November 2011 Archives

The Raconteur's Obit in the NY Times -- But Is This Really the End

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RAACONTEURNYT.jpgWord on the streets is that there may be life for the Raconteur, Alex Dawson or just that space in the weeks and months to come. Alex seems genuinely touched by all the outporing of love for The Raconteur and the cultural hub that it has become for our community. And this obit from the Times seems to acknowledge the importance of its presence and its outreach to lands well beyond our Main Street. Read it at this link. And stay tuned for the next chapter in the Life of The Raconteur!
(Picture courtesy of The New York Times)

Plan Your New Year's Celebration Downtown Metuchen Style

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Neve Shalom Auction Saturday, December 10th

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Neve Shalom Annual Goods & Services Auction will be held on  Saturday, December 10th at 7:30pm.Come join us at Congregation Neve Shalom, 250 Grove Ave., Metuchen, NJ for an exciting evening filled with fabulous items up for bid including: theatre tickets, vacations, designer handbags, electronics, jewelry, retail and restaurant gift certificates, and much, much more! Admission price is only $5.00 per person! Free coffee and dessert will be served at the end of the evening.  For more information please contact Martha Mack - 732-548-2238 ext. 17 or

Storytime for Local Scout's Silver Award - December 11th

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Fencing 101 at Library December 28th - Sign up Now!

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On Wednesday, December 28 from 1 PM until 2:30 PM, the Young Adult Department of the Metuchen Public Library will present "An Introduction to Fencing." The free workshop will include demonstrations, floor exercises and an overview of the equipment, the weapons and the rules of the sport. The hands-on workshop is open to Metuchen residents only, in grades 6-12; participants are encouraged to wear loose, comfortable clothing.  The program is conducted by a coach from a local fencing club, and it is paid for by the Friends of the Metuchen Library. Sign up at the Library, 480 Middlesex Avenue, or by calling 732.632.8526. For more information, write

Burglaries In Town - Shore Up Your Sheds

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We saw this notice on and thought we would share it. If anyone has any additional information, please send it to A sign of bad economic times?

In our area, two sheds were broken into yesterday morning... This was off of Durham Ave. According to what was told, last week there were another two sheds that were broken into around the same area. EVERYONE....Lock your sheds and make it noisy if someone tries to break in. The locks were broken off yesterday...but make it noisy. BE SAFE.


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The Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce would like to remind you to support Chamber member businesses by shopping in Metuchen this holiday season.  To make your gift giving easier, the Chamber of Commerce offers gift certificates that make perfect gifts.  They are easy to purchase, easy to wrap and are never returned!  They can be redeemed at participating chamber restaurants, retailers, and service providers.  Gift certificates are available in many denominations and may be purchased at the Chamber office (323 Main Street) or you can email or telephone us your order and we'll prepare it for easy pick up.

If you need further information concerning our Winter Festival activities, please contact the Chamber office at 732-548-2964 or via email at

December 3rd Elegant Evening Reception of Local Arts & Crafts

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From the Metuchen School DIstrict: 

To a "Celebration of Leadership" Luncheon!


On Sunday, December 4th, there will be a celebratory event honoring retiring Superintendent Terri Sinatra.  The event will be held at the Hilton Woodbridge from 12:00pm to 4:00pm.  Parents, students, staff, and community members are invited to attend.


Registration information can be found at this link:! 

There is a deadline so please act fast!


Please join us as we honor her contributions to our school district and bid her farewell.


If you have any questions, please contact Kathy Glutz via email:


Thank you and we hope to see you there!


The Chamber Presents Annual Parade To Start Off the Holidays

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The Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the activities planned to kick off this year's holiday season.  Join us on Sunday, November 27, on Main Street in Metuchen for our 58th Annual Winter Festival Parade.  The theme of this year's parade is "The Season of Giving."  This long standing tradition in the Metuchen community will feature music by Metuchen High School Marching Band, St. Joseph High School's Falcons Holiday Combo, The Banjo Rascals, Fred Lehotay's Ragtimers Band, American Celts Pipes and Drums and more!  The parade kicks off at 2:00 pm, weather permitting, at the corner of Brunswick Avenue and Main Street.  Participants will travel down Main Street and turn onto New Street to end in the Pearl Street parking lot.  Be sure to join us at the Metuchen Senior Center at the conclusion of the parade for a visit with Santa and hot chocolate provided by the Metuchen Recreation Commission. If the weather is questionable, call the Chamber office at 732-548-2964, or visit either the chamber website at, or our facebook page at, after 11:00 am for an announcement.  There is no rain date for this event.

