New Jersey Herald: Fletcher blazed way to greatness

by Matt Sheehan | The New Jersey Herald

Keith Fletcher sported the rare athletic combination of raw talent plus grit.
Because of that talent and grit, Fletcher will be enshrined Saturday in the Sussex County Sports Hall of Fame.
Feltcher’s parents decided to move to the area from Virginia because they felt the school systems were superior to those in the South. Fletcher said his parents were, and remain, a constant presence who always supported their two children and never pushed recklessly.
“You look up parenting in the dictionary and you see pictures of my parents,” he said.

The family’s home was in Green Township, out by the old train tracks off county Route 611. Although Fletcher played a ton of pick-up football with the local kids growing up, his parents would not permit him in the county’s organized league.

“My uncle, who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers, had told my parents not to let me play football until I was in the eighth grade because he felt kids weren’t mentally or physically ready to put up with what’s going to happen.”

Soon enough, eighth grade came and it was love at first practice. Fletcher said he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

I’m glad I started late; I was a little more mature so when those tough things came along I could handle them,” he said.

Once he moved up to Newton High School, he wasn’t the biggest guy but he may have been the fastest guy.

“I ran a 4.35 (40-yard dash),” he said.

That’s scary quick, especially 30 years ago, especially in the SCIL. For some perspective, at this year’s NFL combine, only three players bested that mark.




New Jersey Herald: From the Big Island to big-time athlete, coach

by Matt Sheehan | New Jersey Herald

Its 4:30 a.m. and Sabrina Lucas’ sneakers pound against the pavement. Her run takes her along county Route 517 in Sparta and up Glen Road. On the surface, it’s just part of her preparation for the upcoming New York City Marathon. But to this mother and wife, this teacher and coach, these morning workouts are therapeutic — like a trip to the spa.

courtesy the NJ Herald
courtesy the NJ Herald

“It’s a chance to clear my head, reflect and release the stress of anything that’s bothering me,” she said.

Despite her take on it, getting up for a jog while most of us are tucked away in bed demonstrates a rare determination and commitment to excellence. That commitment will be recognized Nov. 1 when Lucas is inducted into the Sussex County Sports Hall of Fame.

It also will be a tribute to the parents from whom she learned that determination.

“It’s all about the work ethic; no matter what I did in life, my parents told me to do my best,” she said.

New Jersey Herald: “Six Named to Hall of Fame”

Photo by Daniel Freel/New Jersey Herald

By Matt Sheehan | New Jersey Herald

The 2008 Inductees into Sussex County Sports Hall of Fame, including the first two ever chosen by the Veteran’s Committee, have been announced and will be honored Nov. 1 at the Farmstead Golf and Country Club in Lafayette.

John Kuntz, George R. Clark, Alex McCord, Jeffrey Barnhill, Keith Fletcher and Susan McChesney Lucas will join the 168 previously enshrined in the hall.

Kuntz, the current athletic director at Sussex County Community College, started the men’s basketball, baseball and soccer programs, as well as the women’s soccer and softball programs at the college. Before moving up to the collegiate ranks, Kuntz served as a coach at Pope John High School, where he was named Coach of the Year in 1987 for his efforts in boy’s basketball.

“Being named as an inductee is certainly a honor. I was handed a great opportunity here at SCCC, and we’ve since developed a great athletic program,” he said.


New Jersey Herald: “Sports Hall of Fame honors ‘old timers”

By Matt Sheehan | New Jersey Herald

This year’s Sussex County Sports Hall of Fame class has something different than any of its 32 predecessors.

It has two inductees chosen by a Veterans Committee, whose goal is to ensure the accomplishments of past generations of local athletes are acknowledged.

“The older athletes — you have to be at least 60 years of age to be considered — are not in the public’s eye anymore,” said Barbara Garth, the group’s president and Veterans Committee chairwoman. “They were standouts ways back when, sometimes at high schools that no longer exist.”

(more…) “Get out’: A Marine’s call”

By Matt Sheehan |

Ask Sol Black the most important issue the United States faces today, he’ll say, “The war in Iraq.” Ask him how the government should handle it and he‘ll say, “Get out, ASAP.”

Black insists the outcome America desires in the Middle East no longer remains obtainable, an alarming assessment given the approximate $340 million Americans spend each day funding the conflict. With obvious frustration he explains the evolution of the American prerogative in Iraq and the challenges of facing an ambiguous enemy.

“First it was weapons of mass destruction, then liberating the Iraqi people, now it’s fighting terrorism…what next, what justification is there at this point?”

“It’s not a winnable war, this is not a uniformed enemy that we’re beating. Terrorism is a transnational phenomenon – it’s not a country, you can’t invade terrorism … by being over there we are urging fundamentalists to migrate [to Iraq].”


The Daily Collegian: “UMass to implement enhanced emergency alert program”

By Matt Sheehan | The Massachusetts Daily Collegian

In a university system of nearly 60,000 students spread across five campuses, devising a uniform security initiative is a challenge.

“We were looking at a [security] system that all of UMass can use and that’s kind of a daunting task,” said Col. Emil Fioravanti, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth’s, director of public safety.

In the wake of campus violence at Northern Illinois University in February and threats found at the Amherst and Dartmouth campuses in past weeks, the UMass system hopes to implement an enhanced emergency alert program.

“It’s important in today’s day and age that the universities be able to contact students faculty staff quickly as possible,” said Bill Heaney, interim Vice Chancellor, at the Dartmouth campus.

(more…) “O’Reilly makes his case”

U.S. Senate hopeful and University of Massachusetts alumnus Ed O’Reilly campaigned Thursday night at The Black Sheep Deli in Amherst, raising his concerns about the war, healthcare and education.

A crowd of almost 20 came to show support for the local Democrat who hopes to defeat fourth term Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in November.

Ed O'Reilly
Photo Credit: Brian Tedder,

“I do work, [Kerry] does photo opportunities and sound bites,” said O’Reilly as the crowed applauded.

Mary Wentworth, an Amherst resident for 35 years echoed displeasure in Kerry’s perceived disingenuousness. “John Kerry has abandoned the state. The only time we see him out here is when he’s up for re-election,” she said.

O’Reilly, a trial lawyer from Gloucester, said Kerry’s 2002 vote for the war in Iraq revealed serious character issues.

“He voted for the War knowing it was the wrong vote; his desire for the Presidency outweighed his personal integrity,” he said.


The Daily Collegian: “UM, Genzyme create internship program”

By Matt Sheehan | The Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The University of Massachusetts and Genzyme Corporation, a biotechnology firm based in Cambridge, Mass., have unveiled a system-wide internship program commencing this summer.

The program was announced at the Life Science Talent Summit on the UMass-Boston campus and will provide a hands-on opportunity for up to 10 undergraduate students.


Daily Collegian: “Pro Pharmaceuticals teams with UMass-Lowell on target drug therapy”

By Matt Sheehan | The Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The University of Massachusetts Lowell has allied with Pro Pharmaceuticals of Newton, Mass., in a research collaboration focused on target drug therapy in response to cancer.

The venture stems from the $1 billion Life Sciences Initiative proposed by Governor Deval Patrick last May. The legislation outlined an effort to join the state’s private industry and institutions in the advancement of scientific innovation and strengthening of the economy.

“We are working to respond to the Governor’s $1.2 billion initiative and ensure that the UMass System takes full advantage of the funding distributed,” said Dr. Robert Nicolosi, Head of the Center for Health and Disease Research at Lowell.