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Noting its many programs and services assisting Ocean County’s low-income families, the anti-poverty agency, O.C.E.A.N. Inc., recently was recognized by the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders during National Community Action Month.

National Community Action Month was created by the Community Action Partnership to reinforce the importance of agencies who help low-income families achieve economic stability. Continue reading O.C.E.A.N. INC. RECOGNIZED DURING COMMUNITY ACTION MONTH

9th District-Supported “Combat to College” Passes Senate

The Senate overwhelmingly passed legislation sponsored by Senator Christopher J. Connors, Assemblyman Brian E. Rumpf and Assemblywoman DiAnne C. Gove which would grant priority in registering for courses at a public institution of higher education to military service members and veterans living in the state. Continue reading 9th District-Supported “Combat to College” Passes Senate


In a magical kingdom beneath the sea, the beautiful young mermaid Ariel, longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s most beloved stories and the classic animated film, Disney’s The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages. Continue reading BCCT PRESENTS: THE LITTLE MERMAID

70 Question Quiz for Christmas


  1. Name 5 of Santa’s 8 reindeer from the “Twas the night before Christmas” poem (Rudolph doesn’t count!)Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Blitzen, Comet, Cupid, Donner
  2. Who played the main character George Bailey in the film “It’s A Wonderful Life”?James Stewart
  3. What date is St Stephen’s Day?26th December
  4. In Charles Dickens’ novel “A Christmas Carol”, who was Scrooge’s dead business partner?Jacob Marley
  5. London’s Trafalgar Square Christmas tree is traditionally given by which country?Norway
  6. Which Christmas carol includes the lyrics “…to save us all from Satan’s power, when we were gone astray…”?God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  7. The character Jack Skellington appears in which 1993 Tim Burton film?The Nightmare before Christmas
  8. What is New Year’s Eve called in Scotland?Hogmanay
  9. How many maids were a-milking in the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song?8
  10. Who is officially credited as the author of “Auld Lang Syne”?Robert Burns
  11. In the song “Winter Wonderland”, who do we pretend the snowman is?Parson Brown
  12. In which film does this quote appear – “Bless this highly nutritious microwavable macaroni and cheese dinner and the people who sold it on sale. Amen.”?Home Alone
  13. What red-blooming Christmas plant came originally from Mexico?Poinsetta
  14. Which actor is the narrator in the 2000 film “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”?Anthony Hopkins
  15. Pine needles are said to be a good source of which vitamin?C
  16. What is the zodiac sign of people born on 25 December?Capricorn
  17. “Christmas Crackers” was the first Christmas edition of which popular British sitcom?Only Fools and Horses
  18. What was Queen’s 1984 Christmas single called?Thank God it’s Christmas
  19. How many lords were a-leaping in the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song?10
  20. Jackie Wilson’s re-issued song “Reet Petite” became the 1986 UK Christmas number one after helping to advertise what brand?Levi’s
  21. La Befana is the legendary character who delivers Christmas presents to children in which European country?Italy
  22. Before the tradition of hanging stockings up at Christmas what did Dutch children hang by the fireside?Shoes
  23. Who banned Christmas in England between 1647 and 1660?Oliver Cromwell
  24. Christmas Island in the Indian Ocean is a territory of which country?Australia
  25. Child star Jimmy Boyd sang which hugely popular 1950’s Christmas song, which was initially banned by the Catholic Church in Boston?“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”
  26. What is the name of The Simpson’s pet greyhound?Santa’s Little Helper
  27. Born on Christmas Day in 1954, she had hits with such songs as “Walking on Broken Glass” and “No More I Love Yous”, what is her name?Annie Lennox
  28. Which word, often associated with Christmas songs, stems from the Greek word for circle dance?Carol
  29. In which country is St. Nicholas called Sinterklaas?Netherlands
  30. In 1983, who was UK Christmas Number One with “Only You”?The Flying Pickets
  31. Everyone remembers Band Aid, what year were they Number One in the UK charts?1984
  32. Which Christmas word means “turning of the sun”?Yuletide
  33. How many pipers were piping in the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song?11
  34. In which city is Kevin left “Home Alone” at Christmas (the first movie)?Chicago
  35. What do George C. Scott, Daffy Duck, Patrick Stewart, Michael Caine, Fred Flintstone and Jim Carrey all have in common?They have all played Ebeneezer Scrooge
  36. Which Christmas song contains these lyrics – “for yellow and red ones let’s stop all the fight”?“Happy Christmas (War is Over)” by John Lennon
  37. The traditional English Father Christmas was not dressed in red. What colour did he wear?Green
  38. Who sang the 1997 Christmas hit “I believe in Father Christmas”?Greg Lake
  39. What fruit is used to make a Christingle?Orange
  40. Which wrestler starred in the 1996 film “Santa with Muscles”?Hulk Hogan
  41. Who played Fred Claus in the 2007 movie of the same name?Vince Vaughan
  42. What was the name of the boy in the TV film “The Snowman”?James
  43. Who was the first British monarch to broadcast a Christmas message?George V
  44. What is a baby turkey called?A Poult
  45. Which English Victorian cook wrote the definitive Christmas cookbook?Mrs Beeton
  46. In a traditional mince pie, which ingredient would make it unsuitable for vegetarians?Suet
  47. In whose Christmas special did various BBC newsmen perform “There is Nothing like a Dame”?Morecambe and Wise
  48. Who wrote the book that became the cartoon classic “The Snowman”?Raymond Briggs
  49. What was the name of Tiny Tim’s father in “A Christmas Carol”?Bob Cratchit
  50. In the film “Jingle All The Way”, what toy was Arnold Schwarzenegger searching for?Turbo-Man
  51. The plant “Viscum Album” is better known as which Christmas decoration?Mistletoe
  52. In which fictional land is it always winter but never Christmas?Narnia
  53. In the Christmas song “Jingle Bells”, how many horses pulled the sleigh?One
  54. Which American male comedian plays Kate Winslet’s love interest in the film “The Holiday”?Jack Black
  55. What is the name given to Father Christmas in France? Hint: A direct translation!Pere Noel
  56. Which boyband had the last UK Christmas number one of the 20th century?Westlife
  57. Which Hasbro children’s robot action figures were the most popular Christmas presents in 1984?Transformers
  58. At which of her homes does the Queen traditionally spend Christmas?Sandringham
  59. In the rhyme “Christmas is Coming”, what is getting fat?The Goose
  60. In cockney rhyming slang what are ‘eyes’ called?Mince Pies
  61. What is Aladdin’s mother called in the popular Pantomime?Widow Twankey
  62. “Driving Home For Christmas” was a hit single for which singer in 1988?Chris Rea
  63. The same song was Christmas No. 1 in 1975 and 1991. What was it?Bohemian Rhapsody
  64. What kind of animal delivers gifts at Christmas in Syria?Camel
  65. Who composed the music for the festive season ballet “The Nutcracker”?Tchaikovsky
  66. There are three days of the year when Americans consume the most food. One is Christmas, what are the other two?Thanksgiving and Super Bowl Sunday
  67. What’s the name of the Christmas carol about evergreen plants?“The Holly and the Ivy”
  68. What colour of Christmas did Elvis Presley sing about?Blue
  69. Which author, most popular for his children’s stories and poems, wrote the very first Christmas Speech by King George V?Rudyard Kipling
  70. Name Two of the Three Wise Men that visited Jesus?Caspar, Balthazar and Melchior

