A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Verizon Wireless Called Me After Survey

I just got off the phone with a Verizon Wireless representative. She called because I submitted a negative survey response yesterday. The question was how likely was I to recommend Verizon Wireless to a friend. Not bloody likely was my reply, with a lengthy explanation. I reviewed many of my family's complaints on the phone with her today just to give her a flavor for our general disgust with Verizon Wirless and Verizon. And I mentioned the recent customer grumblings about Verizon Wireless billing practices regarding charges incurred for inadvertent use of the Internet. I see that that issue hasn't gone away, btw. She was pleasant but backed the company. So we basically agreed to disagree. And she wished me a Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

News Updates as of 28 December 2009

  • Marlboro defeated the Matawan Regional High School boys varsity basketball team 56-39 in Round 1 of the Husky Holiday Tournament, according to NJ.com and APP. (BTW: The school's mascot is the Husky and the school website is calling the event the Husky Holiday Tournament, so I'm not sure why both news sources are calling it the Huskie Classic.)
  • Justin Eric Farnham of Matawan received his Associates in Visual Arts from Raritan Valley Community College, according to the Somerset Reporter.
  • Rob Ratcliffe, of Matawan, is featured as a guitar-playing Giants game tailgater in a photo at NJ.com.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

New Releases to See Over the Christmas 2009 Holidays

Here is a set of previews of the newly released movies I've seen or am planning to see over the holidays at Hazlet Multiplex.

Articles on the History of First Presbyterian Church of Matawan

I've been doing a series of articles on the history of the First Presbyterian Church of Matawan on another blog. My most recent contribution is a biography of Charles H Bruce, who served as minister from 1912 to 1925. Local history buffs and genealogists might find some of the articles in this series of interest.

The church is developing a new website, btw. They're still working on it, so you should continue to use their current site for regular business, but you might just want to take a peek from time to time to see how things are progressing on the new site. I hear they've been burning the midnight oil of late.

Friday, December 25, 2009

News Updates as of 25 December 2009

  • Former Matawan Borough Council member Lillian G. Burry is to head the Monmouth County Board of Freeholders when a Republican majority takes control of the board on 7 January 2010, according to APP. She was the first woman to hold the position when selected for the 2008 term. Since the Democrats took control and replaced her as director after she'd served only one year, the Republicans are making sure she gets her second year in what is typically a two-year term of office.
  • Derek Burlew of Cliffwood Beach, a freestyle Motocross pro, will perform in the inaugural 15 city tour of Gravity Slashers, which begins in Charlotte, NC on 2 January 2010 and ends in Cleveland, OH on 6 March 2010, according to SXdirt.com.
  • The Husky Holiday Tournament will be a three-day boys varsity basketball event held at Matawan Regional High School on Sat 26 December, Mon 28 December, and Tue 29 December, beginning each day at 8 am, according to the MRHS boys varsity schedule. Manalapan, Marlboro, and Howell are invited to the tourney, according to The News Transcript. The MRHS boys varsity team is 0-3 after their loss to Raritan on 23 December. The next Huskies home game will be Tue 5 January at 6:30 pm against Shore Regional. Check out the team's roster here.
  • The Lady Huskies defeated Franklin 74-35 on 23 December, making them 2-1-0, according to NJ.com. With three games under their belts already, maybe it is time for the girls varsity page at MRHS to be updated with a roster, schedule, new photos, etc?
  • The Independent provided a nice summary of Matawan Husky Wrestling's Icebreaker Invitational held last Saturday during the blizzard. Home opener will be Mon 4 January, when MRHS hosts Marlboro.
  • After seeing Up In the Air today, the world is back in balance after reading Thomas McDermott's article Coping With Layoff by Inventing a Holiday. He suggests riding the Staten Island Ferry past Ellis Island and pretending that you've just landed in America, the land of opportunity, with only the shirt on your back and a dream. What is that dream? Not a bad way to adjust one's thinking. And certainly a better choice than Ryan made in the movie.
  • Bank of America's Matawan branch at Ravine Drive and Main Street is having some asbestos removed by Synatech as part of an interior renovation project, according to APP. The websites related to the Asbestos, Lead, and Hazardous Waste Laborers Local 78 in New York, which is so upset about BOA using non-union laborers for this project, were corrupted, so I couldn't do much research. What I could find showed the union has jurisdiction over New York City and Long Island, so I assume they are down in Matawan because BOA is headquartered in Manhattan. It isn't clear that they represent local workers here.
  • NJ Transit trains heading into the city were stacked up on their approach to Newark Penn Station for hours on Wednesday, not unlike planes trying to land at Chicago's busy O'Hare Airport. This writer had a 3 1/2 hour commute into the city that day. Presumably all lines were affected by the problem with the tunnels, not just the North Jersey Coast Line as suggested by The Independent. Conductors explained that each train entering Newark Penn had to be turned around after its passengers disembarked, which was the primary reason for us sitting for hours outside of the Newark International Airport stop.
  • Matawan residents will be paying an average of 10% more for their tap water beginning in January 2010, according to The Independent. Borough Ordinance 09-23 was presented to the Borough Council on 1 December 2009 and was brought up for a vote and passed by the Council on 15 December 2009. The details of the ordinance are not readily available as the ordinance is not posted online and The Independent article provides an utterly confusing rate calculating scheme.

