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May 2011 www.branchburgnews.com


Fire Marshal McAleer Thanked and Praised for his Service


At the presentation, from left, Country Hills Chief Brian Ricks, Fire Marshal Jim McAleer, North Branch Chief Dave Hickson, Neshanic Chief John Lazorchak, Readington Chief Bill Kaplan


By Dave Hickson North Branch Volunteer Fire Co. Chief


At the April meeting of the Branchburg Township Firemen’s Association (BTFA), retired Fire Marshal Jim McAleer was recog- nized for his dedication and com- mitment to duty.


BTFA President Dave Hickson presented McAleer with a plaque and the attendees responded with rousing applause. The packed room was filled with a sense of appreciation and admiration from firefighters of the Township’s four Fire Companies.


Jim began his career in Branch- burg after retiring from the Warren Police department in 1996. He was a decorated Police Officer and rose to the rank of Detective Sergeant. He was an original member of the startup department.


Having been a volunteer Fire- fighter during his Police career, moving on to the position of Fire Marshal was a perfect fit. Jim came into the job in October of 1997 with experience and education that exceeded the requirements of the position. While serving Branch- burg, he also rose through the ranks of the Franklin Fire Company in Warren County all the way up to the position of Chief.


Jim recalls an interview with the Police Department concerning a Sergeant’s test. A neighboring Police Chief was reviewing Jim’s resume and commented on the vast training and experience that he had in the fire service. The Chief asked him, “Do you want to be a Police Officer or a Firefighter?” In the end, he got to be both.


Keeping up the “family tradi- tion,” Jim’s son Karl is currently serving in Bridgewater Township as a Fire Inspector.


During Jim’s tenure as Fire Mar-


shal, he worked with many town- ship chiefs and is highly respected in the fire service. “Jim will be best known for his professionalism and his calming demeanor no matter how stressful the situation was that he had to deal with,” said Ex-Chief Doug Rue of Country Hills. Jim is looking forward to spend- ing time with his wife Lisa and en- joying his retirement.


Jim’s replacement is long-time Branchburg Fire Inspector Joe Ol- ivo. Jim has offered to assist him in any way and told him “do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions.” Even in retirement, he is dedicated to service to the com- munity.


Good Days, Bad Days -- You know what fishermen say about April showers. And no, it’s not about the May flowers. As it turned out in Branchburg, the first day of trout season was a beauty, as seen in the photo taken in North


Branch Village on April 9. Seven days later was a different story. The photo on the right, taken in the same vicinity shows the results of 2.36 inches of rain. The only things being caught in North Branch that day were colds. Residents of the vil- lage said that through the night, water inched up Easton Turnpike as far as Vanderveer Avenue.


May 7: RVCC is the Place to Be for Rotary’s “Best of Branchburg”


It’s not too late to get tickets or donate auction items for the Rotary Club’s 17th Annual “Best of Branchburg” awards reception to be held at RVCC on Saturday, May 7 from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. The event is one of the Rotary’s biggest fundraisers and supports the club’s many projects including


Home Break-In, Thefts from Unlocked Cars Plagued Township in April


Thieves were busy in the dark- ness between midnight to 5:30 am on April 20 in the hilly residential area between Readington Road and River Road, south of Station Road. They entered about 50 unlocked cars in driveways of 33 homes, taking cash and property such as laptops, GPS devices, mp3 play- ers and other valuables. Streets that were hit, mentioned in neighbor- hood emails, included Readington, Starling, West County, Wren and Country Squire.


There was also a house break-in at 471 Whiton Rd. about 5 pm on Monday, April 11. The male hom- eowner heard a bang downstairs, investigated and discovered a man standing in his kitchen. The locked back door had been kicked in, and the door frame was damaged. The intruder was described as in his 20s and wearing a backwards baseball cap. He fled through the open door and left the scene in a dark blue Ford Explorer. The license number was reported to be similar to YSN-


Composite sketch of suspect in Whiton Rd. home break-in.


912, but that specific number did not match any suspect vehicle as of April 14.


Police are investigating both incidents and have asked anyone with any leads or information to call the Police Department at 908- 526-3830.


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scholarships, Student of the Month, Gift of Knowledge, Homes of Hope and many more. The entire community is invited to attend. This year, the Best of Branch- burg committee, led by Rotarian Doug Bateman is honoring local artists.


“We are fortunate to have many individuals right here in Branch- burg that have made significant contributions and achievements in the arts,” said Rotary President Mike Cohen. “Their work speaks for itself, not just here, but in far reaching places for all to enjoy. And this year, the Rotary Club of Branchburg salutes them.” Honorees include: Ann Tsubota, ceramicist; Marion Behr, visual artist; Loretta Fois, choreographer; Mark Conklin, singer/songwriter; Jacqueline Markey, Irish Dance Champion; and Karen Rostoker- Gruber, author.


The Rotary’s highest honor, the Paul Harris Fellow Recognition, will be presented to Phil Gartlan, Executive Director of The Midland School.


The “Best of Branchburg recep- tion will include a silent auction and live performances. Tickets are available for $60 per person which includes the reception with hors d’oeuvres and dessert. Admission also includes one drink and the op- tion to purchase additional drinks. Participants will also have an op- portunity to see a special exhibit by Branchburg’s own Printmaking Center of New Jersey, “The Com- bat Paper Project,” which involves young veterans transforming mili- tary clothing into artwork. Besides attending the event, resi- dents and friends support the “Best of Branchburg” by placing an ad in the Rotary Ad Journal or donating


an item for the silent auction. For more information you can contact Mike Cohen 908-231-8883 or any Branchburg Rotary Club member. The “Best of Branchburg” 2011 Honorees:


Ann Tsubota is a ceramic artist whose work has included limited edition functional work to sculp- tural ceramics. She has exhibited in New York, California, Hawaii, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and throughout New Jersey. She is a full-time professor of ceramics at RVCC, where she is also chair of the Visual and Performing Arts Department. Marion Behr, a resident of North Branch, earned both bachelors and masters in fine arts from Syracuse University. With her husband Marc Behr, she patented a new acid free, environmentally safe graphic etch- ing technique. Her graphic work is in the collections of the Newark Public Library, United States Em- bassy in Germany, Smithsonian In- stitution, Royal Thai Collection in Bangkok, Zimmerli Art Museum at Rutgers, among others. Loretta Fois, a resident of Branchburg, is a choreographer and respected full-time dance in- structor at RVCC. She was one of 22 people to recently earn a fellow- ship from the NJ Council of Arts. Mark Conklin is a Branchburg- based singer/songwriter who has been nominated for many song- writing awards by prestigious organizations like the Nashville Songwriters Association Interna- tional, Billboard Magazine, the L.A. Music Awards and the New York Songwriters Circle. Most re- cently, a song he co-wrote and pro- duced won the Independent Music Award for Country Song of the


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