Monday, April 29, 2013

Three Steps to the Best YOU - an afternoon for ladies!



'An Afternoon for Ladies' at the Berkeley Heights Public Library
Sunday, May 5, 2:30 p.m. in the library meeting room

Rosie Battista will be joining us on Sunday, May 5th at 2:30.  The program,
3 Steps to the Best YOU, will educate, motivate, inspire and amuse.  You will find Rosie’s high energy style to be absolutely contagious, something you will want to catch.  Here is Rosie’s description of the program and her philosophy:


'Rosie Battista shares her story with energy, humor and fun props leaving her audience inspired, motivated and armed with tips and ideas that they can take home.  She believes that every woman has the right and the obligation to treat themselves well and feel healthy, sexy and gorgeous.

The bottom line is that you can use your willpower to go on a diet and that may or may not work for a while.  But when you learn to use your personal power, your whole life will change. PERSONAL EMPOWERMENT is what she brings and shares and she'll leave you inspired and motivated to step it up and make changes for the better in your own life. 

This is not just any talk, self help or motivational speech, and you will find immense value from hearing her speak. Because Rosie is the real deal, she teaches only what she has put into practice for herself and others that has been proven to work and breaks it down into easy, implementable steps that YOU can take home with you. 
Her book Sleeping Naked After 40: A Women's Guidebook to excellence in nutrition and extreme self care, will be available for purchase as a wonderful Mother's Day Gift for yourself and a friend. There will be a raffle and you must be present to win it and some "Naked" treats to taste as well. So don't miss out on this fun, educational and interactive conversation with Rosie Battista (Your Body Stylist, your Confidence Creator, & CEO of Sleeping Naked After 40)'

'Sleeping Naked after 40' can be found on Amazon

Friday, April 26, 2013

Frequent Reference Questions: Where was the Nike missile site in Berkeley Heights?

Here is the link to Ellen's original post which answers the question we often get at the Reference Desk: where was the
Nike Missile Site ?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Nike Missile Site

One of the library's perennial reference requests is information on the former Nike missile test site and air base in Watchung Reservation. "With its radar and command on the Berkeley Heights-Summit border and its launching pad in Mountainside, the station was one of 19 Nike AJAX missile bases that ringed New York City, standing ready to blast invading planes out of the sky", according to a Star-Ledger article from 5-28-2000. The Nike air base was in operation from 1958 to 1963 (according to this website).

The subject is not covered in Berkeley Heights' local history books, so I searched The Dispatch, a local newspaper that we have on PDF. Anyone can come in the library and search this newspaper by keyword, although you have to search it issue by issue. Here's a picture of the NIKE exhibit in the lobby of the Summit Trust Company bank in August 1957. The rest of the article follows (yes, there are grammatical errors, which are not mine. The emphasis on electronic brains taking up entire trailers is mine.)

Click to enlarge

The exhibit consists of a mechanically operated model of various NIKE Units at the Watchung base. These consist of a long range radar which continually sweeps the skies for enemy aircraft target radar, then missile radar which is electronically operated launches the guided missile NIKE. The 2 radars follow the enemy guide the missile and explode it at the right moment. The electronic brain that control the system are housed in several trailers. All these units are shown in coordinated action in the exhibit.

Nike is the Army's first combat-ready supersonic anti-aircraft missile designed to follow and destroy an enemy target regardless of evasive action. It's the first guided missile system to help defend American cities against attack from the air. Named after the Goddess of Victory in Greek mythology, Nike is end product of eight years of intensive research, development and engineering in the field of guided missiles. Bell Laboratories, part of a service-industry team also including Western Electric, Douglas Aircraft Company, and the Army Ordinance Corp carried out this conception design and final development of Nike.


You can see photos of Nikesite Road, the former access road, here.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Where the Bodies are Buried by Christopher Brookmyre

Review: Where the Bodies are Buried by Christopher Brookmyre (2011)
Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, Scotland
where the bodies are buried
The Necropolis, Glasgow, Scotland
A woman police detective and a woman P.I. investigate interconnected murders in modern-day Glasgow in this mystery. As one detective describes solving crimes in this city with her staff,
'Anytime you're confused, take a wee minute to remind yourself of that inescapable fact, this is Glesca. We don't do subtle, we don't do nuanced, we don't do conspiracy....We do straightforward. When you hear hoofbeats on Sauchiehall Street, it's guanny be a horse, no' a zebra, because?'
'This is Glesca, she answered.(p 30)

The city of Glasgow itself figures as the dark and brooding atmosphere to this book. The violent drug lords and drug trade of Glasgow are the grimy backdrop to the story and the city itself is in a way a main character. From the sometimes dense local patois and unhealthy foods and snacking habits, Glasgow is to Edinburgh what Baltimore or Philadelphia is to New York city, a city with authentic character, but a wee bit rough around the edges.
Where the Bodies are Buried is recommended for readers who like Scottish authors Val McDermid and Ian Rankin or fans of the American TV show, 'The Wire' and 'Homicide, life on the streets' and its screenwriter/author George Pelecanos.

