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 Acupuncturists Laurence Harbor, NJ

If you're new to holistic healing, acupuncture may seem intimidating. You might be wondering how needles pressed into your skin could possibly make you feel better. Wouldn't someone pushing a needle into your back be painful? As it turns out, acupuncture is far from painful and is quickly becoming one of the most sought-after treatments for chronic pain and for regulating issues relating to:

  • Digestion
  • Hormones
  • Breathing
  • Muscles
  • Nerves & Brain
  • Sex & Libido
  • Body Circulation
  • Organs & Heart

In fact, acupuncture has been studied and practiced for over 2,500 years and, more recently, has been researched and supported by many scientific studies. While acupuncture may not be a "miracle" treatment for every type of pain or condition, it has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of issues, from depression and allergies to morning sickness and cramps.

Covering the Basics of Acupuncture in Laurence Harbor, NJ

Acupuncture is a therapy in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) that aims to balance the body's energy, called qi, which flows through pathways called meridians. This balance is crucial for overall wellness, as disruptions to qi can lead to health concerns. According to TCM, inserting small stainless-steel needles into specific points called acupoints along the meridians can help rebalance the flow of qi and restore overall health.

These acupoints are believed to release certain chemicals when stimulated, which can trigger an immune response and promote physiological homeostasis. Recent research suggests that this therapy may help alleviate symptoms of various health ailments.

In fact, the National Institute of Health conducted a survey on complementary health approaches, revealing that acupuncture usage in the United States has increased by 50 percent between 2002 and 2012. As of 2012, 6.4 percent of American adults have reported using acupuncture as a form of treatment.

Acupuncture Near Me Laurence Harbor, NJ

Is Acupuncture in Laurence Harbor, NJ Actually Legit?

One of the most common questions from new patients interested in acupuncture typically revolves around whether it really works or whether it's all "new age" malarky. We get it - for most folks, the thought of inserting stainless-steel needles into one's back, arms, or neck sounds loony. However, with the ever-increasing popularity of acupuncture in New Jersey and other locations, numerous studies centering on acupuncture's effectiveness have taken place.

Extensive research has been conducted on the effectiveness of acupuncture for various conditions. A February 2022 analysis published in the BMJ, which evaluated over 2,000 scientific reviews of acupuncture therapies, revealed that acupuncture's efficacy is strongest for:

  • Neck Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Post-Stroke Aphasia
  • Muscle Pain
  • Lactation Issues
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Asthma
  • Allergies
  • Vascular Dementia
  • More

Additionally, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), acupuncture is most effective for pain relief in cases of chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, lower back pain, and tension headaches. Additionally, a review of 11 clinical trials found that acupuncture may also alleviate symptoms associated with cancer treatment, as noted by the NIH.

What Happens During an Acupuncture Session at New Jersey Sports Spine & Wellness?

When meeting with your acupuncturist for the first time, they will discuss your condition with you before conducting a physical examination to identify areas of your body that might respond to acupuncture. The needles used in acupuncture are incredibly thin, sterile, and disposable, with your acupuncturist inserting them at different depths ranging from a fraction of an inch to several inches.

Acupuncture needles are less painful than medical needles used for vaccines or blood draws. This is because acupuncture needles are thinner and solid, not hollow. During the treatment, you may experience some muscle sensations like dull aches or tingling.

Your practitioner will ask you to report any deep heaviness or numbness, which are positive signs that the treatment is working. Depending on the condition you're treating and the supplemental treatments you're undergoing, like physical therapy, acupuncture needles will remain in place for several minutes or up to 30 minutes.

Once your first acupuncture treatment is finished, it's normal to feel extra relaxed and calm. For that reason, some patients like to arrange for a ride home after their first or second session. With that said, you shouldn't experience much pain at all, and it's quite possible for you to return to work after acupuncture.

How Many Treatments Until Acupuncture Works?

This is another common question that we get at New Jersey Sports Spine & Wellness. The simple answer is, "It depends." While we understand that that's not a satisfying answer for some, it's important to understand that every patient is different. Everyone has different bodies and, by proxy, different bodily conditions and issues that need to be addressed.

