Pallone Leads Call to Expand COVID-19 Testing Sites In New Jersey

Long Branch – Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) today led a letter to President Trump asking him to provide New Jersey with the testing resources it needs to combat the rising number of COVID-19 cases. In writing to President Trump, the Democratic Members of the House of Representatives from New Jersey requested that the President re-open drive-through testing facilities operated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to help contain the spread of COVID-19.

“We write to once again convey the urgent need for federal resources in New Jersey to improve testing capacity. The coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) continues to reach record highs; case rates in November are surpassing even our highest rates from the spring,” the lawmakers wrote. “Despite the state’s best efforts, the positivity rate for COVID-19 testing currently averages about 10 percent. As you know, experts suggest anything over a five percent positive testing rate requires urgent containment and mitigation efforts. However, containment and mitigation efforts rely on sufficient testing capacity to ensure that cases are being quickly identified and New Jersey is once again facing extended lines at testing locations and turn-around times for results becoming longer by the day. We are in agreement with medical and public health experts that rapid and robust testing is the key to driving down case rates and re-opening New Jersey’s economy.”

In April, FEMA opened two drive-through testing facilities in New Jersey that helped expand testing capacity. FEMA closed the testing sites in July, despite public pleas to keep them open. A copy of the letter is available here.

Spartans finish 2020 strong with big win

By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
November 20, 2020
Ocean Township High School varsity football closed out their 2020 season with authority. Friday night, they hosted Manchester High School and after a shaky start dominated the Hawks winning 49-26.

Manchester came into Ocean with an impressive 5-2 record, while the Spartans were 2-3. Ocean Township started the game on offense. On their second play Tyler Douglas, sophomore quarterback for the Spartans, was intercepted by the Hawks defense. A few plays later, Manchester had moved the ball a total of 50 yards and scored their first touchdown taking a quick 7-0 lead with 9:40 left in the first quarter.

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The first quarter ended with Manchester in the Spartans red zone. And just seconds into the second quarter their quarterback ran in from two yards out for another score. The extra point was no good, but they had a 13-0 lead on Ocean with 10:09 left in the first half.

Ocean then exploded for 30 unanswered points in ten minutes. Manchester imploded during the second quarter and was never able to recover.

Senior Chris Carasia took the Hawks kickoff after their second touchdown and ran 85 yards for the first Ocean score. The Spartan defense stuffed Manchester on their next possession.

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Douglas  hit Carasia for a 30-yard catch and run play going to the Manchester eight-yard line. Douglas then kept the ball and ran in for the second Ocean touchdown. He also kicked the extra point giving his team a 14-13 lead with 6:15 left to play.

Manchester faced a third and 29 on their own three-yard line. A group of Spartans led by senior Evan Peters tackled the Hawks running back in the end zone for a two-point safety and were now up 16-13 with 5:57 left in the first half.

The Hawks were forced to kickoff to the Spartans and guess what? Douglas took the ball 40 yards for another Ocean touchdown. Their lead increased to 23-13 with 5:12 left in the first half.

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Manchester was forced to punt. Ocean took over and easily moved the ball. With just 33 seconds left in the first half, Douglas ran in from two yards out giving the Spartans a 30-13 lead into the halftime break.

Douglas started the third quarter with a 17-yard touchdown run and extra point kick giving the Spartans a 37-13 lead with 9:35 left in that quarter. The Ocean defense stopped the Hawks again, who were forced to punt.

Carasia this time took the ball and ran 60 yards for another Ocean touchdown. The Spartans now had a 43-13 lead with 8:09 left in the third quarter.

With 46 second left in the third quarter the Spartans added another touchdown. They were now up 49-13, and NJSIAA mercy rule went into effect. Any team that holds a 35-point advantage over an opponent during the second half, the clock will run.

Manchester was able to work their way to the Spartan goal line and with no time left on the clock in the third quarter scored making the score 49-20.

With 2:44 to play in the game, Manchester scored their final touchdown of the game on a two-yard quarterback run. The final score was 49-26 and Ocean finished the abbreviated pandemic season at 3-3.

Douglas finished with 129 yards completing 5 of 9 passes, throwing one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for 126-yards on 12 carries and had four rushing touchdown.

