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You can embrace a brighter, pain-free future.

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Physical Therapy Middletown, NJ  Sciatica Pain Therapy Middletown, NJ

Physical Therpy For Injuries and Pain in Middletown, NJ

If there's one universal truth in life, it's that it can be unpredictable. Everyone experiences unexpected events that throw us off. While some surprises may only affect our bank accounts, such as home expenses, others can cause physical harm, such as car accidents that result in long-term pain and discomfort. Many Americans suffer from chronic neck and back pain - according to research, half of Americans over 18 develop musculoskeletal injuries that last longer than a year. These injuries often cause a range of mobility issues that make everyday tasks seem hard to do. Unfortunately, many people with chronic pain turn to addictive medications and invasive surgeries for relief, which tends to lead to further complications.

However, if you are experiencing chronic pain or mobility issues, there's good news: Safer and more effective options are available to you. Physical therapy in Middletown, NJ is one of the best solutions for eradicating pain, maximizing mobility, improving range of motion, building muscle strength, and helping you regain control of your body. At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, our physical therapists and trainers offer customized programs designed for your body and address your pain symptoms. That way, you have the best possible chance of reclaiming a normal, active life, without surgery or harmful pills.

With the incorporation of therapeutic exercises and manual therapy as well as newer techniques and modalities like AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmills and DRX9000 Spinal DecompressionMachines, our physical therapy services can help address conditions such as:

  • Sciatica Pain
  • Ankle Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Elbow Pain
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Hip Pain
  • Knee Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Wrist Pain
  • TMJ Pain
 Headaches And Migraines Therapy Middletown, NJ

Service Areas

When it comes to physical therapy in New Jersey, few clinics can match the care, compassion, and effective treatment options that NJ Sports Spine & Wellness can provide.

Why is Physical Therapy in Middletown, NJ So Important for Wellness?

Physical therapy can provide numerous benefits, such as pain reduction, enhanced joint and body movement, improved range of motion, proper alignment, and more. While the main goal of physical therapy is to restore function and facilitate a return to regular activities, these outcomes usually result from a broader rehabilitation process, wherein many patients learn a brand-new way of moving.

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, our physical therapists work closely with patients to understand their unique goals, preferences, and abilities. Based on their findings, they create a customized treatment plan that caters to the patient's specific needs.

Here are just a few specific examples of why physical therapy is crucial when recovering from an injury:

  • Physical therapy helps restore function and mobility after illness, injury, or surgery.
  • Physical therapy promotes healing and pain management by utilizing therapeutic modalities and exercises.
  • Physical therapy helps patients suffering from neurological conditions improve their independence.
  • Physical therapy helps seniors avoid falls by improving balance.
  • Physical therapy can improve flexibility and strength to enhance sports and physical activity performance.
  • Physical therapy facilitates injury prevention through education and analysis of proper body mechanics.
 Shoulder Pain Therapy Middletown, NJ

Whether you're searching for long-term pain relief or need to improve your strength and balance as you age, physical therapy from NJSSW can help.

Now that you understand why physical therapy is crucial for recovery and wellness, let's take a closer look at some of the most effective treatments at our physical therapy clinic in New Jersey.

 Wrist Pain Therapy Middletown, NJ

The DRX9000: Relief from Chronic Back and Neck Pain

Are you sick of living day-to-day with long-lasting neck or back pain? Have you searched high and low for a safe and effective alternative to surgery? The DRX9000 may be the answer you're looking for.

Beloved by high-level athletes and even celebrities, this advanced medical device employs non-surgical spinal decompression therapy to treat painful conditions such as:

  • Bulging Discs
  • Herniated Discs
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Facet Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Arm Pain from Nerves in Your Neck

The DRX9000 is a device that has been approved by the FDA for treating herniated discs through spinal decompression therapy. This therapy works by applying equal amounts of pressure on your vertebral columns, which stretches your spine and creates a gap between spinal discs. This gap allows for better nutrient flow through your spine, which can help heal injuries gradually with regular treatment sessions. The DRX9000 also utilizes servo motors that rely on nested closed-loop feedback to customize therapy to your unique needs. By using DRX9000, you can often speed up your recovery by addressing your spinal disc issues ASAP.

