Monday, April 30, 2012

Chick-Fil-A Fundraiser Tonight at Menlo!

Boy Scout Troop 44 is having a fundraiser tonight at the Chick-Fil-A in Menlo Mall, from the hours of 5 - 8 PM.  They will earn 10% of whatever you order... so come on out and support the scouts!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Kiddie Keep Well Camp:
Ben Ghiano's Eagle Project

Today was a beautiful day to work outside.
When you have a lot of hard, sweaty work to do, you want the weather to be just slightly cool and sunny and beautiful, right?  It's the kind of day that makes me happy to wake up early and get going, a day when I have plenty of energy, and after working hard on the garden or some outdoor project I feel a real sense of accomplishment.  That's the kind of day I'm talking about, and that's the perfect kind of day for an Eagle Project.

Ben Ghiano is a resident of Iselin and a student at St. Joseph's High School in Metuchen.  He's also a Boy Scout at Troop 523 in Colonia - and, more to the point, he's an Eagle Scout candidate.  And today he organized his friends, troop, and family members, and worked on improving the campfire ring for Kiddie Keep Well Camp in Roosevelt Park.

Strangely enough, as long as I've lived around here, I've never actually gone up and looked around at the Kiddie Keep Well camp.  I never even knew they had a website - but you can see it HERE. 

According to the camp website, "The John E. Toolan Kiddie Keep Well Camp is a non-profit (charitable) corporation that provides residential camping experiences for children, and senior citizens, from Middlesex County, at no cost to their families."  It's set on "a beautiful 13-acre retreat that adjoins 217-acre Roosevelt Park."

So, Ben had a good turnout for his project - lots of kids came out to help, and plenty of work got done.  When the campers show up this season, they will have an upgraded fire ring, freshly painted and repaired benches,  and a new stage for their campfire program.  It's the kind of maintenance and improvements that need to get done once in a while!

One of the great things about an Eagle Project is seeing how hard a group of boys can work on something - with little or no nagging from Mom and Dad.  It's also great to see them doing it THEMSELVES.  Talk about a learning experience.  Sure, they have some adults to help, but these boys are doing the work of adults.

Great job, Ben!

POAC Walk This Morning

The POAC "Walk for a Difference" is being held this morning.  It's not too late to sign up for the walk, or at least send in a donation if you are feeling lazy!

 You can donate HERE.

Walk For A Difference is a family friendly event with entertainment, free refreshments, and activities for the children.
Event Location:
Matthew Jago School
99 Glen Cove Ave
Sewaren, NJ 07077

Event Schedule:

Registration starts at 11:00am. The walk kicks off at 12:00 noon.4/29/2012 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Resource Fair Opens4/29/2012 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Walk Kicks Off4/29/2012 1:00 am - 3:00 pm

Adult Walker: No Fees
For walkers age 17 and up
Child Walker: No Fees
For walkers under 17

WHO IS POAC?  According to their walk page:

POAC Autism Services, a nonprofit organization, is the education leader for the autism community providing more free training and education than any other organization. Additionally, POAC provides recreational and support services to children with autism spectrum disorders and their families. POAC is making a difference today for every child with autism in our state. Because the costs of services are prohibitive for most families, POAC is deeply committed to providing all services at no cost to participants. Some of POAC’s accomplishments are as follows:
  • POAC is the largest provider of FREE autism training and education in the state.
  • POAC funded the first statewide program for the early detection and intervention of children with autism.
  • POAC provides FREE family recreational activities all year long including: surfing, horseback riding, movies, indoor gym days, bowling and pizza parties, and our Annual FREE Family Picnic/Carnival, one of the biggest autism family events in the country.
  • POAC provides FREE training for parents and families to help increase functional communication, decrease problem behavior and increase socialization of their children with autism
  • POAC increases public awareness of the disorder and its effects on individuals, families, public schools, and society
  • POAC provides FREE training for law enforcement and emergency responders in autism recognition and response
  • POAC addresses, supports, and promotes legislative issues that affect those with autism and their families.
  • POAC provides a FREE speakers bureau to groups throughout the state
  • Provides FREE outreach and training in autism to middle school, high school, and college students in New Jersey
  • POAC does not charge a penny for any of these services and receives no government funding
The needs of the autism population are growing. New Jersey has the highest rate of autism in the entire country with 1 out of every 94 children born today having autism. This is more than AIDS, cancer and diabetes combined. POAC is dedicated to meeting those needs and is continually expanding to help these children, adults, and their families where they are right now. To date, thousands of parents, teachers, and other service providers have been trained. Law Enforcement Officers and First Responders in every New Jersey county have been trained in autism recognition and response and in at least one case, the training has been life-saving. POAC has reached out to colleges and universities and provided course work to students studying to be special education teachers. All of this is accomplished without government funding; it is all done through the generosity of those who contribute to POAC fundraising activities. Making a difference in the lives of children now is at the heart of everything we do at POAC. For the thousands of children with autism who benefit from our services and programs every year, POAC has become a bastion of support and a beacon of hope.  

