Saturday, March 31, 2012

Anthony Franco's -- Good Pizza and Good Food -- My New Fave for Local Italian with Delivery in Kinnelon

OK. This is the place. I've seen better photos, but ... hey .. it's the food that  counts!

I don't normally care enough about the local Pizza and Italian places to write a review of one of them or to give one a plug, but I am making an exception in the case of Anthony Franco's, on the corner of Rt 23 and Kinnelon Rd, simply because it is so good, and not just for Pizza. We've tried a lot of the local places and many of them make a good pizza and decent Italian dinner food, nor do I have anything bad to say about them. Anthony Franco's is different, and several steps above most of the competition.

All of the Pizzas we've tried have been REALLY good, not only with great tasting toppings, such as great cheese, and broccoli rabe and sausage, cooked just right, but the crust is great with great yeasty flavor. No cardboard here. Beyond that, we've tried the Chicken Parmigiana, Calamari, Salads, and more. All have been really good to great with generous portions.

For what you get the prices are conmpetive. On paper, or on the menu, some of the prices are a little higher than the local competition's, but after the first bite, there isn't much -- competition, that is.

Since they are quite close, deliveries come fairly quickly as well. Call 'em  up!  973 492-1700.

Support your local Pizza Man!


Photo Credits: Top Shot of the AF restaurant lifted from the AF website, Bottom is a Screen Shot of the website landing page.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bob Vosatka: Eradicating Riverblindness, Kinnelon Library 4/12/12

Dr. Bob Vosatka, Kinnelon, NJ
I invite you to come to the Kinnelon Library on April 12, 2012 at 7pm, to hear Kinnelon neighbor Bob Vosatka bring to life his work eradicating Riverblindness in the Congo.

Here is the description of his presentation at the Kinnelon Library:

Destination Congo: Prelude to a Medical Revolution

Dr. Bob Vosatka will show slides of his trip to Lubumbashi, DR Congo via Nairobi, Kenya. He will bring us up to date on efforts toward the global eradication of several Neglected Tropical Diseases. 

As Medical Director for UFAR (United Front Against Riverblindness), Dr. Vosatka assists in efforts aimed at the eradication of Riverblindness, by facilitating the delivery of medications to a population of greater than 1 million people in the Congo.  

In anticipation of his presentation, I asked Bob a few questions. Here are his responses:

C.B.: Bob, what is your background? 

I am a physician, teacher and scientist.  My undergraduate degree was in physics and biochemistry.  I was lucky enough to get into NYU medical school, and even luckier to get  a full scholarship for the 8 year combined md/ phd program.  Following medical school I became board certified in pediatrics, neonatology and medical genetics, spending half my time in clinical practice, the rest as a professor doing research at Columbia University.  Following a long recovery from an injury in 1999, I turned to teaching at the high school level.  Currently, I teach and develop educational programs at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City.

C.B.: How long have you and your family lived in Kinnelon?  

We have lived in Kinnelon for 14 years.  As a child, I always wanted to live "in the country".   After going to school in Manhattan, I learned I love New York as well.  A good friend (who lives in rural Maine) once said: "You live more in the country than I do, and live closer to a big city: you have the best of both worlds".  I think she is right.        

C.B.: What do you like most about Kinnelon?  

Many things: the teachers and schools are great, my kids have had incredible experiences.  I love that I can what out my front door and hike in the woods for hours, seeing nothing but nature, great views and the occasional bear.  The Kinnelon Library has been the town center for my family.  The people are great, the collection is excellent, and the interlibrary loan services are nearly as good as those at a University library.

C.B.: You'll be speaking to us at the Kinnelon Library about River Blindness. What causes RiverBlindness? 

Riverblindness is a disease caused by a parasitic worm.  It is transmitted to people through the bite of a tiny blackfly that lives and breeds in rapidly flowing rivers.  It is found in equatorial regions of the world.  In some villages, as many as 90% of adults have gone blind from the disease.

C.B. How did you first get involved in eradicating River Blindness?

I got involved about two years ago.  Eradication of riverblindness was not on the agenda.  Through a long time friend, Dr Jeff Yuan (currently the Board Chair of UFAR, United Front Against Riverblindness), I was introduced to Dr Daniel Shungu, an American of Congolese descent and founder of UFAR.

Following his retirement from Merck Pharmaceuticals, he returned to his DR Congo, and asked how he could help.  In 2004, shortly after the end of the Congolese war, he began a program to control riverblindness by coordinating with the WHO (World Health Organization).

I was surprised to learn from Daniel that Riverblindness was limited to people and the flies that transmit the worm.  There was also an effective medication, Mectizan that, when given once a year, prevented progression of the disease in those who had it and prevented uninfected individuals from acquiring the disease.  In short, the disease (potentially) be eradicated, not just controlled. It just took the will to do it.

