A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

NJ Volleyball Association Announces Fall 2010 League Tryouts

The New Jersey Volleyball Association (NJVA) has posted information about upcoming tryouts for two levels of league play in the Matawan-Aberdeen area.

Monmouth Park Mascot Escorted Thru Race by his Matawan Trainer

APP provides a story and photo of Mary Beth DiAngelo, of Matawan, one of Cocoa Puff's trainers, as she escorts the Monmouth Park mascot to the finish of Kortney's Challenge last weekend. The race benefits pediatric brain tumor patients.

Jaysi Rodriguez Indicted in Somerset County

My Central Jersey reports that the Somerset County Grand Jury has handed down an indictment against Jaysi Rodriguez of Matawan on charges of aggravated sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child and distribution of Xanax between Aug. 31, 2009, and Feb. 13 in Franklin. See this blog back on 31 July for more information about Ms Rodriguez and her crime.

Aberdeen Day 2010 Set for 25 September at MRHS

APP provides a brief rundown on Aberdeen Day while it solicits for more corporate sponsors. Here's the meat of it:

Aberdeen Day 2010 will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Matawan Regional High School athletic fields on Atlantic Avenue.

Aberdeen Day will feature entertainment by local artists, a classic car show, children's rides and activities, a crafts fair and exhibits by area nonprofit organizations, local businesses, and the town's DARE and CERT programs.

A variety of foods and other refreshments will be available.

Federal Funds Won't Rescue Fired Teachers in Matawan District

Matawan Aberdeen Regional Schools Superintendent O'Malley, like Governor Christie, opposes non-recurring funding and is reluctant to use this one-time Congressional windfall to restore teachers' jobs as the bill intends, according to APP.  The article suggests that he's instead considering holding the money until next fall because the funds won't be received soon enough this year.

If he absolutely has to use it to hire teachers, he might use some of the funds to fill a gap in the kindergarten staff due to a bulge in the student population. He might even hire some special ed teachers. But the emphasis of the article is on hiring, not rehiring. The man has no heart. It's all a cold-hearted calculus, I'm afraid.

Oh, and by the way, the APP article refers to the 78 personnel who lost their jobs this year. Only half of those were teachers. The rest were janitors. This process isn't meant to give them a hand, in case you were wondering.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Matawan's Voice on the Mall

John Cook, of Matawan, NJ was interviewed by NPR on the National Mall during a rally that black leaders organized this past weekend to counter Glenn Beck's event, per Oregon Public Broadcasting.

The other rally in Washington on Saturday was hastily organized after black leaders realized Beck's event would take place on the date -- and at the same site -- of King's "I have a dream speech" 47 years ago. But demonstrator John Cook of Matawan, N.J., said they weren't trying to disrupt the conservative rally.

"You know, it's not about division; it's about us trying to reclaim the dream that Martin Luther King had 47 years ago," he said, "because a lot of the things that he spoke about have not been achieved today."

And when ralliers did cross paths later in the day, both sides were careful and polite.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Retail Vacancies in Central Jersey Hit 10-Year High

APP ran an article last week about a recent annual survey of retail vacancy rates in Central Jersey. The region has reached a ten-year high at 9.8% vacancies. The hard hit commercial corridor along Route 35 between Aberdeen and Brielle has 60% more vacancies than last year, attaining 11.9% vacancies this spring after last year's rate of 7.4%. The Route 18 corridor at East Brunswick remains the highest in the region at 13.5%, despite a marked improvement over last year's 18% vacancy rate. The article blames the increase on the loss of big box stores, mentioning Linen's & Things in Holmdel, a Dodge dealership in Hazlet, and 84 Lumber in Cliffwood as some of its examples. Signs of life include more dollar stores (sigh) and a new lease by Top Tomato, which is moving into the Holmdel spot vacated by Linens & Things. The article doesn't mention the surprisingly popular Goodwill Store that has replaced the Eckert Drugs in Cliffwood.

Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District - Classes Resume Thursday!

School is back in session this week beginning Thursday 2 September! Teachers return to work on Wednesday.

The kids have off three days next week - Monday is Labor Day, then Rosh Hashanah is Thursday and Friday.

Back to School nights will be held at 7 pm at these locations on the following dates:
  • Cambridge Park Pre-School - September 14th
  • Cliffwood Elementary School (CL) - September 15th
  • Ravine Drive School (RDS) - September 16th
  • Lloyd Road School (LR) - September 21st
  • Strathmore Elementary School (ST) - September 22nd
  • Matawan Regional High School (HS) - September 23rd
  • Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School (MA) - September 29th (6th Grade)
  • Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School - September 30th (7th & 8th Grades)
Keep up with what's going on by checking the district's online calendar. Individual events on the calendar are preceded with an acronym for the particular school, as indicated above in the Back to School listings. (DT represents the entire school district. BOE stands for Board of Education.)

