November 2008 Archives

The Winter Festival Parade is a No Go!

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The Metuchen Police Department has started taking down banners and barriers and the Metuchen Chamber of Commerce website will announce soon that the 55th Annual Winter Festival Parade has been cancelled due to inclement weather.

If you're in pajamas, stay that way and enjoy a quiet day at home! We'll update you as to whether or not the Chamber will be rescheduling the event. Check back this week for more information!

Win a $25 Metuchen Gift Certificate!

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As a thank you to everyone who takes the time to read Metuchen Matters, we are conducting our first contest. To enter you must first  become a registered user of the site.  If you need to register, you can click here to do so.  Once you are registered, e-mail us at with your answers to the five Metuchen-based questions below.  For each correct answer you will be given one entry into the random drawing for a $25 Metuchen Chamber of Commerce gift certificate.  The gift certificate can be used at any of the businesses in our lovely downtown that belongs to the Metuchen Chamber of Commerce. The winner will be announced in the afternoon on Friday, December 5.  Good luck!

1.  How did Metucen receive the title of the Brainy Boro?

2.  Which former Governor currently makes Metuchen his home?

3.  What is the name of the restaurant that occupied the Variety Village location?

4.  What was the birth name of Metuchen born magician Davis Copperfield?

5.  Who is Metuchen's representative in the State Senate?

Thumbnail image for popwarner1108.jpegPop Warner's Mighty-Mite division recently wrapped-up a winning season. Head coach and football director Sergio Corvil explains the conference does not keep standings for the Mighty-Mite division, but in all 10 games played, they defeated every team they faced for a perfect season.  An instructional division of 7 to 9 year olds weighing a maximum of 90 lbs, Mighty-Mites is open to any child wishing to play.  Participants learn the basic fundamentals of tackle football.  This season took the team of 21 boys and 1 girl to games throughout central New Jersey.  Assisted by coaches Mike Volpe, John Mcpartlan, Steve Epstein, and Brian Pelayo, coach Corvil led the kids to victory with no injuries - all players wear protective gear. 


This year, Metuchen Pop Warner had five football teams and 4 cheerleading teams.  Other divisions in the league are Flag (ranging in age from 5-7 yrs), Junior Pee Wee, the first level of competitive football (8-10 yrs and a max weight of 105 lbs), Pee Wee (9-11 and a max weight of 120 lbs or 12 yr olds who weigh up to 100 lbs) and Midgets, the oldest level (mainly 7th and 8th graders with a max weight of 160 lbs).  Their season starts on August 1st.  Check out for more information. 


Thumbnail image for Popwarnercheer.jpegAnd on November 16th at the Sovereign Bank Arena in Trenton, the Pop Warner Pee Wee Cheerleaders took 5th place at this year's Pop Warner Eastern Regional Cheerleading Championships.   Competing in the finals against 19 other teams from NJ, NY, PA, MD, and D.C, it's the best finish of any Metuchen Pop Warner squad.  The team is comprised of 13 girls in grades 4 through 6. 


Thumbnail image for shocked-woman.jpegWhen Black Friday comes
I'll collect everything I'm owed
And before my friends find out
I'll be on the road
When Black Friday falls you know it's got to be
Don't let it fall on me
        -Steely Dan


Money is tight.  The immediate financial future is grey - at best.  If you're considering getting through the holiday relying more on your credit cards, think again. Credit scores are even more important in this tight economy. 

From NPR's Morning Edition, November 24, 2008:

"A Hometown Holiday" PARADE ON SUNDAY

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The weather outside isn't frightful yet but it sure is cold, which means that winter is well on its way! After spending some time inside enjoying football, feasts and festivities over the Thanksgiving holiday, get out on Sunday, November 30, and experience the 55th Annual Winter Festival Parade, sponsored by the Metuchen Chamber of Commerce. Starting at Brunswick Avenue and Main Street, it ends with a visit to the Senior Center for cocoa and a one-on-one with the parade's Grand Marshall, the world-renowned fashion plate and all-around holiday spokesperson, Santa Claus! The theme of this year's fun-filled parade is "A Hometown Holiday". The parade kicks off at 2:00 pm, weather permitting


If the weather is questionable, call the Chamber (732-548-2964) or visit, after 11:00 am for an announcement


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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for peacesign2.jpegLondon, 1958:  20 years before Jackson Browne and Bruce Springsteen headlined No Nukes in Madison Square Garden, protesters march for the first time for a new cause - nuclear disarmament.  They set out on a four day journey, in the spring rain, carrying a sign - a new sign for their new movement.  We now recognize it as the universal symbol for peace.

The peace sign was created by Artist Gerald Holtom.  It is the union of the semaphore initials for N and D (nuclear disarmament).  Mr. Holtrom chose to not copyright his creation which enabled it to appear throughout the decades at antiwar and antinuclear rallies worldwide.  

The perfect 50 year old:  Weathered, experienced, deep, work undone - continually dedicated, teaching, inspirational, gleam in the eye because it has a past to remember fondly, and still very, very hip.



