Bank Robbery in Manalapan

manalapan bank robbed sept 30 1MANALAPAN, NJ – On Friday, September 30, 2016, at approximately 12:45 p.m. an unshaven white male, described as approximately 50-60 years of age, standing approximately 5’10” tall and weighting approximately 185 lbs., wearing a red hooded sweatshirt, black knit hat and sunglasses entered the Sun National Bank located at 191 Plaza 9, in Manalapan Township (Route 9 southbound between Taylor’s Mills Rd. and Symmes Drive).  The subject indicated that he was in possession of a bomb and demanded money from the teller.  The suspect left the bank on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash and fled the scene in an unknown direction. Continue reading Bank Robbery in Manalapan

Bank Robbery in Manalapan

manalapan bank robbed sept 30 1MANALAPAN, NJ – On Friday, September 30, 2016, at approximately 12:45 p.m. an unshaven white male, described as approximately 50-60 years of age, standing approximately 5’10” tall and weighting approximately 185 lbs., wearing a red hooded sweatshirt, black knit hat and sunglasses entered the Sun National Bank located at 191 Plaza 9, in Manalapan Township (Route 9 southbound between Taylor’s Mills Rd. and Symmes Drive).  The subject indicated that he was in possession of a bomb and demanded money from the teller.  The suspect left the bank on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash and fled the scene in an unknown direction. Continue reading Bank Robbery in Manalapan

Middletown, Hazlet and Holmdel Townships Agree to Oppose JCP&L Application for Transmission Lines

MIDDLETOWN, NJ – We are pleased to announce that Middletown Township, Hazlet Township and Holmdel Township have agreed to form Municipal Consortium to jointly oppose the application filed by JCP&L with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. JCP&L proposes to install a controversial, 10 mile long high-voltage transmission line, along the NJ Transit right-of-way from Aberdeen to Red Bank that will include towers ranging from 140 to more than 200 feet tall.  Our towns have intervened at the BPU to oppose this unacceptable intrusion into our municipalities.

The law firm of Bevan, Mosca & Guiditta, P.C., a Basking Ridge-based firm, whose name partner, Murray E. Bevan, Esq.  has extensive experience in BPU matters has been retained to represent the Consortium. The Albany New York office of Maser Consulting, a large engineering firm with BPU experience, headquartered in Middletown, has been retained to provide engineering services and expertise.

By standing together, we want to make clear to JCP&L that it will face determined municipal opposition to the plans as currently proposed, on top of already widespread public opposition in all of the communities impacted. 

Mayor Gerard P.  Scharfenberger of Middletown stated, “It is vital that we organize as the affected communities and work in close coordination with one another. We are hopeful that Red Bank, Aberdeen, and any other interested governmental entities join us. The sooner the better, as the schedule for this project seems to be on a relatively fast track.”

Hazlet Mayor Scott Aagre, voiced his opposition to this project, “I have opposed this project from the day it was announced. Hazlet Township adopted a resolution on June 20th, 2016 opposing JCP&L and putting our concerns on the record.  A two hundred foot high transmission line does not belong in the middle of our residential areas.”

Eric Hinds, Holmdel’s Mayor stated, “I was fortunate to grow up in Middletown and enjoyed my summers at the Hazlet Swim Club. Now, I have the privilege of being the Mayor in Holmdel Township. Having spent my entire life in Monmouth County, I simply cannot support this proposal. In addition to potential health concerns, the project just does not fit the character of our Bayshore area and should not be allowed.”

In addition to our opposition to JCP&L and their proposed project, we want to also express to the leadership of New Jersey Transit our hope that they will seriously consider not only the public and municipal sentiment in making their decision to grant JCP&L an easement to use the right-of-way, but also the many public safety concerns with this project, especially during the lengthy construction period anticipated.

 

Middletown, Hazlet and Holmdel Townships Agree to Oppose JCP&L Application for Transmission Lines

MIDDLETOWN, NJ – We are pleased to announce that Middletown Township, Hazlet Township and Holmdel Township have agreed to form Municipal Consortium to jointly oppose the application filed by JCP&L with the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. JCP&L proposes to install a controversial, 10 mile long high-voltage transmission line, along the NJ Transit right-of-way from Aberdeen to Red Bank that will include towers ranging from 140 to more than 200 feet tall.  Our towns have intervened at the BPU to oppose this unacceptable intrusion into our municipalities.

The law firm of Bevan, Mosca & Guiditta, P.C., a Basking Ridge-based firm, whose name partner, Murray E. Bevan, Esq.  has extensive experience in BPU matters has been retained to represent the Consortium. The Albany New York office of Maser Consulting, a large engineering firm with BPU experience, headquartered in Middletown, has been retained to provide engineering services and expertise.

