A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Fire Damaged House in Cliffwood Beach

Does anyone know the story behind this burned-out house at 854 Greenwood Avenue in Cliffwood Beach? It seems to have happened in the past few weeks. The place is gutted and smoke-stained, with melted siding and furnishings out the window and on the ground on the left side. The front door is boarded shut and the windows are mostly out.

UPDATE: See my 21 May 2011 follow up.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Aberdeen Considers Property Tax Incentives to Attract Developers

Aberdeen Township has issued a public notice saying that it is seeking an attorney familiar with pilot agreements. A bit of research shows that the Council has not suddenly become enamored with airplanes and helicopters but has developed an interest in receiving payments in lieu of taxes (PILOT). Extraordinary property tax deals that help municipalities and developers reach agreement are referred to as PILOT agreements. The Council is obviously considering property tax deferrals or actual reductions that could help conclude development agreements at the glass factory and/or train station properties.

Aberdeen Res 2011-36 appoints Angela Morin as the township's community development representative to Monmouth County. Our acting township manager, Holly Reycraft, is to be named as her alternate. Ms Morin moves up from alternate representative to replace Joseph Criscuolo, who recently stepped down as Aberdeen township manager. Ms Reycraft, who is filling in for Mr Criscuolo as town manager, replaces Morin as the township's alternate representative. The actual function of a community development representative isn't particularly obvious.

Aberdeen town hall has a new phone system, according to a township notice. The message read, in part:

According to Interim Township Manager Holly Reycraft, residents will find that the new system is similar to the previous one with one key additional benefit. “With this system, we have the ability to place announcements on the main number providing information on such issues as delayed openings or early closings of township offices, and weather-related cancellations of meetings or garbage pickups,” she explained.   “Such information will be especially helpful this winter.”

Pre-Dawn Pics of Cliffwood Beach in Aftermath of Recent Snowstorm

I'm not sure any pictures can portray the volume of snow in our yards and along the roadways in Cliffwood Beach after the recent snowfall. Every yard is simply full of snow, more than halfway to the top of the fence. I've been here over thirty years and this storm takes the cake. These pictures were taken in the twilight just before the sun came up.

Bagelicious Open on Route 34 in Matawan

I received an ad this week for Bagelicious, telling me to watch for their grand opening. I phoned them this morning and they are open for business.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cliffwood 3rd Grade Produces Aberdeen Brochures, Meets With Mayor

The third graders at Cliffwood Elementary School researched and produced brochures about Aberdeen Township as part of their study of local government, according to an interview of Dawn Lasko found in The Independent. The mayor and several councilmen met with the third graders in a special assembly at the school in December to discuss municipal government. The brochures are currently on display at Town Hall.

Early Dismissal Announced

The Matawan Aberdeen School District is letting out early today due to the weather.

It was very sweet of MAMS Principal Blackmore to shovel the front of the school to one of the buses which arrived early.

Drive carefully everyone.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

1011: What Happened a Thousand Years Ago?

According to Wikipedia, the year 1011 was full of interesting events.  Here's just a few:

Matawan HS Student Dies Saturday; Bacterial Meningitis Suspected

Doctors suspect that a 17-year-old Matawan Regional High School student who died Saturday had a case of bacterial meningitis. The Monmouth County Board of Health has issued a health advisory that explains the situation and their response and provides a phone number for those who have additional questions.

UPDATE: The student is identified as Chris Dhume, of Cliffwood, a star player on the high school's soccer team. He fell ill on Thursday with flulike symptoms and died Saturday. See additional details at Holmdel Patch. Other coverage includes APP, According to his obituary, Bedle Funeral Home will conduct visitations on Monday. The funeral mass will be celebrated on Tuesday at Jesus the Lord RC Church in Keyport, with interment to follow at Marlboro Memorial Cemetery.

Starbucks of Matawan Undergoing Renovations; 8 PM Closings This Week

Starbucks of Matawan has another week of renovations to go. The store will be open til 8 pm this week.

Aberdeen and Matawan Sidewalks Impassible

How are kids in Matawan and Aberdeen supposed to get to school with many of the sidewalks impassable? I was looking at the sidewalks along Matawan Avenue between Aberdeen Road and MAMS, for example. Where are the kids going to walk to get across the Garden State Parkway? They'll be walking in the street. Same along Cliffwood Avenue on the way to the elementary school there.