At this evening's Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting, Recycland operating as Metuchen I LLC began their case for variance of use in a process they hope will lead to the construction of an indoor sporting facility. It is one of two currently proposed for development in town.   


Recycland owns the property stretching from Durham Avenue next to Vidas Park, to Middlesex Avenue, adjacent to the Somerset Bank building near the old Cryan's site. 


The indoor sports complex, which will be owned and operated by Sportsplex, a Maryland based corporation, is proposed for the area next to Vidas where an abandoned warehouse now stands.  The plans do not meet the zoning standards requiring more than 500 feet from existing residential and municipal property. 

Elijah's Promise Soup Kitchen To Keep Tuesday Lunch

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soupkitchen.jpegAfter announcing on Monday that, due to a lack of funds, it would have to stop serving lunch on Tuesdays, Elijah's Promise soup kitchen received over $7,000 worth of donations in one day.  As a result, they will be able reinstate lunch on Tuesdays and continue their important work of helping out those in need. Thank you to all that made this possible.

Thanksgiving Holiday History is As Old As Metuchen Itself

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thanksgiving.jpegMetuchen has existed as a town since 1689 and many Thanksgivings have been celebrated here by many different groups of people. As part of this long-standing traditional American holiday, here's a little background on the day itself and the fascinating facts behind it.


Did you know that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated well before the Pilgrims ever set foot on Plymouth Rock? Did you know that, during the Depression, President Roosevelt changed the date on which it was celebrated in order to facilitate a longer Christmas shopping period? Read on for some more facts about the real origins of this popular holiday.

Thanksgiving Events In and Around Town Offer Fun for the Holidays

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Thanksgiving is a great time to gather with family and friends, toast some Pilgrims (with wine, silly!) and eat a lot. However, if all this togetherness becomes too much to take, there are diversions aplenty throughout the Tri-State area. These activities, some traditional, some brand new, will provide lots of fun for all ages and give you a chance to burn off Aunt Milly's pumpkin pie.


Nov 26
3:00pm to 10:00pm
Each year, the day before Thanksgiving, the giant Macy's balloons come to life to the oohs and ahhhs of children and their parents. It's quite a sight to watch as SpongeBob, Big Bird and Garfield fill up with helium on the streets of Manhattan. Giant nets are used to hold them down. The latest additions include; Hello Kitty, Shrek and Abby Cadabby. The balloons can be veiwed from 77st and 81st Streets, between Central Park west and Columbus Avenue. Do not attempt to drive--you'll never find anywhere to park. Mass transit is recommended!

JINGLE BELL 5K WALK/RUN: Chase Santa Through Town!

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Join the race to help the Arthritis Foundation -- move freely for those who can't!

§                December 7th at 10:05 a.m.

§                Children 12 and under will race along a shortened route.  Afterwards, they can all have their photo taken with Santa and enjoy lunch with the other participants.

§                Start/Finish site:  Novita Bistro, Metuchen, NJ

§                Cost:  $25.00 for an individual adult or $15.00 per child 12 and under (includes t-shirt, bells for your shoelaces, photo with Santa, and lunch)

§                Sponsored by the Independent Order of Odd Fellows,  the largest donor to the Arthritis Foundation. 


Register Online      or print form:    Santa Chase Flyer - Metuchen.pdf


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2nd annual



Friday, January 23, 2009, at the fabulous Heldrich Hotel in New Brunswick. 


Treat yourself to a night out and support the Metuchen Schools!  If you return your paid reservation before December 1, 2008, you will be entered in a drawing for a free overnight room at the Heldrich the night of the event.  Every $75 reservation will have an entry.  There will be 3 lucky winners!  


Details and the reservation form or Questions? email:

New Brunswick Soup Kitchen to Stop Serving Tuesday Lunch

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Thumbnail image for elijah.jpegNew Brunswick soup kitchen Elijah's Promise was forced to stop their Tuesday lunch service, a result of increased meal requests and declining donations.

From an article:

The organization experienced a 21 percent increase in meals served between September and October, but lacks the funding to keep up with increased demands, said Lisanne Finston, executive director of Elijah's Promise.  "In short we are facing a crisis like we have never experienced before," Finston said in a statement. "Meals are up 21 percent, and donations are dramatically down as our longtime donors are also struggling. A few weeks ago, over 80 children showed up for dinner at our family feeding program."

Thanksgiving is Thursday.  Dozens of local families will be hungry this afternoon; Tuesday lunch has now become a luxury.   Perhaps you're involved with a civic group looking for a holiday service project.  Visit for more information or to donate. 

Metuchen Zoning Board of Adjustment Meeting Scheduled Tonight

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Tonight, November 25th, the Metuchen Zoning Board of Adjustment will hold a special meeting at 8:00PM in Borough Hall.  The meeting has been scheduled to hear applicant Metuchen I, LLC's requests regarding site approvals for a multi-use sports complex at 700 Middlesex Avenue.  Recycland, the company which holds a 92.25% interest in Metuchen I, has paid for the meeting.  The site plan, use variance, and bulk variance will all be discussed.