During your initial consultation at our office, your licensed acupuncturist will go over your needs and goals as it relates to acupuncture therapy. Once your therapist has a good sense of the scope of your needs, they can give you a loose idea of how many sessions you'll need.

Generally speaking, most patients have appointments once a week. Others may require more or less frequent sessions. It's important to note that the full benefits of acupuncture may not be immediately evident after the first or even the second session. It's common for normal patients to undergo up to five treatments to realize the full benefits of acupuncture.

What Conditions Are Treated with Acupuncture in Laurence Harbor, NJ?

There's no question that acupuncture is more popular than ever as a non-invasive, non-addictive way to reclaim balance and well-being. But what types of conditions can this traditional therapy help alleviate in the modern world? Advances in acupuncture techniques and applications have resulted in some very promising benefits.

Relief from Chronic Pain

Did you know that regular acupuncture treatments can help reduce the pain associated with osteoarthritis? In May 2017, a meta-analysis was published, which studied approximately 18,000 patients with chronic pain, such as low back, neck, and shoulder pain, knee OA, and headache or migraine. The analysis found that the benefits of acupuncture therapy in reducing pain lasted for more than 12 months.

That's wonderful news for athletes and other people who push their bodies daily to accomplish goals or bring home money for rent and bills. In fact, many medical experts consider acupuncture as a viable option for managing chronic pain in conjunction with traditional methods like physical therapy and chiropractic care. The idea behind this approach is that acupuncture may trigger the body's natural healing response to alleviate pain.

When a licensed acupuncturist in New Jersey inserts an acupuncture needle, it penetrates your fascia, a connective tissue that wraps around your organs and muscles. Like a slight tickle on your arm, your body realizes that something is happening and responds by delivering lymph fluid, blood, and other important nutrients to speed up healing in affected areas like your knees, back, neck, joints, and more.

 Fertility Acupuncture Laurence Harbor, NJ
 Best Acupuncture Laurence Harbor, NJ

Migraine Headache Relief

If you're like other people who suffer from migraines, you know that once one of them hits, it can be next to impossible to function properly throughout the day. Fortunately, acupuncture in Laurence Harbor, NJ may be a viable solution if you have to endure migraines often.

A study conducted in 2009 by the Center for Complementary Medicine at the University of Munich analyzed 11 studies involving 2,137 patients who received acupuncture treatment for chronic tension-type headaches. The researchers concluded that acupuncture could be an effective non-pharmacological solution for frequent headaches.

The study compared the effects of acupuncture sessions with sham acupuncture and no treatment at all. Both groups that received acupuncture treatment, whether needles were placed randomly or strategically, reported a reduction in headache symptoms, while the control group reported no change. The group that received real acupuncture treatment also reported a decrease in the number of headache days and intensity of pain in a follow-up survey.

Improved Sleep

For individuals who struggle with insomnia and other sleep disturbances, acupuncture is a promising therapy. Although sedatives are commonly prescribed for insomnia, long-term use can lead to negative side effects such as dependence and excessive drowsiness.

A study conducted on 72 participants and published in Sleep Medicine in 2017 found that individuals who received acupuncture three times a week for four weeks experienced significant improvements in sleep quality and anxiety compared to those who received sham acupuncture.

Similarly, a review of 30 randomized, controlled trials found that acupuncture was more effective in improving sleep quality and daytime functioning than sham acupuncture.

 Acupuncture Clinic Laurence Harbor, NJ
 Facial Acupuncture Laurence Harbor, NJ

Better Recovery from Surgery

While many patients choose acupuncture as a way to avoid surgery altogether, those who need surgery also use it for improved recovery. Because, at the end of the day, recovering from surgery is no easy feat. Patients may experience various symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, pain around the incision, restlessness, sleep troubles, constipation, and sore throat.

According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, healthcare providers may use acupuncture as a way to alleviate some of these symptoms and help with healing. A study published in Integrative Cancer Therapies in January 2017 involving 172 participants found that patients who received acupuncture after surgery reported significant improvements in sleep, anxiety, pain, fatigue, nausea, and drowsiness.

