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STARDUST: Manny Cabo – Revolution of Peace, Love & Music – by TaraJean McDonald STARDUST: Manny Cabo – Revolution of Peace, Love & Music – by TaraJean McDonald(0)

STARDUST – By TaraJean McDonald

STARDUST: Manny Cabo – Revolution of Peace, Love & Music

Manny Cabo – singer, songwriter and motivational speaker

The stars were all aligned when Manny Cabo stepped on stage at auditions for NBC’s The Voice in 2015. Now, over a year later, he is still inspiring both the young and the not-so-young to believe in themselves and to accomplish their dreams. I had a chance to catch this rising star, in between his busy schedule, and to sit in his home studio and chat about what it takes to maintain your motivation and achieve your success – one step at a time.

STARDUST: Host TaraJean McDonald

Photo Credits: Calvin Schwartz

Photo of TaraJean Credit: Manny Cabo

https://www.mannycabomusic.com

https://www.facebook.com/mannycabomusic

There are stars all around us in the universe – After stars were formed, the intensity of their energies caused them to explode – their stardust traveled through the universe eventually clumping together to give birth to planets.

The earth is formed from stardust. Our bodies are formed from the earth – so in essence we are all made up of stardust. Every one of us is made up of stardust – the famous and the not so famous; the people who we look up to and admire, and the people who are homeless on the streets. I write about people who shine. Maybe you know them, maybe you don’t. But you are going to learn something about their lives, their passions and what motivates them. And in the end, I hope you realize that we all have the ability to shine, because after all – we are StarDust.

StarDust: A Revolution Of Peace, Love & Music – hosted by TaraJean McDonald   Blog: YoursTrulyTJ.com

TaraJean is a versatile journalist who has produced numerous segments for NJDiscover. She is experienced in Production and Post Production of TV Commercials, Live News Coverage, TV Entertainment Segments and Live Theatrical Events. She runs the gamut from writing to shooting to scripting to editing to post-production. She studied Communications specializing in Advertising at Fordham University, New York City, but her passion for creativity and expression moved her beyond a Bachelor of Arts degree to where she also studied Theatre and Performance at both Fordham and Roundabout Theatre. Her incandescent spirit took her ultimately to the stage and television in Metropolitan New York as an aspiring actress. Along the way, with a few blinks of an eye, TaraJean was married and raising three young daughters. Next, TaraJean harnessed that spirited energy, becoming editor of Our Town, a Monmouth County newspaper and appearing as a TV host for local Channel 77. The next perfect fit for TaraJean was to channel her unlimited energy in central Jersey working with NJ Discover as TV Host, Reporter, Writer and Producer. She consistently brought a special warmth, caring, insight and humanity to her stories and her reputation flourished with on sight reporting about Hurricane Sandy, homelessness and Tent City, pervasive hunger in New Jersey, and Jersey’s iconic music and film scene. She is the epicenter of what’s happening around the county and state. Almost evolutionary, TaraJean went on to co-host NJ Discover LIVE radio and cable TV and still manages time (quintessential juggler) to be Reporter, SpokesModel, Copywriter, Producer, Journalist and now Sr. Editor for Fashion Haunts Magazine.

 

STARDUST:  From Elizabeth to Marlboro to NYC….The Witch of St. Elmora Street – Joey Merlo – written by TaraJean McDonald STARDUST: From Elizabeth to Marlboro to NYC….The Witch of St. Elmora Street – Joey Merlo – written by TaraJean McDonald(0)

StarDust

By TaraJean McDonald

 There are stars all around us in the universe – After stars were formed, the intensity of their energies caused them to explode – their stardust traveled through the universe eventually clumping together to give birth to planets.

The earth is formed from stardust. Our bodies are formed from the earth – so in essence we are all made up of stardust. Every one of us is made up of stardust – the famous and the not so famous; the people who we look up to and admire, and the people who are homeless on the streets. I write about people who shine. Maybe you know them, maybe you don’t. But you are going to learn something about their lives, their passions and what motivates them. And in the end, I hope you realize that we all have the ability to shine, because after all – we are StarDust.

 

From Elizabeth to Marlboro to NYC – StarDust

Joey Merlo – poet, actor and playwright

This past weekend I took a full car ride into the Soho section of NYC to see an Off-Off-Broadway Play. I heard about this talented poet and playwright that wrote a new play called The Witch of St. Elmora Street. He grew up in New Jersey, he attended college in NYC, he travelled to Ghana where he completed his first Documentary and now he lives in Washington Heights and hosts a showcase for artists at Smalls Jazz Club in the West Village. I knew at once this young man was StarDust.

The Witch of St. Elmora Street – by Joey Merlo

There is a fine line between reality and myth that separates the stories Joey Merlo grew up hearing while sitting around his family’s holiday dinner table. Using some of what he heard whispered by relatives and some of what he watched unfold over the years he created a poignant play. This story encompasses an Italian family’s strong bonds along with their ageless traditions and superstitions. Joey was able to create characters that were endearing and at the same time disturbing. When I spoke to Joey after the play, I had to move between audience members who surrounded him with tears and hugs. Joey had touched on the emotions of everyone in the theater. This was immensely due to the storyline of his play, which portrayed both the main characters suffering through the debilitating effects of a broken heart. There is not a person alive who hasn’t lost someone they love or watched someone they love go through the madness that is triggered by a broken heart.

 

Shooting Stars
The talented cast that Joey brought together onstage and backstage came from near and far; two members originally from London, 1 from Ohio and another from the town of Marlboro, NJ. The talented Hair Designer, Ali Tritto, never complained when travelling to NYC and then back home to Marlboro, NJ each night of dress rehearsals and performances, because she knew she had found her niche. She along with the Director and Joey collaborated together to create the memorable styles of each cast member. Lead Actress, Vanessa Kopel, gave credit to Ali’s talents for helping her to bring the character to life on stage. Ali Tritto still works in Manalapan, NJ styling hair at Studio 455 but the doors have opened for her talents to shine in the NYC theater district and movie business. Watch for this shooting star from Marlboro: Ali Tritto.

