March 2010 Archives

Friends of the Library Offers Programs, Memberships

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If you want to help out our local library at this time of crazy cutbacks and general money madness, become a Friends of the LIbrary member! The application is right here, as well as information on the upcoming April 13th trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Give a little love back to Ben Franklin's greatest invention!
junebugfrontpage020110.jpgThe Junebug ArtFest is happening in Downtown Metuchen every Friday night in June from 6-10PM. At present, the committee is looking for 'actors' who would be willing to dress in costume as famous artists (Picasso, Renoir, Frida Kahlo, etc) and volunteer information and guidance to festival goers on each night. If you or some very outgoing artist you know would like to volunteer your energy and talent for this purpose, please contact the Junebug Planning Committee, c/o Lynda Woodworth at The Junebug ArtFest site on Facebook or click here.

Tricky Tray Returns to St. Francis May 7th - Get Tix Now!

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From Dorothy Heyden, St. Francis Cathedral School:

Save the date May 7, 2010, for St. Francis Cathedral School's Annual Tricky Tray. Planning is well underway for this year's event, when we will transform the NJ Expo Center into "The Secret Garden," a showcase of mystery and beauty, filled with generous gift baskets and prizes. Tickets are now on sale for $20 with an advance package priced at $40. For more information about tickets, view our website at Doors open at 5 and calling begins at 8PM. Guests must be 21 years of age!

Project Graduation Asks for Submissions

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From Project Graduation:

Project Graduation is coming up!  Part of the excitement for the evening will be the traditional photo MEMORY DVD. 

Here is what all of us (parents of seniors and seniors) need to do to make sure we get the best Memory DVD possible:
Find pictures of your senior at different ages.  Find pictures of groups of students from the Class of 2010 including pictures from elementary, middle and high school days.  The pictures may include sports, band, theatre or other activities.  The pictures may also include parties and just hanging out, prom, winter formal, or homecoming.  Pictures of teachers and/or class pictures from elementary and middle school days are good to include.  Best friend shots are great.  Look for pictures of students from the Class of 2010 that you think you will enjoy seeing in June and for many years to come.

Welcome Back Hegyes at the Raconteur Saturday

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Tonight (Friday) at 8:00pm, The Raconteur presents former Sweathog Robert Hegyes.  Hegyes will be discussing "Welcome Back Kotter" and his long career in show business. From The Raconteur's website:

Coming home to Metuchen after 35 years in the entertainment industry, Hegyes will talk about the Kotter years, his enduring friendship with John Travolta, and a particularly electric game of flashlight tag he once played with Jon Bon Jovi (they're cousins). Plus assorted Kotter memorabilia, including a foot tall Epstein action figure and Hegyes' pride and joy, his Mad Magazine cover.


The event (wine included) is FREE.

Superintendent Clarifies Budget Considerations from Monday Night

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Metuchen Matters just got a call from Terri Sinatra and the Board business administrator, Michael Havier, with some clarifications about the issues discussed for both next year and the 2011-12 school year during the Superintendant's announcementts about budget cuts on Monday night. They include:

FRESHMAN COACHES: If a team does not have a full roster of interested students signed up to play, the team will not play and the coach that was assigned to that team will not be put on payroll. At present, those coaches are assigned to assistant positions for Varsity teams.

WORLD LANGUAGES: Next year the three offered world languages will stay as assigned now. However, in the 2011-2012 school year, there may be fewer offered.

CO-CURRICULAR CLUBS: Not all co-curriculars will be eliminated. Those decisions will be made at the end of this year for the 2011-2012 school year.

$600K EMERGENCY FUND: These monies have been collected over the past years and they will continue to be held in an account for emergency purposes only. They are not part of the monies involved in the next two years' budget decisions.

We thank the Superintendant and the business administrator for taking the time to clarify these issues for our readers today. Metuchen Matters will continue to update on the budget deliberations as they go on before the election in April.

