December 2008 Archives

UPDATE: Fireworks Extravaganza CANCELLED

Due to expected high winds, the Fireworks Extravaganza scheduled for this evening has been cancelled.  Another fireworks display will be scheduled in its place some time in 2009.

Slipper Drive nets Super Results!

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Kellie Davideit reported that her slipper drive was a success!  "It was a very successful year; we collected approximately 250 pairs of slippers!  Donations came-in from various Brownie/Girl Scout troops in town, Mom's groups, and neighbor's."  In addition, the daughter of friends of Kellie's organized a slipper-drive at Scotch Plains/Fanwood High School.  Staff and students were moved by the story of how Kellie's collection efforts all began with a pair of "Wiggles" slippers that were lost (and found) when her son Ian was in the hospital.


The slippers were delivered to St. Peter's the Monday before Christmas where they surely helped brighten the day of some young patients.  Many adult slippers were donated too, some of which went to St. Peter's Hospital and others were given to the Social Concerns ministry at St. Francis of Assisi Cathedral, here in Metuchen, who distribute food and gifts to the needy.


Thanks to all who donated.  Your contributions helped make a tough day a little bit brighter for a lot of kids and their families.  It was a beautiful tribute to Ian's memory.  See you next year! 

In My Backyard


The following short story was written by Joni Scanlon for "Metuchen Musings 2008," volume four of an annual publication by Writers of Metuchen.  Joni is also the founder and principal of Scanlon Communications. An award winning professional with over 20 years experience in the communications field, Joni is a former journalist and newspaper editor.  We are grateful she has allowed us to share this story with you.  


Joni and Bobby.jpegOn a sunny afternoon in early summer 1966, I'm standing in our family's brand-new above-ground swimming pool, which has just starting filling from a garden hose hooked over its side. Cool water barely covers the tops of my pale white feet, then slowly inches up my calves, over my knees, and wraps around my thighs on a steady climb to its ultimate depth of four-and-a-half feet. The pool's blue vinyl lining, with its oddly appealing petrochemical scent, defines what new should smell like.


A swamp once ran through my backyard, beneath the very spot where the swimming pool would later stand. But the swamp disappeared from the landscape soon after I was born, giving way to yet another 1960s-style subdivision of splits and capes, with streets named after trees or presidents or the builder's female relatives. Like my parents, most of the newly arrived families who bought houses in my neighborhood were working-class refugees from New Jersey's failing cities--Newark and Jersey City mostly--who had  found their version of the American Dream in cheaply built $15,000 split-level houses. That these homes were built on dredged fill wasn't something they worried about. Back then, no one had heard about Love Canal. No one thought that what was in the ground could hurt you.

Rutgers v NC State Bowl Game Preview

Rutgers take on NC State today in the Bowl at 3:00PM.  The game will be televised on ESPN.  Here's a preview:

Things To Do With the Kids During Winter Holiday Break

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There are plenty of things to do in NYC and its environs--so pack up the family and go have some fun together!

Click here for events listed day by day with additional links to order tickets and see time schedules.

For the rest of us...

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Don't celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa?  Feeling left out of the Holiday Season?  Well don't - remember there's a FESTIVUS, for the rest of us!  Note: The "airing of grievances" is not limited Festivus.  Many families practice this ritual as part of their "celebration" of the more traditional holidays as well.

Habari gani?

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Greetings and warm wishes to everyone starting their Kwanzaa celebrations today.


No Egg Nog for These Folks--Metuchen Christmas 1901


Take a look at this news story from The New York Times on Christmas Day, 1901. Let's just say their egg nog was pretty tame that year.

December 25, 1901 article from NYT about Metuchen and temperance.

Away in a Manger

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Merry Christmas.  May peace be with you and those you love.


Langosta Lounge, an oceanfront bar and restaurant in Asbury Park, NJ, will open its doors on Christmas Day to anyone and everyone in need of a free holiday meal.

While most restaurants have been busy planning prix-fixe menus and taking holiday reservations, Langosta Lounge's Marilyn Schlossbach has teamed up with her community ally Pat Sherman and Asbury Park's Trinity Church to plan a Christmas Day soup kitchen at her Jersey Shore restaurant. A sign of the times, Schlossbach and Sherman expect unprecedented turnout on December 25.  On Thanksgiving Day, an estimated 900 people, between sit-down and to-go dinners, were served free meals at Langosta Lounge.

Burglary Suspect Arrested


A man believed to be responsible for the robbery of a Grove Avenue home on December 4th was arrested on December 17th.


Paul R. Hecht, 39, of Cliffwood Beach, NJ, has been charged with the break-in and jewelry theft of this Metuchen home as well as homes in Edison and Old Bridge.


According to Metuchen Police Officer Dave Liantonio, arresting officer Michael Kilker made the connection between the Grove Ave crime and others after reviewing Track messages - bulletins published by area police departments providing information on crimes that other communities might benefit from.  Officer Kilker identified similarities between how the crimes were committed and realized both the Old Bridge and Edison reports referenced the same dark van.  Additional information further confirmed the suspect but that information has not been made public.


The Old Bridge police department already had the suspect detained in the Middlesex County Adult Correction Center in North Brunswick at the time of the Metuchen arrest. 


The case has been turned over to the Middlesex County prosecutor's office.  Mr. Hecht, an unemployed, white male, does not fit the description of the man who broke into the Lake Avenue home, finding a teenage resident home sick from school.  The suspect in that case is a black male.

Remember this...


The Gift , An Open Letter to Service Men and Women

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This entry was written by Bob Beardsley, a friend, talented writer, and all-around good guy.  It's from a blog that he authors - Brouhaha. I thought it was a great story, a reminder that kindness does matter. You may never know just how much. 


It's December 1970. I am part of the Disaster Recovery Team on 24 hour call on this Air Force Base in the middle of nowhere.


This is my first Christmas away from home. I am lonely and over 1,000 miles from where I know where Christmas is really happening. It's sure not happening here. It's not snowing and it's not even cold. There is no one to eat dinner with; there are no parties to go to.  Most of my new buddies were able to get leave.


On Christmas Eve, I sit by myself in my sparse base quarters. There are no presents under the tree. There is no tree in my room. Nothing to open tonight or tomorrow morning because I immediately unwrapped gifts from home as I received them weeks ago. So I find myself on my own and dejected. I feel the world has forgotten about me.  It is at this lowest point; there is a knock on my door.


The Perfect Gift: The Final Part of a Four-Part Holiday Fable

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alice in wonderland.jpg"It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour."
- A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens


Read Part 1, Part 2Part 3

The text message read: "Meet me at the Alice statue at 5PM" and, as Harriett made her way through the icy path to the Alice in Wonderland statue in Central Park, the lamplights were coming on and the hazy winter sun was acquiescing to a full moon. There was plenty of traffic still there, on the footpaths, on the snow-covered grass, over and under bridges that would, late at night, become the gathering places of rodents, both animal and human. Nonetheless, it was disconcerting to be walking alone at dusk in Central Park, especially after what had happened to her the other day. But when she got to their appointed spot, Harriett knew it was going to be all right.

Citizen Police Academy Class to Begin in March

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THE Metuchen Police Department CITIZEN POLICE ACADEMY is accepting applications for a new class scheduled to begin in mid-March.  The 12-week course is held on Tuesday evenings from 6:30 - 9:30.  Interested parties should complete an application and mail it to:


Captain R. Rentenberg

Metuchen Police Department

500 Main Street

Metuchen, NJ  08840


Class size is limited, please don't delay. 

