Friday, December 2, 2016

Community Visioning Session Come Talk About the Future of Middletown’s Route 36 Corridor on Dec 6th

from Middletown Minutes:

Middletown Township is holding a Visioning Session to get the community’s input on ways to revitalize the Route 36 corridor. The session will be held on Tuesday, December 6th from 7pm to 9pm at the Middletown Arts Center, 36 Church Street.

Visioning sessions, also known as charrettes are interactive community workshops whereby members of the community work side by side with township officials, project consultants, property owners businesses and other interested parties. Input gathered at the session will help the township develop a set of Route 36 design standards. The goal is to create standards that respect the character of the neighborhoods along Middletown’s Route 36 corridor and encourage business and property owners to reinvest in the area. Funding for this project comes from a Sandy Planning Assistance Grant.

Holiday House Light Decorating Contest

from Middletown Minutes:

The contest returns for 2016! Help Middletown get in the holiday spirit by decorating your house! All residents are welcome to enter. Houses must be decorated and submitted through November 24, 2016 to December 9, 2016.

Participants may email us with a picture or a 5- second video to be published. Email is Awards will be given for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place based on Facebook Likes, as well as "Recreation Advisory Committee's Choice". Pictures will be posted to Facebook on December 11, 2016. Voting will take place from then until December 16, 2016. Then the winner will be announced Monday, December 19, 2016.

Christmas Tree Lighting

from Middletown  Minutes:

Sunday, December 4, 2016 - 5:00-8:00pm
Middletown Arts Center, 36 Church St, Middletown
FREE - Middletown Residents Only

Join us in kicking off the holiday season with an exciting tree lighting ceremony. The day’s FREE art activities and entertainment will be enjoyed by hundreds of local families and features New Jersey’s only Tuba Christmas performance, an art exhibition, tree lighting, visit from Santa, carols, children’s crafts, cartooning, and a 50/50 raffle. The Tuba Christmas performance is a tribute to the late artist/teacher William J. Bell, born on Christmas Day 1902. Tuba and euphonium players of all ages are invited to perform. Enjoy select acts from the Winter Wonderland Variety Show. Funded and managed by the Middletown Township Cultural and Arts Council.

Letter: Why Renovate The Statehouse Now

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

Dear Editor,

Governor Christie's bizarre out-of-the blue plan to gut the historic New Jersey Statehouse with a massive $300 million dollar renovation, draws numerous questions.

The first thing to come to mind is that many people lose things when moving. Could the Governor have some interest in Bridgegate related evidence getting misplaced, with a relocated Executive Office?

The state debt is already unmanageable, and the last thing we need is an expensive fancy remodel of the statehouse.

Christie has already said that the portion used by the legislature will remain untouched so here's a better idea: Leave any construction to the next governor, or let the legislature create a project.

Rev. Dr. Eric Hafner
Former Congressional Candidate
Toms River, New Jersey

If She Can't Handle Her Own Finances How Can We Trust Her With Ours?; Committeewoman Murray's Home In Foreclosure

If you haven't seen it, yesterday the Asbury Park Press reported that Middletown's former Mayor / current Committeewoman, Stephanie Murray's house is in the process of foreclosure.

According to the article, Murray "reached a deal with the lender to keep the property". Murray was also quoted as saying, “Like a lot of people, the economy and job loss has taken a toll on my family for a while, and — though I’m not going to comment on my personal financial situation — rest assured I’ve never been at risk of losing my home and have never been delinquent on my paying my property taxes, This is a private matter and I'm saddened and disappointed that it’s being made public.”.

I never like to see people in dire financial straits. It's sad and in the long run, we all pay for it one way or the other. Rest rest assured, I'm no financial genius but I live within my means. You would think that for someone who owned her own small publishing company(now out of business) and whose husband, I've heard, is a partner in the law firm that he works at, would be able to keep their finances in order. But, I suppose not.