No Harmful Medications Needed (Do we really need this paragraph or could we just mention it int he beginning about how it is a non-pharmaceutical method)

Perhaps the most significant advantage of the DRX9000 is that it provides a non-pharmaceutical method for relieving pain. With the opioid epidemic affecting the entire nation, many patients are reluctant to take prescription painkillers. The DRX9000 offers a secure and non-addictive alternative for pain relief that does not require medication.

During the course of the treatment, the patient will lie down on a specially designed table that is connected to the machine. The table will then be gently stretched as the machine creates negative pressure within the affected disc. This process will be repeated over a series of sessions, typically ranging from 20 to 30 sessions, depending on the patient's specific condition.

The DRX9000 treatment is considered to be safe and effective for many patients. It is designed to be gentle on the body, and patients usually experience little to no discomfort during their sessions. The machine is also equipped with advanced safety features, including sensors that can detect any sudden movements and stop the machine if necessary.

Expedite Rehab and Training with the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill

The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill boasts NASA Differential Air Pressure (DAP) technology, which is a highly accurate air calibration system that leverages your actual body weight to achieve exceptional results in rehab and training. By utilizing a pressurized air chamber, the AlterG allows you to move freely and without pain, as it uniformly reduces gravitational load and body weight by up to 80% in precise 1% increments. This process helps foster improved muscle strength, balance, function, range of motion, and overall fitness.

What Makes the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill So Effective for Physical Therapy in CItyname, State?

AlterG®'s state-of-the-art treadmill provides an entire range of benefits, such as mimicking natural movement and rhythm without the contrived feel of hydrotherapy or harnesses attempting to imitate real-life strides and motions. Additionally, it's beneficial for speeding up recuperation after orthopedic injuries or surgeries by enabling early mobilization and retaining strength. Furthermore, it's excellent for sports recovery since athletes can utilize it to maintain their physical fitness.

Some of the numerous benefits of using the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill include:

  • Accelerated Recovery Time
  • Relief from Impact-Related Pain and Discomfort
  • Customized Programs Suited to Your Needs
  • Effective Solution for All Ages
  • Safe and Controlled Environment
  • Improves Motivation and Confidence
  • Used by Elite Athletes and Celebrities

The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill is a revolutionary piece of equipment that has transformed the field of physical therapy. With its list of unique features and superhero-worthy benefits, this anti-gravity treadmill is a game-changer that can help you achieve your fitness and recovery goals while also minimizing the risk of injury.

 Chronic  Pain Therapy Middletown, NJ
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Physical Therapy Middletown, NJ

Experience Optimized Healing with LiteCureâ„¢ Low-Level Laser Therapy

After reading the headline above, you might be asking yourself, "Are lasers really used for physical therapy in cityname, state?" The answer to your question would be a resounding "Yes!" This advanced type of laser therapy harnesses the power of light through photobiomodulation (PBM), which is revolutionizing how patients heal and deal with pain.

Photobiomodulation (PBM) is a medical process that utilizes targeted light to activate the body's natural healing mechanisms. By penetrating deep into the tissue, photons interact with mitochondria (the cellular powerhouses in your body) to increase energy production. This interaction triggers a biological cascade that leads to increased cellular metabolism. As a result, PBM can reduce pain, accelerate tissue repair, and enhance overall well-being.

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a non-invasive and painless treatment that utilizes specific wavelengths of light to stimulate healing and reduce pain. It works by penetrating the skin and tissues to promote cellular activity and increase blood flow, which in turn helps to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and accelerate the healing process.

LLLT has been shown to be effective for a variety of conditions, including musculoskeletal injuries, arthritis, neuropathy, and more. It is a safe and gentle treatment option that can aid in regaining function and mobility from injuries, accidents, surgeries, and other conditions. That makes it a viable and trustworthy addition to your personalized physical therapy plan from NJ Sports Spine & Wellness.

LLLT has shown promising results for challenging conditions that other treatments can't match. Some of the most common conditions treated include:

  • Muscle Pain
  • Pain from Tendinopathy
  • Osteoarthritis Pain
  • Swollen Joints
  • Myofascial Pain
  • Back and Neck Pain
  • Pain from TMJ
  • Achilles Tendon Injury Pain
  • Plantar Fasciitis Pain
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If you're slogging through life and suffering from one or more of the conditions above, you should know that there is hope for pain relief. Contact NJ Sports Spine & Wellness today to find out if low-level laser therapy is right for you.