PNCLights.jpegFor the 11th year, the annual holiday lights spectacular will be held at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel.

This year's event, which runs through Jan. 3, will feature more than 2 million lights as part of more than 100 separate displays. New pieces for this year include a North Pole train station scene and an outer space holiday display.  The show runs daily from 5 p.m. - 9 p.m., $15 per car, $30 for passenger vehicles of 15 or more. Call 732-203-2500 for more information.

Neighborhood Watch Meeting: Program Discussed and Roles Assigned

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On Thursday the 18th, Metuchen Police Officers Kenneth Bauer and Nancy Phibbs met with the Neighborhood Watch volunteers in the high school cafeteria.


The goal of Neighborhood Watch programs is to help reduce crime and strengthen relationships between citizens and the police department. It is not possible to have an officer on every street corner; the neighborhood residents know who belongs there, who doesn't, and what activity is suspicious. Once you know your neighbor's routine, you more easily recognize suspicious activity. Neighborhood Watch helps train people on what to look for and how to report what they see.


Officer's Bauer and Phibbs stressed that the program is NOT designed for participants to take personal risk in fighting crime.

Raconteur Event: The Roadside Graves Tomorrow

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The Roadside Graves, The Raconteur house band, is back in store again tomorrow night.  It all starts at 8:00PM and like most Raconteur Events it's FREE.  Here's a little bit about the band from the Raconteur's website:

Their sweet-tempered country-rock is far more slippery than it might first appear and often conjures images of a roadhouse Bad Seeds...  Performed with an uncommonly deft touch and subtle grace... Expect some rowdy Christmas covers, including "Fairytale of New York" (otherwise known as "Christmas Eve in the Drunk Tank") by the Pogues.

MAntczak.jpegWelcome to "Healthy House," a new, regular column designed to provide information for keeping your home safe and free of hazards.  I have over 25 years of experience in the business and I've been asked to share info on home care with you.

Clogged dryer vents are the cause of almost 16,000 fires a year. I've seen horrendous cases of clogged dryer vents; house fires waiting to ignite.   It may seem like a simple exhaust but the mechanics and science behind a dryer vent make it one of the deadliest zones in your home. Certified technicians take course after course to study the proper structure and ventilation of dryer vents.

Here's how you might spot potential danger in your vent:

§                Dryer takes more than an hour to dry a simple load of towels

§                Clothes come out damp after a full cycle.

§                Birds or animals are entering your vent from the outside (birds like to nest in cozy dryer vents)

§                Your transition pipe (the connection from your dryer to the wall) is made of plastic or paper material.



Local Edison Greenways Activist Wins Jefferson Award


Walter Stochel, Jr. of Edison is a 2008 recipient of the esteemed Jefferson Award for volunteer service to a community. Stochel is a local activist who has played an important role in founding a number of local civic organizations, including the Edison Greenways Group, Inc. (First Open Space Land Trust in Middlesex County) and the Edison Wetlands Association - preserving the Dismal Swamp Conservation Area. 

Center Street Fire - Updated Information

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Additional details about today's terrible fire have been obtained upon speaking with Metuchen FD Deputy Chief Rob Donnan. 


The FD received the alarm just before 8:00 am.  When they arrived on the scene, the entire back of the house was on fire; flames were coming out of the first floor windows and extending up into the second floor attic.  


The responders were initially told that one person was still in the house, on the second floor, and so firefighters advanced attack lines into the first and second floor to extinguish the fire and search for victims.  A thorough search confirmed that no one was still in the home.


There was heavy structural damage; the floors were greatly compromised, leaving firefighters unable to operate in certain parts of the building.  Portions of the roof had to be cut open and large sections of wall had to be removed in order to reach the fire in the attic.  Much of the work had to be performed from outside ladders where heavy precipitation, low temperatures, and ice and snow made everything extremely difficult.

Beware of the Doghouse

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Hanukkah Blessings

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To our friends and neighbors celebrating Hanukkah, we wish you many blessings. 

First Night Blessings

  1. .jpegBa-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech ha-olam a-sher ki-de-sha-nu be-mitz-vo-tav ve-tzi-va-nu le-had-lik ner Cha-nu-kah.
  2. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam she-a-sa ni-sim la-avo-te-nu ba-ya-mim ha-hem bi-zman ha-zeh.
  3. Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-nai E-lo-he-nu Me-lech Ha-olam she-heche-ya-nu ve-ki-yi-ma-nu ve-higi-a-nu liz-man ha-zeh.


  1. Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to kindle the Chanukah light.
  2. Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who performed miracles for our forefathers in those days, at this time.
  3. Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

Center Street Fire


Photo and Story by JOSHUA BURD • Staff Writer • December 21, 2008, The Home News Tribune


Centralavefire1208.jpegMETUCHEN --A fire broke out at a Center Street home Sunday morning, drawing emergency responders to the borough's downtown as icy winter weather continued to soak the area.


The occupants of the 2½-story home, between Middlesex Avenue and New Street, reportedly escaped the fire, police said, though it was not immediately known how many were inside.


Witnesses reported seeing flames come out of a second-floor window as heavy smoke billowed out of the entire structure at 19 Center Street. Most of the visible fire appeared to be extinguished by about 9 a.m., though smoke continued to pour out of the building.


Emergency responder vehicles still lined the street in front of the home at about 10 a.m. as firefighters, police and EMS personnel from the borough and neighboring towns remained at the scene.


The cause of the blaze was not immediately known, though it did not appear to be suspicious, authorities said.

New Jersey Theater Discounts from Jersey Arts through the Holidays

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header_logo.jpgGo on-line instead of in line and visit! Theater the whole family can enjoy during the Holiday Break! For the hottest tickets and the best performances around the state, check out -- it's New Jersey's own TKTS booth on the web!


There are discounts of up to 50 %! 24 hours in advance of showtime!
(or 48 hours in advance with $40 yearly tax-deductible donation/VIP membership) 


Tonight: Holiday Hootenanny at the Raconteur

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Celebrate the holidays tonight at the Raconteur.  From their website:

400 years of music: from Gustav Holst's "In a Bleak Midwinter" to Coltrane's groovy "Greensleaves" to classic Zep (Led, that is), with detours into Celtic folk and Victorian dance hall."  Steve Kaplan and Paul Caluori bring their love of traditional folk, classical music and acoustic jazz into sharp focus by using truly acoustic instruments to perform, exploring sonic possibilities without the "clutter" of other instrumentation. Their approach to the music is deceptively simple: wring out as much emotion as possible without losing the essential structure of the pieces they're playing.

Expect a variety of spiked nogs, puissant punches, and a withering concoction called Yukon Cornelius, along with a range of baked, roasted and boiled dishes (capon anyone?), marinated tench, and an edible lifelike scene sculpted in colored marzipan. Plus Cream Wafers, Date Drops, Honey-Filled Biscuits, Cinnamon Stars, Zucker Hutchen, Fattigmands Bakkels, Drumkake, and Buttery Nut Rounds. FREE!

