Mt. Olive Online Publication July 28, 2020
Mt. Olive Online Publication July 28, 2020
Happy 50th Issue Mt. Olive Online!
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By Cheryl Conway
For those in need of food, stop by Turkey Brook Park in Budd Lake on Wednesday morning, July 29.
Mt. Olive Township is partnering with the Morris County Table of Hope program to provide free groceries, produce, dairy and canned goods to anyone who attends the give-away between 10 a.m. and noon tomorrow. Table of Hope is a program of the Spring Street Community Development Corporation in Morristown.
As the pandemic continues, so does the need for food for many who are struggling financially. Those who drive thru or even walk up, will receive bags of groceries.
“We’re very grateful to be able to come and work with the Mt. Olive community,” says Teresa Williams, executive director of the Spring Street CDC, a not-for-profit organization established in 2011 to improve the quality of life for Morris County families. “Hopefully we will be a blessing to some folks.”
Williams’ husband, Rev. Dr. Sydney S. Williams Jr. of Bethel Church in Morristown, founded the organization, along with its newest project Table of Hope, a mobile food pantry that began in 2013. A school bus, contributed by a generous donor, distributes food to various locations and pantries throughout Morris County.
“We go to a lot of different towns,” says Williams, about three to four towns per week. “Mt. Olive was interested in doing something for the community and wanted us to help with that. We will come with our bus,” and some vans to transport the food.
“We bring canned goods, dry goods, meats,” she says. “Volunteers sort it on site. Town pulls together the volunteers. The whole community really works together.”
Volunteers in Mt. Olive will help set up tables to help sort, bag and distribute the groceries. Groceries will then be placed in the trunks of the cars that pull up.
“It takes a lot of volunteers to make sure things run smoothly,” says Williams, up to 25 to 30, to keep things operating “at a reasonable pace.”
Everyone who pulls up will get presorted grocery bags placed in their trunks.
“We feed over 300 people,” she says. “We try to have a variety. We pre-bag everything, meat, produce, canned goods.”
Meats include chicken, turkey, pork loins, taco meat, sometimes fish.
“It’s really what’s available,” says Williams. Fruits, vegetables, pastas, beverages, milk, eggs, sometimes sparkling or mineral water. “I just never know. It’s a mix.”
Williams says six grocery bags are given per car. The organization does not take dietary requests to avoid a delay of the movement of the line and distribution. Receivers can always donate unwanted items to a neighbor or food pantry.
There are no requirements to qualify to receive food. All are welcome, even those living outside of Mt. Olive.
Masks are required, notes Williams.
Car windows must be kept rolled up; trunks must be empty to make room for the grocery bags.
“Make sure there’s room in the trunk,” she notes. “Make sure it’s clear.”
Also do not take pictures during the event, she requests, for privacy reasons.
“Anyone can pull up to get bags of groceries,” says Williams.
Just like going to the grocery store, participants must keep in mind the groceries do contain perishable and frozen items so keep travel restrictions at a minimum and transfer items in a timely manner from vehicle to refrigerator/freezer so food does not spoil.
While food pantries exist in various towns, the Table of Hope bus supplements that need.
“At the height, when the pandemic hit late March, early April, we talked about coming out to help smaller pantries,” explains Williams. “The need was just so great; it was in such a demand.”
Many pantries do not provide meat nor dairy, but Table of Hope does, packing the items in freezers to stay cool and fresh. Also, people don’t want to come out,” to their pantries, so Table of Hope comes to their neighborhood with easy drive thru service, “a safer way,” so no one has to get out of the car, “something people appreciate.
“If we have food leftover, we donate to the pantry,” says Williams, including the fresh produce. “We work with the pantries.”
Primary donations that provide food to Table of Hope is the Community Food Bank of N.J., says Williams. Other donations come from Alstede Farms, local markets, and local farmers.
Lisa Brett, Mt. Olive’s special projects coordinator, has no idea how many families will come out since the event is open to those living outside the township.
Williams plans to bring enough groceries to feed 200 to 250 families tomorrow, but one never knows how many people will show up. During a recent visit to Montville, “a small turnout of 80 cars came through,” she says.
“The need is a lot greater that showed up,” Williams said. “It’s real; there are people clearly in a higher economic status” who have mortgages to pay, kids in college, and they need a helping hand. “We’re seeing all of that play out.”
But in the end “it’s all optional; if someone wants to come or not. If someone’s uncomfortable, they just don’t come.”
Williams’ goal is to provide a “very friendly environment,” she says. “We try not to be judgmental; trying to make it as friendly as we can so people can get what they need.”
