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Community Bulletin Board: Criterion Sentinel (for January 29)

The Circle of Single Jewish Friends, for ages 50 and above, will hold a meet-and-eat lunch at noon on Feb. 16 at Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse, 222 Plainfield Road, Edison.

Cost is price of meal off menu/tip, plus $3.

RSVP Roberta to 908-668-8450 or roger678@optonline.net .




Native Plants for your Backyard Gardens is the topic of the Feb. 3 meeting of the Garden Club of Metuchen.

Angela Monaghan, coordinator of the Master Gardeners program for the Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Middlesex County, will speak on the importance of incorporating native plant habitats in the landscape to encourage wildlife such as pollinators and beneficial fauna.

The meeting will take place at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, Fryer Hall, 17 Oak Ave., Metuchen. It begins at 6:45 p.m. with light refreshments, followed by the program at 7.



Friends of the Metuchen Library will present a red carpet afternoon to fund the library’s Edna Newby Foreign Film Festival from 2-5 p.m. on Feb. 9 at the Metuchen Inn, 424 Middlesex Ave., Metuchen.

Dress like a star. Sip champagne. Pose for a photo on the red carpet. Predict award winners. Plays games and win prizes.

The cost is $50 per person. Hors d’oeuvres and two drinks included.

Sign up at the library or at www.fotml.org.



The fourth annual Middlesex County Association of Chiefs of Police Coach Bingo/Tricky Tray fundraiser to benefit the four children’s hospitals in Middlesex County will be held on Feb. 8 at St. Stan’s School gym, 221 MacArthur Ave., Sayreville.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and games begin at 7 p.m. 

Cost is $30 per person, which includes 12 games of bingo (three boards per game), coffee, tea and dessert. 

There will also be a 50/50. 

All guests are invited to bring their own food and refreshments. 

For tickets, call Gina at 732-432-8361. 






The Edison Public Libraries will hold a series of events during Black History Month.

The current schedule is as follows:

* Brother Outsider: The Life of Bayard Rustin Film Viewing, 3 p.m. Feb. 3 at Clara Barton Library, 141 Hoover Ave.

* Housing in New Jersey through the Lens of Race, 7 p.m. Feb. 3 at Edison Main Library, 340 Plainfield Ave.

* Wrongful Convictions & Race, 7 p.m. Feb. 6 at North Edison Library, 777 Grove Ave.

* Freedom Summer Film Viewing, 3 p.m. Feb. 10 at Clara Barton Library

* Jack Sherrod: Slave, Solider, and Savvy Landowner, 7 p.m. Feb. 11 at North Edison Library

* The Underground Railroad in New Jersey, 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Edison Main Library

* New Jersey Black History, 7 p.m. Feb. 18 at North Edison Library

* Before & After: Tupac, Biggie, and the Birth of Hip Hop from a Man Who Was There, 7 p.m. Feb. 19 at Edison Main Library

* West Africa on the East Coast, 7 p.m. Feb. 26 at Edison Main Library

For more information, call 732-287-2298 or visit www.edisonpubliclibrary.net.



The Edison Public Library will kick off its month-long series of events in honor of Black History Month by unveiling the newest stamp from the Black Heritage series.

For 2020, the United States Post Office will honor late journalist and newscaster Gwen Ifill. The NAACP Metuchen-Edison Area Branch will award the library and Mayor Thomas Lankey with a plaque for their dedication to diversity. Additionally, Mr. Clarence McKnight, member of The Ebony Society of Philatelic Events and Reflections, will lead a discussion about the Black Heritage series and also look at stamps throughout the history of the Civil Rights

All are welcome to attend this event at 7 p.m. on Feb. 4 at the Edison Main Public Library, 340 Plainfield Ave., Edison.

Refreshments will be served.

For more information, call 732-287-2298 or visit www.edisonpubliclibrary.net.



The Metuchen-Edison Historical Society will hold Local History Day from 1-4 p.m. on Feb. 9 at the Metuchen Public Library, 480 Middlesex Ave., Metuchen.


The 20th annual Super Pet Expo will be held from Feb. 7-9 at the New Jersey Convention and Expo Center, 97 Sunfield Ave., Edison.

There will be 200 exhibitors addressing pet adoption, pet care and health, grooming, food and daycare. An array of pet gifts, treats, fashion, grooming accessories and toys will be for sale.

