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>How does someone get access to contributing to this blog?

>As someone new to the blog, I have a question. Are the front page “articles” all written by one person? If not, is it a group that actually knows one another? How does someone get access to contributing? I ask because in my limited experience (3 days) reading the site, I have noticed a few conflicting pieces. I gather that the group is against wasteful spending (not a bad thing), against the math programs at some Ridgewood schools (TERC is not at all of them), and a bit overly critical of the teachers and administrators as a whole. I sense a lot of anger, and I am not sure much is accomplished under those conditions. As someone who teaches and lives in town, I think there is a big “middle ground” that is being overlooked. But, then again, I have only been following the site for a few days.

There are many contributors ,thus the name ..the Fly on the wall. Some comments are picked up by the staff and used as major articles . Some contributors email me things directly and sometimes we run with it. Contruibutions have to meet certain standards , which are loosely as follows: this is the Ridgewood blog ,so it should be about Ridgewood . Please refer to the below reprint of the post “lets clear the air” Email me direct [email protected]

we welcome your input

Repost from July 21 2007

Lets clear the air….

First, things get published on this blog because I decide to publish them.

This blog carries local news content and 80-90% of the articles are sent in by contributors. Contrary to the critics claims there are a lot of well connected people in town that want to make a statement and remain anonymous. I try keep it an open forum and often publish things I do not agree with but find it to be a valuable or some would say controversial issue.

If you want to criticize this blog please have the courtesy of reading it first, then send me an email or make a comment. If its funny, clever, interesting or just plain stupid I will publish it if it also meets the below criteria (that means its not Bush’s or the “neo-cons” fault you got a speeding ticket in front of GW, I get way to many of these kind of childish comments).

What does not get published are off topic comments, or comments that have nothing to do with Ridgewood (this blog is about Ridgewood hence the name “the Ridgewood Blog”), advertisements for other website with out my permission, cheap skate ambulance chasing lawyers looking to pick up suckers I mean clients, police business for fear of inadvertently interfering, personal indiscretions (these I save in case someone gets some ideas) , comments from stalkers, and comments from people with there own agenda that have nothing to do with Ridgewood ,however secret agendas and conspiracies that do have to do with Ridgewood are encouraged.

Please be advised if you’re a lawyer and get business from a contact made on this blog there is a 50% finder’s fee, and yes I will aggressively enforce it. You have been warned!

Yes from time to time I do publish really stupid comments, just not always.

If you can’t handle disagreement or have no sense of humor, I am sorry for you, and this blog is not for you.

It is not hate speech or harassment when someone exercises their constitutional rights and voices an opinion or concern nor is someone a closed minded, racist, bigot, homophobe simply because they don’t agree with you. You should instead celebrate the vitality that produces all these opinions. For those self appointed people who want to silence others, I have some news for you, sorry not a chance.

I would love to link with your website if you agree to link back otherwise forget it .If your website is lame or spends all its time attacking me and or this blog you need a life not a link.

PJ Blogger

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>Cultural Alladay or Down with America day ?

>From the sound of some of the posts it seems we have hit a nerve, so the fly asks is culturalalladay really a positive uplifting experience for students or just another PC anti- American day ? According to a poster “Cultural Alladay was proposed by STUDENTS in 1992 to honor the diversity of cultures on this earth. It helps kids learn about their own heritage and culture while learning from and respecting the heritages and cultures of others.” Buts heres where the fly and other posters smell a rat, the poster continues’” You may not agree with all aspects of a “foreign” culture, but the mindset that allows you to thereby write off complete cultures is what leads to conflicts and wars. Honestly, if other cultures use your standards — and only judge us by the way we treat women (non-equal pay, skimpy maternity leave, etc.) or by our problems with handguns or drugs, or the lack of healthcare for the poor — would you blame them for writing us off? The “culture of freedom”? HAAAAAA you gotta be kidding. Cultural Alladay celebrates the ARTS of different cultures and the use of art to encourage peace and understanding. Your immature, selfish injection of politics into something simple and peaceful is gross.” Apparently this poster is un aware that in many countries women are still considered property, there is no health care, the secret police run your life ,there is dire poverty and there is no individual freedom what so ever .

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>Around the Village


Veteran’s Day Ceremony – Monday, November 12th Ridgewood’s Veteran’s Day ceremony will take place on Monday, November 12, 2007 at 11a.m. at Memorial Park in Van Neste Square. Our community is blessed with outstanding men and women who are in harms way on our behalf. They are our neighbors, friends, and relatives. They are America’s veterans of the future. Please join American Legion Post 53 at the ceremony to thank them, as well as those who have served in the past, for keeping us safe and secure.

MEET SPORTS WRITER MIKE LUPICA Thursday, November 15th Middle grade readers and fans are welcome to join Ridgewood Parks and Recreation for a special evening with author Mike Lupica as he introduces his new series “Comeback Kids”. Beginning at 4:30 p.m., join us at the Community Center in Village Hall for pizza, soda, and desserts. The cost is $5.00 per person (payable to Ridgewood Parks and Recreation). Afterwards, the group will walk to Bookends for Mr. Lupica’s book signing. There will be reserved seating for all who registered and pre-ordered a book. Orders are currently being accepted for two books in his new series “Comeback Kids”; “Hot Hand” and “Two-Minute Drill” can be purchased for $ 10.00 each (checks payable to Bookends). All sales through the Department of Parks and Recreation will benefit the Community Center. A special thank you to Bookends! Register by mail or in person to The Stable, 259 North Maple Avenue, Ridgewood, NJ. For further information, please call 201-670-5560.

