Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Those Monmouth Republicans like blogging...

Here's two new blogs by one new blogger: http://www.monmouthbylaws.blogspot.com and http://monmouthrepublicans.blogspot.com/


Antonucci runs for Handlin's seat

After much behind-the-scenes speculation, Bridget Antonucci has officially announced that she will be seeking Assemblywoman Amy Handlin's freeholder seat.

The Courier received the following e-mail today: [PRESS RELEASE]


Thursday, January 26, 2006

More Random Web Rambling

The Courier's website has been added to Google News. Quite cool. Looks like it's bringing in a bunch-o-hits, too.

Monday, January 23, 2006

More Courier Web Features

A tad obsessed with my paper's website? You bet I am. I'm tweaking this thing or adding new scripts entirely every day. Here are some of the new features that I'm particularly excited about:

Chatroom: No, I don't really think people are going to be running over to our site for the joy of on-line chatrooms. Basically, some officials have expressed interest in reaching out to constituents in a more interactive way. Say Councilman X wants to open himself up to a dialogue with citizens. We set that a time and a date when Councilman X will be logged on to the chatroom to answer your questions and concerns. Naturally, the time and date would be advertised well in advance. (And the chatroom program allows an administrator to ban certain users who get fresh.)

Sports Photos: Our sports editor has a pretty kickin' camera and, sadly, not enough sports pages to publish all the fantastic sports shots he gets. Apparently, a good number of parents inquire about getting to look at game photos. Dear ol' Ed Collins is now able to upload particular shots for parents and readers to view, as well as purchase as larger prints.

Archives: Our past issues are in the process of getting archived. We've got several years digitally archived before typing in past issues becomes a necessity. (I raise my coffee cup to the notion of summer interns.) At any rate, the issues are getting archived onto the website and are available for a yearly subscription fee of $50 that includes a one-year subsciption to the print edition of The Courier.


Saturday, January 21, 2006

Courier bloggers

I'm very glad to say that Matt McGrath is back Off the Record.

And don't forget the original Courier blogger, our circulation manager and sports writer extraordinaire, Mike Kenny.

And some blogging advice for those considering: Honest Abe has discovered that if you make any mention of Howell whatsoever, your hit counter will self-destruct.

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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Interesting comment

I think this comment deserves it's own post:
The Big Professor 7:57 pm

You people amaze me. You ridicule Senator Lynch and vilify him. For your information, Senator Lynch is the best legislator to have served this state.

The Lynches, père et fils, have contributed greatly to the city they call home, New Brunswick, and to Middlesex County in toto. New Brunswick is a city on the move. A visit here will show new buildings under construction. Indeed, the State of New Jersey is a better place for their having served. It is why there is a bridge named in the elder John Lynch's honor.

Monmouth County's petty tyrants would receive an education observing the statesmen we are honored to have here in Middlesex County.

Many gloat over the unfortunate circumstance of the younger Lynch being investigated by Bush's Federal Bureau of Investigation. This is a politically motivated vendetta. John Lynch will be vindicated, and one day will return to public office. How fortuitous for our state if one day there is a Governor John Lynch!

Certainly you will delete this comment. So be it!

What do you say, Monmouth County -- do we want to be Middlesex?


On an unrelated note, a big thanks to Keyport Councilman Joe Weddick for pointing out that it is in fact 2006 and not 2005, despite what The Courier's website indexes listed. I credit my critical thinking skills for the time travel experiment.


Off to Trenton...oh never mind

The boss is without car, so I have to join in clearing up that DEP mess today. Joy of all freaking, red tape, bothersome, bureacratic joys. Till then, I'm Ric Cartman, signing off. Don't sully Abe's blog. Just e-mail me if you need to go off the hook.

"It's only paranoia if they're not out to get you."

Edit: Looks like we're looking at an afternoon visit. I'm going to get the new issue posted on-line in the meantime.

Double Edit: Purcell got caught up in meetings and phone calls so no Trenton today. Hopefully his car'll be fixed so I don't have to log miles on my vehicle.

Nevertheless, I want to keep that Cartman picture up. It's way cool.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Retaliation Time

I wish we could get past such things, but when you feel somewhat threatened, I believe you are entitled to make it known. (Then again, I likely would have never created this blog had certain incidents that made me feel threatened not occurred during the time I was investigating the Aberdeen-Matawan Train Station project.)

Some strange happenings in the past two days:

1) Holmdel Mayor Serena DiMaso asked the Holmdel Clerk's office to pull legal advertisements from The Courier and place them in the APP, which charges nearly double what we charge. (This extra cost will, of course, go to taxpayers.)

2) We haven't had a dark room at The Courier's office building in about eight years (and thus haven't had to file any chemical-disposal permits with the DEP since that time). Yesterday we received a letter marked "Urgent: Second Notice" (we never received a first notice) stating that we needed to file permits in order to comply with storm water management rules. Apparently, we were mysteriously put back on a state list (e.g. newspapers/publications with dark rooms that handle certain chemicals) with the DEP that we haven't been on for eight years.

