January 2009 Archives

Girls Scouts Share Sweet Rewards with EMS

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EMS Recieves NEMGS Donation 009.JPGA vest full of badges and a reflective safety vest; both symbolic of commitment to community service and united as the girls of the North Edison Metuchen Girl Scout (NEMGS) Service Unit presented Metuchen EMS with a donation of $377.00.    

Inspired by the story of squad members buying their own safety vests, troop leader Germaine Wyetzner thought it would be great for the girls to help.  "Each troop makes a small profit from cookie sales and EMS gives so much to the community, not only by providing life-saving medical services but also by coming to troop meetings and teaching both scouts and leaders life saving skills.  I asked each troop to consider donating a small amount of cookie profit to help pay for the vests" said Mrs. Wyetzner.

Extra Textbooks a Casualty at Edgar School

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backpack.jpgStudents' backpacks at Edgar Middle School will be a good bit heavier in the 2009-2010 school year. For the last seven years, students have been allotted two sets of heavy texts for classes such as science and social studies so that they can keep one at school and leave another at home, minimizing the amount of material they have to carry back and forth to school each day. A Metuchen Educational Foundation grant originally made these additional volumes available. But, since each incoming class is bigger than the one preceding, monies that would update and improve the inventory of the double textbooks are hard to come by. As everyday costs of running the school in general rise, any money that comes in is used for various other basic curriculum needs, including the rising cost of paper.

Next year middle-schoolers will have to put more muscle into hauling the extra poundage each day. However, more and more textbooks are published online--some Edgar students use online math texts right now--and this trend is sure to continue. There's a good chance that present Metuchen students may be among the first generation of American students who have no books to carry at all.

Until that day comes, however, concerned parents can check out www.chiro.org to find chiropractors' suggestions for making sure heavier packs don't lead to back problems.

Cool Women and Interactive Flubas at The Raconteur Friday, Sunday

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Two unique events at the Raconteur this weekend--come check these out!

8 PM, Fri. Jan 30
Cool Women Reading/Signing

Cool Women Poetry collective includes members who are active as: Poets in the Schools, under the auspices of the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, as well as 'Dodge Poets' with the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Foundation.

Noon, Sun. Feb 1
Transatlantic Web Cam Jam Session/Live Music

The first Sunday of each month The Raconteur will host a very special transatlantic jam session, live in Metuchen and concurrent with a running session in Reading, England at a pub called The Retreat. Raconteur musicians will play in the rear of the Rac while Retreat musicians will be projected on a screen behind local performers, riffing off each other via a Google web cam. Expect, among the eclectic mix of instruments, something called a fluba, which appears to be a tuba-sized fluegel horn.

Vaccinations

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Not an easy decision for many parents of newborns, vaccinating a child has become the topic of significant controversy.  Theories it leads to autism or even death are the terrible flip side to the promise of protection from killer disease.  
 
The recent outbreak of Whooping Cough in Hunterdon County has put focus on the pertussis vaccine.  As quoted in mycentraljersey.com, John Beckley, Director of the Hunterdon County Department of Health said while all of the infected children received their childhood vaccinations, that some vaccines lose their effectiveness over time. "That's why there's a fairly new requirement in New Jersey that children 10 years old going into grade six have to get a pertussis booster."
 
The kids from Hunterdon that had exemptions from vaccinations were taken out of school immediately, asked to stay home until the Whooping Cough outbreak ran its course, and those parents were asked to get their children some sort of preventative treatment. 
 
Was the decision to vaccinate your children difficult?  If you opted out, what led you to that choice and does this story have you second-guessing it?  Do you have concerns about vaccination-exempt children in school with your kids? 
At the last Planning Board meeting, Jeff Jossell, developer of Suburban Sportsland, LLC - the proposed indoor/outdoor sports facility for the old Boro Motors site (which is at High Street and Prospect Ave), withdrew his application and left the hearing.  
 
After an 18 month process that has included three public meetings, two evenings of testimony before the planning board; architectural, engineering, traffic, and environmental studies, the developer hit a roadblock.  Kathy Elliott, the borough engineer, expressed concern over the location of the buildings.  Specifically, that land area is under consideration by the State Department of Transportation as the location for a proposed Route 287 interchange, a site to replace the one we lost when Wal Mart was built.  If the Suburban Sportsland building is too close to the proposed ramp location, the DOT might choose to not move forward with the project.

Springsteen Debate - Rock Hero or Hype?

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Bruce Springsteen released his latest album, "Working on a Dream," this past Tuesday to decidedly mixed reviews.   On NPR's Soundcheck music critics Phil Freeman and Lizzy Goodman debated the merits of "Working on a Dream" and Springsteen's legacy.


Is Springsteen still "The Boss"?  Was he great once but has since jumped the shark?  Or has he always been overrated?

Metuchen PBA Announces its Annual Awards Banquet

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police_badge.jpegFor the 1st time, the Metuchen PBA annual Awards Banquet is open to the public. Come enjoy an evening of food and spirits while getting to know Metuchen's Finest. Cocktail Hour will begin at 6:00pm, followed by dinner, dancing, and the presentation of awards.

Date: February 28th Time: 6:00 p.m. Cocktail Hour Location: Pines Manor, Edison Price: $75.00 per person (Dinner and Open Bar included)

Tickets can be purchased in person at the Metuchen Police Headquarters prior to February 20th and if you wish to assist by sponsoring a portion of the evening, please contact David Irizarry at (732) 841-3223.

You think THIS is snow?

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Metuchen, winter 1961.  Let us know if you have any old-town snow scene photos that you can add.  Does anyone know what street this is? 

winter6061f mteuchen.jpg

 

main street train station 1961 winter.jpg

It's easier to get completely snowed in than to have to walk through this wintry mess to get to the train station. Hasn't changed much, has it?

