A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

News Updates as of 26 September 2009

  • A Matawan woman was sexually assaulted in Colts Neck while stopped with car trouble, per APP. Police are looking for a light colored, older model Chevy Silverado pickup truck. APP added: The attacker is described as a white or Hispanic man who was in his late 20s or early 30s. He was between 5 feet 8 inches and 5 feet 10 inches tall, weighed about 180 pounds, and wore dark-colored jeans, work boots and a baseball cap that had a sticker on the underside of the bill, police said.
  • Matawan Huskies' Jared Allison and MacArthur Underwood made the Newark Star-Ledger's NJ Football Heroes of the Weekend. Jared Allison, Matawan: The QB ran eight times for 86 yards and two TDs and scored on a 53-yard punt return. MacArthur Underwood, Matawan: The RB returned a punt 43 yards for a TD, had a 62-yard interception return for a TD and caught a 47-yard pass for a TD. NJ.com was also talking up Matawan football this past week in glowing terms.
  • Did we have some fighter jets buzzing Aberdeen on 21 September?
  • A Cliffwood man won a bail reduction at a hearing on 21 September, per APP. Charges are related to some alleged gunplay at a Lloyd Road residence in Marlboro earlier this year. (See NJ.com for a March 2009 article about the incident and associated charges.) An alleged accomplice remains in the county jail in Freehold on $1.25 million cash-only bail.
  • Maybe this Cliffwood street fight reported in APP was somehow related to the above story?
  • Stumpy's Blog provides some good coverage of Shore Conference high school sports. You might want to follow it if you're a sports hound.
  • Aberdeen Township passed its budget, according to The Independent. The Dems are pleased not to raise taxes too much, and they've sheepishly tried to put some of the library's funds back into the cookie jar, but it is all smoke and mirrors. The Reps are rightly concerned that the Dems are only deferring tax hikes to a future administration. It was nice to see Rep mayoral candidate Aljian point out
    that the Dems took the library's building fund monies just to keep the deficit hounds at bay for another year. Sooner or later -- likely sooner -- we'll have to pay the piper. (I met some of the Reps this afternoon at Aberdeen Day and frankly liked what I was hearing. I hope we vote in a balanced council this year. The Dems, left to their own devices, haven't been very good stewards of our community. They will be lucky to keep a representation on the Council. A swing one way or the other isn't good for the Township, so I hope voters will avoid a single party Council this Nov.)
  • MARSD Board of Education is outsourcing its substitute teacher management system. According to The Independent, an agreement was reached on 21 September to use Source4teachers starting 1 October. The Matawan Regional Teachers Association reps at Aberdeen Day seemed to be surprised at how quickly and quietly this matter was handled this summer. There's not been much discussion of this company in the blogosphere. Aberdeener remarked on Source4teachers back in August and solicited comments. In July, Parsippany seemed to think outsourcing was a good idea, as long as local substitutes didn't have trouble getting jobs. A search of Google showed countless NJ school systems have been approving lists of Source4teachers substitute teachers for inclusion in their programs for the past five years or so, based on a review of over 15 pages of Google hits this evening. Some negative rumors I've heard so far that need a response from a board member: Source4teachers will resurrect the old SubFinder system, which never worked very well in the MARSD school system; teachers won't be able to designate a favorite sub to replace them; subs have not been informed of this organizational change and might be out of work in a week if they've not already applied and been approved to work.
  • B Green Innovations continues to move forward with its VibeAway promotions. They periodically make public announcements about their company. Recently they mentioned their participation in trade shows and the addition of resellers.
  • Vincent Verdiglione of Matawan announces engagement to Red Bank Regional High School math teacher, per SILive.
  • You may recall that I promoted the Fresh Air Fund a couple of times this summer. They got back to me recently to say thank you and to share a video montage (below) of how the Summer 2009 program went. If you weren't able to participate or donate this summer, consider doing so next year. It's quite a worthy cause.

Adeline Arnold, Environmentalist, Honored by Freeholders

23 July 2009 was declared Adeline Arnold Day by the Monmouth County board of chosen freeholders, according to The Independent. Longtime Aberdeen resident and environmental advocate Adeline Arnold served for 35 years (1972-2007) on the Aberdeen Township Environmental and Shade Tree Advisory Board, 22 years as its chair. She also served 31 years on the Monmouth County Solid Waste Advisory Council. A Queens native, Arnold moved to Aberdeen from Brooklyn in 1964. She no longer serves on the board or council but continues to help out with special projects. She remains active on the League of Women Voters of NJ.
The township environmental board recently received a grant from Verizon to build an osprey nesting platform (pictured above), which was constructed by the township's Department of Public Works near the Whale Creek bridge along the county border in Cliffwood Beach (pictured left).