African Americans in the Matawan Journal - 27 August 1970

Forty years ago, The Matawan Journal dated 27 August 1970, page 19, contains a lengthy piece on the new trend of day care for pre-school children. One of the concerns of critics at the time was that the divide between the haves and have nots would widen as the middle-class and wealthy provided formal education for their young children while lower income families simply could not afford to send their children to daycare. The New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) suggested that both rural whites and urban blacks would be at a growing disadvantage and fall farther behind educationally and economically as a result of this phenomenon. The tendency of providers to hire babysitters instead of teachers to save money was a mitigating factor, according to experts.

In this article, the NJEA expressed some subtle reservations on equal intellectual potential among the races, a position I doubt they would contemplate even hinting at today. Their statement, "All human groups probably begin life with the same general intellectual potential," doesn't exactly discredit craniometry and scientific racism.

Here's a segment of the article:

Tuition rates are high enough to eliminate those children who need preschool education most - the poor, who when excluded from the mainstream culture, have trouble learning to read and reading to learn. Therefore, some critics fear the day-care movement will increase the educational gap between middle-class children and the economically disadvantaged.

All human groups probably begin life with the same general intellectual potential, NJEA says. But children from disadvantaged homes begin to fall behind as early as the age of 18 months. This is true of white children in rural areas as well as black children in urban ghettos.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

African Americans in the Matawan Journal - 28 August 1875

The Matawan Journal of 28 August 1875, published 135 years ago, contains this crude rendering of the remarks of a local African-American woman who was unaccustomed to taking the train to the Shore. As the story goes, she told a friend at the station that she neither enjoyed the ride down nor her time spent down at the Branch on Salt Water Day. Not only are her manner of speech and level of education derided, but even her level of experience in the finer things is assumed to be lesser than the white readers of The Journal.

DEM ARE KEERS. One colored lady took the benefit of salt water day last Saturday, and embraced the opportunity for a holiday trip on the cars to the Branch. On her return in the afternon she was telling a friend at the station her experiences, and said : I ain't gwine ter ride in dem things agin, noway. Dey shook me so I was skeered most to def, and I didn't enjoy myself at de Branch a bit, kuse I knowed I had to come back in dem are keers, and ef my beau can't take me in a kerrige next time, I'll stay to home, kuze I ain't gwine to trust my bones in dem things agin.

The Central Railroad Co of New Jersey opened its full service to Long Branch a little over a week after this article, on 7 September 1875, according to Wikipedia. Presumably there was service to the Shore during the summer of 1875 involving a combination of train and bus. 

Matawan Aberdeen Public Library - Trustees to Meet 1 Sep 2010

The next meeting of the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library (MAPL) Board of Trustees is scheduled for Wednesday, September 1, 2010. This month's meeting will begin at 7pm (instead of 7:30pm) to allow for a reception for the community to meet the new director, Kimberly Paone.

The public is welcome to stay for the board meeting. A number of members of the public, especially MAPL Friends, are regular attendees. A reminder: public questions and comments are reserved for a designated portion of the meeting.

See Flickr for photos of Ms Paone at NJLA meetings and at the Elizabeth Public Library.

History: Matawan Journal, May 1870

Here are a couple notices and advertisements from the last page (page 4) of the May 1870 issue of The Matawan Journal.

Christian Straub bought out the interests of his partner in a butcher business in Matawan.


The undersigned having purchased the interest of his partner, P G Snediker,  will continue the business at the OLD STAND, where he will keep on hand a good stock of Fresh and Corned BEEF, Fresh and CORNED Pork, Sausage, Headcheese, Pure LARD of my own make, &c. CHRISTIAN STRAUB

The 1870 Federal Census shows Christian Straub as a 29 year old butcher born in Wurttemberg, Germany. He was enumerated as head of household in Matawan, along with his wife, Caroline (23 years old, born in Prussia), son John (2 NJ), daughter Christina (1 NJ), and brother Frederick (34, Wurttemberg), who was also a butcher. Christian's real estate was worth $7,000 and personal property was valued at $2,000.

Patterson G Snediker was enumerated in 1860 as a tailor in Middletown Point with $100 in personal property and in 1870 as a peddler of pottery wares with $2,000 in real estate in Matawan. He was born about 1833 in New Jersey and had a wife and three children.

The Straub brothers appear together in the 1860 Federal Census in New York City (Manhattan, Ward 11, District 6), where they are listed as scavengers by trade.