Freestyle disc-catching exhibitions by the Mid Atlantic Disc Dog Club include Treibball, reminiscent of soccer, for dogs who enjoy chasing, playing games, herding or problem-solving; and the Bone-A-Fied Talent Group, who will demonstrate the preliminary steps involving targets and pushing a ball with precision.

The Mister Crabs Show includes hands-on educational demonstrations of how to build a “crabitat” and the care and conservation of hermit crabs.

Repticon is a showcase of hundreds of reptiles and amphibians from around the world.

Luring 101 is for dogs who love to chase. They take center stage in an enclosed 250-foot luring course set up to give pets a high-speed run. Additional fee.

The Cat Fanciers’ Association will demonstrate cat agility.

The Garden State Cat Club of New Jersey will sponsor a Pet Me Cat Area.

Rizzo’s Reptile Discovery will show visitors the magic of reptiles.

Macaw parrots Molly, Polly and Dolly will strut their stuff for New Jersey Bird Man Bill Middleton, performing an exotic bird show in which they ride bikes, roller skate, play basketball and more.

Show hours are 3-8 p.m. Feb. 7, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 8 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 9.

One-day adult tickets are $13 for adults or $8 for children 4-11. Weekend passes are $20 for adults or $10 for children. Children 3 and younger are free, one per adult. Some events require additional fees.

Leashed pets admitted free. No retractable leashes allowed.

For more information, visit www.superpetexpo.com.


Neve Shalom Religious School will hold an open house from 9 a.m. to noon on Feb. 9 at the school, 250 Grove Ave., Metuchen.

All prospective and current parents can join students in grades K-7 for educational fun and Judaism.

For more information, contact Miriam Dobin at education@neveshalom.net or 732-548-2238, ext. 13.


Members of the Edison Fire Department will present safety tips at a Clara Barton Neighborhood Watch meeting at 7 p.m. on Feb. 13 at the Clara Barton First Aid Squad, 1079 Amboy Ave., Edison.

For more information, email ClaraBartonNeighborhood@gmail.com or visit www.ClaraBartonNeighborhood.org.


United Way of Central Jersey received a grant from the Office of Faith Based Initiatives, a Division of Programs in the Department of State, which hosts the New Jersey Complete Count Commission to continue its advocacy efforts for a complete 2020 census count within Middlesex County.

United Way will focus on increasing the count of young children ages 0-5 and their families residing within neighborhoods designated as Hard to Count (HTC) based upon responses to the 2010 census.

United Way invites all potential community partners to meet at 10 a.m. on Feb. 21 at its office at 32 Ford Ave. in Milltown to outline the outreach plan approved by the Complete Count Commission and determine the specific outreach schedule in terms of kiosk and mobile support center locations and rotation among partners.



One in 8 Middlesex County residents are food insecure – meaning they don’t have reliable, affordable access to nutritious foods and necessities.

The holidays are over but the need for food donations has not ended. MCFOODS (Middlesex County Food Organization and Outreach Distribution Services) is running low on items such as macaroni and cheese, rice, spaghetti, peanut butter, tuna fish, canned fruits and vegetables.

Consider hosting a food drive with your business, school, civic group or athletic team. MCFOODS can provide containers and transportation of items back to the warehouse. A flyer is attached that can be used or personalized to promote a collection.

Individual donations can be dropped off at the libraries in East Brunswick, Edison, Metuchen, Monroe, Piscataway, Plainsboro and Woodbridge.

MCFOODS is also in need of volunteers to help at the warehouse, offer professional expertise, assist at local events and host a food drive.

For more information, contact Jennifer Apostol, MCFOODS director, by calling 609-409-5033, emailing ja@mciauth.com or visiting www.mciauth.com.


The Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office will hold an 8-week-long Sheriff’s Civilian Academy for residents of Middlesex County in the spring.

The Sheriff’s Civilian Academy is designed to educate Middlesex County residents on the various functions and duties of the Sheriff’s Office.

Applications are being accepted for the program, which will be held at the Middlesex County Fire Academy in Sayreville.

The first session is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. on April 14. Classes will continue weekly on Tuesdays. One Saturday class will be held. The program culminates with a graduation ceremony scheduled for June 2.

Each session will highlight functions of Sheriff’s Office including: Defensive Tactics, K-9, Transportation, SWAT, Courts, Civil Process and Foreclosures among others. Participants also will tour the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office and the Main Courthouse located in New Brunswick.