November is the Cruelest Month for Moms

By Amy Byrnes

Anyone who agrees with T.S. Eliot’s assessment that “April is the cruelest month” has obviously never spent time trying to be a mom in New Jersey during November.

This week alone, my fifth grader has two days off. I didn’t even know about one of them until last weekend.

Out of the possible 20 full days of school this month, the students in our district have four of them off and there will be early dismissals for another four of those days to accommodate conferences at the end of the month. Continue reading November is the Cruelest Month for Moms

Muscle Maker Grill Introduces New Kale + Quinoa Menu Items

Muscle Maker Grill, the rapidly growing fast-casual restaurant brand, which promotes a healthy lifestyle by offering  nutritious alternatives to traditional dishes, today announced the addition of two new dishes made with antioxidant-rich kale and quinoa available at all locations for a limited time.

Muscle Maker Grill’s new Kale + Quinoa Salad (420 calories, 47g carbs, 43g protein) – a great option for those with gluten sensitivities – and Kale + Quinoa Wrap (710 calories, 95g carbs, 43g protein) are made with all-natural grilled chicken breast, protein-packed quinoa, black beans and roasted peppers served over a bed of fresh kale – or on a whole wheat wrap – with its delicious house recipe dressing: fat-free balsamic-mango vinaigrette.  True to its mission of delivering flavorful items without sacrificing taste, Muscle Maker Grill’s new Kale + Quinoa options – along with its other menu items – offer guests great tasting, nutritionally balanced food without the regret.

