No link found between sunscreen, blindness

The New Jersey Poison Information and Education System (NJPIES) has received calls during the past summers from concerned citizens regarding the myth that getting sunscreen in the eyes causes blindness. Many of the calls have been from parents who are worried about using sunscreen on young children, according to a press release from Bayshore Community Hospital, Holmdel.

"We have searched for information to suggest a possible link, but have not found anything in our efforts," said L. Scott Larsen, director of the department of emergency medicine.

However, this does not mean that sunscreens cannot be problematic or harmful it they get into the eyes; some products cause irritation, redness, discomfort, tearing, or temporary blurring of vision.

The benefits of sunscreens outweigh any potential risk when the products are used as directed. Sunscreens are highly recommended when exposure to the sun is likely; in fact, some medications increase the risk of getting an exaggerated sunburn, therefore sunscreens are strongly encouraged, especially in cases like these.

Proper use of sunscreen includes careful application around the eyes. When using a spray applicator, the individual should not spray the lotion on the face, rather it should be sprayed on the hands, then applied to the face.

In case of any eye exposure to any chemical, including sunscreen, NJPIES suggests flushing the eye with a gentle stream of warm water, and then calling the N.J. Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 to determine what, if any, treatment is necessary.

L.B. summer beach series to begin July 8

The Long Branch Summer Beach Series will kick off July 8, and continue to run each Sunday during July and August, on the corner of Ocean and Laird avenues. Admission to the shows is free, which run from 7-8:30 p.m. The Black Widow Band will perform at the July 8 show.

The series is presented by the city of Long Branch and the Jersey Shore Jazz and Blues Foundation (JSJBF).

Line Drive will perform on July 15, followed by the Chuck Lambert Band on July 22. A Blues group, the Universal Sound Band will perform July 29.

The series continues on Aug. 5 with the Dennis Gruenling Blues Band with Gina Fox. The Jazz Lobsters will provide "big band" tunes on Aug. 12, accompanied by John Esposito. The VooDudes will perform zydeco on Aug. 19.

Wrapping up the series is the Terraplane Blues on Aug. 26.

The JSJBF wraps up the summer season with its second annual Summer Beachfest on the beach in Long Branch. The event is free, and dates, times and lineup information will be announced later this summer.

For more information about the events, call Allen Consulting at (732) 946-2711.

Helipad trial ends before it starts Plea bargain allows operator to pay $1,000 fine

Staff Writer

By elaine van develde

Helipad trial ends before it starts
Plea bargain allows operator to pay $1,000 fine

The Monmouth Park Corporate Center helipad trial finally came in for a landing. It was a rough one for justice, according to those concerned with the West Long Branch facility’s operation.

On June 28, before the trial commenced, the helipad operators and the borough reached a plea bargain that assessed a $1,000 fine.

According to West Long Branch Zoning Officer Jerome Donlon, the man who lodged the 14 complaints against the pad that led to the court date, the outcome was "anticlimactic and was another example that John Q. Public sometimes ends up being a voice in the wilderness."

In an interview minutes after the hearing, Donlon explained that before any testimony was heard, Prosecutor Steve Rubin made an announcement that the plea bargain agreement had been reached.

Rubin, Donlon noted, said that though witnesses would have a chance to talk before sentencing, as any victims would, there would be no trial. It was at that time, Donlon said, that Oceanport resident and witness Marie Lerner expressed her agreement that the witnesses certainly were victims.

The outcome: All 14 summonses for unlawfully "expanding a nonconforming use (from a permitted accessory to a commuter use), by reason of number of flights" were merged into two, by months. One of the complaints comprised all summonses issued in August 2000 by Donlon, and the other fused all of September’s complaints into one.

Each of the merged complaints carried with it a fine of $500 plus court costs. The total amount in fines and court costs paid amounted to $1,060. Though the defendant pleaded guilty to the merged charges, Donlon said, "That’s not even a slap on the wrist," adding that he did not speak before sentencing. "It’s an insult to the residents whose lives were destroyed for nearly three summers listening to helicopters and wondering how their quality of life would be affected every day." Had the charges not been merged, maximum penalties would have amounted to $7,000 plus court costs.

The $500 fine for violating the West Long Branch zoning ordinance, Donlon said, is the maximum. He specified that the maximum dollar penalty for the offense in West Long Branch used to be $250 not long ago. "The actual penalty is listed as ‘imprisonment not exceeding 30 days, $500 fine for each and every offense or both,’ " Donlon said.

In what he could only describe as a peculiar turn of events, Donlon added, though defense attorney Christopher Hanlon wanted it stipulated that if there are any future infractions of the law, there would be no jail sentence imposed by the judge.

Donlon noted that Prosecutor Rubin also specified, that the source of the complaints was amended from the corporate entity of the facility (Monmouth Park Corporate Center) to the helicopter company (leasing the pad) in violation, Broadcast.

Though the prosecutor was satisfied with the defendant’s promise to adhere to a December 2000 resolution enacted by West Long Branch which restricts flight numbers and patterns, Donlon said Oceanport witnesses clearly weren’t impressed.