 Acupuncture Treatment Laurence Harbor, NJ

The Surprising Benefits of Supplementing Physical Therapy with Acupuncture

Did you know that supplementing physical therapy with acupuncture and vice versa can have profoundly beneficial effects for patients in New Jersey and across the country? If you're like most, chances are you didn't.

The truth is that acupuncture and physical therapy have both been proven effective in reducing pain and inflammation. While many people view them as separate methods, combining the two modalities can produce a synergistic effect that enhances pain relief and delivers long-lasting benefits to patients.

Physical therapists work with patients of all ages and abilities, from children to elderly adults, to help them overcome physical limitations and improve their quality of life. At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, our physical therapists help treat a wide range of conditions, from neck pain and spinal cord injuries to back pain and arthritis.

To effectively reduce pain and treat tissue injury, a combination of acupuncture and physical therapy can be very helpful. Acupuncture helps to reduce inflammation and release muscle tightness and trigger points, allowing the patient to better receive manual therapy or exercise-based physical therapy techniques. In doing so, acupuncture can actually create a window of time that allows your body to respond better to other treatments at New Jersey Sports Spine & Wellness, such as physical therapy and chiropractic care.

There are many benefits of combining physical therapy with acupuncture in Laurence Harbor, NJ, including the following:

  • Increased Range of Motion
  • More Effective Long-Term Pain Relief
  • Enhanced Tissue Repair & Healing
  • Better Response to Physical Therapy Due to Pain Reduction
  • Less of a Need for Pain Medications
  • Boosted Mood & Energy
  • Better Quality of Life Overall

You may be wondering, "Are there any studies showing these benefits?" As it turns out, there are many. One such study, published on the NIH's website, was conducted on patients suffering from frozen shoulder.

 Acupuncture Therapy Laurence Harbor, NJ

Patients who received acupuncture experienced a significant reduction in pain, while those who underwent physical therapy saw an improvement in range of motion. However, the best outcome was observed in patients who received a combination of both treatments, with reduced pain, increased their range of motion, and improved quality of life. This study highlights the potential benefits of using acupuncture and physical therapy as complementary treatments for frozen shoulder.

It makes sense, then, that people from all walks of life are combining acupuncture with chiropractic treatments at New Jersey Sports Spine & Wellness, including:

  • Professional Athletes
  • Football Players
  • Soccer Players
  • Baseball Players
  • Construction Workers
  • Landscapers
  • Accountants and People Working Office Jobs
  • Public Officials
  • Police Officers
  • More

Combining Acupuncture with Chiropractic Care for Pain Relief and Wellness


At New Jersey Sports Spine & Wellness, our doctors, practitioners, occupational therapists, and physical therapist specialize in a range of therapies and treatments. Much like physical therapy and acupuncture, combining chiropractic care with acupuncture therapy gives patients a new way to reclaim their mobility, reduce chronic pain, and maintain a healthy quality of life.

Chiropractic care and acupuncture in Laurence Harbor, NJ are natural healing practices that don't rely on drugs to improve the body's health. They focus on correcting imbalances in the body's structural and supportive systems, promoting natural healing, and ultimately leading to better health. These practices have a proven track record of helping patients improve their quality of life and overcome physical difficulties.

 Medical Acupuncture Laurence Harbor, NJ

What are the Benefits of Using Acupuncture with Chiropractic Care?

Integrating chiropractic and acupuncture as a dual-modality treatment offers the most efficient solution for removing blockages from the body, promoting balance, and accelerating healing. Rather than using these treatments sequentially, a combined approach allows for maximum benefits at one time.

Chiropractic targets subluxations in the nervous system through manual adjustments, facilitating the central nervous system to promote healing, while acupuncture removes blockages that may hinder the body's internal balance. Together, these treatments work synergistically to optimize energy flow and restore harmony in the body.

 Cosmetic Acupuncture Laurence Harbor, NJ
 Cosmetic Acupuncture Laurence Harbor, NJ

What Conditions Can Be Treated with Acupuncture and Chiropractic Care?

