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Saturday, 2 March 2019
Say No to Syynnergy Solar!




Say No to Syynnergy Solar!







I live in this area where the proposed solar farm is being planned. I urge the Planning board to deny any waivers, variances, etc for this project. Flooding is already a major problem in the Sweetbriar Ave, Rutgers Ave and Whitehead Rd area.  This application is asking the township’s permission to cut down more stream buffer on the floodplain than what the ordinance allows. The applications also lack the required soil samples for a past contaminated field. The application should have never moved forward to the point it is without this. Those stream buffers and floodplain help reduce stormwater runoff, flooding and improve water quality. It is important for the Planning board to know that approving this project might also jeopardize funding for the larger Army Corp of Engineer’s study that is ongoing in the area.


The developer is also asking to cut an entire forest down to build this project. The forest consists of large and small trees, shrubs, and ground cover- all of which absorbs stormwater and reduces flooding.  Yes, the developer will be required to replant some of those trees, but only a fraction of those will be replanted in the Sweetbriar community. So, cutting all those trees is really only going to make flooding worse in Sweetbriar.

I am sure that the members of the planning board must know that the flooding is already so bad in the Miry Run and Lower Assunpink Creek area that the Army Corps of Engineers is already conducting a flood study in the area.  If you go to the Us Army Corps of engineers website about the Assunpink Creed Flood Control Study, they have a picture (see in article) of the flooded-out intersection of Sweetbriar Ave and Whitehead Road.  If you allow this application to cut this forested floodplain and cut more of the stream buffer, it will only make flooding worse.   I have attached the description of the US Army Corps of Engineers Lower Assunpink Creek Project. It states:


“The focus of this feasibility study is the lower reach of the Assunpink and its tributaries that are located in the City of Trenton, Hamilton Township, and Lawrence Township, New Jersey.  Within the study area, flooding problems are widespread.  The wide flood plains of the relatively low gradient streams are subject to chronic flooding and , on several occasions, extensive flood damage has occurred.  Most recently, the study area experienced record flood levels and a great deal of property damage as a result of the heavy rains brought on by Hurricane Irene in Aug 2011.  Flooding on the Assunpink Creek that resulted from the Assunpink Creek that resulted from Hurricane Irene shut down the rail lines in the city of Trenton for three days. This disrupted one of the busiest parts of the nation’s passenger train system between Philadelphia and New York.  This feasibility study is examining the flooding problems along the Assunpink Creek and evaluating the Federal interest in implementing flood risk management solutions.”





I urge the Planning board to deny this waiver/variance that will destroy some of the very same environmentally sensitive areas that are now naturally helping to reduce flooding. 


More than 8 years ago I installed solar panels on the roof of my home. This created an extremely energy efficient atmosphere for my household. I am an advocate for solar, however, I am not an advocate for this proposed solar farm. 


Currently today, residents have experienced extreme flooding in the Cornell Height area.  This proposed solar farm by Synnergy has the potential to make a bad situation even worse.   This will damage our homes beyond recognition during a flood. In the past ten years the Cornell Heights area has experiences two 100 year flood episodes.

Flood plains are nature’s engineering achievement.  No human flood-management expert could ever hope to control flood waters better. They are often an outstanding wildlife habitat, and they protect human habitats from expensive and heartrending disasters. The State of NJ has requirements to safeguard communities.  The Twp of Hamilton has created an ordinance (Chapter 583) which has a stricter standard to protect residents.  The developer wants to break the ordinance.  The twp must uphold the ordinance that we have on the books to ensure the public safety of the community and optimal quality of life.  We do not care about the DEP permit, its not relevant. Our ordinance must stand.


During this past weeks testimony by the developer, their expert witnesses, Julia Alagio, used the word “some” numerous times. That there will be “some” trees removed. “Some increase in water”.  


The Synnergy Soal Project will:

ü  Clear 12 acres of forest, including 820 large trees and numerous smaller ones, plus all the shrubs and ground cover that make up a healthy streamside forest.  The 820 is based on trees with a greater than 10 inch diameter. There will actually be over 1100 trees removed as testified this week by a township employee.

ü  Grade the high and low areas that capture rainwater and lets it soak into the ground. The township ordinance clearly states that there cannot be any change to the grade. Yet, the developer wants to change the grade by 4 to 5 FEET in areas.

ü  67% of this project is located in Hamilton Township’s SBCZ.   



This project fails to meet the Intent and Purpose of the SBCZ because:

583-1(A) - Projects in the SBCZ are supposed to meet “accepted conservation practices.” An entire forest will be cut down to build this project.


583-1(B) – SBCZ are supposed to prevent pollutants from running off the land into the creek. The forest will be clear-cut, the ground re-graded and the stormwater drained to yet more detention basins. Nothing prevents pollution runoff better than the forest that is there today.


583-1(C-F) – Without the trees, we lose the benefits of shading that protects the water quality, the wildlife habitat both in the forest and in the stream, the natural erosion protection of the streambanks, the floodplains and other natural features.


583-1(G) – The forest and other natural features there today “minimize hazards to life, property and stream features.”




This project fails to meet the requirements for a waiver because:

583-4 – States: There shall be no clearing or cutting of trees and brush, except for removal of dead vegetation and pruning for reasons of public safety or for the replacement of invasive species with indigenous species. There shall be no regrading or construction within the SBCZ.

583-4(A) States: Acceptable land uses in the SBCZ include open space uses that are primarily passive in character, provided near-stream vegetation is preserved, including:

1)     Wildlife sanctuaries, nature preserves, forest preserves, fishing areas, game farms, fish hatcheries and fishing reserves, operated for the protection and propagation of wildlife, but excluding structures,

2)     This project will result in a substantial impact to the SBCZ and surrounding communities:

3)     583-8 - A waiver may be granted “where the consequent impact upon the SBCZ is determined to be minimal.” Clear cutting 12 acres of woodlands is NOT MINIMAL.

4)     583.3A(2)- About 67% of the solar panels are locate in the SBCZ. The Planning Board can only grant “minor” waivers.


6)     583-8- A waiver may only be granted where “it has been affirmatively demonstrated that the proposed activity will not be materially detrimental or injurious to other property or improvements in the area and will not endanger public safety.”

There are many legal and legitimate reasons given above for the Planning Board to deny this application


Other important points:

ü  What will this project do to real estate values? Certainly, the homes in the Sweetbriar and Whitehead areas will go from having valuable wooded open space to a large-scale, treeless solar farm.


ü  Did the Hamilton Township Environmental Commission review these plans? What was the Commission’s position on this project?


Currently today, the sewer plant utilizes 7MEGS of power. The solar farm is slated to only manage 4 MEGS. Why does the township consider such a project when the infrastructure of our own sewer system is failing? This project brings zero advantage to residents only potential devastation to our homes.


