Front of old home saved; offices approved at back

BY CLARE MARIE CELANO Staff Writer

FREEHOLD — A developer has received Planning Board approval to save the most significant part of a landmark Greek Revival building at 42 E. Main St. while constructing new office space behind the historic home.

The building which likely dates from the 1830s was described as a temple front Greek Revival-style house. The structure is commonly known in Freehold Borough as the Richmond house.

The house was once owned by Dr. Benjamin Richmond.

Voting in favor of a plan that will keep the front of the Richmond house standing while providing new office space at the rear were Chairman Kevin Mulligan and board members Robert Oaks, Adam Reich, Danielle Sims, Sheryl Mott, Marjorie Goetz and Borough Councilman George Schnurr, who sits on the board.

An initial plan put forth by the developer, Fox Associates, proposed demolishing the 19th century building and replacing it with a new office building that would resemble the building being razed.

When that plan was met with objections from the public, the developer revised the plan and indicated it would retain the most historically significant portion of the Richmond house.

Fox Associates came before the Planning Board on Dec. 9 with the revised plan.

Architect Daniel Bach said the front of the Richmond house will be refurbished. The rear of the house will be demolished and replaced with new office space.

The front of the building, which is the oldest part, has been deemed the most historically significant portion by experts such as Gail Hunton, supervising historic presentation specialist with the Monmouth County Park System.

Bach said the portion of the historic home that remains will be raised to grade level in order to bring it up to code with current standards. Doing so will eliminate a flooding problem in the basement, he testified.

The building will be accessible to individuals with disabilities and will be shifted to the center of the property.

“The front entrance is then met with a transition to the next story,” he said, adding that because of the Greek Revival architectural features, one story to three stories would not be as aesthetically pleasing, therefore, the transition area allows the flow to the top of the building.

The rental areas of the building are two stories, but the rear of the building is three stories because parking is provided under the building on the first floor, raising the building to three stories, the architect explained.

Bach said decorative cornices and columns will be crafted around the building to retain the historic character of the structure.

Reich asked if Dr. Richmond’s name would be anywhere within the structure.

Attorney Bill Mehr, representing the applicant, said there will be a collection of historic memorabilia in the lobby of the building.

Bashkar Hilari of Concept Engineering described the

property, its location and the landscaping that will be provided.

Freehold Borough requires 26 parking spaces for an office building of this size; 22 spaces are provided, necessitating a waiver for four spaces.

During the public portion of the meeting, resident Wayne Mason, who had previously voiced his opposition to the proposed razing of the Richmond home, said he was glad to see that part of the original building would be included in the Fox Associates project.

Sims said she believes the project is in accordance with Freehold Borough’s redevelopment plan and will be beneficial to the town.

The location at 42 E. Main St. is in an area of Freehold Borough that has been designated as a redevelopment zone.

Reich commended the applicant on what he called the innovative idea of building up and providing parking underneath the second floor.

Schnurr and Goetz thanked the professionals who were involved in the application. They said they appreciated the steps taken to accommodate the different agencies in the borough and looked forward to the project being completed.

The new construction at the rear of the Richmond house will provide 10,800 square feet of office space.

Borough Council President Marc Le Vine said he was pleased by the board’s decision.

“We all learned a very valuable lesson from this entire experience. We don’t need to sacrifice our past in order to satisfy our future. Perhaps the reason that so many of these grand old buildings have survived for so long is that, ironically, they often adapt to change better than many of us do,” Le Vine said.

Lucas will serve as mayor in Manalapan

Township Committee names Cohen deputy mayor for 2010

BY MARK ROSMAN Staff Writer

The Manalapan Township Committee has elected Committeeman Andrew Lucas to serve as Manalapan’s mayor for 2010. Lucas was tapped as mayor when the governing body held its reorganization meeting for the new year on Jan. 3 at the municipal building.

Lucas, a native of Manalapan who began serving on the Township Committee in January 2005, previously served as mayor in 2007. His current three-year term will be up in December.