The elderly are in the same situation. Even worse, actually, since they aren't as agile as a young teenager or pre-teen. I just got to the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library and watched as an elderly lady with a walker made her way to the library down Broad Street because the sidewalk was so dangerous for her.

I don't envy the Public Works folks for the challenges they face, but piles of snow plowed along the side of the road remain unaddressed and make it difficult for our kids to get to school safely. I'm not sure what the answer is, but a metal plate in one of our kids' heads shouldn't be the default. We've had kids hit by cars because they walked in the roadway because of covered sidewalks. More care needs to be directed to the plight of those youngsters.

Aberdeen Crime Statistics

I've captured in the chart below the Uniform Crime Report statistics for Aberdeen Township for the past decade. Notable is the more than thirty percent improvement in the Crime Index Total, with a trend towards fewer non-violent crimes; larceny, burglary and motor vehicle theft are all down. While the stats suggest some improvement, violent crime is a mixed bag; aggravated assaults are down markedly, but murder, rape, and robbery seem to be holding their own.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Holly House Apartments Evacuated; Red Cross, Salvation Army Provide Relief

A bizarre chain of events has forced 76 residents of Holly House Apartments, 100 Drury Avenue, Asbury Park to vacate 42 affected units. According to reports from the scene, an errant city plow gouged a utility pole yesterday morning, prompting the phone company to replace the pole. They damaged a gas line while installing the pole, resulting in evacuation of the building. The gas company then blew a power transformer while repairing the gas line. JCP&L proceeded to cause a chain of additional transformers to blow while attempting the installation of refurbished equipment. The repairs continue at this hour. Hopefully residents will be able to return to their homes later tonight once power is restored.

Up to 35 persons have sought refuge across the street at Asbury Park High School, where the Jersey Coast Regional Chapter of the American Red Cross has set up a shelter with half a dozen or so volunteers on any given shift. The Salvation Army provided hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries, and snacks today for those displaced by the outages. The scene has been visited by the local mayor, city manager, and the president of the board of education, among others.

Consider donating to or volunteering for the American Red Cross. You can help your community in lots of ways.

25 Jan Update

The Asbury Park Press finally published a story on this incident after receiving a press release from the Red Cross.

Matawan's Damned Dam Repairs

The Independent provides some important clarifications and additional details to the story about the upcoming dam renovations in Matawan.

In my recent blog article, prompted by an APP article about plans to renovate Lake Matawan and Lake Lefferts dams, I asked about the huge line of credit set aside by the state for these repairs. It seems the state established a line of credit based on the Borough's original application, but the current estimated cost is considerably lower. The Borough Attorney says interest will only accrue on the amount actually borrowed.

The Independent makes reference to the need for replacement of the spill weight in the Ravine Drive bridge. I wonder if that is some variation of the term spillway? You can read more about the Ravine Drive bridge in 5 August 1927 edition of The Matawan Journal. The front page article is called Plans Are Ready for Bridge on Ravine Drive.

The APP article made no mention of calls by some residents to drain the lakes rather than fix the dams, something The Independent reported in some detail. This is only the latest in a series of short-sighted efforts by those weary of high property taxes in New Jersey to save a buck at untold cost to the public good. I'm as upset as the next guy at high property taxes and the state of the economy, but use some sense and think about something besides your pocket book for a change. Luckily, the destruction of these two wonderful community assets is not on the agenda, not only because it wouldn't actually save any money to drain the lakes, but it would hurt revenues from lakefront ratables. Oh, and they provide community values.

Those who are truly tired of high taxes should press for municipal consolidation, which would save oodles more money than Governor Christie's goal of whacking away at the salaries and pensions of state workers and teachers. At the very least, a merger with Aberdeen could result in shared coverage of the costs of Matawan's dam(ned) repairs. Of course you'd have to convince our councils to merge and one of the Parties to step down from municipal control. That's probably the true obstacle to consolidation and lowered taxes.

Well, in any event, I recommend reading up on the dams renovation project. Repairs look to begin in mid- to late 2012, after assorted preliminaries are completed.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wrecking Bunny

I love this ad.

African Americans in the Matawan Journal - 23 April 1959

The New Jersey State Commissioner of Education ordered Madison Township Public Schools to hire Charles Williams, an African American living in New Brunswick, after the township refused to hire him in September 1958 solely due to his race. He submitted his application for employment in May 1958 and was considered and rejected for positions that he was qualified for at the beginning of the school year.