StarDust Ahead

Closing night was Sunday for this staged play, but Joey Merlo hopes to take the next steps toward bringing The Witch of St. Elmora Street to the big screen. The reviews were astounding, the acting was remarkable and the script was extraordinary. The unforgettable journey this playwright takes us through during his 90-minute play will surely enable it to become a Fresh Tomato hit on the big screen. Keep your eyes out for Joey Merlo and The Witch of St. Elmora Street at Facebook: Wolfpack Theatrics, Instagram: JoeJoeMerlo, www.ElmoraStreet.com.

 

The Witch of St. Elmora Street is by Joey Merlo. Directed by Emylin Kowaleski.  Assistant Director is Brian Pollock. Lighting Designer is Mike Mcgee. Scenic Designer is Brooke Ban Hensbergen. Costume Designer is Lizzie Donelan. Hair Designer is Ali Tritto. Make Up Designer is Lea Maurer. Production Stage Manager is Caitlin Kellermeyer. Tech Director is Aaron Watson. Producer is Jordan Bean, with associate Producer Patrick Taylor. Produced by Wolfpack Theatrics and Dark Matter Productions. Graphics by Alexia Merlo. Photos by Bryan Berrios.

Cast: Caitlin Zoz, Chris Dunlop, Vanessa Koppel, Chinaza Uche, Nathaniel Peart, Nicole Pursell, and Enzo Ferrante.

**************************************************

StarDust: From Elizabeth to Marlboro to NYC article written by TaraJean McDonald   Blog: YoursTrulyTJ.com

TaraJean is a versatile journalist who has produced numerous segments for NJDiscover. She is experienced in Production and Post Production of TV Commercials, Live News Coverage, TV Entertainment Segments and Live Theatrical Events. She runs the gamut from writing to shooting to scripting to editing to post-production. She studied Communications specializing in Advertising at Fordham University, New York City, but her passion for creativity and expression moved her beyond a Bachelor of Arts degree to where she also studied Theatre and Performance at both Fordham and Roundabout Theatre. Her incandescent spirit took her ultimately to the stage and television in Metropolitan New York as an aspiring actress. Along the way, with a few blinks of an eye, TaraJean was married and raising three young daughters. Next, TaraJean harnessed that spirited energy, becoming editor of Our Town, a Monmouth County newspaper and appearing as a TV host for local Channel 77. The next perfect fit for TaraJean was to channel her unlimited energy in central Jersey working with NJ Discover as TV Host, Reporter, Writer and Producer. She consistently brought a special warmth, caring, insight and humanity to her stories and her reputation flourished with on sight reporting about Hurricane Sandy, homelessness and Tent City, pervasive hunger in New Jersey, and Jersey’s iconic music and film scene. She is the epicenter of what’s happening around the county and state. Almost evolutionary, TaraJean went on to co-host NJ Discover LIVE radio and cable TV and still manages time (quintessential juggler) to be Reporter, SpokesModel, Copywriter, Producer, Journalist and now Sr. Editor for Fashion Haunts Magazine.

 

 

 

 

NJ DISCOVER EXCLUSIVE: PeduL:  A New Company Changing the Way College Is Funded. A Brave New Young World.  By  Calvin Schwartz   August 8, 2016 NJ DISCOVER EXCLUSIVE: PeduL: A New Company Changing the Way College Is Funded. A Brave New Young World. By Calvin Schwartz August 8, 2016(0)

NJ DISCOVER EXCLUSIVE: PeduL:  A New Company Changing the Way College Is Funded. A Brave New Young World.  By  Calvin Schwartz   August 8, 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sitting in my office, early August, my thoughts racing to a Big Ten (Rutgers) college football field with its concurrent September dreams, I just ceremoniously slapped myself to “snap out of it” (Cher did that to Nicholas Cage in the movie ‘Moonstruck’). It worked. I’m concentrating now on PeduL, the incredible young minds that conceived this college funding game changer; the giant telecommunications company, IDT, which is nurturing them in Newark, New Jersey, my birthplace.

I’ve envisioned a series of articles, interviews and other media events to bring PeduL to journalistic light. They’ll need all of us come launch time. And funny thing, all of us, past, present and future have college kids in our lives. So don’t go away. One more point at the outset. Here is the PeduL link.  Check it out.   http://www.pedul.com

 

 

 

 

 

If you’ve checked it out and saw their TEAM, then you saw Chisa Egbelu, as their Business Operator. Chisa was my illuminating connection to the company. Chisa and I have an interesting history which now becomes relevant. Cut to three years ago, the Garden State Film Festival in Atlantic City. Chisa interned on a film that I needed to see. After the Q and A, he saw my Rutgers cap, magnetically approached, mentioned he was a sophomore at Rutgers, asked my connection and the rest is a precious history of alma mater and commonality.

As we discussed PeduL, their vision, energy and dedication, I knew my course of involvement. For decades, I’ve been watching ‘the news.’ So much of our extant world, the condition thereof, is a function of education. It’s so simple but not. What always blows me away, is the fact that a considerable number of eye-blinks ago, I went to Rutgers. My tuition was $500 per year and I managed to get a partial scholarship (They must’ve been plentiful as I resided in the middle of my class). End result, I personally (not my parents. I had two younger sisters to worry about) paid for my entire Rutgers education. No lifelong loans to pay back. No chains on hands or feet. I was debt-free when I left Rutgers with two degrees. I even managed to save my summer jobs money.

 

When I visited PeduL last week with my wife, a former three-decade educator, and Yolande Edme, a recent Rutgers graduate, Big Ten and NJ Discover broadcast intern, my first words of exclamation were how much the country and world needed what PeduL was doing. Then I asked Chisa what happened over the years that witnessed tuition going from $500 a year to $15,000. Chisa’s response was rapid fire, “The government doesn’t do what they used to anymore.”

Next I brought up how relevant and timely PeduL is. Their mission is front page global headlines. Bernie Sanders campaign in part focused on paying for all public colleges. LeBron James, a few weeks ago, gave $41 million so that 1100 kids could go to college. PeduL is right at the epicenter. Chisa totally agreed and was well aware.

 

 

 

I’d spend nearly three hours talking with Chisa and Murtala Aliyu, Developer and math genius in the vibrant atmosphere of IDT. Kayla Jackson, Project Manager and source of vast amounts of energy was out of the office that day. As journalistically sharing the thrill and vision of PeduL’s development will be an ongoing project; it’s that important for all of us; my purpose in this first installment is to summarize the inception and birth of PeduL and to begin to enlist readers and believers.

