NOW ON YOU TUBE: NJ DISCOVER LIVE RADIO/TV SHOW with special guests comedian Mike Marino (running for President) and Super Bowl Champion Tim Wright with hosts Tara-Jean Vitale & Calvin Schwartz 7-28-15(0)
NOW ON YOU TUBE: NJ DISCOVER LIVE RADIO/TV SHOW with special guests comedian Mike Marino (running for President) and Super Bowl Champion Tim Wright with hosts Tara-Jean Vitale & Calvin Schwartz 7-28-15
LINK TO YOU TUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFgxms5LZNk&feature=share
Yes, it was a really great show with the lightning fast funny comments from NJ Bad Boy of Comedy Mike Marino who is running for President and the introspection and insights from Tim Wright, a 3rd year NFL player who had his Super Bowl ring prominently displayed. Both guests have Jersey shore roots. Mike ( mikemarino.net ) also talks about his upcoming big concert in Asbury Park at the Paramount Theater on August 15th and Tim Wright ( www. THEWRIGHTWAY ACADEMY.ORG ) talks about his Wright Way Academy and Friday Night Lights camp for kids teaching them athletics, academics and life and of course NFL experiences.
There’s even a monologue about bio- magnetism and integrative medicine and the institution of moving and downsizing. It’s a very special hour.
And now we’re also pleased to announce that the show also can be seen on Long Branch Community Television Channel 20 (LBCTV20) the entire month of August.
LINK TO YOU TUBE: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFgxms5LZNk&feature=share
SPECIAL SPOTLIGHT: TIM WRIGHT, RUTGERS, NFL AND GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY; WRIGHT WAY ACADEMY, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS CAMP bY Calvin Schwartz July 6th 2015(0)
SPECIAL SPOTLIGHT: TIM WRIGHT, RUTGERS, NFL AND GIVING BACK TO THE COMMUNITY; WRIGHT WAY ACADEMY, FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS CAMP
As they say in the journalism profession, there are assignments and ASSIGNMENTS. For me, being a loyal Rutgers alumnus and ardent Rutgers sports fan, when the information about Tim Wright, whom I personally watched make 50 catches during his Rutgers career, arrived at my email, I was thrilled to have the opportunity. Moments later, I called Tonya Payton, public relations specialist from S & S Associates and I was on my way to a memorable day with Tim Wright and other NFL players. I was fascinated with the story of such a young NFL player, Tim Wright, giving back so much, so soon, to the community which helped mold him.
When Tim was seven, he started playing organized football in his hometown of Neptune and played for their high school for two years before transferring to Wall Township where he made the list of Top Ten New Jersey High School Football players. In September 2008, he attended Rutgers University on full scholarship. After a red-shirt year and an ACL injury, Tim’s passion, dedication and drive brought him a team captainship for his last two years at Rutgers as well as graduating with high honors and Big East academic awards. Despite the disappointment of not being picked in the NFL draft after graduating in 2013, and after prayer and many discussions with key people in his life, Tim tried out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he excelled as a tight end, finishing Number One among Rookie Tight Ends in catches, yards and touchdowns. He was traded to the New England Patriots in 2014 when they won the Super Bowl.
Along with the help of his wife Jodi-Ann, Tim has pledged and dedicated his life to uplifting his community and thusly the formation of the Wright Way Academy and their first endeavor, Friday Night Lights Football Camp on June 26th 2015. The first part of the day began at Doolan’s Shore Club in Spring Lake, New Jersey at a Media and Sponsor’s Brunch. Before the brunch and speeches, it was a bit of a wonderland for me, getting a chance to talk to NFL players and stars like Mohammed Sanu (Bengals), Ka’lial Glaud (Buccaneers) and Andrew Opoku (Baltimore Ravens). An impromptu infusion of humor ensued when Sanu, Glaud and I posed for a Rutgers alumni photo-op not before inviting rival UCONN star, Opoku to join us.
There was time for me to chat with some of the sponsors of the event; for me a particularly moving experience as I saw their commitment to Tim’s vision and how they assisted in his development as a special young man growing up in their community. As Tim was making his opening remarks at the brunch, I was again moved by his sincerity, caring and eloquence in expressing his vision and strong desire to give back to the kids in the NJ Shore communities close to him. I thought he was a 20 year NFL veteran instead of beginning his third playing year. After brunch, Tim suggested we sit and talk in a formal interview. I produced my recorder, flicked it on and he smiled.
I asked him to formally introduce himself. “My name is Tim Wright, originally from Neptune, where I went through the school system playing every sport all the way through my sophomore year then I transferred to Wall Township.” He talked about his Rutgers and NFL career and then segued to today. “This brings me to the platform where I was able to establish the Wright Way Academy Foundation-something which I launched in May. The premise behind that is to foster underprivileged children in bridging the gap between playing athletics, academics and quality of life for all kids.”
“What do you want to accomplish?” “What I want to do is give them the means, resources, and decent opportunities to become successful adults and that way they can serves as examples to kids that follow them which is what I am a product of as well. “How was it growing up,” I asked. Tim answered, “I was raised in my community with a lot of family members that supported me. A lot of people that came across my path- strength coaches, doctors, attorneys; different influences of people” I told Tim, “It is easy for me to see you’re all about giving back especially to the community that helped you and I am such a great believer in taking care of youth. It’s youth who will lead us.” Then Tim smiled, “This is something which weighed heavily on my heart when I was younger. It just didn’t spring up when I got to the NFL. For me, my heart and passion is there. I am very fortunate to have support and blessings go to God. And I am serving him and it allows me to carry out what I’m trying to do for my community.”