NJ ASK Testing Monday at IMS

The NJ ASK test will be administered to all middle school students beginning Monday, April 30, through and including Thursday, May 3, 2012. 
Middle schools will operate on the scheduled early dismissal plan and middle school students only will be dismissed at 12:45 PM.

Saturday, April 28, 2012



Have you heard about the Iselin Reunion? This is a repeat of a very successful reunion. It was first being called the "Hilltoppers" reunion, but is NOT limited to Hilltoppers (you know who you are) The intention is to have this open to anyone who grew up in the old Iselin and would like to join, reminisce and have a great time!!

So - if you grew up in Iselin - we're talking about the "old school" Iselin of the 1980's - well, I guess it's a reunion for everyone who grew up here from the 1950's through the 1990's or so - you definitely want to get your tickets soon!  You won't want to miss this chance to reconnect with old friends and look back over the years...

Saturday, June 23, 2012
2:00pm until 8:00pm

Fords Park, Fords NJ

$25.00 PER PERSON.

Bring your own drinks, a few folding chairs, and maybe a dessert to share... this will be a catered picnic and food is included in the entry fee.

Send ticket money to: Michelle Circle 103 Hornsby St Fords NJ 08863


Mary Alice Jacko, finishing off the last details!
 Mary Alice Jacko and her entire committee have been working hard for an entire year - since last year's successful Gift Auction ... buying gifts, asking for donations, organizing and wrapping baskets.  It's a huge undertaking every year, and it all benefits JFK High School students.

The gift that are auctioned are pretty exciting...

The Tiki Bar is a favorite prize

There are plenty of baskets and all kinds of cool prizes raffled off,

including patio sets, tents, electronics... you name it!

From left, Judy Leidner, Gerry D'Agostino, Sue Anne Palmero and Karen Grust help set up tables.

A FEW tickets are still available.
If you want to be a part of tonight's gift auction, and you haven't got your tickets yet, you better call Mary Alice right now... they usually sell out.  Her number is 732-925-4670

to benefit
John F. Kennedy Memorial High School

Saturday, April 28, 2012
Doors open at 4:00 p.m.
Auction Held in the School Gym 
$10.00 Admission
 Kitchen will be open!


To purchase tickets, 
please call Maryalice Jacko at 732-925-4670
(No one under 18 admitted)

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Night Music Time!

Another Iselin Eagle Scout Candidate!

Ben Ghiano is an Iselin resident who is working on his Eagle Scout Project this weekend. The Eagle Scout Project, which is one of the biggest hurdles for an Eagle Scout Candidate on his journey to Eagle, will benefit Camp Kiddie Keepwell in Roosevelt Park. He's been working on it for a while already - going through a lot of planning in the early stages - and he has some physical labor to complete next.
Photo Courtesy Ellen Ghiano

Pictured are Kevin Eustace, TJ Bresnan, David Franczak and Ben Ghiano, all juniors at St. Joseph High School.

I'm hoping to get over there this Sunday and take some more photos of the work in progress!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fast Cars going past Iselin

This video was on, HERE. I guess there are a lot of people who are going to get in trouble with it... but seriously, it's a pretty cool video. A couple guys driving down the parkway and they see these race cars ... well, take a look for yourself. The only real disappointing part is that the section of video going past Iselin is skipped! (For some reason, the movie is really slow to load, and then it didn't seem to want to play for me - but if you click on the above link it seems to work a little better.)

Friends of the Libraries Book Sale
Starts Today!

Thurs., April 26 to Sun., April 29 at Woodbridge Main Library

The “Friends of the Woodbridge Library” will hold their annual “Book Sale Spectacular” at the Woodbridge Main Library beginning Thurs., April 26 through Sun., April 29. 