Under the Township Committee form of government the members of the governing body select a committee member to serve as mayor for a one-year term. The mayor runs the municipal meetings.

Guests in the packed meeting room at town hall looked on as Ryan Green was sworn in by New Jersey Lt. Gov.-elect Kimberly M. Guadagno to begin serving his first three-year term on the committee.

Green was elected in November and joins Lucas and Committeewoman Susan Cohen to give Republicans a 3-2 majority on the governing body.

Democrats Michelle Roth and Don Holland continue their terms in office.

In accepting his position on the Manalapan Township Committee, Green, who recently stepped down from his seat on the Manalapan-Englishtown Regional School District Board of Education, thanked residents for giving him the opportunity to serve the community.

“It is an honor and a privilege to serve and I am humbled to be seated here,” he said.

Green thanked a number of individuals who worked on his campaign, and he thanked his family and his wife, Judith, for their support of his commitment to public service.

“I am looking forward to a productive 2010,” he said.

Green will serve as the committee’s liaison to the following departments/ committees: Finance, Public Safety, the Manalapan Arts Council, and Special Needs.

Lucas was sworn in to office as mayor by Monmouth County Surrogate Rosemarie D. Peters. She said she first met Lucas four years ago when they were running for county offices.

“Andrew is a very special person,” Peters said. “He is willing to give his time to serve. He has deep roots in the community, a wonderful work ethic and an Ivy League education that gives him an understanding of finance. Manalapan is fortunate to have a public servant of his character.”

In his comments, Lucas said that during his years on the Township Committee the governing body has had Republicans, Democrats and independents.

He said, “We need to continue working across party lines. We have been able to put politics aside to get things done for the town,” and he mentioned items such as the Manalapan Recreation Center expansion, the development of Thompson Grove Park and effective municipal budgets.

In a brief comment about finances, Lucas said, “the economic climate makes it unconscionable to raise taxes on residents.”

Lucas will serve as the committee’s liaison to the following five departments/committees: Administration, Environmental, Finance, Shade Tree Committee, and the Western Monmouth Utilities Authority.

Cohen, who was elected to serve as deputy mayor, will serve as the committee’s liaison to three departments/committees: Health, Freehold Regional High School District, and Heritage Committee.

Cohen was appointed to the committee in 2007 and elected to a three-year term in November 2007. She previously served as deputy mayor in 2008. Her current term will end in December.

Roth will serve as the committee’s liaison to the following four departments/committees: Recreation, Transportation, Community Service, and Shared Services.

Holland will serve as the committee’s liaison to the following five departments/ committees, Public Works, Manalapan Englishtown Regional School District Board of Education, Construction, Municipal Agricultural/Open Space Advisory Committee, and Shared Services.

In key appointments, the committee named the following individuals to serve in these capacities for 2010: township attorney/ parliamentarian, Roger McLaughlin of McLaughlin, Gelson, D’Apolito and Stauffer; township engineer, Gregory R. Valesi of CME Associates; township planner, Richard Cramer of T&M Associates; chief financial officer, Patricia Addario. Those appointments were made in 5-0 votes.

Other appointments included special counsel for bankruptcy, Sal Alfieri of Cleary Alfieri and Jones (appointed 4-1, Roth voted no); special counsel for tax appeals, Alfieri (appointed 4-1, Roth voted no); municipal prosecutor, Nicole Sonnenblick (appointed 5-0); public defender, Susan Clark (appointed 5-0); arborist/certified tree expert, Shari Spero of CME Associates (appointed 5-0); and appraiser for tax appeals, Pamela J. Brodowski of BRB Valuation and Consulting Services (appointed 4-1, Roth voted no).

Sims to lead Freehold Boro council

Newman joins governing body to give Republicans a voice in borough

BY CLARE MARIE CELANO Staff Writer

Anew Republican councilman, a tough economic climate to face and a willingness to work together to keep Freehold Borough the wonderful small town officials say it is are themes that dominated the borough’s annual reorganization meeting held Jan. 3 at Borough Hall.