The 1900 Federal Census shows Christian Straub as head of a household in South Amboy. He is 59 years old, born in April 1841 in Germany to German parents. The census says he came to the US in 1842 and is a naturalized citizen. He is listed as the proprietor of a butcher shop. He is widowed and has six daughters and two sons (ages 10 to 30) living with him, as well as a 30 year old servant from Germany named Oscar Switzer.

The Glenwood Collegiate Institute announced its opening in February 1871.

opens FEB 7th with a full corps of ten able and 
Young ladies desirous of obtaining a thorough 
education will here find every advantage and 
superior facilities afforded for the study of 
The building has been enlarged and improved, 
and now presents new attractive and increased 
accommodations for boarding pupils. 
For admission and further information, apply early to: 
A T Howard, A M
Matawan, Aug 1869         Principal

Henry J James placed an advertisement for his jewelry shop.

WARE, suitable for Wedding & Holiday PRESENTS
Special attention given to the repairing of Fine Watches and Jewelry

Henry James, age 35, born in England, appears in the 1870 Federal Census in Matawan, along with his wife, Agnes (35, England) and a seamstress named Elizabeth Currie (35, England).

A well-to-do 79 year old widow named Susan Bailey resided with them in 1870. She had $12,000 in real estate and $2,000 in personal property. The 1850 and 1860 censuses show this woman to be the wife of Dudley P Bailey, a merchant. They were living in Raritan Township in 1850 and Middletown Point in 1860 and were said to have been born in New Hampshire, while the 1870 census said she was born in Maine. There were three young Baileys living with them in 1850 -- Caleb (16, Massachusetts, possibly a grandson), Caroline (36, Maine, possibly a daughter-in-law), and Susan (10, Texas, possibly a granddaughter). Caroline and Susan were with them in the 1860 record.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday Afternoon at Newark Penn

Passengers check the NJT train schedule on Tracks 3 and 4 at Newark Penn.

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rave Motion Pictures Replaced National Amusements at Hazlet

You've no doubt seen that Hazlet Multiplex now has the idiotic name Hazlet Rave. I checked around and it seems that Rave Motion Pictures bought National Amusements and is now the fifth largest movie house in the US. Here's a bit of their About Us online:

Subsequent to the closing of the acquisition of 35 theaters from NAI, Rave will own or manage 65 theaters and approximately 1000 screens located in 20 states across the country. It has a presence in seven of the top ten Designated Market Areas and ranks as the fifth largest domestic circuit by box office gross and number of screens.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

MAPL Trustees Announce Director

The Matawan Aberdeen Public Library is pleased to announce the appointment of Kimberly Paone as its new director, effective September 7, 2010.

Kimberly Paone received both her BA and MLS degrees from Rutgers University. She worked previously at the Elizabeth Public Library, most recently as the Supervisor of Branch Libraries and Teen Services. Kimberly is a recipient of the New York Times Librarian of the Year award, has taught at both Kean University and Rutgers University, has written many articles and contributed to several books about library services. One of her areas of expertise is service to teens, although Kimberly has enjoyed working with people of all ages, from toddlers to students to senior citizens, during her time in Elizabeth.

Kimberly is a resident of East Brunswick, where she lives with her husband and son. In her spare time, she enjoys reading (of course!), cooking, baseball, and roller coasters.

Thank you.

Marla Sieman President, Board of Trustees
Matawan Aberdeen Public Library

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Chamber of Commerce and Borough to Co-Host Matawan Day

The Matawan-Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce and the Borough of Matawan are hosting Matawan Day & Food Festival at a new venue this year, according to the C of C website. The event will be held downtown at the corner of Main Street and Ravine Drive on Saturday 2 October 2010 from noon to 5 pm. Rain date is Sunday 3 October.

The Friends of the Matawan-Aberdeen Public Library (MAPL) will be holding their annual book sale starting at 9 am that Saturday morning. The MAPL Friends have been working hard to make the sale a big success. The MAPL Friends Book Sale can be your perfect lead-in to Matawan Day & Food Festival.

Good Day New York? Angry, Ill-Informed Host is Pitiable

I was appalled at Good Day New York and its host's treatment of Elaine Brower this morning. What an angry, biased, pitiable man!

NE Corridor Goes Down, Forcing Aberdeen Passengers to Find Alternatives

Power was down on the Northeast Corridor from DC to Newark from 8 am until nearly 9 am this morning. Hundreds of NJ Transit train passengers were sent away to find alternate means of transportation. A few of us sat it out on the platform or in the train until power was restored.