To deliberately destroy the flood plain is unacceptable.  This past summer the township extended the gun range in Cornell Heights, destroying trees and wetlands. There is also a produced project for American Metro Way, to add additional dwellings in an already overwhelmed ecosystem. This unbalanced give and take is leaving us with environmental chaos in Cornell Heights.


The loss of the upland forest will remove canopy and sub-canopy habitats for resident and migratory fauna.  It will eliminate nesting sites for native residents and summer passerine avian species.  This loss would affect species such as catbirds, American robin, blue jays, tufted titmouse, Carolina chickadee, oven birds, and others.  The loss would eliminate 12 acres of roosting habitat and migrating raptors such as red-tailed hawk, Coopers hawk, sharp shinned hawk, and vultures.  Resident reptiles and amphibians would lose foraging and hibernation locations. The insect community complexity would be changed to species tolerant of open, unforested environments.


Air quality will also be altered by microclimate modification associated with the change to land cover.


Federal studies show an acre of flood plain wetlands can store up to 1.6M gallons of floodwater. Restoring rather than destroying wetlands of flood plains can reduce damaging floods.  The plan to destroy 20 acres of floodplain with the solar farm is not what the residents desire.





The proposed solar farm is going into a flood zone. A few years ago when the bridge was redone on Sweetbriar, they raised it 21 inches and changed the slope of the surrounding area. The first hard rain we received flooded my home. We reported this to the County.  The slope was then altered to try to optimize the flooding situation.  There has been a history of poor planning which has negatively affected the public safety of the residents in Cornell heights.


There is 3 acres of contamination on the site. The site has an industrial history.  There is a potential to find things that have been dumped that are highly toxic. In past projects in the Cornell Height community, residents have been subjected to toxic dust (American Metro Way), the demise of wildlife during the Congoleum cleanup, etc. This project will pose a significant public safety and health impact on the residents of Hamilton Township while the benefits go to a different community. That’s not right.





The ordinance was written to protect the residents of Hamilton. The leadership of the township must live up to their commitment in the ordinance. The residents have to matter. Since the implementation of the American Metro way project, where we were told there would be zero increase to flooding, the damage from floods has increased exponentially. Residents pre American Metro Way never had flood damage, now on a basic rain they are getting 36” of water into their homes. There were numerous forests removed to make way for the American Metro Way project. The solar projects attorney is Mr McGee. Mr Mcgee was the attorney for that American Metro Way project as well. So, residents are very wary of his promises.



Posted by tammyduffy at 10:04 AM EST
Updated: Monday, 4 March 2019 10:10 PM EST
Saturday, 23 February 2019
Focuses on Paintings of Maureen Chatfield




Hunterdon Art Museum’s Member Highlight Show


Focuses on Paintings of Maureen Chatfield











Clinton, NJ (Feb. 15, 2019) – Though she’s painted for several decades, artist Maureen Chatfield still feels a thrill when stepping in front of a blank canvas.


“I deeply love the creative process,” Chatfield says. “It’s exhilarating, rewarding, frustrating and endlessly challenging.”


Viewers can discover the results of her creative process in the Hunterdon Art Museum’s Member Highlight exhibition Maureen Chatfield: Emotions Through Color, opening on Saturday, March 9 from 2 to 4 p.m. with a reception that everyone is welcome to attend.


Chatfield’s work was selected from among 86 entries for the Museum’s juried Members Show in 2017.


Most of the abstract paintings included in this exhibition come from Chatfield’s Ether and Landscape series, which are impressions of experiences, and the emotions attached to them. The Landscape series arose from impressions of places she’s visited or seen; the Ether series is internal and emotional, and exists in the gap beyond conscious thought, she said.


“These works are pieces of my soul, energy and passion expressed in color, line and form,” Chatfield said.


Her paintings are intuitive responses to the many forces that shape her life – emotions that translate into color, visual memories of forms and color relationships found in the landscape and personal stories from her past.


Chatfield shies away from relating specifics about her creations, encouraging audience participation. “I try not to describe my work but rather let the viewer engage and experience,” she said. “Abstraction questions and provokes and invites viewer participation.”


The work is the result of constant experiment and change – building layers of color, form and image on the canvas revealing the underlying pentimento. Her images are rarely planned but discovered and enhanced through music. Specific rhythmic vibrations are an integral part of her creative process and helps her enter a rhythmic flow.


“As colors are reflections of emotions, the images that emerge in each segment have a similar palette reflecting where I am at that moment,” she noted.


The exhibition is being curated by Hildreth York, and runs until April 28.


Chatfield learned to paint as a teenager, and now does so full time, in addition to teaching classes at the Museum. This April, Chatfield will teach an adult class on “Painting the Modern Landscape,” which blends music and painting, while encouraging students to experiment with action painting and developing layers of color form and image to their work. In March and April, she’ll teach workshops on “The Economy of Stroke” which teaches students how to use fewer strokes and create more interest in their art by using color value to generate emotion.


“What I enjoy most about teaching is when I help change the way an artist ‘sees,’ and he or she gets that ah-haaaa moment,” Chatfield said. “It's wonderful sharing the love of art with others who have the same passion. When they grow, I grow!”


Chatfield's work can be found in private and corporate collections in New York, Paris and Spain, including Tiffany & Co., and Decca Records. She is represented by Rosenberg & Co's Manhattan Gallery where her work has been seen in solo and group exhibitions. In a review, Art News called her a "natural colorist," who "fearlessly mines the spectrum from the gorgeous reds of Matisse to the rich blacks that conjure Franz Kline's swashbuckling brushwork and Robert Motherwell's Elegies to the Spanish Republic to the muted nuanced shades of Richard Diebenkorn."




The Museum is at 7 Lower Center St. in Clinton, New Jersey, 08809. Our website is www.hunterdonartmuseum.org and our telephone number is 908-735-8415. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 11 am – 5 pm. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and students; children under 12 is free.



Posted by tammyduffy at 6:30 PM EST
Sunday, 10 February 2019
Character is destiny.

Character is destiny



The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said that some 2,500 years ago and, since that time, nothing has shaken the fundamental truth of his statement.


While we use the word, “character” to describe a person, I believe that the words “company culture” are that word’s parallel in the business world. So, to paraphrase Heraclitus, I would say, “Your company culture is your company’s destiny.”


If you build a strong and healthy company culture, your company’s destiny will be strong and healthy.


While there may be many attributes that could define a company’s character, perhaps one of the most obvious would be the way leadership treats employees. If you’ve read some of my work on the internal customer, you may remember something I call the Employee Golden Rule, which is:


Treat employees the way you want the customer treated – maybe even better.


