A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Temple Shalom Hosts Showing of Gasland

Rachel Dawn Davis (left) posed with 2 members of HAQLA at tonight's showing of the film "Gasland."

Temple Shalom in Aberdeen hosted Rachel Dawn Davis, a regional representative of Food & Water Watch, for a public showing this evening of "Gasland," a documentary by Josh Fox about the environmental hazards of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking. The event drew about two dozen interested citizens, including members of Hazlet Area Quality of Life Alliance (HAQLA).

Things you can do to try to protect your drinking water and the environment:
  • Write to your state legislators and encourage them to vote to override Governor Christie's veto of NJ's bipartisan fracking ban ( (S2576). The bill passed the Assembly 58-11/8 back in June 2011 but was conditionally vetoed by the Governor.
  • Write to your state legislators and encourage them to support A-4231/S3049, which would prohibit the shipping or transporting into, or treatment in the State, of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing. Check out what Politicker NJ has to say about the bill.
  • Attend your next municipal council meeting and tell them your concerns about the dangers of fracking and the transportation of its waste for treatment in the state.
UPDATE: I told my wife this morning that I fully expected to receive a couple of terse anonymous replies to my blog post from people funded by the energy industry, and those posts were in my in box this evening as predicted.  I encountered the same thing when I expressed my concerns about global warming. These critics aren't just regular folk with a difference of opinion. They are sponsored. And I won't post their nonsense here.

    Sunday, November 27, 2011

    Miss Elsie Gates, First Female Candidate for Matawan Township Council, 1932

    Miss Elsie Gates, a Republican from Cliffwood, petitioned to run for a seat on the Matawan Township Council, according to the 22 Apr 1932 edition of The Matawan Journal. She would be the first woman in township history to run for town council, as no other candidates applied. She would vie for the seat of William Hyer Sr, the incumbent  Democrat on the Council. The paper helpfully pointed out that it wasn't too late for a man to get on the ballot for the general election through a write in candidacy in the primary.

    The Elsie Gates Association held a Republican fundraiser at the Cliffwood fire house in October, according to the 28 Oct 1932 edition of The Matawan Journal. People played bridge, pinnocle, and dominoes at 7 tables and a fine time was had by all. We can only wonder at this line in the report: "Refreshments were served by the hostess at a late hour." A long list of those attending was printed.

    Ms Gates lost the election to Hyer 622 to 466, according to the 11 Nov 1932 edition of The Matawan Journal.

    The following spring, Ms Gates approached the Council in her capacity with the CB Welfare Association. According to the 15 Apr 1932 edition of The Matawan Journal, she accused Thomas Sinnott, the Township's Overseer of the Poor, of unfair distribution of grocery contracts to a particular grocer over another. She had been approached with complaints by applicants for aid. The President of the welfare association came to the defense of Mr Sinnott, but Ms Gates claimed that Powers spoke in his behalf because he and Sinnott were relatives. "Were he my own brother I would not uphold him if I thought he was not on the square and in his rights." Ms Gates submitted a written complaint to the Governor. The newspaper took a rather partisan tone, titling the front page article "Miss Gates Stirs Up More Strife."Ms Gates had been elected Secretary of the Cliffwood Beach Welfare Association in November 1931, according to the 6 Nov 1931 edition of The Matawan Journal.

    History: Samuel B King, Automobile Dealer, Marlboro, 1922

    The 20 Oct 1922 edition of The Matawan Journal contained the above advertisement promoting sales of the Studebaker Big-Six Sedan at the S B King automobile dealership in Marlboro, New Jersey.

    Samuel B King, 39, ran a garage, according to the 1920 Federal Census for New Jersey. He lived on Railroad Avenue in Marlboro with wife Ada (38), son Edward (18) and daughter Susie (14).

    He was son of James H and Susan E King. They lived in Marlboro, according to the 1900 Federal Census. James was a blacksmith born in Aug 1846. Samuel (Sep 1880) and his older brother James (Jun 1876) were both also listed as blacksmiths.

    History: Monmouth County Receipts and Expenditures, 1897-8

    Asher T Applegate, Monmouth County Collector, used to publish the county's receipts and disbursements twice a year in major area newspapers. The 23 Jun 1898 edition of The Matawan Journal shows such an accounting for the period November 1897 to the end of May 1898. It happens to include full payment of county taxes for the year 1897 by Matawan Township Collector Austin F Stewart ($2,640 on 22 Dec 1897) and Matawan Borough Collector J H Horner ($8,958 on 7 Jan 1898). Middletown Township paid over $90,000 in county taxes, while Raritan Township paid $9,997 and Holmdel Township paid $7,836. Matawan's Farmers and Merchants Bank paid a $5,000 installment on a loan from the county.

    New Jersey State Comptroller William S Hancock paid the county its share of the state school tax ($112,210 on 26 Feb 1898 and $12,468 on 9 Mar 1898). Mr Hancock also paid the county its apportionment of state aid for free public schools ($5,891 on 20 Dec 1897). Mr Hancock reimbursed the county one-third the cost of road construction ($11,398 on 27 Dec 1897)

    Disbursements included salaries and expenses for judges, constables, coroners (J Turner Rose charged $15 total for post-mortems on 3 named individuals), board of prisoners, and freeholders, as well as expenditures for bridge, bulkhead and road repairs, bridge and road lighting, surveying, printing, drawing up of plans, legal fees, heating oil, burials, and elections.

    Saturday, November 26, 2011

    History: Bedle Funeral Home Established in Matawan (1934)

    The 11 May 1934 edition of The Matawan Journal announced the impending establishment of the Bedle Funeral Home on Main Street in Matawan. The funeral home was to be operated by Ralph Bedle, the son of Keyport's well-known funeral director, Harvey S Bedle. An eerie sort of wedding present from Ralph's father, the funeral home would also serve as residence for the young undertaker and his soon-to-be bride after their wedding in the fall.

    The property was next door to the First Presbyterian Church until the church burned down in the 1950s and relocated to its current Route 34 location. Both Bedle Funeral Homes are currently part of the Sidun Funeral Group.