SNOW DAY!

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As of 5:30 a.m: 

Metuchen public schools are closed. St. Francis is closed (6:15 - updated from earlier announced delayed opening). Please click the snowflake icon in the upper right column of this page throughout the day for other closures. 

Board of Education Further Discusses 2009-2010 Budget

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Last night the Board of Education continued its ongoing consideration of its 2009-2010 budget with discussions on school-based budgets, curriculum costs and line item issues.  The process is all the more important this year as the threat of reduced state aid lingers--this is made even more difficult by the fact that Governor Corzine won't release the state aid numbers until mid-March.  

For details on the 2009/2010 Board of Education budget click here to see the handouts from the meeting.

A public service reminder: Please Recycle Your Paper

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After learning how much revenue the borough lost due to decreased paper recycling, our family made a commitment to recycle ALL of our paper. We purchased a good, sturdy shredder and now everything - every envelope, paid bill receipt, school folder announcement, old homework paper - everything goes through it. We took the advice of an Environmental Commissioner who suggested keeping the to-be-recycled paper in a brown paper lawn and leaf bag. Each time that bag goes to the curb, it contains a couple of pounds of paper that wasn't recycled last year.

If just a few hundred families could do the same, the added revenue might help us through a tight fiscal time.

Just a thought.

The Duchess Diner is Gone--Now What?

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1249244-Duchess_Diner-New_Jersey.jpgThe Duchess Diner on Lake Avenue closed last month with a whimper, not a bang. A sign in the window says they were having plumbing problems, but rumor has it the owner experienced some financial hardship that lead to a shut down of their utilities. How can small business owners keep their places running today? These culinary institutions are a staple in the mythology of all things New Jersey. However, with the increase of all sorts of taxes, the rising cost of utilites, food prices going up while the economy is going down, it's hard to believe that any stand-by old-fashioned diners still exist.

Does Metuchen need another diner? Where do you go instead to get your comfort food when a burger and fries is all you need and McDonalds just won't do? And for those of you who frequented it for years, how are you making do without the Duchess?

Tractor-Trailer Swipes Street Sign, Causes Backup on 27

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An eighteen-wheeler took a wide turn onto Middlesex Avenue-Route  27 off Main Street during evening rush hour and knocked down the street sign and its supports. Three police vehicles are at the scene right now diverting traffic at the gas station across from Borough Hall. Traffic is now backed up well towards Edison on 27 in the southbound lane. The truck does not seem to have suffered too much damage--most of the damage is to the sign and the concrete supports which have been rendered loose from the ground. If you're out traveling tonight, find a different route!
The following story was submitted by Denice Quinn, a Metuchen mother of four. She hopes that by sharing her bad experience at our local hospital, others might learn what to look for and how better to demand adequate care.

My baby son Aidan fell and bit his tongue. He ripped the entire width and more than half the depth of it and needed 6 stitches to close the wound.

At 9:45 a.m. in the JFK Pediatric Emergency Room, I was immediately greeted by a Pediatrics ER nurse. Aidan was weighed, and his blood pressure was taken. We were then sent to another room where I waited for over an hour. After 70 minutes of profuse bleeding, I asked a nurse when I might expect help. She said there was no Doctor in, but one was expected at 11:00, only 2 minutes away. At 11:05, Dr Li walked in with her lunch. I watched her eat her soup at the nurses' station. She did not see Aidan until 11:20.

Win a copy of The Rapscallion Club

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Rapscallion_Club_web_site.jpgLocal author Alex Dawson has written his first novel, The Rapscallion Club.  The first edition of the book sold out in less than a week, but Metuchen Matters has managed to obtain three copies to give away!

To enter the contest just send us an e-mail at info@metuchenmatters.com by midnight on Thursday, January 29.  Then on Friday morning we'll select three winners at random.  The chosen will be given a secret code phrase to give at The Raconteur to claim their copy.

Rec Job Available

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The Recreation Commission is currently accepting applications for a summer playground camp director. This individual would be responsible for organizing, planning and overseeing a 6 day camp program with youngsters ranging in age from 6-13. Applicants must be at least 21 years old and have experience working with children. Prior camp or teaching experience preferred.

For more info or an application, call director Nancy Goldberg at 732-632-8502 or NGoldberg@metuchen.com.

Fourth Year Anniversary Party for The Raconteur - TONIGHT

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Tonight The Raconteur will be celebrating its fourth anniversary with special guest Pulitzer Prize winning poet Paul Muldoon.  Muldoon, a Princeton University professor and Poetry Editor of The New Yorker, was described by The Times Literary Supplement as "the most significant English-language poet born since the second World War."

So Get Lit and help The Raconteur welcome in their fifth year.  Books will be on sale and there will be complimentary Brut, wine, and stout.

Metuchen Nursery Schools: A Directory for Open House Season

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At this time of year, parents with preschool-aged children are starting the scramble of finding what they feel is the best (and often most conveniently located) nursery school program for their beginning student. Metuchen actually has a plethora of choices so to make it less complicated, we've put together a list so you don't have to! Most schools in the area are sponsoring open houses over the next couple of months so check out this directory of our area's available programs and call for a tour or open house schedules. And if you've already made these key decisions, we want to know what your recommendations and warnings are (be nice), based on your personal experiences at these institutions. Thanks!

Photos from The Rapscallion Club Release Party

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Last Saturday night Alex Dawson, owner of The Raconteur, released his first novel, The Rapscallion Club, at a packed event.  There were fencers, a bagpiper, South American food and drink, and the of course the book.

