Friday, November 30, 2007

(Hometown View returns on Tuesday, December 5)

Practice for the winter sports season is well underway but for eight shore high schools, including Toms River North, Lacey and Point Boro there’s a final football game to be played with state sectional championships on the line.

Tonight Point Boro goes for its fourth state title and second in three years when they host West Deptford in the South Jersey Group 2 Finals at Al Saner Field. The 10-1 Panthers are led by quarterback Shane O’Connor and got a big boost with the return of receiver Bob Stowe two weeks ago from a knee injury. Kyle Coleman anchors a defense that’s posted three shutouts.
At Rutgers tonight, Asbury Park battles Keansburg for the Central Jersey Group 1 title in an all-shore showdown and following that Howell tries to win its first ever state championship when they play West Windsor-Plainsboro South.

Saturday afternoon will find the North Mariners looking to complete a perfect season with their first state crown in ten years. Ranked first at the shore and #9 in the state, North hosts Mainland, who has won 10 in-a-row since an opening week loss. The 11-0 Mariners are led by quarterback Anthony Penna and linebacker Zach Kane anchors a suffocating defense that’s allowed only 65 points all season. The game kicks-off at 1pm and will be broadcast on 1160AM and our Shore Sports Network.

At the same time Lacey will look to make it back-to-back South Jersey Group 3 titles when they welcome Shawnee into the Lions den. Lacey has won 7 games in a row and is peaking at the right time of the season. Justin Pandorf, Tom Rickmers, RJ Roe and Warren Smith are two-way standouts who will look to give the school its fourth sectional crown.

There’s a shore doubleheader Sunday at Rutgers with Rumson playing Carteret at 2pm followed by Long Branch and Moorestown. Those games will also be broadcast on our Shore Sports Network.

The NJSIAA will hold their annual meeting and award luncheon Monday at which time schools will vote on a pair of proposals that would call for major changes in the structure of high school football in New Jersey. Special sports awards will be handed out to recently-retired CBA basketball coach Ed Wicelinski and the late Al Kunzman, who won over 300 games as the baseball coach at Central Regional High School and did so with grace and dignity.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

The Observer Goes Weekly

While I was told it was coming more than a year ago the news that the Ocean County Observer will no longer be a daily newspaper beginning in January is both a sign of the times and a loss. The Observer will become a weekly paper with officials citing diminishing circulation as the main reason for the move. Of course a large reason for that was due to the fact that much of what appeared in the Observer was a duplication of the Asbury Park Press since both papers are owned by Gannett. However the Observer was often a true local newspaper and gave space to stories that might not have been big enough for the Press. As lifestyles have changed newspapers all across the country are losing readers and can’t reach the younger generation, now accustomed to getting information when they want it…not the next day.
We in the radio business are dealing with the same realities and as I’ve said more than once…the only constant is change.

This is truly a good time to be a student, alumnus or fan of West Virginia University. Not only are the Mountaineers closing in on playing for college football’s national championship but they’ve reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Championship and a big reason why is the play of sophomore midfielder Carolyn Blank. The former Toms River East standout has had a great season, earning 2nd team All Big East Honors before being named the Most Outstanding Defensive Player of the Big East Tournament.
The Mountaineers upset Penn State last weekend in the round of 16 in which Blank went up against former Toms River South star Sheree Gray.
West Virginia hosts USC Friday night in Morgantown with the winner advancing to the National Semifinals in College Station, Texas.

The high school football season ends this weekend with Toms River North, Point Boro and Lacey among the eight shore teams playing for state championships. Tonight’s season-finale of The AutoLenders High School Football Show will preview this weekends games and guests will include Mariners linebacker Nick Foukarakis, Lacey’s Warren Smith and Bob Stowe of the Panthers. The show begins at 6pm and can be heard on 1160AM and on the web at

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Men And Weather

Even before global warming talking about the weather has always been one of those great “ice breakers”….probably the #1 conversation starter of all-time. “Men’s Health” magazine surveyed us guys on the subject of weather and while the results may not be very scientific, they are what we think…and after all we are the superior sex. (Chill out…I’m kidding).