12th Annual Keyport Country Jamboree and Chili Fest Coming October 10-11

Keyport will be closing West Front Street to vehicular traffic from Broad to Beers Streets in a couple of weeks to accommodate the expected crowds for their 12th Annual Country Jamboree and Chili Fest. They promise food and fun for the whole family from noon to 7 pm on Saturday 10 October and Sunday 11 October 2009. Admission and parking are free. Local vendors will be open. Popular bands will be performing.

Michael Patrick's Ring of Fire Band will perform on Saturday from 4 pm to 7 pm. (See also their MySpace page.)

Southern Steel Band performs at noon on Sunday, followed from 3 pm to 7 pm by the Steel Rail Blues Band.

Keyport Online adds:
The bands will be performing in the mini-park on West Front Street overlooking the new waterfront promenade. There will be additional performers such as the Legendary OK Cowboy, and strolling Cowboys and Cowgirls. The kids won't want to miss their stunts such as knife juggling, gun spinning, whip cracking and lassoing.

And let's not forget the chili fest. Keyport Online says:
Chili lovers won’t go away hungry, with the food vendors serving up a variety of chili recipes. On Saturday, professional chili chefs will be competing for a trophy presented by Mayor Rob Bergen. The chili tasting and voting will run from noon to 5pm on Saturday and there is no entry fee to vote. Participating local restaurants will be competing for the trophy. Chili will be available for purchase throughout the weekend at the food court. On Sunday, from noon to 4PM, the Cake, Pie and Jam Contest will be opened to the general public for submissions. The winners will be announced at 5PM. There will be many children’s activities including Inflatable Bounces, Face Painting, Pumpkin Painting and Games.

Aberdeen and Matawan government officials and chamber of commerce members should make a point of studying the Keyport model. They ought to attend this event and see what Keyport is doing. They should check out Keyport's whole 2009 schedule online and see how Aberdeen and/or Matawan could adopt some of their ideas. Surely there is something we could learn from how Keyport is promoting itself. I expect Keyport brings in more receipts for local businesses and creates more goodwill towards its municipality from its schedule of events than this year's modest promotions in our Township and Borough.

I suspect Matawan could do more to promote its local restaurants and bars in connection with the Fourth of July fireworks display, for example. Matawan Day could be held near restaurants and bars on Main Street and Aberdeen Day could be held near the big shopping center on Route 34. We have tons of traffic driving by heading south for pumpkin picking and christmas tree cutting in coming months. What are we doing to attract some of those families to stop in our municipalities? Maybe we have nothing to offer?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Pizza and Beer in or near Aberdeen

Where do people go around here for casual pizza and beer? I know I can get a bar pie at the Kat Shack, but that's hardly a substantial pie. And I can go over to Bertucci's in Hazlet for a brick oven baked pie, but that's a bit too fancy and usually sets me back a bit. I guess they might have pizza and beer at the bowling alley, but maybe that's a bit too casual? Is there a local choice that I've not discovered?

Our favorite around here was Burlew's Pizzeria. It was a landmark in Cliffwood for years, probably since the post-World War II period. It was torn down a few years ago, supposedly as part of a project to upgrade the highway intersection at Cliffwood Avenue at Route 35. Burlew's made a very good corn meal crusted pizza that I've not found duplicated in the area. Their "garbage pizza" had mucho toppings that made the box sag on your way home. Best to eat that one at the pizzeria, with lots of napkins.

There were two entrances into Burlew's parking lot - one from Cliffwood Avenue near Route 35, and the other from the Route 35 North exit ramp for Cliffwood Avenue. The lot, which was between the building and Route 35, offered nose-in spaces up against the building and facing Route 35 for maybe fifteen cars.