I’m typically not a fan of the word “rules.” When I ask people about rules, most will say they are created to prevent some type of behavior. When we’re children, we are told to “Never do this,” or “Don’t do that.” We learn to obey the rules. Every once in a while I meet someone a little more optimistic (such as myself) that feels that the way some rules are worded can actually help make good things happen. The Golden Rule that many of us learned as children, which is essentially to treat others the way you want to be treated, is one of those positive rules. In the corporate world, the Employee Golden Rule is about creating a positive work environment. And, just as our parents may have taught us the Golden Rule, in business it is leadership’s responsibility to teach, preach, and demonstrate the Employee Golden Rule. When companies decide that poor performance and lack of leadership are rewarded....that defines their destiny as a corporation. 




If top management berates those in middle management, leadership cannot expect line-level employees to be well-treated by their direct supervisors – even if there is something in a mission statement somewhere that makes the proper treatment of employees a high priority. The do as I say, not as I do approach doesn’t work.


And when employees in your company are treating one another poorly, it will eventually be felt on the outside by the customer. It becomes a domino effect. Bad behavior begets bad behavior.


The good news is that many of our most successful companies have been modeling the Employee Golden Rule for years, proving that it is a sound strategy for achieving a stunning level of customer service.


Women in business throughout the world have a huge positive impact on a businesses success.  The #METOO movement has lost momentum and many corporations and organizations today still view women as the inferior species on the payroll.   


It's not just about equality anymore. A country's economy, health and productivity increase as its gender gap narrows, according to a study done by the  World Economic Forum.  The study was co-authored by researchers from Harvard and University of California-Berkeley and surveys conditions for the sexes in 130 countries, encompassing more than 90% of the world's population. Nations are scored on how much progress they've made in the areas of jobs, education, politics and health as a measure of gender parity. Within these categories, the authors looked at wages, literacy, seats in government and life expectancy for women, among other factors.  The end result is a ranking that quantifies which countries are making the best progress in giving women equal standing in society with men. The results are not what you might think. 

1. Progress, but not everywhere: Of those countries surveyed in 2007 and 2008, 87 narrowed their gender gap, while the gap widened in 41. While 24 countries have closed the gender gap in education, no country in the world has true gender equality across all the categories measured, according to the data.

2. The greater standing women have, the more everyone benefits: Industrialized countries can still grow their economies substantially by elevating women. Closing the employment gender gap "would have huge economic implications for the developed economies, boosting US GDP by as much as 9%, Eurozone GDP by as much as 13% and Japanese GDP by as much as 16%," according to the report.

3. Female leaders inspire whole societies (and help pad the numbers): The authors assigned heavy points to countries where women were in charge of government. Countries with female presidents or prime ministers include: #2 Finland, #5 New Zealand (Prime Minister Helen Clark was recently voted out of office), #6 Philippines and #8 Ireland.

4. America still working on it: The U.S. is ranked #27 in this year's report, up from 31 in 2007 but down from 23 in 2006. America ranks highest in "economic participation and opportunity" at #12 and "educational attainment" where it's tied for #1. 

Imagine if Madame Curie did not break the glass ceiling.  Where would we be in the world of Xray? Marie Skłodowska Curie was a Polish and naturalized-French physicist and chemist who conducted pioneering research on radioactivity. She was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person and only woman to win twice, and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences.

In 1903 Marie and Pierre were awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics jointly with Henri Becquerel for their combined, though separate, work on radioactivity.

In the same year, Marie passed her doctorate thesis in Physics.

In 1906 Marie's life was struck by tragedy when Pierre was killed in a street accident after being knocked down by a horse and cart. Her indomitable spirit, however, kept her working and she went on to succeed him in his Chair as Professor at Sorbonne, as well as carrying on lecturing where he had left off.

Her determination and remarkable endeavours led to a second Nobel Prize in 1911, this time in chemistry for creating a means of measuring radioactivity. Not long after, Sorbonne built the first radium institute with two laboratories; one for study of radioactivity under Marie Curie's direction, and the other for biological research into the treatment of cancer. 

During the First World War, Marie Curie worked to develop small, mobile X-ray units that could be used to diagnose injuries near the battlefront. As Director of the Red Cross Radiological Service, she toured Paris, asking for money, supplies and vehicles which could be converted.

In October 1914, the first machines, known as "Petits Curies", were ready, and Marie set off to the front. She worked with her daughter Irene, then aged 17, at casualty clearing stations close to the front line, X-raying wounded men to locate fractures, bullets and shrapnel.

The technology Marie Curie developed for the "Petits Curies" is similar to that used today in the fluoroscopy machine at our Hampstead hospice. A powerful X-ray machine, it allows doctors to examine moving images in the body, such as pumping action of the heart or the motion of swallowing. 

After the war, Marie continued her work as a researcher, teacher and head of a laboratory and received many awards and prizes. Among them were the Ellan Richards Research Prize (1921), the Grand Prix du Marquis d'Argenteuil (1923) and the Cameron Prize from Edinburgh University (1931). She was also the recipient of many honorary degrees from universities around the world. 

In 1995, Marie and Pierre Curie were reburied in the Pantheon – the Paris mausoleum reserved for France's most revered dead – on the orders of French President Mitterand.

Marie Curie was the first woman to be awarded a place in the Pantheon for her own achievements.

Marie Curie's life as a scientist was one which flourished because of her ability to observe, deduce and predict. She is also arguably the first woman to make such a significant contribution to science. Marie Curie the charity is proud to be named in honour of her.


Posted by tammyduffy at 9:22 AM EST
Saturday, 2 February 2019
The Eagle Has Landed....in Mercer County Park



The Eagle Has Landed....in Mercer County Park









The beauty of the eagles in the park right now will take your breath away.  Residents are amazed and happy. We only hope the county will stop the deer management (allow to shoot) in the park until. To know these nests are present, one would think Mr. Hughes would stop the shoot the deer initatives in the park. 







Join Naturalist on Eagle Watch Tour

This breeding season, the Mercer County Park Commission is pleased to announce that two pairs of bald eagles have chosen County Parks for nest sites, continuing their expansion in New Jersey and the greater mid-Atlantic region. To celebrate the resident eagles, the Park Commission, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey (CWF), PSE&G and the Wildlife Center Friends have launched a partnership to provide bald eagle-themed programs. 


The first free public event will be at Mercer County Park at the West Picnic Area on Friday, Feb. 8 from 1 to 3 p.m. Participants will meet with naturalist staff and walk to the viewing site, where interpretation on eagle nesting will be offered. Attendees will also have the opportunity to view eagle activity through a spotting scope and binoculars.


“We now have the perfect opportunity to educate school children, local families and the public about the recovery of bald eagles,” County Executive Brian M. Hughes said. “Mercer County’s preserved open space and parklands provide a rich habitat for nesting eagles and we hope the community can learn about our newest inhabitants.” This new weekly series will run through May.


Mercer County cares for more than 10,000 acres of natural land, providing critical habitat for the bald eagle and other threatened wildlife.