“We are excited to add these two new kale and quinoa dishes to Muscle Maker Grill’s lineup of great-tasting menu options,” said Rod Silva, founder and director of brand development for Muscle Maker Grill.  “One of the hottest food trends in America right now, one cup of kale contains only 36 calories, zero grams of fat, lowers blood sugar, promotes regular digestion and curbs overeating. Combine those benefits with quinoa – a gluten-free, non-fattening, high-quality protein power food known to assist with stamina and faster recovery – it’s hard to go wrong. We believe our guests will really enjoy them – as a salad, or a wrap.” Continue reading Muscle Maker Grill Introduces New Kale + Quinoa Menu Items

Reduce your Prescription Costs through Exercise!

Of course be sure to get your physician’s approval before beginning any exercise program.

Start slow, and gradually increase a little at a time. Begin by briskly walking one block a day, increase by a block every three or four days. Before you know it, you will be walking a few miles a day and regaining your health. If your legs, hips, or back prevents you from walking, try exercising in water. Water will take the weight of your legs, hips, and back. If you don’t have access to a pool try the lakes or bay.  Be sure to drink plenty of water, even for swimming unless you physician restricts your water intake.

Tom Kelly, R.Ph., B.Sc.

Tom Kelly attended Temple University School of Pharmacy and graduated with the class of 1980.  Upon graduation Mr. Kelly worked for Pathmark Stores and was Executive Vice President of the United Pharmacists Guide UFCW Local 100R.  Tom and his wife Samantha then opened their first retail pharmacy in 1997 in Lacey Township, NJ.  Since then Tom and Samantha opened and are partners in three additional retail pharmacies.  Tom is a member in good standing in the following organizations involved in both retail pharmacy and substance abuse deterrence: National Community Pharmacists Association, Garden State Pharmacy Owners Association, Compliant Pharmacy Alliance (10 years), Lacey Municipal Alliance Work Group, Lacey Elks lodge 2518, and the DART Coalition.  Mr. Kelly is also a founding partner of the Patient Physician Trust Partnership (, a tool designed to promote the use of controlled medications in a safe and responsible manner while deterring misuse, abuse, and diversion. Tom recently honored to present at the National Rx Drug Abuse Summit in April 2014, and the New England Division of the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators in October 2014


tom kelly

Why I Won’t Let My Son Wear a Violent Halloween Costume

By Amy Byrnes

The kids and I crossed a lot of things off our to-do list this weekend. We stocked up on milk and Greek yogurt at Costco, cleaned out about seven contractor bags worth of outgrown clothing, old magazines and Nerf guns from our closets and finally got around to buying the 10-year-old’s Halloween costume.

That last one was the biggie.

He had been talking about what he wanted to be for Halloween this year practically since last Halloween. But other than the fact that I’m a procrastinator, one of the things holding up the purchase has been a differing of opinions. While he is totally cool with playing the role of an assassin or ninja with a full battery of weapons, I just can’t endorse such a violent character.

More specifically, what my son really wanted to dress up as was a character from Mortal Kombat, and even though his older brother spent a few Halloweens walking around town dressed as a Ninja – nunchucks dangling from the costume’s flimsy belt – 10 years later I would rather not see my child masquerading as a murderer. Even if it’s make believe.

Not to mention, they wanted like $65 for the costume online.

So after our Costco outing on Saturday we ran into one of those pop-up Halloween shops that mysteriously transform vacant mall and highway stores around here this time of year.

Number one, I don’t know how people with young children can shop in these places. My kids would have had heart attacks when they were little as they eyed all the creepy stuff that assaults you as soon as you walk through the door.

Like, my kids cried the first time they saw the characters at Disney World. Chip n’ Dale had them weeping with a friendly wave. And once we took them to the Rainforest Café in Orlando as a big treat and they almost passed out when it started to storm and the fake animals surrounding us came to life.

My mission was to get in and get out fast, but my son is a slow decision maker, especially when he’s being told to choose something other than what he wants to pick. He drifted around for a while and inspected the big, rubbery Gru mask and the section with all the Adventure Time costumes.

