Sunday, November 29, 2009

Kinnelon Information Alerts: Textcaster, Twitter, Nixle

Kinnelon Information AlertsHave you received emails from the Kinnelon Office of Emergency Management [OEM] with information on how to stay abreast of breaking news relevant to Kinnelon, NJ residents? Three digital computer-based tools are now available - Textcaster, Nixle and Twitter - and we are encouraged to sign up.


I mentioned textcaster to you back in May 2009 in Kinnelon's Summer & Fall Recreation Programs, Text Caster, Too. Did you sign up for it?

Here is what Kinnelon OEM writes:

"To our Neighbors, Help us help keep all Kinnelon residents in the know with email and text alerts about important events, road closures, mid to large scale incidents, health alerts and more by telling your friends and neighbors to sign up for Kinnelon Information Alerts via Textcaster.

We have established a one stop website to make the process quick and easy: While they are there they can sign up for school alerts and Recreation dept alerts as well!

Thanks for being a part of our team! We encourage you to forward this email to others in Kinnelon."

The latest email message stated:

"We are slowly but surely spreading the word in Kinnelon about staying connected electronically. To that end, we appreciate everyone passing along the importance of signing up for this email/ textcaster list. The Fire Dept, Police Dept and the Office of Emergency Management will continue to use textcaster in cooperation with the Kinnelon Board of Ed but at the same time are experimenting with other effective ways to communicate with the residents."

" is a secure text/ email/ web based system that will allow you to set up notification preferences, receive alerts based on location, and visit your personal site for alerts and updates on community events as well as emergencies. We encourage you to sign up for the Nixle service.

If you or someone you know is involved in a local organization such as a church or club, please let them know about It's a free service to community organizations."


"Lastly, we have established a twitter account for Kinnelon OEM and may expand it to other borough uses. Follow us at"

I found the textcaster system particularly valuable for obtaining accurate and relevant information about H1N1 vaccinations. Updates go to your email - or your cell as text message if you choose.

I have signed up for all three of these digital services and encourage you to do the same. The first two services are easy to interact with and take very little time to register for.

To follow Kinnelon OEM on Twitter, you will need to set up a Twitter account. If you need guidance on that, let me know. I have written several blogposts on Simple Marketing Blog that might be helpful.

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Monday, November 23, 2009

Jonathan Woods, Hog Pen Hike, Denville, NJ

Jonathan Woods, Denville NJ

Hog Pen Hike in Denville NJ's Jonathan Woods

Emma and I had the hike of our lives on 11/14/09 discovering Jonathan Woods and the Hog Pen Hike in Denville, NJ. This hike was part of Morris County Park Commission's Hike A Park A Month program and led by Jim Florance from Protect Our Wetlands, Water & Woods [POWW].

If you remember back to Morris County Hiking Trails in Daily Record, that is when I learned about Hike A Park A Month. I followed up with Russ Nee - listed in the article as contact - and eagerly enlisted for this hike.

Tom Edmunds from MCPC Trails Mapping/GIS welcomed us at the Cedar Lake Community Club House at 9am. That was our starting point, by special permission. For future hikes to Jonathan Woods and Hogs Pen, consider accessing the park from Ford Road where there is parking.

Protect Our Wetlands, Water & Woods - POWWWWe lucked out with the weather: no rain during the hike despite the looming Nor'easter parked by Manhattan. Eighteen fellow hikers took part in our 4.3 miles and 2 hours 38 minutes hike.

As you can see from the photo display above [that Tom Edmunds created], we started off with an overview presentation of the Park area and history of how it came to be. Jim Florance, our hike leader and a member of POWWW, explained the piecing together of parcels of land that POWWW has been extremely active in making happen since 2001.

In addition to the environmental benefits that this park offers, it also has historic meaning. More specifically, Hog Pen is an area where "settlers built stone walls between the two [ridges] that served as a sanctuary for themselves and their livestock during the Revolutionary War's Battle of Springfield in 1780. The land is also an integral part of a trail system which eventually will link Pyramid Mountain through Boonton Township to Wildcat Ridge."