HypnoBirthing Classes starting in Metuchen

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Metuchen resident Mellisa Dormoy brings HypnoBirthing to our area.  What is HypnoBirthing?  Mellisa explains:

HypnoBirthing® teaches women how to eliminate that fear so that they experience an easier more comfortable birth, the same peaceful experience that women in other cultures have practiced for centuries. The extreme relaxation of HypnoBirthing® has the opposite effect.  It promotes the natural release of the body's own endorphins, which are 200 times stronger than morphine. It is not uncommon for women to appear as if they are sleeping and suddenly announce that the baby is coming. HypnoBirthing®, Also known as The Mongan Method, was created by Marie Mongan M.Ed., M.Hy. (Certified Hypno-Anesthesiologist) in an effort to allow the mother, baby, and birthing companion a means in which the true art and joy of birth could be experienced.

Historically, the stereotypical labor/birthing process has been associated with pain, fear, discomfort, and tension that exceed nearly all other life experiences.  Women in Western societies have adopted the belief that the birthing process should be painful, but it's actually that fear itself that causes the pain. Fear causes tension. Tension causes pain. It's a self-fulfilling prophecy. When the fear-tension-pain cycle begins, true pain is experienced.  Not only is pain created by opposing chemicals, the natural progression of labor is impeded.  Dysfunctional labor patterns are created which can in many cases lead to interventions such as Pitocin and Cesarean births.

For more information you can call Mellisa at 732-800-0510 or check out

With the district's reserve account needed to complete work for the 2009-2010 school year and an 89% reduction in state aid for the coming years along with additional cuts made by the Governor's office, Superintendent Terri Sinatra emotionally addressed the community by saying that there are monies to survive throughout the next school year but by the 2011-2012 year the district is going to be forced to make some creative and difficult choices in terms of services offered.

The County Superintendent is enacting the state regulations, which declare that the district must not exceed its budget from last year by more than 4%, With that in mind, the Superintendent discussed the variety of ways (no freshman teams, fewer world languages offered, salary freezes, technology cuts, co-curricular clubs cancelled) with which the district will begin to cope with these tight budget lines. However, Sinatra thanked the existing faculty for agreeing to the changes that will be needed and giving their full support to the district as they embark on this difficult journey.

Even with the cuts, a surplus account for emergency purposes will be set aside to the tune of $600K. Additional bright spots are that there are no major capital improvements that need to be made at this time and faculty salaries and health insurance costs are fixed. Total spending has dropped by about 3% according to the budget appropriations for the coming year. Arbitage money is available to pump into the school system.

All handouts from the budget discussions last night will be available soon on the district website.  We will link to them when they are posted.

Board of Ed Meeting Tonight - 8pm at Metuchen High School

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As the Board of Education begins crafting its budget after Governor Christie slashed almost 90% of state aid to Metuchen schools, the upcoming meetings are of the utmost importance.  The approximately $1.5 MILLION loss in state aid will force the Board into some very difficult decisions as they work towards closing the gap in the budget.

The next meeting is 8:00pm tonight (Tuesday) at Metuchen High School.  The meeting will be televised live on METV and be available soon afterwards online via METV's Video-on-Demand service.

New SuperPumper Gas Station Planned for Costco Despite Protests

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Costco Wholesale Club is in the process of obtaining permission from the Township of Edison to construct a highway-type superpumper gas station capable of fueling up to 16 vehicles at once. The site is at the Costco/Walmart Shopping Center at the corner of Vineyard Road and Route 27. Does this area need the congestion this type of station will create in a spot at the edge of our town that already causes traffic issues for Metuchen?

A meeting on March 15 at Edison Town Hall prompted a group of concerned citizens to make their protests known. At present, there are also several large retail buildings planned for the same area. Is there any way to keep this type of massive construction from going up?

Metuchen's The District is due to begin construction soon. The stores and office space available there will hopefully be prime real estate and help to revitalize our downtown area. But could this type of additional construction near the old Ford plant work against or with our proposed developments?

Metuchen School District To be Hit Hard by Christie's Cuts

So Governor Christie has issued some damaging news for the New Jersey school system--big cuts. For Metuchen, it accounts for a loss of over $1 MILLION to our district*, accounting for about 5% of the total district budget. How do you make up that kind of deficit? Especially when the other night at the Campbell/Moss PTO meeting Principal Florence Carter confirmed that there would be additional first grade classes at Campbell next year as well as the possiblity of some at Moss, which means that not only are teachers needed but capital improvements are as well. And that's just two out of our four schools. It looks like it's going to be even harder for the Board of Education to come up with a budget that will receive public approval. Elections are in April and the campaigns of BofE candidates are underway. The school district link has all the budget information on it. Whether you're a parent of a district student or a tax-paying resident, make sure you check out this budget  information. The next Board of Education meeting is scheduled for Tuesday night. And if you want to make your voice heard around the state, check out this link for NJ Kids.

