Forum is held at Saint Martin’s Norman Worthington Center from 11:30am to 1pm. The cost is $30 general admission, $20 for members who reserve online and $25 for members at the door. Reservations are requested at 360.357.3362 or www.ThurstonChamber.com. The class of 2011 marks a milestone with over 400 participants having graduated from the program since it began. These leaders are now making a difference throughout our community and beyond. Leadership Thurston County (LTC) and the Thurston County Chamber Foundation are proud to recognize the Class of 2011 at the June 8 Chamber Forum presented by Anchor Bank. The keynote speaker is Denny Heck, entrepreneur, community philanthropist, founder of TVW and former legislator. Celebrate 2011 LTC Graduates at Chamber Forum Founded in 1992 by local leaders and tailored to local needs, Leadership Thurston County is a program of the Thurston County Chamber Foundation, a 501 (c) (3) educational, nonprofit organization. The program develops informed, skilled, and committed civic leaders ready to step up to serve our community. Facebook0Tweet0Pin0FOR FURTHER INFORMATION:David Schaffert, President/CEOPhone: 360.357.3362Email: dschaffert@ThurstonChamber.com LTC Graduation Presented By: Anchor BankForum Sponsors: Jensen Kokis Erwin and Boys and Girls Clubs of Thurston County
Facebook452Tweet0Pin0Submitted by Rebekah Finn for Harlequin ProductionsIn 2008, I had the incredible privilege of seeing the award-winning play August: Osage County at the National Theatre in London. We watched as, onstage, three generations of an American family struggled through the resentment and secrets they had pent up for years. The next day, we would be flying home to our own American families after three months of studying theater and literature abroad. Most of us were twenty-year-old kids, having just spent the longest time away from our parents ever. We missed our families and were ready to go home for the holidays, but we each privately wondered what our homes had in store for us after so much time and distance. Would our relationships be different? Would we fight with our parents? Would our siblings think we’d changed? Would we be happy to be home?August: Osage County opens August 24 at the State Theater. Photo courtesy: Harelquin ProductionsSure, all these thoughts had been swirling somewhere in the back of our minds, but Tracy Letts’ incredible writing in August: Osage County had a way of pulling the emotions of our family relationships to the surface. Further driving the point home, we had been studying T.S. Eliot all semester, and the references to Eliot’s poetry in the play gave the final stitch, sewing together our studies and our personal lives.“This is a classic example of art mirroring life,” says Aaron Lamb, who is directing the local production of August: Osage County with Harlequin Productions. “The family relationships, the problems and interactions, while specific in the play, are so recognizable to any great American family.”And isn’t this part of the point of any piece of art? To show us a new way of looking at ourselves and our world? To laugh, to cry, to give an outlet to our emotions? My theory is that these are the reasons this particular play became so popular so quickly and even won a Pulitzer Prize. Indeed, this is a very well-known play in the theater community, and Harlequin Productions has wanted to put it on for many years.The production boosts a large cast and set, making it a big undertaking for Harlequin Productions. Photo courtesy: Harelquin Productions“The difficulty is the size – the cast is large, the set is large, it’s long, it’s a lot to rehearse, so it’s a big undertaking,” explains Lamb, “but we’ve finally nailed it down.”Not to say that it has been an easy path since beginning preparations. It has certainly taken its toll on its director’s energy level, but he is very proud of the work of the entire cast and crew, saying:“We have a very skilled cast. Every member is of a very high caliber.” One name you may recognize is Ellen McLain, who is known for voicing GLaDOS in the video game Portal and will be playing the devious Weston matriarch Violet. Well-known Seattle actress Angela DiMarco will be playing one of Violet’s daughters, Karen Weston. They are also joined by beloved Harlequin regulars Jason Haws, Ann Flannigan and Russ Holm, plus Doug Fahl, John Forbes, Dana Goodknight, Bill Johns, Janette Oswald, Mackenzie Platt, Brian Pucheu, and Jenny Vaughn Hall.