April 2009 Archives

'Saying Yes' A tribute to acceptance, inclusion, and love

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Please join Metuchen residents, the Rubin family, at the premier of:

Thumbnail image for Maxonontheplayground.jpeg"SAYING YES"

THE STORY OF MAX RUBIN

AND

THE NEVE SHALOM NURSERY SCHOOL

 

A SHORT FILM ABOUT CHILDREN CHANGING THE WORLD

This film is a tribute to Neve Shalom by members Seth and Sheri-Rose Rubin. It honors the efforts of the Congregation to accommodate their son, Max, a child with Cerebral Palsy, as the first physically disabled child in Neve Shalom Nursery School.  The film shows how an entire community of children, teachers and families came to truly and completely understand inclusion, acceptance and respect for the differences of others.

Come see how, by saying, "yes" one small school can make the world a better place.

§                     Sunday May 17, 2009

§                     11:30 am and 12:00 pm

§                     Neve Shalom, 250 Grove Ave, Metuchen

Firefighters Honored at St. Francis Cathedral

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Photos courtesy of Michael Molfetto

 

This past Sunday, the Diocese of Metuchen celebrated its 6th annual Firefighters' Mass at the Cathedral.  The tradition was established in 2004 by Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski, who said at that time "We owe our firefighters a tremendous debt of gratitude for their service and dedication. Their special ministry deserves special recognition. Our Mass is our way of honoring them and asking God to bless and protect them."

 

According to Diocese Director of Communications, Joanne Ward,  approximately 100 firefighters attend the mass, held at the end of April each year. "I think that in the future, since we have moved the Mass from a Saturday evening to Sunday at 12 noon, we will see more firefighters attending," explained Ms Ward, who organizes the mass together with a committee of firefighters.  

 

This year, particular honor was paid to those departments celebrating significant anniversaries: North Stelton Fire Company was recognized for 75 years of service to Piscataway residents and Summit Engine Company for 50 years of service to South River.

 

Sunday's service was celebrated principally by Bishop Bootkowski, and concelebrated by The Reverend Monsignor Michael J. Alliegro, Rector of the Cathedral and The Very Reverend Thomas F. Ryan, chaplain of the Perth Amboy Fire Department.  Members of the various Fire Departments in attendance served as readers, gift bearers, and extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist.  In addition, Gary Chapman, read the Firefighters' prayer and led a Remembrance of the Fallen; John Lindquist Jr. of Edison tolled the bell. Mrs. Nancy Conroy of Metuchen led the congregation in song.

Bingo for Emily Update!

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Bingo For Emily is almost sold out!  As a reminder, it will be held on Friday, May 8th. 

 

Please send in your form and the suggested $5 per person donation to hold your spot.

(click on the ad to the right, you will be able to print the form from there)

 

Doors will open at 6pm and tickets will NOT be sold at the door!

The Board of Education met last night, swearing in its incumbents and passing a number of resolutions regarding, among other things, safety procedures and a deal with Princeton Review in which, in return for at least 10 families signing up for their SAT prep courses, the courses would be taught at the high school here, with discounts available for all Metuchen participants.( Princeton Review guarantees at least a 200-point upgrade in a student's SAT scores after completing this program.) This should be a boon to college-bound students.

Two other points of interest were given special consideration. The first was that the Middle States accreditation process, which took place last week, completed its 12-point plan of investigation into the Metuchen High School  and MHS passed with flying colors.

The other announcement brought ringing praise for a longtime school administrator and educator from several board members as the Board of Education accepted and passed the retirement request of Mr. Robert Gugliara, 20-year principal of Campbell School. There was no discussion as to his successor but that will clearly launch a search for a suitable replacement in the very near future. His retirement will be official as of October, 2009.

Spring Extravaganza Lives Up To Its Name at Campbell School

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A grand tradition at both Moss School and Campbell School, PTO-sponsored Spring Extravaganza is an amazing day for both the parents who create and teach various presentations on a theme all day long. This year the theme of the event was GREAT MOMENTS IN AMERICAN HISTORY and all Campbell students were scheduled to attend five interactive presentations over the course of the school day.

The story of Jamestown, American History Live On Television, The Boston Tea Party, Ellis Island, The California Gold Rush, Jackie Robinson and Baseball, the Civil Rights Movement, Womens Suffrage, Independence Day, the Wright Brothers and the first airplane, The Declaration of Human Rights, New Jersey's Contributions to the U.S., AC/DC: the story of electricity, and The Inventions of Thomas Edison were most of the topics presented to the students. The children celebrated all these historical landmarks through both interactive games and lectures as well as hands-on crafts and storytelling programs that brought history to life for each class.

An Air Force One lookalike swooped about and flew close to buildings in the vicinity of the 9/11 attacks on both the New York and New Jersey sides of the Hudson on Monday around 10AM. Without public notification, many citizens felt that they were watching a replay of that horrible day almost eight years ago. Metuchen resident Bill Memory works at 10 Exchange Place, in offices that overlook the lower Hudson and the shores of the financial district across the river: "There was a lot of confusion and delay--offices emptied out and people [who had experienced 9/11] first hand were completely freaked out. Several of my colleagues left, visibly shaken, for the rest of the day." Both Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama had tough words for the miscommunication that ended up in this disturbing visage, creating a deja vu that many people would have preferred not to experience.

