Writer Meets Editor

For the last year I have been submitting a few articles to  1st Responder News Network. The Editor Lindsey Palmer was really impressed with my skills.  When I found out she was going to be in Wilwood during the NJ Firefighter's Convention, I knew I had to meet her. Lindsey has been nothing but supportive of all my work. She put a photo of mine on the front page of the September 2019 edition. A copy of it is hanging over my desk. anyway below is the email exchange over a few weeks. We  really had a profound impact on each other as you can tell

---- Original Message ----
From: "Justin Mattes-KC2GIK" 
Sent: 9/16/2019 5:38:25 PM
To: "Lindsey Palmer" 
Subject: Wildwood


I have to keep reminding myself you must be very busy  in the office
today. It was great to finally meet you in person last Friday. I know my
speech is very difficult to understand but I again want to thank you for
allowing me to contribute to 1st Responder.  You have given me a way to
contribute to the fire service. The September issue is hanging right over
my computer. The front page picture gave me a real sense of

 I grew up in Woodcliff Lake and was always hopping on my scooter whenever
the fire whistle went off, I did it close to twenty years. Days before I
moved the department had a going away dinner for me.  At the end of
dinner Chief Lucia presented me with a helmet and made me an honorary
member.I have been going to Wildwood since I moved  to Cape May the
summer of 2015. When I moved to Cape May the fire department welcomed me
with open arms.They love seeing their names on the web and in print!! I
treasure my relationship with both departments.
Enclosed is the picture my mom took of us, I wanted you to have a copy!!!

Take care

Justin Mattes-KC2GIK

Hi Justin!

Meeting you was the highlight of my trip this year. It's not too often that
correspondents go out of their way to thank me or acknowledge things I do for them
in the newspaper, so it really meant a lot when you did. You made me feel really
special and I thank you for that.

On another note, we have a feature called "Meet Our Correspondents" that I'd love to
run about you! The background info you gave below would be perfect for it. Would
that be okay with you? After it prints you'll have another proud accomplishment to
hang next to your cover shot :)

I'd also like to send you a 1st Responder News polo and/or tee shirt. We're excited
and very grateful to have you represent us! What size should I send?

Again, it was wonderful meeting you and I'm looking forward to working with you
more. Don't hesitate to email me if you need anything at all.

PS: I was going to ask you for the photo of us, so thank you for sending it!

Talk to you soon,

Lindsey Palmer, Managing Editor
1st Responder News


The Alphabet test

Every so often some silly quiz pops up on Facebook to get to know people better. Then people started realizing that some of the answers could be used as questions to reset passwords. However I scanned this latest quiz and realize there isn't one piece of information I gave that could be used for a password so here are my answers

A- Age: 41`
B- Biggest Fear:Dying without ever falling in love
C- Current Time: 9:15
D- Drink you last had: milk
E- Easiest Person To Talk to: Sean Sokoly
F- Favorite Song: Fire and Rain (by James Taylor)
G- Ghosts, are they real: Yes
H- Hometown: Woodcliff Lake
I- In love with: shall remain unknown
J- Jealous Of: No one
K- Killed Someone? NOPW
L- Last time you cried? Yesterday morning
M- Middle Name: I DON'T HAVE ONE
N- Number of Siblings: 2
P- Person who you last called: My Brother Chris Mattes
Q- Question you're always asked: How did you get bed
R- Reason to smile: God and all HIS GLORY and License Plates
S- Song last sang: City of New Orleans
T- Time you woke up: 9:30 AM
U- Underwear Color-BLUE
V- Vacation Destination: FLORIDA
X- X-Rays you've had: TOO MANY TO XCOUNT
Y- Your favorite food: MEATBALLS
Z-Zodiac Sign PIECES


Straw ban compromise

"For about a year or two cities have been slowly banning single use plastic straws to reduce the environmental impact. hey whine about how all plastics are harming marine life and need to be banned immediately.No phasing out, just banned, thanks to Mayor DiBlasio, New York City is leading the way along with Berkley and Oakland in California. Ironically in San Francisco it's easier to get drugs than it is to get a plastic straw. Monmouth Beach in my home state of New Jersey are following the lead. Guess I;m not going to Monmouth Beach any time soon.  If Cape May tries to issue a  citywide straw ban you bet I will be right there to protest it!!!

