Sunday, October 19, 2014

Please Help Us Keep Sandy Hook Undeveloped: Sandy Hook development - comment period last day 10/22

Please Help Us Keep Sandy Hook Undeveloped

Submit Your Comments Here to the NPS by October 22nd

New Jersey Audubon has enjoyed a 30-year relationship as a Park Partner with the National Park Service through the Sandy Hook Hawk Watch (beginning in 1979).  Our long-term involvement and presence have given us the opportunity to observe and document the changes and impacts that have affected Sandy Hook.

Our concern regarding the proposed relocation of the maintenance facilities stems from our awareness that Sandy Hook has grown from a 1,665-acre barrier peninsula to more than 2,100-acres that provide spectacular, undeveloped ocean and bay beaches found nowhere else in Monmouth County.  Preservation and protection of these habitats must be a priority, along with the recreational opportunities provided to the birding community and the public in general.  If you would like more information on Sandy Hook, its natural resources and NJ Audubon's position to protect and preserve Sandy Hook, please read our letter to the National Park Service.

Again, the public is invited to submit comments to the National Park Service regarding the proposed relocation of the maintenance facilities at Sandy Hook and the deadine line to submit comments is next week, October 22nd.  

Saturday, October 18, 2014

President Obama's Weekly Address 10/18/14: What You Need To Know About Ebola

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President discussed what the United States is doing to respond to Ebola, both here at home and abroad, and the key facts Americans need to know. There is no country better prepared to confront the challenge Ebola poses than the U.S. and although even one case here at home is too many, the country is not facing an outbreak of the disease. Our medical professionals tell us Ebola is difficult to catch, and is only transmitted through direct contact with the bodily fluids of someone who is showing symptoms. The President made clear that he and his entire administration will continue to do everything possible to prevent further transmission of the disease domestically, and to contain and end the Ebola epidemic at its source in West Africa.

Friday, October 17, 2014

October 6, 2014 Middletown Township Committee Meeting

I can't believe that I haven't posted a video of the Middletown Township Committee meetings since the August 18th,2014 meeting. That's probably because the last few meetings haven't lasted very long and nothing of note has taken place much like this one from Oct. 6th, which lasted only 25 minutes.

There were two discussions of note that I found somewhat informational. The first being that the township is looking to add some type of coffee shop at the Middletown train station that would possibly be housed in the Arts Center building. The second was that Middletown has an over-abundance of leaf mulch and wood chips that they are looking to either sell or give away to other towns.  So if you need some late season mulch before the winter sets in, go get it before it is carted off to other towns.

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.

Police Auxiliary Accepting New Applications

From Middletown Alerts:

The Middletown Township Police Auxiliary is accepting applications for new members through November 2014. The township's Auxiliary Officers are highly-trained volunteers who serve the community in a variety of police-related tasks. Meetings and training are held on a regular basis.

Poricy Park Haunted History Walks

From Middletown Alerts:

Sundays, October 19, 26; 6:00-7:00pm & 7:15-8:15pm

Trek through the trails of Poricy Park as your specially trained guide regales you with haunted history and mysteries of Monmouth County. Sponsored by Jersey Shore Ghost Tours. Appropriate for adults and children ages 9+. Paid registration required in advance. Limited space available. Visit for online registration. Walk-ins, please call ahead for space availability at 732-842-5966. Fee is $12 adults & children over 12; $10 children ages 9-12; 60-minute haunted excursion.

APP LETTER: Smith on wrong side of women’s issues

The following is yet another anti-Chris Smith letter that appeared lately in the Asbury Park Press:

In response to the Sept. 20 letter regarding Rep. Chris Smith’s views on important issues, he is especially out of touch on women’s issues.

Smith voted against Equal Pay for Women, voted against the Violence Against Women’s Act, voted to outlaw the birth control pill and voted to block private insurance and flexible spending account money from covering contraception. He also wrote a bill (HR3) to redefine rape to forcible rape, which would decriminalize statutory rape. Drugged and raped, date rape and even incest of children would no longer be rape under Smith’s definition.

