Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday, October 29, 2010

It is rare in our business when one radio station mentions another but of course we at Millennium Radio are just one big happy (and by the way dysfunctional) family.
So I am comfortable in talking about what our sister station 105.7 The Hawk has been doing this week for the benefit of Ocean of Love, a local organization that assists families dealing with childhood cancer. Since 5pm Monday on air personality Andy Chase has been living on top of a billboard in the parking lot by
Target and Loewe’s on Hooper Avenue in Toms River. This is the first time the annual event has been held in Toms River as in the past it was done from Route 88
in Brick.

Each year the radio station has helped reached the goal of $105,700 thanks to the generosity of corporate sponsors, private donations and things like “coin wars” involving local schools. I stopped over late yesterday afternoon and it’s truly gratifying to watch people of all ages bringing their donations….large and small. Going into today they are over $66,000 and as always the final 10 hours or so are frantic and I encourage anyone who can to make a donation. Ocean of Love is a tremendous organization that helps families in need during their most difficult hours with financial assistance for everything from transportation for hospital visits to paying utility bills. If you would like to support the cause you have until 5pm today to stop by the billboard location on Hooper Avenue, call Ocean of Love at (732) 270-3500. For more information you can also visit Good luck to Andy in his final hours of living on the billboard.

Sam Hammer is a well known name is surfing circles around New Jersey in addition to the fact that his family owns the Crabs Claw Inn. The former Point Pleasant Beach High School wrestler sought to defend his title in the Smith Optics Garden State Grudge Match which features the top surfers in the state. However Sam came up just short Thursday in the ocean off Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, losing to Zach Humphreys of Margate in the finals. Hammer, a 3-time Grudge Match champion had beaten Humphreys in last year’s semifinals but this time around the 21-year year old topped the veteran and collected first prize of $3500
and the championship belt.

High School football tonight on the Shore Sports Network as we’ll be at Point Boro High School for the Panthers game with Raritan.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A little of this and a little of that because really I have nothing else:

Both might be considered slight underdogs tonight but if Toms River South and Toms River North manage to win their semifinal games in Neptune they will meet in the finals of the Shore Conference Boys Soccer Tournament. The 4th seeded Indians, coming off a quarterfinal win over Toms River East, face top-seeded CBA at 7pm while in the first game at 5 o’clock the 7th ranked Mariners will battle 3rd seeded Howell. Tonight’s games will be played on turf so the rain of the last couple of days will not be a problem.

We kick off the 8th weekend of the High School Football season with tonight’s edition of the Saint Barnabas Healthcare High School Football Show on 105.7 FM and beginning at 7pm. Guests include interim Point Boro coach Sean Henry, Neptune coach Don Sofilkanich, Manasquan running back Tariq Turner and longtime Shore coaching figures Al Saner and Ron Signornino.
The weekly show is broadcast live from Boston’s Restaurant and Sports Bar in Toms River.

The 3rd Annual Steven Sprague Memorial Run will be held on Sunday, November 21st at Toms River High School East and will include a mile fun run and a 5K run and walk. The event honors the memory of Steve Sprague who was tragically killed while doing construction work on the New Jersey Turnpike in October of 2008. All proceeds go towards a scholarship fund that was created for his young daughter Abigail. For information you can visit the events official website at

I mentioned earlier this week that I felt for some reason or reasons Halloween does not seem to be as big this year as in the past. Well I’ve discussed this with several people over the last few days and they all agree and cite the economy as the biggest reason. While the weather has been very un-Halloween like all week it does look like Sunday will be a perfect day for Trick or Treaters.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

As parents we sometimes grunt and groan over the seemingly endless tasks that come with having children. It’s not that we’re complaining but it just seems like it never ends and rarely is there time to just sit back, especially during the course of the school year. By now you have probably heard me talk about not having any children at home as our youngest is a college freshman. For the first time in
what seems to be forever this fall we did not have a back-to-school night and there’s no athletic events to watch our son or daughter compete it. This morning as I was leaving I mentioned to my wife that this will be the first Halloween in 25 years that we did not have at least one child to dress up. I thought back to when the kids were small and we dictated their costumes. My son was a mouse, Donald Duck and a waiter…my daughter was a sunflower, cowgirl and a witch. Of course as they got older the costumes tended to be more of their doing and often last-minute projects. Often we were scrambling and the house was chaotic, trying to coordinate everything to also make sure someone was home for trick or treaters.

I’ll say it again and remind those of you who insist you can’t wait until the kids are gone and so is the chaos, stress, anxiety and sense that you can never relax.
The quiet is deafening and I for one miss the noise.

Raise your hand if you were aware that the pro basketball season began last night?
I don’t see too many out there. Maybe that’s because the three games that were played did not feature any of the local teams. However the Nets, Knicks and 76ers
all play their season-openers tonight so raise your hand if you’re going to watch a game featuring at least one of them. Let’s see…there’s a hand in Toms River, one in Brick and yes I think there’s one in Lacey. So glad the NBA season is here.