Stephanie Murray is up for re-election next year. Will she run or won't she run? Time will tell.  If she can't handle her own finances, how on earth can we trust her with ours? Maybe she should step down so she can get her "house" in order.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November 21, 2016 Middletown Township Committee Meeting

Last week's Middletown Township Committee meeting was brief and sparsely attended, which was to be expected. It was the first meeting since Election Day and Thanksgiving was just days away.

Here are a few brief highlights:
  • A presentation was made to recognize the library for receiving a Readers Choice Award from the Asbury Park Press.
  • Two proclamations were presented, but no recipients came forward to accept them.
  • An ordinance was introduced to add names of veterans to the street naming list.
  • A resolution was authorized to amend resolution 16-210 to submit an open space grant application for $167K to be matched with Township funds to erect a lighting system at the Nut Swamp School artificial turf field.
  • Another resolution was adopted to award a contract for Ideal Beach Improvements.
Public Comments begin at 20:01 of the video and included comments about deficiencies at the Lincroft Village Green Park, expanding parking lot at the Middletown Library and the reopening of satellite branches of the Middletown Library, the progress of the new municipal complex being designed and what's being done to address the flood insurance requirement maps for North Middletown and the Ideal Beach area as it pertains to the new levy system being built in Port Monmouth.

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.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

BOE Voting Meeting - November 16, 2016

I just finished watching the meeting of the Middletown Board of Education (BOE) that took place on November 16th. It was pretty standard stuff, nothing exactly stood out as earth shattering business wise.

Always interesting however are the public comments, which start at the 1:43 mark of the video and continue on for the final 40 minutes or so of the meeting. During the comments, another lengthy discussion pertaining to school security and procedures was raised by two members of the public, who have been spearheading an attempt to eliminate Tier 3 groups (less than 20% Middletown residents) from renting space in the schools for meetings or other activities.

These two individuals have been attending meetings and presenting their concerns to Superintendent George for a year or so now. To it's credit, the BOE has taken the concerns of these people very seriously and have addressed nearly every concern legally possible, these people have presented but it isn't enough. You give them a foot, they want the yard.

I'm all for safety and thinks it's somewhat important to have our schools secure in the event of something terrible and unforeseen, but at what cost? Are we really trying to protect the children or sooth the psyche of a few "Nanny State" parents.

Kids shouldn't have to be afraid to go to school. They shouldn't have to see armed guards in the hallways and the schools shouldn't have to be always seem to be in "lock-down". It's detrimental to the students and the overall learning environment.

If you have other thoughts feel free to leave them in the comments, I'd like to read them.    

You can find the Agenda for the meeting ... HERE

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving

Here's wishing you a Happy, Healthy and Safe Thanksgiving to you and your's

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues. ~Cicero

Thanksgiving is nothing if not a glad and reverent lifting of the heart to God in honor and praise for His goodness. ~Robert Casper Lintner

President Obama's Weekly Address: Coming Together On Thanksgiving

In this week's address, President Obama wished the American people a happy Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving reminds us that no matter our differences, we are still one people, part of something bigger than ourselves. Because what makes us American are the ideals to which we pledge our allegiance. And it's about our ability to live up to the creed "E Pluribus Unum" -- that out of many, we are one.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Pallone & Army Corps of Engineers Announce New Contract for Second Phase of Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project in Port Monmouth

November 17, 2016

Long Branch, NJ --- Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) announced that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has awarded a second contract for Phase II of the Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project in Port Monmouth. The $23,146,120.00 Contract 2 includes constructing a levee/floodwall, pump station, and a storm gate, tying into the existing Keansburg levee. The funding is part of the $110 million allocated for Port Monmouth in the Sandy relief package that Pallone worked to secure in 2013. The contract was awarded to Anselmi & DeCiccio of Maplewood, New Jersey. The overall project is broken up into six contracts, and includes constructing a system of levees, floodwalls, a tide gate, road closure structures, mitigation, road raising and pump stations. The first contract of $13,696,687.00 for Phase II was awarded in July to Kyle Conti Construction of Hillsborough, New Jersey.
Congressman Frank Pallone Jr.

