Somerset County News

Day One: Young Somerville Football Player Limbers Up for Bowl Game in Dallas

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Tristan Garcia and his grandmother, Lorayo Allen-Castillo are happy to finally land at Dallas-Worth airport after several delays on their flight from Newark. Credits: Courtesy Brionna Castillo
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Tristan Garcia, at right, receives a welcome to Dallas from Brett Cooper, founder of the Jan. 2 bowl game. Credits: Courtesy Brionna Castillo
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Tristan Garcia meets former National Football League player Nixon Edwards. Credits: Courtesy Brionna Castillo
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Former NFL player Lester Johnson is one of the coaches Tristan Garcia met during his first day in Dallas. Credits: Courtesy Brionna Castillo
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DALLAS – The past 48 hours has been a been a whirlwind of bad weather, closed runways, an unexpected layover, delayed flights and once he was on the ground, a swirl of handshakes, back slaps and getting-to-know-you’s for Tristan Garcia.

The sixth-grader from Somerville flew from Newark into the Lone Star state on Monday to practice and participate in a national football bowl game with an elite group of 59 other football standout scholar/athletes from across the nation, chosen from a pool of 30,000 young athletes.

Tristan has played the last three years with the Somerville Branchburg United Bulldogs; the team and parents of other players helped to raise a portion of the $2,300 needed for the trip.

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Along with his mother, Brionna Castillo and grandmother, Lorayo Allen-Castillo, Tristan is shuttling between their hotel and the football facility daily.

Monday was spent unpacking, signing in, meeting coaches and the other players, taking photos, with a two-hour team meeting to close out the day.

On hand to greet the young players were Bret Cooper, founder of the Bret Cooper Junior Academic All-American Bowl, and former NFL players Lester Johnson and Nixon Edwards.

The young football players also heard from members of the Dallas Stealth, a professional team that competes in the Arena Football League.

Tuesday was practice from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., with a team meeting after dinner from 7-9 p.m.

Tristan, a wide receiver, learned to work with a new quarterback and said he is impressed by the skill, size and speed of the other players, who will face off in the bowl game Jan. 2.

“I think I fit in pretty good,” Tristan said, speaking from their hotel room after practice Tuesday. “I expected them to be quick and strong.”

His mother, who watched the first practice intently from the sidelines, was impressed by the tempo of the drills.

“This is no joke, they take quick breaks for water and that’s about it,” she said. “They’re going at it pretty strong.”

Tristan held up well.

“I feel pretty good, I started off slow, but it got better.”

The players who qualify for the Brett Cooper Junior Academic All-American Bowl must also excel in the classroom. Tristan is a B student at Somerville’s Middle School.

The coaches and staff have two playbooks; one for the game, the other is filled with life lessons, with particular emphasis on academics.

They’re all on the same page when it comes to school.

The boys and their parents heard from a former college player whose skill set had him pointed to any one of several major Division I college programs. Though he was heavily recruited, there were no scholarships to be had because of poor grades.

He had to enroll in a junior college to improve his grades, and lost out on the opportunity to perform on a bigger national stage, according to Castillo.

“They are really preparing them to be better men,” she said.

There will be more practice on Wednesday, and the players will each receive their playbook to study. There will be more team meetings and a Hawaiian Luau to cap off the day.

Thursday, New Year’s Eve, the young players step off the field and into the stands at the Cotton Bowl, where they’ll sit back and watch the Alabama Crimson Tide take on the Michigan State Spartans.

They’ll return to the practice field New Year’s Day to prepare for the bowl game Saturday.

Tap into Somerville will continue to post daily highlights with photos during Tristan’s trip to Dallas on its website and on Facebook.

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North Plainfield/Green Brook/Watchung

Holy Savior Academy Cheer Competition

February 14, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Holy Savior Academy’s cheerleading squad is on winning streak.  Competing at the Biddy Level in the CCCANJ League, the girls took 1st place in the first two competitions of this cheer season. The 12 girl squad competed in the Immaculate Conception and the St. Mary’s competitions and came out on top beating fellow Catholic Schools, Immaculate ...