Holiday Shopping 08840: Appearance Day Spa on Main Street

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Thumbnail image for STAFF_PICS_10-03-06_028a-1018x727.jpgIf you're looking for a gift for that hard-to-buy-for recipient, think about a Gift Certificate from Metuchen's own Appearance Day Spa. Housed in an unassuming storefront on Main Street, Appearance Day Spa offers you a variety of remarkably relaxing and rejuvenating treatments in a a low-stress, comfortable and relaxing spot. Warm greetings to you from the receptionist to the manager meet you at the door, a fully-stocked cafe bar is at your service throughout your visit and, on the day I was having my yearly super-pedicure from the fantastic Miss Lucy, even children having their nails and hair done by fun-loving workers added to the festive spa spirit. A gift certificate of any amount is good for one year and comes in a lovely gold bag with bows and tissue--anyone would be pleased to receive such a lovely package that carries with it such good wishes and promised relaxing times ahead.


Appearance Day Spa has many services to choose from, one more luxurious than the other. But they also offer the basics: hair care and styling, mani/pedis, eyebrow waxing. They also use exquisite Guinot Paris cosmetics and have a wide variety of cosmetics and hair supplies for sale in the front of the spa. Take a look at some of these great packages to see what healthful offerings you could be putting in your favorite somebody's stocking this holiday season.

NOTICE: Weather Related Closures

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We've been advised of the following closures due to the snow:

PM Kindergarten has been cancelled (announced earlier)

The Metuchen Library will be closing today and will reopen on Saturday, Dec. 20th from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Sunday hours are from 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Miss Doreen's Fabulous Feet School of Dance will not have classes this evening. Call in the morning after 8AM to see if the Saturday class schedule still stands.

The Perfect Gift: Part Three of A Four-Part Holiday Fable

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tn_nikolaus7.jpgRead Part 1Part 2

Charlie didn't want to meet this collector who had bought his special object as the high BUY IT NOW price under which he listed it on Ebay. In fact, after Harriett left his apartment for a job interview downtown, Charlie sat with it for a moment, wondering if this was really the right thing to do. After all, wasn't it just a cliche to make Christmas about a gift? Wasn't he raised by his non-leather-wearing, PETA-supporting, granola-eating mom to see the lies behind the brash commercialism of the season in his native land? It didn't matter--there was nothing he wanted to elicit more of than Harriett's surprised giggles. Like the proverbial music to his ears, her happiness meant everything to him. Especially now. With no jobs and little prospects (and what prospects there were required suits, which made them lousy prospects), he and Harriett had been very much down in the dumps about their monetary future and Charlie thought that getting her the perfect gift would make her feel less, well, deprived. And so it was that the thin stick in his hand was about to change hands and make everything work out as planned.


Grapplers Jump Start Season with Two Victories

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Grapplerslogo.jpegThe Metuchen Grapplers are off to a great season with two straight victories in their first matches of the year. The Grapplers defeated South River last Friday 45-39 and South Brunswick 52-36 this past Thursday. The team competes in the Mid-Jersey Wrestling League, which is comprised of 14 teams from Manalapan to Clark.

This is the first time in 5 years that the team has been able to field an entire roster with a wrestler for every weight class. According to Grapplers league president, Jamie Schleck, "Our success can be attributed to a growing interest in the sport locally and a very dedicated staff of coaches and volunteer parents." The team is still very young with the majority of wrestlers 4th graders or younger.


It's never too late to register; new members are welcome any time. To be eligible, wrestlers must reside in Metuchen or North Edison (geographic footprint sending kids to Woodrow Wilson and John Adams Schools)

Ace is the Place for Santa Tonight!

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Santa Claus is paying a special visit to Metuchen tonight. Check out the Boro Hardware parking lot tonight from 6-8PM to spend some time with the Big Man and have your holiday photo taken with him! We'll see you there!!

Fire/Rescue activity on Maple Ave this morning

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If you drove on or past Maple Avenue this morning, you saw a lot of fire/rescue activity and perhaps you sat in extra traffic on Main. You may be wondering what happened.


We just spoke with the police department and learned it was a two-car traffic accident.  One person was taken by ambulance to the hospital and his or her condition is not known.  No pedestrians were involved

Woodwild Park Association Gets Some Heat for Tree Removals


During the public portion of Monday's Borough Council meeting, members of the Woodwild Park Association presented a defense of  their removal of two blue spruce trees from the horse trough triangle at the intersection of Oak Avenue and Middlesex Avenue.  After the trees were taken down last week the police were called and an incident report was filed because the trees were believed to be Borough property.  Members argued they had the right to remove the trees because Woodwild Park and the triangle have been under their care since the Charles H. Corbin family conveyed the title to both areas to the group over 100 years ago. The Council was quick to point out that, if the trees were in the Borough's right-of-way, this conveyance couldn't be used to allow for the removal.

The group felt the trees were a traffic hazard, so back in May the Association presented a renovation plan for the triangle to the Shade Tree Commission; the plan included the removal of the two spruces. According to a Shade Tree Commission representative at the meeting, the plan was rejected after the Metuchen Police concluded the trees did not present a traffic safety issue.  The Woodwild Park Association says they were not informed of this decision; the Shade Tree Commission says they were.  The matter is now under investigation.

Why didn't the Shade Tree Commission just let the Woodwild Park Association remove the trees back in May?  The group has been taking care of the triangle and the park for over 100 years with their own time and money.  They wanted to take down two ornamental trees, not mature shade trees that would take decades to replace.  The Woodwild Park Association should be allowed to put together a plan and execute it. They deserve that much for their century of hard work.

In The Neighborhood: Meet Alex Dawson


Alex Dawson.jpegMetuchen's man in black, the force behind our new artistic hub; a writer, artist, publisher, motorcycle traveler, licensed Central Park carriage driver and a certified international tour guide: Meet Alex Dawson of The Raconteur, the man at the center of a cultural community - a local cultural phenomenon.   


When you visit the book store and let your eyes wander, you see eclectic collections of books, art, and artifacts - many ages and many places are within your scope. You realize you've entered a special place of wonder and energy and you also begin to get a feel for the man and his thirst for limitless discovery. Some time in his presence and you realize he, too, is filled with stories, images, ideas, and feelings from a collection of places, a spectrum of time.

Police Report




Patrolman David Liantonio has announced that the following grants have been applied for and received:


$5,000.00 for overtime hours associated with pedestrian safety from the NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety (completed in November)


$5,000.00 for overtime hours to patrol aggressive driving violations from the NJ Division of Highway Traffic Safety (completed in November)


$2,721.35 from the NJ Division of Criminal Justice Body Armor Replacement Program for bullet-proof vests


$2,000.00 from the Middlesex County Bicycle Safety Program for reflective snap bracelets which will be distributed to children grades K - 4 sometime this spring, and for a bike safety banner for Main Street.  




All four tires were slashed on a 95 Pontiac parked on Park Place sometime between 7:00 pm Thur 12/11 and 8:30 am on Fri 12/12


On 12/11 at 7:17 am, a tractor-trailer driver from PA made an intentional, illegal u-turn onto the Green Acres open space on Middlesex Ave across from the old Cryan's site.  Damaging the property, he was charged with Careless Driving and Truck off Truck Route - a borough ordinance violation.    


REMINDER:  Neighborhood Watch meeting to be held this Thursday, December 18, at 7:00 p.m. in the Metuchen High School Cafeteria. Officers Kenneth Bauer and Nancy Phibbs will present information on how not to become a victim of a property crime.  Details

Local Doctor Sworn In As U.S. Air Force Flight Surgeon

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seyffertsml.jpgLocal pediatric neurologist and sleep study specialist Dr. Michael Seyffert has become Major Seyffert of the Medical Unit, U.S. Air Force Reserve. He was sworn in on December 6th at JFK Hospital, where he works, as part of the 305th Medical Group, referred to as "Team McGuire," because his unit is stationed at McGuire Air Force Base here in New Jersey.