There were two doorways into the building from the parking lot - one on the right that led into the bar, and one built into the left corner of the building leading into the liquor store, restaurant, and a bar in the basement. The doorway on the right led into a medium sized traditional bar with a wooden counter and stools down the left side of the barroom and half a dozen tables with high stools on the right. In the far right corner there was a wooden dance floor and a place for a band. In the near left corner there was a big-screen tv and a video game or two. In the far left corner was a passage into an adjoining space outfitted like a small restaurant. The tables were adorned with white paper tablecloths, silverware and water glasses. That was for families wanting to get dinner without sitting in the bar. A separate building entrance on the left had a foyer with several choices. There was a second door leading you into their liquor store, where you would pick up beer and pizza to go. The foyer also offered a doorway leading to a stairway into the basement, where they had another more portable bar, as well as darts and pool tables. A narrow corridor led from the foyer to the dining area in the back adjoining the bar.

Burlew's has become a lost part of local history. I doubt we're better off languishing for years with a mowed down building and unmowed grass on the current vacant lot and a shuttered hulk of a drug store across the street. Not only do I miss my favorite place for pizza and beer, I feel like we've lost part of our cultural identity.

If you live in the greater Aberdeen area and enjoy going out for pizza and beer, where do you go?

A September Afternoon at Zebu's in Holmdel

My wife and I dropped in at Zebu Forno in Holmdel Commons on Tuesday afternoon for a cup of coffee and dessert. We picked up some local papers and enjoyed a leisurely time. Some of you will recognize the mural. 

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

MARSD Special Education Welcomes Schweitzer

Robert Schweitzer is the new director of special services for the Matawan Aberdeen Regional School District, according to the Independent. He replaces Helen Rappaport, who held the position of supervisor of special services until that post was eliminated at the end of 2008. A Brooklyn native, Schweitzer has 20 years experience working in education with a specialization in behavioral disorders. He worked for the State of New Jersey Department of Education for four years as a special education monitor. (Of course, the picture is of Albert Schweitzer, not our new director. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention)

Evelyn (Ziegler) Gray, Longtime MARSD Food Services Worker

According to the Huntington County Democrat, Evelyn "Toots" Gray died in Flemington, NJ on 11 September 2009 at the age of 85. She was born and raised in Matawan, the daughter of Harold and Phoebe Ann (Bendy) Ziegler. The 1930 census showed her as one of ten children. She worked at the GM plant in Linden during World War II. For seventeen years, she worked in food services for the Matawan Aberdeen Regional School District. She moved to Flemington in 2003 to be closer to her daughter.

Truth Be Told? You Wish

I am a regular listener to "On The Media" (OTM) on my iPod. A recent segment called Just Read It was an interview with Ken Silverstein, the Washington editor for Harper's Magazine. The interviewer used the health reform bill as a vehicle to cover the issue of fact checking.

Regular Readers: I've included a new section on the bottom right side of my blog with a group of fact checking sites that Mr. Silverstein recommends. The sites can come in handy when you need to find out whether politicians and interest groups are providing accurate information to you. He says the sites don't have a particular agenda and aren't to the right or to the left.

The interview was quite interesting. If you don't have an iPod, you can listen to the recording online. Below is Mr. Silverstein's own summary of his comments on OTM regarding the health reform posturing going on in and around Congress. (Note: I tried to provide you a link, but the Harper's site was down and I never intentionally provide you with a dead link. So I retrieved the text below from Google's cache of the original article, which shows the page as it was when they indexed it for the Google site. Remember that if a page is listed but has become a dead link, look for the Google list to show that a "cache" version of the article.)

Not Reading the Health Reform Bill: Ignorance or bliss?

I was on NPR’s On The Media on Saturday to talk about conservative critics of the Obama administration’s health care reform bill who are arguing that legislation is being rushed through and demanding that lawmakers “read the bill.” There are plenty of reasons to criticize the administration’s “reform” effort, but this is a pretty silly objection (and not only because there is still no official bill to read).

First off, huge pieces of legislation are routinely passed by Congress that no one has read, other than perhaps for the few staffers that put them together. That might not be a good thing– though anyone who has ever tried to read a major bill knows you can’t get beyond the first few pages without nodding off– but this wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened. As I wrote in Harper’s in 2005 about one mammoth appropriations bill that contained $16 billion in earmarks, making it (until then) the biggest single piece of pork-barrel legislation in American history:

Teams of staffers labored long into the night to edit the various bills that would be folded in, after which the mass of pages was fed through copier machines across Capitol Hill. There was no time to produce a clean copy, so the version of the omnibus bill that Congress voted on was a fourteen-inch-thick clump of papers with corrections, deletions, and additions on virtually every page. Handwritten notes peppered the margins; typefaces varied from section to section and from paragraph to paragraph. First made available to lawmakers at around 12:15 A.M. on November 20 (and only to those who happened to be browsing the House Rules Committee website, where it was posted), the omnibus bill came to a vote before the full House some sixteen hours later, at approximately 4:00 that afternoon, and before the Senate at 8:42 that evening. For the legislators who approved it, reading the 3,320 page bill before the vote would have been a mathematical impossibility.