Chisa spoke about IDT, a global telecommunications company and their visionary executive. “He seemed like a one on one individual. A cool person to talk to. Like your friend’s grandfather.” IDT provides PeduL with space, legal team and great support, advice and consent in development. “They are international phone calling, entertainment companies, animation for ‘The Simpsons,’ and even look for oil. What I really respect about IDT is that they don’t stay in their own lane. Howard Jonas is Chairman, his son Samuel, CEO. His son has been great to me, really kind. The thing I respect most about Howard; he figures out what he wants to do and just does it.” I smiled remembering I worked for the same type of man, Leonardo Del Vecchio, for 25 years at Luxottica Group who operated the same way. IDT has branched out. It’s also why they have this venture aspect to the company which is PeduL.

 

 

I like to be a balanced interviewer; some heavy, some light approaches. “Chisa, where are you living?” I sensed he was all over the place just like he was at Rutgers; from playing Quidditch (Harry Potter), Rutgers radio and TV, excelling academically and being tapped for Rutgers’ highest honor, Cap and Skull, Senior Honor Society. “It depends. Tonight I’m in New Brunswick. Murtala and I have a meeting tomorrow in NYC. Sometimes I’m in Harlem or Morris Plains.”

I asked about a general overview how this all came about commenting, “It’s unusual for an undergrad to become a CEO?”  “It is unusual but more commonplace than you think.” He spoke about his roommate and best friend, Jarrett, a computer science genius (top 2% of class) but more passionate about music so he left Rutgers and enrolled at Berklee College of Music, his dream come true. The following summer, Jarrett came to visit and asked to move back. He couldn’t afford to stay at Berklee. “At this point, we were deep into Reddit culture, Kickstarter and cool things on the internet. Then the statement, “I wish there was Kickstarter for school.” But why isn’t there? From there, the roots started taking shape.”

 

 

Murtala had just walked in to our cubicle meeting. Chisa continued, “So before we got here, we had a great Business to Consumer aspect, and now Business to Business. That is our biggest leverage point on top of competitors.”  I interjected, “What about Jarrett?” “He moved in back then; our double became a triple. It was quite the year. He works at Lockheed-Martin now. He’s so good at computer science and realized music was a pipe dream if he can’t afford it.”

It was difficult to develop PeduL and find the right team. “It’s a lot especially doing it between classes, activities, internships, part-time jobs, events, parties. It was a lot of work. It’s also the reason no one has done this before. It’s overwhelming. There are so many different aspects, so much red tape to cut dealing with the bureaucratic system, education at one end matching with tech culture. Two different worlds. But that’s our culture now, embracing difficulty.” I love that phrase.

Chisa next dealt with media and how the business side leads the way. “When I was interning at NBC, the business side led the way. If they said it won’t work, that was it. I thought of trying to recruit the smartest kids in business school. I said we have this idea, are you interested. It seems a lot of them thought we could just throw it up and people would use it. My naiveté. But it moved me to go forward. We were 4, 5, 6 maybe 7 business partners at the beginning. They dropped it; too much work.”  Moving forward, Chisa took off a whole semester, interning and focused on looking for a team. “That’s how I found Murtala. Commitment and loyalty trumps everything else. We needed individuals passionate about the project which led us to Kayla in business school.  She is a superstar.”

 

“What’s the practical side of how this works?”  Chisa looked skyward for a moment; a sign of serious intention. “We are for profit. We made that decision. It was a difficult trade-off, weighing pros and cons. We were looking to creating a non-profit aspect within the company. Why we went profit? We decided to rely on what our features can bring. We are dealing with angel investors, putting in money, taking a certain percentage. It gets complicated with government involvement and transparency.  We’ll move faster and smoother because non-profit is cumbersome and full of regulations.”

I thought it was all about giving back and caring about the future of America and helping kids to get educated and not worrying about tax deductions which is really nickel dime stuff. Chisa liked my thinking.  “We are not cutting out attempts to get big donors and doors are open for millions of people to give something. Grassroots marketing is where we’re going. It’s who we are as a company.”  He explained what is best for them is a million people giving a few dollars.

There are two aspects to donations. One is to donate to an individual campaign. Secondly, you can donate to an institution page, a university, youth organization or high school.  I like to think of myself as a student of human nature so I asked, “What have you learned so far?” “The number one thing we learned is that in business there are no true favors. It’s all business.

They go to New York three to four times a week for meetings. They have learned how to dictate and move faster. They know there are no such things as favors. They are giving their supporters an opportunity because they are growing. IDT funds their lawyers.  Hugely important is how much money out of $1000 gets to the students. “We only take 4.9% off and are fans of transparency.”

“Can students come to you. Who decides?” “We’re starting off with students in need and academically deserving. They can make a campaign when coming to our website. We will also have University pages. Individuals can donate to that page (school) and allocate that to students. Money is sent off as a scholarship to those students.”  They are actually building a calculator now to find who is in need. Then you’re in and start soliciting money. They have the help on the business side and now need help on the education side. My mind was firing away on all the people I know in education. I was thrilled my wife became part of the discussion.

 

I also realized that their education journey required learning how to get to the decision maker; something I learned for 25 years at Luxottica. The other positive outcome, is the more they create awareness, the more it spreads around; the social media aspect as well.

Next we talked about the infinite amount of small businesses so perfectly suited to be involved. PeduL gives every small business owner, every company in existence an opportunity to give back to their communities. On local levels, they’ll involve Chamber of Commerce. “Ideally, we’d love every kid on our platform to be sponsored by a company. For example, the bakery down the street sponsors a student. The student is given tasks to do; for instance, getting people to like the bakery on Facebook, sharing bakery posts, watching their video, doing social media marketing for them. Out of the business marketing budget, they would pay $4 to 5 each time it takes place.” I realized it’s really not charity for the business; they are getting marketing. Regional companies have capital and need exposure. PeduL is a perfect win-win situation.

 

 

I told Chisa, Murtala and Yolande that my head was spinning and that is a good thing. It doesn’t spin often these days. I marvel at PeduL. There is such a need for their product, for educating our youth and insuring America’s future. I marvel at these kids from Rutgers and IDT. I believe I just enlisted and maybe got to some of you out there. Best to say now, to be continued. This article has not been personal but strictly business.