The commute has gotten more expensive but not more reliable of late, but once again I can't blame NJT. The Corridor is maintained by Amtrak, not NJT. And service cuts are Christie's doing. All I know is that my favorite NJT conductor was a real lifesaver this morning, alerting his passengers at Aberdeen that power was being restored so as to keep us from wandering off to "catch a Route 9 bus." I watched him make contact with fellow conductors to get the latest news and then graciously share that news with those around him.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Candidate Accepts MAPL Directorship; Announcement Expected

The staff of the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library have been told that a candidate for library director has accepted the board's offer. A public announcement to that effect can be expected in the next few weeks, if not sooner. It remains to be seen when the new director will take the reins. For now, the library staff and board are doing a fine job keeping the library operating without a director or interim.

Sections of Aberdeen Water Mains to be Replaced

Aberdeen Township is planning some significant water main work, as referenced in this blog back in February.

One project involves the replacement of the section of water main that crosses the Garden State Parkway at Cliffwood Avenue. This week, the town council agenda includes a one million dollar bond ordinance to fund the project. The NJ Department of Environmental Protection's Comprehensive 2010 Water Supply Project Priority List ranks Project 1330002-002-0-0 at #241 in the State and estimates its building cost at $995,000 and support cost at $457,700, for a total cost of $1,452,700. As of April, NJ DEP estimated a state certification date of 30 July 2010.

A 15 July 2010 proposal from CME Associates for engineering services related to a Garden State Parkway Directional Drilling Project, mentioned in the town council agenda, involves support for the placement of a water main under the GSP using modern directional drilling techniques. This approach will preclude the need to dig open trenches across the parkway and the massive disruption of traffic flow that such an endeavor would cause. You can read more about microtunneling and its use in the placement of underground utilities at Trenchless Online, including its 2009 North American Microtunneling publication.

A second project involves the replacement of a section of "deteriorated water main from Route 35/Long Neck crossing to and along County Road to improve the system's reliability, pressure, and fire protection," according to the NJ DEP document above. Project 1330002-003-0-0 is ranked at #240 in the State and estimates its building cost at $650,000 and support cost at $292,500, for a total cost of $942,500. This project also had a state certification date of 30 July 2010. CME Associates is providing engineering services for this project, too, as reported in this blog in July. (The reference above to "Long Neck" relates to a creek of that name that feeds into Whale Creek on its way to the bay.)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

History: Matawan Journal, August 1875

A few interesting pieces from 135 years ago as found in The Matawan Journal 7 August 1875:


A pair of horses belonging to Kortenius Hyer, of Holmdel, made a narrow escape, on Monday morning, about boat-time. Mr H had just delivered his load at the gang-plank, and alighted from his wagon, leaving George Hoffman in charge of the horses. At that moment the boat let off steam, when the horses started to run. Hoffman held on to the reins, but as soon as he passed the warehouse, the horses turned short to the right, ran forward and plunged into the bay. A smash-up was the instant result. Hoffman was considerably, but not fatally injured. One of the horses was nearly drowned, the other but slightly injured. The wagon was somewhat broken. To save the horses and get them to land, it was necessary to get a scow and tow them to the shore.

A grave at Holmdel Cemetery for Koerteneus G Heyer (1817-1881) looks to belong to the above Mr Hyer. Federal excise tax records for NJ District 2 dated 1862-63 list Kortenius C Hyer and Peter O Hyer of Holmdel. This Old Monmouth of Ours, by William S Hornor, contains details about this Hyer family.


Glenwood Institute, Matawan, NJ

The Glenwood Institute presents advantages equal to any in the State for the acquisition of a thorough practical scholarship in all branches. Thoroughness will be the motto of the Principal and his assistants. The Fall Term begins Wednesday, September 1st. As a Home Boarding School for both sexes, parents will find in Glenwood all they can desire. Students preparing for college will here receive thorough drill. A liberal discount will be made to Clergymen. Special rates to Boarding Pupils on the line of Railroad, who may wish to be at home from Friday evening to Monday morning.

The Primary Department will be under the supervision of the Principal, and the direct care of Miss Mary C Alliger, formerly of Ossining Institute, of Sing Sing, NY. The Tuition in this Department will be $5.00 per quarter.

For circular, containing further information, address

Chas W Fountain, Secy, Board Trustees, or Chas Jacobus, AM, Principal


Free Excursion Between Matawan and Red Bank

M Landsburg, well known in Matawan, where he formerly engaged in business, will give a free excursion ticket, on the New York and Long Branch Railroad, from Matawan to Red Bank and return, to any person who shall purchase a suit of clothes, or part of a suit, at his clothing store on Front Street, Red Bank, at New York prices. Call in and look at my extensive stock of clothing and gents' furnishing goods. Suits ready made, or made to order, with a good fit guaranteed.

