Thursday, February 21, 2013

Food Drive wraps up at School 26

Members of the Colonia Business Community report to Robert Mascenik School #26 in Iselin to drop-off $11,261.00 to the “Have-A-Heart” food drive campaign.  The 3rd Grade students at School #26 contributed 200 pounds of non-perishable foods to the “Have-A-Heart” food drive.
2013 Food Drive Totals $35,000 in Donations & 25,000 Lbs. of Food
Mayor McCormac Cites Support of Township Corporations, Businesses, Restaurant & Hospitality Industry, School Students & Residents
in Successful Effort to Re-Supply Food Pantries
WOODBRIDGE – Mayor John E. McCormac today announced that the 2013 Woodbridge Township “Have-A-Heart” food drive collected more than 25,700 pounds of non-perishable food and over $35,690.00 in cash donations to support the efforts of local food pantries in their work to aid needy families throughout Woodbridge Township.  More than 100 Township corporations, businesses, retail outlets, school students, charitable organizations and residents contributed to the 2013 “Have-A-Heart” food drive. 
“The ‘Have-A-Heart’ food drive is one of the most important programs that we as a community participate in each January and February.  I am proud to be part of the effort to extend the generosity of the holiday season and to replenish and restock Township food banks,” Mayor McCormac said.  “Hunger knows no season and no boundary.  It’s crucial that we work every day – not just during the holiday season – to collect food as we work to help provide the necessities of life to our neighbors and families who might otherwise go hungry.”
According to Mayor McCormac, the annual “Have-A-Heart” food drive, so named because it runs through Valentine’s Day, is launched each January by the Woodbridge Department of Health & Human Services and the “We Feed Woodbridge” Food Bank Committee.  The “Have-A-Heart” food drive, established in 1995, works with area food pantries, churches, parishes, schools, and community and senior organizations to replenish and restock food pantries.  This year, the “Have-A-Heart” food drive issued a “2/14” challenge to Township corporate offices, businesses, retail outlets, food stores, restaurants and hospitality industry, charitable organizations and residents to donate 214 pounds of food or contribute $214 to assist food pantries continue their work in providing food and meals to less fortunate residents and the homeless. 
Peter Barcellona, Chairman of “We Feed Woodbridge” reported that more than 200 pounds of non-perishable food (canned goods, pre-package and boxed foods, baby food, paper products, etc.) was collected and sorted for donation by the Third Grade students from Robert Mascenik School #26 in Iselin.  The student food drive program was coordinated by School #26 teachers Kristie Manente and Lora Bucior. 
Dr. Robert Zega, Superintendent, Woodbridge Township School District, noted that School 26 teachers and students turn food drive logistics into classroom curriculum exercises with students creating posters, flyers, graphs, and other learning aids that apply lesson plans and problem-solving methods to the project.  Additionally, students coordinate the collection, sorting, packaging and delivering of food products to the food pantries.
Significant contributors to the 2013 “Have-A-Heart” food drive include:
·         Colonia Business Community and Colonia Corner newspaper ~ $12,000.00
·         Wegmans of Woodbridge ~ 1,000 lbs. and $214.00
·         Woodbridge ShopRite ~ 3,400 pounds
·         Northfield Bank ~ $2,500.00
·         BCB Community Bank ~ $1,000.00
·         Woodbridge YMCA ~ 2,100 lbs.
·         Goya Food Service ~ 1,000 lbs.
·         FoodTown of Colonia ~ 300 lbs.
·         Indian Food Corp. ~ ~$1,000.00
·         Mr. Raman Shah, C/O IASONJ ~ 2,500 lbs.
·         Central Jersey Council of the Boy Scouts ~ 800 lbs.
The food items will be distributed to needy Woodbridge Township families and individuals through the following food pantries:
·         Heavens Helper’s Pantry, 343 Pearl Street, Woodbridge
·         First Presbyterian Church, 20 Middlesex Avenue, Iselin
·         Trinity Episcopal Church, Trinity Lane, Woodbridge
·         Metro Park Assembly of God, 48 Berkeley Blvd., Iselin
·         First Presbyterian Church, 600 Rahway Avenue, Woodbridge
·         St. James Roman Catholic Church, 174 Grove Street, Woodbridge
·         First Presbyterian Church of Avenel, 621 E. Woodbridge Avenue
·         First Congregational Church-Women of Faith, Barron Avenue, Woodbridge
·         St. Cecelia Roman Catholic Church, 45 Wilus Way, Iselin
·         Elijah’s Bread Food Pantry, Ridgedale and E. Prospect Avenues, Woodbridge
According to a recent U.S. Department of Agriculture report, more than 14 million American families – 11.9 percent of all U.S. households – are at some time during the year uncertain of, or unable to purchase, enough food for their family.  The ten Woodbridge Township food banks serve approximately 500 needy families each month.
The year-round effort to keep Woodbridge Township food banks stocked continues with food donations being part of every election and Township-sponsored event such as the Woodbridge Wednesday concerts on Main Street, the Mayor’s Summer Concert Series, the Barron Arts Center summer programs and concerts, and other Township-sponsored public events.  Non-perishable foods can be dropped off any weekday at the Woodbridge Township Public Health Center, 2 George Frederick Plaza, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  Additional food drop-off locations are at Woodbridge Town Hall, 1 Main Street, the Woodbridge Library, 1 George Frederick Plaza, or at the Woodbridge Community Center, 600 Main Street.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The New Map of Merrill Park