When our physical well-being becomes imbalanced, and our innate healing mechanisms are compromised, illnesses can manifest. The integration of acupuncture and chiropractic practices can effectively address a wide range of health conditions that they individually target, such as:

  • Sports Injuries
  • Headaches
  • Sciatica
  • Lower Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Insomnia
  • Chronic Conditions Like Diabetes
  • More

Curious if combining chiropractic care or physical therapy with acupuncture is right for your body? The best way to find out is to make an appointment at our sports rehab clinic in New Jersey. Once our team of medical professionals has a chance to evaluate your conditions, we can explore the best options to provide the most relief in the shortest amount of time possible.

The Premier Choice for Professional Acupuncture in Laurence Harbor, NJ

New Jersey Sports Spine & Wellness consists of a team of athletic trainers, chiropractors, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and other professionals. We're very proud and passionate about caring for our patients, many of whom are suffering from debilitating conditions like back and neck pain, plantar fasciitis, sports-related injuries, and more. If you're trying to get on the road to pain relief and recovery, acupuncture may be the non-surgical solution you need to reclaim your life. Contact our office today to learn whether this exciting treatment is right for you.


Latest News in Laurence Harbor, NJ

Old Bridge takes first step in Laurence Harbor redevelopment

OLD BRIDGE – The Planning Board has agreed that 50 properties at the intersection of Route 35 and Laurence Parkway in the Laurence Harbor section be designated as a redevelopment area.The vote came after the Board assured residents that the township would not use its powers of eminent domain to acquire th...

OLD BRIDGE – The Planning Board has agreed that 50 properties at the intersection of Route 35 and Laurence Parkway in the Laurence Harbor section be designated as a redevelopment area.

The vote came after the Board assured residents that the township would not use its powers of eminent domain to acquire the properties.

"We will not be taking anybody's property," Township Planner Veena Sawant said. "That's not the township's policy. Every plan that has been written in the last 20 years has been just for redevelopment. There is no plan in place. This is a first, baby step. It's a long and lengthy process."

"If the municipality wanted to utilize eminent domain or condemnation for this or any of the other redevelopment, it has to do so right from the start," Planning Board attorney Joseph Sordillo said. "In this case, it can't happen. It just can't happen unless this whole process starts from the beginning all over again and everyone will be given notice of that fact."

The redevelopment designation does not include any recommendations for specific development. That will happen later in the drafting of a redevelopment plan by the Planning Board and Township Council with public input.

The properties in the redevelopment area include several single-family homes at least 70 years old, as well as the Laurence Harbor Post Office, Laurence Harbor First Aid Squad, Hoffman Pharmacy, Lisa Restaurant, Harbor Liquors, Krauszer's, Dunkin’, a vacant bank and a strip mall with a high vacancy.

The redevelopment study was prompted by underutilized and vacant parcels, vacant stores and the area’s proximity to the Laurence Harbor waterfront and community facilities.

More:Superfund cleanup stands beside Old Bridge’s new beachfront community center

More:$35M from federal infrastructure bill will fix waterways in Middlesex County

The area consists of 25 residential lots, 13 commercial lots, five public lots, one church, four vacant lots, and two other tax-exempt parcels.

In 2020, the Council authorized the Planning Board to undertake a study, Sawant said.

Sawant said she believes the residents living there will benefit from the designation, including the opportunity to apply for a short-term tax exemption.

The state's Five-Year Exemption and Abatement Law authorizes municipalities to grant short-term tax abatements and exemptions for home improvements, commercial and industrial improvements, and the improvement or conversion of multiple dwellings in redevelopment areas.

But, she said, the township is not going to force property owners to do anything.

In addition, she said, "just by the designation, your property value goes up and that has been historically true."

Two gas stations in the area are brownfield sites that need to be cleaned up, Sawant said, and the old post office building needs rehabilitation.

There also are a few homes with driveways forcing residents to back out onto Route 35. "It's a dangerous location," she said.