Recently, the groups that treat this and other NTDs (neglected tropical diseases) have taken on that challenge: riverblindness is on track for eradication, not just control.  Only one other disease has been eradicated from mankind: smallpox. Thus, my decision was a simple one: be part of a revolution in health care for a large part of the world's population, or do nothing.                  
C.B.: So, what do you do on behalf of UFAR?  

I am the Strategic Medical Director and Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors.  I will be Board Chair in a few months.

As Strategic Medical Director, I review policies and procedures to ensure patient safety for 1-2 million people in the Congo.  I also develop plans with other members of our organization, particularly Daniel Shungu, to coordinate our care to ensure that we remain on track to eradication and that we collaborate efficiently with other international organizations to eradicate. Lastly, I write grants and speak to others to ensure that the eradication effort is brought to completion.  Halting our effort prematurely is actually less costly than stopping.  Once eradicated, no one will need medication for this and several other eradication efforts.

C.B.: Share with us a sneak peak! What will you discuss at the Kinnelon Library on 4/12?  

I will bring photos and artifacts from my recent trip to the Congo and Kenya.  I will talk about the unique ecology of these area and how fragile they are.  To the best of my ability, I will discuss the economies in these areas and how they affect the lives of the people.  I will introduce the London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases and how this global effort will change the developing world.

C.B.:  How might someone get involved?

I also work as a Malaria Griot.  In African culture, a Griot is storyteller.  I have joined with another NGO, Malaria No More to ensure that we can succeed in our eradication efforts for riverblindness by controlling malaria, a disease that cause death among a large percentage of children in the area we work.

There are many ways to get involved in the efforts.  UFAR needs people with many skills.  The best way to help is to help raise funds to support our efforts.  UFAR needs less than ten cents per year per person treated to eradicate riverblindness.  The medication is donated free by the manufacturer.  The WHO assists in coordination.  Without that dime, eradication efforts can fail.  We have seen areas in the Congo and elsewhere where funding became scarce, and the eradication efforts have fallen apart.  Individuals or groups can make a donation (>95% of our funds go to programatic expenses).  Our US staff and board are all unpaid volunteers.

C.B.: Tell us more.

We are currently seeking about a half million bed nets to prevent malaria which hampers our efforts in Northern Congo, on the Ugandan border.  I don't expect anyone to buy them for us, but by supporting Malaria No More, we can control malaria that threatens our riverblindness program in this area, and may one day place malaria on target for eradication as well.

Thanks, Bob! Having lived in West and Central East Africa, I am familiar with these diseases and applaud your passion for eradicating them. They have no place on this earth!

I wish you a fantastic event at the Kinnelon Library and tremendous success eradicating Malaria and River Blindness.

Readers, if you have any questions for Bob, please do share them in the comments or be sure to attend the event at the Kinnelon Library on April 12th.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Strong College Applications: Kinnelon Library 3/22/12

Strong College Applications: Kinnelon Library 3/22/12
For those of you with high school students ready to contemplate college admission applications, you may be interested in this upcoming event at the Kinnelon Library. It's about how to put together a strong application for college.

Here are details.

The event is titled "The College Process: How to present a strong application package".

It takes place on Thursday, March 22nd, 2012 at the Kinnelon Library at 7pm.

The official event description reads:
"Maryanne Melnyk is an experienced, certified professional who has helped hundreds of students get into their top choice colleges. 

She has published an article in the NJEA Review and was interviewed by NBC News.  Maryanne will host an informative presentation detailing how to put together a strong competitive application package."

As always, please do call the Kinnelon Library to register for this program. The number is: 973 838 1321.

By they way, Ms. Melnyk presented Free College Planning Presentation at The Kinnelon Library: How To Present A Strong Application at the Kinnelon Library in October 2011. Did you attend? Any reactions?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Taking Care of Your Computer For Free -- How to Buy the Right Computer Cheaply -- Talk at the Kinnelon Library 7 PM Mar 15 2012

What? You don't like it??? It's the latest thing ...

Whoops, I meant to post this earlier in the week! Y'all come now, y'hear?

I will be giving a talk at the Kinnelon Library tonight, Thursday, Mar. 15 at 7 PM, which is the 3rd of 6 such talks a month apart, on the subject of taking care of your Windows PC, new or old, with special attention in Part 3 to:

Buying the right Computer, and Not Paying Too Much for It, including :

1) Who to buy a computer from and how to get the best price, by at least several hundred bucks.

2) What kind of computer you really need and how you can make sure it lasts a long time.

3) How to get the Very Best Deals on related computer equipment and software as well as consumer electronics of all kinds.

I will discuss where you can get the best deals online for top tier name brand machines such as Dell and HP and whether or not you should consider an extended factory warranty, as well as buying from local resources such as BJ's, Best Buy, and so on.

We will repeat our "Open Mike" period at the end of the talk so you can find out why your computer isn't doing what you want:

Ask Your Questions and Solve Your Problems --"Open Mike" -- Questions such as

1) Is my machine too old? When do I need a new machine?

2) How can I "pin" that program to my Taskbar, and what is a "Gadget?"

3) Why does my computer ... ?