AN IMPORTANT COMING ATTRACTION: Documentary Premiere, “A MESSAGE OF HOPE”  Sunday July 17th Two River Theater Red Bank  5PM    by Calvin Schwartz    July 9th AN IMPORTANT COMING ATTRACTION: Documentary Premiere, “A MESSAGE OF HOPE” Sunday July 17th Two River Theater Red Bank 5PM by Calvin Schwartz July 9th(0)

AN IMPORTANT COMING ATTRACTION: Documentary Premiere, “A MESSAGE OF HOPE”  Sunday July 17th Two River Theater Red Bank  5PM    by Calvin Schwartz    July 9th

 

 

TICKETS ARE FREE!!   Call 732-319-3455 or 732-284-7071 to reserve your seat, all are welcome! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Over these last five years of my writing for NJ Discover, many have come to know and appreciate that most of my words (projects and undertakings) come from my soul which means I’m a more effective writer when I’m emotionally involved and somehow “lived” around a story. I’ve often turned down stories if there wasn’t that emotional connection. I use it to energize my intestinal lining which fuels my writing. Everybody has a technique.

This is not an easy documentary to see meaning it requires a special courage and fortitude. But we are all part of a community here in New Jersey. Why did I get involved? ‘Healing Hearts’ is a support group for parents who are dealing every day with the death of their child. Lisa Anderson, accomplished radio personality from “Greater Media” radio stations WRAT and WJRZ  along with the film’s young director, Noelle Ciumei, approached some of the parents from ‘Healing Hearts’ who agreed to open their souls and tell their story.

 

 

 

 

Where do I come in? At first, I was operating from a distance without knowledge or understanding. I’ve worked with Noelle on other projects and admired her talent and insight. When I delved a bit more deeply into the project, I realized that its essence with the support group was quite close to me. Once again, a deeply personal attachment. No, I haven’t lost a child. But a couple quite close to me did, tragically, a few years ago. I knew the child so well. I saw the child a few days before and sensed something was wrong. I actually could’ve been more proactive as a human and friend. But too often, we’re caught up in our own lives. Then tragedy; forever, I’ll feel a modicum of guilt.  And our friends who lost that child, they disappeared from our lives. Subconsciously, I think we all felt they were some kind of outcast. No one knew what to say to them. No one had experienced this. So they were alone and need of support. I wish they knew about ‘Healing Hearts.’ It is a place of comfort, love, peace and hope.

 

 

 

This past Tuesday July 5th, there was a special ceremony in Jackson, NJ at the Garden of Hope. I was there. The parents and families from ‘Healing Hearts’ gathered together, held hands in a semi-circle. It was brutally hot and humid. Biodegradable balloons in the shape of a white dove were filled with helium. Messages to their children were written on the balloons. Then together, they released them into the universe. A special group of people; diverse and filled with hope.

For so many reasons written above and beneath the surface, YOU ALL should set some time aside on Sunday July 17th to come to the premiere. It’s free. It’s Red Bank; there is a plethora of chic restaurants. You are down the shore. If the prevailing winds are right, you’ll smell salt air. But you’ll be supporting, sharing, learning and feeling. The film is a wonderful emotional experience of, for and by fellow humans. See you there.

Calvin Schwartz  

 

TICKETS ARE FREE!!   Call 732-319-3455 or 732-284-7071 to reserve your seat, all are welcome! 

“A Message of Hope” Trailer Link and Go Fund Me: https://www.gofundme.com/26byt7g      

 A MESSAGE FROM LISA ANDERSON:

“Any mother or father who has had to bury their child knows the depths of the despair, heartache, and lonliness.  It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Hello..my name is Lisa Anderson, and sadly, I am one of those parents. I have survived the loss of two of my sons, Ryan and Christopher. Ryan passed away two weeks before my due date in 1992, and my oldest son Chris passed suddenly from a seizure five years ago at the age of thirty-two.  About a year ago, I had the overwhelming feeling I needed to make a documentary. Actually it came to me loud and clear in the form of a “message” from my son Chris. Having had absolutely no idea how  to even begin, as fate would have it, I found a beautifully talented, aspiring filmmaker Noelle Ciumei, and together, we set out to make  the groundbreaking documentary “A Message of Hope.” I also was blessed to have the other moms and dads of our support group “Healing Hearts” share their stories as well, in the hopes we can reach out to other parents who are in ‘the club nobody ever wants to be in.’

 

 

To let them know they are not alone in their sorrow.  If you, or someone you know has suffered the loss of a child, you will not want to miss seeing A Message of Hope, which will be screened at The Two River Theatre in Red Bank on July 17th, at 5 pm free of charge.   None of us have been paid to do this, and we have no budget. We are asking for your support to not only cover the cost of the theatre rental, but to also bring our documentary to other venues such as film festivals and other cities so other parents can see our film and know they are not alone in their struggles.  We cannot bring our children back, but we can honor their memory with A Message of Hope. This film was made with the intention to bring healing and hope to many. Please help us to help others who are living with the death of their child. In this way, our children will not be forgotten.  Thank you for your support!!”

BACK IN TOWN: MIKE MARINO, NJ BAD BOY OF COMEDY. JUNE 25TH ALGONQUIN ARTS THEATER, MANASQUAN;  PRODUCED BY UNCLE VINNIE’S COMEDY CLUB.COM   “Reasons to BE THERE”     By Calvin Schwartz      June 13th 2016 BACK IN TOWN: MIKE MARINO, NJ BAD BOY OF COMEDY. JUNE 25TH ALGONQUIN ARTS THEATER, MANASQUAN; PRODUCED BY UNCLE VINNIE’S COMEDY CLUB.COM “Reasons to BE THERE” By Calvin Schwartz June 13th 2016(0)

BACK IN TOWN: MIKE MARINO, NJ BAD BOY OF COMEDY. JUNE 25THALGONQUIN ARTS THEATER, MANASQUAN;  PRODUCED BY UNCLE VINNIE’S COMEDY CLUB.COM   “Reasons to BE THERE”     By Calvin Schwartz      June 13th 2016

 

 

 

CLICK HERE FOR TIXS :http://bit.ly/1UDAZn2

PRODUCED BY UNCLE VINNIE’S COMEDY CLUB.COM

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next week, it’s officially summer on the Jersey shore. A few weeks before, I traditionally grab a calendar, a yellow highlighter I used in college, and find those special events that will help to define my summer. So, June 25th gets a yellow highlight bath in the limelight. I’m so into comedy these days; an introspective, deep need to laugh for a few hours. The smell of Atlantic Ocean air, a plethora of eating and drinking places and Jersey shore ambiance; for me and probably you guys, a nirvana of a Saturday June 25th shore summer night.