Marks Landsburg, 49, of Prussia, was enumerated in the 1870 Federal Census as a merchant tailor residing in Red Bank, along with his wife and six children. He was listed in May 1865 as a retail dealer in Middletown Point on a Federal excise tax roster.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Aberdeen to Join Intensified DWI Enforcement Campaign Now Thru Labor Day

Aberdeen Township has announced that our police department will be intensifying its enforcement of drunk driving laws under a national program called Over The Limit, Under Arrest. There were 67 alcohol-related deaths on NJ roads last summer, more than a third of the annual total. Expect saturation patrols and increased sobriety checkpoints at both the local and state levels from 20 August to 6 September.

NJ to Bolster Broadband Network for its First Responders

New Jersey has received a federal grant of nearly $40 million from the Commerce Department's Broadband Technology Opportunities Program for our state's Wireless Broadband Network Project. The Governor's office issued a press release that said, in part:

Governor Chris Christie today welcomed the announcement that New Jersey has been awarded a $39.6 million federal grant to put in place a state-of-the-art public safety wireless broadband network in support of first responders, law enforcement and emergency management professionals.

"This grant accelerates the State's overall plan of providing first responders with the information technology tools they need to effectively communicate vital data during an emergency situation," said Governor Christie.  "Once operational, the network will provide real-time access to critical data, ultimately improving the ability of our public safety community to save lives, reduce injuries, and protect New Jersey families."

According to the Commerce Department, its National Telecommunications and Information Administration has $4.7 billion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) monies with which to promote the development and expansion of broadband services in rural and underserved areas and the improvement of broadband access by public safety agencies.

New York State was seeking $265 million for a similar purpose, but their vast project aimed to support 21 counties, while NJ will add broadband infrastructure in only 7 counties. The Governor's press release doesn't mention the seven counties involved. If someone knows whether Monmouth and Middlesex counties are included, kindly add a comment to that effect. Also, if someone knows whether Aberdeen Council's recent plans to purchase communications equipment anticipated this grant, I'd be interested in hearing from you.

Cliffwood Beach Factory Stock Racer Competitive at Wall Stadium

Jim Downey, of Cliffwood Beach, is expected to compete in a factory stock race being held this Saturday 21 August 2010 at Family Fun Night at Wall Stadium. He came in first place in a similar race a couple of weeks ago, according to South Jersey Dirt Racing. And Downey came in second place last week, according to the stadium's results page.

MRHS Baseball 2011 Prognosis: The Independent

For those looking ahead to Huskies Baseball 2011, you'll want to read a comprehensive review in The Independent.

Jakeabob's Bar Reopens; Restaurant Awaits Permits

Our neighbor mentioned today that she'd visited Jakeabob's this week. She said the bar is open for business but they aren't serving food yet because they haven't received their health permit. I dropped by a few minutes ago and peered into the windows. The bar looks sharp and has plenty of liquor bottles on display. There are lots of tables and stools inside. I walked around the left side of the place and noted the Tiki bar outside has stools and Corona tables galore. I could see the deck on the back of the restaurant, so it appears all is ready for fun and food in coming weeks. You might want to stop in for a drink when you get a chance and see what's up.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Newark and Trenton Public Libraries Teetering On the Brink

The NJLA has an editorial which says that Newark's mayor has found some monies to fund a few more months of limited library services before the doors of four Newark city libraries must be closed due to steep state aid cuts. The editorial goes on to say that Friends of the Trenton Free Public Library are vigorously fund raising to try to mitigate the dire effects of state aid cuts on staff and services in the state capital. Trenton Friends are appealing for community support.

Maybe the Friends of Matawan Aberdeen Public Library should make token donations to the Newark and Trenton library systems to help keep them open? It would only be a gesture, but maybe it would send a message to the governor and show support for fellow libraries?

Be sure to make the MAPL Friends blog a favorite place on your computer.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Patience Down 25% on NJT Trains Due to Fare Hikes

What would ordinarily be idle frustration with summer train delays has turned to anger among NJ Transit commuters. What's making them so mad? The Newark Star-Ledger tries to paint NJT as providing poor service in a recent article, and that's supposed to be why train ridership is down and people are spitting mad. But the fact is the trains are fewer and more crowded and tickets much more costly than the same time last year. Service has been fine, except for a string of recent issues beyond NJT's control. I'm not sure what the Star-Ledger thinks NJT can do to keep people from lying down on the tracks, or what it can do about Amtrak's poor record of maintenance on the Northeast Corridor.