Seyffert will be a flight surgeon candidate, serving one weekend each month and two weeks each summer. The flight surgeon is responsible for maintaining medical care for all people on flight status, commissioned and elected personnel. What Major Seyffert likes best is that this position gives him the "potential to perform humanitarian missions across the globe."

Metuchen Municipal Pool 2009 Prices Approved

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At Monday's Borough Council meeting, an ordinance passed raising new membership costs by 3 percent from last year.  2009 renewal fees will remain the same as 2008 rates.


In an effort to make-up for last summer's filter problems and closings, renewal members will not incur the rate increase.

Jingle Around the Town: EVENT CANCELLED


According to an announcement from Borough Hall, the Jingle Around Town event scheduled for tonight, December 16th, has been cancelled.

It's the perfect night for hot chocolate and a home movie though.  Enjoy the snow! 

EX-NJ DEP Head Chosen as Obama's Federal DEP Chief

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From the Star-Ledger today:

lisa jackson.jpgLisa Jackson, the former Department of Environmental Protection commissioner who just days ago became Gov. Jon Corzine's chief of staff, will be nominated to serve as the top environmental official in Barack Obama's administration, according to Democratic officials.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Jackson, 46, will become the first African-American woman to head the Environmental Protection Agency, where she worked for 19 years before she was tapped for DEP chief in 2006. She would join former Gov. Christie Whitman, who was chosen in 2000 by President Bush, as New Jerseyans who left prominent Statehouse posts to lead the EPA.

Opera New Jersey to bring Pirates of Penzance to Campbell this Friday

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pirates of penzance.jpgAs part of their educational programming, Interact with Classics, Opera New Jersey is slated to bring Gilbert & Sullivan's beloved light opera, "The Pirates of Penzance," to Campbell School for a special production this Friday, December 19th. Invited by a Campbell School parent who knew of the program, the Opera is incorporating 25 children from the Campbell Drama club into the production itself! Pam Schleck, mother of John Schleck, of Campbell's 4th grade, told Metuchen Matters that her son was having a great time and that the drama club was going to blow everyone away with their fantastic performances! The show will begin at 10 a.m. in the Campbell School auditorium. Family and friends are invited to attend the hour-long production.

Scared Santa

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Have a photo of your child losing it while visiting Santa Claus?  Two editors from The Chicago Tribune put together a book featuring this all too common picture moment.

Melange a Times: NY Times Reviews Spice

A personal local fave, Spice Melange, was reviewed in the New Jersey section of The New York Times back in October.  Here's an excerpt:

On a second visit, the dining room was a haven. The air was comfortable; we were there earlier, so there was enough lingering daylight to let us discern the food on our plates and admire the clouds of steam from the sizzling peppers and onions beneath tandoor-roasted dishes. There were fewer diners, so our server was more attentive. I heard the sounds of trickling water; there was a small fountain between two booths that I hadn't noticed before.Was the food better on the second visit, then? No. The food was good, spiking to very good, on both visits. Flavors were lively. Ingredients were fresh and thoughtfully combined.

Click here to read the full review.

The oldest business on Main Street in Metuchen now has settled into its new ownership--  Gerard Bargoud is one of five partners who bought Boyt Drug Store from the Belafsky family a little over a year ago. Its prominent position on Main Street and its beautiful window displays make it a compelling sight during the holiday season. Despite the change in ownership, not one of the store's 22 employees was let go. The previous owner, Don Belasfsky has stayed on as manager of the store's day-to-day operations. His family had owned the store for the past 58 years. As it was so long ago, it is a central fixture of Metuchen, offering a highly-rated pharmacy in the back of a store piled high with treasures you won't find anywhere else.


Join Your Neighbors To Make Jingle Bells Jingle All Around the Town

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Bring your friends and family to the Jingle 'Round the Town, a leisurely walk on one of Metuchen's walking paths, This Tuesday, December 16th,  beginning at 8:00pm, slip on your walking shoes, bundle the kids, bring a flashlight. and join a crowd of friends and neighbors to jingle all around town! Tthe start and finish area will be at the Metuchen Borough Hall, 500 Main Street in Metuchen. Jingle bells will be provided. Light refreshments will be served immediately following the walk.  For further information call the Metuchen Recreation Commission at 732-632-8502.

Breakfast with Santa


The food was great, the company friendly and the atmosphere warm and festive -- must have been the annual EMS breakfast with Santa!   As soon as we walked in from the cold, the  comfortably warm room and sweet fragrance of maple syrup welcomed us.  The meal was yummy -- some of the best pancakes and sausage I've ever eaten, Chris Morrison and Ed Purcelly were on grill duty while we were there. Santa couldn't have been nicer.  My 7 year old wanted to be certain he understood all of the items on her list; he was reassuring and sweet.

The Perfect Gift: Part Two of a Four-Part Holiday Fable

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Read Part 1

Charlie had never doubted that the city held the key to his every dream and desire. From the first time he viewed New Jersey moving away from him as his family station wagon drove across the George Washington Bridge towards Manhattan, Charlie in the jump seat in the back watching out the window, he had felt the pull, the compulsion to find a little niche for himself in the concrete jungle. He was seven or eight, on his way to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular for the first time, the Palisades fading into the background as they got closer and closer to the all-important island. Charlie knew that this was the direction his life would be heading in from then on. And, until now, there hadn't been a glitch in that directive.

Thumbnail image for nutcracker 2.jpgOn December 18, 1892, the Nutcracker World Premiere was held at the Maryinsky Theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, with choreography by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov and music by Tchaikovsky. In February 1954, American impressario George Balanchine choreographed a full-length version of the Nutcracker. Performed by New York City Ballet and presented at the New York City Center, the Balanchine production inspired many other productions around the globe. And now, each year, it is a tradition that the Mouse King is defeated by the brave and true Nutcracker and a tired little girl's Christmas dream inspires a ballet known the world over.


In Metuchen, every holiday season brings a new performance of the ageless classic, as performed by Ms. Doreen's Fabulous Feet Dance Ensemble. With a cast of over 100 students, teachers and family members, this colorful, whimsical adaptation of the timeless ballet engages and delights fans of all ages. A high-quality dance performance from the area's premier dance school, the 13th Annual Tchaikovsky's Classical Nutcracker Suite at Middlesex County College on Sunday, December 21st 2008. There will be two performances: 1:00pm & 5:00pm. All tickets are reserved seating and are $15 each. Call the studio at 732-548-5278 for tickets and information for this truly fabulous holiday treat!

Parents vs Kids: Metuchen U8 girls take-on the old folks

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Parentgame10.jpeg On Dec 6th, Metuchen United, the U8 Girls Metuchen travel soccer team, celebrated the end of their fall tour with a parent-child soccer game.  The kids played well but the parents weren't about to hand the game over to them.  "They practice all fall," one parent laughed "we couldn't just let them have the game."  Coaches are Craig Stolarski, Will Waldron, and Kelly Jaques.  The photos were taken by Teresa Brown Zeng.

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Santa and the Firetruck: Why they'll be stationary this year


A message from Deputy Fire Chief Rob Donnan:


I wish I could give you a simple answer but it seems nothing is simple these days.

