Long lines formed Monday morning at Hard Rock Stadium as people of all ages waited to get tested for the coronavirus.Previously, testing at the location required an appointment and was limited to people 65 or older.No appointment is needed at the testing site, but people must be showing symptoms of the virus, have an underlying health condition or have been around someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.Officials anticipate a large turnout throughout the day, as people began lining up around 6 a.m.Just like before, all healthcare workers and first responders will continue to get be tested.The changes come as state officials take over operations of the site, which was previously run by the federal government.Also changing is how the test is, instead health workers will use throat swabs.Since the site first opened, more than 11,500 people have been tested outside Hard Rock Stadium — more than any other National Guard testing site in South Florida.Officials plan to administer about 400 tests daily and results take anywhere from three to six days to receive.
Exactly one week ago today the Pirates held their annual event at PNC Park celebrating the life and legacy of the man who shattered the color bar of MLB, the late great Jackie Robinson. When I was anticipating penning this column I had to really dig deep to bring something meaningful to you because I have written over one hundred articles on Jackie Robinson. I labored and thought about what I could say and out of the clear blue sky the lyrics from EWFs ‘Shining Star’ leaped on me like “white on rice.”“When you wish upon a star, your dreams will take you very far, yeah. When you wish upon a dream, life ain’t always what it seems, oh yeah. Once you see your light so clear, hey in the sky so very dear. (EWF)” How many nights did Jackie Robinson gaze out of his window as a young “Negro” hoping and dreaming of playing MLB? But more importantly, how many times did African-Americans with shackles digging deep into their flesh dream about, fantasize about and pray about, freedom? Not the freedom to drink from the same water fountains, not the choice to ride in the front of the bus, but the right not be whipped, killed and brutalized by those who placed no value on their labor or their lives.“You’re a shining star, no matter who you are. Shining bright to see what you can truly be.”This year a young rising future journalism star shadowed me in the press box. His name is Durelle Ward. As a young African-American, the chances of him being granted access to a MLB press box at the age of fourteen is slim and none.Durelle was “star struck” hangin’ out with Pirates All-Star center fielder Andrew McCutchen as well with the incredible view of the Pittsburgh skyline from the press box as we took our seats after leaving the field. I asked him a question and his mature and insightful answer amazed even me. I asked, “is there anything that you notice about the press box?” He answered, “All I see is three Black reporters.” A few minutes later I asked him a second question, “Is there anything else that jumps out at you?” His brow wrinkled for a second and this is the total truth boys and girls. He said, “Everyone seems to be working very hard.” At that moment my heart smiled because I knew that this young man “got it.” Robert Matthews, the father of my young “intern” stood proudly as I returned his son to him after an evening in the “box.” Jamila Nevels also spent an evening at the ballpark with her 21 month old son, Maureace who seemed to be having a ball.“Born a man-child of the sun, yeah, yeah, saw my work had just begun. Yeah, found I had to stand alone, bless it now I got my own.”There were no true role models for Robinson to emulate because he was the first. Oh, he might have recited Paul Robeson or thought about Jesse Owens to lift his spirit but there were very few forerunners that he could copy because he was the original. He was born a true man-child of RA, the Sun God, radiating and transmitting energy and spirit from the Sahara, the Nile and the plains of the Serengeti. He had to stand alone. He could only look upward to the heavens for strength and comfort. He was forced to face vile and angry people, acrid and volcanic-like saliva flying from perverted mouths delivering words of hate and degradation. So if you find yourself in need why don’t you listen to his words of heed. Be a tiny grain of sand words of wisdom, yes I can.We must cease being economic and spiritual panhandlers. Stop looking for and expecting a blessing and bring a blessing. We have to “be” words of wisdom and tiny grains of sand. We do not have to be the “big cheese’s” to have a positive and lasting impact.Jackie Robinson day, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. day, or any other Afro-centric days are great for superficial and temporary satisfaction but at the crack of dawn, how much real change will come with the first sunrise after the event is held?The 2001 celebration was far more meaningful (at least for me) than the annual games of the recent past where the Pirates honored the Negro Leagues by donning Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawford’s uniforms and then proceeded to go out and unceremoniously find a way to lose the ball game.This game was about moving on. Someone and I cannot recall who said; “we spend each day either growing or dying” well at least something to that effect. Little Maureace had no clue who Jackie Robinson was because he was at the ballpark having a good time with his mother. The real stars are the ones that tuck in the children after a long day. The real stars are the ones who work two jobs for minimum wage just to feed, clothe and house their families. All we have to do is take a good look.“Shining star for you to see, what your life can truly be. Shining star for you to see, what your life can truly be. Shining star for you to see, what your life can truly be.”(Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: [email protected] or 412-583-6741.)