Related links:
Don't let the book's grim portrait of Glasgow stop you from exploring this fascinating city.

Glasgow City Council website includes history and tourist information 
Lonely Planet Glasgow page
Glasgow City Chambers, a fantastic Victorian building for fans of 19th century architecture



Saturday, April 13, 2013

Killing the Poormaster

New Jersey author Holly Metz gave a slide show and talk about her 2012 book Killing the Poormaster, a saga of poverty, corruption, and murder in the Great Depression on Wednesday night, April 10 at the Berkeley Heights Public Library.

From the library press release in the Patch:
'Based on a true crime and murder trial in Hoboken, N.J. during the Depression, ‘Killing the Poormaster’ chronicles the true story of the murder  of Harry Barck, a poormaster who controlled public aid in Hoboken, New Jersey. Unemployed mason Joe Scutellaro was said to have stabbed Barck in the heart with a paper spike after the poormaster  denied aid to his starving family.'

The book describes the dire circumstances of many poor families in Hoboken during the last years of the Depression and the harsh tactics used by Harry Barck to deny starving families even a meager amount of public aid money to buy stale bread. The word that comes to mind of this reader and many reviewers about the bleakness of the situation is 'Dickensian.'

Ms. Metz's slide show of sepia and black and white photos of the principles and of old newspaper and family scrapbook clippings are very evocative of the misery of the times. The author spoke not only about the socio-economic and political setting of the book, but also the murder trial itself. Famed attorney Samuel Leibowitz led the defense of the accused Joe Scutellaro.

The audience which came out on a nasty night of hail and thunder asked probing questions at the end of the presentation and some purchased signed copies of the book. Many readers were very interested in the author's research techniques. The process, as Holly put it to me before her talk, of writing a non-fiction, historical book, interests people and they often ask about that. The research for this book is extensive and fascinating.

Because not everyone had read the book yet, one attendee asked what the verdict was. The library copy of the book has been out six times since January and has three holds on it. Add yourself to the holds list to find the answer to that question. I will say that the library does have the New York Times back to 1857 online which you can access with your library barcode number. You could look it up, as the saying used to go. Or you could read the book. For fans of American history, social issues, non-fiction, true crime and legal stories.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Medal for Murder by Frances Brody

Kate Shackleton versus Maisie Dobbs!

The jacket blurb compares 'A Medal for Murder, a Kate Shackleton Murder' with Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs series. Both series feature an independent woman private investigator who served as a nurse in WWI and came back to England to start a business as a PI. Both feature 1920's settings in the U.K. Both detectives have a working class man as their investigating assistant. Maisie rose from the servant class to the monied class thanks to a benefactor and mentor. Kate seems to come from an upper class family; her mother is titled. So fans of Maisie Dobbs will probably enjoy this series too. The tone is not as somber and contemplative as Winspear's series. Kate is also a war widow like Maisie but seems to not ruminate or be as melancholy in temperament. Kate's investigative methods are more deductive and straightforward and she does not use the meditation and intuition we learn about in the Maisie Dobbs series.

'A Medal for Murder' finds Kate, who is based in the north of England, traveling to Harrogate to track down people whose pawned items have been stolen. While tracking down these victims, she becomes involved in a missing persons case and a murder with roots going back to the Boer War. The horrors of the Boer War are revealed and the aftermath reverberates in the plot some twenty years later. The descriptions of the spa town and theatre crowd are fun.  Chapters dealing with the theatre aspect of the plot begin with a bit of acting lore or language:
'Closet Drama: a play intended only for reading aloud'
'Masking: one actor blocks another from sight'
Some chapters begin with other bits of relevant historical information:
'English teachers do not try to teach Boer children to be English, but to know the English as their friends.'
 - Command Paper 934
begins the chapter flashback to South Africa, 1900 (p193, Chapter 22)