A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Friday, December 31, 2010

Welcome to 2011

To my readers:

By the way, it will be 1-1-11 on Saturday. And Veteran's Day will be 11-11-11. Yikes!

Civilian Conservation Corps and Cheesequake State Park

The PBS history series The American Experience was on WNJN on my cable system this evening. The episode was about the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and its work in parks nationwide during the Depression days of the 1930's. (You can read more about the episode or even watch it online here)

The show mentioned that there were 48 CCC work camps in New Jersey, so I looked online and found a NJ DEP article about the CCC's efforts in our state. Turns out that nearby Cheesequake State Park was among the parks established or improved by CCC teams.

I found a front page article in The Matawan Journal dated 27 January 1938 that details the state's first acquisition of land and structures for the new park and outlines the budget for additional land purchases. The State Board of Conservation and Development had just acquired a 250 acre tract of land and a manor house from the Favier Brothers, according to an assemblyman quoted by the Journal. The land was acquired at approximately $30 an acre. The manor house reportedly was built during the Civil War by the Gordon family.

The Journal article said that surveyors were at the ready to prepare the ncessary estimates so the CCC could begin clearing land for roads and working on the manor house. Additional tracts were being title searched and other acquisitions were under review. The state legislature had allotted $100,000 for development of the park and $50,000 more was being sought. A general warning was issued that lands would be condemned for use by the park if "fancy prices" were sought by land owners.

I found a modest history of the park that says the park was opened on 22 June 1940, but I couldn't double check that fact because the 1940 editions of the Journal are not available online. That opening date also appears on a regional botanists website. I found Journal articles from 1944 showing routine use of the park for scouting events. The Wikipedia article on the park has a dismal history section and would be worth updating. A USGS blurb on the park is misleading and poorly written.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Trenton is Low; Loews Is High

There was an awful traffic snarl on Hope Road at Route 36 in Tinton Falls yesterday afternoon. My wife and I were having lunch at Applebee's after returning her Red Cross vehicle at the end of a hectic volunteer weekend for her. Two lanes of backed up traffic were turning the corner to enter GSP Exit 105 southbound in lieu of Route 18, which was still closed. Our waiter at Applebee's said he had a devil of a time getting to work from Long Branch that morning and might as well stay the night to make sure he could make it to work for the early shift. APP blames the problem on a late announcement of a state of emergency by Trenton. An earlier warning might have kept many motorists from having to spend the night in a shelter.

The Red Cross housed many of our region's hapless travelers at the Loews theatres at Monmouth Mall. The operator on duty is to be commended for his sense of civic responsibility in the crisis. Be sure to thank Loews for taking in strangers in their time of greatest need.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Route 34/Lloyd Road Intersection Construction Completed

The Independent has an interesting story about the 8 December completion of the $1.5 million Route 34/Lloyd Road improvement project. This widening project, begun in December 2009, was completed three months ahead of schedule. Those of you who have been avoiding that intersection can now resume normal travel.

Sambo's opens. Sambo's Restaurant, Route 34, Matawan, opened last week. Checking the menu on the first day were Stormy Arrow, the manager, and one of the restaurant's striped (and stuffed) mascots. Putting the table in order is Laurie Geldziler. The restaurant is open 24 hours a day.
Speaking of Route 34 in Aberdeen, did you realize that we used to have a Sambo's Restaurant on Route 34 in Matawan? Grand opening was in March 1977, according to page 11 of the 30 March 1977 edition of The Independent.

UPDATE: Someone initially told me that the Sambo's restaurant was at the intersection of Oxford Lane and Route 34, where Friendly Dental is currently located, so that was what I wrote. But someone else wrote today to say no, the restaurant was across from the Grand Union and Franklin State Bank. The Grand Union closed and that space is now a Bed, Bath & Beyond. Franklin State Bank was taken over by Summit Bank and then by United Jersey Bank, which vacated the building and moved across the street. UJB was bought out by Bank of America, which is next to McDonald's. Best I can tell, Sambo's would have been located at 1124 State Route 34, where Foot Locker and Domino's are currently located. Is that right? Could that be the same building?

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Aberdeen Stores Back to Business After Storm

The A&P lot in Cliffwood has a huge mound of plowed snow but plenty of clear parking and the stores are open for business.