Raritan River Protests by Edison Wetlands Association Continue

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Edison Wetlands Association (EWA) will hold a sixth public rally to spotlight the ongoing discharge of carcinogenic chemicals and contaminants into the Raritan River from the Akzo Nobel / Basell industrial site on Thursday, January 22, 2009 from 12-12:30 PM in front of the Basell factory, located at 340 Meadow Road in Edison. 

 

EWA previously filed a lawsuit with Eastern Environmental Law Center in January 2008, charging Akzo Nobel Chemicals Inc., Akzo Nobel Inc., and Basell USA Inc. with violating the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA).  Sampling by Akzo Nobel's consultant, Sovereign Consulting, found the carcinogens benzene at over 860 times acceptable state levels and arsenic at over 550 times above NJDEP surface water criteria.  EWA's sampling also found high levels of the carcinogens 4-chloroaniline and asbestos, and other contaminants.

New council, new debate, new auditor

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At last night's Borough Council meeting there was an extensive and sometimes spirited debate on Resolution 2009-32, a resolution to contract a new auditor, Suplee Clooney & Company.  The resolution passed 5-1, with Councilman Manley the only dissenting vote.  The move to Suplee Clooney & Company is set to save Metuchen over $5,000 over the prior auditor, Ernst & Young.  In addition Councilman Cammarano made the point that after using the same auditor for the last fifteen years, the fresh perspective provided by a new auditor is a benefit.  Councilman Manley sent the following message to Metuchen Matters to sum up his objections:

It is clear to me that the town has a financial problem.  That is all I know for certain.  I want to get to the bottom of it and think that firing the auditor was the wrong move.  It may eventually be the right course after some research but we just got the 2007 audit now and it has some real problems identified.  I think it is our responsibility to the taxpayers to find out why they occurred.  How can we do that in a just manner when we have fired the auditor and hired a firm that has a previous relationship with our CFO.  I recognize the cost savings of $5,000 and do not for a second minimize that fact.  However when I am staring down an audit that says I have had a $624K mistake and a $30K operating deficit, I think it best to go after that money.  I am also quite confident in these hardening times that if we tried to negotiate with our previous auditor, we could have closed the gap.

When President Obama Was Sworn In, Where Were You???

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Thumbnail image for s-MICHELLE-O-large.jpgThe eyes of the world were on Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, January 20th, as Barack Obama became the 44th President of the United States. He is the first African-American male to be elected to this position, an event which rightfully followed the celebrations for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. King's dream of racial equality came one step closer to reality with Obama's swearing in. While most of us here in town had to be happy with our 24-hour news channel coverage of the events, some of you may have been there as a witness to history. If you were at the Inauguration, tell us about it! And if you weren't, like most of us, where were you and what are your reactions to this unforgettable moment in American history?

In case you missed it

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President Barack Obama's inaugural address:

Obama takes historic Oath of Office

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Despite a little slip up from Chief Justice John Roberts, Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America:

Inauguration Schedule

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Planning to catch the inauguration today?  It's tough on a work/school day, so here's a schedule of events to assist your decision on when to pick up that call from your boss and when to just let it go to voicemail.  Look for his speech right around noon.  From The Huffing Post:

Gates to the Inaugural Ceremony open at 8 a.m. The inaugural festivities are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol. They will include:

      • Musical selections of The United States Marine Band, followed by the San Francisco Boys Chorus and the San Francisco Girls Chorus.
      • Sen. Dianne Feinstein provides call to order and welcoming remarks.
      • Invocation by the Rev. Rick Warren.
      • Musical selection of Aretha Franklin.
      • Biden will be sworn into office by Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens.
      • Musical selection of John Williams, composer/arranger with Itzhak Perlman, (violin), Yo-Yo Ma (cello), Gabriela Montero (piano) and Anthony McGill (clarinet).
      • Obama will take the Oath of Office, using President Lincoln's Inaugural Bible, administered by Chief Justice John Roberts. Scheduled around noon.
      • Obama gives the inaugural address.
      • Poem by Elizabeth Alexander.
      • Benediction by Rev. Joseph E. Lowery.
      • The National Anthem by The United States Navy Band "Sea Chanters."
After Obama gives inaugural address, he will escort outgoing President George W. Bush to a departure ceremony before attending a luncheon in the Capitol's Statuary Hall. The 56th Inaugural Parade will then make its way down Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House.

US Airways plane is removed from the water

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Here is the downed US Airways plane being removed from the river.  Thanks again to Metuchen resident Brian Kenny who works in the building from where the photos were taken.

Police Vehicles Get LoJack Locators

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Thanks to officer Dave Liantonio's grant application, the LoJack Corporation installed locator systems in four of the police department's eight patrol vehicles this past Tuesday, for free.
 
The systems, worth about $2,000 each, respond to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), the computer dispatch system used by the state to track stolen cars. When a car with LoJack is stolen and reported, NCIC logs the car into the system and police vehicles with the locating device will beep if they are near the stolen vehicle. The beeping becomes louder and quicker the closer the police car gets to the stolen vehicle (think: you're getting hotter!).  
 
Capable of reading LoJack signals within a two mile radius, the locators will not only help find cars stolen within Metuchen but will track cars stolen elsewhere that just happen to be in Metuchen.
 
Sayreville police were able to uncover a chop shop in their town after installing the same location devices.  State Police helicopters have similar systems that can track a much wider range, as they read directly from air to ground without landscape interference.

Buono Under Consideration for Lt. Gov Post, Corzine Announces

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buono.jpgGov. Jon Corzine has announced that his list of possible lieutenant governor candidates includes Metuchen resident, State Senator Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex). Other candidates on his list include Newark Mayor Cory Booker and Trenton Mayor Doug Palmer,

The potential list he is compiling is not limited to those three, Corzine said. With a 43% approval rating for his work on behalf of New Jersey, Corzine is ahead of Christie in early polls.

