Saturday, May 23, 2015

President Obama's Weekly Address 5/23/15: Honoring Our Fallen Heroes this Memorial Day

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President commemorated Memorial Day by paying tribute to the men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our country. The President will spend the first Memorial Day since the end of the war in Afghanistan at Arlington Cemetery, remembering the more than 2,200 American patriots who gave their lives in that conflict, as well as all of our fallen soldiers. The President asked that all Americans spend Monday honoring the memory and sacrifice of those heroes, and remain committed to the cause of freedom and the country for which they fought.

We LOVE Poricy Park Day, June 6, 1-4pm

From Middletown Alerts:

Poricy Park Conservancy announces their FREE event, "We Love Poricy Park Day" on Saturday, June 6th, 1:00pm-4:00pm. Poricy Park is located at 345 Oak Hill Road, Middletown, NJ.

Fun for the entire family, this FREE event includes the following activities:

  • Live Reptile Show (2pm-3pm) - you will be fascinated by mammals, lizards, snakes, frogs, turtles and insects, presented by Rizzo's Wildlife.
  • Self-Guided Scavenger Nature Hunt - park-wide, pick up your map guide in the Nature Center; return your completed map for a “token” prize.
  • Explore Poricy Park with a trained guide; sign up on site for hikes departing Nature Center.
  • Pond Activity - Learn about the creatures of the Murray Pond Ecosystem; observe tadpoles and dragon flies and chat with knowledgeable volunteers about pond life and your observations.
  • Nature Arts & Crafts activity table
  • Look and Learn all about worms
  • GeoCaching - download app on your smart phone or bring your personal handheld GPS unit and pick up geocache wavepoints from our activity table and enjoy a self-guided excursion.
  • PPC Guided Geocache excursion - sign up at activity table for an instructor-led geocache excursion using your own device or a PPC GPS unit.
  • Wander down to the Murray Homestead and enjoy activities/demonstrations celebrating Joseph Murray including interpretive tours of the Murray farmhouse & Barn, colonial children's games, flax processing demonstrations, butter churning, wood working demo, Colonial Garden tours and tips, colonial cooking exhibition, colonial photo ops, bring a camera!
  • Nature Center/Gift Shop Open - Learn all about the benefits of membership and the ongoing impact community support has on the future of the Poricy Park Conservancy.
Subject to Change.

Have a Heart - CPR/AED Training Class Saturday, June 6, 9:00am

From Middletown Alerts:

Nutswamp Turf Field, Nutswamp Rd, Middletown
Ages 15 & Up. Fee: $60 per person. Pre-registration required.
Did you know that over 90% of cardiac arrest victims do not survive and 88 percent of cardiac deaths occur at home? If more people knew how to do CPR, more lives could be saved. Join us during National CPR Week to learn this critical skill. Participants will receive a training manual and a 2-year certification in the American Heart Association Heartsaver Adult CPR/AED. Optional child add-on available. A portion of the proceeds will be used help purchase class supplies and Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) for township Facilities.

Middletown's Memorial Day Parade, Monday May 25th

From Middletown Alerts:

Memorial Day Parade
Monday, May 25, 10:00 am start
Bayshore Middle School. Leonardville Rd.
Parade Route: Leonardville Rd. to Appleton Ave. to Center Ave. to Brevent Ave. Turn right onto Highland Ave.; left on Leonard Avenue and right on Viola Ave. to the Post Home on Route 36. Parade scheduled to end about 11:30 a.m. The annual parade is hosted by American Legion Post 338 and held in cooperation with Middletown Township.

Friday, May 22, 2015

NJ Watchdog: Gifts to Gov. Christie are not 'gifts,' rules AG




Gifts to Gov. Christie are not 'gifts,' rules NJ attorney general

In New Jersey, a gift is not a gift – particularly if you’re the governor and your subordinates interpret ethics rules in your favor. For example:

  • Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones flew Gov. Chris Christie and his family to Texas on a charter plane to be his guests in a VIP luxury box at a football game in January.
  • Billionaire casino owner Sheldon G. Adelson provided a private jet to fly the New Jersey governor and his clan to Israel in 2012.
  • King Abdullah of Jordan picked up a $30,000 hotel tab for Christie and his entourage during the same trip.
Yet none of those favors are considered “gifts” the governor is required to publicly report – thanks to a pretzel-logic legal opinion issued last week by his political appointee, Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman.

The opinion enabled Christie to report he received no gifts during 2014 – just as he has since taking office in 2010.