For our trail details, I've included identification of the path we followed:

Trail Details For Hog's Pen Hike, Jonathan Woods, Denville NJ

Map your trip with EveryTrail

On the POWWW site, you can find several links to maps, in addition to the map linked to above showing Jonathan's Woods and parking:

+ The Jonathan Woods trail map
+ The Jonathan Woods topographical map

It also includes listings of upcoming events - such as the 2010 NJ Audubon co-sponsored hike and a wildflower hike - as well as ongoing projects like the deer exclusion fencing project.

Photos Taken During Hog Pen Hike in Jonathan's Woods in Denville, NJ

Instead of affixing all of my photos to the EveryTrail map, I uploaded them to Flickr and share them with you via slideshow.

[Subscribers, click on this link to view the Flickr slideshow of our Jonathan Woods Hogpen Hike in Denville, NJ.]

Next Hike Details - It's In Kinnelon!

Now, the most exciting news of all is that December 2009 hike takes place in our very own Silas Condict Park in Kinnelon, NJ! I hope you will join us.

Here are details. If you plan to attend, please make contact with Tom Edmunds to reserve a spot. His email is tedmunds [at] morrisparks [dot] net. And, if you must cancel last minute, please do let him know, too.

DATE: December 5

PLACE: MCPC Silas Condit Park in Kinnelon, NJ

TIME: 9 AM start about 2.5 to 3 hours

MEETING: Far parking lot opposite picnic shelter and the “casino”. We hope to have access into the casino.

NOTE: This may be a difficult hike for some as it will require bushwhacking in a few areas and some steep slippery slopes especially if we have snow/ice beforehand. Definitely wear good hiking boots and your favorite walking stick/cane.

Many thanks to Tom Edmunds and Jim Florance for this scenic hike. We really enjoyed ourselves, loved learning about the area and appreciated how welcoming the entire group was.

See you in December at Silas Condict!

BTW, look for Morris County and the Park Commission on Facebook; I just became a fan. You can also find them on Twitter.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fall Recipes -- Braised Beef Short Ribs

The ultimate braised beef short ribs

Braised Beef Short Ribs, the ultimate beef stew fall recipe!

It's starting to be that time of year again, when long slowly cooked foods appeal, and the aroma of a hearty stew spreading through the house is just the thing to counter the fall winds and colder temperatures. In keeping with that. I'm going to post one of my favorite recipes, my Braised Short Ribs. For me this is the The Ultimate Beef Stew.

And while I call it my recipe, I am sure it is a collision of several recipes for braised short ribs that I've run into over the years, but I just can't remember what they are!

It's not written in stone, either, so add what you want!

I originally posted this recipe to The Fresh Hot Sauce Blog, 'cause it's so good with the Hot Pepper Sauce I like to make, but it is certainly good without the Hot Sauce, as my wife and daughter tell me.

Braised Beef Short Ribs Recipe

The recipe will make 16 single 3" to 4" rib servings, which in my house translates to 8 or fewer servings. And it makes a lot of honest beef stock gravy, in this case, really, sauce, that is thickened with the natural gelatin from the collagen in the cartilage and bones of the short ribs. After the stock is removed form the meat, you just reduce it until you have the thickness you want.

Do not be tempted to marinate the short ribs before cooking -- it is not necessary -- the short ribs have tremendous flavor and texture all by themselves.

Perfect braised short ribs...This recipe is good with lots of sides, mashed potatoes, noodles, and especially in a shepherd's pie, surrounded by potato.

I cook it in the Slow Cooker after browning the ribs, and I like to let the ribs braise overnight, or about 12 hours on low, strain and de-fat the liquid in the AM, and recombine the sauce and the Short Ribs by dinner time. You do not have to use a slow cooker for this, however, and braised in the oven at 300 for 6 hours or so or on the stove for 6 to 8 hours at low, the dish will be fine. For oven or stovetop, test each hour after 3 hours or so for doneness -- when the meat starts to fall off the bone, it's done.