Buono, a former member of the Metuchen Borough Council, has been serving as a state senator from Middlesex County since 2002. Prior to that she was part of the General Assembly from 1994-2001.

DrMLKing.jpeg
The Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce, Metuchen Edison Woodbridge YMCA, New Hope Baptist Church and Second Baptist Church present a "Weekend of Celebration" to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. , starting January 18, 2009, at the New Hope Baptist Church at 3:00 PM on Hampton Street, Metuchen.
 
Metuchen Mayor Thomas Vahalla and Senator Barbara Buono (D-18) are among the local leaders who will introduce choir selections, youth recitations, reflections from local clergy, and a special tribute commemorating 100 years of the NAACP's existence. A march to the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. monument on Middlesex Ave. in Metuchen will follow the program. For more information about Sunday's event, contact New Hope Baptist Church at 732-549-1941.

Yesterday morning on Whitman Avenue, an 11 year old girl stated she was walking to Edgar School when a car stopped next to her.  It was an older model, white 4-door (possibly a Toyota), with black bumpers. The driver opened the passenger window and asked if she "needed a ride."  She did not acknowledge him and continued to school. 

 

She reports he turned his vehicle around and drove past her once again but she was already walking up to her school and did not see where he went.  The driver was described as a white male with short brown hair.  He had a short (trimmed) beard possibly a goatee and he spoke with a "weird" accent.

 

At this point, the police have no reason to believe this is the same male involved in the attempted luring in Edison last week. 

 

If you have any information, please contact the Metuchen Police Department at 732-632-8500.

Pictures of the US Airways plane

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Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger, a 40 year flyer, former Air Force fighter pilot and owner of a safety consulting firm, miraculously landed US Airways Flight 1549 and then walked through the cabin twice to make sure everyone was out before he exited.   

 

Heroes in the harbor got there to pull people out of the freezing water quickly.  Men on the plane, shaking and cold, helped the women and children off first. 

 

Here are some photos submitted by Metuchen resident, Brian Kenny from his building in Battery Park City.


The Forum Theater: What's Going On?

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 2704397575_d6105ac889.jpgWho hasn't gone riding past this vintage mainstay of Main Street Metuchen and asked themselves, "What's going on here?" An occasional Indian dance recital or piano performance . . . for a theater that was a famous bastion of cultural arts in Central New Jersey, the Forum holds only the secret promise of the future and the fascinating memories of the past. But what about the present? As the redevelopment of Main Street and downtown Metuchen moves forward in 2009, what role will the Forum play?

Owned by Peter J. Loewy, a resident playwright/producer, the Forum was once an actual movie house as well as a performing arts center. Presenting children's programming, sponsoring movie events, offering its stage to various local dance and theater workshops, the Forum provided a fantastic gathering point for the arts in downtown Metuchen. There are rumors that the theater will be split into two parts and become a cineplex for Asian film. Throughout the 2008 Borough Council Campaign, each candidate sadly discussed the high cost of buying the place and making it a working theater once again, one  that would draw visitors from all around the area and help elevate the viability of our downtown.

We are hoping that Mr. Loewy or the present leasee will comment so that we can figure out what's happening here.

Farewell W

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As of late, the Bush administration seems to be furiously trying to shore-up its legacy and leave Pennsylvania Avenue with one last positive spin on its actions and policy. Plans for tonight's State of the Union call for more of the same.

I can't blame him; the end is a good time to reflect back on what you've done. But, at this point, the legacy of this (or any) administration belongs to history. Time will tell what worked and what did not. America is now looking forward.

Regardless of what you think of his intent, the outgoing President had a unique and entertaining delivery. As I watched this compilation of Letterman segments, I couldn't help but remember former Texas governor Ann Richards (who lost re-election to George W.) and her Democratic National Convention Keynote speech of 1988 when she said of George Sr.: "Poor George. He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth." As this President Bush rides off into the sunset, I can't help but feel he'll be where he perhaps always should have been: On his ranch, in jeans, curled-up on the porch swing with his wife after dinner, ribs--of course. So long, George.

To learn of snow closings....

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All weather-related closures that we learn of will be displayed by clicking the snowflake in the upper-right box on this page.

NJ Transit congestion a thing of the past?

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From NJ.com:

The federal government issued final approval today for a second commuter rail tunnel beneath the Hudson River. ... For decades, officials have dreamed of a second rail tunnel to ease the load on the 100-year-old tunnel now in place. NJ Transit commuters alone make 170,000 trips through the tunnel each day, pushing it to its functional limit. The new tunnel would double peak capacity to 48 trains per hour from the current 23 trains per hour.

Is there a chance this gets done in time to help any of us?  Our kids?

Rapscallion_Club_web_site.jpg What do French fry contests, moustache mugs, banana dogs, and the lost art of bumbershooting have in common with ancient magic, pirate ghosts, island treasure, and an underground tunnel to Peru? Find out at The Raconteur on Main Street, January 17, 2009, at 7:30PM when author Alex Dawson unveils his THE RAPSCALLION CLUB. Throughout the evening, The Raconteur will feature relevant entertainment and refreshments: a Scottish bagpiper, a fencing maestro, South American snacks such as churros, and more!

 

You can order a first edition of the book through The Raconteur and get a surprise, too! "A steamer trunk containing the books will be freighted from an unspecified Weehawken dock to downtown Metuchen in the rumble seat of a rented 1925 Kissel Gold Bug Speedster. The trunk will be wound and bound in heavy chains and hung with a big black lock the size of a bear trap. Upon entry to the release party, each guest will receive a black skeleton key. Only one key turns the lock. The person with the right key will be awarded his/her very own edition of The Rapscallion Club for FREE!" See you there!