Mystery… Romance… Drama… Travel…  Cooking… The Classics… Poetry… Everything is “Off the Shelf and On the Table.”  Book lovers and readers of all ages will have the opportunity to explore tables of books to find that special reading treasure.  Hardcover: $1.00… Paperback: $.50… CDs, DVDs, VHS… Record Albums and Cassettes… Books on Tape & CD… Daily Book Specials.

Tell a Friend…  Bring a Friend…  Be a Friend to the Library…

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Blogging Milestone!

The Iselin Times hit 

Thanks to everyone for checking the Iselin Times every once in a while.  30,000 views is a huge number for me.  Sure, it's not much compared to the real Times -- or even compared to bigger, more important blogs -- but it's a pretty lofty number for a hobby, don't you think? 

I'm thinking about going in a slightly different direction with The Iselin Times, going forward.  Tell me what you think - you know I'm SO HAPPY when I get comments!  If you like something I've written, please be sure to let me know.  If you hate something I've written, you can send me a comment about that, too.  Constructive criticism is welcomed.  And, if you know about something going on in town, and you want to share it here, please feel free to send me a note or a photo or whatever.

Thanks, everyone!!!

Bring your old documents to shred...

 Recycle Paper Documents & Files Safely & Securely
Do you have lots of OLD Documents and files that you don't want to store any longer?  Well, you can “Shred-It” at the Woodbridge Public Works Convenience Center from 9:00 a.m. to Noon on Saturday April 28, 2012.  Recycle old documents and confidential files safely and securely
when the Middlesex County mobile paper shredding truck makes a stop in Woodbridge . “Shred” old files, receipts, bills, financial statements… any document that can’t be recycled due to a confidentiality concern (books, magazines and newspapers can be recycled separately).  No need to remove paper clips, staples, or paperboard binder covers… it can all be “shredded” and recycled!!!  The FREE service is sponsored by the Middlesex County Division of Solid Waste Management…. call 732-745-4170 or



 SATURDAY APRIL 28, 2012 -- 9:00A.M. to NOON

                          at the   Woodbridge Township Department of Public Works

Recycling Convenience Center

225 Smith Street (under the Parkway bridge)

Keasbey, Woodbridge Township

                        Department of Public Works Office of Recycling – 732-738-1311 x3035


Monday, April 23, 2012

Day Dreaming and Vacation Planning

It all starts with a cup of tea and a book.  That's all I need - especially on a night like tonight, when there really isn't anything on TV.

I read this book, Southbound, by Lucy and Susan Letcher.  Was it a good book?  Well, yes.  I loved it.  Will YOU love it?  I don't really know the answer to that question.   It certainly isn't on my list of books to suggest for my book club.  It's for a pretty specific audience - people who are fascinated by the Appalachian Trail.  (People like me.)

 The Appalachian Trail goes right through New Jersey - from the Delaware Water Gap, north into New York State.  It's a beautiful wild area that's easily accessible from here. 

So I'm sitting here daydreaming about past hikes, and planning future ones. 

 There is a lot to learn about Backpacking, if you've never gone, but the trail is very well marked.  There is a lot of ups and downs, some steep areas and some very simple flat areas.

There is a lot of wildlife on the trail, too.  New Jersey has bears - I suppose you'd already hear that, haven't you?  Every once in a while, a bear will wander down from the mountains and ramble through Colonia or something, and freak everyone out.  This is probably where most of those bears come from.  So we put our food and "smellables" - even things like deoderant - into bear bags, and hoist them into a tree.  I guess it works.  I haven't seen any bears playing pinata with our snacks yet. 

And so - yeah - you'll need to be prepared.  Do your research before you just wander into the woods; it's not complicated, but it is important to have a clue about what you are doing.

The accommodations are whatever you decide to bring along.  You can buy some really comfy hammocks and sleep in the open air, or some amazingly light tents.  (I'm a tenter, myself.)

 The trail has some kind of magic -- and I don't just mean trail magic, which is kinda like good deeds done for people who thru hike.  I mean there is a magic in the wild places and creatures that you see as you walk along.

 So excuse me while I go plan my next walk in the woods...