*Data for post and chart from

Movies at The Raconteur and The Forum this weekend

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Tonight (Friday) at 8:00pm The Raconteur presents Alice, a movie adaption of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.  This version is the brainchild of Czeck surrealist artist Jan Svankmajer and is no Disney movie.  On the movie is described as, "a grotesque adaptation," with roles, "filled by animated taxidermy, disarticulated skeletons, clay figurines, puppets, and slabs of dancing meat," and, "one of the most inventive films I've ever seen."  Parents should be warned - this movie is, "not for kids (unless you're progressive, arty parents and your children are fearless and sleep without nightlights or those sticky glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling; indeed, if your little ones blithely sleep in the monster black of total darkness, they might be able to handle Alice.)"  This is a free event with complimentary wine.

Also this weekend, The Forum Theatre continues its excellent run of films with Crazy Heart, starring Jeff Bridges in his Academy Award winning performance (the film also won the award for Best Song).  Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 6:45pm and 9:00pm and Sunday at 4:45pm and 7:00pm.  Check out the trailer:

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From James Graziano, Borough of Metuchen, Office of Emergency Management:

Today FEMA and NJ OEM teams are assessing local damage throughout Middlesex County. Any Metuchen resident that experienced flood or structural damage from the weekend stormshould immediately contact their insurance company and open up a claim. Federal reimbursement is never a gaurantee and FEMA is the payer of last resort.

Those are highlights of local product and University of Vermont's top player, Marqus Blakely.  The two-time America East Conference player of the year guided Vermont over Boston University for the conference championship and the right to face Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA Men's Basketball tournament.  Check out the praise for Blakely from on Boston University's struggles to stop him:

John Holland tried his hand at guarding Marqus Blakely. Carlos Strong gave it his best shot, too. Jake O'Brien and Jeff Pelage together went after Blakely, Boston University's two best big men simultaneously getting in the face of Vermont's most explosive playmaker any time he got near the basket. Valdas Sirutis even was whistled for an intentional foul for wrapping his arms around Blakely -- and the ball wasn't even in play.

Syracuse is a top seed and a tough draw for Blakely's team.  However, Vermont has had success against the 'Cuse, beating them in the first round of the 2005 tournament.  The two teams tip-off this Friday night at 9:30 on CBS.

Get yer Irish on at Hailey's for St. Patrick's Day

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This St. Patrick's Day Metuchen has its own little piece of Ireland to celebrate.  Check out what Hailey's Harp & Pub has planned.

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day at Hailey's you will not want to miss all that we have planned for you!
  • Opening at 10:00 AM
  • Live Music from 12:00 pm until 12:00 am
  • Come and meet the Guinness Girls!
  • Irish Dancers Performing at 7:00 PM
  • Bagpipers Bigora!
  • Free Giveaways!

Chamber of Commerce Offers Reemployment Series FREE

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From the Metuchen Chamber of Commerce:

Laid Off?  Looking for a New Job?  Feeling Overwhelmed?  Then, this FREE series of eight re-employment sessions is for you!

Job hunting is a process, one that requires serious thought and creative thinking. Join with career professionals and other job seekers to develop your plan, prepare your job search tools, and get ongoing support.
This re-employment series will provide job seekers with step-by-step professional job search advice - from organizing your search, understanding your strengths, and developing a resume - to researching the market, interviewing, and negotiating your job offer. Importantly, there will be ample opportunities to meet and network with others in the job market. "In this difficult economic time, the Mission Committee of the First Presbyterian Church is pleased to co-sponsor a program that will have an immediate positive impact on individuals and families," says Tom Giordano, Mission Committee Chair. "Hosting this re-employment series is just one way our church meets the needs of the communities we serve."

Boil Water Advisory Lifted

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From James Graziano, Borough of Metuchen, Office of Emergency Management:


Storm Stories and Storm Help--RIGHT HERE!