Monday, December 27, 2010

The Answer My Friend Is The Jersey Guy Did It

A New Jersey man has owned up to stiffing an Amherst pizzeria for nearly $4000 worth of pizzas after representing himself as being with Bob Dylan's stage crew, according to The Huffington Post. The shop's staff stayed up all night making 148 pies, but the guy never returned for the order, per WWLP. Dylan had played a local venue and the guy, in his forties or fifties, had a backstage pass around his neck.

Way to represent, dude.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Weekend Snow Storm Up Close and Personal

The view out my front door around 9:30 pm ET tonight. A serious snow storm.

Christmas Weekend Snow Storm Burying Aberdeen

My living room window screens are covered with a patchwork of snowflakes.  AccuWeather is calling for nearly 15 more inches of snow overnight. Hope you have your shovels handy for the morning.

History: 19 January 1978 Blizzard

Aberdeen was hit with 16 inches of snow on Thursday 19 January 1978, according to The Independent's edition the following week. The storm was the township's worst in nine years.

William Smith, Jr was acting foreman of township snow removal due to the illness of George White. Only one of the township's snow removal vehicles was operational when the storm began. When its crew drove the only vehicle into a snowdrift and became stranded for twelve hours on Friday, no plowing took place in the township. Two township vehicles were made operational by Monday, while the two remaining vehicles remained out of service throughout the crisis.

Cleanup took almost a week, angering residents. Two letters to the editor suggested that residents shouldn't complain; instead they should applaud the snow removal crews for clearing the roads despite the circumstances. I imagine there was plenty of blame to go around: insufficient funding of Public Works, insufficient maintenance of vehicles, and insufficient management of the town. Hopefully things are running smoother after over twenty years and we're better prepared for today's storm.

Christmas Weekend Snow Storm Begins in Cliffwood Beach

The snow has begun to fall here in Cliffwood Beach. The Weather Channel is now calling for 3-5" of snow this afternoon plus 5-8" tonight, with heavier accumulations near the coast.

Below is a mini time lapse of the beginning of this storm.

11:30 am
12:30 pm

Saturday, December 25, 2010

King's Speech Finally Showing in Central New Jersey

I see that the film King's Speech is showing this weekend at Clearview Cinema in Red Bank.  Finally, a local showing of this highly acclaimed flick. Black Swan is also playing there.

Christmas Weekend Snow Storm Heading for Aberdeen Township

There's a winter storm warning in effect for Aberdeen Township. Accu-Weather Newark is calling for a major snow storm to deliver 3-6" of snow Sunday afternoon and another 3-6" overnight into Monday.

The Weather Channel says the snow will begin in the morning, with expected accumulations of 4-6". TWC calls for wind gusts up to 40 MPH at times during this storm.

The Township delivered a Red Alert message at 8 pm Saturday, advising all residents to move their vehicles from the street to facilitate snow removal. The Township recounted the Weather Channel's forecast and expects the storm to begin in the morning and last all day. The Township reminds residents not to toss snow into the street as they clear their driveways as this is against the law, not to mention dangerous.

The Aberdeen Township website says the Township's automated telephone system has been out of order since 22 December. This outage does not affect 911 dispatch service or police operations, according to the site, but you may have a wait or call back as the receptionist handles all calls individually and takes messages. (The website makes no mention of the snow emergency.)

African Americans in the Independent: 20 April 1977

On the occasion of the 125th anniversary of St James AME Zion church, the 20 April 1977 edition of The Independent (pages 1 and 7) included a detailed article discussing the history of the African American community in what would soon (Nov 1977) become Aberdeen Township. I can't attest to the reliability of the history, but there are plenty of details to pore through.

Merry Christmas 2010 from Aberdeen NJ Life

Friday, December 24, 2010

Retired Lloyd Road Elementary Teacher Dies

Bonnie McCullough died on Wednesday at her home in Matawan, where she lived most of her life. She served our community in the Matawan Aberdeen Regional School District for 34 years, retiring from Lloyd Road Elementary School in February 2010, according to the MRTA.

One of the more unique tributes a teacher can get is for bravery and quick thinking in the face of danger. I reproduce below a proclamation, delivered by Aberdeen Mayor David Sobel at the 5 November 2007 meeting of the Aberdeen Town Council, that demonstrates her faithful dedication to our district's students.