Foreclosure Relief Program Announced

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The State has announced a program to help residents facing the immediate prospect of losing their homes. State officials said that this pilot program, the first of its kind in the U.S., could serve as a national model for many other troubled homeowners.

 

The free program links homeowners with certified housing counselors who recommend options, including the waiving of fees and penalties or lowered interest rates, to stave off foreclosure. If no resolution is reached at the counseling phase, the case moves to mediation, at which time the homeowners may be eligible for free legal representation.

 

Last year, nine percent of mortgages were subprime but they accounted for half the foreclosures in the state. State officials anticipate that 60,000 may benefit from this program.

 

For help, call 888- 989-5277. The hotline is staffed 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays.

WANTED: Auxiliary Police Officers

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police_badge.jpegThe Metuchen Police Department and the Metuchen Auxiliary Police are looking for residents interested in becoming volunteer police officers. No experience is necessary; training will be provided.

The auxiliary police, consisting of both men and women, work with the department to reduce hazards, assist officers with patrols of the entire borough and in emergency or disastrous situations, conduct traffic, crowds and road closures, provide extra patrols at schools and places of worship, assist in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation, and provide services deemed necessary by Police Chief James Keane.

Requirements to become an auxiliary police officer include being a Metuchen resident 18 years old or older, having a valid driver's license, and passing a criminal background check.

This is a volunteer position. The auxiliary police officers volunteer their time in an effort to enhance the quality of life for the citizens, visitors and businesses in the community.

Go Grapplers!

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Jake Beacher win.jpegThe Metuchen Grapplers made their presence known this past weekend at the 20th Annual Steven Fulcher Tournament.  Hosted by the Edison Eagles wrestling team, the highlight of the day was Jake Beacher's pin in the finals, earning him the Gold.  Sean Benedict and Mike Volpe also achieved first place honors.  Joe Hronich, Mike Gelberg, Nick Revano, and Avery Clark took silver medals and Kevin Coleman brought home the bronze.

 

Congratulations to all!

 

 

 

- Jake Beacher's Victorious Final

           

             

 

Siteplan.jpegDistrict at Metuchen developers, Renaissance Properties, went before the Planning Board last month with slight changes and enrichments to their master plan. 

 

1)  The single-story bank portion of Building D, the building that will provide the new space for Boro Hardware as well as a bank and luxury condominiums, will now be a full 4-story structure, replacing earlier plans for a cantilevered bank drive-through corner. In addition to providing additional living space, the design team felt the original plan was not visually appealing.

 

2)  A 3rd story walkway will connect the residences in Building D to the parking deck within Building A.

 

3)  The office space originally planned for Building B has been re-worked into work/live space; residential units with at-home office space included.

 

4)   A landscape architect, Tom Bauer, has been brought on-board to give the courtyard area, the outdoor parking area/plaza which will host community events, a "WOW" factor; beauty, shade, maximum use and comfort features with priority given to pedestrians.  

Raritan River Hazardous Waste Warning Posted

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The Edison Wetlands Association has issued this statement:

 

"The company Akzo Nobel Chemicals recently erected a warning sign on the edge of the public Edison Boat Basin to keep families away from the ongoing discharge of hazardous substances and solid waste into the Raritan River just 100 yards upstream.  The sign is likely the result of the long-time advocacy, federal lawsuit, and recent bi-weekly public protests by Edison Wetlands Association (EWA) for the cleanup of this riverfront site." The EWA's lawsuit continues.

Campbell School Heating Woes

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As temperatures drop there is cause for concern at Campbell School where several classrooms have insufficient heat. The Carrier company has been slack in sending the necessary parts to fix the heating unit.  Ms Kulesza's classroom received the donation of a space heater from a student's family but the temperature still hovered around 59 degrees the other day.

 

Although the school is doing all it can to get the unit fixed, it's cold.  You might want to pack a sweatshirt in your child's backpack - just in case.

New Jersey, A State Divided

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New Jersey is a state divided when it comes to the sports teams we root for.  Metuchen is a definitely a New York kind of town, but somewhere south of here that changes.  NJ.com went to find out where:

The Geographic Midpoint between Eagles and Giants country

CLOSURES

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Sunday Family-Centered Religious Education at St Francis is CANCELLED for tomorrow, Sunday the 11th.  Classes resume on schedule in February. 

New Team Captain Steps-Up

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Thanks to Justin Manley for volunteering to take-on the role of captain for his Neighborhood Watch team.  Are there more civic-minded crime preventers out there?  Take a look at the list of volunteers.  Is your street covered?  Talk to your neighbors and consider becoming involved in this worthy effort.

 

If you're interested, please contact police officers Nancy Phibbs or Ken Bauer for more information.

as reported by Nyier Abdou in The Star-Ledger, Friday January 09, 2009

 

Edison police are investigating a report that on Tuesday, a man attempted to lure an 11-year-old township girl into his car. The child was walking home from the library, alone, Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. on Grove Avenue near Saint Helena Church. A man in a black car with tinted windows pulled up alongside her and introduced himself as "David," said police Lt. Joseph Shannon.


According to the police, the man, who was clean-shaven and wearing sunglasses, told the girl "Your mom told me to come pick you up."  The child, who did not recognize the man, kept walking, but he continued to follow her. To avoid leading the man to her house, the girl turned around and headed back toward the library.


The man did not get out of the car and instead drove off.  When the child got home, she asked her mother if she had sent anyone to pick her up and told her what happened. The girl's parents reported the incident the next day.