Smith is against a women’s right to choose even in cases of rape, incest and to save the life of the mother. He voted for fetal personhood, which would ban all oral contraceptives, in-vitro fertilization and stem cell research. It would also criminalize a women’s choice, regardless of the reason.

Incredibly, Smith has not lived in New Jersey for more than 30 years. He is not one of us nor has he shared our collective experience as a community with regard to 9/11, Hurricane Irene or superstorm Sandy. Having not lived through Sandy must be the reason Smith pledged not to support any climate change legislation unless it included a tax break for the biggest polluters, the Koch brothers. It’s nice he helped David Goldman get his son back in 2009, but that does not excuse his attack on women’s basic rights and all the rest.

Robin Nowicki


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Democrats seek bipartisanship in Middletown

Out this week in the Independent is an overview of the candidates running for Middletown Township Committee. Below is an excerpt featuring the comments of Middletown Democrats Patrick Short and George Mardinly.

"... Democratic challenger Short agrees that the issues vary across neighborhoods in Middletown. He said he is running to help bring another voice to the committee to help raise new questions about those issues. 
Patrick Short
“Middletown has been ruled by one party for a very, very long time,” Short said. “ … I’m more concerned that there’s only one party affiliation than which party it is.”

In 2006, Short was elected to the committee as the sole Democrat, where he sought to raise questions that he said often went unasked.

He said the “larger picture” is bringing different perspectives to the committee through party diversity.

According to Short, some pressing issues facing Middletown that demand immediate attention include the Bayshore recovery, reducing traffic in Lincroft and finishing the incomplete bridge on Bay Avenue.

Mardinly echoed his running mate’s point of view, emphasizing what he said was the need to break the single-party dominance of the Township Committee.
George Mardinly
“Any good government is based on the diversity of opinion,” he said.

One of the universal concerns across all of Middletown’s neighborhoods remains the balance between investment in infrastructure and controlling taxes, according to Mardinly.

“If any of these things are going to be attended to in addition to all of the ongoing expenditures, it all comes from tax money,” he said.

In order to ensure the township’s taxes remain stable, Mardinly said it is important to prioritize spending and make decisions based on facts and data.

“You have to look at the numbers and the priorities, and then go from there,” he said. “The goal here is to work together, see what the economics are, and then see what can be addressed and what needs to be addressed in a sensible way.”

Read the full article from the Independent.

A Labor Hero

The following is from Congressman Rush Holt's newsletter

When Mary T. Norton was elected to Congress in 1925 from New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District, she was only the fifth woman elected to the House, and the first female Democrat.  She was the first of only two women to represent the 12th District. (Florence Dwyer was the second.) Altogether only five women have represented New Jersey in Congress. In her congressional career, “Battling Mary” served as chair of four committees, most notably the House Committee on Labor from 1937 to 1946, where she helped enact the groundbreaking Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 – which established the 40-hour work week, outlawed child labor, and established the first federal minimum wage – and fought for equal pay for women. That struggle for fair wages and equal pay for equal work continues.

White House Report on Antibiotics

Recently the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) released its report on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance, a problem of growing concern to the medical and scientific community. Since the onset of widespread use of antibiotics in the 1940’s many infections that were often fatal are simply cured. In recent years, though, doctors and researchers have seen a trend: bacteria develop resistances to these lifesaving antibiotics, and people die as a result. 

Recently, the number of bacteria that are resistant to some - or in a few cases all - of the commercially available antibiotics has risen. There is a troubling trend of overuse by both the medical and agricultural community, which has further exacerbated the issue. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to 50 percent of prescribed antibiotics in the U.S. are at best not optimally prescribed, or at worst not needed at all. In addition, the overuse of antibiotics in the agricultural community has led to an additional spike in antibiotic resistant bacteria, which harm human health.