“It is important to increase awareness and appreciation for bald eagles, one of our most iconic endangered species,” said Aaron T. Watson, Park Commission Executive Director. “Learning more about the bald eagle and its nesting patterns is a unique opportunity, and we could not have done it without our partner organizations.”





PSE&G has issued a grant for public programming and educational outreach to area residents. Park Commission and Conserve Wildlife Foundation staff, and volunteers will be providing free school field trips, in-school programs, an adult lecture series and public nest viewing opportunities. “PSE&G has a long record of supporting the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Conserve Wildlife Foundation and local efforts to aid in the recovery of New Jersey’s bald eagle population,” said Rob Pollock, PSE&G’s Senior Director, Environmental Projects and Services. “The Mercer County Park Commission eagle programs provide an excellent opportunity to help raise public awareness of this remarkable success story.”


The Park Commission’s two eagle nests provide wildlife enthusiasts a rare opportunity to view eagles in nature, but for the safety of the eagles all viewing will be done from a distance. Bald eagles and many bird species are sensitive during their nesting season. Park patrons must remain on marked trails at all times; disturbance to wildlife will cause harm, where they may refuse to return in the future. Public programs will provide important tips to park users on “eagle etiquette,” including information on federal regulations prohibiting the disturbance of bald eagle nests.


“With new nests and regular sightings of bald eagles just a few miles from the state capital, Mercer County serves as a microcosm for the eagle's recovery across New Jersey as a whole,” said Conserve Wildlife Foundation Executive Director David Wheeler. “We are thrilled to partner with Mercer County Parks, Wildlife Center Friends and PSE&G to help connect Mercer County residents with this all-American symbol of the wild right in our own backyards.”





Local and regional wildlife photographers are encouraged to share their images of the breeding eagles through email or social media. Images can be emailed to parksinfo@mercercounty.org with the photographer’s name, or shared through social media by tagging or mentioning the Mercer County Park Commission on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. If posting pictures of eagles in our parks, tag the Park Commission and use the hashtag #capitalcountyeagles. Credit will be given to the photographers if outside photos are shared. 


CWF is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of New Jersey’s endangered and threatened wildlife and their habitats. Wildlife Center Friends is a supportive partner of the Mercer County Wildlife Center, a facility of the Mercer County Park Commission.



Posted by tammyduffy at 9:49 AM EST
Updated: Saturday, 2 February 2019 9:58 AM EST
Sunday, 20 January 2019
Say No to Syynnergy Solar!


Planning Board must say NO

to Synnergy Solar!!

Don’t make flooding even worse!!



Share this notice with friends and neighbors!!




Flooding in the Sweetbriar and Whitehouse communities has been devastating residents and properties for years. The Members of the Planning Board, Mayor Yeade and Council, everyone already know this.


The Planning Board must deny the Synnergy Solar project because it fails to meet the requirements for a waiver under the Stream Buffer Conservation Zone (SBCZ - Chap. 583)


The Synnergy Solar Project will:

ü  Clear 12 acres of forest, including 820 large trees and numerous smaller ones, plus all the shrubs and ground cover that make up a healthy streamside forest.

ü  Grade the high and low areas that capture rainwater and lets it soak into the ground.

ü  67% of this project is located in Hamilton Township’s SBCZ.  


This project fails to meet the Intent and Purpose of the SBCZ because:

583-1(A) - Projects in the SBCZ are supposed to meet “accepted conservation practices.” An entire forest will be cut down to build this project.


583-1(B) – SBCZ are supposed to prevent pollutants from running off the land into the creek. The forest will be clear-cut, the ground re-graded and the stormwater drained to yet more detention basins. Nothing prevents pollution runoff better than the forest that is there today.


583-1(C-F) – Without the trees, we lose the benefits of shading that protects the water quality, the wildlife habitat both in the forest and in the stream, the natural erosion protection of the streambanks, the floodplains and other natural features.


583-1(G) – The forest and other natural features there today “minimize hazards to life, property and stream features.”


This project fails to meet the requirements for a waiver because:

583-4 – States: There shall be no clearing or cutting of trees and brush, except for removal of dead vegetation and pruning for reasons of public safety or for the replacement of invasive species with indigenous species. There shall be no regrading or construction within the SBCZ.

583-4(A) States: Acceptable land uses in the SBCZ include open space uses that are primarily passive in character, provided near-stream vegetation is preserved, including:

1)     Wildlife sanctuaries, nature preserves, forest preserves, fishing areas, game farms, fish hatcheries and fishing reserves, operated for the protection and propagation of wildlife, but excluding structures,

2)     Passive areas of public and private parklands, including unpaved hiking, bicycle and bridle trails, provided that said trails have been stabilized with pervious materials. The Synnergy project is not even close to these “acceptable” uses.


This project will result in a substantial impact to the SBCZ and surrounding communities:

583-8 - A waiver may be granted “where the consequent impact upon the SBCZ is determined to be minimal.” Clear cutting 12 acres of woodlands is NOT MINIMAL.

583.3A(2)- The Planning Board can only grant “minor” waivers. This project will clear 12 acres of forest. About 67% of the solar panels are locate in the SBCZ. That is NOT MINOR.


583-8- A waiver may only be granted where “it has been affirmatively demonstrated that the proposed activity will not be materially detrimental or injurious to other property or improvements in the area and will not endanger public safety.”


There are many legal and legitimate reasons given above for the Planning Board to deny this application. But that doesn’t always mean they will vote that way. Having a “standing-room-only” crowd urging them to DENY Synnergy will be very powerful.


A vote to deny this project is not a vote against jobs. It is a vote in favor of not making flooding worse in your neighborhood. It’s a vote to better protect the public safety and health of the residents of Hamilton Township and those that live downstream. And to protect the River and all the critters that depend on a healthy waterway to survive.  


Other important points:

ü  What will this project do to real estate values? Certainly the homes in the Sweetbriar & Whitehead areas will lose valuable wooded open space for a large-scale, treeless solar farm.

ü  Did the Hamilton Township Environmental Commission review these plans? What was the Commission’s position on this project?

ü  Is the US Army Corps of Engineers already studying the persistent and devastating flooding of the Assumpink Creek? How can we justify cutting down 12 acres of woodlands located in a floodplain along the creek and still wonder why our creeks and neighborhood flood?


ü  Is the Natural Resources Conservation District planning how the rehabilitate the dam at Veterans Park? The Synnergy project may be a ways from the dam, but isn’t it a concern to the Township if a waiver is granted in the ecologically sensitive SBCZ?

hT  This project will  pose a significant public safety and health impact on the residents of Hamilton Township while the benefits go to a different community. That’s not right.



·       Stay informed about Synnergy and other River Issues


·       Go to: http://www.delawareriverkeeper.org/ongoing-issues/synnergy-solar-llc

Help amplify your voice – BECOME A DRN MEMBER: 





Posted by tammyduffy at 7:37 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 20 January 2019 7:42 AM EST
Saturday, 19 January 2019
Where is the Accountability In Hamilton Township?




