Memorial Day Events 2017

MemorialDayMemorial Day weekend is upon us. While everyone enjoys an extra day off and barbecues, it is important to remember what the day is really about – remembering those who paid for our freedom with their lives. There are a number of events throughout the state where you can pay respect to these men and women we should never forget.

Memorial Day Ceremony at NJ Vietnam Veteran’s Memorial:
The annual ceremony will take place at 11:00 a.m. on Monday. In addition to honoring our Veterans, five Vietnam Veterans will be inducted into the “In Memory Program.” Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno will be the Keynote Speaker and musical entertainment by Sandra Ward. The Museum will remain open until 2:00 PM following the ceremony.

Fleet Week at Liberty State Park:
May 28, 2017; 10:00 AM until 05:00 PM
1 Audrey Zapp Dr.
Liberty State Park
Jersey City, NJ
Event is free and open to the public.
This family event features performances by the U.S. Coast Guard Silent Drill Team, the U.S. Navy Band and the U.S. Marine Corps band.  Attendees will also get to experience parachute, helicopter, and search and rescue demonstrations by the Navy and Coast Guard. Military tactical vehicles, a U.S. Navy dive tank. More exhibits will also be on display throughout the day along with kids activities, and more.

Bedminster Memorial Day Parade:
The parade will begin at 10am at the old Bedminster school on the corner of Elm St & Lamington Rd. A parade will follow down Lamington Rd, a ½ mile to the Far Hills ceremony which will take place at approximately 10:45 at the municipal building on the corner of Prospect St & Peapack Rd. (across from the fairgrounds). After the ceremony we will be serving hot dogs and refreshments in the fairgrounds.

Livingston Memorial Day Parade:
This year’s Memorial Day services will start at 9:30 am, Monday, May 29, 2017 with a ceremonial service at the Oval to commemorate those who have died defending the United States. At 10:00 am, after the ceremony, the parade will start on S. Livingston Avenue and will end at Congressional Way. In the event of inclement weather the Ceremonial Service will be held at the LHS Auditorium.

Oakland Memorial Day Parade:
The annual Memorial Day Parade and Ceremony, sponsored by the American Legion and the Borough of Oakland, will be held on Sunday, May 28th, 2017 beginning at 1:00 PM at Grove Street and Ramapo Valley Road. The parade will close with a ceremony in Veterans Park. Complimentary food and refreshments will be served at the American Legion Post at 65 Oak Street immediately following the parade.

Memorial Day Weekend Fireworks:
Sunday, May 28, 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Asbury Park Boardwalk
Ocean Avenue Between Asbury and Sunset Avenue
Asbury Park, New Jersey
For viewers who want to get in on a private viewing, The Mezzanine Room & Balcony of the iconic Paramount Theatre will be open to the public for a special birds-eye-view of the 2017 Memorial Day Fireworks, complete with music provided by a favorite Asbury Park DJ. Doors open at 8:00 p.m. and fireworks will begin at approximately 9:00 p.m. There will be a cash bar for guests 21 & up. All ages are welcome, (please note that children must be accompanied by an adult). Standing room only. This event will take place weather permitting. Full refunds will be issued if the event is cancelled due to weather.

NNJ Veterans Memorial Cemetery:
Memorial Day Service
Monday, May 29
11:00 a.m.
75 North Church Road, Sparta

Remembering the Heroes: NNJ Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Since I was a kid, I liked going to the cemetery. I know it may sound strange. I grew up in a big Italian family and, unfortunately, as each family member passed, they would go to the cemetery. Once I was old enough to go a little further away from home on my bike, I would ride to the cemetery on weekends when it was nice. I would sit on the ground, clean the headstones of my loved ones and talk to them. When I was able to drive, I went more often.

Now that I live almost an hour away from Glendale Cemetery in Bloomfield, I don’t get there as often as I would like, but I am still fascinated by cemeteries. They hold not just our loved ones, but the history of our country.

nnjvmc-logoEnter the Northern New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

If there is one group of individuals who should always receive our respect and care, it is our nation’s veterans. And those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us deserve our highest level of respect. The Northern New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery’s focus is to make sure vets receive a respectful resting place in Northern New Jersey nearby their families.

It took a long time, lots of planning, and plenty of effort to get this cemetery in place. It is the only veteran’s cemetery that is privately owned and receives no funding from the State or the Federal governments. It relies on their small burial costs and donations to stay in place and available for vets and their families in Northern New Jersey.

This cemetery is the brainchild of John Harrigan, president of Wallkill Valley Chapter 1002 in Vernon, New Jersey. He took on the mission of creating this cemetery and enlisted the help of the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, VFW organizations, Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America, Sussex County, and services from individuals like Attorney Kevin Kelly, and businesses and organizations Mark DeVenezia of Mulch Concepts, Gardell Land Surveying, Pompton Lakes Elks Lodge 1895, and from the Sussex County Technical School. Local veterans’ organizations also have supported the effort.