     WHEREAS, it was just another day for the fifth graders at Lloyd Road Elementary School as Bonnie McCullough and Brenda Adelson taught a vocabulary lesson; and
     WHEREAS, a crash, the sound of glass breaking and a 200 pound buck flying through the window, dashing through the classroom and out the door stunned and terrorized the fifth graders; and
     WHEREAS, thinking quickly, Bonnie McCullough called the principal, Patricia O'Keefe who quickly announced to close all doors, as school nurse, Rosalie Preuss raced to close the door she was face to face with the four-point antlered buck; and
   WHEREAS, the buck took a tour of Lloyd Road Elementary School, sliding and running through the halls before being corralled into the empty cafeteria by lunch tables and lead out the back door by the school custodian, security officer and Aberdeen Police where he ran into the woods.
     NOW, THEREFORE, I, DAVID G. SOBEL, MAYOR OF THE TOWNSHIP OF ABERDEEN, do hereby proclaim, on behalf of the Township Council and the citizens of Aberdeen Township our most sincere congratulations and thanks to the faculty and staff of Lloyd Road Elementary School (Patricia O'Keefe, Rich Abrahamsen, Bonnie McCullough, Brenda Adelson, Rosalie Preuss, Maggie Friedman, Scott Purdie, Theresa Piccolo, Rich Vitaliano, David Galvao, Ron Gregorio, Hidojet Hamzic, Michael Homoky, Thomas Parry and Richard Carroll) and the Aberdeen Police Department (Lt. Al Geyer, Sgt. Ted Sigismondi, Ptl. Kathy Sisti and Ptl. Edgar Serrano) for their quick response and professionalism on the day a deer jumped through the window at Lloyd Road Elementary School.

Cablevision and Tivo Pass Buck on Tuning Adapter Issue

Cablevision's Cisco STA1520 tuning adapter and my Tivo aren't playing nice together. I keep getting the above message on my tv screen saying that my tuning adapter is connected. I receive the message several times a day and it interrupts any recordings in progress.  Cablevision has switched out the adapter twice with no result. The two companies are pointing fingers at each other, so the problem remains.

Tivo pretended not to know what I was talking about, but it is obvious from the online chatter that the problem is well known in the industry but not yet resolved. It seems to be a problem with something called Switched Digital Video (SDV).  Read the sad saga of another Cablevision customer trying to resolve this issue. Or this one. I'm sure there are many more tales of woe out there as well.

If anyone has a solution to this, I'm interested. Otherwise my next step is to write a formal letter of complaint to the FCC and copy the two companies.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Matawan Teen Arrested in Cedar Grove

A 17 year old Matawan female was taken into custody in Cedar Grove (Essex County) last Friday on drug charges during a traffic stop for speeding, according to the North Jersey Police Blotter. The driver of the car in which she was a passenger was arrested on outstanding warrants and charged with possession of 16 packets of drugs with intent to distribute. A second passenger was also arrested for being under the influence of drugs. The driver was from Montclair; the second passenger was from Wayne.

Former Cliffwood Glass Plant Employee Dies in Michigan

Louis "Chuck" Atterberry died recently at the age of 73 on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. After reading his obituary, it's clear that the deceased worked for some period of time in Cliffwood, NJ for Midland Glass or its successor, Anchor Glass, which acquired Midland on 29 February 1984. The company produced bottles for numerous companies.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Aberdeen to Recognize Art Perri for Community Service

The Aberdeen Council is set to honor resident Art Perri for 25 years of faithful service to our area's young soccer enthusiasts through the establishment of recreational sports leagues in Matawan and Aberdeen through Husky Sports Inc. Not only is the Mayor set to issue a proclamation at the council's Tuesday meeting, but Assemblyman Samuel Thompson is expected to confer a commendation to Mr Perri, according to the APP.

Local Councils Regroup on New Year's Day

The Matawan Borough Council has announced its annual reorganization for New Year's Day at noon and the public is invited. The council will welcome November's victors, namely returning Councilwoman Linda Clifton and newcomer Donna Gould. 

The Aberdeen Township Council has no incoming officers but presumably will also hold such an event. The 2010 Aberdeen meeting was announced on 29 December last year.

Friday, December 17, 2010

King's Speech Still Not Available in NJ, Despite Golden Globe Nominations

What's with the film distributors not deigning to show The King's Speech in Central New Jersey? The preview, after all, says COMING SOON. I'd have to go to Manhattan to see it, despite the fact that it earned 7 Golden Globe nominations this week. I would have expected it to be showing at the Red Bank Clearview theatre or some place in New Brunswick. It's beyond annoying. IMDB Release Dates suggests that the movie went from limited distribution to wider distribution on 10 December, so where is it?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Local Grocery Stores, Workers Face Uncertain Future

The Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, which operates A&P, Pathmark, and other grocery stores, has filed for Chapter 11 protection from its creditors and borrowed a large sum of money to keep operating, according to the Dow Jones Daily Bankruptcy Review at NASDAQ. The Philadelphia Inquirer and Businessweek provide interesting insights into the story. For now, at least, the Cliffwood A&P and Hazlet Pathmark seem to be spared from closure, but both face an uncertain future as selected store closings and the sale of parts of the company seem inevitable.

