Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Patch wants to know your thoughts on why 2012 was rife with violence.
As we embark on 2013, we know 2012 was a year full of memories–both good and bad. What we did see last year, however, was a large amount of violence, much of which included weapons and led to horrific tragedies. There was the movie theater shooting in Colorado, the mall shooting in Oregon, and the mid-December massacre of 20 children at an elementary school in Connecticut. For some, the violent acts turned into a debate and forum for gun control. For others, it was about the safety–or lack thereof–in schools and public places. Then there were the parents and even some media columnists who pointed at the ever-growing amount of accepted violence in television, movies and music. Many believe it's an oversight in helping the mentally ill …
Sunday, December 30, 2012
U.S. needs a genuine third party to deal with this and other issues.
Looking back from this point, the last year seems to have been filled with misery and grief: the Newtown mass shooting that killed 20 children, Superstorm Sandy and the devastation she brought, the Aurora theater shooting. Locally, there have teen suicides that touched several communities. Longtime businesses have shut their doors or announced their closings. Many in red Northwest Jersey probably viewed the re-election of President Barack Obama as bad news, as well. So perhaps it is appropriate that the nation spends the last hours of 2012 teetering on the edge of the so-called "fiscal cliff." Part of what led us to the cliff was well-intentioned: A bill designed to reduce the federal deficit. The other main problem was beneficial to …
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Is murder of 26 people, most of them children, enough to make Washington take notice?
Bullet-proof glass in every window. Armed guards monitoring X-ray machines at the sole entrance. Snipers on the rooftop keeping watch over the playground. Is this the future of elementary schools in New Jersey and the nation? It’s hard to imagine everything school officials would have to do to make children completely safe, after the horrific slaughter Friday at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. There is one thing that this nation must do: Congress must pass and the president must sign laws putting much greater controls on guns, preferably to include an Australia-style firearms buy back. Information about the senseless murder of 20 first-graders and six staff members at the school is still incomplete, with new details seeming …
Sunday, December 2, 2012
NJ needs to adopt rules to ensure everyone can vote more easily if another disaster hits.
All the ballots have finally been counted in New Jersey. Once they are certified by the state canvassers on Friday, New Jersey can finally close the book on this difficult election. Or can it? The constitutional litigation clinic of Rutgers Newark Law School is poking into the votes, asking for information about the processing of special balloting New Jersey Secretary of State Kim Guadagno ordered to help those displaced by Superstorm Sandy. Remember, thousands were homeless, either literally because their houses were destroyed or left uninhabitable, or by choice because they had left cold, dark buildings to stay with family or friends or at a hotel. Even some polling places were without power and so had to be moved. Guadagno ordered the …
Sunday, November 18, 2012
Politicians have to make tough—perhaps expensive—decisions and need to start taking action.
It’s been three weeks since Superstorm Sandy blew through New Jersey, and past time to begin figuring out how to minimize losses the next time. Some solutions involve building; some, doing the opposite. Just as the attacks of Sept. 11 brought talk of rebuilding, there have been vows to restore the shore back to Oct. 28, 2012, as if nothing had happened. That would be a huge and costly mistake. It is not politically correct to say that at least some of what was destroyed should not be rebuilt. But it’s the truth. Barrier islands are aptly named. They are supposed to serve as barriers for the shoreline. When a major storm like Sandy or Irene hits, they will take the brunt of it and provide some measure of protection for the mainland. They …
Sunday, November 4, 2012
Be sure to cast your vote as an unprecedented NJ election unfolds following historic storm.
There is an election on Tuesday. Who cares? Everyone should care. It's the big presidential balloting, comes around only once every four years. There's one U.S. Senate and all House seats up. Two statewide ballot questions. Three state Assembly seats, including one in District 26 that covers Parsippany and other parts of Morris County. County freeholders. mayors and council members. And, for the first time in a November, school board members—the majority of districts throughout the state pushed their school elections to November to eliminate the public vote on the budget. All of this is central to our democracy. And everyone should get out and vote. But it's the last thing on the minds of many people, and who can blame them. They're still …
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
It's not even Halloween yet and some stores are already putting up Christmas decorations. Is it too soon to deck the halls or are you ready for the 2012 Holiday Season to begin?
It's an annual question for merchants and shoppers: How soon is too soon to deck the malls and shopping centers for the Christmas holiday season? Some stores have already begun the process. Christmas music, decorations and layaway ads can already been seen in the shopping aisle at local stores. Halloween decorations still dominate, but signs of Christmas are already creeping in. So what do you think? When is too early for the Christmas shopping season to begin? Do the decorations and Christmas ads entice you to buy early or make you grit your teeth and wish for more time before the holiday rush begins?
Sunday, October 21, 2012
Complaints skyrocket and agency charged with enforcing the law looks to public for a solution.
There are just two weeks until Election Day. Recent polls would indicate New Jersey has no real contests, which could save residents from those oh-so-annoying robocalls hawking this candidate or that one. But don't count on it. It seems like the political robocalls come no matter what. Just like the telemarketers. The difference is that political calls are permitted—of course, politicians passed the law—but traditional telemarketing isn't, at least not from companies with which a person has no business relationship. And commercial robocalls are altogether illegal unless a person has given permission to receive them. The most recent data from the Federal Trade Commission, charged with enforcing the law, show complaints ballooning—there …
Sunday, October 7, 2012
Data on bullying and breakfasts show schools still have a lot to do to help students.
Two separate groups released last week seemingly unrelated reports, both with wide-ranging implications for education and students. One, put out by the Advocates for Children of New Jersey, examined participation rates in school breakfast programs in New Jersey. The other, from the Department of Education, provided the first district counts of incidents of harassment and intimidation since the state's anti-bullying law took effect. The 2011-12 bullying statistics were included as part of the state's annual violence and vandalism report, and boosted the total number of reported incidents (weapons and drug and alcohol incidents are included as well) by more than 50 percent over 2010-11. Some of the results were surprising, and disturbing. …
Saturday, September 29, 2012
You're really going to have a fun time with our site, we promise.
Hey, neighbor! That’s right, we’re neighbors now. We’re going to share snow shovels, borrow a cup of milk from each other, and talk about all that’s going on in town so we can keep each other informed. OK, so maybe not all those things, but what we’re trying to say is, welcome to our neighborhood! We’re Patch, a hyper-local, online news site that will be reporting on all the news you need to know in Hackettstown. We don’t have a print publication, but you can reach us at hackettstown.patch.com, either on the computer, tablet, or smart phone. We've also got our own page on Facebook, where you an 'like' us–check out www.facebook.com/hackettstownnjpatch We’re glad to be here, and really excited about exploring everything there is to know in …