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Mine Hill, New Jersey – Headwaters of the Lamington River

by Brian T. Lynch

Mine Hill is a geographically and environmentally important area in New Jersey because it is home to the headwaters of the North Branch of the great Raritan River which flows into Raritan Bay at Perth Amboy.

The Raritan River Basin is 1,100 square miles of some of the most beautiful land in Northern New Jersey. It is the largest river basin contained entirely within New Jersey. It provides drinking water to millions of residents, including those who rely on the Round Valley and Spruce Run Reservoirs. The Raritan basin is divided into three watershed management areas. To the South and East is the Raritan Watershed Area containing the Raritan River itself, and both Green Brook and Lawrence Brook. Due South is the Millstone Watershed Area where waters run North from the confluence of the Stony Brook and Millstone Rivers. But the bulk of the waters of the Raritan are from the Northwest, which is divided into two main flows, the North Branch and the South Branch. The South Branch starts in Budd Lake and flows south towards High Bridge. It then makes a big loop to the East and back North where it joins up with the North Branch just South of Somerville.

It is the North Branch of the Raritan River Basin that interests me, because it starts just West of Canfield Avenue. It floods some of the lush woodlands in the Green Acers area and the Rutgers track that forms the headwaters of the Lamington River.

The Lamington may not be a household word for most of us. It is only a little noticed brook that runs out from the woods to cross Frank Street near George and First Streets. It then wanders behind some houses until it crosses Dickenson Mine Road to make a short passage into Mine Hill Lake.

If  you are standing on the Mine Hill Beach and look to the right you will see a point of land jutting out into the water. You are looking to the North end of the lake.  The Lamington River discharges into the lake a short ways up from that point.

Across the lake and due South is where water from the lake spills into Randolph Park. There is only a spit of land separating the two, as you know. But the Lamington River rejoins its bank earlier just West of that spillway into Randolph Park. The Lamington flows parallel  to the far shoreline of the Southern tip of the lake.

South satellite view of Mine Hill Lake where a spillway carries water into Randolph Park pond. Lamington Riverbed reforms to the left of the Mine Hill Lake shoreline on the bottom left of the lake.  (Google Maps)

From there the waters of the Lamington form wetlands that are home to a number of small lakes and ponds, Silver Lake, Horseshoe Lake, Black River Pond and others. As the Lamington River passes by Horseshoe Lake, several branches combine to flow South towards Chester. At this point the Lamington is known as the Black River. The Lamington does not regain its name again until it leaves Chester and enters (or leaves) Hackelbarney State Park. From there it continue South towards Lamington, and beyond where it finally joint up with the upper Raritan River  near the vicinity of White House.

Along the way, the Lamington (or Black River it is more commonly known in Morris County) passes through some of the most beautiful parts of the region and is home to wildlife refuge areas, lakes, ponds, state, county and municipal parks and beautiful walking trails. It is a favorite destination for game fishermen, kayakers and nature enthusiast.

For more pictures of the Lamington River, check out the Black River Wildlife Management website at: http://chestertownship.org/about-chester-nj/photo-gallery/

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Why Bernie Sanders Must Fight for a Contested Convention

An Open Letter to Rachel Maddow in Response to Her May 2nd Segment on Why Bernie Should Bow Out of the Race.

BernieEvents Feb

Pictures of self-organized “movement” events supporting anti-establishment Bernie Sanders,

by Brian T. Lynch, MSW

Dear Dr. Maddow,

I’m a fan of yours, but I join those writing in opposition to your arguments against Bernie’s ideas of a contested Democratic Convention. The rules are set up to allow for this type of contested convention. Whether or not a trailing candidate for the Democratic nomination chooses to bring their fight to the floor has always been predicated on exigent circumstances of the times, not just institutional courteous or party loyalty.

In prior presidential party contests opposing, or insurgent candidates have fought for the support of their party with the goal of everyone unifying behind the candidate generating the most excitement with the best chance of winning against the other party candidate. In my 60 years these have always been intra-party contests, but these are different times. Party reformation has never played as large a roll as it does now.

This years election is a referendum on establishment politics itself. The pundits in both parties still fail to grasp this obvious fact.

The Republican Party is starting to wake up. Their primary season has been an expensive disaster. Their tuberous outcropping of so many weak presidential candidates, all casting about for a winning message, was an obvious sign that the GOP itself is in critical condition. The establishment elites of that party have abused their privileged status for years. They have made too many cynical promises to voters, promises they never intended to keep, They applied deceptive marketing to arouse their base and garner favor with an electorate that they secretly despise. Once in office, they cynically sold themselves to big business and big money interests while tossing crumbs to the people who elected them.

Donald Trump is the toxic chemotherapy that party needs to kill the cancerous grip big organized money has on the Republican establishment. The message couldn’t be any clearer. The Republican establishment has to go. The Trump candidacy, whether Trump wins or loses, will sweep many other establishment candidates out of office.

The Democratic Party suffers from the same disease as the Republican Party, but at an earlier stage. Party elites are caught in the death grip of powerful private interests. The will of their constituents have become secondary. Dwindling turnout over the past decade has been ignored as long as slick marketing techniques were still winning election.

But elections are not all about winning, they are ultimately about governing.

Money in the Democratic Party isn’t just a necessary evil anymore. It is now a growing tumor. The people who really hear what Bernie Sanders is saying recognize that he is proposing a cure that might prevent this cancer from metastasizing. Meanwhile the establishment media still thinks this election is only about a fight for progressive ideas.

Given the state of the two parties, a Sanders win would be a foregone conclusion. All the polls say as much, yet this is message isn’t seeping into the consciousness of the establishment.  The Democratic Party is eager to put Hillary’s negatives up against Trump’s negatives any day, in yet another hold-your-nose-and-vote election.

And, they would be right if this election was only based on ideology. But it isn’t. It is a referendum on our political establishment. Not only will Hillary Clinton have  disadvantages related to her high unfavorability, she will not win the support of youthful “movement” Democrats or disgruntled independents.

If the race is between Clinton and Trump it will be a race between an establishment and a non-establishment candidate. Given the anger and level of dissatisfaction around the country, all bets should be off as to how that contest might turn out.