The case, based on his complaint filed in Mar 1959, was the first such anti-discrimination case to be heard in the state, according to The Matawan Journal of 23 April 1959. An effort to resolve the case before it came to a formal hearing failed. The Commissioner found probable cause to exist and the case was promptly resolved in Mr Williams' favor.

The commissioner's resolution included orders for the Madison schools superintendent to cease and desist with his discriminatory hiring practices, for the school board to promptly consider Mr Williams' application for employment, for the board to compensate Mr Williams for lost wages for the interim period between September 1958 and the date Madison hires him, and for the district to report back to the commissioner on their compliance with his various orders.

History: Martin Luther King Jr Memorials, April 1968

In the wake of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr on 4 April 1968, the Jersey shore region was dotted with memorials to the man and his struggle for nonviolence, according to a cover article in The Matawan Journal a week later. 500 people had gathered on Sunday for a memorial at The First Presbyterian Church in Matawan. 2000 had marched to Marine Park in Red Bank and an equivalent number had processed to an interfaith service in Asbury Park.

The paper (page 4 col 1) remarked on the great restraint shown by African Americans in Monmouth County after the shooting and expressed its hope that the strong attendance by whites at the region's MLK memorials would demonstrate that the sadness over his loss was an emotion shared by the entire community.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

There's No Business Like Birthdays

Today would have been Ethel Merman's 103rd birthday. If you're ever curious about such things, check Famous Birthdays.

Bascom Replaced Garofalo As Matawan Business Administrator

Barbara L Bascom has been selected to replace William Garofalo as Matawan's part-time business administrator, according to The Independent. Mr Garofalo will keep his hand in Borough business, working once or twice a month in the finance office. The appointments were made at the 1 January reorganization meeting.

Ms Bascom retired in February 2010 as township administrator and municipal clerk for Upper Freehold, where she had worked since 1992. (Her pension was based on 20 years 2 months service.) She lives in Shark River Hills, part of Neptune Township. She conducts certification courses for municipal clerks at Rutgers University's Center for American Studies.

She established the Richard S Bascom Scholarship Fund, a Monmouth County registered non-profit organization, in May 2005. Ms Bascom served as the COAH municipal housing liaison in Upper Freehold. (Note that Matawan listed no liaison; Aberdeen listed Karen Ventura.)

Mr Garofalo gave up the administrator role to spend more time at home with his wife, who is retired.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Aberdeen Tax Assessor to Serve as Interim Township Manager

Holly Reycraft is being nominated to serve as interim township manager by the Aberdeen town council at its 18 January meeting, according to Resolution 2011-21. She will replace Joseph Criscuolo, who tendered his resignation on 4 January 2011 to take a municipal position in Old Bridge Township effective 19 January.

Mr Criscuolo has served as Aberdeen township manager since August 2008, according to The Independent. He left an assistant administrator job in Old Bridge to come to Aberdeen and will now return to OB but as township administrator. Before his recent work in public administration, Mr Criscuolo worked at AT&T Bell Labs in Holmdel for 24 years, according to APP. His new job offers him a $10k bump in pay over what he was earning in Aberdeen. Note that our school board is also losing two administrators for better pay elsewhere.

Per Linked In, Ms Reycraft has served as Aberdeen Tax Assessor since April 2006. Prior to that she was Senior Assistant Tax Assessor in Freehold from 1992 to 2006. She had also been serving as part time tax assessor in Manasquan since 2002. She was Vice President of the Monmouth County Municipal Assessors Association from 2008 to 2010.

Ms Reycraft received her associates in business administration from Brookdale in 1998 and returned to school nine years later. She made the dean's list every year at Kean University until she received her bachelors in public administration there last year. She is continuing her studies at Kean, where she expects to receive her masters in public administration next year.

It is great to see a Brookdale student continuing her education and gaining regional prominence. Our local community college is not only an economical place to pursue advancement after high school but an often unrecognized stepping stone in its students' career development.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

History: Planning for Two New Dams in Matawan, 1921

According to The Asbury Park Press, Matawan and Monmouth County will be splitting the multimillion dollar cost of replacing the dams at Lake Lefferts and Lake Matawan. The county has also committed $2 million for work on Ravine Drive at Lake Lefferts.

