New law will broaden safety options

We at 180 Turning Lives Around Inc. applaud the recent enactment of the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act of 2015, which broadens the safety options for a greater number of survivors in New Jersey.

Beginning in May 2016, survivors of this most heinous crime, which includes acts or attempted acts of sexual assault, sexual contact, and lewdness, who are not eligible for a domestic violence restraining order, may apply in state Superior Court for a restraining order against the perpetrator. No criminal charges related to the incident need to be filed for a survivor, or their guardian, to apply.

Sexual assault is any sexual contact that is forced or without consent. It is a crime committed by the perpetrator whose motive is to overpower, control, degrade and humiliate. The survivor is never at fault. Over 80 percent of sexual assaults are committed by someone who is known to the survivor. Many survivors may fear retaliation. In Monmouth County there is help available at 180 Turning Lives Around, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ending domestic violence and sexual assault. 180 offers 24/7 confidential hotlines, emergency shelter, family court assistance, safety planning, and trained advocates who accompany survivors at police stations, hospitals and family court.

Information and crisis support are available by calling our sexual violence hotline at 732-264-7273 or 888-264-7273. The domestic violence hotline is 732-264- 4111 or 888-843-9262.

Any man, woman or child can be sexually victimized. There is no acceptable reason for violence and abuse. If you or someone you know needs help, please reach out to us.

Anna Diaz-White
Executive Director
180 Turning Lives Around Inc.
Hazlet

Holiday Express will brighten up the holidays

This year Holiday Express kicked off its 23rd season on Nov. 9 and will travel to a record-setting 81 locations delivering music, food, gifts, financial support and friendship to those in need.

The nonprofit — comprised of more than 1,600 volunteers, including 150 musicians — visits the mentally and physically ill, the homeless, the hungry, and the physically disabled.

Holiday Express travels the entire state of New Jersey plus makes stops in New York and Pennsylvania to deliver holiday cheer. Additionally, this year Holiday Express will celebrate its 1,000th event.

With 13 more events than last year, Holiday Express has been working year- round to make sure the nonprofit can meet the need to bring the warmth of human kindness to those who need it the most this holiday season. Volunteers at the Holiday Express warehouse have been collecting, sorting and packing donations that come in throughout the year.

“We will give out 20,000 gift bags this season. No one leaves empty-handed,” said Holiday Express founder and Little Silver resident Tim McLoone. Gift bag items often include toiletries, blankets, warm hats, scarves and socks.

While the live music provided by the Holiday Express musicians enlivens the parties, many hours behind the scenes make each event a success. Each event comes complete with a visit from the Grinch, Frosty and, of course, Santa.

While most of the Holiday Express events are private, there are a limited number of opportunities for the public to witness the fun and magic of the Holiday Express Band all while raising money for the mission.

Public events are planned for the Red Bank Town Lighting on Friday, Nov. 27; the Holiday Express Christmas Spectacular Benefit Concert, Dec. 10 at NJPAC (tickets at www.njpac.org); and the Holiday Express Benefit Concert, Dec. 17 at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank (www.countbasietheatre.org),

Ways to help Holiday Express carry out its mission include monetary donations, sponsorships of events, and donations of goods and services. For more information, call 732- 544-8010 or visit www.holidayexpress.org.

Call for move to clean energy follows veto of Port Ambrose

By KAYLA J. MARSH

LONG BRANCH — The New Jersey Chapter of the Sierra Club is calling for development of offshore wind energy to move the state toward a clean-energy future following the veto of a proposal for a liquefied natural gas (LNG) port off the coast of Long Branch.

“The veto of this port is another step in the right direction for New Jersey to make the switch from dirty fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the New Jersey Sierra Club.

“We can use our coasts for clean wind power that won’t pose a threat to communities or add to climate change. … This veto of the LNG port was an important step in protecting our oceans and moving towards clean energy.”

The proposal for a liquefied natural gas facility off the coast of Long Branch has come to an end after a seven-year battle that included project site changes and a previous veto by Gov. Chris Christie.

On Nov. 12, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed the proposed Port Ambrose Deepwater Port application to the delight of many environmental activists and political leaders alike.

“My administration carefully reviewed this project from all angles, and we have determined that the security and economic risks far outweigh any potential benefits,” Gov. Cuomo said.

“Superstorm Sandy taught us how quickly things can go from bad to worse when major infrastructure fails — and the potential for disaster with this project during extreme weather or amid other security risks is simply unacceptable.”

The Port Ambrose Deepwater Port application, proposed by the Jersey City-based Liberty Natural Gas, a portfolio company of a fund advised by Toronto-based investment management firm West Face Capital — would have been built about 29 miles off the coast of Long Branch and 15 miles off Sandy Hook.