By standing together, we want to make clear to JCP&L that it will face determined municipal opposition to the plans as currently proposed, on top of already widespread public opposition in all of the communities impacted. 

Mayor Gerard P.  Scharfenberger of Middletown stated, “It is vital that we organize as the affected communities and work in close coordination with one another. We are hopeful that Red Bank, Aberdeen, and any other interested governmental entities join us. The sooner the better, as the schedule for this project seems to be on a relatively fast track.”

Hazlet Mayor Scott Aagre, voiced his opposition to this project, “I have opposed this project from the day it was announced. Hazlet Township adopted a resolution on June 20th, 2016 opposing JCP&L and putting our concerns on the record.  A two hundred foot high transmission line does not belong in the middle of our residential areas.”

Eric Hinds, Holmdel’s Mayor stated, “I was fortunate to grow up in Middletown and enjoyed my summers at the Hazlet Swim Club. Now, I have the privilege of being the Mayor in Holmdel Township. Having spent my entire life in Monmouth County, I simply cannot support this proposal. In addition to potential health concerns, the project just does not fit the character of our Bayshore area and should not be allowed.”

In addition to our opposition to JCP&L and their proposed project, we want to also express to the leadership of New Jersey Transit our hope that they will seriously consider not only the public and municipal sentiment in making their decision to grant JCP&L an easement to use the right-of-way, but also the many public safety concerns with this project, especially during the lengthy construction period anticipated.

 

Pipeline Pumping Again, Gas Prices Retreat

Many areas seeing prices holding steady and dropping slightly

The Week
Gas prices in most of the Mid-Atlantic region have begun to decline slightly for the first time since the Colonial Pipeline began pumping gasoline again on September 21. This is a large contrast to the spikes seen in much of the area as a result of pipeline’s leak and subsequent closure on September 9. The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline remained relatively stable over the past week, settling at today’s price of $2.22 per gallon. Drivers are paying the same price per gallon month-over-month, and seven cents less per gallon year-over-year.

CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES

Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)

 
09/30/16
Week Ago
Year Ago
National
$2.22 $2.21
$2.29
New Jersey
$1.98
$2.00
$1.97
Trenton
$2.02
$2.03
$2.01
Cape May County
$1.99
$2.00
$1.99
Burlington
$1.93
$1.95
$1.91
Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon Counties
$1.99
$2.00
$1.97
Monmouth, Ocean Counties
$1.97
$2.00
$1.98
Crude Oil

$48.02 per barrel (09/30/16)

$44.88 per barrel (09/23/16
$45.09 per barrel (09/30/15)

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) closed at $48.02 per barrel. In the last week, crude oil has closed between $44 and $48. On Wednesday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to modest oil output cuts in the first such deal in eight years. The move would effectively re-establish OPEC production ceilings abandoned a year ago but how much each country will produce is to be decided at the next formal OPEC meeting in November, when an invitation to join cuts could also be extended to non-OPEC countries such as Russia.

The Weekend

Now that repairs have been made to the Colonial Pipeline, drivers in a number of states are paying less at the pump week-over-week, including those in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “While local drivers may be seeing a bit of relief, OPIS reports that many marketers are warning that supply will still be touch-and-go in the next few days.”

The Week Ahead

Now that the issues surrounding the leak in the Colonial Pipeline seem to be contained, local drivers should continue to see a slow decrease in gas prices. Stations have switched over to winter-blend gasoline, which is less expensive to produce and the demand for gas has dropped, following the busy summer driving season. AAA predicts that consumers could experience national average prices below $2.00 at the pump if the price of crude oil remains relatively low and there are no unexpected production issues.

 

Pipeline Pumping Again, Gas Prices Retreat

Many areas seeing prices holding steady and dropping slightly

The Week
Gas prices in most of the Mid-Atlantic region have begun to decline slightly for the first time since the Colonial Pipeline began pumping gasoline again on September 21. This is a large contrast to the spikes seen in much of the area as a result of pipeline’s leak and subsequent closure on September 9. The national average price of regular unleaded gasoline remained relatively stable over the past week, settling at today’s price of $2.22 per gallon. Drivers are paying the same price per gallon month-over-month, and seven cents less per gallon year-over-year.