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, Mike Marino is back in town. Sounds like a song and I’ve been singing it for the past four years since I first saw Mike in concert. I love his comedy, infusion of Jersey histrionics and Presidential Comedy tour concert; blissfully relevant around summer convention time. Funny, I could see myself voting for Mike; but explaining this would be a bodacious long story. Another time. In the meantime, here is ticket info etc.  ALSO appearing with Mike is Uncle Floyd!!!

Come see “Jersey’s Bad Boy” Mike Marino as he goes on his Presidential Comedy Tour with Uncle Floyd . VIP tickets include a meet/greet with photo op after the show as well as premier seating.  General admission tickets are on a first come first served for seating after the VIP section part of the theater.  The theater will have drinks available for purchase as well as snack food.  No video taping will be allowed.

WHEN

Saturday, June 25, 2016 from 8:00 PM to 10:00 PM (EDT)

WHERE

Algonquin Arts Theatre – 60 Abe Voorhees Dr, Manasquan, NJ 08736

 

PRODUCED BY UNCLE VINNIE’S COMEDY CLUB.COM

 

CLICK HERE FOR TIXS : http://bit.ly/1UDAZn2

 

In 2012, I discovered the genius of comedian Mike Marino in Asbury Park.  Mike was performing at the first Asbury Park Comedy Festival.  Since I discovered Lenny Bruce in the 60’s, I’ve morphed into a comedic snob. I need sharp incisive cerebral worldly comedy to laugh. Mike delivers that. And concomitantly (along the way), I’ve become a huge fan of Mike Marino. Why not; I love to laugh for 90 minutes straight each and every time I see him; it’s this stressful world we live in. Mike has a handle, a release and grasp of our world.

 

The genius of Marino’s humor is to take our modern (expletive omitted) lives and shove it under a comedic microscope.  And when you see him in concert, you get a chance to see the ‘Marino’ face; how he loves to laugh with the audience at his own humor; that genuineness and warmth draws us in and embraces. Even more than that, being a comedic snob, countless times looking at Mike, I can’t help but see Jack Benny, who had one of the greatest comedic facial expressions as well as incredible timing. Benny was Johnny Carson’s all-time favorite; Mike Marino’s expressions and timing is right there with Jack Benny. And now it appears Mike Marino is running for President. I just have to hear about that. I wonder if he needs campaign workers.

 

 

 

CLICK HERE FOR TIXS : http://bit.ly/1UDAZn2

 

http://www.mikemarino.net/

 

NJ DISCOVER Credentialed to cover RUTGERS 250th Commencement on Sunday May 15th. President Obama is Commencement Speaker   bY   Calvin Schwartz  May 14th 2016 NJ DISCOVER Credentialed to cover RUTGERS 250th Commencement on Sunday May 15th. President Obama is Commencement Speaker bY Calvin Schwartz May 14th 2016(0)

NJ DISCOVER Credentialed to cover RUTGERS 250th Commencement on Sunday May 15th. President Obama is Commencement Speaker   bY   Calvin Schwartz  May 14th 2016

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two days ago, I received an email from the White House Media Affairs that I was credentialed (for NJ Discover) to cover Rutgers 250th Commencement featuring President Barack Obama (44th President) as Commencement Speaker. I was thrilled beyond.

Citing a phrase from the Gettysburg Address, “It is altogether fitting and proper,” that this historic opportunity was given to me. Back in 1969, I graduated from Rutgers and subsequently am on campus some 70 times a year for a variety of reasons; art, history, music, lectures, athletics, film and ‘sociology’. NJ Discover LIVE TV show (which I co-host with Tara-Jean Vitale) often features Rutgers ‘guests’ and programming topics. My first published novel, ‘Vichy Water’ uses Rutgers as a geographical backdrop.

 

 

 

 

I’ve been known to listen to Elgar’s ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ often and for long periods of time; there I’ve said it; I’m a huge sentimentalist.  Commencement is one of the most emotional events in the life; a beginning(commencing) of life as we know it. Yes, I am thrilled beyond. I hope to absorb, photographically capture and report back here on my wondrous journey to emotionalism and history tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the meantime, here is the Rutgers link to information and video streaming to watch ceremony tomorrow.  http://commencement.rutgers.edu/

APRIL NATIONAL AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH: Another Journey to Awareness: Autism, Aging Out, Rutgers and Hope Autism Solutions.  bY Calvin Schwartz   April 18th 2016 APRIL NATIONAL AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH: Another Journey to Awareness: Autism, Aging Out, Rutgers and Hope Autism Solutions. bY Calvin Schwartz April 18th 2016(0)

APRIL NATIONAL AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH: Another Journey to Awareness: Autism, Aging Out, Rutgers and Hope Autism Solutions. bY Calvin Schwartz April 18th 2016

 

 

 

I call this article another journey to awareness. These journeys began innocently enough four years ago as I slowly evolved into journalism; a long story. A capsule view. I’ve lived in comfortable, staid Monmouth County for nearly a quarter century surrounded by sprawling homes and upbeat ethnic eateries. One day, after Hurricane Sandy, I met Sherry Rubel, a homeless activist. Two weeks later, with Tara-Jean Vitale, my co-host at NJ Discover Live, Sherry took us into Tent City, Lakewood, New Jersey, where up to 112 people lived in tents without heat, power, running water for up to 12 years. Ocean County had no provisions for the homeless. I wound up spending days there, learning, feeling, emoting and wondering how 112 people lived like this, 22 miles from my house on the east coast of America. My consciousness was forever raised and hardened. I helped promote the work of documentarian Jack Ballo, whose film ‘Destiny’s Bridge’ starkly tells the story of Tent City.

