Archive for the ‘Blogfinger citizen reporter’ Category

A man reads a newspaper by the wall. 23% of US citizens read a newspaper regularly—a declining number.

By Paul Goldfinger, Editor @Blogfinger.  Original  post Jan. 2019


Ocean Grove had a local newspaper for most of its history, but there has been none for about the last 20 years.  Why is that newsworthy?  It’s because citizens need a way to receive community information.

Since 2004, ” financial cutbacks have led to the shutdown of nearly 1,800 daily and weekly newspapers.”*  In general, declining numbers of people read newspapers or care about the news.



Social media, especially Facebook, is taking an interest in this problem, recently spending over $300 million to look into the situation.   But does that source seem trustworthy?

And those who use social networking sites  for social networking (such as Twitter) often get news that way.

Many people read their favorite  “newspaper” (e-editions)  on their mobile devices. Most news sources these days take a partisan stance.  They don’t try to go down the middle.

Recently new sources of news post online in a variety of formats  (eg BuzzFeed),  and much of that is suspect in terms of fake news, hoaxes, and outright lies. Intellectually honest readers try to  verify “news” obtained on line before believing the information.

In a recent piece by the Associated Press*, a journalism professor said, “The  challenge for the news business is convincing the public–many of whom aren’t particularly enamored with journalists anyway—that this loss hurts them too, in terms of how connected they are to their communities when there is less opportunity to know what’s going on.”

In Ocean Grove, Blogfinger has been interested in certain selected local issues, such as the North End Redevelopment Plan, but we never claimed to be the “Ocean Grove newspaper.”   Our original idea to have an information sharing blog has largely failed because of lack of public input and lack of interest by local elected officials.

We offer citizens the opportunity to bring up topics for discussion  (our “Just Wondering” segments or “letters to the editor”) but there has been little cooperation.

The Coaster barely looks our way and they are not actually journalists.

And the APP is only good for headline news such as when a body was found stuffed into a car trunk on Main Avenue many years ago.

The statistics show that huge numbers of US newspapers and journalists are vanishing. “Metropolitan and regional newspapers cut circulation in outlying suburban and rural areas, while many weekly newspapers simply shuttered.”*. The Press used to send a reporter to each Township Committee meeting, but that stopped a long time ago.  Blogfinger used to go, but the dishonesty of the process turned us off.


From England: The Guardian has declining readership.

Ocean Grove really needs a local news source to tap into.  Some small towns have online publications where a few people earn some money with ads, but covering local stories can be time consuming and difficult  (as you can see from the messy North End situation which has been ignored by all except Blogfinger.)

At Blogfinger we try to find out about selected important local stories, but we don’t have the manpower or womanpower to investigate all such news.    If we return to our blogging roots, then there will be a news blackout which will enable the Neptuners at the Mother Ship and all the rest of those indifferent local OG organizations to continue dumping on the citizens.

Human nature is such, especially in a democracy, that we take for granted certain rights and institutions. The First Amendment speaks of “freedom of the press.” What a gift that is, but when that freedom is ignored in Ocean Grove and other small towns across America, then the locals will eventually appreciate what is missing—-and who then will pick up the ball?

We will do the best we can for as long as we can.  Maybe someone will now think about what will replace us, and that time will come.

—–*David Bauder in an Associated Press article widely distributed 1/17/2019


2023.  The need for local news coverage continues.  The Coaster and the Asbury Park Press have deficiencies.  In some ways things are worse because it is common, especially on campuses, to shout down guest speakers whose views students and professors abhor.  Thus voices of reason may be squelched at places where all views should be encouraged.

Blogfinger has never tried to be a local newspaper and we have actually moved back to our roots as a blog, with a variety of topics chosen according to what interests us.  We have run into community apathy, and that is a shame in this small town where different demographics and views need to be publicly sorted out.  We will do what we can.

You might take a look at Patch.com, a national movement to provide “hyper-local news” on line and free.  Go to their site and sign up for their Asbury Park edition. I think you will like it.  And maybe some of you will organize an OG Patch.


Then there is the NJnewscommons.org out of Montclair State University . They put up a “news roundup” sent by email and their view is quite broad.  They turned down some of our local news.  Also NJ.com takes an interest in big local stories such as the pier recently. But they usually hit hard and then vanish. And none of these sources really dig in and follow our news.


BILLY JOEL:  “Movin’ Out

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By Paul Goldfinger, Editor  @Blogfinger

At the end of each Neptune Township Committee meeting, a citizen is allowed to come up to the microphone and speak for 5 minutes. The citizen may ask questions or make a statement. No Township official has to respond, although they are free to do so.