Here is the whole map.  Basically, the new construction will separate the cars and trucks from the people who want to enjoy walking – a new walking path will be constructed around the circle, safe from vehicles. 
The construction will allow for additional parking and new pedestrian pathways and bridges.
The county hopes to add about 150 new trees and shrubs for the park, replacing those that they are cutting down now.
The park, ball-fields, playground, and animals will be open during construction.  
A sign is in place saying cars will need to find a detour as of February 25th, until the road is fixed.

Here is a little closer on the new traffic pattern...  there are lots of details on here that are very interesting.

Should be good - what do you think?

The Official Merrill Park
Press Release

County Modernizing
Merrill Park in Woodbridge

FEBRUARY 19, 2013 -- The Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders is proud to announce that it has begun enhancements to Merrill Park in Woodbridge Township to improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety in one of the County’s most heavily used and oldest parks. 

“Currently, both pedestrians and vehicles share the same road through the park,” said Freeholder Stephen J. “Pete” Dalina, chair of the County’s Infrastructure Management Committee. “When complete, the project will provide for safer traffic flow through Merrill Park with the use of traffic calming devices, while providing separate, 10-foot wide paved walking paths for pedestrians.”

The project is anticipated to be completed this summer
Fences have been erected and some trees had to be removed as part of the first phase of the project with full-time construction to begin at the end of the month. Merrill Park will remain open during construction, with facilities fully-accessible by the public. However, vehicular traffic will be limited during construction. 

“Under the leadership of Freeholder Dalina the County has consistently and successfully modernized our parks throughout the years so that they incorporate the latest in park design and offer the best recreational opportunities for our residents,” said Freeholder Deputy Director Ronald G. Rios.

The project will also add 120 parking spaces, 185 new trees and shrubs, pedestrian paths and bridges connecting core areas of the park. Stormwater retention and infiltration basins will be incorporated as part of the project.

The entrance to Merrill Park from Fairview Avenue and New Dover Road will remain open throughout construction.  The entrance from Middlesex-Essex Turnpike will be closed during construction.  Park patrons are asked to use the Fairview Avenue entrance. 

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

BIG Changes in Merrill Park?

I was driving home from work, to have a quick lunch, and this is what I saw in Merrill Park.  Nope, it's not storm damage... these trees were cut down, and work is being done.

Now, I have no idea what the real plan is here - but I do know that there is a plan.  I should probably know already, right?  I try to keep up with things going on around here.  I did hear rumors about them changing the traffic flow through the park.  And when I talked to some of the guys doing the work, they mentioned that the road was being widened here.  It seems like this side of the circle will be two way traffic, and it won't be a circle anymore.  But I don't have the real answers yet.

I came home with these photos and a lot of questions.  I called the Middlesex County Parks Department, but it is lunch time, so I didn't get anyone to answer the phone - yet.  I'll try again later.

In the meantime, if you know the plan, send me an email and let me know too, OK?  And I'll share it with everyone else who reads this.

Thanks!  Sue at


Contact the Elementary School near you, if you have a child who will be Kindergarten aged in September.  Today and tomorrow are the days for enrollment for next year!  Sign up now!

Planning for St. Patrick's Day!