    Below is the beginning of the 1934 Journal article:

    Harvey S Bedle Buys House In Matawan
    Taylor Property Purchased for Ralph Bedle; House Will Be Altered Into Funeral Home

    Harvey S Bedle, of Keyport, has purchased the Floyd T Taylor property adjoining the Presbyterian Church in Matawan for his son, Ralph, whose engagement to be married has recently been announced. It is expected the marriage will take place in the fall.

    In the meantime extensive alterations to the property will be made, whereby the already fine house will be turned into a modern funeral home, similar to that in Keyport, and Ralph and his bride will make their home in the same building.

    This Bedle family in direct line of father and sons have been undertakers for nearly 100 years. William Bedle, the first of the line to enter the profession when the undertaker not only took care of the body of the deceased but made his own coffins, established himself about 1840.

    Loving Hut Vegan Cuisine Has Opened in Matawan

    Someone was kind enough to let me know that Loving Hut's restaurant at 952 Route 34 in Matawan had a soft opening on 11 November 2011. I'll be checking it out this weekend if at all possible. Here's a link to their online menu. I'm adding a map below. The restaurant is located on Route 34 in Matawan in the Dunkin' Donuts parking lot between Broad Street and the Hudson Trail. I'll add an update  when I get a chance to visit. (I have oodles of turkey in my fridge!)

    UPDATE: We dropped in this afternoon (Saturday) to give Loving Hut a try. The place is quite bright and clean. Plenty of tables for dining in comfortably. The place settings were quite fancy, with stemware, white plates, silverware, a tall courtesy bottle of filtered water. Service was prompt and pleasant, and the food was fresh and well prepared. I had the Loving Hut Burger and my wife had the Golden Charm rice plate. We shared the crispy rolls and the veggie tempura. We finished with a slice of faux chocolate cheesecake and coffees.

    As for the few negatives, the kitchen has some issues with getting the food courses out in the right order. They promised me they are working on it. And I cannot recommend the Loving Hut Burger. While the burger and sweet potato fries were certainly tasty, the burger toppings make it an impractical conception. I found the ingredients constantly slipping from the bun. I went through three napkins and eventually had to put it down.

    Loving Hut is planning its grand opening in early December. They're still getting things in order. I wish them well.

    View Larger Map

    Thursday, November 24, 2011

    History: Thanksgiving Celebrated in Matawan, 1871

    Matawan's Thanksgiving festivities in 1871 were reported in considerable detail in the 2 Dec 1871 edition of The Matawan Journal. Events began Wednesday evening with a Literary Society gathering. "There were familiar faces whose presence, as visitors, told of reunions around many hearth-stones, and there were strangers who had become the sons-in-law or had married the sons of some of our honored citizens. A part of the literary exercises of the evening partook of a thanksgiving nature."

    This was followed on Thursday by an ecumenical service run by the ministers from the Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist churches. The service was held at the Methodist Church, which was located on Main Street about where the Dollar Store sits today.

    The Presbyterian minister, J Henry Kaufman, delivered a sermon on the need for the churched to check corrupt political power. "If the men who hold political power are impure, the streams of influence will become corrupt.  So it has been in profane and sacred history, and with such examples before us, let us take warning. The great preservative is the intelligence and purity of the people, and the duty of moral and religious men is to see that the ignorant are educated. And our magistrates should be wise, God-fearing, and eschewing covetousness."

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    History: Frederick Whitcomb of Freehold, 1873-1911

    A hundred years ago this week, traveling salesman Frederick Whitcomb of Freehold shot himself in the head in his room at the Boston Tavern on Tuesday and died the next day in a local Boston hospital, according to the 23 Nov 1911 edition of The Matawan Journal, page 1, col 3. Mr Whitcomb, age 37, represented A P Smith & Co of East Orange.

    The Federal Census for 1910 showed Frederick A Whitcomb, age 39 of New York, living in Freehold with his second wife Eliza F Whitcomb, age 28 of New Jersey, and their two sons McClean F and John F, ages 3 and 8, respectively, both of New Jersey. Frederick and Eliza had been married 3 years and only McClean was hers. This was Eliza's first marriage. Frederick was a "commercial master" whose business was "merchandise." They had a servant, Anna Pettis, age 23 of Virginia. Anna had been married 5 years and had one living child, but her husband and child did not appear in this listing.

    The Federal Census for 1900 showed Frederick Whitcomb, born Nov 1873 in New York, living in East Orange with his first wife, Isabella, born May 1880 in New Jersey and her father, Gustav Kruell, born Oct 1849 in Germany. Frederick was a salesman and Gustav an engraver. Frederick's father had been born in Canada and spoke English; Frederick's mother had been born in New York. Isabella's father Gustav came to America in 1872 and was a naturalized US citizen.

    The Federal Census for 1880 showed Frederick Whitcomb, age 6 of New York, living in Buffalo, New York with his parents, N. Whitcomb and wife Mary, two older siblings, a lumber dealer and his wife who were boarding with the family, and a 34 year old black servant from Virginia named Evelyn Logan. Frederick's father was a dentist born in Canada. A notation said that Frederick had scarlet fever on the date of the enumeration.

    An Ancestry family tree showed Frederick's parents as Nathan/Nathaniel W. Whitcomb and Mary L Barnes. The same record showed Isabella Kruell's mother as Clara Cecilie Kuhns.

    The A P Smith Manufacturing Company of East Orange made fire hydrants, according to FireHydrant.org. Their first hydrant was patented in 1896. The company was purchased by US Pipe in 1966.