Nothing new on the Fox/Cablevision dispute except inflammatory rhetoric coming from both sides. Bottom line is if you have Cablevision and want to watch the World Series which begins tonight then it’s a friend’s house or your favorite sports bar. Thank goodness it’s not the Yankees and Phillies.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Coach Cal

One of the things I enjoyed most about broadcasting a Point Pleasant Borough football game in recent years was talking with Panthers head coach Calvin Thompson. “Coach Cal” was indeed a unique individual and a couple of years ago several of us in the media voted him the best coach to interview because you really never knew what he was going to say. The one thing you could be sure of was he would not give you the standard answers and he often left you shaking your head or at the very least with a smile on your face. As colorful as Thompson could be he obviously knew a bit about coaching as he guided the Panthers to three Division titles, five playoff appearances, and a state sectional championship while compiling a record of 65 wins and 28 losses. However a little more than halfway into his 9th season Thompson Monday resigned for what he said are personal reasons and in the best interest of his family and the Panthers football program.
Last night the Board of Education named assistant Sean Henry interim coach for the remainder of the season. Thompson was not with the team last weekend when they beat Lakewood and there have been reports he was suspended for that game. He is not a teacher but rather has operated his own speed training and conditioning business for many years and while he won’t comment about recent developments has told others he would like to coach again.
The Panthers are currently 3-3 and battling for a spot in the state playoffs. Ironically we will broadcast their game this Friday night against Raritan at Al Saner Field on the Shore Sports Network.

I have said many times that it bothers me that so often people want to talk about men and women like they are the same because in truth we are very different.
I came across a recent survey which revealed the fears women and men have when it comes to aging and as you might expect there are differences.
The top five women’s fears were losing sex appeal, being left alone, going broke, cancer and being dependent on someone else to take care of them. As for men well #1 was sexual performance followed by losing physical strength, retirement, not being able to drive and forgetfulness or early dementia.
Time and other factors will not allow me to comment plus I forgot what I was going to say.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Random thoughts heading into the final week of October even though it feels more like the final week of September:

Sunday is Halloween but for some reason it just doesn’t feel like it’s as big this year as usual. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe it’s the economy or maybe it’s because Halloween stuff has been out since August and I’m already sick of it.

A funny thing happened on the way to a Yankees-Phillies World Series rematch…the Rangers and Giants got in the way. Instead of thousands of people in this area interested in the “Fall Classic” there are now 9 who care about Texas and San Francisco. Just think of how much more sleep you’ll get over the next couple of weeks. By the way TV ratings for the League Championship Series were nearly identical to a year ago but I would imagine the World Series might be down a bit.

If you have not watched “The Good Wife” with Julianna Margulies you are missing TV’s best drama.

Kudos to Central Regional school officials for the work they have done on their football complex, including the installation of new bleachers and a press box. Joseph J. Boyd Memorial Field has never looked better and they might have the best concession stand around. I don’t know how much credit he deserves but Superintendent Tommy Parliapanedes grew up making food at his father’s place on the Seaside boardwalk.

By now most of you have heard about Eric LeGrand, the Rutgers football player paralyzed from the neck down in a game more than a week ago. Shirts are being sold for $15 with all proceeds going to the Eric LeGrand Believe Fund. They are available at the Scarlet Fever store in New Brunswick and through the store’s website at Click on the websites t-shirt section.

What’s worse…not having coffee in the morning or getting a bad cup? It’s a toss up.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Friday, October 22, 2010

Outside of Little League baseball it seems when Toms River makes the news in a big fashion it’s always something bad. Ocean County’s largest town has survived the negative publicity surrounding the infamous Marshall murder in the 80’s, the cancer cluster after that and now a public corruption scheme involving its longtime Superintendent of Schools Michael Ritacco. I will leave it for others to pass judgement on Ritacco, someone who I’ve known for more than 25 years and consider a friend. The charges are staggering and in good time we will know the full extent of the insurance scheme. However this morning I’m going to talk about the fact that the district and the town do need to move on.

Ritacco’s sudden retirement last night officially ends his 40-year relationship with the school district and allows the Board of Education to begin picking up the pieces and move forward. At a special meeting last night they were the recipients of criticism from the public for not “minding the mint” and allowing things to occur under their watch. Board Attorney Thomas Monahan did point out the federal indictment against Ritacco cited that all activities took place without the knowledge of the Board of Education. That’s not good enough for some, who have been vocal critics for years and now have something of substance to hang on to. Again there are plenty of others who will offer their opinions on the matter and
have a field day doing so but this needs to be a time when focusing on the future is even more important than dwelling on the past.

With that said the school board did name Frank Roselli as acting superintendent and he is the right choice to lead the day-to-day operations of New Jersey’s fourth largest district. Roselli started as a school psychologist three decades ago and served as a building principal before being named an assistant superitndent in 2002.

He has the respect of administrators, teachers and support staff and I believe will be able to rally the troops during what will be a tough transition period. Roselli will stay in the position until a national search leads to the hiring of a new superintendent and likely that will be at the end of this school year. He will have challenges and among his first orders of business is to settle a contract with the district’s teachers association who have been working without one. That will probably be a lot easier to achieve than restoring public confidence which is going to take time. For the sake of 17,000 students and more than 2,000 employees the district needs to pull together starting now.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bell Rung

He had his “bell rung” was a common expression to describe an athlete taking a blow to the head which often would follow with him staggering around and having to be helped off the field. If it was a football game you came to the sidelines where you might resemble someone who’s had way too much to drink. Teammates would laugh and slap you on your back and a coach might place an ammonia cap under your nose which would often stir you from a lethargic state. Usually you would return to the game a few minutes later because begging off would be a sign you were not very tough. That was 30, 40 and 50 years ago and what we didn’t know then was that athlete probably had suffered a concussion. Who knows how many of them had repeated instances of getting their “bell rung” which we now know were probably additional concussions. Some might have suffered later in life from a variety of problem that can be traced back to their teen age years.