Anyone who is in need of food in the future, or who cannot attend the drive thru event, can contact Lisa Brett at LBrett@mtolivetwp.org, or the local food pantry.
For those who would like to donate to the Table of Hope or for more information, visit www.springstreetcdc.org/table-of-hope/
By Cheryl Conway
Three Mt. Olive alumni returned to the Mt. Olive Middle School in Budd Lake last night to ask leaders to create a supportive environment for students of color, provide an anti-racist curriculum and a clear focus on inclusion.
Temi Akanbi, Afreen Fahad and Geraldine Ojukwu, alumni from the class of 2015, spoke during the public portion at the end of the Mt. Olive Board of Education meeting held Monday, July 27. The former students were there representing a group they formed in June- Mount Olive In Color- and presented the board with a petition with 500 signatures calling for change.
The first in-person meeting since COVID-19 closed all the school buildings in March and triggered virtual meetings, the Mt. Olive BOE met at MOMS at 5 p.m. for its regular board meeting. Attendees had to fill out a health questionnaire and get their temperatures checked before being admitted to enter the school’s auditorium.
Attendees were designated to sit separately, in every other row, with few people per row, and had to wear masks. Aside from social distancing concerns, BOE members were presented with a petition as well as letters from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) sharing their experiences they faced within the school district.
With the outcry throughout the nation, following the killing of George Floyd and other innocent black lives, local former students started their own conversations looking into individual experiences growing up in Mt. Olive. These conversations have enticed some young activists to speak up for change.
“We were processing our own grief and essentially discussing what were our own experiences growing up in Mt. Olive namely the school district,” explains Ojukwu. “While doing that we realized how normalized some of the microaggressions and discrimination faced frequently. We realized that our peers were also having the same conversations and that these issues are widespread.”
So she and her friends organized a collection of students’ experiences.
Ojukwu explains: “We decided to speak up for ourselves; collect responses in one place; our priority was to create a forum where people could feel comfortable to share their experiences.”
Fahad says they asked for letters from their peers and the community and in doing so were surprised to receive more than 100 responses that exposes “how common” these experiences are for BIPOC.
They went ahead and created a group- Mount Olive In Color, explains Ojukwu, “To push for change centered around awareness, conversation and accountability.”
Their goal is to “Address the route, provide infrastructure for long-term solutions.”
They introduced their petition to BOE and provided a copy to the board secretary.
They also requested to have “a more detailed conversation in following weeks” with the BOE.
BOE President Dr. Anthony Giordano suggested to the group to set up a meeting with Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Zywicki to go over concerns.
Curriculum Planned On African American Studies
During the public portion of the BOE meeting, Akanbi questioned the BOE on its plans for a school curriculum on African American History.
Zywicki explains the African American curriculum planned for the high school and school district.
He says it will be “Team taught and team co-written,” with Mr. Zindel, who was board approved at the last meeting to be part of the process. He is working with Amistad Commission, says Zywicki. They were both invited to the Department of Education Black History Month event as “one of the inaugural Amistad Journey School Districts.”
Zywicki says they “Will be working hand in hand with the Amistad Commission” on a “Series of best practices when it comes to teaching African American studies," which he says, is “Not supposed to be just about trauma but also culture and things like that.”
He also made connection with a group out of Ghana that does a series of live video chats, on current African culture, economics, politics, keeping in mind the “need to infuse those things in elementary grades.”
He says there will be “tremendous number of scholars” who will “be vetting our curriculum before presenting it to full board approval."
This process is happening right now and in the next couple of weeks, he says.
He also placed an ad this week seeking a teacher in African American Studies, “as he wants a person to have a background in that.”
Akanbi says she appreciates the effort everyone has been putting into and researching the curriculum.
She says, “as someone who is the child of two African immigrants, born in America” she stresses that African History and African American History need to be two separate classes.
“That is the issue that we are missing in a lot these classes,” says Akanbi. “We are always talking about African and the slaves… Black people have come way farther than when they were slaves. We should focus more on the rich and beautiful black American history that has been in this country for decades past Africa.”
“I would concur with you,” says Zywicki, who took 12 credits of African American studies and African History at Syracuse University.
African studies for elementary schools will include African culture, history and art. The African American Studies course, however, is a high school elective. For middle school students in seventh grade and eighth grades, African American studies will be “infused throughout” in world history, world geography, world literature, in ELA. in text.