Second Baptist Church of Matawan Celebrates 120 Years

The Second Baptist Church of Matawan recently celebrated its 120th anniversary with a well attended special service, followed by a banquet at Lakeside Manor in Union Beach. The Asbury Park Press provides details about the history of the church, which was founded on 12 November 1890 and has been meeting at its Orchard Street address since 1893. APP also gives a description of the recent festivities, which were attended by Congressman Frank Pallone and Mayor Paul Buccellato of Matawan.

Incredible Longbrook Robbery

Last Sunday morning, two masked men (one skinny, one fat) supposedly broke into a unit at Longbrook Apartments, accosted a sleeping woman at gunpoint, slapped her across the face, stole her purse, then successfully fled the scene, according to APP.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Manna House Receives Gannett Foundation Grant

Manna House has been awarded a grant from Gannett Foundation, the charitable arm of the Asbury Park Press's owner, Gannett Publishing Co, according to APP. "Manna House in Cliffwood Beach received $3,341 to help offset decreased funding for the shelter, which assists homeless women with children who are transitioning from welfare to work and into their own apartments."

History: Bicentennial Commission of the Matawans, 1976

In 1976, The Independent began the year with a call for volunteers of all sorts to support local efforts to celebrate the American Bicentennial.  Both borough and township were still named Matawan until November 1977, so the local organizers were called the Bicentennial Commission of the Matawans.

The joint commission planned to open local festivities celebrating America's 200th anniversary with a two-day Philip Freneau Fair in honor of the local Revolutionary War poet.. That event would feature a 26 June 1976 re-enactment of the British attempt to capture the revolutionary Major John Burrowes at his father's home on Main Street in Matawan. The incident, which took place in the summer of 1778, involved the untimely death of Major Burrowes' wife, Margaret (Forman) Burrowes, who was stabbed with a British saber in the doorway of her home as she bravely delayed the Tory raiding party, permitting her husband's escape across Matawan Creek.

The 31 March 1976 edition of The Independent carried a call for volunteers to man the re-enactment, as well as a lengthy article summarizing the history of Burrowes Mansion. The article included the recent history of Matawan's acquisition and renovation of this locally important site. Current Freeholder Lillian Burry features prominently in the article for her role in preserving the mansion.

The following Letter to the Editor from the 14 July 1976 edition thanks the many participants in the recent festivities but at the same time describes in considerable detail the events themselves. (Not to stray too far from the subject here, but why do I get the feeling there is an ugly story behind the last sentence of this letter?)

July 4th highlights

Matawan Township had a truly wonderful July 4th Bicentennial celebration and I want to take this opportunity to express our gratitude and appreciation to all who participated. Our Independence Day festivities included a parade along Lloyd Road, teenage rock concert, tribute to Our American heritage sing-a-long, and fireworks display at Cliff wood Beach.

We were very proud and pleased to see so many residents and their friends turn out to line the parade route and join in the songs and view the fireworks at Cliff wood Beach. A special vote of thanks goes to Mayor Edward Kaufman for his memorable reading of the Declaration of Independence and to Judge Philip Gumbs for his fine recital of the Gettsburg Address with the Battle Hymn of the republic for background music. We are particularly indebted to Bill Lawlor for leading and playing some great American songs from our musical heritage and to TRIK for their excellent renditions of popular rock.

The recreation program is also grateful to the 31 units who contributed to the success of our parade, including the Police and Fire departments, VFW honor guard, our grand marshalls Mr. and Mrs. Alex Mose, the township councilmen, Elks, Jaycees, Chamber of Commerce, Matawan Juniors, Senior Citizens, Bayshore Wheelers, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Pop Warner Huskies, playground bike riders, National Guard, and the Matawan and South Matawan first aid squads.

We are also pleased to give special thanks to the skirmish marchers from the Philip Freneau Fair and the two marching bands which we contracted to perform for our residents—the Continentals and the Ancients Fife and Drum Corps. Perhaps next year our own Matawan High School Marching Band, led by Dieter Zimmer, will show its loyalty to Matawan Township and honor us with the band's presence in our parade.