Freeze Away Pain and Swelling with Ice Compression Therapy

Game Ready Ice Compression Therapy is an advanced treatment technique that combines the advantages of modern cryotherapy (ice therapy) with the proven benefits of compression therapy. This clinically proven, synergistic approach is widely used in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics, and post-operative care to speed up recovery, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance rehabilitation.

Understanding the Powerful Benefits of Ice Compression Therapy

 Sciatica Pain Therapy Middletown, NJ

Game Ready Ice Compression Therapy is an advanced treatment technique that combines the advantages of modern cryotherapy (ice therapy) with the proven benefits of compression therapy. This clinically proven, synergistic approach is widely used in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics, and post-operative care to speed up recovery, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance rehabilitation.

The "cold" component of ice compression therapy helps nullify nerve-ending sensitivity, which provides pain relief. The extra compression gives you even more pain relief by reducing swelling and pressure on limbs and other body parts.

By improving lymphatic flow and enhancing blood circulation, compression therapy can help reduce swelling and edema, thereby improving your recovery process and simultaneously reducing pain and discomfort.

The concurrent use of cryotherapy and compression can enhance the body's innate healing mechanisms by reducing inflammation, mitigating tissue damage, and stimulating tissue repair.

Game Ready's combination therapy has been shown to be effective in improving joint flexibility and range of motion by promoting tissue healing. This treatment can be a great option for those looking to alleviate discomfort and improve overall joint health.

 Headaches And Migraines Therapy Middletown, NJ

Whether you're recovering from surgery or you're trying to manage chronic pain in your back or joints, ice compression therapy may be the advanced treatment you need. Contact NJSSW today to learn more about how this treatment can help you live an active life free of pain.

NormaTec Compression Therapy:

A Non-Invasive Option for Enhanced Recovery

Game Ready Ice Compression Therapy is an advanced treatment technique that combines the advantages of modern cryotherapy (ice therapy) with the proven benefits of compression therapy. This clinically proven, synergistic approach is widely used in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics, and post-operative care to speed up recovery, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance rehabilitation.

What Makes NormaTec Compression Therapy Best for Physical Therapy in Cityname, State?

Game Ready Ice Compression Therapy is an advanced treatment technique that combines the advantages of modern cryotherapy (ice therapy) with the proven benefits of compression therapy. This clinically proven, synergistic approach is widely used in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics, and post-operative care to speed up recovery, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance rehabilitation.

NormaTec's compression therapy devices have undergone continuous refinement and improvement since their inception. The adjustable settings of their system enable users to regulate the intensity, duration, and pattern of compression, thereby enabling our skilled providers to tailor treatment to suit the specific requirements and comfort levels of each patient.

 Shoulder Pain Therapy Middletown, NJ

Experience Holistic Wellness with Cupping Therapy in New Jersey

In the realm of holistic wellness, cupping therapy is a venerable and time-honored practice that has proven to be an effective technique for managing pain and enhancing blood flow. At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we recognize the diverse benefits of cupping therapy, which we offer at both our Matawan and Marlboro, NJ locations.

This ancient technique creates suction on your skin using specialized cups that help promote blood flow, muscle relaxation, and pain relief.

Why is Cupping Therapy Helpful for Physical Therapy in CItyname, State?

 Wrist Pain Therapy Middletown, NJ

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we believe that incorporating holistic treatments into physical therapy can greatly benefit our patients. As part of our efforts to alleviate stress and manage chronic pain or conditions, we offer cupping therapy as one of those holistic treatments. This modality has been proven effective and offers numerous benefits for physical therapy, which include:

Cupping therapy can help release muscle tension and relieve back pain. The suction from the cups releases fascial restrictions, decreases muscle tightness, and relieves muscle knots, providing relief from pain caused by muscular tightness or strain.

Our skilled practitioners and physical therapists use modern cupping devices and techniques to create consistent suction on the skin, which stimulates blood flow and encourages oxygen-rich blood to flow into muscles and tissues. This improved circulation can reduce inflammation, remove toxins, and promote healing.

