Be sure to stay tuned


he South Brunswick Township Council has spoken. There will be no religious holiday displays on township property. Not surprisingly, it was not a unanimous decision. In fact, two of the three council members who voted not to change the present township policy prohibiting them originally seemed to favor the displays.

Councilwoman Carol Barrett, one of the two, found the issue to be too divisive.

"If I find an issue is divisive, especially on an issue that is supposed to bring happiness, then I must vote against holiday displays," she said Tuesday, explaining her vote.

Deputy Mayor Frank Gambatese was also torn, but went along with Barrett to "avoid a Pandora’s box of legal entanglements."

He also used the opportunity to take an unnecessary potshot at local clergy, accusing "most" of them of being more concerned about divisiveness than about teaching respect and tolerance."

It seems as if we heard that recently on the presidential primary trail.

The majority of the speakers at Tuesday’s meeting seemed to agree with the majority vote, indicating the township followed the dictates of the community.

Surprisingly, however, as you will read in another story in this week’s Sentinel, other towns in Middlesex County have not had to wrestle with the issue.

The only other county town that even has a policy is North Brunswick, and township officials there took an entirely different approach, establishing a resolution creating a Diversity Display Committee composed of clergy and interested community residents. The committee is now included in the North Brunswick Human Relations Council and approves displays for a piece of land near the municipal building that is dedicated for displays, according to a survey of towns by the Middlesex County Human Relations Council.

South Brunswick’s original decision to ban holiday displays came after a complaint about one at a township park.

While efforts to reverse that ban have failed, the issue is likely to continue to fester.

Mayor Debra Johnson, who opposes the ban, is already questioning whether the ban will affect such township events as the Haunted Halloween trail and the annual Kwanzaa celebration .

So, by all means, stay tuned.

No. Brunswick ready for kindergarten registration

The North Brunswick Board of Education will hold its kindergarten registration for children who will be 5 years old on or before Oct. 1. The schedule is as follows: March 20, Livingston Park School; March 20 and 21, Judd School; March 21 and 22, John Adams School; and March 23, Parsons School. Hours of registration are 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-2:30 p.m. To register, parent or guardian must provide the child’s birth certificate, proof of residency (current lease, municipal tax bill or mortgage, as well as two current utility bills) and the child’s Social Security card. Parents must also present proof of the following immunizations: DPT series, polio series, measles, mumps and rubella.

It is not necessary for the child to attend the registration. Parents who are unable to attend the designated day are asked to call the school for an appointment. The telephone numbers for the schools are as follows: Livingston Park (732) 289-3300; John Adams (732) 289-3100; Parsons (732) 289-3400, and Judd (732) 289-3200.

Parents of students who are presently attending private or parochial school who plan to enroll their child in a public school in North Brunswick in September 2000 should notify the respective school principal. Early notification will help the planning of classes and the purchase of instructional materials.

Rubenstein gets revenge at Region 5

Raider wrestler avenges loss to SBHS’s Fidacaro,

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Dan Rubenstein of North Brunswick Township High School locks up with Piscataway’s Joe Mastrogiovanni at the Super Regions at Red Bank High School in Little Silver on Tuesday. Rubenstein won the match 5-4.

heads to state tourney


he 1999-2000 wrestling season was rolling along flawlessly for Dan Rubenstein. The North Brunswick Township High School senior had been undefeated at the 135-pound level, compiling some 25 pins or technical falls, and generally making mincemeat of opposing matmen. Then he ran into South Brunswick’s Anthony Fidacaro in the District 20 finals.

"When I wrestled Anthony I was nervous," said Rubenstein, who won the districts last year. "And he just went out there to beat me."

That he did, by a 10-8 overtime decision. Instead of caving, however, Rubenstein drew strength from his first defeat.

"Everyone said after that loss that it was better to lose in the districts than in the regions, and that the true mark of a champion is to come back from adversity," he said. "I got pumped up and got myself a better game plan."

It worked, as Rubenstein defeated Fidacaro by a 5-1 margin in a Region 5 rematch, then blew out Jared McCaffrey of Voorhees with a 15-0 technical fall to capture the regional championship and bring his record to 32-1.

"I got a four point lead right at the start over Anthony and I just sat on it," Rubenstein said. "Then in the finals I went out to go for it all."

Raider Coach Mark Salge agrees that the district loss turned out to be oddly fortuitous.

"They say everything happens for a reason," he said. "It’s good that the loss came when it did. It took some pressure off him for the regions.

"Dan’s been just unbelievable this year," added Salge. "He’s one three outstanding wrestler awards this year (for the Regions, and after winning the Greater Middlesex Conference and JFK Mustang Invitational tournaments)."

Rubenstein began wrestling at the age of 5, but really hit his stride in ninth grade.

"I started competing for clubs and in freestyle tournaments," he said. "Then I also wrestled as a freshman for the varsity team."

He was named Freshman of the Year by the squad, in fact, compiling a 6-1 record and then participating in some 100 matches during the off-season with his club, The Edge.

The next year, Rubenstein went 22-7 at 119, finishing second in the districts and fifth in the GMCs. He followed up that performance with a 29-5 effort as a junior 135-pounder, a campaign in which he won the districts, placed third in the regions and finished in the state’s top 12.

This year, his natural weight would be about 152, but Salge counseled him to stay in the 135-pound bracket.

"The hardest thing is keeping the weight down," said Rubenstein. "I eat a lot of salad and tuna, which provides the protein. And no soda. But it’s always better to cut weight. You’re always stronger."

Aside from weight maintenance, Rubenstein said the most difficult aspect of the sport is something he has yet to deal with.

"It would be very hard," he said, "to be wrestling for a team that didn’t have a lot of kids pushing you and rooting for you."

With hopes of attending Penn State or perhaps Rutgers next year, the future computer science major sets his more immediate sights on this weekend’s state tournament at the Meadowlands Continental Airlines Arena.

On Tuesday he edged Piscataway’s Joe Mastrogiovanni 5-4 in the Super Regions at Red Bank Regional High School, Little Silver.

Proposed state law would cancel school boards

I wish to bring to your attention a situation that has occurred in the state Legislature. Assemblyman Peter Barnes (D-18th) and Assemblywoman Barbara Buono (D-18th) have reintroduced their bill, ACR 28, to fund public education 100 percent. The state currently funds 43 percent. For the fiscal year 1999-2000, $5.61 billion in school aid and $580.6 million in teacher pensions are currently budgeted.

If the bill were to pass, the following would occur. To fund 100 percent, the state would need to raise taxes an additional $7 billion.

This would mean raising the state sales tax from 6 percent to 14.8 percent or doubling the state income tax. Further, there would be no need for school boards. State bureaucrats from Trenton would run the entire state educational system.

It is quite evident that Barnes and Buono are not in touch with the needs of the taxpayers nor do they have any respect for their paychecks. The last time a Democrat raised taxes, he had a short tenure. Jim Florio raised taxes $2.8 billion, and the citizens of the state were up in arms.

They sent him a clear message the next election period.

Barnes and Buono want to raise taxes $7 billion. This legislation needs to be defeated for the good of the taxpayers and their families.

Norman J. Van Houten