The NJ DEP declared the dams unsafe back in 2001 and mandated repairs be made. Back in 2006, Matawan estimated the cost of repairs at $32 million. The DEP has extended the Borough a $16 million line of credit, which would be half of the $32 million figure, so I'm not sure why the APP suggests a total cost of $8 million to replace the two dams.

On this occasion, I dug back in local newspapers and found an early article discussing the planning for these dams back in the 1920s. The Borough's two lakes were formed as a result of the construction of these dams and expectations were high that the lakes would increase the population, bring new business, and help split the cost of running the municipality. I will post additional articles about the dams and lakes over time.

Plan to Build Dam at Middlesex Road and Another Later at Main Street Near Station.

The citizens will remember at a public meeting called by the Matawan Lake Committee about a year ago the matter of building a lake in Matawan was thoroughly discussed. It was thought advisable at that time to construct one dam near the railroad trestle giving to the borough one large lake. Although the question of the advisability at that time of constructing a dam at the Peter Heyer bridge on the Middlesex Road, and another at the foot of Main Street near the railroad station was discussed.

Because of lack of funds necessary to construct a large dam a new movement is being put in action to construct a dam at Middlesex Road and also to construct another dam at Main Street near the Matawan station as soon as the town shall be sewered, it not being advisable to construct a dam at that point at this time because so many sewers empty into the ravine on that side of the town. The lake committee and some of the citizens have met the Board of Freeholders and held conferences with the members of the Township Committee and members of the Borough Council, all of which conferences have been informal.

Those who have discussed this proposition have promised their cooperation and financial assistance. The Board of Freeholders contemplate building a new bridge at that point, widening the road, which in effect will raise the road bed about eight feet. By building a dam at this point, there will form a lake on that side of town about a mile long and from one-fourth to one- [missing text] [engin]eer is now preparing plans and specifications for the erection of the dam in question which will be of concrete construction and have provision for emptying the entire body of water or the excess in times of freshets. The property holders along the lake have promised financial assistance and a lake at that point now seems assured.

Any citizens wishing to co-operate and assist in this project and to know more of the detail of the plans and construction of this lake and the benefits to be derived may get information from Christian Heuser, president of the Lake Committee, who is doing his utmost to make a success of the project. It is thought by constructing this dam as a tryout to see whether or not a body of water will be of benefit to the town and, if so, the building of the larger dam at the railroad trestle will then be an easier proposition than at this time.

The slogan at this time is: Do what we can and do it now, and net the benefits thereby. If the. population of Matawan is to be increased by this improvement, there will be more people to pay the taxes and the tax rate will be reduced. The butcher, the grocer and the candlestick maker will have more trade and reap the benefits; the doctor, the lawyer, the dentist and the builder will all come in for their share of the business developed by the increased population. Again it means a boating and tennis club; it means that we are going to get out of the rut. It stands for progress. Let everybody put his shoulder to the wheel.

Source: Matawan Journal, 10 March 1921, front page

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snow Day at Lennox Road Hill

The kids and their parents always gravitate to the park off Lennox Road in Cliffwood after a big snow storm. There's always a lot of fun to be had on the steep hill.

Hunting Off Cliffwood Beach

New Jersey Hunter has a current discussion on duck and goose hunting off Cliffwood Beach. Hunters say they usually aren't bothered when they hunt there.

Seems to me that the area along the seawall is too close to homes, based on a state regulation saying one must be 450 ft away from an occupied dwelling or school playground. Some sections of the beach in Aberdeen between the seawall and Whale Creek might meet that rule. Of course, hunters in boats off the shoreline would meet the rule if they were far enough out. Has anyone done the measurements? I've heard gunshots down at the shore in previous years and figured it was hunters. (All my neighbors are accounted for.)

Chapter III Police Regulations 3-12.1 provides the rules, which derive from a NJ statute.
In accordance with N.J.S.A. 23:4-16 no person shall cast an arrow or discharge any firearm upon or across any State, County, or municipal road or highway, and no person, except the owner or lessee of the property and persons specifically authorized by him in writing shall, for the purpose of hunting, taking or killing any bird or animal, have in his possession a loaded gun while within four hundred fifty (450) feet of any occupied dwelling or school playground in this State. In accordance with N.J.S.A. 23:4-24, no person shall hunt with any weapon or carry a gun on Sunday. This shall not prevent farm land owners, lessees actually occupying or farming the land, members of their immediate families, or their farm employees from hunting and destroying at any time and in any manner crows, woodchuck, fox and vermin on that land. (1973 Code § 4-10.1)

Matawan Aberdeen Schools Closed Today - 12 Jan 2011

The school district will be closed on Wednesday, according to an announcement on the MARSD website. The forecasters are calling for 6-8 inches of snow overnight. We've got 5.5 inches of snow in our front yard in Cliffwood Beach at 2:45 am.