Let's not put NJT on trial here. A tree falling on Amtrak lines is Amtrak's fault. And pedestrian strikes are regrettable but not the culprits here. Those of you who read this blog regularly can well imagine that I am going to blame the Governor for the current level of tension among passengers. Riders are crammed into overly packed trains and paying ungodly sums for the honor, so it should come as no surprise that people are venting when it gets hot and a few things go wrong. Always keep in mind that Christie could have reduced state subsidies more gradually and encouraged the federal government to support public transportation in this the most densely populated state. But he chose shock therapy. Christie wants you to realize it's no Tea Party living in NJ.

The Governor has not only angered the commuting public, he is leading them back to their cars. After all, driving is now only a marginally more expensive option than riding the train. One guy in Aberdeen might have decided to switch to the bus, but what of those who are choosing to drive to Harrison, Jersey City, or even into the city? Mass transit is supposed to be for the "masses", right? It should be adequately subsidized so the Little Guy can get to work and families can go to the show once in a while. Making trains a luxury is a great way to kill public transportation. And killing public transportation isn't progress.

B Green Doing Well; Reducing Outstanding Stock by 40%

B Green Innovations is doing so well ($1.25 million net earnings as of June 2010, per Marketwire) that it is buying back a sizable portion of its outstanding common stock.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Meet the MAMS Principal at Upcoming BBQ

Driving by the Matawan-Aberdeen Middle School yesterday, I noticed a sign promoting a BBQ scheduled for later this month. We're invited to come and meet the new principal, Tyler Blackmore.

If someone would be kind enough to post a comment or send me an email with the date and time of this event, that would be great.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Thursday's Fire in Matawan

House at l68 Broad gutted by fire. The elderly resident is in ICU at Englewood Hospital.

APP has a detailed story and embedded video from News 12 of the firefighters battling the blaze.

Locate Your Monmouth County Lot and Block

Monmouth County has a viewer that will produce a decent map showing your lot and block land parcel in Aberdeen or neighboring municipalities.

Fire Destroys Matawan Home; Woman Hospitalized

A house at the corner of Church & Broad Streets in Matawan burned to the ground in the wee hours last Thursday, according to an APP report carried at NJ.com. An 88-year old handicapped woman was rescued by firefighters and treated at a nearby hospital. A man and his son were also trapped in the home and required rescue.

Cliffwood Beach Firm to Repair Colonial Lake Dam

DeFino Contracting, of Cliffwood Beach, has won the bid to repair the Colonial Lake Dam in Lawrence, according to the Lawrence Ledger. The dam was weakened during a March 2010 storm. The fish and a portion of the lake water will have to be removed as part of this process.

Joe DeFino, the retired founder of DeFino Contracting, passed away on 11 August. Viewings are scheduled for Sunday 15 August at Shore Point Funeral Home in Hazlet, with burial scheduled for Monday 16 August.

View Larger Map

Friday, August 13, 2010

Don Lee Plays Keyport Twilight Series

Enjoying some Don Lee musical artistry tonight along West Front Street in Keyport.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Bit of Fresh Air

I've got my iPod working again and I'm routinely checking my favorite podcasts for something to inspire or edify. Today there were some particularly dark but interesting stories. For example, I listened to an augmented rebroadcast of a March 2010 interview Terry Gross conducted on the show "Fresh Air" with the historian Tony Judt, who died the other day of ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease). The interview itself is a testimony to this man's tour de force determination to remain vital despite incredible obstacles. In this interview, Judt speaks from the heart about his approach to life, such as it was at the time, and his hopes for the future - not his own but those of our children. He talks about his article Ill Fares the Land, which he says he wrote to encourage the next generation not to despair in the face of the spoiled world they are set to inherit.

The other podcast I enjoyed today was also on Fresh Air. Dave Davies interviewed the author of "Hot Time in the Town," a history of New York City's heat wave of 1896, in which 1200 people died during ten days from hell. 90 degree days without a breeze,without AC, without elevators, mostly without running water in the home. More deaths in a single event than the Great Chicago Fire. The author tells how the laissez-faire policies of the day kept the mayor from doing anything to help alleviate the suffering of the mostly poor and working class residents of the city. Those who died at home were left for days until a busy coroner could visit and file the required reports before burial could be arranged. People sleeping on rooftops, fire escapes, and piers seeking to cool off were experiencing serious injuries or death as a result of falls in the night. This tragically included children. Horses died by the thousands and were left to rot in the streets while the man contracted to pick them up found himself overwhelmed by the sheer volume of carcasses. Most interesting, the author tells of then Police Commissioner Theodore Roosevelt's gestures of leadership in the crisis.

I recommend a bit of Fresh Air now and then to help you peer out on new vistas. If it doesn't suit you, check out the other great shows on NPR.

