Monthly Archives: May 2011

>Clarification on Main Library Parking Lot Engineering; Main Library Parking Facts

>I received the following from Middletown Library Director Susan O’Neal, who after reading comments about the Library left on this blog, felt it necessary to clarify a few points about the the Main library’s parking lot expansion project.

For several years, I have been informing the library Board of Trustees that the growth in library usage was creating a shortage of parking. My observations were that a shortage could pop up almost any day and time, and I recommended a parking capacity and usage study to be put into the Board’s capital projects plan. By last fall, it was at the top of the list of things that we needed to do. As with all of our capital projects, the library intended to use its reserves, not to ask the Township for funding.



In the Summer of 2010 I was authorized by the Board to send out RFP’s, Requests for Proposal, to engineering firms for an assessment of a number of parking lot matters. They included:



a study of parking lot use and capacity,
addition of more handicapped parking stalls,
safety of pedestrian crossing the lot,
the possibility of a drop off lane near the entry,
short term parking,
widening the parking stalls, and the
possibility of adding a drive up pick-up window.

Multiple proposals were received, and two firms were selected to be interviewed by the full Board. These firms represented the two lowest proposals in terms of cost. They were DW Smith and Maser Consulting. DW Smith had been the engineer who designed and carried out the water remediation project at the back corner of Main in 2009. Mayor Scharfenberger was present for the DW Smith presentation, but had to leave before the Maser presentation. The contract was awarded to Maser Consulting, in the approximate amount of $29,000. [I’m writing this from home so I only remember the approximate amount]

Maser conducted a comprehensive traffic and use study in AUgust and September 2010; I met with them several times to discuss library needs, etc. and they made and revised plans for a few months. In January, 2011, three proposals were reviewed by the Board at their meeting. Frankly, this presentation did not go well. The Maser team followed Mr. Settembrino’s layout of his four point plan for library finance, which had everyone on the board stunned. The main problem, though, was that additional parking in 2 of the 3 proposals would cover additional land with pavement and would generate storm management and environmental approvals that skyrocketed the costs. I asked Maser for a 4th plan that would avoid these issues and costs and get the maximum parking out of it that we could.

The 4th plan was reviewed by me, Tony Mercantante, Ted Maloney and one of the Maser engineers. Tony mentioned that including this project in the Town’s 2012 Capital Improvements Projects might get the library better pricing. This is the germination of the inclusion of this project in the Transfer of Library reserves to the Township settlement. At this time it was obvious that refinement of the last design, specifications for bidding, and the permissions and tests needed would require additional engineering work. Maser asked if they should prepare a proposal for these next steps, and I said yes.

The proposal came in on May 13, several days before the library board meeting. We were all informed by Committeeman Settembrino that all further engineering work on on the library parking lot would be conducted by the Township Engineer of record, that is T&M. The Board briefly discussed this at their meeting.

The next engineering work to be done will build on the Maser study, not duplicate it, as some have asserted incorrectly.

The Middletown Library will be expected to use the services of T&M if the project is in the Township’s CIP list for next year [and presuming T&M is the Township engineer in 2012]

The Library will be expected to pay all hard [construction] and soft [design, project supervision, permits, testing] that the Township engineer dictates is required.

And ultimately, maybe this is all moot. The library faces a huge cut in its operating budget next year, unless the TC is willing to provide more than the minimum funding level, and thus support the library at close to the 2011 level. A close analysis of our fiscal position is forthcoming. It is my personal belief as the Administrator of the Library, that the library should not undertake debt financing for this project, but rather maintain it’s prior practice of saving until enough cash reserves are available, and then proceeding. This will be the Library Trustees’ decision. I believe the problem of not enough parking will continue to grow, as library business is on a significant upswing. It is unclear to me whether the TC will provide permission for the library to proceed with any capital improvement project in the future unless it is totally under their control, except, of course, for the payment.

