Daily Archives: June 12, 2011

>Survey Confirms that New Jersey is a Solar Power; Two Garden State utilities finish in the top 10 nationwide when it comes to adding solar capacity

>If you are a proponent of green and clean energy and think that solar energy is the best way to go, then the following article posted on NJspotlight will be of great interest to you. Our great state of New Jersey is among the leaders of the nation when it comes to installing solar panels that generate electrical power for both the general public, individuals and industry.

561 megawatts of electricity were added last year through solar panels around the state, which represents a 300% increase over what was reported in 2009.

The road forward in solar energy production may be changing in the near future however, if proposed changes by the Christie administration move forward.

In another indication of the fast-paced growth of New Jersey’s solar market, two of the state’s four electric utilities ranked in the top 10 nationally in adding solar power in the past year, according to a new survey.

Newark Schools Partner with PSE&G to Create Green Curriculum

Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE&G) and Jersey Central Power & Light (JCP&L) ranked third and ninth, respectively, in the amount of solar capacity added in 2010 according to a survey by the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). Atlantic City Electric, ranked 12th in new solar capacity, but broke into the top 10 at ninth in solar watts per customer, which is a measure of the utility’s new solar capacity divided by number of customers. PSE&G finished second in that category.

The annual survey, the fourth one done by the association, reflects the growing trend of utilities to incorporate solar power into their energy portfolios. All told, the nation’s utilities integrated 561 megawatts of solar electricity into their deliveries, a 100 percent increase over the previous year, the association said.

Christie’s Changes
The findings come at a time when Gov. Chris Christie on Tuesday recommended sweeping changes in New Jersey’s solar program, which is second to only California’s in the number of systems that have been installed. The Governor’s overhauled Energy Master Plan recommends steering most of the state’s efforts in developing solar away from residential installations to commercial and industrial applications, where, it argues, the state will get a bigger bang for its buck.

It is unclear how the changes will affect the electric utilities in the state, all of whom have programs geared to encouraging residential solar installations. But Al Matos, a vice president for PSE&G, said the utility will tailor its program to conform to the new recommendations….

Continue reading …. Here

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Filed under Christie Administration, Gov. Chris Christie, megawatts of power, New Jersey, NJspotlight, PSEG, solar energy

>Restaurant Nicholas’ Master Chef and Owner, Nicholas Harary, Cooked For The Crowd At DearBorn Market

>MiddletownPatch.com has a nice little story online about Restaurant Nicholas’ master chef and owner, Nicholas Harary, cooking for a crowd of devoted fans (myself included) this past Thursday night at Dearborn Market in Holmdel.

Recently, Restaurant Nicholas’ master chef, namesake and owner, Nicholas Harary, worked his magic for the public while kicking off the publication of his new book, “Restaurant Nicholas: The Cookbook.” Harray and his wife are celebrating the award-winning Middetown restaurant’s 10th anniversary.


With the help of his little buddy, four-year-old Nicholas Jr., Harary prepared two unique dishes in front of the audience at Dearborn Farms, Holmdel, as he explained each step of the process.

The first dish was watermelon sashimi, a dish Harary thought up after a fortunate chance meeting of two unlikely ingredients.

“I was at a barbecue at my sister’s place and we had a fruit salad with watermelon,” Harary recalled. “Somehow, a bit of watermelon and a bit feta cheese wound up on my fork at the same time, and I was inspired to come up with a savory dish using watermelon.”

He sliced the watermelon into little rectangles and arranged them to look just like red chunks of tuna sashimi, and then Nicholas Jr. sprinkled feta cheese and black pepper on top. Everyone in the audience was given a taste.

The next dish that Harary demonstrated was a soft-shell crab, lightly fried, and served atop a salad of jicama and red pepper with a sauce made from herbs and an orange juice reduction. One lucky audience member chosen at random got to eat it.

Harary chose Dearborn to hold the demonstration at because he buys much of his restaurant’s produce fresh from their farms.

Afterwards he signed copies of his new book, which is for sale at Dearborn.

There isn’t much more that I could add to the article, Chef Harary and his family were extremely pleasant and exceptionally charming throughout the cooking demonstration and I did purchase a cookbook for myself that I had signed. The watermelon sashimi that he made for everyone was simple and sublime, my wife and I just loved it.
If you look closely at the photos (#5) that accompany the article you just may be able to pick me out in the crowd. Unfortunately I didn’t take any pictures for myself.

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Filed under Chef Nichols Harary, cooking demonstration, Dearborn Market, Holmdel NJ, Middletown Patch, Restaurant Nicholas

>Middletown Still Kicking Around Shadow Lake Political Football

>I was glad to hear after last week’s Middletown Township Workshop meeting that nearly $2.7M maybe freed up soon by the state, for the long talked about Shadow Lake dredging project.

According to what I had been told of the meeting and a subsequent article posted on MiddletownPatch.com it seems that Middletown resident and NJ State Senator Joe Kyrillos (R-13) found a way to partially fund the estimated $4+M dredging project by co-sponsoring legislation that will provide funding through the state’s Environmental Infrastructure Trust (EIT) fund.
The legislation that originally created the Environmental Infrastructure Trust fund was intended to provide special financing, in the form of a low-interest loans to companies and municipalities looking to clean up environmentally contaminated “Brownfields” in order to return them to tax rolls.
Kyrillos’s bill that would provide funding for Middletown under the EIT, still needs to be voted on by the full Senate before moving onto the Assembly for approval and signature of the governor, which is not a given. I wouldn’t exactly call Shadow Lake an environmental “brownfield” that needs to be cleaned up so it can be returned to the tax rolls.
But what disturbs me here is the fact that Middletown Republicans are still playing the equivalent of political football with this issue and sending mixed messages with the intent on blaming state and local Democrats for delaying the dredging of the lake and contributing to it’s skyrocketing cost.