Cupping therapy can relieve back pain by improving circulation, reducing muscle tension, and increasing lymphatic drainage. It's a natural and non-invasive approach that can improve mobility and quality of life.

Cupping therapy uses a gentle suction and pulling sensation that helps ease back pain and reduces stress by creating a calming effect on the body and mind, promoting physical and mental healing.

Reclaim Your Mobility with Physical Therapy in Middletown, NJ

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we always prioritize your well-being and offer comprehensive care tailored to your needs. With customized physical therapy tailored to your specific needs, we provide a drug-free, non-invasive, and highly effective treatment path for pain relief and recovery. From tried-and-true techniques to cutting-edge treatments, we're New Jersey's top choice for innovative physical therapy.

Take the first step towards a pain-free, vibrant life by contacting our office today. It all starts by scheduling your initial consultation. With our highly-trained and licensed specialists by your side, you can embrace a brighter, pain-free future.

 Chronic  Pain Therapy Middletown, NJ

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Latest News in Middletown, NJ

These Renovations Coming Inside The Middletown Public Library

The planned renovation is set to begin in January/February 2024. The library says it intends to stay open during construction.|Updated Tue, Nov 14, 2023 at 6:11 pm ETMIDDLETOWN, NJ — Here's a rendering of how the new reference area will look at the Middletown Public Library once it is completed in 2024.The planned renovation is set to begin in January/February 2024. It will be done in two phases and should take four to six months to complete. The Middletown Library said it will remain open while renovations are u...

The planned renovation is set to begin in January/February 2024. The library says it intends to stay open during construction.

|Updated Tue, Nov 14, 2023 at 6:11 pm ET

MIDDLETOWN, NJ — Here's a rendering of how the new reference area will look at the Middletown Public Library once it is completed in 2024.

The planned renovation is set to begin in January/February 2024. It will be done in two phases and should take four to six months to complete. The Middletown Library said it will remain open while renovations are underway, however there may be some days when it has to close, but it will provide ample notice.

Why does the library need to be renovated?

The last time the Middletown Public Library went through a major renovation was in 2004. Since then, the needs of the community have evolved and the library has a need to redesign some interior space.

For example, the library said the computer lab is no longer used. So a larger teen space and a separate makerspace will be added in its place.

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

More seating around the reference area, as well as four new private study rooms will be installed. A larger History Room is also in the plans, which will provide much needed space to house their collection of Middletown Township and New Jersey history materials, as Middletown is a very historical area and had a front-row seat to the American Revolutionary War.

In the past year, the Middletown library has taken suggestions from the public as to how to improve the reference area, including adding more comfortable seating space, additional private meeting rooms and study space, and enhanced history and reading rooms.

An updated Teen Room and a brand-new makerspace are also included in the plans.

The public is also welcome to submit questions and see more photos of how it will look at www.mtpl.org/mtpl-renovation Posters are also up in person at the library

Raffle tickets are currently being sold and will directly benefit the renovation; they are on sale at the library’s circulation desk. This is a 50/50 cash raffle and the winner will receive 50 percent of the amount received for all tickets or rights to participate.

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Middletown-Area Restaurants Open For Thanksgiving Day 2023

For those who don't want to cook, here are the local restaurants that plan to be open next Thursday:|Updated Tue, Nov 14, 2023 at 5:51 pm ETMIDDLETOWN, NJ — For people who don’t want to spend hours or even days cooking and cleaning up from a big turkey dinner, several restaurants in the Middletown area are open Thanksgiving Day.Restaurants open for Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 23, offer a range of dining experiences, from fine dining to fast casual to fast food. In some cases, you’ll need to make a ...

For those who don't want to cook, here are the local restaurants that plan to be open next Thursday:

|Updated Tue, Nov 14, 2023 at 5:51 pm ET

MIDDLETOWN, NJ — For people who don’t want to spend hours or even days cooking and cleaning up from a big turkey dinner, several restaurants in the Middletown area are open Thanksgiving Day.

Restaurants open for Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 23, offer a range of dining experiences, from fine dining to fast casual to fast food. In some cases, you’ll need to make a reservation, so plan as much as possible.

