December 2009 Archives

New Year's Eve Fireworks Cancelled

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From The Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce:

Due to the threat of inclement weather, the fireworks scheduled for this evening at midnight have been cancelled.  They will be re-scheduled at some point in the future, however, a date has not yet been determined.

Merry Christmas to All . . . and to all A Good Night!

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Metuchen Matters is going on vacation, too! We will return in 2010. In the meantime, we leave you with this classic poem and best wishes for a very safe and happy holiday!


'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads;

And mamma in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled down for a long winter's nap,

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,

So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;

The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."

Break-In at Neve Shalom Under Investigation

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At about 4 am on Sunday, December 13, 2009, two outer glass door and one inner glass door of Congregation Neve Shalom were shattered by a vandal or vandals.  Police responded and an investigation is currently ongoing.  Anyone who saw or heard anything or has any information regarding this incident should contact the Metuchen Police immediately.

Metuchen Woman Nominated for National Volunteer Award

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Thanks to Dorothy Schilling for sending us the following e-mail:

Melissa Karlovitch has been nominated as one of three candidates for the newly instituted Swim Across America Organizations 2009 Volunteer Awards in the category of Ms. Congeniality.  Three years ago, Melissa's daughter, Sara, happened to see an SAA logo in an advertisement.  She researched it on line and learned of the organizations goal of raising funds for cancer research, treatment and prevention through staging swim marathons throughout the country.  To date, SAA has raised over 20 million dollars.   Melissa, as president of the Metuchen Municipal Pool Swim Team's Parent Board, presented the idea of challenging our kids to participate with the thousands of swimmers from San Francisco Bay to Boston Harbor.  The Board and Coach Karen Baralecki whole heartedly endorsed the idea and the first annual MMP swim-a-thon was held in 2008.  June 2009 was our second event.  To date, the Metuchen swimmers have logged many hundreds of miles and over $15,000 raised. 
Quiet, little Metuchen is competing with nominees from New York, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco.  To vote for Melissa, you can go to the SAA website at  Click on the blue VOTE button on the right hand side of the page.  Scroll to the Ms. Congeniality category and vote for Melissa. 
Also, on the website is the 2009 Highlights Video.  Metuchen Municipal Team Swimmers are in one clip and there is a great close up of Matthew Karlovitch and Freddy Krebs from the team.
Please help me in getting out the word to vote for Melissa.
Thank you,
Dorothy Schilling

Good luck Melissa!  We'll be voting for you!

ANNIE Rescheduled and Movies Returned to the Forum This Weekend

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ANNIE JR. has been rescheduled for January 2nd at 2 and 7PM. Anyone who has tix from the snowed-out performance will be honored at these rescheduled performances. Ticket holders can use the tix for their originally-appointed seats.

Also, movies will return to the Forum!! Golden Globe nominated best picture, PRECIOUS will open Friday, December 25th (Christmas Day) as well as CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, which was also nominated for best animated feature. Please call theatre at 732.548.5600 for performance times or visit our website at

Water Main Break on Main Street

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A water main break has occurred on Main Street at Route 27 and is causing serious traffic backups throughout Metuchen. Consider an alternate route on your way home this evening. The break will cause confusion and delay throughout the evening rush hours.

MHS Project Graduation Sends Its Thanks To Supporters

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MHS Project Graduation (projectgraduation.pdf), a committee of parents and friends which raises funds to ensure an alcohol-and-incident-free celebration for all graduating students at the end of the year, uses the holiday season as a chance to publicly thank their benefactors for a job well done during their fundraising race night in November. 

Gramercy Square at Metuchen breaks ground on Dec 29th


Artist renditions of Gramercy Square at Metuchen and the two existing homes it will replace 


On December 29th at noon, a project that will transform a stretch of Amboy Avenue begins when borough officials and reps from Amboy Holdings LLC hold an official ground breaking ceremony to announce the coming of Gramercy Square at Metuchen. 