Where is the Accountability In Hamilton Township?




Residents in Hamilton Township are fed up.  The township employees feel they have the privilege to ignore residents and outright lie to them in writing.




At the end of December 2018; we contacted the Hamilton Township public library to rent one of the meeting rooms.  We called the library over the course of several days after Christmas and left messages for Sue Martinez.  She never returned our calls.  So we went to the township website; https://hamiltonnjpl.org/meeting-room-policy/) to see if there was another way to try and rent a meeting room. We wanted the meeting room for Jan 17th at 7pm. 




Applications for meeting room reservations must be submitted to the Library Director or his/her designee at least three weeks in advance using forms available at the Library or downloadable from the Library web site. Applications will be considered in order of receipt and acceptance or rejection will be acknowledged. We were well within the 3 week lead time so we sent the form in. We still got zero response from Ms. Martinez.




On Jan 2 2019, we attended the Hamilton township council meeting and asked council for assistance.  The council members stated they would assist and asked for us to send them an email, and they would send her email address to us. We did that and obtained the email address on Jan 3, 2019 at 9:37am and sent her an email that day at 3:45pm. (see below)






Sent: Thursday, January 3, 2019 3:45 PM
To: "smartinez@hamiltonnjpl.org" <smartinez@hamiltonnjpl.org>
Subject: Room rental








We have left a couple of messages as well as sending in the application to rent a room on the 17th of this month at the library. We haven't gotten any response. Could you be so kind to let us know what is happening with our application and respond to our messages. Thank you




 We did not get a response that day, Friday or Monday morning of the following week. We called the library and was told she was in and left yet another message. She never called back.  There was more than one person on our team reaching out to Ms. Martinez, they received the same lack of response.  We did however finally received an email at 12:19pm (see below) stating she was out on Thursday and Friday (which would be Jan 3 and 4th 2019) attending to her sick kids.  Her email asked how many people we would have. This was annoying to us for we had mailed in the form with all the information and left messages for her as well with all this information numerous times. We responded with the details. (see email below) She stated she had no email from us. Which is completely false.




----- Forwarded Message -----


From: Sue Martinez <smartinez@hamiltonnjpl.org>


To: tammy.duffy@yahoo.com <tammy.duffy@yahoo.com>


Sent: ‎Monday‎, ‎January‎ ‎7‎, ‎2019‎ ‎10‎:‎12‎:‎19‎ ‎AM‎ ‎EST


Subject: re: Room rental






I apologize I was out Thursday and Friday with sick kids.  I have a small room available how many people?







From: "Tammy Duffy" <tammy.duffy@yahoo.com>
Sent: Monday, January 7, 2019 10:10 AM
To: "smartinez@hamiltonnjpl.org" <smartinez@hamiltonnjpl.org>, "Tammy Duffy" <tammy.duffy@yahoo.com>
Subject: re: Room rental








We called twice and left messages I'm sent the emails. I also mailed in the form. We are looking for January 17th at 7 p.m.


Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android




On Mon, Jan 7, 2019 at 9:25 AM, Sue Martinez


<smartinez@hamiltonnjpl.org> wrote:


Tammy - I just checked and I don't have another email from you.  What time on the 17th, how many people?








Ms. Martinez then sent us a message asking if a room for 40 people would be ok? We responded quickly our response, Yes. (see email below)




----- Forwarded Message -----


From: Tammy Duffy <tammy.duffy@yahoo.com>


To: smartinez@hamiltonnjpl.org <smartinez@hamiltonnjpl.org>


Sent: ‎Monday‎, ‎January‎ ‎7‎, ‎2019‎ ‎03‎:‎24‎:‎24‎ ‎PM‎ ‎EST


Subject: re: Room rental






Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android




On Mon, Jan 7, 2019 at 1:11 PM, Sue Martinez


<smartinez@hamiltonnjpl.org> wrote:


I have a room that will fit 40 people max...will this be ok?






After our email at 3:24pm on the 7th of January, we never heard back from Ms. Martinez. We reached out to her again at 7:30pm on January 8th and copied the member of council.  On January 10th at 947pm, we send another message for we received no response from anyone.






----- Forwarded Message -----


From: Tammy Duffy <tammy.duffy@yahoo.com>


To: smartinez@hamiltonnjpl.org <smartinez@hamiltonnjpl.org>; Tammy Duffy <tammy.duffy@yahoo.com>; acarabelli@hamiltonnj.com <acarabelli@hamiltonnj.com>


Sent: ‎Tuesday‎, ‎January‎ ‎8‎, ‎2019‎ ‎07‎:‎20‎:‎25‎ ‎PM‎ ‎EST


Subject: Re: Room rental








We really need to sure up this room. Do you have an update?




We did not receive any response until January 14th at 9:22am. She stated the room was reserved and she was out with the flu. (see email below)




Re: Room rental




·        Sue Martinez <smartinez@hamiltonnjpl.org>


To:Tammy Duffy

‎Jan‎ ‎14 at ‎9‎:‎22‎ ‎AM

Tammy - I just returned to the office was out with the flu.  The room is reserved for you.


She then sent another email documenting that she was out with the flu for 4 days.



Sue Martinez <smartinez@hamiltonnjpl.org>


To:acarabelli@hamiltonnj.com,Tammy Duffy


‎Jan‎ ‎14 at ‎9‎:‎31‎ ‎AM


Tammy - I just returned to work I was out with the flu for four days.  The room was reserved for you.




We were very annoyed with this interaction with the township employee. Their lack of response for a simple task was baffling. We decided to OPRA Ms. Martinez’s time card. We sent up an OPRA request on Jan 7 to the township. We never received any response. So, we sent the OPRA request to Ms. Gore. Still no response that they got the OPRA request. Today. January 19th we just received the response to the OPRA request from Jan 7 2019. This is beyond the acceptable 7 day turn around time that the township is required by law to respond to OPRA requests. We are going to let this go and not due the township for this lack of response. However, we do want to share what the OPRA response demonstrated.




 Let’s rewind for a moment to the email from Ms. Martinez from January 7. (see below)




----- Forwarded Message -----


From: Sue Martinez <smartinez@hamiltonnjpl.org>


To: tammy.duffy@yahoo.com <tammy.duffy@yahoo.com>


Sent: ‎Monday‎, ‎January‎ ‎7‎, ‎2019‎ ‎10‎:‎12‎:‎19‎ ‎AM‎ ‎EST


Subject: re: Room rental






I apologize I was out Thursday and Friday with sick kids.  I have a small room available how many people?




So she said she was unresponsive due to the fact she was out on Thursday and Friday.  (Jan 3 and 4, 2109). Yet, when we OPRA’d her time card, (we only asked for records from Dec 22 2018 to Jan 8 2019. The information sent from the township clerk demonstrates that she was out sick on January 3. It actually demonstrates she punched in at 8:53am and punched out at 2:36pm. It also states she took 1.5 hours of vacation that day.  January 4 she did take a sick day.