Monday, August 9, 2010

News l2 and Channel 4 Covering Baykeeper today in Keyport

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Elizabeth Spader Clark Wedding - 1921


Matawan People Attend Wedding of Major Clegg and Miss Clark

The marriage of Miss Elizabeth Spader Clark and Major Joseph Worrell Clegg, whose engagement was announced in June at the home of Miss Grace Whitlock in Matawan, was solemnized in Calvary Church, Germantown, PA in the presence of the immediate families on Monday. The Very Reverend Allen R Van Meter officiated.

The bridge was attended by Miss Whitlock. Rev Van Meter was former dean of the cathedral at Erie, Pa, and his family has long been friends of Miss Clark, his sister-in-law, Miss Lisa Converse, being principal of Lakewood Hall when Miss Clark was a teacher there. In attending the bride, Miss Whitlock fulfilled a long-cherished hope of her father that she should be with Miss Clark at her marriage and this wish was carried out notwithstanding the death of her father. Miss Whitlock returned to Matawan immediately after the ceremony but the Misses Clark remained in Philadelphia to be guests of Mrs S J Clegg and Mrs John S Mace, the mother and sister of Major Clegg.

Source: The Matawan Journal, Thurs 18 August 1921, pg 1 col 2

Immediately below this wedding announcement appeared the obituary of John Whitlock, who died the Saturday before the wedding.

The Handbook of Private Schools, Vol 5, by Porter Sargent (1919), pg 392, shows Lakewood Hall as a 12-year girls school in Lakewood, NJ, founded in 1917, headed by Principal Lisa B Converse, A.B., and operated with thirteen faculty.

An advertisement in Scribner's Magazine in 1918 read: Lakewood Hall: A resident and day school for girls. College Preparatory and General Courses. Riding and all forms of athletics. Miss Lisa B Converse, AB, Principal.

The above article augments an earlier blog article on Elizabeth Spader Clark.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Elizabeth Spader Clark Clegg Obituary -- 1929


Elizabeth Clark Clegg

Mrs Elizabeth Clark Clegg, wife of Joseph C Clegg, died Wednesday morning in a hospital in Philadelphia, where she has been for many months. Only a short time ago she seemed to show an improvement and on Christmas Day her family ate dinner with her at the hospital.

Mrs Clegg was born in Matawan 42 years ago,the daughter of the late Mary Spader and William V Clark. She received her early education here and later was graduated from Smith College. She studied under Walter Damrosch in the Damrosch School of Music from which she was also graduated. She was an enthusiastic and diligent worker. When the World War broke out, she offered her services in the YMCA and served both in England and France. It was in that service that she met the then Major Clegg, out of which romance her marriage to him followed when the war had ceased. In recent years, Major and Mrs Clegg have made their home in Wayne, Pa. They have one son, four years old. Funeral services will be held from her home in Wayne Saturday morning at 10:30 and burial will be there.

Matawan Journal, 8 February 1929, pg 8, col 3

(In a recent blog article, I inadvertently posted the obituary publication date instead of the date of death for Mrs Clegg. She died Wednesday 6 February 1929 and the obituary was published two days later. Sorry for the confusion. Likewise her marriage was on 15 August 1921, and the publication of her marriage in the Matawan Journal was three days later. I will be fixing the marriage record in a separate article as it contains a number of additional facts about her life.)

Having Lunch at Stewart's

There is a nice sized crowd enjoying a sunny breezy Saturday afternoon.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Pedestrian Hit By NJT Train East of Aberdeen-Matawan Station

An unidentified male was hit by a train heading to Aberdeen-Matawan station on its way to New York this morning, per NJ.com. It was the first train out of Long Branch today. The incident occured at 4:23 am just a mile west of Hazlet.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

MAPL Trustees Deciding on New Library Director

The Board of Trustees of  the Matawan Aberdeen Public Library went into executive session last night about 9:30 pm to discuss personnel issues. From what I've been told unofficially, the search process for a new director has netted about half a dozen candidates and the board was hopeful they could make a decision on the next director last night. Selecting a candidate now is all the more urgent because of Jeff Kesper's sudden resignation as interim director last week. Both the Board and the library staff have been working especially hard this past week to keep the library running smoothly and are to be applauded for their efforts. I'll try to highlight some of the pending issues discussed at the Board meeting in a later post.

