By Cheryl Conway
Traffic is one of the major issues driving residents to take a closer look at the proposal to replace Herold’s Landscaping with a Wawa.
Concerned residents are gearing up for the Mt. Olive Planning Board meeting set for next Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. when board members will hear the proposed application. What is in store is a plan to build a 24-hour Wawa Food and Service Station on the current property owned by Herold’s Landscaping & Garden Center located on Route 206 south and Flanders- Netcong Rd. in Flanders.
Local residents who gathered last week on Thursday, Feb. 7, at the Mt. Olive Public Library raised concerns that included safety, environment, water, police, overall design, historic property, bright lights, truck deliveries and increased traffic. Organizers of that meeting wanted to clear up any misinformation about a traffic study and a traffic survey.
A traffic study had been conducted by the Wawa this time last year in 2018. Vehicles were counted from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018. Then again on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 vehicles were counted from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Concerned residents are questioning whether the study determines a true depiction of the traffic patterns in that area. The study was done in the “middle of winter,” and for only 7.5 hours, “without consideration to high impact days,” as stated on the information memo to residents.
“Those numbers were extremely low,” says Denise Marrs, one of the organizers of the informational gathering. “Wawa’s report claimed traffic would be nominally impacted.”
The Wawa study, or traffic impact analysis, was conducted by Dolan & Dean Consulting Engineers, LLC out of Somerville, says Heather Carlton-another concerned resident raising awareness to the Wawa proposal.
“Wawa is an outstanding corporation,” Carlton says. “They go above and beyond. They are known to have good traffic studies,” but when looking at the results from their study, something is off. “In their terms, it’s not going to create more traffic.”
Many disagree and say, “The traffic of this area will be drastically impacted,” the organizers note.
So to look into the situation even further, Carlton who lives on Flanders-Netcong Rd. where she has witnessed many accidents on that road - decided to look at a traffic survey conducted at the Morris County level.
Published on the Morris County Planning Board’s site, Carlton looked at the Morris County Traffic Count Program Summary taken in 2015, which lists every county road in Morris County, explains Carlton.
The summary counts for an average 24-hour weekday volume of vehicles on any given road. Carlton checked out the summary listed for County Road 613 between Flanders-Netcong Rd. and Route 206. The summary resulted in 7,715 cars in 24 hours, says Carlton. The summary results came from two different days on June 3, 2015 and June 5, 2015 with one time at the morning peak time of 7 a.m.; other time was evening rush hour peak at 5 p.m.
Those concerned must keep in mind that the summary by the county was conducted in 2015, prior to much of the development in the area including the completion of Morris Chase, community pool, Splash Pad, Mt. Olive High School bubble and football stadium, the organizers note.
“I’m sure we’ve grown,” says Carlton, as “this is before the bubble.”
For those who may not know, there are two bubbles in town- one at MOHS and the other at Centercourt on top of Flanders-Netcong Rd.- that have become a main attraction for sports teams near and far to utilize in the colder months.
There is a “huge disparity” when comparing the traffic studies, says Marrs. “The numbers looked terribly low,” with the 2018 study. “That’s why we went to the county.”
Marrs says, “No matter how you slice it, the whole end of town will be impacted; everyone will be wiggling around town. It’s going be a congested mess all the time.”
Right now the plan calls for only a right hand turn onto 206 when leaving Wawa, or drivers to pull out of the driveway onto Flanders-Netcong Rd., where traffic already gets backed up.
The current proposal suggests four lanes at the mouth of Flanders-Netcong Rd. below the Wawa driveway, which “allows for a very small left hand turn into the Wawa driveway,” notes Carlton. “It’s very small.”
“Wawa cannot widen the Flanders-Netcong Rd. intersection properly to feed the traffic because of the constraints in place such as the historic Old Mill property and watershed issues,” explains Carlton.
"Our town has contacted the county to see what can be done on the opposite side of 206, an intersection equally in need of improvement should Wawa be built," Carlton adds.