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Time to Make Off With the Donut Money? Not Really

    Keansburg PD did a nice job of thwarting an after-hours burglary at Dunkin Donuts in their town around 10 pm on Sunday night. The police told APP that a local couple carefully planned an inside job at the woman's place of work. The woman put a change of men's clothes and a walkie talkie in their baby carriage and left it behind an abandoned house, then went to work at the donut shop as usual. The man dressed in camouflage and lurked behind the store until closing. The woman finished her shift at closing time, quickly retrieved the baby-carriage and returned to the store. They entered the rear of the store, opened the safe and took the money, but the police had staked out the place based on a tip and were able to stop the thieves in their tracks. The police are to be congratulated on some fine work. The couple had left their child with a neighbor, so social services were looking into that situation. I'm not sure what they planned to do with the $5,000 they intended to abscond with, but it doesn't seem worth all the trouble and time they'll likely serve.

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Unbelievable Violence

    History: JFK Assassination in Matawan Journal, 1963

    The 28 Nov 1963 edition of The Matawan Journal memorialized the assassination of President John F Kennedy in Dallas less than a week earlier. Tuesday is the 48th anniversary of that terrible event, the World Trade Center attack of my generation..

    History: Jersey Central Appliance, 1950

    The 20 April 1950 edition of The Matawan Journal had this advertisement for the latest Frigidaire refrigerator. The ad was posted by Jersey Central Appliance Company, which had representatives in Matawan (Mrs Eleanor Weir) and Keyport (Norman Scott and Dorothy Haupt).

    Keyport Considers Tearing Down Former Borough Hall

    Keyport is talking about tearing down its former Borough Hall on Main Street, according to Monday's Asbury Park Press. The building is a former Jersey Central Power and Light (JCP&L) office that was converted to a municipal facility in the 1950's, according to the 21 June 2000 edition of The Independent.

    The old borough hall housed the police department on the first floor, and the council chambers and courtroom were upstairs. The old facility did not meet Federal standards for a police station and the second floor offices were not handicapped accessible. Council meetings were held at the Keyport Senior Center until the new building could be built, according to the 23 Aug 2000 edition of The Independent.

    The new building at 70 West Front Street, just around the corner from the old hall, was built for just over $4 million and was open for business in January 2004, according to the 3 Mar 2004 edition of The Independent. Talk of needing a new borough hall began in earnest in about 1993, according to page 6 of the 5 Oct 1994 edition of The Independent.

    The Keyport Day 1955 committee held its meetings in the "former Keyport borough hall on East Front Street," according to the 11 Aug 1955 edition of The Matawan Journal,, suggesting that the Borough had moved recently to the Main Street address. That's the closest I could come to finding a reference to that move. If someone knows when it was, I'll dig some more in local references for a news article documenting the event.

    History: Garden State Parkway Roadbed Cuts Through Matawan, 1953

    The 10 Sep 1953 edition of The Matawan Journal contained this front page story about the clearing of land in our area for construction of the Garden State Parkway. Sorry the images aren't so great. The original photographs or better scanned images of the newspapers would be of local historical value. Perhaps the Historical Society already has them?

    Sunday, November 20, 2011

    History: Car vs Horse; Henry S Terhune Suspected of Hit n Run in Holmdel, 1907

    The front page of the 2 May 1907 edition of The Matawan Journal contains this rendering of one incident that took place at the nexus of times as the newfangled car and the old reliable horse struggled to find their place on our local roads.

    On April 16 one of the horses at H. R. Thomas' stock farm at Holmdel was so badly hurt that it was shot. The horse was ridden to the village by one of the boys on the farm and at the bridge at the foot of Ely's Hill he became frightened at an approaching automobile and backed right into the path of the car. The horse was knocked down and one wheel passed over his leg, breaking it. He regained his feet and after throwing his rider the horse ran home.

    The auto was one formerly owned by Henry S. Terhune of this place, but which he sold several weeks ago to President Morris of the Jersey Central Traction Company. It was in charge of its latter's chauffeur, who was being instructed how to run it by Mr. Terhune's chauffeur, and was under control and going at a slow pace when the horse backed into it.

    George Tash, manager of the stock farm has written Vice-President Brown asking him to pay for the horse, but the latter denies any responsibility and has replied to Mr Tash that he will communicate with Mr Morris, who is on the Pacific Coast, regarding the matter. The chauffeur denies responsibility for the accident and before any damages are paid it is probable that the question of liability will have to be settled in a court of law.

    The 24 Apr 1907 edition of The Red Bank Register tells of the same event but with different details. The horse was one used to train aspiring jockeys but on this date was being ridden into the village to pick up provisions. The article describes a hit and run committed by four persons in a vehicle owned by Henry Terhune of Matawan.

    The number of the automobile was secured and it was found that the machine belonged to Henry Terhune of Matawan. Two men and two women were in the automobile when the accident occurred. They stopped the machine a few minutes to see if the boy was hurt and when they found that he was not they started off again at an increased speed up the road. George Tash, manager of the stock farm, has written a letter to Mr. Terhune asking him to pay for the horse.

    Reference is made in both articles to Ely's Hill. The location is in Holmdel, based on a front page article in the 7 Jun 1911 edition of The Red Bank Register.

    The most excitement that Holmdel has seen in a long time occurred on Saturday when one of the county steam rollers came within an ace of crashing through the bridge at the foot of Ely's hill.

    History: Bids for Addition to Matawan School Exceed Expectations, 1907

    According to the 12 Sep 1907 edition of the Matawan Journal, Matawan's school board needed more space in its existing school building, which had only recently been built. They drafted a plan for an addition and solicited for bids. Board members were aghast when the lowest bid came in at over $17,000 for a job they thought should be done for $16,000. They immediately set about seeking additional money from the electorate to fund it.

    Below is a description of only part of this extensive improvement to the building they had. It's amazing what they could get built for under $20,000 in those days. The article contains floor plans but they don't reproduce well for this medium.

    There will be two entrances, front and rear, in the new building, which, with the entrances to the present building will afford ample facilities for the quick emptying of the building in case of necessity.

    The school has always suffered for want of an assembly room and the plan shows that a room 52 x 68 feet with a stage 18 x 25 feet have been provided. This part of the building can be used for public entertainments of various kinds and be the source of a considerable revenue during the year beside being of great benefit to the school. Provision is also made on this floor for two recitation rooms and while they are not needed at the present time the board has planned for the future in providing them.