Lastly, I hope that in the length and detail of this explanation, it is not lost on the reader that the library’s plans included addressing numerous safety issues, not just additional parking. We DO need more handicapped parking, we DO need to eliminate the double parking in the lot for pickups and dropoffs, we DO need to add more safety measures for pedestrians who have to cross a traffic lane to enter the building!!

We have nearly 2,000 visitors per day at the library. Their safety is of keen importance to us.

Susan O’Neal, Library Director


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Filed under Board of Trustees, Library Facts, Maser engineering, Middletown Library, Middletown Township Committee, parking lot expansion, Susan O'Neal, T and M Engineering, Ted Maloney, Tony Mercantante

>Socialism is all around us

>Lawrence O’Donnell on last night’s The Last Word points out how Bill O’Reilly is a “Socialist” like the rest of us.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32545640

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Filed under Bill Maher, Bill O'Reilly, Fox News, Lawrence O'Donnell, Medicaid, Medicare, MSNBC, socialism, socialist, The Last Word, us military

>Tony Fiore Respondes to Latest Robo-Call

>Over on his “new” blog provided by Middletown-Patch, Middletown’s acting mayor Tony Fiore, has addressed the latest robo-call that was sent out by the group Concerned Citizens Of Middletown, that talked about the amount of debt the Township is carrying. If you ask me, Fiore’s response just lends credence to the message that went out last Friday.

His answer is the same stock answer that has been given many times before but only this time he providers a true debt number of $72million that so many before him have been reluctant to confirm!


And how is it that Mr. Fiore is so sure who is responsible for these robo-calls when so many (myself included) do not? He blames the Middletown Democrats for placing them, which if that was the case, I think I would know about it. It seems to me that these robo-calls have struck a nerve and seem to be factual based by his response to them.

Also I believe, the point of how much debt the town can borrow itself into, is a silly one; who cares what a towns’ or persons’ credit card limit is when it is already difficult to meet the minimum payments on the balance!

Middletown hasn’t had it debt rating updated in several years, It has been shown recently that credit rating agencies like Moody’s and Standard & Poor aren’t worth much. After the financial meltdown of the past few years, many of the investments that caused the near collapse of the economy were rated A, AA, or AAA from both of these institutions. Knowing that why would anyone want to tout how special they are? They’re not.

On the final point about the blocking of a return phone number, I don’t know what Fiore is talking about, unless he wants to incite others into believing that these messages have no integrity, which I’m sure is his intent, he is living up to him nick-name of the “Fibber”. Every call that I have received by Concerned Citizens of Middletown, including Friday’s, had a return number left on my caller-id.
True it wasn’t a Middletown phone number or one from the immediate area (I think it was Dunellen), but there was in fact a phone number associated with the call.
On a side note – I don’t know how Fiore’s blog on Middletown-Patch works, but this posting was dated Tuesday May 24 at 12:58 PM, right in the middle of a busy work day. Doesn’t Tony have a job that he needs to attend to at 1pm in the afternoon? True, he may have been on his lunch hour but I think not. Working on Township business (which this clearly is), on company time is a No-No as everyone knows.
I wonder what his employer would think????

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Filed under blog, bonding debt, Concerned Citizens of Middletown, debt service, Middletown NJ, Middletown Patch, Moody's, Robo-calls, Standard and Poors, Tony Fiore

>Obama Can Challenge Meaning Of ‘Irish-American’

>

This past Monday President Obama made a historic visit to the country of Ireland, while there he addressed a crowed estimated to be 58,000 strong and spoke of his own Irish heritage.
My friend Sean Dunne, who some may remember ran for the NJ Assembly 2010, wrote the following article about Obama’s visit to Ireland and what it means to be “Irish American”. The article was posted on line on the Irish news website the Independent

By Sean Dunne
Monday May 23 2011

PRIOR to his visit, Barack Obama’s Irish heritage has been largely, and perhaps unsurprisingly, ignored by the American public.

But his time here can’t only open up the ways in which he is perceived by other Americans, it can also challenge the narrow definitions often employed when we discuss what it means to be Irish-American.