Carasia had 44 yards rushing on three touches and had two catches for 104 yards with one touchdown. Christian LaRosa had 10 carries for 39 yards. Peters had two catches for 20 yards.

Ryan Savage led the Spartans on defense with 11 tackles. Ben Trench had eight tackles, two sacks, and four tackles for a loss. Shane Garrett made four tackles, had two sacks, and two tackles for a loss. Joe Teresi had five tackles all for a loss. He also had two sacks.

“Very proud of our program. Our kids were negatively impacted by COVID probably more than any other team in the Shore,” said Don Klein, head coach. Ocean missed the only scrimmage of the pre-season, their first game was cancelled and none of those were caused by any member of the Ocean squad. “That can be frustrating for young people to deal with, but to our players’ credit, particularly the our seniors, they remained focused and stayed the course.”

Klein was very pleased with his teams last performance of the season. “We played in our final game of 2020 and executed at a high level. Made some big plays on both sides of the ball. The kids had fun and we were able to send the seniors out with a victory,” added Klein. He also praised his coaches, who he said are also great individuals and role models for the players.

Please click the photos to read the captions. Additional photos are posted at

Long Branch Library topics for December

December is a busy month for the Long Branch Free Public Library with holiday recipes, handling dysfunctional families, holiday stories and much more!


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Christmas trees are now on sale!

It’s begining to look a lot like…

Christmas trees are now being sold at Paul’s Trees next to the Long Branch Poultry Farm on Branchport Ave. (Used to be next to Dunkin Donuts on Hwy 36 in West Long Branch.) They carry everything for the holidays from wreaths, grave blankets to trees.
There to help you make a choice, are Craig Dudsak, Monmouth Beach, Susan Morgano from Paul’s Trees and Isabel Learas of Monmouth Beach.

Charles Richard Schwartz of San Antonio, caring brother, uncle, and friend passed away peacefully on November 9 at the age of 93.

The son of George and Elizabeth Schwartz, Charles was born on March 4, 1927, in Newark, N.J., and grew up in the company of two older brothers, George and Robert. The family attended Central Christian Church in East Orange, N.J., where his mother played the organ. He didn’t much care for school when he was young, but he enjoyed social studies and shop class.

Charles considered himself a bit of a black sheep but the one thing that bound the family together was music, with all three sons eventually growing up to be professional musicians and music teachers. As a teen, Charles took an eager interest in jazz and swing music and frequented as many nightclubs and theaters as he could to see jazz greats like Benny Goodman, Louis Armstrong, and Cab Calloway.

At the age of 17, Charles entered the Navy, serving as a helmsman aboard the USS PGM 32 and other ships. He was awarded the rank of Radarman, 3rd class, within six months of his entry into the service, and received one battle star for witnessing the Battle of Okinawa. He experienced a number of dangerous and difficult experiences during his time in the service and told stories of the close encounters he had during minesweeping operations. He was discharged in 1946 and attended college, first at NYU and then at Rutgers University, graduating in 1951 with a double major in Social Studies and Industrial Arts and a minor in music.

He became a teacher, first serving at a school in Sea Bright, N.J., where he taught Industrial Arts to kids from grades 1-8, and also served as the gym teacher and school nurse. During the summers, Charles worked as the Night Manager of the Peninsula House Hotel. It was here that he received nightly phone calls from one Frank Sinatra to his mother, a hotel patron. For years afterward, Charles enjoyed recounting those phone calls, saying, “Bet you never knew Frank Sinatra was a mama’s boy.”
For upwards of 30 years, Charles worked in a variety of positions in the field of education, serving as Industrial Arts teacher, coach, band director, health teacher, math teacher, and finally principal for a number of schools in New Jersey, all while playing weekly jazz gigs with his trombone. He had many ups and downs in his educational career but loved teaching kids and making a positive difference in their lives. When school administration proved too strenuous and political for Charles’ liking, he went back to his roots and took a job as a music teacher for five different N.J. Catholic schools which eventually led to his opening a successful musical instrument rental business and teaching studio. He also fulfilled a lifelong dream by playing trombone for a few years in the New Jersey State Orchestra until its dissolution.

