Summer is in full swing and I hope everyone is out there enjoying the beautiful weather we’ve been having. An annual tradition here in Monmouth County is the County Fair. The 41st Monmouth County Fair was a huge success with thousands of residents attending over the five days it was held at the East Freehold Fairgrounds on Kozloski Road.
Monmouth County is the gateway to the Jersey Shore, and you will find more than 50 miles of beaches, revolutionary history sites, nationally recognized parks and golf courses, outdoor dining experiences for all tastes and plenty of places to spend the night. The Monmouth Park System offers over 30 park areas to explore, please go out and enjoy all our beautiful county has to offer.
While we are on the topic of outdoor activities you can enjoy throughout our County, I would like to take a moment to address several concerns within different regions, including the Shark River dredging and the two-river area bike path.
BELMAR —Days before Hurricane Sandy inundated large parts of New Jersey with its storm surge, Lake Como in Monmouth County was partially drained to make room for the rising waters that were expected to accompany the superstorm. But even those efforts didn’t spare the surrounding towns, which frequently had to contend with the lake overspilling its… Read the rest of this entry »
Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Monmouth County Freeholder Tom Arnone, and Neptune Township Committeeman Randy Bishop offered the following statement Monday to update residents on the progress being made in the effort to dredge Shark River state navigation channels:
“This project is closer to reality than ever before. This is a result of years of work coordinating with the many agencies that have authority over this project. This project focuses on what we can do, dredge the state navigation channels of the river” Arnone explained, a former Neptune City Mayor. “A project like this has to have full cooperation from the federal, state, county, and municipal governments. It has been a long process, but one that is moving forward”.
There are two permits necessary to move forward with the project: one from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the second from the US Army Corps of Engineers. NJ DOT has submitted applications for both permits. The State hopes to bid this project in time for a late-summer project award. If a responsive bid is received, and the selected contractor chooses, dredging could potentially begin later this year. The contractor may be given the option to conduct the work over two dredging seasons if necessary.
Mayor Matt Doherty and Governor Chris Christie walk the Belmar boardwalk in August 2011. Photo Credit: Tim Larson, Governor’s Office
Governor Chris Christie will be in Belmar tomorrow, May 29, to announce the award of a $6.185 million flood mitigation grant and to “kick off the summer in Belmar baby,” Mayor Matt Doherty told MMM.
The Community Development Block Grant from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development is being awarded through the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection after a competitive application process, according to Doherty. The funds will be used for an outflow pipe in Lake Cuomo which will provide flood mitigation for residents of Belmar, Spring Lake and the Borough of Lake Cuomo.
Christie is scheduled to arrive in Belmar at 2:15 p.m. The event will take place on Ocean Avenue at 20th Street.
If you’re at the south end of the Jersey Shore this month, stop by the Torche Galerie in Belmar. Many of the works on display last month in the gallery’s 2nd anniversary exhibition have been either taken down or sold. But it’s worth a stop to see the magnificent interior space—as well as to examine some of the art gems which are still hanging on the wall. The space is the creation of owner/sculptor Roddy Wildeman, who has his own workroom connected to the gallery in the back of the first floor.
Everything starts blooming in May—including the Shore art scene. All of a sudden, galleries and artists’ organizations are all holding openings. It’s almost impossible to decide which to attend. The art scene may not be as broad and deep here as it is in New York City—where the auction houses sell the “best of the best” of modern during these weeks—from Picasso to Giacometti. But there’s a great deal of excitement and variety, and even more to come in June.
Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty and Former Mayor Ken Pringle
Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty said, “Ken Pringle is like a jaded ex-girlfriend who won’t go away.”
Ken Pringle, who was mayor of the oceanfront borough for 20 years before Doherty took over in 2011, isn’t sure how many times he’s sued Doherty and the borough since he left office. “Four or five, I’m not sure.”
Both Doherty and Pringle, who served together for four years, are Democrats. Doherty was a councilman during Pringle’s last term as mayor.
At issue is the beachfront and money.
Pringle contends that Doherty and the Council are using the Beach Utility Fund to subsidize borough operations and to keep property taxes artificially low, in violation of the Public Trust Doctrine. Doherty says that while Pringle was mayor Belmar’s property taxpayers subsidized the beach and that Pringle raised taxes 14 years in a row. Doherty has not increased Belmar’s taxes since becoming mayor, keeping the borough’s spending flat at 2010 levels.
April is certainly the cruelest month, as T.S Eliot wrote. Spring keeps peeking out followed by rainy and cold days here at the Shore. So, why not cheer yourself up by jumping into the Shore Art Circuit as it emerges from its winter torpor.
New exhibitions are emerging like the daffodils in your garden. Last weekend at least two galleries held openings. One was the A.J. Dillon Gallery of Art in Atlantic Highlands with an exhibit entitled “Art in Nature,” a theme appropriate to the season, despite the chill. The other was held in Red Bank. The Art Alliance held a juried member show with two themes–“Contrasts” and “Personalities.” The curator of the show was Michael Burrus Johnson who had several paintings displayed in the showcase front windows of the gallery.
As I strolled around the small gallery gleaming with a wide variety of styles, Bathers by Miguel A. Fugeras drew me in. At first glance, the piece looked like a wood block print—a powerful rendering of statuesque tall women in black and white bathing in a river. But up close, it’s clearly a drawing, probably pen and ink. It’s an arresting piece that reinterprets the time honored, traditional theme of artists painting (dressed) women or female nudes at the seashore, ocean, or other body of water. Virtually all major artists from Botticelli to Degas have painted these scenes. But in tone and feeling, Fugeras’ drawing feels closer to Picasso’s Demoiselles of Avignon because of its angles and abstract nature .
Bathers by Miguel A. Fugeras. Drawing. The Art Alliance.
NJ Democratic State Committee Chairman John Currie, right and Vice Chair Lizette Delgado-Palanco
The New Jersey Democratic State Committee and five Belmar residents have filed suit in Monmouth County Superior Court alleging that the Republican candidates for Mayor and Council in last year’s municipal election, as well as four of their supporters, also Belmar residents, participated in a voter suppression scheme designed to disenfranchise vote by mail voters who delivered their ballots to Freehold via messenger.
The suit, filed as amended on February 3, also alleges that Monmouth County Superintendent of Elections Hedra Siskel instructed and/or advised two of the Belmar defendants, Joy and Carmine DeSanctis to alter, amend or modify their sworn affidavits challenging the mail in ballots. Siskel is not a defendant in the suit.