We have received a report from Mr. Jack Bredin on Heck Avenue that he  went to the podium last night to express some concerns about the North End Plan. He was in the middle of his time when he asked why the Mayor was not present at the April 15 meeting which was, according to the Township Clerk, supposed to be about negotiations for a Redeveloper Agreement. Mary Beth Jahn is one of the two Committee people who were chosen to participate in those negotiations.

However, Mayor Jahn reacted angrily to Mr. Bredin’s question by slamming her gavel down several times—a signal to have a policeman come in and remove the citizen.

The officer assigned to attend Committee Meetings approached Mr.Bredin, at the podium, to indicate that he should return to his seat.

As this was occurring, Mayor Jahn allegedly said into the microphone that she could have him thrown out because “I am a bitch!”

None of the representatives of the Homeowners Association and none of the other elected officials rose in Mr. Bredin’s defense.

We have requested an audio recording of the meeting, and we will post a precise transcription of the exchange when the Clerk’s office makes it available to us  in one week.

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Ocean Grove block number map by Carol Livingstone of Ocean Grove.

Ocean Grove block number map by Carol Livingstone of Ocean Grove.

I use the data on the county tax board site all the time and with the switch to new block numbers, found it hard to identify blocks in Ocean Grove.  So, I’ve put together a map of the new block numbers that might be useful to others in town as we all look at our updated assessments.  I’ve attached it and hope you will find it of sufficient interest to post.


If anyone finds an error, please let me know!

Carol Livingstone




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By Dr. Carol. Photojournalism at its best inside the Mother Ship. 11/17/14.

By Dr. Carol. Photojournalism at its best inside the Mother Ship. 11/17/14.



I was over at the township offices today and noticed this sign — all the block and lot numbers in town will change with this year’s tax notice.  Here’s a picture of the notice — sorry for the quality of the image, it was covered with plastic.

Dr. Carol

LEON REDBONE:  He wonders what this “change for 2015” will actually do.  Basically, Leon asks, “Is there any there there?”  Leon knows:


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From the Blogfinger archives.

From the Blogfinger archives.  Date unknown.


After reading your blog and the story in the Asbury Park Press, I found a story in The NY Times archives that  there was a time when folks had a desire to go beyond the “tent city”  moniker .

The attached shows the winds of change were blowing strong in 1911 when OGCMA  seemingly changed its focus and decided to compete with Asbury Park for tourism with both municipalities lighting up Wesley Lake and joining in a July 4 program at what was known then as the Auditorium.

Best Regards

George  (Beecroft) of Ocean Grove






ENRICO CARUSO WITH CAST OF “Samson and Delilah”  (see the first comment below)  Camille St-Saens wrote this opera music, and then, after he actually read the story, he pulled all his own hair out.


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The Warrington.  Blogfinger photo

The Warrington. Blogfinger photo

We have received the following information from a citizen reporter who wishes to be anonymous:

“FYI   Re:ZB13/17-conditional use &. bulk variances application scheduled to be heard on April 2, 2014. The owner of 22 Lake Avenue (The Warrington) is proposing to add a new use to the property….add a 20 room historic hotel, a conditional use  within the HD-O historic district.  

“The applicant has applied for variances for which Zoning Board of Adjustment approval is required. Some of which are:  construct a fourth story deck In the flared open space Area, on OGCMA Property;  to reconstruct a stairway leading to the front porch in the flared  open space area, on OGCMA Property; to reconstruct  10′ wide concrete walkways in the flared  open space area, on OGCMA Property; proposing construction to the non-conforming front porch that encroaches over the front property line  into OGCMA property…where necessary.

“Other variances are also required for construction. Neptune’s zoning official denied the permit application #3970, 06/04/2013 necessitating filing for a variance to the Board of Adjustment.”

Editor’s Note:    Many of you will recall that the Warrington was a rest home which housed about 15 clients who rested there when it was closed by the state in 2012.  It was closed because of a long laundry list of deplorable conditions inside. Those who live near there consider it to be an eye sore and a risk to the neighborhood.  Blogfinger posted a number of articles about this situation.  The quote below is from one such BF piece dated August 2012: —-PG

“All 15 boarders at the Warrington Rest Home in Ocean Grove have been relocated to permanent housing in other state-licensed facilities. Tammori Petty, a spokesperson for the Department of Community Affairs, said Wednesday that this resolves the state’s concerns about the property. The DCA closed the run-down boarding home on June 13 due to what it termed “serious conditions affecting the health, safety and welfare of residents.”

With the State out of the picture, it remains unclear what will become of this now-empty and deteriorating building, which faces Wesley Lake at 22 Lake Avenue, directly behind the Park View Inn. It had been licensed to provide room and board for veterans and physically challenged people. According to tax records, it is owned by Jack Ancona LLC of Long Branch. We have been unable to contact this individual for comment.”

This project seems about as plausible as the Duke of Earl finding a woman in Ocean Grove:


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