The meeting began with the swearing in of Democrat Sharon Shutzer and Republican John Newman to their three-year terms. They were sworn in to office by New Jersey Lt. Gov.-elect Kimberly M. Guadagno.

Shutzer has served on the six-person council for two decades. Newman is beginning his first term on the governing body. He is the only Republican on the council.

Councilman Jaye Sims was elected to the position of council president. Sims said he was honored to accept the position and would fulfill his responsibilities as president.

In his annual address to residents, Democratic Mayor Michael Wilson congratulated the two council members and welcomed Newman to the governing body.

“I extend my hand across the proverbial aisle to you, John, so that we may work harmoniously together for the common goal, which is to continue to make Freehold Borough one of the finest middle class towns in New Jersey,” the mayor said.

Wilson said the problems and challenges officials face may sometimes seem insurmountable.

“However, our sincere cooperation, hard work and resolve will prevail. My lifelong commitment to Freehold Borough transcends political party lines.” Wilson said as he wished Newman good luck.

Newman thanked the governing body for the warm welcome, especially former Councilman Marc Le Vine, who he said was a great help to him in the transition period.

Le Vine lost his council seat to Newman in the November election.

The new councilman mentioned several issues he would like to see come to fruition, including a more open and accessible government. He said his desire for a more open and accessible government did not reflect any shortcoming on the part of the borough’s current government.

Newman said he would like to see more information provided online, such as agendas for meetings and ordinances, to help people to become more involved and to keep residents informed. He has suggested forming a citizens committee to help advise officials on the town’s budget and he indicated that he would like to pursue additional shared services.

In his comments, Wilson referred to the current economic climate and said he has never witnessed such bleak economic conditions for such a prolonged period of time.

The mayor said that because of the difficult financial times, the borough may be forced to change the manner in which it provides services to residents. He said Freehold Borough is currently undergoing a comprehensive review of many services to determine if there is a more cost-effective way to provide them without sacrificing the quality of life for residents.

Wilson also thanked Le Vine for his “insight, tireless work ethic and commitment to detail.”

Photo


Youngsters William Kang, 8, (l) and Philip Tai, 7, get a close look at various rocks and minerals during the Sciensational workshop for children that was held at the Marlboro Recreation Center in Marlboro on Dec. 29. The program, which was held for two days during local schools’ winter break, had participants enjoying science through different activities. JEFF GRANIT staff Youngsters William Kang, 8, (l) and Philip Tai, 7, get a close look at various rocks and minerals during the Sciensational workshop for children that was held at the Marlboro Recreation Center in Marlboro on Dec. 29. The program, which was held for two days during local schools’ winter break, had participants enjoying science through different activities. JEFF GRANIT staff

This year, let’s resolve to make a difference

Coda • GREG BEAN

Igave up making New Year’s resolutions a long time ago, because I never kept them, and I got tired of starting my new year with personal failure. But as our economy begins to heal and we feel the glimmer of optimism as a new decade begins, it might be time to rethink that stance.

For the last several months, I’ve watched a segment on the “NBC Nightly News” called “Making A Difference.” While some of the features deal with celebrities who go above and beyond the call for their fellow man, the bulk of the stories deal with ordinary people who do something extraordinary to help others.

Some of those segments almost brought me to tears.

There was the story about Brad and Libby Birkey, who own a restaurant in Denver, Colo., and who believe that everyone deserves to eat well, despite their ability to pay. At their restaurant, customers order off the menu and pay only what they can. They say they’re still making a profit, by the way.

There was the story about Lionel and Mischa Thompson, who found themselves in desperate economic circumstances, but were moved when friends and neighbors started turning up at their home with donations of food and money. Once they were on their feet again, they gave back by starting givinganon.org, a website that allows donors to give anonymously to people in need and pairs donors with people who most need help.