    In the basement will be a fresh air room 21 x 15 feet and a foul air room the same size, allowing room for the furnace between. Should manual training ever be introduced into the school two rooms in the basement 54 x 30 feet each can be utilized, thus keeping pace with the best schools of other communities.

    . . . If the building is erected from the proposed plan our community will again have a building second to none in the State and one that should fill our needs for generations to come.

    Burned Out House in Cliffwood Beach Restored

    The house on Greenwood Avenue in Cliffwood Beach that suffered a fire last winter has been extensively restored after about a month of concentrated construction work. Little if anything had been done when I wrote about the house in May, but there were signs of life by July. Work began in earnest about a month ago. Looks like things should be wrapping up by Christmas as long as inspections go well.

    Huskies Doing Great - Fall 2011

    Matawan Regional High School has been very competitive this fall. The Lady Huskies won sectionals in soccer for the first time ever, according to Freehold Patch, and came really close to advancing to the state championships. The Marching Huskies came in third in Tournament of Bands competition at Hershey. And the Huskies football team just beat the Manasquan Warriors in the Central Jersey Group II semifinals, according to The Mat-Ab Patch, which has a lengthy article with photos and statistics.

    Graduates from Matawan have gone on to do well in college as well. Native Robin Anderson is a freshman on the UCLA tennis team. The Daily Bruin recently posted an article and great photo identifying Robin and a teammate as Double Trouble after their victorious first doubles match for the Bruins. And Kyle Hardy is a sophomore playing football at C W Post on Long Island. Kyle is a successful wide receiver who is studying criminal justice, according to the Pioneers' website. Kyle caught a 38 yard touchdown pass on 5 November 2011 to put the Pioneers on top at the half against Cheyney and ultimately win the game that week. And there's Brandyn Curry, a junior point guard for the Harvard Crimson. Brandyn was a rising star in football, basketball and baseball at Matawan, according to the Crimson website, but his parents' divorce prompted a sudden move to North Carolina before he could achieve a quarterback and/or point guard position for the Huskies. But he did well at his new school and recruiters came a-knocking.

    Congratulations to Huskies everywhere.

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    Divided Highway Redux: Route 9 Reminiscent of Route 35

    It's been a long time since Route 35 between Laurence Harbor and Keyport was called Death Highway because it had no concrete barrier to keep vehicles from crossing into oncoming traffic. But I recognize the issue being raised about Route 9 between Old Bridge and Freehold in yesterday's Asbury Park Press. It was a big problem here on Route 35 until we won construction of a concrete barrier, as reported on page 30 of the 29 January 1986 edition of The Independent. Old Bridge and Aberdeen worked together to win that fight, making the installation of a barrier a political issue by collecting thousands of signatures, etc, etc.

    We ride that part of Route 9 on our way to Freehold Raceway Mall and other places, so we should be supportive of the cause anyway, if only because it serves our interests. But hopefully because it is the right thing. It worked on Route 35, saving countless lives.

    We can only wonder what sort of body count is required before NJDOT will do something. They probably say there is not enough money available to do it. Remember those signs "Your tax dollars at work"? Well, this is just another example of what happens when the sign reads "Your tax dollars in your pocket."

    Stop n Scan

    We visited the Stop n Shop at the corner of Routes 35 and 36 in Keyport last night and tried out their grocery shopping scanner idea. Physorg published an article about the new device back in 2008, but this was the first time we'd tried it.

    My wife heard about the scanner from a friend who uses it regularly at the Aberdeen Super Stop n Shop. This woman employs the device to convince her kids that particular purchases are outside the family budget. The device keeps a running total on the bill, plus items can be added and deleted to the system. quite easily.

    There's a rack of these scanners just inside the door at the Keyport store. We scanned our courtesy card at the terminal and it freed up a device for our use. (Well, actually the first device resisted our best efforts to free it, so we had to cancel out and start again.)
    The scanner seems to know where you are in the store, because it quietly suggests things on sale. We unintentionally ignored the screen half the time, so we doubtless saved lots of money on things we didn't really need. But, on the other hand, it knows what you usually purchase and makes fairly reasonable suggestions. I have to say that after we made a lot of sale purchases and the device pointed out our savings on each piece, I was quite annoyed when we made a series of purchases of items not on sale. I think I enjoyed getting the positive strokes and felt bad when I didn't save any money. Or it was my competitive nature coming out.

    What I liked best was that we wheeled up to self-checkout and used the device to scan a card above the cash register and that was it; we were done. Well, we had to pay, of course, but there was no emptying the cart to scan each individual item.

    As we were leaving, the manager suggested that next time we bag our groceries as we shop to make settling up and exiting the store even faster. I think I'm in love.

    It Takes A Transit Village

    The Asbury Park Press doesn't even bring up Aberdeen-Matawan anymore in its discussions of transit villages. Wonder why that is? Maybe because our much touted project is dead in the water.

    Pallone Speaks to Bayshore NAACP

    US Congressional Representative Frank Pallone (D-NJ) was a guest speaker at today's meeting of the Bayshore Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), which was held at the St Mark AME Zion Church, 218 Delaware Avenue in Cliffwood. Mr Pallone updated the membership on the current deadlock in Congress between forces wanting to stimulate the economy and raise revenues by taxing the wealthy versus those who want to resolve the deficit by cutting programs and not raising taxes on the wealthy. He urged the audience to watch for changes in voter rights, pointing out that changes in voter registration, absentee voting, early voting, and  ID requirements on polling day are happening across the country and quickly eroding our rights. After short remarks, Mr Pallone fielded questions on veterans benefits, college loans, Social Security, and jobs.

    The NAACP is a non-partisan, not-for-profit social organization whose members (of all races) advocate for minority rights. The Bayshore Branch will have its next meeting at noon on 21 January 2012 in the basement of St Mark AME Zion Church. If you would like to join or simply donate to the cause, visit the NAACP website at www.naacp.org. To show support you can also become a friend of the NAACP at Facebook.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    History: Crop Dusting in Monmouth County (1936)

    The 9 Jul 1936 edition of The Matawan Journal shows Clarence Sproul of Keyport and George Young of Red Bank starting a crop dusting business out of Red Bank Airport.