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>New posters or readers here should keep in mind that …

>New posters or readers here should keep in mind that there is a small but dedicated cadre of reform math supporters from places far from Ridgewood who take pleasure in masquerading as ‘stakeholders’ in local debates.

True ‘gadflies’, motivated by politics above all else, they are more than willing to interrupt conversations between local debate participants with stink-bomb posts designed to elicit an emotional reaction from you, for which you are then criticized as having somehow demonstrated hypocrisy (read: “check mate”).

I for one find this behavior pathetic. But to each his own. Looking on the bright side, if this is the sum total of all the support the Reform Math movement can muster on a Ridgewood-centric website, it’s probably a good thing. It tends to show that truly local supporters of that curriculum have exhausted their store of potentially persuasive arguments in support of their position, and are now running on fumes, hoping and praying that the tincture of time will relieve them of their current troubles.


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>a complete retooling of these six search criteria for superintendent

>The Board of Education has re-hired School Leadership LLC to find another new superintendent. They are using the following criteria, which they say was developed with the help of the community. We need a serious intervention or we will end up with another Brooks — cagey, duplicitous, ideologically extreme and smooth as silk. I suggest a complete retooling of these six criteria (listed below) as they are outlined in jargon, education platitudes and gobbledygook. Some suggestions might include the following:

*1. An educator with significant leadership experience, preferably as a superintendent, in a high-expectation school community–
How about: A CEO type individual with experience in business and education (not being a life-long educrat is a big plus) whom others in diverse constituencies have been willing to follow and respect, and who is resilient in the face of diminished expectations emanating from our present school board and curriculum head. A person whose services remain in demand, and for whom we must compete rather than someone who was “let go” by his or her former employer.

*2. An exceptional listener and communicator, with outstanding speaking, writing and interpersonal skills, who has built trust among all members of a school community–
How about: A person for whom honesty is the best policy. One who values forthrightness and frank discussions with parents, students, staff, consultants and the school board. The ability to be a “smooth talker” is not a requirement.

*3. A visible instructional leader, willing to first become intimately acquainted with the Ridgewood schools and community and then share a compelling vision and plan for continued growth–
How about: A person already knowledgeable of the tenets that constituted Ridgewood’s past tradition of excellence, and one for whom that goal would be at the heart of the district’s continued growth.

*4. An administrator who empowers others to carry out the district’s goals but remains accountable for all areas of leadership, including finance and facilities–
Sorry, but an administrator is just another word for a bureaucrat. Administrators do not empower people, rather they employ the leadership survival tools of CYA. No administrator bureaucrat type need apply (see 1).

*5. A strong leader, with demonstrated success in contributing to an effective approach to governance involving the Board, the staff and the school community–
Interesting that parents and taxpayers are notably absent from this particular sentence. How about: Someone who expects to be accountable to parents and taxpayers for the direction of Ridgewood’s schools.

*6. A proven educator, flexible and caring, who will passionately advocate for the learning needs of all (their emphasis) students in the Ridgewood Public Schools–
To whom exactly must this flexible and caring person advocate? How about: A person able to display powerful knowledge of the nation’s education system, including its strengths but, more importantly, its weaknesses so that efforts can be undertaken to limit the system’s harmful byproduct to the education process. Such byproducts include efforts promoted by schools of education to implement more non-academic programs in the classroom; efforts by education publishers to advocate, promote and sell dubious and controversial product; efforts by the teachers union and its supporters to lessen instructional time and add perks to compensation agreements; and efforts to gear curriculum and assessments to merely address statewide standards for proficient student performance.

Adding a 7th:
Someone able to clean up the present inequity and overall weakness of our math program and set our curriculum selections on course to be challenging while ensuring that all students receive the proper support in school to achieve at the standards of a Ridgewood education.


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>Proposed Sewer Use Surcharge – Names of Commercial Property Owners & Amounts

As previously reported on the Ridgewood Blog, Village Council members will soon introduce a “sewer use surcharge” ordinance, targeted at 183 high volume commercial water users in Ridgewood. Adoption of the ordinance is expected to generate approximately $119K of revenue in 2008.

Here’s the complete list of business that will be impacted, along with the proposed annual “sewer use surcharge” fee. Schools, churches, Village owned & operated facilities, and Valley Hospital’s main campus will all be exempted. (the list we be posted shortly sorry for the delay)

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>I went through high school with straight A’s in everything, and C’s and D’s in algebra I and algebra II.

>You are forgetting the kids for whom the “reform” math actually helps make math accessible to them. My daughter (RHS grad) would have benefited greatly from this. In fact, I would have benefited from it! Instead, both she and I struggled continuously and eventually just gave up, with little opportunity for alternative ways to learn math concepts. I went through high school with straight A’s in everything, and C’s and D’s in algebra I and algebra II, and that’s it — no geometry, nothing else. Took a basic math class in college to fulfill the requirement. But never really learned. I tried, but teachers simply did not know how to explain it in a way I could actually learn. Now when I read some of the TERC or Everyday Math solutions, they make sense to me! They sound an awful lot like the methods I have figured out for myself! If I had this kind of teaching 30 years ago, I might not have been a “math-hater” all my life.

I know you all are the majority and you obviously have kids who can handle the structure of “old-school” math, but just don’t forget that there ARE kids out there who benefit from a more verbal and conceptual approach. That’s why this stuff was developed in the first place. I guess those kids, like my daughter and I, are expendable?


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>Ancient History of Halloween


Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain (pronounced sow-in).
The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.
To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.
By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints’ Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints’, All Saints’, and All Souls’, were called Hallowmas.