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.
BELMAR – For more than two years, after Hurricane Sandy destroyed her family’s 14th Avenue home, Teresa Keefe, her three children and her mother have been living in a Lakewood apartment with relatives. Keefe shares a room with her 14-year-old daughter, Shayla, while her mother, Isabelle, and 9-year-old daughter, Alyssa, sleep in a dining room and… Read the rest of this entry »
Democratic Mayors Pan Their Freeholder Candidates’ Call For A County Ethics Board
By Art Gallagher
Democratic Freeholder Candidates Larry Luttrell and Joe Grillo with Congressman Frank Pallone and campaign volunteers
The Monmouth County Democrats have finally put forth a proposal to improve County Government.
It is not a new idea. It is not even a good idea. But at least they have put forth an idea for debate instead of spreading the lies and baseless character assassinations that have comprised their campaign so far this year.
Their campaign had been wholly negative; primarily baseless character attacks on Freeholder Director Lillian Burry. They lied and said Burry hired an unqualified campaign worker for a mental health position. Even after their lawsuit alleging that Burry had a conflict of interest over the Andrew Lucas farmland preservation deal was thrown out of court, they continue to beat that drum. The GOP controlled Freeholder Board has cleaned house at Brookdale Community College since former President Peter Burnham was caught with his hands in the cookie jar. Yet the Democrats have been blaming Burry for Burnham’s transgressions.
Democratic candidate Joe Grillo told The Asbury Park Press that he wants to reinstate a County Ethics Board. I know I’m being generous by saying this is a proposal to improve County Government instead of calling it an excuse to keep talking about the baseless allegations they are making about Burry. But what the heck. MMM is fair and biased. Let’s play along and debunk the idea on its merits.
Campaign materials for and against the Belmar Bonding referendum. Photo via Thomas Burke’s facebook page
In a stunning rebuke to Mayor Matt Doherty who campaigned hard for its passage, Belmar voters today overwhelmingly rejected borrowing $7 million to rebuild two pavilions on the boardwalk.
Doherty told MMM this afternoon that he expected the turnout would be like that of any general election and that his side spent as much on this Special Election as they have in any general election. Doherty spent $10,411 in his 2010 campaign for mayor, according to his reports at the NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission.
Thomas E. Burke was a leader in the movement to force the referendum and in the campaign to defeat the measure. Burke told MMM that his side spent between $500 and $1000 and had a volunteer campaign team of about 20 people.
1,797 voters cast a ballot. 1,041, 58%, voted against the borrowing. There are 4,407 registered voters in Belmar.
Recently a Mayor’s Luncheon was held in Belmar for the purpose of giving Belmar businesses a forum to meet and discuss tourism and how it benefits businesses at the Jersey Shore. I was happy to attend and join Belmar Mayor Matt Doherty in greeting the local business owners and to share with them what the County Tourism Division does to promote the industry. The luncheon was held at Ollie Klein’s Waterside Café located on River Road in Belmar.
Additionally, we are currently working toward entering into a shared services agreement with Hightstown to utilize the Monmouth County Vehicle Wash facilities. This is yet another approach to help reduce costs and redundancies in the delivery of public services, while adding some additional revenue for the county to help offset our operational costs. Because Hightstown already has a shared services agreement with Roosevelt Borough for trash collection which is hauled to the Monmouth County Reclamation Center, it makes good sense for them to utilize the county vehicle wash facilities as a value added shared services while they are in the area. Howell Township has just been added to our MODIV property tax assessment shared services system. This system has been recognized for innovation and excellence in public service by the Harvard Kennedy School and Moody’s Investor’s Service for its role in streamlining the delivery and implementation of the tax assessment process. Certain municipalities have seen savings of up to 65% through this shared service.
Beck: Federal and State Agencies Haven’t Approved Drying Sites
Governor Chris Christie told his Town Hall gathering in Belmar yesterday afternoon that the dredging of Shark River is being held up because the municipalities along the river and Monmouth County can not agree on a destination for the dredge spoils to be dumped.
The issue has gathered increased public attention in recent months due to a massive fish kill in the river last May. 310 tons of dead fish were removed from the shoreline of the estuary that feeds into the Atlantic through the inlet between Belmar and Avon-by-the-Sea and extents 11 miles through Neptune and Wall Townships.
In answering a question from a man who identified himself as Bob from Wall, Christie said that he supports the dredging, fought for money from FEMA to pay for the dredging and would impose a solution on the county and municipalities if he had the authority to do so. He said he had been briefed on the issue three weeks ago.
Maybe the Governor remembered a briefing from a different dredging project when answering Bob’s question.
Both the Monmouth County and Neptune landfills are willing to take the dredge spoils, according to Senator Jennifer Beck. The river hasn’t been dredged, Beck said in a phone interview last night, because over the last two decades various federal and state agencies have rejected every proposed location for the dredged materials to dry before being moved to their final disposal site.
Doherty: We were in the middle in the worst natural disaster in the history of New Jersey. Taking care of people trumps accounting principles
Mayor says he will ask ShopRite to replace lost cards
Belmar Borough Administrtor Colleen Connelly posing with cash donations. Photo provided by Councilman Jim Bean
The Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office has found that the Borough of Belmar distributed ShopRite gift cards purchased with cash donations in the wake of Super Storm Sandy without following generally accepted accounting principles.
In a letter to Councilman Jim Bean dated July 11, Special Deputy Attorney General/Acting Assistant Prosecutor John Loughrey said, “There is, however, every indication that the cards were not properly inventoried, adequately managed or or appropriately secured at any point after they were taken into custody of the Borough of Belmar.” Loughrey’s letter to Bean can be found here.
Loughrey said there is no evidence that any one person or groups misappropriated the Shoprite gift cards.
The Prosecutor’s Office opened an investigation on January 31, 2014 after Bean discovered a $9,050 discrepancy in reports of how the cards were distributed. In answering OPRA (Open Public Record Act) requests from Bean, Belmar Elementary School business administrator Loretta Hill reported that the school received $7,950 in gift cards while Borough Clerk April Claudio said that $17,000 in gift cards were given to the school.
The next stop on Governor Chris Christie’s “No Pain, No Gain” tour on the Jersey Shore will be held in Belmar next Wednesday, 3PM, at the Huisman Gazebo, 500 Ocean Ave.
Christie kicked off the tour in Long Beach Island on Tuesday where he said he would be proposing a plan to save New Jersey from bankruptcy by the end of this summer. The work-in-progress plan will focus on reducing pensions and benefits for public workers.
“There are going to be some really difficult things,” Christie said. “There’s not a lot of places left to do things except to look at a whole different variety of ways to reduce benefits or to increase contributions by employees.”