READS Receives Funding Grant for 5 New Charter Schools

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Real Estate Advisory and Development Services Inc. has received a new grant to support up to five new charter school projects in Newark and Jersey City. The grant will cover the predevelopment costs of developing buildings for schools, including routine expenses such as environmental studies, constriction management and legal fees. The grant comes to READS from the Local Initiatives Support Corp., through $500,000 in funding made available by the Walton Family Foundation.


"The families who already have taken advantage of the excellent charter schools in Jersey City and Newark appreciate the tremendous value of school choice," said Keith Timko, director of READS. "This grant from LISC recognizes the even greater value of the children who attend those schools. At the end of the day, it is those children who will benefit from this grant." The grant is not tied to construction projects for any specific school; however, it will provide enough predevelopment funding to support about $45 million of actual development work - enough to help provide instructional space for a projected 2,000 students in Newark.

Schools on Delayed Start for Monday Morning

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The entire Metuchen school district is on a delayed start for this coming Monday morning, Decembe 21st (which is also the first day of Winter, officially). Please check with your particular school for their delayed start time by clicking through MM to the district website.
We just just received the following e-mail from the Forum Theatre regarding tomorrow's Mr. Ray show:

The Mr. RAY RETRO HOLIDAY SHOW at the Forum Theatre has been postponed til January 3rd 11am, due to the heavy snow....  =-(

Stay safe out there, folks.

A Kids Forum presents
Mr. Ray Retro Holiday Show
Sunday, January 3rd, 2010   11:00AM
Forum Theatre
314 Main Street
Metuchen, NJ 08840
Click here for tickets.

Kaplow Helps Raconteur Usher in the Season

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7:30 PM, Sun. Dec 20
Featuring Robert Kaplow.
NPR alum Robert Kaplow's novel Me and Orson Welles, a beautifully rendered and hilarious valentine to the burly thespian, was recently turned into a movie by indie filmmaker Richard Linklater (Dazed & Confused). Set in 1937 New York, Kaplow's novel tells of a teenager hired to star in Welles' production of Julius Caesar. Opening wide in a week, the film stars Zac Efron, Claire Danes, and Christian Mckay as Welles. The New York Times described McKay's performance as one of "seductive power and full bore charm," Roger Ebert called the picture, "one of the best movies about theater I've ever seen," and the New Yorker's David Denby included it in his "Top Ten Films of the Year." The most recent review, from The San Francisco Chronicle, said: "Christian McKay, as Orson Welles in Me and Orson Welles, gives what I believe is the most exact and uncanny screen portrayal of a historical figure, EVER." Meet Kaplow and find out how a cantankerous bouncer at a local New Brunswick bar cast the man playing Welles. Naturally, Kaplow will read and sign, but he'll also narrate a slide show of unseen production/opening night photographs. Books on sale at event. To read the Times review of the film, click HERE. Plus: food, wine, and egg nog marbled with gold swirls of Barbancourt. (The film's period music has also received a lot of praise and Kaplow has promised to burn a CD of swing songs from the film to soundtrack our party). FREE!Signed books make great holiday gifts!

Charles Field Overhaul Gets Additional Funding

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The holidays bring some cheer for Charles Field, whose overhaul receives additional funding, according to this report.

A notice released by Superintendent Terri Sinatra yesterday went home to all Metuchen district families regarding a written bomb threat uncovered December 15th at the high school. Police and fire units responded immediately to an emergency call as the school was evacuated. The school was given clearance by 8PM that evening. This morning members of the county sheriff's office and local police officers "were visible as staff set up a check point at the entrance to the building. Student backpacks were checked and each student scanned by members of [MHS] staff," the letter explained.