* 75% of us don’t grab an umbrella even if we know there’s a 100% chance of rain.

* 40% of us check the forecast before getting dressed in the morning and 1in 6 of us follow the forecast during the course of the day…I assume listening to Alan Kasper qualifies for that.

* Our ideal temperature is 75 degrees, high humidity bothers us more than anything else and we’re fascinated by lightning although we better be careful because 84% of those struck by lightning are men.

* 78% of men surveyed said they have lived through a tornado or hurricane and more than 60% said they don’t have insurance to cover a weather-related disaster.

* Since December is just around the corner here’s some numbers to consider. 17% of accidents are caused by winter weather, nearly half of us use cold temperatures as an excuse to not exercise, more than 1-in-10 have taken part in a polar bear plunge and most would do it again and we shovel about 3,000 pounds of snow when clearing our driveway after a 5 inch snowfall.
By the way if we were snowed in the average guy would like to be stuck with Jessica Biel.

* On to warmer thoughts. 75% of us would not give up our air conditioner in the summer for a date with a supermodel and 35% of
Men ask their wives before adjusting the AC.

* 64% of us believe global warming is a serious problem and our dream weather scene is surfing under the Hawaiian sun although 20% would be just as content to lounge outside on a warm day and watch the clouds roll by.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

WOBM Moves To The North Pole

A little of this and a little of that today…the first of 29 consecutive days on
92.7 WOBM in which you will hear nothing but Christmas music. This will no doubt result in some calling our Program Director and saying they have had enough of White Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town and especially the Christmas Shoes song. On his behalf let me say that for every one of those cries to “please stop playing Christmas music” there are 3 or 4 calls of “thanks for putting me in the holiday spirit.” I’ll be the first to admit that while it may get to me after a while it’s only four weeks and before you can say “Happy New Year” it’s back to Billy Joel, Elton John and that Delilah Song.

By the way the 24th annual WOBM CHRISTMAS CLASSIC opens it’s 7-day, 56-game schedule on Saturday, December 22nd in the Poland Spring Arena at the Ritacco Center in Toms River. You’ll be hearing more about that in the coming weeks.

The most famous basketball team in the world is also coming to the Poland Spring Arena on Tuesday, March 4th. The Harlem Globetrotters are celebrating their 82nd consecutive year of touring and I can’t ever recall them playing in this area outside of places like Madison Square Garden and the Meadowlands. Tickets are now on sale for the March 4th game in Toms River and you can purchase them online at For information on group or scout tickets visit the team’s web site:

Gateway Toyota of Toms River is once again working with the US Marines on their annual Toys for Tots Program. This is the 60th campaign the Marines have run to help children in need and last year they helped out over 22,000 children in Central Jersey. You can drop off a new, unwrapped toy at Gateway Toyota on Route 37 East during their normal business hours until December 17th. As a thank you from them, if it’s worth more than $10 they will give you a certificate for a complimentary oil change.

The Toms River High School South Junior Class is holding a gift auction in their cafeteria this Saturday with doors opening at 2pm. Admission is $10 per person and include of sheet of tickets for prizes and complimentary desserts. There will be a variety of prizes and baskets at the auction.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Sweet Sixteen

I never thought of 16 as being one of those milestone birthdays but of course I was that age many, many years ago and I’m not a girl. Today it’s a big deal for young girls and I found out first-hand the other night as my daughter Alex and her best friend Sami Raymond celebrated the occasion with a “Sweet 16 Party” that left the host parents exhausted and thrilled.

The planning started three months ago although to be honest my part was limited to securing the disc jockey and taking care of the food both which turned out to be home runs. Kyle from Above and Beyond Entertainment was the perfect DJ and how can you miss with food for teen-agers when you have it catered by Surf Taco. Honestly outside of that I didn’t do too much with mothers and daughters handling all the other details but that changed on Saturday morning. We met at the Beachwood Fire House to begin setting-up and with many neat touches turned the room into a beach-like setting by the time guests arrived shortly before 7pm.

