One of the cool things about the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Sovereign Bank Arena was that early-arriving patrons were encouraged to come right down onto the floor and meet the performers before the show.
The clowns and acrobats performed, and even signed programs for the kids.
And the actual show was pretty spectacular too.
Thank you to all of our friends and everyone who came to the show to help support autism research. A portion of the proceeds from tickets bought from us was donated to Autism Speaks through Central NJ Walk Now for Autism.
Join us at this year's Walk by clicking here. Form your own Walk Team...
Join our Hillsborough's Hope team by clicking here.
The 19th century science of dactyloscopy took a big leap into the 21st century this month for the Hillsborough Township Police Department. One hundred seventeen years after a bloody fingerprint sealed the fate of an Argentinian woman who murdered her two small children - the first such use of fingerprint identification - Hillsborough is throwing away its paper and ink and going high-tech.
A $25,000 live-scan fingerprint system has been installed at the municipal complex, improving the speed and accuracy of positively identifying individuals in custody.
Let's face it, with nearly 7 billion of us running around the planet, it can be pretty tough to sort us all out. I'm for anything that helps us round up the perps. Book'em Kammo!
There comes a time when pragmatism has to knock idealism on the head. And knock it right out. Next week's gubernatorial primary may be one of those times.
Steve Lonegan seems to be ALL idealism. I get it. He has done a great job communicating who he is, and I am sure he appeals to a lot of New Jersey voters. He is a pro-life, anti-environment, anti-immigrant crusader, and he is an extremist. In extreme times this kind of candidate can seem like an appealing choice. But Lonegan's not an appealing choice, he's a desperate choice - and these are not desperate times. Not yet!
Chris Christie on the other hand seems to be mostly about pragmatism. He has communicated conservative values in a practical context. Christie has the same pro-life, pro-marriage, pro-family values as Lonegan, but Christie lets those values inform his other positions, not lead them. He has put forth a plan that ties together urban revitalization, elimination of COAH, and protection of the environment, while bringing business back to New Jersey.
And most importantly, for all of the pragmatists reading this, Christie will beat Jon Corzine in November.
We couldn't be more pleased with how the finished product came out. The portrait has the look of an oil painting with the detail of a photograph. The detail and quality can be appreciated even from across the room. The snapshot below doesn't begin to do justice to the actual item. And the best part? They were able to turn back the clock on my hair loss about five years!
To see one of these portraits for yourself, stop into their studio at Mountainview Plaza on Route 206 South. They have many examples of their work up on the walls of their showroom.
They are not responsible for this Kramer portrait, however.
We still have tickets available for Autism Awareness Weekend at Trenton's Sovereign Bank Arena. Join us for a performance of Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus on Friday May 29 or Saturday May 30.
A portion of the proceeds from each ticket sale will benefit Autism Speaks, the world's leading autism research, awareness, and advocacy organization.
Click on the picture to view and print the flier - then call to reserve your tickets. Please mention the flier to ensure Autism Speaks receives their donation.
I couldn't let another May 18 pass without acknowledging the anniversary of the formation of Millstone Boro, which officially seceded from Hillsborough Township on this day in 1894.
As one of the leading villages of Hillsborough, Millstone played a significant part in the township's, and Somerset County's, history for 150 years. As the county seat during the American Revolution and a center for commerce right up through the industrial revolution, Millstone's importance to the region has been estimable.
Yet - unlike the plentiful information regarding Manville's secession in 1929, an admittedly unsuccessful search of contemporary and historical accounts has turned up no clues regarding the reasons for Millstone's separation. Why split from Hillsborough? And why in 1894?
East Millstone, by comparison, broke away from Franklin Township in 1873. At that time, the Delaware and Raritan Canal had been well established for forty years, and was at the peak of its importance. There was also a thriving railroad and railroad works in the hamlet. Millstone benefited from the canal and railroad also, but by 1894 Millstone's railroad, the Mercer & Somerset, had been gone for 15 years, and the canal was already entering its decline.
So what was it?
I still don't know - but I know one thing. East Millstone was an independent borough for less than 75 years, rejoining Franklin in 1949. Millstone is at 115 and counting.
What do you think Hillsborough people? Is it time for Millstone to come home?
The answer to the first question is easy - the house is no longer standing. The second question is more difficult - but before I get into that question, I am hoping someone will recognize the building and let me know where it stood. I don't want to let discussion of its location prejudiceanyone's memory.