As this year's theme is "The Season of Giving," we encourage everyone attending to bring non-perishable food items or gift cards from a local supermarket to help replenish local food pantries.  There will be donation bins placed at the review stand at the corner of Main Street and New Street as well as bins at the Metuchen Senior Citizens Center. Also, please consider donating an unwrapped toy to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. The official drop-off sites in Metuchen are at Hailey's Harp & Pub, Martin and Son Jewelers, and George's Dry Cleaning and Tailoring. Donations will be accepted until December 15th.

Police Department Looking for Auxiliary Police Applicants

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The Metuchen Police Department and the Metuchen Auxiliary Police are looking for Metuchen residents interested in becoming a volunteer police officer in the borough. No prior training is necessary. Training will be provided.

The Auxiliary Police, consisting of both men and women, work with the police department to reduce hazards; assist police officers with patrols of the entire borough; assist in emergency or disaster situations; conduct traffic control, crowd control, road closures; provide extra patrols at schools and places of worship; assist in first aid/CPR; and provide services deemed necessary by Police Chief James Keane. To become an auxiliary officer in the borough, an applicant must be a Metuchen resident, at least 18 years old, possess a valid driver's license and pass a criminal background check.

This is a volunteer position. The auxiliary police officers volunteer their time in an effort to enhance the quality of life for the residents, visitors and businesses in the community.All applicants will be required by the county to attend the Middlesex County Auxiliary Police Academy, which starts in March and runs to June, prior to becoming an Auxiliary Police officer in the borough. 

Free College Planning Workshop at Library November 30th

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On Wednesday November 30 at 7:30 PM, Complete College Planning Solutions is sponsoring a free workshop for the parents of high school seniors, juniors and sophomores at the Metuchen Public Library, 480 Middlesex Avenue. The 60-minute workshop will focus on ways of getting free money for college, both financial aid and merit money. This event for all parents looking to solve the cash flow crunch during the college years is taught by Ian Welham, a nationally known expert on getting into and paying for college. Seating is free, but limited due to room size. Reservations are suggested and can be made by registering online at or by calling 1-908-857-4200.

Neve Shalom at the JCC: Travel to Israel How-To

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Neve Shalom invites you to "Israel Travel For Every Budget" sponsored by The JCC of Middlesex County and the Neve Shalom Israel Awareness Committee - November 30, 2011 at 7:30pm at the JCC, 1775 Oak Tree Rd. Edison, 08820. If you are single, a couple or family looking to visit this amazing place - join us and receive information about Israel travel of many kinds and for every budget. Join us for information, conversation and refreshments! - Please rsvp to Linda at (732) 906-0737 by Nov. 23rd.  For more information, contact Jennine at (732) 494-3232 ext. 621.

Neve Shalom Presents Annual Auction and Other Events Dec 4-10

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A "Java Nagila" for Hebrew School and Nursery Parents of Neve Shalom is being held for discussions, friendship, coffee, tea and bagels. The first gathering is Sunday, December 4 at 9:00am.  For more information, please contact Hazzan Levin at 732-548-2238, ext. 14.

Neve Shalom will hold a Blood Drive - In Memory of Michael Allan Thompson, Sunday, December 4, 2011, from 8:00am - 1:00pm - Miller Ballroom, 250 Grove Ave., Metuchen, NJ. Anyone age 16 and over can give blood. Contact Matthew Bonus at 732-968-4489

Rabbi Zelizer and Nita Polay Levin of Neve Shalom in Metuchen, NJ will be conducting Saturday Morning Family Service, December 10, 2011 - 10:15-11:45am for students grades 2-6 and their families. For more information, please contact Hazzan Levin - 732-548-2238, ext. 14.

NEVE SHALOM GOODS & SERVICES AUCTION SATURDAY, DECEMBER 10th at 7:30 pm Please join us at Congregation Neve Shalom, 250 Grove Avenue in Metuchen for the annual Goods and Services Auction to be held on Saturday, December 10th at 7:30 pm.  We have many fabulous items up for bid including vacation homes, designer bags, theatre tickets, sporting event tickets, flat screen TV's, Weber gas grills, original fine art, restaurant gift certificates, retail store gift cards and much, much more! 

In addition to the open auction, we feature a silent auction, a 50/50, raffles, giveaways, and complimentary coffee and dessert at the end of the evening.  Admission has been rolled back to only $5.00 per person! For more information about the Goods and Services Auction please contact Martha Mack at 732-548-2238 ext. 17.  