With over 90 exuberant teen-agers to serve food too and monitor we had plenty of help. Alex and Sami are not only best friends with birthdays two days apart but have older brothers who are the same age and with both home from college they were recruited as bouncers…just in case. Well truth is the kids were great and never once gave us cause for any concern. Most of them danced during the entire four hours and they were well-behaved and simply a lot of fun. By the time the last song was played our clean-up efforts were well under way and an hour or so later we were home…my wife had sore feet, my back was killing me but we had smiles a mile wide because the day was simply perfect.

We got together with Sami’s parents Jackie and Tom yesterday and looked at some pictures and talked about how smoothly the party went and how terrific all the kids were. That’s a great feeling but then I realized my Alex turns 16 tomorrow and will now be able to drive. All of a sudden I feel very old.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Doing Away With Thanksgiving Football

(The Hometown View returns on Monday, November 26)

I consider myself a traditionalist but high school football on Thanksgiving Day should join the Edsel, leisure suits, the Susan B. Anthony Dollar and jug handles as things we no longer need or want and those insisting the games remain a fixture should wake up and smell the coffee. Yes there was a time when rival high schools ended their seasons by playing one another and it seemed like the whole town turned out to watch the game. However that was before towns became divided because they had more than one high school and prior to the NJSIAA Playoffs coming into play in 1974.

As we approach Thanksgiving Day there are still football games in New Jersey that mean quite a bit and are as much a part of the holiday as turkey and stuffing. But that number is dwindling and more than ever big games on Thanksgiving are the exception rather than the rule.

I continue to scratch my head over those who insist these games must stay because a quick look at the pros and cons would leave just about anyone knowing that it’s time to end a ritual which meant much more in the past than it does today.

Those in favor of Thanksgiving games tell you that in many cases it’s the only game that draws big crowds. This is true but for the most part only applies to lousy programs with little support. Good teams often get a school and community excited…they don’t need a holiday to have a reason to attend a game. Plus if these rivalry games are so special then many would be a big deal whenever they were played during the season.

Now here are reasons why the tradition should end. If there was no Thanksgiving game than Saturday, November 10th would have been the end of the season for all but the teams involved in the state playoffs. This would mean that athletes would have a two-week break before the winter sports season begins. Some will play on Thanksgiving and then have basketball or wrestling practice the next day…how does that make sense?

While fans who attend a game can leave when they want and head to Grandma’s house players and coaches have to finish the game, sometimes travel on a bus back to school, take a shower and then go on their way. Ask coaches what time they finally sit down to eat dinner…it’s when most of us are on coffee and desert.
I could go on and on and I have not even discussed how stupid it is that we play regular season Thanksgiving games in between state playoff games.
For now let me close by saying I love and embrace tradition but time has passed his one by. Thanksgiving football should be reserved for watching the NFL games in the comfort of your home with your family. Case closed!

The weekly “AutoLenders High School Football Show” airs tonight at 6pm on 1160AM and Guests include Ryan Dolan of Toms River East and a discussion on a proposal to be voted on next month which would drastically change the face of high school football in the state.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Black Thursday

Over the next few weeks we have three of what we would consider the “big holidays” in Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. Of all the holidays these were the ones in which you could count on the following….just about everyone had the day off, you filled your tank with gas the night before and when you forgot something you just hoped 7-11 had it and was open.

When I say just about everyone had the day off I realize that there are certain professions in which working on holidays comes with the territory. There will always be policeman, doctors and nurses and even those on the radio for whom a holiday does not always mean a day at home. However what I find bothersome is the growing trend in which retail businesses now open on days in which the only cars on the road used to be those on their way to grandma’s house. I’m sure in some cases those that work on these holidays do so by their choice but obviously there are many who are forced to work when they would prefer to be spending time home with their family. Am I alone in finding it somewhat sad that some stores are open on Thanksgiving and especially New Year’s Day and that number will probably grow in an effort to add some dollars to the bottom line? Or is it in fact a case of consumers wanting to be able to shop on these days and retailers just giving them the opportunity they want?

I don’t know but I just liked it when the roads and parking lots were basically empty and you would see a sign like “closed today so our employees can spend time with their families.”

