Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Mayor's Letter Re: the Snow

This message from Mayor McCormac was just published on The Woodbridge News, which is a township newsletter that can be found  HERE ...

A Message from Mayor McCormac

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snowI would like to thank Woodbridge Township residents for their patience and perseverance throughout the “Christmas 2010” snow storm that effectively paralyzed much of the state and the Middlesex County region. It is important to recognize that the National Weather Service reported that nearly 32 inches of snow fell in the Woodbridge area – more than three inches per hour throughout most of Sun., Dec. 26 and into Mon., Dec. 27. In addition to the record snowfall, steady winds gusting to 45 mph caused drifts of up to eight feet deep in some areas of the Township. I don’t think any Woodbridge resident would disagree that this storm will be remembered as the most severe winter snow storm in recent Woodbridge history.
It’s important that we take a look at all the factors that come together during an emergency storm event so we can truly understand and appreciate the “round-the-clock” efforts of the Township Department of Public Works and municipal employees from the many divisions and related public service agencies (the Department of Public Works, Sanitation, Streets, Sewer, Parks & Recreation, Office of Emergency Management, Woodbridge Police Department, and the various Woodbridge Fire, Ambulance and Emergency Service squads) that come together to effectively provide services during an emergency event. From noon on Sun., Dec. 26 to midnight on Mon., Dec. 27, the Woodbridge Emergency Dispatch Center received more than 1,000 calls from the public for emergency service including motor vehicle accidents, stuck, disabled and/or abandoned vehicles on major roadways, and medical-related emergencies. The Woodbridge Police Department responded to 112 motor vehicle accidents and 208 reports of abandoned/disabled vehicles; the Office of Emergency Management reported that Woodbridge Township Fire Departments and First Aid Units responded to 161 medical emergencies and more than 100 emergency calls for fire department service. The Woodbridge Auto Tow Unit responded to and towed 99 vehicles that were abandoned in the driving lanes of primary and secondary roadways which were blocking snow plow operations (no vehicles parked on snow emergency routes were towed or ticketed).
The Department of Public Works mobilized more than 130 municipal workers manning 80 plow trucks, 51 salt trucks, and 20 special equipment vehicles (rear end loaders, dozers, snow melter, and related heavy equipment). For more than 72 hours, the Department of Public Works operated 24/7 plowing primary, secondary, and neighborhood streets. It is important to remember that with more than 3 inches of snow falling per hour, the primary task remained keeping primary roadways open for public safety – police, fire and emergency ambulance service. In fact, every one of the more than 1,000 calls for service received a service response. It is also important to recognize that the Woodbridge Department of Public Works is not responsible for plowing state and county highways - Route 35 (Amboy Avenue), Route 1 and 9, and other principal roadways that traverse the Township. And, the Governor’s Office and the New Jersey State Police & Office of Emergency Management issued an Emergency Declaration restricting travel to essential personnel only.
As is true with any large-scale emergency event, there are always unexpected situations that impact our response. In this case, the Verizon telephone system that provides service to the Department of Public Works in Keasbey went “out-of-service,” which prevented residents from getting a direct connection to staff manning the phones at the main Public Works facility. We apologize for the loss of incoming and outgoing phone service and are working with Verizon to assure continued and uninterrupted service during future emergency events. In the meantime, resident calls for service were handled by the staff at the Mayor’s Office – every call was answered, logged, and if additional service was required, a priority response was issued to the Snow Emergency Dispatch Center.
It goes without saying that the Department of Public Works – supervisors, plow operators, drivers, and support staff – pulled yeoman service from Sunday through Wednesday, working to clear streets, thorofares, and municipal facilities of more than 32 inches of snow and accumulated drifts. While some residents may feel that the response was slow or ineffective - and we recognize that we can always improve on readiness and response – we can report that notwithstanding the incredible impact of this storm, every available resource was put in place and the emergency operations plan worked successfully. I would also like to recognize and thank the many Township residents, home and business owners that took time to go out and acknowledge our Public Works workers – in some instance, residents offered hot beverages to workers in support of their tireless efforts.
While every storm event is different, and requires a different response each and every time, we recognize that the plowing of streets is not always perfect, and that some streets may get overlooked. That’s why we will continue to look at the way we deliver emergency services during extreme circumstances. However, I think most everyone in the Township would agree that we have the most dedicated and knowledgeable Department of Public Works and public safety workers of any town in the state… more importantly, our residents, homeowners and business owners understand and appreciate that the Woodbridge Department of Public Works provides reliable, quality service every day of the year.
John E. McCormac
Mayor Woodbridge Township

