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February 2011

January 2011

Things to Do This Weekend...

Wintersowing Workshop on Saturday, January 29
Visit Deep Cut Gardens in Middletown and learn how to start hardy seeds outdoors during winter in mini-greenhouses made from recycled materials. (Registration & fee required.)

 Junior Detective: Whose toes are those? on Sunday, January 30
Nature sleuths (age 5-6) will love learning about a variety of their favorite animals as well as the tracks they make. Every special agent completes their own Animal Passport to take home. (Registration & fee required.)

Nature Detective: Whose toes are those? on Sunday, January 30
Youngsters age 7-10 are invited to become a Nature Detective! We'll learn to identify various animal tracks and make a cast of your favorite track to take home. Complete your very own Animal Case File too. (Registration & fee required.)

Neck, Shoulders, Hands & Feet Massage on Saturday, January 29
Learn how to massage the tensed part of the neck and shoulder areas, as well as the soothing and relaxing places such as hands and feet. (Registration & fee required.)

 Comfort Foods on Monday, January 31

From homemade chicken soup to potato pancakes to macaroni and cheese and more, you'll find "comfort" in these traditional favorites. Class is participatory. (Registration & fee required.)


To learn more about the Park System or any of its programs, please visit

Thins to do this weekend in Monmouth County NJ


Paperwhite Escape on  Saturday, January 22; Tuesday, January 25; Wednesday, January 26; Thursday, January 27 and Friday, January 28 at 1pm

Stop by the Deep Cut Gardens Horticultural Center, Middletown, and pot a paperwhite narcissus bulb to take home and coax into bloom. Warm beverages will be provided. The cost is $5.00 per person; registration not required.


Seashore Open House on Sunday, January 23 from 1-4pm
Head over to Seven Presidents' Oceanfront Park Activity Center, Long Branch, for some fun during this Open House. Enjoy engaging hands-on activities while learning about the seashore.  See the aquatic animals on display and talk to a Park System naturalist. Visitors are invited to drop in between 1 and 4pm and enjoy this program free of charge.

How to Avoid Getting Screwed When Using Your Debit Card

Debit cards come with more risk than most payment methods, but we tend to use them because they're convenient. While they can be handy, they can also cause you a lot of trouble. Here's how to stay safe.

In general, credit cards are safest. If you have a credit card or charge card (read an explanation of the difference here), you're better off using that for the majority—if not all—of your purchases. Credit and charge cards tend to come with better rewards and you don't have to worry about fees for exceeding your limit. They better protect your money because you aren't technically paying with your money until you've seen the charge, whereas your money is instantly removed when using a debit card. All of that said, there are many reasons why you might need or want to use a debit card. If you don't need to use your debit card, don't. If you have a good reason for using it, read on. We're going to talk a look at the rights you have and the risks you take as a debit card owner, as well as what you can do to stay safe and avoid fees from your bank and general fraud.

How to Avoid Getting Screwed When Using Your Debit Card.

This clothing drives helps support the American Red Cross local disaster relief efforts.

Important information about our clothing donation home pickup program: our next clothing pickup truck is scheduled to be in your town in the next few days. This clothing drives helps support the American Red Cross local disaster relief efforts.

You can schedule a home pick up any time by:
Calling us toll free at: 1-866-468-7228
or by going online at:
We accept clean gently worn, unwanted clothing, paired shoes, sneakers, handbags, linens and stuffed animals. (No blankets, pillows or appliances).

How to donate:

  1. Place your bags, curbside, in front of your home (clearly visible from the street) by 8:30AM on your pick up date.
  2. Attach a copy of this email or a piece of paper to the bags marked "ARC PICKUP" (no boxes please).
  3. Bags will be picked up, Rain or Shine, and a receipt for your donation will be left.

We hope you will take advantage of our clothing donation program. Your contributions of clean, gently worn, unwanted clothing are greatly appreciated.

Thank you for supporting your local American Red Cross Chapter.

The American Red Cross sells the clothes and the proceeds go directly to help fund local services. This clothing drive is conducted by We Collect Clothes for a Cause, on behalf of the American Red Cross, a charitable NonProfit 501C3 Organization. Registration with the attorney general of the State of New Jersey. Information filed with the Attorney General concerning this charitable solicitation may be obtained from the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey by calling 973-504-6215. Registration with the Attorney General does not imply endorsement.

Mortgage lenders defend foreclosure practices

Mortgage lenders defend foreclosure practices
Saturday, January 8, 2011
The Record

Six mortgage lenders argued this week that there’s no need for New Jersey to freeze their foreclosure actions, arguing that they have already taken steps to clean up questionable legal practices.

Chief Justice Stuart Rabner ordered the six lenders on Dec. 20 to show why their foreclosure actions should not be frozen in the wake of reports last year of "robo-signing" — bank employees signing legal documents in foreclosure cases without reviewing them for accuracy. Rabner also raised the possibility of appointing a special master to oversee foreclosures.

In court papers filed in Trenton, the six — Ally Financial (parent of GMAC Mortgage), Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and One West Bank — said they have improved their procedures. The lenders all said in court papers filed this week that a foreclosure freeze is not needed, because they have already addressed the problems. The lenders are due in court in Trenton on Jan. 19.

Among them, the six were responsible for 29,000 — or almost half — of the foreclosure cases in New Jersey last year. New Jersey foreclosures tripled from 2006 to 2010, reaching 65,000 last year, and foreclosures also have soared nationwide.

Citibank said only 210 of its 4,023 active foreclosures in New Jersey have problems with legal documentation, which it pledged to correct.

"An indiscriminate suspension of foreclosures, covering many foreclosures that rightfully should proceed, would result in protracted uncertainty and costs for both borrowers and lenders," Citibank said.

Several also said a review of their foreclosures found no examples of homeowners improperly losing their homes.

"There is no suggestion Chase foreclosed on any property where the borrower was not in default," said the papers filed by JPMorgan Chase, which nonetheless acknowledged "deficiencies" in some of its past documentation.

Wells Fargo questioned whether a freeze would be allowed under New Jersey’s constitution. GMAC Mortgage said it had added staff members and improved training to handle foreclosures.

Many lenders voluntarily halted foreclosure actions to check their procedures after the robo-signing questions arose in late September. RealtyTrac, a California company that follows the foreclosure market nationwide, recently reported that November foreclosures were down 43 percent in New Jersey, and 14 percent nationwide, compared with a year earlier.


Do you think it is reasonable for the chief justice to target these six lenders? Should the foreclosure moratorium in New Jersey be enacted?

Thank you for reading! Your comments and questions are welcomed below

January Fireplace Safety

  Keep your family safe with these fireplace safety tips. Build the right size fire, and baby proof the fireplace. Heed safety concerns when cleaning a fireplace and chimney. Learn about fireplace inspection and proper disposal of fireplace ashes. Not sure if you need a chimney sweep to come out to your house? Or, concerned about getting your home dirty? And, what is the difference between having your chimney inspected and having it swept? Chimney Safety Institute of America offers two short online tutorials that walk you through the basics on chimney sweeping and inspections.

January Home Hints

  January is a good time to inspect furniture, cabinets and vanities for loose knobs, pulls and hinges. Tighten or repair as necessary. Tighten screws on drawers, doors, and furniture. Lubricate squeaky door hinges with lightweight machine oil. Free sticky doors by trimming edges or shimming hinges with thin pieces of cardboard. Check the house and make a list of minor household repairs needed. Make a list of broken electrical face plates, missing pulls or knobs, locks that need lubrication, and spots that need caulking around sinks and tubs. Go to the home improvement store and buy everything you need to make all of your repairs at once.