40th ANNUAL St. Patrick’s Parade
Woodbridge March 10th 2013 - 1:30pm
Honors Emergency Service Workers

This year’s Parade is dedicated to Emergency Services Workers. The Grand Marshal is Ed Mullen. Ed is an Ex-Fire Chief, former President, former Commissioner & former Mutual Aid Coordinator of the Iselin Volunteer Fire Company. He is still an active firefighter.
Our other honorees are Claire Miloscia, Irish Lady of the year; Frank Darcy, Irishman of the Year; Kayla Meehan, Miss American Irish; &  Jessica Jacko, Lady-in-Waiting,  Our honorees have done a great job representing the Irish in our community. They are involved in numerous other volunteer activities.
“As a volunteer firefighter for forty years, I am truly honored to represent every police officer, firefighter, EMT, CERT volunteer, and the Office of Emergency Management as this year's Grand Marshal” said Ed Mullen.  “I am as proud of my Irish heritage as I am of my many friends in the emergency services. This is an honor to be shared by all of us; I'm only the lucky one who gets to wear the sash in the parade” Mullen continued.
To participate Contact: Woodbridge American Irish Assn.
Ken Gardner
Parade Chairman

Friday, February 8, 2013

Yup, snow. Definitely.

Ice or Snow?

Well, it's coming down.

Hard to tell if it's ice or snow at this point.  Husband said it was getting pretty icy on his drive home from work.  If you haven't left work yet, consider it a good idea to leave now.

According to the weather at,

  • Tonight Rain and snow, becoming all snow after 9pm. The rain could be heavy at times. Low around 26. Blustery, with a north wind 17 to 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. New snow accumulation of 4 to 8 inches possible.
  • Saturday A chance of snow showers, mainly before 8am. Cloudy through mid morning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 36. Breezy, with a northwest wind 16 to 23 mph, with gusts as high as 34 mph. Chance of precipitation is 30%. New snow accumulation of less than one inch possible. 
Stay warm!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Early Dismissal Tomorrow

Alert Name:Scheduled Early Dismissal Plan-Fri.2/8/2013
Alert Type:School Closing
Complete Message:Due to the weather forecast for tomorrow, Friday, February 8, 2013, all Woodbridge Township schools will follow the early dismissal plan. High schools will be dismissed at 12:10 PM. Middle schools will be dismissed at 12:45 PM. Grades 1 through 5 will be dismissed at 1:10 PM. AM kindergarten and AM preschool disabled will be dismissed at 11:35 AM. PM kindergarten and PM preschool disabled will begin at 10:30 AM, and will be dismissed at 1:10 PM. After School Child Care is cancelled. Regular breakfasts will be served at all schools. Regular lunches will be available at all elementary schools, but lunches will not be available at the middle schools and high schools.
School Name:Woodbridge Public School District - NJ
Sent By:Superintendent's Office

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Iselin in the News

I've often mentioned that this is a blog, not really the NEWS.  I don't go out looking for news stories, and I don't do investigative journalism. 

Sometimes, though, Iselin is really in the news, and how can I not mention it? 

So, yes, I'm sure that you've already read the story about the $200M global swindle, 18 international people arrested and charged in what may be the nation's largest credit card fraud ring.  And, I guess you may have seen the article on the Woodbridge Patch and in other places, such as, saying that the thieves include alleged ringleaders who are from Iselin. 


I hate bad news.  That's the whole reason I didn't want to be a reporter.  I'm too pollyanna-ish, I prefer to look on the bright side of anything, and the bright side is never the only side.  There is always a dark side, too. 

Some people prefer to look at the negative side.  That is your right.   Maybe we balance each other out.

So, in the interest of balancing out anyone talking trash about Iselin right now because some people who lived here were probably thieves, here is my bright side:

They caught these guys.  Hopefully they get all of them.  Hopefully, our justice system will work like it is supposed to.  Hopefully.

Also - keep in mind that no single ethnic group or racial group or political group is all bad and should be condemned for the actions of some bad elements.  If it is, then, as an Italian American, I must be in the mob -- and I'm not.  I always hated that characterization of all Italians as Mafioso.

And - just because some bad guys were caught in Iselin, does NOT make Iselin a bad place.

I heard a guy on the radio say something about this arrest, as I drove to work this morning.  He said something along the lines of this:  for all those people who value diversity, there ya go - the benefit of diversity - none of our native people figured out a scam of this magnitude.  (I'm paraphrasing, because that's about what I remember.)  And I thought to myself, is he insulting me?  And is the insult that he thought I am stupid to value diversity?  Or that he thinks I'm not smart enough to be a crook?

Anyway, my point is this.  I refuse to let this change my pollyanna ways.  I know there are crooks and illegals and thieves.  I know that there are tons of people taking advantage of the system.  People of all ethnic groups, races, creeds, and politics.   I also know there isn't much I can do about it. 