Applications are due no later than Feb. 28. Applicants must be at least at 18 years old, reside within the County of Middlesex, have no felony convictions, not be wanted for any crime, and submit to a limited background check.

For more information, contact Sgt. Frank Sautner at 732-745-5909 or frank.sautner@co.middlesex.nj.us.

For more information on the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Office, call 732-745-3382.


The Metuchen Parent Teacher Council’s PTC Night Out: We are the 80s Party will be held on March 20.

The fundraiser supports all four Metuchen public schools.

Donations of baskets, gift cards and money are sought from local businesses. Email ptcouncilmetuchen@gmail.com or call 718-637-4867 for more information.




The Jewish Community Center of Middlesex County will host an evening of stories, learning, cooking and eating with Jesse Reitner, food maven and former owner of Lox, Stock and Deli in East Brunswick, at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 20, 1775 Oak Tree Road, Edison.

Cost is $30 for members or $38 for non-members.

Menu includes Cape May salad, panko chicken cutlet, rice medley, oven roasted vegetables en croute and dessert. 

A portion of the proceeds will be donated to Yasher LaChayal, an organization that supports soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces.

To RSVP, contact Diane Mael at 732-494-3232, ext. 3619.



Guidelines for the annual NAMI NJ (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Dara Axelrod Expressive Arts Mental Health Poetry Contest include:

* Poem should be in keeping with the theme of how your superpowers helped you battle your challenges with mental illness

* Poem must be typewritten. If sent electronically, do not send PDF files.

* Poem should be no longer than 40 lines.

* Fill out a media release form to accompany your entry.

* Provide a cover letter that includes your name, email (if available), mailing address and phone number.

The contest submission deadline is March 25.

Mail typed entries to NAMI NJ Poetry Contest, 1562 Route 130, North Brunswick 08902. Or, email your entry with the signed media release form to poetry@naminj.org.

April is the National Poetry Month and May is Mental Health Awareness Month.


The Woodbridge Township Psychic Fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 7 at the Evergreen Senior Center, 400 Inman Ave., Colonia section of Woodbridge.

Readers scheduled to appear include Jane Doherty, Judy Kay, Jennifer Wood, Scotty The NJ Medium, Constance Elek, Intuitive April the Psychic Housewife of New Jersey, Dawn Strouse, Bonnie Edwards, Michele Germann Rothermel and Christine Barath. Palm readings by Shannon, Marie Gilbert and Jean Lee Brown Ramalho.

Admission is $5. Lectures are free.



The 2020 Progressive Insurance Saltwater Fishing Expo will showcase more than 200 exhibitors selling saltwater fishing products, from new boats and kayaks to an array of accessories including fishing rods, reels and lures, from noon to 8 p.m. on March 13, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on March 14 and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 15 at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center, 97 Sunfield Ave., Edison.

The annual event includes a seminar on filleting and preparing fish, a Fishing 101 Interactive Center, a 50-foot casting pond, a fishing simulator and free fishing for children 11 and younger.

Tickets are $13 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-11, and free for children 5 and younger when accompanied by an adult. All children 11 and under will receive free admission on March 15. Rods Go Free on March 13 – anyone named Rod or any variation of the name will receive free admission with a valid form of ID.

Tickets are on sale at saltwater.sportshows.com/.


The Heart of Oneness Holistic Expo will be held March 27-29 at the New Jersey Convention & Exposition Center, 97 Sunfield Ave., Edison.

Reiki, crystals, psychic readings, workshops and aura photography.

Hours are 5-9 p.m. on March 27, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on March 28 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 29.

Free tote for the first 150 attendees at the door on March 28 and 29.

For more information and tickets, visit www.heartofonenessholisticexpo.com.


Registration is open for the 44th annual Rutgers Home Gardeners School, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 21 at the Rutgers University Cook/Douglass campus in New Brunswick.

The Home Gardeners School is 40 individual workshop sessions that cover an array of horticulture topics. This format allows attendees to select the workshops that are most relevant to their gardening interests and create their own personalized schedule for a day of learning. Expert speakers from commercial horticulture and landscape design firms, as well as faculty and staff from Rutgers Cooperative Extension (RCE), will cover topics  including landscape design, common problems and solutions, annuals, perennials, vegetables, herbs, beekeeping, hardscaping, best management practices and deer control methods.