I believe this is more than just coincidence. I believe this is retaliation for the reporting we presented to the public this summer.

RE: 1)
This is coming on the heels of an accusation by Ms. DiMaso that a recording of Mr. Kyrillos that we included in a story that ran several months ago was doctored by Terence Wall.

Last week, Ms. DiMaso told an area newspaper that the audio tape of Sen. Kyrillos presented in The Courier's article about a Keansburg development was manufactured by Mr. Wall. I find this highly offensive to me as a journalist. I take a great deal of pride in my work. And I would never present evidence that I had any suspicion was manufactured. (And I'm a pretty damn cynical and suspicious person.)

The audio tape was, in fact, not a tape at all, but a voice mail message that could not have been tampered with. I might add that Mr. Kyrillos, Mr. Wall and other Keansburg officials all acknowledged the existence of the recorded message. The only debate as to the recording was whether or not it was evidence of influence peddling or not. I make no judgment as to that. It is for residents to listen to and make their own determination. Mr. Wall did not bring this recording to The Courier's attention. I heard rumors of its existence and filed an OPRA request with the borough specifically asking for it. I tape recorded this message as it was played from Mr. Wall's voicemail.

I have nothing against Ms. DiMaso. In fact, before Mr. Wall's allegations of a tape of Ms. DiMaso making religious slurs came to light in print, I was considering running a story about it. I ultimately decided against doing so before I was presented with the tape because such allegations, once made, leave a mark whether they are established as true or not. I told this to Ms. DiMaso and she thanked me.

The legals are readily accesible on-line, if the township requests such, and at no extra cost to the township. Despite our ownership's disagreements with Middletown Township in recent years, Middletown never made any attempt to pull our legal advertisements because publishing them in a daily newspaper would come at a significant cost to the taxpayer. The only municipal government to attempt to pull our legal advertisements before was the UFC majority in Keansburg under former Mayor Michael Minervini at a time that The Courier was at odds with that administration. The borough's attorney advised the council that such a retaliatory action was not legal and it was subsequently dropped.

The only reason, in my opinion, that Ms. DiMaso would have for advocating to pull legal advertisements from The Courier is political retaliation for us daring to publish articles describing potential conflicts of interest by Mr. Kyrillos.

Again, I want to emphasize that the cost of this will be passed on to taxpayers.

RE 2)
I find it very strange that we were suddenly put back on a list that we haven't been put on for eight years. I believe that, as well, may likely be an act of retaliation. The DEP's explanations to us as to how we mysteriously came to be put back on this list have been lacking thus far.

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Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Silly bloggers

It seems this little Monmouth County blogging party has really exploded.

For all the insightful debate, quite a bit of silliness has erupted. I'll certainly admit my part in the ruckus. Nevertheless, there's nothing I've said here that I wouldn't say to some one face-to-face.

I never expected quite as many eyes to see this blog as there apparently have been. And I must say that I never took blogging very seriously. (I really just wanted to list my source documents so that people could make up their own minds as to the issues I was reporting.)

This little post is just to say that I'll be weighing my words in the blogosphere much more carefully from now on. The silliness was fun but I believe I've missed quite a number of opportunities to write more interesting commentary.

So, in the interest of getting back on topic, I'd like to post this Monmouth-related political question (and I'm dead serious about this):

When do you think Jen Beck's gonna run for governor?

I'm pretty skeptical when it comes to public officials, and I thought that both Panter and Morgan were excellent legislators the past two years, but I'm very impressed with Jen Beck.

The pre-filing of a repeal of S-1701 was a homerun, in my book. Anyone involved with (or involved with reporting on) boards of education knows what a disaster the bill has been for school districts. And yet nothing was really done about it at the state level. Beck could have sat back for a breather after a pretty stressful post-election period, but she didn't. She took on an issue that affects anyone with a child or (in my case) a young sibling still in the public school system. Her pre-filing showed that she has her finger on the pulse of New Jersey. I'm really eager to see what she's going to accomplish in the years to come.

So, yeah, I'm skipping right past the speculation of whether or not Beck's going to run for state Sen. Ellen Karcher's position and heading probably 10 years down the pike: Do you think we're going to see a Gov. Beck?

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The Courier conspiracy

Matt's take on The Courier conspiracy.


Editor for a day

Doug Irvin to the Journalista: "It's like having a substitute teacher."

Monday, January 16, 2006

Web stats

I checked The Courier's more detailed web stats this morning and made a pretty funny discovery.

You get three guesses as to who visits The Courier's website more than its staff does. (One hint: the person isn't in politics.)

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Web Wildfire

Monmouth Republicans are taking to blogs like wildfire.

Two new bloggers have joined the ranks:

1) William H. Seward (who hasn't posted yet, but who has left comments on both mine and Honest Abe's blog)
2) Lew Alcindor

Me thinks this year's Republican Lincoln Day Dinner will produce a number of conversations about the party's masked bloggers.

Monmouth Democrats seem to be getting their butts kicked solidly in the blog department, leaving the alias "Action Jackson" just begging to be used.