ANNIE Showcases Local Talent At the Forum This Weekend

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Thumbnail image for anniwjr.jpg
Forum Stars On Stage presents:
ANNIE jr -The Musical

December 18, 19, & 20th, $18 Adults / $14 Kids 12 & under
Book by  Thomas Meehan
Music by  Charles Strouse
Lyrics by  Martin Charnin
Based on the Tribune Media Service Comic Strip, :Little Orphan Annie
Book Musical, Rated G

The Forum's Stars on Stage class has integrated local performing arts students into a professional musical theater presentation of the beloved family musical, ANNIE. Shows are this weekend, Friday, December 18 at 7 PM, matinee at 2PM on Saturday, December 19, as well as a 7PM show, and Sunday at 3PM. Tickets are $18 for adults, $14 for children under 12. Tickets can be ordered through

Mona Lisa Ribbon Cutting December 17th

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From the Chamber of Commerce:

 Mona Lisa Bakery and Pancake House is much more than a place to enjoy sweets and order breakfast.  Whether you're looking for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a sweet afternoon snack or dessert, you'll find it all at Metuchen's newest restaurant, "where the last bite tastes just as good as the first".

On Thursday, December 17th, representatives of the Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce will be joined by Metuchen Mayor Thomas Vahalla for an official ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening celebration welcoming Nancy Saied and Remounda Rezkalla, the proprietors of Mona Lisa.  Join us at 567 Middlesex Ave. at 4:00 pm as we cut the ribbon and sample some of their delicious menu items and pastries.

Stimulus Funds At Work on Superfund Site in South Plainfield

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scaryguyjpg-f8462d407200c009_large.jpgThis video report comes from NewGreenMedia TV regarding stimulus funds that are being used to jumpstart the cleanup at the old Cornell Dublier Superfund site in South Plainfield.





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These lights we kindle upon the miracles, the wonders, the salvations, and the battles which you performed for our forefathers in those days at this season through Your holy priests. During all eight days of Chanukah these lights are sacred, and we are not permitted to make ordinary use of them, but to look at them in order to express thanks and praise to Your great Name for Your miracles, Your wonders and Your salvations.

Ace is the place! Christmas at Boro Hardware

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Boro Hardware, our local go-to shop for Christmas decorations, is full of beautiful trees and Christmas greens (we got ours there last weekend).  Here are some shots of the inventory and the friendly and helpful staff - all local residents - having fun helping folks with their Christmas shopping.  (They guys will even tie your tree onto the top of your car for you).  


Holiday hours at Boro are weeknights until 8 PM, weekends until 6 (weather permitting). You'll find a large selection of greenery, trees, wreaths (all hand decorated by Steve & Linda), grave blankets and more (including outdoor decorations, nativity sets, reindeer, angels, snowmen, ice melter and snow shovels).

Fuce5K: 2nd Annual Date Announced

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From the Fuce5K Committee:

After a well attended and festive inaugural event, the Fuccile Foundation is pleased to announce we will be holding the second annual Fuce 5K on June 19, 2010.

The idea for the event was to raise money for resident families in need, support an active lifestyle for local youth and enhance families through shared experiences. In most measures the 2009 Fuce 5K was a success with 588 participants, including a high number of young adults and children, and over $25,000 raised for local families in need. The focus for the 2010 event remains the same and we are looking to the local businesses and community to help in our efforts to make the event bigger and better.

Raconteur and Forum Offer Weekend Programs

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From the Forum:

Forum Stage for families
Live on stage!
Winnie The Pooh A Christams Carol a musical


From Alex Dawson:


8 PM, Fri. Dec. 11

Charles Rink Remembered As Grapevine Cuttings Find New Homes

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As the grapevine finds several new homes, the Rink homested will be razed for a parking lot (that application is up in front of the planning board this month). Thanks to a devoted friend, the Garden Club, and some green-thumbed citizens, this one man's heirloom plant will live to bloom again, moving past the 100-year mark into the pantheon of Metuchen's living historical artifacts.

Are you an engineer or attorney looking for work? Borough Attorney, Borough Engineer, Borough Auditor, Borough Planner, Bond Counsel--all positions available. Check out the professional services for which Boro Hall is accepting applications from qualified applicants by December 15th.