The governor and other state officials are supposedly required to disclose all sources of income, including “honoraria, lecture fees, gifts and other gratuities (cash or non-cash) and other miscellaneous sources of income” in annual financial statements filed with the State Ethics Commission, as required by Executive Order 24.

But according to a six-page opinion from Hoffman, a gift does not have to be reported unless it is a gratuity – such as “money received for performing a service” or “items received in return for performing some service, such as speaking at an event.”

The bottom line, strange but true: Christie does not have to report the favors as gifts unless it can be shown he did something in exchange for them.

The full story is online at http://watchdog.org/220132/christie-gifts-nj/.

Agree That Public Transit is Vital to NJ's Future? Join Us & Make Your Voice Heard





Public transit plays a key role in NJPP's vision of a better New Jersey.


It's a New Jersey where many more people use trains, buses and light rail. It's a New Jersey with cleaner air and a stronger economy, with even more vibrant cities and less congested streets. It's a New Jersey where tickets and fares are affordable - where riding public transit is not a luxury item for some and a heavy burden for those who have no other options.

That's why we, along with our friends at Environment New Jersey and the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, have put together a new broad-based coalition: to bring a renewed focus and new sense of urgency to the critical need to adequately invest in public transit.

The coalition, New Jersey For Transit, launched last week and has been all over the Garden State this week, bringing folks from our 19 member organizations to protest NJ Transit's latest plan to raise fares and cut services at the agency's public hearings.

We're speaking out against the fare hikes, asking lawmakers to fix New Jersey's broken transportation-funding structure and insisting that the state devote more resources to public transit.

If you, like us, think that reliable and affordable public transit is essential to New Jersey's economy, its environment and its everyday working people, join us.

Tell NJ Transit to stop this fare hike and tell your legislators to devote adequate resources to public transit.

The time to weigh in on NJ Transit's plan is running out; the public comment period ends tonight at midnight. Click here to make your voice heard (follow the link for "Online Contact Form").

Click here to find us on Twitter, here to read about what we're doing and why, and email me if you'd like more information. Thanks.

Sincerely,

Jon Whiten
Deputy Director


Thursday, May 21, 2015

Pallone Questions CPSC on Dangers of Crumb Rubber, Gets Commitment for Federal Efforts

Questions Follow Concerning Reports of Potential Connection between Cancer and Crumb Rubber in Synthetic Turf Playing Fields

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, at the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee hearing, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06), Ranking Member of the committee, questioned Elliot Kaye, Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), on the risks of using recycled rubber tire crumbs in synthetic turf fields. With Chairman Kaye’s response, Pallone got clarity that a 2008 statement from CPSC that fields filled with crumb rubber are “OK to install, OK to play on” does not reflect the current views of the Commission, and a commitment to continue their work with federal agencies to review the issue.

There have been concerning reports regarding young athletes who have played on synthetic turf athletic fields containing crumb rubber being diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and other blood cancers. While the compiled lists of cases in the reports are acknowledged not to equate to a scientific study, the potential link is disconcerting and requires further investigation.

“The reports of children who have blood cancers who have also been playing on fields containing crumb rubber shout for the need to ask questions and increased research into this potential link,” said Congressman Pallone. “I am glad that in today’s hearing I was able to get clarity from the Consumer Product Safety Commission that they too believe more research is necessary and that they are committed to continue working to ensure youth athletes playing on these fields are protected.”





This past October, Pallone wrote to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry to ask the agency to conduct an official study to examine whether synthetic turf athletic fields increase the risk of lymphoma, leukemia, and other blood cancers. The text of the letter is available HERE. In the agency’s reply they stated that they are supporting efforts by the CPSC in this area.


NJ Vietnam Veterans' Memorial To Host Memorial Day Ceremony, May 25



Holmdel, N.J. (May 19, 2015) — The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation will hold a Memorial Day Ceremony Monday, May 25 at 11 a.m. The Vietnam Era Museum and Educational Center will be open to the public free of charge from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

Chairman of the Board of Directors, Maj. General (USAF Ret.) Clark Martin will preside over the Memorial Day Ceremony. The program will include a presentation of wreaths by various area organizations, music by The RockNRoll Chorus, a presentation of colors by the NJ National Guard Medical Command, an invocation by Joe Formola, Chaplain of the New Jersey State Council of Vietnam Veterans of America and Dylan De Simone, grandson of Alfred De Simone who is honored on the Memorial, will recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

During the ceremony, the New Jersey Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial Foundation will award two scholarships to high school seniors from New Jersey who plan to further their education either at a college, university or trade/technical school. This year’s scholarship recipients are Ian Lettire of Phillipsburg High School and Allison Smith of Newton High School.