Fortunately times have changed and we recognize concussions for what they are…blows to the head that are never insignificant. Football accounts for about 60% of the concussions suffered by high school males with soccer second. As for girls, soccer is by far the leading sport for what is also called a mild traumatic brain injury. There has been much attention paid of concussions in recent months, especially because of the number of high-profile football players knocked out of action by these blows to the head. This includes high school athletes who now must abide by new safety rules established by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association. Any athlete suffering a concussion must be symptom-free for 7 consecutive days before he or she can return to action and they must pass several tests to determine if they are ready to play again. What happened in the old days will not happen again and for that every parent should be happy.

Dr. Mark Meredith of Community Medical Center said regardless of age parents should always err on the side of caution when it comes to concussions. Symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, memory problems and mood swings and sometimes they don’t occur until days later. However if you think your child may have suffered a concussion they should immediately stop playing and seek medical attention. What is truly scary about this type of injury is once you suffer one you become much more likely to sustain a second and there are serious long-term consequences. Dr. Meredith will be a guest on tonight’s Saint Barnabas Healthcare High School Football Show which airs from 7-9pm on 105.7FM and 1310AM.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It still may happen but all of a sudden prospects for another Yankees-Phillies World Series are not so great. The Yanks season could end today with another loss to the Rangers, who lead the American League Championship Series 3 games to 1 after last night’s 10-3 pounding. Not only has Texas won three straight games but they have dominated the series, outscoring the Yankees 30-11 and the Bronx Bombers will have to go the rest of the way without Mark Teixeira, who injured his hamstring. Meanwhile the Giants lead the Phillies 2-1 after shutting them out in San Francisco Tuesday…game #4 is tonight. Most Ocean County fans were hoping for Yanks-Phills II but as a Mets fan I’m thrilled over Giants-Rangers.

The Pioneer Hose Company in Brick will sponsor the annual EAKFEST this
Saturday from 5-10pm at the fire house on Drum Point Road. Billed as a “haunted Halloween fundraiser to fight Cystic Fibrosis” the Eak Family from Brick has been doing this for years as a Halloween party. However a few years ago they learned that their 12-year old daughter was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis so now they turned it into a large fundraiser. Last year nearly 1,000 people turned out and they raised almost $10,000. There is a Haunted Trail, Kiddie Hay Rides, carnival games, Music, Food and more and attendees are encouraged to wear costumes.
For more information visit

First it was June Cleaver and now Howard Cunningham. We have lost two of television’s most endearing parents in just a matter of days. First it was Barbara Billingsley, who played June Cleaver on “Leave it to Beaver.” She died over the weekend at age 94 and yesterday Tom Bosley passed away at the age of 83 from heart failure. He of course played Richie’s father on “Happy Days” from the mid 70’s to the mid 80’s. “Mr. C” was a very understanding guy, who never yelled at Richie and always handled being the parent of a teenager with grace and dignity.
As for Billingsley, while she is best known for playing Mrs. Cleaver who can forget her brief appearance in the 1980 movie “Airplane” in which she played “jive lady.” It was truly a classic.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I just feel this morning that something that might bring a smile to your face is just what the doctor ordered so I am passing on an email I received that was titled “Ponderisms- these are quite interesting and so true.”

1. Ever wonder about those people who spend $2.00 on little bottles of Evian water? Try spelling Evian backwards: NAÏVE
2. If people from Poland are called “Poles”, why aren’t people from Holland called “Holes?”
3. If a pig loses its voice, is it disgruntled?
4. Why do croutons come in airtight packages? Aren’t they just stale bread to begin with?
5. If lawyers are disbarred and clergymen defrocked, doesn’t it follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys deranged, models deposed, tree surgeons debarked and dry cleaners depressed?
6. If FedEx and UPS were to merge, would they call it Fed UP?
7. Do Lipton Tea employees take coffee breaks?
8. What hair color do they put on the drivers licenses of bald men?
9. If most mothers feed their babies with tiny little spoons and forks does that mean Chinese mothers use toothpicks?
10. Why do they put pictures of criminals in the Post Office? What are we supposed to do, write to them? Why don’t they just put their pictures on the postage stamps so the mailmen can look for them while they deliver the mail?
11. Did you ever notice that you never really learn to swear until you learn to drive?
12. Whatever happened to Preparations A through G?
13. Did you ever notice when you put “The” and “IRS” together it spells….”THEIRS.”
14. If 4 out of 5 people suffer from Diarrhea does that mean that one enjoys it?
15. Do you think more and more people read the Bible as they get older because it’s like cramming for a final exam?

