Letters and Commentary

October 19, 2012
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Dedicating Resources and Energy to Preserving NJ’s Horse Industry

To the Editor:

Our precious horse industry has been resuscitated! The first annual Open Space Pace day-long racing and entertainment spectacular at Freehold Raceway on Sept. 29 was an unqualified success! Record crowds came to the track to enjoy the pageantry and excitement. It was a free-spirited, family-oriented day of food, top-flight music and over 30 vendors; complete with celebrity appearances and giveaways. More than 3,000 people took part in the day’s festivities, which began at the Hall of Records in downtown Freehold with a colorful parade of horses that led revelers to the track.

A wide array of equine groups, governmental organizations, individuals, vendors, sponsors and private businesses took part, including Rutgers University, the New Jersey Farm Bureau, Monmouth County Parks, Agriculture and Tourism, the Monmouth Conservation Foundation, the Standard Breeders and Owners Association of New Jersey, Trump National Golf Club, Freehold Borough and some of the state’s most notable horse farms and equestrian facilities. Stellar members of the state’s equine industry and a host of volunteers joined forces in the fight to support and sustain this vital source of jobs, revenue, tradition and open space in New Jersey.

As the day’s exciting special races enlivened the track, live music emanating from a special stage set up on the grounds kept the crowds entertained all day. The Dani Bochner Band, the Eddie Testa Band, Pat Guadagno with Richard Blackwell, and the Nick Clemons Band played from 10:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Just before 5 p.m., none other than the Garden State’s own Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes took the stage before a sold-out audience, playing for almost two hours, thrilling the dancing, singing, partying crowd with three encores! For an astonishing $20 per person ticket fee, Southside Johnny’s most ardent fans mingled with the many Open Space Pace organizers and volunteers who worked so hard for many months to make the day the wonderful success it was.

The festive, congenial atmosphere was punctuated by the important reason for the event’s creation – fighting to keep horse breeding and racing viable in New Jersey where horse-related operations account for some 13,000 jobs. About 42,000 horses reside here; many in the racing industry. Over 176,000 acres of land support more than 70 equine facilities statewide – acreage that could be lost to development. There is no doubt that equine pursuits in New Jersey provide immeasurable recreational, social, cultural and economic benefits.

Horse-related operations in New Jersey need strong, ongoing support from the state and they need it now if racing is to remain viable here. Too much of the Garden State’s once-thriving equine industry, including its majestic horses, have already been lured to other states by larger purses and more welcoming policies and practices. New Jersey’s economy, and well as its agricultural traditions will suffer if we allow this to continue. Such changes as allowing racinos at our racetracks and lengthening the number of race days at the Meadowlands and Monmouth Park are critical to this mission.

It is up to all of us to keep the momentum going and growing! We must continue to dedicate ourselves to creating awareness of the importance of the horse, our state animal, and what it means to our quality of life. Based on the success of the first Open Space Pace, organizers are already working to make this spectacular equine celebration bigger and better next year. Let’s work together on all fronts! Make your voice heard to your state legislators. Attend equine events and volunteer where you can. Together, those of us who appreciate, revere and enjoy horses and open space can ensure the preservation of our precious equine heritage and all it affords for generations to come.

Keep an eye out for Open Space Pace 2013 and bring your family and friends! You’ll be glad you did.

Lillian G. Burry
Monmouth County Freeholder


Reducing Abuse During National Domestic Awareness Month

To the Editor:

As we enter into the annual observance of October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it is a timely opportunity to remind everyone of the pervasiveness of the horrific crime. As we have seen in media reports around the county and across the country, domestic violence affects everyone – regardless of age, race, religion, economic status or level of education.

Domestic violence is something that by definition happens behind closed doors, so most people will not know what is really going on in a family by seeing them at church, in school or at work. Therefore, it is quite possible that something terribly wrong is going on in the house next door, and you may never know … until it’s too late. But there are warning signs that may help you identify a situation, such as frequent canceling of social engagements, frequent injuries or “accidents,” a change in wardrobe designed to hide bruises or scars. And while these scenarios alone might not mean trouble, it is our responsibility to help someone in need, as each one of us has a role to play in stopping domestic violence.

Here in Monmouth County, 180 Turning Lives Around, a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to ending domestic and sexual violence, provides 24-hour hotlines, emergency housing, family court assistance and trained advocates who accompany survivors at police stations, hospitals and family court. Victims can seek assistance by calling 732-264-4111 (toll-free 888-843-9262). The hotline for sexual assault is 732-264-7273 (toll-free 888-264-RAPE). Additional information can be found at our website, www.180nj.org.

During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we at 180 Turning Lives Around encourage others to join efforts to reduce domestic violence in our community. Domestic violence is everyone’s business.

Anna Diaz-White, Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around, Inc.


Red Bank, Not Such a Cool Little Town

To the Editor:

Red Bank is actually losing its cool. The wonderful antique district is being destroyed, at least two places have gone out of the antique business and one large antique center is scheduled to be torn down. I have no doubt that the demolition of the other charming old building will soon follow. I understand that condos are to be built; that will increase the traffic problems that are already almost unbearable.

Last week, as I drove through the construction mess, which is known as Front Street, there were at least two policemen on two different corners who were there, I believe, to assist the flow of traffic. Both policemen were watching the construction workers and had their backs to the traffic which was proceeding willy-nilly to try to get through town.

Any of the so-called improvements to Red Bank seem to include more traffic which, to me, means stay away from Red Bank.

Joan Aufderhar
Fair Haven


Bring the Kids to BCC Chemistry Carnival

To the Editor:

As the department chair and associate professor of chemistry at Brookdale Community College, I’d like to reach out to readers about one of our favorite community services – our upcoming annual Chemistry Carnival held on Sunday, Oct. 28, from 12:30-3 p.m. in the Navesink rooms of the Warner Student Life Center. The event is free although we ask attendees to bring a canned food to be donated to a local food bank.

Held during or around National Chemistry Week, the Brookdale chemistry department, with the assistance and sponsorship of the Monmouth County section of the American Chemical Society, has run the Chemistry Carnival each of the last seven years. The event is appropriate for children of all ages; although the experiments focus primarily on ages 5 through 13. Attendance has shown a pattern of doubling each year.

The real stars of the event are the chemistry students who give children and families a hands-on demonstration of major chemistry concepts.  The children are encouraged to ask questions and the students provide answers.  Our hope is that through our event, children will be interested in science and realize that chemistry can be fun and exciting.

All of the experiments contain household materials to show children that chemistry is all around them and in everything that they do.  Baking soda, vinegar, glue, lemon juice, red cabbage, ice, uncooked spaghetti, raisins, ammonia and bleach are just some of the staples used in the event each year.  Typical experiments involve seeing colors change, seeing images appear from homemade invisible ink, seeing raisins “dance” in carbonated beverages, making a light bulb glow from household products, making a “rainbow in a glass,” creating a “superball,” and many more.

There will be information about children’s science and other summer camps at Brookdale and new this year, a local karate instructor will come during the last 30 minutes of the event to demonstrate moves and to talk about anti-bullying.

For more information regarding the Chemistry Carnival, email me at egoll@brookdalecc.edu.

We look forward to seeing you Oct. 28.

Eric Goll, Associate Professor-Chemistry
Brookdale Community College


Two River Moment

Red Bank had its own airport for many years. This 1963 photograph shows the small terminal, a Buick convertible and, perhaps, two “stewardesses,” now known as flight attendants, with an unidentified man. The airport was a more than 37-acre tract located off Shrewsbury Avenue. It was closed in mid-1971.

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