It is impossible to ignore the significance of his speech to the Irish public, where he will address an audience within close proximity to the statue of the great ‘liberator’, Daniel O’Connell. An American president, with Irish and African heritage, is in many ways a vindication of many of O’Connell’s arguments against racial oppression in the US. Obama can today build off of those arguments.

In 1963, John F Kennedy began what has become a tradition among American presidents when he made the first presidential trip to Ireland.

Kennedy’s visit was significant for Irish-Americans and Ireland, as his Irish Catholic identity was a significant element in both the support and criticism he received.

He won the presidential election less than 100 years after some states granted Irish-Americans the right to vote, and his election was viewed as a symbol of achievement and hope.

Now Obama also has the potential to make significant contributions to the discussion of what it means to be Irish-American.

The identity of Obama has been subject to challenges during his political career. Many questioned whether he was even a US-born citizen. This frenzy resulted in the president releasing his long-form birth certificate last month.

It is instructive to place the questions surrounding Obama’s identity in the context of how an American has been defined.

Noah Webster’s dictionary in 1828 defined an American as “a native of America; originally applied to the aboriginals, or copper-coloured races, found here by the Europeans, but now applied to the descendants of Europeans born in America”.

The opportunity to become “real” Americans was extended to the large numbers of Irish immigrants in the 19th Century, when the Democratic Party recruited them.

The Democrats reached out to the Irish community and promised that they would be treated similarly to other Europeans. In return, they were asked to support Democratic politicians and the racial discrimination that aided their party. O’Connell implored the Irish in the US to reject this arrangement. Many ignored O’Connell’s pleas, but not all of them did.

In the 1870 Federal Census, it was reported that 12pc of the African-American community in New York City defined themselves as Irish-African-American.

This level of intermarriage between the Irish and African-American communities portrays how diverse the Irish diaspora had become. However, this statistic should also reflect how the Irish heritage of large numbers of Irish-Americans is ignored, as many are simply defined as “black”.

For Obama and his mantra of “change we can believe in”, this is a change he can accomplish.

Sean Dunne of Holmdel NJ, is an author and academic, is a member of the US Democrats living abroad in Ireland. This article was published prior to President Obama’s historic visit to Ireland online @ Independent.ie



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Filed under blip.tv, College Green, Dublin Ireland, irish heritage, President Obama, Sean Dunne, the Independent, Topgold

>As a Matter Of Fact…State losing out on 9-1 match;NJ would save $45 million a year if it invested $7.5 million in family planning

>
May 23rd, 2011 | Published in NJPP Blog: As a Matter of Fact …

At a time when New Jersey doesn’t have a penny to spare, the state is leaving money on the table – perhaps millions of dollars a year in federal funds that could provide family planning services to poor, uninsured women.

Not only has Governor Christie refused to continue the program that provides state grants to family planning clinics across the state (he vetoed a $7.5 million appropriation sponsored by Sen. Weinberg), the state has withdrawn its application for a Medicaid waiver that would have provided a 9-to-1 federal match of state funds that paid family planning expenses for women at or below 200% of the federal poverty level. To put it in simpler terms, under the waiver known as the Family Planning State Option the federal government would provide $9 million for every $1 million that New Jersey spent.

According to estimates from the widely-respected Guttmacher Institute, the Family Planning State Option would save New Jersey $3 million in the first year alone. After the first year, it would:

• Save the state $45 million every year.
• Provide basic medical care to over 80,000 people every year, including not just family planning but other preventive care such as cancer screenings.

• Help thousands of low income women who want to avoid pregnancy do just that – averting 4,000 abortions and 6,000 births every year.

See the full report here.

Twenty-eight states currently receive matching funds and all have seen substantial cost savings. According to estimates by the National Academy of Health Safety Policy, the savings over five years range from $75 million in Arkansas to more than $2 billion in California.

See the full report here.

The governor has said his opposition to the family planning clinic grants has nothing to do with politics, but is based in his desire to be a responsible fiscal steward of the state’s scarce resources.