Big companies like Starbucks and the ice cream giant Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream have "gone green" with their paper straws!! Some have even stopped giving out straws completely you need to ask for  just a paper straw and then you are looked at like you just asked for drugs.  Well if plastic straws are worse than drugs, I'm addicted! I shouldn't feel guilty for asking for something I need to drink without spilling it all over myself. 

 Like all bans there are unintended consequences, especially for people with disabilities like me who use plastic straws to drink. I, along with other folks, have tried the paper straws, they do break down and I wound up using three paper straws for one drink because they do break down. Actually they are getting better but they still have a long way to becoming usable. I also tend to bite on my straws and unlike their plastic counterparts, they can't be bent back into place too easily. They rip and actually cause a bigger mess than plastic straws.  Bars like a quick cleanup so the wet paper straws cause such a mess and are harder to wipe off a table or the bar. Of course all] the inconveniences mean nothing to people trying to save the planet. They blindly follow junk science. Straws make up a fraction of the waste. It always amazes me Starbucks fills a cup only to put on a plastic lid and then expect people to use paper straws  I consider  it a trade off because a large people with disabilities use public transportation anyway, their carbon footprint is a fraction of those who drive care.  There is a compromise here, give people the choice.  Start with issuing paper straws but then give people an option to switch to plastic. Also a majority of plastic straw users don't have a problem with reusing the same straw for ;multiple drinks, especially if it hey're drinking the same beverage. I have done this year before a  plastic straw ban was even on the radar

I have actually started to take some mental notes on how restaurants around  Cape May deal with this issue. The Ugly Mug and Delany's still use plastic straws. The breweries have switched to paper, some straws are stronger. I went into the new Exit Zero down the street and the straw the use aren't paper, but the y are biodegradable and I can use them in multiple drinks, Harry's has paper straws and I had a few Pina  Colodas  a nd asked for a new straw every drink. I order bottled beer instead the next time I went.  Of course the VFW next door still hjas the classic bendy straws just like the ones I use at home. I think I'll start carrying my own disposable straws around on my scooter. Just hope I won't see the day you can't be arrested for drugs but can be arrested for using a plastic straw in public!!


Knocking on Knoxville's Door Part II

I convinced my folks to drive out to my brother Chris's   house by Trenton to meet Ed instead of having Ed drive down to Cape May! As I said in the previous entry, Ed explained  in an email he wanted to do some sightseeing on the way down to Knoxville. I was a b it concerned ' a long four day car ride wouldn't be good for my back, but I figured I would give it a try.  Some of the members of the license plate group are also members of the Extra Miler Club which is a group of folks that try to visit every county in the United States. There's a website called mob-rule.com which allows you to keep track of how many counties you visited.  I have been trying to keep up and remember all of my travels. Ed mapped out our route to maximize the number of counties we could complete between New Jersey and Tennessee. That's why you see we dipped into Ohio and Indiana which were also two new states under my belt.  The back roads were windy  but it was definitely worth it and the entire time I keep thinking to myself, "I'll never have this chance in my life again" So I just sat back and enjoyed the ride. While we mainly took highways from PA out to OH, by the time we got to Kentucky we traveled all through the rolling hills. We tasting some fine Kentucky bourbon, toured a horse farm and just enjoy each other'a company as friends. \

One of the definite more somber moments of the trip was a visit to Abraham Lincoln's Birthplace in  Hodgenville, Kentucky, the county  seat of La Rue County. Yes I climbed all fifty-six steps, one for every year of his life, without a lot of assistance. It was definitely an accomplishment after sitting the the car for what seemed forever.  I found out more about him than I ever did in school and gained a knew appreciation for a man I already admired. d and I had some bumps in the road sort to speak , m y phone mysteriously decided to die the first night of our trip!! !