Saturday, January 14, 2006


I need to post a bunch of source documents for the Lynch story since I promised to do that right after the New Year. I doubt anybody's pining away for a new set of dull ELEC report posts, but, essentially, this blog is supposed to exist just to house my source docs. Anyway, just wanted to say I haven't forgotten, I've just been incredibly fatigued by all the work on this website redesign business. It might take a few more weeks, but I'll get there.

I found this comment yesterday on a post on TheMediaDrop.com about that infamous pulled story:
Oh dear - NOT FOUND!
So much for a pub trying to hold back a story.
Jackie Corley is a very talented writer who works for a paper that does not appreciate her talents. They are only interested in Jackie fronting the agenda they are churning out. It is my hope that she tires of this nonsense and find work at a reputable paper where she will allowed to grow into the writer she's destined to be.

Posted by: FreedomOfSpeech at January 1, 2006 05:13 PM

I love how I'm perceived as being in the clutches of some cloaked, nefarious organization. Naturally, because I'm 23 and lacking a pair of testicles, I'm too ignorant to make my own decisions or avoid having naivete block any and all rational thought.

...or maybe The Courier conspiracy theories aren't what they're cracked up to be. Maybe I was actually the one who lobbied hard for the Aberdeen-Matawan Train Station story to see the light of day. Maybe Joe Azzolina and Jim Purcell are actually generous, honest and decent human beings. (And maybe the people who make such grand judgments on them should actually have a conversation with them or at least see them in person before frothing at the mouth.) Maybe the people who work at Courier love the place and the work they do. Maybe these Courier staffer blogs exist because the place is much more open and honest than other newsrooms. Maybe the reporters believe that we're given much more independence in the storylines we pursue and how we pursue them than our peers are.

I learned absolutely everything I know about journalism from my time at The Courier. If I'm a decent writer, it has everything to do with Jim Purcell, Shom Sengupta and Darlene Franklin.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Courier web features

All righty...

My head has been buried in my computer while I tinkered with coding this week.

In addition to articles being archived, the redesigned site includes a calendar of Bayshore area events and comment threads on news articles. (The comment threads will be monitored for profanity, libel, content, etc. IP addresses will be logged in our database and we'll be able to block certain IP's from posting, should posters get out of line.)

Check it out.

An internal search engine function was added, as well.


Thursday, January 05, 2006

Courier website, II

The Courier's website has gotten a facelift, complete with RSS feed for you Firefox-loving technorati types.

The site will continue to be tweaked and prodded, with a lot more information added to it over the next couple of days.


UPDATE: If you have a PayPal account, you can now order your subscription to The Courier on-line. If you have any questions about it, contact our Circulation Manager Michael Kenny at (732) 957-0070 or circulation@bayshorenews.com.


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Mystery of Honest Abe

I wanted to post this comment left on my blog by Honest Abe because I thought it was pretty hysterical:
Some of the theories that I've heard are that I'm Fred Niemann, Wally Edge(!), Dan Gallic or Joe DiBella. I even heard that I was you!

I remain anonymous because, in addition to the independence it allows me, it also doesn't identify me with any one part of the county, i. e., Western Monmouth, Bayshore, Coastal, etc. Also I can travel freely at events like Lincoln Day, the Finance Gala or a Federation luncheon or Affiliated dinner. I try to keep my finger on the pulse and my ear to the ground; sometimes it's better when people don't realize they're talking to Honest Abe.

Honest Abe's anonymity makes this blog-o-sphere so much more fun. He provides an interesting and thoughtfully measured voice on Monmouth County politics. I imagine some imitators will be cropping up as his popularity grows but I somehow doubt that they will be more insightful or intelligent than the posts Honest Abe has offered up.

Nevertheless, the more voices, the better. I encourage anyone and everyone to add their unique style to the fray by trying out blog technology. May the best blog get the most hits.

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Courier website

I'll have The Courier's website back up and running tomorrow evening with a new template. I'll be selling the ownership of BayshoreNews.com (for the big $25 it cost me) to the paper and I'll no longer have any affiliation with that domain name.

For the time being, my source documents will be hosted on BayshoreNews.com until I find another option. My blog will still be available right here at www.bayshorenews.blogspot.com

Bayshore-Courier.com will continue to be your link to The Courier, but BayshoreNews.com will be hosting the files.

Basically, just keep the Bayshore-Courier.com bookmark if you have it.

A new site feature: The Courier will enter the 21st century of website technology with a MySQL database. That means that we'll have the ability to digitally archive articles as well as have an RSS feed (eventually). The RSS feed is what many blogs and newspaper sites use to have news syndicated on certain search engines.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Art Kamin is da bomb, Part II

Corzine must reject power grab on fort reuse (APP)

(A very interesting editorial by one of my favorite journalists.)


Monday, January 02, 2006

NY Times

Very interesting piece in the NY Times yesterday:

In New Jersey, Party Bosses Meld Politics and Business
(use BugMeNot.com for a username and password)

John Lynch, Jack Morris, etc., etc.