If you smiled once it was worth it…if you didn’t then you’re in for a rough day.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

If you’re a regular listener of this segment you know that often I get personal and talk about things involving my family. You also might know that my wife Jane is a breast cancer survivor and for the seventh consecutive year led “Team Booberang” in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk Sunday in Point Pleasant Beach. The event and cause obviously has some special meaning to her
and I am proud to say our children as well. We knew my son was going to come home from Hoboken this weekend to walk with his mother but we got a great surprise when our daughter very unexpectedly showed up. She and her roommate took a bus from Penn State Friday, met my son in New York and then took a bus to Toms River. My wife was only expecting to pick up Brandon and was stunned to find Alex and her roommate Nicole get off the bus as well. Since the kids went out for a while they all kept it a secret from me until about 1 o’clock in the morning and to say I was surprised would be an understatement. It made for a hectic but great weekend, including a wonderful dinner Saturday at The Crabs Claw Inn where my daughter works in the summer and my son did as well. It all culminated with yesterday’s walk which was a first for me and was everything I have heard and more. What really struck me was the number of people I ran into who I never knew had a connection to breast cancer in their families. To see the amount of survivors was uplifting but it was also sad to see so many who were walking for those who did not beat this horrible disease. We can all hope that there will be a day that nobody will lose a wife, mother, sister or daughter to breast cancer.

I know there are times when we don’t want government interference but if I was a Cablevision customer I would want very much the government to intervene in their dispute with Fox which cost many in our area to miss Sunday’s Giants football game and the first two games of the NLCS involving the Phillies. On the surface you have to think Fox is the bad guy here because they will not agree to binding arbitration but nobody has any sympathy for either billion dollar conglomerate.
What I do know is sports and entertainment shows are often our escapes from reality and it’s a disgrace that they are being taken away as the two sides play hardball.

Friday, October 15, 2010

We all know that one bad kid makes more noise and sometimes news than a dozen good ones. One of the biggest complaints you hear from educators today is more time and energy is spent on those who cause trouble then the gifted, talented and those who are an asset to a school. Anyway for those who wonder where the good kids are I met three of them last night at the Toms River Student Loan Fund’s Annual Recognition Cocktail Reception at the Quality Inn of Toms River. The event had two purposes….to salute individuals while also raising money for the 73-year old organization which helps graduates of the Toms River School District with low-interest loans for college and graduate school.

One of the highlights of the evening was hearing about and then listening to a senior from each of the three high schools. Amar Shah from East, North’s Max Betten & South’s Anna DeBlasio left many of us shaking our heads in amazement over their accomplishments and goals. They truly represented the “best of the best” and all had a common theme and that was their success is largely due to the education they have received and the teachers who have influenced them. That takes me to another part of last night’s event which was to honor and salute the 20 current “Teachers of the Year” in the school district. Many of them were on hand to receive proclamations from the Township of Toms River as well as the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Presentations were made by Toms River Education Association president Kathy Egan and Toms River committee members Maria Maruca & George Whittman.

The evening’s other honoree was longtime Toms River resident Joseph Placente, who was saluted for his contributions to his town, state and country. A lifetime member of Toms River Fire Company #2, the 78-year old is best known for carrying the American flag while running in races and even along local roads.
“Joe the Barber” was truly deserving of last night’s honor with family and friends on hand to share the night with him Special thanks to the sponsors who supported last night’s fundraiser for the Toms River Student Loan Fund, including The Office Restaurant and Lounge of Toms River, Connor Strong Buckelew, the law firm of Kelaher, Garvey, Ballou, Van Dyke and Rogalski and Dave Wintrode of the Causeway Family of Dealerships.

A quick programming tonight….the Shore Sports Network’s “Friday Night Football” game will find Toms River North visiting Southern Regional with kickoff at 7pm. The game can be heard on 105.7FM and 1310AM.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Asbury Park Press is out with their annual “Readers Choice” Best of Monmouth & Ocean counties listing which truthfully is nothing more than an advertising vehicle for the newspaper. I only mention this somewhat embarrassing supplement in today’s paper because 92.7 WOBM has once again been named The Best Radio Station in Ocean County. Of course we are grateful that listeners and readers voted for us but if you see today’s special section you’ll notice we are listed as WOMB 92.7 FM. Based on me mentioning this gaffe this morning and questioning the integrity of the entire concept we might not even crack the top three in 2011. I would also like to congratulate myself for being saluted as the “Best Sportscaster/Morning Show feature broadcaster” in Ocean County who writes with his right hand but throws with his left. You might have trouble finding this one in the paper but I think it’s in there with the other couple of hundred ridiculous declarations.

Of course October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and you will find pink ribbons just about everywhere. One of the month’s biggest events is Sunday’s
Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Point Pleasant Beach and I will be attending for the first time ever. The event is close to home because my wife Jane is a breast cancer survivor and every year assembles a group of family, friends and co-workers from Manchester Township High School to walk under the name “Team Booberang.” They meet early for breakfast which is donated by New York Bagels in Point Pleasant Beach. My son decided he wanted to come home from Hoboken and walk with his mother so I’m going to witness what is always an emotional day filled with hope that one day there will be no reason to walk.
I myself can’t participate as I’m having knee surgery in a few weeks but I’m looking forward to Sunday. Making Strides walks across the country last year raised some $60 million for the American Cancer Society.

