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Archive for March 18th, 2009

STATE – Residential property taxes topped $7,000 on average last year, according to figures released by the Department of Community Affairs last week. New Jersey’s property taxes have risen more than 50 percent since 2000.

But the tax situation will only get worse for New Jersey residents under Gov. Jon Corzine’s proposed budget. The property tax deduction on state income taxes would be eliminated for all but seniors and the disabled next year, while property tax rebates would end for those earning more than $75,000.

On Friday, Corzine released municipal aid figures for individual cities and towns. The governor’s budget cuts municipal aid by $32 million this year. While that’s a significantly smaller reduction than the $162 million he cut last year, it will not be easy for local communities to offset the additional loss. Taxpayers will likely be asked to shoulder the extra burden or lose government services.

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RAHWAY – Members of United Steelworkers Union Local 4-575 were joined by family members, retirees and members of other unions as they marched along East Scott Street in front of Merck & Co. offices on Monday afternoon to protest the company’s planned layoffs of up to 179 workers.

Many workers who would be affected are women, African-American and Hispanic workers, said Debby Eannucci, chief steward for the union, which represents 480 workers at the Rahway facility.

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PERTH AMBOY – Former Perth Amboy Mayor and state Assemblyman George Otlowski died Monday at Raritan Bay Medical Center. He was 97.

The lifelong Democrat presided over Perth Amboy from 1976 to 1990. Otlowski won his first elected office in 1955, when he was voted to the Middlesex County Board of Chosen Freeholders. He served two terms.

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WOODBRIDGE—Woodbridge Township Firefighters Association IAFF Local 290 is planning a charity event this weekend in conjunction with St. Baldrick’s to raise money for childhood cancer research and show solidarity with young cancer patients.

The firefighters got involved in this cause to honor the memory of late Firefighter Matt Lokos, who participated in St. Baldrick’s events for several years, according to Bill Kogut, public relations officer for Local 290.

Because cancer treatment typically causes the patient’s hair to fall out, volunteers will have their heads shaved in public as an act of solidarity. They will collect pledges of financial support from friends and family members to help fund childhood cancer research.

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basketball-equipment-03LINDEN—On Friday, March 20, the Linden Police Athletic League will be holding an all-star event at Linden High School, located at 121 W. St. Georges Avenue. The Linden P.A.L. All Stars featuring “The Hoop Wizard” Jack Ryan and Linden P.A.L. director, Officer Dan “DK” Kuczynski, will be playing against the Main Event Dream Team.

The Main Event Dream Team features “The Main Event,” Waliyy Dixon, a former Linden High School All-State basketball star, as well as “The Dribbling Machine,” “Spyda,” “Da Remidey” and “The Pharmacist.” All are former ESPN AND1 Mix Tape Tour players that are now involved with S.K.Y. Street Ball Syndicate.

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letter-to-the-editorby Michele S. Byers, Executive Director of the New Jersey Conservation Foundation.

It is a sad sign of how far we’ve become removed from the natural world that even our language is shifting away from biology and toward technology. The clearest example yet comes in the form of the Oxford Junior Dictionary.

The Oxford Junior Dictionary contains roughly 10,000 words. Aimed at seven-year-olds, it is understandably smaller than those dictionaries attempting a more comprehensive vocabulary.

London’s Daily Telegraph reported in December that a mother in Northern Ireland had compared the dictionary’s most recent edition (2007) to previous versions and found a number of terms from the realm of nature were left out. And they weren’t highly technical scientific terms, either. Among the deleted words were over 90 common plant and animal names like acorn, beaver, canary, clover, dandelion, ivy, sycamore, vine, violet and willow.

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19th Century Linden

pastby Diane Norek Harrison

LINDEN-This comes from my own research dated 1923: In 1865 Ferdinand Blancke, a prosperous restaurant proprietor in New York, purchased a large tract in and around what is now the borough of Linden and began to build a village. There was a station on Pennsylvania railroad at this place at the time called “Wheat Sheaf,” from the famous Wheat Sheaf Inn, in Revolutionary days among the famous stopping places in the borough of Elizabethtown, built about 1745, and at the time of the battle of Connecticut Farms kept by Ephraim Clark. He was preceded by one Wilkinson, who conducted it for many years. John Halsey was the landlord after Mr. Clark’s death, and in 1815 a grand celebration was held there to commemorate the treaty with Great Britain. After the death of Mr. Halsey, John Yates became the husband of Mrs. Halsey, and conducted the hotel until his death in 1843. It was then successively owned by Oliver Halsey, John Truax and John B. Day, who became the proprietor in 1857 and conducted the hostelry for over thirty years.

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