Other MO School District Actions On Race
Zywicki noted the following on his daily blog:
“In January 2019, after I first addressed the full MOTSD staff I was struck by the lack of diversity in our teaching staff. Subsequently, we launched the Applitrack online hiring system and a recruitment plan to deliberately increase the diversity of our application pool. In December 2019, the Board of Education approved the Human Rights and African American Studies electives for the 2020-21 school year. Following the Murder of George Floyd we held a student-driven teach-in to discuss the issues of systemic racism and police brutality in our nation. While we have made recent strides towards equity and the celebration of diversity in our schools, these are first steps in a much longer journey to fully address these issues in MOTSD,” wrote Zywicki.
“On 8/31, Dr. Tyrone Howard will be addressing the full MO faculty and staff to kick off our examination of the relationships between bias, race, culture and the impact it has on our student's learning, development, and sense of belonging,” he continued. “Dr. Howard's visit is over a year in the making having been invited to the district in June of 2019. The entire Mount Olive Community is invited to participate in a virtual book club to read and discuss Dr. Howard's book "Why Race and Culture Matter in Schools.”
BOE Commend Students
BOE members commended the students who spoke up at the meeting.
One of the reasons newly elected BOE member Nolan Stephens ran was to encourage a greater voice among the students. He thanked the group for attending the meeting.
“Thanks all of you for being a part of that,” and speaking up for change, says Stephens.
“Mount Olive in Color team, thank you for coming up,” says Dr. Antoine Gayles. “Truth to power; hold us accountable, that we do what we are elected to do; to learn, to grow and become a more inclusive school community.”
Giordano recommends that everyone read the book “White Fragility,” by Robin Diangelo, as a way to educate oneself on the issue of racism.
Mount Olive In Color
Mount Olive In Color started back in June around the time of the protest, says Akanbi, who stresses that she did not help develop the page but instead helped with the tasks.
“I've been working with Mount Olive In Color to draft the petitions released so far and also putting together all of the letters people have been sending in regarding their experiences as POC in MO,” says Akanbi.
The idea and the development of the group “was founded by two MO alumni who are good friends of mine from school.” They wanted to remain anonymous up until the BOE meeting last night.
“The purpose is to expose the disparities POC face in town because everyone thinks it doesn’t happen,” explains Akanbi. “The plan is to expose and then rebuild with understanding and better experience for POC that come to live here.”
Mount Olive in Color is a page on Facebook used to disseminate information from Mount Olive in Color and share stories as it’s not a Facebook group format. The group welcomes and encourages discussion in the comments and any posts on the page.
In addition to the BOE petition, the group has circulated another petition for the Mt. Olive Police Department.
There is no deadline for the police petition, they say. Two weeks ago, they attended a Zoom Town Hall meeting with MOPD Chief Stephen Beecher “and we walked away with more questions than answers,” they say. “After presenting our petition to the BOE this week, we will be able to give all matters related to the PD the attention it deserves.
As far as signatures, "We have a little over 100 on the MOPD one and close to 500 on the MOTSD one.”
The Zoom call with Beecher was held on July 14 at 7 p.m. and was facilitated by the MO Democrats.
“I appreciated him taking the time to hop on the call,” says Akanbi. There were about 26 of us. Most of the call was statistics and what jumped out at me was the consideration of body cams for MOPD and the stop statistics. MO shouldn't be funneling money into body cams when it could be used for other things. And the chief read some stats from over the last few years that black people stopped by MOPD range between 15-20% right along white people but black people only make up 5% of the community. That's a problem.”
Progress For Change
Between the two protests held in Mt. Olive so far, the letters written by students and other community members, the town hall meeting with Beecher and two petitions, Akanbi says much more needs to be done for change.
“Not much change has happened yet,” says Akanbi. "It feels like a lot of scrambling and being performative with no real substance. What I love though are all the people in the group who are so open and welcoming to help usher in change. Everyone there is amazing.”
Next up is a protest set for Hackettstown “that I'm still hammering out details for. Depending on how things go, MO may be due for another one. We're also going to be keeping a close eye on all these officials to make sure they do things right because right now things look bleak.”
Akanbi says the group also hopes to reach out to township leaders.
“I haven't reached out to the mayor, but I have met informally with some members of the council to discuss my comments about MOPD,” she says. “It was unproductive to say the least. I think a possible council meeting with them may be beneficial but not if the Mayor doesn't attend because he is the one who needs to hear what we have to say the most. If not then it honestly would be a waste of time talking and explaining things I shouldn't have to people twice my age.”
She does add, “Definitely keep an eye out for more petitions and actions in the next two weeks. We have a lot coming so everyone should be paying attention to the MOIC and March Towards Justice pages.