With the potential environmental concerns and the other sports bubble project, this promises to be a heated debate.  The meeting is open and the public may attend.



Romeo3.jpegMoney might make the world go-round but in Metuchen it's the volunteers.  Volunteers are part of what makes small-town life lovely (and big-town life feel small).  The first in a regular feature spotlighting the people whose sacrifice helps to define our community; we salute Romeo Tiu.


The son of a cardiologist, it's no wonder Romeo has a heart healthy enough to share with many. An ardent supporter of the activities offered to enrich the lives of our children, Romeo leads a few. From early efforts at the University of Pennsylvania where he helped inner city kids learn the gift of giving at the holidays, Romeo is currently Cub Master of Pack 69 Cub Scouts and, in January, will assume the role of President of Metuchen Town Soccer Club (MTSC).


"It's a lot of work and responsibility, there's no getting around that" admits Romeo, a Project Manager for United Health Care's provider relations department.  "You must have support from your family.  My wife, Donna, has taken an active role in helping me.  It's really a family effort."  Parents of three, Romeo and Donna would have their hands-full without anything else on their plate.  Hundreds of kids in town are lucky they've chosen to do more.

Dismal Swamp Redux: How to Get There, What to Do There, How to Help


retention_pond.jpgNew Jersey Public Television (NJN) has begun filming the bi-weekly protests that the Edison Wetlands Association is holding at the Raritan River Basin for a documentary about their continued efforts to make corporate polluters responsible for their environmental foibles. David Wheeler, Director of Operations for EWA, told us that "we will be holding our second rally tomorrow (Tuesday, November 25) at noon, at the intersection of Meadow Road and Midvale Road" in Edison. He encourages all interested citizens to attend.   

Woodbrook Pond, photo courtesy of Metuchen Environmental Commission

The Edison Wetlands Association has its headquarters at Triple C Ranch in the Dismal swamp. Metuchen Matters will follow all stories regarding the Preservation Act as well as the continued protests. One of our intrepid reporters will even find out why such a lovely place has such a yucky name. But, in response to the queries we got about the swamp, we're going to give you all the information you need to find, contact and enjoy the Wetlands and the Dismal Swamp. The EWA offers guided tours and hikes for the public so here's how to get in on the action.

Metuchen EMS Alert

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$60 for 60

Metuchen EMS was founded in 1948 - 60 years ago.  Your all-volunteer squad responds to 600 emergency calls annually.  Medical supplies and equipment cost a great deal.  How thankful are you to know help is a phone call away?  Your donations to the fire department do not benefit EMS.


PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING $60 to EMS THIS YEAR.  One dollar for every year of service to Metuchen.  That's a bargain at 10 times the price.  DONATE ONLINE HERE


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Santa.jpegDec 14th:  8am - 1pm is BREAKFAST WITH SANTA at EMS headquarters

               1 Safety Place.  Adults $7, Children $5

High School Facelift Gets Rave Reviews from Local Press

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It's been three long years of loud banging and no auditorium and sawdust everywhere, but Metuchen High School finally has a new lease on life. With serious renovations (you could go so far as to say overhaul), the school looks and feels like it's brand new. For those of you who don't have reason to step inside and take a look, the local press has some very positive things to say about it all. This week the Star-Ledger ran a glowing review of all things Metuchen High School. Congratulations!

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Question of the Week

Questionmark1.jpegEvery Monday we will ask a Question of the Week.  Share your answers, post your comments below.
This week's question:
What are some of your favorite Thanksgiving traditions?

Are you cooking this year? Tips from Maxine:

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Bulldogs Win! Advance to Finals

After falling behind 14-6 early, Metuchen was able to push past Bound Brook to take a 20-14 lead.  A Crusader touchdown late in the second quarter put Bound Brook back on top 21-20 at halftime.  Then in the third quarter the Bulldogs rallied off 14 unanswered points to take a 34-21 lead and never looked back.  In the end Metuchen was able to hold off the Crusaders of Bound Brook and advance with a 40-27 victory.

The Bulldogs will face Asbury Park for NJSIAA Central Group 1 Championship.  Asbury Park defeated Middlesex 50-6 in the other semifinal game.

Congratulations Dawgs!

TWILIGHT opens today! Send us your review

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View the trailer

The Writer's Room at Edgar: School Volunteerism at its Best

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Marcia Holzman 001.JPGMarcia Holtzman has devoted her life to Metuchen students.  A retired MHS writing teacher, department chair, former assistant superintendent of schools, and recipient of many district honors, Ms Holtzman continues to share her talent and love of writing with our kids.  She is responsible for bringing The Writer's Room to Edgar School.


Founded in Montclair in 1989 and brought to Metuchen by Ms Holtzman in 2001, the Writer's Room matches adult writers with students in one-on-one coaching sessions.  "Teachers are frustrated over not having more one-on-one time with their students.  A process approach to writing requires many helping hands" explains Ms Holtzman.