  • A Rowan University mechanical engineering student from Matawan is heading to the Gambia in January 2010, according to Newswise. She and two other local students will join their teacher on his 4th Engineers Without Borders trip to Africa to finish assessing a roughly two-mile stretch of road adjacent to a swampy area that regularly floods waist high and keeps villagers from getting to town. They will also begin to train the local villagers on how to fix the road once the assessment is completed.
  • A Keyport campaign has degenerated to name calling, including accusations that one of the candidates really lives in Cliffwood Beach, according to The Independent. Oh my. Say it isn't so.

Christmas 2009

Merry Christmas to all the naughty and nice readers of Aberdeen NJ Life. I hope Santa brought you something that you really wanted this year, but also that the spirit of Christmas has left you with something that you really needed.

I have to say that we have a bit less under our family's tree this morning, but we're good with that. Sitting back from all the bustle of Christmas shopping has allowed us to see that we already enjoy many blessings, probably more than our fair share.

Trading gifts can be a joy but it also can keep us from taking stock of what we already have. Be sure to give thanks for what you have and to share your relative bounty with others.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Sometimes Two Is Less Than One

Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times was Brooke Gladstone's guest for the 11 December 2009 edition of On The Media. In her piece, called "Follow For Now," Kristof tells Gladstone that researchers have discovered the plight of an individual is much more compelling to onlookers than the struggle of thousands -- or even two.

Kristof explains that he was getting frustrated that he couldn't stir his readers to action when he wrote about war, poverty, and the AIDS crisis in Africa, but they readily were taken in by media stories of individual struggle, such as that of Pale Male, a red-tailed hawk, who was fighting all odds to continue his life in the most unlikely of habitats -- Manhattan.

So Kristof did some digging into the psychology of all this and found the work of Paul Slovic, of Decision Research. Among Slovic's experiments he found that if you ask people to help a starving seven-year-old girl from Mali named Rokia, people will want to provide support. It makes them feel good, especially if they can remedy her problem. But if you describe her problem as resulting from famine in her country, their interest tends to drop. And if you add a brother Moussa with the same issue, they are even less willing to donate.

Kristof said, "You know, we all know that at some point people tend to get numbed and tune out, but one of the things that I found fascinating was the number at which we tend to tune out. It’s not a million, it’s not a thousand, it’s not even a hundred - it’s two."


If you want to learn more about what is happening in Africa, you may wish to explore the International Crisis Group website. I also recommend making an end of year donation to WNYC, which produces On The Media and other fine public radio shows. And if you have an iPod, subscribe to the podcast while you're at it.

And if you're interested in exploring human empathy for the individual but a lack of interest in mass philanthropy, Slovic has a one-hour webinar on the Communications Network you may wish to check out. Personally I think the webinar's format is rather frustrating. Slovic's voice is weak in comparison to the interviewer's, the event takes too long to get underway, and, most maddening of all, you can't stop, start, or move about the recording at all. But the topic is surprisingly fascinating, so maybe you'll endure these issues to listen to some or all of it.

Monday, December 21, 2009

MAMS Faculty/Student Basketball Game - Videos

As promised, I've uploaded six video segments to You Tube covering the MAMS Faculty/Student Basketball Game last week. Here are a few of them.

Meth Hunter

Had to sign for your Sudafed lately? Check out Kris Wheaton's Sources and Methods for an interesting post on how the police use pill purchasing data to shut down meth labs. Part 2 of the 5 part TV news series from Erie, Pennsylvania contains a discussion of the development and use of a computer program called Meth Hunter.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A 1904 History of Baptists in Keyport and Matawan

A History of Baptists in New Jersey, by T S Griffiths, published by Barr Press Publishing Company of Hightstown, NJ in 1904, is available at Internet Archive. The online text is obviously scanned and so has a number of common OCR errors.

Below, I've attempted to fix the errors in the text of the book's chapter 24, which talks about the history of Baptists in Keyport and Matawan.