The area is bounded by Laurence Harbor Beach to the north, McKinley Avenue and Morningside Avenue to the east, Ravine Avenue and Sunset Avenue to the south and Lakeview Road and the Harbor Plaza strip mall to the west.

Several residents spoke at the meeting and expressed concerns about pedestrian safety and traffic.

Those concerns will be addressed in the drafting of the redevelopment plan, Sawant said.

Another resident said she heard a rumor that condos were coming. Sawant said she, too, heard the rumors.

"The administration, myself, we have not come across any concept, any developer who has approached us to do that," she said. "Those are rumors. There is no plan in place. Today the comments you're making are well received. When we work on the plan those comments will be very helpful to us. So your voice is definitely going to be heard, but when we write the redevelopment plan."

The owner of a vacant property behind Dunkin' said his property is "underutilized" and is something that can benefit from being in a redevelopment area.

"We certainly look forward to participating if this were to go forward," he said.

Email: sloyer@gannettnj.com

Susan Loyer covers Middlesex County and more for MyCentralJersey.com. To get unlimited access to her work, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Laurence Harbor Needs Firefighters, And These 2 Stepped Up

Laurence Harbor Fire Chief Brian Stitzel would like to highlight this local young man and woman who volunteer their time:Patch Staff|Updated Thu, Jan 4, 2024 at 1:45 pm ETLAURENCE HARBOR, NJ — Are you looking for a way to get involved in your community and really help people in the town where you live?The Laurence Harbor Fire Department needs volunteers now. Consider becoming a volunteer firefighter. There is almost no better or ...

Laurence Harbor Fire Chief Brian Stitzel would like to highlight this local young man and woman who volunteer their time:

Patch Staff

|Updated Thu, Jan 4, 2024 at 1:45 pm ET

LAURENCE HARBOR, NJ — Are you looking for a way to get involved in your community and really help people in the town where you live?

The Laurence Harbor Fire Department needs volunteers now. Consider becoming a volunteer firefighter. There is almost no better or stronger way to feel more connected to the town you grew up in.

Visit lhfd1.com to learn more and fill out an inquiry form.

Laurence Harbor Fire Chief Brian Stitzel said he would like to highlight this local young man and woman, Davion Fields and April Ivan, both 20, and tell their story so it will inspire more young men and women to volunteer.

Davion and April have not yet entered a burning building, but they've already made a difference, said the fire chief.

Find out what's happening in Matawan-Aberdeenwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

"I’m so proud of April and Davion and the contributions they are making," said Chief Stitzel. "They are valuable members of LHFD, and it’s been wonderful to see how much and how quickly they learn."

Davion has wanted to be a firefighter ever since he was a little boy playing with a Hess firetruck.

He saw the sign for volunteers out front of the firehouse, and making that call was the very first step in fulfilling a lifelong dream.

Football kept him busy in high school, then Davion left New Jersey to study kinesiology at the University of Lynchburg.

"Now I’m back home, and I’m finally doing it — I’m becoming a firefighter," he said.

Davion owns a local cleaning business, Time Two Shine, and plans to soon work in construction.

"I like to work hard, and I’m always looking for a new challenge every day," he said. "This makes me a better person, and it’s also really fun."

April may be new to firefighting, but she is not new to emergency response. She’s a volunteer EMT who first joined a local squad as a cadet at age 16.

"As an EMT, I started to realize what a difference I could make as a volunteer,” she said. She who studies biology/pre-med at Hofstra University. Some of the EMTs she trained with are firefighters and suggested she would love that, too.

"When I was in high school, I didn’t have time. But one day when I was home from college, I drove by the Laurence Harbor Fire Department and I thought, ‘You know what, I could do that, and I’m willing and able to, so why not?'" she remembered. "At the end of the day, all we have is other people. We have to help each other."

April's career goal is to become a trauma surgeon, and she's excited to use her EMT skills on fire calls.

A role for everyone – YOUR help is needed!

Laurence Harbor Fire Department volunteers have a wide variety of careers, skill sets and life experiences, which adds to the strength of the team, said Chief Stitzel.

No previous experience is needed to join, and training and gear are free to members. Members all support each other as they learn.