In the beginning, there were short ribs

Braised Short Ribs with Red or White Wine:

8 lbs of beef short ribs or flanken, preferably with the bone in
1 large sweet onion, rough chop
2 large sweet onions medium dice
3 large carrots, rough chop
3 cups medium dice carrots
4 stalks of celery, rough chop
3 cups medium dice celery
8 cloves of garlic, chopped
4 to 8 TBS tomato paste
4 bay leaves
Bouquet Garni (small bundle) of fresh herbs -- parsley, oregano, marjoram, rosemary, thyme ...
2 or 3 TSP freshly ground black pepper or pepper mix
3 TSP sea salt
3 to 6 TSP fresh (not old) paprika
1/2 to 1 bottle drinkable cabernet or merlot, not too dry, or sauvignon blanc--full bottle

Braised Beef short ribs developing flavorOptional -- pearl onions, mushrooms ...

Anticipate 3 cooking segments.

The recipe will involve 3 cooking segments -- 1) preparing the ingredients for the slow-cooker, about 30 minutes -- 2) straining and de-fatting the stock, and removing the fat, bones, and rubbery parts from the short ribs, about 30 minutes-- 3) reducing the stock, sauteeing some new veggies and combining the ingredients, about 30 to 45 minutes. The 3 cooking segments are spread out over a 24 hour period, which for me are usually the afternoon of the day before serving, the morning of the day the dish is served, and the evening of the meal.

Part 1:

Braised beef short ribs flavors are coming togetherOn a large sheet pan place the short ribs in a single layer, douse them with olive oil and salt generously, then brown them in a 450 degree oven for about 30 minutes or longer until well colored.

Transfer to the bottom of a large slow cooker, including juices from the pan.

Add all other ingredients, and then enough water to bring to a level with the top layer of veggies. Slide bundle of herbs (Bouquet Garni) into pot at the side. If you have an unsalted demi-glace or stock (beef or chicken) you could add that in place of the water -- it is not necessary.

At this point you could add some optional spices, like 2 or 3 TSP of ground chipotle pepper, or ancho pepper, 1/2 TSP of liquid smoke, or 2 TSP of cumin, or whatever you think will taste good. Or you could save the modifications for the next time you make this.

So now you set the slow cooker for low heat and 12 hours, the night before, and come back in the AM to an all-pervasive aroma that makes you hungry for dinner before you've even had breakfast. That's what happens to me, anyway.

Part 2:

Delicious braised beef short ribsAfter the slow cooker pot has had a chance to cool a bit, transfer , carefully and gently, all of the short ribs to an appropriate sized dutch oven, with enough room left over to add more sauteed veggies, and all of the stock.

After you've transferred the short ribs, you can slide the rib bones out of the meat and carefully pull or cut off the rubbery membrane that sleeves the bone.

Strain the cooking stock through a chinois or a fine mesh sieve and carefully compress the solid matter against the mesh to extract all that slow-cooked goodness.

Transfer liquid to tall 1 or 2 quart containers with lids and place in freezer until fat has congealed.

Part 3:

Then remove fat from top of the frozen stock containers with a spoon and discard.

Reduce stock by about 1/3 at a simmer.

Saute in 3 TBS neutral oil over medium high heat 3 cups each of medium dice carrots and medium diced celery until just softening about 5 to 8 minutes, and reserve.

Braised beef short ribs platedSaute over medium high heat 4 cups of medium dice sweet onion in 3 TBS olive oil. until well browned but not burned, about 15 to 25 minutes. Nonstick pans are good for this.

Add to stock and simmer for 30 minutes more.

Taste and correct the seasoning with additional sea salt and freshly ground black pepper as required.

Pour stock and onion mixture back into dutch oven with short ribs and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add any optional veggies, such as mushrooms or pearl onions (you can saute them a little first if you like to build flavor and pre-soften them)

Add carrots and celery to dutch oven and continue to simmer for 15 minutes.

Correct the seasoning again and serve. Add some Hot Sauce to the pot if all of your customers will approve.

By the way, I purchased the ribs at BJ's for $2.49 per lb, although I've seen them there for as much as, gasp, $2.99 per lb, and the prices I've seen at Pathmark and Stop&Shop range from $3.99 on sale to $4.99 per lb.

And as I said earlier, to my own serving I add my SR Virgin Fresh Red Cayenne-Cherry Pepper Sauce that's made with fresh pepper juice, fresh garlic juice, and fresh onion juice as well as a little sea salt and rice wine vinegar. !!!

Plated braised beef short ribsThis dish gets better and better over the week to 10 days from making it, and you can serve it with different sides each time.