Keyport is on the shore of the Raritan Bay in Monmouth county, six miles from Middletown village. At the time of the organization of the Baptist church, in 1840, it was a small village of late origin. The pastors of Middletown, Holmdel and Jacksonville had appointments there for several years before the Baptist church was formed. Thus Baptists increased until their number justified an organization of a Baptist church. Rev. J. M. Carpenter of Jacksonville, first made a regular appointment. Mr. S. Sproul, a licentiate of Middletown, a resident at Keyport was active in maintaining social devotional meetings there. Providentially, Rev. F. Ketchum, an evangelist came to Middletown. Hundreds of converts were a result of the meeting.

A proposal to found a branch at Keyport was rejected and a Baptist church of eleven constituents was organized in August 1840. On the same day, Mr. Ketchum baptized twelve converts into its fellowship. The Board of the State Convention appointed Mr. Jackson Smith, a licentiate of Middletown church its missionary at Keyport. Mr. Smith gave up the field and in February 1841, the Board was asked to appoint Mr. William V. Wilson to Keyport. They did so. Mr. Wilson was ordained in May 1841. Rev. Mr. Wilson has lived and his ministry has been exclusively in Monmouth county. New Jersey, where he has been pastor of three Baptist churches, Keyport, Navesink and Port Monmouth, closing his pastoral work January 1, 1892, of fifty-one years, being past his eightieth year and pastor of the third church to which he ministered thirty-eight years. These fifty years of pastoral labor within so narrow a circuit is an indication of the worth of the man and of his influence. Himself financially able, churches, missions and education were quietly uplifted from depths.

A meeting house was built at Keyport the first year of Mr. Wilson's pastorate. Originally, Keyport church had been constituted as the third church of Middletown. Holmdel being the second Middletown. But in 1850, the name was changed to first Baptist church of Keyport. Soon after settling at Keyport, Pastor Wilson made a regular appointment at Middletown point, (now Matawan). He also administered the Lord's Supper in school houses for the convenience of the Baptists scattered in the (now Marlboro township). In 1850, Mr. Wilson secured the erection of a very neat and commodius house of worship in Matawan. Mr. Wilson resigned in August 1853, after being pastor more than twelve years. The growth of the church had been constant and the increase was such that a larger and better church edifice was necessary and measures were taken to build it.

In June 1854, Rev. J. Q. Adams entered the pastorate. In little more than a year, he gave up his charge. Mr. Wilson was called but declined to return. After a long interval in the pastorate. Rev. F. A. Slater accepted the pastoral charge in the latter part of 1856. The resignation of Mr. Wilson delayed the plans for a new house of worship, but earnest plans were adopted at the coming of Mr. Slater and the meeting house was nearly finished when he resigned in 1862. Next December, Rev. A. P. Greaves became pastor; the new church edifice was dedicated while he was ministering to the church. His resignation took effect in 1864.

On the next June 1865, Rev. F. F. Cailhopper was called and soon after settled as pastor. His stay was but four years. A long interval occurred in the pastoral office and the church prospered as much as the conditions allowed. Rev. J. K. Manning entered the pastorate in October, 1870; held the longest pastoral charge the church enjoyed. Resigning in 1883, about thirteen years. The succession of pastors since him has been: S. K. Dexter, 1883-89; J. D. Crumley, 1890-99. Up to 1900, the church has had nine pastors, two of whom remained twelve and more years each. Several members have been licensed to preach. The church has not been disturbed with discord. Deacon Thomas Burrowes has been an efficient co-worker with the church and the pastors. Equally active in all missions in the vicinity of the church and the Association missions. One church, Matawan has been colonized from Keyport church.

Although Matawan Baptist church is closely related to Keyport Baptist church, Baptist interests there antidated the beginnings of Baptist movements at Keyport. Before 1830, Pastor Roberts of first Middletown church preached in the house of Mrs. Elizabeth Bent at Matawan. Pastors J. M. Carpenter and J. Goble of Jacksonville also preached in Matawan. Mr. Carpenter lived in Matawan two years. Rev. William V. Wilson, while pastor at Keyport preached regularly at Matawan for nearly nine years. Converts there were baptized into the membership of Keyport church. Of the thirty-two Baptists who constituted the Matawan Baptist church on October 22nd, 1850, twenty were from Keyport and a church edifice was built for them by Pastor Wilson of Keyport the same year. It would not surprise those who know Mr. Wilson if they learned that he was the largest donor for its cost.

The Matawan church chose Rev. Job Gaskill of Columbus for their pastor. Mr. Gaskill was a missionary of the Board of the State Convention at work about Matawan. Mr. Gaskill was one of the most devotedly godly men and Mrs. Gaskill one of the most active and earnest among Christian women. Both of them had ample private means and relieved the church of wholly caring for them. Mr. Gaskill was a very frail man, though he had immense courage. Only a few months sufficed to lay him aside and he was compelled to return home Additions to the church greatly strengthened it. Mr. D. F. Twiss followed as pastor. But like to his predecessor, he was very frail. Sad afflictions befell him. Death claimed his four children. Disease preyed upon his companion and hemhorrages warned him of his own early death and in October 1853, he resigned to the grief of the church and community. He died June 30th, 1857, and entered into his reward.

