Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year 2013

The HNJJ crew's traditional New Year's song - Mama Cass Elliot (1941-1974) performing New World Coming...

There's a New World Coming
And it's just around the bend
There's a new world coming
This one's coming to an end

There's a new voice calling
You can hear it if you try
And it's growing stronger
With each day that passes by

There's a brand new morning
Rising clear and sweet and free
There's a new day dawning
That belongs to you and me

Yes a new world's coming
The one we've had visions of
Coming in peace, coming in joy, coming in love

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Santa Visits Hillsborough

Santa Claus visited Hillsborough's Municipal Building yesterday evening, arriving by fire truck, helping the mayor light the tree, and then settling into his house to listen to Christmas lists...

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Visit from St. Nick...

Over the last month-and-a-half, New Jersey residents have gotten used to events being rescheduled due to weather...So, Hillsborough's tree lighting ceremony and visit from Santa Claus (originally scheduled for last Friday), will be this evening:
According to the township, the following activities are planned:
•6:30 p.m. arrive and enjoy carols performed by members of the Hillsborough High School Choral •Fire barrels for marshmallow roasting
•Live animals from Norz Hill Farms
•Christmas Tree decorating by local organizations
•Hot Chocolate and Cookies to snack on
•7 p.m. Santa arrives to greet Hillsborough Township, followed by visits with him at the North Pole
Photograph taken at the 2012 Hunterdon County Court House Quilters show.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Choosing Paint Colors...

The HNJJ post today is short and to the point because we had to spend a lot of time choosing the exact color that we want for some construction being done...

We picked Sahara Dunes Desert, number 1073.  Our contractor calls it "tan" or "beige".

Any homeowner doing any work on their house should watch Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Rutgers Environmental Steward Class Sign-up

Hillsborough residents are lucky that the central Jersey Rutgers Cooperative Extension's Environmental Steward classes are offered right here at Duke Farms.  Sign-up for the class of 2013 has now started.  From their press release:
Consider joining the 2013 class of Rutgers Cooperative Extension's Environmental Steward training which will be offered in Atlantic, Warren, and Somerset counties, from January to June.
The curriculum is designed to introduce non-scientists to the science underlying key environmental issues in the Garden State. Leading authorities from academia are joined by colleagues from government and the non-profit sector to share understanding and insights with the students. “Students do not only receive facts, but also are introduced to a network of expert individuals and organizations who can be of service to them in the future as they wrestle with solving local environmental problems” said Bruce Barbour, Extension Agent with Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the programs originator.

Recruitment has begun for the Rutgers Environmental Steward Class of 2013. To learn how you can become a Rutgers Environmental Steward contact the appropriate coordinator for your region.

Training is regional. Please direct any questions about registration or schedules to the coordinator of the region in which you expect to attend classes:

Training Location: Duke Farms, Hillsborough, NJ
Normal Class Time: Tuesdays, January to May, 2013; 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Cost: $250
Contact: Rosalie Kelly, , Duke Farms Foundation, 80 Route 206, Hillsborough, New Jersey 08844 (908) 243-3602

More information including application forms and the current schedule for lectures can be found on the web at .

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Duke Farms Re-opened

According to the Duke Farms website, "Duke Farms fully opened!!!"
"We are thrilled to announce Duke Farms is fully open to the public for the first time since Hurricane Sandy! Our latest blog will get you to take a new look at trees when you visit."

Monday, December 10, 2012

2012 Holidays and Hurricane Sandy

Due to Hurricane Sandy much of New Jersey missed Halloween and there was the feeling that Thanksgiving was just a few days to finish cleaning up.

But the holiday shopping season has arrived and the HNJJ crew discovered that many of the items they wrapped to give as presents were chosen as a result of the hurricane.

Suddenly a nice Coleman camping lantern seems like a great family gift...accompanied by a few extra batteries. Classic board games.  Flannel nightgowns.  Firewood. A container-grown or balled-in-burlap evergreen, maybe with a few ornaments on it, is the perfect present to restart landscaping that has been decimated. Replacement outdoor furniture or birdhouses or birdfeeders.

If you really want to go for it...a nice portable generator. Throw in an extra shiny-red gas can.

On a more personal note, look closely at the photo and notice the broken grill that was blown over on the patio...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Merry Christmas from the ACLU Redux

Every year about his time many supposedly Christian Americans break their own Ninth Commandment by claiming that the ACLU is anti-Christmas. So a rerun from HNJJ 2011:

Christmas, the time of the year when anonymous forum posters around the United States mistakenly rant about the American Civil Liberties Union being anti-Christmas. These posters apparently pass around anti-ACLU emails filled with deliberately erroneous information and, without checking the facts, cut-and-paste them all over the Internet.