Why not make 2024 the year you make a difference in your life and the lives of others?

"Laurence Harbor firefighters go out of their way to teach new members and to make new members feel welcome," said April.

"If someone is thinking about becoming a volunteer firefighter – if they are willing to train and challenge themselves – they should do it,” said Davion. “You get to interact with our community and you will make new friends and connections at the fire department – really, you will gain family."

Di Ionno: Ghosts of industrial past keep Laurence Harbor from its beach

OLD BRIDGE TWP. — The Jersey Shore starts at Laurence Harbor, a section of Old Bridge Township. The Middlesex County hamlet is unmistakably a beach town; it sits on a bluff overlooking the Raritan Bay, with clear-day views of Sandy Hook, Long Island, and the expanse of ocean beyond.In the center is a large parking lot with a bathhouse pavilion to accommodate beachgoers. There’s a bait shop right there, pizza and ice cream a few ste...

OLD BRIDGE TWP. — The Jersey Shore starts at Laurence Harbor, a section of Old Bridge Township. The Middlesex County hamlet is unmistakably a beach town; it sits on a bluff overlooking the Raritan Bay, with clear-day views of Sandy Hook, Long Island, and the expanse of ocean beyond.

In the center is a large parking lot with a bathhouse pavilion to accommodate beachgoers. There’s a bait shop right there, pizza and ice cream a few steps away.

Shoreland Circle, the residential street that overlooks the boardwalk and dunes, is a mixed collection of old narrow bungalows, and those recently expanded and modernized. Except for the hill, it looks like a neighborhood in any beachfront town, from Manasquan to Long Beach Island.

But the parking lot is empty these days, and the bathhouse is closed. A lone port-a-potty is all that’s needed.

There is no endless summer in Laurence Harbor these days. Just endless frustration. And unanswered questions. And a long, high, black chain-link fence that keeps most of the beach closed.

In the spring of 2009, the federal Environmental Protection Agency closed most of Laurence Harbor’s beaches and put 1.3 miles of Middlesex County waterfront on its list of Superfund sites. Now another summer is here, and will go, before the beach reopens. And maybe another. And maybe another.

The problem is lead-laden slag, which was taken from the old National Lead industrial site in Sayreville, where Dutch Boy paint was made, and used to anchor jetties and bolster the seawall in the area.

The EPA has a "preferred remedy" for the site, but will not make it public until next month. After that, there will be a 30- to 45-day public hearing period, ending either around or after Labor Day. And after that, well, who knows?

"We can’t discuss the proposal until it is made public," said Elias Rodriguez, a spokesman for the EPA, who added no exact date in July has been decided. "At that point, we’ll put forth several proposals, including our preferred remedy. Any cleanup schedule is contingent on the remediation plan that is decided."

Most people in Laurence Harbor take it in stride. What else can they do?

"I got over being angry two years ago," said Donna Wilson, who was working on her elaborate garden on her property, which overlooks the shoreline.

She bought one of the shotgun shacks for $395,000 a few years back — "I didn’t buy the bungalow, I bought the beautiful corner lot, and the view," she said — and began renovating right away. But within a year, the fences and warning signs went up.

A bungalow two doors down is now on the market for $260,000.

"I don’t worry too much about that," she said. "Because I’m staying for good, and I know that someday, I hope anyway, the beaches will reopen."

In the three years since the beach was cordoned off, the word "slag" became part of the vernacular of the Middlesex County waterfront.

By definition, slag is "the vitreous mass left as a residue by the smelting of metallic ore."

In Middlesex, it is a vitreous mess left as the residue of heavy industry that once dominated the bayshore, then made worse by the decision 50 years ago to use the slag on the seawalls and jetties. The 2,500 feet of seawall in Laurence Harbor have shown elevated levels of lead, antimony, arsenic and copper.

The word "slag" is now synonymous with frustration.

"You wonder what the holdup is," said Dana Stovall, who watched as her son Jaydon Tortorello, 8, ran around the playground just a few yards from the fenced-off slag. "They put up the fence and that was that. Nobody’s cleaning it up."