By the way, it freezes very well and keeps in the fridge for quite a while since it's immersed in the solidified gelatin of the sauce.

I'd love to have feedback to hear about what you make.

If you make this recipe, let me know!


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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Celtic Cross by Louis C. Tiffany Studio, Kinnelon's St. Hubert's Chapel

Louis C. Tiffany Celtic Cross, St. Hubert's Chapel

Kinnelon's Magnificent Celtic Cross In St. Hubert's Chapel; from Louis C. Tiffany Studio

If you've participated in one of Tom Kline's guided tours of St. Hubert's Chapel in Smoke Rise, NJ, you've definitely had the glorious opportunity to admire this gem of a stained glass window in the form of a Celtic Cross from the studio of Louis C. Tiffany.

If you haven't, then I share with you here a recent article from the 10/15/09 issue of Smoke Rise News that tells the tale of the Cross' repair and to which I include my photos of the cross.

Saving an Old Rugged Cross

Island Chapel Gets a Face Lift

One brilliant product of the prolific studio of Louis C. Tiffany and Associated Artists was a thick, rustic, stained-glass window in the form of a Celtic Cross that illuminates the tiny baptistery of an intimate chapel on a diminutive island in a small lake in Kinnelon, New Jersey. Tiffany artisans produced the window and other appointments within St. Hubert's Chapel for Francis S. Kinney, a millionaire director of the American Tobacco Company. Kinney erected the medieval-style chapel in the late 1800s and his family used it privately for more than fifty years.

But in 1957, a decade following the death of the last Kinney heir and the subsequent redevelopment of the Kinnelon estate into a community which we call Smoke Rise, five young vandals broke into the chapel, looted its contents, and destroyed much of what they could take.

Fortunately, the window survived with little damage. Today the picturesque building, still accessible only by boat, is watched over by the St. Hubert's Chapel Conservation Committee, a component of the nonprofit Kinnelon Heritage Conservation Society, and the Smoke Rise Security. With a security system now in place the chapel is almost totally restored.

St. Hubert Chapel's Celtic Stained Glass Window CrossIn late 1993, stained glass artisans from Rohlf's Studio in Mount Vernon, New York, removed the Celtic cross window and began its restoration. To correct from warping caused by the weight of the thick glass and the massive leading they divided the window into ten sections and inserted them into an unobtrusive steel frame to protect the window from vandalism and exposure to the elements, then double glazed the frame with plate glass. They reinstalled the window fitting it into a heavy new oak frame. The conservation may have come just in time. Experts feared that if the measures had not been taken soon the Tiffany treasure, which was valued in 1995 at more than $400,000, could have fallen out of its lead framework.

The chapel was rededicated and is open to the public on some occasions, a treasured possession of the Smoke Rise community.

More information on the Celtic Cross and St. Hubert's Chapel is available from the Historic Preservation magazine May/June 1995, or the Stained Glass magazine, Fall 1995. The origin of St. Hubert's Chapel is published by the Kinnelon Heritage Conservation Society.

[The photograph of the Celtic Cross included with this article appears in the Art Glass home page magazine 1995.]

I love stained glass. When I think that this glorious work of art exists in the midst of Kinnelon, I can't help but be reminded of how special this part of New Jersey is!

What do you think? And, what are some of your favorite stained glass windows?

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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Butler's NYSC and Sunday Family Swim

Noodles in the Butler NYSC poolDid you know that Butler's New York Sports Club [NYSC] offers members a really smart and practical benefit? Free family swim on Sundays from 4:30 to 6:30pm.

My daughter and I try to take advantage of it every week.

I consider it smart because Sunday afternoons has to be the least trafficked time and day for the gym; if it weren't for family swim, I wouldn't head in. And, not having to pay extra [as some other gyms require] increases the value that I associate with my NYSC membership fee.

It's also a time when my daughter has excess energy to burn, and I've run out of both steam and ideas... So we head off to the pool and both look forward to it.

NYSC has tons of noodles, kick boards, diving rings and assorted other water toys on hand. For kids who need them, life jackets are available. It's a perfect solution.

And, I don't necessarily have to go swimming myself -- although I get major daughter-bonus points when I do...