"She handled it very well," Lt. Shannon said. "It's a serious incident." The man is described as white, in mid-30s, with black hair. He was driving a newer-model, four-door car.


Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Edison Police Detective Frank Varga at (732) 248-7533.

Blood Drive at Metuchen Public Library this Sunday

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The Metuchen Public Library will host a blood drive through the American Red Cross this coming Sunday, January 11, 2009 from 11 AM until 5 PM.

The need for blood is ongoing.  The supply isn't.  Every two seconds, over 43,000 times a day, someone in the U.S. needs blood.  Can you give the gift of life?  In order to donate blood, one must at least 17 years, weigh 110 pounds, and be in good health.

For your convenience, appointments can be made by calling Alison at 908-705-5034 or by signing up online here. Or, feel free to drop in at the Metuchen Public Library on Sunday between 11 AM and 5 PM without an appointment.

Thanks to Alie Liss for running the drive and bringing it to our attention.

Recycland went before the Zoning Board of Adjustment last night to provide further testimony with regard to their desired indoor sports facility, which would transform the abandoned warehouse adjacent to the facilities at Vidas Park. (See earlier posts regarding this property)  Civil and traffic engineering plans were presented.

 

First to testify was Steve Coppola, a civil engineer from Bohler Engineering in Warren, NJ, who spoke primarily about the exterior layout of the facility - the landscaping, signage, parking, access roads, lighting, and storm-water drainage.  Board member Daniel Spiegal voiced concern over parking lot access and pedestrian safety; he would like consideration of a one-way loop throughout the two primary lots as he feels it would help protect children getting in and out of cars.  The developer agreed to consider the suggestion with his engineers and report back to the board.

Local Mom Wins COOKIE Contest with Inspired Suggestion

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Cookie Magazine held a WORD OF MOM contest where readers were asked to vote for and comment upon their favorite products of the year, things that make being a parent a little bit easier. Metuchenite Marci Small was the quoted mom for the category of "Salty Snack"--she voted for Goldfish, since they not only are a great snack food but "Great counters for beginning math. Addition and subtraction with them makes homework almost pleasant." Inspired idea, Marci! If you're interested in discussing some of your mother's (or father's) helpers, Cookie is starting a new round of WORD OF MOM this month. Click here for details.

scale.jpegStill feeling sluggish from a week or two of holiday eating?  Researchers say that getting back on track may take trickery to reset your digestive system as overeating causes biological changes that lead to more food cravings and mixed signals to the brain.  

 

Dr. Joe Bass, an endocrinologist form Northwestern University, has found that when mice are overfed, their systems change and gear them to sustained overeating.  "If mice eat a high-fat diet, they actually wake-up from sleep and eat: he said.  His studies conclude that people who eat less fat will sleep better and find it easier to avoid nighttime bingeing.  

 

Overeating "sets your body chemistry into red alert," says Dr. Sasha Stiles, a family physician who specializes in obesity at Tufts Medical Center. "Your metabolic processes will go into overdrive to make sure they get rid of the huge load," Stiles explains.

 

This means that much of what you eat will be stored as fat rather than converted into healthy byproducts.

Christie files Candidacy Papers

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According to NJ.com, former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie is filing papers today to become a gubernatorial candidate.  Here's an excerpt from the article:

Former U.S. Attorney Christopher Christie said he is filing papers today saying he is a candidate for New Jersey governor this year.

In an e-mail to supporters, Christie said he plans a formal announcement in the first week in February.  "We can fix our broken state and make it more affordable for all New Jersey families," Christie wrote.

The popular 46-year-old Republican from Morris County is considered by some to be the strongest possible challenger to Democratic incumbent Gov. Jon Corzine. Christie's filing comes after a headline-grabbing run as a corruption-busting prosecutor who ended the careers of some of New Jersey's most powerful politicians.

Corzine's office had no immediate comment. (Corzine is mum, while GOP rival say they were prepared for Christie candidacy)  Christie was not immediately available for comment. In his e-mail, he lamented the economic and political conditions in the state.

Call Out for "Green" Musicians

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Local area resident and senior editor of the Sustainable Times radio show, Mark Boutros, is looking for "green" musicians for the show:

Attention "green" musicians! Sustainable Times wants you. Sustainable Times is a bi-monthly 30-minute radio show and podcast produced by The City University of New York (CUNY). It is part of a new initiative to lead the way to a sustainable future--one in which energy and other resources are used in ways that assure they're availability to future generations--while promoting local musical artists interested in furthering the green cause. Musical artists of all stripes have been featured- from small independent artists to big names acts like Guster and folk legend Pete Seeger. 

Why does CUNY want musicians from Metuchen and its environs? Because sustainable initiatives begin locally, but involve everyone. Beyond that, many of the production staff of Sustainable Times are commuters from outside the five boroughs, just like much of the NYC workforce. Laurie Reilly, the show's host and producer resides in Connecticut, Dawn Spicer, News Producer in New Paltz, NY and the show's senior editor lives right here in Edison, NJ. By the way, that last person is me.

Reality Check: Rounding Up the Week's Reality Shows

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0511-0811-1416-4062.jpgBaby, it's cold outside. Perfect weather for curling up in front of the flat-screen and judging the crazy folks who volunteer themselves as watercooler fodder for a national TV audience. Between the super-anticipated American Idol and the newly-premiered Biggest Loser, as well as the Real Housewives of New York City's February return, there's a lot to love . . . and hate . . . on the Reality TV schedule. REALITY CHECK will give you highlights from the craziest moments on active shows throughout the previous week.

 

So 'fess up, people, what's your guilty pleasure?? If we came to your house, what would we find filling up your DVR?

