Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Giants Open Training Camp, Announce Practice and Autograph Schedule

The past few season's I've been going up to MetLife Stadium with the kids to watch a session or two of the Giants pre-season practices. If you're a football fan you really should go, it's a blast. As a bonus, after practice players from the Giants great fans and autograph whatever you can squeeze past the hordes of other fans seeking autographs. It's fun and a true sport in itself!

Here are the schedules for the upcoming open practices and auto sessions for training camp at MetLife stadium:

Pallone Announces Federal Port Security Grants for Monmouth County, Carteret and Perth Amboy

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) announced Port Security Grant Program funding in New Jersey’s 6th Congressional District. The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency. The Carteret Fire Department will receive $40,000, the Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office will receive $98,336 and the Perth Amboy Fire Department will receive $144,544.

“I am pleased to announce these port security grants that will be put to use in Monmouth County, Carteret and Perth Amboy,” said Congressman Pallone. “The reality is that New Jersey’s ports face a legitimate threat of attack and these funds will help the ongoing and necessary security enhancement process.”

The Port Security Grant Program supports transportation infrastructure security activities to implement security plans among port authorities, facility operators, and state and local government agencies required to provide port security services.

Middletown Rabies Alert 7-29-15

From Middletown Alerts:

The Middletown Township Health Department has received laboratory confirmation of a raccoon testing positive for Rabies. The raccoon was tested after possible interaction with a dog. This incident happened in the area of Millbrook Drive, located in the New Monmouth section of town. Luckily, no wounds were found on the dog according to Health Department Director Rich DeBenedetto.

In light of finding a rabid raccoon, we would like to remind residents about the possibility of wildlife being infected with Rabies. Please make sure all domestic animals (dogs, cats, and livestock) are currently vaccinated with a Rabies shot. Domestic animals that are not properly vaccinated and come in contact with a rabid animal must be confined for six months in an approved pen or facility by the owner or humanely euthanized to protect the family members from possible exposure to the Rabies virus, DeBenedetto added.

Residents should not be interacting with wildlife. If you come across a sick or injured animal, keep your distance and please contact Animal Control at 732-615-2097 immediately or contact the Police Department after hours and on weekends. Remember, Rabies is a fatal disease. The best course of defense is the vaccination of your pets and not handling or interacting with wildlife.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact Animal Control at 732-615-2097.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Obama Says He Could Win Again If He Ran

Looking at the current crop of GOP presidential hopefuls, I think he could win too.

July 28, 2015 By Taegan Goddard / Political Wire

President Obama asserted that,  “he could win a third term if allowed by the Constitution, but said he was looking forward to life after the presidency, when he will be able to take a walk and spend more time with his family,” the New York Times reports.
Said Obama: “I actually think I’m a pretty good president. I think if I ran, I could win.”

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Heard It In The Hallways... New Municipal Building To Be Built On Penelope Lane

Back in April I posted that Middletown will be building a new municipal complex. At the time, the powers that be weren't ready to say where the complex would be built.  That's changed.

I've now heard that the new Town Hall and Police Station will be built north of their current location, on Penelope Lane between Kings Highway and Route 35.

The next things that residents need to know is when will work begin on the new building/s and what will they cost?

July 20, 2015 Middletown Township Committee Meeting

At the July 20th meeting of the Middletown Township Committee, four new police officers were sworn in. The key to the city was presented to 3 volunteer firefighters with over 50 years of service each.

Ordinances were adopted to amend the township code regarding development and the other amended ordinance 2014-3116 to install a crosswalk at the arts center.

Ordinances were introduced to increase day care fees at Tonya Keller, amend the salary ordinance, define parking regulations at commuter lots and to establish an EMS department.

Many resolutions were adopted, some of which authorizes the Planning Board to evaluate if the wetlands area of Belford, including the seafood co-op, can be designated as a redevelopment zone. A liquor license was also granted to the Ice World / Junior Titans Hockey Club arena. A contract was awarded for $392k to install a dispatch and records management system for the police computers. The contract to issued to Bennett Landscaping, to collect brush in town, was increased from $49k to $140K.

As always, you can download a copy of the Meeting Agenda that contains the discussion items and the proposed resolutions and ordinances that were voted on or presented during the meeting. A box around an item is a link, bringing you further into the document to that resolution or ordinance. At the end of the resolution there will be a link bringing you back to the agenda. Attached to this agenda is also the monthly bill list, so that everyone can see how the Township is spending our tax dollars.

Day 2 Hawaii Pics...

Tuesday the 7th of July, was our first full day on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. We were picked up at our hotel, the Ohana East, in the morning by a tour van operated by the Polynesian Cultural Center and taken on a 4 hour tour of the island. 