Next I told Tim that he is the perfect balance between athletics, academics, spirituality and quality of life and such an amazing example to the kids showing them how everything goes together. Tim thanked me for being there and said in closing, “We share a great relationship with our Alma Mater and when people are brought together, it’s all for a good reason.” I mentioned that it was a special synchronicity in the universe. “I’ll see you at the camp on the field. But I’m just a spectator with a camera” We laughed and shook hands.
An hour later, I was at the American Youth Football Complex in Wall. The kids were starting to arrive and register. There was a real air of anticipation and excitement. A few of the NFL players were tossing a football around. I saw one NFL wide receiver almost casually throw a pass some 70 yards down field. It was time for warm-ups and then an introduction to the camp by Tim Wright as the kids sat in the stands. One of the purposes for the camp, with ages ranging from 7 to 18, is to calculate their efforts and create individual benchmarks, so that each year, they will be able to strive for better results. This one day camp becomes a launching pad to measure growth each year. Later that afternoon, there were offensive and defensive development skills, an academic presentation, more warm-ups, combine testing, and one on one competition. A reception followed that night.
For me this day became a precious glittering example of a very special gifted athlete, Tim Wright, showing all the right stuff (athletics, academics, life) to the kids on the way up; an amazing role model. I absorbed his energy all day. And on the way home, although it was late June, being around football all day, I realized that NFL and college football kickoff is a couple of months away. I couldn’t be happier with this assignment today.
For MORE information on the Wright Way Academy visit: www.thewrightwayacademy.org
Visit Alstede Farms in Chester, NJ – by TOM COSENTINO(0)
Kurt Alstede and his family founded Alstede Farms in 1982 in Chester, NJ as a family run operation producing a huge variety of local fruits, vegetables, and flowers grown using only sustainable and USDA certified organic production methods. They take soil and water conservation and the stewardship of their farm land very seriously, and have therefore permanently preserved all of the farm land they own. Indeed, they are proud to be able to say that nearly every acre of the 600 acres of farmland they till is permanently preserved. Alstede Farms offers: Pick Your Own fruits and vegetables, the best Community Supported Agriculture Program (CSA) in New Jersey, and a fully stocked Farm Store that is filled with the fruits and vegetables grown on the farm, as well as their own local honey, homemade ice cream and fudge, home baked pies, jams, jellies, cider donuts and more! Alstede Farms local fruits and vegetables are also sold at Tailgate Markets across Northern New Jersey and beyond.
“Hold On To A Moment: A Journey to Jersey Centenarians: A Series. Meet Malcolm Murray (only 93) at ‘We Care Adult Care’ in Middletown. WWII Veteran with General Patton. bY Calvin Schwartz June 4th 2015.(0)
“Hold On To A Moment: A Journey to Jersey Centenarians: A Series. Meet Malcolm Murray (only 93) at ‘We Care Adult Care’ in Middletown. WWII Veteran with General Patton. bY Calvin Schwartz June 4th 2015.
As a newbie journalist, I go through certain exercises prior to writing an article. Reflection on how the story came about leads me to what I call the ‘excavation;’ all that I need to do to dig the article out of my intestinal lining. Some in the field might just call it the ‘digging deep’ phase. Looking back on the subject matter, I marvel at the different abounding forces that got me involved in writing and interviewing centenarians or those approaching it.
My mother always told me that one day she wouldn’t be here. I never paid attention because the concept was remote and not real. She was always there. Suddenly one day she wasn’t. I realized there was so much I needed to ask her; so much to learn about our roots in Russia, my grandparent’s arrival in America, what she did in the war (WWII) and familial things. So now I’ll never know. I never sat down with my father-in-law and talked about WWII. When I thought about talking, I kept putting it off. Thing is, I never talked to any aging relative about roots and history so now I’m devoid and lost and sorry. There is a lesson here. Take advantage and make the time. There’s a wonderful invention called palm-size recorder. It holds maybe a thousand hours and promises.
A few years ago through synchronicity and the universe, I became a journalist and just after that, a dirt road, a parking spot and a newspaper publisher who told me about Emily Cook’s 101st Birthday Party at Regal Pointe which I attended. Emily and I became friends for the next two years. She invited me back to her room; her life was fascinating. I was on a mission to be aware and to learn as much as I could about aging and aged.
Early this year, Emily’s (who passed last year) residence home called me about Hattie, turning 100. I went to that party and talked with her. A few months later, unrelated, I got a message from an executive of the State Theater in New Brunswick. His father, William, was turning 100. William is most amazing just like his stories were. Here is the link to my “William” article. (http://www.njdiscover.com/wp1/2015/03/hold-on-to-a-moment-a-journey-to-jersey-centenarians-a-series-meet-william-theodore-zimmerman-world-war-ii-veteran-march-14-2015-calvin-schwartz/ ) We talked for an hour. Thusly my journalistic series evolved; “Hold On To A Moment: A Journey to Jersey Centenarians.” I now have my chance to do what I should’ve been doing for decades.
A few weeks ago my friend Darci Voigt Kennedy called me about ‘We Care Adult Care, Inc.’ in Middletown. For me adult day care would be a new learning experience. They have several nonagenarians and a centenarian for me to absorb. Just as I arrived and was taken into the main day room, they were singing the Star Spangled Banner; some stood at attention, hands over heart. As this is day care, everyone is bused from home. The facility focuses on Alzheimer’s and dementia but many are vital, sharp and charming. Next, I was given a tour and immediately felt an unusual esprit de corps amongst personnel and the senior adults; it was a spirited, caring, active environment aptly named ‘We Care.’ Since this was part of Older Persons Month, the Mayor of Middletown, Stephanie Murray, walked around the room, individually greeting the fifty seniors and engaging each. One of the seniors told the mayor she was in the movie ‘Godfather.’ I can’t believe I forgot her name and role. I’m such a huge Don Corleone groupie.