    Clarence Sproul, of Keyport, and George Young, of Red Bank, are two enterprising flyers who are rapidly developing a business new to Monmouth County but extensively employed in the Middle West and South. Sproul and Young have fitted up their plane at the Red Bank airport with a "dusting" device which permits them to cover farmers' fields and orchards with chemical solutions for the purpose of halting the ravages on insects and plant diseases harmful to growing crops.

    Since starting the enterprise the firm, which is known as the New Jersey Aerial Dusters, have dusted potato fields in East Windsor Township, 100 acres at the Jersey Homesteads project, Ely's Corner, and fourteen acres of peach trees in the Old Cherry Tree Farm orchards, Route 35, Middletown Township. The work at the Old Cherry Tree Farm was the first time the new firm had attempted to dust orchards and the few early morning spectators who witnessed the successful operation were loud in their praise of the accomplishment.

    The 31 Jul 1947 edition of The Matawan Journal suggests that crop dusting began in earnest in the county only in 1945.

    Monmouth County farmers are taking to the air to safeguard their crops. Dusting and spraying of crops by airplane, started two years ago in the county, now is being carried on extensively. Most of the dusting this season has been done by Clarence Sproul, Keyport, who used the Red Bank airport as his base.

    History: USS Solar Explosion at Leonardo (1946)

    The 2 May 1946 edition of The Matawan Journal contains details of the local response to the "disastrous blast of the USS Solar at the Leonardo pier area of the Earle Naval Ammunition depot." After the initial response from US Naval and Middletown authorities, first aid squads from 35 communities responded to a call for assistance, including local squads from Matawan, Keyport, Union Beach, Laurence Harbor, and Keansburg. 125 injured sailors were taken to area hospitals. 7 sailors lost their lives in the explosion.

    The Destroyer Escort Sailors Association (DESA) has a web page on the incident, including photographs and transcriptions of New York Times articles about the incident..Wikipedia tells the history of the ship,which was officially designated DE-221.

    History - Foreigners Deported to Free Up NJ Jobs at War's End (1945)

    No sooner was the Second World War over than foreign workers from the Caribbean were ousted from their jobs in New Jersey to make room for locals whose war-production jobs were evaporating, according to the 6 September 1945 edition of The Matawan Journal.

    Foreign Workers To Be Moved From Jobs
    State Manpower Head Says Prisoners And Others Are Now Being Released As Replaced

    As a means of insuring maximum job opportunities for New Jersey's own citizens Thomas F. Costello, State Manpower Director, has moved to end all employment of foreign workers and prisoners of war in the state as rapidly as local workers are available and willing to take over the jobs.

    Costello disclosed that he had instructed all local offices of the United States Employment Service, a week ego, to carefully investigate all current non-agricultural employment of workers imported from Puerto Rico, Jamaica, the Bahamas and the Barbadoes, as well as prisoners of war, to determine whether they could be supplanted by New Jersey citizens displaced in employment through recent war production cut-backs and cancellations.

    The manpower director, praising the splendid contribution to the war effort made by the several thousand foreign workers imported to New Jersey, said the termination of their work contracts would be strictly in conformity with the international agreements under which they came into the state to aid in overcoming manpower shortages during the period of the most critical labor stringencies.

    Costello said the foreign workers had willingly accepted mass employment in many of the least desirable job categories, many of them at relatively low wage rates. For that reason, and until local citizens are available and willing to accept those jobs, it may be necessary to retain some of the foreign workers to maintain production of highly essential and perishable food products and other output of New Jersey industry.

    Already the movement of the foreign workers back to their native islands is well under way. A force of 556 at one time employed at Pickatinny Arsenal has been reduced to 37 and similar cuts have been made in employment of foreigners in Paterson, Newark and other places. Approximately 20 per cent of the remaining force is employed presently at the Raritan Arsenal.

    The prisoners of-war have been employed almost exclusively by the state's food processing plants in jobs involving the heaviest labor and low pay, Costello said. Approximately 1600 prisoners have been on the state's industrial payrolls.

    Beware the Power of Persuasion

    Brace yourself. The energy companies are currently trying to convince us through a barrage of television ads that there's no danger to our water supply from fracking and tar sand pipelines. It's a not so subtle effort at persuasion. Don't be fooled. These people are not your friends.

    A currently running Conoco Phillips ad, for example, shows a small group of college students telling their designated "emotional" friend how utterly safe it is to bring up natural gas from below the water table for our use. "I'm listening," the young woman says. One of the students suggests he plans to snag a job with an energy company when he grows up. Are you convinced? Based on what these 20 somethings are telling us, there's no chance of Conoco Phillips polluting our drinking water through fracking. And no chance that the muck they plan to force into the ground and back to the surface again will pollute our land when they store it in waste ponds for years. Who says so? The experts at the energy companies, of course. (Don't ask them about a recent coal ash spill into Lake Michigan, a spill caused by the collapse of a retaining wall holding a large quantity of coal ash being stored long term. Things like that don't happen.)

    There's another ad making the rounds involving a rodeo. We're all being taken for a ride by the environmentalists, or so the story goes. Additional regulation of well-meaning energy companies will only cost jobs and raise energy costs. Cute little puffing bulls. They've gotta be telling the truth. AP must be lying when they say that inspectors stumbled upon a 30-foot crack in a nuclear containment building and other abnormalities at an Ohio nuclear power plant last week. Apparently they don't usually look in those spots, but they've got things well in hand. We're all safe. Really. Well, not really.

    Just think back on our recent power outage. Remember how they lied to us about when the power would be restored. Remember that Pittsburgh power workers ended up having to come to fix our lines and restore power. We never saw a JCP&L vehicle in the area for a week.