One stop on the tour was the scenic Halona Blowhole Overlook. From the overlook you peer down over the black rock cliffs, out to the blue-green waters on the windward side of Oahu and down onto the Halona Blowhole and Eternity Beach made famous by Burt Lancaster and Debra Kerr in the 1953 movie "From here to Eternity".

Path leading to the  Halona Blowhole Overlook
view from the  Halona Blowhole Overlook

view from the  Halona Blowhole Overlook

view from the  Halona Blowhole Overlook

view from the  Halona Blowhole Overlook

Halona Blowhole

Halona Blowhole

Eternity Beach

Eternity Beach
Eternity Beach

Also visible from the overlook is Pele's Chair, the mythical throne of Hawaii's volcano and fire Goddess Pele.
Pele's Chair, mythical throne of the Goddess Pele 

After leaving the  Halona Blowhole Overlook our tour bus took us to one of the most windiest places on planet Earth, the Nu'uanu Pali Lookout State Park. The picture below really don't capture how lush and green or how windy this place was. The scenery was gorgeous (including the chickens) and the wind was so strong that at one point it nearly knocked me off my feet!

Nu'uanu Pali Lookout - one of the windiest places on earth

Hawaiian chickens at Nu'uanu Pali Lookout park
Even more chickens at Nu'uanu Pali Lookout Park


Nu'uanu Pali Lookout Park

view of the valley below Nu'uanu Pali Lookout Park

After leaving the park our tour driver cut across the Island and headed towards the North Shore. the North Shore is world famous for many things but mostly for it's surfing. We didn't see any surfers that day but we did stop long enough to get a picture of the famous Hale'iwa sign.

World famous welcoming sign to the North Shore

After passing the sign, our van whisked us north to spend the rest of the day at the Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC) where we enjoyed a delightful afternoon exploring the center and it's 6 authentically recreated Polynesian villages of Tonga, Tahiti, Marquesa, Hawaii, Fiji, Aotearoa,and Samoa before enjoying an authentic Hawaiian Luau.

There was a lot to do and see at the PCC, far more than what I can fully explain but believe me we did it all!!

Hula demonstration at the Polynesian Cultural Center 

Canoe pageant  at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Canoe Pageant at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Canoe Pageant at the Polynesian Cultural Center
After the Canoe Pageant it was time to prepare for our luau and the star of the luau was the succulent imu roasted pig. An imu is a pit dug into the ground that is lined with hot lava rocks and used for roasting pigs.To prepare the imu a large fire is built over the lava rocks and when the fire burns down a pig is wrapped in banana leaves, placed over the hot rocks and then covered in wet burlap. the pig is left to roast for upwards of 12 hours before it is uncovered and presented to guests.

Our feast roasting in the Imu pit

Undressing the Imu 

The pig is revealed 
The roasted pig is presented to the guests
After the roasted pig is presented it's time for the luau feats which included dishes like Kalua pig, Teryaki beef, chicken, assorted salads and Hawaiian specialties that consisted of  tropical fish, Poke' and Poi. As the luau guests were eating they were entertained with a Hula show that was MC'd  and stared a fellow named Nohea. Nohea explained to us that his name meaned "Handsome" in Hawaiian and that we should feel free to call him Handsome. he and the show were very entertaining!

"Handsome" and Hula Girl at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Hula Girl & Hula Boy at the Polynesian Cultural Center

"Handsome" & his girls at the Polynesian Cultural Center

Hula dancers during Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center

After dinner was over we had about an hour before the evening show, Hā: BREATH OF LIFE, was to be performed. We could take pictures or a recording of the show but believe me, it was pretty good! I particularly enjoyed the music.

The below preview of the show was put together by Hawaiian Airlines a few years ago,  it gives you an idea of what the show was about. If you ever make it to Hawaii you have to see this show.

When the show was over we headed back to our hotel in Honolulu. It was a long day, we got in about 10 pm and collapsed in our bed.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

President Obama's Weekly Address 7/25/15: Wall Street Reform is Working

In this week's address, the President speaks to the progress we have made in making our financial system stronger, safer, and more fair in the years since financial crisis.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Stanley Cup Coming to Middletown Arts Center, Thursday, July 30

From Midletown Public Information:

MIDDLETOWN – Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk is bringing hockey’s Holy Grail home to Middletown.

The Stanley Cup will be at the Middletown Arts Center on Thursday, July 30 from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Everyone is welcome to stop by to congratulate van Riemsdyk, a Middletown native, and snap a few photos of the coveted cup. The Middletown Arts Center is located at 36 Church Street. Free parking is located in the daily lot across the street.