Another suggestion is to only allow deliveries off of Route 206, and not from Flanders-Netcong Rd.
“I don’t need these monster trucks coming onto this residential block,” says Carlton. “They told me I’m not a traffic expert,” says Carlton. “I told them I’ve lived here 18 years” as a witness to all of the car accidents.
To keep up with updates regarding the Wawa proposal, follow on Facebook at 2019 Wawa Information Mt. Olive.
After 15 years in Mt. Olive, the Chabad Center of Northwest New Jersey- Western Region now has its own place to offer services to the community.
The Jewish center held its grand opening at 11 Deerfield Place, Flanders, on Sunday, Feb. 10, at 10:30 a.m. About 75 adults and children from Mt. Olive and surrounding areas, including Hope, Blairstown, Hackettstown, Long Valley, Chester and Roxbury, gathered to check out the new place, and attend the welcome ceremony with speakers, song and dance, personal prayer and reception.
The new center will provide an ideal location for programs and services to the greater Jewish community.
“If you go into a light house you will see lights; if you go into Mark Twain’s House you will see things about Mark Twain,” explains Rabbi Yaacov Shusterman, spiritual leader of the Chabad Center of Northwest N.J., during his opening remarks at the event.
“A Chabad House is where pieces of a puzzle form a beautiful mosaic,” he explains.
Fraida Shusterman, wife of Rabbi Shusterman, teacher and program director, agrees. “There's nothing like having an exclusive Chabad location for itself!”
What started out as a house on the hill on River Rd. in 2004, then moved to a house in the Cloverhill development has grown and with that the need for a separate space for services, educational programs for adults and seniors, special programs for women, Hebrew school, activities for youth and teens and so much more.
“Chabad in Mt. Olive started as a small seed,” explains Shusterman. That was “only the beginning.” When not held in their private home, Hebrew school has been held at the Country Day School in Flanders in the past; and services have been held at the Flanders Crossing Recreation Center. He says building the Jewish community through the Chabad has been “an uphill battle here. But with Chabad’s approach our uphill battle became smoother.”
Now with the new center, goals are “to provide even more cutting edge programs,” says Shusterman. “Increased services for Shabbat” are planned to be held Saturday mornings “every week.” Programs for youth and teens will be added.
The center is located on the second floor of the brown brick building at the end of the strip mall where Weiss is located on Route 206 north. The 1,400 sq. ft. space consists of two rooms with kitchen space, as well as other amenities in the building such as an elevator.
The Shustermans were clear as to the reasoning behind picking this building to serve as its new center.
“Location, location, location!” stresses Fraida Shusterman.
As part of his remarks, the rabbi thanks his partner for all that she does to keep the Chabad running.
“Her dedication is a crucial ingredient to every program we have,” says Shusterman, about his wife who he describes as the “backbone; chief chef; program director; amazing mother. I did nothing; she planned this.”
In her address, Fraida Shusterman says “This is just so nice.” She goes on to thank “Hashem” (God), who “has led us to this special day,” as well as their parents, siblings for all of their support, encouragement and love. She also thanks their nine “beautiful, precious children” who each helped in their own way and have “taken pride in this mission.” Lastly thanks all of their friends in attendance, who she says have been their “true inspiration.”
She says, “Let us make this center a beacon of light and a place for all Jews can feel welcome.”
Rabbi Asher Herson, regional director of Chabad of Northwest New Jersey, was invited to say a few words at the grand opening ceremony.
“Mazel tov, Mazel tov,” says Herson. “In life to accomplish anything, there’s a tremendous amount of effort. The more important the deed, the more challenging.” It takes “patience, perseverance.”
The saying “In God we trust” is the model of the United States; the same goes with Judaism and the founding of this Chabad center. “It’s an incredible thing.” With Torah and Judaism, “there’s a vacuum we can always rely on. The joy we have is simcha.”
Herson also noted that February is the month of Adar, which carries a message to “enjoy and achieve more than the month before. The primary focus of this month” is to act joyous. “Every day I want to be more joyous than the day before. Use this power from above to bring joy, to spread that to the world and us.”