“We are disappointed and very surprised with Gov. Cuomo’s decision to not allow a cleaner, more affordable energy supply to reach New York consumers,” Roger Whelan, CEO of Liberty Natural Gas, said. “We had hoped that the safety and environmental concerns raised by the governor had been thoroughly addressed and dismissed in the Final Environmental Impact Statement.”

The facility would have imported an estimated 400 million cubic feet of liquefied natural gas per day and would have been connected via a proposed 22-mile pipeline, feeding into Transco’s existing Lower New York Bay Lateral pipeline.

“This is a common-sense decision, because vetoing this project is in the best interests of New Yorkers,” Cuomo said.

Christie vetoed an earlier iteration of LNG’s proposal in 2011, and plans for the liquefied natural gas port were put on hold by federal agencies in March of this year due, in part, to the high volume of public and governmental comment surrounding the proposal.

“Today is a major victory in our efforts to protect the environment and our natural resources,” Sen. Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) said. “I applaud Gov. Cuomo for standing up and vetoing this project today just as Gov. Christie did in 2011.

“Liberty Natural Gas has been sent a message loud and clear … the proposed Port Ambrose LNG facility had far too many risks to our ocean and coastal communities and had no benefit for citizens of New Jersey. There were no new jobs, no new energy sources, and zero economic benefits.”

The governors of the adjacent coastal states of New York and New Jersey had 45 days to approve the application; approve the application with conditions; or deny the proposed deepwater port.

The Maritime Administration (MARAD) has until Feb. 3 to issue a Record of Decision.

A spokesman for MARAD declined to comment on the question of whether the veto means the application would not proceed.

He referred questions to the MARAD licensing regulations, which require the approval of the governors of the adjacent coastal states.

Clean Ocean Action, which has spearheaded the opposition to the LNG proposal, lauded the veto.

“Today Gov. Cuomo vetoed the proposed Port Ambrose liquefied natural gas facility,” according to a statement from the ocean advocacy group. “His quick decision shows that this project was dangerous, unneeded and unnecessary.

“This is a warning to fossil fuels that our coast is off limits.”

Proudly display American flag

 A flag hangs on the wall of names during the Veterans Day ceremony that was held at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, Holmdel, Nov. 11.  STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ERIC SUCAR A flag hangs on the wall of names during the Veterans Day ceremony that was held at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial, Holmdel, Nov. 11. STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ERIC SUCAR This is in response to Ray Kalainikas’ letter, “Pledging Allegiance to Flag is Self-destructive.”

Sorry Ray you feel that way. Think about it — if it weren’t for all the heroes who took the pledge of allegiance, acted patriotically and fought and died for “that flag,” we all might be living here under much different laws, and you probably wouldn’t be able to voice your opinion as you did.

As I see it, the climate in our country is changing for the worse. I’m afraid that when (God help us) the time comes when heroes again choose to fight in a world war to defend our freedom and way of life, they won’t have the total support from people living here.

I am in total agreement that as free citizens living in the greatest country in the world, we can believe in whatever we want, but when push comes to shove, if we want to continue to think and act freely, we must and should rally behind our country. If that symbol of freedom happens to be the American flag, then we should respect it.

Let me ask you, did you write a similar letter after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our country when there were many property owners displaying the flag and people pledging allegiance to the flag?

We should proudly display the American flag on our property (as I do) if you wish. If you should choose not to, that’s your right.

Let’s all be proud to be Americans. God bless America.

Henry Kiernan
Red Bank

Pediatrician supports purchase of tobacco at 21

 Tasty homemade apple pies tempt visitors attending the 50th Apple Festival sponsored by the Madison Township Historical Society, Old Bridge, on Nov. 8.  SCOTT FRIEDMAN Tasty homemade apple pies tempt visitors attending the 50th Apple Festival sponsored by the Madison Township Historical Society, Old Bridge, on Nov. 8. SCOTT FRIEDMAN According to the American Heart Association, smoking is responsible for killing more than 480,000 Americans annually – including 11,800 New Jerseyans – making it the number one cause of death.

It’s no secret smoking results in heart disease, stroke, cancers and many other devastating health issues. Yet smoking remains a crisis in the Garden State, especially when it comes to our youth.

In fact, 95 percent of smokers start the habit before the age of 21. Each year, 24,500 New Jersey youth try cigarettes for the first time while 5,400 children become new regular, daily smokers.

As a pediatrician, I support every effort to deter tobacco getting in the hands of our kids. I’m advocating for the passage of the Tobacco 21 bill (A3254), which would reduce youth tobacco use in New Jersey by raising the minimum legal sales age of tobacco products to 21. Modeled after a similar effort in Massachusetts which saw a 50 percent decrease in youth smoking, this bill would help protect our adolescents from making a decision which would negatively affect their health for years to come.