“It’s been a tremendous year for hockey in Middletown. High School North captured its first state hockey title. We welcomed the Junior Titans, a North American Hockey League affiliate, to the township. Now Trevor van Riemsdyk, a professional National Hockey League player, is coming home with the Stanley Cup. It’s inspiring,” said Mayor Stephanie C. Murray.

Van Riemsdyk was a standout player at Christian Brothers Academy, located in the Lincroft section of Middletown, before going to New Hampshire to play junior hockey.

The Cup was last seen in Middletown in 2010 with another Middletown native, Mike Haviland. He was Assistant Coach for the Chicago Blackhawks at the time.

Tradition dictates that each member of the winning team gets personal possession of the Cup for a day. The tradition dates back to 1995 when the New Jersey devils allowed personal possession of the Cup for a day. The Cup has logged more than 400,000 miles in the past 5 season alone.

Pallone Introduces the Equality Act with Colleagues to End LGBT Discrimination

July 23, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) introduced the Equality Act as an original cosponsor of the bill. The Equality Act would amend the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to make it illegal to discriminate against someone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The legislation would apply to public accommodations, federal funding, education, employment, housing, credit, and jury service.

“No one should ever be discriminated against, live in fear of being fired, or be denied equal basic protections under the law because of who they love,” said Congressman Pallone. “As a longtime advocate for LGBT equality, I am proud to help lead the fight to rid our country of this unacceptable discrimination.”

Despite last month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling that affirmed marriage equality, discrimination against LGBT individuals remains legal in most states. For example, today, only 19 states offer employment and housing protections for the LGBT community. Furthermore, just 17 states prohibit discrimination for public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

Among Pallone’s ongoing efforts for full LGBT equality, he has long-urged government action against LGBT discrimination in the workplace. He led letters in Congress asking the President to sign an executive order that would require any company seeking a federal contract to have adopted workplace policies against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2014, the President heeded the call and extended protections to LGBT workers.

Letter: It's Time New Jersey Embraces LGBT Equality

The expressed opinions or views of this letter does not necessarily represent the opinion of the MiddletownMike blog:

Dear Editor,

Now that the right to marriage equality for LGBT couples across America has been affirmed by the highest court of the land, it is time that New Jersey begins working to further embrace equality and diversity.

The New Jersey legislature must mandate that LGBT history classes become a part of New Jersey middle and high school curriculum. This will help fight any remaining intolerance before it makes it's way into adult society. Additionally local colleges, such as Ocean County College and Brookdale Community College should begin offering an LGBT studies major.

As the tourism industry is one of New Jersey's largest employers, let's build a life size monument to the late, great Harvey Milk and build the world's biggest LGBT history museum in Asbury Park. We would bring in tourists and send a strong message of equality to the world.

Additionally, we all must organize to ensure the patently evil homophobia of Congressman Chris Smith results in him losing the next election and never being elected to public office ever again. Stopping this hateful man's re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives should be a top priority of activists. If we don't stop him now, the hate he propagates will result in violence.

Eric Hafner
Toms River

Letter: Flush Marijuana at New Jersey High Schools and Colleges

The expressed opinions or views of this letter does not necessarily represent the opinion of the MiddletownMike blog:

Dear Editor,

New Jersey high school, community college and state college administrators should lead the way towards more sensible marijuana policies by simply flushing any alleged marijuana down the toilet and calling the student's parents (unless the student has a medical card), instead of contacting the police.

When police are contacted, ridiculous laws are enforced that the legislature has sought to repeal, but has been blocked by NJ State Dictator, Presidential Wannabe and target of federal criminal probe, Gov. Chris Christie. Students also lose access to federal financial aid as well as job and scholarship opportunities.

It's time to set new policies stating that, marijuana high times at New Jersey schools are a time that parents, not police are contacted, with no other penalty attached.

Fast Times at Ridgemont High's Jeff Spicoli would be proud. Maybe NJ Weedman could alternatively pick up (instead of flushing) the marijuana from the district to burn it?

Eric Hafner
Toms River

Pallone Announces Funding for Community and Economic Development in Monmouth and Middlesex Counties

For Immediate Release
July 22, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) today announced more than $5.7 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for various housing and economic development programs in Monmouth County and municipalities in Monmouth and Middlesex Counties.

These grants include funding through HUD’s Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which provides resources for community improvements to help foster economic development. The remaining funding comes from HUD’s HOME Investment Partnership and the Emergency Shelter Grants (ESG) program. These programs are aimed at increasing the availability of affordable housing for low-income families and improving the quality and number of emergency homeless shelters.

“This federal investment in our congressional district will spur economic growth and are vital to revitalizing communities by helping those who need it most,” said Congressman Pallone. “As our state continues to rebuild from Sandy, the Community Development Block Grants and similar programs will help our communities realize a full recovery.”