Officials ran into a project roadblock when the NJ Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) made it clear that, when removed, any dredge spoils gleaned from the lake would have to be transported to a safe, licensed off-site location, dried out and then taken to a legal dumping ground, Middletown Mayor Tony Fiore said.

Township Attorney Brian Nelson had said that where the township had no luck with the last administration’s state DEP officials, the new DEP principals seem more receptive. The township governing body is all-Republican, as is the Christie-appointed administration.

“We can’t do anything without permits,” he had said a couple of months ago at a Township Committee meeting. “But the DEP is working with us much better than it formerly did. Before it was clear they were not giving us permits.”

Now, knowing that the funds are being secured, Mayor Fiore said that the next step would be to go out to bid for the project.

“Thanks to the efforts of Senator Kyrillos the residents of the communities surrounding Shadow Lake can rest easier knowing that a project more than a decade in the making is nearing reality,” said Fiore. “In addition to the senator’s efforts in helping secure financing for this project, he has assisted the township with the DEP to find a qualified site outside of Middletown for disposal of the dredge spoils.”

It wasn’t Democrats that said this project was going to be an easy slam dunk just before the 2007 election and how it wasn’t going to cost residents a single dime (but proposed bonding for it) because local college students would perform surveys of the lake and other services for the township for free. And that the rest of the cost for the dredging would come from grants or planned to have the arsenic, heavy metal and carcinogenic contaminated spoils buried within Stephenson Park without proper permits from the NJ DEP. It was Gerry Scharfenberger and the rest of the Middletown Republicans who were attempting to secure last minute vote from residents who live around Shadow Lake by proposing such a plan.

Local Democrats want to see Shadow Lake restored but want it done smartly, cost efficiently and with in the law. The last thing Democrats or residents want is to clean up a lake only to create an environmental hazard somewhere else, namely Stephenson Park.
The NJ DEP was right not to issue permits for that and insisting that the dredged spoils be carted to a properly secured landfill.
And the following comment left on the MiddletownPatch article by a Mr. Dave Venture seems to agree:
Coming from someone who is an environmental professional who grew up on Shadow Lake and lived there for 22 years and still fish it weekly, I can tell you this issue has been twisted and misused by various media groups as well as private landowners on the lake . The lake has become naturally shallower in some areas which is normal succession for a man-made lake. The problem of increased vegetation is in large part not due to the depth of the lake. The lake is surrounded by residential development and Shadow Lake Village all of which contribute tremendous amounts of nutrient runoff to the lake in the way of fertilizers etc. The lake also sits in an area that was all farmland until the middle part of the 20th century. The groundwater may still be pumping nutrients from the historic farms into the lake contributing to the eutrophic environment. This is very similar to what is happening on a much larger scale in Barnegat Bay. The issue of depth of the lake and water quality/aquatic vegetation are two separate issues that have been blurred. If the goal is to make the lake deeper than I agree dredging is the only option. If the issue as they have proclaimed is to decrease the aquatic vegetation then dredging is not a cost-effective or ecologically sound solution. Green stormwater infrastructure and practices must be instituted to prevent the runoff that is making the lake an overly enriched ecosystem. State the goals clearly before dumping 4mil into a project.
So it’s about time now for Middletown’s “non- partisan” Township Attorney Brian Nelson and other finger pointers to point the finger at themselves. Too often Nelson acts like he is the 6th member of the Township Committee and gives bad, partisan advice that cost the town tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees because he has a vested interest Republicans maintaining control in town and it’s about time members of the Township Committee stop taking his poor advice.

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Filed under Brian Nelson, dredging, Environmental Infrastructure Trust (EIT) fund, Joe Kyrillos, Middletown Patch, NJ DEP, Shadow Lake, Stephenson Park, Tony Fiore

>Middletown Library Trustees Expected To Approve $500K Fund Transfer Report

>Still catching up on recent goings on that I wasn’t able to get to over the past two weeks is the latest news concerning the Middletown Library.

Back on June 2nd the Asbury Park Press ran a story about how at the next meeting of the Middletown Library’s Board of Trustees meeting on June 15th (this upcoming Wednesday), the trustees are expected to vote on a report that details the transfer of nearly $500K in surplus and reserved funds to the Township before it is sent on to the NJ State Librarian.
If the state librarian approves of the report, which could take up to 45 days and is not a given, the surplus and reserves library funds can be transferred according to state law to the township in order for it to be used in offsetting the municipal budget.

As stated in previous posts, the report has been the responsibility of Library Director Susan O’Neal to put together. The report needed to be rather complex and meet very specific standards, it will include demographic projections, a three-year technology plan and a three-year strategic plan for approval.
After having read the APP article about the report, I got the feeling that certain members of the Township Committee, namely Middletown’s appointed mayor, Tony Fiore, doesn’t trust the library trustees to do what’s expected of them based on the following excerpt:

“I don’t anticipate any potential negative portrayals,” said Fiore of the report. “I am confident they will do what is in their best interests and in that of the taxpayers of Middletown.”

It almost seems as if Fiore expects Director O’Neal to somehow sabotage the report by adding something to it that would prevent the trustees to support it or the state librarian not to approve it, which would either delay the transfer of funds or kill the transfer all together.
I you ask me, I think Fiore is a little paranoid and has a bit of a Napoleon complex. Whether it is this issue or some other, he always has to inject subtle or obnoxious and veiled threats to make his points.
It’s really arrogant and shows little class.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, Board of Trustees, Middletown Library, NJ State Library, State Librarian, surplus funds, Susan O'Neal, Tony Fiore