In fact, when they had a minute to air their complaints to a listening judge, most people made it clear that nothing changed the fact that their summers had already been ruined and their homeowners’ insurance policies had gone up because of the liability imposed by the ’copters’ proximity to their property. The witnesses also told the judge that the resolution is like a promise from a bad teen-ager who promises not to break curfew.

According to Donlon, Oceanport resident Marc Stenroos pointed out that, in his mind, West Long Branch took the "death knell" out of its own resolution when, in amended form, the governing body eliminated a clause that stipulated any violation of the resolution’s restrictions would result in the immediate shutdown of the helipad.

Somewhere amid all the flight-fiasco flurry, Donlon was unknowingly dismissed from any zoning activity affecting the Monmouth Park Corporate Center. That decision had no real affect because Donlon chose to leave his post on Tuesday.

He remains the zoning officer in Ocean Township and Shrewsbury Borough.

Two bars may lose their liquor licenses Reddy’s and Hooligan’s currently operating with temporary licenses

Staff Writer

By carolyn O

Two bars may lose their liquor licenses
Reddy’s and Hooligan’s currently operating with temporary licenses

FILE PHOTO  Reddy’s, above, on Ocean Avenue, and Hooligan’s, on Broadway, are currently operating with temporary liquor licenses pending a hearing on Tuesday in Long Branch.FILE PHOTO Reddy’s, above, on Ocean Avenue, and Hooligan’s, on Broadway, are currently operating with temporary liquor licenses pending a hearing on Tuesday in Long Branch.

LONG BRANCH — Reddy’s West End Bar and Grill and Hooligan’s Bar and Restaurant remain open — for now.

Both establishments’ liquor licenses were set to expire, and both have unpaid fines and public safety code enforcement issues. At last week’s City Council meeting, both were granted temporary license extensions until July 10.

"Since both proprietors didn’t have counsel available, we thought it would only be fair to grant a temporary renewal," said James Aaron, city attorney, and a partner in the Ocean Township law firm Ansell, Zaro, Grimm and Aaron.

According to Lou Napoletano, director of public safety, Hooligan’s has a lot to do before getting a full renewal.

On June 16, a Saturday, Napoletano said he witnessed hundreds of kids inside and outside Hooligan’s, which is on Broadway across from city hall, for a battle of the bands concert.

"Upon entering the establishment, we arrested two 20-year-olds for underage drinking," he said. In addition, two bartenders received summonses for not being in possession of their ABC cards.

The bar was shutdown for approximately an hour during which Napoletano said more IDs were checked, resulting in a head count of 170 patrons of all ages inside with an additional 100 people outside. The bar was cited for two counts of serving alcohol to people under the legal drinking age.

But according to Richard Carrano, the operator of the bar, he was never given a summons. He said that the shutdown has hurt his business.

"The promoter I use was afraid that we would get shutdown again and canceled a concert," he said.

Carrano also explained that the city is suing him for approximately $279,000 relating to unpaid fines for not having a certificate of occupancy for the two apartments above the bar. "I don’t understand why I would get fined, I haven’t had tenants in those apartments for two years," he said.

Fire Official Kevin Hayes paints another picture. In April 1999 Hooligan’s was cited for 16 fire code violations. Some of the violations included wires hanging from sprinklers and the overuse of extension cords. "We are concerned that the public is safe," said Hayes. He noted that several of the violations that led to the summonses have been corrected, but were disregarded for such an extended period of time that the fines added up.

Penalties were assessed from March 2000 to June 2001, adding up to $250,000. "We could have charged him for each violation but instead we lumped them together, which gave him a break," said Hayes.

Carrano maintains that he has always run a clean, safe environment and takes precautions to make certain that those entering are of age. "This is my fourth year in business," he said. "I am here seven days a week and 18 hours a day to ensure everything is run properly. I think the authorities went overboard in their actions."

He said he intends to fight what he feels is unjust treatment and has hired an attorney, Tom General, to fight for his liquor license.

As for Reddy’s West End Bar and Grill, on Ocean Avenue, its nightclub was shutdown for not having a sprinkler system, underage drinking and exceeding its safe crowd capacity. The mayor and council will hear a report on whether or not the bar has complied with safety and fire code ordinances at the next meeting.

"So far, 99 percent of the required sprinkler system is complete," according to Hayes.

Reddy’s needs to have a sprinkler system hooked up to the alarm system. Bill Dowd, a Red Bank attorney, will be representing Reddy’s in the hearing on the other matters.

A third bar, Club La Isla, located just off Third Avenue behind J.J. Newberry’s, was renewed after complying with several conditions. According to police Lt. Patrick Joyce, the bar has been the site of fights, robberies and other misconduct, and has been a real problem in the last year.

The club has installed surveillance cameras and has agreed to deposit $4,000 into a revolving fund which would pay for off-duty officers to maintain security there.

According to Aaron, these conditions must remain for the duration of the license or until the proprietors can show proof that the surveillance equipment is curbing the disturbance complaints.