Donald Trump is not a qualified candidate

Does it surprise you? It does not surprise me that Donald Trump called attention to “her (Hillary Clinton) use of the restroom at the last Democratic debate was ‘too disgusting’ to talk about and that in 2007 she got ‘schlonged’ by Barack Obama.”

This candidate with his limited vocabulary and egotistical personality, in my opinion, is a creation of the hateful rhetoric and repetition of negative language and strategies of the GOP since Obama was a candidate for the presidency. The very first day that Barack Obama was installed as president of the United States, the assault was broadened to include the members of Congress. Never in my lifetime — I have lived over 80 years — have I heard such noxious remarks against any president by the people who represent us. Never in my lifetime has any president’s loyalty to our country been questioned.

This barrage of hate has unsettled the populace, given fodder to the lies and halftruths predisposing our culture to the acceptance of the sacrilegious and profane message that is manifested in the ignorant and bigots of our beloved nation.

Behold, Mr. Donald Trump is our leader. The GOP can be proud of their efforts and the success they share. We now have a wonderful example for the children of our country.

Alma Edly
North Brunswick

Football will never be the same — hopefully

In theaters now

 Alec Baldwin, left, and Will Smith huddle over football players’ head injuries and deaths in the new movie Concussion. Alec Baldwin, left, and Will Smith huddle over football players’ head injuries and deaths in the new movie Concussion. Concussion focuses on the startling discovery made by Dr. Bennet Omalu (Will Smith) while working as a pathologist in Pittsburgh. Omalu was on duty in September 2002 when the body of legendary Pittsburgh Steelers center Mike Webster (David Morse) was to be autopsied. Taking the care and methodical approach he used with all of his cases, Omalu discovered frightening facts that puzzled him.

It was those facts that led him to dig deeper — even spending his own money — to uncover why this man was lying in a morgue at age 50.

A native of Nigeria, Omalu has never found himself drawn to American football. He doesn’t realize how embedded the NFL is in American culture, and as he digs deeper into Webster’s case, he finds that the sport America adores just may have been the root of the player’s death. As more NFL athletes pass away prematurely, Omalu is able to link them all together through a condition that he comes to name chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE.

But the discovery of the disease is not the end of Omalu’s story. He then needs to take his discovery to the organization that is the common denominator in all the deaths: the NFL. Though he feels he is doing a great service for the players and the NFL in general, Omalu is shocked to learn that the organization is not receptive to his findings. To change the world may be easier than to change the NFL and its fans. Despite the repeated attempts to silence him, Omalu will continue to fight for what’s right until someone will listen. But will it all be too late?

I love football. I played football in high school. I play fantasy football. I cheer for my teams on a weekly basis. To have a film that takes direct aim on the game I love is tough. But after viewing Concussion, I realized that Omalu’s work is necessary to positively impact the game I love.

Will Smith delivers a powerful portrayal of Dr. Omalu. I believe him in all his naiveté of the importance of football in America. All he cares about is people, both living and dead. And it is Smith’s ability to portray Omalu as that amazingly intelligent man — one who is simply unaware of American culture — that is vital to the success of the film.

Although the film does introduce us to the science of CTE and its impact on the men in the NFL, it doesn’t go far enough. My criticism lies with the soft treatment of the men and women making decisions in the NFL. At times, the league office is seen as being uncaring and a bit threatening; the film just ends, rather than offering harsher criticism of that status. But maybe I just wanted more there, and no more needed to be said; after all, this film is more about the good Dr. Omalu than about concussions.

Dr. Bennet Omalu has a true love of all people. His desire for us all to live long and healthy lives is evident, and his hope is that the research he carried out will help all athletes become better educated about the risks they are taking. I would have loved the film to be more about football and concussions in sports — the tale weaved is full of intrigue, but we are left wanting that additional part of the story.

Thanks to the research at the heart of Dr. Omalu’s career, football will — hopefully — never be the same.

Concussion
Rated: PG-13
Stars: Will Smith, Alec Baldwin,
Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Director: Peter Landesman
Grade: B

Photo

 PHOTO COURTESY OF CRAIG YETSKO PHOTO COURTESY OF CRAIG YETSKO North Brunswick Township High School (NBTHS) held a Pearl Harbor Day remembrance ceremony on Dec. 7. Pictured are NBTHS Principal Pete Clark, left to right, NBTHS 12th grader Max Maguire, North Brunswick teacher and New Jersey Education Association (NJEA) President Joanne Anderson, NBTHS 12th grader Zach Kriegel, NBTHS 9th grader Bryan Valderrama, North Brunswick veterans Joe Maroccia and Richard Pender, teacher and NJEA Pride Committee Representative Jennifer Hochman and NBTHS Assistant Principal Michael Kneller.