Fifth inning and her team was winning. Poised on the pitcher’s mound Julie was looking for a signal. Another 10-year-old girl was up – a strong batter, and her friend, Kathleen, was catching.She scratched into the dirt with her right foot: Once twice three times. But then she kept doing it. Her toe stopped scraping the dirt and started stomping. She covered her face with her mitt. Julie was crying.Her coach hustled out from the bench. He stood in front of her putting his hands on her shoulders. Still hiding behind the glove he could feel her tiny body shake and heave.“What’s the matter?” She peeled back her mitt just enough for him to see her red eyes and trembling lip.“My dad is embarrassing me to death.”It’s happening around the country. As the weather breaks and the sport season moves outdoors, parents flock to watch their kids play their chosen sport. The fields and courts are full with soccer, lacrosse, baseball, tennis and other teams. The parents are in the bleachers or on the boundaries of the field. But not all of them have come just to watch: Some of them are screaming and criticizing the coaches, the assistants, other kids, and their own child – constantly.The sideline syndrome, a term I made up, has to do with winning. Parents – almost always the fathers – are so invested in the thrill of winning that they forget what playing on a team and being involved with sports is all about. They are so wrapped up in the success of their child and team that they do exactly the wrong thing – they verbally abuse others.Many school districts are taking up the challenge and asking parents to sign a code of conduct. A promise not to badmouth, taunt or berate anyone on the field. In 2010, the University of Maine produced a “Sports Done Right” report emphasizing seven core principles to be used in sports. The goal was to produce guidelines supporting an environment that encourages discipline, respect, responsibility, fairness, trustworthiness, and good citizenship.Repeatedly screaming at your daughter’s coach wasn’t one of their recommended activities.Statistics show that fewer than 200,000 of the 75 million school-age children who play sports will ultimately earn full-ride scholarships, which means that playing sports must offer more to children than learning to win.Psychologists know a good deal about what makes for success – not only in sports, but also in career and academic achievement. It is the difference between harmonious – versus obsessive passion. Children who engage in sports and other activities they find inherently enjoyable and in-tune with their identity have harmonious passion. They succeed at what they are doing because they enjoy it and invest time engaging in the activity. They learn to cultivate resilience in the face of losses, and keep at it because they love it.Obsessive passion happens when a sport or activity is done to get a reward, and not necessarily part of a child’s identity. If a young person feels they have to win to be acceptable they are likely to feel guilty, or believe they will be punished when they don’t. If a child feels compelled to engage in a sport to be accepted by a parent, they experience obsessive passion, and won’t do as well as those engaged harmoniously.The sideline syndrome parent is often alone, and believes he is doing the right thing. But if he really wants to help his child, the better way is to teach his son or daughter how to be resilient in the face of losing, and how to find a sport and activities in their life they’ll be passionate about. Dan Tomasulo holds a Ph.D. in psychology, an MFA in writing and a Masters of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. For more information, visit his website Dare2BeHappy.com.
By Jay Cook |MIDDLETOWN – Plans to reconstruct what the county calls two “structurally deficient” and “functionally obsolete” bridges and culverts along one of Middletown’s oldest roadways are in the works, Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone said earlier this week.The two bridges both cross McClees Creek in the Chapel Hill section of Middletown. MT-18, a 19-foot-long bridge along Whipporwill Valley Road, and MT-19, a 9-foot-long bridge over Chapel Hill Road, are both small stone arch culverts in need of repair, Arnone said.After taking inventory of county-owned bridges, Arnone said it made sense on the county’s end to go ahead and look to begin the design phase. On Aug. 10, the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders granted a $269,121.38 contract to French & Parello Associates of Wall Township for design and engineering on the two reconstructions. French & Parello will provide interim reports quarterly to the freeholders. Once completed, the county will go out to bid for the construction phase of the project. The total cost of the project is not yet known.Arnone said the project is about a year to a year and a half away, but did provide a timeline on how construction will be laid out. In total, he said, the entire construction portion would span about 12 to 18 months, depending on assistance from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection which will consider the impact to McClees Creek and its surrounding wetlands.The Whipporwill Valley Road bridge, MT-18, would be rebuilt first. That section could take between four to six months to complete, and the road would be closed from Chapel Hill Road to Bowne Road, except for local traffic.MT-19 is also anticipated to take about four to six months to complete. During construction, Chapel Hill Road would be closed from Sleepy Hollow Road to Kings Highway East, although local residents will have access at all times. A detour would send motorists down Sleepy Hollow Road to get around the construction area.Arnone said the two replacements would happen one after the other to lessen the impact on Middletown residents.“We all know that nobody likes this inconvenience, but the board has taken a real aggressive approach to upgrading our infrastructure,” he added.Locally, elected officials are welcoming the idea of infrastructure upgrades, especially in a dated section of town like Whipporwill Valley Road.“It’s very significant and is part of the charm of the area,” Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger said about the mile-and-a-half long unpaved road. “There’s a lot of people that like the novelty of having a road like that. It’s so historic.”These bridge and culvert replacements are just one of a few projects happening in Middletown now that are shoring up the township’s foundation.Last week, Monmouth County officials provided an update on the extensive Hubbard Avenue project, alongside Shadow Lake and River Plaza Elementary School.New Jersey Natural Gas Company is replacing an existing 6-inch steel gas distribution main with a new 8-inch plastic gas main, the release said. This replacement comes after American Water Company finished another project along the roadway.Scharfenberger said both Middletown and Monmouth County officials expect the Hubbard Avenue project to be completed by the time school begins next month. In addition to the utility work, a new crosswalk and roadway striping will be added near the elementary school. Hubbard Avenue will be completely repaved.“All of these things, I think, are necessary,” Scharfenberger said. “They’re a bit disruptive, but it’s really good to see this happening.”This article was first published in the Aug. 17-24, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times.