An “In Memory” program will honor those who served in Vietnam and returned home, but later died as a result of their tour. This year, six names will be inducted: Frank C. Moranz of Jersey City, NJ; Francisco T. Primiano of Old Bridge, NJ; John L. Patryk of Mt. Ephraim, NJ; Franklin A. Re of Cranford, NJ; Frank Tarantino, Jr. of Roselle Park, NJ; and Frank Farrell of Freehold, NJ. Visitors can also see the newly installed pavers on our Memorial Walkway and Huey Plaza. Any pavers purchased within the last year are now installed.

The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial is located at 1 Memorial Lane in Holmdel, NJ (Exit 116 PNC Bank Arts Center). For more information, visit www.njvvmf.org.

About New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation
The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation offers a meaningful and engaging experience that recognizes the sacrifice, courage and valor of Vietnam Veterans and encourages and fosters a thorough understanding of the Vietnam Era including the political, historical, social, cultural and military aspects, which affected the United States, and especially New Jersey.

The Foundation operates and manages the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial and the adjacent Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center located at 1 Memorial Lane off Exit 116 (PNC Bank Arts Center) in Holmdel, NJ. The Memorial honors all those who served our country and state during the Vietnam War, especially the 1,563 New Jerseyans who did not return home. It is a powerful and fitting tribute to their sacrifice. The Memorial is open 24 hours, seven days a week. The Vietnam Era Museum & Educational Center is the first educational center and museum of its kind in the United States. Dedicated in September 1998, the Museum is devoted solely to gaining an understanding of the conflict in Southeast Asia and the surrounding political strife in America. For hours and directions, visit www.njvvmf.org.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Thorne Middle School To Honor Local Veterans For Memorial Day

For Immediate Release:
5/19/15


To honor local veterans for Memorial Day, the staff and children of Thorne Middle School will gather at 9:00 AM on Thursday, May 21 for a traditional Memorial Day ceremony.

Following the ceremony, there will be a special performance tribute to the history of the USO inside and a screening of a touching video about Edith Thorne Lentz Nowels, who died in April.

Nowels was the sister of local World War II hero Corporal Horace “Buddy” Thorne, for whom the school was named in 1962.

“Edith was instrumental in the school receiving the Battle of the Bulge monument from Fort Monmouth. She was a driving force behind everything that Thorne has done to honor Veterans past and present,” says Thorne Middle School Principal Tom Olausen.

Before she died, Nowels was busy working on a new project, researching to find all Thorne alumni who lost their lives while serving in the military so a second monument to honor them could be placed at the school.

One such hero was Army First Lieutenant Dennis Zilinski, 101st Airborne Division – Thorne Class of 1996. Lieutenant Zilinski was killed during combat operations in Iraq in 2005.

The Zilinski family will be on hand this Thursday when the school announces the plan for a future monument.

Lt. Zilinski’s family is thankful to Nowels. “I know Dennis would be honored to be remembered alongside Corporal Thorne and other local heroes,” said his mother Marion Zilinski. “Dennis loved his country, and he loved his home town. We are very grateful to the Edith and the school for keeping his memory alive and making the sacrifice of our local veterans relevant for generations to come.”

Lt. Dennis Zilinski II grew up in Middletown, NJ.

All veterans are welcome to attend the event.

APP EDITORIAL: Don't scrap full-service gas stations


Show of hands, who wants to pump their own gas?? I sure don't and the editors at the Asbury Park Press feel the same:
A bill will be introduced in the state Assembly next month that would lead to the elimination of full-service gasoline within three years. The bill's sponsor, Declan O'Scanlon, R-Monmouth, says the bill would eliminate inconvenient waits at the pump.
Drivers in New Jersey may soon be pumping their own gas if a bill to be introduced next month by Assemblyman Declan O'Scanlon, R-Monmouth, becomes law. 
Show of hands: How many of you would prefer to have an attendant fill up your tank for you, particularly in lousy weather? If you raised your hand, you're in the majority. A 2012 Fairleigh Dickinson University/PublicMind found that 63 percent of New Jerseyans want to keep full-service pumps. 
Under O'Scanlon's proposed bill, which would be similar to self-service legislation introduced by state Sens. Gerald Cardinale and Paul Sarlo, the act of pumping your own gas would be decriminalized and self-service islands would be authorized. Gas stations would be required to operate at least one full service gas pump island for three years, and gas retailers would be allowed to charge a lower price at the self-service pumps. 
The main reason cited by O'Scanlon for changing the law is that it would eliminate inconvenient waits at the pump. Others supporting a change say it would help reduce gasoline prices — a claim that has not been born out by the 48 states that have self-serve. 
If long waits at the pump are a problem at some service stations, the solution is a simple one: take your business to a service station where you don't have to wait. Gas stations aren't monopolies. Consumers have plenty of choices....
Continue Reading...