Looking back at Christmas

By Lucie M. Winborne,
ReMIND Magazine

 Child star Shirley Temple and John Agar were happy newlyweds at Christmastime in 1945. Child star Shirley Temple and John Agar were happy newlyweds at Christmastime in 1945. The Puritans banned it. Our Founding Fathers weren’t too crazy about it. And Congress didn’t get around to making it an official celebration until 1870.

But you’d hardly guess it as Christmas approached. We Americans love our holiday and its traditions, most of which we take for granted and some of which emerged from the World War II era and years immediately following.

Take early shopping. Sure, it’s a way to avoid overcrowded malls and the fruitless search for parking, but in wartime, getting packages to soldiers in the Pacific by December was the main priority. Of course, gifts closer to home need a tree, no matter what it’s made of — or even what color. Futuristic aluminum models, sometimes in purple, gold, pink and black, made an appearance in postwar home décor, although their popularity took a hit after being satirized in 1965’s A Charlie Brown Christmas. A decade later, the “back to nature” movement helped restore the real thing to favor.

Americans send over a billion Christmas cards each year, and the first such White House missive debuted in 1953. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, an amateur artist, worked personally with the head of Hallmark cards, and many of the cards sent during his office term featured his artwork. Though war-weary Americans at first preferred sentimental messages, by the 1960s, cards had taken on a more sophisticated and humorous bent, sometimes featuring elves with Beatle-inspired haircuts or Santas driving convertibles.

Gifts purchased, tree decorated and cards sent, filling our stomachs is the next priority. Would it really be Christmas without green bean casserole, created by the Campbell Soup Company as part of a promotion? Or a casual get-together without Chex Mix, said to have become a favorite when the wife of a Ralston Purina executive served it at a 1955 holiday function?

Once the goodies have been consumed, it’s time to follow Santa’s journey via the NORAD Tracks Santa service, for which we can thank a 1955 advertising error encouraging kids to call Santa Claus on a special telephone number. No doubt Col. Harry Shoup, of the Continental Air Defense, was dumbfounded to receive inquiries about the jolly old elf’s whereabouts that Christmas Eve, but, good sport that he was, he instructed his operators to give Santa’s current location to any child who called in. Three years later the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) was formed, and the NORAD Tracks Santa service continues to this day.

Finally, let’s not forget our holiday soundtrack. Whether you’re bopping to “Jingle Bell Rock” or warbling “White Christmas” this month, truer words were hardly spoken than Rolling Stone magazine’s “What Jesus is to Christmas, Bing Crosby is to Christmas music.” The Irish crooner’s version of the Irving Berlin classic, ranked by Guinness as the best-selling single of all time, still brings a lump to our throats, at home or abroad.

Whatever traditions are on tap at your home this year, may they be filled with the best things the season stands for: peace, love and joy.

Sixth-grader leads letter-writing campaign for Make-A-Wish

By KATHY CHANG
Staff Writer

 More than 10,000 letters from students all over the Old Bridge School District were delivered to the Macy’s department store in East Brunswick as part of Macy’s Make-A-Wish Believe Campaign last week. The letter campaign was spearheaded by 11-year-old A.J. Silvestri, a sixth-grader at Carl Sandburg Middle School. For every letter completed, Macy’s donated $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses.  PHOTOS COURTESY OF KERRYANN SILVESTRI More than 10,000 letters from students all over the Old Bridge School District were delivered to the Macy’s department store in East Brunswick as part of Macy’s Make-A-Wish Believe Campaign last week. The letter campaign was spearheaded by 11-year-old A.J. Silvestri, a sixth-grader at Carl Sandburg Middle School. For every letter completed, Macy’s donated $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses. PHOTOS COURTESY OF KERRYANN SILVESTRI OLD BRIDGE — More than 10,000 letters from students all over the Old Bridge School District were delivered to the Macy’s department store in East Brunswick as part of Macy’s Make-A-Wish Believe Campaign last week.

For every letter completed, Macy’s donated $1 to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants wishes for children with life-threatening illnesses.

Spearheading the endeavor was 11-year-old A.J. Silvestri, a sixth-grader at Carl Sandburg Middle School, who had his own wish granted three years ago. A.J. has cystic fibrosis, a chronic and progressive cellular disease affecting the lungs.