Why did Ms. Martinez tell us she was out sick on the 3rd of January (in writing) and her time card shows she was working from 8:54am to 2:36pm and took 1.5 hours of vacation that day. When we called the library that day no one knew where she was.  

Why are township employees not accurately detailing their time entries? This seems to be a pattern wide spread in the township with considerable lack of oversight.




We would like someone to look up how Ms. Martinez has her time card entries for the following days,  Jan 8 – Jan 11 2019. Our guts are telling us we will possibly see additional discrepancies on her time card. Also, we would like to know why her manager would allow her detailed calculated time sheet was signed off on with incorrect information in it. 


This is not fair to township residents that township employees inaccurately detail their time, their managers approve it, essentially stealing from the residents.


Posted by tammyduffy at 4:06 PM EST
Tuesday, 25 December 2018
What's Happening In Hamilton




What’s Happening In Hamilton?


 Related image





In the state of New Jersey, the penalties for stealing money or property worth $75,000 or more include any or all of the following: restitution of the amount embezzled to the victim; a fine of up to $150,000, and between five and ten years in prison. For a theft of $500 or more, but less than $75,000. Penalties include: restitution; a fine of up to $15,000, and between three and five years in prison. Also, a theft of $200 or more, but not more than $500. Penalties include any or all of the following: restitution; a fine of up to $10,000; and up to 18 months in prison.  Less than $200. Penalties include restitution; a fine of up to $1,000; or both.


Most of the time, when people thinking about employees stealing from their jobs, they think of people raiding the supply closet and bringing home boxes of pens and piles of legal pads. However, there’s an even more costly form of fraud happening at businesses of all sizes across the country: payroll fraud.


Payroll fraud is surprisingly common, affecting about 30 percent of businesses annually. Businesses lose millions of dollars thanks to unscrupulous employees who take more money than they have earned. This isn’t even accounting for the costs associated with investigating potential fraud and taking action against the perpetrators. In some cases, employees are ordered to pay restitution, but often, employee fraud results in losses for the company.


Timesheet fraud involves paying employees incorrectly for the hours they work. In some cases, companies overpay employees based on falsified timesheet submissions; employees might even have a co-worker clock in and out for them when they aren’t even scheduled to work. In one common timesheet scheme, an employee will “forget” to clock in or out, thus requiring a manual entry, to which they then add extra hours. In other cases, a payroll clerk may be in on the scheme, and manually overriding employee timesheets to increase the number of hours worked, or even the rate of pay.


Timesheet fraud can usually be caught quickly via regular audits and review of employee schedules, and strict policies regarding timesheet submissions and changes. For example, a manager must approve any manual entries, and changes to pay rates, employee types, or a manager or human resources must document schedules in writing. Audits will reveal anomalies — such as the employee who is normally scheduled to work Monday through Friday suddenly clocking in on weekends — and stop fraud in its tracks.


A recent email that was released (see below) demonstrates a township employee requested to have 45 extra vacation days added to their paycheck.  At the last Hamilton township council meeting, John Barrett, CFO of Hamilton presented some very interesting data.  Evidently, there were also incidents where Mr Mulrine (who is the current Mayor’s brother-in-law) signed government documents stating he was the “acting CFO”.  Evidently, in these documents Mr. Mulrine allegedly approved expenses for games (lawn darts, etc) that were purchased with bond money.  It also appears in another document, he allegedly approved a year of travel expenses by his sister , who is the mayor in the town, for $4,600. The CFO stated at the council meeting as well that these behaviors were extremely concerning. That Mr. Mulrine had no authority to sign the documents in the manner he did. Also, allowing the disbursement of funds in this manner was extremely irregular. Mr. Barrett went on to say that he has a fiduciary responsibility to the town and reported these discretions to the appropriate authorities.






Posted by tammyduffy at 6:26 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, 25 December 2018 6:30 PM EST
Sunday, 9 December 2018
Vagrants Go High Tech in China






Don't have any spare change? No problem – beggars in China now accept alms transferred via mobile payments by scanning QR codes with smartphones.

One case in point is Jinan, a city in Shandong province in eastern China, where beggars frequenting popular tourist areas like the Wangfu Pool have turned to mobile payments in order to increase their chances of receiving donations from the general public.


The beggars place a printout of a QR code in their begging bowls. The QR codes enable anyone with a mobile payment app like Alibaba Group's Alipay or Tencent's WeChat Wallet to scan the code and send a certain sum to the beggar's mobile payment account.

This would indicate that the beggars would need to be able to afford to have a mobile phone. According to Chinese state media, this is not as uncommon as you'd think.

In the case of the beggar seen in Jinan, state media reported that the man was apparently suffering from a mental illness, and that his family had made the QR code to help him.

However, Chinese digital marketing firm China Channel claims that the practice of QR code begging is not merely altruistic. The firm claims that many of the beggars they encountered in Beijing are actually being paid by local businesses and startups to promote QR codes and entice passersby to scan them.


The scans are used by the businesses to harvest user data on each person's WeChat IDs. When compiled, the lists of WeChat IDs can be sold for a fair amount of money to small businesses, who use them to send out unsolicited advertisements in the app – the same way in the past companies used email addresses and phone numbers.

Apparently, the idea works by getting passersby to take pity on the beggars and scan the QR code. The user is not charged any money, but the QR code refers the user to a specific WeChat profile. The passersby are encouraged to support the beggars because they don't need to pay any money – all they have to do is scan the QR code, and the beggar will be paid per scan they manage to achieve.

The beggars work a 45-hour work week and every QR code scan earns them between CN¥0.7 – CN¥1.5 ($0.10-$0.22, £0.08-£0.17). On average, the beggars are able to get one new scan every 2.5 minutes, which in a month works out to be CN¥4,536, which is not a huge amount of money, but a decent income comparable to minimum wage work in the country.

Posted by tammyduffy at 4:07 PM EST
Sunday, 2 December 2018



Tallest Building in the World by a Woman 



 Vista Residences, Chicago by Jeanne Gang




In a newly released video, American architect Jeanne Gang explains how natural crystal formations inspired the shape of Vista Residences, a new skyscraper proposed for Chicago that will be the world's tallest building designed by a woman (+ movie).

Along with the video, the developer has released new interior and exterior images of the 1,140-foot-tall (348 metre) tower by Studio Gang.


Vista Residences will be the third tallest building in Chicago behind the Willis Tower and Trump International Hotel and Tower. It is slated to be the tallest building in the world designed by a woman, according to the team behind the project.

The design features a trio of glass towers arranged in a row, with heights of 47, 71, and 93 storeys. Renderings show wavy facades that overlook the Chicago River and Lake Michigan.