There was the story about Joe Works of Humbolt, Kan., who lost half of his manufacturing business to the tough economy, but refused to lay off any of his 180 employees. Instead of working in his manufacturing shop, he paid his employees to perform public works projects. They repainted churches, built baseball diamonds and improved playgrounds.

There were lots of other stories, but the message of all was simple: Many of us in this great country are only a few paychecks away from disaster, and the only way we’ll come through intact is for those of us with means to reach out to those without.

But because many of us who are still getting by are doing it with limited means, we need to get creative.

That’s my resolution — to find and share some affordable ways to help others — and I’d like to challenge my readers and local governments to make it with me.

It doesn’t have to be painful; we just need to think outside the box. For example, a story in The New York Times last week noted an innovative program in the public libraries in Joliet and Palos Park, Ill. Those libraries gave patrons with hefty overdue book fines a way to clear the slates. In lieu of the fines, they could donate canned goods or other groceries to local food pantries. Patrons simply take the amount they owe in fines, divide it by half, and donate that many items to charity. If the fine is $50, for example, the patron can erase his fine by donating 25 items.

That is beautiful in its simplicity. The libraries get their books back, patrons are off the hook, needy families are fed and everybody wins.

Programs like that could certainly work in New Jersey, but I don’t think we have to limit them to libraries.

Why couldn’t local governments offer the same deal to people with unpaid parking tickets?

Why couldn’t schools offer that deal to the families of students with unpaid fees?

Why couldn’t youth groups or volunteer organizations work a modified version of that deal and complete projects for people or families who couldn’t afford it otherwise? In my neighborhood, for example, there are several elderly citizens living on fixed incomes who simply can’t afford to paint their houses or landscape their yards. But what if a Boy Scout troop or other organization offered to do that work for them at a discounted rate — say 50 percent — and donate the proceeds to charity?

Again, everybody wins.

I believe that the old adage “All of us are smarter than any one of us” is absolutely true. That means that the possibilities for helping each other are limited only by our collective imaginations, and our collective wisdom. In other words, they are virtually unlimited.

As we start the new decade, I’d like readers to send me their best ideas for making a difference. I’ll share the best in this column, and together we’ll try to make something positive happen in 2010.

And if you know someone in your community who is making a difference, let me know about them and I’ll share those stories as well.

• • •

I tried to pay attention, but I couldn’t get very worked up about the big fight between the Fox network and the Time Warner Cable system.

As you know, Fox was threatening to pull all of its programming from the cable system unless it got a payment of about $1 per subscriber from Time Warner. Time Warner, which had never paid for rebroadcasting Fox content, thought maybe 30 cents per subscriber was more reasonable.

The two companies duked it out with competing full-page ads in national newspapers and long editorials on Fox News stations that devotedmore time to telling people what jerks the folks at Time Warner are than telling viewers what happened in the entire world that day.

Although this whole thing was about corporations making even more money than they already make, or keeping more of what they have, both sides tried to make it sound like a consumer issue.

Fact is, consumers are going to end up paying no matter what the terms of the last-minute compromise the companies worked out might be.

Does anyone think that if Time Warner pays Fox a compromise fee of 50 cents per subscriber, they’ll eat the loss? Or will they simply pass the cost on to consumers in the form of higher cable rates? And what happens if other networks start demanding similar per-subscriber fees from the cable companies?

We all know what will happen, don’t we? Either we’ll be looking at even higher cable bills or drastically reduced programming.

I’ll tell you this, however: I hope the network that carries all those home-improvement shows my wife is always watching does go away. If she didn’t get so many ideas from television about projects to add to my to-do list, my life would be a lot simpler, and a whole lot more affordable

I might even be able to afford a satellite dish.

Gregory Bean is the former executive editor of Greater Media Newspapers. You can reach him at gbean@gmnews.com.

