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Scenes from Every Storm

Good, bad and ugly—there were many dramas being played out this week during and following Hurricane Sandy's visit to Moorestown.

Some people in Moorestown are just downright nasty.

Some people in Moorestown are kind and caring.

Evidence for both of these statements could be found swirling through Mo’town last week as superstorms of every kind continued to buffet us and knock us off our games. Hopefully, you experienced more of the latter than the former. Hopefully, your power is back on and all your personal devices are juiced up and ready to serve.

Our neighborhood, sometimes known as Roberts Park, was fortunate in that we had power and cable throughout most of Sandy’s visit. It wasn’t until Monday night that the cable finally blew, and I have to admit there was almost a sense of relief that I could finally wean myself from the drug known as "Weather Channel Saturation,” get up off the couch and do something constructive. Did anyone else feel this way? It was as if we were drugged and couldn’t pry ourselves away from the angry vortex of Sandy as it made a beeline for Jersey.

Even when Comcast finally clicked off Monday night, we sat on the couch, stupidly staring at the television screen for at least five minutes before one of us spoke. “What are we doing?” I asked my husband. We had inhaled hours of Jim Cantori in Battery Park, NYC, almost giddily showing us how high the water was likely to go. We were treated to Mike Seidel in Point Pleasant, blowing sideways as usual, the angry ocean roiling behind him. (A little sidebar to Mike: Why do you always get the worst assignments?)

So no television and no Internet. No contact with the outside world. There are worse things that could happen. We crawled out of our bunkers on Tuesday morning to a tree-strewn landscape that looked battered but in pretty good shape, considering the fact that our ‘hood, like most of Mo’town, is heavily treed.

Our next-door neighbors, who are older than we are but by no means elderly, had lots of large tree limbs and branches strewn on their property and needed help. Chain-saw kind of help. We geared up and started carrying what we could to the curb when, as if by magic, another neighbor walked down to help, followed by the neighbor of the hour, Bert, with his chain-saw in hand. Soon, our little cul-de-sac was vibrantly alive with neighbors helping neighbors. Even the young’uns in their rainboots, slickers and, in one case, a wee fireman in his premature-yet-appropriate Halloween costume, all pitched in, carrying twigs and branches to the curb. It was a beautiful thing.

On a national level, we were treated to another beautiful thing: the vision of President Obama and Governor Christie walking the tarmac together, taking in the Shore damage, working together with not even a whiff of bipartisanship. And even though the visual of them together was very Laurel and Hardy, it was heartening to know at a very critical time, they were both more than willing to put down the machetes and do the right thing.

This leads me to the nastiness, which preceded the storm, but continued to rage on during and after the storm. I refer to the race for town council and the people who post anonymously on Patch. By now, my political leanings are quite obvious, so I won’t even pretend not to be biased. But I’m going to say this again. I have not seen the Republican candidates slimed the same way the Democrats have been.

Not one commenter has called Victoria Napolitano a “vile snake” or a “stupid broad.” No one has referred to Phil Garwood as “Phil Deadwood.” Yet some very “creative” person, hiding behind an alias, is now posting on the Patch as “Greg Cucumber.” There is also a “Mark Limes,” someone who apparently thinks they’re being very witty. Note to the poseurs: You’re not being witty, funny or relevant. You’re being mean. And although these “commenters” have every right to exercise their freedom of speech, there is something very sad about the anonymous venom being spewed in this election. Here’s how most of the town feels about you guys: Either have the courage to own your opinions or shut up.

The municipal complex/library naysayers will also have to shut up, since town council, by a unanimous vote, has awarded an $11.1 million contract to Sambe Construction of Pennsauken to build a new town hall and municipal library. Correct me if I’m mistaken, but haven’t we teetered at this particular precipice before, only to be yanked back from the edge at the last possible second?

Meanwhile, my smartphone—also known as my calendar, my source for music, my lifeline—was not living up to its name during the storm. It didn’t want to take pictures, it cut out during important calls and it snoozed when it should have been peppy. Since I have no photos to share, let me describe the scene at the library during the aftermath of the storm.