This is a case of how the good old days really were a bit better at times.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Another Teen Tragedy On The Roads

Another teen-ager was killed over the weekend in an automobile accident, a headline that is becoming all-too-familiar in Ocean and Monmouth counties.

A 17-year old with a promising future died way too young and it has left her family and friends at Pinelands Regional High School in mourning just days before we celebrate Thanksgiving…a holiday that won’t be the same for those who knew Amanda Policastro.

It will also lead to renewed discussion about what to do about the problems of teen-age driving…problems that are leading to accidents and fatalities at a growing and alarming rate. I say this as a father of a daughter who turns 16 in just over a week and will obtain her driver’s permit. Of course I remember what an exciting thing it was to be able to get behind the wheel of a car…even if it was your father’s Ford Country Squire station wagon.
But times have changed dramatically and driving around our area today is not like it was in 1972 when I got my permit.

The roads are crowded and congested and challenging to even the most experienced and safest drivers….for 16 and 17 year olds just learning to drive it can be like an obstacle course. Young drivers make mistakes but the roadways today just don’t allow for that. Teen-agers have always been careless behind the wheel and often drive with a feeling of invincibility but that was true in my day. What is different is that too many new drivers have new cars given to them by parents who think they’re doing their children a favor. Instead of kids driving a vehicle more suited for their inexperience they are in ones which are too fast and provide too many distractions. Throw in things like talking or text messaging on cell phones and you have ingredients for disaster and the reality is the number of accidents will only increase in years to come.

While we all know there is a problem nobody has come up with solutions. For now the best you can do is talk to your teen-agers and then pray each time they leave they’ll return home safely. Sadly for some it’s too late for that.

Friday, November 16, 2007

More Playoff Action

The feeling is sequels are rarely if ever as good as the originals but the Southern Regional football team is hoping their second go-around with Toms River North produces a better result than the first. 14 days ago the Mariners went into Manahawkin and came up with a 17-7 victory, denying the Rams an opportunity to clinch their first-ever outright division championship. The rematch takes place tonight on North’s home turf with the winner earning a spot in the South Jersey Group 4 Championship game in two weeks.

In many ways the teams are similar with their success due in large part to dominating defenses and ball-control offenses that like to run the ball. In the first meeting North was just a little better in all phases of the game especially on defense where Zach Kane, Nick Foukarakis and Austin Kugler kept Southern off the board until late in the 4th quarter.

It’s hard to imagine but it’s been a breakout season for the Rams, achieving success and notoriety like never before in their 50-year history. Last week’s win over Washington Township was their first-ever playoff victory and not only are they still alive for a sectional crown but they can earn a share of the Shore Conference American Division title if Toms River East beats North next week.

Southern has caught me and many others by surprise this fall but I don’t think they’ll catch the Mariners tonight and I like North in a close call.

Top-seeded Point Boro hosts Bridgeton this evening in the South Jersey Group 2 Semifinals with the top-seeded Panthers two wins away from their second state title in three years. Lacey is looking to make it back-to-back
South Jersey Group 3 championships and the Lions will be home Saturday afternoon against an explosive Winslow Township team.

A total of 11 teams from the shore are still alive in the playoffs and among tonight’s other games will be an all-Monmouth County meeting between Rumson and Holmdel while Howell continues its bid for the school’s first state football championship when they host Montgomery.

1160 WOBM AM and the Shore Sports Network will broadcast a doubleheader this weekend….Southern-North tonight and Lacey-Winslow Saturday.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Fundraisers And More Fundraisers

It is certainly a busy time as many organizations hold major fundraising events before the end of the year.

The United Way of Ocean County holds it’s Gala Ball Friday at Eagle Ridge Golf Club in Lakewood and Diane Rhine will receive their Community Caring Award for her endless hours of volunteering to a variety of causes. A partner in the real estate company Citta-Rhine, Diane is truly deserving of this honor and inot for a football game I’ll be working I would certainly have been there on her behalf.