My reason for being there was in the back lunch room a distance away from the singing and music. Malcolm Murray, 93, meticulously dressed, smiling broadly, waited. Affability consumed his face. He jumped up to shake hands and a photo-op. Malcolm was born in North Carolina. “I didn’t have a father so my mother raised me and my three brothers, Otto, David and Willie. My mother had a laundromat. I helped put them through school.” He spoke proudly about that. It was easy to hear it in his voice. I forgot his age. “You have to respect family.” That resonated with me. It still does. He mentioned a brother in the Navy, a para-trooper and the last brother was an engineer.
He joined the Army in 1942 and was trained at Camp Robinson in Arkansas. In Mid-October, 1942, Malcolm was deployed to England. “In 1944, I went to France as part of D-Day. I didn’t know whether to be scared or not. I was in a tank battalion under General George Patton. We got to within three miles of Berlin. I loved General Patton. I met him. He called me ‘son.’ I loved being in a tank.” Then Malcolm said something profound. “I think everyone should be in the Army to protect the country and learn discipline.”
After the war he came back to North Carolina and worked on a fishing boat. Again Malcolm moved me. “I wanted my kids, Maxine and Malcolm, to have an education so I worked hard. This is what my wife and I talked about.” Eventually Malcolm moved to New Jersey and joined a local labor union out of Matawan. When I asked him what the greatest change he observed in his life, he said, “labor unions.” His favorite President was Franklin Roosevelt.
I told him he was in such good shape and so sharp to talk to. “How come?” I asked. “I worked hard all the time.” Malcolm likes sports but mostly football and baseball and is a Dodgers and Mets fan. I like to probe techniques to longevity. He rarely ever smoked. As far as his favorite food, “Whatever I can get.” We both laughed. He likes Army movies because “I lived it.” “And music?” “I like everything. I like the Blues and Louis Armstrong.”
In the distance from the day room, I heard the disc jockey playing ‘Pennsylvania Polka’ which reminded me of the movie ‘Groundhog Day’ with Bill Murray (coincidentally). I love that movie. I’d love to do a bit of reliving myself so I asked Malcolm if I could come back to talk some more. “I’d like that,” he said with authority. And then our handshake which lingered; it meant we liked each other and looked forward. And I do.
For more information: ‘We Care Adult Care’ call 732-741-7363 or http://wecareadultcare.com/
[Video] SPRING LAKE: THE IRISH FESTIVAL 2015(0)
In case you missed it!
SPOTLIGHT: My Conversation with Troubadour, Singer, Songwriter Arlan Feiles after his trip to Selma, Alabama for the 50th Anniversary Jubilee of March from Selma to Montgomery and a Tribute to Viola Liuzzo bY Calvin Schwartz May 3rd 2015(0)
SPOTLIGHT: My Conversation with Troubadour, Singer, Songwriter Arlan Feiles after his trip to Selma, Alabama for the 50th Anniversary Jubilee of March from Selma to Montgomery and a Tribute to Viola Liuzzo bY Calvin Schwartz May 3rd 2015
Life can be like a synchronistic loose thick thread. Tethered to a pole, it blows in the wind and if you can plot its movement, there might be a message spelled out. Three years ago, who knew I’d become friends with Arlan Feiles. Two summers ago, before the winds of winter arrived, we shot hoops together in each of our backyards and managed to see Kobe and the Lakers play the Brooklyn Nets. Three years ago, Scott Fadynich, a mutual friend, perseverated that I had to hear Arlan Feiles sing. So I did finally at The Saint in Asbury Park. My reaction was instant and lasting; Arlan is an extraordinarily sensitive, introspective, hugely talented singer songwriter with an unusual (for today’s world) social conscience which emanates, permeates and saturates his soulful songs. I came out of the sixties where troubadours like Dylan, Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, Richie Havens, Joan Baez, Judy Collins and Tom Paxton flourished. With Arlan, I felt back home again in the future.
Arlan asked if I wanted to go to Selma for the Jubilee. The timing wasn’t right but I should’ve been there. Perhaps the next best thing was to sit down with Arlan in his kitchen for two hours after he got back. He was invited by the family of Viola Liuzzo to sing the song he wrote seven years ago, ‘Viola’ at the service at a chapel near her memorial on Route 80 in Selma. It’s best if you check this link out on Viola Liuzzo’s life: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viola_Liuzzo ) Yes, Viola Liuzzo was a housewife in Detroit in 1965, a mother of five and a civil rights activist who went down to Selma to help. She was murdered by the Klan (an FBI informant was in the car that pulled her over) There is still much to the story of courageous Viola that has yet been told. Arlan heard about Viola, the only white woman murdered in the civil rights movement. He was so moved by her life and death, that he wrote the song ‘Viola’ and became part of the Liuzzo family. More on that later. Also, here is Arlan singing ‘Viola’ on You Tube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPpihyVY0JE
His kitchen was comfortable; the family dog rested on my left shoe under the table. This interview is streams of consciousness and in the exact order of revelation. I asked about what I read about Viola and the FBI. “Viola got it from both directions. Hoover hated Dr. King and Jimmy Hoffa even more.” Viola’s husband was an executive with the Teamsters in Detroit. Arlan jumped to the flight home. “I flew home with Lucy Baines Johnson and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz. We talked about Viola. I gave them both CDs and told them why I was there.”