The Santa Run was first started 15 years ago with the primary goal of visiting our own members' houses.  We then saw how much people enjoyed the visits, as did entire neighborhoods where our members lived.  As the years progressed, our members started doing more and more streets in town until it took two Santas (the real deal and a helper) going out over four nights to hit every street.

The actual manpower required per Santa is about six (6) firefighters.  Santa, the driver, a helpers or two, and two safeties.  A second vehicle with a driver would escort the truck and scout down streets for people or attempt to spot kids that were missed.  With two Santas covering the town, it requires upwards of fourteen firefighters each night.  Do this for 4 nights and I think you can see what I mean.

Still we missed people.  A safety issue was raised because of the people that would run down the street after us when they realized they had just missed Santa.

For Sale in Metuchen: 35 Hofer Court

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Thumbnail image for Hoferexterior.jpegInterested in claiming a piece of Metuchen history for your own?  This historic and lovely residence is currently available, listed with Maggie Cook at Prudential New Jersey Properties.  As part of our regular segment featuring Metuchen properties for sale, let us introduce you to 35 Hofer Court.

This spacious and beautiful home is the oldest continuous residence in Metuchen.  It's believed portions of the house date back to 1740.  There are five fireplaces within its eleven rooms and hardwood floors throughout - some of which are the original wide plank pine. 

Prominent past owners include the Ross family, for whom the house served as a farmhouse for their large farm that previously  comprised most of the Oak Hills area. Dr. & Mrs. Clarence Hofer purchased the home and two acres of land in 1939 and rotated the house to its current position on the property and onto a full basement. Dr. and Mrs Hofer also had the support beams and rafters reinforced with wood in steel while leaving the originals in place.  The most recent owners purchased the home in 1965 and carefully updated the bathrooms, kitchen, and utilities.

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Sportsplex Operational Plans go before the Zoning Board


At last night's Zoning Board of Adjustment meeting, Sportsplex, the proposed operational tenant of the Recycland property, discussed their plans for the development and management of an indoor sports facility in the existing abandoned warehouse next to Vidas Field.    


John K. Burns, one of six principal owners of the Sportsplex Group, testified as to what the complex might look like, how others like it are operated, and what could be available to Metuchen and neighboring communities should the plan be approved.   


Created over 10 years ago with the opening of a Rockville, Maryland facility in 1995, Sportsplex has developed a standard business model for indoor sporting facilities that includes turf fields for soccer, lacrosse, football, and field hockey; hard courts for basketball, inline hockey, and volleyball; party rooms; concessions, and an arcade. Programs offered cater to toddler-aged children through seniors and include sports league activities, sports academies and personal training, child development programs, birthday parties, summer camps and days-off from school happenings, home-school physical activity programs, and school field trip events

In 1842, the Old Franklin School was repaired and renovated for a total of $500.  In 1906, $800 in contributions from residents and the President of Princeton University enabled the Borough Improvement League (BIL) to purchase the property and guarantee its preservation.  If you attended the Holiday House Tour this past Sunday, you were among the 400 participants who helped contribute to the $7,000 raised to keep our prized landmark in good shape.


Six houses from four different centuries, the 18th, 19th, 20th, and 21st, were included on the tour. Volunteers, some in period regalia, were on hand to provide interesting facts about the holiday-decorated homes.


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According to Borough Hall:  The "Jingle Around the Town" community event scheduled for tonight, Dec. 11th has been postponed to Tuesday, December 16th. 



Jingle Bell Run/Walk Raises Over $18K for Arthritis Foundation

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This past weekend, the Jingle Bell Run/Walk 5K and Santa Chase for children under 12, sponsored by Novita Bistro on behalf of and in support of the Arthritis Foundation, bested its total participation from last year when 379 registered runners and walkers braved the cold to help raise a remarkable $18,271 so far for this worthwhile cause. This is only the second year the oganization has held this event (2007 boasted 225 registered participants).

He seemed to arrive on our street at crazy times - bedtime, dinnertime - but when the sirens and lights got louder and brighter, the kids would spring up and often run outside with pjs and snow boots to see the show:  Santa and the fire truck making rounds through town, waving and delivering bags of penny candy.  Santa, the truck, the neighbors - also outside in pajamas, up later than usual - I'm not sure if I could say which gave the biggest thrill.  But it seems this small town tradition has been called-off this year.


We're trying to determine if the reasons are financial, volunteer-related, or due to lack of general interest and will report about what we learn.


It seems the folks at Boro Hardware will make sure kids can see Santa and the truck.  You can visit him there on the 17th and 18th from 6-8 pm (raindates the 22nd and 23rd). 

Hillsideave2.jpeg If there's one thing that Metuchen Borough Councilman Richard Weber hopes to accomplish before his present term is up, it would be to establish historic districts around the town and preserve some of the beautiful antique homes that exist throughout our many neighborhoods.

Weber proclaimed at a recent Council meeting that he had spent "a really interesting and fun morning" in the Library's Grimstead Room with the Mayor's newly-appointed Historical Ppreservation Commission, looking over old maps and other artifacts from the multitude that the society has been preserving for years. He sees the historical district idea as a way of "recognizing the value of [buildings like] the Old Franklin School, which is a beautiful building." Rahway and the Clara Barton area have saved historical building facades from being destroyed. Although there is no historical commission in town yet, Weber did cite that the Historical Society is doing a great service to the town's memory, saving its pictures and stories, using oral traditions. But "who's going to save these old homes?" he asks. The Mayor and Weber have an answer for that.

Update: Rutgers Fires Athletic Director

| 2 Comments had originally reported that Rutgers Athletic Director Bob Mulcahy was stepping down effective after the Scarlet Knights December 29 bowl game against North Carolina State.  However, Mulcahy issued a statement later saying, "I was asked to resign.  I have not offered my resignation."  Now is reporting that Mulcahy was fired by the University Wednesday afternoon.  The termination comes on the heels of a special committee report that admonished Rutgers for allowing the Athletic Department to run itself without oversight.  Mulcahy is still owed 2-1/2 years on a deal worth approximately $400,000 per year.

The question for many is, what does this mean for Rutgers football?  Most of the problems the committee found with the Athletic Department and Mulcahy were football related: special perks for Schiano, the stadium expansion, the elimination of other sports with the monies being diverted to football.  Will this turn to Schiano next?  Will Schiano stay if the stadium expansion is not completed?  His contract has a clause that allows him to opt out if it is not.  Mulcahy hired Schiano and they remain close; their relationship was one of the reasons Schiano turned down offers from more prestigious programs Miami and Michigan the last two years.  With Mulcahy gone will Schiano stay at Rutgers the next time a more a bigger "football school" comes calling?  If does he leaves can the program sustain its current level of success without him?


The Metuchen Police Department has advised us that Middlesex Water Company meter readers are in town conducting business wearing RED HOODED SWEATSHIRTS with white lettering on the back that says: MIDDLESEX WATER.  


Several residents have called the police this morning, concerned about these people on their property.  The uniforms are new, unfamiliar, and homeowners are uneasy.


The police have verified the new uniform with the water company. While homeowners are encouraged to continue calling the police with any suspicious activity, the meter readers are legitimate.   Meter readers conduct all business on the outside of your home, there is no need for them to come inside.  


The meter readers will be in town for the next few days.


We have asked for a photograph of the new uniform and will post in onto this article as soon as we receive it.

CEO Asks for $10 Million Bonus Amidst Layoffs


Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain asked for $10 million bonus amidst company layoffs.  It's true Merrill Lynch is in better shape than many of its Wall Street brethren, they haven't gone broke, but they did still lose over $11 billion this year.  Campbell Brown takes him to task.