If members of Congress were required to read every bill they voted on, the business of Washington would grind to a halt. (OK, so maybe that should be a requirement).

Beyond that, any health reform bill that comes to a vote will have been debated by five congressional committees. No one will have read it, but that doesn’t mean that it will not be discussed by Congress, nor that the key provisions won’t have been analyzed by the media and advocacy groups.

By the way, if you are a regular subscriber to a public radio podcast, be sure to support the media outlet by providing a donation. Places like WNYC, which produces OTM, and NPR, which distributes it, are seriously hurting in this economy so anything you can give them will help. Click to pledge a donation to WNYC and/or NPR.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Now We Know Why Caged Birds Are Off Their Game in the East Village

I checked out the radio on my way home this evening from a delightful outing for dessert at Park Place Diner on Route 34. (I had a slice coconut lemon cake. It was regular cake topped with the pie filling that you'd find in a lemon meringue pie. Quite good, and non-dairy, a plus for me.)

The car radio was tuned to the classical station of the New York Times (93.9 FM), so I listened to Evening Music for a bit. At one point, David, the announcer, began to share some rather nice blog entries from his listeners. They'd been tasked to discuss their September evening and many were waxing eloquent.

One listener caught my attention when she talked about how last week a hawk had tried to eat her pet birds, which were in a cage hanging near an open window in her East Village apartment. "Tonight I closed the window in which I have hung my birdcage where I keep my two new parakeets, Viridiana and Fernando, to protect them from the chill night air. Last week, by the way, a hawk (a hawk in the East Village!) swooped down and tried to attack my little parakeets, but was confounded by the existence of the cage. It perched on the steps of the fire escape for a few minutes, pondering, perhaps a little embarrassed at its mistake. Then it flew away, never to return."

I hate to wonder what story might lie behind naming one's birds after a violated novitiate and her oversexed uncle, played by Fernando Rey. After attempting to force his way with his niece (Viridiana), Don Jaime (Fernando) hangs himself. Sweet story to go with my dessert outing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Making Strides in Woodbridge

Matawan has its annual Walk-a-Thon in May. Woodbridge will soon have its turn to walk to cure breast cancer. For those of you in the Woodbridge area, consider Making Strides Against Breast Cancer on 18 October 2009.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

News Updates as of 12 September 2009

  • Michael Sundberg of Matawan has a role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest at the Circle Players in Piscataway, according to NJ.com.
  • A Matawan woman is one of seven to plead guilty to charges of involvement in a Staten Island-based drug ring, according to SILive.com. In return for her guilty plea, which she delivered in a black dress and stiletto heels, the woman expects to receive 5 years probation when sentencing takes place in October. It isn't clear from the article whether implicating her ex-boyfriend during questioning was part of the deal or just icing on the cake.
  • Are you qualified to work as a patient recruitment specialist? Wanna work close to home? Someone local is hiring.

2009 Seasonal Flu Shots Available

2009 seasonal flu shots will be available for Monmouth County residents from county clinics at a cost of $20 in September - October, according to the Bayshore Courier-News. The county has posted its flu shot clinics schedule. Below is a list of dates when our local towns are scheduled to host county clinics. Check the online schedule for precise times and locations at the venue closest to you.
  • 15 September - Marlboro
  • 17 September - Englishtown
  • 28 September - Union Beach, Matawan
  • 14 October - Hazlet
  • 15 October - Aberdeen
No word yet on H1N1 (swine flu) shots. Check the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) if you need additional information.

Superfund Site Work Begins; Hudson Trail Affected South of Texas Rd

The Imperial Oil Superfund Site in Marlboro is scheduled to be remediated to the tune of $25 million+, courtesy of federal stimulus package monies, according to an article in the APP.

As a result of the work, the section of the Henry Hudson Trail between Texas Road in Matawan and Greenwood Road in Marlboro (circled in yellow, left) is scheduled to be closed for the next year and a half beginning this Monday.