Having fun at the Butler NYSC pool
New pool rules require a swim cap. I haven't seen the rule strictly enforced. We have several from Girls Scout Camp, so it isn't an onerous requirement. I believe you can purchase one at the NYSC front desk.

During family swim, 2-3 lanes are available for lap swim. The section closest to the stairs tends to attract playful and youthful swimmers.

Water temperature is, in my daughter's words, "medium perfect" which means that it takes me a while to get adjusted and then I need to make sure I'm moving. But, I'm just an adult...

If you haven't already and decide to check out Sunday family swim at the Butler NYSC, perhaps we'll see you there!

And, if you don't, what Sunday afternoon activities do you find most satisfying?

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Saturday, November 14, 2009

Tripod Rock Hike, Pyramid Mountain, NJ

Tripod Rock Hike trackWhat a great turnout for last week's Tripod Rock Hike in Pyramid Mountain Park! We had approximately 25 hikers [not including two dogs], perfect and unseasonably warm weather and enough trail options that half of the group opted to take another route back to the Visitor's Center.

This was my first visit to Tripod Rock and it truly is a remarkable erratic.

As you can see from the photo, the kids loved hanging out in the cave like space.

Kids under Tripod RockIn terms of the hike itself, we had a vigorous climb early on, to relatively flat and easy terrain, to a steep descent. Given the many slippery leaves, on particularly steep areas, I opted to slide down on my rear rather than try to walk down.

Roundtrip, we covered 2.6 miles in two hours.

I was impressed with how many others were hiking Pyramid Mountain Park that day. I shouldn't have given the gorgeous day, but it dis seem as if we were constantly passing people.

Here is our hike trail map with lots of photos. By the way, Everytrail has improved the trail information that you can glean. You'll notice when you mouse over the graphic a bar at the bottom of the image where you can click to see the elevation profile for the hike.

Warning: I appended too many photos to the trail file. You may want to [x] out of the slideshow....

Tripod Rock Trail

Map your trip with EveryTrail

For those who took alternative routes, which did you take and what did you like most about your choice.

Thank you, Ken Bitz, for organizing us!

Note: the post announcing the Tripod Rock Hike includes several links about Pyramid Mountain Park and Tripod Rock.

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Sunday, November 8, 2009

St. Hubert's Chapel Clock & Bell Tower

St. Hubert's Chapel Bell Tower stairsBack on Sunday, July 5th, 2009, we had a very special experience, courtesy of Tom Kline... A tour and visit to the St. Hubert's Chapel clock and bell tower and a view that left us breathless.

The St. Hubert's Chapel clock and bell tower are -understandably- not part of the tours that Tom offers. Because the stairs are extremely narrow, with a few steps missing, and there are plenty of metal parts sticking out in places offering the potential to get caught on.

Tom wanted to be able to share the experience with others and felt that pictures and an account in The Smoke Rise & Kinnelon Blog would do just that.

Nonetheless, this special visit not only took us up the tower but also back in time to appreciate the effort and careful detail that Francis S. Kinney put into the creation of St. Hubert's Chapel.

I hope you can imagine how excited we were to absorb the experience and to hear Tom Kline describe the many details of the Chapel Clock & Bell Tower.

St. Hubert's Chapel Bell TowerIf you've participated in one of Tom's Chapel Tours, you may remember seeing a poster inside the Chapel describing the Fresco.

That poster includes a description of the clock and bell tower, too.

Here is what it says:

"... A small door leads to the clock and bell tower. Three large brass bells can be found one flight up. The largest is 43" across the base. Cast in Baltimore, Maryland in 1886, the bells were mounted onto huge oak beams and set into place wile the tower was under construction."

St. Hubert's Chapel McShane Bell

The photo shows you the largest bell. Note the words:

"McShane Bell Foundry, Henry McShane Co., Baltimore, MD, 1886."

[Note that McShane Bell Foundry, with its own Wikipedia entry -unfortunately, not very detailed- has also been featured on Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs!] Here is an Index to Chimes by McShane - no St. Hubert's listed, though.]

St. Hubert's Chapel Clock mechanismFrom the photos, you can somewhat appreciate the narrowness of the circular staircase and also how massive the beam is that supports the bells and the clock weights.