In June 1854, Rev. J. W. Crumb became pastor. For four years he wholly served the church. In the last year of his charge a great calamity befell the church: their church edifice was burned in February 1858. The insurance policy had expired days before and the loss was total. The loss of the pastor and the burning of their house of worship was a concurrence of disappointments, nearly fatal to the church. But a conference of neighboring pastors pledged them help in their need. Pastor Crumb closed his labors at Matawan in May, 1858. A hall was rented and a "permanent supply" obtained. Pastor Slater of Keyport assured them of an afternoon Lord's Day service till they had a pastor.

Rev. J. E. Barnes settled as pastor in November 1859, remaining two and more years. These years had ample returns. Large con- gregations waited on his ministry and his executive gifts wrought to complete a new house of worship. A graduate, Mr. R. G. Farley, came within a year and was ordained. In the next four years, their new church edifice was paid for. The hardships of short and new pastorships and of the fire, caused a decline of the membership and of the financial and spiritual strength. However, Rev. F. A. Slater entered the pastorate in October 1866. In a few years, harvests of converts and renewed vigor confirmed the choice of the pastor. Mr. Slater was pastor for twenty-three years. Resigning in September 1889, on account of increasing infirmities, suffered several years since in a railroad accident.

In January 1890, Rev. C. L. Percy became pastor and closed his charge in October 1894. Two members of the church (women) sailed in 1892, for mission work in India. Pastor H. J. Whalen settled in January 1895 and resigned in January 1899. On the next June, Rev. J. Y. Irving accepted a call to be pastor. While the church has hopeful prospects, the commercial and business future of the town does not indicate an extensive growth. If William V. Wilson is included as pastor, the church has had ten pastors. Two houses of worship have been in use. The first built in 1850 and burned in 1858; another now in use. There is not a published statement of members having been licensed to preach and yet, two female members are in India as missionaries.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Huskies Wrestling Beginning Its 2009-2010 Season

Matawan Huskies Wrestling begins its regular schedule after the New Year, but their calendar shows various events in December. An ice breaker competition set for this evening (Saturday) at 9 pm will likely have to be postponed due to heavy snow. (Note: The ice breaker took place but apparently earlier in the day, as On The Mat posted the results on Saturday before 5 pm.) Shore Conference.com has some useful information on the Huskies on its website, too.

Johnny Short, in the 130 weight class for the Huskies, is rated 5th by Dorf Feature Service among all Central Jersey high school wrestlers as the 2009-2010 season begins, according to NJ.com. (BTW, the DFS listings show High Point and Long Branch to have numerous contenders in the mix.) This blog contained links and blurbs on Short back in February and March.

Since there is hardly any information about the rating service mentioned in the NJ.com article, I'll provide a little background what I found online regarding Dorf Feature Service (DFS). This Mountainside company, once called the Metropolitan News Service, has been in existence for over 75 years. Renamed by Sid Dorfman, DFS is actually the sports office of the Newark Star Ledger. For some elaboration on DFS, see footnote 1 of Teenage Rise as Star-Ledger Sports Reporter, the recollections of Nat Bodian, at Old Newark MemoriesManta agrees that the Newark Star-Ledger does some of its business as Dorf Feature Service Inc. Their restricted access business website provides no details.

Some Interesting Distractions for a Snowy Day

I saw this amazing video of undersea volcanic eruptions on the news and thought I would share it with you.

And what are the chances of having a white Christmas where you are? Here is an interesting map with statistics for cities and towns near you.
CommunityWalk Map - What are the odds of a White Christmas?

And did you know that your bank account has more numbers starting with 1 than 2, and more starting with 2 than 3, etc? And did you know that auditors can detect fraud simply by using a formula that looks for these percentages? I was really surprised by what I heard in the Numbers podcast from NPR's Radiolab. I am a regular listener to this show, which is produced locally by WNYC. One podcast typically consists of four separate but related stories. I recommend that you check WNYC's schedule for the time of its weekly radio broadcast or subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Toys For Tots Basketball Yields Many Benefits

A successful 4th Annual Faculty/Student Basketball Game was held last night at the Matawan Aberdeen Middle School (MAMS) on Matawan Avenue in Cliffwood. Over 500 new or gently used toys were collected for the benefit of local needy children this holiday season as the cost of admission to the event. Raffles and snacks raised money for the Willow Tree Center, which provides prevention, education, and counseling to middle school students across New Jersey.