Former Yankee Catcher John Flaherty to Visit Home Depot in Hazlet

When you're done at Matawan Day in Terhune Park on Sunday, consider visiting Home Depot on Route 35 in Hazlet sometime between 4 pm and 6 pm to meet former Yankee catcher John Flaherty. If you're a collector, you could bring his baseball card for a signature. Flaherty was featured in GW Magazine as one of several former George Washington University Colonials baseball players to make it big in the majors. ESPN provides his statistics.

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Testimony to 9/11 - Aberdeener

Aberdeener provides a heartfelt testimony to 9/11 on his blog. Be sure to take a look.

Approaching Aberdeen Matawan by Train

You can see the old Anchor Glass plant, the Garden State Parkway, and a peak through the trees at the water next to Aberdeen Road in this view from a NJ Transit train approaching the Aberdeen Matawan train station from Cliffwood Avenue.

A Commuter's Perspective on 9/11

From a commuting perspective, yesterday's ride into the World Trade Center on the Port Authority TransHudson (PATH) train was just another day. My wife called me on my cell to say there were thousands of people down at Ground Zero for the September 11th memorial. I expected to see crowds, but they weren't anywhere to be seen when I emerged at the Vesey Street and West Broadway exit from the PATH system. Going through the station to the street outside was just like the day before, except that it was blustery weather and everyone had their umbrellas out and were hunkered near the doorway watching the rain and wind.

From the personal perspective of the commuters, however, arriving at the station on the train prompted reflection. For me, the whole trip in today, and thinking about the trip in the day before and the day before that, could bring an involuntary welling of tears, a sudden flush, and a heave to the chest. Under the surface, for the most part. Maybe unnoticed, maybe not. I suppose that many of the seemingly normal commuters riding their usual train and hopping on the crowded escalators at WTC station were stealthily dealing with this same set of emotions.

I'm not sure how many more years they'll read all the names of the victims and cover this event on television each September 11th. But I know that the emotions of that day, the lives shattered, buildings torn asunder, the utter realization of hatred -- by them and by us -- and the sense of powerlessness to respond in those first hours, it all remains in our hearts and souls and surfaces not only on this anniversary but whenever New York has a crisp, clear day.

Morgan Drawbridge and Aberdeen Matawan Train Station

I uploaded videos to YouTube for the first time today. I don't think Hollywood has anything to fear. You might need some Dramamine when I take my camera on a walk. I'll work on it. Maybe you'll enjoy seeing some familiar sites.

Friday, September 11, 2009

News Updates as of 11 September 2009

  • New film by Middlesex County pair contains shots from a restaurant in Matawan, according to MyCentralJersey.com.
  • I contributed a blog article on the inclusion of women on church boards back in the 1940's - 1950's at the First Presbyterian Church of Matawan. Along the same line, I wrote a blog piece on FPC Matawan history 1936 - 1949. I hope to continue to write the occasional article on the mission of the church and its history.
  • On the Beach at Cliffwood provides a glimpse into life in Cliffwood Beach.
  • St Joseph's Parish nursing ministry is featured in an article in the News Transcript. The nursing coordinator there, a Matawan resident, is quoted.
  • The Women's Club of Matawan will be collecting books at Matawan Day this Saturday 12 September 2009 in Terhune Park, according to APP. The books should be targeted for kindergarten to eighth grade students and new or gently used with a publishing date after 1985. If you miss the opportunity on Saturday, the Club plans to arrange a drop off at their 199 Jackson Street location.
  • A local girl won top honors for her illustrations at the 25th annual Writers and Illustrators of the Future awards, according to Examiner.com. While the awards are linked to L Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer turned controversial Scientology founder, a number of prominent science fiction writers have won the writing award, which has a generally favorable public reputation.
  • Venetian plaster work is almost a religious calling for a man in Aberdeen, according to APP.
  • Matawan Zoning Board news, per Independent.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

LBI Bike Outing to Benefit Red Cross Chapter - This Sunday

The Jersey Shore Chapter of the Red Cross, which serves Monmouth and Ocean Counties, is hosting its 12th annual family-friendly all day bike tour on scenic Long Beach Island this Sunday 13 September 2009. There's a 40-mile route, which I suppose is for biking enthusiasts, as well as a 10-mile fun route for those of us unlikely to ride our bikes the equivalent of the distance from Aberdeen to Monmouth Mall and back.

