Letters and Commentary

June 28, 2012
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Consider How Fish Feel When You Catch Them

To the Editor:

People around the country were shocked by X-ray images showing a 3-foot fishing spear piercing a teen’s skull and brain. The tragic accident occurred in the Miami area earlier this month when the teen’s friend misfired a spear gun. Miraculously, the boy survived.

If the thought of the pain endured by this boy horrifies you, please consider that fish also suffer when they are torn apart by spears, impaled on hooks, or sliced open by fishing nets’ thin mesh.

In her book Do Fish Feel Pain?, biologist Victoria Braithwaite says that “there is as much evidence that fish feel pain and suffer as there is for birds and mammals.”

Even fish who are released after being caught can die from the injuries and stress. When anglers remove hooks from fish, they often tear the animals’ mouths, which are full of sensitive nerve endings. One scientist says that catch-and-release victims are often “in a stunned condition when they’re released.”

Leaving fish in the water where they belong – and off our plates – is the most humane choice.

To find out more, please visit www.PETA.org/fish.

Paula Moore, The PETA Foundation, Norfolk, Va.

Cash Bar on Brewery Tours gets Thumbs Down from Trade Group

To the Editor:

On behalf of the New Jersey Restaurant Association (NJRA) representing over 25,000 eating and drinking establishments, we support State Assembly efforts to help small breweries sell their products. However, the proposed amendment permitting breweries to have a cash bar at the end of their tours leaves us frostier than the beer! Throw in a little “free” food, and we see breweries growing into open “beer gardens” that will undermine the value of our liquor licenses.

We favor beer samplings as part of a flat fee brewery tour, but a cash bar should require a liquor license as it always has. New Jersey restaurants have paid dearly for their liquor licenses, in some cases over $1 million, and it’s not fair to undercut those who have properly paid for this privilege.

Currently, breweries are not allowed to have cash bars, and we think this works well for all concerned. Can we imagine the Budweiser brewery in Newark having a cash bar at the end of their tour? We think not.

The NJRA urges the State Assembly to support our position and prohibit the “on premise” sale and consumption of alcohol at breweries, and we’re asking our members to do the same.

In short, we are all for the expansion of a presently very vibrant business model for micro-brews and brew pubs. But any relaxation of Title 33 as it relates to retail consumption or the cash sale of alcohol should remain as it has in this state for many years with great success.

Jack Koumbis, Chairman
New Jersey Restaurant Association

Questionnaire Yields Information and Prize Winners

To the Editor:

A simple one-question website survey conducted by the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium (NJSGC) delivered not only interesting insights to public consensus about the state’s most pressing coastal issues but great news for four lucky New Jersey Coastal Prize Package winners from Atlantic, Cape May Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

This year a single-question coastal issues survey was added to NJSGC’s popular New Jersey Top Ten Beaches website that asked visitors to select from a list of 20 issues which one they thought would have the biggest impact on New Jersey’s Coastal future. It was designed to help determine the 2012 New Jersey Top Ten Coastal Concerns list plus provide valuable information to help NJSGC focus and plan for future outreach and education projects. Nearly 30 percent of the almost 6,000 respondents were most concerned about water quality, followed by overdevelopment, beach nourishment, public access, beach and marine debris, protecting shorebirds and marine life, flooding, the health of Barnegat Bay, balancing coastal resources and seafood quality.

To encourage and thank survey participants, NJSGC worked closely with key tourism representatives from Sandy Hook to Cape May to coordinate a Jersey Coast Prize Packages giveaway. Website visitors and survey takers in 2012 could opt to enter a drawing for one of four prize packages featuring attractions at and around the Jersey shore. The four county-centric prize packages included valuable merchandise, gift certificates and coupons for restaurants and iconic shore eateries, hotel or bed and breakfast establishments, amusement piers, a seasonal boat slip, theme park, festival or aquarium passes, and lots more. The randomly drawn winners for each county prize pack were: Frank Balles (Atlantic County); Tom Jelinski (Cape May County); Ann Kuperstein (Monmouth County) and Anne Marie Fischer (Ocean County). The winners were all presented with their Jersey Coast Prize Packages at special events, meetings and ceremonies throughout June in their respective counties of choice in the drawing.

The generosity of all the sponsors of the Jersey Coast Prize Package Giveaway was just outstanding. And the hard work and cooperation of the tourism representatives from each county to help coordinate the donations and the packages made the giveaway project a huge success and everyone a winner.

Kim Kosko, Director of Communications
New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium

Be Vigilant About Water Safety

To the Editor:

While Wednesday, June 20 officially marked the first day of summer 2012, sadly this season has already been marked by a tragic number of child drownings in both the ocean and pools across New Jersey.

The NJ Department of Children and Families is urging every resident to be exceptionally vigilant around water, whether it be at the ocean, lake or pool, especially as a dangerous heat wave bears down on the state.

Hazardous riptides have been affecting the Jersey Shore for several weeks, and swimmers should absolutely not go into the ocean when lifeguards are not present.

Also never, ever leave a child unattended near a pool – not even for a second. Water accidents can happen in an instant and the outcome can be devastating.

Please take all the extra safety precautions necessary to assure that you, your family and most importantly children have a safe and fun summer.

Allison Blake,Commissioner,
State Department of Children and Families.

For more information on DCF’s “Not Even for a Second” Water Safety Campaign, including tips and information on how to prevent accidental drowning, visit www.nj.gov/dcf.

Thanks for a New Trash/ Recycling Contract in Middletown

To the Editor:

I want to commend the Middletown Township Committee for the excellent work done in securing a new garbage and recycling contract for the township.

Under the terms of the contract residents can, as of July 1, co-mingle all recyclables (paper, glass, metal) into a single stream pick-up. This will mean two monthly pick-ups for all materials.

The best news for taxpayers is that the town was able to negotiate the increased service for a whopping 7 percent or $400,000 savings over the prior contract signed five years ago. So Middletown residents are witnessing a rarity in municipal government-increased services for a lower cost.

On behalf of all the residents of Middletown, thank you Mayor Fiore, Deputy Mayor Steve Massell and Township Committee members.

Ned Hammond

TRT Moments

The Red Bank railroad station on Monmouth Street, which has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1976, has been repaired and renovated many times over the years. According to the Red Bank Visitors Center website, the building is one of the last remaining Stick Style stations that were built in the 1890s by the New York and Long Branch Railroad. In this 1954 photograph, workman spruce up the second floor with paint. The station now used by passengers taking NJ Transit trains on its North Jersey Coast Line. This image is courtesy Dorn’s Classic Images.

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