The following is the petition submitted by Mount Olive In Color and signed by 500 residents:
To the MOTSD administration, faculty, student body, and extended community, We are writing this petition in the spirit of improving the experiences of all members of the Mount Olive community. We firmly believe that our community is due for an exhaustive reexamination of what has been normalized. As reflected by the letters of the Mount Olive in Color initiative, our school district has a considerable way to go in regards to creating a safe and supportive environment for its BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) students. We ask that you read and sign the following petition which demands thoughtful reflection, anti-racist curriculum, and a clear focus on inclusion. [We encourage all who read this petition to look through the submissions to Mount Olive in Color. As part of an ongoing initiative, Mount Olive in Color has been collecting the perspectives and experiences of Mount Olive’s BIPOC residents.] The mission of the Mount Olive Township School District is to “challenge and inspire all learners within a safe, nurturing environment to discover and develop their unique abilities as literate, ethical and contributing citizens of the world.” In order to ensure that all students that go through the Mount Olive School District are able to be ethical and contributing worldly citizens, it is imperative that they are well-equipped with the tools and knowledge to not only be aware, but be actively anti-racist. Only then, can these future leaders be “ready for what comes next.” As students graduate from Mount Olive, many become high-achieving leaders that permeate a variety of fields. In order to be prepared for positions of responsibility, students must have an acute awareness of systemic racism before they enter fields in which their personal biases may influence the care and services they give. It is most often the case that alumni of our school are only introduced to these topics in college, if at all. Why shouldn’t the foundations for an anti-racist education be laid in at an earlier stage? What role will the MOTSD play in their ability to groom impartial, respectful professionals such as lawyers, nurses, doctors, bankers, entrepreneurs, etc.? Students of color are regularly subjected to microaggressions and racial bias as they progress through the Mount Olive School System. These incidents, as documented through the MOIC letters, include being subject to inappropriate comments from teachers, peers using racial slurs (such as the N-word and Sp*ic), unjust discipline, etc. Some of these incidents are escalated to the administration, while most are left ignored and unresolved out of discomfort and fear of retaliation. It is the responsibility of the entire Mount Olive School Community to uphold the commitment of creating a “safe, nurturing environment” for all students.
The Mount Olive School District prides itself on being at the forefront of innovation and change, constantly pushing its students to do better (ie. the No-D policy). As schools around the country spring into action, the MOTSD is presented with an opportunity to again prove that this town is committed to going above and beyond the basic state requirements to ensure that students are well-prepared and held to high-standards to achieve extraordinary results. Our demands aim to create long-term change within the Mount Olive Township School District and are as follows: 1. Acknowledgment ● Issue a statement of acknowledgment addressing the experiences of BIPOC students in the Mount Olive Township School District. 2. Curriculum ● A comprehensive revision of MOTSD’s History and English curriculum that reflects an accurate, objective, summation of both World and American History encompassing more than the current Euro-centric curriculum. English classes must be far more inclusive of authors of color. Class discussions on allyship, systemic racism, privilege, and justice should be a regular part of students’ learning experience--not just during Black History month or MLK day. ● Evaluate how to appropriately weave multicultural education into the existing Science, Math, Arts, and Music curriculums. ● Implement inclusive and anti-racist reading, lectures, and discussions at every grade-level to increase exposure and understanding from a young age. ● Incorporate African-American studies into the general curriculum. a. Seek out a Black educator who has designed the framework for an African-American History course or has consulted on a previous course that has been put into circulation. ● We suggest inviting speakers to present to the student body on social justice issues, especially as it pertains to racial justice. ● Incorporate field trips to local museums focused on the history, culture, and heritage of African-American, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian communities. This presents an opportunity for students to learn more about the multifaceted and complex experiences different Americans face. 3. Hiring/Training ● Educators and administrators must be properly informed and prepared to facilitate conversations around subjects of allyship, systemic racism, privilege, and justice. We demand that all teachers/administrators go through mandatory implicit bias/diversity and inclusion training run by an outside organization. Teachers and staff should use this training as an opportunity to examine their own internalized racism and prejudices, and to shift their teaching practices beyond just being neutral in the face of racism to becoming actively anti-racist. ● Hire and retain multiple teachers and guidance counselors of color. We suggest recruiting more from HBCUs. ● Second or third-party review of gaps in training and curriculum within the education system prior to any implementation. 