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With Grove Avenue closed off at the train underpass and Woodbridge Avenue closed down at the train station, due to downed trees and ongoing removal of debris and limbs, it's clear that the repurcussions of the crazy Nor'Easter over the weekend are going to be with us for a few days more. Take a look at some of the damage, thanks to reader Emily Chang. There's a lot of work ahead this week to get over those wild winds and all that rain.

What happened to you? Do you need a chainsaw to break down a fallen tree in your yard? Do you need to borrow a wet-vac to help your basement cleanup? Give us your stories or calls for help and let the Metuchen Matters community help you out!

Borough Improvement League Scholarship Card Party March 18

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Please join the Metuchen Borough Improvement League for their Scholarship Card Party on March 18th at 1:30.  All proceeds benefit the B.I.L.'s annual scholarship fund which awards $1,000 to a Metuchen High School Senior pursuing a career in education, medicine or social services. Feel free to bring a different card or table game - you don't have to play bridge to participate.  There is a $15 donation per person.  Coffee, tea and dessert will be provided.  Prizes will be awarded and a 50/50 raffle will be held.

The event will take place at the Old Franklin School (B.I.L. Clubhouse), 491 Middlesex Avenue, Metuchen.  Parking is available across the street at Borough Hall or along Main Street.  For more information, call Phyllis at (732) 548-1391 or via email at  Advance reservations for bridge players are required.  If you cannot attend, donations to the fund are welcome!  Students interested in applying for the scholarship should contact their guidance counselor.  For more information about the B.I.L., see


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The Middlesex Water Company has issued a warning today for all water customers--water must be boiled to be safe for drinking and cooking use for the next 48 hours because of compromised substation problems. Showering, washing dishes and clothes cleaning in a washing machine are allowed.

metucheninn.jpgThe Metuchen Inn suffered severe structural damage yesterday when a fire around 6:20 AM destroyed the bar section of the beautiful old inn. The rest of the structure was protected by quick fire and emergency responders from Metuchen and environs but the restaurant will now be closed until further notice.

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From James Graziano, Borough of Metuchen, Office of Emergency Management:
    • Many trees and wires are down throughout the borough. Assume all down wires are live.  Nearby trees and structures may also be energized.  Use extreme caution. If your home is without power contact PSE&G at the number on your electric bill and report the outage.
    • The storm has wreaked havoc with the borough sanitary sewer system. Millions of gallons of storm water have infiltrated the system and, unfortunately, some homes are experiencing sewer backups and flooding.
    • Flooded areas must be sanitized and dried thoroughly.  Clean and disinfect every surface. Scrub surfaces with hot water and a heavy-duty cleaner. Then disinfect with a solution of 1/4 cup chlorine bleach per gallon of water or a product that is labeled as a disinfectant to kill germs.
    • Flood kits are available through the borough Office of Emergency Management.
    • Call 911 to report emergencies.

Call to Service Summit Scheduled for Saturday, March 20th

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From the Citizen's Campaign Call to Service Summit committee:
The Borough Council recently adopted a  resolution creating a "Call to Service Summit," an annual event to recruit and educate a new generation of involved citizens (Metuchen Summit Flyer_with Speakers.pdf). Metuchen is the first municipality in Middlesex County to officially adopt the resolution and join the statewide "Jersey Call to Service," a public service initiative to inspire citizens to participate in the leadership of their communities and reverse the tide of government waste and corruption.
The Call to Service Summit is scheduled for Saturday, March 20th, 10 am - 12:30pm at Metuchen Borough Hall and will  feature Mayor Vahalla and members of the borough council, William Lovett of the Metuchen Edison Woodbridge YMCA, and Chairman of the Citizens' Campaign Harry Pozycki.  Residents will have a chance to meet their elected officials, and learn about the leadership opportunities on boards and commissions, such as the Emergency Management commission, the Cable TV & Technology Advisory Committee, the Board of Health, Recreation Commission, Cultural Arts Commission, Development Commission, Planning & Zoning Board, as well as other non-profit organizations serving the community.

Celebrate the end of tax season at Old Franklin School

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From the Metuchen Cultural Arts Commission:
Come celebrate the fact that you got your taxes filed on Friday, April 16th at 8:00p.m.
The Metuchen Cultural Arts Commission's coffeehouse series presents "Blind Lemon Cello", a musical trio whose music spans jazz, blues and pop. 