About a third of the student body showed up, many with their parents, to either play or cheer on their fellow classmates in a series of short basketball games with faculty. Cheerleaders stood along the sidelines and roared their support, taking center stage at half time with a rousing performance involving pyramids and lettered signs. Students and parents took to the floor at halftime for a benefit dash and some foul shot contests. Volunteers staffed a snack and raffle area in the cafeteria. Over a dozen teachers, many wearing their teachers association shirts, supported the event, either on the basketball court, selling concessions, or providing organization.

We should be grateful to the many teachers and administrators from MAMS, as well as teachers and substitutes from Matawan Regional High School (MRHS) and other community members, who volunteered considerable time and effort to make this event happen. And we should be proud of the many students and parents who supported the event.

Charlie Marsh, an MRHS teacher who founded the event five years ago while teaching at MAMS, told me that the kids develop rapport with their teachers after seeing them on the basketball court and working with them for a worthy cause. He commented that more and more parents come out to the faculty/student game every year because it is all students talk about for at least a week.

Last year the toys collected went to Manna House and the Matawan United Methodist Church. Be sure to check out the videos I added to go with this article.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Green Man Series Surprise Hit for Adults, Kids; Johnny Depp Gets Role for Film

Borough Overexplains Its Cozy Ties With T&M Associates

The only advantage I can see to having a local press that treats governmental press releases as the whole story is that the government sometimes reveals its hidden agenda as it attempts to fill the echoing silence resulting from an utter lack of balanced political rebuttal with hints of guilt, shame, or other political baggage. Consider it the glass half full.

Nowhere is this more evident than in tomorrow's Independent, which includes Borough Administrator Wiliiam Garofalo's lengthy justification of Matawan's choice of T&M Associates to prepare a $20,000 energy audit for the Borough. In this press release, Garofalo tries to make this significant payment to the incumbent party's largest political contributor disappear like a rabbit into a magician's hat.

The Council is apparently feeling the heat from public scrutiny of Pay to Play. So the very appearance of impropriety in this matter has caused the Borough Administrator to overexplain the position of the Council in the attached defensive song and dance release to the media. Shakespeare was right when he wrote: The lady doth protest too much, methinks.

Nothing illegal is going on, of course. But Pay to Play is becoming such a stain on New Jersey society that our politicians now squirm whenever any light shines on their attempts to participate in their repulsive little financial quid pro quos with contributors. Even though it may make perfect sense for Matawan to use an engineering firm it is already familiar with, who really believes that residents won't pay more in the end due to favoritism and backroom deals? Why else pay to play? And who believes that these cozy relationships between politicians and donors won't eventually lead down an even slipperier slope?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Navy Petty Officer from Matawan Part of Provincial Reconstruction Team in Afghanistan

Came across a recent posting on the Provincial Reconstruction Team Nuristan blog today. It mentions one of our local boys in a different sort of action in Afghanistan. Go Navy!

NURISTAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan - U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Dustin Brzezniak, left, from Matawan, N.J., and U.S. Army Staff Sgt. John McGlocklin from San Antonio, Texas, with the Nuristan Provincial Reconstruction Team, sit with Muhammad Osman, the sub-governor of the Waygul District of eastern Afghanistan’s Nuristan province, and shura members during a meeting to discuss ongoing projects in the area, on Forward Operating Base Blessing, Nov. 18. Osman hires local Afghans to work on PRT-funded projects, and meets with the civil affairs team twice a week to request additional supplies for self-help projects. (U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman Ashley Hawkins)

Check Flickr for a great picture of a soldier on patrol in the Waygul Valley and an April 2009 article from the Fort Hood Sentinel on 1st Infantry Division patrols there. 

NYC Half-Marathon and the Fresh Air Fund

You can be a Fresh Air Fund Racer or one of the many volunteers and financial sponsors supporting them as they join thousands of others participating in the first ever spring running of the NYC Half-Marathon. The Fresh Air Fund Racers are raising money to help inner city kids have fun summers. Fresh Air Fund Racers helped raise nearly $90,000 at this year's event in August, bringing the total monies collected through three years of half-marathon fundraisers to nearly $300,000.

With so much Christmas shopping left to do, you might not realize that March is just around the corner, so don't dawdle if you want to get involved. It's never too early to inquire about how you can help make this event the most successful one ever.

As an aside, the New York Road Runners (NYRR) Club says interest is already high in the 21 March running of the half-marathon, so if you plan to participate you certainly won't be out there by yourself.

If you'd like to get involved with the race in any way, please email kbrinkerhoff@freshair.org. Thank you!

As always, you can call the Fresh Air Fund at 800-367-0003 
or click here to make a donation.

Matawan Woman Killed Crossing River Road in Piscataway

MyCentralJersey.com reports that a Matawan woman, trailing behind her husband and son as they crossed River Road in Piscataway on Sunday evening, was struck by a car and killed.