Mona Lisa Tops in Design as well as Food

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sam & mona.jpgThe Mona Lisa stares at you as you head towards South Plainfield on Route 27--that glimmer of a smile beckons you to the cozy cafe/bakery. Like a little piece of Tuscany on Route 27, Metuchen's Mona Lisa Cafe has opened to rave reviews. With menus for all times of day and all manners of appetite, ample seating, their own parking behind the building and a pastry section that will keep you coming back for more (whether or not you grew up knowing what zeppole is or not), the Mona Lisa Cafe is sure to be packed every day, especially in the winter months.

ALERT--Water Main Break at Eggert Avenue, Street Closing

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Please be advised that there is a water main break on Eggert Avenue which has closed the street between Woodbridge Avenue and Hansen until further notice.

Update: Pedestrian Hit and Injured in Main Street Crosswalk


Update: has some additional information on the accident.

A pedestrian, believed to have just exited a train, was hit crossing Main Street in the designated crosswalk last night, walking from the train station towards the New Street parking lot. He was taken to the hospital and witnesses say he sustained some major injuries. The car on the station side of the street had stopped to let him pass, but the car on the other side did not. When the woman who hit the pedestrian got out of the car and saw what she had done, she fainted. The crosswalk on Main Street has been a derisive element in town discussion as it has been in only near-working order for some time--no one knows for sure if the lights failed to illuminate and that's why the accident happened or not.

After this unnecessary accident and another earlier one when a pedestrian was hit near Oakland Avenue where the bright shiny new solar-powered crosswalk has been implemented, there is only one question that can be posed: when will drivers actually take the responsibility their license gives them to heart? When will they actually obey traffic signals and speed limits and acknowledge that they share the road in our tiny town with any number of men, women and children on foot or on bikes? We cannot move towards a "greener" culture and invite more pedestrians to our downtown area if we cannot assure that the cars they share the streets with will be vigilant about protecting them by following national driving requirements.


Our best wishes go out to the victims of this accident and their families.

Are You Gonna Go My Greenway? Bright Future for Bikers & Hikers

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pierson av3enue.jpgBiking/hiking enthusiast and erstwhile artist Lauren Rabinowitz sent us the following about the recent Greenway planning meeting and the present Greenway conditions for riders and hikers:


. . . {The} meeting.. . . was a great information session, where the environmental commission/borough planner shared visions of the plan for the Greenway and connecting trails/Dismal Swamp. Edison Wetlands Association and Triple C Ranch were also there, providing information about their programs and facilities. Some of the plans for the Greenway include: connecting trails into Dismal Swamp, nature walks, community gardens, art/murals and a trail center park with various facilities.

Pierson Avenue Greenway path picture courtesy of Lauren Rabinowitz--check out this link for more pictures from Lauren's rides

Dismissal Dilemma Meeting Scheduled

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As any parent who has tried to pick-up children from both Moss and Campbell schools in the afternoon knows, it's impossible to get to both schools in time for dismissal.

Resident parent Mirella Lomax has taken the initiative to present parental concerns regarding the close dismissal times to Superintendent of Schools Terri Sinatra.  A meeting has been scheduled for this Monday evening, December 7th, 7pm at Edgar School.

All are invited to attend and share your thoughts. If you are unable to attend but would like to be heard, feel free to email your concerns to Mirella at  Click here for previous posts on this topic.

Jackie Mason returns to the Forum Theatre stage before making his way back to the Great White Way.  Fans will get a sneak peak of Mason's upcoming 2010 tour when he takes the stage on Tuesday, December 8th at 8 p.m.

Tickets: $48, available online at,  Phone 732.548.5600.
Box Office Hours:  Tues to Friday, 12pm - 6pm & 90 minutes before the show.

Tree Lighting - TONIGHT

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From The Chamber of Commerce:


The annual Metuchen Tree Lighting ceremonies will be held TONIGHT at 7:00 pm on the grounds of the Borough Improvement League (Old Franklin School - 491 Middlesex AveThere will be entertainment, including music, singing and dancing in the parking lot of the Masonic Lodge (right next door). Afterward, visit with Santa and hot chocolate and cookies, provided courtesy of the BIL


Bring your canned goods as the girls of Daisy Troop 80612 are trying to help re-stock the local food pantries. BIL collectible figurines will be on sale as well - great holiday gifts!