Municipal Alliance Recommends Child Break Webinar December 5th

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Register online for an important and free 15 Minute Child Break webinar being held on December 5th through 8th focusing on the issue of talking to children about the dangers of drugs. You can participate in this webinar from the comfort of your home and be empowered and supported with the assurance that, even in today's society, parents are still the strongest influence in their children's lives. Event information and registration can be found at

The 15-Minute Child Break is a FREE, interactive, one hour presentation for parents, grandparents and caregivers who are concerned about children (of any age) and substance abuse.  Representatives from the Partnership will deliver this informative, engaging, and educational presentation. Participants receive age specific information and communication skills concerning substance abuse. All participants will be able to choose from one of 8 different times that they find convenient during the week of December 5, 2011.


December 6th Trip to the Met with the Friends of the Library

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Scared Straight Doesn't Seem to Always Do the Job

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In difficult economic times, it seems as if there are far more crimes being committed, even in a town like Metuchen, and, thanks to our astute local police force, many of these criminals end up in jail. But the rates on incarceration are quite interesting. Check out this information - do you think that it's too high or just right?

Come get those holiday haircuts at the John Anthony Paul Salon in Woodbridge at the Hair-Cut-A-Thon on Sunday, November 20th from 10am to 3pm to benefit the Metuchen High School Marching Band Orange Bowl Fund. John (from the original John Roberts Salon) has graciously offered to donate all of the money collected that day to the MHS Marching Band! Suggested donation $15.00, cash only please. The salon is located at 201-205 New Brunswick Ave., Hopelawn. (Just head down Amboy Ave. 3.7 miles from Tano Mall and see the salon on your right. Amboy Ave. turns into New Brunswick Ave.)


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Check out this link:

For Your Guests During the Holiday Season . . .

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How do you make beer? It used to be quite the hobby -- many brewmasters had basements filled with their own special libations. Is that the case anymore? Check this out - maybe it will inspire you to make your own NOW. Is it more complex than you would have thought? Or easier?? Imagine making your own and giving it to friends during the holidays!

Superintendent of Schools Finalist Now in Negotiations

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Eileen Frowenfeld, President of the Board of Education, announced at November 15th's  meeting that a finalist for the position of Superintendent of Schools has the unanimous support of the Board.  She stated that negotiations with the finalist are ongoing and, in response to a query from the audience, said she could not give a date for completion of this process. bIt was indicated that the process could go on until after Thanksgiving.  The next Board meeting is now scheduled for November 29.   

Literacy Volunteers of New Jersey in Metuchen Receives $11K Grant

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Literacy Volunteers of New Jersey in Metuchen, received a grant of $11,000 to support health literacy workshops for adults, "Reading Medicine Labels," as part of its Improving Health Literacy Skills of Low Literate Adults Project. The workshops are designed to increase understanding of medications, their different forms and how to read labels.The grant also provides for a volunteer train-the trainer session, community outreach and a health literacy session for workshop leaders.  

The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey announced the Foundation's third round of grants for 2011, awarding $396,000 to 23 organizations. The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey supports charitable organizations that promote health and the arts throughout New Jersey.

Robert A. Marino, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation, stated that "We recognize how these organizations are making a positive difference in the health and quality of life of individuals throughout New Jersey."


B.J. Hill Stops in Metuchen on His 450-Mile Walk to Meet Obama

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Check out this link from Channel 11, WPIX, which came to Metuchen to talk to B.J. Hill, a Massachusetts native who is making a 450-mile walk from Massachusetts to the White House this fall. With a black book in hand in which he asks those he meets to write their stories of difficulty to deliver to the President, Mr. Hill remains cheery, saying that his numb toes reminds him of all the people who are counting on him to let Obama know that there are real people out in the world who could use a bailout as much as any corporate entity. Hill completed a similar walk across the U.S. in 2008.

Say a Sad Farewell to the Raconteur - Closes January 31st

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rac banner3.jpgYes, it's true. Alex Dawson's The Raconteur Bookshop, a mainstay of Main Street Metuchen for the past seven years, will close its doors officially on January 31,2012. This piece of bad news rises above most of the pieces of bad news that come our way each and every morning in America, it seems . . .  because this is about our downtown, about the Brainy Boro's attempts to remain a Brainy Boro and not to give in to the Jersey Shore and Real Housewives world of reality television, spray tans and fistfights. The cramped, eclectic, slightly demented interior of the store, with its smell of old books and fresh coffee, its insane collection of artifacts, literary and not, will be missed with heartfelt pangs. To think of Main Street without that outpost of all that is smart and interesting in this world is a painful thought. We will miss the electricity created by one Alex Dawson, writer and the very spitting image of a raconteur, striding down Main Street purposefully into his shop, where one would expect, on several days during the week, to encounter fire-breathers, Nobel prize winners or local kids sharing their creativity with the public.