Just a reminder that the Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce will host a luncheon Monday featuring 3rd District Congressional candidates John Adler and John Runyan. The event at the Ramada Inn of Toms River will allow chamber members and others to meet and hear the two candidates as I will moderate a brief question and answer session. United Water and Millennium Radio are sponsoring the lunch meeting and for information and tickets you can call the Chamber office at (732) 349-0220.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

My Pet Fish

Let me first say that I do not dislike animals and have nothing against pet owners even thought comments around the office would lead some to believe that. Growing up we not only had dogs but an outside kennel and I loved our beagles and a mutt named “Judy” who was like a family member and lived until she was about 17 or 18 in people years.

While my wife and I never really had a desire to have a pet our children lobbied on a couple of occasions and finally about 12 years or so ago the timing was right. We purchased a golden retriever puppy from a good friend and within a few days had invested hundreds of dollars and thought we were set. Without going into great detail over the next couple of weeks it became obvious to all of us that this was not going to work. Attempts to sell “Bailey” and at least recoup a bit of our investment were unsuccessful and eventually we gave her away to a family that lived on a farm with plenty of pets and animals and a promise to take care of her.
As my young daughter said at that time when asked why we bailed so early, “we’re just not a dog family.”

Flash forward to today and we are very happy to be pet-less although I do have a backyard pond with about 15 goldfish and koi. Due to the number I have not given them names but I do speak with them on a somewhat daily basis during feedings and they seem happy and content. Soon they basically call it a season as my pond will be closed and they will virtually disappear for about six months.

As for the purpose of this segment today….well there really isn’t one. I am somewhat amazed at the commitment many of you make to your pets. If you’re single I can understand as your dog or cat (sorry but they are all creepy to me) gives you companionship. However I could never grasp getting up during the night in rain or cold weather to take your dog out. Plus have you ever looked carefully at someone walking a dog carrying a bag which will be used to clean up the dog’s mess? Well they look like a marathoner after about 20 miles….pure agony. Then there’s the subject of what to do when you go away for a dinner, weekend or vacation. It’s just not for us although we are a good fish family.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Invasion Of The Candidates

Consider this a plea for mercy as I can no longer take the invaders who continue to come into my home uninvited. They come at all hours of the day and I don’t know what to do about them and most importantly how to get them out of my life. You can’t go the store and buy a spray to get rid of these pests and I even called Ozane but they have no service for my problem. There is some hope however if I can make it through the next three weeks because they will not only leave my home but others as well. You see these invaders are not just coming into my home and I would imagine that most of you have a similar problem. I’m not talking about bugs or rodents but rather the constant unsolicited phone calls from political candidates with pre-recorded voice messages telling me why I should vote for them and not the other guy. So far I’ve heard from congressional candidates John Adler and John Runyan on a somewhat regular basis and I fear that as we get closer to Election Day the frequency may get greater and it could expand to other races on the county and local level. I’m begging here…please leave me alone. Please don’t make me come home and listen to this rhetoric before I can hit the “delete message” button. If you want my vote that here’s my message….whoever bothers me less over the next three weeks gets my support.
Plan and simple…I don’t care about where you stand on taxes, social security, national defense, immigration, campaign reform, term limits…any of those unimportant issues. I only care you leave me the heck alone…do that and you’re my man.

I’m hooked on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” which is basically “The Sopranos” 70 years earlier. I even see some similarities in the characters played by Steve Buscemi and James Gandolfini. Buscemi by the way is brilliant and who could have imagined such an unattractive guy with bad teeth could play such a leading role. No question an Emmy nomination is coming his way.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Columbus Day?

It’s Columbus Day…at least that’s what the calendar says. I’m not really sure if today is the day we celebrate Christopher Columbus discovery of the Americas, specifically the Bahamas or Italian-American heritage and culture. Regardless the second Monday of October is a federal holiday so I guess for many today is the end of a very nice three-day weekend.

My wife and I had not been to the movies in quite some time but we decided to go Saturday and there were several films we wanted to see. I sort of lobbied for
“Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps” and because the time worked well that’s what we saw. To be honest I was a bit disappointed…it was good but nothing like the first Wall Street movie 23 years earlier. Michael Douglass was solid as Gordon Gecko but there were times things moved just too slow. Anyway we did enjoy the coming attractions because there appear to be some terrific films coming out later this fall.

The fifth week of the NFL season concludes tonight with an interesting game here in New Jersey as the Jets host the Vikings. It’s made even more intriguing by the developing story involving Minnesota quarterback Brett Favre. The NFL is investigating allegations that when Favre played for the Jets two years ago he sent racy messages and lewd photos to a Jets games hostess he was trying to make a move on. I’ve heard the voicemails and seen the photos on the website Deadspin and if they are Favre he’s got some “splaining to do.”

By the way for the first time in 40 years no team made it through 4 games without a loss in the NFL.

It’s looking more and more like the worst-case scenario for Mets fans as the stars are all aligned for a Yankees-Phillies World Series. Not only did both teams sweep their first-round series but they will have well-rested pitching staffs and ideal rotations set up for the League Championship Series’ later this week.