4) If you have a laptop with a problem, bring it along and we'll take a quick look.

5) Questions and on-the-spot diagnosis will be limited by the time available!!!

All of you Kinnelon and North Jersey people, and everybody else, are welcome to come.

Call the Kinnelon Library at 973 838 1321 and reserve a spot.

See you there!


PS: This talk pertains to PCs running Windows 7, Vista and XP

Photo Credit: various websites

Maybe this would be better ...

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Rutgers Master Gardener Talks: Kinnelon Library 3/21 & 4/19

Rutgers Master Gardener Talks: Kinnelon Library 3/21 & 4/19
Spring is in the air and you may officially mark your calendars for legitimate garden focused thoughts!

More specifically, March 21 and April 19 when Rutgers Master Gardeners visit the Kinnelon Library to cover a range of garden related topics.

  • Avoiding Garden Bloopers takes place Wednesday, March 21 at 7pm.

  • Spring Gardening is scheduled for Thursday, April 19 at 7pm.

The first in this series of talks about gardens is described as follows:

This presentation covers hardiness zones, soil pH and conditions, light exposure, plant characteristics, features and attractions.  Information on trees, shrubs, perennials, vines, ground covers, bulbs and annuals will be provided, along with many photos and suggestions.  

Whether you are hiring a professional or doing it yourself, planting an expensive tree or a tiny annual, it pays to be in-the-know.

From what I see online, Rutgers has a robust gardening program. In fact, it offers the Rutgers Master Gardener Program for those interested in becoming trained volunteers who assist Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station (NJAES) Cooperative Extension in its mission to deliver horticulture programs and information to the general public.

Do call the Kinnelon Library to sign up: 973 838 1321.

For those who attend, consider sharing advice on how to avoid garden bloopers with us here. We'd love to learn from you.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Ramstein Beer and SR Fresh Hot Sauce Open House Tomorrow, Sat. March 10, 2012 at 2 PM & 3:45 PM

Here is a reminder for the Introduction of the Maibock Seasonal Beer at this weekend’s Ramstein Beer Open House and Tour, this Saturday, Mar 10. This will be the first Open House of the 2012 -- do not miss it. The Ramstein Maibock Lager Beer* has been rated at 100 points by Rate Beer. Directions are at the website link above.

There will be 2 tour and tasting sessions -- 2 PM and 3:45 PM.

Beers on tap - Maibock Lager,  Blonde Hefeweizen, and Classic Dunkelweiss.

1  and 2 liter growlers will be in stock

And SR Fresh Hot Sauce will be there with the Fresh Cayenne-Cherry PepperHabanero Gold, and XXXXTra Hot Habanero Hot Sauce. We will also have our new Caribbean Hot Sauce, and brand new Thai Style Habanero Sriracha, Cayenne Sriracha, and Jalapeno Poblano (our first green pepper saucealong with our Spicy Aioli in 16 oz jars -- that's Hot and Spicy Mayo for those of you scratching your heads. Come try them! And buy them!

You Hot Sauce people can check out the SR Fresh Hot Sauce Website, where the sauces are explained and sold. Check out the Fresh Hot Sauce Blog as well.

As usual, there will be a tour and explanation of the brewing process by Greg Zaccardi, the owner. [See previous post about Ramstein Beer with videos for a primer.]

See you there!

Ted and Christine and Emma

*Maibock -- Rich Amber Bock brewed with Vienna and Munich malts. Pure lager yeast ferments this beer to create a deep malty character with a hint of caramel toffee aroma. Robust noble hops and 7.5% abv. intertwine the malty and toasty flavors. Historically, this beer is brewed once a year to celebrate the “Stark Bierzeit” (strong beer season) and to welcome the warming Spring Sunshine. (Draft Only)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Kinnelon's Elise Testone, an American Idol

It's true: Kinnelon and American Idol, perfect together in 2012 because of Elise Testone!

Perhaps you've seen the sign in Taste of Reality Deli on Fayson Lakes Road in Kinnelon. Or, on the Kinnelon Borough Hall marquis... The 2/29/12 issue of Argus/Suburban Trends had a front page article titled KHS graduate advances to Top 24 on 'American Idol'.'s article is titled Kinnelon native Elise Testone soars through to American Idol's Top 24

The news I am referring to relates to Elise Testone - who has made it to the top 13 of American Idol! for the 11th season of American Idol. She graduated Kinnelon High School in 2001. Although she now lives in South Carolina, her parents still live in Kinnelon.

Pretty cool, no?

Here are links that I've found about Elise Testone, her Kinnelon connection and American Idol:
Here is the link to Elise Testone's page on American Idol.

You can find Elise Testone on Twitter.

You can also find Elise on Facebook.

Best of all, you can find her on YouTube where you can really get a feel for her musical talent:
Congratulations, Elise, for making it to the Top 13 of American Idol and making Kinnelon proud!

Here's to making it to Number 1! We'll be voting for you.

Whatever happens, you are Kinnelon's American Idol!

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