4. Security ● We demand an investigation into the need for a number of security officers (armed and unarmed) and the points of contact between students of color and security personnel. 5. Discipline ● The school district will provide data on previous disciplinary decisions regarding the use of racial and derogatory slurs including, but not limited to, homophobic, sexist, and racist language. It is crucial that there is a public understanding and record of how our school has dealt with such incidents in the past in order to acknowledge how we can better handle them in the future. 6. Reporting ● We demand the development and implementation of a reporting system for all incidents of bias, bigotry, and racism on campus. All incidents, regardless of physical evidentiary support, must be recorded. Derogatory language and intentionally harmful behavior are rampant within our community; the absence of a system for reporting and recording these incidents involving students, teachers, and administrators allows these issues to remain unresolved. ● Establish independent guidelines for faculty, staff, administration, and students who do not cooperate in fostering an inclusive environment. ● Implement a mandatory exit survey for MOHS seniors to fill out prior to graduation to report their experiences going through the Mount Olive school system and evaluate whether they feel “ready for the next.” How do students assess their understanding of ethical behavior and their preparedness in becoming well-informed, contributing citizens of the world? 7. Appreciation of Culture ● The creation of a space for students of color to share their experiences and heritage, such as a Multicultural Student Coalition club at MOMS and MOHS. ○ We also challenge clubs like Student Task Force, Key Club, and Student Council to collaborate with the Multicultural Student Coalition. ● Encourage the celebration and expression of different cultures year-round. ○ We suggest hosting a showcase night for the community to come together to celebrate different cultures. 8. Accountability ● For each category listed above, implement accountability measures and measures of success to ensure that these goals are reached. ○ We suggest a published bi-annual report of implemented training, new books in the curriculum, etc. (This letter and its action items were inspired by calls to action put together by @blackatlovett, @studentsofcolormatter, and Nourhan Ibrahim and Jessica Sharan, alumnae of Morris County School of Technology in New Jersey)
Library Goes Virtual For Kids
Virtual Storytime: Do your kids miss Storytime and coming to the library? Tune in Monday through Friday to see all of the Children's Room Librarians reading stories on Facebook and Instagram.
Buzz's Spring Reading Challenge: Are your kids looking for a fun challenge, that could also brighten up your home? Take part in Buzz's Spring Reading Challenge and help Buzz grow flowers all over Mt. Olive. Printable reading logs and flower coloring pages can be found online at www.mopl.org/youth.
Library Open For Curbside Pickup
The Mt. Olive Public Library is open for curbside pickup.
Requests can only be made via phone call or email.
There is a limit of six items for adults and eight for kids and young adults.
Patrons will be called once their items are available for pickup.
Bags will be placed outside of the library, marked with the last four digits of the patrons card number
Due to COVID-19, patrons may not enter library.
No books will be left outside the building after curbside hours
Library fines remain suspended through July 31. Also due dates will be spread out throughout August to prevent everything being due back at one time.
Hours are Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
Thursday: 4 p.m.-8 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Closed on Sunday.
For questions email: email@example.com; call 973-691-8686 ext.106.
Freeholders Provide More Funds To Pantries And Kitchens
The Morris County Board of Freeholders has approved a second $28,000 COVID-19 emergency allocation to assist four major food pantries and kitchens in Morris County that provide nourishment to many hundreds of residents and families who are struggling with a loss of jobs and income, and resultant food insecurity during this health crisis.
County allocations of $7,000 apiece have been approved unanimously by the Freeholder Board for the Interfaith Food Pantry, Nourish NJ, Table of Hope, and Faith Kitchen.
The money is to be used by each organization to help meet its most pressing needs. The board also allocated $28,000 for food kitchens and pantries in April.
"Many residents of Morris County continue to struggle during this crisis, having lost jobs or much of their incomes, as they try to care for their families," said Freeholder Director Deborah Smith. "As a result, food pantries have become essential to their existence, and we need to continue to help them to help our residents."
“We have seen the long lines at food distribution sites across the county, and understand food pantries and kitchens are providing vital services to the county community,'' said Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo. "These food providers are hard pressed to meet the demands, and need money, food, and volunteers to help so many of our families.''
Find out more about food distribution and needs of each of the county's major food pantries:
Faith Kitchen: 123 E. Blackwell Street, Dover NJ 07801 (above Trinity Lutheran Church).
St. Elizabeth Ann Seaton Parish; 973-927-1629
Abiding Peace Lutheran Church; 973-691-9393
Grocery Shopping Offered For Seniors And Disabled Residents
Sign up to be a Volunteer Shopper for this COVID-19 Program
The Morris County Office on Aging, Disabilities, and Community Programming is partnering with nonprofit Jersey Cares to provide volunteers to do grocery shopping for older or disabled residents across all of Morris County.