CURRENT AND PAST GAS PRICE AVERAGES

Regular Unleaded Gasoline (*indicates record high)

 
09/30/16
Week Ago
Year Ago
National
$2.22 $2.21
$2.29
New Jersey
$1.98
$2.00
$1.97
Trenton
$2.02
$2.03
$2.01
Cape May County
$1.99
$2.00
$1.99
Burlington
$1.93
$1.95
$1.91
Middlesex, Somerset, Hunterdon Counties
$1.99
$2.00
$1.97
Monmouth, Ocean Counties
$1.97
$2.00
$1.98
Crude Oil

$48.02 per barrel (09/30/16)

$44.88 per barrel (09/23/16
$45.09 per barrel (09/30/15)

At the close of Friday’s formal trading session on the NYMEX, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) closed at $48.02 per barrel. In the last week, crude oil has closed between $44 and $48. On Wednesday, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) agreed to modest oil output cuts in the first such deal in eight years. The move would effectively re-establish OPEC production ceilings abandoned a year ago but how much each country will produce is to be decided at the next formal OPEC meeting in November, when an invitation to join cuts could also be extended to non-OPEC countries such as Russia.

The Weekend

Now that repairs have been made to the Colonial Pipeline, drivers in a number of states are paying less at the pump week-over-week, including those in New Jersey, Delaware and Pennsylvania” said Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “While local drivers may be seeing a bit of relief, OPIS reports that many marketers are warning that supply will still be touch-and-go in the next few days.”

The Week Ahead

Now that the issues surrounding the leak in the Colonial Pipeline seem to be contained, local drivers should continue to see a slow decrease in gas prices. Stations have switched over to winter-blend gasoline, which is less expensive to produce and the demand for gas has dropped, following the busy summer driving season. AAA predicts that consumers could experience national average prices below $2.00 at the pump if the price of crude oil remains relatively low and there are no unexpected production issues.

 

The Silver Lining

anne mikolay 2012 120On Thursday, September 29th, New Jersey Transit train no. 1614 on the Pascack Valley Line crashed into Hoboken terminal, killing one commuter and injuring approximately 108, including the engineer at the controls. Bystanders rushed to assist. First responders were on the scene within minutes. Media descended upon the terminal.

A few observations on human reaction and media coverage: New Jersey/New York commuters were actively compassionate; media was informative if not repetitive.

New Jerseyans and New Yorkers are closely related. We live together, work together. The New York/New Jersey mindset is often difficult for visitors to accept. The city is fast paced; we are always on the move. We walk fast, talk fast, weave in and out of traffic until we get where we’re going. We are undeterred, focused; nothing slows us down. Generally, we’re not cheery, smiling people. In fact, if somebody gets on the train grinning, wishing folks a good morning or a nice day, the synonym “weird” promptly comes to mind, and we hardly look up from our cell phones. But toss us into a crisis, and we come together. The world witnessed our solidarity on 9/11, and yesterday, once again, New Jersey/New York proved that humanitarianism is at the core of who we are. Passengers on New Jersey Transit train no. 1614 united to assist the injured and help each other escape the train. Compassionate bystanders in the Hoboken terminal risked their own safety and rushed toward the crash site rather than in the other direction. Local merchants supplied coffee, food, shelter for first responders. In a moment of dire need, nobody was rejected due to race, religion, or political affiliation, proving once again that New Jerseyans and New Yorkers are generous, decent human beings.

And the media proved once more that they can report on a crisis in a timely, informative manner…over and over and over again. In this age of 24 hour news reporting, commentators and reporters are forced to fill the excessive air time with repetitive details and observations. As a viewer, once I learn who, what, when, where, how, I can retain the information and do not need to hear it again and again. And I will never understand why reporters at news briefings ask questions the government representative specifically addressed in their statement. Perhaps the reporter is seeking clarification or a direct quote from the representative, but asking the NTSB official or Governors Christie and Cuomo the same questions over and over is pointless. Admittedly, I’ve written only human interest pieces for newspapers and have never done straight news reporting, but to me redundancy reduces reporting to nothing more than background noise.

The events of September 29th are tragic to be sure, but if a silver lining is to be found, it’s the compassion and resilience of New Jerseyans and New Yorkers, who once more proved when the going gets tough, they come together.

 

The Silver Lining

anne mikolay 2012 120On Thursday, September 29th, New Jersey Transit train no. 1614 on the Pascack Valley Line crashed into Hoboken terminal, killing one commuter and injuring approximately 108, including the engineer at the controls. Bystanders rushed to assist. First responders were on the scene within minutes. Media descended upon the terminal.

A few observations on human reaction and media coverage: New Jersey/New York commuters were actively compassionate; media was informative if not repetitive.