The New Jersey State Legislature has approved the addition of the cemetery non-profit on the state income tax check-off list.

Now add my partner-in-crime Lisaann.

She is an amazing individual – a breast cancer survivor, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Chinkchewunska Chapter; the National Society Daughter of the Union 1861-1865, and the cemetery’s Administrator and she can trace her blood line to many veterans who fought during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. It wasn’t until she attended a good friend’s Father’s Military Funeral at the Veterans Cemetery in Goshen NY, that she decided she wanted to be part of the mission of the new cemetery in Sussex County. She takes her position seriously and does all she can to make sure the vets who are buried at the cemetery receive the care and respect they deserve.

They do fundraisers periodically, but rely heavily on donations from individuals. This iscemetery-enterance an important place in New Jersey for vets and their families. If you are able, I hope you will consider making a donation to this important location in New Jersey.

If you are interested in planning a service at the Northern New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery, please reach out. I am sure Lisaann and John will help you plan a service fitting of a vet!

Small Business Saturday – Jersey Style

While many people look forward to Black Friday for a good deal on a television set, I look forward to Small Business Saturday.

Small businesses are the driving force behind the nation’s economy. According to the Small Business Administration, in 2013, New Jersey small businesses employed over 1.7 people. More than 50 percent of those companies have more than 500 employees. Whenever possible, I work to support local businesses, and Small Business Saturday is a perfect time to get out and support businesses in your community.

Here are some great small businesses in New Jersey to check out:

Starting at the top of New Jersey in Sussex County, Peters Valley in Layton offers a number peters-valleyof wonderful hand-made goods, so not only are you supporting a small business, you are supporting the arts. There’s always something new to check out. Whenever I am up in Sussex County, I stop in to see what it new and rarely leave empty handed.

Moving down Sussex County, check out Whitewater Flies. If you have someone on your list that enjoys fly fishing and the outdoors, check out this great little fly shop. Greg and his team are incredibly helpful and can guide you to make the best picks possible.

Entering Morris County, I love going to downtown Denville. The main drag is almost completely small businesses. Faith and Begorra offers some great Irish and Catholic gifts, such as handmade sweaters and Irish jewelry. Kevin’s Fine Jewelry has beautiful jewelry in a variety of different price ranges. If you need a lunch break, head to Sergio’s for an Italian treat and then to Mara’s for some dessert.

If you have a book lover on your list, I recommend you check out the Old Book Shop in Morristown. They have a great selection of old and limited edition books as well as magazines and vintage post cards.

shop-chester-njAnother favorite small town in Morris County is Chester. The historic downtown retail district is lined with great shops filled with art, antiques, and more. I always enjoy walking around Chester Crafts, Collectibles & Antiques. There is always something unique and interesting and is a great place to find that special gift for someone on your list. Objects of Desire is another great shop full of handmade jewelry and a variety of accessories.

Growing up in Essex County, I used to love to go to Bloomfield Avenue in Montclair. One of my favorite stops was always The Inner Eye. This was always a unique place and you never knew what you were going to find. Just off Bloomfield Avenue on Church Street, you’ll find That Little Black Dress. There is always something unique available and it was voted a favorite New Jersey boutique.

Frenchtown1-smA great spot in Hunterdon County is Frenchtown. I wrote about a visit to Frenchtown during the summer. Of course my favorite spot is The Spinnery. If you have a yarn lover on your list, this is the place to go! If you have someone with a sweet tooth, check out Minette’s Candies. They have not only all the hard-to-find candy brands we grew up with, they have great stuff like truffles and chocolate covered pretzels.

At the tip of the state, you’ll find Cape May; a favorite spot of mine. Check out the Whale’s Tale and Splash for great unique gifts with a “down the shore” feel. If you want a sweet treat with a real Jersey feel, pick up a gift at James Candy Company. I’ve picked up Fralinger’s Original Salt Water for something different as a hostess gift when going to a party.

These are just a few of the different and wonderful small businesses you will find in New Jersey. I hope you will use Small Business Saturday as a good excuse to check out the great businesses that are in your area. What are your favorite businesses? Please add to the list in the comments section below.

Why I love New Jersey

My husband and I were watching a television show about real estate in Montana. One couple was planning a move from California to Montana. Now, when most people think of Big Sky Country, they imagine the open prairie, cowboys, and wood cabins. Instead of embracing the lifestyle, they were trying to shoehorn California living into their new house. They obviously shouldn’t have left California. That’s where their heart is.

That’s kind of like how I feel about New Jersey.