The program will keep persons most vulnerable to COVID-19 out of harms way in supermarkets and other food markets.
Eligible participants must be either over age 60 or be disabled and between ages 18-to-59 and in need of shopping assistance.
Consumers can call the ADRC hotline at 973-285-6848 or 1-800-564-4656, and request volunteer shopper assistance. Volunteers have been vetted by Jersey Cares and are ready to serve Morris County residents.
“We are very glad to have county government partner with Jersey Cares in this important response to the COVID-19 crisis, which has especially impacted our older and disabled populations here in Morris County,” said Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo, the county governing board’s liaison on social services issues.
“Jersey Cares is proud to offer this program in Morris County,” said Michele Epifani, vice president of programs for Jersey Cares. “While we developed the program in response to a critical COVID-19 need, we realized this need has always been there.
“The seniors are wonderful to work with and always so grateful for the service,” she added, saying their volunteers are eager to get started on this new joint effort with the county.
Program participants are required to provide contact information, a grocery list, and a maximum budget for each shopping trip. More specific program information will be provided when participants call for the service.
Jersey Cares, a nonprofit organization that was established in 1993, recruits and engages volunteers in projects that address community-identified needs.
To volunteer for the new grocery shopping program, and for more information on Jersey Cares, visit https://www.jerseycares.org/
For more information on Morris County government programs for seniors and disabled county residents, visit: https://hs.morriscountynj.gov/adv/
Suicide Prevention Partnerships Heighten In County
Suicide prevention during this high-stress COVID-19 crisis will be the focus of a new Team Up partnership between the Morris County Department of Human Services and the Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris.
The joint effort, which is being funded by county government, will deal with increased mental health issues caused by a host of factors, from loss of jobs and businesses, to isolation and fear of an uncertain future.
It will employ social services, mental health, and education professionals to reach out to Morris County residents in need of help.
“Many residents are dealing with issues that are pushing them beyond the limits of their ability to cope, and to deal with life stresses that are far beyond the norm,” said Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo. “We want to reach out to them – young and old – and give them some help and assurance, and resources to get through this difficult time.”
The Freeholder Board last night approved a $26,160 expenditure to fund a 22-week Team Up program, running from Aug. 1 to Dec. 31, that will offer in-person and virtual help for residents, and online training for educators and professionals to deal with mental health issues during this crisis.
“We look forward to working with Morris County on this innovative effort, and we appreciate their leadership,” said Mental Health Association Executive Director Bob Davison. “As a community, we must address the issues of suicide prevention and mental health out in the open; as a partnership, families, government and agencies working together.”
To reduce the spread of COVID-19, stay-at-home orders, self-quarantines, and social distancing have been employed. While these practices are helpful in dealing with the virus, this isolation from family, friends, and community have induced anxiety, depression, fear, and loneliness – all factors that can lead to suicide, according to mental health experts.
The new five-month Morris County and MHAEM program will focus on both adult and youth populations.
For the adult population, Mental Health Association of Essex and Morris (MHAEM) professionals will ride along with Morris County’s Navigating Hope mobile social services van one day each week throughout the county. While on Navigating Hope they will educate residents on signs of suicide, assist persons in immediate crisis, and refer residents to available mental health services.
The MHAEM also will address the adult population by providing virtual 90-minute presentations on suicide prevention to Morris County residents.
They also plan to reach consumers through social media and various programs the agency offers, while the county will help publicize the dates of MHAEM presentations and disseminate information to towns and agencies across Morris County.
For the youth population, the MHA will work with school districts across Morris County to educate faculty, staff, and students on the signs of suicide. All school districts will be invited to participate in an overview of the components of the Signs of Suicide (SOS) program.
MHAEM will offer training — in-person or virtual –on the implementation of the SOS program in schools.
Tips To Control Mosquitos
With so many Morris County residents spending a lot more time in their backyards, decks and patios this summer due to the COVID-19 crisis, county mosquito experts have an important piece of advice to offer:
Please remove standing water in and around the property during this current hot spell, when frequent summer shows can create pools of water for mosquito breeding.
Mosquito professionals are working to control the tiny biting pests in parks and forests for hikers, walkers and bikers.
In recent days, they have sprayed infested areas in the Chathams, Hanover and Morris townships, and Parsippany. (check the website for up-to-date spraying info).
But residents have the power to deal with mosquitoes in their own back yards by eliminating stagnating water -- the place that mosquitoes breed.
"If everyone would take steps around their own homes to eliminate standing water, it could reduce the number of mosquitoes by many hundreds of thousands, if not millions, where you live,” said Morris County Mosquito Division Superintendent Kristian McMorland.