PHOTO COURTESY OF JIM BROWN (Fiserv Corp) via THE NEW YORK TIMES

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Chamber of Commerce Begins Prep for Memorial Day Festivities

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On Wednesday, April 22, 2009, Metuchen Brownies and Daisies celebrated Earth Day and helped to prepare the town for Memorial Day.  Each year the Metuchen Garden Club works diligently to beautify Memorial Park in Metuchen by planting flowers prior to Memorial Day to honor those that have served or are currently serving our country.  This year the Garden Club teamed up with Brownies and Daisies, who cleaned the park and assisted  the ladies of the Garden Club by planting daisies between 3:00 and 5:00 pm.

 

"The effort from both of these volunteer organizations is truly appreciated, and the timing couldn't be better as the Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce prepares for the Memorial Day Parade, slated to take place on Monday, May 25, at 10:00 am," stated Jan Margolis, Memorial Day Parade Committee Chair.

New deals for old wheels

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p4p.jpegHave an old bike gathering dust in your garage or basement? Resale won't bring much and garbage like this is filling our dwindling landfills. Millions of people in developing countries throughout the world have no means of transportation other than their feet.

 

Pedals for Progress (p4p) is trying  to help by gathering used bikes and shipping them to worldwide partners. 11,000 bikes are collected  annually and, to date, more than 117,000 have been shipped to developing countries in Latin America, Africa, and the Pacific Islands. Once there, bikes are reconditioned by partner agencies and distributed at low cost to poor working adults, providing reliable transportation for commuting to work, transporting produce to market, or accessing health care and other services.  The result? Families are more secure and economies grow.  

 

If you have an adult or child's bicycle in repairable condition, please consider donating to this worthy cause.  Disassembled bikes or  "bikes for parts" cannot be accepted.

 

The Metuchen Rotary Club & the First Presbyterian Church of Metuchen will be a drop-off point for bike donations:

 

§                     9 AM to 12 Noon on

§                     Saturday, May 2, 2009 rain or shine

§                     First Presbyterian Church Social Center, 270 Woodbridge Ave, Metuchen, NJ 08840.

§                     It costs $35 to collect, process, ship, rebuild and distribute each bicycle. A donation toward shipping costs is necessary to get your bike where it needs to go (suggested minimum $10 per bike)

§                     Also accepted -  working portable sewing machines

§                     Wrenches needed too, if you have any you can donate

§                     For more info, call Jay at (732) 548-0149

 

All cash and material donations are fully tax deductible and a receipt will be available at the collection site. Pedals for Progress is a 501 (c) (3) corporation and a registered charity in the states of NJ, PA, KS, CT, MA & VT. Brochures explaining this innovative program will be available at the collection site.

 

For detailed information about this overseas projects and a current schedule of bicycle collection, visit the P4P website at www.p4p.org.

This Sunday at 8PM the Raconteur presents folk noir gangster John Wesley Harding and Pulitzer Prize finalist David Gates.  The event is FREE; books and CDs will be on sale.


Rolling Stone Magazine hailed John Wesley Harding as, "a literate and ironic neo-folkie with enough bile to win over a younger, hipper audience not attuned to folk music."  CREEM said "His eloquence can be gut-wrenching," and The Los Angeles Times dubbed him "one of the great rock artists of the 90s."  His best known work includes "I'm Wrong About Everything", which was featured on the High Fidelity soundtrack ... After placing his music career on hold while working as an author (under his real name, Wesley Stace, he wrote the international best seller Misfortune and 2007's by George, multigenerational story about a performing British family and their ventriloquist's dummy), JWH released Who was Changed and Who was Dead this March, his first rock album in five years.

The author of the highly acclaimed novels Jernigan (a Pulitzer Prize Finalist) and Preston Falls (a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist), and a collection of short stories, The Wonders of the Invisible World (also a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist), David Gates was anointed a "true heir to Raymond Carver and John Cheever," by New York Magazine. His work, stylish and ferociously humorous, nimbly explores the dark side of suburban masculinity and has been called "brilliant" by both NPR and the Boston Globe, and "beautiful" by the New York Times. 

Metuchen Resident Highlighted at Kids Comic-con this weekend

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Metuchen resident Janna Morishima is the director of Diamond Kids Group, the children's book division of international graphic novel distributor Diamond Book Distributors.  On Saturday, April 25 she'll be holding a workshop at 1:00PM called "Careers in Comics!", aimed at helping kids understand the wide variety of jobs in comics publishing.  The panelists "will share how they got started in their careers, how their jobs have changed over time, what they do in their work currently, and tips for young people interested in breaking into comics. They'll talk about what they love about working in comics -- and maybe even a few things they don't love! There will be plenty of time for Q&A with the audience."