“Directing this show is similar to an opera, because it’s huge. With thirteen people, a set with seven rooms and three levels, it’s a lot to orchestrate. And textually, the script is almost like music, so it’s a way of shaping and phrasing text and spoken word in a similar way to phrasing a piece of music.”The title of the play gives us the setting. It is a hot summer in Osage County, Oklahoma when the Weston family is reunited over the disappearance of their patriarch, the esteemed poet Beverly Weston. You may recognize the plot and title from the 2013 Hollywood production starring Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts. While I’ve heard mixed reviews from the common cinema-goer, the film itself was nominated for multiple awards including Oscars, Golden Globes, BAFTAs, and Screen Actors Guild awards.The play was made into a film starring Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep in 2013. Photo courtesy: Harelquin ProductionsLamb’s comment on the film? “If you’ve seen the movie and didn’t like it, maybe that’s because it can’t really speak to you in the same way as it was intended to on the page, so give it a shot here [at Harlequin]. If you’ve seen the movie and did like it, you’ll probably like this better because this was its intended medium.”How will this production be different from the movie and other interpretations of the play?“My philosophy in approaching this piece as a director is to tell this story without trying to add to it. I’m staying really close to the page. It’s a piece that speaks for itself, and I need to honor that and not try to overpower it with my ideas,” explains Lamb.And I can personally attest to the fact that this text will speak for itself. If you let it, this play will be an incredible emotional experience for you. Come to the theater and find out what I mean.August: Osage County opens on August 24, 2017, at the State Theater in downtown Olympia, and runs through September 16. Get your tickets at the Harlequin Productions website or call the box office at 360-786-0151.
For the 6th annual Valentines for Veterans Drive, Congressman Denny Heck is inviting students to make cards for veterans and first responders. Photo courtesy: The Office of Congressman Denny HeckAylen Junior High School (Puyallup School District)Brouillet Elementary (Puyallup School District)Cherrydale Primary School (Steilacoom Historical School District)Cougar Mountain Middle School (Bethel School District)Edgerton Elementary (Puyallup School District)Hillside Elementary (Clover Park School District/Joint Base Lewis-McChord)Maplewood Elementary (Puyallup School District)Meeker Elementary (Puyallup School District)Midland Elementary (Franklin Pierce School District)Ridgecrest Elementary (Puyallup School District)Roy Elementary (Bethel School District)Sunrise Elementary (Puyallup School District)Wildwood Elementary (Puyallup School District)Thurston CountyMountain View Elementary (North Thurston School District)Centennial Elementary (Olympia School District)Anyone wishing to participate can drop off Valentine’s Day cards at Congressman Heck’s district offices between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, January 25 – February 9. Teachers and school districts can contact the Pierce County office at 253-533-8332 or the Thurston/Mason County office at 360-459-8514 to arrange an appointment for large pickups.The Pierce County office is located in the Lakewood City Hall:6000 Main Street SW, Suite 3BLakewood, WA, 98499The Thurston/Mason County office is located on the third floor of Lacey City Hall:420 College Street SE, Third FloorLacey, WA 98503 Facebook16Tweet0Pin0Submitted by the Office of Congressman Denny HeckFor the sixth annual Valentines for Veterans Drive, Congressman Denny Heck (WA-10) is encouraging students of all ages around the South Sound to pen and design valentines for local first responders as well as veterans. The cards are one way to say to these heroes, “thank you for your service and for keeping us safe.”Congressman Heck and his office will then deliver the cards to veterans organizations and first responder work stations on Valentine’s Day.“Students in the South Sound have big hearts, and they do an amazing job on their valentines every year,” Heck said. “This is one small way to give our heroes a new keepsake for their desk or fridge illustrating our appreciation for how they protect and serve this community.”Students of all grade levels and ages are welcome to participate.The following schools in the South Sound have signed on to provide valentines:Pierce County