 

 

 

There was a logical segue to homelessness; hunger in America. I soon learned that in 1980, there were 40 food pantries in America. Today there are 40,000. I wondered how this can be in America. I spent several learning days at the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties. My consciousness was raised and hardened again. I would never be the same after these journeys. It is overwhelming for me to comprehend then to write about it. But I always will. There is an old spiritual saying, “He who saves a life, saves the world.”

Segue. I try to be an absorbent sponge with current events; my mother impressed it upon me. From a distance, I’ve seen stories about autism; the debate about early childhood vaccinations as a causative to the explosion of incidence. That was the extent of my awareness. I have a friend, Lew Preschel and his close friend Ira, who watch/follow my NJ Discover Live radio/cable TV Show. Our show mantra is to elevate the people and places of New Jersey; to discover, as our name suggests, so we look for unique guests/stories that the major networks can’t devote the needed time. Another long story.

 

 

 

For a future show, Lew suggested following a red brick information road that would take me to Florida and then to Rutgers University where I’d begin my next journey. I set up an appointment with Mary Chrow, Development Specialist at Rutgers Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology who has been working on a pioneering project with Autism.  Time was budgeted for an hour. Two and half hours later, we finished talking and my new journey was under way.

Like an old Pete Seeger and Tom Paxton folk song; “What did I learn in school today?” Mary outlined some of the basic facts. An estimated one in 68 children nationally and one in 45 in New Jersey are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder(ASD) which is a developmental disability that can cause significant communication, behavior and social roadblocks. Through high school, children with autism get the services and resources for their special needs. What shocked me was this next aspect.  Once they leave and age out of the public school system, services are dramatically reduced, leaving these young adults with little support outside of the family structure. How could this be? Then I thought about homelessness and hunger and how could that be?

Before meeting with Mary, I did my journalistic due diligence. I read about Mel Karmazin and Rutgers. Now mix in (gently stirred) a little synchronicity; one of my favorite indulgences. Karmazin is one of my media heroes; a founder of Infinity Broadcasting and CEO of CBS and Sirius. I watched a recent TV interview heralding Karmazin’s involvement with autism.  He started off by saying, “There is a tsunami coming with all of these children (up to 500,000) becoming adults and what services and arrangements have been made to take care of them?” His words reverberate awareness. He is partnering with Rutgers University to raise funds for the Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services; that pioneering project. Karmazin realized that a major university as an epicenter makes perfect sense; they have all the support systems in place and offer so many job opportunities for these young ASD adults. Karmazin met with Rutgers President Barchi.

Mary went on to explain what the center (approximately three years away) will focus on. There are two core on-campus programs. One is a workday program that gives 50 to 60 adults training (pre), vocational and recreational opportunities. The second is a pilot residential program which provides residences and services for 20 ASD adults who will live with 20 Rutgers graduate students and of course work on campus. I was exuberant; my alma mater was at the forefront of a revolutionary program that could be a model for the whole country. “Can we do some NJ Discover LIVE TV shows and help to create awareness to enlist broad based support?  It’s about making people aware of those 500,000 young adults who need.”

It’s always the case of people not grasping the depth and breadth of need. People need to know. I didn’t know about autism and aging out. I’m a just regular middle American, Jersey guy. I like my college football, tuna subs and an occasional visit to MOMA in New York City. My reasoning, deductive, if I didn’t know the present state of adults and autism, then so many others wouldn’t know.

 

 

There’s a process before undertaking a TV show together. Mary suggested my learning about Hope Autism Solutions and meeting with Danielle Lumby, a Rutgers graduate who is at that epicenter of local family involvement. Danielle and I went through the discovery process on the phone; more extant synchronicity; we’re both from Maplewood. My first novel, ‘Vichy Water,’ has a picture of the Maplewood train station on the cover; she laughed. We knew great chemistry going forward.

While I was driving up to meet with Danielle and the team from Our House Inc.; a dynamic, well respected service provider, that journalistic epiphany consumed me. I knew my mission; I was in a phone booth; the old fashioned kind that Superman was partial to. If you’re reading this now, so much help is needed; awareness is needed. Get off the sedentary sofa and help, support and get involved. It’s good for the soul. My mission here is to raise awareness and promote involvement in the cause of autism.

Media needs to get involved to bring these young adults and their families into recognized awareness. There is power in knowledge. Knowledge is good. Later that afternoon, Danielle, would tell our group around a conference table that when the Rutgers Today story came out about (http://news.rutgers.edu/feature/caring-those-autism-they-grow-older/20151201#.Vv7HSuIrKUk  ) Danielle and husband Jeff and their work with autism, she was contacted often. A woman in Missouri called her about the work of Hope Autism Solutions. “One article possibly started a similar program in Missouri. I think that woman will actually do it.” I thought to myself as I got off Route 287, there is so much power with the media to teach, inspire and move people off a sofa or to reach into their pockets to help financially. Life is short.

 

 

The facility in Basking Ridge for Hope Autism Solutions was bright, upbeat and replete with particulates of energy of caring and devotion. In 2010, a small group of families in Basking Ridge, New Jersey became aware of the critical need for meaningful programs that gives adults with autism the opportunity to lead productive lives after they aged out. Hope Autism Foundation was born. In early 2012, the program model, Hope Autism Solutions (HAS) was created and approved by the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities. Our House Inc. currently operates two HAS sites in Somerset and Union County caring for 42 adults with autism.  In January, a third location was opened.

One of mankind’s greatest innovations is the conference table. That’s where I sat down with Danielle Lumby, President, Founding Trustee, Michele DelCorsano, President & CEO of Our House, Danielle Langford, Director and Katie Brown from Our House.

We started talking about the cost factors of the center. Danielle began, “The foundation helps to offer more programs. But that is a manageable number. The real cost is construction, furnishing and technology. Those are the big dollars…. A yoga program, nutritional is easy to raise money for.” Michele added, “Because we make every space handicap accessible…. barrier free.”