New Jersey and Afghanistan: ‘Perfect Together’

Unfortunately, there are many similarities between Afghanistan and New Jersey. I have been stationed in Afghanistan for a little over four months. I am certainly not an expert on Afghan ways or Afghan politics.

However, I have seen some very disturbing things that have extremely damaging effects on the population here as well as the stability of the region. I also see some similarities between my home state of New Jersey and Afghanistan.

Corruption is rampant here in Afghanistan. It was reported recently that the minister of industry and mines accepted a $30 million bribe from a Chinese company that was awarded a contract to mine copper in Afghanistan.

There are reports of alleged corruption from provincial governors that pilfer U.S. funds that are meant for the redevelopment of Afghanistan.

As a side note, I disagree with the word redevelopment as it indicates that this country was developed in the first place. This is the most primitive place I have visited in the world.

When you have bad leaders that are corrupt, you cannot progress as a society. That is clearly the case here in Afghanistan, and I believe it to be the case in New Jersey.

Just to give you a case in point, former Marlboro Mayor Matthew Scannapieco was convicted of accepting $245,000 in bribes from local builders.

He lined his pockets, due to his own personal greed, and made the people of Marlboro suffer with extreme overdevelopment that the infrastructure could barely handle. Not to mention the fact that neglected his duties with regard affordable housing obligations. This behavior is common practice in Afghanistan.

In certain provinces, the governor will charge the chief of police $100,000 for the job. Once appointed, the chief hires police officers that will kick up money every month to him to secure their jobs. Additionally, when

comes time for payday, the chief documents that there are 100 police officers, when in fact there are really only 30. The chief keeps the other 70 phantom police officers’ pay. It is a giant Ponzi scheme.

Corruption is such an everyday part of life in this country, it is expected that you must bribe someone to get building permits, licenses, a trial in court, and to travel on the road system here.

Police will set up checkpoints and demand cash from you just for riding on the roads.

Provincial governors are involved with builders and construction companies and rig the bids so their friends get the contract and end up getting a large kickback from the company.

People are tired of having to pay off officials for items that are expected to be free, and in the end, the people suffer for it.

When you open a newspaper in New Jersey, you will most likely see a story about a corrupt official or group of officials that were caught taking bribes. Once again, we the people suffer for it.

How did things go so horribly wrong in the state of New Jersey with regard to corruption?

When I tell my fellow military officers I am from New Jersey, they laugh and say, “Well, at least you are used to the corruption.” We live in a beautiful, diverse state that can be the shining star in our nation. Instead, people know us as the state with the highest corruption, highest property taxes and the “What Exit?” joke.

It saddens me to see such a similarity between life here in Afghanistan and New Jersey. I don’t think the conditions will change anytime soon either.

Political figures are very rarely held accountable by the people who elect them. How often do people vote for people because they saw their name in the paper or heard from someone else that they are a good person?

Why not get to know the people you are electing and figure out where they stand on issues that affect you most?

If you are one of the people who do the latter, congratulations on putting in the effort, however, you are in the minority.

Political figures should be held to term limits. Some people argue that the people set the term limits and if they want them out of office, they will vote them out.

Since most people do not take an active role in learning about the people they elect to office, how can they determine what the appropriate term limit is? In my humble opinion, the following rules should apply to public officials:

• Set term limits to a maximum of 12 years.

• Create stronger laws and penalties to combat political corruption.

• Mandatory jail time for those convicted of corruption.

• Mandatory ethics training for all politicians and appointed officials.

• “Clean” election zones that will not allow money to come in from lobbyists or other parts of the state or country.

• Create a website of “Ethical Offenders” determined by municipal and state ethics boards.

Bad leadership coupled with corruption will destroy our state and will create an environment of animosity and polarization, and will lead to a dysfunctional state that will hurt all who live there.

Everyone has to accept responsibility for voting for the right person based on skill sets, positions on issues, and ability to work together (bipartisan) to get things done.

If people do not accept responsibility and do not become educated about political candidates and issues, nothing will change and we will continue down this disastrous course.