Facebook141Tweet0Pin0Submitted by The Evergreen State CollegeAs kids and teachers learn and work from home during the pandemic, both may have a renewed appreciation for the physical gathering space a classroom provides. Though distance-learning technology makes digital classrooms possible, it also blurs the line between life and school. According to Sue Feldman, director of The Evergreen State College’s newly-redesigned Master in Teaching (MiT) program, teachers and schools have an opportunity to learn from this moment and to build a stronger community that supports students after the bell has rung (or after the window has closed).Since graduating from Evergreen’s MiT program in 1996, Au has gone on to write books like Reclaiming the Multicultural Roots of U.S. Curriculum and Unequal by Design: High Stakes Testing and the Standardization of Inequality. Photo courtesy: The Evergreen State CollegeFeldman says this work can involve teachers who see richness in the diversity of the school community and know how to find and share community resources. “There should be a clear connection between students’ lives inside and outside school,” says Feldman. “Schools are a community asset. The more we can invite the community into schools, the better the schools are.” Evergreen’s redesigned MiT program aims to do just this.Bringing the Neighborhood Back TogetherIn addition to structural changes such as reducing time spent in the program from two years to just one, an emphasis on community building is central to every aspect. Whereas typical teacher education programs place one student-teacher with one experienced teacher for one term, Evergreen’s new placement model aims to connect groups of student-teachers with a school community.During this uncertain time families are looking to schools and teachers more than ever to provide support to students. Evergreen’s MiT program aims to equip teachers with the tools and abilities necessary to become community-connectors. Photo courtesy: The Evergreen State College“We’re moving toward having a long-term partnership with local schools so that our students come as an asset to them,” says Feldman. “The school becomes a mentor site, where every teacher, para educator, administrator, student and parent in the school has something to contribute to an aspiring teacher’s practice.”Crowdsourcing knowledge across a school community in this way can be a lifesaver for new teachers who have so much to learn in such a short period of time. Wayne Au, an Evergreen MiT graduate and award-winning professor at University of Washington Bothell’s School of Educational Studies, says, “In addition to understanding subject matter, teachers need a disposition of critical self-reflection and growth, knowing and caring for their students and communities and a commitment to reaching as many kids as is humanly possible.” For those who have chosen teaching as their path, the gravity of Au’s words is not lost. Evergreen’s MiT program is poised to prepare aspiring teachers as best as possible with a network of support.Textbook EvergreenEvergreen’s redesigned MiT program will connect students to local schools, and their community. Shelby Rose, a student-teacher in the program works with students in Lincoln Options Elementary school in the fall of 2019. Photo courtesy: The Evergreen State CollegeStudents of the redesigned MiT program will work closely with both fellow student-teachers and Evergreen’s expert faculty. A cutting-edge curriculum addressing equity in the education system (something that has long been a part of the program) remains central, as does an emphasis on showing aspiring teachers how to create curriculum relevant to all the students in their classrooms.As usual at Evergreen, the MiT program assesses student-teachers using a system of narrative evaluations from faculty instead of grades. This way, aspiring teachers can more easily see where they’ve improved over time and where they may need to focus their efforts to better support their own students. This feedback joins that from teachers in the placement school to help MiT students improve quickly and to minimize their chances of developing harmful teaching habits.The program has a long track record of successful graduates and a job placement rate of 100% over the past few years. The changes to the program aim to streamline the experience and better prepare teachers while graduating them faster and with less debt.While nobody knows for certain what education will look like after the dust of COVID-19 has settled for good, Au says, “I think teachers are going to come out of this much more valued than they have been in the past.” He adds, “If I’m being an optimist, this experience has expanded our horizons about what is possible.” Feldman agrees, saying, “We have an opportunity to think with schools about what new teachers need to know.”“We are learning all the time,” says Au. “The important thing is what we are learning.”Applications for Evergreen’s MiT program are open now through November 1. The first cohort of the redesigned program will begin classes in spring and summer quarters 2021.