When I was a teen-ager I remember going with my father to Delicious Orchards in Colts Neck for apple cider, apple donuts and pies. My wife and I took a ride there yesterday morning and it’s not the place I remember from years ago. You can still get cider, donuts and pies but wow it has grown with food and produce choices like you can’t believe.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The local business community will have a chance to meet the candidates for the hotly-contested congressional seat in the 3rd District, which includes a large portion of Ocean County from Toms River to Long Beach Island. Incumbent Democrat John Adler and Republican challenger John Runyan will attend a “Meet the Candidates” luncheon hosted by the Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce on Monday, October 18th at the Ramada Inn on Route 9 in Toms River.
Sponsored by United Water and Millennium Radio, the luncheon will allow people to meet the candidates and I will moderate a forum that will allow questions to be asked. For information and reservations call the Chamber office at (732) 349-0220.

By all account Ruth Uveges is the kind of person that makes certain places just better to live, work and play in. In her case Lacey Township has benefitted from her contributions to the community where she is active in many causes. Her passion is helping out with the co-ed cheerleading teams and the high school football team where her son Matt is a senior and key member of what many think is the best team at the shore. Ruth has given a fair amount of time to help others and now the community she loves is coming together to help her and her family in a time of need. Ruth was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma which in itself is quite a hurdle to overcome. It’s been made more difficult for the family because they don’t have health insurance so you can only imagine the financial stress they are under. That’s why this Saturday there will be a Fundraising Zumba Class held on the Lacey High School football field from 2-5pm. Zumba is a popular fitness workout that combines movements designed to burn calories and fat with Latin music and it’s become the rage with many. Anyway what would really be nice is if people come out to the Lacey football field Saturday afternoon and support the Uveges Family because they sure deserve it.

By the way, the Lions visit Barnegat Friday night in a battle of undefeated teams which we will broadcast on the Shore Sports Network, including 105.7 FM.
Lacey coach Lou Vircillo and quarterback Craig Cicardo will appear on tonight’s Saint Barnabas Healthcare High School Football Show which is broadcast live
from Boston’s in Toms River and airs on 105.7 FM from 7-9pm.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Helping Atlantic City

I just don’t know how I feel about recent announcements that the state will help struggling Atlantic City with a bailout while at the same time relaxing some regulations on casinos….two different stories but pretty much for the same reason.
The city itself is dealing with a major deficit and basically has reached an agreement with Governor Christie which would give the state more control over their future through the creation of a tourism district. As for the casinos they are seeking the relaxation of rules and regulations which they in turn insist would save New Jersey money which could be used to help bolster the marketing efforts of the struggling industry.

We are far too linked to Atlantic City to just let it die but at the same time it’s also hard to feel empathy for an industry that is built on sucking people dry and loving every moment of it. When times were good the “little guy” never really had a shot in AC. There were no $5 tables in which you could have a fun with a few bucks and it if you went at night during the peak seasons you would likely find minimums that were not for the average person. It might take you several hours to earn $100 but in Atlantic City that could easily disappear in a matter of moments. I just never felt like the casinos cared about anything but taking your money as fast as they could.

Of course there has also been the attempt to market AC as a tourism location and to be honest there are nice hotels and things like beach bars which are indeed very desirable. But you’ll pay a pretty penny for everything from your room to a cocktail and deals were not easy to come by….especially when the economy was booming. While efforts were made to add shops like the outlets in town and The Pier Shops at Caesars the drawing card was always gambling. If you lived anywhere within a couple of hours, including New York and Philly and wanted to gamble then Atlantic City was the place.

However times changed as casinos started popping up all over the tri-state area, including Racinos at race tracks. New Jersey insisted that Atlantic City would be the only place you would find a slot machine or roulette table in this state and expected that to be good enough because AC was a tourism destination. What they found out is that gamblers are not loyal and will go where it’s convenient… ace and a picture card makes black jack anywhere. So now the city and casinos want help and I for one have little pity. They could start by giving the average guy a fair shake at a fair price.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

End Of An Era

As a long-time and often-suffering Mets fan I can only hope yesterday was truly the end of a disappointing era and better days are head. General Manager Omar Minaya and manager Jerry Manuel will not return next season as the search is now on for a new GM who would then hire a field manager. Minaya & Manuel are not deserving of all the blame for bad play the last couple of years but it was clearly time for a change.

Former Toms River North pitcher Jerry DiPoto might not have landed the job he really wanted but will remain with the Arizona Diamondbacks as Vice President of Scouting & Player Development. The 42-year old served as interim General Manager for much of this past season and was a finalist for the job which last week went to Kevin Towers. DiPoto was not expected to stay in the organization but the father of 3 decided to accept the new offer which pretty much makes him Towers’ assistant. He pitched for the Mariners in the mid 80’s and then went on to play at Virginia Commonwealth before being traded by Cleveland in 1989. DiPoto spent 7 years in the majors with the Indians, Mets & Rockies and then began his second career working in the front office.

It’s hard to imagine it right now but it does look like we’ll have beautiful weather later in the week. Friday night our Shore Sports Network will be at Barnegat for the biggest football game in the short history of that high school as the Bengals host Lacey. Both teams are undefeated and many think the Lions are the top team in the shore as they seemingly don’t have any weaknesses. The Bengals are led by Tulane University bound quarterback Nick SanGiacomo. Friday’s game can be heard on 105.7 FM and 1310AM.