I need to believe that people are basically good at heart.  Sure, we are all in a fight for our own survival - our own family, our own group.  But I will continue to believe that most of us want to better the world, and not make it worse. 

In fact, I really think that it makes the world a better place just by trying to believe in it being a better place, and then acting like it is.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Search for the Iselin Airport

I received a very enjoyable email this evening, from Jim of Somerset. He wrote: 
"I moved to NJ in 1986 and moved into the apartments above the Oaktree Shoprite. To learn the area, I had a county map and on it was a marking "Airport" north of the Oaktree road. I assumed there must have been an abandoned airport in the area, but I could never find evidence of its actual location.
I recently found the website I did a little exploring and found pictures of the Iselin airport.
Your blog entry on 4/13/2011 was the only web page I could find that mentioned an "Iselin Airport" so I thought you might be interested in what I had found.
The airport was just north of Oaktree Road, between Woods Ave and the GSP. The airport appears to have existed around WW II. It's on a 1947 aerial photograph, but not on a 1940 photograph. In the 1947 picture, the construction on the GSP has just started and it's cut through the end of one of the runways. The next aerial photograph is from 1954 and all evidence of the airport has disappeared and been replaced by a housing development, which still exists to this day. Click here for a link to Historic Aerials with the aiport. "
You really should take a look at the Historic Aerials website - I found it fascinating.  If you click on the link above, it brings you right to the location of the airport.  You can see the runways.  To help you get your bearings, the road going across the bottom of the map is Oak Tree Road, and the curvy road going up and down is the parkway.  You can turn on an option called "Overlay - Major Road" from a menu at the top of the map.  You can also zoom in, if you go to the bottom right corner of the map - the little dots will zoom you in and out.  You can even click on the map and move it, so you can find your own house.  And on the left side, there are choices of a several different years that you can look at - so you can see the same location as it changes over the course of a few decades.  I had a great time looking at it with my husband!

Jim sent me a picture of the original map that set him looking for the airport in Iselin - a 1986 map from AAA of New York and Vicinity.  It was a bit outdated, and actually pretty inaccurate - it shows the Woodbridge airport still existing, and in the wrong spot.

In the April 13 2011 post
Jim mentioned, I quoted Bob Brinckmann, who had emailed me that "The Iselin Airport was open during WW2, I had my very first airplane ride there when I was 12 years old in 1943. When they started to build the NJ Parkway they closed the airport. I think that was in the late 40's. I went off to the Air Force in 1951 as did a lot of us guys from Iselin at the start of the Korean War. When I came back home in 1954 the Parkway was completed and homes were built where the airport used to be."

Anyway - take a look at the website if you want to get another look at old Iselin.  Thanks, Jim!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Happy Ground Hog Day!

I didn't see a ground hog this morning, to ask what the weather was going to be like.  However, I can assure you of one thing:

There will only be 46 more days of winter!

That's because Spring starts at 7:02 A.M. (EDT) on March 20, 2013.

Yay!  Spring is only around the corner!

 Of course, I have no idea how many snow storms we'll have to go through between now and then.   

Friday, February 1, 2013

Don't Open your Doors
to just anyone!

This has been passed along to me by a friend, who wanted to let everyone in our area know to be on the lookout for this...  You need to be careful about opening your door to anyone!  Of course, that is always a smart idea, right?  But it is especially important now, because there are apparently people who are trying this scam locally right now.  So - be careful, and warn your children as well!  Keep your doors locked and don't open the door without first making sure that you know the person who is outside!

This is what I was told:

"My friend, who lives in Port Reading, shared this moments ago on her facebook page. I have her permission to share. I am very proud that she raised her children well as they wisely handled this situation and when you read my friend's story, you will know why I am glad they are safe.
Scary thing happened today (2/1/13) that I wanted to alert everyone to. Someone knocked on my door & my daughter opened the small window we have to view who is at the door. There was a guy (spikey hair possibly hispanic) at the door with a thick piece of wood asking for "(my friend's name)" at which my daughter asked what he wanted..he was persistent & attempting to get in the house by telling her that I sent him to "fix my mattress" and that she was to let him in right away to fix it. He went as far to tell her that I was on the phone and to open the door and he would let her talk to me. My saving grace was that my son was home & my daughter was smart enough not to open the door to call my son to the door. As soon as my son showed his face, the guy took off.
I called the Woodbridge Police and apparently this is going on in the area and they actually knocked someone to the ground when she opened the door and needless to say, not a pretty ending."

Thanks for sharing - and HEY!  Be careful out there!