Image Courtesy: Getty/buildlineup.comAdvertisement md1rNBA Finals | Brooklyn VsmyWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E9uiarc( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 88c4tfWould you ever consider trying this?😱c6i04Can your students do this? 🌚awkRoller skating! Powered by Firework In his latest book ‘Reboot : My Life, My Time’, English football legend Michael Owen has cited in his all time favourite starting 11 consisting the Three Lions stars. Which players have made the final cut? Let’s find out.Advertisement Image Courtesy: Getty/buildlineup.comThe 39 year old has chosen Glenn Hoddle as the gaffer, who took the Englishmen to the group of 16 in the 1998 FIFA World Cup, to manage a 3-5-2 formation for the dream 11, but has excluded himself out of the team.The Liverpool hall of fame, who swapped jersey with the Galacticos in 2004, before joining Newcastle United just the following year, has recently been dealing slack with former Magpies teammate Alan Shearer, deprecating the legend’s time at St. James Park.Advertisement Add to that, Owen’s bitterness towards David Beckham regarding the red card against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup, it was expected that the duo would be left out of his team.However the clash hasn’t stopped Owen to call up their names as his preferred front man and midfielder, an example of true sportsmanship.Advertisement Image Courtesy: buildlineup.comStanding under the crossbar is the Gunners legend David Seaman: “the best goalkeeper over the past couple of decades” as Owen describes the 75 times capped former international.The trio in charge of defense are to be Sol Campbell, John Terry and Rio Ferdinand, three of the best center backs of their time.Owen’s teammates from Old Trafford and Anfield- Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard, are his preferred central midfielders, and Ashley Cole joins up David Beckham on the wings.Chelsea manager and legend Frank Lampard is chosen to be Owen’s favourite man as the attacking midfielder, as he narrates: “Frank’s goalscoring record is phenomenal.”Linking up Shearer up front is England’s all time top goalscorer Wayne Rooney, currently landing screamers in the MLS for DC United. Advertisement
Advertisement ahuq5NBA Finals | Brooklyn VsltzWingsuit rodeo📽Sindre E3of( IG: @_aubreyfisher @imraino ) 78kdWould you ever consider trying this?😱g7dCan your students do this? 🌚xpnRoller skating! Powered by Firework Former Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi hailed Virat Kohli as a ‘great player’ and wished him success after the Indian captain broke quite a few records on Wednesday night. In the second T20I against South Africa at Mohali, Kohli scored an unbeaten 72 from 52 balls while chasing a decent target of 150 and he became the only batsman to have a batting average above 50 in all three formats of the game. He also has become the highest run-scorer in T20I cricket with 2441 runs from 71 matches.Advertisement And the former attacking batsman, Afridi acknowledged all his feats through Twitter, saying,Advertisement “Congratulations @imVkohli You are a great player indeed, wish you continued success, keep entertaining cricket fans all around the world.”Afridi previously had praised Kohli for his extraordinary batsmanship, picking him ahead of MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar in his all-time World Cup side.Coincidentally, Kohli who received the man of the match award for the 11th time is now tied with Afridi (11) on the second number in the all-time list after Afghanistan’s Mohammad Nabi (12).While receiving the accolade, Kohli confessed that he found motivation from the memorable innings against Australia in the 2016 T20 World Cup while he was walking out to bat in Mohali.Earlier, South Africa after being asked to bat first registered 149 in their innings with Quinton de Kock the top performer of his side with 52 from 37 deliveries. And Kohli, who loves to chase, organised his superb innings with four boundaries and three maximums as India won with an over to spare. Advertisement
In a Jan. 19 letter to Rootes-Murdy, Martin wrote that Addendum XXVIII would “serve as a de facto moratorium on summer flounder for the recreational fishing industry in New Jersey.”If New Jersey were not to accept the Option Five measures, a precautionary default measure would be implemented for recreational fluke fishing – a 20” size limit and a bag limit of two fish. Rootes-Murdy said this measure is used as a backstop to ensure states follow the approved guidelines.Not forgotten in this equation are the commercial fisherman, who are constantly monitoring federal fluking regulations.In August 2016, the ASMFC and the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council – a regional fishery management entity that covers waters from New York to North Carolina – decided that, due to the possible over fishing of fluke, a 30 percent decrease in the commercial quota would be necessary. That would put the 2017 quota down 5.66 million pounds commercially for the year.The Belford Seafood Co-Op, a fishing enterprise operating on approximately 11 acres of land on bay side of Middletown, is a key player in New Jersey’s commercial fishing scene.Roy Diehl, captain of the Donna Lynn – a 60’ commercial trawler out of the Belford Seafood Co-Op – fishes for fluke all year. He says roughly 50 percent of the dock’s income is dependent on fluke.Roy Diehl, Co-Op president and captain of the Donna Lynn, is just one out of a few year-round commercial flukers based out of Belford.He estimates that 50 percent of the dock’s income comes from fluke.