    JCP&L's own audits point to a lack of investment in trimming tree branches over its lines and replacement of old poles as significant reasons for why so many of us lost power in the October snow storm, according to an excellent article in NJ.com. In other words, cutbacks in routine maintenance saved money on their bottom line and the hell with us; more money for stockholders is all that matters to energy companies. Heaven help us all if that had been a pollution event. 

    Corporations aren't people. You can't persuade me.

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    African-American Series: Amiri Baraka at Monmouth College, 1987

    The first use of the term "African-American" in The Bayshore Independent appears on pg 21 of the 4 Feb 1987 edition. The article announces the visit of Amiri Baraka to Monmouth College.

    A student in the Newton, NJ school district wrote a short piece for Black History Month in which he/she provides a brief biography of Mr Baraka and explains what the poet of black culture means to him or her.

    The video at top was recorded in Troy, New York in February 2009. Below is the text of the Bayshore Independent piece from 1987, mentioned above.

    College sets Baraka for Feb. 16 program

    Amiri Baraka, the celebrated poet and playwright, will read selections from his work and discuss aspects of black culture and history Feb. 16 at Monmouth College.

    The program, offered in conjunction with the college's Black History Month celebration, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Wilson Auditorium.

    Admission is free and open to the public.

    Baraka, who began writing under his "slave name" LeRoi Jones, came to national attention in the late 1950's and early 1960's.

    His poetry, plays, fiction and non—fiction have garnered international acclaim.

    He has received Guggenheim and Whitney fellowships, as well as awards from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the New Jersey State Council for the Arts.

    In 1958, Baraka founded Totem Press which published works by Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac and other significant beat generation writers.

    Recently, Baraka has edited Cricket, a magazine of African—American music, and has directed publication of new literature through Jihad Press and Peoples War Publication.

    He is currently editor of The Black Nation, a journal of African— American thought.

    Aberdeen Banishes Partisan Squabbling on Council

    Is anyone else disappointed that Aberdeen Township will continue under one-party rule as a result of Tuesday night's elections? On the bright side, the Council will never suffer from partisan deadlock. And just think what might be accomplished this time around. I'm sure that eventually the Dems, being friends and all and lacking distractions, will actually deal with those pesky unfinished projects they've already taken credit for.

    Tuesday, November 8, 2011

    2011 Election - Go Vote!

    The polls are open today in Aberdeen Township from 6 am to 8 pm. Be sure to go out and vote. And encourage at least one other person to do likewise. Good luck to all candidates.

    Monday, November 7, 2011

    MRHS Marching Band Comes in 3rd at Hershey Stadium

    Matawan Regional High School's marching band came in third in the 2011 Atlantic Coast Group 2 Competition at Hershey Park Stadium on Sunday evening, according to the Tournament of Bands. Congratulations!

    Sunday, November 6, 2011

    Black Bellied Plovers Visit Cliffwood Beach

    Joe Reynolds, author of the Nature on the Edge of NYC blog, spotted three juvenile black bellied plovers at Cliffwood Beach and wrote an article a few days ago about it called Three Little Birds along Cliffwood Beach. Check out the great photographs. We have great wonders in our own backyard.


    I stumbled upon Ballotpedia Voter Guide tonight. You can put your district (we're in District 13) or your zip code in and it will provide you with a roster of your NJ State Senate and State Assembly candidates. Click on the name of a candidate in that list whom you want to know more about and it will take you to a page with resources about the candidate. Unfortunately, Ballotpedia has no information about Freeholders or local municipal elections.

    NJ Spotlight has a nice summary of the Assembly candidates.

    Saturday, November 5, 2011

    History: Walling Field, Raritan Township (Hazlet), before 1942-1955

    USGS Map of Keyport Quadrangle (1954) showing Walling Field in Raritan, NJ. Landmarks include Cedarwood Cemetery, Rosemont Cemetery, Green Grove Cemetery, and Chingarora Creek. Map includes Mechanicsville and Keyport Borough. Heavy red lines from left are Route 36 (top, marked) and Route 35 (bottom). Red and white horizontal line bordering Walling Field was Middle Road. The red and white vertical line intersecting Middle Road would have been Poole Avenue.

    Walling Field was a private airstrip at Route 36 and Middle Road, where Airport Plaza in Hazlet is now located, according to the Northern Monmouth Chamber of Commerce and other sites. The book "Hazlet Township," by William B Longo (1998), available at Google Books, says the airport was on property that was part of Keyport until the early 1960's, but most records seem to suggest Raritan Township or Hazlet.

    I haven't found any details regarding the actual establishment of Walling Field, at least not yet. First mentions of it that I can find indicate that it was operating before the Second World War. It's possible that the field is named for prominent Keyport native David A Walling, who was born 29 August 1832 and died 7 April 1914 in Tinton Falls. Perhaps the field was established around the time of his death? That's about when Aeromarine started operations in Keyport as I recall.

    Author Longo says the airport relocated to Morganville (Marlboro Township) in 1959, but that is incorrect. The shopping center's developer, Phillip Levin, had filled all available retail space by October 1956 and construction was already well under way. And Rhea Preston, a farmer in Marlboro, obtained the necessary state license to operate Preston Airfield on his farm in 1954 in anticipation of Walling Field being closed and the airport relocating there. This is according to Preston's daughter Candee, whose remarks are cited in Abandoned and Little Known Airfields. She says the gas tanks were installed on 30 May 1955. Later known as Preston Airport and then Marlboro Airport, the airfield in Marlboro operated for another fifty years. The author of Abandoned and Little Known Airfields has not yet encapsulated the history of Walling Field.

    According to "Keyport: From Plantation to Center of Commerce and Industry," by Jack Jeandron (2003), pg 104, available at Google Books, the owner of Aeromarine offered in January 1934 to operate a public airport for Keyport for $1 per year but rejected some stipulations added by the Mayor and Borough Council. Jeandron suggests that Keyport might be home to a major regional airport if not for that caveat to the Aeromarine contract. I didn't find any reference to Walling Field in the available pages online. (Note: Jeandron's book contains a particularly detailed history of local maritime commerce. Many of the pages are available online, but Google Books withholds some for commercial purposes.)