For the record, I am an elected official in the township of Marlboro as well as a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army.
Jeff Cantor
Councilman
Marlboro

Beatrice T. Wotton

Mrs. Wotton, 90, of Lakewood and formerly of Howell, died Dec. 25, 2009, at The Leisure Chateau, Lakewood. She retired as a bookkeeper for Frank Muth Builders, Long Beach Island, in 1989. Prior to that, Mrs. Wotton worked for Allen Lunden Advertising, Caldwell. She was predeceased by her husband, Thomas G. Wotton; and a sister, Edith Wotton. Surviving are a son, Andrew Wotton and his wife, Pamela, of Whiting; a daughter, Karen and her husband, Michael Puglisi, of Howell; 11 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and a sister, Joan Simons of Tuscaloosa, Ala. A funeral Mass was celebrated at St. Veronica’s Catholic Church, Howell. Interment followed in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, East Hanover. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Veronica’s Catholic Church. Arrangements were by the Clayton& McGirr Funeral Home, Freehold Township.

Manya Borden

Mrs. Borden, 77, formerly of Freehold Township, died Dec. 28, 2009, at Martin Memorial Hospital South in Stuart, Fla. She worked at the Parkway Diner in Lakewood and then for Dr. Ruth’s Chiropractic Office in Red Bank for many years. In 2001, Mrs. Borden and her husband, Herbert, retired and moved to Hobe Sound, Fla., where they spent their remaining years. She was predeceased by Herbert in 2007. Surviving are her friend, Ed Worth of Florida; two sons and a daughter-in-law, Glenn of the Morganville section of Marlboro and Mitchell and Sharon of Brooklyn; a sister, Estelle Sanders of Manhattan; and three grandchildren. A graveside service was held at the Hebrew Benefit Society Cemetery in Freehold. Funeral arrangements were under the direction of the Freeman Funeral Home, Manalapan.

Henry Monday

Mr. Monday, 89, of East Brunswick, died Dec. 21, 2009, at Sunrise Assisted Living, East Brunswick. He was a graduate of the Stern School of Business at New York University, N.Y., and worked as a controller at Con-Lux Coatings, Edison, for many years. Mr. Monday served in the U.S. Army Air Corp. during World War II. He was a long-time volunteer at Saint Peters Hospital, New Brunswick. His wife, Terry Monday, predeceased him in 2003. Surviving are a daughter, Lynn Struening of East Brunswick; three sons, Robert Monday of Florida, Lee Monday of Long Valley and Barry Monday of Marlboro; eight grandchildren and a great-grandson. Funeral services were held at Rezem Funeral Home, East Brunswick, followed by entombment at Frost Woods Cemetery Mausoleum, East Brunswick.

Stella Dorothy O’Connor Benedickson

Mrs. Benedickson, 78, of Howell, died Dec. 29, 2009, at Jersey Shore University Medical Center, Neptune, after a courageous battle with kidney cancer. She was born in London and had resided in Hazlet and Manalapan before moving to Howell. Mrs. Benedickson was a member of the Women’s Republican Club and the Women’s Jaycees, both of Hazlet, and a volunteer at CentraStateMedical Center, Freehold Township. She was predeceased by her husband of 49 years, Robert J. Benedickson. Surviving are her children, Karen MacCloskey and her husband, Michael, of Dallas, Dawn J. Benedickson of Shark River Hills, Robert W.H. Benedickson and his wife, Denise, of Fair Haven, and John P. Benedickson and his wife, Lynne, of Villanova, Pa.; nine grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; a nephew; a niece; a great-niece; and her neighbors, Bob and Marge Seagram. Funeral services were held at the Higgins Memorial Home, Freehold. Memorial donations to Dr. Richard Childs, (include in memo “Dr. Childs Kidney Cancer Research Fund), 10 Center Drive, Bldg. 10-CRC, 3-5330, MSC 1230, Bethesda, MD 20892 or Toys for Tots would be appreciated.