Here's one more fact - it was one of the most historically significant houses in Hillsborough when this photograph was taken. In fact, this photo was part of a depression-era Works Progress Administration survey of historic structures. It was the only residence in Hillsborough included in the survey!
The Manville Borough Council is still considering a proposed ordinance that would make property owners responsible for cleaning graffiti from their buildings. Similar laws have been deliberated in towns and cities across the nation - from Wichita Falls, to Brockton, Massachusetts. What all of these laws have in common is that they end up punishing the victim, rather than the perpetrator.
Business owners and landlords who have had their buildings defaced with graffiti are victims of a crime. The goal should be to encourage the victims to come forward and report acts of vandalism - not drive them away with punitive fines and remediation timetables.
The logical conclusion to these types of laws is that graffiti vandalism will not be reported - necessitating a "graffiti task force" of police officers or code officials, or, perhaps, some type of vigilante "Keep Manville Clean" citizens' group to report on their neighbors.
The point is that all of this effort will go into finding and punishing the victims of graffiti - while the real vandals roam free.
On the evening of May 14, the multipurpose room at the municipal complex was transformed into Hillsborough's public art gallery as the Cultural Arts Commission presented their Fourth Annual Art Exhibition.
This year's show was a transformation in itself - with entries limited to teens and adults, and works submitted not only by our own talented high school students, but also by students in our neighboring towns.
Cultural Arts Commission Chairman Bill Bochinski welcomed the participants and guests, many of whom were on hand to witness the unveiling of the first painting in the new Hillsborough Public Art Collection - an oil painting of Assemblyman Peter Biondi.
This fine near-life-size portrait was created by local artist Kevin Murphy, who conceived the idea for the transformed art show and the public art collection.
Artist Kevin Murphy and Assemblyman Biondi unveil the portrait as Hillsborough mayor Frank DelCore looks on.
Student award winners, who received gift certificates to art and photo supply stores, pose with the Biondi portrait.
Judges from the professional art world - seen here conferring with Chairman Bochinski - intended to award one student a $1000 commission to create the next painting for Hillsborough's art collection. As it turned out, there were so many deserving entries that it was decided more deliberation was necessary before choosing a winner from so many excellent candidates.
For more great photos of the event, click here, and follow the link.
Hillsborough Township officials were right on this week with an entreaty and a proposal to keep the filth out of Hillsborough.
Following the NJ Supreme Court ruling May 7 forbidding municipalities from enforcing buffer-zone laws designed to keep convicted sex predators from residing near schools and playgrounds, Mayor Frank DelCore called on the state to enact legislation either allowing town-established buffer-zones, or mandating state-established zones.
In a uniquely related story, the township committee introduced an ordinance designed to keep contaminated soil out of Hillsborough. As reported in the Courier News, any large quantity of soil brought into the township will require registration with the engineering department and be subjected to testing if the source of the soil is unknown. This is an important measure considering Hillsborough's recently revised zoning ordinances allowing outside storage of materials at businesses in the vicinity of Roycefield Road and other locations.
Hillsborough's alternative energy advocates may be getting their second wind. The township committee recently introduced an amendment to last year's windmill ordinance that would allow the use of vertical-axis wind turbines in addition to traditional horizontal-blade windmills.
The main advantages of these systems are that they can be mounted on top of existing poles and other structures and don't interfere with bird migration.
Of course the disadvantage of wind-powered electricity is that it isn't always windy! Still, can you picture one of these egg-beater shaped devices at the top of every utility pole in Hillsborough? Quick, someone call Guiness!
Montgomery Township's recently announced municipal budget includes the transfer of its emergency dispatch operation to Somerset County - a move that is likely to save the town hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
Hillsborough would do well to examine such a transfer of its own dispatch operation. With potential savings of $300,000 to $400,000, it might even be possible to ADD a police officer to the force as well as pass along savings to the taxpayer.
With a police force as lean as Hillsborough's, the addition of even one officer can make a huge difference - something I am sure Chief Kaminsky recognizes and would appreciate.
Where are Hillsborough's "wide open spaces"? West of Starview Drive? Up on the mountain?
How about right in the center of town.
The Hillsborough Township Committee is seeking a federal grant to help pay for its portion of the development rights to the 162 acre Van Nuys farm on Hillsborough and Willow Roads. The cost to preserve the property as farmland is $3.6 million, of which the township's obligation is about $1.8 million. But with a federal grant for $1 million, Hillsborough will need to use only $800,000 from its open space trust fund for the purchase.
The grant will come from the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program - a name that definitely conjures up visions of wide open spaces!