Here are the local restaurants that plan to be open:

Options include:

Applebee’sBob EvansBoston MarketBravo! Brio Italian GrilleBuca di BeppoBuffalo Wild WingsBurger KingChart HouseCracker BarrelDel Frisco’s GrilleDenny’sDomino’s Eddie V’sFleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine BarFogo de Chão Golden CorralHardee’sIHOPKona Grill Maggiano’s Little ItalyMcCormick and Schmick’sMcDonald’s Metro DinerPopeye’sRed LobsterRomano’s Macaroni GrillRuby TuesdayRuth’s Chris Steak HouseSeasons 52 SizzlerSonicSTK SteakhouseSteak ’n ShakeSubwaySullivan’s SteakhouseT.G.I. FridaysWaffle HouseWendy’sWhite Castle

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

Hours and services may vary by location, so be sure to call ahead.

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Middletown BOE Candidate Says Fire Marshal Showed Up At Fundraiser

Mark Soporowski is accusing Middletown Town Hall of sending a fire inspector to a fundraiser he had Thursday night:MIDDLETOWN, NJ — Mark Soporowski, a candidate running for Middletown school board, said he threw a fundraiser party Thursday night at the bar he owns, Gateway Bar & Liquors, and one of the town's fire inspectors showed up, which he thinks was a politically motivated move by Middletown Town Hall to intimidate him.Middletown Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante and Fire Marshal Buddy Skelly responde...

Mark Soporowski is accusing Middletown Town Hall of sending a fire inspector to a fundraiser he had Thursday night:

MIDDLETOWN, NJ — Mark Soporowski, a candidate running for Middletown school board, said he threw a fundraiser party Thursday night at the bar he owns, Gateway Bar & Liquors, and one of the town's fire inspectors showed up, which he thinks was a politically motivated move by Middletown Town Hall to intimidate him.

Middletown Township Administrator Anthony Mercantante and Fire Marshal Buddy Skelly responded Friday afternoon to Sporowski's allegation, which is a serious accusation of corruption by Middletown Township government.

"Yes, a fire inspector did show up there Thursday night. I can understand him being a little suspicious — Oh, did someone send him here? I think it's a legitimate question," said Mercantante. "So I called Middletown Fire Inspector Buddy Skelly this morning and I specifically asked Buddy that: Did anyone direct you to send a fire inspector there? He said no, absolutely not. He said he sent the fire inspector there because he heard about it online and knew it was going to be a large event, in what I think is a tiny bar. The capacity limits at that bar are actually only 35 people, I believe."

Skelly also talked to Patch Friday afternoon, and said he and he alone directed his inspector to go there. He said nobody told him to send a fire inspector.

"We find out where a lot of big events are," said Skelly. "For example, when we hear bands are playing at bars all over town, we send someone. We've showed up to check occupancy at Navesink Country Club. We've sent fire inspectors to Gabriella's in the past, that's a big one. We do it at High School North and South for graduations. Ross Brewery is another big one. If we are told they are having an event there in a tent, we send an inspector out to make sure it's safe. And no, we don't tell anyone in advance the inspector is coming. It's supposed to be a surprise to make sure safety and occupancy rules are being followed, and that people don't exceed occupancy limits."

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

"No one was singled out," said Skelly.

"Of course they are going to try and cover their tracks," said Soporowski. "Everyone is going to cover for everyone in Townhall ... There is some serious corruption in this town."

The Middletown school board and Town Hall Election Day just days away, on Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Soporowski has been arguing on Facebook with supporters of BOE rivals Jacqueline Tobacco and Frank Capone. He said in the past week, a supporter of their's — and former Middletown mayor — Tony Fiore, wrote something to the effect of "watch out, maybe the fire inspector will be by," at the fundraiser party Soporowski was going to hold Thursday night at his bar.

Soporowski said Fiore then deleted that comment.

Fiore said that is "all lies. I never said that. I also never deleted any comments I wrote on his page. Trust me, I don't care enough. What I said was, 'By the way, what's the max you can have in that dive bar?"

Fiore provided a screenshot of what he wrote and he also said "I'm not happy I'm being accused. No, I did not direct anyone in town hall to go to his bar."