In 1986, Charles developed chronic tendonitis in his elbow which prevented him from playing trombone and teaching. He decided to dissolve his business, but he felt proud of his accomplishments. He moved to San Antonio, Texas, in the late 90s, intending on retiring, but instead became active on the board of the Harmony Hills condominiums where he lived, eventually becoming manager of the entire complex. He served in that role for 9 years before actually retiring at the age of 80, buying a house nearby, and living with his beloved pups, Mr. Pooch, Little Lady, and Little Guy. For the last year of his life, Charles lived at Casa Felicitas and developed friendships with all the kind and loving caregivers there.

Mr. Schwartz leaves behind his niece, Jayne; grandnieces, Erin, Neala, and Adrienne; and numerous beloved friends.

A graveside memorial service will be held on Friday, December 4, 2020, at 1:00pm at Sunset Memorial Park, 1701 Austin Highway, SA, TX, 78218.

What’s valuable about New Jersey’s forests?

The State We’re In by Michele S. Byers, Executive Director, New Jersey Conservation Foundation

In the not-so-distant past, the value of forests was based on the timber generated from logging. Forests without commercial timber potential were thought to be nearly worthless.

Today much more is known about forest values. Forests are considered priceless for providing wildlife habitat and many “ecosystem services,” including filtering impurities from the air and water, absorbing and storing carbon from the atmosphere, and soaking up floodwaters. Forests are also valuable for recreation and their cooling effect in summer.

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A new “State Forest Action Plan” by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection examines the value of the Garden State’s forests and the many threats they face – most prominently the impacts of a warming climate. The plan proposes a number of actions to protect New Jersey’s forests, which collectively cover about 2 million acres of this state we’re in.

The department is accepting public comments on the draft plan through Wednesday, Dec. 2.

“In the past, forest managers looked at forests through a narrow lens…Timber value is no longer an important forest attribute for many New Jersey residents,” explains State Forester John Sacco in the plan’s introduction.

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“This land works hard for our 9 million residents, providing clean water, much-needed recreation, wildlife and rare plant habitat and jobs,” Sacco added. “Our urban forests keep cities cooler in summer, filter air and water pollution and make our neighborhoods attractive places to live. Our forests fix enough atmospheric CO2 (carbon dioxide) each year to offset the annual CO2 emissions of Newark, our largest city. They are the front line in our fight against climate change.”

The State Forest Action Plan is a 10-year strategic plan required under the federal Farm Bill for New Jersey to be eligible for federal forest stewardship funding. Much hard work has gone into the action plan, which contains substantial information not found in previous plans.

The federal forestry program has three priorities: Protecting forests from threats, enhancing public benefits from trees and forests, and conserving and managing working forest landscapes for multiple values and uses. The first two are the most relevant to small and densely-populated New Jersey.

As Sacco notes, New Jersey’s forests are at risk from climate change, invasive species, diseases, insect outbreaks and wildfires.

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“Increased global trade is accelerating the homogenization of Earth’s ecosystems,” he said. “New organisms are continually introduced into places where they did not evolve. Due to introduced diseases and insects, we have lost or are losing many important native tree, shrub and herbaceous plant species. In many areas, our Great Eastern Deciduous Forest now has a Eurasian understory.”

Wildfires are also a threat, as a massive fire or series of fires could cause “a catastrophic release of CO2 to the atmosphere, a phenomenon we’ve seen out west, where forest lands were once carbon sinks, but now atmospheric carbon sources.”

The forest plan suggests several actions, including:

  • Conserving our forest’s biological diversity;
  • Maintaining the health and vitality of forest ecosystems;
  • Conserving and maintaining soil and water resources of our forests;
  • Maintaining forest contributions to global carbon cycles;


The forest plan notes that the Earth’s warming climate is changing New Jersey’s forests. Trees are flowering earlier, and sea level rise threatens many species, including Atlantic white cedar, that can’t survive saltwater intrusion. Tree species historically found in the southern part of the state will eventually become more abundant in the north, and some trees now found in northern New Jersey may disappear from the state.

The forest plan discusses diseases and pests in great detail and, for the first time, points out the severe damage caused by our over-abundant deer population.