“We should be at 13 to 14 million pounds per year, half of what it was in the 1980’s when it was 30 million a year,” Diehl said.While the yearly quotas are set, Diehl must meet specific guidelines which spread out his fishing days. Right now, he is allowed to catch 1,500 pounds of fluke every two weeks. In peak season, which is May and June, he’ll be able to catch 500 pounds per trip, with four trips in a week.Although a proponent for appropriate management, he says that the fishing can be regulated efficiently through new data gathering methods, a claim constantly brought up along with fluke regulations.Instead of data-gathering boats trailing the commercial fisherman, Diehl suggests the commercial folks do the data gathering themselves.“It’s just a shame that they won’t let us fish,” he said. “We’re not asking for a lot; we just want to be within reason.” On Tuesday afternoon, crew members of the Donna Lynn unload a day trip’s worth of spiny dogfish, which were being packaged and shipped immediately to Massachusetts.John Amici, the harbor manager, believes the deep fishing history is a trademark of Atlantic Highlands.Tasked with ensuring the harbor is as full with boats as possible, Amici said he’s already received calls from boaters who are questioning whether or not to dock their boats there this summer.“It’s part of the charm of Atlantic Highlands to come down, walk by the water and look at the boats,” he said. “It’s just a big attraction.”Frank McDonald, the harbor commission chairman, says Atlantic Highlands has invested money into the harbor so it can be competitive on the shore. By Jay Cook |ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – After a decision made last week aimed at protecting the Atlantic Ocean’s primary cash fish, New Jersey anglers now believe their industry is in dire straits.The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC), a federally regulated authority that oversees fishing management for the 15 states along the Atlantic Coast, has decided to increase regulations on summer flounder for 2017.“With what they’re proposing, it’s going to be the final nail in our coffin,” said Ron Santi, a head boat captain based out of Atlantic Highlands.On Feb. 2, the ASMFC passed Addendum XXVIII with a 7-3-2 vote, choosing Option 5, which calls for new recreational regulations on summer flounder, commonly known as fluke.Those sanctions propose an increase in keeper length from 18” to 19”, along with a reduction in bag limits from five fish to three. The season length will remain the same, though, open from May 21 through Sept. 25.“When looking at recreational and commercial fisheries on a whole, it seems as though for 20 to 30 years, we’ve been fishing at a higher level than the resources can sustain,” said Kirby Rootes-Murdy, a senior fishery management plan coordinator with ASMFC.Between recreational and commercial fishing, fluking generates nearly $2.5 billion for the state’s economy, according to the NJ Department of Environmental Protection.Santi, captain of the 72-foot head boat named Fishermen, believes these are draconian sanctions which could kill the recreational fishing industry. The new regulation could effectively reduce recreational fluke fishing hauls by roughly 30 percent.“I’m sick of the bureaucracy looking down at me – we’re part of the country, too,” he said.In addition to Belmar and Point Pleasant, the Atlantic Highlands Harbor is one of the more popular head (or party) boat fishing destinations in Monmouth County. Though what makes Atlantic Highlands unique is the harbor is run as a public utility, similar to water and sewer departments in other towns.According to Adam Hubeny, the borough’s administrator, the Atlantic Highlands Harbor sends nearly $1 million back to the municipality every year, which is used to offset property taxes.“Anytime the harbor is in a position to lose any part of its fishing fleet, the tenants that lease mooring and berthing space or have boaters who don’t buy fuel, that will have an ill effect on the municipal taxes,” Hubeny said.The Atlantic Highlands Harbor, which was constructed between 1938 and 1940, oversees one primary launch ramp, eight head boat slips, roughly 475 regular slips, 171 moorings for sailboats and 125 spots for summer land storages. “This is what the town has banked on, and I certainly hope we can keep it going,” McDonald said. “When you have stuff like this, it’s really tough.”Both Amici and McDonald believe these new regulations could not only hurt the fisherman, but the businesses who depend on steady and successful fluking.While most bait and tackle shops are closed this time of the year, 87-year-old Ernie Giglio was at work in his shop Monday morning, ironically preparing to make fluke rigs.“We’re really geared for fluke fishing and striped bass, those are the two big ones,” said Giglio, whose son Tom now owns Giglio’s Bait and Tackle in Sea Bright.Since 1961, the shop has been a fluke fishing hub, attracting anglers who fish from the head boats, the surf and on kayaks in the ocean.Not one fond of government restrictions, Giglio said his son’s business will feel the effects of these new rules, because a majority of the store’s summer time traffic comes from fluke fishing. While the shop still may stay afloat thanks to the other fish in the area, he continues to worry.“I think we’ll still survive with the striped bass and the bluefish, as long as they come around, but the fluke will definitely have a huge effect on us,” Giglio said. “I hope it doesn’t wipe us out.”As a whole, state officials sharing the anglers’ concerns are coming out against ASMFC’s decisions. U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. has been out front with the anglers, joining them in opposition. NJ DEP commissioner Bob Martin has come on as well.