He should live up to that standard.

Clearly, the numbers show the tremendous benefit that accrues by funding these grants. In addition to providing poor and working women broad and consistent access to family planning services, the Medicaid waiver allows the state to receive the 9-to-1 federal match in funding.

The fiscally responsible thing to do would be to invest a little of the state’s resources in family planning and reap the rewards of increased federal funding as well as cost savings to deal with avoidable pregnancies.

To do anything else seems to be a waste of time and money.

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Filed under As a Matter of Fact, blog, family planning, federal matching funds, Gov. Chris Christie, Medicaid, New Jersey Policy Perspective, women's health issues

>Don’t Say Gay, Say "Takei" Instead

>Last week, leading up to the Tennessee Legislature anticipated passage of Senate Bill 49 , better known as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which will make it a crime for teachers to mention homosexuality in the classroom once signed into law, Star Trek alum George Takei (Mr. Sulu), is asking people to support gay right’s by not saying “gay”.

Instead, George asks that everyone say “Takei” whenever speaking or referring to G.L.B.T groups or individuals.
Towards the end of the video Takei hawks a line of T-shirts and other items that say “It’s OK to be Takei”, to wear and display with pride and to show Tennessee and the world that you’re against censorship and bigotry….

All the proceeds from the sales of these items will be donated to charity. Have a TAKEI old time!

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Filed under gay rights, George Takei, GLBT, homosexuality, It's OK to be Takei, Senate Bill 49, Tennessee

>New Robo Call From Concerned Citizens Of Middletown Received Over The Weekend

>A new robo call was issued over the weekend by the group calling themselves Concerned Citizens of Middletown. I received the call Friday when I check my messages on the answering machine.

This latest call talks about whether or not you fell stressed because you can’t make ends meet and have to live within a budget, something that the Middletown Township Committee has a hard time doing. The Township is currently $73 million in debt according to the message and will have to borrow more money to pay for tax appeals.

Listen to it and please comment, I am interested in seeing what readers think of this latest call that went out to residents. If you have a hard time hearing the audio (I tapped it off the answering machine), I transcribed the message below.

http://www.archive.org/flow/flowplayer.commercial-3.2.1.swf

Hello, I am a middletown resident, stressed like you, and needing to cut my budget.

Have you heard the Township Committee cannot live within its budget?

They raise taxes, then borrow more money to cover poor planning.

Our debt level, currently at 73 million will have at least an additional 6 million to cover the tax appeals from the last re-evaluation.

Can your budget survive this kind of borrowing? Mine can’t.

Paid for by Concerned Citizens of Middletown.

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Filed under Audio clips, bonding debt, borrowing, budgeting, Concerned Citizens of Middletown, poor planning, Robo-calls, stressed out

>Join Congressman Jared Polis in Asbury Park on May 26th

>

U.S. Congressman Jared Polis

invites you to join the 11th District Democratic Team

Ray Santiago for SENATE
Marilyn Schlossbach for ASSEMBLY
Vin Gopal for ASSEMBLY

Co-Hosted by:
Chairman John McCarthy, Hon.Babs Casbar Siperstein, Chairman Jeff Gardner, Ed Potosnak, Chairwoman Amy Quinn, Hon. Randy Bishop, Hon. Edward Zipprich, Jay Lassiter, Chairwoman Ann Baker, Tim Horn, Tom Mannix, Joe Woerner, Harriet Bernstein, Luisa Paster, Rod Siberine, David Pascale

The Berkeley Hotel
1401 Ocean Avenue
Asbury Park, NJ

Thursday, May 26th 2011
7:00pm to 9:00pm

Friend of Equality: $50
Supporter of Equality: $100
Defender of Equality: $250

* An American entrepreneur and philanthropist, Congressman Jared Polis is the first openly gay man to be elected as a member of the United States Congress. He will help the District 11 Democrats formally launch their GLBT outreach *