A breakdown of the total $5,711,892 in funding follows.

Grant Type
Asbury Park
Long Branch
Monmouth County
Monmouth County
Monmouth County
New Brunswick
New Brunswick

Pallone, Menendez and Booker Call on Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council to Pursue Less Restrictive Summer Flounder Quota

July 22, 2015

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D NJ-06) submitted a letter to the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) requesting less restrictive quota limits for summer flounder stock. The proposed 2016 quota within the MAFMC’s preliminary memorandum represents an approximate 25 percent reduction from 2015. This reduction would significantly impact the recreational and commercial fisherman whose livelihoods depend on a fair summer flounder quota. U.S. Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker (both D-NJ) signed onto the letter.

In the letter, the New Jersey lawmakers wrote, “New Jersey’s fishing economy is still rebounding from Superstorm Sandy, and our fear is that a reduction of this magnitude will have a serious negative impact on commercial and recreational fishermen in New Jersey…Commercial and recreational fisherman throughout New Jersey specifically target summer flounder and derive a significant portion of their income from this species. They are dependent upon sufficient summer flounder quota to remain active in this fishery and maintain their businesses.”

The quota process is in its preliminary stages. The proposed 25 percent decrease must be reviewed by the MAFMC’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), which meets this week. It must then be approved by the MAFMC before going to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Fisheries for final approval and implementation.

The full text of the letter follows.

July 21, 2015

Richard B. Robins, Jr., Chairman
Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council
800 North State Street, Suite 201
Dover, DE 19901

Dr. John Boreman, Chairman
Scientific and Statistical Committee
800 North State Street, Suite 201
Dover, DE 19901

Dear Chairmen Robins and Boreman:

We write today regarding preliminary summer flounder management measures for 2016. According to a preliminary memorandum prepared by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC), a 25% reduction in the Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) for summer flounder is being proposed for 2016. As you review this recommendation, we urge the MAFMC and its Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) to further evaluate their options for the upcoming summer flounder fishing year and to minimize any potential negative impacts on the commercial and recreational fishing industry in New Jersey when finalizing any final specifications.

The preliminary memorandum cites poor recruitment and evidence of illegal harvest as major factors for the reduction, while noting that catch of summer flounder in recent years has not been substantially over the ABCs. New Jersey’s fishing economy is still rebounding from Superstorm Sandy, and our fear is that a reduction of this magnitude will have a serious negative impact on commercial and recreational fishermen in New Jersey.

There continues to be a troubling lack of confidence among fishermen and many fisheries managers in the data that guide stock assessments. As Congress considers reauthorization of the Magnuson Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the reliability of data collection remains one of our primary concerns. The 2006 amendments to the act included requirements to develop an improved recreational data collection program, now the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP). Yet there is still concern that random sampling is heavily relied upon by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and that the estimates produced are inaccurate. In fact, NOAA has acknowledged this shortcoming and is working to transition to mail surveys from phone surveys because they reach more anglers and provide more accurate information.

Recreational and commercial fishing directed at summer flounder is a critical component of our state's economy. Commercial and recreational fisherman throughout New Jersey specifically target summer flounder and derive a significant portion of their income from this species. They are dependent upon sufficient summer flounder quota to remain active in this fishery and maintain their businesses.

We respectfully urge the MAFMC and its SSC to further evaluate their options for the upcoming summer flounder fishing year and to approve final specifications that minimize any potential negative impacts to New Jersey’s fishing industry. Thank you for your attention to this important matter.


Frank Pallone
United States Representative

Robert Menendez
United States Senator

Cory Booker
United States Senator

Letter: Military Toxic Waste In Middletown

The expressed opinions or views of this letter does not necessarily represent the opinion of the MiddletownMike blog:

Dear Editor,

The Department of Defense is America’s biggest polluter.

It is known that locations such as the now-closed Fort Monmouth and it's earlier shuttered Camp Evans contain some levels toxic waste from military projects of the past, when record keeping and safety protocols were much different than today. So far, nothing located has been deemed in excess of “safe” levels.

But as these locations begin to be further adapted to civilian use, it is important we have a full picture of what contaminants are actually there.

Independent contractors should be hired by the State of New Jersey to locate any previously unknown chemical or radiological materials present at these locations, to protect the public from potential exposure to unknown contaminants.

Still active military locations such as the Naval Weapons Station Earle and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst should be prioritized for contaminant identification and environmental remediation, to protect both the safety of the civilian public and military families.

The people of Middletown, Colts Neck, Tinton Falls and Lakehurst should begin asking more questions of their active military neighbor's environmental practices.

Eric Hafner
Toms River