Here's a view of the intersection of River Road and Rivercrest Drive, which is reportedly near the point of the pedestrian strike. You can drag the perspective around or even click on the map to explore the vicinity. Note that the family was near a pond at Bakelite Park along the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park Trail and might have been heading to it or returning from it at the time.

View Larger Map

Understanding Preschool Expansion

The Fall 2009 issue of Common Ground includes the following article on the state-mandated expansion of preschool for low-income children in New Jersey. It will provide you with some important background information that should help you understand the Matawan Aberdeen School Board's recent decision, described in The Independent, not to renew the lease of the Bayshore Jointure Commission's Developmental Learning Center at 1 Crest Way. (As an aside, better facilities are fine but a weak reason for this Bayshore organization to move to Tinton Falls, completely outside of its service area. No doubt there is more to that particular story.)

Here is the article from Common Ground, mentioned above, writtten by Cynthia Rice and Kathleen Priestly of the Association for Children of New Jersey (ACNJ):

In January 2008, Governor Corzine signed into law a new state school funding formula that included a significant expansion of high quality, state-funded preschool for low-income children. Modeled after the nationally recognized Abbott Preschool Program, currently providing over 40,000 three- and four- year-olds living in New Jersey’s lowest income school districts access to high quality preschool, this expansion represents an opportunity for an additional 30,000 preschoolers to participate in a program that is proving to make a difference in the educational lives of young children.

A portion of the new preschoolers to benefit from the preschool expansion are low-income children classified as preschool disabled. When fully implemented in 2013-2014, school districts will be able to provide preschool disabled children with increased access to inclusive preschool settings.

Districts with a high concentration of poor families will be required to offer a preschool program to all three- and four-year-olds. Districts with fewer low-income families will be required to offer the program only to those children whose families meet income eligibility requirements.

The preschool expansion initiative will not affect eligibility for preschool disabled services. As is now the case, children with disabilities who are eligible for special education will receive services regardless of family income.

Whether preschool disabled or typicallydeveloping, all eligible children will have access to a full, six-hour day, five-day-a-week program, implemented by each school district and fully funded by the state. The program will affect preschool disabled children in two important ways:

First, it will provide them with a guarantee of additional hours of instruction above the current minimum described in state and federal law, and as dictated by the children’s IEPs. Second, because of the size of the expansion, additional classrooms will be required in order to provide program access to eligible children. This means that school districts will have new opportunities to provide integrated classrooms for preschoolers with disabilities. There are various models of inclusion that districts may find appropriate for their preschool population.

Depending on the model of inclusion, the expansion will include the quality components that have been part of the Abbott program, including a class size of no more than 15 children, a teacher with a bachelor’s degree trained to teach young children, a teacher’s aide, family workers and/or social workers to help families, and a research-based curriculum.

Every district will have a different approach to making sure there is adequate classroom space. Districts can offer their program in a variety of ways, including in-district classrooms, classrooms located in licensed child care centers, classrooms located in Head Start centers, or in a combination of these locations. This “mixed delivery system” has been very successful in the Abbott districts, where 65% of the three- and four-year-olds attend preschool in licensed child care and Head Start classrooms. Many preschool disabled children in Abbott districts attend inclusive settings in their community.

School districts are required to establish a preschool-through-third-grade Early Childhood Advisory Council to review preschool program implementation and to support transition as children move from preschool through grade three. While implementing a high quality program will have positive effects on participating children, preschool services must be planned with an eye toward future learning experiences. Coordinated programs that link preschool with the early elementary years and special education are crucial to obtaining positive outcomes for children. Districts’ early childhood advisory councils will be set-up to think globally in order to maximize program impact during the childrens’ early learning years.

What can parents do?

While the preschool expansion initiative is part of the state’s new school funding formula, the FY 2010 state budget included no money for that expansion. School districts may use some of their dollars from the federal stimulus package for preschool, but only a handful will actually do so. School districts need to
hear from parents and other people in the community that preschool expansion is critical to the educational success of students; and that the initiative provides preschoolers with disabilities increased opportunities to attend high quality,
inclusive programs.

Getting Involved
  • Learn the status of your district’s Early Childhood Advisory Council and offer to participate.
  • Ask your school district about its preschool expansion plan.
  • Tell your school board that you support preschool expansion.
  • Visit a quality, inclusive preschool classroom.
  • Spread the word! Talk to other parents about the expansion.
  • Stay informed!  