Continuing on with the description.

"The circular staircase winds past these chimes to another platform which supports the tower clock. The clock is a manual wind-four dial tower clock manufactured by E. Howard and Company of Boston. Howard clocks are considered by collectors to be the finest clocks manufactured. The mechanism operates off three weights totaling some 2,500 pounds and would chime the hour and quarter-hour.

For safety reasons, the tower is closed.

The clock mechanism is truly remarkable.

Think about it. This is a mechanism that was put into commission in 1886 - more than 100 years ago. And, yet, it stills keeps time.

Yes, it needs manual winding, but it still keeps time.


St. Hubert's Chapel clock & bell support
Here, you see the view up the tower with the various beams supporting the weight mechanisms.

St. Hubert's Chapel clock workings
There are three separate clocks: for minutes, hours and chimes.

St. Hubert's Chapel - more on the inner clock workings

I love the elegance of the mechanisms, all cast iron, very solid and enduring the test of time. Hah! Pun intended.

Now, in inviting us to visit the St. Hubert's Chapel Clock Tower, Tom promised us a view that we would never forget. Given how dark the inside of the tower is, we weren't sure what to expect... until he removed the whole clock face from the tower wall.

St. Hubert's Chapel clock face

... and showed us this amazing view.

St. Hubert's Chapel Clock & Bell Tower view

A View of The Land (and water) Where The Smoke Rises.

Thank you, Tom!

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Save 11/11/09: KC-NJ Highlands Coalition Public Workshop

KC-NJ Highlands Coalition Public WorkshopKinnelon Conserves [KC] [see Kinnelon Conserves - A Vital Kinnelon Resources] is hosting a public workshop on Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 7:30pm at the Kinnelon Library to discuss how the Highlands Regional Master Plan will affect Kinnelon residents and properties.

Here is the text from Kinnelon Conserves' flyer for the event.

Confused about the Highlands Master Plan? Attend KC – NJ Highlands Coalition Public Workshop, Wed. Nov. 11, 7:30 at the Library, and find out how Highland regulations will impact Kinnelon properties.

Do you want to learn how the Highlands Regional Master Plan will affect your property and the future of Kinnelon?

On Wednesday, November 11 at 7:30 pm, Kinnelon Conserves will host the New Jersey Highlands Coalition at a public workshop. Executive Director of the Coalition, Julia Somers, will give a short presentation and answer questions. The workshop starts promptly at 7:30 pm at the Kinnelon Library on Wednesday, November 11. We hope to see you there!

And, here are the specific details on the event:


WHO: KC hosts NJ Highlands Coalition Exec. Dir. Julia Somers

WHERE: Kinnelon Library, Rm. 4 - 130 Kinnelon Rd, Kinnelon

WHEN: Wednesday, November 11th at 7:30 PM

WHAT: Public presentation and Q & A explaining municipal conformance to Highlands Master Plan

WHY: Find out:
+ What conformance is,
+ What conformance is not,
+ How the Master Plan will impact Kinnelon properties

I expect this to be interesting and informative. It's certainly of major interest to all of us in Kinnelon, NJ!

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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Reminder: Tripod Rock Hike 11/8/09

Don't forget! We have a fabulous hike in store for this Sunday, November 8, 2009 and the weather looks more than promising.... Tripod Rock in Pyramid Mountain Park.

We meet at 1pm at the Smoke Rise Inn parking lot.

Details, maps, links and other goodies can be found on my previous post about the hike. Save The Date: Tripod Rock Hike, Pyramid Mountain Park, 11/8/09.

Check it out.

See you there on Sunday.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Kaboom Retail Experience Contest

KaboomLast week, I organized and took part in the 4th annual Bathroom Blogfest - a global event that brought together 20 bloggers and a sponsor - Kaboom - to discuss the customer experience from a variety of perspectives.

What is a Bathroom Blogfest, you ask? Well, per my press release: "A blogfest gathers writers who direct their posts around a single subject while making the subject relevant to their readers. Between October 26 and 28, these experts in marketing, customer experience and service, public relations, library sciences, life, retail—toilets and bathrooms—will call attention to improving the overall bathroom experience."