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Banding Together Photos

I was at the Banding Together concert this evening, and had a great time! Everything went so well... they did a great job organizing the event. And it was the first time I've ever been in Royal Albert's Palace, what a nice place... really huge... perfect for an big event like this, and it was wonderful of the owner to donate the hall and even food for the night.

I can't say anything bad about the evening. Well, I didn't love ALL the music, but that's ok, I don't think I'm the target audience for most of those bands anyway. If I liked it I guess they'd figure they were doing something wrong. I enjoyed the JFK Faculty Band; it's a shame Mrs. Verrilli wasn't there, because she was supposed to be the lead singer. I heard she was ill; get well soon! But Ms. Kadets (and Mrs. Jacobsen) did an amazing job, as did all the musicians.

I didn't stay to the very end... I'm a little old for a night out after 10 PM... but here are a few photos from the evening. I hope you were there and had a good time!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

What's it like in Iselin Today?

It's a beautiful day out there, although it's pretty darn snowy still!
I've been hearing a lot of people complaining about the roads not being plowed very well.
Well, yeah, but it is a LOT of snow. It's gonna take a while to get it all cleared, isn't it? This is a photo of Benjamin Avenue, this afternoon. It's reasonably clear, but it's a pretty main road. The side roads are at best snowy or slushy and at worse still completely impassible. And tonight, when everything goes back to ice, it is going to be VERY slippery.

I drove over to Walmart in Woodbridge, and the main roads were a little bit clear, but not completely. A lot of lanes were still closed and blocked by snow. And I had a little trouble in my little car, trying to see over the snow banks!

The traffic this afternoon was HORRENDOUS! The fewer lanes made it much more congested. I saw a guy with a snowblower dumping snow from his sidewalk onto a previously plowed street, and a lady talking on the phone instead of paying attention to where she was driving. None of that helps the traffic situation!

Another thing that bothers me... all of the people who complain all year long that our taxes are too high, and then complain when the winter comes that the streets aren't plowed fast enough. Some of our taxes are used to pay public works employees to be available to plow, and some of our taxes are used to pay for the repair, maintenance, and upgrading of our municipal plows. When you tell your local government to cut costs, these are some of the places they cut. You don't get to have it both ways.

Anyway... that's my opinion on the weather and traffic in Iselin!

Monday, December 27, 2010

My Shoveling Snow Video

This is how much snow I got here in Iselin...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Banding Together Concert Information

Have you marked your calendar yet? The Banding Together concert will be held on Wednesday, December 29th, from 6:00 to 10:00 PM, at Royal Albert’s Palace, located at 1050 King George Post Rd. Fords NJ. Believe me, you WANT to be there, because it’s gonna be a lot of fun and for a very good cause!

If you haven’t gotten your ticket, don’t worry, because tickets WILL be sold at the door. It’s a $10 entry fee – but bring extra money for raffles, 50/50, or to buy water, pretzels or candy.

Kim Burkhardt, Joelle Slossberg and Jill Farkas, of Transitions Salon on St. George Avenue, have been working hard to put the event together. Mostly everything has been donated, and ALL proceeds from this event will go to the Pallino family. “The concert began as Alex Farkas’ idea,” explained Kim Burkhardt. (Alex is lead singer of Marilyn Is Dead.) “Banding Together was started for Donna, and ALL proceeds will go to her,” Kim continued, “However, this has been so great to be involved in, we may want to keep the foundation going and maybe help other families too. But right now, it’s all about the Pallinos.”