This year the HNJJ is going to be proactive, presenting only a handful of the many past ACLU cases that have supported the celebration of Christmas:

In 2003, the ACLU successfully defended the right of the members of a Massachusetts’ high school student Christian Bible Club to hand out candy canes with religious messages attached.

Five days before Christmas, 2006, Maui County, Hawaii, put up a Christmas tree after receiving a letter from the ACLU advising them they should get one.

The Rhode Island ACLU “…successfully interceded on behalf of an interdenominational group of carolers who were told they could not sing Christmas carols on Christmas Eve to inmates at the women’s prison in Cranston.”

While preempting the annual anti-ACLU Christmas posts, its also time to address the annual years-old “send a Christmas card to the ACLU” message which has been debunked by many fact checkers including Snopes and Urban Legend.

As Hillsborough is located in Central Jersey, we couldn’t sign off without mentioning 2005's Turton, et al. v. Frenchtown Elementary School, et al. In this case, a second-grader was denied permission to perform the hymn Awesome God at an after-school talent show due to the religious content of the song. The ACLU participated amicus curiae, defending the child’s right to sing her chosen song.

As a brief update, here are links to the ACLU article Celebrating Chistmas in America and further information on ACLU Defending Christmas.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Foxie and Bo

The HNJJ crew is proud to announce the addition of Foxie to our family...
In mid-October she was turned in as a stray to a West Virginia county shelter. According to her intake papers she weighed about 3-pounds and now weighs over 7-pounds. She was brought north by a NJ rescue group, spayed, cared for medically, groomed, and posted on Petfinder.

For the past two weeks Foxie and Miss Rose have been trying to work out the pecking order, but finally seem to have settled things without any bloodshed. Toonces the cat doesn't care...she knows she is top cat.
To celebrate Foxie's adoption and the holidays, here is White House dog Bo checking out the White House holiday decorations. This is also in memory of HNJJ's favorite Portuguese Water Dog Yoko...

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hillsborough Hosts Santa

Rescheduled to next Friday, December 14th, due to weather.
Hillsborough Township is hosting Santa Claus at this evening's tree lighting ceremony at the Municipal Building starting at 6:30 p.m.

According to the Hillsborough eNews:
The events of the evening are as follows:
•6:30pm arrive and enjoy carols performed by members of the Hillsborough High School Chorale
•Fire barrels for marshmallow roasting
•Live animals from Norz Hill Farms
•Christmas Tree decorating by local organizations
•Hot Chocolate and Cookies to snack on
•7:00pm Santa arrives to light the Tree with the Mayor, followed by visits with Santa at the North Pole
•The Hillsborough High School Wind Ensemble will be performing in the Peter J. Biondi Building - multipurpose room

Thursday, December 6, 2012

HTPB: Harding Corona Hearing Continued

This evening the Hillsborough Township Planning Board is scheduled to continue hearing the Harding Corona, LLC, application for an extended care facility on Route 206 at Old Somerville Road.

The 8.946-acre site is on the east side of Route 206 between Old Somerville Road and Doctor's Way, across from the historic Van der Veer-Harris House. This is also the proposed intersection of Route 206 and the Route 206 Bypass.

At the October hearing the applicant's experts included their engineer, environmental engineer, and architect.  Local residents asked questions regarding water, wildlife, noise, security, and fencing.

Local news sources wrote about this proposed project, ran an article as did the Hillsborough Patch.  While both articles referred to the project as a drug rehab facility, the application and the agenda call it an extended care facility.

HNJJ previously wrote about this application.

The meeting starts at 7:30 p.m. in the Hillsborough Municipal Building.
From this evening's HTPB agenda:
HARDING CORONA, LLC – File #12-PB-05-SR – Block 182, Lot 37 – 351 Route 206. Applicant seeking Preliminary and Final Major Site Plan approval with Waivers: 2-way parking lot aisle; parking lot rows; parking stall size; maximum front yard setback; pole lighting height; fencing; stream encroachment and an Economic Hardship Waiver requested to construct a 5 building extended care facility with medical and administrative offices totaling 34,115 SF in the HS District (EC: 09-24-12). Continued from October 04, 2012 without notice.
To view the video of the October 4th meeting go to approximately 20:00 hours here.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

HDA Meeeting Tonight: Charlie Kratovil

With the decline of local newspaper coverage, it is easy for community news to go unreported and citizens to lose track of where their government is going.  In many towns hyperlocal bloggers and websites are filling this void.