Most of the slag on the Middlesex waterfront is in an industrial waste-product called kettle bottoms; the hardened gunk left over in the smelting process. The kettle bottoms are easy to spot. They anchor the jetty at Cheesequake Creek in the Morgan section of Sayreville, and were dumped among the granite boulders along the seawall. Unlike the natural rocks, the kettle bottoms are burnt-orange in color, and rusted or pockmarked with corrosion. They are dense and impossibly heavy.

The slag contamination stretches from the creek jetty to Cliffwood Beach, which, like Laurence Harbor, is a part of Old Bridge Township.

But there are places along the way where beaches are open, side by side with those closed. Part of the community frustration with the beach closing lies in what is still open. The fishing jetty at Cheesequake Creek is closed, but the adjacent beach, just yards away, is open.

"I’m trying to understand this contamination," said Peter Insalaco, who owns the bait shop and tackle shop at Laurence Harbor. "If there’s so much lead, why is the water safe here (the open beach) and not there (the closed)."

While most of the Laurence Harbor Beach is closed, the boardwalk, jetty, playground and walking path are open. So is the beach just a few feet from the closed section, where Nicole Oropallo waded in to put her kayak in the water.

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"It would be nice if they got it cleaned up," she said. "But on the other hand, it’s nice that it is so quiet. When nobody’s here, I can let my dogs run."

Insalaco said the presence of the fence is "killing business in the area."

He opened his shop, Tackle U.S., last year, after the previous owner went out of business two years before.

"I opened hoping the beach would reopen soon," he said.

In fact, the area was reopened for fishing.

"That’s what doesn’t make sense," he said. "How bad can it be? That fence has got to go. It’s keeping the community down."

For Stovall, when the fences come down, life will return to normal. She once lived in a bungalow on Shoreline Drive, the house where Jaydon’s father grew up.

"He swam in this water since he was a kid," she said. "So did Jaydon. He keeps asking, ‘When will we be able to go back in the water?’"

More Mark Di Ionno columns:

Check out 'Mark in the Morning,' an online-only column from Star-Ledger columnist Mark Di Ionno taking on the day's biggest issues in New Jersey and beyond. It appears weekday mornings on NJ.com.

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Couple Sells Beloved Laurence Harbor Home to the State

Old Bridge, NJ - Kathy and Drew Litchkowski planned on staying in their Laurence Harbor home for a long, long time.The small, one-story bungalow at 9 Cliffwood Way sits at the end of a quiet street. It overlooks Raritan Bay. They could walk to the beach at Old Bridge Waterfront Park.And then Sandy came.“My husband’s lived on that street his whole life; we’ve had storms before where the water came up. But it was nothing like Sandy,” Kathy told Patch. “When Sandy hit, the water came ov...

Old Bridge, NJ - Kathy and Drew Litchkowski planned on staying in their Laurence Harbor home for a long, long time.

The small, one-story bungalow at 9 Cliffwood Way sits at the end of a quiet street. It overlooks Raritan Bay. They could walk to the beach at Old Bridge Waterfront Park.

And then Sandy came.

“My husband’s lived on that street his whole life; we’ve had storms before where the water came up. But it was nothing like Sandy,” Kathy told Patch. “When Sandy hit, the water came over our windows. I would not wish (what happened) on my worst enemy.”

Raritan Bay flooded their street, their foundation and nearly came into their living room. On Oct. 29, 2012, the family fled, only to return later by canoe to salvage anything they could. The home and the property had been destroyed, and the Litchkowskis slowly realized they could never live there again. Even if they wanted to stay, they would have to tear down the property and rebuild from scratch. New state law mandated that all homes on their street be raised by at least 15 feet. The couple now lives in Aberdeen — but they were stuck with the Laurence Beach property.

Find out what's happening in Matawan-Aberdeenwith free, real-time updates from Patch.

This week, 9 Cliffwood Way became the first property in Old Bridge to be bought by the state Department of Environmental Protection as part of Blue Acres. Through Blue Acres, the DEP has bought similar distressed properties nearby in Woodbridge, East Brunswick and South River.