"Many in Port Monmouth faced serious flooding during Sandy and I am glad to see another important step taken towards phase two being completed," said Pallone "All along the Bayshore, flooding has become an increasingly common phenomenon as severe storms have become more frequent and residential and commercial development has increased. The work being done here will strengthen our local infrastructure, reduce future damage, and keep our communities safe."

"The award of the Port Monmouth Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project Contract 2 is another critical step in the Corps' efforts to increase resiliency measures for this community," said COL David Caldwell, Commander, USACE, New York District. "Large storm events will always be a threat, so it's critical we continue to do all we can to help mitigate potential flood damage and increase resiliency to vulnerable communities like Port Monmouth. That's why we now have a second announcement of a contract award for the next elements just 30 days after breaking ground on Phase 2 of the Port Monmouth Hurricane and Storm Damage Reduction Project . I am pleased to say we're moving to construction as aggressively as possible thanks to the support of the community, leaders, and elected officials. Port Monmouth is on its way to becoming much more resilient."

The first phase of the project was successfully completed in June of 2015 and included dune restoration, beach replenishment, groin work, extension of the fishing pier, and construction of protective dunes. The entire $110 million effort will offer significant protection to the area, which has suffered frequent flooding, erosion and damage from rain and coastal storms in recent years. The Army Corps of Engineers hopes to complete the entire project by 2020.

Last month, Congressman Pallone joined Colonel David A. Caldwell, Commander of the New York District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Bob Martin, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection and Middletown Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger, to mark the beginning of construction for Phase II of the project in Port Monmouth.


From NJ State PBA:

Vin Gopal
In order to bring attention and awareness to the September 21, 2016 attack on Long Branch police officer Michael Monahan, Long Branch resident Vin Gopal is committed to giving $5,000 on top of the PBA's $25,000 reward through the NJ COP SHOT program and Monmouth County Crime Stoppers bringing the total reward to $30,000.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to reach out to Detective Joe Spitale of the Long Branch Police Department at 732-222-1000. The rewards will be given for information which leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of any suspect(s) in the assault of a police officer.

"We appreciate a Long Branch resident stepping up in order to bring attention back to this issue. It has been nearly two months since the incident and it is important we capture the individual who assaulted Officer Monahan," stated New Jersey State PBA President Pat Colligan.

The NJ State PBA is asking anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers of Monmouth County at 1-800-671-400 or to text “TIPPCOP” plus your tip to 274637 (CRIMES). NJ Cop Shot is a program run by the New Jersey State PBA.

There are two (2) ways to report a crime while remaining completely anonymous (confidential).
1. Call the tip line 1-800-671-4400

2. Text “TIPCOP” plus your tip to: 274637 (CRIMES)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Pallone Raises Concerns over Trump Positions on Climate Change

Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) went to the House Floor to express concerns over President-elect Trump’s positions on climate change.

Mr. Speaker, according to his transition team, the President-elect’s Administration will withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement and “scrap” the Clean Power Plan because, they claim, it will increase energy bills “without any measurable effect on Earth’s climate.”

This is dangerous, short sighted, and completely inaccurate. The United States took an important leadership role in making the Paris agreement happen and should continue to lead international efforts to combat climate change. The Clean Power Plan is an essential part of the U.S. keeping its end of the bargain.

If the President-elect’s Administration follows through on its plans to abandon our commitments, the United States and the world will continue to suffer from increasing sea level rise, more frequent and intense natural disasters like Superstorm Sandy, and longer periods of drought, as well as other effects. What it won’t do is save coal country jobs –something that the top Senate Republican pretty much admitted last week.

As President Obama said, the President-elect’s Administration should carry on the “tradition” of honoring our international agreements, and I urge him and his team to continue the efforts begun by President Obama to stop climate change before it is too late.

