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N.J. pets in need: Feb. 18, 2019

Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption.


New Beginnings Animal rescue in East Brunswick has announced that it will be closing its location at 706R Cranbury Road.

Barbara Keegan, New Beginnings president and shelter director, noted that the nonprofit group had been at the Cranbury Road location since February 2014 and will relocate to a yet-to-be-named space in the near future.

"Without the overhead and expense of operating at this location we will be able to expand our areas of community outreach," said Keegan, "by stepping up our assistance with Trap/Neuter/Return programs, offering a community pet food bank for needy families and rescue groups and providing referral assistance for pet issues."

Keegan pointed out that the rescue will not be leaving the current facility until every animal in its care is placed in a home. New Beginnings will continue to rescue animals, utilizing foster homes until a new location is opened.

For more information and future updates, go to

Greg Hatala may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.

Mon, 18 Feb 2019 11:30:00 UTC

Vintage photos of everyday items from the '60s and '70s you might have forgotten

We didn't even give them a second thought.

I recall a point made in the 1970s that was meant to illustrate how quickly technology advanced in the 20th century - how someone who was 10 years old when man first achieved powered flight watched man walk on the moon at age 76.

TI30_1.jpgThe Texas Instruments TI30 calculator, introduced in 1976. 

But, if you look at a 75-year stretch in any century since the 1700s, you'll see similar leaps for mankind. I'd argue that space flight, while amazing, doesn't necessarily supersede other advancements of humankind in industry, inventions or ideas.

For example, on that spacecraft that landed on the moon, there was a guidance computer that had, according to, exactly 64 kilobytes of memory and a microprocessor speed of 0.043 megahertz. The latest iPhone can be purchased with 512 GIGAbytes of memory, and if my math is right, that's 536,870,912 kilobytes. Its microprocessor operates at 2.49 GIGAhertz and let's just say that's the difference between walking and the speed of light.

MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

And that was in less than 50 years.

As time flies by, it's easy to forget things that were matter-of-fact parts of our lives in the 1960s and 1970s, when Apollo missions were going to the moon with those teensy computers. Here's another installment of things that may have slipped from our memory ... and I don't know about you, but my memory isn't measured in giga, mega or kilobytes - it just bites.

And here are links to other galleries you'll like.

Vintage photos of things you may have forgotten about

Vintage photos of things that have changed - for better or worse

Vintage photos of how things have changed in N.J.

Greg Hatala may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.

Thu, 14 Feb 2019 11:30:00 UTC

N.J. pets in need: Feb. 11, 2019

Animals through New Jersey await adoption.

Profile: Sammy's Hope


Sammy's Hope in Sayreville became a formal animal welfare organization in September 2010. The organization grew out of five years of volunteer efforts at the Edison Animal Shelter by one of its co-founders, Elda Hubbard.

Hubbard's focus and concern was on pit bulls, typically considered unadoptable and not made available to the public. With the permission of the municipality, she was able to facilitate adoptions for some of these dogs.

The rescue's name came from one of the dogs in the shelter, Samson ("Sammy" for short), a large brindle pit bull/boxer mix that exemplified all of the good qualities of the often-misunderstood breed.

Soon the rescue began taking in cats in addition to dogs. Among the things Sammy's Hope did to make life a little easier for the felines was to provide soft bedding, toys, consistent diets, grooming and play sessions.

In the fall of 2014, the Sammy's Hope Board learned of an opportunity to lease space in an existing but unused shelter facility in Sayreville. Sammy's Hope Animal Welfare & Adoption Center (SHAWAC) had its grand opening on Feb. 26, 2015, and since then has been providing adoption services for shelter animals, helping to relieve overcrowded conditions at area municipal animal shelters.

The animals in the care of Sammy's Hope receive medical care (including vaccinations, testing and spay/neuter surgery), and socialization and behavior training as needed. There is particular focus on animals that have been in shelters for especially long periods, those being overlooked for adoption for any number of reasons and those whose behaviors may be hindering their adoption. 

It's the belief at Sammy's Hope that by offering more focused behavior support, frequent human and animal socialization, the chances and opportunities to place homeless dogs and cats in loving forever homes increase vastly.

In 2018, Sammy's Hope placed 156 dogs and cats of various breeds in homes; some 532 animals have been placed since opening. The adoption center, located at 1400 Main St. in Sayreville, is open Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, go to

Greg Hatala may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.

Mon, 11 Feb 2019 11:30:00 UTC

Vintage photos of famous faces in N.J.

The well-known from well back.

The concept of "celebrity" in the 21st century is drastically different from what it was mere decades ago. Considering it's not far-fetched for your neighbor to have a reality TV show, Andy Warhol wasn't far off when he said in 1968: "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes."