Whichever route you choose, remember, it isn't a race. It's a fundraiser, a great time, and a chance to get you and your friends and co-workers down to the shore one more time before the weather turns cold. There will be frequent rest stops along the routes and lots of sightseeing. 40 milers depart at 9 am; 10 milers at 9:30 am.

There will be breakfast in the morning and a BBQ at the event's first ever Party in the Park at the end of the ride. Entertainment will include The Nerds. The Red Cross will have folks along the way to monitor the route and help you with bike problems or other contingencies.

At this point it is too late to mail the registration form and fee to receive your official rider‘s packet. You'll find a simple pledge sheet and lots more information about the bike ride online in the event's brochure. Download it, then go out and get lots of pledges and donations. Be sure to download the directions. On the day of the event, bring your pledge sheets and collected donations to Sunset Park in Harvey Cedars on LBI between 8:15 am and 9 am. You'll have to register on-site. That will cost $20 for Adults and $10 for kids. Registrants get a nifty t-shirt and a chance to win a bike.

The Red Cross Bloodmobile will be on hand much of the day -- there is always a need for blood.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Keyport IHOP is on Facebook

If you're wondering who is going to be featured at Character Night next Friday at International House of Pancakes, join the Keyport IHOP Facebook page. Two kids eat free for each adult that orders a meal and beverage from the regular menu. Pay additional for kids drinks and desserts.

To find the Facebook site, just type Keyport IHOP in the Facebook search field. Select to become a fan of the site called Keyport IHOP - Open 24 Hours.

Actually, I came across a copy of the schedule.
  • Sept 11 - Pokemon
  • Sept 18 - Sponge Guy
  • Sept 25 - Power Puff Red
  • Oct 2 - Power Puff Green
  • Oct 9 - Cat with a Hat
  • Oct 16 - Sponge Guy returns
  • Oct 23 - Big Red Dog
  • Oct 30 - Scooby Dog

Domestic Violence Response Team Volunteers to be Trained in October 2009

Aberdeen Township Police Department is looking for Volunteer Advocates for their Domestic Violence Response Team (DVRT), according to a press release from the township. Volunteers will be required to take 40 hours of training scheduled for October. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, have a valid driver's license, have access to transportation, be willing to serve on an on-call shift basis, participate in the interview process, and submit to a background investigation, including fingerprinting. Bi-lingual capability is a plus. You can help in the struggle against domestic violence in our community.

WTC Steel Awaits Local 9/11 Memorials; Stored with TLC at JFK

The New York Times has an article and a slide show on the artifacts from the World Trade Center attacks on September 11th, 2001, which have been carefully stored in a hangar at JFK International Airport in anticipation of the creation of local town memorials. Maybe Aberdeen should consider mounting a small memorial in the park at Broad and Main?

The "last column" was returned to the WTC site at the end of August in preparation for a museum being established there, according to the Times. These steel pieces are what is left for us to see and feel from that awful day. Most of us old enough to remember have the collapsing towers as a twisted fixture in our souls.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

What's Going on in Woodbridge, NJ - September 2009

Check out the details on the events below and more at the Woodbridge Township website:
  • Poets Wednesday - 9 September 2009 8 pm at the Barron Arts Center
  • Trolley Trek Tour of Historical Woodbridge - 12 September 2009 9 am and noon at Parker Press Park. See MyCentralJersey.com for details.
  • New Jersey Senior Olympics - 11 -13 September 2009
  • Music on Main Street 16 September 2009 7:30 pm at the Methodist Church on Main Street - season opener is "A Night of Acoustic Blues" with Samuel James and Guy Davis
  • 3rd Annual Central Jersey Beerfest - 19 September 2009 1 - 5 pm at Parker Press Park
  • Woodbridge Restaurant Week - 20 - 24 September 2009
  • St James Street Fair and Carnival - 26 September 2009

The Rise of Cobra: Labor Day Fun and Excitement

Frankly, I was expecting Speed Racer when I went at my wife's insistence to see G I Joe: The Rise of Cobra. But the movie turned out to be great fun. Check out ReelzChannel's brief clips and interviews segment or spend some time with IMDB's slideshow.You need to see this one because they've already set up the next one by how this one ends.

You might remember Christopher Eccleston, who plays a big role in the flick, from the tv series Heroes back in 2007 and as Dr Who in the series of the same name back in 2005.