Thank you.

Pallone Warns President-Elect Trump Against Dismantling The Affordable Care Act

Washington, DC: Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr., went to the House Floor to express his grave concern about President-elect Trump’s plan to undo the Affordable Care Act:

“Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to address the House for one minute and to revise and extend my remarks:

I rise today to raise serious concerns about the President-elect’s plan to dismantle Obamacare.

As a chief architect of the law, I am proud to report that the percentage of Americans uninsured is at a record low, more than 20 million additional Americans have healthcare, and a million additional enrollees are expected next year.

In my home state of New Jersey, the uninsured rate has fallen from 14.9% to less than 10% in just two years. More than half of New Jerseyans enrolled through the Healthcare Marketplace this year had less than $100 per month. More than 400,000 New Jerseyans have benefitted from Medicaid expansion.

The Affordable Care Act is working.

Reports have surfaced that the President-elect’s plan to dismantle Obamacare would eliminate the subsidies that have enabled more than 70 percent of consumers to find plans at less than $75/month. Any effort to eliminate subsidies would lead to unsustainable cost increases and a loss of healthcare coverage for people nationwide.

There is also a threat to undo the Medicaid expansion under which almost 16 million Americans have been insured. With children representing about half of all Medicaid recipients, the elimination of that expansion would be disastrous for the most vulnerable Americans.

Democrats stand ready to work to improve and strengthen the Affordable Care Act, but we will continue to stand resolute against any effort to dismantle it. For the sake of the American people, we can’t get this wrong.”

My Thoughts A week After Election Day

Today marks a week since Donald Trump won the presidential election over Hillary Clinton. It shocked me and many, many others. I'm not going to lie to you, it hurts and has caused me a couple of sleepless nights. It's hard to imagine how many polls got it wrong!

That being said, I was never a Hillary or Bernie fan; I didn't think either one could have won a widespread national election. For those who remember, I was an early supporter of  Martin O'Malley's candidacy.

I think the lack of enthusiasm for Hillary and the last minute James Comey self-injection doomed her. The millennial, black and Bernie support wasn't there as it was assumed to be. As a result, overall voter turnout, I believe, is down from 2012. That said, it's amazing that Clinton won the popular vote, which still continues to climb, by nearly 1 million votes over Trump.

I do believe that there will be widespread voter regret coming when Trumpsters realize that absolutely nothing the man campaigned on will come to throughition. He's not going to build a wall, he's not going to deport 10 million people, he's not going to ban Muslims, he's not going to grow the economy by 4-5% and you will not be able to renegotiate trade deals or eliminate our partnerships in NATO or other foreign alliances. This that tell you otherwise are lying.

Elections have consequences beyond who is elected President. Unfortunately, most of the electorate only votes once every 4 years and never think of the overall big picture.

People want jobs and a strong economy but they also want clean air and clean water. People want Social Security Medicare and Medicaid and equal rights, distributed to all not just a few. Unfortunately, the assaults on those programs, the environment and personal liberties has already begun.

Trump has a lot of legal issues of his own and he isn't the most honest person in the world. I go as far as to say that he is more dishonest than he and everybody else thought Hillary to be.

Before Michael Moore stated it, I said to others that I thought (think) that you'll see Mike Pence as president by the end of the 2018 due to the many Trump conflicts of interest and legal issues.

That's my rant on the subject and God help us all because we don't have a shovel big enough to get us out from underneath this shit-pile that's waiting to be dumped on all of us.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

President Obama's weekly Address 11/12/16: Honoring Our Veterans

In this week's address, President Obama recognized the service and sacrifice of our Nation's military members and veterans. These men and women serve as an example of what our Nation strives to be every day. From the example of the 9/11 Generation signing up to serve in response to tragedy, to the example of our military's unity and diversity, our Nation's veterans and service members represent the best of our country. To all of our Nation's veterans: thank you for your service.