Continues Herson: “Love and life- we have the direction especially when it’s powered by simcha, by joy. May we have only happy celebrations as well.”
One of the Hebrew school students was also asked to speak.
As a student with the Chabad for the past three years, Riley Thomas of Budd Lake says, “I enjoy every second of it. We do activities; I learn so much about my religion. I know a lot about my ancestors; about my history. I love Chabad so much. I always feel welcomed. It doesn’t even feel like school.”
The Shustermans were pleased with the large turnout last Sunday.
“We are thrilled and looking forward to even more growth, God willing,” says Fraida Shusterman.
“We will be having weekly Shabbat services following a delicious Kiddush, grand Purim party, Communal Passover Seder, Teen Shabbat dinner, Kids Challah Bake, The JLI Jewish Course of Why for Adults, and more,” says Fraida Shusterman. “All information will be posted on our website shortly.”
At the end of the ceremony, the males gathered in a circle and danced to music, and a delicious lunch was served.
Many are enthusiastic regarding their involvement at the new center.
“It’s really great to see what it’s grown into,” says Scott Sclar of Succasunna, the first Bar Mitzva student in 2008 with the local Chabad. He and his cousin were the first two students to join in 2004.
“To see the community growing is really heartwarming,” adds Sclar. “Now that there’s a home I feel inspired.”
As a member for the past 13 years, Daniela DeFinis is just as excited for “a permanent home to gather, celebrate and pray together, grow together.”
DeFinis says, “I really want to come for services. This is the permanence I’ve been looking for. I’ve grown up with that permanence.”
For those who would like to contribute to the new center, dedication opportunities are available.
Visit the Chabad website at www.mychabadcenter.com for more information.
“Thank God people have come through with so much already, and we're so grateful!” adds Fraida Shusterman. “The community response is so heartwarming and beautiful to see! Please stop by at 11 Deerfield Place, upstairs, Suite #6. We'll be happy to greet you. The signage outside the building is being prepared and should be up soon!”
To get involved, contact Rabbi Shusterman at 973-927-3531, or at firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Facebook at Facebook.com/jewishmtolive.
Background About Chabad Organization
According to the website, The Chabad Jewish Center is part of the largest network of Jewish social and educational organizations worldwide, known as Chabad Lubavitch. From his appointment in 1952, the Lubavitcher Rebbe, motivated by his profound love for every Jew, sent out large numbers of rabbinic emissaries, a husband and wife duo, to settle in places across the world to set up a Chabad House for the purpose of teaching and inspiring their Jewish brethren.
The Shustermans were sent to Mt. Olive for this mission.
“We had been in touch with our Regional Director, Rabbi Asher Herson from the Chabad in Rockaway, about opening up a center in the area,” explains Shusterman. “He suggested we come here because there hadn't yet been a Chabad Center established in Western Morris County.”
Before coming to Flanders they lived in Brooklyn and both worked as teachers, says Fraida Shusterman.
The Chabad Jewish Center is dedicated to serving all Jews in Mt. Olive and its surrounding neighborhoods with an unconditional love and concern for every Jew, regardless of background or affiliation. It is founded on a principle that, while Jews embrace many levels of observance in their personal lives, there should be a place for all Jews to develop a sense of community and enhance the Jewish experience.
The closest Chabad centers are the Chabad of Randolph, Chabad of Sparta and Chabad of Rockaway, says Shusterman.
Joining an exercise program with a friend or family member can be beneficial as two can motivate each other while sharing in their goals of exercise and better health.
No better time than the week/month of Valentine’s Day to sign up for this heart-felt offer to Bring A Friend And Save with the Mt. Olive Exercise program. Each person will save $25 off the $145 price for three months of unlimited exercise.
Join February-April for $120 with this offer. Classes are held at the Mt. Olive Senior Center.
Contact Laura at (973) 903-0453 or email email@example.com. Register by calling Recreation at (973) 426-7262.