Bacteria continually evolve so we must invest in research for new antibiotics. However, to exacerbate the risk to humans by selecting for resistant strains through overuse of antibiotics is irresponsible. The PCAST report brings attention to the deadly seriousness of the problem, and the report contains numerous recommendations about such things as detection of resistant bacteria and more research, although I think the report could have been stronger in condemning the overuse.

My Mailbag

I like to share with you occasionally some of the letters, emails, and phone calls I receive about various issues. It may be instructive to know the huge range of concerns of your neighbors in the 12th District. Here are several communications:

Roslyn from Monroe wrote about the recent Supreme Court ruling on Hobby Lobby, and expressed her concern that the ruling opened the door for private companies to use religion to discriminate against female workers and dependents. I let Roslyn know that I am a cosponsor of legislation that would override the Supreme Court’s decision and reinstate the right to contraceptive coverage provided by the Affordable Care Act – for all women, regardless of where they work.

Gertrude from Hopewell e-mailed to support the EPA’s proposal to protect clean water by closing polluter loopholes that have left drinking water for more than 1 in 3 Americans at risk. I wrote back to let Gertrude know of my support for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Clean Water Rule, which will identify and protect interconnected wetlands and streams vital for downstream communities.

John in Hightstown wrote that the granting of US citizenship to children born in the US to foreign nationals is more generous than the practice in some other countries and should be stopped. I pointed to the 14th Amendment to the Constitution and said there seems to be no ambiguity that children born here are citizens. Furthermore, to deny them the valuable opportunity to take part fully in the opportunities and obligations of our country would deprive those who have done nothing wrong themselves, and would even punish ourselves by creating a more restrictive society.

Rush Holt
Member of Congress

Monday, October 13, 2014

What would happen under a Republican Senate?

  The Daily Kos -  The answer is in the video above. As Reich explains:
  • Unemployment benefits will not be extended to the long-term unemployed
  • No minimum wages—no living wages for that matter
  • Continuing education cuts
  • Continuing decay of our country's infrastructure

The Deficit Is Down and the Deficit Hawks Are Furious

The deficit hawks are perfectly happy to see upward redistribution continue. After all, they and their patrons have been the beneficiaries....

By Dean Baker,

Last week, the Congressional Budget Office reported that the deficit for the 2014 fiscal year that just ended was $460 billion, considerably lower than they had previously projected. This puts the deficit at 2.7 percent of GDP. At that level, the size of the debt relative to the economy is actually falling.
Not only is the deficit down sharply from its levels of 2009 and 2010, when it was near 10 percent of GDP, it is below the levels that even the deficit hawks had targeted back in those years. In other words, even if we had followed the lead of deficit crusaders like Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, the deficit would be no lower today.

If anyone thought this would make the deficit hawks happy, they are badly mistaken. They are furious.
Fred Hiatt, the editorial page editor of the Washington Post, fumed about Obama’s “false victory over the deficit,” and warned that if there are no changes in policy, the debt to GDP ratio will soon begin rising again hitting an “insupportable 106 percent by 2039.” One could find similar expressions of outrage from the various Peter Peterson funded organizations like Fix the Debt or the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.
This ranting is utter nonsense. If Fred Hiatt had bothered to do any homework he would have discovered that if the debt held by Social Security is included, the current debt to GDP ratio is already 103 percent of GDP, almost identical to 106 percent number that for unknown reasons he asserts is insupportable....