Is Guidance Sufficient at MHS?

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According to the Citizens for Quality Education, a Metuchen school watchdog group dedicated to promoting public education, in Metuchen High School, there are over 650 students serviced by 2 guidance counselors and a Director of Guidance. The counselors carry nearly 300 students and the Director carries 100 in addition to her other responsibilities. The average I District (District Factor Group - a socioeconomic ranking) in NJ has a counselor/student ration of 1/150. 1/100 is the ideal ratio recommended by the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).

Yet, the NACAC reported the average public school guidance counselor handles 311 students each year, enabling only 23 percent of their time to be devoted to college advising. The CQE has stated that an additional guidance counselor is necessary here to give students a leg-up on the long process of choosing, applying for and being accepted into a 4-year college. (See an article in the Times highlighting how a counselor can impact the college application process.)

How much would an additional staff member cost the district and where would the money come from? Would the benefits of an additional counselor override the expense necessary to make it a reality? We were unable to connect with the Superintendent's office for clarification on what plans, if any, are being considered. However, the Board of Education will have to address these issues in the coming year throughout both the state-mandated QSAC evaluation and in response to the ongoing 2009-2010 budget process.

Neighborhood Watch Needs YOU!

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Here is an updated list of your friends and neighbors who have stepped-up to help the police prevent crime through the Neighborhood Watch program.  

 

Is your street covered? 

 

Are you good at observing what's going on in your neighborhood?  Do you notice when an unfamiliar truck is parked in a neighbor's driveway or at the end of the block?  We all take-in more than we think as we pull-out of our driveways, take in the mail, walk to the bus-stop.  Do you know of a retired neighbor who might not have heard of this program but would be terrific at keeping a watchful eye?  

 

Interested enough to perhaps get more information?  Please contact Metuchen Police officers Nancy Phibbs or Ken Bauer, they'd be happy to provide you with the details.  

 

Be a bulldog that helps take a bite out of crime (sorry - just had to say it).  

Should it snow...

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Thumbnail image for snowflake.jpgThe forecast calls for snow or ice overnight.  We will post closure, delay, or early dismissal announcements as soon as they become available.  You can also call the Board of Education at 732-321-8700 after 6:30 AM, link from our homepage to the district website, or log onto one of the following online news stations:  WCTC or WMGQ

 

Here is a quick look at the public school delayed opening schedule:

 

 

SCHOOL

 

REGULAR OPENING

 

DELAYED OPENING

 

ADJUSTED DISMISSAL

Edgar

8:00  am

9:35  am

 

MHS

8:30  am

9:50  am

 

Campbell

8:25  am

10:00 am

 

MOSS:

 

 

 

AM -K

8:45  am

10:05 am

 

PM -K

12:12 pm

 1:04  pm

 

Early Learning Ctr

11:53 am

12:40 pm

 2:15 pm

 

 

 

 

AM MIPP

8:53   am

10:05 am

11:50 am

PM MIPP

11:53 am

12:40 pm

 2:15  pm

Corzine's Budget Cuts Include Deferment of Pension Contributions

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Gov. Jon S. Corzine proposed the deferment of pension contributions in an attempt to keep property taxes, already the highest in the country, from spinning farther out of control. New Jersey towns may be required to make only half of their contribution to the employee pension system next year. The governor has made public other recommended  cuts to the state budget--and we'll be looking at how those cuts affect Metuchen in the weeks to come.

Under the plan, towns would make half their contribution to the fund in 2009, 60 percent in 2010, and 80 percent in 2011. The plan would save towns an estimated $1.35 billion over the three years.

New Member Night at Borough Council

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At tonight's Borough Council meeting, newly elected Councilmen Peter Cammarano and Justin Manley were administered the Oath of Office and started their terms.  The Council is now evenly split with the Democrats and the Republicans each holding three seats.

It didn't take long to get a taste of what the newly configured Council is going to be like.  After a unanimous vote to re-elect Councilman Richard Dyas as Council President, the next two votes, both on the issue of Council liaisons for 2009, were 3-3 ties and needed the Mayoral tie-break vote; the Mayor sided with his Democratic brethren.  And we're off to what should be an interesting year for the Council.

Metuchen Captain Completes Elite Training Program

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Metuchen matters 004.JPGMetuchen PD's own Captain Rob Retenberg recently graduated from the prestigious FBI National Academy Program for law enforcement officers in Quantico, Virginia. Having participated in 11 weeks of advanced investigative, management, and fitness training, Captain Retenberg was one of 250 graduates from all 50 states, 26 countries, and four military organizations.  He graduated with 17 college credits accredited through the University of Virginia, lost 3% of his body fat, and 1.5" off his waistline and of his time there he says "I really miss it.  It was a great experience."

Web is the new top news source

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From The New York Times:

The Internet overtook print newspapers as a news source this year, according to a report by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which asked more than a thousand people where they got "most of" their national and international news. (Respondents were allowed to name more than one medium.)

Click here to read the rest of the article.

Do you get most of your news from the Internet?

What was your first concert?

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The Take Away, WNYC's morning news show and joint venture with Public Radio International (PRI), featured a story about a concert fan - Britain's Ray Morrissey, who has been to over 5,000 concerts in the past 35 years. He is 50 years old.  As part of the show, they asked listeners to call-in with their first concert stories.

 

As I listened, my mind wandered back to 1974 and my first concert.  I saw YES at the Garden.  My son is nearing his 10th birthday and it's incredible to think that my folks, the stricter and more old-fashioned folks in my group of friends, let me travel into NYC, on the train, with 6 or so friends, unchaperoned, WHEN I WAS 12 YEARS OLD!  Honestly - I had an earlier bedtime than most kids my age, "cool-clothes" weren't in my closet, and I'd get in trouble for things that other parents thought nothing of.  I was often asked "will your mom let you do that?"

