and David (1 1/2).

Children's Tylenol Recall - 30 April 2010

Per NYT:

Children's Tylenol and Other Drugs Recalled

The McNeil Consumer Healthcare unit of Johnson & Johnson has voluntarily begun a recall of certain children's over-the-counter liquid medicines because of manufacturing deficiencies, the Food and Drug Administration said Saturday.

The deficiencies may affect the potency, purity or quality of the products, the agency said in a statement.

Consumers should stop using certain lots of infants' and children's Tylenol, Motrin, Zyrtec and Benadryl products because some of them may contain too much of the active ingredient, McNeil said in a statement late Friday.

Clapboard Creek Passes MAMS Enroute to Raritan Bay

Clapboard Creek, one of the tributaries of Matawan Creek, parallels Grove Street and West Prospect Avenue through most of Cliffwood, starting near Locust Street, passing the middle school on its way to Route 35, where it turns south and joins Matawan Creek near the Route 35 bridge. If you move the map and follow the thin blue line marking this stream, you'll come upon a small pond near 84 Lumber and across Route 35 from Wendy's. This pond, which isn't readily accessible, evidently is fed by this Matawan Creek tributary.

View Larger Map

The creek passes right by the Matawan Aberdeen Middle School (MAMS).

Here's a view towards the school from the spot where the stream crosses Matawan Avenue.

And here's a view of Matawan Avenue from the school looking towards Cliffwood Avenue. The stream crosses where the shade of the trees begins in the foreground.

There is a MA18B sign on Matawan Avenue labeling where the creek passes under the road. The trees and the dip in the road might help you locate it.

The stream passes under the roadway through a corrugated metal tube. Here's views of both sides of the road. Nothing particularly spectacular about the waterway, but it's good to remember that our local storm water runoff goes somewhere.

There are at least two A&P shopping carts littering the stream, by the way. It won't be an easy task extricating them from the steep ravine. I hope someone does, though.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Aberdeen Township Natural Resources - Creeks, Brooks, and Lakes

The 2005 Aberdeen Township Master Plan (available at the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library's reference desk) contains the township's Natural Resources Inventory dated July 2002. The latter is a great resource for basic information about our watershed, as well as a list of our 3 lakes and 8 primary watercourses.

Aberdeen Township lies within the Bayshore/Matawan Creek Watershed drainage basin, which is part of Watershed Management Area 12 (WMA 12) as defined by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. WMA 12 includes six watersheds and covers 503 sq miles. Aberdeen's primary watercourses all drain directly into Raritan Bay.

Our primary watercourses are:
  • Birch Swamp Brook
  • Gravelly Brook
  • Long Neck Creek
  • Luppatatong Creek
  • Matawan Brook
  • Matawan Creek and its tributaries
  • Mohingson Brook (also known as Wilksons Creek)
  • Whale Creek
Our lakes are:
  • Lake Lefferts
  • Lake Matawan
  • Treasure Lake

Take the PATH to Tribeca

For those of you who haven't used the PATH to visit downtown NYC since the 9/11 attacks, you'll find yourself pretty disoriented as you emerge from the World Trade Center PATH station. While the layout of the tracks and escalators will seem somewhat familiar, the exit from the PATH station near Ground Zero makes an unexpected left turn, putting you out on West Broadway at Vesey Street heading uptown (north).

Construction at and near Ground Zero is pressing on. Cranes are everywhere,

girders are rising,

and new buildings grace the landscape.

Visit the city again if you've stayed away. Tribeca is just finishing its film festival, but King Tut will be in the city until January 2011. Late spring is a great time to visit the South Street Seaport. A good place to get some coffee or a sandwich near the PATH station is the Amish Market on West Broadway at Park. A small but interesting place for Italian food is Capri Caffe on Church St near Duane St.

MAPL Trustees Begin Posting Their Minutes and Agendas

On Thursday, the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library's Board of Trustees began posting on Blogger the agendas and minutes of their meetings. The site can be routinely accessed under Library Information on the left side of the MAPL home page. The 7 April minutes are posted, as is the 5 May agenda.

It is unfortunate but not a violation of the Open Public Meetings Act  that the public has no opportunity to comment on agenda items until the meeting is nearly over and votes have been taken. The Board, which has ultimate discretion on this matter, faced public complaints about the limited opportunity to speak to matters before they were voted upon at the March meeting, but the May agenda remains the same as the March agenda. No doubt it is an oversight that will be remedied by an amendment to the agenda. It is a NJ OPMA violation, however, that we have no opportunity to bring up new business.

Both aspects of this issue appear in N.J.S.A. 10:4-12 a, which reads in part:

Nothing in this act shall be construed to limit the discretion of a public body to permit, prohibit or regulate the active participation of the public at any meeting, except that . . .

. . . [A] municipal governing body shall be required to set aside a portion of every meeting of the municipal governing body, the length of the portion to be determined by the municipal governing body, for public comment on any governmental issue that a member of the public feels may be of concern to the residents of the municipality.