    Below is what i could find in local newspapers about the airport. Not much, I'm afraid.

    1) Page 15 of the 15 January 1942 edition of The Red Bank Register tells of a plane crash at Walling Field in Raritan Township.

    HITS TREE IN LANDING - Arthur Shultz, proprietor of Ye Cottage Inn, Keyport, was slightly injured yesterday afternoon when his light Aeronca plane struck a tree when landing at Walling Field, Raritan township, and nosed over. The propeller, landing gear, and under part of the plane's fuselage were damaged.

    2) Page 2 of the 29 January 1942 edition of The Independent has a column with Hazlet social news. It mentions that Fred Algor was in charge of Walling Field before the war. Algor had become a flight instructor with the US Army in Texas. (The cross-country trip mentioned would have taken months and months in that era, I presume.)

    Mr and Mrs Frank A Cerraty, of Route 35, Hazlet, accompanied by Miss Katherine Merlock and William Kahlert have returned from a 6000 mile automobile trip thru the western and southern states. They visited Thomas and Fred Algor, instructors at the US Army flying field at Terrell, Texas. Fred Algor was formerly in charge of the Walling field in Hazlet before leaving for Texas. The group also spent a week in Miami, Florida.

    3) The 15 March 1951 edition of The Independent reported the crash of a plane at Morristown that had taken off at Walling Field.

    Plane Crashes With Keyporters
    Everdell, Pilot And Brother-In-Law Are Only Hurt Slightly In Night Accident

    Two Keyport men, the pilot and his passenger, walked away from their two-passenger plane which crashed on the unlighted ,east-west runway of Morristown Municipal Airport at 7:30 Monday night.

    The pilot was Donald C. Everdell. 25, of 146 Osborn St. His forehead was scratched, Ralph Dehnz, 36, of 53 Green Grove Ave., the passenger, is Mr. Everdell's brother-in-law. Both were treated at Memorial Hospital, Morristown. Mr. Dehnz also sustained only scratches.

    The plane, a single-engine Stinson L-5, took off from Walling Field, Keyport, at 6 p.m., according to Mr Everdell. He said there were 12 gallons of gas in the tank, enough- for a 110-mile flight. At Teterboro, 50 air miles from Keyport, Mr. Everdell circled the control tower and tried to ask permission to land. "But my radio just wouldn't put out," he reported.

    Heads For Morristown

    The bayshore pilot then decided to head for Morristown field with which he is familiar. The runway lights there were not on, but Mr. Everdell said, he could see the strips from a 1000-foot altitude. He stated they were illuminated "by the rotating green and white field beacon and by moonlight. He explained that as he neared the runway a ground haze at 200 feet obscured his vision.

    The plane struck the edge of a drainage ditch about 100 feet off the north side of the runway and about halfway down its length. The plane hit at about 75 miles an hour speed and flipped over on its back, Mr. Everdell said.

    An airport official was in an office at the field and heard the crash. He drove to the scene and found the men climbing from the wreckage.. Mr. Dehnz said he was "all right" but Mr. Everdell appeared dazed and had to be helped from the wreckage.

    The landing lights at the airport are turned on only by request, Allan B. Heinsohn, manager, said. A pilot may file a flight plan with the Civil Aeronautics Authority, or telephone the field before a flight. The CAA will investigate Monday's accident.

    Mr Everdell, an auto parts salesman in Keyport, has had his private pilot's license five years. He has flown 700 hours, and has had 80 hours night flight experience, 20 only recently. He was a crewman with a Navy carrier based observation squadron. In the Pacific in World War II, Mr. Dehnz said he flew as a crewman with the Air .Force in Europe.

    4) The 12 May 1955 edition of The Independent has a photograph of 14 pilots from Walling Field who participated in Operation Grasshopper.

    The caption reads: The planes flew in two formations of six and eight to test Ground Observer Corps, as well as military posts, in county. Operation was under the direct supervision of Arthur S Van Buskirk, Coordinator of Monmouth County GOC, Staff Sgt George H Pilkington of the Trenton Air Defense Filter Center, and Dyson Woodhouse, assistant to county coordinator. The flyers who volunteered their time and planes are pictured at the air field before the test. They are: Harold LaVoie, Dick Logue, Bud Delaney, Dick Cresman, Joseph Laskiewicz, Steve Paterson, Tom Nagel, Walter ?, Mel Nodel ?, George Lewis, and Ray Kruser (front row); Charles Guentner, Austin Burns, Staff Sgt Pilkington, William Kahlert, William Schultze, Charles Haseman?, Joe Kelsa, Lloyd Runin? , Mike Paleio?, Mr Woodhouse, Raymond Wallace, and Mr Van Buskirk. (Feel free to send corrections to these names. They are difficult to read.) The 9 Jun 1955 edition of The Independent also discusses Operation Grasshopper.

    UPDATE: I had some luck searching for Walling Airport in The Matawan Journal.

    The 9 Sep 1954 edition of The Matawan Journal revealed that Walling Airport had been in operation for 20 years, an enterprise of the Walling Brothers. It consisted of 60 acres with two directional runways, well graded takeoffs, and facilities for commercial aircraft. Over the past two years it had developed sufficient contracts to become the main center for tow-banner advertisement flights destined to area beaches, replacing Asbury Park and Red Bank Airports. Daniel Walling was the proprietor of the airport, which was described as being in Keyport. The summer beach circuit for these advertisement-bearing planes was from Seaside Park to Long Beach, Long Island. 20 private planes were housed at the airport, including planes belonging to Van Winkle Todd, CEO of Hanson-Van Winkle Munning Co, and Arthur Schultze, owner of Ye Cottage Inn. The front page includes a photo of Mr Schultze peeling a tow-ad from the runway.

    The 24 Feb 1955 edition of The Matawan Journal discussed rumors of the possible sale of Walling Airport at Route 36 and Middle Road in Keyport. Daniel Walling denied that he was seeking to sell but didn't deny that his brother James Walling might be attempting to liquidate his interest. The proprietor of the airport was identified as L W Seaburg.