 

I should mention here that the 6 or so friends were boys.  A bit of a tomboy, many of my friends were boys and maybe that's where my parents' old-fashioned ideals were on my side - boys would look out for me and see to it that I was okay.  Of course, they were 12 too, maybe they'd turned 13 by that February.  But there we were, Jeffery Bergson, Steven Greenbaum, Julius Wilpon, Joel Bromberg, Stephen Brody, Jeffrey Weiss, and me.  On the train.  In Penn Station.  Alone.  We didn't do anything wrong - we earned the trust we'd been given.  Our worst offense was walking outside and standing on the sidewalk,  taking in the sites and sounds - the commuters, the hot pretzel vendors, the crowds - all somehow more exciting now without adults guiding us.  Once in the concert, I remember looking at the stage and then across the aisle at my friends to, I think, soak it all in - happy for the music, the independence and now, 34 years later, the memory.  Thanks Mom and Dad.  

Over the course of four lunches and two dinners, I feel that I have become somewhat of a Wild Rice groupie--the food is so good, I would eat there every day if my wallet could take that kind of abuse. Not that the restaurant is too pricey--it's not cheap but I think it's well-priced for the remarkable Vietnamese cuisine it so elegantly prepares.

 

The red-and-saffron main room has some of the loveliest appointments I've ever seen in a restaurant. From the slightly-dipped handmade look of the bone white pottery teapots to the shining teak tables and orchid-filled flute vases, Wild Rice makes each table feel like its very own island paradise. The service is attentive but not annoying and its menu is long on interesting choices but not so extensive that it's hard to make up your mind about what to order. If a rush of cold air didn't fill the room each time someone comes in during a freezing winter's day, I may have believed that I was eating in a tropical island hideaway.

The Importance of Play

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Do you have a new stockpile of new toys and games in your house this week?  Read what a noted expert on play has to say about this very important aspect of childhood and being human:

childrenatplay.jpegDr. Stuart Brown, a medical doctor, neuro-scientist, psychiatrist, Mayo Clinic Fellow, and founder-director of the National Institute of Play, began studying play as an aspect of psychological development in 1966 when then Texas governor John Connally , who had survived the motorcade assassination of President Kennedy in 1963, assembled a team of experts to study the motivation behind extreme violent behavior in young men after Charles Whitman murdered 14 people from a tower at the University of Texas. 

 

One of the major conclusions of the study was that there had been a systematic suppression of any free play, largely the result of Whitman's father's strict and overbearing personality.  "He prevented Charles from play in any era of his life, including infancy, he stopped all spontaneity."  Dr. Brown then researched all young murderers in the TX prisons and found the majority had "bizarre, absent, deficient play histories."  No murderer studied engaged in rough and tumble, free play as a child, "absolutely none." 

Looking Back: Christmas Metuchen 1971--Are You In This Picture?

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As the holidays draw to a close, we look back, way back, into Metuchen's past holiday celebrations. In this picture, local high school students beautify Metuchen for the holidays. Do you recognize any of these young ladies?? 

How to NOT be a Victim of Property Crime

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Metuchen Police Officers Nancy Phibbs and Kenneth Bauer presented information on how to protect yourself against property crime at the December 18th Neighborhood Watch meeting.  Here is the valuable advice they shared:

 

At Home:

§                Secure all entrances at night when leaving, including cellar doors and windows. Consider installing metal gates or rolling shutters over windows and patio doors.

§                Store ladders inside. Do not leave them loose outside. If you cannot put them safely inside, lock them securely

§                Do not give out information to strangers on the telephone. On wrong numbers, do not tell the caller your number. Report continued wrong numbers to the phone company.

§                Report broken street lights in your neighborhood. Well-lit areas discourage burglars by taking away hiding places.

§                Be alert for unusual activities. If you see an unknown person loitering in or around a neighbor's yard, don't be afraid to check his or her identity with your neighbor by phone.

§                Remember: people on legitimate business will be glad to show identification.

§                Report any suspicious actions, sounds or strangers to the police.

§                Start a "buddy system" with your neighbors in order to watch each other's homes. Watch for unexpected "movers" and "repair people" at a house where no one is home.

Middlesex Greenways Coalition Plans for an Eventful Year

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At their December meeting, the Middlesex Greenways Coalition discussed the latest in a series of initiatives slated to improve the conditions of and access to the Greenway over the course of the next several years.

 

Encroachment on the trail is a long-standing concern for the traffic and development plans in Edison and Metuchen, among other towns. They have also been responsible for investigating other possible projects, such as building a trail from Glendale down to the shore and putting reflective markers along the trail to help trekkers and emergency personnel find their way down to what is the "only [public] access to the Raritan River, the longest river in New Jersey," according to Walter Stochel, 2008 Jefferson Award recipient.

Go Grapplers!

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Thumbnail image for Grapplerslogo.jpegThe Metuchen Grapplers recently competed in the Ford's Holiday Team Tournament. It was the second year in a row our team participated.

Representing the Grapplers were: Lucas Revano, Will Hronich, Michael Gelberg, John Schleck, Kevin Coleman, Matt Volpe, Joe Hronich, and Devin Miller.

 

Highlights of the day included 3rd place finishes for Matt Volpe, John Schleck,  and Michael Gelberg, and congratulations to Kevin Coleman who placed in 2nd place in his division.

 

GO BULLDOGS!

President-elect Obama's Holiday Address

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Happy New Year!

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May everyone have a happy and healthy New Year.



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