Cutting On Greenway Angers Residents; BPU To Change Guidelines

greenway.jpgLast week a landscaping company hired by the Board of Public Utilities was clearing out trees from the Metuchen Greenway, angering many residents who would like to see the taller, older trees in town stay put. However, there are legal requirements regarding the removal of greenery around utility lines and poles--in fact, on the BPU website, they state that "[i]n August 2003, a massive electric power outage was caused after a tree came into contact with a transmission line in Ohio. This incident left over 50 million people in the northeast United States and southeastern Canada without electric power. After the blackout, the United States Department of Energy issued a report which instructed the electric companies to develop vegetation management programs." Rules are in place for such cuttings, yet citizens aren't always made aware of their existence.

Officer Kenneth Bauer has announced the second Neighborhood Watch meeting to be held on December 18, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at the Metuchen High School Cafeteria. He and Officer Nancy Phibbs will present information on how not to become a victim of a property crime.   One example of such pro-active behavior is to bring in your G.P.S. units from motor vehicles.


According to Officer Bauer, "the main goal of this meeting is to educate as many people as possible on how to deter criminals from committing crimes by eliminating their opportunity to do so. We will also be talking about the Metuchen Citizens Police Academy with hopes of reaching those interested in joining."


In consideration of recent home break-ins, Neighborhood Watch continues to be a critical component in crime prevention.   Please try to attend this meeting even if you are not a member of the Neighborhood Watch team.  All residents and business owners are invited.    


"Remember," says Officer Bauer, "If you see anything suspicious in your neighborhood, even if it seems minor, call police headquarters."


The non-emergency phone number at the Metuchen Police Department is 732-632-8500.

Metuchen matters 009.JPGColumbine and 9/11:  Two events that changed the world.  In response, businesses, families, communities, and schools began to realize the importance of emergency management and readiness plans.  The Metuchen Board of Education is no exception.  Administrators have attended dozens of workshops for information on responding to safety concerns. The district has school safety plans and a formal Board of Education approved Memorandum of Understanding between the police department and school administration.  Last May, Board president Terry Kohl announced the formation of a Safe Schools Task Force.  Bob Gugliara, "Mr. G.," principal of Campbell School, chairs the Sub-Committee on Student Safety (S-CSS). 

Last month, the S-CSS issued a survey to all parents of school-aged children asking for feedback on the safety procedures they wanted more information on, as well as any safety-related concerns they might have. According to Mr. G. "There is a routine initiative in our district to provide the community with an understanding of the health and safety concerns that are being addressed in our schools.  The S-CSS met over the summer and determined it was important to first learn what was important to parents, and to get a better understanding of parental concerns and questions."  The end result will be the distribution of information on safety protocol that covers everything parents want to know.



Here are the correct answers to the five trivia questions from our first Metuchen Matters Trivia Contest! How many did you get right?


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

        Metuchen attracted an influx of artists, literary figures and noted intellectuals during the late 19th century, including Harper's Magazine editor, Henry James Alden. The Alden home became the site of many cultural activities attended by the likes of Mark Twain and Joyce Kilmer. Alden's stepdaughter, Aline, married Kilmer in 1914. Glen Ridge challenged Metuchen to the title of "Brainy Boro," and after each community listed its celebrities, Metuchen won easily.        


2.       Which former Governor currently makes Metuchen his home?


         James "Jim" Florio, the 49th Governor of NJ,  is the current resident AND       

       George Sebastian Silzer (April 14, 1870 - October 16, 1940) served as the 38th Governor 


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

      Costa Cottage.  (A red-checkered-table-cloth, small family restaurant that specialized in a locally made ice cream.  Costa Ice Cream was a Woodbridge company.)


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

        David Seth Kotkin 


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

        Barbara Buono


Thanks again to winner Dave Irizarry who donated his winnings to a family in need!

Getting into college is just one step of the process for parents of high school juniors and seniors. Another step is paying for it! On December 10th, Assemblyman Patrick J. Diegnan, Jr. and Assemblyman Peter J. Barnes, III, will hold a free informational workshop called "A Financial Aid Night: Learn What the State Provides in Student Assistance for Higher Education." They invite all parents and students to come. The workshop is presented by the New Jersey Higher Educational Student Assistance Authority


Wednesday, December 10, 2008

7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

East Brunswick Senior Center

3 Civic Center Drive

East Brunswick, NJ


For more information, call (908) 757-1677

Question of the Week


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Time again for a question of the week.

What do you want for Christmas?

And We've Got Ourselves A Winner!! Trivia Contest Winner Announced

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Metuchen Matters wants to thank everyone who entered the Trivia Contest--there were only a few wrong answers in the bunch so we're not only impressed by how much you know about Metuchen but we were bowled over by the great response!  We randomly selected (i.e., pulled a name from a hat) . . .  Metuchen Police Lt. David Irizarry as our first trivia contest winner. A kind and gracious  victor, Lt. Irizarry has  asked that his prize winnings be donated to a Metuchen Family in need.  In acknowledgement of his good heart, we've doubled the value of the award and will give it to the family that Lt. Irizarry chooses. Thanks again to everybody for playing!

Bulldogs Fall Short - Lose State Championship 42-14 to Asbury Park


With temperatures in the low 30's and Metuchen fans outnumbering the rival crowd at least 2-to-1, the Bulldogs took on the Asbury Park Blue Bishops for the Central Jersey Group I Football Championship.  Unfortunately, after upsets over Shore and Bound Brook in the first two rounds, top seeded Asbury Park proved to be too much for the Bulldogs.  The Blue Bishops jumped out to an early 20-0 lead.  Metuchen finally got on the board in the second quarter to make the score 20-8.  As time wound down in the half, Asbury Park was on the doorstep, looking to score again when the Bulldogs came up with a big sack to prevent the score and keep the momentum on their side.  That momentum quickly swung back to Asbury Park as they ran the second half opening kickoff back for a touchdown.  Asbury Park controlled the game from then on and won 42-14.

In the end, the Bulldogs had a great season and we should all be proud of them.  They went into the playoffs a #7 seed without much expected from them.  And then they made it all the way to state championship.  Congratualtions Dawgs!  For more pics from the game, click to continue the article below.

The Tree Is Lit and The Holidays Hit Main Street Metuchen

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Jack Frost was nipping at noses young and old last night as Metuchen gathered around Santa and friends at the Old Franklin School for the Annual Tree Lighting Ceremony sponsored by Boro Ace Hardware.  Singing, dancing by some of the highsteppers from Miss Doreen's School of Dance, and kind words from Mayor Vahalla and Santa Claus brought the holiday season to a illuminating beginning. The Borough Improvement League invited the crowd into their building to enjoy hot cocoa, cookies and time with the Man In Red. Miss Merry Christmas and Mister Holidays were chosen and crowned as well (we will soon profile the newly-crowned royalty).  And now, as we hustle and bustle our way through the holiday season, our beautiful tree will light the way!  Happy Holidays! 

Yesterday, a home on Grove Avenue was burglarized during the day while the homeowners were out.  It is the second daytime home break-in in town this week.


According to the Metuchen Police Department, the perpetrator went to the back door and, with a large rock, smashed the backdoor glass pane, reached inside, unlocked the door, and went directly to the master bedroom.  There, the intruder used a pillowcase to carry out the contents of two jewelry boxes.  The burglary was not discovered until the residents' teen-aged son came home after school.  No one was hurt.