The Raconteur Events for the Weekend

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Searching for what to do this weekend?  The Raconteur has you covered.

book.jpegTonight at 8:00PM author Benjamin Parzybok will be there to read, sign, and discuss his new book Couch.  From The Raconteur website describes the book as "a slacker epic...that ambles merrily from Coupland to Tolkien," and "laugh out loud funny."  The event is FREE and so is the wine.

Need something for the kids?  On Saturday at 3:00PM Patrick McDonnell of Mutts fame will visit the Raconteur with his latest children's book, South, about the unlikely friendship between a cat and a bird.  McDonnell's books, all printed on recycled paper, will be available for purchase.  This event itself is FREE.

Go Bulldogs!

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The Metuchen High School Football team will be taking on Bound Brook tonight, November 21, in the NJSIAA Central Group 1 Semifinals.  The game will be 7:00 PM at Bound Brook.  If you have the time, head down and support the team!

Directions to Bound Brook Football Complex:

Rt 287 to exit 13 (Rt 28 towards Bound Brook) go to light at Vosseler Ave and make a left, make a right onto west maple, and first left onto Marion. Straight ahead passed about 15 houses to the football complex. 

This week the Borough Council adopted a second ordinance facilitating development of a new athletic facility in town.  Metuchen resident Jeff Josell plans to develop an indoor sports complex near Prospect and High Streets and got the go-ahead from Council on Monday night. Slightly modified from the first proposal, changes now exclude sports that have been deemed dangerous such as archery and firing ranges, as well as facilities for ice skating or skate boarding.

Dogs on Parade

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for paradedog1.jpeg The Metuchen Environmental Commission invites you and your four footed friend to join the Winter Festival Parade sponsored by the Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce.

Gather at 1:30 PM on November 30 in the parking lot of the municipal pool.  

All dogs must be well behaved, kept on a leash at all times, and walked by an adult. Red bows and jingle bells are encouraged!  Thumbnail image for paradedog4.jpeg    



Tree huggers, meet the fiscal pragmatics:  Metuchen is potentially losing up to $203,000 annually because we don't seem to be recycling enough - especially our mixed paper.  


And that's assuming a 50%-at-best recycling rate.  


According to information presented by Patricia Donahue of the Environmental Commission at this week's council meeting, Metuchen's recycling rate has dropped from a 1997 high of 54% to a low of the 31% that we're on target to reach in 2008.   In the same period, garbage collection has increased by 89 tons.  

What's on Your Mind Metuchen?

Thinker.jpgIt's Thursday and that means it's time for Metuchen Matters to open the doors and let the readers have their say.  This is the place to let everyone know what you think is important, interesting, funny... whatever.  You can sign up for an account or post anonymously if you wish.

So go ahead, sound off.

 In summary from an article published in the Star Ledger:


njnlogo.jpegNew Jersey is in danger of losing its public television station.  New Jersey Network (NJN, Channel 8 on Cablevision in Metuchen) is facing what seem to be insurmountable financial and staffing deficiencies. Funds have been low for years and now added to the burden is upgrades needed for the switch to digital. Since 2000, the network has spent more than $15 million on the conversion ($8.6 million in state funds and $4.5 million in federal grants), but has more equipment to get.  An additional $23 million is needed.

Dismal Swamp Preservation Act Approved by Metuchen Council


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(picture: Former sign at entrance to Dismal Swamp--courtesy of Metuchen Boro)


At Monday night's meeting, the Metuchen Borough Council unanimously agreed to support the Dismal Swamp Preservation Act, a two-part plan by former Metuchen Mayor John Wiley and Assemblyman Peter Barnes III. The act will create an interlocal service agreement between the towns that the swamp runs through--Metuchen, Edison and South Plainfield--as well as legislate authority on a state level to maintain conservation efforts of this last significant natural area in northern Middlesex County.


Water Main Break Creates Boil Water Order in Edison, 3 Counties

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FROM THE STAR-LEDGER: "A 60-inch water main break today in Franklin Township has had a ripple effect on 100,000 customers in Somerset, Middlesex and Union counties as well as Rutgers University, prompting officials to close schools and telling residents to boil water.


Complaints ranged from low water pressure to no water at all 18 towns, said Richard Barnes, a spokesman for New Jersey American Water. As a precaution, the utility issued a boil water advisory for the following towns:

Bound Brook, Bridgewater, Green Brook, Hillsborough, Millstone, Montgomery, Raritan, Somerville and South Bound Brook in Somerset County; Dunellen, Edison, Middlesex, Piscataway and South Plainfield in Middlesex County and Clark, Linden, Plainfield and Roselle in Union County."

Your Cable Service

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How's your cable service?  The Cable Advisory Committee requests information about ANY service problem.  No, a council member won't come to your house with a tool belt to improve the clarity of your picture.  But, the Cable Advisory Committee does negotiate our municipal contract with the cable service provider.  Your feedback gives them leverage when bargaining time is near.  Please email your concerns to the Borough or directly to committee chair, council member Christopher Morrison at 

Middlesex County College officials announced plans today for an honors program to make students more competitive when transferring to four-year colleges and universities.