It’s money Kathy says she and her husband wouldn’t have been able to get otherwise.

“I truly am very thankful for the Blue Acres Program; without them, I don’t know what we would have done,” she said. “I don’t think we would have been able to sell the property.”

9 Cliffwood Way will be demolished and turned into open space, a DEP spokesman said. The aim of the Blue Acres buyback is to use state money to buy distressed properties and turn them into open space, which will absorb flood water and alleviate flooding when the next big storm hits. Environmental advocates praise the program, except for one problem: Blue Acres needs more cash, some say.

Federal funds for Blue Acres are running low, says Jeff Tittel, Director of the New Jersey Sierra Club. 9 Cliffwood Way was purchased using funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Tittel says there are many people in New Jersey like the Litchkowskis, who want to get bought out and are waiting for money. But they may not get it, he warns, unless Gov. Chris Christie appropriates more state funding to Blue Acres.

The federal government will match any state money Christie steers towards Blue Acres. A state DEP spokesman says Tittel is wrong, and there is still about $50 million left in the program.

So far the state has extended offers to 700 homeowners, and 534 homeowners have accepting the state’s offer. Closings have been completed on 412 properties, 293 of which have now been demolished.

In fact, the DEP extended the same offer to Kathy’s mother-in-law, who lives on the same street. The older woman is now just waiting to close, Kathy said.

“Her home was destroyed. Ever since Sandy hit, she hasn’t been able to stop crying for the past two years, really,” said Kathy. “But the people at Blue Acres, and at the DEP, were really, really helpful with all this.”

Laurence Harbor Fire Department Offers Insights on a Safe Thanksgiving

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author's own.Crime & SafetyEnjoy time with your loved ones and keep your family safe from an accidental fireThe Communication Solutions Group, Community ContributorThanksgiving is a time to gather together, but the holiday is als...

This post was contributed by a community member. The views expressed here are the author's own.

Crime & Safety

Enjoy time with your loved ones and keep your family safe from an accidental fire

The Communication Solutions Group, Community Contributor

Thanksgiving is a time to gather together, but the holiday is also the peak day for home cooking fires — with more than three times the daily average for such incidents, according to the National Fire Protection Association.

Just as you want to keep your family safe this Thanksgiving holiday, volunteer firefighters at Laurence Harbor Fire Department train to keep their families, friends, neighbors, and community members safe each and every day. During this Thanksgiving season of service, gratitude, and thankfulness, consider giving back to your community by joining Laurence Harbor Fire Department.On Thanksgiving, the kitchen is the heart of the home, and children love to be involved in holiday preparations. Safety in the kitchen is important, especially on Thanksgiving Day when there is a lot of activity and people at home.According to NFPA, unattended cooking was by far the leading contributing factor in cooking fires and fire deaths. Cooking causes half (49%) of all reported home fires and more than two of every five (42%) home fire injuries, and it is the second leading cause of home fire deaths.As you start preparing for your large family gathering and feast, Laurence Harbor Fire Department encourages all residents to follow a few simple safety tips so you can enjoy time with your loved ones and keep your family safe from an accidental fire:

Following these tips will not only help keep your family safe this Thanksgiving holiday but allow you the peace of mind to enjoy time with your loved ones during this season of gratitude.If you are considering giving back to your community, here are some of the benefits you’ll receive as a volunteer with Laurence Harbor:

“Being a volunteer firefighter has been a pretty good experience,” firefighter Tim Moley said. “It’s made me a better person and helped expand my skillset.”Laurence Harbor Fire Department has a great need for volunteers like YOU. The number of volunteer firefighters has significantly fallen nationwide over the past several decades.“We’re looking for ordinary citizens to come volunteer with and protect Laurence Harbor and Cliffwood Beach,” said Laurence Harbor Fire Department Chief Brian Stitzel. “It’s also highly rewarding to be able to make a difference in the community.”

To find out more about fire safety and how you can get involved in your community, please contact Laurence Harbor Fire Department. If you are interested in volunteering, please fill out an inquiry form at www.lhfd1.com.

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