Rutgers University wrestling supporters will head to Connolly Station in Belmar this Saturday for a social and fundraiser from 2-8pm. The event will feature food, music, raffles, auctions and much more and among those on hand will be head coach Scott Goodale, who has built the Scarlet Knights into a national power in just three seasons. Before that Goodale built a dynasty as his alma mater Jackson Memorial. Tickets for Saturday’s wrestling event are $20 in advance and $25 at the door….for more information visit

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Perfect Wedding

There is no single event more filled with promise and optimism then a wedding.
From the vows to the cutting of the cake it’s supposed to signify (let me now steal that often used quote) “the first day for the rest of your life.” Of course there was a time when this was true in the overwhelming number of cases…now it’s probably no better than a 50/50 proposition.

This past weekend my niece Cory got married in Philadelphia and I’d bet the house on the chances of her and Joe spending a lifetime together. She is the daughter of my wife’s sister and Jane has always been very close with her and was involved in some of the wedding plans. It’s not just that Cory & Joe have known each other for years, have very good careers, have lived together in a home they own and are in their late 20’s. Those are all positive factors but I’m betting on them for two very different reasons. The first has to do with the weather. It rained very hard until we arrived in Philly Friday afternoon for a family lunch as the weather broke just prior to that. From that point it was beautiful and Saturday was a picture-perfect day as they said their vows in the oldest church in Philadelphia. That’s where part #2 of this positive scenario comes into play as I was chosen to do a reading as part of the ceremony which I performed quite well. My son was also a reader and he was flawless while my daughter was a bridesmaid and did not trip once so that was pretty much perfect.

Actually the entire day was great as the reception was held at the Philadelphia Seaport Museum where we enjoyed the cocktail hour outside with a stunning view of the river. All of us had a great time and being able to celebrate such an important occasion with family was a blessing.

Heck it was such a good time that it didn’t bother me all that much to get constant text messages telling me how bad Penn State looked in their loss to Iowa. I know Johnny Walker Black didn’t care…that’s for sure.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

These are not good times for the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association which has come under fire in the wake of a report by the State Commission of Investigation that was released Wednesday. The SCI report says the governing body of high school sports in this state is not doing a good job of keeping its house in order and its fiscal mismanagement is costing taxpayers.
The real question is what’s next for the NJSIAA as this week’s report offers three options for a restructuring….the appointment of an outside monitor, a consolidation with the New Jersey School Boards Association or basically a disbanding of the organization and the moving of its functions to a self-supporting unit that would operate in but not be part of the State Department of Education.

While the report does not paint a pretty picture and cites many examples of wasteful spending the NJSIAA has taken several steps to reduce spending under its current administration. Clearly it needs to do more but I am not going to jump on the bandwagon and call for it to be taken apart because I don’t think the other options are in the best interests of high school athletics in the state. The School Boards consolidation is flawed because it restricts membership of non-public schools and with all the problems in our State Department of Education do you really want them to have responsibility over athletics? To me the sensible approach would be to bring in an outside monitor who would oversee and scrutinize the spending and operation of the private, nonprofit organization. See what happens over the next year and re-visit the status of the NJSIAA.

I have had more than my share of problems with the organization in my three decades plus of covering high school sports but I can honestly say it’s better now than it was in the past when it operated like a dictatorship under the Executive Director prior to Steve Timko. They can and need to do more to get away from the “good old boy” network but the NJSIAA does many good things that are being overlooked. They provide more championship events than any other state in the country, have greatly promoted girls athletics and put an emphasis on sportsmanship. Whether they get a chance to continue those efforts is now very much up in the air.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I’ll be at FirstEnergy Park this afternoon for the culmination of this year’s Home Runs For Heroes Program as the OceanFirst Foundation awards $30,000 in grants to nine local charities that serve members of the military. The program is a partnership between the OceanFirst Foundation, the Lakewood BlueClaws and 92.7 WOBM and WOBM AM 1160 & 1310. During this past season each time a BlueClaws player hit a home run during a home game it meant $1000 to one of the nine military-based charities and this season the Claws hit 30 homers…six more than last year. The charities were matched by positions on the field, not including the pitcher and the largest grant of $8000 went to Army Emergency Relief of Fort Dix with VetGroup next at $6000. WOBM was thrilled to be part of the program and give attention to the charities which do such great work.

The Ocean County YMCA will honor Diane and Paul Rhine of Toms River with prestigious Red Triangle Awards at their annual reception on Thursday, October 21st at Hemmingway’s Café in Seaside Heights. Both have been active members of the community for many years despite busy professional careers…Diane in real estate and Paul as a CPA. They have served as Board members for quite a few organizations and currently Diane is a director of the OceanFirst Foundation and Paul is active with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ocean County, an organization he helped form. He was also a long time member of the YMCA Board. They are the proud parents of sons Jay and Jared, who both live in Toms River and when they are not working, donating their time, or enjoying their three grandchildren, Diane & Paul love to golf. Proceeds from the October 21st reception at Hemmingway’s will benefit the 2010 Strong Kids Campaign. For ticket and sponsorship information you can call the Ocean County YMCA at (732) 341-9622.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Only time will tell if the $100 million pledged last week to the Newark schools by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg turns around the fortunes of the system or was just a good TV moment enjoyed by Oprah Winfrey. However history tells us that Newark has done a great job of wasting money for decades and pessimists like me have little faith the money will be a wise investment although at least in this case the city won’t be wasting taxpayers’ dollars. While everyone is gloating over the donation the truth is that it disguises what continues to be one of the biggest problems in education and it’s especially evident in cities like Newark.