Then we came to what I like to call “The Violent Section,” which included an array of Ninja style-costumes and an extensive selection of weaponry (but, alas, no Mortal Combat). He spent some time inspecting the various daggers, swords and shields lining the wall before reluctantly moving on.

In the end, he quickly chose one of those one-piece skin suits that’s styled to make him look like a crash test dummy. He seemed pleased with it and it fit him so perfectly when he tried it on that it was creepy how much he actually looked like one of those dummies.

amy oct

I feel bad that I thwarted his dream to be the Mortal Kombat dude. But I just couldn’t endorse a character based on a video game that is known for its extreme violence. A video game we probably have right now in our basement. My 21-year-old son has all those terrible games, but he didn’t when he was 10.

So maybe I’m a hypocrite, but I just preferred my youngest pick something else. And he did, because he’s that kind of guy. He didn’t threaten to boycott Halloween if he didn’t get his way. He just found something else.

Pretty soon it won’t matter anyway. They stop dressing up by the end of middle school and then I’ll just see pictures posted on social media, if I’m lucky, of them dressed up at costume parties in college. I saw my oldest guy dressed up like a nerd at a party last weekend and thought it was pretty cute. It got my Mom Seal of Approval.

But until then, my little guy will be stuck humoring me. It could be worse. He could have been a girl and then I’d be up against all the sexy fill-in-the-blank costumes that are out there. Then maybe I’d be wishing she’d cover herself up as a Ninja.

Amy Byrnes

Amy Byrnes writes about scary stuff, like divorce and teenagers, at ‘A’ My Name is Amy. Her work has can be found in the August 2015 issue of Family Circle magazine as well as on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy. She lives with her four children and sinister kitty in Little Silver.
Also, here’s the link to my blog if you could kindly add that to the online post.

Will “Watchman” Become an American Classic?

Before the release of Harper Lee’s second novel, “Go Set a Watchman,” in July many people weighed in, both pro and con, on the book’s merits.

The controversy has quieted down. The reviewers have moved on to other books and other opinions. Now it is time to hold thoughtful conversations about “Watchman” and its relevance to modern literature.

Ocean County Library will present local high school English teachers and college professors to discuss it and her first novel, “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

Moderated by an Ocean County Library librarian, the panelists will grapple with themes presented in Lee’s new novel, discuss how the two relate, and decide if “Go Set a Watchman” can stand on its own in the canon of American literature.

The panelists include:

Dr. David Bordelon, Ocean County College

Dr. Vibiana Cvetkovic, Rutgers University-Camden

Denelle Johnson, Brick Township High School

Kelly Johnson, Pinelands Regional High School

Dr. T. Madison Peschock, Ocean County College

oc library

“Harper Lee’s Vision: A Panel Discussion” will be held at the library’s Toms River branch, 101 Washington St., 7 p.m. Thursday Oct. 8th. The program is free but registration is required. To register, telephone the operator at 732-349-6200 or 609-971-0514, or  go to the library website: , click on the “Events & News” icon, then click on “Calendar of Events.”

Scholarship Opportunity

New Jersey residents who are in their senior year in high school this year and are planning a career in agriculture or science may apply for the New Jersey Agricultural Achievement Award.  One winner will be selected and awarded a $500 scholarship to honor their achievements.

The New Jersey Agricultural Achievement Award, sponsored by Dr. Amy Butewicz, a former New Jersey Equestrian of the Year, was started because of her desire to give back to the community.  This scholarship is meant to assist its recipient in beginning their future in agriculture.

The qualifications for receiving this award include submitting an application, found here, a resume along with an essay answering the question, “How has your involvement within your respective nominating organization helped to shape your future career choice?”

In addition, a contestant is required to be a current, active member of an organization either on the New Jersey Equine Advisory Board and/or represented at the Youth Reception portion of the New Jersey State Agricultural Convention.  Each organization on the New Jersey Equine Advisory Board and a participant of the State Agricultural Convention is able to nominate a maximum of two contestants.

The winner of the Agricultural Achievement Award must attend the Annual New Jersey Bred Equine Breeders Award Luncheon to be held on Sunday, January 24, 2016 in Eastampton and will read his or her essay to the attendees.

Please mail application, resume and essay by January 2, 2016 to:


Attn:  Lynn Mathews

P.O. Box 330, Trenton, New Jersey 08625

If you have any questions, contact Lynn Mathews, 609-292-2888 or