For further information, check the following websites:

News Updates as of 8 December 2009

  • Several athletes from our area competed on Sunday at Kean University's opening indoor track and field meet, which was held on Sunday in New Haven, Connecticut . Vincent "Vinny" Schifini (MRHS), of Cliffwood Beach, and Maria Moya (MRHS), of Matawan, participated in pole vault, while Joseph Badru (StJV), of Keansburg, did the high jump. The men's team finished in 4th and the women in 7th. Check the school's athletics page for details of the event and a photograph of Maria. Click here to see the full men's roster.
  • Readers of Chowhound are starting to ask about Ganga Asian Bistro, the new sushi place on Route 34 taking the spot once operated as the Pea Pod Chinese restaurant. I imagine the online discussion will make some progress by early next week. So far people are still chatting about the pretentious name of the place. No one claims to have tried the food as of this moment. Let me know if you drop in. Or join the discussion at Chowhound. It's a fine site for the latest scoop on local eateries.
  • The Times of Trenton offers high praise for Matguard, a Middletown, NJ company that makes a line of sprays and wipes that athletes can use to prevent skin diseases. Tom Bunge, an MRHS wrestler in the late 1970s, is president of the company.
  • 2 Chicks With Chocolate is a budding new ebusiness virtually located in our area. I found the CEO in a business blog called Carleadbest. She was discussing the effectiveness of offering free chocolate samples -- a wonderful concept I must say. I'm all for it. Oh, but I think she only offers them to corporate clients. The chocolates look yummy, so get out your wallets.
  • New Jersey is beefing up its effort to take drunk drivers off the road this holiday season. Over the Limit, Under Arrest began yesterday and runs through 3 January, according to a press release out of Trenton. Make sure you make arrangements for a designated driver, a taxi ride home, or a place to stay before you start any holiday drinking. How do you look in stripes?
  • Jim Lauro is retiring as Public Works Director and looking ahead to elected service on the Aberdeen Town Council beginning on 1 January 2010. The Township issued a proclamation on 4 December honoring his 42 years of public service.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

After Pearl Harbor, Youth Prepare, Parents Wait

After weeks of dreading a knock at the door, two Keyport families were overjoyed to receive letters from their sons just in time for Christmas 1941. For these parents of boys stationed in the Hawaiian Islands, it no doubt had seemed like forever since the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December. Based on an account in the Matawan Journal on New Year's Day 1942, there was understandable jubilation when, on Christmas Eve, Mrs Frank S Dey of 89 Church Street received an airmail letter from her son, William Foulks, stationed at Schofield Barracks, saying he was safe. Fanton and Albertina Rogers, of Second Street, were equally excited to hear two days before Christmas from their son Raymond, stationed at Fort Kamekameha on Oahu, that he, too, was fine.

Civic spirit was high all around. Matawan High School students were learning about national defense and writing letters to soldiers. The two winners of the Matawan Christmas home decoration contest donated their $10 and $5 winnings to the Red Cross. Matawan's Outdoor Club, a young girls society, donated $2 to the Red Cross. The Federal Labor Union of Keyport was buying $1,000 in war bonds. Rollo Transit Co handed out over $5,000 in war bonds to employees in place of the usual end of year cash gifts.

Matawan's mainline churches along Main Street -- Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian -- organized a joint week of prayer. The first Sunday in January, Presbyterians were preparing to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the erection of their then-current edifice on Main Street. Reverend Berger was planning to deliver the sermon "The Eyes of the Lord Are In Every Place." The public was invited to an old-fashioned hymn-sing that evening.

Civil defense was also heightened. Morganville and Marlboro were setting up their air raid siren systems. Morse code classes were being established. Executives from New Jersey's top 500 firms were being summoned to an emergency civil defense course at Rutgers University.

The military had of course been activated. The paper announced that a local student had joined the Marines. Fort Monmouth planned to double the size of its next signals corps class to 500 students.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pay Gets New Scrutiny in NJ; Play Still Has Free Ride

As part of its effort to quell Pay to Play in the Garden State, the New Jersey Election Law Enforcement Commission (ELEC) has posted a new database on its Public Information page online that makes election contributions searchable. According to NJ.com, the database only contains donations for the 2009 primaries so far but will include contributions towards the 2009 general elections by sometime in February 2010.

Maybe we should have a look and see what's happening around here in the realm of political contributions?

T & M Associates, which operates in 19 of New Jersey's 21 counties, contributed $121,000 to local and county campaigns statewide, the largest single contributor, according to NJ.com. The database shows that for the 2009 primary, T & M Associates donated 99.9% of the funding for political campaigns in  Matawan: $5,200 to the Matawan Republicans.

CME Associates contributed all of the political campaign funding in Aberdeen: $1,500 to Tom Perry (Aberdeen Democrat) and $1,500 to David Sobel (Aberdeen Democrat).

So, two major engineering firms provided virtually all of the political funding in Matawan-Aberdeen. In comparison, Old Bridge campaigns received a total of $100 in contributions.

As for Monmouth County, all the money seems to be heading to the Dems. Of local interest, Mullaney Tires gave $500 to Monmouth County Democrats. A large number of contributions are coming from Hazlet, including IEI in Airport Plaza, which is owned by the Chairman of the Monmouth County Democrats.