I mentioned to Arlan about the synchronicity of the night before when I was at a new gig as co-host of Danny Coleman’s Rock on Radio Show. Walking around the 40 Foot Hole Studio, which was really part of the living quarters of the Murray Grove Retreat Center and Universalist Unitarian Church, I saw a poster of a hundred Church members who made a difference including pictures of Albert Schweitzer, Charles Darwin and Dickens, Clara Barton and Pete Seeger. There was Viola’s picture; I was seeing Arlan in the morning. “She was very ahead of her time; One of the first white women to join the NAACP.”
“I want to let people know that it’s important Viola’s story be told. Viola is not given her equal due in the civil rights community; A fair plain statement. However the movie, ‘Selma’ has brought a lot of new people to her story. There was a constant flow of people to her marker. It’s half way between Selma and Montgomery exactly where she was driven off the road and murdered. There’s a small church at the roadside where I played the piano. I also stopped at both the Hank Williams Museum across the street from the Rosa Parks Museum.”
I asked Arlan about the current state of information about Viola’s murder. “It’s frustrating that her story isn’t fully realized. The more people that become aware of Viola and what she stood for and what she died for; there will be more hunger to hear the rest of that story.”
They flew into Atlanta on the Friday night and drove to Montgomery where they lodged. “A lot of Italians were there. They were interested in the Liuzzo’s. A few young Italian girls were making a documentary about Viola and another one was from the Italian press.” “I wrote the song ’50 miles’ because of the March from Selma to Montgomery.”
“What about Sunday in Selma?” “So many people came into Selma, they were held at the bridge. (Edmund Pettus Bridge) The politicians left on Saturday which was kind of bogus. Sunday was for the real people. A lot of dignitaries, organizers, I think Martin Luther King’s daughter, after the service, were supposed to go over the bridge. There were so many people, they couldn’t agitate them, and so they let some people cross. Well, they soon found out, once you crossed the bridge out of Selma, you could not come back in because the National Guard closed Selma because of the huge numbers of people. Once you cross, you can’t come back. Next thing you know everyone stops on bridge. Many groups did cross and buses picked them up.”
I asked if Arlan and the Liuzzo family crossed. “No we didn’t. People were trying to turn around. Police couldn’t insure the safety of the dignitaries, so they cancelled them; wouldn’t let them cross. Many did get over. I saw one group with a banner go maybe 15 feet in 45 minutes. There were some protestors who said when you get to the other side of the bridge; there will no longer be systemic racism. We know racism is still here. But to celebrate the advancement has merit.”
On Saturday night they screened the documentary ‘Home of the Brave’ about Viola Liuzzo. Paola di Florio, the director did the screening. Arlan performed after the Q & A. “Viola is buried in Detroit. The Teamsters took care of getting her back to Detroit.” “When did you write the song ’50 Miles’?” “I was talking to Mary Liuzzo when she invited me to come down. She said you should write a song for the 50th Anniversary. A few weeks ago I recorded it before I left. It took a few hours to write for the most part.”
We talked next about the memorial for Viola. “The memorial has been vandalized many times.” I reminded Arlan about the man (Edmund Pettus) for whom the bridge is named. We both laughed sardonically. Mr. Pettus was a U.S. Senator from Alabama and Grand Dragon of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan. “The Mayor of Selma did appoint a KKK Dragon to be a member of his council. During the March, the KKK went around house to house with flyers to get people to join and they bought a billboard to promote seeing the Civil War sights.” The billboard is dedicated to KKK founder Nathan Bedford Forrest and contains the quote, “Keep the skeer on ’em.” It features a Confederate flag. I thought to myself about why I’ve never been down south and decided to leave it that way beginning right after I saw ‘Easy Rider’ in 1969. Am I just a damn Yankee?
There was a lull in the conversation after our Klan talk. We both sensed introspection. Then Arlan continued. “My effort is to get more people to hear her name; to have role models like that for white people to know they can be involved. She died for injustice to people. Viola really believed we are our brother’s keepers. She didn’t see blacks being oppressed; she saw people. She answered that call. If all of us had that ideal ingrained, the world would be a better place. It seems like an easy solution.”
Arlan was back to Saturday. “We had breakfast with Sally and Penny (Viola’s daughters). We met at the Cracker Barrel. I guess I was really down south; had to have biscuits and gravy with grits. I’m going to my cardiologist tomorrow. Sally gets a text from Mary. “We walked out of the Mayor’s dinner last night.” It’s public knowledge. They (the family) were snubbed. There are a lot of times like that. Once in Shreveport; they were there to get an award for Viola. The following morning they go to check out of the hotel. Everyone is gone and left them (the family) with the bill. They were crying. “
More from the breakfast; “Learned FBI approached Penny and Sally. It’s not a secret. They wanted to talk to them. They felt exploited. There was an FBI informant in car which pulled Viola over and killed her. The family sued the Federal Government for years and years but they lost. FBI informant never went to jail.” Arlan took a deep pensive breath. I waited. “The story is not finished. They are living it. Still a work in progress; they can’t make a movie yet. Viola’s story is a cold case as far as family and advocates concerned.”
“After breakfast, Dan (who documented Arlan’s trip) and I went on an exploratory journey to Montgomery; museums, downtown, Rosa Park Museum, Hank Williams Library. Downtown is almost a ghost-town although it was a weekend. A KIA plant is there with a large Asian population so Sushi is available.”