I heard that perhaps no other service provider is expanding programs like this. I was listening intently and feeling a special amalgam of emotion around the table; the palpable stuff.   I asked, “How did the impetus evolve to embark on this path?” Danielle added, “My son (21) can’t be left alone. So what do parents do (a single parent). The whole family structure is effected…. What does a parent now do? …. Not many opportunities provided…. Here at least we offer transportation, pick-up at house…. The message here is it helps the whole family…. My school system called me in, “We can’t find anything for your kid that’s close in the Basking Ridge area which means my son would be home or without the right staff ratios…. One parent was told we can’t service them because they don’t have the right staffing…. They live in Warren area which meant travelling to Monmouth County every day.” I said, “that’s three plus hours of driving a day.”

 

 

For me, I thought it was incredible with Hope Autism Solutions that someone comes to the door and gets their child and the drive is no more than 15 minutes and they get to do meaningful things and the child (young adult) is brought back to their door. On a facility tour later, they told of some of the activities; computer, yoga, cooking, nutrition, soccer, art, etc.  “When we were setting this up, kids need to come back home happy and tired and wanting to come back here.”

Parents were telling them that their kids want to come back here. It is a life altering/saving thing; from having nothing to something five days a week. “It’s HUGE!” A lot of what they do is volunteer. Autism Speaks gave a small grant to help pay for a nutritionist. They are a great resource once a child is diagnosed. But Our House, the service provider here makes such a difference.

I could keep writing but I think the point is made how much these devoted people at Rutgers and Hope Autism Solutions and Our House are doing. There is a tsunami coming as Mel Karmazin said; 500,000 children with autism entering young adulthood with nowhere to go.  We live in a brave new world where groups of concerned people can make such a difference in quality of life. There is so much to do. I hope these words can move a few people or light a few fires. Yes, I’ll be heading back with a film crew; this is my beginning.  Earlier I mentioned Pete Seeger. Perhaps a perfect way to close this chapter in my journey is to partially quote Pete again. At the appropriate place, think autism. He said this at a 1963 Carnegie Hall concert before singing the Civil Rights song, “We Shall Overcome.”

“If you would like to get out of a pessimistic mood yourself, I’ve got one sure remedy for you: Go help those people…. There’s all kinds of jobs that need to be done. Takes hands and hearts and heads to do it. Human beings to do it. And then we’ll see this song come true.”

 

IMPORTANT LINKS TO CLICK AND ABSORB:

http://www.hopeautismfoundation.org/

http://gsappweb.rutgers.edu/

Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services. To learn more contact Mary Chrow, Director of Development at Rutgers University Foundation   chrow@rci.rutgers.edu

http://www.ourhousenj.org/

Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services:  http://www.rcaas.rutgers.edu/

New Jersey HALL of FAME 8th Annual Red Carpet Induction Ceremony – at Asbury Park Convention Hall –  April 7th, 2016 – by TaraJean McDonald Vitale New Jersey HALL of FAME 8th Annual Red Carpet Induction Ceremony – at Asbury Park Convention Hall – April 7th, 2016 – by TaraJean McDonald Vitale(0)

……..

Last night I had the privilege of honoring some of New Jersey’s BEST at Asbury Park’s magnificent Convention Hall Theater. My co-host Calvin Schwartz and I enjoyed greeting the honorees on the red carpet. The New Jersey Hall of Fame recognizes and celebrates Garden State Citizens for their outstanding accomplishments. I am always impressed with the diversity of over achievers that are chosen for each year’s ceremony. Year’s passed the Inductees have included Jack Nicholson, Bruce Springsteen, Dizzy Gillespie, Martha Stewart, Joyce Carol Oates, Tony Bennet, Whitney Houston, John Travolta, Dionne Warwick, Michael Douglas and Bruce Willis. And this year’s honored were equally impressive:

Class of 2015

James Fenimore Cooper – America’s National Novelist – “Last of the Mohicans”

William Fox of 20th Century Fox – His first film studio was in Fort Lee New Jersey

Lewis Katz – Founder and Director of Katz Foundation


Kool & The Gang
–  “Jungle Boogie”, “Funky Stuff”, “Ladies Night”, “Celebration”

Jack H. Jacobs – Medal of Honor, McDermott Chair of Humanities, On-Air Analyst for NBC

Derek Jeter – Five Time World Series Champion, Yankees All-Time Career Leader

Frank R. Lautenberg – Represented NJ in the United States Senate for five terms.

Bernard Marcus – Co-Founder of Home Depot

Christie Rampone – FIFA Women’s World Cup Champion & 3 time Olympic Gold Medalist

Jon Stewart – Television Host of The Daily Show – winning 18 EmmyAwards

Dick Vitale – American Basketball Sportscaster & Analyst, ABC, ESPN, NCAA, Olympic Games

Carla Harris – Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management, Managing Director and Senior Client Advisor at Morgan Stanley and Gospel Singer

The evening began with the theater booming from the tremendous sound of the Glen Burtnik Band. Soon after we were treated to a wonderful rendition of Theme from New York, New York sung by Joe Piscopo, the Hall Of Fame’s Host. Among laughter and cheers Joe Piscopo sung about New Jersey’s greatest and most memorable places to love and avoid. Throughout the evening one by one the Honorees and their families accepted the prestigious awards. All who attended the ceremony that evening could sense the great privilege that each inductee felt who stood on the stage that night.

(Special thanks to photographer: Richard Elliott Hoynes)

After a great evening in Asbury, rubbing elbows with my long-lost cousin Dick Vitale, and serenading “Ladies Night” to Kool & the Gang, I am settling down with my better half to rent the “Last of the Mohicans” in honor of New Jersey’s Hall of Fame. Looking forward to next year’s Ceremony and finding out who will be chosen from the many supremely talented Jersey Citizens. Congrats to all New Jerseys Hall of Fame Inductees and Good Luck to all the Hopefuls!

TaraJean McDonald Vitale

Journalist & Radio Host & On-Air Personality, NJDiscover

yourstrulyTJ@wordpress.com

$50 Fine for Texting While Walking – Maybe Not a Bad Idea  by John D’Amico   April 3, 2016 $50 Fine for Texting While Walking – Maybe Not a Bad Idea by John D’Amico April 3, 2016(0)

$50 Fine for Texting While Walking – Maybe Not a Bad Idea      by John D’Amico

 

 

 

John D’Amico is a currently a Rutgers senior majoring in Journalism and Media Studies with a minor in Political Science. He briefly wrote for Brookdale Community College’s student newspaper “The Stall.” While at Rutgers, John has written for The Targum, and currently writes for the student arts and culture magazine “The Rutgers Review,” as well as for the Rutgers edition of TheTab.com. John’s interests include politics, film, television, and hopes to become a professional film or television critic. Contact John:  jjdamico123@gmail.com.