Quiet Turmoil in the End Cars

NJ Transit is getting more than it bargained for with its new quiet cars program on rush hour trains. Passengers cannot agree on how quiet is quiet, and the finger pointing, bickering, rulebook arguments, and general rolling of eyes is raising some not so quiet turmoil among seasoned commuters. NYT provides a briefing on the situation with an article datelined Matawan.

History: Passenger Train Service Ends on Freehold-Matawan Branch, 1953

Camel-Back Train Replaced By Bus 
Freehold-Matawan Commuters Rode Old 757 Last Time Saturday

Camelback Steam Engine c 1920, CNJ (Wikimedia)
The whistle of old 757 sounded sad and mournful Saturday [25 April 1953] as the veteran Central Railroad of New Jersey camel-back locomotive left the Freehold station at 7:12 a.m. with its string of its four coaches on its last trip to Matawan.

Somehow it sensed that its traveling days on the daily round trip run between Freehold' and Matawan were over. For passenger railroading on this branch line is another victim to the ever-increasing automobile and bus. The Freehold-Matawan run was the last Shore run for the old camel-back steam engines.

From now on the railroad will run a bus to take its commuters to the main Shore line at Matawan. Whether the passengers will miss the romance of riding the old train might be open to question. But for the veteran crew there can be no doubt. For them, it is the end of an era in which they played a prominent part.

Recalls Early Days

Conductor Edward R Jones, Barnegat, a 30 year veteran of the run, recalls back in 1911, when the railroad ran seven round trips daily between the two towns, with six coaches to each train. The latest tally of passengers showed an average of 30 a day on week-days, and from five to eight on Saturdays.

With him on the last trip were Engineer Edward Irons, Red Bank; Fireman Harold Tillon. Barnegat; Brakeman Oliver Klrkpatrick, Lakehurst, and Flagman George Egan, Keyport. They will soon be seen on other runs, railroad officials said.

Banned for Safety Reasons

The doom of old 757, along with others of its type was forecast back as far as 1925, when the camel-back type of engine was banned for safety reasons. The engineer could not see the left side of the roadway, and the fireman was not in the cab with the engineer to take over in an emergency. Although the branch line has been abandoned for passenger service, the railroad will continue to run freight over the tracks. But the freight trains will be powered with diesel engines.

For the commuters, gasoline fumes will replace the smoke and cinders of old 757!

Source: The Matawan Journal, 30 April 1953, front page

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Future Is Trash and Recycling

A judge has ordered the Borough of Hawthorne to seek new municipal sanitation bids because Future Sanitation's winning bid didn't provide adequate bonding to meet state law, according to American Chronicle. Both Matawan and Aberdeen use Future for municipal trash and recycling collection.

Future Sanitation of Farmingdale was established in 1999, per Businessweek. Future acquired Scruffy Carting early last year, according to North Jersey.comManta says Future is the largest private collection company ($50-100 million annual sales, 250-499 employees) in New Jersey, but provides a dead link for the company website.

Speaking of recycling, Matawan has not yet published its new recycling collection schedule, which apparently led to some confusion yesterday about what residents should be putting at the curb, according to one resident.

Here's the message for residents that was streaming this weekend on the Matawan Borough website:

**PUBLIC NOTICE** * The 2011 Recycling Calendar will be posted as soon as it is received from the printer * the next scheduled pickups are as follows: Saturday, January 8, 2011 - Areas 3 & 4 – Newspapers Wednesday, January 12, 2011 – Areas 1 & 2 – Commingled Saturday, January 15, 2011 – Areas 3 & 4 – Commingled Electronics will no longer be picked up with the regular garbage please contact the recycling hotline at 732-577-8400 ~ Garbage pickup has not changed ~ Please contact Future Sanitation at 732-919-3345 if you have any additional questions.