“Later three buses of Teamsters pulled up; 150 or so. They came out to honor Viola and family and escorted them from the chapel to the marker. Teamsters chanted all the way which the girls participated in. They’re proud to be a Teamster family. Most of the Teamsters were black. A young black women’s group did a reading honoring Viola at the Wright Chapel where I played the piano and sang. 150 people were at the memorial but no politicians. I sent Congressman (NJ) Frank Pallone a note. I’m a constituent in his district. He was in Selma. His presence would’ve been appreciated. No response of course.”
I wondered about President Obama and his knowledge of Viola. “The President has mentioned Viola’s name several times. The whole weekend worked out beautifully for politicians and rock stars on the big stage. The Liuzzo’s keep getting knocked down, half respect, left with the check, yet they pick themselves up and continue to do Viola’s work.”
Arlan’s oldest pre-school daughter, Tessa, walked into the kitchen. I marveled at her animated wondrous face and expressiveness. She was hungry. Her timing was perfect too. We were in a heavy modality and needed relief. Tessa took my pen and created precious art on my yellow legal pad. Arlan plunged back into consciousness. “When Viola’s body came back to Detroit, people threw bricks and shot guns into their house. They were called racial epithets. The family has endured a lifetime of abuse and spent years in courts trying to clear their mothers name. It all started with Hoover (FBI) and it’s documented. Even her autopsy was altered to include needle marks in her arm. They said on the news she was a drug addict.” I asked Arlan if it was to discredit her. “Yes. And even an article blamed her for leaving her family. Still fighting to get the recognition she deserves.”
Logically, I next asked Arlan how he got involved with the Liuzzo family. “Three years ago, during Light of Day, I performed ‘Viola’ at The Watermark. A woman from the Asbury Park Press was interested in the story and wrote about my performing the song and included lyrics and talked about Viola Liuzzo, Civil Rights Martyr. The article came out on Martin Luther King Day. Sally Liuzzo had her Google alerts set for Viola Liuzzo in national press. Google alert said Arlan Feiles performs song, ‘Viola.’ “Who is this guy? I have to hear this song.” She hunts me down and is so overwhelmed, she wrote me a beautiful long letter via Facebook, thanking me. It was followed by two more letters by Mary and Penny with an invitation to join them in Shreveport for Viola Liuzzo Day.”
Tessa was still hungry. I knew it was time. It had been two fascinating intense hours. And I got to know someone just a little bit better. I visualized that string blowing in the wind. And today is May 1st. Beyond my computer screen is a May Pole. Children are laughing, playing and dancing. The blowing string is spelling out the words, “A caring special soul.”Arlan Feiles.
Please check out: http://www.arlanfeilesmusic.com
NJ Discover Spotlight: FREEHOLD AREA ‘OPEN DOOR’ FOOD PANTRY & MORE & “My Hometown” Fund Raising By Calvin Schwartz April 8th(0)
NJ Discover Spotlight: FREEHOLD AREA ‘OPEN DOOR’ FOOD PANTRY & MORE & “My Hometown” Fund Raising By Calvin Schwartz April 8th, 2015
A few years ago, as a new journalist, I was taken literally into the world of homelessness a mere 23 miles (Tent City, Lakewood NJ) from my suburban Monmouth County home. Logically for me, what followed was a heightened awareness into hunger in America; I spent the equivalent of days at the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties and attended a Red Bank seminar with Governor Christie on hunger. What I learned that day is part of my soul now; in 1980 there were 40 food pantries in America. Today there are 40,000. It’s pretty hard to comprehend or dismiss this numerical factoid. I’m actually at a loss for words every time I ponder the depth and gravity of hunger. Then I’m drawn to it with words that need to find a receptive audience. The issues keep finding me sometimes when I least expect it.
Last week I was asked to stop by a local elementary school and do a favor by picking up and delivering boxes and bags of food collected by the students for a local food pantry. Purely random, I picked the Freehold Area Open Door, close to my house and subliminally, the town where Bruce Springsteen was born. After four trips to bring food stuffs into the pantry, I asked to talk to the administrator. First up was Kathy Mueller, Advocacy Program Director who gave background of Open Door which is into its 28th year serving the community. Next I sat down with Jeanne Yaecker, Director, and Certified Volunteer Administrator. Internally I smiled; what was a simple errand had become yet another learning experience and opportunity to meet effusive, dedicated people. Next I toured the small facility and met the volunteer staff.
Open Door trustees are multi-denominational as is the community they serve. Everything is donated. The soup kitchen is nearby at St. Peter’s but they share volunteers and food. Open Door serves 375-400 households a month which translates to 900-1300 individuals; serious numbers for small suburban middle-upper income Monmouth County towns. They serve Freehold Boro and Township, Marlboro, Colts Neck and Millstone. I remembered what I learned about hunger at the seminar. It’s insidious. You never know if your next door neighbors are hungry. They’re too embarrassed to tell you. Open Door food packages are specifically designed; preferences are asked. Food provided is nutritious in the three to five day standard package.
I asked about other services of Open Door besides the Food Pantry program which is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm at 39 Throckmorton Street in Freehold. There is an after school program for 3rd, 4th and 5th graders as well as a scholarship and emergency funding and advocacy program. SNAP representatives are there on Wednesday’s to help with food applications.