The workshop will take place at "Kids Comic-con" a day-long celebration of comics for kids held at Bronx Community College.  The event will feature readings, signings, and workshops by professional comics writers, illustrators, and editors from a wide variety of publishers (including Marvel, DC Comics, Archie, Mad Magazine, Nickelodeon, Scholastic, and more!)

Attendance is free for kids and $5 for adults.

Celebrating Metuchen's Architectural Heritage: Event Planned

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PArade.jpegIn honor of National Historic Preservation Month, please join your neighbors and special guests as the Borough of Metuchen Historic Preservation Committee presents:

 

"Celebrate Metuchen: Caring for Our Architectural Heritage"

Sunday, May 17, 2009

2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

First Presbyterian Church Social Center (270 Woodbridge Avenue)

 

Featured Speakers and Presentations:

 

 "Identifying and Appreciating Metuchen's Architectural History"

Janet Foster, Associate Director for Urban Planning and Historic Preservation at Columbia University's Historic Preservation Program

 

"Taking Care of Your Older House: Tips and Techniques"

Elizabeth Reeves, Rutgers University Assistant Planner

How Much Is That Painting in the Empty Storefront's Window?

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A reader commented recently that perhaps a fitting use for the time being for those empty storefronts would be impromptu art galleries--showcasing local art and introducing prospective renters to the spaces available on Main Street. So we pose this question to those who own these spaces: Would you be willing to make your space available as both a way to help local craftspeople AND provide a winning showcase for your empty storefronts? This might be a totally whimsical idea with no footing but isn't it times like these that require the most 'out of the box' thinking? Developers and building owners, let us know what you think!

The G-Arden Club, a high school group associated with Edison's Terra Nova Garden club, recently won four ribbons for their entries in the photograph and horticulture categories at the New Jersey's Standard Flower Show in Edison. Four students from JP Stevens High School in Edison won with photos featuring a flower or garden with a water element. Nicole Fiore, 16, earned a first-place ribbon, and Dan Botto, 17, earned a third-place ribbon. Reshma Shiwdin, 16, a earned an honorable mention. In the horticulture category, Botto claimed a first-place ribbon with his indoor cactus plant.

 

Since 2006, G-Arden has worked to beautify their community, starting with the community garden at the Triple C Ranch in Edison. With a $5,000 award from the Supplemental Environmental Project, sponsored by the Edison Wetlands Association, the group will continue its work at the garden. They are also planting a "native plant garden," which will revitalize plant life common during New Jersey's colonial period.

Paint Recycling Dates

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Middlesex County has a site with details for its paint recycling program. You may be doing some spring cleaning and find you have old paint to dispose of.  This link will take you to the NJ Hazardous Waste page for our county, outlining program details, including dates and locales. 

EWA Present Carcinogen Levels Found in Raritan River

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Edison Wetlands Association (EWA) Executive Director Robert Spiegel announced last week that EWA's recent sampling found lead and arsenic continuing to leach at extremely high levels in at least three locations along the Raritan Bayfront in Old Bridge and Sayreville.  The sampling results were presented to the public at a meeting at the George Bush Senior Center in Old Bridge.

 

The environmental consultant Chapin Engineering today issued a report outlining the sampling results and recommendations for cleanup. Take a look at these findings . . .

Board of Education Election Results

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The Board of Education election for three Board members is over! Here are the results:

Mary "Terry" Kohl: 988

Eileen Frowenfeld: 951

Fran Brennan: 1029

JoAnn Sabatino-Falkenstein: 529

Tanya Andrews: 532 

The Budget passed on a vote of 978 to 728.

In a post election statement, Fran Brennan said "Thank you to everyone who voted and to all the candidates for wanting to do what's best for the children of Metuchen."

Congratulations to all the candidates for taking the time out of their busy lives to engage in this important civic pursuit and care enough about our school district to put themselves out there. Elections are tough but these candidates are, too--they are, in essence, winners all.

We will be taking a look at voter turnout from this election as well. Did the better weather and extended coverage from local media on the candidates help or hinder the outcome? We'll do our best to figure it all out.

PLAY BALL!

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Metuchen Baseball is in full swing!  On Saturday, the Little League opening day parade and ceremonies saw about 1000 players and family members walk from the Pearl Street parking lot to Fater Field on Oakland Ave.

An Edgar choral group beautifully opened the ceremonies with the National Anthem; Mayor Vahalla addressed the crowd, and League president George Harry led introductions of league commissioners and the dozens and dozens of volunteers who make baseball and softball in Metuchen possible.

Outgoing president Matt Redshaw and Mrs. Brenda Redshaw were honored for their years of dedication and service to the league. In fact, from this day forward, the league volunteerism award will be called The Matt Redshaw award.  A plaque dedicated to the memory of much loved, former coach Mike Fuccile was unveiled and after some words from Mike's Uncle, Father Dominic, his dad and sons threw the first pitches.

It was a perfect community celebration on a beautiful spring day. Thanks to all who made it possible, including the behind-the-scenes parents who were busy making the 100's of hot dogs for the kids' lunch. Best wishes to all for a great season!