My biggest disappointment, or should I say annoyance, was seeing that Hazlet Multiplex has adjusted their soda prices to remove choice of size from your purchase options. The only choice now is to not buy a drink.  At a minimum, you can send National Amusements a complaint by email.

The current ridiculous soda prices are:
  • Small $4.25
  • Medium $4.50
  • Large $4.75
  • Humongous Pepsi with a lid and long straw $5.00

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Things Are Getting Worse at Rte 35 N Exit onto Cliffwood Ave

Have you noticed the new wrinkle at the intersection where Route 35 northbound traffic exits onto Cliffwood Avenue? The usual fare is for two lanes to form, with some heading left towards the A&P and the others making a right towards Cliffwood Beach. Now, though, some people come off Route 35 to enter the Wawa food store and gas station, which is kinda like going straight across but with a zig and a zag. You really have to check with others to make that play. Don't they realize they can much more safely enter the lot directly from Route 35?

That exit merge area has always been a nightmare. But it has now gone simply mad. Certifiably crazy. Looney Tunes. Especially now that school has resumed and all those parents are taking kids to Cliffwood and MAMS in the mornings. No wonder the police assign a car there so often. Has anyone heard of plans for that lousy corner of the world? Closed or underdeveloped lots include the old auto parts store, the old Burlew's Pizza lot, the old Maytag laundry lot, the old pallets warehouse, and the old Eckert drug store. Doesn't the township care about that part of town? I've seen nothing in township newsletters hinting at proposed changes to the situation there. What sort of planning is going on?

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News Updates as of 4 September 2009

  • The Independent refers to the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library savings nest egg that Matawan Borough absconded with to reduce local taxes as "surplus" funds. You're not so independent, Independent. What stories could you cover if the borough got cross with you over your coverage? If you live for press releases and interviews with public affairs officers, I guess you're in a pickle. I hope residents enjoy their government newsletter and the penny they've saved in taxes on the back of the library and its long-term building plans. Note that the APP clearly explained that the tax savings still resulted in a tax increase, something the Independent meticulously avoided by referring to net savings over the previously proposed budget, never mentioning the fact that taxes will go up anyway. I hope the Independent gets a kickback from their favorable coverage.
  • A Matawan youngster got to meet the Yankees at the new stadium as a reward for his mother's success with a recent school fundraiser on Staten Island, according to the Brooklyn Eagle.
  • Governor Corzine visited Cheesequake State Park in late August to announce the Asian longhorn beetle awareness program, according to New Jersey Newsroom. Note: NJNewsroom says Corzine was in Matawan, which isn't so. Cheesequake SP's mailing address is in Matawan, but the park is in Middlesex County.
  • Matawan's John Somers has been playing the Big Band sound with his Dream Orchestra since 1995, according to MyCentralJersey.com. Somers has been following in Guy Lombardo's footsteps since the 1964 World's Fair.
  • While nepotism and insider arrangements are rampant in local government in this state, there is such a thing as going overboard in the fight against these problems. Certain members of the Matawan Borough Council and now the regional school board have been overzealous in their attempts to prohibit and even legislate against the legitimate activities of their colleagues and their colleagues' families by injecting these activities with a verbal contagion called "the appearance of impropriety." No rules need to be established or modified. No names need be called. No suggestions of foul play are required. Current ethics rules are more than adequate to protect the public interest and are typically adhered to. Council and board members need only avoid inappropriate use of their authority on issues that affect them and their interests personally, and they must abstain from voting when it is appropriate to do so. Local citizens ought to become more active in their government in order to keep a watchful eye on our rather large government and school budgets. Our representatives are getting punchy with the burden of doing it all by themselves.
  • YMCA Children's Achievement Center in Matawan and its Green Market were featured in APP. Click here for a virtual tour of the center.
  • The How to Dance Blog may hold out some promise, but for now it's a diamond in the rough. Its home page is not only experiencing technical difficulties; it doesn't identify the business pushing the site. What's up? Its articles that mention Matawan mostly refer to a 25 Morristown Road location, which may be that dance academy over by CVS near GSP Exit 120? Why should I have to do research to figure that out? There is a page with a title talking about children's music lessons in Matawan, including an embedded video, but there is nothing on the page or video about Matawan that I could discern. A few fixes are in order.
  • The status of Matawan Regional High School football as the season begins is revealed in the Independent. Or is it? Are these Coach Martucci's comments, as suggested by the opening paragraph, or does the Independent have its own voice regarding high school sports? Why should we think it has true sports writers? What do I really know if the school's football coach is feeding the reporter all the so-called insights I've just read? A slippery slope, Independent.
  • Hillsborough Police Blotter reported on a 46-year-old Matawan driver charged with DWI after he couldn't maintain his lane. (The link to this article requires a large payment, so I won't be providing the URL.)
  • H. S. Telecom of Matawan joined PRG Group of Piscataway to provide technical support to Avaya systems and platforms, per NJ Biz.
  • Matawan Mad Dogs fell victim to the South Rockland Blue Storm on the latter's way to the 13U travel baseball championship, which ran 7-9 August 2009 at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, according to LoHud.com 
  • Goalie Bob Dailey and sweeper Eric Frye, both of Matawan, return this season to Brookdale soccer, per APP.
  • Handsome Harry is a three-year-old pacer owned in part by Harry Doyle of Matawan. The horse won this year's New York State Fair Stakes at Tioga Downs on 14 August 2009 and is a viable candidate to win the New York Sire Stakes Night of Champions, set for 26 September 2009 at Vernon Downs, according to readMedia.
  • A Matawan family delivered their eldest child to Fordham University for orientation, per a school article about the arrival of the 2013 class for orientation.Her brothers are eyeing her room back home, while mom is wondering when it will hit her that she's leaving her daughter behind. (We just did the same. It hits you when the stuff is all unpacked, you've eaten dinner and it is time to kiss the kid goodbye and head home.)
  • Jo compares sites and smells in her Hudson, NY neighborhood to her old Matawan home in an article she posted Friday evening at her Sea to Sea blog.
  • The Cliffwood School and a new outdoor game laid out on its playground are mentioned in the Independent.
  • Jersey Shore Pop Warner - Week 1 Matawan vs Colts Neck played at various levels this week. It was a series of blowouts. Midgets and Pee Wees crushed Colts Neck and the Jr Pee Wees crushed Matawan. Those kinds of lopsided scores say something about the league and its rules. It can't be good for the little folks to lose or win by so much.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