Proposition 8 Found Unconstitutional; Gay Marriage Heading to High Court

According to the NY Times, a Federal District Court judge in California has struck down Proposition 8, a referendum which banned same-sex marriage in the state with 52% of voters in favor of the ban. The law was found to violate both the equal protection and due process clauses of the US Constitution and is appropriately destined for the trash heap of prejudice and ignorance. The judge pointed out that "tradition alone cannot form the rational basis for a law," his reaction to the sacredness of the bond between a man and a woman argument. The judge issued an immediate stay on his decision to allow for the inevitable appeals. Hopefully this issue will be resolved in like manner at the US Supreme Court soon.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Salt Water Day 2010 Set for 14 August in Laurence Harbor

Salt Water Day will be held at the Laurence Harbor Waterfront Park starting at noon on Saturday 14 August 2010, per MyCentralJersey.com. There will be games and rides and face painting til dusk. Michael Patrick's Ring of Fire Johnny Cash tribute band will perform from 5 pm to 7 pm. The Bon Jovi tribute band Runaway will perform from 7:30 pm until the fireworks display around 9:30 pm. This is a heavily attended annual event provided by various Old Bridge and Middlesex County entities.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

MAPL Rudderless? Liftless?

I've heard that the interim librarian at the Matawan-Aberdeen Public Library (MAPL) has left before a permanent librarian can be hired. I've also heard that the elevator broke down, complete with a load of  books inside. I presume we'll hear more about these issues and more at the MAPL Board of Trustees meeting scheduled for Wednesday evening at 7:30 pm in the library's basement.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Open and Closed in Holmdel

I went to Best Buy today on Route 35 in Holmdel and noticed that a Cheeburger Cheeburger restaurant will open soon in that shopping center, filling the vacancy left when Zebu closed. A Top Tomato Superstore is also scheduled to open there, taking the spot where Linens and Things used to be.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Daughter's Wartime Service Marked Upon Her Untimely Death in 1929

On Armistice Day 1929, Matawan dedicated a monument at Memorial Park in honor of Elizabeth Spader Clark Clegg, who died in Philadelphia on 6 February 1929. Her father, William V Clark, of Matawan, arranged for the memorial, which "commemorates the service of one who did her bit."

Elizabeth's 22 July 1919 letter home, published in full in the 27 Sep 1929 Matawan Journal article (pp 1, 8) about the memorial, indicates that she served honorably at the Eagle Hut, a renowned center for servicemen operated in London by the YMCA beginning in 1917.

 Operated by the Y.M.C.A. the centre, staffed by some 800 voluntary personnel, offered overnight accommodation and food for American servicemen passing through London. The centre additionally helped with arrangements for London sightseeing tours and entertainment.  Turnover was heavy: in February 1919 alone 134,566 meals were served.  The Eagle Hut remained open beyond the armistice, finally closing its doors on 25 August 1919. (FirstWorldWar.com) (For more about the YMCA in World War I, see Women and War: A Historical Encyclopedia from Antiquity to the Present, by Bernard A Cook, pg 654, available at Google Books)

Her letter home tells of long hours cleaning dishes and serving ice cream and soda to long lines of soldiers. But it also tells of being rescued from her labors to attend a ball at The Savoy, where she hobnobbed with generals, including General Pershing himself.

The Matawan Journal describes the monument: The memorial takes the form of a sundial on a granite base, which matches in kind the memorial to those who were in service from here in the World War. The pedestal is simple and graceful of design with a bronze plaque to register the time of day. It is beautifully surrounded with a planting of evergreens. . ."

I went to Memorial Park and found the monument, which appears as a pedestal with a planter in the back of the park. It commemorates her service in Liverpool, not London, suggesting that she served briefly in London in the final weeks of YMCA operations in Europe. The plaque reads:

Y. M. C. A.

The 1920 Federal Census for New Jersey shows Elizabeth S Clark, single, 31 years old, a musical director at a school (probably Matawan High School, as the Matawan Military Academy, nee Glenwood Institute, had closed in 1915), living with her widowed father, William V Clark, age 68, who was head of household at 224 Main Street in Matawan. Elizabeth's three spinster aunts, her father's sisters, lived there, too.

Elizabeth married Joseph Worrell Clegg on 15 August 1921 in Germantown, Pennsylvania.

Sources: Index of Births, Deaths, and Marriages in The Journal and Matawan Adviser, Book VI (1919-1928), Book VII (1929-1938).

See also later blog articles on this topic, including those detailing her obituary and marriage announcement in the Matawan Journal.

Charles J Burgey, Raised in Cliffwood Beach, Dies in Vineland

Charles Joseph Burgey, born 22 March 1946 has passed away in Vineland, according to The Daily Journal. The obituary says Charles was raised in Cliffwood Beach. I found that his parents, George C and Carmella A Burgey, lived at 25 Harrison Street in Belleville in 1948, according to a city directory. The family must have moved to the area when Charles was young. George was living in the Cliffwood Beach zip code at the time of his death in 1972. Charles' sister, Rosemarie Klein, lives in Cliffwood Beach.

Charles served in the US Marines in the Vietnam War. He ran a truck repair business for many years in Landisville, but also did some DJ work to express his love of 50's music.