Gang said the massing was inspired by nature – specifically a type of crystal formation called "frustum," which resembles a pyramid without a pointy peak.

"With Vista, we stumbled upon this naturally forming geometry in nature. It's called a 'frustum.' It's found in crystal formations – fluorite and sapphire, actually," said Gang. 

"By stacking those and turning them over, we get this undulation in and out, which creates really interesting views either toward the city or skyward."

The towers are sheathed in varying colours of glass that take their cue from the water. "We're using a variety of lake blue colours, from the deeper to the lighter, to create a wave gradient across the overall height of the building," said Gang.

Vista Residences, Chicago by Jeanne Gang


 The complex will contain more than 400 apartments and a hotel, with residential units averaging 2,500 square feet (232 square meters). The project also calls for a wine cellar, tasting room, and demonstration kitchen.

 Completion is scheduled for 2020. Assuming it receives all necessary approvals, the skyscraper will rise on the northern edge of the 11-hectare Lakeshore East development.


The project is backed by Chinese developer Wanda Group and Chicago-based Magellan Development Group. The initial design was first unveiled in late 2014.

"This will be a huge contributor to the Lakeshore East community, one of the most sought-after neighbourhoods to live in Chicago," said Magellan in a recent statement.

Master planned by SOM, the Lakeshore East development was built on the site of a former rail yard. It already includes apartment blocks, shops, a school, and a hotel, all of which are arranged around a central park.


Studio Gang designed another building there – the 261-metre-high (856-feet) Aqua tower, which was completed in 2011.


"Magellan from the beginning saw the potential for that whole piece of property," said Gang in the new video. "They've been able to pull off a very cohesive community. They really have the same vision as I do for creating community. They understand what it means to do good architecture."


Gang added that most of her firm's work is centred on the idea of community. "We really think about people, and how people use space, and how people relate to each other within space," she said.


Gang, one of the most world's most prominent female architects, started her Chicago-based practice in 1997.

"Chicago is a city all about architecture. It's the most American city. It's really where modernism started taking off," said Gang in the recent video. "It's also my home, so it was a natural place to begin my practice."


Other projects by Studio Gang include a 14-storey apartment building proposed for Miami, a social justice centre in Michigan, and a boathouse in Chicago.

The firm is also providing urban design services for a new George Lucas Museum of Narrative Art along Chicago's waterfront, with MAD leading the architectural design.

Chicago has been in the headlines lately, as the city gears up for its first Chicago Architectural Biennial. Opening 3 October, the international event will feature exhibitions, installations, and more than 300 programs.


Posted by tammyduffy at 7:24 AM EST
Thursday, 22 November 2018
The Path of Life Garden


 The Path of Life Garden




Watch Link below






Corporate America was founded by men and is still dominated by men. As a result, it has many stereotypically masculine qualities. Some of these are great; others are not.


There are many aspects embedded in corporate American culture that are not the best thing for the people in it or for business itself. Your challenge is to first figure out what you need to assimilate to in order to gain credibility, and then change what needs changing. There’s a new phrase in literature on women in leadership—it’s “walking the narrow band”—in other words, women have to work within a narrow range of acceptable behaviors in order to succeed.


If you’re too “nice”, you don’t get what you want. If you’re too “nasty”, you’re seen as a bitch. Many women leave the workforce because they don’t feel like they can be authentic to themselves. And there are many behaviors that could have a positive impact on Corporate America that are not being displayed because of this narrow band. Bad leadership kills companies.  When employees follow these bad leaders it instill bad behaviors that are not fixable. Most of us have either experienced or currently work with bosses who are incompetent, tyrannical or vindictive. You may have asked yourself how someone so incompetent ended up in a position of power. Or you may wonder why everyone seems to put up with the tyranny of a volatile and domineering person at the helm.  Bad leaders are discriminatory, aggressive and arrogant. They build a world around a self-centered idea of personal greatness that gives them personal license to break, bend and alter moral standards others while holding others to them. By placing themselves on a pedestal above the law, above authority and even above God, bad leaders construct an insular bubble where they must always be right and anyone who suggests otherwise is mercilessly struck down. I needed an art cleanse. I found one.



I arrived to the PAth of Life Garden and no one was there. However, I quickly learned you could still access the garden by paying a $6.00 fee in the common mailbox. The mailbox also had a small pamphlet in it describing the garden. You first go through the “Tunnel of Oblivion” to enter the garden.  There is an oddly placed fake bat in the tunnel. So, at this point, you do not know what to expect in the garden. The Tunnel of Oblivion, the darkness representing the beginning of life. 




After you walk through the tunnel, there is a small sign pointing and saying, “this way”, so I followed the path. From here one proceeds to the right and finds a small stone emerging from a shallow swale signifying BIRTH.  Next, the first steps of childhood lead to a hemlock maze, reflecting a period of ADVENTURE.  One has a choice to make here according to the sign, to take the adventurous route.  I took more of course. The evergreen maze made me decide which way to go. Left, right, forward, up a hill, etc. There is a life lesson in this maze. The walker finds that lesson and then reaches an amazing bell they can ring the signified their success.   Upon successfully mastering the maze, one turns right and finds the HILL OF LEARNING ,where one crosses a series of buried granite stone steps, signifying the milestones reached in school. At the top of the hill one discovers the TREE OF WISDOM , a white oak whose nuts contain the seeds of knowledge. Whose leaves are the lessons dropped from the fall season. I took there for several minutes just relaxing in the circular stones border, it made me feel safe.  Before you enter the Tree of Wisdom the poem by Chard di Niord, Tree of Wisdom is posted.  READ IT!


Upon descending the hill one finds a circle of Prayer Wheels that can be spun in the spirit of HOPE and wellbeing.  This remined me of my time in Tibet, climbing Mount Everest. These types of prayer wheels where located on the way to Mt Everest from Lukla.  It brought back such amazing memories of our climb up Everest. The handmade wheels had words of inspiration that made we want to create this wonder at my own home. Beyond the prayer wheels one enters an amphitheater of sculpture that symbolizes a time of CREATIVITY.  One was given the opportunity to hear the imaginary music created by these recycled giants. 


I then climbed up the hill behind the giant musicians to the gong. This was an additional instrument for the giants, for humans to play. There was a mallet on top of the wood structure that allowed one to create therapeutic sounds of happiness. From here the path travels to the river and you will encounter the experience of UNION, suggested by two granite posts flanking a round millstone. The hole in the millstone represents the mysterious connection that exists between two beings while the mass of the stone creates a sense of separateness. Adjacent to union is the garden of FAMILY, depicted by five large flat stones arranged in a circle. Visitors are welcome to sit in the circle with friends and family to reflect on the loved ones in their lives. I recommend you walk around the trees and internally and externally around the seats. It’s a very therapeutic experience that helps you feel as though you are binding your family together.




