Letters and Commentary

July 20, 2012
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2ND FLOOR Available for Children, Teens in Need of Assistance

To The Editor:

School is out, and thoughts of a carefree summer vacation dance in many parents’ heads. But the challenges facing New Jersey teens and young adults don’t take a summer vacation.

Issues such as bullying, depression, self-esteem struggles and family problems, often times eased by the school counselor, trusted teacher or compassionate coach, continue throughout the summer. And more time at home leaves kids more time to think about the problems they face.

Youth and their parents should know that 2NDFLOOR® is a statewide, toll-free, 24/7 helpline where children and teens can turn for confidential assistance about any concern on their mind. Youth can call 2NDFLOOR at 1-888-222-2228 to speak with professionals and trained volunteers to find nonjudgmental and supportive responses to questions about prob­lems they are facing. The website www.2NDFLOOR.org has information and message boards for them to share their concerns as well.

Call volume to the helpline increases between 10 and 30 percent during the summer months, suggesting that the increased unstructured time gives youth the opportunity to think about the issues they face and seek out help.

Many kids spend more time at home alone during the summer months, with parents working, and school professionals and teachers not around to see signs that a young person may be struggling. It is important that kids and their parents know help is just a phone call away.

Nicole Romaine-Settembrino
Director of Development
2NDFLOOR Youth Helpline
A program of 180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.

Bow Hunting in Shrewsbury Shouldn’t Be Allowed

To The Editor:

My husband died a few weeks ago. We have been residents of our town for 34 years. We were also lifetime members of the Historical Society. On two occasions we willingly accepted a request to open our home for viewing by hundreds of people on Historical House Tours that benefitted this Shrewsbury organization.

One look at our home reveals my husband’s attention to detail. Imagine the irony that his last two seasons alive were plagued by the real threat of bow hunters in the trees of the property directly adjoining our home.

As we could see these hunters on their deer stands from our driveway, it was impossible to walk to the mailbox without worrying where an arrow would strike. For an eight-year-old playing in the leaves in our yard, it was unthinkable. One neighbor capitalized on this change of law by inviting people to hunt in his yard despite pleas on several occasions from myself and the other surrounding neighbors.

The fact that eight residences and 14 condos occupy or border this small property did not sway his ignorance and self-importance. Raising this safety issue with both the police department and a borough council member did nothing.

This change in law, we were told, was apparently based on a (clear bias response) survey mailed to a very small number of town residents (1,499) with an even smaller number returning this survey (242 or 16 percent of responses). The survey questions were not corroborative, the multiple-choice answers completely subjective and the final numbers calculated were not even correct. The survey presented to the borough council quoted data from Maine and Connecticut, replete with pictures from Vermont and Pennsylvania. At no time did this survey inform us the end result would be hunting in the borough.

After we witnessed bow hunters assembling their weapons in the neighbor’s yard, the borough gave us a number of fabricated ideas ranging from, “Don’t worry, the hunters aim downward” (not true; we saw the hunters were aiming straight at our property and the projectile ability of those bows could easily have gone through our house to the next one); “This is what the people of Shrewsbury want” (oh really – based on a 16 percent overall response?); and the best of all, “The hunters give their slaughtered deer meat to food banks (also not true as it is not legal for food banks, food kitchens or homeless shelters to accept wild game).

When hunting season was over, my husband trespassed on this property and collected the discarded beer cans the hunters left on the ground.

The knowledge that it was actually the police department that changed the projectile code last fall, which permitted hunting by borough employees – while masquerading as the “will of the residents” – was galling. One borough employee told me, “Hunting has been going on for years behind the Monmouth County Library.”

People, watch out when you go to Trader Joe’s during hunting season. Where were the police during this illegal hunting two years ago? Last fall, the hunters dusted off their camouflage jackets and invaded a residential neighborhood with deadly weapons and alcohol with no one to enforce the law.

The borough ruling states no hunting permit is required on private property. Exactly whose responsibility is it to protect us from inebriated hunters? Who is going to enforce these laws at the risk of being shot?

Yes, alcohol consumption and hunting is illegal, similar to drinking and driving being illegal. Does that mean no one is drunk when they drive down Broad Street?

The borough has a projectile code. The borough has a code for everything, from debris to noise, to “hawking” to massages. Why has the projectile code been compromised to exclude bow hunting in a residential area?

Ostensibly, it takes less time to roll out of bed, grab a deadly weapon and saunter across the street where deer are waiting to be shot. Best of all, you do not need a permit and no one will bother you while you are sipping your Bud Light.

As an addendum: The community garden on borough property is a lovely idea. However, the fence will do nothing but give the powers that be another area and excuse to ultimately hunt deer and again compromise our safety. This time, the safety of the children on the recreation fields will be at stake.

The September town council meeting will focus on how much money was spent on this gardening endeavor and how much damage the deer caused eating the vegetables. Bor­ough council, did you read the deer report whose results you sanctioned? I guess you didn’t have to. The law was already changed to suit you, completely disregarding the safety of the affected taxpayers.

Delores R. Lichtig (Mrs. Michael)

Vote Against Transportation Funds Questioned

To the Editor:

The Monmouth County Freeholders, in a 4-to-1 vote, recently decided not to accept federal funding funneled through the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) for the purpose of developing a pedestrian and bicycle plan to be integrated into the transportation infrastructure of the county.

The planning grant the freeholders turned down was offered to Monmouth County as a result of the work of many individuals and organizations in the county’s communities. The grant was offered to the county without any strings attached. It would have imposed no burden of any kind to the county – neither matching funds nor the use of county personnel or equipment. The purpose of the grant was simply to assist the county in planning for upgrading its vehicular infrastructure to improve the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists, who currently endure and face dangerous and unpleasant conditions trying to walk or bike along most county roads.

This planning grant – financed entirely with federal funds – would have coordinated the many pedestrian and bicycling initiatives that have been planned, undertaken, or completed in Monmouth County communities. It could have become a model for how communities under increasing fiscal pressure can reduce their tax burdens while improving conditions for walking and bicycling. Safe Routes to Schools and Complete Streets programs have been adopted by the N.J. Department of Transportation and are intended to improve the health and safety of schoolchildren, increase overall levels of physical activity, and reduce the local school tax burden by making county-financed school busses less necessary.

For some reason, four of five Monmouth County Freeholders do not comprehend the issues facing the taxpayers they are elected to represent. If our health, safety, and tax burden are not important to them, then, simply put, they should not be representing us. Is the explanation for their rejection of the federal grant, stupidity, politics, or both?

Albert J. Kerecman


Two River Moments

This is the Shrewsbury Packet, a shallow draft schooner, which became extinct shortly after the turn of the 19th to 20th century. Schooners like this one carried cargo back and forth from New York City to the Two River area. The Shrewsbury Packet is stuck on a sand bar at low tide in this photo. Note the four-masted ship on the ocean in the background of the Sea Bright Peninsula. This image is courtesy of Dorn’s Classic Images.

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