Gerald C. Fitzgerald
Recreation Advisory Board
Matawan Township

Saturday, December 11, 2010

County Library Takes A Lesson From B&N

RedBankGreen says the Monmouth County Library's eastern branch at Shrewsbury now features the Lion's Den Cafe, a second floor spot to enjoy a cup of coffee and a snack as you peruse your book or magazine.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Matawan Development Project Tabled Until February

According to The Independent, the Matawan Planning/Zoning Board has tabled a major development plan for 126 Main Street (C-Town demolition, construction of condos and office space) at the request of the developer's locally-based attorney. Note that the project will be brought before the board  "without renotice" in February 2011,so if you're interested you should mark your calendar. The reason for this delay was not mentioned in the paper.

UPDATE: There is movement towards downsizing the project, according to The Independent. A revised plan, with one less floor and fewer parking spaces will be presented 2 May. 

Search Is On For New Schools Superintendent in Matawan-Aberdeen District

The search is on for a new schools superintendent, according to The Independent. Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District board of ed President Charles Kenny says a number of highly qualified candidates have already applied. At its recent meeting, the board solicited public input on what they are seeking in the new superintendent, but, as usual, attendance was sparse and public comments limited in scope. 

Perhaps if the special public forum had been better promoted a few more folks would have shown up? The BOE website has the 22 November agenda and the 8 November minutes posted, so how were people to find out about the extraordinary 29 November forum?  Maybe I simply missed the news?

It's great that board agendas and minutes are posted online and an RSS feed is available, but perhaps the BOE could also offer an email subscription service to distribute these items and extraordinary notices through email to residents and interested parties using a subscription feature at the MARSD website? The Township and Borough routinely send out their agendas and public notices by email at customer request. Not that the municipalities are drawing a huge crowd using this method, but I suspect more people are monitoring what's going on than it appears. MARSD should consider the service if they aren't already doing so.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Friendly Wager Feeds Some Poor in Two Towns

Matawan and Fair Haven had a friendly bet on the outcome of Saturday's high school championship game, proceeds going to reciprocal food banks, according to the Asbury Park Press. I was wondering how this bet was going to resolve, as one town's charity would receive a donation and the other would be left wanting. Well, according to More Monmouth Musings, the ever-so-gracious winners at Fair Haven borough council have worked through that dilemma and agreed to make a $200 donation to Matawan's St Mark's Food Kitchen as the Matawan borough council remits its $200 check to the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. Everyone wins! Especially the many folks out of work whose unemployment benefits are running out this holiday season. Keep your local food banks, pantries, and soup kitchens in mind as you plan your end of year giving.

By the way, I would like to point out that the rival school districts in this year's football championship game each happen to be regional in nature (Rumson-Fair Haven and Matawan-Aberdeen), yet none of the media coverage of this friendly bet between two mayors remarked on the lack of participation by the two governments where the schools are physically located. As a reminder, Aberdeen, which surrounds the Borough of Matawan, was once called Matavan and then Matawan Township. It's had its own government offices for over a hundred and fifty years. Rumson (as Fair Haven) was formed out of Shrewsbury Township about a hundred years ago and sits at the tip of the same peninsula with its neighbor.

I occasionally advocate for municipal consolidation because our taxes are so high running duplicate courts, police departments, etc, etc. At least we have consolidated some schools. Maybe it is too much to expect for the councils of government to legislate themselves out of business? Better that we have fewer teachers and two jails, I guess.

Independent Digitization Project Available Online

Scanned images of The Independent are now available at the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library website. Images can be browsed by year or searched via an online database search engine. The search engine REQUIRES that you choose a publication and date range, and of course you must add keywords to search.

The search engine, provided by the digitization company IDI, has a few issues that need to be resolved. For one thing, it contains only The Independent, not The Matawan Journal, so when you are asked to select a publication, only The Independent appears. A user must return to the MAPL website and start over to use The Journal by year or via a separate search tool. That's not very helpful. Also, the search tool sometimes errors out. In such cases, the date range drop down menu won't appear. This requires that a user go back to MAPL website and start over. The seach engine will not let you go back to select a publication and re-select The Independent. And it does not provide a link back to the MAPL website.

Following up on an October blog article, MAPL, Middletown, and Monmouth County public libraries have all made significant financial contributions to the cost of this digitization project and the project is fully paid for.