Read Part I


Knocking on Knoxville's Door--Part I

I forgot to post these series of emails to the blog!! Below is a  I have since been to Knoxville and back! Since this was written before  the trip I decided to do a number of posts about the epic trip I took to the 65th ALPCA Convention in Knoxville, Tennessee. I will devote a few posts to include the road trip with Ed Butler, a fellow New Jersey ALPCA member, the convention itself and the achievements I had along the way. Ed and I joined  ALPCA around the same time so we grew in the club together. He knew I wanted to go to this convention because the next convention is in Tulsa Oklahoma, a lot harder to get to from Cape May!! Knoxville was hard enough!! Like in previous post about travel I will break this down into multiple posts Ed and I casually talked about driving to Knoxville together  dates back to early April! As he mentioned in his e-mail we did indeed do some sightseeing, but more about that later!!!1

Ed's Original E-mail:

 Hi Justin,

 I hope you've been well these last number of months.  Since you couldn't
make it to Pennington last October, I haven't seen you since Valley
Forge last summer!  It's been too long man!

 I thought it would be easier to convey my thoughts in an email about
Knoxville than in a text; it allows for more space than a text.

 To get to the point - there could be room for you in my BMW going to
Knoxville in late June.  Some thoughts below.

 .         I am not going straight to Knoxville.  I have a planned
sightseeing trip through West Virginia and Kentucky on my way south to
Knoxville.  I am leaving the Friday night before the convention with a
 out to Carlisle, PA to tee up my trip.  I will be travelling through WV and
 KY that Saturday, Sunday, and Monday on my way to Knoxville.

 o   Are you interested joining me?  If so, you would need to find a way
 get from south of Exit 0 and meet up with me in SW NJ.  I believe your
brother lives somewhere south of the Trenton area.  Can your parents
 you to your brother's that Friday before the convention?

 .         How much will you be bringing?  Reason I ask is I am going to
 selling off virtually all of my New York non-passenger plates at the
convention, so I will be more packed with plates than I normally am.
Hopefully I won't be bringing them home with me.  I will likely be
 my hand truck.  Another important question: How much room does your
 scooter require?

 .         Since I am driving to Knoxville, I may be taking off either
late  Friday or by daybreak Saturday morning.  I don't have an exact timetable
for  when I'd be back in NJ other than my ETA in Jersey would be likely early
Sunday, with an overnight stay somewhere.  If you came with me, I again
would ask that you arrange to be picked up somewhere in SW NJ.

 Justin - you're more than welcome to join me if you are open to making what
 I said above work for you.  With that said, I don't want to force you
into any decision.  I just wanted to make all of my thoughts clear to you.  I
encourage you to talk it over with your parents / brother / etc. and
 the decision that's best for you.  You're still my friend one way or the

 Give it a think and get back to me when you can.

 Take care.


Post to the ALPCA Discussion List:
Define an accomplishment---  Well you folks who know, some many not, know getting to conventions has been tricky for me, some more memorable than others. I got my folks to go to Niagra Falls in 2002. I then convinced them to take me to Providence over their anniversary in 2004 . I met a good friend Rick Kretschmer for the first time in 2007 when we bunked in Huntsville in 2007. For my 30th birthday in 2008 my folks said I could go anywhere "within reason" I chose the convention in Salt Lake City. I dragged them out to Erie in 2009. I flew through a tornado to get to the 2010 convention in Dallas. My folks again took to the road to drive me to the convention in West Virginia in 2011 barely got back from Des Monies in 2012. I had trouble getting home from Rochester in 2014. I fought for Rogers Arkansas in 2015. I went from Rome Italy right to the 2018 convention in Valley Forge Pennsylvania! Without making this post long I can just say I AM IN FOR KNOXVILLE, 100%!!! SEE YOU THERE!!!

Justin Mattes 6748