The Whispering Pine District of the Jersey Shore Council of the Boy Scouts of America will hold their 15th Annual Outstanding Service Award Reception on Tuesday, November 27th at La Bove Grande in Lakehurst. Saluted this year of will be Don Johansen of Harrogate for his many years of service and dedication to the Boy Scouts. For information on the reception you can call (732) 349-1037.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County will hold their 3rd annual “Thanks for Giving Gala” on Friday, November 30th at the Crystal Point Yacht Club in Point Pleasant. Among those being honored that night are the original six founders of the organization, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary and I will play a unique role as both the Master of Ceremonies and one of the six being honored. The others are Dr. Kenneth Kerr, Paul Barlo, Tom Addalia, Paul Rhine and John Kelly. Guest speaker for the event will be hockey standout Jim Dowd and each attendee will receive a limited-edition autographed lithograph of Jim in the uniform he wore when he played for the Devils…he is now with the Philadelphia Flyers.
For tickets and more information you can call BBBSOC at (732) 905-5349.

On an unrelated matter. What is really bothersome about the incident that took place at Lakewood High School earlier this week is the impact it has on the students who go to school to learn and make themselves better. They’re the ones who get penalized by the senseless acts of others.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Importance Of Ocean County College

This is not a story about me being the Master of Ceremonies at last night’s Ocean County College Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Dinner at Eagle Ridge Golf Club. However I was the MC for the event and have been for all five of them since the college established a Hall of Fame to honor former athletes and coaches….a list that has gown to 30.

Rather this is a story about how last night reaffirmed what O.C.C. has meant to so many since opening their doors more than 40 years ago with the original classes being held at Toms River High School South before moving to their main campus on Hooper Avenue.

The Athletic Hall of Fame inducted five new members last night, including Hy Mittelberg who coached three sports and still teaches at the school and 1990 graduate Cindy Patton Stout, a nationally honored swimmer who coaches and teaches at Central Regional High School. However what really hit me was the story of the Farrell Sisters, three of whom were honored last night for the contributions they made to the college. Eunice Farrell Pschoor graduated in 1970, Lorraine Farrell Airey in 1972 and Barbara Farrell Meyer in 1977. All three were outstanding athletes and played multiple sports during their college days, most of which took placed before the women’s sports boom and when choices were somewhat limited.

What struck me was the admission that their hard-working father didn’t really think college was the place for a woman and it took some prodding (and financial sacrifice) from their mother to even allow the sisters to attend OCC. They agreed that if the college was not accessible and affordable it’s doubtful they would have continued their education after high school. Well as they say the proof is in the pudding as all three went on to four-year schools and have made careers in education, Eunice recently retired as an assistant principal at Southern Regional High School and is now an adjunct professor at OCC. Lorraine is the principal of Southern Regional Middle School and Barbara teaches at Vets Middle School in Brick.

One family and three stories of why Ocean County College is a vital part of our community.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tuesday Thoughs

Just some random notes after what was for some a long weekend:

I know people find it upsetting that tens of thousands will attend a Halloween parade but only a fraction of that will bother turning out for the Veteran’s Day parade in downtown Toms River. The sad reality is most of us are more interested in trivial matters than those of substance and you can’t force people to pay attention to something they don’t want too.

By the way the Veteran’s Day parade attendance is bolstered by the fact Toms River Schools are open as many students participate in a variety of ways…if schools were closed most would just view the day as a holiday. Yesterday’s turnout was among the best ever and an indication that many do support veterans for the sacrifices they have made and continue to make.

Kudos to the Timothy E. Ryan Home for Funerals for their flag-filled memorial to Veteran’s outside their funeral home on St. Catherine Boulevard in Toms River. We were going to the movies Saturday night at the Marquee Cinema and were wowed by the hundreds of American flags
lining the property.

Speaking of the movies, we saw American Gangster in which Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe deliver terrific performances. The movie is powerful and certainly not meant for young audiences.