History: Pitching In for Rose Hill Cemetery, 1974

Dedicated to Civic Leader
Game to benefit historic cemetery 

MATAWAN BOROUGH A Softball game dedicated to Mrs. Genevieve Donnell, former borough councilman who died earlier this year, will be played 8 p.m. Friday at the Middlesex Road Little League Field.

Proceeds of the game will go to the Rose Hill Cemetery, one of Mrs. Donnell's favorite community projects.
Ellie Strother

The Recreation Commission will have Ellie Strother, president of the Ravine Drive School PTA, on the mound.

The mayor and Borough Council will field a team with representatives of the Conservation Commission, Historical Society, and First Aid Squad.

Also participating will be representatives of the girls' softball league, Pop Warner football, Little League, and the Republican and Democratic clubs.

According to Victor Fabrovic Recreation Commission chairman, the player who contributes the most in monetary penalties by striking out or hitting the ball over the fence will receive a trophy as most valuable player.

Source: The Independent, 3 July 1974, page 11

Note 1: Not a bad way to get the community together to support a local cause. Later editions of the paper contain mentions of benefits conducted on behalf of the cemetery friends. Multiple indices of the gravestones at Rose Hill Cemetery were produced in the wake of this wave of support for this historic cemetery in our midst.

Note 2: Users of the online database need to be able to manipulate the size of the viewing window in order to copy images from The Independent. For now, one must manipulate the size of the image by typing in approximate zoom percentages until the largest size can be made within the constraints of the viewing window. Users then use Ctl Print Screen to copy the screen, then paste it into Windows Paint to crop the image from the captured screen shot and create a jpg file. The final step is to manipulate the jpg file in a photo editor, to obtain the proper contrast, shadows, highlights, etc. I use Windows Live Photo Gallery, which came free with my computer. Apple users will have to develop their own routine.

History: Vandalism and Rose Hill Cemetery, 1975

Overturned headstones mark the acts of vandals at the Rosehiil Cemetery. Some of the stones weigh nearly a ton. Benjamin Bender (left) and Chester Surawski, caretakers at the cemetery, struggle to right one stone. The larger ones have to be placed with a crane.
Damage estimated at $50,000
Vandals hit cemetery again
by John Russell

MATAWAN BOROUGH  Vandals have attacked the historic Rosehiil Cemetery again and the damage can be seen on nearly every line of gravestones.

Damage has been estimated by some sources in the neighborhood at $50,000, and police have increased their patrols in the area.

Charles Schock, chairman of the Rosehiil board of trustees, indicated his frustration with the situation. "I don't know why some of the neighbors don't call the police," he said. At one time it was difficult to see into the cemetery because of overgrowth, but now the area has been cleared and there is a good view, according to Schock.

To repair the damage at Rosehiil properly is costly, according to the board chairman. The stones should be affixed with an apoxy glue for permanence, he said. Although he could not give an exact figure, he did say the cost could approach the $50,000 figure.

The brunt of the repair`costs would have to be born`by those who have relatives buried at Rosehiil, he said.

The most recent wave of vandalism began about a month ago, Schock said. More than half of the overturned stones were knocked down in the past month, he said. Some of the large stones weigh one ton or more, he said.

Another problem facing the cemetery, according to Schock, is the sale of vacant plots. There are approximately 60 plots available, he said, but when prospective buyers see the overturned headstones, they do not want to buy the plots.

This means a loss of revenue to the cemetery. He said the cemetery cannot afford to repair the headstones of abandoned graves until more funds are raised through the sale of plots.

Asked who he thought was responsible for the vandalism, Schock said, "It's somebody frustrated with society."

Source: The Independent, 15 October 1975, page 8

The letter to the editor below appeared on the next page of the same issue of The Independent:

Cemetery vandalism continues


My family marker in Rose Hill Cemetery has been pried from its based and toppled over. It weighs about two tons. Need it be said no small child or children could possibly do it.

It must stand to reason that the person or persons who did it are of knowledgeable age, who know what they are doing.

If and when the person or persons are caught and found guilty I intend to sue them for the cost of replacing the marker plus the mental anguish they have caused me and all others concerned, regardless of age.

It is about time that we, the family members of survivors of the dead buried in Rose Hill, band together through the Rose Hill Assn. and donate money towards a reward fund.

Perhaps this way someone will come forward and tell all and the guilty ones be made to pay.

Mrs. Francis L. Anson

Source: The Independent, 15 October 1975, page 9

History: Vandalism and Rose Hill Cemetery, 1974

Matawan Memories, by Genevieve Donnell

Vandalism threatens historic Rose Hill cemetery

If one could turn back the pages of time to 1905—give or take a few years—a walk out Ravine Drive would be a pleasant experience.