 A.J. Silvestri, a sixth-grader at Carl Sandburg Middle School, reads one of the letters with Superintendent of Schools David Cittadino. A.J. Silvestri, a sixth-grader at Carl Sandburg Middle School, reads one of the letters with Superintendent of Schools David Cittadino. “A.J. has problems breathing and ingesting,” said his mom, Kerryann Silvestri, adding that A.J. has had 12 surgeries, takes 19 to 20 pills a day and is fed through a feeding tube.

A.J.’s wish involved traveling to Las Vegas to meet the cast of “Pawn Stars.” A.J. also got to meet the cast of “American Restoration,” a show also on the History Channel.

“The trip was a week after [superstorm] Sandy [in 2012],” Silvestri said.

A.J. said it was two years ago when he watched a commercial about the Macy’s Make-A-Wish Believe Campaign,

“I thought it was something that I wanted to do,” he said.

So A.J. broached the idea with his family and his school principal, who was Suzanne Misckiewicz last year at Leroy Gordon Cooper Elementary School. Misckiewicz has since retired.

The school staff and fellow students rallied behind A.J.’s idea and were able to produce thousands of letters.

This year, Silvestri said her son again wanted to pursue the fundraiser.

“With being at a brand new school, we weren’t sure how well we would do,” she said.

Some 5,300 letters were written by students at Carl Sandburg Middle School, and over 5,000 more letters came from students all over the school district.

“This is the largest amount of letters [collected],” A.J. said, adding that he would like to continue the letter campaign every year.

A.J. and his family delivered the letters to Macy’s on Dec. 19. Representatives of the Make-A-Wish Foundation were on hand to thank A.J. for his efforts.

Silvestri said their family is big on service to others and said A.J., despite his debilitating disease, is strong and always thinks of doing things for others.

“We are so lucky to have so much support,” she said. “Everyone is so caring and supportive, it’s amazing. [Schools Superintendent David] Cittadino was at the Macy’s on Saturday with us.”

The Board of Education recognized A.J. at a meeting on Dec. 15 with a Service Leadership Award.

The district-wide “Pay it Forward” campaign was derived from the district’s theme, “Local Pride, Global Impact,” and was introduced during the staff’s first day of service on Sept. 1.

Local college student organizes global event in one month

By JENNIFER AMATO
Staff Writer

NORTH BRUNSWICK — A young man from North Brunswick organized a competition that has a global impact.

Umair Masood, a sophomore at Rutgers University, served as campus director for the seventh annual Hult Prize competition at Rutgers on Dec. 5, when 10 teams competed to solve former President Bill Clinton’s challenge for 2015: How to end poverty in urban spaces and encourage students to build sustainable, scalable and fast-growing social enterprises that double the income of 10 million people resided in crowded urban spaces by better connecting people, goods, services and capital.

“This creates a community platform for social entrepreneurs on campus who are trying to get their name out there,” Masood said.

“The one thing I learned as director is that there is a huge entrepreneurial community at Rutgers and there is a new wave of social entrepreneurship [that is] creating an idea or a project that is profitable while solving the world’s problems at the same time, which is very powerful.”

Masood was able to pull the event together in just a month’s time, having to find teams and judges, obtain sponsors and partners and secure prize money.

His experience was rooted in a five-year internship at the American Muslim Consumer Consortium, founded by his parents, Faisal Masood and Sabiha Ansari, to understand and address the needs of American Muslim consumers and to empower companies developing products for the market.

“I’ve seen them run an event, build a network and brand themselves,” he said.

The winning team members from Rutgers University were Daniel Reji of Holmdel, David Shah of Edison, Chisa Egbelu of Louisiana and Myles Jackson of Pennsylvania. They were awarded $500 and will represent Rutgers at Regionals in Boston in March.

Following the regional finals, one winning team from each host city will move into a summer business accelerator program, where participants will receive mentorship, advisory and strategic planning as they create prototypes and set-up to launch their new social business.

The final round of competition will be hosted at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in September, when one team will be selected as the Hult Prize recipient. Clinton himself will award the $1,000,000 prize to the winning team.

“The Hult Prize is a wonderful example of the creative cooperation needed to build a world with shared opportunity, shared responsibility, and shared prosperity, and each year I look forward to seeing the many outstanding ideas the competition produces,” Clinton said in a statement.

For more information on the event, visit hultprizeat.com/rutgers.

Contact Jennifer Amato at jamato@gmnews.com.

Mosque, community members share respect

I was mayor of East Brunswick and a member of the Planning Board when our diverse community was honored to be chosen as the town in which to build the incredibly beautiful mosque along Dunhams Corner Road. All of East Brunswick should be proud that the new neighbors have added so much to our image as a strong, vibrant community that can share its devotion and spirituality with the other 34 different religious congregations throughout our town.