New Jerseyans and New Yorkers are closely related. We live together, work together. The New York/New Jersey mindset is often difficult for visitors to accept. The city is fast paced; we are always on the move. We walk fast, talk fast, weave in and out of traffic until we get where we’re going. We are undeterred, focused; nothing slows us down. Generally, we’re not cheery, smiling people. In fact, if somebody gets on the train grinning, wishing folks a good morning or a nice day, the synonym “weird” promptly comes to mind, and we hardly look up from our cell phones. But toss us into a crisis, and we come together. The world witnessed our solidarity on 9/11, and yesterday, once again, New Jersey/New York proved that humanitarianism is at the core of who we are. Passengers on New Jersey Transit train no. 1614 united to assist the injured and help each other escape the train. Compassionate bystanders in the Hoboken terminal risked their own safety and rushed toward the crash site rather than in the other direction. Local merchants supplied coffee, food, shelter for first responders. In a moment of dire need, nobody was rejected due to race, religion, or political affiliation, proving once again that New Jerseyans and New Yorkers are generous, decent human beings.

And the media proved once more that they can report on a crisis in a timely, informative manner…over and over and over again. In this age of 24 hour news reporting, commentators and reporters are forced to fill the excessive air time with repetitive details and observations. As a viewer, once I learn who, what, when, where, how, I can retain the information and do not need to hear it again and again. And I will never understand why reporters at news briefings ask questions the government representative specifically addressed in their statement. Perhaps the reporter is seeking clarification or a direct quote from the representative, but asking the NTSB official or Governors Christie and Cuomo the same questions over and over is pointless. Admittedly, I’ve written only human interest pieces for newspapers and have never done straight news reporting, but to me redundancy reduces reporting to nothing more than background noise.

The events of September 29th are tragic to be sure, but if a silver lining is to be found, it’s the compassion and resilience of New Jerseyans and New Yorkers, who once more proved when the going gets tough, they come together.

 

When the Son of God Comes, Will He Find Faith?

george hancock stefanThere is no question that in many parts of the Western world, the size of the church has diminished. There are still large churches but, even in those churches, the loss is felt when people leave because of moving away or to go to a different congregation.

As a professor of church history, I am often asked about the future of the church. “I am not a futurist, I am church historian,” is the evasive answer. However, one can evade only so much. The longer answer is that I am very optimistic when it comes to the church.

I have heard skeptical conversations for many years of my life. When I was a child, I went to one of the largest baptism services we had in our areas. One thousand people came from all of the local villages to this place where we had an open baptism in a large church yard.  As we were traveling from the train to the church, I saw one lady observe the long caravan and say to her companion, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” I told my mother about her negative remarks.

Many years later, I was in Grand Rapids and a missionary was giving a talk right after Mao closed all of the churches in China. There was not even a church open as a museum. Thousands of believers were in jail, the Red Army youth was destroying all vestiges of capitalism and Christianity, and this speaker asked if we will find any believers in China if those church doors were opened again. The rule of Mao and his cohort did come to an end and when the doors opened, the churches were filled with young people who found Marxism empty.

I view the church of Jesus Christ in a very positive light, even though I have heard some very negative interpretations. My reasons for being positive are threefold:

Jesus has always been faithful to us. When He comes again, I believe He will find many who sought to imitate His faithfulness because He is the Faithful One.

 

When the Son of God Comes, Will He Find Faith?

george hancock stefanThere is no question that in many parts of the Western world, the size of the church has diminished. There are still large churches but, even in those churches, the loss is felt when people leave because of moving away or to go to a different congregation.

As a professor of church history, I am often asked about the future of the church. “I am not a futurist, I am church historian,” is the evasive answer. However, one can evade only so much. The longer answer is that I am very optimistic when it comes to the church.

I have heard skeptical conversations for many years of my life. When I was a child, I went to one of the largest baptism services we had in our areas. One thousand people came from all of the local villages to this place where we had an open baptism in a large church yard.  As we were traveling from the train to the church, I saw one lady observe the long caravan and say to her companion, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” I told my mother about her negative remarks.

Many years later, I was in Grand Rapids and a missionary was giving a talk right after Mao closed all of the churches in China. There was not even a church open as a museum. Thousands of believers were in jail, the Red Army youth was destroying all vestiges of capitalism and Christianity, and this speaker asked if we will find any believers in China if those church doors were opened again. The rule of Mao and his cohort did come to an end and when the doors opened, the churches were filled with young people who found Marxism empty.

I view the church of Jesus Christ in a very positive light, even though I have heard some very negative interpretations. My reasons for being positive are threefold:

Jesus has always been faithful to us. When He comes again, I believe He will find many who sought to imitate His faithfulness because He is the Faithful One.