The program will officially launch next semester with three courses. Students with either a 1,200 on the Scholastic Assessment Test or a 3.5 grade point average can take advantage of this program, which strives to offer greater opportunity for more innovative teaching.

Green Eyes: Metuchen Looking for Ways to Use Less and Save More

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The Environmental Commission has arranged for the NJ Office of Clean Energy to present information on its Local Government Energy Audit program to the Borough Council for consideration tonight.


Under the direction of council member Will Waldron and with Council approval, the Borough hopes to take advantage of this state program, which helps municipalities effectively manage energy use by subsidizing the cost of an energy audit.  With cost-justified energy efficiency measures identified and implemented, further savings are realized, the Borough does its part in contributing to energy independence, and the community-at-large benefits from the lessons learned.

Question of the Week

Thumbnail image for Questionmark1.pngEvery Monday we will ask a Question of the Week.  Post your comments and let Metuchen know what you think.  
This week's question:
What television show do you watch that you're embarrassed to tell your friends?  Remember, you can comment anonymously!

Edison Wetlands Association Protests Raritan River Pollutors

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From the Star-Ledger this week:

"Dressed in a waterproof jumpsuit, protective boots and gloves, the head of the Edison Wetlands Association lead a rally outside Basell USA Inc. in Edison (Wednesday) demanding action to finally stop the toxic waste that environmentalists said has been seeping from the plant into the Raritan River for decades."

The area is used for fishing, boating and other maritime activities, including swimming, and the NY and NJ Baykeepers insist that the chemicals found by the EPA in this water are highly carcinogenic and endangering the human and animal population in the area.

Team Spaghetti Serves Up Pasta and Buon Fortuna for Area Families


The Metuchen Fund/Families for Families Spaghetti Dinner Fundraiser on Friday, November 14th, raised thousands of dollars to be distributed between three local families in need. With all food deliciously donated by Joe DeVizio's D'Italia restaurant ( Saint Georges Avenue, Avenel), three packed seatings gave community members an opportunity to have a night out and help out at the same time. Held at the Metuchen First Aid Squad, most services were donated by area businesses. READS of Metuchen helped create the Metuchen Fund to handle all financial donations.

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(pictures by Lori DeCoite)

Borough Council Results Have Been Finalized - Manley Wins

Middlesex County election officials have completed their count of provisional ballots and Justin Manley has maintained his lead over current Councilman Tim Dacey to win the election.  Peter Cammarano received 29 provisional votes, Tim Dacey received 23, and Justin Manley 14.  In the end Justin Manley's lead was reduced to only 16 votes.  The following are the final tallies:

Cammarano:  4186

Dacey:             3637

Manley:           3653

In response to the results, Tim Dacey commented, "I will not ask for a recount. I look forward to spending more time with my wife and son as he finishes eight grade and goes into high school. I have devoted nine years to Metuchen and will now take a little break to focus on my family and my job at the college."

Chamber of Commerce Upcoming Events

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The Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the activities planned to kick off this year's holiday season: 

The Holiday Parade, Tree Lighting, House Tour, and info on how to purchase Chamber gift certificates.

Pancreatic Cancer Awareness in Our Town

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As you walk downtown this month, you will see purple ribbons quietly gracing Main Street, standing testimony to the many we have lost to Pancreatic Cancer.

November 2008 has been designated Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month in the Borough of Metuchen.

Initiated by Councilman Pete Cammarano and unanimously accepted at the November 3rd council meeting, the Resolution aims to call attention to this random killer with hope that residents will become enlightened about its symptoms and risk factors.

What's on Your Mind Metuchen?

Thinker.jpgJust like last week, Metuchen Matters is going to open the doors and let the readers have their say.  This is the place to let everyone know what's on your mind.  You can sign up for an account or post anonymously if you wish.

So go ahead, sound off.

Metuchen EMS Alert

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for MetEMSpatch.jpegREFLECTIVE VEST CAMPAIGN

The State now requires that all EMS workers reporting to an accident wear a reflective vest. Our squad does not currently own any. In order to meet a fast approaching compliance date, funds were diverted from within the budget for some vests and volunteer members absorbed this expense for others. The total spent was over $400.

According to Chief of Operations, Brandon Purcelly, who is responsible for implementing the compliance requirement, "the reflective vests that Metuchen EMS has ordered are high-visibility American National Standards Institute (ANSI) 207 compliant vests. In addition to being ANSI compliant, they also feature an extra "zip and rip" safety feature that, if the vest gets caught in a moving object like a car, will actually rip off the person as opposed to dragging them along. We opted for this because it adds to the safety of the vests for our members, and because we feel it will be the next feature mandated by the government."