Residents can take the following steps to protect themselves and their families:
Empty water from flowerpots, pet food and water dishes, birdbaths, swimming pool covers, buckets, barrels and cans once or twice a week.
Clear clogged rain gutters.
Remove containers or trash that may be difficult to see, such as under bushes, homes or around building exteriors.
Dispose of unused tin cans, plastic containers, ceramic pots or similar water-holding containers on your property.
Drill holes in the bottom and elevate recycling containers left outdoors.
Repair and clean storm-damaged roof gutters, particularly if leaves from surrounding trees clog drains. Roof gutters can produce millions of mosquitoes each season.
Turn over plastic wading pools and wheelbarrows when not in use.
Avoid allowing water to stagnate in bird baths.
Aerate ornamental pools or stock them with fish. Water gardens become major mosquito producers if they stagnate.
Use EPA-registered insect repellents when outdoors and wear protective clothing.
Also clean and chlorinate swimming pools, including those not in use. An untended swimming pool can result in neighborhood-wide complaints. Be aware that mosquitoes may develop in water that collects on pool covers.
Stay in air-conditioned places or rooms with window screens that prevent access by mosquitoes.
If a mosquito problem remains after taking the above steps, call the county mosquito control agency for assistance. There are larval habitats that only a mosquito control program can properly address.
For basic on Morris County's Mosquito Control operations, visit https://morriscountynj.gov/mosquito/info/.
Seward House On List For County Grant
The Seward House in Mt. Olive is one of the projects listed for grant consideration from the Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund announced recently.
The Morris County Historic Preservation Trust Fund Review Board has recommended $4.4 million in county grants to help preserve, restore, or protect 28 historic sites in 18 towns across Morris County. The grant money would come from the voter-approved Morris County Open Space, Farmland, Floodplain
Protection and Historic Preservation Trust Fund.
The recommendations were presented recently at the Morris County
Board of Freeholders remote meeting (due to COVID-19).
They included grants ranging from $4,500 for construction documents for
The Women's Club of Morristown to $89,820 for an electrical system at the
King Homestead Museum in Roxbury, and $320,000 for the
Stone Arch Bridge stabilization project in Boonton.
Historic Seward House in Mt. Olive has been requested to receive a Construction Grant Amount of $220,000. The Seward House, an Italianate style farmhouse constructed c. 1800 with an 1860 addition, currently sits on 270 acres of park land and is unoccupied. The building is individually listed on the Historic Registers. This grant will assist with restoration of the cut slate roof with built-in gutter, restoration of the cornice entablature and cupola, painting of the wood cornice, and restoration of the brick chimney.
The largest amount, $480,000, would be used towards the purchase of the historic
Morristown Post Office in downtown Morristown.
The freeholders, who were briefed on the projects by Review Board
Chairwoman Nita Galate, plan to make a final decision on the recommendations at the board's Aug. 12 public meeting.
“The restoration, rehabilitation, and preservation work that is aided by
this voter-approved grant program allows us preserve and better
understand Morris County’s history, and it maintains important links to
our past,”’ said Morris County Freeholder Stephen Shaw..
“The many dedicated county residents who work to maintain our history,
which offers lessons for the present and ensures an
inheritance for our future, deserve our sincere thanks,”
said Ray Chang, Historic Preservation Program Coordinator for Morris County. “These county grants assist their efforts to ensure that our county’s heritage and architectural legend are sustained.”
Recommended projects are located in Boonton, Chatham Township, Denville, Dover, East Hanover, Hanover, Kinnelon, Madison, Mendham, Morristown, Mount Arlington, Mount
Olive, Netcong, Parsippany, Randolph, Rockaway Township, Roxbury and Washington Township.
County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph is providing students with a number of options for how they can take their courses this fall semester so they can keep moving forward with their higher education.
The college currently is enrolling students for the fall and has built in a high level of flexibly to make it easier for them to pursue their goals during these challenging times. It also is implementing a number of health and safety measures, as per federal, state and local guidelines, to protect the well-being of the campus community.
Students enrolling this fall will be able to select courses that are being offered in one of three formats: hybrid, online and remote. The tuition cost for each option remains the same.
Hybrid Courses consist of a combination of traditional face-to-face instruction and remote or online sessions. This may include some on-campus labs with remote lecture, reduced in-classroom time or other instructional designs that meet the needs of the course materials.
Online Courses were designed to be taught in an online setting. Unless otherwise noted, online courses were developed to be taught without specific meeting times.