Donna Nier Pallino, a long-time resident of Iselin, was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer right before the holidays. Donna, a Woodbridge Township Crossing Guard and an employee of A&P, has three children. Along with her husband, Armand, Donna has been a very helpful, giving and active member of the Iselin community for many years.

Announcing the long awaited and much anticipated Banding Together line-up
The bands performing will be:
Life After Me…Delusions…JFK Faculty Band…Extra Innings…Fairfield…He is Misery… Marilyn Is Dead

The following is an updated list of prizes to be raffled off on the night of the event. Tickets can be purchased at the concert.

D'Italia Restaurant Gift Certificate $100.00
Costello's Restaurant Gift Certificate $50.00
Goddess Boutique Gift Certificate $20.00
Ducoff Tuxedos (Free Tux Rental)
Friendly Nails Gift Certificate $20.00
Vito Mazza Gift Basket (valued at $200.00)
Dominic's Italian Restaurant Gift Certificate $50.00
Bellini's Italian Restaurant Gift Certificate $15.00
Vatra Beauty Supply Gift Certificate $50.00
Shannon Rose Irish Pub Gift Certificate $25.00
Carvel Ice Cream Gift Card $10.00
Victoria Secret Gift Card $50.00
Sandwich Station Gift Card $10.00
Free Photo Session with Taria Reed Photography (valued at $100.00)
Dunkin Donuts Gift Card $30.00
Big Kids Sports (Free Saltwater Charter Boat Fishing valued at $750.00).
American Eagle Outfitters Gift Card $25.00
JC Penny Gift Card $25.00
Macy's Gift Card $35.00
Villa Gennaro Italian Restaurant Gift Card $25.00
Sherry Amour Family Salon of Sewaren $25.00
Sherry Amour Family Salon of Sewaren $25.00
Target Gift Card $20.00
Macy's Gift Card $25.00
I Tunes Gift Card $60.00
I Tunes Gift Card $30.00
I Tunes Gift Card $25.00
Best Buy Gift Card $25.00
Best Buy Gift Card $25.00
Visa Gift Card to Jersey Gardens Mall $25.00

*** UPDATE!!!***
Lunch With A Soap Opera Star / Actor

Win Lunch with Ronnie Marmo Soap Opera Actor from General Hospital "Ronnie Dimestico", Movie and Stage Actor, Producer, Writer, and Director.

Ronnie Marmo is a local boy from Woodbridge, New Jersey. He is a successful screen, stage, and television actor. Ronnie continues to keep ties with the Woodbridge Community. He has graciously offered to help the Banding Together Foundation by having lunch with a fan.

The Winner and up to 4 guests will join Ronnie Marmo at D'Italia's Restaurant in Avenel, New Jersey for a lunch filled with interesting insight as to being an actor on television.

The prize will be in 2011.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Will it Blizzard in Iselin?
***UPDATE*** -- the answer to that question is YES!!! Stay home and cozy! It's blowing and drifting quite a bit, so it's hard to tell exactly - but my son went out with a tape measure and figures it's 20 inches already at least. The winds are gusting at 30 mph already, and they are supposed to get stronger as the night goes on.

Issued by The National Weather Service
Philadelphia, PA
8:35 pm EST, Sat., Dec. 25, 2010










Friday, December 24, 2010

Mass Schedule for St. Cecelia's in Iselin

I happened to notice that a few people were looking for St. Cecelia's Mass Schedule for Christmas. I called a friend of mine who's a faithful member, and this is what she told me:
Today - Christmas Eve -
6:00 Mass
Midnight Mass - Begins at 11:30 with Christmas Carols - (and expect to be out very late; my friend said she thinks it can run to 1:30 - 1:45 AM)

Tomorrow - Christmas Day -
8:30 AM
10:00 AM
11:30 AM

(No 7:00 AM or 5:00 PM Mass on Christmas Day.)

A New Video from Green Street!!!

Happy Holidays to all!

Merry Christmas Eve!