Mans explained that the NJDEP is looking both outward and inward to see where the state can plug into federal clean energy initiatives, as well as act as a leader.Mans spoke of an executive order signed by Murphy in May that set a goal of 3,500 megawatts of offshore wind capacity to be generated off New Jersey’s coast by the year 2030.“This is an area where we’re playing a bit of catch up with other coastal states,” Mans said, noting recently announced projects in Massachusetts and New York.The NJDEP has pinpointed four favorable sites at least three miles off the coast of southern New Jersey in federally regulated waters. The state recently concluded several stakeholder meetings, including one in Belmar, and is currently in the midst of a public comment period to better understand the ramifications of developing these sites and what impact they may have on surrounding wildlife, including bird migrations. UPHOLDING PARIS AGREEMENTMans also stated that New Jersey had joined the United States Climate Alliance, a bipartisan coalition of 16 states and Puerto Rico, which is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.President Donald Trump announced in June that he intends to pull the country out of the international accord on Nov. 4, 2020 – the earliest possible withdrawal date – due to cost concerns, job loss and negative impacts on the coal industry.“Just because the United States pulled out of it doesn’t mean that we as a state can’t go and achieve the goals,” Mans said. “There’s a lot we can be doing locally and as a state to make a difference.”This article was first published in the July 26-Aug. 2, 2018 print edition of The Two River Times. Mans said. “And we can step in to help groups and municipalities financially to purchase land, if and when they find a willing seller.”CLEAN ENERGY BY 2050 “For a long time we did have a state plan that really did try to direct nodes of growth and open space preservation, in conjunction with counties and local entities. And that’s sort of been withering on the vine for the past few years,” said Mans, who was appointed to the NJDEP in February after serving as the executive director of the Keyport-based NY/NJ Baykeeper. By Chris Rotolo | HOLMDEL – Monmouth County is rapidly developing vacant land along its highways and waterfront, but there is a renewed desire by the state to preserve open space.At a July 16 meeting of local environmentalists in Holmdel, deputy commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Debbie Mans, said state planning could have an impact on conservation efforts. With approximately 25 members of the Holmdel-based Citizens for Informed Land Use organization in attendance, Mans discussed NJDEP’s agenda under Murphy, including a commitment to completely renewable clean energy by 2050.One aspect of that process includes the NJDEP rejoining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a cooperative effort among 10 Northeast and mid-Atlantic states to cap and reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector, including the placement of mandatory compliance obligations on fossil-fueled power plants.THE POWER OF WIND Though Mans understands that most land use choices are decided at the municipal and county levels, she did state that Gov. Phil Murphy is interested in bringing the idea of conservation back to the forefront with state planning.The mindset of Mans and Murphy is aligned with Two River-area citizens groups like the Neighbors for Waterfront Property in Atlantic Highlands who are working to preserve one of the last remaining tracts of undeveloped land on the Bayshore from being developed into 21 homes, and those in Middletown who are entrenched in a battle to hinder the Village 35 project.“A lot of these choices are very local, but when our regulations are triggered we have permitting authority,”