We know that this plan works. It’s seen success in Needham, Massachusetts, Hawaii and several other locations including New York City. We saw success with a similar approach was taken to address underage drinking. We raised the minimum purchasing age to 21 and saw drops in highway alcohol-related deaths and high school drinking. Although teen drinking wasn’t eliminated, the problem substantially improved. It’s our hope that we can gain similar success with Tobacco 21.

It’s time for New Jersey to act. With little/ no cost to tax payers and the improved welfare of our children, saying “yes” to Tobacco 21 is the right choice to make.

Dr. Charles Garbarino
American Heart Association/
American Stroke Association
Volunteer
Livingston

Reader opposes bear-management plan

When Cecil the lion was wounded and then killed by an American dentist back in July, the world was outraged. Now is your time to stop the same fate for New Jersey black bears.

Despite only 390 public comments supporting an expanded bear hunt versus 6,635 comments against the expansion, the New Jersey Fish and Game Council voted to approve the new Comprehensive Black Bear Management Policy (CBBMP), thus ignoring the will of the majority in favor of those who enjoy killing animals for entertainment. New Jersey’s Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner, Bob Martin, has yet to sign the plan. Please contact him at 609-292-2885 and at commissioner@ dep.nj.gov to ask him to reject the 2015 CBBMP.

Also, please visit savenjbears.com for more ways to help. You can’t bring back Cecil the lion, but you can help the black bears of New Jersey.

Dawn Zelinski Middletown

Good Samaritan returns wallet

On Sept. 22, my wife and I were shopping at Boscov’s in the Monmouth Mall. When we got home, I realized I didn’t have my wallet. My wife immediately called Boscov’s and spoke to Bonnie, who works in the department where we shopped. She transferred us to the courtesy desk, and Dottie told me if they find it, they would call me at home.

About a half-hour later, Dottie called me and said, “They have it!” Someone just returned it to them after finding it on the ground outside in the parking lot. Thanks employees at Boscov’s.

Thanks Good Samaritan. It’s still good to know that there are many good people out there. God bless.

Henry Kiernan Red Bank

Transition of Gregory School to senior housing completed

By KENNY WALTER
Staff Writer

LONG BRANCH — Conversion of the former Gregory School into 117 senior housing units was influenced by the historic designation of the historic school building.

“It was unique because we were taking an existing structure — and remember it is historic so it is rehabbed different than going into a normal shell and just reconfiguring the entire thing,” said Tyrone Garrett, executive director of the Long Branch Housing Authority (LBHA).

“It affected how we rehabbed the school itself, but also how we built the other annex building that is attached to it. That had to built and designed in a way where it would not interfere with the historic nature of the Gregory School.”

Because the former elementary school is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, certain components of the building — the auditorium, water fountains, chalkboards and classroom doors — were required to be preserved.

The Gregory School Apartments project on Joline and Seventh avenues involved the rehabilitation of two existing buildings and the construction of two new annexes.

The authority officially opened the first phase of the Gregory School Apartments in 2014 while breaking ground on the second phase. The complex provides 117 units of senior housing, with 65 units in the final phase of construction.

According to Garrett, there currently are no vacancies for the first phase of the project, which is open to low- and moderate-income seniors and approximately 20 to 25 units still available in the second phase.

Garrett said the reaction to the Gregory School has been positive so far.

“I think people enjoy it, they really like it, they have their own tenant association,” he said. “They seem to be getting along pretty well and people seem to be interacting and doing things during the week with one another.”

Garrett said while each unit provides modern amenities and there is a communal fitness room and laundry room.

Garrett also said there is space in the annex building that could be used in the future by local senior services organizations.

The completion of the Gregory School Apartments comes on the heels of the completion of Woodrow Wilson Commons, a 173- unit townhouse development on High Street.

According to Garrett, with both the Gregory School and Woodrow Wilson now complete the authority does not have any immediate redevelopment plans in Long Branch.

“We are done, there is no more land to build on,” he said.

The project was funded using approximately $29 million in tax credits awarded to the authority through the New Jersey Housing and Mortgage Finance Agency (NJHMFA) to complete the first two phases.

Along with the tax credits, the second phase of the project was funded using $3.9 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds through the Fund for Restoration of Multifamily Housing, a federal funding pool designed to build housing in communities impacted by superstorm Sandy.

The Gregory School project has four co-developers: LBHA, authority subsidiary Maestro Development, Conifer Realty and the Metro Co.