Infield photos courtesy of Michael Molfetto

 

Step Up Walk-a-Thon and a Metuchen Mom's Active Commitment

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The Step Up Walk-A-Thon is an annual fundraiser, the proceeds from which are used to fund Arc's programs for people with development disabilities. With groups  of happy, smiling people, some  in costumes, parading a route surrounded by fun booths and music pumping through the morning  air, the walk-a-thon has the feeling of a street fair more than a fundraiser for a serious cause. On May 16, at Roosevelt Park in Edison, the walk takes place again, the walk itself beginning at 10AM. Since 1999, The Arc of Middlesex County also raises funds through The Page Turner at 170 Main Street (732-635-1546) selling mostly out-of-print books.

 

Rebecca Boucher, a Metuchen resident who has an 8-year-old daughter with Down syndrome attending Campbell School, started a support group for local families of children with Down syndrome, called Network 21, and also served as the group's president for about 5 years. "Non-profit agencies, like the Arc, provide much needed and hard to find services for people with disabilities. I chose to contribute my time and effort to The Arc of Middlesex, because as my daughter with Down syndrome grows older, the recreation and work programs they offer will become invaluable to her well-being."

Little Scientists, Big Ideas

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Campbell Science Fair 09 009.jpgOver 100 teams of third and fourth graders exhibited, explained, and demonstrated weeks of scientific research at the Campbell School Science Fair last Thursday evening. 

 

Gianna and Bella studied 12 of the 88 zodiac constellations and constructed a star gazing box where participants were able to see how each of the constellations appear in the night sky.  Sam and Jake studied and explained the power of lightening.  Alanna and Brielle experimented with bouncy balls and tested the hypothesis that a ball will always bounce to the same fraction of its initial drop height; John and Michael studied static electricity and conducted tests to see if they could remove particles of pollutants emitted by power plants; Emily, Cristina, and Caitlyn studied tornadoes and Nicole studied the planets in our solar system. Stephen and Collin presented "Baseball - The Science of the Swing" and explained the differences between bats, what makes a "sweet spot," and charted the results of a batting experiment.  I saw the reaction of plants when fed soda and coffee versus water, underwater fireworks, and many, many other fabulous projects.

 

Congratulations Mr. Nolde and all of the students who worked so hard to make the night a success!

Earth Day Activities - Celebrate the Planet!

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Here are a variety of activites you might consider participating in for Earth Day.  Thanks to all who submitted suggestions.

 

Metuchen Rec, Environmental Comm, and Public Works Celebrate Earth Day

Help Clean-up Various Parks and Public Places in Town

§         Saturday, May 2nd

§         Starting at 9:00 - Meet at The Senior Center to pick-up your work assignment

§         Bring work gloves, hats, and rakes

§         Volunteers will be served a continental breakfast and lunch

 

For further information, call 732-632-8502 or email ngoldberg@metuchen.com

 

Valley Shepherd Creamery: (Long Valley, NJ) Annual Sheep Shearing Festival,

May 2nd

 

EDISON WETLANDS: Triple C Ranch, Edison Earth Day Celebration,

FREE!

§         April 25th rain date April 26th

§         11:00 - 4:00

§         Animals, Music, Ecotours, BBQ, and more!

  

Clean Ocean Action: BEACH SWEEP!  April 25th at beaches throughout 6 counties, including Middlesex.  Pick-up litter from the beach and record what sort of garbage is washing-up on our shores.  Online registration available.

6th Grade Fundraiser at Applebee's on April 29th

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Why not 'eat good in the neighborhood' and help our Edgar 6th graders raise money for their class trip to Ellis Island? 

On April 29th, Applebee's on Route 1 in Edison will donate 10% of your bill to the 6th grade class if you eat in or take-out. 

Please print the flyer below. It must be presented for your donation to count.

mm_6th Grade Applebee's fundraiser.pdf

The Candidates Answer your Questions

Each of the five candidates running for the Board of Education have graciously sent answers to the six questions readers voted most important.

Today's posts will be dedicated to their responses.  We hope that these answers, along with everything else you've read and heard, will help you make an informed decision when you vote on Tuesday

PLEASE VOTE on April 21st between the hours of 2:00 pm and 9:00 pm. 

What will you do to enact Full-Day Kindergarten?

Meet Amy Brooks, Glass Artist

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Amybrooks1.jpeg"Glass creations change with every step of the sun.  Every day and night they reveal another nuance, another work of art.  I often build pieces with bevels and jewels that throw a shower of sparkle around a room when the facets catch rays of light" - Amy Brooks

In June, the Brainy Boro becomes the Artsy Boro as JuneBug takes flight.  We will post features about the JuneBug Art Festival and the artists who help make this program such fun and our town a cultural hub and destination for many visitors. 

Meet Amy Brooks.  Born and raised in Michigan, an artist, co-chair of the sponsorship committee for JuneBug, member of the Edison Arts Society, art teacher, fitness instructor, wife and mother; Amy's art medium is glass.  I had the good fortune to see a piece of her commissioned work installed as a curtain valance; beautifully detailed triangular pieces of glasswork spanning the top of a lovely kitchen window.  It was exquisite; a sparkling and original focal point of the room.

What do you have planned for Earth Day?