The Raconteur leaves behind a legacy of creative, educational and sometimes maddeningly weird and macho manifestations of the human spirit. The over 500 free events sponsored by the store in its lifetime provided this little town an opportunity to tune into so many different wavelengths that sometimes it felt like we were living in the middle of some fantastic metropolis where anything could happen (and sometimes did). 

The Raconteur, however, still has ten lively events in place so get there and pay homage to Alex Dawson's intense and much appreciated love for this community and all things wild and wonderful. Click here for the upcoming events, including an evening with Jersey giant filmmaker extraordinaire John Sayles. Thanks, Alex -- don't think your efforts will be forgotten any time soon.

Marafiki Fair Trade Store Ribbon Cutting November 18th

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A Grand Opening and official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will take place on Friday, November 18, 2011, at Marafiki Fair Trade at 6:00 PM with festivities following until 9:00 PM. Representatives from the Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce will be joined by Metuchen Mayor Thomas Vahalla as Linda Koskoski and Deborah Zupan open their new location at 20 New Street.

Marafiki Fair Trade is a new global boutique where every purchase makes a positive impact. At Marafiki –(which means “friends” in Swahili) , their mission is to sell unique fairly traded products, such as jewelry, accessories, home décor, housewares, paper goods, coffee, and much more. Marafiki Fair Trade is owned and run by Linda Koskoski and Deborah Zupan, both longtime Metuchen residents and supporters of Fair Trade. “We are thrilled to offer customers in our area the chance to buy Fair Trade items right here in their own neighborhood,” remarked Linda.  Added Deborah, “and we are very pleased to bring this exciting new business to our downtown.”

Marafiki Fair Trade is located at 20 New Street in Metuchen.  The store is open Tuesday-Friday from 10:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sunday from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM. All major credit cards, in-state checks, and Metuchen Area Chamber of Commerce gift certificates accepted.

Local Slipper Drive for Hospitalized Children Needs Your Donations

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images.jpgMetuchen mom Kellie Davideit is celebrating this season of giving in a very special way, bringing hospitalized kids some joy during the holiday season by organizing a collection of new slippers for them. Now several years in, Kellie knows that something as simple as a lost pair of favorite slippers could disappoint an already overly-burdened young patient and this drive helps a lot!

Kellie found that new pairs of slippers bring warmth and cheer to sick children. Each year the collection donates 100s of slippers to children at St. Peter's Childrens Hospital in New Brunswick. As Kellie explained to MM, "this program has been very well-received and so appreciated by the children, parents of patients, and the wonderful Pediatric staff at St. Peter's hospital.  Please help us in collecting NEW Children's Slippers for St. Peter's Pediatric Patients, so we can keep their toes warm and brighten their day!" 

If you are interested in participating: Donate new slippers for boys and girls in infant, toddler, and youth sizes. Drop off is at 27 Bounty Street, Metuchen (leave in bag on porch) now!! Email questions to Kellie through

You can always offer some help - Online Nursing Classes Offer Inspiration!


Both of Metuchen Pop 
 Warner's competitive cheer squads placed 1st (making history) at the 
 Eastern Regional
 Competition and have now qualified to compete for a National title 
in Walt
 Disney World the first week of December.  This is the first National
 Qualification for a Midget Level team (ages 11-15) in Metuchen and the
 second for our Junior Pee Wees (ages 8-10).  The girls have worked
 incredibly hard this season so far and we are extremely proud of 
 them!  The
 honor to represent our Region (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and
 Maryland) at Nationals comes at a great cost though and we are seeking
 donations.  40 
 girls and
 approximately 12 coaches are attending this year so every dime helps--Donations can be mailed to 
 Metuchen Pop
 Warner at PO Box 374, Metuchen, NJ 08840,  Any questions? Contact Melanie Shapiro Cheer Director at

Several fundraising efforts will help the girls raise money for this trip--Metuchen Pop Warner fan tees are being sold for $13.99 by the team. Orders need to be in by Saturday,November 19th. If you want one, please contact Catarina Young at catarina young <

Local fitness company, Total Core Fitness Boot Camp, invites the community also to participate in their Weekend Warrior Camp for a cause Saturday, November 19th. While fitness is always the primary goal of Total Core Fitness Boot Camp, this workout will be dedicated to helping the Metuchen Pop Warner Cheerleaders raise money. Melanie Shapiro, Metuchen Pop Warner, explains, "This is a very exciting year for our program. Having the opportunity to make 40 of our girls dreams come true is unbelievable but with such an opportunity comes a great cost. As a non-profit organization we strive to include every child in our community. Some often need more financial help than others. Every little bit helps."