NJ DOT Could Learn From Its Virginia Counterpart

The State of Virginia has a very innovative Department of Transportation. Above is a picture of their DOT Dashboard, which provides its citizens with an at-a-glance online status report on issues related to getting around in their state. One can learn about the quality of road surfaces, the current level of road congestion, number of traffic deaths to date, and what percentage of budgeted funds have  been spent for state roads to date. They even reveal how well they're performing, according to surveys. Are they building and repairing the roads on schedule? Are citizen queries handled satisfactorily? How is DOT management doing overall?

The NJ DOT website relies on pull-down menus and lots of data that are surely useful to non-profit organizations looking to study good governance but are strictly beyond the capabilities of the average citizen to wade through and find the answer he/she needs. The data you have to wade through can be blindingly complex. For example, did you know that Project T515 says 8.5% of casino tax revenues go to facilitate public transportation of the elderly and disabled? And those funds are divided up among three managing authorities that give 85% of their monies to NJ Transit to provide para-transit services according to a distribution plan based on each county's relative population of persons over 60 years of age as provided by the US Census? I'm not quite sure what happens to the other 15%, but I go on. That is just one half of one page of the FY 2011 Transportation Capital Program's NJ Transit Projects document, which I found informative if daunting. It comes with its own glossary to help you follow along. Too bad it doesn't point you to the answer to your original question.

NJ DOT could take a lesson from Virginia in customer focus.

Residency Challenges Are Business As Usual In Keyport Council

Once again the residency of a Keyport councilperson is in the news. According to The Independent, Mayor Robert Bergen challenged the residency of Councilman Steve Gross at the Council's 7 December meeting. Gross later told reporters that he had moved out of his Atlantic Street address but was living in a nearby condo. He stated that he is moving out of town and therefore plans to resign in early January. Gross says he told members of the Council last summer and it's no big secret.

Ed Burlew's residency was challenged during a bitter election campaign in 2009, per The Independent. Gross was his running mate in that election and won the seat Gross must now yield. Burlew was defeated by Christian Bolte in a runoff in early 2010.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Local Shore Conference High School Basketball

In local high school basketball action, the Matawan Regional High School (MRHS) boys are 6-2 and the girls are 2-6. The boys nearly lost a recent game after a last minute upset bid by Red Bank took the Huskies by surprise but turned it around in the final minutes with a number of clutch free throws, according to an APP blog. The Huskies boys program has been steadily improving over the past five years, according to Freehold InJersey. The Freehold blogger, who asks if the Huskies are for real, points out that they were 0-24 in 2007; 3-21 in 2008; 6-19 in 2009; and at the time of publication were 3-0. The Huskies girls team led Middletown North through the third quarter in their most recent game but lost by 3 at the buzzer, per APP.

St John Vianney's girls are ranked 2nd in the state, per APP. They beat 3rd-ranked Fair Haven on Thursday in a squeaker and remain undefeated (7-0). The SJV boys were 2-1 in late December, but I couldn't immediately find their current stats.

Clifton Begins Third Term; Chosen to Head Board of Chosen Freeholders

Soon after being sworn in Thursday for his third term as Monmouth County Freeholder, Robert Clifton was chosen by his peers to direct the board, according to APP. He replaces Lillian Burry at the helm. Both Clifton and Burry served on the Matawan Borough Council earlier in their political careers.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Son of Cliffwood Brickyard Worker Dies at 79 in Hudson Valley

Earl I Van Ginhoven died Tuesday in the Sullivan County, New York hamlet of Mileses at the age of 79, according to the Times Herald Record. A native of Matawan Township (Aberdeen), his parents moved to Queens, New York by the time Earl was 11. He served in the Korean War in the early 1950s and subsequently settled in the Hudson Valley area. He worked as a plumber for a coal company until he retired. His parents both died in nearby Long Eddy. (Both Mileses and Long Eddy are hamlets in Fremont, New York.

Mr Van Ginhoven was born 5 April 1931 to Jack and Louise Ginhoven. Jack came to America from Holland in 1914 and settled in New York, where he married and had two daughters - Miriam and Cornelia. They moved to Cliffwood, where he worked as a laborer at a Matawan area brickyard and had at least four sons - Frank, David, Earl, and Robert. Earl's wife Louise was born in Maryland to German parents.

The 1930 Federal Census shows John Vanginhoven (38 born in Holland to Dutch parents) living on Locust Avenue in Cliffwood with his wife Louise (38 yrs old, born in Maryland to a German father and Virginia mother) with daughters Cornalie (6 NY) and Mariam (3 8/12 NY) and sons Frank (2 NJ) and David (8/12 NJ). The census shows him as a laborer at one of the local brickyards. He was a naturalized citizen who entered the US in 1914. He spoke Dutch.