Ocean County will have at least one team play for a state sectional football championship the first weekend of December. That’s because Toms River North and Southern will meet Friday night in the South Jersey Group 4 semifinals with the winner to play either Eastern or Mainland. The Mariners beat the Rams 17-7 just a couple of weeks ago. We will broadcast the rematch on the Shore Sports Network.
Point Boro and Lacey are also alive for titles with the Panthers to host Bridgeton Friday night and the Lions to entertain Winslow Township Saturday afternoon in Lacey.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Let The Playoffs Begin

The fall high school sports season is quickly becoming a memory for some but for high school football teams and fans the second season is about to begin as the NJSIAA Football Playoffs start this weekend.

Toms River North and Point Boro are top seeds in their sections and as long as they win will get to play on their home fields. The undefeated Mariners host Atlantic City tonight in the South Jersey Group 4 quarterfinals…a section that also features Southern and Toms River East among the eight teams vying for a championship. The Rams & Raiders have much tougher paths as they are on the road tonight. #5 Southern, who has never won a state playoff game visits Washington Township tonight while the sixth-seeded East Raiders are at Mainland, who is ranked 17th in the state.

As for Toms River North, they are 8-0 and certainly rate the edge over Atlantic City in a game that will be broadcast on 1160 WOBM AM.

Point Boro is the team to beat in South Jersey Group 2 where tonight they welcome Buena to Al Saner Field. The Panthers could face rival Manasquan in the second round…a team they beat a month ago. The Warriors, who cruised to the title last season, will host Bridgeton Saturday.

Brick is back in the playoffs for the first time in three years and the 6th seeded Green Dragons visit #3 Sayreville tonight with quarterback Jordan Roshala back in the lineup. The Central Jersey Group 4 bracket also features shore teams Howell, Jackson Memorial and Colts Neck. Jackson is at West Windsor-Plainsboro South tomorrow afternoon while top-ranked Howell will host Colts Neck tonight…the Rebels beat the Cougars 28-26 in week one of the season.

Lacey heads into the playoffs poised to defend the South Jersey Group 3 championship they won last fall and riding a four-game winning streak. The second-seeded Lions host Delsea Saturday and led by running back/linebacker Tom Rickmers many believe they will make it back-to-back championships.

For the teams that did not qualify for the playoffs there are consolation games this weekend. In all-Ocean County matchups, improving Manchester visits Barnegat tonight while Saturday Lakewood hosts Jackson Liberty and in a battle of winless teams Toms River South entertains Central.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


I know there are plenty of people who like to attack education and teachers but don’t count me among them. As a matter of fact I am and probably always will be a supporter of public education which is often an easy target for critics. It’s certainly not a perfect system but what is and much of the education pitfalls are due to things out of the control of those that work in it on a daily basis.

However today and tomorrow you will probably notice that school busses are not rolling and all is quiet at public schools throughout the county and state. That’s because of an annual tradition known as the NJEA Convention which takes place in Atlantic City. Obviously many teachers attend this two-day program which offers workshops and other useful information. However the overwhelming majority doesn’t and really what this is for most is a four or five day mini-vacation…depending on if your school is close Monday for Veteran’s Day.

I have nothing against the concept of a teacher’s convention but if it’s so important to close school down for two days then attendance should be required. It would not be practical for every teacher to go every year but certainly attending every 3 or 5 years would seem to be fair. Again that’s if this convention is so important for educators to attend. If it’s not then it should be held at another time so schools could remain open.

I know some will view this as teacher bashing and it’s not….my wife happens to be one and many of my best friends are. However when I’ve asked some people why this convention, which in fairness some teachers attend every year, continues I’m told that’s the way it’s always been.
That’s an answer that many of us in the business world find tough to swallow because we know the only constant is change.

I could even live with changing what we call these two days to a Fall Break that just happens to coincide with the convention. Whatever it’s something that should be looked at….just like moving the Toms River Halloween Parade to another day besides Halloween which disrupts trick or treating.
I received many calls and emails and many agree….it’s time for change.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Election Day Recap

Election Day 2007 has come and gone and while there were some surprises certainly a majority of incumbents prevailed on a day when most of Ocean County’s and New Jersey’s registered voters did not bother to cast ballots.

All 120 seats in the state legislature were up for grabs and for all the talk about getting rid of those in office because of the sad state of affairs in Jersey there was hardly any change. It shows had hard it is to defeat incumbents especially if they have well organized and well financed operations.