The congregants at the mosque were gracious, kind and patient throughout the entire laborious process of planning, zoning and construction. I have been honored to be part of their holidays and special events. I know of no one in East Brunswick who has ever had a negative experience with the congregation. I wish that our good example of inclusion and hospitality would be an example about how the rest of the world should learn to live in peace.

I hope that the rhetoric and xenophobia expressed by a few high-profile political leaders in the state and the nation won’t diminish the respect we all must share among people, especially during these holidays when the oil lamps continue to glow while others will yearn to sleep in heavenly peace.

Bill Neary
East Brunswick

Photo

 STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ERIC SUCAR STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER ERIC SUCAR The Force was strong at the Plumsted Library in Plumsted Township, Ocean County, on Dec. 16 when a celebration of all things “Star Wars” was held in conjunction with the opening of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.”

Youth Adult Peer Advocate recipient has success inside, outside of classroom

By JENNIFER AMATO
Staff Writer

NORTH BRUNSWICK — Neal Gaeta received the Young Adult Peer Advocate Award.

A senior at North Brunswick Township High School with a 4.09 GPA, Neal is taking Advanced Placement Government and Politics, Literature and Composition, Calculus AB and psychology in his senior year. He has studied Advanced Placement and honors classes in past years.

He is a member of the National Honor Society, the Student Government Organization, the Mock Trial team, the Waksman Student Scholars Program to research independently the field of molecular biology and bioinformatics, the New Jersey Farm Bureau, the North Brunswick Township Youth Council and the Municipal Alliance Committee.

Neal was selected as the 2015 Municipal Alliance Volunteer of the Year for Middlesex County.

He played varsity basketball since 2012 at the high school. He has worked as an umpire for the North Brunswick Baseball/Softball Association since 2012.

He volunteers with the North Brunswick Summer Enrichment Program, North Brunswick Buddy Ball, the high school’s blood drives and the Franklin Food Bank.

Neal was employed by Suydam Farms during the summers of 2013-15 as a farmhand.

He served as a local canvasser for the North Brunswick Democratic Organization from 2012 to the present.

“I’ve gotten to know Neal since he’s been about three years old,” said Councilwoman Cathy Nicola, “As great as his resume is … his character is even greater.”

After receiving his award from Councilman Carlo Socio, liaison to the Parks & Recreation Advisory Committee, Neal said, “I’d like to thank the council for this proclamation, Lou Ann [Benson] and the Department of Parks & Recreation for all you’ve done through the years, and also Cathy [Nicola] for your support.

“And also, my family, for driving me around and for supporting me throughout the entire process.

“Thank you. I’m very honored,” he said.

On behalf of the Parks & Rec Committee, Socio said, “We’d like to congratulate you on all your work.”

Did you know …

 Jane Lynch  PHOTO COURTESY OF NBCUniversal Jane Lynch PHOTO COURTESY OF NBCUniversal NBC’s popular party-time series, “Hollywood Game Night,” is set to return for its fourth season on Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 8 p.m. Jane Lynch, who has won the Emmy Award two years in a row as outstanding host of a reality or reality-competition program, will once again lead the on-screen festivities. A slew of high-profile actors, athletes and recording stars will participate in the fun as they compete in hilarious party games. Two contestants are transported from their everyday lives into this once-in-a-lifetime night of fun and compete for a chance to win up to $25,000.

Ben Higgins will begin his search for that one special woman when ABC’s hit romance reality series, “The Bachelor,” returns for its 20th season on Monday, Jan. 4, at 8 p.m. What do a single mom with two young daughters, a television news anchor, a free spirit, a battle-tested war veteran and fun-loving identical twins have in common. They are all among 28 identified bachelorettes who look to capture

Ben’s heart. One by one, these gorgeous women are prepared to make a lasting impression.

The sweetest competition returns to Food Network when the new season of “Cake Wars” premieres on Monday, Jan. 11, at 9 p.m. Four bakers battle it out to create the most mind-blowing cake to star at a special event, along with a chance to take home the grand prize of $10,000. Jonathan Bennett (“Mean Girls”) is the host, and master pastry chefs Ron Ben-Israel and Waylynn Lucas will serve as judges, along with a special guest judge.

HBO will debut its concert film, “J. Cole Forest Hill Drive: Homecoming,” on Saturday, Jan. 9, at 10 p.m. One of music’s biggest stars returns home to Fayetteville, N.C., delivering a riveting performance that showcases live versions of all 13 songs on his third album. Also included are guest appearances by Jay Z and Drake.