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Earthday.jpegIf you are involved with an organization planning an activity for Earth Day (April 22nd), please send us info on your program to info@metuchenmatters.com.  We will either invite the community to participate or share your idea so that others might be inspired to do something too!

Please send us your information by Friday, April 17th - Thanks

white-logo-bar_01.jpgBeginning on next Monday, April 20th, until September 2009, 20 miles of track between Newark/Penn Station and Metuchen will suffer delays when one out of any of the four tracks NJ Transit and Amtrak utilize will be out of service daily due to post replacements along the rails. If you are a longtime commuter, you know what that means--NJ Transit says "five minute delay" and, an hour later, you might make your way onto your home platform. Check out New Jersey Transit for further information.

Election Day for both the board candidates and the school budget is April 21st.

 

At a Meet the Candidates event held earlier this month, the five people vying for three seats on the Board of Education had the opportunity to answer questions and present their ideas about our schools to the public. 

 

Moderated by Ingrid Reed of the Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers, attendees (of which there were about 100) had the opportunity to submit questions.  Not all questions were selected. Each candidate had 2 minutes for their answers.

 

Many questions focused on finances - the budget, teacher contract negotiations (contracts renew next year), what to do if state aid is reduced, on what to spend a dream-gift of one million dollars?  We'll try to summarize the answers here and will publish the candidates responses to the six questions voted most important by our readers later in the week.

 

FIRST THINGS FIRST - THE CANDIDATES:

Borough Hall Gallery Exhibits Discussed at Council Meeting

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Monday night's Borough Council meeting discussed a varied group of issues related to town but the most spirited of the talks was elicited by the proposal of Linda Vonderschmidt-LaStella of Earthsongs Studio, a Metuchen fine artist, who, with the help of the Cultural Arts Commission, is devising a revolving gallery of town-created art to be put into the downstairs gallery at Borough Hall (the Rotunda) in the coming months. The gallery would encompass 12 pieces of art from a single artist or from individual members of a group to provide a changing exhibit that would be open to public viewing.

The Mayor voiced fears about the security of the pieces as well as the physical hanging implements that would hold the artworks in place. Councilman Dyas had many questions about the nature of the exhibits, what would be considered appropriate and what subject matters would not. Ms. Vonderschmidt-LaStella responded to his concerns by allowing that nudity, violent subject matter and artwork that could not fit into the alloted space would not be considered. Councilman Morrison and Councilman Weber were the most vocal of the supporters, but the entire Council determined that a resolution spelling out the numerous restrictions and guidelines for the works of art should be devised as soon as possible, allowing, among other things, for the Borough Administrator, William Boerth, to have some say in the creation of the gallery and for Council Attorney Frizell to have legal say in the operation of said gallery.

Are you WATER-FRIENDLY?

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for NJ Watershed Ambassadors.jpegAre you confident that you know all of what it takes to protect our waterways?

 

NJ Watershed Ambassador - Heather Barrett, is conducting a free workshop to help inform residents on topics such as:

 

 

  • Watersheds & non-point source pollution
  • Rainwater harvesting
  • Composting
  • Creating wildlife habitat

Thursday, April 16th - 7:00 - 9:00.  Metuchen Senior Center (15 Center Street)

Please pre-register to hbarrett@raritanbasin.orgAttendance will be limited to the first 40 registrants.  Adults only please.

 

Any questions, call Heather at 908-685-0315 x231

 

Da Vinci's Child Teaches Music Kids Can Really Appreciate

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This music classes look like a picture of a perfect childhood fun with friends: children leaping and jumping around a living room filled with instruments and art work, singing, playing piano, creating puppet shows, drawing, while Dr. Barbara Berofsky accompanies the joyful events on the piano. Her erstwhile helper is her daughter, Adrienne Berofsky-Seyffert, who has graduate degrees from Columbia in both film and writing as well as early childhood development--she is also a Metuchen mom with two daughters and classes are held at her home on Durham Avenue. Together they carry on with the work they began at their Singing Brook camps in Lenox, Massachusetts, classes they've been honing over the course of the last fifteen years. These classes are held under the title of Da Vinci's Child.

Metuchen Farmer's Market gets ready for 2009 Season

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Thumbnail image for Veggies2.jpegMuch thanks to a reader who recently shared info on dates for this season's Pearl Street farmers market:

 

Where:  Pearl Street parking lot

When:    June 13th - October 3rd ; Saturdays 9:00 am - 2:00 pm

Note:     WIC and Senior FMNO checks accepted by some farmers

 

Email questions about Metuchen's market to:

Caroline Woodruff at metuchen.chamber@verizon.net

 

For info on the Jersey Fresh program and farm market information for the entire state, click here.

Happy Easter!

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Let every man and woman count himself immortal. Let him catch the revelation of Jesus in his resurrection. Let him say not merely, "Christ is risen," but "I shall rise."

--Phillips Brooks NA009165.jpg

Passover Blessings

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By The Red Sea


Judah Halevi

 

When as a wall the sea
In heaps uplifted lay,
Anew song unto Thee
Sang the redeemed that day.