* Senator Jennifer Beck is the new representative for District 11. She voted against marriage equality – help us defeat her by electing three pro-equality legislators in the 11th District. *

Please make checks payable to any of these four accounts:

‘District 11 Election Fund’ – ‘Santiago for Senate’ – ‘Schlossbach for Assembly’ ‘Gopal for Assembly’

RSVP to vin.gopal.2008@gmail.com or 732-299-5625

**Your donation will help elect THREE Pro-Equality Legislators in Monmouth County**

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Filed under 11th Legislative District, Asbury Park NJ, Congressman Jared Polis, fundraiser, GLBT, Marilyn Schlossbach, Monmouth County, Ray Santiago, Vin Gopal

>Crime Scene Middletown: Prescription Fraud, False 911 Calls, Shoplifting, Theft and Other Recent Activity Reported

>PREPARED BY DETECTIVE LIEUTENANT STEPHEN DOLLINGER

On May 16, 2011 Detective Daniel Sullivan charged Peter Hanvey, age 51, from West Side Avenue in Jersey City, NJ, with Forgery and Obtaining a Controlled Dangerous Substance by Fraud. Hanvey was charged as a result of information provided by Detective Jeff Malone of the Ocean Township Police Department.

Detective Malone had conducted an investigation into a fraudulent prescription that was presented to the C.V.S Pharmacy in Ocean Township. Det. Malone developed information that Hanvey had also passed a fraudulent prescription in the C.V.S Pharmacy located in the Navesink section of Middletown.

Detective Sullivan conducted a follow up investigation which resulted in Hanvey being charged. Hanvey was released on his own recognizance pending a court date.

On May 16, 2011 at approximately 5:35 am Patrolman Brady Carr and Patrolman Keith Hirschbein investigated a report of damage committed to numerous vehicles that occurred at the Eddie Coffey and Sons Construction Company located on Highway 36 in Middletown. The vehicles windows were smashed and tires slashed.

Patrolman Hirschbein conducted an investigation and identified Donald Neri, age 45, from Shoreland Terrace in Middletown as the subject who damaged the vehicles. Neri was arrested and was transported to police headquarters where he was charged with Criminal Mischief. He was held on $50,000 bail.

On May 16, 2011 Detective Sullivan was assigned to investigate the theft of a ladder from a residence on Wilson Avenue in Middletown. Detective Sullivan conducted an investigation which resulted in Terrance McQuillan, age 29, from Wilson Avenue in Middletown being charged with Theft.

McQuillan was processed and held on bail.

On May 17, 2011 at approximately 11:20 pm Patrolman Raymond Sofield responded to the area of the New Monmouth Diner, located on Highway 35 in Middletown in reference to an intoxicated subject who had called 9-1-1 numerous times. Officer Sofield located the subject, identified as Stephen Acquaviva, age 34, from Bonnie Drive in Middletown.

Patrolman Sofield determined that Acquaviva did not have an actual emergency and was repeatedly calling 9-1-1 because he was intoxicated. As a result of Officer Sofield’s investigation Acquaviva was arrested for Making False Public Alarms. He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released on a summons pending a court date.

On May 18, 2011 at approximately 9:50 am Patrolman Keith Hirschbein was on patrol in the area of the McMahon Park hockey rink when he observed a subject, identified as David Matheny, age 49, from Seaside Avenue in Keansburg, NJ, urinating in the dugout area of the rink.

Officer Hirschbein conducted an investigation which resulted in Matheny being arrested for Criminal Mischief. He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released on a summons pending a court date.

On May 18, 2011 at approximately 3:55 pm Patrolman Anthony Dellatacoma responded to the Sears Store on Highway 35 in reference to a shoplifting. Upon arrival store security advised the officer that they had observed Danielle Boyce, age 35, from Port Monmouth Road in Middletown, leave the store with $287.67 of unpaid merchandise. Security stopped Boyce in the parking lot and detained her until police arrived.