This event is sponsored by Boro ACE Hardware so be sure to show the folks at Boro how much we appreciate their community support and stop by for your tree or other seasonal decorations.  Thanks Steve!

The Raconteur Presents Mutts Creator Patrick McDonnell Sunday

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2 PM, Sun. Dec 6
Reading/Signing/Chalk Talk

In 1994, McDonnell created the award-winning comic strip Mutts, which now appears in more than 700 newspapers in 20 countries and has been anthologized in books all over the world. It was described by Peanuts creator Charles Schulz as "one of the best comic strips of all time." A coffee table book of his life and work, Mutts: The Comic Art of Patrick McDonnell, was published in 2003. In 2005, McDonnell wrote his first children's book, The Gift of Nothing, which was a New York Times best seller. The Best of Mutts, a ten year celebration of the strip introduced by acclaimed novelist Alice Sebold (Lovely Bones) was published in 2007. 

Advent Meditation Through Claywork December 13th at St. Luke's

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In the real spirit of the season...Advent Meditation


The Community at St. Luke's Episcopal Church invites all to prepare for Christmas through an Advent reflection using clay.  Often termed "concrete meditation", that is, praying using a material object to assist in the prayer process, this experience will lead participants through a guided meditation culminating with each person making one of the figures in the Nativity story:  the Child Jesus, Mary, Joseph, or a Shepherd in red earthenware clay.



 Adults as well as children are invited to participate in this Advent Experience.  Whole families are invited to attend. It will be helpful if you register ahead so that we might be prepared with sufficient clay and other tools for the group to use. Linda LaStella, artist and owner of the local ceramic studio Earthsongs, will lead the experience. For more information, contact  / 732.906.4137

Flapjacks and Santa: A perfect holiday combination

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EMS Announces Annual 'Breakfast with Santa' fundraiser Dec. 13


From Metuchen EMS:


Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Santa.jpegThe volunteers at Metuchen EMS are firing up the griddle and getting ready to flip some flapjacks for its annual Breakfast with Santa at its headquarters on Sunday, December 13 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Santa will greet the children at 1 Safety Place with the squad with helpers to serve breakfast. He will hand out gifts to children attending the event. Admission is $7 for adults and $5 for children.  Tickets will be sold at the door.

With a $6K grant from the Metuchen Education Foundation, Joe Fitzgibbons, the computer science teacher and audio/visual guru at Campbell School, was able to buy a high-quality video-conferencing suite, complete with a hi-def camera. The outfit will be used to facilitate school and community events, as well as provide the proper interface for virtual field trips for Metuchen students.

With an eye to the community-at-large, Fitzgibbons announced at the last Campbell/Moss PTO meeting that he will open the use of this technology up to families who are separated across the globe, particularly due to military personnel being stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. If a family is interested in teleconferencing with a loved one overseas, Fitzgibbons will arrange the hook-up and be available, even in the wee small hours of the morning, to be with them to ensure glitch-free contact. If you are interested, contact Joe at Campbell School. Talk about generosity this holiday season!

Snapping Turtles Found in Metuchen Dismal Swamp

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Shersick dismal swamp.jpgFrom New Green Media: "Metuchen-based naturalist Johnny Shersick has been exploring the Dismal Swamp Conservation Area for decades, and it's doubtful anyone knows its wetlands and swamps as closely as he does.  Wild New Jersey's David Wheeler joined Shersick and Edison Wetlands Association on a tour of "The Diz" in South Plainfield recently, and Shersick lived up to his reputation for tracking its inhabitants.  Shersick reached into a wetland and surfaced with a medium-sized snapping turtle - but one with a powerful bite. Other findings along the way included a baby snapping turtle,green and great blue herons, and two beavers."

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