 

Thou didst in his deceit
O'ervhelm the Egyptian's feet,
While Israel's footsteps, fleet
How beautiful were they!

Inspirations Florist Makes the Tough Decision to Close

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Inspirations 001.jpgAfter many years in their Main Street location, the owners of Inspirations Florist have decided to pack-up the Metuchen store.  I went to visit them at their flagship store, Floral Expressions, in Woodbridge and Kurt, the floral designer customers of Inspirations may remember, said that although it was a terribly hard decision, the volume of business could no longer justify the second location.  It was even hard to keep a good supply of flowers in stock at the Metuchen store; turnover wasn't quick enough to ensure their freshness.

The store in Woodbridge continues to thrive though and Kurt hopes his long time Metuchen customers will stop by and say hello. 

I will miss their lovely arrangements and selection of out-of-the-ordinary floral choices.  It's a sad reality - lots of car traffic doesn't always result in lots of shopping.  Let's hope through these tough economic times we can still find a bit extra to help support our favorite local merchants.

0409refresh.jpgGo Devils! The New Jersey Devils are now in first place in the Atlantic Division, enjoying a 50-win season and looking forward to the first round of playoffs, where they will most likely meet the Carolina Hurricanes, their opponents on Saturday afternoon. Having beaten the Ottowa Senators in a 3-2 shootout, the Devils return to New Jersey for their last regular season game.The Prudential Center will certaily be packed--what better way to finish off a fun spring break than watching hockey at its best!

Go Fishing! Trout Season opens April 11th

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Thumbnail image for NJDEP F&W logo.jpegA message from the NJDEP Division of Fish and Wildlife:

 

Trout season opens April 11, so get ready to fish for the loads of huge trout released in waters near you.

Select ponds and small lakes throughout New Jersey boast scores of bragging-sized trout just waiting for anglers like you on opening day. These 2 1/2-year-old brood stock trout, weighing 3 pounds to 5 pounds, join thousands of other trout already stocked in those lakes and ponds. Learn the locations of the bonus brood stock ponds and lakes and find information on spring trout stocking statewide by visiting
http://www.njfishandwildlife.com. Or call the Trout Stocking Hotline, (609) 633-6765 for the latest on weekly in-season stocking.  (Note: click here for details on when Roosevelt Park and the Raritan River will be stocked)

In just minutes, you can be on your way to enjoying first-rate trout fishing. Simply visit
http://www.njfishandwildlife.com to buy and print your fishing license and trout stamp online.
 
For what you might spend on a dinner for two, you can treat yourself to a New Jersey fishing license, trout stamp and 365 days of action-packed angling.

The fresh air, sunshine and peace of mind are free.  Don't miss out this year.

Have you noticed that this winter's intense weather has left a few gaping holes in our county roads? Especially the spot at Main and Woodbridge near the post office? Once again, the calls of residents have prompted more good actions here in Metuchen--the county has responded with workers and potholes are being filled and roads repaired as I write this.

As a  temporary fix, DOT workers used what's called a "throw-and-roll" method (throwing asphalt in the hole and tamping down the material until it's compacted). Permanent fixes are often created by cleaning and squaring the crevasse, stuffing it with the  hot mix, then rolling and sealing the seam.

If you'd like to report a pothole on a state roadway, call the DOT's repair line, (800) POTHOLE (768-4653), or go to state.nj.us/transportation and click "Report a Pothole." If you want to let the government know (and pay for) any damage to your car from said potholes, you've got to show that the government entity knew or should have known about the pothole, and that the failure to fix it is "palpably unreasonable," according to Dave Grubb, executive director of the Municipal Excess Liability Joint Insurance Fund, which insures 385 municipalities in the state. "The burden of proof is on the motorist."

StFrancis School2.jpegFive 4th grade students at St. Francis Cathedral School have earned their classmates a fun end-of-the-year party.  Thanks to their hard work, the entire class will be treated to a free Somerset Patriots Game on June 2nd!  Paul Heyden, Kayleigh Kelly, Portia Koch, Catherine Koenig, and Lauren Zensky were 5 of the 300 students chosen "Best of the Best" among 11,000 state-wide entrants in a "Celebrate New Jersey Essay Contest."

 

Celebrate New Jersey! is a non-profit organization out of Cape May whose mission is to create statewide awareness and pride in all things New Jersey. The goal of the program is to promote the rich history, diverse culture, and beautiful natural resources of our state. Each student was required to complete a research paper and, through their research, grow more aware New Jersey's contributions to the nation. Areas of research included Science and the Environment, Business, Sports, People in the News and Travel.

State Offers New Legislation to Protect NJ Bikers

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Between January 2006 and June 2008, there were 6,496 accidents in New Jersey involving bicyclists and motor vehicles, resulting in 30 deaths and 4,247 injuries, state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Erin Phalon said.

 

A newly-introduced bill would require motorists to maintain a minimum three-foot buffer when passing bicyclists is close to being approved. State Sen. Steven Oroho, (R-Sussex) introduced the bill with Sen. Brian Stack (D-Hudson) on March 16.