I accepted this day as synchronistic; it wasn’t planned or designed. I even had to borrow a sheet of paper to take notes. But it’s something that is so important for all of us; being aware then caring enough to do something. I worry about articles I read about social unrest and economic disparity impacting our future. I’ve attached information on fund raising efforts called “MY HOMETOWN” Please check it out. Also Open Door accepts food and money donations. For more information: www.freeholdareaopendoor.org
New Jersey, Homelessness and Charles Dickens; Awareness, Advocacy, Activism and Sherry Rubel BY Calvin Schwartz March 22, 2015(0)
New Jersey, Homelessness and Charles Dickens; Awareness, Advocacy, Activism and Sherry Rubel BY Calvin Schwartz March 22, 2015
Four years ago, homelessness was a distant concept for me living in suburban Monmouth County. My only realization that fellow humans were homeless came from TV news stories in New York City when the wind chill was zero and the police humanely gathered and deposited them in temporary shelters for the night. On expeditions to New York City, for a day at the museum or a family dinner, I’d see homeless people, sometimes sitting on the steps of a church, or lying on the cold concrete, passed out, inebriated or worse. Occasionally, I’d see an ostensibly homeless person with a sign and cup trying to raise money. Once on 33rd Street, I saw a homeless woman and small child asking for money. I gave them a few dollars. What always hits me is that when every human is born, we arrive from the womb and are exactly the same in the hope and dream department for that brief moment in time.
I never saw homelessness here in Jersey because I’ve been sheltered in the suburbs most of my adult life. Then four years ago, I transitioned into Journalism from a successful career in optical sales and management; quite a difference. Three years ago, I was asked to cover an Easter Sunday benefit concert in Lakewood, New Jersey for Tent City; a community of homeless people living in the woods in tents without power or heat for up to ten years. News of these horrific conditions began to trickle into local media. Rosemary Conte, activist, organized the event. At the end, Tent City founder, Minister Stephen Brigham brought a busload of residents of Tent City to receive donated clothing and food. It was a hard rain for me to see and process; homelessness. I had no idea or understanding.
A few months after Hurricane Sandy, Sherry Rubel, a photographer and activist, produced a concert in Asbury Park to raise money for victims. Rosemary introduced me to Sherry and a month later, I met Sherry for coffee on Route 18 and learned all about the realities and exigencies of Tent City. Then on cold cloudy morning in February, with patches of snow on the ground and smoke sneaking out from the tent’s wood-burning stoves, Sherry Rubel escorted NJ Discover’s Tara-Jean Vitale and me on a tour of Tent City; it was stark, inhospitable and brutally real. Homeless humans were living in conditions that made it seem like it was 1929 and Herbert Hoover was on the radio. We walked around and visited people in their tents; it was deathly cold. A strange eerie silence followed us. My soul has never been the same since. These last few years, I see the world a little different and I’m grateful to Sherry for the consciousness raising and awareness. She boldly continues her activism.
Recently I heard that Sherry went to N.J. Senate Speaker Steve Sweeney’s office last September and met with his staff to discuss how tiny homes could meet the needs of the homeless. That discussion led Legislative Senate Bill 2571, which has gained acclaim and is currently now being sponsored by Sen. Raymond Lesniak.
It states “Rubel fears her original vision of building a community with services as well as tiny homes is getting lost, and that the bill only provides for the construction of affordable homes.”
When a court resolution was finalized in 2013, Tent City in Lakewood was bulldozed and what was home for over a hundred homeless (un-housed humans) over a period of seven years was gone. These Ocean County homeless no longer had a safe haven and temporary housing alternative. When Tent City went to Ocean County Court over a year ago, (I sat in court with them) to determine its ultimate fate, people were appalled and outraged with the decision which left no permanent resolution for the homeless of Ocean County. After this decision, Sherry Rubel was driven and determined to bring the spirit of ‘Destiny’s Bridge’ to fruition and bring about the realization of the “Tiny Home Pilot Program” legislation.
And so it all goes with no resolution, permanency or humanity. We are almost one year later and many Tent City people are homeless again and looking for a clearing in the trees to set up another tent. And so are many other homeless/un-housed humans falling into the darkness of a bleak unaffordable economy and housing environment.
Sherry Rubel spoke to me about the current state of homelessness. “The Tiny Home Pilot Program legislation was never about affordable housing as politicians, HUD and Social Services interpret it. I don’t speak political language full of policy and regulations. I speak from my heart. I don’t care about how things work in a system that’s already broken. I only care about finding answers and discovering new innovative ideas that work to assist in resolving a critical problem that needs to be addressed. I guess I’m an outside the box thinker; still believe that where there is a will there’s a way. That’s what I’m trying to do; assist in coming up with new innovative ideas and thinking. What I’ve discovered is how boxed in everyone actually is. Everyone seems to get in their own way. Please don’t get me wrong. There are many organizations with great programs that are working and those organizations should be praised for their amazing work but so much more is needed. I want to take the best of them all and apply it to a practical workable program. I call it ‘REVIVAL VILLAGE’ www.revivalvillage.com which is a three phase innovative, sustainable, holistic, and economically efficient approach to resolving a very critical issue; perhaps one of the most pressing issues of our time. Everyone ultimately has something to contribute to a community/village. All we really need is land. We have the plans all laid out.”
As I wrap up this article and finished talking with Sherry, I need to send props to Steve Conboy from Eco Building Products who has generously provided a donation of 14 emergency shelters/ Tiny Homes for immediate use. Not only does Steve want to assist in this project but he would like to employ homeless residents of “Revival Village” with building jobs for the Tiny Homes. It’s important to mention that ‘Destiny’s Bridge,’ is also a wonderful documentary created by Filmmaker Jack Ballo that will be showing at Salt Studios in Asbury Park on Saturday April 11th. Jack spent years at Tent City in Lakewood telling their story. I’ve seen the documentary several times; it’s powerful, beautiful and riveting.