Soporowski continued:

"Then at 6 p.m. last night, I see this man walk into my store. The guy who owns the pizzeria next to me recognized him and said, Oh what are you doing here? He said he was here to 'check on me.' He was Middletown fire inspector (Sporowski said he did not want to publish the inspector's name.) I said point blank, were you sent here to check on me? He said yes, I was sent here. I was sent here by my boss.

Soporowski said he was issued no occupancy or safety violations, and the fire inspector left.

Mercantante stressed that nobody directed Middletown Fire Inspector Skelly to send an inspector to Gateway Bar & Liquors.

"Absolutely not," said Mercantante. "The fundraiser was talked about on social media. It is not unusual where if there is a large event held in a business or public venue in town and our fire marshals hear of it that they show up. What is worth pointing out is that if a political event or fundraiser is held in a private home, the Township has no right to be there or send town employees to inspect it. But yes, once we hear of an event being held at a business, we do send inspectors all the time."

Middletown Mayor Tony Perry, who has attended support parties for Capone/Tobacco this election season, said "absolutely in no way, shape or form would I ever" direct Township employees to do that.

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42-Acre Solar Farm Proposed For Middletown's Belford Section

MIDDLETOWN, NJ — A 42-acre solar farm is proposed to be built right next to the Belford ferry parking lot in Middletown, on the site of the long-closed Belford landfill.Their application to build the solar farm is publicly accessible here.The company that owns the solar farm is called CEP Renewables, and they had to submit the application before the New Jersey Board of Pu...

MIDDLETOWN, NJ — A 42-acre solar farm is proposed to be built right next to the Belford ferry parking lot in Middletown, on the site of the long-closed Belford landfill.

Their application to build the solar farm is publicly accessible here.

The company that owns the solar farm is called CEP Renewables, and they had to submit the application before the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. They seek to build a "solar electric generation facility to be located at the Belford Landfill (a.k.a. Middletown Sanitary Landfill) site, on Port Monmouth Road," reads their application.

The solar farm would officially be called the Port Belford Solar Farm, LLC. It would take up 42 acres of the 260-acre lot, and it would generate a 26.496 MWdc (mega watts) into the power grid, according to their proposal.

The old Belford landfill, which has been closed since the '70s, has been determined by the state of New Jersey to be a "properly closed sanitary landfill facility." The state of New Jersey encourages solar farms to be built at closed former landfill sites and on brownfields.

The Belford Landfill property is an approximately 260-acre parcel that is primarily vacant. But it does include the parking lot for the Belford ferry terminal, and Middletown Township's composting/recycling center.

That entire property is currently owned by Monmouth County. It used to be an airfield. The landfill ceased operations in 1977 and it took up approximately 80 acres on the lot.

CEP Renewables would lease the 42 acres from Monmouth County.

That whole area falls under the “Port Belford Redevelopment Area," designated by Middletown Township as an area in need of redevelopment.

The application to build the solar farm is on tonight's agenda to be discussed at the Monday night Middletown Township Committee meeting (Oct. 16).

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the courtroom at the new Middletown town hall. If you cannot attend the meeting in person, you can call into the meeting by dialing 1-408-418-9388. The event access code is 2339 179 3030 followed by #. Enter 2023 if a passcode is required.

Why Middletown Is Hesitant To Let Homeschool Kids Play Sports

Here is a summary of a meeting that was held last Thursday between the school district and Middletown homeschool parents:|Updated Tue, Oct 24, 2023 at 6:55 pm ETMIDDLETOWN, NJ — Last Thursday, Middletown school board vice president Jacqueline Tobacco met with homeschool parents who are asking the district to let their kids join school sports teams and clubs.The me...

Here is a summary of a meeting that was held last Thursday between the school district and Middletown homeschool parents:

|Updated Tue, Oct 24, 2023 at 6:55 pm ET

MIDDLETOWN, NJ — Last Thursday, Middletown school board vice president Jacqueline Tobacco met with homeschool parents who are asking the district to let their kids join school sports teams and clubs.

The meeting was attended by Tobacco, Gary Tulp, Frank Capone and Kate Farley, all BOE members who sit on the policy committee; Tobacco chairs that committee. It was also attended by acting Middletown schools superintendent Jessica Alfone, the district's two assistant superintendents, Patrick Rinella and Matt Kirkpatrick, plus several homeschool parents.