Open Letter to Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon : Pump Your own Gas



Dear Assemblyman O’Scanlon:

I recently read an article in the APP by Larry Higgs about your proposed bill to end self-serve ban. It quoted you as saying, "it is the right thing to do". Why is it the right thing to do?

I was under the impression that one of NJ's main goals was to create jobs and keep its residents employed. Once you take these jobs away they will not be recovered.

Below are just a few questions that I have for you. I would like to get your answers to these questions so that I can understand why “it is the right thing to do”.

What jobs have you created for the tax payers?
Wouldn’t it be a more efficient use of your time to work on creating jobs?
What will happen to these employees once you toss them on the unemployment line?
Will they go to State paid job training because you took their jobs away?
What will happen to our seniors and disabled who may be forced to pay the higher price?
How have you conducted research to determine that the citizens want to see this happen?
Why are you taking away a business owners right to conduct business the way he or she see’s fit?

I believe this is wrong for New Jersey and am looking forward to your answers to the above questions and your rationale as to not leave well enough alone.

Respectfully,

Inathe M. Saliani
Middletown, NJ

FEMA Begins Flood Insurance Review Process Stemming From Fraud Reports



Notification Process Follows Pallone Letter Calling for Notification to Flood Insurance Policyholders

WASHINGTON, DC – The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) today announced that it has begun a process requested by Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) to review flood insurance claims filed by policyholders affected by Hurricane Sandy. In March, Pallone sent a letter to FEMA requesting that it establish a process allowing homeowners to easily file an appeal if they believe they have been a victim of an intentionally altered engineering report.

Allegations surfaced earlier this year that private insurance companies denied the flood insurance claims of thousands of homeowners affected by Hurricane Sandy because of fraudulently altered engineering reports. In addition to the letter, Pallone recently met with Brad Kieserman, Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance at FEMA, to discuss the allegations. In the meeting, Pallone stressed the importance of FEMA establishing a notification process in a timely fashion and the need for adequate staff to address corrective action.

“I am pleased that FEMA has moved forward to inform Sandy victims about the widespread fraud related to engineering reports connected to flood insurance claims and to ensure the victims get the resources they are rightfully owed,” said Congressman Pallone. “Sandy victims have already suffered enough, and I thank FEMA for responding to my letter with swift action.”

FEMA will send a letter to all NFIP policyholders who filed flood insurance claims pursuant to Hurricane Sandy. Policyholders who incurred losses from Hurricane Sandy from Oct. 27, 2012, through Nov. 6, 2012, and want their claim reviewed may contact FEMA. Letters will be sent on a rolling basis in the coming weeks.

As of May 15, 2015, 74,052 NFIP claims had been filed in New Jersey stemming from Sandy damage. Many Sandy victims are suing their insurance companies for perceived underpayments or denials, but the vast majority of those who have filed NFIP claims are likely unaware of the recently uncovered fraud in which engineering reports have been intentionally doctored.

The letter Pallone wrote to FEMA in March can be read HERE.

Pallone Statement on Limiting Military Surplus Equipment Transfers to Police Departments





WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) today made the following statement on President Obama’s announcement regarding the limiting of military surplus equipment transfers to local police departments. Pallone called for the effectiveness and negative impacts of this program to be looked into when it first became clear how widespread it had become.
“President Obama’s move to limit the transfer of surplus military equipment to local police departments is an encouraging and much-needed reform. When weapons are used by local police that were designed for our military to fight terrorists, it will antagonize more than it will build trust, which is what we need a lot more of right now. We are clearly at a crossroads where building trust and easing tensions between law enforcement and minority communities can help positively define American policing going forward, and I applaud the President for taking us in that direction.”

Saturday, May 16, 2015

President Obama's Weekly Address 5/16/15: Creating Opportunity for All

In this week’s address, the President highlighted the importance of expanding opportunity for all Americans -- a principle that has guided his work throughout the past six years. This past week, the President attended a summit at Georgetown University where he discussed issues like poverty and inequality, and what we can do to ensure everyone gets a fair shot. We’ve seen real results in this area, but there is still more that can be done. And lack of opportunity is not the only barrier to success. That’s why, on Monday, the President will travel to Camden, New Jersey to visit with local law enforcement, meet with young people, and hear directly about efforts to build trust between the police and the community in a city that has faced one of the highest crime rates in America.