Looking for Something to Do? Weekend Events in Somerset County

February 15, 2018

Things to do in Somerset County

A weekend celebrating Warmer Days!

1. Winter Market, Duke Farms

2. The Mountaintop, Theatre at RVCC - Friday featuring the Peking Acrobats.

3. State Theatre New Jersey - nothing scheduled this weekend - next show Feb 22 

4. Heritage Trail Association - Five Generals House Bus Tour - ...

Travels’ Pick 2 For 1 Valentine’s Day Special on Comedy and Music Tickets at the Wellmont

TAPintoTravels - We seldom post these deals last minute, but it seems to good to miss.  It’s even better that a number of great events are at the Wellmont in Montclair.

Here are our picks to take your significant other out for a night on the town:

The Muscial Box - a Genesis tribute band is performing decades worth of the band’s vast repertoire.  They ...

Third Annual Long Beach Island Job Fair Set for Saturday, March 31

SURF CITY, NJ - Need a job this summer? Look no further. Shore Fire Grille again has teamed up with local businesses in the area for a special summer 2018 Job Fair event. 

The Third Annual LBI Job Fair will take place Saturday, March 31.  Employers will be looking to hire help for the summer season on busy Long Beach Island.  The event will be held at the Surf City Yacht ...

Flying Today - TAPinto Travels Made and Here Is What You Need to Know

If you are flying today, you have likely seen the flight delay notifications.  The good news is the area airports have overcome the morning slowdown and most flights are on schedule.

TAPinto Travels made it in from Cleveland, after a short delay.  As you can see in this video, there is some turbulence.  The runways and taxiing areas have been cleared.  Do expect ...

Team USA Has Traveled Far - But Will They Dip Our Flag Tonight?

TAPintoTravels - It has been a tradition since 1940 and has roots in acts of defiance.  Will Team USA refuse to dip our Stars and Strips in the Opening Ceremony tonight?

If you are already know the issue of the time delay, than you know the answer. It is a good guess that they will not. The 1940 Federal Flag Code specifically forbids it.  

The tradition formally began in ...

TAPinto Travels Presents - Our Winter Olympic Connections

The Winter Olympics are in South Korea and many members of the TAPinto community are there competing, spectating, traveling, or behind the scenes.

For TAPinto athletic competitors, see this article.

For TAPinto professional broadcasters, see this article on a Cranford High resident’s journey and her NBC colleague from Somers.

Ten 2018 Winter Olympian ...

Guest Column: The Great "Wait" of the College Process

February 14, 2018

"The Great Wait" of the College Application Process

For all the high school seniors and their parents, we are in the stressful "waiting period".  We've just finished or are finishing applications to all the schools we might possibly want to attend next year and now sit and wait our fate after the $60-$80 non-refundable application fees to at least 8-13 schools and ...

Third Annual Long Beach Island Job Fair Set for Saturday, March 31

February 11, 2018

SURF CITY, NJ - Need a job this summer? Look no further. Shore Fire Grille again has teamed up with local businesses in the area for a special summer 2018 Job Fair event. 

The Third Annual LBI Job Fair will take place Saturday, March 31.  Employers will be looking to hire help for the summer season on busy Long Beach Island.  The event will be held at the Surf City Yacht ...

Monmouth Park Announces Stakes Racing Schedule

When Monmouth Park opens its 73rd race meeting on May 5 — Kentucky Derby Day — both racing fans and horsemen are in for some exciting innovations during the 52 days of live racing.

The $1 million, Grade 1 betfair.com Haskell Invitational again is the headliner. The mile and a furlong classic will be run July 29 along with four other graded events.

Red ...

Low-Income Families Who Need Safe Cribs Have Nowhere to Go

February 16, 2018

One recent email came from a pastor in East Orange, sharing the struggles of a young couple who have no safe place for their baby to sleep.

Then, there was also a phone call from a Newark hospital, making its fourth request in two years, as well as a frantic text from Puerto Rico, for a family who lost everything in the hurricane.

