Saturday, June 30, 2007

Wherever You Wander

Whether it's a day trip or extended vacation, in the excitement to pack up and get away, don't forget to take some safety precautions. It is a good idea to copy the front and back of all credit cards, airline tickets, passports and other important documents to store in a safe place. This way you have a reference if the items are lost or stolen.

This tip from Century 21 is one of many sent to all who have joined our monthly newsletter list.
You can receive our no-obligation newsletters by dropping an email to,

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Great Light Way

West Orange Mayor John McKeon’s Energy Diet, Energy & Art Summer Campaign Emphasizes Conservation and Innovation with the display of 21 hand painted 5ft tall light bulbs to be located around the town from July through September.

More than a century after Thomas Edison’s light bulb marked the dawn of a new era, the light bulb remains a symbol of creativity around the world. West Orange is the site of the National Edison Historic Site(still closed for renovations), composed of Edison’s laboratory, where over 1000 patents were invented and many brought to market, and Edison’s home, Glenmont in Llewellyn Park. In West Orange, twenty-one five foot tall fiberglass bulbs, painstakingly hand painted by regional artists, will stand as symbols of our commitment to solving a quintessential 21st century problem - reversing the affects of global warming through the reduction of energy consumption and the investment in alternative energy sources.

Each bulb is sponsored by a local business or organization. Among the artists scheduled to participate are architects, sculptors, graphic designers and members of West Orange High School’s class of 2007.

“Our ‘Great Light Way’ is a trail of innovation that will lead you through our beautiful township while the artistry of the designs will inspire you to conserve energy” said Mayor McKeon. A location map will be made available and can be accessed on the West Orange Outlook, on line at or at the West Orange Public Library.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Face Only its Mother Could Love

The mystery is how this sea creature could make its way so far from its natural home to a Hunterton County farm.

Some clues from The Star Ledger:

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Know Your Mortgage!

From The Baltimore Sun:

With mortgage delinquencies and foreclosures soaring, federal researchers have identified a key contributing factor: Large numbers of consumers simply do not understand their own mortgages - especially subprime loans that come with complex features and costly penalties.

As a result, too many people are ill prepared to handle jolting payment increases and rate reset deadlines.
In a study involving 819 recent prime and subprime mortgage customers in 12 locations around the country, the Federal Trade Commission found that using current "truth-in-lending" and "good faith estimate" disclosures:

• Nearly nine out of 10 borrowers could not identify the correct amount of up-front charges connected with a loan.

• Four out of five had trouble understanding why the stated interest rate on the loan note was different from the "annual percentage rate" (APR) highlighted in the truth-in-lending disclosure.

• Two-thirds did not spot a potentially dangerous snare lurking in the loan - a substantial penalty if they refinanced within the first two years.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

NJ Passes Major Global Warming Bill

This year's New Jersey Legislature may go down in history as one of the most ambitious. Not only has it passed its budget well in advance of deadline, in this last week of the current session, it has essentially "outlawed" both spam and global warming.

From The Star-Ledger:
A bill that commits New Jersey to the most ambitious goals in the nation for reducing the greenhouse gases responsible for global warming won final approval tonight as the Legislature wrapped up its business for the summer and adjourned.

The bill (A3301) requires the state Department of Environmental Protection to develop a plan to reduce greenhouse gases to 1990 levels by 2010, and to 80 percent below last year's levels by 2050. Those are the same goals Corzine set in an executive order he issued in February.

Although other states, notably California, have taken steps to combat global warming, only New Jersey has set such an ambitious target for reducing greenhouse gases by mid-century, according to Suzanne Leta Liou of Environment New Jersey, an environmental advocacy group.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Montclair "Slave House" May Be Moved

When does a house stop being a home?
Does an historical landmark lose some of its relevance when it's moved to another location?
What if the choice is "move it or lose it"?
Philip Read discusses both sides of the issue in today's Star Ledger:

Tomorrow night, John Weisel, is to appear before Montclair's Historic Preservation Commission to give a preview of the plans to relocate the slave house sometime in 2008.

At the same time, Montclair's governing body has designated homes for local landmark status and earmarked some 200 properties with more restrictive zoning to take the financial incentive out of tearing down historic properties. Both of those actions were taken with a circa 1900 Dutch Colonial(pictured) -- next door to the slave house -- that was threatened with demolition.

Frank Godlewski, an architect who has spoken up on landmark issues, said the slave house should stay in what was once an African- American enclave. "That's the only building that we have left that's genuine on the revolutionary-period road," he said.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Sometimes It's Hard to Let Go

The scene on Saturday at Montclair's DPW Recycling Center. We watched him read for about 5 minutes. He was still at it when we left.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Interest Rates Jump but Signs Persist for Growth

In his current newsletter, our Century 21 Gemini Mortgage guru, Freddie Torres, has weighed in on the latest jump in rates:
"Up, up, and away – and we're not talking about balloons. We're talking about interest rates, mortgage rates in particular. Indeed, rates soared across both duration and type last week, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage adding 21 basis points to average 6.74% (the highest it’s been since last July)"
Yet there's still reason for some optimism...." In fact, many economists believe that a positive curve indicates that investors expect strong future economic growth. The key is for rates not to rise too far, too fast, and for short-term rates (if not the general level of rates) to ease.
Speaking of rate easing, the odds favor a pullback in mortgage rates after the recent rise, particularly in light of Friday's favorable CPI report."

