Letters and Commentary

June 7, 2012
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Clearwater Festival Needs Donations of Money, Volunteers

To the Editor:

The NJ Friends of Clearwater Festival has been a Jersey Shore tradition since 1976. Many generations have enjoyed its music and message. However, without urgently needed funding, we will be unable to hold the Festival this year. We still need to raise a minimum of $12,000 to go forward.

The festival is the largest and longest-running environmentally themed festival in New Jersey. The festival has been held in August for 36 years. For the past 11 years, the festival has been held at Sunset Park in the city of Asbury Park and all previous years at Sandy Hook.

We are working to bring our 37th annual festival to Asbury Park this Aug. 11, but we are in critical need of those financial donations. Unlike many organizations, this is the first public appeal for help we have ever made. Your donation, large or small, can make a huge difference.

By eliminating the entry fees, we have seen a big increase in attendance and greater diversity the last two years. NJ Friends of Clearwater, true to its Pete Seeger tradition, is dedicated to bringing its environmental
message to as many people as possible.

The good news: We are a group of dedicated volunteers ready to run another wonderful event.  We are hoping to bring great music, kids activities, environmental awareness programming, as well as craft, green and food vendors. We love doing it. We hope you’ll join us in making the 37th annual NJ Friends of Clearwater Festival possible and a huge success. Make a donation of your money and time.

Please go to our website www.mcclearwater.org to donate using PayPal on our home page. Or leave a voicemail at 732-581-0197. Our Mailing address is NJ Friends of Clearwater, P.O. Box 303, Red Bank, NJ 07701. Donations are tax-exempt. Thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you on Aug. 11.

Joellen Lundy, Red Bank
President of NJ Friends of Clearwater

For a Rewarding Summer, Welcome a Fresh Air Fund Child into Your Home

To the Editor:

You can enjoy a picture-perfect summer this year by inviting a Fresh Air child into your home! Each summer, over 4,000 inner-city children visit suburban, rural and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada through The Fresh Air Fund’s Volunteer Host Family Program. Hosting a child does not take much – just a little room in your heart and your home – but the experience creates friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

Volunteer families open their homes to children who might not otherwise be able to enjoy a summer away from New York City. Fresh Air children experience simple pleasures like running barefoot through the grass and gazing at star-filled skies. Through the eyes of Fresh Air children, families in Central New Jersey often rediscover the beauty of their own communities.

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The Fresh Air Fund, an independent, not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. Fresh Air children are boys and girls, from 6 to 18 years old, who live in New York City. Children on first-time visits are 6 to 12 years old and stay for one or two weeks. Children who are reinvited by host families may continue with The Fresh Air Fund through age 18 and can enjoy extended trips. Over 65 percent of all children are reinvited to stay with their host families, year after year.

For more information on hosting a Fresh Air child, please contact Karen Medlin at 732-308-9355 or The Fresh Air Fund at 800-367-0003. You can also visit them online at www.freshair.org.

Fresh Air Fund
New York, N.Y.

Affordable Housing Alliance Celebrates 20 Years of Service

To the Editor:

The nonprofit Affordable Housing Alliance (www.housingall.org), formed in 1991 to help provide affordable housing for low-income households in Monmouth County, will celebrate its 20-year history of helping with housing, at a recognition luncheon on Wednesday, June 13.

The Affordable Housing Alliance bases its success on our foundation in human service. We pride ourselves on helping one person, one family, one household at a time through direct human contact.  We are pleased to be the recipient of considerable support from foundations, state, federal, and municipal
entities and organizations that have the same compassion for our neighbors as we do.

Working together, we hope to make New Jersey a better place to live for all those who seek our help during the next 20 years and beyond. It continues to be a pleasure to work with the board, staff and vendors being recognized at this event for their efforts at creating attractive, affordable and sustainable places to live for families in our community.

Today, the agency receives support from private individuals, foundations and corporations, both large and small, and state and federal agencies.

We have benefited since our earliest days from long-term partnerships with individuals and organizations who share a commitment to our mission.

Honorees at the recognition luncheon will be Amboy Bank, Bank of America, and Paul J. Zarella Plumbing and Mechanical Con­tractors, as well as founding and charter board members Jean Kaeli, Richard Weber Jr., Joseph McCarthy and Jay Patock.

Twenty years after its founding, the agency has expanded its outreach throughout New Jersey and broadened the number of programs and services it offers. Unfortunately, people still need help finding housing that they can afford. Fortunately for these families, our agency has evolved over the past two decades to meet the needs of low-income households including the working poor, senior citizens and the disabled. In the past few years, we have also developed services to help middle- and upper-income households who have been caught in the economic downturn.”

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Help finding rental housing, assistance with overdue utility bills, financial literacy education and counseling to help low-income households become home owners, housing rehabilitation, home equity conversion mortgage counseling and foreclosure counseling and mediation have joined the programs offered by the Affordable Housing Alliance in addition to its mission to build and sell affordable housing.

In 2011, the agency received calls and in-person visits from more than 9,000 people seeking assistance in one or more of its service areas this year. During its 20-year history, the alliance has completed 400 units of new affordable housing throughout Monmouth County.  New construction and rehabilitation projects are currently underway in Asbury Park, Millstone, Shrewsbury, Spring Lake, Marlboro, Eatontown and Tinton Falls.

The alliance is one of the top performing housing counseling agencies in New Jersey and has assisted hundreds of local homeowners to save their home through mortgage mediation and modification. Recently the alliance was funded to implement an anti-mortgage scam program in the area because of the rising numbers of unsavory characters attempting to defraud desperate middle­income homeowners. The alliance receives 300 to 600 requests per month for foreclosure counseling assistance.

Donna M. Blaze,
CEO Affordable Housing Alliance, Eatontown

Annual Public Hearing on Older Residents’ Needs to be Held

To the Editor:

The Monmouth County Office on Aging and its Advisory Council will hold a public hearing on the current and future needs of the elderly. Data gathered at the public hearing will help with future planning of services by the agency.

The hearing will be held at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, June 13 at the county’s Agri­culture Building, 4000 Kozloski Road. The purpose of the meeting is to offer elderly county residents, their caregivers and the general public the opportunity to comment on the current and future needs of the elderly.

The hearing is held annually to help the office assess the needs of the elderly. Written testimony can be submitted at the hearing or can be mailed to: Michael T. Ruane, Executive Director, Division on Aging, Disabilities and Veterans Services, 21 Main and Court Center, Freehold, NJ 07728-1255. Testimony may
also be sent by email to michael.ruane@co.monmouth.nj.us.

Written testimony will be accepted up to the end of the public hearing on June 13.

Monmouth County Office on Aging


The steamboat Seabird approaches the Oceanic Bridge back in the 1890 photograph taken from the Rumson side of the bridge. This photo is courtesy of Dorn’s Classic Images.

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