Through a recent workshop, district security officers and Mt. Olive Police Department officers gained a better understanding of children with autism and other challenges.
Gary Weitzen, executive director of POAC Autism Services, conducted a presentation at the board of education office that outlined the characteristics commonly seen in individuals affected by autism. He focused much of his time discussing the most effective methods to communicate, particularly during emergencies. A number of case studies were examined that demonstrated how law enforcement saved lives by engaging people with autism using appropriate responsiveness and communication strategies.
“I wanted to provide a seminar for our school security officers and members of the police department that focused on recognizing and understanding the needs of students with disabilities,” said Lisa Schleer, the district’s director of special services who arranged Weitzen’s visit. “Our school security officers play such a vital role in our schools and the lives of students. They’re in direct contact with children every day, as are members of the Mt. Olive Police Department who are important school district partners.”
Research shows that first-responders and law enforcement personnel interact with people with autism and other developmental disabilities about seven times more frequently than the general public.
POAC, a non-profit organization based in Brick, N.J., provides free recreational and support services to children with autism spectrum disorder and their families. The disorder is commonly characterized by language and social impairment, non-contextual emotional outbursts, and repetitive behaviors.
Gary Weitzen, executive director of POAC Autism Services, discusses the characteristics of autism.
Play-Dough Club: Looking for some fun after dinner? Try the newest evening program for little ones, while having fun creating with Play-Dough. Tuesday, Feb. 19, 7 p.m., ages 3-6.
Leap Into Science: Join in for another special Leap Into Science program, engineered by the Franklin Institute. Learn about balance, Thursday, Feb. 28, at 1 p.m.
Here’s what’s happening at Mt. Olive Public Library for February 2019! Just a reminder that the library will be closed this month for the following holiday: Monday, Feb. 18 for Presidents’ Day.
Book Clubs Attract Readers
The Classics Book Club plans to meet on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m. to discuss Raymond Chandler’s “The Big Sleep.”
Both groups will meet in the Conference Room. Books are available at the Circulation desk.
Free Programs Offered
Mark calendars for the following free programs being offered at the library this month.
By appointment only: Tax preparation appointments are at the library in the Gathering Room on Thursdays through March 11. To make an appointment, call: 973-691-8686 ext. 100, Monday through Thursday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Movies at the Library: “What They Had,” rated R; drama; 1 hr. 41 min., in the Gathering Room on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at: 1 p.m.-3 p.m.; and 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Snacks included!
Stop by the library, visit www.mopl.org or call (973) 691-8686 ext. 106 for further information regarding any events.
Violet, My Love
When I look in your eyes
I see the colors of a rainbow
Blue for the warm skies,
Yellow For the bright sun,
Green for the pastures
yet to come…
Orange for the sweetness
as the fruit tastes;
Red for the love
my heart aches;
Indigo, because you know without it,
life wouldn’t be complete;
And last, but not least,
your name, Violet.
Written by M. Oliver
Your deep voice
Becomes my choice
So I can hear
You’re like the sunlight
That holds me tight
You're like a flower
And I know that’s your power
My heart is an empty place
Only you can bring peace
You're my strength and the only way
That I can push all the sorrows away
You're like an angel that was given
You’ve turned my world into heaven
You're so special
When I see you I'm flying near to celestial
I have a strange feeling in my heart
Its pain or happiness but I know it’s apart
I need to find a way to restart
And only you can push me harder to start
I see the monsters inside me and the scars
To hide everything, I need the broken parts
But it’s okay, I have you
Someone who’s always true
Someone who always loves
Your deep voice
Becomes my choice
Of living happily
By Rabia Shah
Children snuggled in their beds, freshly washed sheets,
returning home, winter break;
Sleeping in on snowy days,
icicles forming on trees;
Warm chocolate chip cookies,
gooey melting on tongue;
Bubble gum crackling in the fire
on a Saturday night;
Smell of coffee grinds
brewing down a grocery isle;
Family movies nights, kettle corn popping,
no seats left to sit;
Roses in full bloom
Staring up on countertop;
Too many to choose.