Carol Selick, Felix Buccellato, and Eric Jorgenson make up "Blind Lemon Cello".  Ms. Selick is a singer-songwriter who has been performing in clubs and outdoor concerts throughout New Jersey.  You can check out her debut CD, "Just Gonna Think About Today" on  Mr. Buccellato has played guitar with countless bands over the past 25 years and in 2003 he won the National Guitar Workshop Songwriting Contest.  Mr. Jorgenson is a classically trained cellist who has added a unique improvisational element to the group's original songs and interpretations of songs in a range of musical styles rooted solidly in melodic blues.

The concert will take place at the Old Franklin School (Borough Improvement League Building), located at 491 Middlesex Ave. in Metuchen, right next to the firehouse. Free parking is available directly across the street in the Borough Hall lot.  Admission is $5(seniors and students $4) and no reservations are necessary.  Coffee and light refreshments will be served. For more information visit the website at or call (732) 632-8502.

From a student at Metuchen High School:

My name is Valentina Gordon and I'm a senior at Metuchen High School. This year I am part of Mr. Robbins Political Institute Class. Three years ago Mr. Robbins took an interest in the people of Ghana. He is now a partner with the IOM (Interenation Organization of Migration) and has been working with them. For the past three years Mr. Robbins' Political Institute class has been helping to raise money to rescue the enslaved children.
This year our class decided to go even bigger and we are now trying to raise money to build a school in a village called, Okpalama. The children who are allowed to attend school don't have calssrooms, or even buildings for schools. When the weather is bad classes are cancelled. We want to give the children of Ghana the opportunity to learn. The children of Ghana are the future and we believe that if we help to educate them then the country can start to change. It will cost us $50,000 to build a small school. We are lucky enough to have the help from Miss. Ghana who will raise $25,000. We hope that we can make a partnership with your website and to spread the word of what we are doing to all of Metuchen. This is a great cause and the whole community should be involved. Thank you for your consideration.

Valentina Gordon and Political Institute

Kids driving you crazy? Want to be on TV?

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You want to be a reality TV star, but you can't sing and you're not a celebrity dancer.  If you need help at home you may still have a shot.  A reader forwarded the following message from the casting producer of SUPERNANNY:

Hi there , I am a casting producer working on this season of SUPERNANNY! 

We are hoping to spread the word to parents in need throughout Philly/Jersey area Thats right, any parents who could use the help of Nanny Jo Jo , THIS is your chance. 

Are your children driving you CRAZY???? 
Had enough sassy back talk, disrespect and shenanigans? 

We are meeting with families in your area in the next coupleweeks. 

ABC is looking for families with children (toddlers to teens) to take part in the hit television series featuring Jo Frost, America's #1 nanny!

If you are interested  in applying please send a brief bio, a few family photos, contact info and WHY specifically you need Nanny Jo's help to:

Also we will need this attached application filled out ASAP

Jordan Wiles
Casting Producer-Supernanny

Open House at Neve Shalom Nursery School

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Neve Shalom Nursery School invites you and your child to our Open House March 15th - 19th.

Please call for an appointment for your personal tour of the facility.  Neve Shalom Nursery School is a NAEYC accredited, child-centered Jewish nursery school serving the needs of children ages 2-1/2 through 5 years old (Pre-K).  They also offer 'Baby & Me', 'Mommy & Me', and 'Just Me' classes. 

For more information please contact Martha Mack, Nursery School Director, at (732) 548-2238 ext. 17 or via email Neve Shalom Nursery School is located at 250 Grove Avenue, Metuchen NJ.

Metuchen Library Teen Book Club and Party

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51VKedr4MIL__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA300_SH20_OU01_.jpgFrom the Metuchen Library:


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian:  Book Discussion and Theme Party.


The Teen Advisory Board and the Metuchen High School Book Club will team up on Sunday, March 7 at 2 PM at the Metuchen Library to celebrate the Young Adult book that the whole State will be talking about through the One Book New Jersey initiative.

Local Band Makes Video At Town Landmark

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Local band The Roadside Graves, who often play at the Raconteur, have made a video for their song "Liv Tyler." You might recognize some of their locations, including a Metuchen one that everybody knows. Check it out.