ELEC is dedicated to administering “The New Jersey Campaign Contributions and Expenditures Reporting Act,” “The Gubernatorial, Legislative Disclosure Statement Act,” “Legislative and Governmental Process Activities Disclosure Act,” and various portions of the “Uniform Recall Election Law.” Its website is a great resource for pay to play information. Check out this Powerpoint presentation, for example.

Unfortunately, the database is heavy on PAY but light on PLAY. Only political contributions are logged into this database. The quid pro quo, in the form of total value of contracts acquired, is not part of this database.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Celtic Christmas at Burroughs Mansion, Sunday 6 December 2009, 1 pm

The Matawan Historical Society is sponsoring an Irish and English Christmas featuring the Celtic band Trinity at Burroughs Mansion, 94 Main Street in Matawan, on Sunday 6 December 2009 from 1 pm to 4 pm, according to a press release in The Independent. Refreshments will be served. See photos and brief bios of individual members of this Red Bank-based group, as well as the band's upcoming performances, at Trinity's MySpace site.

News Updates as of 5 December 2009

  • Salsa Latina, located in the Park Plaza Mall on Route 34 in Matawan, is featured in a review at NJ.com. The place is operated by a Matawan couple interviewed in the article. See also the hopeful discussion at Chowhound and a rather negative review at The Average Cook. I couldn't get the restaurant's website to work, but I was able to link to its dinner menu for some reason. Here's a map.
  • According to University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC)'s athletic blog, a Matawan native is one of eight candidates to ascend to the UMBC Athletic Hall of Fame in February 2010. "Deanna Vecchio, softball, (1999-2002) — A shortstop for the softball team and a catalyst at the top of the lineup from 1999-2002, Vecchio was a career .353 hitter, a four-time All-Northeast Conference First-Team selection and the 2002 Northeast Conference Player of the Year. Vecchio holds UMBC’s all-time records in runs scored (179) and stolen bases (135) and ranks among UMBC’s career leaders in nearly every statistical category, including second in hits (258), fourth in triples (9) and at-bats (731), fifth in total bases (338), sixth in walks (61), on-base percentage (.404) and games played and started (215), seventh in average (.353), 10th in doubles (29) and extra-base hits (49) and 15th in home runs (11). Her 88 hits in 2002 are the second-most ever in a single season in UMBC history, and she batted .402 that season, ranking fourth all-time. The native of Matawan, N.J., also holds UMBC’s single-season record with 68 runs scored as a senior, and she is one of three players ever to steal 40 bases in a season. Vecchio put together a 26-game hitting streak in 2002, second-longest in UMBC history. She also earned National Fastpitch Coaches Association First-Team All-Region honors as a senior." After leaving UMBC, she was a co-founder of URASTAR Softball, which helped high schools in Maryland to get students into softball camps and clinics. She worked as assistant varsity softball coach at Metuchen High School in 2005 - 2006 and as assistant softball coach at Drew University in 2007. She joined Lady Tigers Fastpitch Softball in 2008. According to The Sentinel, Vecchio is a graduate of Old Bridge High School.
  • Matawan PBA is collecting toys and food at designated locations through 20 December, according to The Independent.
  • The Matawan Aberdeen School Board puts its spin on Matawan Regional High School's test results on the 2009 High School Proficiency Assessment (HSPA) in The Independent. The article contains no comments, criticisms, or recommendations from independent experts or elements of the community, so be forewarned of the article's extreme bias on a complicated story. Maybe the local teacher's union representative or a Rutgers University education specialist could have provided some balance?
  • Tuesday 8 December, the organization Parents of Autistic Children (POAC) is hosting its third speaker in a series facilitated by the Matawan Aberdeen Regional School District, according to The Independent. "Managing Problem Behaviors in the Home and Community" will begin at 7 pm at the MARSD Central Office at 1 Crest Way in Aberdeen.

Matawan Huskies Take State Championship, Defeat Manasquan Warriors 28-12

Ewing was overtaken on Friday evening by an enormous crowd of excited Matawan Huskies fans, who showed up at The College of New Jersey to see their high school football team win the State Championships. Well done, team. We're so proud of you.

Here are some videos that will give you a flavor of the second half of the game.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

What's With Walden University?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Upcoming Keyport Events as of 26 November 2009

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

News Updates as of 25 November 2009

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

View Larger Map

Happy Thanksgiving 2009


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Local Media Coverage Wasn't Any Better Fifty Years Ago

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

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

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

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

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

Huskies Shoot Down the Rockets (Matawan 46 Raritan 7)

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

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

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

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

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

Great game, Huskies! Good luck against Manasquan.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Display at Matawan Starbucks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

News Updates as of 18 November 2009

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

Sunday, November 15, 2009

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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