By Cheryl C.
Love is like eating
Oreos in the rain
Veering to be near you,
Evenings under a full moon
Your eyes are the sparkle on grass
On early morning dew
Your hair color, how I feel
When I cuddle next to you
The greeting you give me
Every time I walk in a room
Every day with you is a flower in bloom.
submitted by a dog lover
Love is a flower,
Which blooms with beauty and joy.
Whose sight lightens the souls,
Of every girl and boy.
Love is the two lovebirds,
Who stay together in flight.
Who sing and coo at each other,
And cuddle close at night.
Love is the sun,
Who blazes high in the sky.
Who shines so bright everyday,
On every girl and guy.
Love is the clouds,
Who comes in all shapes and forms.
Who makes all the plants dance in the rain,
During every rainstorm.
Love is a song,
Sung with beauty and grace,
Created by a variety of people,
Of every culture and race.
By Isabella Zeier
A scarlet card bordered by lace
A drawn dove posed flying with grace
A blood-red bouquet of vibrant rose flowers
A song for me that could be ours
A Pokémon necklace to make me shine
A cat bracelet that is now mine
A box of gourmet chocolates ever so sweet
Shimmering in the light of the fire and in the heat
A Zelda game that you thought I might like
A fluffy stuffed fox to remind me of my child life
All of those wondrous gifts wouldn’t matter to me
As long as you’re here and close to thee
by Skylar Flare
Mt. Olive Twp. is sponsoring a Free Child Health Exam & Vaccines for resident children of Mt. Olive, Netcong and Mount Arlington who do not have health insurance or have NJ Family Care A.
On Wednesday, March 6, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., a licensed pediatrician will perform physical examinations and update vaccinations at the Mt. Olive Twp. Health Dept. in Budd Lake. Ensure a child’s health and well-being by participating in this free event. It is a chance to make sure a child is up-to-date on his or her required vaccinations before the next school year.
Appointments are required: Call Nurse Helen Giles at 973-691-0900 ext. 7353.
Centenary University in Hackettstown hosted its first annual Night to Shine—an event sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation on Friday, Feb. 8.
The event was led by a group of volunteer students, faculty, and staff, and offered an unforgettable prom experience to young adults with special needs, ages 14 and up. It was held in conjunction with Hackettstown’s Church of the Assumption in the University’s David and Carol Lackland Center and included formal dining, catered by Chartwells and the Applebees in Hackettstown, music and dancing, makeovers, and professional photos.
Alec Donovan (Class of ’20), president of Centenary University’s Antibullying Club and member of the University’s Changebuilders Program, which is dedicated to facilitating community engagement opportunities for college students, brought this initiative to Centenary officials as part of his anti-bullying service project, after being introduced to the foundation via a family member.
“When my aunt’s church group brought up the idea of having the event at Centenary, I was excited to help in any way that I could,” Donovan, an education and history major. “I’ve been part of the wrestling team for the past three years, and we’re all members of the Changebuilders program. We think this is a great cause and would love to establish a solid relationship between the foundation and Centenary University for years to come.”
Centenary’s New Jersey Campus Compact (NJCC) and AmeriCorps Changebuilders coordinator, Rachel Danitz, used her passion for inspiring youth toward volunteerism to further advance the event, stating, “We’re were so proud to host this special night on campus. It was a chance for our community to come together, create awareness for those with special needs, and make some remarkable members of our community feel special and honored. It will be a night to remember.”
Night to Shine celebrated its fifth anniversary on Feb. 8. Close to 700 churches and 200,000 volunteers were expected to participate and serve approximately 100,000 honored guests.
County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph offers an affordable and convenient way to earn some extra credits, fast-track a college education to completion and lighten the course load for the next academic year through its Summer Sessions program.
Registration for Summer Sessions is open starting Feb. 11. By registering now, students are provided with the best selection of courses to fit their busy schedules.