Police canvassed the area but there were no witnesses.    


The Edison Police Department reported three burglaries on Grove Avenue yesterday as well.  


"We really urge people to alarm their homes" said Metuchen Police Lt. David Irizarry, "not only will it immediately alert the police of a break-in, but it also serves as a deterrent. Most burglars will choose a home without an alarm rather than take a chance on a home with one."  He added "my house has an alarm and I sleep better knowing we are protected."   

Your Weekend Plans


Football championships, live music, house tours, holiday events - you don't
have to travel far this weekend to stay busy and entertained.  Check out
what's going on in and around town the next few days:


Friday, December 5

Annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony

The BIL (Old Franklin School- 491 Middlesex Avenue, Metuchen) 7:00PM

Entertainment to fill hearts with holiday joy, refreshments afterwards.

Snow or shine


Raconteur Event: The Hub Kings Live Music/CD Release Party

Visit the Raconteur website for more details.

The Raconteur 8:00PM

Free, Complimentary Wine


Saturday, December 6

Central Jersey Group I Football Championship

Metuchen v Asbury Park

Rutgers Stadium 10:00AM

Adults $10, Children/Seniors $7 (tickets go on sale 90 minutes before kickoff)


St. Luke's Episcopal Church Annual Christmas Fair

17 Oak Avenue, Metuchen 9:00AM-4:00PM

"Simple Gifts" will feature handcrafted ornaments and a variety of other items

created by our Christmas Elves, and other Master Craftspersons.

For more information call 732-548-4308 ext. 10 or visit


Sunday, December 7

Jingle Bell 5K Walk/Run 10:05AM

Race to support Arthritis Foundation

Starts/Ends - Novito Bistro, 25 New Street, Metuchen

Adults $25, Children (under 12) $15


Borough Improvement League Holiday House Tour

Tour Flyer

Visit six seasonally decorated Metuchen homes

Refreshments, raffle, and holiday gift bazaar at Old Franklin School

Adults and Children (over 12) $20 Donation

All proceeds to benefit historic Old Franklin School


Annual Advent Workshop

Projects and fun for all ages.  Special guest for the kids and the Peter Puppet Theater

will be performing during the crafts.

First Presbyterian Church of Metuchen

270 Woodbridge Avenue, Metuchen 6:00PM-8:30PM

For Sale in Metuchen: 263 Woodbridge Avenue


Real estate sales may be in a bit if a slump but there's no place like Metuchen.  In an ongoing weekly feature, we will highlight properties in and around town that are listed with our town's brokers and agents.

This week's home is a 120 year old folk victorian listed with Susan Lauricella of Weichert Realtors.  "I loved this home the minute I walked in, I know you will too" says Susan.  A corner property, it has 4 bedrooms, 1 ½ baths, a wrap-around porch in the rear, and is only two blocks from the train.  With large rooms, a formal dining room, and a large yard, it's the perfect home. The detached garage provides easy access onto Bounty Street.


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The Perfect Gift: Part One of a Four-part Holiday Fable

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No matter which way she piled the piles, the slick cover of the paperbacks made the books slide one way or the other until Harriett was peering out from between a slack hill of volumes. It had been a long time since she had been doing this type of thing and she had forgotten how much work it was to attempt to do something nice for someone else. Maybe she didn't have the proper depth of humanity to muster it--maybe she didn't have the heart. Nah, she thought, I do, I know I do. 

Harriett peered around the small, dark room and everywhere she looked there were books. Books and the occasional throw pillow or ratty afghan she'd had since her undergraduate days. This was not a home befitting a grown-up but rather the kind of odd hiding place of some recluse in a Tim Burton movie--the strange town misfit, a new-fangled Boo Radley, living with inanimate objects filled with words that could lift her spirits, teach her lessons and transcend the all-too-ordinary life she was leading in the outside world. With a double lock on the door and a small accountant's lamp, she could live inside her head in the manner in which she knew she would never literally become accustomed.


It wasn't that Harriet loved things--she lived without plenty of stuff. She had had moments when something  would inspire grand gestures from her but recently a new desire had snuck into the mix. She found herself trying so hard to do nice things.  She had reached her personal tipping point. It was a  person. A real live person. Someone she loved. And not in some old Hollywood movie way, with vampy glances and the tapping of long fingernails on some elegant champagne flute--no, this desire was completely COTTAGE LIVING magazine desire. The need to cozy up with books and throw pillows and ratty afghans and this person, in low light, eating ramen noodle soup on a cold Saturday afternoon. Real life love. She finally got what all the fuss was about. 

Metuchen v Asbury Park Preview from

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Here's a video preview of the Group I High School Football Championship games from Not much info on Metuchen, except it's going to be tough for the Bulldogs. They cover the Metuchen v Asbury Park matchup about 45 seconds into the video.
Group 1 high school football championship preview

Holiday Shopping 08840: THE BRASS LANTERN

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Metuchen matters 092.JPGJourney though the doorway of The Brass Lantern and you will be treated to a feast for your senses.  An amazing array of textures, lights, colors, and scents collected in a vast and beautiful inventory of thousands of items from the practical to the unique, it's the perfect shopping destination and a visit is a chance to become lost in exploration.  Come in and browse; you might leave with one small treasure or find you've completed half your holiday shopping list.

Owner Lois Cataldo has an eye for what is beautiful, collectable, and useful, which is why her business has drawn people to town for over 30 years.   Employing nine people, she carries antiques, collectables, any holiday decoration you might imagine, Yankee candles, linens, a HUGE selection of quality yarn and knitting accessories, house wares, greeting cards, stationary, toys, photo and scrap albums, baby gifts and clothes, Christening outfits, Crabtree and Evelyn skin care products, made-to-order gift baskets, women's clothing, and that's just the beginning!  "We've recently increased our clothing line" explains Lois.  "Our customers were fed-up with the size 2 collections in the mall.  We offer sizes small through as large as an item is available."


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The children are writing their Santa letters and it's pretty clear that your mom is planning some big surprise for your family come Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa. Even during hard economic times, people will continue to give and get presents this holiday time. Are you looking around and wondering where you are going to store the toys and gifts that on their inevitable way? If you have a house filled with things that people have outgrown--clothes, toys, gadgets--and you don't know what to do with them, read on! Here are some suggestions about helping extend the life of those things you no longer need but which someone else might. From cell phones to computers to that fancy velvet holiday dress your daughter wore once for a photo opportunity and never wore again, there are people and places who would welcome your  like-new goods and will put them to excellent use, while you wait for the arrival of Santa and relatives and bright shiny things to come to your home throughout this giving (and receiving) season. 

Are NFL players living in fear?

01burress.190.jpgDavid Fleming of ESPN the Magazine thinks so.  In his article "Living Scared" he states, "the culture of the NFL - the wealth, fame, brutality and air of invincibility - makes its players vulnerable."  So what makes them great on the field makes them easy targets.  In a radio interview with Dan Blumberg, Mr. Fleming argues that having, "their salaries are in the newspaper, their work schedules, their travel schedules are in the newspaper and on the internet," combined with their fearlessness and how recognizable they are makes for, "a perfect storm of circumstances."  Last year's murder of Washington Redskin player Sean Taylor and the recent gunpoint mugging of Steve Smith are further evidence that the NFL player can be targets.