Officer Dellatacoma arrested Boyce and transported her to police headquarters where she was charged with Shoplifting. She was processed and released pending a court date.

On May 18, 2011 at approximately 5:50 am Patrolman John Soltysik and Patrolman Felipe Benedit responded to the area of Twin brooks Drive and Highway 35 in reference to a report of a white box truck that had been involved in the attempted burglary of a vehicle that had occurred in the parking lot of the Sears store.

The officers located the vehicle and conducted an investigation which resulted in the arrest of Bernard Kusakavitch, age 45, from Osborne Drive in Pittston, PA, being charged with Attempted Theft, Conspiracy, Obstruction and Hindering Apprehension. Police determined that Kusakavitch had attempted to steal Diesel fuel from a tractor trailer that was parked in the parking lot.

He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and held on $40,000 bail. Detective William Strohkirch assisted with the investigation.

On May 19, 2011 at approximately 2:55 am Patrolman Brian McGrogan was on patrol in the area of Highway 35 when he observed a vehicle being driven without headlights. Officer McGrogan stopped the vehicle and approached the driver, identified as Christopher Haspilaire, age 21, from Portland Road in Atlantic Highlands, NJ, and detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath.

Officer McGrogan conducted an investigation which resulted in Hispilaire being arrested for Driving While intoxicated. He was transported to police headquarters where he was processed and released pending a court date.

On May 20, 2011 at approximately 3:35 am Corporal Richard Fusella responded to the area of Locust Point Road near the Rumson Bridge in reference to a driver of a vehicle asleep behind the wheel.

Upon arrival Corporal Fusella located the vehicle and approached the driver, identified as Alexander Heagney, age 18, from Clay Court in the Locust section of Middletown.

While speaking with Heagney, Officer Fusella observed a baggie of Marijuana in the vehicle. Heagney was placed under arrest and was transported to police headquarters where he was charged with Possession of under 50 grams of Marijuana. He was processed and released pending a court date.

The Middletown Police Department arrested the following subjects on warrants:

Lisa Ardic, age 43, from Shore Boulevard in Keansburg, NJ, arrested on May 17, 2011 by Detective Sullivan on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Keansburg Municipal Court. She was released after posting $575.00 bail.

Anthony Jones, age 26, from Veeder Avenue in Toms River, arrested on May 18, 2011 by Patrolman Michael Nolan on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was held on $500.00 bail.

Jeffrey Dressler, age 33, from Locust Road in Hazlet, NJ, arrested on May 18, 2011 arrested by James Beirne on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was released after posting $500.00 bail.

Amanda Rivera, age 30, from Kanes Lane in Middletown, NJ, arrested on May 18, 2011 by Patrolman Nicholas Fenezia on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Tinton Falls Municipal Court.

Dominic Moffitt, age 29, from Kimberly Court in Middletown, NJ arrested on May 19, 2011 by Patrolman James Beirne on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Eatontown Municipal court. He was released after posting $89.00 bail.

Nicholas Grimsley, age 24, from Apple Farm Road, Middletown, NJ, arrested on May 19, 2011 by Patrolman Anthony Gigante on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Middletown Municipal Court. He was released after posting $500.00 bail.

Jonathan Pecyna, age 22, from Manor Drive in Red Bank, NJ, arrested on May 19, 2011 by Patrolman John Mele on a Contempt of Court warrant issued by the Monmouth Beach Municipal Court. He was released after posting $100.00 bail.

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Filed under arrest warrants, Crime Scene Middletown, Detective Lieutenant Stephen Dollinger, DWI, forgery, Marijuana, Middletown Police, prescription fraud, shoplifting, theft

>Saturday Morning Cartoons -Special End Of the World Edition: Koko’s Earth Control

>If today really does turn out to be “Judgment Day” and your not one of the lucky chosen, then you might as well sit back and relax, eat a bowl of Fruit Loops and watch a cartoon before the world comes to an end!

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Filed under end of the world, judgment day, KoKo's Earth Control, Max Fleischer, Saturday morning cartoons