I was great intense fun with activity on blogs, Facebook and Twitter... I have a recap of the entire Bathroom Blogfest 09 event detailed in this post [and I'm very proud of the 14 posts I contributed on Flooring The Consumer, Simple Marketing Blog and The Carpetology Blog. Perhaps you might enjoy them, too!]

Here's where I need your help.

For the first time ever, I launched a contest and it flopped. Not a single soul participated. Can you imagine?

I refuse, though, to accept defeat. Perhaps one of you will participate? Here's where I explain the contest and show the prize: a FREE Kaboom cleaning kit. Note that I'm extending the contest dates. Septic safe. Good for hard water. Cool packaging and it smells good.

To win, please post a comment, ideally with some details about a memorable retail bathroom experience here on this post, via email or on the Flooring The Consumer contest post. Entries due in by Sunday, November 8. I will then randomly pick one lucky winner....

Thank you for helping me out.

[Oh, and if you already really love Kaboom, here's the link to the special deal that Kaboom put together for the Bathroom Blogfest.]

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Sunday, November 1, 2009

CROP Hunger Walk in Lincoln Park, NJ on 10/25/09

Lincoln Park NJ CROP Walk ItineraryLast Sunday 10/25/09, Emma & I participated in a CROP Hunger Walk which took place in Lincoln Park, NJ. Our friend, Mary Ellen O'Connor Shyne invited us to take part in the event and help represent Kinnelon's Our Lady of the Magnificat.

Having never done a CROP Walk before, I wasn't sure what to expect other than a walk.

The day was beyond description beautiful. We headed off to the meeting point, St. Joseph's Church in Lincoln Park, NJ and joined 350 other walkers. We opted for the three mile circuit [pictured above] which, given the flat, suburban setting with sidewalks [compared to our Kinnelon walks], was delightfully pleasant!

Furthermore, we saw Ron and Theresa Anderson and their children and got to walk with Bob, Bernadette and Kathleen Morrisroe. Emma was thrilled to pieces to be with her friend, and I really enjoyed the conversation with her parents.

Lincoln Park NJ CROP Walk 20 year anniversaryThe first CROP Hunger Walk took place in 1969 and it is "viewed by many as the granddaddy of charity walks," notes the Los Angeles Times (Oct. 26, 2009). [Here is a link to the article titled "A charity event that always hits its stride."] This one just celebrated its 21st anniversary.

Mary Ellen who has coordinated our event for the past 3 or 4 years took on the role from OLM's Sister Ellen Denise O'Connor who got OLM involved 13 years ago.

Several times at the onset of the event, we were reminded that "we walk because they walk" to find water, and other critical resources. Powerful words.

Lincoln Park NJ CROP Walk 15 year anniversaryEspecially since we don't really have to do much physically to get our water. Just turn a faucet on! Or, get into our cars to obtain other staples...

As a child, I lived in West Africa, in Senegal and in Ivory Coast. I remember seeing people - particularly women - walking significant distances to get to a well or get firewood or food and supplies. More often than not, they walked with a baby on their backs and precious heavy cargo balanced on their heads. And, yet, they walked gracefully, strongly and persistently.

CROP Walk events are ecumenical, inter-faith, multi-cultural and all about local community, with 25% of the funds raised go to help hunger-fighting programs in local communities.Mary Ellen O'Connor Shyne having her CROP sign pinned on

Powerfully appealing when you realize that not very far from us, practically in our backyards, is Patterson, NJ, one of the most densely populated and poorest cities in the country.

The CROP Hunger Walk in Lincoln Park brought together 351 walkers who raised $17,000.

Kinnelon had about 25 participants and raised $2,000.
The CROP sign in place
When Emma and I arrived at St. Joseph's we proceeded to the basement meeting room where we were immediately greeted by CROP Hunger Walk organizers. They pinned onto our backs red cloth octagons with the walk emblem [note the strong resemblance to a Stop sign!].

When the walk was done, we returned our signs so they could be used for the next CROP Hunger Walk.

Emma and I had a great time.

I encourage you to learn more about CROP and to consider participating in future CROP events starting in Spring 2010 or even next Fall's Lincoln Park event. Help Stop Hunger: join in on a CROP Hunger Walk!

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