Listen to the radio interview:

The NFL does prevent players from carrying guns while they are doing business for the NFL and discourages guns as a method of security.  Even so, Giants owner John Mara does admit he knows "a lot players carry guns.  It's not something we are particularly pleased about, but that's the choice that they make."

What do you think?  Are the players targets?  More so than anybody else?  Do they have the right to protect themselves by carrying guns?

Contest Reminder - Last Day to Enter!


Just a reminder, today is the last day to enter the trivia contest and your chance to win a $25 Metuchen Chamber of Commerce gift certificate. 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 the gift certificate.  The winner will be announced tomorrow afternoon.  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?

westfield train.jpgHo-Ho-Holiday! The second-largest traveling holiday is upon us and, if airfare is too much for your wallet, trains will take you anywhere you want to go, including Santa's Workshop! In fact, all around the New York-New Jersey metro area, there are train rides with Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus and a rambunctious circle of their favorite elves, as well as train shows highlighting crafts and wintry tableaus featuring some of the oldest antique toy trains in the world. Take a look at our list, check it twice, and get both the naughty and the nice off the shopping racks and make quick tracks for some simple family fun this holiday season!

Board of Education 2009 Budget Schedule Published


The Board of Education's budget preparation schedule was released yesterday in Metuchen School Superintendent Terri Sinatra's newsletter, "From the Schoolhouse to Your House." The Board is urging residents to attend or watch the televised meetings during this process and email questions regarding the various issues to the Board. "We are committed to an open process and will continue that commitment through this year's budget preparation," Sinatra writes. So you can know when your particular concerns are on the agenda for discussion, here is the schedule as it stands at this time. to Rid Us of "Wrap Rage"

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Who among us has not experienced "wrap rage"?  It's the feeling of frustration you get when trying to open a package that's been hermetically sealed in a plastic case or removing a product that's been secured in place with a hundred twisty ties.  And it can be dangerous as well--the Consumer Products Safety Commission reports 6,000 annual emergency room visits resulting from people trying to slice, cut, or blast open packaging.

In an effort to combat this epidemic, has introduced "Frustration-Free Packaging".  They are "working with leading manufacturers to deliver products inside smaller, easy-to-open, recyclable cardboard boxes with less packaging material (and no frustrating plastic clamshells or wire ties).  Check out's Gallery of Wrap Rage for their favorite pics and clips of frustrating packaging.

Borough Council Approves Fair Share Plan for 2008 COAH Filling


HOUSE2.jpgThe Council on Affordable Housing (COAH) is a state agency which establishes and monitors municipal affordable housing obligations in New Jersey. It determines how many low and moderate income housing units Metuchen will be required to build into its present and future real estate development projects.


The Borough Council has recently approved a plan that will help ensure Metuchen meets the state requirements.  Planning consultant and former COAH employee, Shirley Bishop, created Metuchen's plan.


Have an event? Want to get the word out?

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Do you have an event or know of an event that would interest Metuchen?  If so, you can e-mail us at and we'll help spread the word by adding it to our Calender.

Intruder finds local boy home, call to 911 made in time


As reported in by By JOSHUA BURD • Staff Writer

METUCHEN --A teenager home from school was unharmed Monday when an intruder broke through the door and interrupted the boy's 911 call for help, police said.

The teen was home alone at about 11:40 a.m. when the doorbell started to ring repeatedly, Metuchen police officer David Liantonio said. After calling his mother to ask if she was expecting anybody, the juvenile called 911 and hid in the shower.

The teenager, whose age was not immediately known, told police he then heard the sound of wood cracking as the intruder broke through the door and entered the home, Liantonio said. Moments later a 911 dispatcher was able to hear what took place when the intruder discovered the boy in the bathroom.

SANTA'S CALLING! Get onto Santa's call-back list by 12/15

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The recreation department is in contact with Santa again this year, letting him know who might like a phone call from the North Pole on Thursday December 18th between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm.

If you have a good boy or girl in your house who might like the chance to speak wtih Santa, please return this application to the recreation department no later than December 15th.


Help Reconnect Your Community! Program at Senior Center Tonight

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Help Reconnect Your Community! is holding a workshop tonight, sponsored by the Metuchen Planning Board, at the Senior Citizens Center, 15 Center Street, from 6-9PM. The public is welcome to attend--please RSVP to Sharon Hollis, the Planning Board secretary at if you intend to participate.  Walking and biking trails, difficult intersections, and various street and transportation improvements will be discussed. This is a great opportunity to have your opinions heard (and air your personal grievances, particularly if your home is impacted by traffic issues). Jim Constantine, the city planner, and members of the Borough Council, Planning and Zoning Boards will be in attendance as well as representatives of the New Jersey Department of Transportation. An initial review of a recent NJDOT traffic study will be discussed as part of the evening's events.

Warning: Wiggly Warm Toes can lead to Warm and Cozy Hearts

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hospitalboy2.jpegResident Kellie Davideit is on a mission:  A mission to help children hospitalized during the holiday season feel community love and support from the feet-up.  Kellie is organizing a collection of new slippers as a special little "we love you" message to the kids.


Organized in remembrance of the joyful spirit of her son Ian, Kellie saw first hand how a lost pair of favorite slippers could disappoint an already overly-burdened child.  In memory of her son, Kellie decided to reach out in a way that would make an immediate impact.  While in the hospital, little children have to do without so much.  A new pair of slippers brings cheer in a happy and meaningful way.

Celebrity Chef Hits Wegmans for Food & Face Time with Fans

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Thumbnail image for IWAMK99.jpg On "Dancing with The Stars," he may have revealed that he is pretty light on his feet but Rocco DiSpirito is going light on the fancy food and cooking up great everyday meals in "Rocco Gets Real," his latest cookbook. The celebrity chef/author/TV star will be appearing at Wegmans this coming Saturday from noon until 2PM. If you want to meet Rocco in person and sample some of his most delicious recipes, pick up a free ticket at Wegman's Service Desk--this will reserve your chance to meet the man himself. Copies of the book must also be purchased for signing and are on sale at 20% off the listed price in-store. Don't miss this chance to get facetime with a bona fide celebrity chef--and Buon Appetito!




Wegmans Woodbridge

15 Woodbridge Center Drive
Woodbridge, NJ 07095

(732) 596-3200


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The Metuchen Police Department has announced that Durham Avenue, from Main Street to LaPorta, will be closed to traffic all day tomorrow due to sewer line work.  Construction will begin after the start of school and the police will try to get buses and some cars through at dismissal. Please avoid this portion of Durham if you can.


Access to Durham will be possible from any side street after LaPorta.


Metuchen High Plays for State Title on Saturday

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smallbulldog.gifThis Saturday, December 6, the Metuchen High School football team will face reigning champ Asbury Park for the NJSIAA Central Jersey Group 1 title.  Game time is at 10:00AM at Rutgers Stadium.  Tickets, $10 for adults/$7 students and seniors, go on sale ninety minutes before kickoff; tickets will not be sold ahead of time.

Click here for's preview of the matchup.

Giving Circles: Giving with more bang in your buck

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For many, charitable donations are as much a part of the holiday season as are shopping and decorating.  An individual check can be powerful and have much meaning but a significant act of philanthropy is available only to Bill Gates or some foundation somewhere, right?  Not necessarily.


"Giving circles" can turn charity into a team sport -- cooperative philanthropy in a grass roots setting - they work like this:  Members pool their money, educate themselves about community needs and potential recipients, and then give grants.  It's been described as "giving to the community, in community."  

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