We are fortunate to have a professional all volunteer squad in Metuchen. These folks not only offer critical medical services, but have been available time and time again for the scouts, schools, and other groups. Please consider a donation.  DONATE ONLINE HERE

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SAVE THE DATE:    Dec 14th is Breakfast with Santa (8 am - 1 pm)

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"And all the cupboards were bare..."  Sure, we all wish the current economic plunge were but a fairy tale.  It's very much reality for many trying to make ends meet.  30% more New Jerseyans are looking to donation services for basic needs now than at this time last year.

The Community FoodBank of New Jersey, the state's largest food bank, is running low on food in general--and may even begin rationing handouts if donations don't pick up before the end of the year.

Veterans Day

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Thumbnail image for Veteransday.jpegVeterans Day isn't a day of parades or school closures in Metuchen any longer and that's kind of sad.   I wish we still paid public tribute to those who have served in our military. 


My dad is a Marine Corps Veteran. He and my mom spent yesterday as two of  2,500 invited guests at the Intrepid, where President Bush was the special guest and keynote speaker.  More than likely his last New York  visit as President; my folks were honored to be in attendance.    

CQE Makes Their Case

In front of a crowd of about fifty residents last night, the Board of Education heard remarks from Metuchen CQE (Citizens for Quality Education) members.  The CQE had recently met with Superintendent Terri Sinatra, Director of Curriculum Paul Piniero, Board President Terry Kohl, and Board Vice-President Eileen Frowenfeld to discuss priorities it has identified to improve Metuchen schools.  Last night they presented those ideas formally in front of the Board.

St. Joe's Plays News12's The Challenge TV Quiz Program

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From Cablevision: The Challenge, its award-winning high school quiz show, will start its 12th Season this Saturday.  Nearly 1,000 students from more than 180 participating high schools will face off with the goal of becoming the Tri-State Champion.

St. Joseph's from Metuchen is one of those competing from New Jersey! Go, St. Joe's!!

Metuchen Board of Ed Meeting Due to Hear CQE Concerns TONIGHT


The Metuchen Board of Education meeting this evening (8 PM, Metuchen High School cafeteria) will be a very well-attended event. It will highlight the findings from recent talks between the Metuchen CQE (Citizens for Quality Education) and Superintendent Terri Sinatra, Director of Curriculum Paul Piniero, Board President Terry Kohl and Board Vice-President Eileen Frowenfeld. Topics up for discussion include creating higher GPAs by encouraging greater enrollment in AP classes and helping children in all grades score higher than "proficient" on standardized tests. CQE representatives sent a notice out several weeks ago asking the community to attend the meeting to support these concerns.

Every two years, New Jersey Monthly publishes a ranking of all NJ public high schools.  In 2008, Metuchen was ranked at #86 of 316 schools - down from #56 two years earlier.  We will attempt to explain the methodology behind the determination and, in the weeks ahead, determine what it means to Metuchen - the students, the parents, and perhaps our property value.

Factors considered by NJ Monthly are:


1.       average class size

2.       student to faculty ratio

3.       % of faculty with advanced degrees

4.       average SAT score

5.       students achieving advanced proficiency on HSPA

6.       number of AP Tests Offered

7.       % scoring 3 or higher on AP tests

8.       % graduating to 4 year colleges

9.       % graduating to 2 year colleges

10.    District Factor Group (DFG: a socioeconomic ranking)


Highland Park, a school system of our approximate size but classified into a lower DFG or socioeconomic ranking, was ranked #33 and beats us in categories 2,3,4,5,6,7,and 9 (from above).  JP Stevens was ranked #50.  Both schools beat Metuchen's average SAT score by more than 100 points. What conditions are affecting Metuchen's results?  Does the ranking overlook key factors?     Look at the data for all 316 schools.  

Moss School Family in Need

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A backpack notice recently advised of a Moss family in financial distress and in immediate need of food.  If you are able to purchase a gift card to A&P, Stop&Shop, Target, or Walgreens, it would be greatly appreciated. 

All donations can be sent to the main office at Moss School.

Borough Council Update

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The Middlesex County Board of Elections has notified the candidates that the results will not be ready until Friday.  Part of the problem is that all provisional ballots in Middlesex must be validated before any of them are tallied; towns such as Metuchen, Sayreville, and Milltown in which the provisional ballots are going to matter do not get to move forward in the process until this is complete.

Candidates, party representatives, and election officials have been invited to attend the opening and counting of the ballots on Friday.  We will follow up with additional information as we have it.

From the Star-Ledger:

"NJ Transit is offering free rides aboard its bus, commuter train and light rail routes to anyone wearing a U.S. military uniform, presenting a military ID card or possessing a veterans' organization membership card" tomorrow, Tuesday, November 11, 2008.

Question of the Week


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Every Monday we will ask a Question of the Week.  Post your comments and let Metuchen know what you think.  
This week's question:
What type of business would you like to see occupy one of the empty storefronts downtown?