The narrow dirt road curved between fields of daisies and buttercups and was boarded on each side by tall, stately cedar trees. After crossing the small bridge over the winding creek, the road curved left around a hill. Here a small stream at the bottom of a cool green glen, trickled down to the creek. Creamy dogwood blossoms, honeysuckle and deep purple violets added to the beauty of this quiet spot.

Several fields were used for pasturing cows, so hit-or-miss rail fences were built to keep the cud-chewing bosses from straying.

A beautiful house called the Hankinson Farm overlooked the creek and bridge at about the spot where Washington Street ends. A path curved up the hill, bordered by honeysuckle and wild roses. Tall locust tree blossoms mingled their fragrance with the sweetness of the honeysuckle.

As I recall, there were only six or seven small houses on the stretch of road up to the cemetery. And the cemetery is my main topic today.

The land was owned by the Fountain family, and about 1853 they established it as a cemetery. Because many wild roses grew there, I assume they felt the name "Rose Hill" was appropriate. The area has very little flat space except the part that borders the small pond. The hill rises gradually to a flat area where one can see the Raritan Bay and Staten Island in the distance.

In the early 1900's, the pond was a picturesque spot adorned with waxy white water lillies, and occasionally a frog sitting on a green lily pad. In the early spring, one of our pet pastimes was catching a jar-full of pollywogs and keeping them until they graduated into full-grown frogs. The sloping sides of the hill were covered with blue wood violets and brilliant sand pinks, and large evergreen trees crowned the top. The roads, built for horse and buggy traffic, wound around the hill and were shaded by oak and horse chestnut trees.

The plots of ground where loved ones rest were always kept in perfect order, and if one could not forget the sadness which made this place necessary, the beauty of the shrubs, green grass, and flowers helped ease the heartache.

Most of the Fountain family have gradually taken up their abode here, so now the cemetery is in charge of a voluntary commission. The owners of the plots either pay the sexton or have paid for perpetual care, and we call this group Friends of Rose Hill Cemetery. The commission has five members and all plot owners are considered stockholders in this non-profit organization.

Unfortunately, the interest derived from perpetual care does not cover the expenditures. The roads must be maintained, retaining walls built to avoid erosion, and too many families have no survivors to take care of the brush and weed growth. The once beautiful spot needs much  attention. However, the worst problem we have today is vandalism. People who have no respect for memorial gardens have toppled monuments, tipped over and often broken markers, and strewn debris all over. Vandalism is no respecter of persons living or dead.

I appeal to the public to help us by reporting any misdemeanor or suspicion of vandalism to the police.

The commission has asked for contributions to carry on the clean-up and repair program as well as volunteers to assist manually. We hope the citizens of the area will come forward and give us a hand in restoring this historical spot to its former beauty.

For more than 100 years Rose Hill has been a hallowed spot to those whose loved ones lie there. Respect for their memory could be shown by creating beauty there instead of destroying it.

Source: The Independent, 30 January 1974, page 4

Note 1: Rose Hill Cemetery's name derives from a family named Rose, not the flower, according to Helen Henderson in her book, Matawan and Aberdeen: (Of Town and Field).

Note 2: This link is my first to the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library's new collection of uploaded articles from The Independent. The online search engine provided the wrong date (3 January 1974) in its search results. After I clicked on the link, the correct date and page appeared in the online database frame but the database didn't produce an image of the page. (The next article I tried also produced a blank page, although the dates matched.) I was able to bring up the newspaper image by clicking back to page 3 and returning to page 4 using the database's control arrows. Some sort of fix is needed.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

My Current Music Favorites, December 2010

Here are some music videos and a list of songs that I've been enjoying lately. If you've written off the music you hear on broadcast radio, get online and start exploring. There's some great stuff out there. I've purchased my own copies of all of these and play them regularly on my iPod, but as you can see they are available for free online as well.