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Quote of the Day

A living planet is a much more complex metaphor for deity than just 
a bigger father with a bigger fist.  
If an omniscient, all-powerful Dad ignores your prayers, 
it's taken personally.  
Hear only silence long enough, and you start wondering about his power.  
His fairness.  His very existence.  
But if a world mother doesn't reply, Her excuse is simple.  
She never claimed conceited omnipotence.  
She has countless others clinging to her apron strings, 
including myriad species unable to speak for themselves.  
To Her elder offspring She says - go raid the fridge.  
Go play outside.  Go get a job.  
Or, better yet, lend me a hand.  
I have no time for idle whining.  

~David Brin

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Welcome to the Opening Day of Garden Season!

What a beautiful day.  Perfect for Earth Day.  Perfect for wandering around my backyard, gardening, sitting on the patio... and of course taking a million photos.  I can always manage to avoid the work that needs to be done, because I can always make some kind of excuse - like "It's so beautiful out, I need to take some photos and blog about it!"  What I really should be doing is weeding. 

I really love my patio.  And all of my gardens all over the yard.  I have quite a collection. 

I planted this wisteria a few years ago, and it's finally getting established.  My mother warned me against planting this, because she said it will tear the siding right off the house.  But I didn't plant it up against the house, and I'm not too worried about it tearing the siding off the workshop in the back yard.

My Peas have sprouted and started to climb.  I planted more peas this year than I usually do, and I'm really hoping I get a decent crop.  I would show you a picture of my asparagus, but I ate it for lunch this afternoon.  I can't imagine why it took me so long to plant asparagus!  I also plan on putting in a few tomato plants - nowhere near as many as last year - and a few pepper plants.  I want some butternut squash, but the seeds don't seem to be sprouting, and I want some zucchini. And LOTS of string beans.

OH!  I almost forgot, we've also planted HOPS up against the side of the house - for my husband, who has started brewing his own beer lately.  (If you drive by my house, and smell a HORRIBLE stench, that's probably him.  Sorry.  I have no idea why beer smells so incredibly awful.)  I don't have a picture of the hops yet, but it's going to be a very interesting plant.  I'll get photos when it starts climbing up the side of my house.  You should see the trellis he built for it!

And of course we have the strawberry plants - looking incredible already.  I got them from Lowes a few years ago.  I particularly love plants that come back year after year. 
The problem I've had with the strawberries year after year has been the slugs.  I'll get a huge, lovely strawberry, and just when it's ready to pick, a slug will eat it before I have the chance to.  This year, it's a slug war.  I'm going after those suckers.  (I hear they are attracted to beer.  I'm going to try luring them to their doom with saucers of home made beer.)  

The other berries I have are blackberries - which we have pretty much gotten rid of, because they were too messy -- and a mulberry tree.  I'm definitely harvesting mulberries and making jelly this summer. 

I also plant a lot of herbs.  I have some chives, sage, tarragon, and some mint in the yard.  I also have a planter with oregano,  parsley, and thyme - they all come back every year.  I'll plant a few basil plants; they don't come back every year, but I LOVE basil; and I am going to try to find a hardy rosemary.  Rosemary never seems to last from one year to the next.
And, of course, we have dandelions.  I love dandelions.  I like them when they are yellow, but I love them when they are puffballs.  Sure, I know mostly everyone else wants to eradicate them from their yard.  But why?  They are such a pretty - and free - flower!

Give Dandelions a chance!

Happy Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!
WoodbridgeEarth Day” Celebration 
& “Arbor Day Tree Planting Ceremony 
Sat., April 21 
10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Woodbridge Community Center
600 Main Street, Woodbridge NJ

Mayor John E. McCormac, members of the Municipal Council, the Woodbridge Township Environmental Commission, environmental agencies, “green” businesses, and Township residents will participate in the 2012 Woodbridge Township “Earth Day” celebration & “Arbor Day” tree planting ceremony on Sat., April 21 outside the Community Center. 

This year’s Earth Day & Arbor Day celebration will include “green” displays by environmental companies and local businesses; FREE give-away’s of tree seedlings and flower seeds, and other “green” items  (while supplies last).  The Earth Day/Arbor Day celebration will also include information on the importance of recycling, energy-saving seminars and information, and a special “Earth Day” program for children.  At 10:00 a.m., the Environmental Commission will lead in the Arbor Day planting of blossoming cherry trees along Community Center Drive – an annual event that signifies the important role trees play in keeping the Township environment clean and smog-free.

                   SAT., APRIL 21, 2012 from 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M.
                      Woodbridge Community Center at 600 Main Street , Woodbridge