‘Blindspot’ star Jaimie Alexander on the breakout hit that’s under everyone’s skin

By Lori Acken

When the NBC drama “Blindspot” debuted in September, critics tapped the intriguing thriller as a sure thing. Centered on a beautiful amnesiac found naked, covered in fresh tattoos and zipped into a duffel bag in Times Square, gift-tagged to the FBI, the series unfolded into a twisty, action packed mystery that earned fall’s first full-season pickup.

“Everyone on set is thrilled about it,” admits Jaimie Alexander (the “Thor” film series’ Lady Sif), who plays the troubled Jane Doe, a warrior of a woman who may have life-altering ties to FBI agent Kurt Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) that trace all the way back to their childhood. “We all believe in the show, but it’s still exciting — and surprising — to learn that we’re not losing people as the plotline progresses.”

And what a plotline it is, sidestepping drawn-out conundrums, and delivering fresh plot twists as fast as it resolves others.

“I think the ‘why Jane’ concept has been a major factor in what draws people to her and the show — myself included,” Alexander says of the Monday night hit that quickly distinguished itself in broadcast’s freshman class of thrillers.

“I didn’t see the Taylor Shaw-Kurt Weller connection coming, and that’s what impresses me most about the creative team. You can conspire about what the next connection or big ‘aha’ moment is going to be, but they’re still 10 steps ahead of you!”

As fans relish trying to solve the puzzles creator Martin Gero and his team pack into each episode — including their titles — Alexander says the “Blindspot” actors float their own theories, too.

“All of the cast members like to have a bit of mystery, but we do talk about our predictions,” she says, adding that she prefers little insider knowledge for the sake of her performance. “I didn’t know about the episode titles being anagrams — that definitely came as a surprise. In fact, Ashley Johnson [who plays savvy forensic scientist Patterson] was the first to figure it out.”

While Stapleton and Alexander are winning in the thrust-and-parry that is required of their roles, Johnson, Marianne Jean-Baptiste as secretive FBI Director Bethany Mayfair and Audrey Esparza as troubled FBI agent Tasha Zapata shine in humdinger plot threads of their own — burnishing the show’s appeal to both genders.

“I’m completely energized by the female empowerment that these women and I share through our roles,” says Alexander. “It’s really refreshing to work in an environment that nurtures the notion of badass women and doesn’t only focus on the softer side. In the coming episodes, you really see each one of their storylines unfold in very unexpected ways!”

Which is good — if not unexpected — news for the show’s devoted fan base.

“I meet a lot of people who watch the show with their families, and that’s very special,” Alexander says.

“The fact that it’s bringing people together is really nice to hear. That our fans are so passionate about it is invigorating!”

In theaters now

Yes, Chef!

In director John Wells’ Burnt, Adam Jones (Bradley Cooper) is a world-class chef looking for a fresh start. After Adam’s career imploded in Paris, his self-imposed exile landed him in New Orleans, with a penance of shucking 1 million oysters. Upon completion of this laborious task, he heads back to Europe, ending up in London, where some of his former friends and enemies are thriving in the city. His goal is simple: Be the best chef and earn a third Michelin star.

During Adam’s run in Paris, he made a number of enemies, mostly due to his bad habits. He drank to excess, used drugs and used women, all while wearing out his welcome in his Paris restaurant. Now sober for over two years, he wants to take over longtime friend Tony’s (Daniel Brühl) restaurant.

Welcome to “Adam Jones at the Langham.”

When assembling his crew, Adam grabs an old friend, Michel (Omar Sy), as his key assistant. Despite having parted on difficult terms, they put the past behind them and work together to create something special. Adam finds Helene (Sienna Miller), a chef who doesn’t know how good she is, and recruits her to join his staff. The youthful newcomers and old friends who make up his brigade are hungry to work for a master.

But of course, bumps appear along the road. The people he alienated in Paris want their money — or an equivalent amount of blood — in return. Former friends are now rivals and former allies are disgruntled, but through it all Adam must focus on the task at hand — building the next great restaurant. But can he complete this task clean and sober?

Cooper gives 100 percent to the role, using his training with legendary chef Gordon

Ramsay to get the motions right. Miller crafts a character of a strong woman and caring mother who finds her voice and increases her confidence exponentially.

The massive supporting cast seems underused in the film. Brühl deserves more depth to his character.

Emma Thompson’s role as a doctor comes across as truly undefined. Uma Thurman as a restaurant critic and the ex-girlfriend played by Alicia Vikander are hardly seen in the movie, and you know there is more to the Reece (Matthew Rhys) and Michel characters than the actors portraying them are allowed to deliver.

The real star here is the food. Visually the film will leave its viewers hungry, so you should see this on a full stomach. Although there are some really pleasing elements within the meal that Burnt presents, it seems like a couple of the courses could have used some extra time on the grill to deliver a Michelin star-winning film.

Burnt Rated: R Stars: Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Daniel Brühl Director: John Wells Grade: B