  1. Right As Rain, by Adele
  2. Tenuousness, by Andrew Bird
  3. Heaven, by Brett Dennen
  4. Veins, by Charlotte Martin
  5. Songbird, by Eva Cassidy
  6. I Know You By Heart, by Eva Cassidy
  7. Over the Rainbow, by Eva Cassidy (studio recording)
  8. OK, by Holly Conlan
  9. Can't Help Falling In Love (Live at Daytrotter), by Ingrid Michaelson
  10. You and I, by Ingrid Michaelson
  11. Sort Of, by Ingrid Michaelson
  12. Turn to Stone, by Ingrid Michaelson
  13. Details in the Fabric, by Jason Mraz featuring James Morrison
  14. Kindly Unspoken, by Kate Voegele
  15. The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, by Leona Lewis
  16. I Adore You, by melpo mene
  17. Secret, by Missy Higgins (live video)
  18. (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay, by Sara Bareilles
  19. One Sweet Love, by Sara Bareilles
  20. Between the Lines, by Sara Bareilles
  21. Love On the Rocks, by Sara Bareilles
  22. City, by Sara Bareilles
  23. River, by Sarah McLachlan
  24. When She Loved Me, by Sarah McLachlan

Huskies Bulldogs Final

RFH won the game l3 to 7. Great season, Huskies!

Huskies Bulldogs 4th Quarter - Allison Runback for TD

Big runback by Allison makes it l3 to 7 with 2 min left!

Huskies Bulldogs 4th Quarter - Time Running Out on Matawan

With less than 3 min in the game, looking like a loss for the Huskies l3 zip.

Huskies Bulldogs 4th Quarter - Score Steady 7-0 With 10 Min Remaining

Still 7 zip Bulldogs with ten minutes left in the game.

Huskies Bulldogs Halftime - 7-0

RFH leads at half 7 - 0. Matawan grabbed an interception to stop an end of half threat. Bulldogs have a strong offense that the Huskies are struggling to control. Close game! Cold, so everyone is at the snack stand seeking something warm.

UPDATE: The concession stand ran out of hot cocoa and hot dog rolls. Long line in the cold and nothing to show for it.

Huskies Bulldogs 1st Quarter - No Score

No score after one quarter of play between Huskies and Bulldogs at the Central Jersey Group 2 state championship game at Kean University in Union.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Aberdeen Matawan Train Station Parking Turns the Corner

The Matawan and Aberdeen municipal governments have procrastinated so long on their plans to renovate the train station area that events have finally overtaken them. The Independent says that NJ Transit is choosing a company to standardize their parking offerings at many of their train stations, including the Aberdeen-Matawan Station. This could throw a serious wrench in -- well, in whatever sort of plans the municipalities couldn't ever seem to get off the ground for oh so many years. Oh, my. Someone recently commented here about the SeaWalk campaign promise finally being met, albeit a little late.  This campaign promise looks to be going down in flames.

Alas, I suppose the NJ Transit initiative means an end to an era of super cheap parking ($40/mo?!) for holders of undervalued and poorly controlled train station parking permits. I can get a parking permit at Edison if and when I'm willing to pay their fees and put up with their ornery management, but there has been no monthly municipal parking available at Aberdeen, my neighborhood station, for years. It's been frustrating, no unlike trying to get NFL season tickets when they are owned by corporations or remain in families for generations.

I frankly don't think a company could handle the parking policy any worse. And they certainly couldn't make that neglected, mercenary zone of lined pavement look any worse than it already does.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Opportunity Knocks Elsewhere for Susan Irons

Matawan Aberdeen Regional School District is losing another administrator to a larger school district with deep pockets. According to The Independent, the district's business administrator, Susan Irons, has resigned to fill an unexpected vacancy in the North Brunswick school system in the same role in a much larger district. The new position yields a 15% increase in salary for Ms Irons, who was granted tenure this summer by MARSD but no raise in salary. Matawan has a better student:teacher ratio and far fewer student dropouts, but North Brunswick is bigger and has more money.

Bottom line: Our district will not only be looking to find a new superintendent to replace Richard O'Malley but a new business administrator as well.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Cliffwood Beach Runner Places at Navesink 15K

Bronawyn O'Leary of Cliffwood Beach came in second place among women running in Sunday's Navesink Challenge 15K race, according to The Examiner.

Christie Campaign Against Public Unions Prompts Anger, Challenge

A Freehold teacher has written an open letter to the Governor of New Jersey, available at The News Transcript, urging him to discontinue the "constant negative bombardment" of teachers that comes from his office in Trenton.  She complains that "the negative light that is being cast on teachers is both demoralizing and upsetting to all of us. . . . How does that promote a good educational environment across the state when the governor’s office consistently tries to pit parents and children against their teachers?"

She is particularly angry at Christie's comments to a student group about the annual teachers convention, saying he risks upsetting the student-teacher bond by drawing them into his caustic campaign against public unions.

She invites the Governor to visit her classroom.