 After creating a family, you then become a part of a larger COMMUNITY, represented by a multitude of stones arranged in a large circle. When you first look at the structures in the circle, they appear to be just large pieces of burnt wood. Then because of the clarity of behind you have created with this walk in the park, you see the amazing wood carvings that are impeded in each structure. Take time to look at each one. Do not miss the couple kissing near the tree off to the side, they are quite the pair. The individual characteristics of each stone stand for the unique qualities in each of us. Some people find they are spending too much time in community and enter a period of SOLITUDE, expressed in the park as a single stone surrounded by lilac trees and a shade structure. At other times in midlife, one might find themselves experiencing a period of AMBITION, portrayed by a large earthen mound in the middle of the field. Perfect, as I hit my midlife, I decided to begin climbing the 7 summits in the world. Four down three to go. Having climbed to the top of the mound, one can look back and reflect on the first half of their journey. I reflected on all my climbs, training to the large summit climbs, each one just as important.


Continuing upriver, mid-life also brings the first taste of SORROW. In this garden, the frame of a Native American teepee embodies our collective sense of loss. After a time of sorrow, some are lucky enough to find a time for FORGIVENESS, depicted in the park by a stand of bamboo poles reaching for the sky.


The gift of forgiveness is often followed by a period of JOY, symbolized in the park by a garden of blueberries and raspberries for all to share in the summer time. I felt compelled that Joy was not possible unless I walked the path of forgiveness. So, I walked every step of the path created by the blueberry and raspberry trees. This therapeutic path created a strong heart. It was not until then, that I allowed myself to enter the bamboo structure of Joy.  I stayed in the structure for some time, thinking of all the joyful moment of my life.


After leaving the garden of berries, the path turns to the left and climbs a gentle hill As one reaches these later stages of life, many people look forward to a period of rest or RESPITE.A hammock and picnic table located in a cool forest overlooking a series of gentle waterfalls provides our traveler with a well-deserved break. I sat on the hammock and meditated for a few moments. I then noticed an amazing field of now covered pumpkins. So I climbed to the down the hill to the field of pumpkins to take some photos. 


Turning around, and going up a hill, the garden allows for a period of CONTEMPLATION , and a Buddha is discovered overlooking a stone labyrinth. As old age settles in the path to the center of the labyrinth becomes smooth and level. After pausing at the center of the labyrinth to wish for enlightenment. I took more time to meditate and take notice of the articles left by others on the Grand Buddha, simply amazing. I thought about things going on at work where it seems like everybody in leadership is just looking upward and has a price. I wonder how they sleep at night. Where they come first and could care less about those below them. The truth comes second, everyone below them always having to look to the left and right to safely cross their day like a street. I stop, for a minute and Smile and think, they are not my circus, they are not my monkeys. I only control how I react to their abysmal behaviors.  I meditate some more. 



The next area of the garden one comes to a stand of large dead maple trees, the garden of DEATH. I stood there outside the area, not entering. For entering the death garden, I thought that would be a bad omen. But as I scanned the periphery, I saw that there were more amazing art sculptures, one resembling a Giacometti. I dropped my fears and bee-lined for the sculpture. I then also noticed like in the Community area of the garden, the sculptures had amazing life to them.


I put my fears of death to rest, surrounded by weeping trees, taking my renewed soul to the garden of REBIRTH, where life begins anew. One gets to sit amongst trees of life that bring a new energy to your being.


As a final gesture, the pilgrim re-enters the tunnel from which life began in the opposite direction. When traveling towards the West, the tunnel represents the Gateway to Eternity. The way you feel when you exit the garden is not the way you felt when you entered. It’s brilliant and I highly suggest you go there; go alone or with a group. You can also camp there. The Connecticut River is adjacent to the garden so in the summer they have boats and activities to fill your day with love and life lessons.




You can visit the garden now, I suggest you go a day where you can make your own footprints in the snow. That adds a whole new level of experience to the garden.  When I left the garden, I thought, who made this? It is brilliant. 


Terry McDonnell, a child and family therapist from Norwich, Vermont has been working on The Path of Life Garden for the past 16 years. On any given weekend in the Spring, Summer and Fall you will find him working there. Lacking formal training in landscape design or sculpture, his inspiration comes from photographs, books, other artists, gardens and walks in the woods. Without the help of a landscaping crew, he does most of the work by himself or with the help of local contractors, friends and family.


Terry’s desire to build a garden that told the story of life came after visiting one of Europe’s most famous Japanese gardens, The Life of Man. Built in Kildare, Ireland between 1906-1910, The Life of Man symbolizes the journey of a human soul from birth to death. After happening upon The Life of Man, Terry knew he had the perfect use for the 14-acre riverside field he owned in Windsor.


He began the garden in 1997 by planting 30 red oak trees in an arc that mirrored the gentle bend in the adjoining Connecticut River. Later in the first year, the amphitheater of Creativity was sculpted to feature the work of local artist’s and for hosting music festivals. In 1998, he rented a u-haul trailer, picked up 800 bare-root hemlock trees in Pennsylvania and went to work with his nephew creating the maze of Adventure. In 1999, he traveled to Northern California and found the large granite Buddha for Contemplation and the 5-piece, 25 foot tall, driftwood band (Creativity) made from Russian River driftwood. Each year since, new features have been added. There was the Tunnel of Oblivion in 2000, and the mound of Hope with its Tori gates and prayer wheels in 2001. In 2002 he was busy planting the Tree of Wisdom, erecting the 50-foot high bamboo circle representing Forgiveness and adding a ring of tall sugar stones to Birth. In 2003 he devoted to planting blueberries and raspberries in Joy and establishing a shade structure over Solitude. In 2004 he worked with Ria Blaas and Herb Ferris to complete new installations in Community and Creativity.


Today, everyone in the family chips in to help with mowing, weedwacking, planting and coming up with new ideas. Several times a year you will find us camping in Creativity, having a bonfire in front of the band, and going for an early morning swim in the Connecticut River. Every other summer we invite a bunch of friends and have a drumming party in front of the band. The Path of Life is a work in progress. As such, it will never really be completed -- which is just fine with us! We love it, hope you do too, and look forward to seeing you along the path.  


The Path of Life Garden is a crafted landscape open to the public in Windsor, Vermont. Visitors experience the story of the great circle of life while traveling through sculptures of varying sizes and materials. Inspired by a famous garden in Europe, these eighteen works of art symbolize the journey from birth to death and beyond. Since its conception in 1997, the garden has grown on its own path, providing space for recreation, relaxation, contemplation and realization; making it a great destination for families looking for fun things to do around Quechee, Woodstock, and Hanover. The path is also home to some of a 5+ mile trail network, groomed in the winter for dogsledding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.


The garden is located in a 14-acre of field of trails, wildflowers and open spaces on the banks of the Connecticut River. There are 18 works of art in the garden.






Posted by tammyduffy at 9:49 AM EST

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