Frankford-Cemetery

Frankford Cemetery in black and white by Lisaann VanBlarcom Permunian.

I am often asked a simple question. “Why would you EVER want to stay in New Jersey?”

When my husband and I were married there very were few things that were non-negotiable. One of those non-negotiable items is that I would NEVER move out of New Jersey.

“Why?”

New Jersey is my home. I was born in Columbus Hospital in Newark and spent over 30 years in Belleville. When a move needed to take place, we stayed close by in Nutley until we could decide on our next move. While it may sound crazy, going to the next town over from Belleville was tough. I also felt like I had betrayed my beloved Belleville by moving to our rival town. Two years later, we moved again. Instead of town-to-town, we moved county-to-county. Again, I almost had a nervous breakdown.

As my regular readers know, I don’t deal well with change. I know people who have moved across the country and half-way around the world. Me? I move from Essex County to Morris County and I could barely handle it. I’m a Jersey Girl through and through. I would’ve been very happy to stay in my house on Irving Street for the rest of my life.

Where else can you be at an awesome beach and then the mountains within a two hour drive

Rutt's Hut

A typical meal at the Jersey famous Rutt’s Hut.

in the same state? Have the best REAL Italian and REAL Portuguese cooking in the same city? I can go fly fishing in Walpack or grab a cheese steak at Seaside Heights. You want a great deep fried hot dog? I know the place. Oh, and I don’t pump my own gas.

Some people see Newark Airport and the Turnpike. Me? I see important places that played key roles in the birth of our nation. We are tough. If you are from Jersey, you need to be tough to fight off all the stupid stereotypes from those horrible television shows which I will not name.

So will I travel? Sure. But I will always come home to my New Jersey.

Going Home: Seton Hall Weekend

Seton Hall Class RingIn September around the country, colleges have their own versions of “Parent’s Weekend” to show off the best of their schools. This weekend was Seton Hall’s turn. When I received the announcement about all that would take place on the campus, I felt a longing to take a ride to visit my college home.

My day started with taking something out of the jewelry box I hadn’t worn in quite a while – my college ring. It still fit perfectly and was a good reminder of my college years. I took the ride like I just did it yesterday. Parkway South to 280 West. South Harrison Street to South Centre Street to the Farinella Gate. Just as it was when I was a student, parking was tight. I found a spot behind Xavier Hall. I headed to the walkway. I was home.

Fahy HallI wasn’t an alumnus visiting her old campus. I felt like an undergrad again. The first thing I saw was the was the new sign in front of Fahy Hall announcing the new name of the College of Communication and the Arts. I was very excited when I received the announcement about the College earlier this year. I felt like it was a great acknowledgement of all it adds to the University.

I headed into Fahy and went downstairs like it was yesterday. I went right to what was then known as the “Mac lab” and saw a Electronic Publishing and Pagination Labsight that just warmed my heart. It was the sign for the Pagination and Publishing Lab. I peered through the window into the dark room and it looked a lot different than I remembered. Gone were the 15 Macintosh computers with two laser printers. It now looked like a high tech classroom with the best technology available today. I spent more hours in that area than I can remember. It was the heart of my education. I looked at the names on the doors and many are still the same. Hoffman. Kuchon. Plummer. Yates. Zizik. While I was College of Communication and the Arts at Seton Hallthere, these were many of my mentors. I saw Professor Reader in his office. We chatted for a few minutes. He told me Professor Rosenblum had retired and is now living in California working for Google from time to time. Dr. McKenna has also retired. Those two men, along with Professor Gottlieb, were the core of my education at Seton Hall and I am forever grateful for their care and guidance.

Seton Hall PiratesI left Fahy and walked alongside Xavier to “The Green.” Along the way there were great welcome signs; another reminder of the warm welcome I felt the first time I walked on the campus as a senior at Belleville High School. The moment I walked on the campus, I knew this was where I belonged. When I walked into the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception, I knew I would get married here; about six years later, I did.

I then turned right and went in the side door of the Student Center and up to the second floor. The office of The Setonian was in the same place. I was the News Editor for one year and Professor Gottlieb was the advisor. As I have mentioned in a post on another blog, when she would compliment me on an article and approved it for The Setonianpublication, it was true “Pirate Pride!” Every Wednesday would start at the Setonian office reading and editing articles for the paper. Later in the evening, we would head over to the Pagination and Publishing Lab to run galleys to put through waxers (yes, I am dating myself) to complete the layout. I learned not just about good journalism, but print production and publishing. The evening would often technically finish early Thursday morning. Two of us would drive to the printer with the boxed up flats so they were there as soon as they opened in the morning so the paper would be on campus Thursday afternoon. I’m not going to lie; it was brutal and there were sometimes I wanted no part of it. There came a Dr. Tracey Gottliebpoint when I had to say goodbye to the work on the paper. I was sad, but knew it was how it worked. You entrusted the work to the next class. I did discover a nice surprise as I walked around the corner; my mentor, now “Dr.” Gottlieb’s office! She is now Vice President of Student Services. A very well-deserved position.