Here is the display from the front of the Iselin Knights of Columbus! :)

It was a windy night last night, I guess, because the wise men had blown over. I didn't touch anything... I actually kinda like the look. Nothing blocking Mary and Joseph. It made me think about something I'd read, about ancient kings insisting that no one stand tall above the King. And if the King is in a manger on the ground, everyone else would need to be bowing very low. So that is what this made me think of... it seems appropriate.

Tonight isn't the night that the Wise Men from the East would have arrived, but it is the night Jesus would have arrived. In Iselin, it's a night to visit family and friends, and maybe go to midnight Mass at St. Cecelia's. Have a wonderful Christmas Eve!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Lights on Christmas Eve Eve

Don't you love Christmas Lights? These lights are by the railroad underpass on Green Street. Noll Brothers Towing put them up, I guess, because they have a sign right in the middle. I think it's great that the Noll Brothers did such a beautiful job landscaping this corner. Merry Christmas Eve's Eve!

Iselin Christmas Lights, brought to you by NBT

Friday, December 10, 2010

"Banding Together"
for an Iselin-ite

Iselin-ite? Is that what you call someone from Iselin?
Someone who grew up here, and still lives here with her own family?
I guess that's the right word.

So, what exactly IS Banding Together?

Aside from being THE social event of Iselin for the holiday season?
THE place to be?

It's a Benefit Concert for Donna Nier Pallino... (the Iselin-ite) to support her as she battles cancer. 

(When I took this picture of Donna last spring, I told her I wanted to put her on my blog some day, and she said it was fine with her.  We never imagined that this would be the reason.) 

Take my word for it - it's a worthy cause. This is a wonderful, hometown family who's just hit a patch of bad luck. Donna has been a crossing guard for years. She and her husband have both been active volunteers in town... I met her when she was a den mother for Cub Scouts, and she and her husband worked hard for the Iselin Athletic Association Little League. They have three wonderful kids. The whole situation reminds me a little of "It's a Wonderful Life" because when a really great family needs just a little help and encouragement... and here it is, the holiday season... the whole community, a better community because of the Pallino's part in it, will pull together to show that they care.

The concert will take place Wednesday, December 29 · 6:00pm - 10:00pm, at Royal Albert's Palace, which is located at 1050 King George Post Road in Fords NJ. Royal Albert's Palace is ALWAYS doing good deeds of this kind. Tickets are on sale now at Transition Salon, located at 1148 St. Georges Avenue in Avenel.

Headlining will be a local band, Marilyn is Dead. If you are a teen in Iselin you've probably heard of them. Also appearing will be Fairfield. Best of all, in my opinion? the JFK Faculty is putting together a band... and I can bet that these people are gonna be amazing, because I've heard a lot of them play. THAT, right there, will be the adult portion of the evening, and I'm hoping it's the opening act. More bands may be announced in the near future.

I got all this information from the Facebook page made up for the event. If you are on Facebook, you can do a search for "Banding Together" and you'll probably find it too.

Donations, going directly to the Pallino family, can be made to "Banding Together Foundation." They can be dropped off or mailed to JFK Memorial High School 200 Washington Ave. Iselin NJ 08830 or mailed to 56 Dewitt Ter. Colonia NJ 07067, or Transition Salon 1148 St. Georges Ave. Avenel NJ 07001. All donations will go directly to the Pallino Family through the Banding Together Foundation. Tax ID #27-4151356. All donations can be a tax deduction. If you leave your name and address with the donation a receipt will be mailed to you for your records. Thanks everyone, and we'll see ya there!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Happy Hanukkah
From Wikipedia:
Hanukkah (Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה‎, Tiberian: Ḥănukkāh, nowadays usually spelled חנוכה pronounced [χanuˈka] in Modern Hebrew, also romanized as Chanukah), also known as the Festival of Lights is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE. Hanukkah is observed for eight nights, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. The typical Menorah consists of 9 branches. An extra light called a shamash (Hebrew: שמש, "attendant" or "sexton")[1] is also lit each night for the purpose of lighting the others.

Happy Hanukkah to all!