This evening's Hillsborough Democratic Alliance monthly meeting will feature  guest speaker Charlie Kratovil, editor of the hyperlocal online news-site New Brunswick Today.  The HDA refers to Mr. Kratovil, a 2003 graduate of Hillsborough High School, as an "...Investigative reporter, community organizer, leader of successful citizen campaigns in city governance, public school governance, and the influence of money in politics, through the power of online journalism. ...".

The meeting is being held at Avalon Assisted Living, 393 Amwell Road, Hillsborough with refreshments at 6:45 p.m., a business meeting at  7 p.m., and Mr. Kratovil speaking at 7:30 p.m.

Please bring non-perishable food/toiletries/paper goods to be donated to the Somerset County Food Bank.  Feel free to bring a holiday snack to share to add to the holiday spirit.

For more information about Mr. Kratovil go here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Sourland Preserve and Hurricane Sandy

The Somerset County Park Commission Sourland Mountain Preserve in Hillsborough and Montgomery remains closed until further notice due to Hurricane Sandy storm damage.

For more information, including a complete list of closed county parks,  go to the SCPC website.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Duke Farms and Hurricane Sandy

Due to damage caused by Hurricane Sandy on the Duke Farms property in Hillsborough (primarily downed and weakened trees) the main walking  and bicycling paths in the public area referred to as the "core" are still closed.  Only the Orientation Center and the nearby paths are open.

Additionally, Duke Farms' bald eagle nest suffered extensive damage. The tree in which it was located is down and the aerie broken up.  Duke Farms' Eagle Cam site has more information at the Post Hurricane Sandy Update including the optimistic comment, "... The timing of the storm is promising as it occurred prior to the nesting season, providing ample time for the pair of eagles to rebuild a nest. The State of New Jersey Fish and Wildlife and Duke Farms are eager to see if the pair will reconstruct their nest in the same location."

 According to, "...Even when a nest tree falls or a strong wind blows a nest down, the established pair usually rebuilds at or near the site ...".
For more information and updates go to the Duke Farms website.
Photograph of Orientation Center opening day courtesy of Susan Gulliford. Eagles' nest photo from Duke Farms online Eagle Cam 2011.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Miss Rose and the Christmas Lights

Miss Rose here doing another guest post.   I helped the humans find their Christmas lights and determined that the lights do they expect me to untangle them???
What the heck would they do without me?

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Operation Shoebox at Y Today

From  Hillsborough Rotary and Operation Shoebox NJ:
Volunteers are invited to join Operation Shoebox New Jersey staff pack gift boxes and send Christmas greetings to U.S. troops deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan at the Hillsborough YMCA  today.
The packing is being held in conjunction with members of the Hillsborough Rotary with volunteer registration beginning at 10 a.m., followed by opening ceremonies. The Y is located at 19 East Mountain Road.
Soldiers and Marines who were recipients of OPSHBX NJ gift packages during their overseas deployments are expected to attend and extend their thanks to the volunteers.

Volunteer packers are encouraged to donate personal care items for shipment, including snacks and toiletries. Check the shopping list on our website and bring along a bag of needed items.
The packages sent overseas will include a box of Girl Scout cookies donated by the Girl Scouts Heart of New Jersey council; bagged candy collected from 15 Walgreen stores donated by shoppers as well as Halloween candy donated by area dentist offices; cans of tuna, cans of fruit, trail mix, beef jerky, gum, candy, granola bars, powdered drink mixes, coffee, tea, oatmeal, hot chocolate, toothpaste, tooth brushes, ear swabs, moist wipes, sun block, eye drops, soap, shampoo, socks, stationary, envelopes, pens, batteries and other items.

Volunteers will also have the opportunity to sit down and write a short letter or Christmas card to the troops; all cards and letters will be inserted into the boxes. We'll also add stuffed animals and other gift items for the troops to hand out to young Iraqi and Afghan children

There will be raffles with hourly drawings for prizes and gifts. OPSHBX NJ will also be selling its 2013 gift calendar, filled with photographs of US troops overseas.
Since its founding in February, 2005, OPSHBX NJ volunteers have shipped over 59,000 personal care packages overseas.

Financial support is also needed to help pay the costs of shipping the packages. All donations are tax deductible. Volunteers are asked to sign up in advance on the OPSHBX NJ website.

Call Operation Shoebox New Jersey headquarters at (908) 698-0333 for further information or check their website.

Photo from a 2008 Operation Shoebox at Manville VFW.