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Beached Bagels

About 40 yards up Broad Street from New Jersey's newest onion ring mecca, lies one of it's best known bagel bonanzas: Bagels Abroad. To celebrate their 15th anniversary, they turned their Bloomfield sidewalk into a beach club. They really pulled it off! We arrived near the end of the party -- just as the lifeguard was ordering everyone out of the pools as a spring boomer approached.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

We Were Number 12!

If you're wondering what the big blue number on the right (well, it was just below our links all week; honest!) represents, it's our "influence" rank in New Jersey according to BlogNetNews. Earlier this week, the NJ blog portal debuted its new weekly Top 20 list ranking New Jersey's Most Influential Political Blogs. While we were pleasantly surprised to have opened at Number 12, we were puzzled as to why the mother of all blogs in this area, Baristanet, was missing. For a discussion of BNN's methodology, look here. At the same time, we were puzzled by accusations that BNN is slanted toward the right. While we're proud of our environmental activism, We try to keep partisan politics to a minimum. Although they may be an endangered species around here, there are still a few local Elephants we like, as well as a few Donkeys who have made @sses of themselves.

[Updated 6/17: ahh, fame is fleeting, This week's revised ranking has bumped EcoRealty, but shot Baristanet up to #6.]

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

End of the Road at Liongate

Tonight is the re-re-re-scheduled penultimate Special Planning Board Meeting for Bloomfield's eight year long development battle for the massive Townhouse development plan at the former Scientific Glass site off Liongate and Broad St. in Bloomfield. We're told that both the PB and the developer are under pressure to rubber stamp their plans in order to beat the stiffer DEP Stormwater Rules scheduled to take effect this fall. Much has been posted here on the subject. Tonight may be the last chance for the public to speak.
When: 7:30 Tuesday
Where: Bloomfield Town Hall

Sunday, June 10, 2007

An Eco Fair Sunday in Montclair

Four Junior girls from Montclair High School's Civics and Government Institute chose BlueWaveNJ to do their community service component. After seeing "An Inconvenient Truth", asked if they would sponsor an Eco Fair. The goal is to educate our community about what we can do to "Save the Planet in Your Own Backyard" (their slogan) instead of just feeling frightened and frustrated.
The Eco Fair was held today at Edgemont Park
There were tables and presentations by a variety of local groups and eco-friendly businesses including: The Hawk Watch, NRDC, Essex County Environmental Center, the DEP, and vendors of solar and wind power, environmentally safe cleaning products, natural parenting products, fair trade, teas, etc.
There was full spectrum of music by Angels Garage(pictured), Tromboner, Yellin and Wilson Flute Duet, the MHS African Drumming Group, Reticents, and the fabulous Marafanyi Guinean Drumming Group.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Solar Power for Affordable Apartments

If you were hoping to get a coveted spot at Solara, a new energy- efficient apartment building in the San Diego suburb of Poway you’ve already missed your chance. The owners cut off the waiting list at 800 names. The 54 units were fully leased in three days. The apartments, which were available only to low income tenants, started at just $388 a month for a one bedroom, about a third of the market rate. On top of that, tenants will pay nothing for electricity. That’s taken care of by the solar panels you see on the roof in the photo.
Solara, which officially opened June 5, may be the largest green, affordable housing project in the country....
Continue reading from BusinessWeek Online

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Worse than Chinese Menus

Pity the poor Bloomfielder who chose May to go on vacation without putting their mail on hold! Yes, today's the end of one of the most intense and bitter local primary campaigns in memory. Just like those old menus, the choices are all between Columns A & B. Polls are open from 6:AM to 8PM. Results should be known before bed time.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Primary Night Howl

If election night anxieties have you in a tither, the Turtle Back Zoo folks may have had you in mind when they scheduled their Night Moves for this Tuesday. You may even find these wolves, foxes vipers, reptiles, and bears less threatening than their political counterparts.

Take a guided night time tour of the zoo and meet the creatures of the night that live in and around the grounds. Although, the moon will be out, don’t forget to bring a flashlight in order to enjoy the full experience. These events have limited space available so book your Night Moves Tour NOW!
Gates close at 8:30 pm -
Pre-Registration required - Call (973) 731-5800 ext. 221

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Mortgage Rates Hit 8 Month High

Rates on 30-year mortgages rose for a third straight week, hitting the highest level in eight months.
Mortgage giant Freddie Mac reported Thursday that 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages averaged 6.42 percent in its nationwide survey this week. That was up slightly from 6.37 percent last week and represented the highest point for 30-year mortgages since they averaged 6.43 the week of Sept. 14.
Analysts attributed the increase to signs of economic strength outside of housing such as the April rise in orders for big-ticket manufactured goods.