Remote Courses were designed to be taught in a classroom but are being offered as a form of distance education due to the emergency conditions. Remote classes are completely online but include scheduled virtual meeting times when the class is to meet together.
To limit the number of people on campus, the majority of classes are being offered in the online and remote formats.
Students enrolling this fall also can select from a number of terms, ranging from 2 week to 15 week sessions. Students can search for courses and the format they prefer at https://titansdirect.ccm.edu/Student/Courses/.
New students first need to apply to the college before registering for classes. Applications can be submitted at www.ccm.edu/admissions/. Continuing students should talk with their advisor before registering.
Support Services Designed for Student Success
When the COVID-19 pandemic first struck New Jersey, CCM moved its support services online so students could continue to gain assistance to ensure their success. The Academic Success Center was expanded into TascPlus@ccm.edu to provide students with individualized online assistance from updating them on the status of classes, to connecting them to a student success specialist or a counselor, to arranging for them to pick up any class materials or technology they may need. Included among the other services the college is offering online are Academic Advisement, Tutoring and Live Chats with Librarians. To learn more about those services, go to www.ccm.edu/covid-19-information-center/online-resources/.
An Education You Can Afford
Each year, CCM awards approximately $12 million in financial aid and scholarships to its students, allowing them to pursue a high-quality college education at an affordable price. To find our more, go to www.ccm.edu/admissions/financialaid/. All its classes, hybrid, online and remote, are offered at a fraction of the cost of most other online offerings.
Transfer or Gain Employment Upon Graduation
At CCM, students can choose from 50 academic degrees and a wide range of certificate programs. A number of programs, such as those in computer science, engineering, and hospitality and culinary science, are designed so students can seek employment immediately upon graduation. Numerous others are specifically designed so students can transfer their credits to earn a bachelor’s degree. CCM holds more than 125 agreements with colleges and universities across New Jersey and the nation to simplify the transfer process. A listing of those agreements can be found at https://tinyurl.com/ybpy9qqy/.
Centenary University in Hackettstown plans to launch a new bachelor of science in Health Science this fall, responding to a growing need for trained health professionals in a wide range of professions. The degree will prepare graduates to pursue master’s degrees in related fields including occupational therapy, physical therapy, nutrition, and health education, as well as for entry-level jobs in healthcare settings such as hospitals, research laboratories, public health organizations, rehabilitation facilities, and government agencies, according to Dr. Craig Fuller, assistant professor of health science and director of the University’s medical laboratory science program.
“With the population aging, there is a growing need for healthcare workers,” said Fuller. “That’s an area that students, especially prospective student-athletes, have told us they’re interested in studying. The COVID-19 pandemic has also illustrated the need that’s out there right now. Here in northwestern New Jersey, there’s definitely a deficiency in the number of healthcare professionals needed.”
Centenary’s new health science degree is part of an ongoing initiative to build on the University’s noted science programs and expand academic offerings in the health sciences. Last year, Centenary introduced a new degree in medical laboratory science, and officials have approved an exercise science program launching in fall 2021 and are exploring plans to introduce a new Master of Occupational Therapy program.
Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, with its equestrian facility in Washington Township. The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs in Parsippany, as well as online and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.
Finding Your Personal Freedom
Submitted by Diane Lang, positive living expert, life coach, speaker.
With everything that is going on in the world: pandemic, quarantine, a country that’s divided, I started thinking about feeling free, what it means to me and what I truly want to be free of in my life. I can't control the outside world but I can control my own space/thoughts.
I think we all view personal freedom differently. Most of us hold onto some habits, beliefs and relationships longer than we need to. How would your life change if you released these attachments, beliefs, habits and relationships that no longer serve you?
When I think of freedom, I think of a life where I’m free of attachment from outcomes- just enjoying the journey.
I think of being free from other's opinions- I want to be able to hear other opinions but I don’t want it to take away from my self- esteem.
Free from the negative loop that plays in my head on repeat. We all have a negative bias and can find ourselves focusing on the negative but I want to be aware when the loop starts and be able to press the stop button.
Freedom from unrealistic expectations and setting myself up for failure.
Freedom from belief systems that are old, outdated and untrue. Instead creating new beliefs that motivate me to be my best self.
Freedom from relationships that no longer serve me leaving room for new healthy relationships.
Freedom from my past that I hold onto and carry around like old baggage.
Freedom to choose what is best for me without worrying what others think, remembering it’s my life and my choices.
Take some time to find out what being free looks like for you? How your life would change if you released everything that was holding you back? Then do one thing this week to move forward.
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