What's the Scoop Sponsors Blood Drive March 11

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On March 11 What's the Scoop will be sponsoring a blood drive with free ice cream and pizza for all donors, What's the Scoop hopes to encourage a lot of folks down to their Main Street location to donate much-needed blood for local blood banks.

We just got HGTV back! Now ABC?

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Would you be lost without "Lost"?  Well if Cablevision and Disney (owner of ABC) don't manage to come to an agreement soon, local cable subscribers might find themselves in just such a predicament.  As early as this Saturday, ABC may be off the air if you have Cablevision.  And yes, that means you'll miss the Oscars on Sunday (not to mention "Lost" and the excellent new "Modern Family").

Hopefully the two parties can rectify the situation before this weekend, but after the HGTV v Cablevision fight who knows what will happen.

A letter From the Edison Wetlands Association:

I wanted to ask for your help with something that won't cost you a dime.  Do your spring cleaning early this year, and put your clothes, shoes, coats, blankets, and stuffed animals in a recycling bin managed by Edison Wetlands.  By "re-purposing" these goods and keeping them out of landfills and incinerators, you not only help the environment as we celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day 2010, but you help kids in the area through supporting programs by EWA and other nonprofits. You can drop them off at the Triple C Ranch bin, or click here for additional bin locations. If you cannot drop them off, call Edison Wetlands at 732-321-1300 and we can arrange a convenient weekend pickup.

Thanks in advance for joining us on this exciting environmental initiative.  Your support keeps waste out of landfills, keeping taxes down and protecting New Jersey's environment. For more information, visit:
See you at the Triple C Ranch this spring!

Warmest Regards,
Bob Spiegel
Executive Director
Edison Wetlands Association
Triple C Ranch

Dismal Swamp State Preservation Commission Meeting

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Executive Director of the Edison Wetlands Association, Robert Spiegel, asked us to pass this invitation along to our readers:

What:  First-ever Dismal Swamp State Preservation Commission meeting
When:  Tonight, March 2 at 7 pm
Where:  Edison Municipal Building, 100 Municipal Blvd, Edison NJ

I am writing to invite you to the Dismal Swamp State Preservation Commission kickoff meeting. It is critical that you show your support and participation in order to make this commission a success.  I look forward to seeing you tonight. If you have any questions, or need directions, call our office: 732-321-1300.  
Thanks again for all your support!


Robert Spiegel
Executive Director
Edison Wetlands Association

Councilman Weber Responds to Raised Court Issue

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A couple of weeks ago we posted a suggestion from a Facebook friend about Metuchen installing a raised court in one of our parks.  Councilman Richard Weber sent us the following response to the issue:

In an ideal world, I would love to see a racquetball or paddleball court in Metuchen if there was enough support for it amongst the community.  I have always been a supporter of the town's efforts to better our recreation facilities. For this reason, I voted along with the other members of the Borough Council to bond for the money to install lights at the new field which will be constructed at Myrtle Park.  The installation of lights comes at a cost of $200,000 but will eliminate the additional cost and inconvenience that would be necessary if the lights were installed at a later date after the field is finished, and the lights will provide an immediate benefit to the residents of Metuchen who use the field.  I was loathe to spend that extra money in this tough economic climate, especially since the entire cost of the field is being paid for with a grant from Middlesex County, but felt the benefits of lights being installed during construction of the field outweighed the cost.

However,  with New Jersey in a state of Economic Emergency,  with uncertainty as to the future of state aid to the borough and our schools, I would caution against undertaking any new capital projects such as this.  The Mayor and Council are fighting to keep Metuchen's independence  against increased calls in Trenton to require mergers of municipalities.  This is not the time, in my opinion,  for the Borough to consider taking on a significant capital project such as a racquetball or paddleball court.

Metuchen Annual Spring Egg Hunt

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From the Metuchen Recreation Committee:

Saturday, March 20th  -   Here comes Peter Cottontail arriving in Metuchen just in time for the Annual Spring Egg Hunt!  There will be plastic eggs filled with candy and some special prize eggs.  Bring a basket or bag to collect your eggs.

The hunt will begin at 9:00 am sharp, at Myrtle Field, Myrtle Park.  In the event of inclement weather, the hunt will be cancelled.

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