They all pleaded for the same thing: A safe crib for a ...

Obituaries

North Plainfield – Gail A. Kaufman – Cain, 62, passed away peacefully on Saturday ...
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Upcoming Events

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Fri, February 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

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Tue, February 27, 7:00 PM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

“Olmsted By Design!” Free First-Person, Dramatic ...

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Fri, March 2, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

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Fri, March 9, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Tue, March 13, 9:30 AM

Congregation Beth Israel , Scotch Plains

Crisis listening line volunteer listening and ...

Education Giving Back Health & Wellness

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Fri, March 16, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

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Fri, March 16, 7:00 PM

The Grove, Cedar Grove

Susan G. Komen North Jersey

Giving Back Other

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Fri, March 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

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Fri, March 30, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

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Fri, April 6, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve

Wrestling: 11 Warriors and Three Canucks Advance to Regions, Watchung Hills Wins NJSIAA District 16

February 17, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ - The Watchung Hills Regional High School wrestling team won its first District title on Saturday and 11 Warriors placed in the top three of their weight classes to advance to regions. North Plainfield came in ninth in District 14 and three wrestlers advance to regions.

In District 14, North Plainfield came in ninth. Team Scores are: 1.

Green Brook, North Plainfield and Watchung Students Compete in County Spelling Bee

SOMERVILLE, NJ - Students from more than 30 schools in Somerset County, including Green Brook, North Plainfield and Watchung, will compete in the 3rd annual Spelling Bee Spectacular sponsored by the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey.

Participation is limited to those students up to the eighth grade.

The contest, which is a preliminary to the 2018 Scripps National Spelling ...

Wellness at WHRHS: On Stress, Wellness and Integrity at Watchung Hills

WARREN, NJ - A letter was sent to all parents of Watchung Hills Regional High School students (WHRHS) on Jan.19 addressing the school’s efforts to promote student wellness and reduce student stress. The letter also encouraged parents to review the academic integrity guidelines and have conversations with their children about health, wellness, and ethical ...

WHRHS Girls Basketball: Watchung Hills Tops East Orange, 44-40

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Julia Cunningham recorded a double-double for Watchung Hills with 21 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block to lead the Watchung Hills girls basketball team over East Orange on Monday, 44-40. 

Jayden Baltuch finished with seven points, four assists and one rebound. 

Watchung Hills is now 19-1 on the season and next plays at Newark ...

WHRHS Boys Basketball: Watchung Hills Routs Somerville, 82-54

WARREN, NJ -  Six Warriors scored in the double digits to lead the Watchung Hills boys basketball game over Somerville on Saturday, 82-54.

Mike Hopwood led Watchung Hills with 17 points, Dan Pilsbury added 14 points and eight rebounds, Steven Bressler sunk 15 points, Gavin DeFuria added 13 points, Micheal Bressler got 11 points and 10 assists and Chad Martini chipped in 10 points and ...

National Signing Day in North Plainfield: Four NPHS Students Sign Letters of Intent

NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Four North Plainfield High School scholar athletes signed letters of intent notifying the colleges they plan to attend that they do intend to compete in football or soccer on National Signing Day on Wednesday, Feb. 7 at the school.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UcOME3XFSOw

Playing football are:

Jude Okolo: Illinois State University - Division I ...

Somerset County Preparing for Construction of Finderne Avenue Bridge, Beginning Feb. 20

February 16, 2018

BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Finderne Avenue bridge, between Union Avenue and Foothill Road, will be under construction from Feb. 20 for about nine months, according to a release from Somerset County.

The bridge will be constructed in three separate stages, with one lane northbound and one lane southbound being maintained, aside from intermittent single-day closures as required. In addition, ...

Bernards Police Locate Body of Missing Township Teen

BERNARDS TWP., NJ -  Bernards Township Police announced late Thursday afternoon that the body of a 19-year-old township resident, Lydia Comtois, had been located in a wooded area of Liberty Corner following a search by personnel and volunteers from numerous public safety organizations. 

A preliminary investigation indicated the young woman's death was not deemed to ...