 

 

 

There has been a lot of controversy about the new proposed bill which would make it illegal in NJ to cross the street while on your phone. Perhaps it might not be as stupid an idea as a lot of people think.

The new law would impose a fine up to $50, 15 days behind bars or both for those caught texting while walking, CBS New York reported.

Assemblywoman Pamela Lampitt proposed the new bill, citing a national increase in collisions between cars and pedestrians on their phones, according to NJ.com.

The bill has already been shown to be very controversial among NJ citizens. Is it really a good idea or not?

Part of the reason Lampitt proposed this bill comes from her concern for pedestrians. “Distracted pedestrians, like distracted drivers, present a potential danger to themselves and drivers on the road,” she said.

Is this really any of the government’s business? I understand that government should serve and protect the people. And in some situations, the government may even need to step in and protect people from themselves. But is this really one of those situations?

I understand there’s a problem with pedestrians getting hit by cars while on their phones. If someone is really going to be careless by putting themselves in that situation, then that should be their problem.

What’s the other issue here; concern for the drivers? When that is taken into account, I understand the appeal of a law like this. Keep in mind, this would specifically be for pedestrians crossing the street on the phone texting, not pedestrians in general.

If someone wants to be reckless and endanger their own life by being on their phone while crossing the street, that’s their choice. Once they start endangering the lives of others, it becomes a problem.

There is ample evidence that this is a real concern in New Jersey. Therefore, I don’t have a problem with it. Bear in mind, this op-ed comes from the mind of a COLLEGE student, also known as the “texting” generation.

On the Road: NJ Discover at New Jersey State House Press Conference November 5th for “Need  Help? 2-1-1”   bY Calvin Schwartz    November 17, 2015 On the Road: NJ Discover at New Jersey State House Press Conference November 5th for “Need Help? 2-1-1” bY Calvin Schwartz November 17, 2015(0)

On the Road: NJ Discover at New Jersey State House Press Conference November 5th for “Need Help? 2-1-1” bY Calvin Schwartz November 17, 2015

 

 

 

As journalists for NJ Discover, both Tara-Jean Vitale and myself were invited to attend the press conference for the new (revamped) NJ 211.org website. For me, after six decades of Jersey living, it would be my first time inside our State House. And quite frankly, despite all my travels throughout our state, my fingers seemingly on all the right pulses of what’s happening here, I was classically clueless (like the old movie) on what the 211 help system was all about. As a good reporter, I read about it prior to Wednesday and was fascinated on several levels; why didn’t I know about this and certainly, if I didn’t know, my being a man of words, explorations and social media proclivities, then a significant number of other Jersey residents, many of whom should and could avail themselves of the numerous services offered, probably didn’t know about 2-1-1 either.

 

 

 

It would be a perfect day; we found a metered parking spot in front of the State House.  The rotunda was magnificent, replete with historic paintings. I knew George Washington crossed the Delaware not too far from where we were which added to the sense of poignant history. Once inside the conference room, we met with Thomas Cosentino, MWW who invited us to attend.  Tom briefed us on the speakers; Joe Geleta, Executive Director of NJ 2-1-1 Partnership; Captain Robert Little, Executive Officer State Office of Emergency Management at New Jersey State Police; Maria Nikolatos, Director Disaster Response Program and Arnold Valentin Jr, Assistant Program Director, Catholic Charities Diocese of Trenton; and other representatives of government agencies.

It’s not the intent of this article to digest/recant the speaker’s comments. I’ll keep repeating myself though. Everyone reading this article really really (that’s two emphatic ‘really’!)  needs to go to NJ211.org to learn about Dial 2-1-1 to grasp the depth and breadth of all they are doing for us here in New Jersey. I did comment at the end of the meeting, how amazed I was at all the services that are offered by 2-1-1 and that my gut feeling, since I never heard of it, that there probably were many Jerseyans who also do NOT know enough about 2-1-1. Tara-Jean and I volunteered to do all we can to spread the word. That’s what this is all about.

 

 

 

There was one particular speaker that riveted me; Manny Fountain.  Manny is disabled (in a wheel chair) and was living in a motel room. He called 2-1-1. It was a year after Hurricane Sandy and he had nowhere to turn. 2-1-1 put him in touch with Catholic Charities. As Manny explained, the amount of effort they put forth “was astounding along with their drive and passion.”  If not for 2-1-1, he would’ve never found a wheel chair accessible apartment. They created a “new family and support system…..I would’ve never seen my life like this……I’m in grad school now.”  I was so enthralled with Manny’s eloquence, sensitivity and his resounding positivity, we’ve become Facebook friends; a first step in a continuing friendship. He is quite amazing.

 

 

Throughout the press conference, I heard, “We are helping people with specific needs.” As I explored the website, it all makes such perfect sense that I wanted to shout about 2-1-1- from the highest hill; that’s what I’m doing now; sitting on a hill, writing.  After the press conference, I had the pleasure to talk with Gary Shaw, a Director from Cablevision, as they are so committed to the 2-1-1 effort, Thomas Mergola, Director of Operations, ‘Need Help 2-1-1’, Lori A. Price Abrams, Vice President, Government Relations, MWW, Captain Robert Little from the State Police, who was also so passionate about 2-1-1 and Jay Stack, President of IGM Creative Group. So much energy and commitment in the room; many of you know me; I didn’t want to leave. I needed to keep absorbing. Then the lights went out in the room. It was definitely time to leave but not before a few photo-ops in the rotunda.

This final paragraph is designed so folks can help spread the word about 2-1-1.  As a matter of fact, here is what I try to include on all my Facebook posts (and social media); every little bit helps to spread (promulgate) the word.  And it’s almost Thanksgiving and the holidays; so have a happy and keep giving.

On social media posts you can also include this:

“This part is a PSA message. Know anybody in New Jersey who needs almost any kind of help? Discover a remarkable group of people. Best to check website www.nj211.org   or call 2-1-1”

 

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