What will an Obama presidency mean to NJ students and teachers?  This week in Atlantic City at the NJEA convention, teachers shared their thoughts on how our new president might inspire students, repair No Child Left Behind, implement merit pay -- and what all of that might possibly do to enhance or impede the teaching profession and school performance in NJ.

Link to The Star Ledger for more information

Update on the Council Race Provisional Votes

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I just received the following in an e-mail from Justin Manley regarding the provisional votes:

From This just in from the Middlesex County Board of Elections...
There were 70 official provisional ballots which break down like this:

47 OK, to be counted
22 not registered, will not be counted
1 Voided, voter used machine after ID verification

The Middlesex County Board of Elections has only gone through the process of verifying the legitimacy of each vote. The results have not yet been issued.  We will post more information as it comes in.  Thanks for the update, Justin.
Update 11/9: Pete Cammarano sent word that this morning, The Star Ledger ran a story providing detail on Metuchen's provisional ballots as well as those from other Middlesex County communities.  From the article:

In Metuchen, only 25 votes separate the second and third-place candidates, Republican Justin Manley and incumbent Democrat Tim Dacey.  Councilman Peter Cammarano, a Democrat, was the top vote-getter with 4,161 votes.  There were 70 provisional ballots cast in the borough, according to James Vokral, administrator of the county board of elections, which is responsible for counting the provisional ballots.

Provisional ballots are used when there is a question over whether a voter is registered when he or she goes to the polls.  Vokral said that it may take his staff a week to research the eligibility of all 6,474 voters who used provisional ballots last Tuesday.

The election board staff is focusing on Sayreville, Milltown, and Metuchen, however, because the races are so close and recounts may be requested.

Last month, Terri Sinatra, Superintendant of Schools, called together the executive boards of the each school's PTOs and requested their input on the upcoming NJ QSAC (Quality Single Accountability Continuum). The QSAC requires that public school districts throughout the state be evaluated every seven years in order to determine how efficiently they are running. If a district scores below 80% on a 5-category scale, the state can take over the schools, disband the district or incorporate that system into a larger system that is operating at a more efficient level. Metuchen is being evaluated for 2009. Mrs. Sinatra expects our district to be prepared properly for it and is soliciting help because the Board of Education is making it a priority this year.

Ian MacKaye in Metuchen Saturday Night

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November 8, The Raconteur will be hosting an Autobiographical Storytelling/Q&A session with seminal punk band frontman Ian MacKaye.  Best known for heading bands Minor Threat and Fugazi, MacKaye is also credited with coining the term Straight Edge, a lifestyle whose adherents refrain from the use of alcohol, tobacco, and recreational drugs.  What's more punk than a punk that keeps it clean?

The event will be at The Refectory, 270 Woodbridge Avenue (adjacent to the church boneyard); doors open at 6:00 PM.  Tickets are only $5 and can be purchased in advance at The Raconteur.

Middlesex County Groups to Help Struggling Home Owners

| No Comments is reporting on organizations in Middlesex County that are offering seminars and counseling to help people stay in their homes.  Counselors at groups like Faith Fellowship educate county residents on saving their homes and avoiding scams.  It may not be enough, but hopefully it will be helpful to some.  As Assemblyman Joseph Vas states, "...this is a social meltdown.  It's tearing apart families.  In some cases they are homeless with nowhere to go."

Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?

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Even Fox News is piling on Palin.

What's on Your Mind Metuchen?


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Once a week, Metuchen Matters is going to open the doors and let the readers have their say.  This is the place to let everyone know what's on your mind.  You can sign up for an account or post anonymously if you wish.  So go ahead, sound off.



CNN Hosts Talk to People That Aren't There

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On this very significant day in American history, there were hundreds of exciting and memorable, thought-provoking and tear-inducing moments that none of us will ever forget. Knowing that the stakes were exceptionally high, CNN pulled out all the stops to win the ratings war of election coverage. Regardless of numbers and shares of possible viewers, they revealed what can only be regarded as one of the coolest innovations in on-camera interviews since . . . well, ever. With the help of 20 different computers and footage shot by 40 different cameras, Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper were able to speak with a hologram of their interviewee (most notable among them from the Black-eyed Peas). A fully three-dimensional image, the hologram looks exactly like the person that it is created as a visage of and moves in real time as they are moving as they speak. It all happens in real time. It's all very high-tech and space-age.

Take a look. Since Princess Leia implored Obi-Wan Kenobi as her "only hope," there hasn't been a more significant futuristic discussion held in our not-quite-but-almost Jetsons universe.

Look for lane closures, road closures, and redirected traffic patterns on Route 27 at the bridge between Wakefield Drive and Homestead Road. The bridge carries Route 27 over the CSX Port Reading Secondary Branch rail line. 

More Details

Corzine Being Considered for Treasury Secretary

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From The Star Ledger


Gov. Jon Corzine, a multimillionaire and former Wall Street chief executive, is being actively vetted by the Obama transition team as a possible candidate for Treasury secretary in the new administration, two New Jersey Democrats familiar with the process said early this morning.