Jack Van Ginhoven registered for the draft in World War I circa 1917-1918 at age 26. He reported that he was born 12 Feb 1891 in Leimuiden, Holland. He was living at 12 Stone St in downtown New York City. (The block has been mostly rebuilt since that time. New York Night: The Mystique and Its History, by Mark Caldwell, pp 349-350, mentions the block.) He was employed as a salesman at Vanderveer & Knuff (?) at 14 Stone Street. (14 Stone Street was the home of Thomas A Edison Chemical Co. In 1904, the son of the famous inventor was charged with mail fraud  for selling a bogus electronic healing device by mail from that address.) Jack was single and a Dutch citizen at the time. He claimed no previous military service.

Jack registered for the draft in World War II as well. It was 1942 and he was 51 years old. He was living at 23002 141st Avenue, Laurelton, Queens, New York. He reported the same birth data, only changing Holland to the Netherlands. He was working for the Board of Water Supply, 354 Broadway, New York, NY. He was still married to Louise. Earl would have been about 11 years old.

I couldn't find Jack in the 1920 Federal Census. He died in Long Eddy, Sullivan County, New York in September 1973, per Social Security Death Index.

Louise Vanginhoven was born 18 June 1891 and died in Long Eddy in Aug 1983, per Social Security Death Index.

It is interesting to see how many German and Dutch immigrants lived in Cliffwood in the early 20th century.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Snow Again Friday

AccuWeather forecasts 1-2" of snow for daytime Friday, followed by 1-3" overnight. Their confidence in the forecast seems a bit iffy, so keep an eye on the forecasts as the week proceeds.

Christie Abruptly Dismisses One-Third of County School Execs

The media need to set up a new antenna array if they want to detect incoming barrages from Trenton's executive. With no warning, Gorvernor Christie has let lapse the appointments of one-third of the state's county executive school superintendents, including our own Carole Morris of Monmouth County, according to APP. The Governor's spokesman says Thursday's emails not to come to work in 2011 should have been no surprise because the county executive superintendents are all Gov Corzine appointees and their three-year terms are up. Patrick Diegnan, Jr, chairman of the NJ Assembly education committee, said the actions came "out of the blue." Richard O'Malley joined other local school superintendents in Monmouth County in submitting a letter to the Governor protesting Morris' replacement. (The NJSBA is only concerned that the vacancies are filled quickly to avoid any disruptions. Ho hum.)

The Newark Star-Ledger says Christie had this brainstorm while vacationing in Florida. Maybe he came up with the idea on the Dumbo ride at Disney World? Isn't it wonderful for Ms Morris and company to be notified on New Year's eve that they're losing their jobs immediately? Isn't it great that the local school districts now must rely on county executive superintendents from neighboring counties to assist them with the pending budget process? Christie's contempt for education shows no bounds.

2011 Aberdeen Township Planning Board Gets New Member

Aberdeen Township is filling one new At-large slot on its Planning Board this year, according to Res 2011-1 of the Council agenda for 4 January 2011. The Public Works Department representative and the Council representative are to be reappointed to one year terms.
  • Akin Awofolaju is to be appointed to a Class IV (At-large) four year term (2011-2014). This gentleman is very likely identical with the owner of this impressive online profile. It appears that he is replacing Casie Connolly, whose four year tour was to have ended 31 December 2010. Other current at-large board members (and their terms) include Peter Cusumano (2008-2011), Concetta Kelley (2010-2011), Robert Swindel (2009-2012), Pedro Mirabel (2010-2013), and William Shenton (2010-2013).
  • Robert Brady is to continue in his Class II status (Head of Public Works Dept) for another one year term (2011). He has been appointed since 2008,, when he replaced James Lauro.
  • Councilwoman Margaret Montone is to continue in her Class III status (Council representative) for another one year term (2011). She moved up from Class IV (At-large) in 2010 to replace Fred Tagliarini when he became Mayor. She started as the Board's Alternate No 1 for a two-year term in 2007, then was appointed to fill Mr Tagliarini's unexpired Class IV slot (2009-2011) when he became the Council representative (Class III) in 2009.. Ms Montone became a Councilwoman the following year and was named to the Board's Class III slot, which Mr Tagliarini vacated to claim his ex-officio Class I status as Mayor. Ms Montone was replaced in her At-Large role by Concetta Kelley, who previously served as an Alternate.
  • As Mayor, Fred Tagliarini serves as ex-officio head of the Planning Board (Class I). He replaced David Sobel in 2010.