The meeting lasted for just over two hours, from 10 a.m. to shortly after noon.

Now on Monday, Tobacco discloses to the Middletown public what was said — and read to the very bottom for a response from one of the most outspoken homeschool parents making this request.

"The situation is not just do we want to be nice and let those kids play or not, which I think is how it's been portrayed," said Tobacco. "It's not as simple as should the board make an emotional decision and let the children play. If it was simply an emotional decision, we all of course would say let the children play."

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

First, it is not just homeschool kids. Tobacco said there are actually three distinct groups of students who seek to join Middletown public school sports teams:

Tobacco said she "honestly does not know" how many students in total want to play Middletown sports/clubs.

"But it is not just those three groups. If we allow people who pay tuition to private school to come join our sports teams, does that extend to CBA students who now want to play on our football teams?" she asked, referring to the fact that Christian Brothers Academy, a respected local Catholic school, does not have a football program.

"Or what about kids who are at St. Mary's and want to join our band?"

No benchmarks for homeschoolers

Secondly, Tobacco said there are no benchmarks to evaluate if homeschool or virtual kids are eligible to play sports.

"There is criteria we have to enforce for our student-athletes that we would never be able to enforce with homeschoolers," she said. "For example, student-athletes cannot be failing a class; they have to hand in homework. It is difficult to enforce that with homeschool kids. Public school standards are never the same as homeschool standards of learning. Would we have two sets of rules for two sets of children — how would that work?"

Added to that are issues with HIB (harassment, intimidation, bullying) reports or other clashes students have with each other.

"As a school district, we have to investigate every HIB complaint, every instance of kids fighting. We could never investigate those complaints or enforce that code of conduct with homeschoolers."

Third, yes the Holmdel school district does allow homeschoolers to play sports, but that is only in the K-8th level, said Tobacco. Holmdel High School does not permit it. Brick Township does, but Wall Twp. recently reversed their policy and no longer allows it, because they had an issue with homeschool kids playing on their sports teams who did not live in Wall, she said.

Only four high schools in the Shore Conference allow homeschoolers to play, and they are all very small districts such as Barnegat, Tobacco said Rinella told the group.

Finally, one Middletown mother did tell the Board she is against this idea because, as Tobacco paraphrased it: "What if a homeschool child is very good at gymnastics and devotes four hours each day to practicing gymnastics. And then she has to try out against her daughter who is in public school from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. and now she lost her spot on the team — when she is the one representing the school district."

"It really is very complex and a lot of these things are issues the administration has been bringing to us," she said. "We still have a lot of consider and a lot of work to do."

In summary, Tobacco said the policy committee will meet again before the next November school board meeting (Nov. 20) and discuss the issue again. Homeschool parents will not be invited to that next meeting.

Superintendent Alfone gave the following statement to Patch Monday:

"As an administration, we are examining the practical implications of homeschool student participation in co-curricular activities and athletics and the challenges that we would encounter from this shift," she said. "The most notable among these challenges is the determination of eligibility to participate. Students who are enrolled in our district are held to a consistent standard for academics and conduct that serve as a barometer for eligibility. Because of the autonomy involved in homeschooling, we would not be able to hold homeschool students to the same academic and conduct standards of those enrolled in district. Therefore, there would always be some degree of inequity in the determination of eligibility."

Tobacco stressed the district is "looking for solutions."

Homeschool mom responds

Belinda Rooney is one of the homeschool moms who has been petitioning the district to let her sons join sports and clubs.

"I am surprised they disclosed all of this after asking us to be patient as we waited for their response," she said Monday evening, in response to Tobacco's comments. "I can go line by line and respond to each point they made with a different perspective (as we did during our Oct. 19 meeting), but their input shows they ultimately do not want our homeschooled children to be included in school sports and clubs. I believe the Board of Ed. members are elected officials in our community that should seek the best interests of all students in the district, not just those enrolled in public schools. Until we get more Board members who feel that way, nothing will change."

Prior on this topic: Middletown Homeschoolers Meet With BOE Thursday On Sports Team Request (Oct. 18)

Middletown Home School Parents: Let Our Kids Play School Sports (Aug. 31)

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