Courses offered cover a range of general education requirements and disciplines such as the arts, humanities, science, business, engineering, health and more. Summer Sessions courses are offered in a variety of formats – traditional in-classroom courses, online or as hybrid courses with instruction provided both in-class and online.
CCM offers four Summer Sessions for 2019:
· Early 5 Week: May 20 – June 24
· Late 5 Week: June 25 – July 29
· 7 Week: June 27 – Aug. 15
· 3 Week: July 30 – Aug. 19
To view available courses, go to https://titansdirect.ccm.edu/Student/Courses/.
Individuals not currently enrolled at CCM first need to apply as a “Visiting Student” at www.ccm.edu/admissions before registering for Summer Sessions courses.
For more information, visit www.ccm.edu/admissions or call the Admissions office at 973-328-5100.
On Saturday, April 27, Layups 4 Life will be hosting its 5th annual 3v3 charity basketball tournament at the Parsippany PAL Youth Center in Parsippany. This tournament has quickly become one of New Jersey’s largest 3v3 charity basketball tournaments as it averages 40 teams per year. Registration for this tournament is open to ages 18+.
Layups 4 Life is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is founded on the principles of making a difference in the fight against cancer. Led by cancer survivor Dan Exter and his wife Dana Levine Exter, it is L4L’s mission to help raise vital funds for cancer research and clinical trials. Since 2014, Layups 4 Life has raised close to $80,000 through hosting a variety of events in the sports and social spaces. With the funds that they have raised during the last four years, L4L has made contributions in support of leukemia, pediatric and bone marrow research departments supporting one of the leaders in cancer innovation and research, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC).
To learn more about Layups 4 Life, visit its website at www.layups4life.org. Questions about this theme night or anything else regarding L4L, email Dan Exter or Dana Levine Exter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
When colleges host educational events and hands-on opportunities in addition to providing high quality classes, it ensures that students are receiving a well-rounded, diverse education.
At County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph, the Community and Civil Engagement (CCE) initiative offers high-impact, interdisciplinary opportunities to help broaden students’ knowledge of the world and teach them how to positively impact society.
During the 2019 Spring Semester, CCE will be debuting its newest initiative called “Project Yellowstone.” The project focuses on conservation and protected lands, citing examples from Yellowstone National Park and other natural environments. The project consists of multiple events throughout the semester.
On Tuesday, March 5, at 12:30 p.m. in Davidson Room A— A Talk with Mike Coonan, a park ranger from Yellowstone National Park, via Skype is planned. Attendees will learn about the history of the National Park Service and Yellowstone.
On Thursday, April 18, at 12:30 p.m. in Sheffield Hall, Room 100—Dr. Shane Doyle (Crow) will travel from Montana to discuss the story of “Clovis Boy,” a young boy who was buried some 12,600 years ago in what is today southern Montana. This sacred land is important to the Crow tribe and led to an international research project.
Want to learn more about the Crow tribe? Join Dr. Doyle Wednesday, April 17, at 2 p.m. in the Media Center, located in the Sherman Masten Learning Resource Center, for an intimate interview on his heritage.
Thursday, May 2, at 6 p.m. in Davidson Room A, located in the Student Community Center, —View the Screening of “Saving the Great Swamp,” a documentary on the preserved public land in one’s backyard. Members of the film’s creative team will be in attendance for an audience Q&A.
During the 2018 Fall Semester, five CCM professors traveled to Yellowstone National Park with the nonprofit organization Yellowstone Forever. As they traveled through the park, the professors learned a great deal about Native American history, the indigenous wildlife, such as antelopes and bison, and the various geysers that erupt regularly. Lessons learned during this trip are being incorporated into “Project Yellowstone” to create greater awareness about conservation and protected lands.
All events are free and open to the public. If interested in attending a “Project Yellowstone” event, RSVP to email@example.com.
February is approaching- the festival of romantic love- so send in your poems to be printed for the entire month of February; submissions may include a photo of the poet. All ages are invited to submit.
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Experienced journalist since 1990, living in Flanders for 21 years and covering Mt. Olive Township for the past 10 years.
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