Parents and children filled the children’s department, reading, playing with the trains, building with Duplos and using the computers. Ours is always a very busy department, so it was not the best indicator of how many in town mobbed the library seeking power, desperate to connect with family members or attempt to get any news on storm damage at the shore. People plugging in their devices, renewing library cards to use computers and reading newspapers were using every inch of space in both the adult areas and the teen corner. There were kids being tutored and people just grateful for a warm place to sit. In other words, it was as close to a community center as Moorestown has and a place of refuge. Regardless of our unfortunate 21st century dependence on devices, there is still an old-fashioned, human need for shelter from whatever storm we’re plodding through.

I am very grateful our library filled that function, post-Sandy, and you should be too.

SteveS November 05, 2012 at 11:39 AM
Marsia, you now I'm a fan of your column but... Calling someone a vile snake and a stupid broad is a serious stretch to be analogized to people calling themselves vegetables and fruit that happens to rhyme with someone's name. Blame the website for its policies, I believe the Courier Post started requiring commenters to sign in via Facebook to eliminate the fake names. Unfortunately, it's a double edge sword because no one comments on their web pages anymore. Also, to blame one party for all the nasty posts is a little disingenuous, Maxie, Homeb/stew, True Republican, and now Jane surely have as many posts as anyone along with placing their nonsense on multiple articles just ensure it is read by all.
Molly C. November 05, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Marsia, you are 110% incorrect about the venom not going both ways. We have seen it time and time again. On YOUR LAST COLUMN, someone under the name "Gaylord Focker" went on there and attack Victoria Napolitano, saying she must rent because she "has bad credit." On another article, someone accused Phil Garwood of being a drug addict. You wrote a great article about Victoria Napolitano, and you yourself called them good people - please don't ignore the bile spewing in the other direction!
Moorestown Republican November 05, 2012 at 12:03 PM
So much for Rob Scott's "nothing political after Saturday" rule. Guess that's just a "nothing political after Saturday*(unless it's pro Democrat)". Disappointing.
Kitchen Table November 05, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Quite interesting, I could only imagine what candidates would have been subject to with this a few years back. The newsweekly at least allowed letter to the editor and didn't allow anything political the the week before.
Vote for revenge November 05, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Maybe everyone is just following the lead of President Obama much like kids followed the lead of President Clinton regarding "sexual relations" and "perjury" years ago. If President Failure can do it, why not the rest of us? "Vote for revenge" - revenge against whom? what? Only care about his supporters? or "punish our enemies"-to anyone for immigration reform or "war on women"-really a war? Only on women who don't support him? or "you didn't build that"-oh no, who worked 20 hours a day, risked everything? or "they cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations." or ""It's like — it was like Special Olympics, or something." - making fun of kids with disabilities or "“Look at what (Republicans) value, and look at their budget. And look what they’re proposing. They’re going to put y’all back in chains.” or "When 4 Americans die, it's not optimal"-campaigning is while Americans die or "Not God Bless america, God Damn America"-Obama's racist Reverend who married him Maybe we learned it from Biden's rude and condescending debate performance or the vicious personal attacks made on by Bill Maher/Michael Moore "And if the Republicans steal this election, I’m going to track down Romney and give him the world’s biggest cockpunch" "hope and change" gave way to a new "us vs them" divide Vote for revenge? Yeah, that's not "mean"
Betty Humpter November 05, 2012 at 02:15 PM
Yes...those fake names that people post...although creative, are down right childish!
Rob Scott (Editor) November 05, 2012 at 02:30 PM
Moorestown Republican, It was not a "nothing political after Saturday" rule. It was a "no political letters to the editor will be accepted after 5 p.m. Friday" rule. Marsia writes a column; this is not a letter to the editor. The point of the "no letters" rule was primarily to avoid candidates squeezing in letters expounding their virtues at the last minute. Aside from one paragraph, Marsia's column is fairly apolitical.
Rob Scott (Editor) November 05, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Usually I only take to the comments to respond to readers, but I will take this opportunity to express my support for Marsia's comment about those who spew anonymous venom. As the person who has to deal with it more than anyone else, I share her (and everyone else's) aggravation. What I would ask those people who do post under stupid pseudonyms is: Do they realize how irrelevant their opinions are? The things they say—which often astound me with their ignorance—have no impact on the grand scheme of elections or the issues, other than to irritate just about everyone else. And if that's their goal, well, I suppose that's their prerogative—but that's pathetic.