    The 13 Aug 1953 edition of The Matawan Journal contains a reference to Walling Airport, described as being outside of Keyport. The front page article talks about how LaGuardia Airport generates a directional beam that orients pilots on their approach to the New York City airport. The beam, which crosses over Point Comfort and passes directly over Walling, is referred to as the Matawan radio signal.

    The 21 Apr 1960 edition of The Matawan Journal provides this article mentioning the airport after it had closed and patrons had moved to Marlboro.

    Flying Club At Preston's Elects

    Annual election of officers of the Preston Air Field Flying Club, Marlboro Township, was held over the weekend. Those chosen at the third annual election of the group were: William Stevenson, Ret Batik, president; Stephen Megill, Long- Branch, vice president; Joseph Laskiewicz, Cllffwood secretary, and Rhea Preston, Marlboro Township, treasurer.

    The club is the owner of two planes, an Aeronlca and a Tri-Pacer that are used for lessons, training flights, and sport flights by the membership of 33. The club is successor to the one that operated at Walling Airport, Raritan Township, before that site was sold for a shopping center. The majority of its members are student
    flyers aiming for licenses under the instruction of experienced pilots.

    The 13 Apr 1961 edition of The Matawan Journal contains Daniel Walling's obituary.

    Daniel Walling Dies Suddenly

    Daniel W Walling, 65, Green Grove Ave, Keyport, died Sunday afternoon of a heart attack while helping firemen fight a grass fire near the trailer in which he lived. The fire, at Green Grove Ave., near Eighth St., was the sixth in the Borough since Friday afternoon.

    Police said Mr. Walling suffered a heart attack while he was helping firemen fight the grass fire with a garden hose. The Keyport First Aid Squad administered oxygen while police called Dr. Francis W. Holman, Broad St., who pronounced Mr. Walling dead.

    Mr. Walling, a native of Raritan Township, had lived in the Keyport area all his life. He was a retired farmer and the operator of the former Walling's Airport at Route 36 and Middle Rd, now the site of a housing development and shopping area. Surviving are one sister, Mrs. Peter O. Weigand of Keyport; and two brothers, James W. and William Van, both of Raritan Township.

    Funeral services were held yesterday at 2 p.m. at the Bedle Funeral Home, Keyport, with the Rev. Norman R. Rlley, pastor of St. John's Methodist Church, Hazlet, officiating. Interment followed in Green Grove Cemetery, Keyport.

    History: Bowling in Keyport, 1954-1955

    According to the 12 May 1955 edition of The Independent, a new 20-lane Bowl-O-Drome being built on Route 35 near the Keansburg Gateway in Middletown would replace the Keyport landmark known as the Raritan American Legion Post No 23 alleys. With air conditioning in summer, a lunchroom in the lobby and a meeting room for club gatherings, the new alleys were prompting leagues from Long Branch, Red Bank, and Keyport to sign up. They alleys would continue to have pin boys setting the lanes in the back, but new underground ball returns would prevent disturbance of bowlers' concentration. Dom Lafayette, the owner of the Keyport alleys, was partnering with Lupe Ruffini of Red Bank in the new enterprise, which was expected to open in August.

    A year earlier, there were 6 columns of bowling teams listed on the next to last page in the newspaper. The page was nearly filled with team and individual player names, game scores and set totals, and standings. Bowling was a big deal in the 1950's and nearly every shop in town had a team, or two, or three. Here are the leagues and teams:

    The Keyport Businessmen's Bowling League: Keyport Radio & TV, McQueen's Cleaners, Keyport Jewelers, Burlew's Restaurant, Keyport Cleaners, Tourine's Tavern, Montagna's Sunoco, Garber Supply, Cliffwood Inn, Varlese's Construction, Keyport Bar, Pete's Tavern, Walt's Tavern, Mike's Esso, Single System, and Rollo Trucking.

    The Matawan-Keyport Merchants League: Burlew's Restaurant, Frank's Barber Shop, Regan's Bar, Cliffwood Amoco, All-Bros. Woodworking, OK Sales and Service, Cliffwood Fire Co, Cliffwood Angels, Crate's Beverages, Keyport Diner, Wehrle's Dairy, Consolidated Fuel, Rapolla's Market, Jag's Sport Goods, DeLuxe Cleaners, Anchor Inn, Walling's Market, Old Mill Dairy, Schank's Oil Heaters, and Mat-Key Rec.

    The Key-Mat Church Bowling League: Calvary Methodist, Bayview Presbyterian, Gethsemane Lutheran, Matawan Presbyterian, Matawan Methodist, Keyport Reformed, Hebrew Congregation, Keyport Baptist, St John's Methodist, and Matawan Baptist.

    The Mat-Key Mixed Sunday Night League: LaZare's Shoes, Mat-Key Rec, Keyport Diner, Jim's Bar, C F Bahrenberg Market, Oswald Seafood Market, Bayshore Stationers, Bayshore Hardware, Hollywood Service, and Keelan's Bar & Liquor.

    Keyport Recreation League: Tetro's Bar, Rose Hill Trucking, Martini's Diner, Aumack's Furniture, John's Bar, Dixie Lee, Brentwood Hotel, and Burlew's Restaurant.

    Keansburg Ladies Monday Night League: H Wasserman & Son, Gentile's Market, Pete's Inc, Keyport Recreation, Mat-Key Recreation, H L Scott's, Marquet's Pharmacy, Richard's Hollywood Market, Keansburg News, and Louis' Restaurant.

    Keansburg Businessmen's League: Andy's Station, Thompson's Sweets, Central Tavern, Crate's Beverages, NJ Shore District, Harold's Garage, Ambrosino's Farm Stand, and Consolidated Fuels.

    Middletown Bowling League: King's Hardware, VanNortwick Bros, Port Monmouth First Aid, Mack's Oil Delivery, Mallett's Builders, Giles Market, Prestage Plumbers, Noble's Service Station, Brady's Sport Club, and Beacon Beach Assn.