Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Quick note from New Hampshire

I love lake livin'. (And, apparently, alliteration.)

Friday, June 22, 2007

Takin' a little break

I'll be back soon.

Closin' the loophole

The state senate voted unanimously to close the loophole allowing smoking on casnio gaming floors. Woo-hoo!

The vote came 18 months after the Senate approved a statewide smoking ban that exempted casino gaming floors and cigar bars. State Sen. Joseph Vitale, D-Middlesex, said the original ban unfairly left out the health interests of casino employees.
“Thousands of workers each and every day are exposed to second-hand smoke,” Vitale said. “Why should thousands of casino workers be subject to cancer and emphysema?”
Said co-sponsor Sen. John Adler, D-Camden: “We're doing the right thing for public health. It's overdue. A year and a half late, but better late than not at all.”

It's nice to know that the state senate doesn't consider casino employees to be second-class citizens. Now, let's see if the Assembly follows suit...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Locally grown

The Times of Trenton food editor Susan Sprauge Yeske had a great article yesterday about Central Jersey farmers markets. She included a list of some local favorites, which I condensed here and added a few:

Trenton Farmers Market, 9 a.m. -6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays at 960 Spruce St., Lawrence.
Lawrenceville Farmers Market, Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in the parking lot of Lawrenceville Fuel, 16 Gordon Ave., Lawrenceville.
West Windsor Community Farmers Market, Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Vaughn Drive lot of Princeton Junction Train Station.
Sergeantsville Farmers Market -- 8:30 a.m.-noon Saturdays on the township green on Route 604 Rosemont-Ringoes Road in Delaware Township
Liberty Village Premium Outlets Farmers Market -- 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays at Liberty Village Shopping Center, off Route 12, Flemington.
Toms River Farmers Market -- Wednesdays, 12-6, Ruddy Park.
Burlington County Farmers Market -- 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the former Winner Farm at Hartford and Centerton roads, Moorestown.
Freehold Farmers Market -- 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesdays at The American Hotel, 18 E. Main St., Freehold.
Hopewell Community Market, 2-7 p.m. Wednesdays near the train station, off Greenwood Avenue in Hopewell Borough.
Montgomery Farmers Market -- 12:30-6:30 p.m. Thursdays beginning June 28 behind the Red Oak Diner at Routes 206 and 518.
Capital City Market -- 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Thursdays beginning July 12 at East State Street between Warren and Broad streets
Russo's at Buckley Plaza -- 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays, Buckley Plaza, Route 130, Hamilton

Some of these, such as the Trenton Farmer's Market, have rules about only selling what you grow- but there's no guarantee for the rest. There are "farmer's markets" and roadside stands where you can see the employees unloading fruit and veggies out of the same boxes they get at Shop-Rite, so be careful. Don't be afraid to ask where the produce is grown. If you want Jersey Fresh, speak up.

(cross-posted at sfoodblog)

Good luck Springfield!

Springfield NJ wants to host a premiere of the new Simpsons movie:

The Springfield that cartoon characters Homer and Marge Simpson call home bears little resemblance to the Springfield nestled between the Rahway River and the Watchung Mountains -- or the more than 70 other Springfields scattered across the country.
But one of the nation's Springfields will host the première of the first "Simpsons" movie July 26, and residents of the Union County community hope it is theirs.
Cameras were rolling yesterday in front of Town Hall for the final scenes of a video that, if picked, will clinch the honor. Fourteen Springfields are known to be in the running (New Jersey's other Springfield, in Burlington County, did not enter), with each community required to create a three- to five-minute video showing its "Simpsons spirit."
As she prepped residents yesterday for a scene in which they would be the crowd at a rock concert, (producer Robin) Cornelison exhorted, "Tell your friends, tell your friends' friends, tell your friends' friends' friends, to vote for Springfield, New Jersey."

Good Luck!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Why does this not surprise me?

Nothing is ever easy, is it?

Closing Fort Monmouth: Costs double from $780 million to $1.5 billion (Asbury Park Press)

The cost of closing Fort Monmouth has ballooned from $780 million to nearly $1.5 billion in the two years since a federal commission voted to shutter the 90-year-old Army post, according to the Army's fiscal year 2008 budget request.
The rise in cost is driven by a 571 percent jump in the price of moving the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School to West Point, N.Y., and an 85 percent increase in the price of military construction at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland, according to Army budget figures.
The nine-member federal Base Realignment and Closure commission voted in August 2005 to close the fort and transfer most of its research mission to Aberdeen by 2011.
The Pentagon blames the cost increases on factors such as inflation and changes requested by the Army, but two former members of the BRAC commission said the panel members may not have voted to close the fort had they known how much it was really going to cost.
"I think it would have changed the commission's vote," said former BRAC commissioner Philip Coyle, who voted against the proposal to close Fort Monmouth. "People would have said, "What is the point?' "

Would knowing the true cost have changed the closing of the base? I doubt it. Fort Monmouth has been on the chopping block so many times that the ax was bound to fall. Maybe it would have delayed it until the next round- maybe.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Moving to Robbinsville

A petition with nearly 1500 signatures has been filed to change the name of Washington Township (Mercer County) to Robbinsville Township. The measure will be on the November ballot and if passes, will be a legally binding name change.
(Lewis, who got the petition) Koushel said the identity problem in Washington Township causes confusion in everything from school closings and athletic competitions to attracting new businesses to the community.
Koushel pointed to the fact that in 2003 the school board opted to name the new $50 million high school Robbinsville High School, rather than using the traditional and less-recognizable Washington Township. The decision followed an overwhelming community response supporting the "Robbinsville High School" name.
"We don't owe any allegiance to (the name) Washington Township," said Koushel. "I mean Washington never slept here."
On top of the name identity problem, there is added confusion because most of the township lives in the 08691 ZIP code, which is listed as Trenton.

Changing the name of this town, officially, to Robbinsville township is long overdue. I don't think that automatically fixes the zip code problem, though; West Windsor has been struggling with that one for a long time, too.

Love it here

Our Fair State's image is improving, even among our own residents. What's not to love?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Busy, busy

End of school year (field trips and parties galore)
End of soccer season
End of swimming season
End of ballet (rehearsal & recital)
Birthday parites galore
Going on vacation soon
And, oh yeah, work.

Am tired. So tired.

And it's only Wednesday.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Swim safely!

The swimming bans in four shore towns have been lifted after tests showed the water meets state standards. The beaches were shut as a precaution after a spillage from a sewer treatment plant. Rep. Frank Pallone plans to introduce legislation to require sewage treatment facilities to have alarms so accidental discharges are immediately stopped.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Dear Hollywood Directors,

Hold the friggin' camera still.

I understand that a hand-held camera gives your movie more of an art-house feel, and judicious use of it during, say, a long chase sequence gives us the adrenaline rush of following our main character through the paces. Unfortunately, however, I just sat through an otherwise amazing film that I would have loved and raved about except for the fact that I spend half the movie noticing the camera work and feeling vaugely motion-sick. The hand-held camera is terribly, terribly overused now and unfortunately often so shakey that it looks like you strapped the camera to a poorly trained seal.

Excellent camera work should be like excellent make-up: it's so good you don't notice it.

There are devices that might help you; they're called a tri-pod or a camera dolly. I'm sure they're still in use in some movies. Please, find out what they are and start using them again.

What shall we do with all this useless beauty?

The Ft. Monmouth re-use plan probably won't be ready by the December deadline, fears the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Planning Authority, the organization dedicated to redevelopment at the base.