An Alternate Route to Monmouth Mall

When I want to go to Monmouth Mall in Eatontown, I typically take the Garden State Parkway from Exit 117A to Exit 105. Simple enough. But when there is beach traffic and I need to avoid the GSP, or when I simply want a leisurely ride, I take the back roads. Here's my route. You may know others.

From Aberdeen, take Holmdel Road south to Crawfords Corner Road, where you begin to parallel the GSP just to the south of it. You'll pass Holmdel government buildings, Holmdel High School, and the back way into the PNC Arts Center. (If you turned right you'd soon be at Monmouth County's Holmdel Park, its Longstreet Farm and arboretum.) The road turns into Everett Road before you pass the big water tower and office park that signifies Lucent/Bell Labs (or whatever it happens to be today). Bamm Hollow Country Club is off to the left. After you pass the Lincroft Presbyterian Church you are almost to Newman Springs Road (Route 520). Across the street is Monmouth County's Thompson Park. Turn left. You'll soon pass Brookdale Community College in Lincroft.

Turn right at the Lincroft Inn onto Swimming River Road, which roughly parallels the GSP a bit to the west. Monmouth Reservoir passes on your right and then you're soon surrounded by the beautiful horse country of Colts Neck. When you reach Route 537, cross at the relatively busy intersection and proceed left onto Tinton Avenue. Wend your way through what apparently is the hamlet of Cooks Mills. Soon Tinton Avenue goes off to the left, but continue straight on what becomes a somewhat desolate Wayside Road. The Monmouth County Mosquito Commission has its office down here. Soon you're at the Wayside Road entrance to Route 18. Off on your right in the woods is US Naval Weapons Station Earle. Turn left onto Shafto Road (Route 547), which becomes Wyckoff Road once you cross Hope Road. The mall is down Wyckoff Rd a ways on your right.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


The Monmouth County Mosquito Extermination Commission writes:

If you are experiencing a mosquito problem, you may submit a request for service by calling the office at 732-542-3630 or by completing the on-line form by clicking the Request for Service button. A mosquito inspector will visit your property and surrounding areas to find the water sources producing mosquitoes.

Someone better call quick. The mosquito population near Treasure Lake in Cliffwood Beach has become unruly in the past few days. Nasty, aggressive bugs that bite and harass the instant you emerge from your house or vehicle. You swat them and some serious blood stains your arm or leg.