As part of the vetting process, the transition team is reviewing Corzine's financial and personal documents, the sources said. The sources asked not to be identified because the vetting process is confidential.

Neither Corzine nor his aides would respond to a request for comment.

Borough Council Race: Update

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With all thirteen districts and absentee ballots counted, Justin Manley's lead over Tim Dacey has been reduced to only 25 votes.  There are still 71 provisional votes that will be opened over the next few days but they will need to be validated before they can be counted. We'll have updates as they become available.  Here are the totals as they stand now:

Cammarano:  4157 (288 absentee)

Dacey:          3614 (278 absentee)

Manley:         3639 (215 absentee)


There are 9,089 registered voters in Metuchen. Approximately 6,687 voted. 

President Elect Obama's Acceptance Speech

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Borough Council Race: All Districts In - Too Close To Call!

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With all thirteen districts counted Pete Cammarano can be declared victorious.  While Justin Manley is ahead of Tim Dacey by 88 votes, uncounted absentee* and provisional ballots leave question as to who else will occupy the vacating council seat.  On MeTV last night, Mayor Vahalla stated it could take until early next week to confirm all the provisional votes.  So this won't be over for a few more days.  At this point tonight, here are the totals:

Cammarano:  3869

Dacey:          3336

Manley:         3424

*  Unofficially, we have Justin's lead at 25 after the counting of absentee ballots with 71 provisional votes that have yet to be resolved.  We were told that, in a normal year, about a third of the provisional votes do not meet the requirements and are not counted.  It looks good for Manley as Dacey would have to get around 75% of the provisional votes to declare victory. It is still too close to call though.


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large_obamavert.jpgAccording to "Barack Obama handily won the vote in New Jersey this evening, as did incumbent Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, both by sizable margins.

Based on exit polling data, the Democrats took some 60 percent of the vote. The Associated Press projected both men winners as the polls closed at 8 p.m.

The exit polls by the National Election Pool, conducted by Edison/Mitofsky, showed the economy was the biggest factor on voters' minds, and most of them voted for Obama.

Disapproval of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president was also a major issue among voters, and that disapproval also translated into Democratic votes."

New Jersey Returns Are Rolling In--Where Does Your Candidate Stand?

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After waiting in long lines, being forced to use paper ballots and spending the last few months listening to the endless reveries of well-meaning candidates, New Jersey voters finally have their chance, their say. Let's check out what's happening right now . . . 

Lautenberg Declares Victory

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Senator Frank Lautenberg is projected (5th time) winner in US Senate race

Record Number of Newly Registered Voters

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According to an article published by the Associated Press:

Voters in New Jersey have registered in record numbers this year, and they're also expected to go to the polls in record numbers.
More than 600,000 new voters have registered since the beginning of the year - enough to push the total to nearly 5.4 million.
That's about 300,000 more than were registered four years ago.

According to the NJ Secretary of State, the new voters have registered:

134,158 - Democratic

  41,950 - Republican

Remainder - undeclared

1,000's of NJ voters forced to use paper ballots

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Between 8,000 and 10,000 of the New Jersey voters who registered just before the deadline had to use paper ballots instead of voting machines by 6 p.m. today because election officials could not keep up with the crush of new registrations.

Read more of this Star Ledger article

Election Day 2008 - Town Scenes

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No Excuses! You're Never Too Old to Vote

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Roger Larre, 105, will be the oldest New Jersey resident to vote in person Nov. 4.

217694.jpgThe Hazlet citizen even increased his daily fitness regime to include some extra laps at Regency Park Nursing Center to make sure he was physically able to get to the polls today.  Larre, once a prisoner of war during World War II, escaped to Cuba and, fifteen years later, managed to get out of Cuba to move to the United States. His granddaughter, Lourdes Musto, said that Mr. Larre values his right to vote and has never missed an opportunity since becoming a U.S. citizen when he was 80 years old.


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VOTE HERE.jpgTomorrow is Election Day 2008 and Metuchen Matters will be on top of all the action, starting tomorrow afternoon as polls close and the future opens wide for some hard-working candidates. Check out our Archives for past features on Metuchen Borough Council candidates and the recent debate as well as other election-related material.

Pete Cammarano; Justin Manley; Tim Dacey; Debate Summary

The lines may be long but the town will provide chairs and water--you can bring I.D., a magazine and a little extra patience with you!! Most importantly, just do it! VOTE! It's your right and your duty!!

Don't Vote!

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Costume Controversy - Where Do You Stand?

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A Paramus teen was sent home from school on Halloween for wearing a Jesus costume.  Where do you stand on the issue? 



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The average presidential election leads to a countrywide increase of 18% in deaths from motor vehicle crashes over a comparable day.  Election day is tomorrow.  Please get out and vote but take note of this study and be safe as you head out for the day.


Dr. Donald Redelmeier Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto and Stanford University statistician Robert Tibshirani looked at all U.S presidential elections from 1976 through 2005, during the hours of polling, versus the same hours on the two Tuesdays that preceded and proceeded election day.  

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