Ask most teachers on the front line what’s a bigger problem….lack of money for supplies or the fact there are too many students wasting everyone’s time and my guess is the later will prevail. I certainly understand that we have an obligation to educate children but at what point does that obligation end? If you have 25 children in a class and three or four are problems they negatively impact the others. I’m not talking about those who have trouble learning but rather those who don’t want to learn and waste time and resources. Why can’t we recognize that there is something wrong with a system in which we remove students from school or in some cases expel them and then send teachers to that student’s home to instruct them. Who do you think pays for that?

Sure we all know there are some late-bloomers who succeeded because others did not give up on them but we have to draw the line. Until we commit more time, energy and money to the gifted rather than delinquents we will continue to fall behind the curve. When it comes to education the good old days really were the good old days. That’s when school administrators were not afraid to punish those who deserved it and stand behind teachers whose classrooms were disrupted. Today there are too many cases where teachers are stuck with bad apples in their classrooms and just told to deal with it.

Only time will tell if that $100 million donation will greatly improve the Newark School System but it’s a change of philosophy and not money that education really needs. Unfortunately none of those in position to do so will ever admit it.

Friday, September 24, 2010

After two weeks of the high school football season there are two teams that
have scored 98 points while winning their first two games. One is Asbury Park, the three-time defending Central Jersey Group 1 champions. The other is Pinelands Regional, a school that came into this season having won just 19 games in their previous 6 years for head coach Sean DeRosa. However times may be changing in Tuckerton as the Wildcats have opened this season with high-scoring wins over Monsignor Donovan and Central.

Pinelands will face its first really good opponent on Saturday afternoon when they visit powerful Lacey, who just might be the shore’s best team. The Wildcats early season success has been fueled by senior running back Matt McLain, who has run for an amazing 659 yards in the first two weeks. He is well on his way to having a record-breaking season but tomorrow will face a Lacey defense that has allowed just one touchdown in winning their first two games. Pinelands also has fullback/linebacker Bobby Schwarzenberger who is getting looks from many Division-1 programs.

While Pinelands has found the end zone 14 times in the first two weeks
Brick Township is looking to cross the goal line for the first time tonight when they visit Manchester. The Green Dragons have been outscored 72-0 but in fairness have faced Brick Memorial and Lacey who are two of the best teams at the shore.

Tonight the Shore Sports Network will be at Toms River East for the Class A South matchup between the Raiders and Brick Memorial. The Mustangs
have been dominant in the early going but have had many disappointments over the years against the Raiders. East was not only shutout by Sayreville last weekend but they will have to play tonight without quarterback Joey Clarizio, who is out with a slight concussion. The game can be heard on 105.7FM & 1310AM with kickoff at 7pm.

Other games tonight include Toms River North at Jackson, Central at Barnegat and Jackson Liberty at 0-2 Point Boro. The Panthers will be missing three offensive starters, including quarterback John Dunbar. All have concussions and will be on the sidelines as the NJSIAA has instituted a new policy on head injuries. A player diagnosed with a concussion must have 7 consecutive days of no symptoms before they can return to action. Nobody could argue with that rule which also takes pressure off Athletic Trainers and Physicians to clear players who might not be ready to play.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

I’ve been involved with many organizations over the years and all of them contribute greatly to the communities they serve. This morning I want to tell you a little bit about one of them because it is unique in nature and flies pretty much under the radar.

The Toms River Student Loan Fund was founded in 1937 by Dr. Edgar M. Fink who was the Supervising Principal of the Toms River Schools. He reached out to local business leaders and asked for contributions to assist graduates of Toms River High School who were planning to attend college.
The idea was to loan money to these graduates and of course they would repay the loan with interest and that money would be used to make additional loans.

According to the archives the first large contribution came in 1941 when George Ohl, Jr. actually donated a block of lots in Cranmoor Manor. It was not easy but eventually those lots were sold and the Student Loan Fund received nearly $1300. Try and imagine what that property would be worth today. Anyway for more than seven decades the fund has been in existence and now assists graduates of three high schools….South, North & East. Qualified applicants receive $2000 per year for their undergraduate and graduate studies and it’s fair to say that thousands of students have been helped. As a trustee I can tell you that we operate with all volunteers, have very little overhead and take the dollars that come in and loan them to help students. We do receive contributions from individuals and organizations, including trusts, planned giving and life insurance donations.

Once a year we host a cocktail reception which serves as both a fundraiser and an opportunity to recognize a community leader and outstanding teachers. That event will be held on Thursday, October 14th at the Quality Inn of Toms River and as part of the reception we will honor Joe Placente and the 20 current “Teachers of the Year” from the Toms River Regional School District. Tickets and sponsorship information are available at our web site, or you can certainly contact me for further information. We’re also selling $100 raffle tickets with three cash prizes
and like we’ve done for 73 years all proceeds will help Toms River High School students continue their education.