In a 2016 article in Psychology Today, Jill Neimark noted that "Fame ain't what it used to be. Celebrities are borne aloft on images marketed, sold, and disseminated with a rapidity and cunning unimagined by the heroes of old, and then just as quickly cast aside." She quotes Leo Braudy, professor of English at the University of Southern California and author of "The Frenzy of Renown": "We're in the Kleenex phase of fame. We see so much of people, and in all branches of the media. We blow our nose on every new star that happens to come along and then dispose of them."

MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

So, perhaps social media bears much of the blame. Fame, once rooted in accomplishment, is now often measured in "likes." Multiple Tony-Award nominee Kelli O'Hara might have summed it up best in the fewest words: "I don't want to be famous for being famous."

Here's a gallery of photos of well-known people from the past in New Jersey. And here are links to similar galleries you'll enjoy.

Vintage photos of famous folks from N.J.

Vintage photos of celebrities when they were young in N.J.

More vintage photos of celebs from N.J. when they were young

Greg Hatala may be reached at Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.

Thu, 07 Feb 2019 11:30:00 UTC

Former N.J. wrestlers LaFragola and Ferrante enjoy two different Homecomings

New Jersey stateplacewinners in high school, both Garden State standouts have found homes elsewhere in college

For Brown University wrestling senior C.J. LaFragola, last Saturday's trip to Penn and Princeton was a Homecoming.

For Penn freshman Carmen Ferrante on Saturday, home came to him.

Penn and Princeton both hosted Brown and Harvard last Saturday with Penn's famous Palestra the first stop for Brown and LaFragola, a St. Joseph (Hamm.) graduate and former state finalist.

Princeton-Rutgers stellar matchup

In between Penn's matches, New Jersey wrestling powers Bergen Catholic and Paulsboro squared off. No. 1 Bergen Catholic defeated No. 2 Paulsboro, 41-15.

Ferrante, a freshman 125-pounder for Penn, is a Bergen Catholic graduate and three-time state place-winner.

"(Having Bergen Catholic and Paulsboro wrestle at Penn) is pretty awesome," said Ferrante, who said he hoped to watch most of the match. "I was excited to see this on the schedule, really pumped. It was just a few weeks ago I heard they were coming.

"I got to talk to (the Bergen Catholic coaches and wrestlers) after weigh-ins and after I wrestled, so it was good."

Even LaFragola was excited about the New Jersey matchup even though he couldn't stay.

"It's great they do that," said LaFragola. "I know a bunch of the Paulsboro guys, so I was able to talk to them."

LaFragola has gone on to become a two-time national qualifier who won twice at the NCAA tournament last year. He embraced his final trip to the area, showing off a bagel family brought and saying plenty of relatives and friends were scheduled to come see him.

LaFragola won both of his matches on the Penn-Princeton road trip. The 184-pounder improved to 17-7 on the season.

"My uncle came to this match," said LaFragola inside the Palestra locker room after the Penn match. "He played football for Brown and loves to watch everything Brown. A couple guys I trained with came up. I'm going to have even more ... grandmom, aunts, uncles at Princeton.

"They help, all the support, more people in my corner in a little hostile environment. I was missing home a little bit too."

LaFragola has 69 career wins. He'd like to keep adding to that number, including the four or so he might need to get on the podium at his final NCAA Wrestling Championships in Pittsburgh this year.

"I never expected coming into it that it would end up this way, but the coaches have believed in me and motivated me in the (wrestling) room and in the classroom," said LaFragola. "So far what I've achieved and worked towards achieving has been great, but I know the time is running out.

"It's going to sink in real quick, so I'm just trying to focus on what's in front. We talk about just getting your hand raised. That's all that matters."

While LaFragola's wrestling career is coming to an end, his athletic career might not be. An all-state linebacker at St. Joseph (Hamm.), LaFragola said he is strongly considering playing a year of football at Sacred Heart next season.

For Ferrante, his career is just starting and so far it has been stellar. A 132-pounder in his final season at Bergen Catholic, Ferrante is now 18-5 after a pair of wins at 125 Saturday.

"It's gone pretty good," said Ferrante. "I've been buying in on what the coaches are telling me, I appreciate what my teammates do for me.

"I wouldn't say it's been easy losing weight, but it's not too bad. I had goals. mainly to come out and wrestle hard and make a name for myself."

Freshman Travis Vasquez, a Delbarton freshman, is also on Brown. He did not wrestle Saturday.

Penn had two other New Jersey wrestlers in Saturday's lineup - Evan DeLuise (Don Bosco) and Joe Oliva (Ridgewood).

Gianni Ghione (Brick Memorial), A.J. Vinidici (Ridgewood) and Willy Kaiser (Blair) are also in the program, while Michael Colaiocco (Blair) and Lucas Revano (Camden Catholic) are incoming recruits.

"We're definitely bringing in a lot of Jersey guys," said Ferrante. "We're all rooting for each other. It's a good core now and I like it."

Bill Evans can be reached at or by leaving a note in the comments below. Follow him on Twitter @BEvansSports. Like our High School Wrestling Facebook Page.

Thu, 07 Feb 2019 06:12:30 UTC