In recent years the brothers have regularly supplied towns like Red Bank and Asbury Park with massive Balsam firs to be lit up for holiday events, but the Clarks agree that no tradition has meant more to their family business than the Trees for Troops drive. “It’s a little thing for us to do and we felt like we had to,” Elaine said, after penning a cheerful note to an unknown soldier and pinning it to the prickly branch of one of approximately 200 donated trees collected by Fir Farm personnel over the first weekend in December. “Sometimes you’re just horrified when you hear that healthcare is so poor for our veterans and living conditions on the bases are not what you think they would, or should, be. So this is a small way for us to brighten the holidays for a military family and we’re happy to do it,” Elaine added. The 23-acre Fir Farm at 166 Hillsdale Road has been selling Christmas Trees for nearly 40 years. he Fir Farm’s scenic barn was decorated for the holidays and served as the backdrop forlast weekend’s Trees for Troops effort at the 23-acre Colts Neck farm. Brothers Bob and Mickey Clark took ownership of the grounds in 2003. They have continued the tradition of providing locals with the option of purchasing a pre-cut pine or wandering the parcel to identify and cut down their own Christmas tree. “Two years ago a note that my kids wrote out with pictures of reindeer and Santa Claus was featured on the site,” Bob added. “And to see the joy it brought to that service member, and how thankful they were to have the tree, it’s what the holiday season is all about.” Since its inception, the program has made 208,720 tree donations. The Clarks’ Fir Farm operates in rarified air, as one of just 13 participating Christmas tree vendors around the country, including operations in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. For the past five years the Fir Farm has participated in a program known as Trees for Troops, an initiative founded in 2005 by the National Christmas Tree Association and its offshoot, the Christmas SPIRIT Foundation. Annually Trees for Troops delivers thousands of Christmas trees to families and individuals stationed at domestic military bases, as well as those located abroad in active war zones. Last year there were more than 17,400 trees donated to 70 U.S. military bases and an estimated 250 trees shipped to troops stationed at four different international bases. “It’s always nice to give back, but when you can give back to members of our military, we jumped at the opportunity,” said Bob Clark, whose father served in the Navy during World War II. “It’s military-related. It’s Christmas tree-related. We have the farm. So it just fit our situation like a glove.” “I’ve read them all. It’s very touching,” Bob Clark, left, chats with Elaine and Al Cangiarella, Cliffwood Beach residents andHoliday Express volunteers who ventured to the Fir Farm simply to donate a Christmas tree to a military family to brighten their holiday season. COLTS NECK – When Elaine and Al Cangiarella rolled down the rugged dirt driveway of the Fir Farm in Colts Neck this past Sunday, the couple was in search of a piney Balsam fir capable of bringing the aroma and warmth of the holiday into a home…just not their own. Those who venture to the Fir Farm have the option to attach a personalized note to a donated tree. Upon receiving the donation, troops and their families are encouraged to submit photos and thank you notes for social media publication. “They write the nicest things about their experience and what it means to them that strangers would go out of their way to brighten their holiday,” said Manalapan native Trish Walsh, a volunteer enlisted by Clark to assist with the collection. The Fir Farm is joined by fellow Garden State distributors as Cerbo’s Parsippany Greenhouse and Donaldson’s Greenhouse & Nursery in Hackettstown. For more information about the Fir Farm’s participation in the effort visit thefirfarm.com.
It’s looking like a road team series in the AHL Calder Cup Atlantic Division Finals between the Binghamton Senators, the farm team of the NHL’s Ottawa Senators and Portland Pirates.Tim Conboy’s goal with 13 seconds left to play in regulation broke a 2-2 tie to power the Portland Pirates a 3-2 victory over the B-Sens in the Atlantic Division Finals Saturday in Binghamton.The B-Sens still lead the best-of-seven series 2-1 with game four set for Monday at the Broome County Arena in Binghamton. Binghamton won the first two games of the series in Portland by 3-2 and 5-3.Ryan Keller and Kaspars Daugavins handled the scoring for the B-Sens, each chipping in their fifth goal of the playoffs.Ryan Potulny added his team-leading 17th point with a helper in the first in the losing effort.Robin Lehner continued his fine play in net for the Binghamton, stopping 30 of 33 shots faced.Binghamton defenceman and Nelson Minor Hockey grad Geoff Kinrade finished the game a minus-1.