Continue reading  

Saturday, October 11, 2014

LVGA Candidates NIght, Tuesday Oct. 21th. 7pm - 9pm

If you would like to submit a question in advance to the candidates you can do so by leaving your question on the online spreadsheet that the LVGA has setup for the evening >>> HERE

President Obama's Weekly Address 10/11/14 : America Is a Place Where Hard Work Should Be Rewarded

WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President made the case for why it’s past time to raise the minimum wage. Increasing the national minimum wage to $10.10 an hour would benefit 28 million Americans, and make our economy stronger. While Republicans in Congress have blocked this commonsense proposal, a large and growing coalition of state and local leaders and owners of businesses large and small have answered the President’s call and raised wages for their residents and employees. This progress is important, but there is more that can be done. No American who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty. That’s why the President will continue to push Congress to take action and give America its well-deserved raise.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Fiore “the Fibber” Once Again Has Integrity Issues: Deny, Deny, Admit, Delete

2 weeks ago I asked if Middletown Committeeman Tony Fiore might Have Women Issues  after allowing a person to post a derogatory picture towards women on his Facebook page and hitting the “Like” button back on September 14th.  The picture depicted Peanuts character Charlie Brown kicking Lucy in the head while exclaiming “Not this time Bitch!” as she attempted, once again, to pull a football away from him as he tried to kick it.

I stated that the image was offensive and inappropriate for an elected official to display so proudly on his social media page and thought that Fiore would be smart enough to understand how inappropriate and degrading the image was to women. Especially after all the media attention that former Baltimore Raven's running back and Rutgers’s University alum Ray Rice received after video of him surfaced knocking out his then fiancĂ©e – now wife- Janay Palmer Rice, in an Atlantic City elevator.

As a result of the post and screenshot that I took of Tony Fiore’s Facebook page, Fiore “blocked” me from seeing his personal page, then changed the privacy setting on his account from “Public” to “Private” so that others couldn’t see it unless they were “friends” with him on Facebook.  He then went to Facebook and denied that he ever had the picture posted to his page or that his personal page was ever public after my initial post was shared by others on Facebook. 

Good for me I have a screenshot of his denials.

Which lead to this rebuttal from a moderator from the Middletown Smart Growth Bloc Facebook group:

After being confronted Fiore, in what can only be explained as a moment of introspection and clarity, actually admitted that yes, he did indeed have the picture on his page even though he didn’t like it. He used the classic defense ‘most of my friends are…’ to justify the picture that was posted.

His admission however was short lived. He deleted it from the thread of comments sometime after the below comment was posted (but not before the above screenshot was taken). 

Why did he delete his admission? I have no clue. Maybe he was afraid to have others see it and view it as a weakness or something that could later be used against him (he would have been right about that).

Back in 2008 when Fiore first ran for Township Committee, he earned the moniker of the “Fibber” from the now defunct Middletown weekly newspaper, the Courier and myself, for his embellished resume that he submitted to the Township’s talent bank when he wanted to be considered by the Middletown GOP for an appointment to one of Middletown’s many boards and commissions (he was eventually appointed as an alternate to the Planning Board). His resume stated he was a member of Recreation Commission for both Carteret and Linden. In an interview with then Courier reporter Melissa Gaffeny, he stated that he served as the "Director of Recreation" for both. This didn’t sit well with Gaffney, how could a college kid in his late teens or early twenties possible be the Director of Recreation if he only had a part-time job during summer recesses while a kid in college?  When Melissa Gaffney, did a little digging into his resume and made a couple of calls to both towns asking about Fiore’s claims, no one in either town knew who he was or if he ever worked for either recreation departments. It was later learned in a follow-up phone call that Fiore actually earned $104 from the Carteret as a summertime playground director or something to that effect. He was not however, at any time, Director of Recreation during his time spent in Carteret or Linden.

I'm sure that if he could delete that history, he would.


Here are a few links that you might find interesting concerning the Fiore's resume story from back in the day:

Pallone Calls for Study on Potential Health Risks Posed by Artificial Turf

Middletown may want to consider this before installing anymore artificial turf fields (Croydon Hall) around town.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) sent a letter to Robin Ikeda, Acting Director of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), to express his concern regarding the use of recycled rubber tire crumbs in synthetic turf fields and the potential health risks that they pose. Pallone, the top Democrat on the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, asked the agency to conduct an official study to examine what effects exposure to the chemicals in crumb rubber may have on athletes who play on turf fields and come into contact with crumb rubber on a regular basis.