 

If it passes, New Jersey would become the 14th state to have a three-foot buffer law for bike riders. Tom Mains of Hamilton, president of the New Jersey Bicycle Association, said the bill before the legislature is an idea whose time has come. "Anything that can make cyclists safer on the road is a good thing." In a town as ridable as Metuchen, this is definitely a good thing!

A Message from the owners of the Forum Theater

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Forumtheater.jpegThe Forum Theatre is hosting a Town Hall Meeting to discuss future plans for The Forum and its impact on local businesses in the downtown district, both north and south Main Street. 

 

    Thursday evening May 14th at 7PM


We are looking for volunteers to assist us in helping us save this historical jewel: Everything from carpentry, landscaping, painting, general repairs and refurbishing the marquee.


If you are interested in helping to bring independent and foreign films as well as children's theatre and concerts back to Metuchen, please attend. We're hoping to hear from everyone.


Let's bring the arts back to Metuchen!


For further info please contact karin@forumtheatreartscenter.com or visit our website at forumtheatreartscenter.com


We hope to see you at the theatre!

Doing Zumba And Ballroom Dancing with Andrea Orlando

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Thumbnail image for andrea orlando with beto.jpgAndrea Orlando does Zumba! She is a licensed personal trainer as well as a Zumba instructor in Middlesex County. Zumba, a hip-shaking, calorie-burning combination of salsa dance and aerobics, is sweeping the country, the new big workout craze. MM asked Andrea some questions about doing Zumba and her other great love, ballroom dancing--she will be competing in a ballroom dance competition held at Rutgers University on April 18th. Here's what she told us about her favorite workout and why we should all be Zumba-ing!

 

TELL US EXACTLY WHAT ZUMBA IS!

Zumba is a great workout because it doesn't feel like a workout. It feels like a party with great music and friends who like to dance. And it does burn some serious calories. I have a woman in one of my classes who wears a heart-rate monitor programed with her age, height and weight. She consistently reports burning between 800 and 1,000 calories.

PHOTO: Andrea with Zumba creator Alberto Perez

Junior Girl Scouts Receive High Honors

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Last Friday, 61 Junior Girl Scouts from the North Edison-Metuchen Service Unit were honored with the Bronze Award - the highest achievement for girl scouts in grades 4 through 6.  

 

To earn the Bronze Award, girls are required to complete several badges, leadership hours, and a community service project of at least 15 hours. This year, the girls' projects included food, toy, and pet supply drives; workshops in math, clowning, women in history and first aid; and planting trees and bushes to beautify a school courtyard.

 

You go girls!

 


It's Springtime So WALK METUCHEN

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Did you know that Metuchen has a number of walking routes that are mapped out for your use? If you didn't, click here for the link.

Our borough was divided into quadrants, with a well-marked walking route of between 1.8 and 2.7 miles delineated in each zone. Routes are marked with large customized signs, permanent directional arrows and maps. The regular placement of mileposts and route markers serve as frequent reminders to borough residents of the walking paths and routes linking their homes to the train station, businesses, and parks.

Routes were chosen to best serve all residents, as well as boost the economic vitality of the downtown area.

Now that the sun is out and springtime is in full bloom, take a look at the map and pick a route. Grab a friend, put on your most comfortable clothes and take a walk! It's good for you!

The Eagles have (almost) landed

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It must be getting close!  Another adult, (Mr. Eagle?) has been in the nest helping to keep the eggs warm. (earlier story here)

index_05.jpgTomorrow, PSEG offers the exciting programs of GREENFEST at the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset. GreenFest helps people learn what can be done -- right now -- to turn the tide in the movement towards stopping global warming. Informed speakers, hands-on demonstrations and workshops, informational booths and networking opportunities will bring the most recent ideas and technologies to help teach us what we can do in terms of practical, real-life "greening" options, this event brings opportunities for new kinds of services, products and behavior that will make a difference in both the home and the work environment. Ed Begley Jr., will return this year, along with other speakers like Darryl Hannah and the Kratt Brothers, from PBS' Zooboomafoo animal show. On Sunday, April 5, a special childrens program will also be held.

A bit of Irony

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Triangle_Accident_2009-04-03_240pm.jpegOn Friday afternoon at about 2:30, a traffic accident resulted in a car plowing onto the Oak Ave Triangle, directly over the stump of one of the downed-trees there has been so much discussion about.  Both drivers appeared to be up and around - unhurt.  Had the tree been there, who knows what may have resulted - or if the tree would have survived the crash.  Certainly there will always be trees and potential crashes are no reason not to plant them. But for those following the story, it was a weird scenario to consider. 

Superintendent's Forum II: Focusing on the Average Student

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Moss.jpgAlthough not as well-attended as the first forum, Terri Sinatra's Superintendent's Forum II at Metuchen High School offered varied and spirited debates on two questions: Who is the average student? And how can their needs be best addressed by teachers and the school district as a whole? After Sinatra gave a quick review of the strengths, weaknesses and other concerns that had been pinpointed by parents and community members last month, she broke the audience into three groups, spearheaded by Bob Capra from Special Services, Paul Piniero of Curriculum and Moss School Principal, and Kathy Glutz, Edgar School principal.