Of course Ocean County has been and still is a GOP stronghold and the results of State Senate and Assembly races bear that out as Republicans coasted and in some cases barely broke a sweat. Same story with the two spots on the Freeholder Board that were decided as Democrats still have a long way to go.

Some very spirited and hotly contested Mayoral races highlighted the municipal elections and as I said previously these featured more than their share of low-blows and vicious attacks. Republican newcomer Tom Kelleher, the former Ocean County Prosecutor, came up with a big win in Toms River and along with his entire ticket earned seats in the town hall of the county’s largest municipality. Another Republican Steve Acropolis won a nasty battle in Brick as did all of his running mates and Mayor-elect Vincent Barrella led a GOP sweep in Point Pleasant Beach. Democrats did prevail and led to sweeps in Berkeley, Beachwood, Pine Beach and Seaside Park with Jason Varano to get another term as mayor in Berkeley and Ron Jones ousting incumbent Hal Morris in Beachwood in what would have to be considered an upset. Christopher Boyle won a close race in Pine Beach as did Thomas Connors in Seaside Park.

I was not surprised that two of the four public questions were defeated…those dealing with funding of stem cell research and property tax relief. Passing was a measure to preserve open space and to finally change offensive language in the state constitution and removes the words “insane”and “idiot.” That one was a victory for all to celebrate.

So say goodbye to the flyers, signs, newspaper ads, and radio & TV commercials for another year and remember… next year we elect a President.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Election Day

Amid predictions of a very low voter turnout some of us will be heading to the polls today to cast ballots with all 120 seats in the state Legislature up for grabs. Predictions are that only about a third of registered voters in New Jersey will take part in the process to decide the make-up of the next legislature in which Democrats control both the Senate and Assembly.

Locally there are two seats on the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders to be decided as well as some very spirited Mayoral races in Toms River, Brick, Berkeley and Beachwood as well as a host of other municipal elections. Some of these races have reached new lows when it comes to what people will do and say to get elected which is part of the reason why the masses don’t vote.

One of the things I do find very interesting is reading the endorsements of local newspapers who must feel it’s their responsibility to try and sway readers to see things they way they do. Fortunately I doubt that makes much difference…at least I hope it doesn’t because since when is the media the end-all, say-all when it comes to anything. Newspapers and others in the media should spend more time concentrating on accuracy and fairness then endorsing candidates.

I’m not even pompous enough to believe my opinion counts more than anyone else’s. However with that said I would like to publicly make an endorsement and that’s to vote “yes” on public question #4 which all of us in New Jersey will have the ability to decide. A “yes” to that question would remove insensitive, offensive and archaic language in our 163-year old state constitution which refers to people with disabilities as “idiots” and “insane.”
That language is used in a part of the constitution which says that those with limited mental capacity can be barred from voting and a “yes” vote today simply means the term “idiot or insane person” will be taken out. It does not change who can and cannot vote and the only reason it is still in the constitution is that it must be approved by voters who are finally getting that chance today.

If you vote today consider “yes” to question #4 and right a wrong.

Monday, November 5, 2007

This & That

A little of this and a little of that on the first Monday of November:

I was surprised to learn that the NFL season is not over. I mean from the way they hyped yesterday’s meeting between the Patriots and Colts I was pretty sure it was Super Bowl Sunday without the parties.

I missed the game because we took my mother out for the day to celebrate one of those milestone birthdays that contains an “8” in it. She does not like to talk numbers but when you look and act as young as she does it doesn’t matter. Special thanks to our friends at Lacey Limo for making her birthday so special.

The NJSIAA will officially announce the teams and pairings for the state football playoffs later today but 19 Shore Conference teams are expected to be in the hunt for sectional titles. That group will include top seeds Toms River North and Point Pleasant Borough as well as Toms River East, Southern, Lacey, Brick and Jackson Memorial.