The forest plan recommends planting trees in areas previously not forested, restoring damaged forests, restoring the declining Atlantic White Cedar ecosystems, and protecting rare plants.

The plan introduces a new concept of “proforestation,” the practice of leaving forests undisturbed as they march toward old age, to maximize their ecological potential and carbon sequestration. New science is helping us understand how carbon is captured and stored over time throughout the forest above or below ground, in wood and roots, and in soil and leaves.

Many new studies, synthesized in the publication Wild Carbon, point to conserving undisturbed forests as the best strategy for sequestering carbon as part of the battle to slow climate change. The draft State Forest Action Plan mentions the Sourlands region of central New Jersey as one place where proforestation should be considered, but emerging science suggests that this strategy should play a much larger role in many of New Jersey’s older, maturing forests.

Protecting sequestered carbon by fostering the eventual re-establishment of old growth forest areas on our public lands can even create a New Jersey “carbon market.” As part of our response to global warming, forest trees may be far more valuable being left to grow old than anyone ever dreamed!

For all those who love New Jersey’s forests and want to learn of their current status and what the future might hold, be sure to check out the State Forest Action Plan at

To provide your observations to the State Forester on the plan before the state’s Dec. 2 deadline, go to

To find out more about the benefits of proforestation and go to the Wild Carbon website at

To learn more about preserving New Jersey’s land and natural resources, visit the New Jersey Conservation Foundation website at or contact me at

Monmouth County has 287 additional positive cases of COVID-19

FREEHOLD, NJ – Monmouth County Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone and Freeholder Deputy Director Susan M. Kiley have announced that today, Nov. 19, there are 287 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Monmouth County. There is one new death being reported today related to COVID-19 in Monmouth County.

The Freeholders and the Monmouth County Health Department are urging residents to do their part to slow the spread by practicing social distancing, wearing a face covering when social distancing is not possible, not gathering in large crowds, washing their hands and staying home when sick.

Monmouth County will offer free COVID-19 testing for County residents on Saturday, Nov. 21 in Freehold from 9 a.m. to noon at the Freehold Borough Fire Department (Main Building), 49 W. Main St. Residents should note the clinic has 200 tests and once those are administered, the clinic will close for the day.

More information about the County’s COVID-19 testing program is available on Residents are encouraged to fill out the testing requisition form ahead of testing in order to expedite the process.


The breakdown of positive COVID-19 cases by municipality is as follows:


19-Nov 18-Nov
Aberdeen: 459 447
Allenhurst: 31 32
Allentown: 25 24
Asbury Park: 468 457
Atlantic Highlands: 79 80
Avon-by-the-Sea: 35 35
Belmar: 105 104
Bradley Beach: 108 105
Brielle: 128 127
Colts Neck: 244 241
Deal: 125 125
Eatontown: 508 507
Englishtown: 77 78
Fair Haven: 100 97
Farmingdale: 26 24
Freehold Borough: 579 575
Freehold Township: 1072 1067
Hazlet: 561 549
Highlands: 80 77
Holmdel: 440 432
Howell: 1373 1344
Interlaken: 23 21
Keansburg: 293 298
Keyport: 181 174
Lake Como: 47 46
Little Silver: 116 111
Loch Arbour: 8 8
Long Branch: 1237 1224
Manalapan: 1041 1022
Manasquan: 118 114
Marlboro: 988 971
Matawan: 361 358
Middletown: 1479 1448
Millstone Township: 189 188
Monmouth Beach: 60 59
Neptune City: 127 126
Neptune Township: 941 926
Ocean: 839 829
Oceanport: 133 127
Red Bank: 537 524
Roosevelt: 16 16
Rumson: 133 137
Sea Bright: 38 30
Sea Girt: 41 41
Shrewsbury Borough: 119 114
Shrewsbury Township: 25 25
Spring Lake: 60 58
Spring Lake Heights: 91 92
Tinton Falls: 400 387
Union Beach: 102 95
Upper Freehold: 142 142
Wall: 726 714
West Long Branch: 464 465
Unknown: 0 0


If you would like to read more Monmouth County news updates and information regarding the COVID-19 situation, go to