From those groups came further suggestions on dealing with the area in which most Metuchen students fall--the middle. Challenging average students to greater degrees of academic proficiency led into a discussion about the classifications that are used to generate the various levels within each grade which led to investigating the core curriculum and the way in which teachers are bringing it to their students in each of the four schools in our district.

The detailed findings of these talks will be published on the Superintendent's office website in the coming days. A third forum has been scheduled for (TBD)--the topic for that evening will be What do we want our district to achieve? How do we evaluate progress?

Hot Air Balloon Lands at Campbell School

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As part of the general enrichment that goes on at the district's schools, Campbell School played host to a real live Hot Air Balloon on Wednesday. Only the pilot was able to go up, up and almost away (the balloon was seriously tethered against growing winds) while excited grade-schoolers watched from the grounds. Although Phineas Fogg was not in attendance, one could imagine him making his 80-Day trip around the world in such a fine flying machine! The balloon guys then took the gondola and its accoutrements inside and showed the students how the magic happens. In fact, all students and teachers  (amongst them the particularly gleeful Mr. G) were allowed to stand inside the actual balloon. It can fit up to 500 people! A very fun day was had by all, thanks to Campbell/Moss PTO.

Thanks to Laura Chiusano for the fantastic pictures of the main event! Go to the next page for some more great shots!

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With the lower gas prices and the crazy cost of flying, more and more people are doing their holiday visiting within driving distance. Since many more families take to the roads in the spring and summer, the Metuchen police remind everyone that their children need to be properly belted into either a 5-way harness seat, a booster seat or a seat belt, depending on a child's age or weight. Here's some important information about keeping your kids safe while driving, especially during those difficult transition times as they get older . . . DIP_Huntington_Lifestyle.jpg

New Superintendent's Forum TONIGHT

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School Superintendent Terri Sinatra presents the follow-up to the original forum which addresses community concerns about the school district tonight at 7:30 in the Metuchen High School Cafeteria. Entitled "Superintendent's Forum II--What does it mean for Metuchen's Schools?", the program will review the vision for the School District that took place at the first Forum and a discussion on the topic of "Who is the average student? What do we want for the average student?" will commence. Refreshments will be served courtesy of the Campbell/Metuchen and Edgar PTOs.

Click here for a summary of the first forum.

Live Video Stream to Eagles Nest in Somerset

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Eagle.jpegMany thanks to a Tina, a reader who sent information about the Duke Farms Eagle Cam.  Nestled within this Hillsborough environmental preserve is a bald eagle protecting her soon-to-hatch eggs.  The live video stream provides a glimpse of nature at its most beautiful - a mother welcoming her babies into the world.  The eaglets are due to begin hatching on April 4th.

SPRING HAS SPRUNG! 

The Eagle Cam is offered thanks to a collaboration between Duke Farms and the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.   

Special Borough Council Meeting Completes Budget Process

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The 2009 Municipal Budget has finally been approved. After a month of difficult conversations and strained suggestions about possible cuts, the budget talk has ended. A speech by Councilman Justin Manley called for greater financial stealth as the Council now moves into its new season (BudgetIntroComments.pdf)

Stimulus funds have been divvied up for the towns and municipalities in Middlesex County, as of this weekend. Metuchen's share will be an additional $18, 320, which the Mayor asked to have appropriated to a lit crosswalk at Grove and Oakland Avenues at the tennis courts--and, he added, lit crosswalks do not affect 4-way stops and this will also be put into place at that site in the near future. Very near, in fact, since the funds come with the stipulation that work for the project be contracted within 120 days of approval. A public hearing for that project has been set for April 13th. To finish their financial endeavors, the Council unanimously approved bonds and notes in the amount of $705,420 and $418,950 for "borough improvements" that were not yet specified.

After a lengthy discussion regarding the Municipal Health Insurance Renewal, two new resolutions were voted upon and a new ordinance introduced. One resolution was passed concerning the improvement of the Greenway. Although state aid is less than expected, there is money coming into town for special projects--Jim Constantine, the town planner, applied for $20,000 from the Smart Growth Planning Assistance Grant program for Metuchen to create a "Vision and Master Plan" for the Greenway. The Borough has to match 50% of whatever funds come in for this purpose.

 

UPDATE: Change of venue for BoE Candidates Night tonight

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The venue for the Board of Education Candidates Night has changed; it will now be held at Metuchen High School.

At 7:30 PM in the Metuchen High School cafeteria tonight the three incumbent candidates and two newcomers will have their moment to answer the community's questions about the school district: Tanya Andrews, Fran Brennan, Eileen Frowenfeld, Mary "Terry" Kohl and JoAnn Sabatino-Falkenstein will all attend. The event will be moderated by Ingrid Reed from the Eagleton Institute of Politics and will air live on MEtv. Additional viewings will be provided on MEtv up until Election Day.

All Metuchen residents are invited to attend this question and answer session. Please plan to arrive a few minutes early if you would like to submit questions to the candidates. And don't forget! The Board of Education Election is April 21, 2009--polls will be open 2PM to 9PM at the usual voting stations.

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