“Crumb rubber has been known to contain carcinogens and chemicals, but there is an astounding lack of information on how this product affects our health,” said Congressman Pallone. “And yet, we send our young kids off to soccer practice and football practice to play on turf fields made of this very substance. The fact that crumb rubber has become so prevalent and that we still know so little about potential health risks it poses is troubling. More research must be done to protect the safety of public health.”

A recent report done by NBC News highlighted 38 cases of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and other cancers in American soccer players who have played on turf fields containing crumb rubber. While the report acknowledged that the compiled list of cases does not amount to a scientific study, the potential link is disconcerting.

In his letter to the ATSDR, Pallone stressed the need for more research to be done to determine whether repeated exposure to crumb rubber increases the risk of lymphoma, leukemia and other blood cancers. Specifically, he called for more data to be made available in order to properly evaluate the adverse health effects that crumb rubber may have on young athletes, who are especially susceptible to chemical exposures.

The full text of the letter is below:

October 9, 2014
Robin M. Ikeda
Acting Director
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
4770 Buford Hwy NE
Atlanta, GA 30341

Dear Acting Director Ikeda,

I write today regarding the usage of recycled rubber tire crumbs in synthetic turf athletic fields in the United States. A recent report has highlighted that a number of cases of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and other blood cancers have appeared in women athletes who have also played on turf fields containing crumb rubber.

It is clear that more data is needed to evaluate the risks that exist from exposure to crumb rubber in athletic turf and its effect on human health. Rubber tires often contain numerous chemicals considered carcinogens, including benzene, arsenic and phthalates, among others. Another question that remains is whether exposure to these harmful carcinogens could be amplified when tires are ground into tiny particles and athletes come into contact with the material on a regular basis.

Given that children and adolescents, who are particularly vulnerable to chemical exposures because of their size and are predominant users of athletic fields across the country, additional study of this issue is needed. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry’s Principles of Pediatric Environmental Health, “Beginning before conception and persisting throughout childhood, children are often more susceptible to environmental toxicants compared to adults…[and] usually have increased exposures per kilogram of body weight, compared to adults.”

As the senior Democrat on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health and the co-chair of the Congressional Recycling Caucus, I believe more research must be done to evaluate the risks of exposure to chemicals in crumb rubber and its effect on human health. As such, I respectfully request that the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry conduct a study to determine if human exposure to recycled rubber tire crumbs in synthetic turf athletic fields increases the risk of lymphoma, leukemia and other blood cancers.

I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter and look forward to your response.


Member of Congress

Letter: Congressman Smith would rather play politics

The following letter appeared over at

Congressman Chris Smith recently voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

This legislation, which had enjoyed bipartisan support since it was first passed in 1994, is crucial in providing funding for domestic violence and sexual assault programs all across the country, including funding for the forensic exams done by sexual assault nurse examiners to collect evidence from victims, and funding for domestic violence shelters and other victim services.

Why did Chris Smith and other House Republicans vote against VAWA this time? Because the bill provided non-discrimination protections for victims who are members of the LGBT community and because it provided special rules for dealing with victims who are undocumented immigrants or Native Americans and are willing to cooperate with law enforcement.

As the whole nation recently saw in the Ray Rice video of the incident in the elevator, domestic violence is ugly and brutal. The National Football League is beginning to understand the issues involved and seems to want to be part of the solution. Congressman Smith, it seems, would rather play politics.

By voting against reauthorizing VAWA, Congressman Chris Smith has once again shown that he puts his own personal and party ideology over the interests of his constituents, especially female voters. It’s time for a change.

Alice Lloyd 

former sexual assault nurse examiner 

Allentown 