Annual Friends of the Dismal Swamp Meeting Wednesday Night

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Edison Wetlands Association and the Triple C Ranch & Nature Center invite you to join us for our annual Friends of the Dismal Swamp meeting.


Wednesday, November 16 at 6 PM
Stelton Community Center - Auditorium
328 Plainfield Avenue, Edison, NJ

To RSVP, contact Edison Wetlands Association at:
732-321-1300 or email

From the Friends of the Metuchen Library:

Three Local Authors--Josh Margolin, Tom Davis, Steven Patrick

at the Metuchen Public Library on Sunday, November 20 at 2 PM

What do The Jersey Sting, A Legacy of Madness, and Journey at Dusk have in common? They are books, written by local authors who are coming to the Metuchen Public Library! What do a Pulitzer Prize winner, a college professor, and a Director of Design at an architectural firm have in common? They are Metuchen authors who are coming to the Metuchen Public Library! What do Josh Margolin, Tom Davis and Steven Patrick have in common?  They are Metuchen residents, all husbands and dads and authors, who are coming to the Metuchen Public Library! This program is free and open to the public and is sponsored by the Friends of the Metuchen Library.  For more information, visit the Library and ask at the front desk or call 732.632.8526.

Follow-Up On the American Medicine Chest Challenge

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From the MPD:

On November 12, 2011, a historic and lifesaving event --- The American Medicine Chest Challenge (AMCC) --- a public health initiative to raise awareness about the dangers of prescription drug abuse was held in Metuchen, as part of a nationwide day of disposal of unused, unwanted, and expired medicine that was held in 46 states and resulted in thousands of residents taking the 5-Step American Medicine Chest Challenge and disposing over ten tons of unused, unwanted, and expired medicine.

This initiative challenged Metuchen residents to take the Five-Step American Medicine Chest Challenge:

·       Take inventory of your prescription and over-the-counter medicine.

·       Lock your medicine chest.

·       Dispose of your unused, unwanted, and expired medicine in your home or at an American Medicine Chest Challenge Disposal site.

·       Take your medicine(s) exactly as prescribed.

·       Talk to your children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse.

During the American Medicine Chest Challenge held at the Metuchen Police Station "Hundreds of bottles of medication which filled four large boxes were collected," according to Officer David Liantonio of the Metuchen Police Department.

Metuchen Arts Council Trip to Holiday Train Show at NYBG

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The Metuchen Arts Council is sponsoring a trip to the New York Botanical Gardens for the annual Holiday Train Tour on Thursday, December 15thThe Arts Council invites you to take part in one of New York's most beloved winter traditions as you enter an enchanting world of garden-gauge trains and trolleys winding their way through replicas of over 140 New York landmarks. After the tour, the bus will depart the Botanical Gardens for Arthur Avenue, which is better known as "Little Italy" in the Bronx.  Participants will be able to venture out on their own for lunch and shopping at the great Italian markets there.

The bus leaves from the Metuchen First Aid Squad lot, located at 1 Safety Place, Metuchen at 8:00 a.m. on Thursday, December 15th and returns at 5:00 p.m.  Admission and transportation is $36. For reservations and further information contact Nancy Goldberg at 732-632-8502 or

Of course, why not create your own artworks to share in your community? Check out this link for online art classes!

 From the Metuchen Public Library:

Crafting for Caring, a program to benefit the Ronald McDonald House, will be offering craft classes for interested teens at the Metuchen Public Library, 480 Middlesex Avenue. Participants are encouraged to sign up for individual classes: Dec. 3, 2pm-4pm (No-Sew Fleece Blankets); Jan. 21, 2-4pm (Craft Kits); Jan. 28, 1-4pm (Sew Cuddly Creatures); Feb.4, 11 and March 3 (Knitting). During each class, participants will learn new skills and make two crafts--one to take home and one for the Ronald McDonald House, which provides a "home away from home" for families of seriously ill children receiving care at medical facilities near their New