The registration fee is $95, but early registration is $80 is being offered through Feb. 29. An additional discounted fee of $70 is available for Master Gardeners (certificate required) through Feb. 29.

Participants can purchase a $14 box lunch when registering or bring their own bag lunch.

Attendees are asked to bring food donations for Rutgers Against Hunger (RAH) or pet items for Scarlet Paws Rescue.

For more information or to register, visit www.cpe.rutgers.edu/hgs or call the Rutgers Office of Continuing Professional Education at 848-932-9271.



Teens across the state can begin submitting entries for the 25th Annual New Jersey Teen Media Contest, which highlights NJ Human Services’ mission to support families.


The contest, run by Human Services’ Division of Family Development, is open to all New Jersey middle and high school-aged students. This year, the contest will accept entries in the hand-painted/hand-drawn and written word categories.

This year’s challenge to teens is to illustrate through art, including the 
written word, a valuable life lesson or moment that you will never forget. Teens are invited to show when parents and other loved ones provided valuable life lessons and teaching moments.


All entries must be postmarked no later than March 11. Staff from the Division of Family Development and its Office of Child Support Services will judge the contest. Winners will be selected in first, second, and third places in both the middle and high school groups, for each of the two entry categories, with each receiving a prize package at an awards ceremony in May. 


Winning entries will be included in the 2021 Office of Child Support Calendar and be placed on display in the New Jersey State House in Trenton shortly after the awards event. A number of honorable mention entries will be selected for possible inclusion in the State House exhibit and possibly the calendar 


The 2020 calendar can be viewed or downloaded from the contest homepage, www.NJTeenMedia.org to serve as inspiration for the teens. The website also provides the official rules, frequently asked questions, entry forms, a look at the winners and honorable mentions from previous contests and other important contest information.


Entries can be submitted via the students’ art or English/language arts teachers, if their school is registered. Teachers and administrators can register their school by visiting www.NJTeenMedia.org or by contacting Matthew Cossel at 973-799-0200 or info@winningstrat.com. Teens whose schools are not registered can submit entries directly.


For complete submission guidelines, visit www.NJTeenMedia.org. For more information about child support services, call 1-877-NJKIDS1 or visit www.NJChildSupport.org.




Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar launched its fourth annual Above and “BEE”yond Teacher Essay Contest, which will recognize top teachers nominated by their students.

The contest is offered at Applebee’s restaurants in New Jersey owned and operated by local franchisee Doherty Enterprises: Brick, Bridgewater, Butler, Clark, Clifton, Edison, Flemington, Garfield, Hackensack, Hackettstown, Hillsborough, Howell, Jersey City, Jersey Gardens, Kearny, Lacey, Linden, Manahawkin, Manalapan, Manchester, Middletown, Milltown, Mt. Olive, Newark, Newton, North Bergen, Northvale, Ocean, Paramus, Parsippany, Phillipsburg, Piscataway, Rockaway, Tinton Falls, Totowa, Union and Wall.

Applebee’s will award four winners from separate regions with a $500 sponsorship check to use toward their classroom for the 2020-21 school year, along with an end-of-year party for their current class.

To nominate a teacher, students must submit an essay in-person at their local Applebee’s explaining why their teacher deserves to be Teacher of the Year. Students who enter will receive a free ice cream certificate (one per entrant).

Contest submissions will be accepted through March 1. Winners will be announced on April 6.

 For more information about, visit www.dohertyinc.com/community-connection.

The Antonia Maria Foundation and Day One Sober Living will hold their 2020 spring gala, Celebrate a New Day, from 7-11 p.m. on April 3 at the South Gate Manor, Freehold.

The second annual gala will launch the partnership with Day One to help revolutionize sober living care for women in New Jersey. Together, the two organizations will be opening Leo’s House, a recovery home for women following in the footsteps of Gracie’s House. Both are located in North Brunswick.

For information on tickets or sponsorship, call 732-823-8350.


Jewish Family Services of Middlesex County will hold its One Community Gala for 2020 at 5 p.m. on June 14 at Classical Caterers at Congregation B’Nai Tikvah, 1001 Finnegans Lane, North Brunswick.

Dinner, dancing and auction.

Honorees include community leaders David and Ellen Rabinowitz, BCB Bank and Vincent Davis, and Bill Neary.

Sponsorship opportunities and journal ads are available.

For more information, email JeanieJ@jfsmiddlesex.org or JudyC@jfsmiddlesex.org, or call 732-777-1940.

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