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By DUSTIN RACIOPPIhot-topic right

Middletown has wrapped up a months-long town-wide study pinpointing locations ideal for solar panels, and may soon bring on a contractor to start the process of getting off the grid.

If it does, the town could save taxpayers $6.6 million over the next 15 years — and perhaps double that, if the town board of education gets on board, officials said.

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11-memorialToms River resident and Jersey City firefighter Mark Lee visited the memorial stone of his lifelong friend Paul Nimbley at Middletown’s September 11 memorial garden Monday, fresh off the news that Osama bin Laden had been killed by U.S. armed forces. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)


Paul Nimbley and Mark Lee were like brothers. They grew up together, went to school together in Jersey City. Lee was Nimbley’s best man at his wedding.

Nearly 10 years ago, Nimbley was one of nearly 3,000 killed at the World Trade Center and two other locations in attacks orchestrated by Osama bin Laden, the elusive-yet-ubiquitous face of 21st century terror who finally met his demise at the hands of U.S. special forces Sunday.

On the heels of that bittersweet news, Lee, a Jersey City firefighter, made a reflective, heart-wrenching trip to pay respects at his friend’s memorial stone at Middletown’s September 11 memorial garden Monday morning.

While there is no true closure in knowing that bin Laden’s reign as a mastermind of terror is over, it lifts a weight of uncertainty that bin Laden would ever face retribution for his horrors against humanity, Lee said.

“It still hurts. I lost my best friend,” Lee, of Toms River, said. “The world’s been changed by this, and now I think it’s better off.”

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