Chapel of the Immaculate ConceptionI took a walk through The Green and looked at all the events they had set up for the kids. It was a perfect weather day and the kids were having a great time. I was sorry to see there weren’t any tables for all the different activities, but it was OK. I enjoyed meandering around the campus. The old library has been replaced by a new building for the Stillman School of Business. The Chapel is just as beautiful as always. There were several weddings taking place throughout the day. Happy couples beginning their lives as husband and wife, just as I did with my husband Glenn in 1994.

I walked alongside President’s Hall and Marshall Hall to the new library. It is truly a marvel. A great university deserves a great library and this is definitely it! I walked up to the reference desk and asked if there are old copies of The Setonian still kept in the library. I explained thanks to Hurricane Irene, I lost all my clippings. The woman was very sorry and gave me the contact information for someone who could help me. I plan on calling him during the week.

Alpha Gamma Delta Seton HallJust as I finished at the reference desk, I saw a student walk by wearing her Alpha Gamma Delta shirt. I hurried after her and told her I was in pledge class Alpha Xi. She was so nice! She brought me over to the table where she was sitting with her other sisters and we all had a nice chat. They are lovely and intelligent young women. They told me about all that is going on with the sorority. I loved how they would refer to their sisters as “Gams.” I was happy to hear the college had finally taken a hard stance against hazing; the primary reason I drifted away from the sisterhood when I was an upperclassman. It sounds like the college has gone a little too far in the other direction, but I am happy to hear students today are well protected against such nonsense. I gave them my email address so they could keep in touch with me. It was a great visit!

I then walked over to Duffy Hall to the bookstore. Just like many other spots on campus, it is in the same place with a nice updated look. Of course I had to pick up a few new things. I almost picked up an AP Style Guide but decided against it in case students still need to make purchases. I still have my Style Guide I purchased when I first started taking my journalism courses.Mother Seton

My last stop of the day was inside the Chapel after one of the weddings. I knelt and prayed just as I had done many times before. It was nice to have some quiet reflection. As always I prayed for my family members that have gone home to God, for those who are here, for strength, for wisdom, and offered my thanks for allowing me to be part of the Seton Hall family. I offered a prayer at Mother Seton before leaving.

pirate-smI headed back down the path alongside Xavier to my car. I put my new Pirate magnet that was handed out on The Green on the back of my car. I began to head out of the lot back to South Centre Street. My transition from undergrad to alumnus took place as I passed the column at the gate. I was thankful for such a wonderful day. I enjoyed walking around the campus and meeting some of the current Gams was great! It was a day full of great memories. As I age, I try to forget the bad and remember the good. And I have a lot of good memories at Seton Hall University.

Photos Around New Jersey

Just wanted to share some photos I have taken from around the great state of New Jersey! I hope you enjoy and check out some of these great areas.

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Just a few more reasons to love New Jersey!

Proud to be a Pirate

ProudToBeAPirateI went to college at Seton Hall University in South Orange, New Jersey. My freshman year was when the team went to the NCAA Championship. The team didn’t win, but they really gave a great effort.

Now in the interest of full disclosure, I hate basketball. Actually, I hate when schools (high school or college) put a ridiculous amount of emphasis on sports. I firmly believe students should be a school for an education – not to support a sports program. But that’s a post for a different blog.

In all the years since my freshman year at Seton Hall until now, I have watched a total of two games. The Championship in the student center and a game at the Brendan Byrne Arena (yes, I am showing my age). Both times it was with a large group of people and it was fun.

Anyway, what is most important to me is the education I received at Seton Hall.  Founded on on the Catholic faith, the school began its fabled history in 1856. It is named after Elizabeth Ann Seton, the first American-born saint. When I was visiting colleges my senior year in high school I knew it was the right place for me as soon as I walked on the campus. It felt like home. I received my Bachelor of Arts in 1992 and I can honestly say that I use my education every day. I still even have some of my textbooks that continue to provide valuable information. At some point I hope to go to graduate school and I hope that I can go to Seton Hall. Any time I have a friend that is looking at colleges for their child I always recommend my alma mater.

So “March Madness” is in full swing and Seton Hall University won the Big East tournament last night. As far as I understand that means they should be included in the NCAA tournament. Will I watch any of the games? Maybe. It is fun to talk to my pirate buddies from college and see their pride  that our school is getting some national attention. But whether or not I really care about basketball is besides that point. I am PROUD TO BE A PIRATE!