There is so much to say about homelessness; it’s overwhelming. I recall a recent study by NASA scientists that gives our species another 30 years or so. One of the culprits (also climate change, food, water) is social unrest on a global scale. Now I look back to when Charles Dickens published ‘A Christmas Carol’ in 1843. Scrooge asked “Are there no workhouses?” In Dickens’ writing, the Spirit of Christmas Present reveals two children representing Want and Ignorance. The issues of homelessness (Want) in New Jersey are daunting and overwhelming. As I see it, not much has changed here in New Jersey (and Ocean County) since 1843.
PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD!!!
TRENTON HOSTS APRIL 15TH GLOBAL RALLY FOR THE HOMELESS
On April 15th cities in the U.K., Ireland, Canada and the USA will be rallying in solidarity for and with our homeless brothers and sisters around the world. The EVENT in NJ will take place at the State House in Trenton, beginning at 10:00 AM and running until approximately 2 PM.
“The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have little.” – President Franklin Roosevelt
Where Will Life’s Road Take You? Need Financial Planning ? Peter Grandich & Company(0)
Peter Grandich & Company provides business, retirement and estate planning services to individuals, business owners and professional athletes. Through a strategic alliance with York-Jersey Underwriters, which has been in business since 1926, we can provide professional advice and risk management services to business and personal insurance clients. In addition, through like-minded companies, we are also able to suggest professionals in accounting, legal, mortgage and other specialized services.
For more information go to the website!
Peter Grandich & Company
Hold On To A Moment: A Journey to Jersey Centenarians: A Series: Meet William Theodore Zimmerman; World War II Veteran March 16, 2015 Calvin Schwartz(2)
Hold On To A Moment: A Journey to Jersey Centenarians: A Series: Meet William Theodore Zimmerman; World War II Veteran March 14, 2015 By: Calvin Schwartz
For years, I’ve been watching Willard Scott’s segment on ‘The Today Show’ where the face of a centenarian (100 years or older) appears on a jar of jelly for a brief moment while he recites a sentence or two about their lives; perhaps mentioning a life style or diet which helped longevity. For decades, I’ve observed that life is for the living. As soon as you can’t shoot hoops, or drive at night, or put eye drops in, or remember President Kennedy, it may be time for assisted living or a nursing home or an obscure room in a finished basement; out of sight, mainstream and utilization. Invisibility is a factor. It’s hard to notice seniors on the beach, in a mall or at a football game; but they’re there. How often are they engaged? These are heavy thoughts. I hope to capture them all; they’ve been floating around my sensibilities since 1965 when I was a student at Rutgers College of Pharmacy. Sitting in the back of a lecture hall, doodling in a notebook, I decided not to age traditionally; a long story and my upcoming second novel.
Lately, I’ve been thinking about all those relatives who’ve passed and how it seems I didn’t hold them longer and embrace time. Fists are clenched in a futile gesture of wishing for a few more moments; if only. A few months back, I came to the stark realization that I am the family patriarch now. How did that happen?
A long winding road has taken me from pharmacy and eyewear careers to writing and journalism and rock music with a few green rooms for socialization. It’s like I want to yell, “Hey Mah, look no hands and I fit in perfectly and I’m the oldest one.” A few years ago, I was invited to journalistically cover the 101st birthday party for Emily Cook. We became friends and I eventually interviewed her on camera for national media; she invited me back to her room on camera. (Video link available) That was a special moment for me; she was vital, funny, worldly, out-spoken and replete with knowledge and experience wanting to share. I went to her next birthday party and visited during the year as a friend. Her Herbert Hoover and Depression stories fascinated. The lesson was how precious, energetic and insightful she was and that I could learn from her; Use it or lose it deal.
All of the aforementioned are the yellow brick road components to my journalistic journey to meet and absorb our precious centenarians in an on-going series and eventually a novel (book). And now, meet William Theodore Zimmerman.
As a Jersey journalist, I was thrilled to be in the shadow of Rutgers stadium, an area rich in colonial history, interviewing a centenarian in a house that was built in 1830; all key energetic ambiance factors for me. Then Warren Zimmerman, from the State Theater in New Brunswick, escorted his father William Theodore Zimmerman, the 100 year old birthday boy into the living room. William was perfectly appointed wearing a herring bone sport coat; his big family party was an hour later. There was no way William was 100; maybe 80. Once we started talking, I was convinced he was a few decades younger. His voice resonated with a certain excitement, authority and youth.
“How does it feel to be 100?” “No different.” He chuckled. I asked what he did for a living. He was quick to answer, smiling coyly. “I am nothing. All I am is a Jack of All Trades and a Master of None. I did everything you can imagine.”
“Years ago, you only worked as long as they needed you. I worked in the shipyards of Hoboken. You went down there and got picked out of a crowd to do a job. Maybe you got three days of work; maybe one. If you were a good worker, they picked you more often.” All of a sudden I had a flashback of Marlon Brando and the movie, ‘On the Waterfront,’ which took place right where William worked.
“You grew up in the Depression?” What I liked about interviewing William, was his ever-present smile and rapid fire responses. He is so sharp; a gift. “There’s a lot of difference between a Depression years ago and today. The whole country was in a depression and everybody was poor with no work. It was a hard time to get food. In the city where we lived (North Bergen) if you couldn’t buy food, you didn’t eat. When we finally moved to Piscataway, my mother had three or four acres so we grew our own food.”