Here is a set of links to most if not all the annual appointment resolutions from the past five years to the Aberdeen Township Planning Board:
The web page for the Planning Board is needing a serious update. It is always nice to know who is serving in the various positions. It would be nice if the update could include terms.

Also, since the Planning Board is only providing online agendas (no minutes), perhaps a complete roster could be provided at least annually in agendas, at reorganization and any other time the membership changes? It would make historical research a bit easier down the road.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Year's Day 2011 in Red Bank

The King's Speech is now showing in Red Bank, Freehold, and New Brunswick. We saw it on New Year's Day at Clearview Cinema in Red Bank. The 1:40 pm showing was sold out, so we bought tickets for the 4:20 pm showing and walked over to Wallace Street to have lunch. We had a discount coupon for a New Year's lunch at Gaetano's, where we enjoyed a calamari calabrese appetizer and a margherita pizza with sausage and capers. After lunch we spent some time at Starbucks, enjoying our New York Times and coffees.

We ended up sitting in the front row at the movie because the entire theatre was packed. The lady collecting tickets thought she was my mother. She chided us and the couple in line in front of us for coming so late (15 minutes+ before the showing). She reminded me a bit of the Hazlet Multiplex guy with the megaphone. I could do without that sort of experience. The movie was absolutely wonderful, btw. Both Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush were superb. I hope you get to see it.

Trenton Doesn't Expect Snowmelt to Cause River Flooding; Blocked Storm Drains Could Be Troublesome

Trenton doesn't expect significant flooding to result from the melting snow this weekend, but local problems are possible if storm drains remain blocked with snow and debris. Check out this NJ DEP press release dated 29 December 2010 for more details.

History: Bell Beef Company (Foodtown)

This ad for the Bell Beef Company appeared in the 1 May 1936 issue of The Matawan Journal
The Foodtown store in downtown Matawan went out of business in September 1993. According to the 22 September 1993 edition pp 1, 6, of The Independent, the Bell Meat Market operated at the same spot on Main Street until 1951, when the Bell family joined the Foodtown grocery store chain. The last managers of the store - Calvin Bell and his son, Scot - found that the store could not compete with the larger supermarkets in the area, especially the big discounters, like Price Club in Hazlet.

The above article said the butchers opened their shop in 1916, but the first sign I could find of the company was in 1920.  The 6 May 1920 edition of The Matawan Journal, page 5, announced the impending opening of a new butcher shop in Matawan called the Bell Beef Company.  Mr Belafsky and son had recently purchased the building from William Arrowsmith.

Abram Belafsky, a 63-year-old Russian Jew, was a butcher living at 79 Main Street in Matawan with his 49-year-old German wife, Rose, according to the 1920 Federal Census, which was enumerated on 3 January 1920.

Samuel Bell, a 37-year-old butcher from New Jersey with Russian parents lived at 115 Main Street in Matawan with his 32-year-old wife Gussie and sons Martin (8) and Calvin (3), according to the 1930 Federal Census, enumerated 25 April 1930. Samuel was a 27-year-old US Marine living in a military barracks on St Thomas, the Virgin Islands for the 1920 Federal Census.

The 7 May 1926 edition of The Matawan Journal, page 5, made the following announcement:
     H A Eigard has signed a four-year lease with the Bell Beef Company, to whom he sold the corner where his butcher shop is located. Mr Eigard expects to continue his market.

This ad for the Bell Beef Company Supermarket appeared in The Matswan Journal on 4 May 1950.
The 17 May 1973 edition of The Matawan Journal, page 1, discussed the latest Borough Council meeting. The article mentioned a controversial liquor license transfer involving "Foodtown, known locally as the Bell Beef Company" and the Cork and Bottle, also located on Main Street. The borough granted the transfer in name but not in place., in part because Matawan Wine & Liquors was right next door to Foodtown.

This ad for Bell's Market appeared in The Matawan Journal on 25 May 1961.
Matawan and Aberdeen: Of Town and Field, by Helen Henderson of the Matawan Historical Society, page 142, published in 2003, provides a brief history of the Foodtown property.