Letters and Commentary

June 1, 2012
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Ideal Beach Community Celebrates 40 Years of the National Neighborhood Watch

To the Editor:

The Ideal Beach Neighborhood Watch Organization is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the National Neighborhood Watch Program, USAonWatch as well as its association with the national program. Along with national-level recognition, the Ideal Beach Program has the support and recognition of the Township of Middletown, including the Middletown Police Department. As the Ideal Beach Neighborhood Watch coordinator, Additionally, we receive ongoing communications from the national program and sheriffs’ association and will be attending the NJ Neighborhood Watch-PACT360 two-day training course in June.

The USAonWatch Program, established in 1972, has grown over the years into a well-developed system offering on-going training and information via its resource center, newsletters, program courses, and events nationwide.

The Ideal Beach Neighborhood Watch Organization has much to be proud of… and much to protect. As a quaint bayside community, the Ideal Beach neighborhood has the tremendous fortune to enjoy two parks, plenty of sandy beachfront, a well-run community center, and neighbor-friendly streets tucked away yet offering easy access for commuting. When you have something of great value that is worth keeping, it’s only logical to protect it.

Since the inception of the Ideal Beach Neighborhood Watch Program in the summer of 2011, residents from other Middletown neighborhoods have contacted the organization to find out how they can bring the program into their own communities. For more information on getting a program started in your neighborhood, contact www.USAonWatch.org.

Greta Siwiec, Neighborhood Watch Program Coordinator
Ideal Beach Community Association

Measures to Help Guard Against Sudden Cardiac Death Applauded

To the Editor:

A ruthless killer lurks here in New Jersey – sudden cardiac death is the leading cause of death in the United States and our children, along with the general population, remain largely unprotected.

This week’s approval of Assemblyman Jon Bramnick’s “Janet’s Law” by the Assembly Appropriations Committee, which requires New Jersey schools to be equipped with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and establish emergency action plans for sudden cardiac events, is a necessary step. And so is a law sponsored by Sen. Joe Vitale mandating AEDs in all “health clubs.”

“Janet’s Law” and other related bills will extend protection far beyond the select few at health clubs, requiring schools to protect their students and those who work or attend school events. New Jersey’s more than 1,500 cardiologists represented by the American College of Cardiology strongly support these life-saving bills and request early passage through both legislative bodies, followed by a quick signature by Gov. Christie.

We salute the recent law sponsored by Senators Vitale and Gordon and Assembly­men/women Cryan, O’Donnell, Coughlin, Quijano, Munoz and Handlin, that provides immunity from civil liability to those who acquire or use AEDs. We also welcome a host of bills from state Sen. Fred Madden that are expected to come from the New Jersey Student Athlete Cardiac Screening Task Force and will require a more thorough review of family medical history to flag genetic heart defects and to provide specialized training to physicians and advanced practice nurses who conduct sports physicals. Our legislators and our governor must make every effort to protect our students, athletes, parents, and all those who attend athletic events from the tragedy of sudden death.

Despite some success, more work needs to be done, particularly for African-American student athletes who are more prone to exercise-related sudden cardiac death than any other group. CPR education, a strong emergency cardiovascular care system, obesity prevention, anti-smoking laws, improved and appropriate cardiac testing, and greater access to cardiac specialists for all New Jersey residents are critical priorities.

While the halls of government are filled with debate over an abundance of issues, one fact remains – sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States. It’s one issue that should never be politicized.

Dr. Austin Kutscher, Governor/President
NJ Chapter, American College of Cardiology

Reflections on the Long Road from Superfund Site to Recreation Area

To the Editor:

The importance of what happened in Marlboro earlier this month cannot be understated. After 25 years, one of the nation’s most notorious cases of wide-scale pollution was formally declared fully cleaned and remediated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. It took an entire generation but the site has now gone from being a polluted wasteland to an area with trees, shrubs, grass, restored wetlands, a pond and a bike path.

Standing with federal, state, county and local officials at the ceremony publicly ending the location’s status as a “Superfund” site on May 2, I could not help but reflect that the legacy of Imperial Oil has run parallel to my own political career. We have both come a long way, baby. I am proud and humbled that I helped organize awareness long before the federal Superfund bill was created.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, I was chairwoman of the League of Women Voters in Matawan and shortly thereafter joined the Matawan Borough Council. We brought attention to contamination there impacting soil, water resources, wetlands and the entire region. The League of Women Voters was very active in environmental issues back then and the group made their concerns about Imperial Oil very public. We had found that groundwater contamination went into a brook that fed into Lake Lefferts. We weren’t taken very seriously then, but it did eventually capture the attention of people concerned about our environment during the earliest days of the environmental movement. That’s when talk of Superfund came into play, but Imperial Oil didn’t make it onto the Superfund list until the 1980s.

The Superfund program was created in 1980 to address the country’s most hazardous waste sites in the wake of the discovery of toxic waste dumps such as Love Canal in Niagara Falls, N.Y., in the 1970s. It allowed the EPA to clean up the sites and compel responsible parties to pay for it. From the 1950s through the early 1990s, Imperial Oil recycled petroleum products on its 15-acre site. The long cleanup entailed removing 4,600 gallons of oil that had pooled on the land along with 30 million gallons of ground water and 180,000 cubic yards of soil.

A total of $17 million for the cleanup came from the federal Superfund program, with $33 million from the American Resource and Recovery Act, (ARRA). The public health has been protected and in the process, jobs were created.

On May 2, I stood at the Imperial Oil site, now a picturesque open field, with U.S. Congressman Frank Pallone, Marlboro Mayor Jonathan L. Hornik and federal EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck to announce completion of the cleanup. It was one of the proudest and most personally gratifying moments of my public life. I was there since the beginning, and I was fortunate to be there when it was announced that the cleanup was complete. I witnessed the Imperial Oil site go from the horror it was to seeing it restored to normalcy. It took 25 years, but this is a governmental success story we can all be proud of. The remediation of the site also serves as a testament to what can be done when we get involved, make our voices heard and never give up when we know something wrong must be made right.

My involvement with the site was a catalyst that propelled me to remain involved in environmental issues. The preservation of farmland, open space and our historic treasures has been a constant priority as I rose from councilwoman in Matawan and Colts Neck, to mayor of Colts Neck and now in my third term as Monmouth County freeholder. I have always been proud to represent and serve the fine people of Monmouth County and to fight for the issues that count when it comes to the quality of life of all of its citizens.

Lillian G. Burry
Monmouth County Freeholder

The First Presbyterian Church of Red Bank once stood at the corner of Broad and Wallace streets. The church was built in 1865 on a site that is now the location of offices of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney. The house behind the church is where Dorn’s Photo Shop was located in about 1940. This photograph is courtesy of Dorn’s Classic Images.

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