Southern fans are no doubt disappointed that their Rams lost to North over the weekend and failed in their bid to clinch their first division title since 1972. However it was a marvelous atmosphere at Goldberger Memorial Field which has always been one of the best football complexes around and was buzzing with excitement. Southern can still get a share of the American Division championship of East beats North on Thanksgiving Day. Meanwhile the Mariners remain undefeated and are a very solid team with no real weaknesses.

After watching Lacey dismantle Wall on Saturday the Lions are poised to make a serious run at their second straight sectional championship. It was as good a performance as I have seen by any team this season.

Aren’t you glad Election Day is tomorrow so we can get back to our miserable lives without hearing candidates tell us what miserable SOB’s their opponents are? Talk about negative campaigning!

Friday, November 2, 2007

Sleeping Giant Awakes

Back in September if I predicted that Southern Regional would play Toms River North in week #9 of the high school football season with a chance to clinch the American Division championship I would have been laughed at.Unfortunately I am not Nostradamus and did not make that brave prediction but that is the scenario tonight when the shore’s top two teams meet in Manahawkin in what is certainly the most important November football game Southern has played since opening their doors.

For years people like me have labeled the Rams a “sleeping giant” and a team that just never could get over the hump by winning a big game. They did that earlier in the season when they upset Toms River East and now they try and take care of the Mariners which would give them the first outright division title in school history. The Rams shared their one and only championship in 1972 when they tied Asbury Park and Wall in 1972 for the Class C crown under then first-year coach Ron Emmert. Not only would Southern wrap up the American division title tonight but a win would give them another first…a home playoff game and they could even end up as the top seed in the highly-competitive South Jersey Group 4 bracket.

The visiting Mariners are 7-0 and ranked #1 at the shore and in the state top 20. While titles are nothing new to the Blue and Gold they fact that North is undefeated is a surprise to most. Should they win tonight then they clinch the #1 spot in South Jersey Group 4 and would also earn at least a share of the American Division title with Southern which would become a tri-championship if East then beat North on Thanksgiving.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Tonight’s showdown features teams that shine on defense with each featuring a standout linebacker…Zach Kane for North and the Rams Glenn Carson. While there are offensive standouts this game will be won by the defense which comes up big and both are capable of shutting down the other.

Chuck Donohue is in his 10th season coaching at Southern and 34th overall. He admits his team always seemed to be missing something in the past but this group has managed to find that missing ingredient. Now tonight they welcome Chip LaBarca and the Mariners in what is the game of the year…at least for this week. We’ll broadcast it on the Shore Sports Network, including 1160 WOBM AM.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Election Day Is Coming

As we close in on Election Day you will be reminded time and time again of your obligation to vote and exercise a right that people have fought and died for and some still don’t have in parts of the world. I’m here to say you also have a right to stay on the sidelines and sit the election out because I understand why people are apathetic to the process which determines our leaders.

The biggest problem for many of us is trying to sort through all the campaign rhetoric and truly determine what is fact or faction and at some point the brain shuts down and just decides it can’t listen too or read anything else. Glance through your local newspaper and see how much space is devoted to elections for various offices. You have stories that are actually news, you have those that are simply campaign statements, you have charges and countercharges and then you have those wonderful letters to the editor which in some cases are just free ads.

If that’s not enough how about all the flyers that have found their way into your mailbox the last couple of weeks. I received so many yesterday the postman put a rubber band around them. I tend to have more of an interest than the average person so I’ll glance at most of these mailings. However how many people just open up their garbage can and toss away anything that has to do with politics.

Those that constantly scream about how you have to vote can’t accept that one of the big reasons why many don’t go to the polls is they can’t tell who is telling the truth and who is smiling while they lie to you. Some will say if you don’t vote you don’t have the right to complain and I felt that way for years but not any longer. By not voting you are sending a clear message that candidates did not inspire, influence or motivate you. Of course I also recognize that some people don’t care and nothing could get them to the polls and that’s just the way it is.

I continue to believe that at the end of the day there are choices and if you look hard there’s enough to separate candidates and one may appeal to you. But I also believe than an informed vote is better than one in which a person goes into the booth and hits whatever button happens to strike their fancy.

Vote next Tuesday if you want….it’s your right.