Lucy Kuder November 05, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Oh Marsia, I definitely agree with you about the nastiness that poses as comments in this forum. I myself was attacked for an inocuous response I made to a Patch article. What happened to the Democratic council candidates, especially Mark Hines (who is an exceptional person and very very dedicated to the best for Moorestown) was shameful. Kudos to you to stand up to these folks!! By the way, I always LOVE your column and look forward to it each week.
fed up November 05, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Rob - You call what Marsia does a column? She's a township employee, who happily cashes her check while consistently taking no shame in publicly attacking her employers by misrepresenting the facts. She has posted so much misinformation, the funniest thing about her column is that anyone reads it!
Tyroil Smoochie-Wallace November 05, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Monday morning poll just in Newcomer surging Candidate rankings by experience and qualifications 1. Palko 2. Sattinger 3. Hines 4. Newcomer 5. Garwood 6. Napalitano
Run and Hide November 05, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Look at the Moorestown Republican record on tax and spend: 2009: largest tax increase (28%) in Moorestown history. Brought to you by the Moorestown Republicans. 2009 - 2012: $4 million spent on a pile of dirt, where the town hall should be. Again, brought to you by the Moorestown Republicans. 2013 and on: elect more Republicans. Spend millions more on vanity projects (town hall, artificial turf). Now this is real leadership.....
Run and Hide November 05, 2012 at 03:34 PM
What is truly amazing is how many members of Moorestown Town Council post on this site without THEIR REAL NAMES. Guess who?
Hey Nineteen November 05, 2012 at 03:51 PM
OK- How about the same for BOE (which is the more important race) actually 4X more important than the Town council race: 1. Weinstein 2. Moye 3. Schnieberg 4. Sawin* 5. Ruccolo* 6. Pugh *- Interchangeable but you could really argue that the top 5 are all qualified in one way or another.
Observer November 05, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Had the dems just rebuilt town hall when they got the insurance check, Moorestown could have saved a bunch of time and money!
Observer November 05, 2012 at 04:35 PM
Pugh, Schneiberg, Moye are best for BOE!!
Phil McRevis November 05, 2012 at 04:45 PM
I will vote the top 3 for both elections. Very helpful and as an independent voter, I like how they are not ranked by any silly party affiliation.
HouseWine November 05, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Funny story, there's nobody with the last name McRevis in our town's voter log. And really, if anyone is actually voting based on rankings on the Patch comments section, please do society a favor and stay home tomorrow.
Greg Cucumber November 05, 2012 at 05:33 PM
You have to admit the above post is pretty funny. ATCHOO sorry Mr. Microphone.
Romney Republican November 05, 2012 at 06:24 PM
For boe, schneiberg and moye sound good. (leaning towards ruccuulo) For town council: Garwood and palko (leaning towards napolitano)
Phil McCrackin November 05, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Anyone else going to be bored after the election....town hall is built......and fields are fixed?
HomeBrew November 05, 2012 at 07:02 PM
I've always tried to respectfully disagree. If I've offended, I apologize. But I do not apologize for having a point of view and advocating for it. That's not "nasty"; that's democracy.
New Poll November 05, 2012 at 08:44 PM
Final polls This race has tightened a bit but republicans still leading in the fictitious, amateur analysis.. Parker's Creek Poll  Garwood 39%, Napolitano 35%, Palko 34%, Newcomer 30%, Sattinger 25% Hines 22% Strawbridge Lake Poll  Garwood 39% Napolitano 33%, Palko 33% Newcomer 32% Sattinger 25% Hines 23% Swedes Run Poll  Garwood 40%, Palko 35% Napolitano 30% Newcomer 29% Sattinger 25%, Hines 23% All these fictious polls have a margin of error and may have undecideds not included, may have robocall hangups not counted, those placing wrong lawn signs on their yard, houses not included during canvassing, etc. Good luck to all the candidates
SteveS November 05, 2012 at 09:13 PM
Brew, No offense taken, I think your brother stew is the one with no beef to his posts. Your points would be better taken if you had the courage to put a real name to your convictions. That's all.
That guy November 06, 2012 at 06:09 PM
Mr pollster or anyone, do you have any exit polls of how the turnout looks and where the election may be trending?
Spokesperson November 06, 2012 at 06:27 PM
Hi guy saw your post.. For what we see it appears that there is a good turnout. Maybe more registered democrats out up to this point in some districts, tough to measure. But, if not mistaken, but usually there is a big turnout after 4pm when most come home from work. That may be the best time I'm guessing to see what's trending?

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