I always get a kick out of asking about President Herbert Hoover akin to my son asking me about President Kennedy. “I was a kid. How much did I know about politics? I thought he was good. But we had to move a lot when we ran out of money and couldn’t pay rent. We searched around and hired a horse and wagon to move our stuff. There was no car.” The horse reference was like a gentle reality slap to my face to snap out of it. William really went back 100 years.
There was a chronological order to my planned interview. Next was World War II although Warren mentioned a few days earlier that his father never talked about the war. But then William started to talk with a special vigor. “I was in the Navy. This guy tricked me. I was a welder and worked for GM then. GM got a big contract to teach employees different things. They taught me chrome-moly welding; then the war. I enlisted in the Navy. I said to the guy that I was taught welding. I have a certificate which I didn’t get yet. He said don’t worry about it. They were going to give me rate of third class petty officer. He tricked me right into it.” Then I had another movie flashback thinking of Goldie Hawn, in ‘Private Benjamin’ when she was tricked into thinking the Army accommodations were like Club Med.
William was in the Navy for 3 ½ years. He worked up to 2nd class ship fitter. I asked if he saw any action. He laughed loudly. “Quite a bit. I was on the battleship Arkansas. When I first got on, they told us convoy duty taking cargo and people to Europe.” Once again I had a flashback. Coincidentally, a month earlier, I watched the ‘Victory at Sea’ series from the 1950’s featuring the music of Richard Rodgers. An hour show was devoted to convoys and their ever-present danger from German subs.
“Then they talked about the coming invasion.” William’s peaking enthusiasm at this juncture made me think I was talking to a 40 year old. “They put us into the New York Navy Yard and rebuilt our ship which was built in 1914. The biggest guns we had was 12” and we didn’t have the 16” like newer ships. Now we became a fighting ship. Then the invasion; our target was Juno beach. Since we were an older ship, they told us because our big turrets shot only so far, that we had to beach our ship and then fire. The Germans were fortified. We figured the end of us. We got there at 3 AM and opened fire at day break. Then when we opened fire, we did so well; we got orders not to beach it. After the invasion, Cherbourg was a powerful German fortress and we got orders with the (USS) Texas and other ships to go in and draw their fire.” Being a good reporter, I went to Google and checked out his story. William was right on. I even found a picture of the Arkansas and Texas being fired upon. He is so sharp.
After a while they shipped William and the Arkansas to the Pacific. “We went to Guam and Iwo Jima where they put the flag.” I knew it’s one of the most famous military pictures. “That was our target 2 ½ miles off the coast. We saw the flag. It was beautiful. After Iwo Jima we went to Okinawa but I’m not sure if it’s the right order. Then we were in a typhoon. Then we were supposed to go to Japan but they dropped the bomb.” William reinforced my memory of President Truman deciding to drop the bomb rather than risk all those American and Japanese lives during a prolonged land invasion.
When William came home, a lot of people wanted him to talk about the war but he wanted to forget. “So many people were killed but it had to be.” He also realized he was on the luckiest ship. He told me about D-Day and the German planes flying so close overhead, he could see their large swastika. He was up on deck manning a 3” anti-aircraft gun. The next day they heard that a German plane had a bomb on it that got stuck and crashed and exploded. “It could’ve sunk us.”
It was time to change subjects. “What do you like best about New Jersey?” “Everything; I love New Jersey.” The biggest change for William was population growth. Being a movie buff, I had to tap into his history. He laughed when I mentioned movies. “I have to laugh. Charlie Chaplin used to tickle me. I got a kick out of him and Harold Lloyd, the guy with glasses. Jerry Lewis was very talented.” William likes all kinds of music and the big bands like Glenn Miller and Dorsey. He plays a little piano, played football in Weehawken, basketball and tennis as well but doesn’t like hockey because “all they do is fight.”
He reiterated all the jobs he had working for GM, Ford, Rutgers Prep, floorcovering, home improvements. He helped build his mother, sisters and his own house. “I don’t know how I had all this energy or lived this long. I don’t know how good vitamins are. What I did all my life was listen to my parents.”
We were winding down our time together. The front doorbell rang as party guests started to arrive. He volunteered this next segment. “Bill, what can I do to live as long as you? Women especially asked that.” He chuckled when he said that. What a sense of humor. “I had two good parents, two good wives. I did everything in moderation; everything but smoke. My mother was a practical nurse who hated smoking. My generation; we were poor but happy. My parents taught us religion. We didn’t always have to go to church; you have it in your home. Just look at my two boys. There is a supreme being; too many miracles in this world.”
Miracles; a good word to finish my time with William; It fit perfectly. I’ve got to come up with reasons to spend more time with him. We hugged and I thanked him. Then I told him the one word in my mind from the beginning of our hour; enchanting. And he is perfectly so.
|At The Vineyard Show Hawk Haven Winery – [VIDEO](0)|
|Monroeville Winery Salem County Vignette [Video](0)|
|Heritage Winery – At The Vineyard Show Episode 2(0)|
|JUNE 12th NJ DISCOVER LIVE TV SHOW: JACKIE ATKINS, NJ Boxing Hall of Fame, CRYSTAL WOODS, American Natural Bodybuilding Federation; “World Class Women Athletes Where You Least Expect Them BUT Life Journeys MORE Amazing” with co-hosts Tara-Jean and Calvin. TUNE IN!!(0)|
Contacts and information
MV Digital Productions is NJ Discover\'s very own full service Production Company. MV Digital will produce a professional quality HD commercial or infomercial for your business at an affordable price in a very short period of time.
NJ Discover is Your One Stop Shopping for TV/Internet Production and Advertising.
Most popular categories