Mt. Olive Online Publication January 14, 2020

Mt. Olive Online
Mt. Olive Online
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Reorg, Recognition, Recycling Raised At BOE Meeting

By Cheryl Conway

 

Athletes, scholars and principals were recognized for their accolades at last week’s Mt. Olive Township Board of Education Reorganization meeting.

Many attendees filled the cafeteria at the Mt. Olive Middle School in Budd Lake on Monday, Jan. 6, to witness the swearing in ceremony for the 2020 BOE members and support students for their success in the classroom and on the field/court.

Board members reelected to serve a three-year term on the BOE including Anthony Giordano and William Robinson were sworn in along with newcomer Nolan J. Stephens. Nominations were then taken for board officers resulting in Giordano being selected as board president and John Petrie as board vice president.

Following the ceremony, the BOE attorney conducted its annual review of the School Ethics Act and the Board Member Code of Ethics. Some points raised include that board members are policy makers, not administers. The superintendent is the “only one” that can make appointments as an administrator.

All complaints made to the board are supposed to be referred to the superintendent.

Board members take an oath to adhere to confidentiality, which means any matter that deals with students or personnel should not be shared with anyone outside the board, and that includes not sharing the information with family members.

Athletes Recognized

During the superintendent’s report, athletes were recognized for their accomplishments achieved during their fall sports played this school year. Athletic Director and Vice Principal at Mt. Olive High School David Falleni called up students from the various teams to congratulate them on their successes.

For Boys’ Varsity Soccer, sophomore Eli Conway was recognized for 1st Team All NJAC Conference-American Division and 2nd Team-All Morris County.

For Girls’ Varsity Soccer, freshman Tehya Scheuten and senior Mikaela Timmermans were recognized for 1st Team All NJAC Conference- National Division. 

In Volleyball, senior Adrianna Garcia was called up for 1st Team All NJAC Conference- American Division.

For Field Hockey, the following athletes made 1st Team All NJAC Conference-National Division: Mollie Baduini, Morgan Trotter, Lindsey Walter and Ainsley Williams.

Selected for 1st Team All Conference-Freedom Division in Football were students Essex DeBerry, Yanni Kalas, Caden Kramer, Timothy Marro, Aaron McKay, Nico Negron, Evan Perrault, Stanislaw Puzio and Jack Scheuten. DeBerry and Negron also made 1st Team All Morris County.

In Gymnastics, Brittany Wilder, Sofia DiDominico and Carley Anderson made 1st Team All NJGL.

Falleni called up the entire MOHS Gymnastics Team and Coach Rebecca Neidhardt to congratulate it for achieving 1st Place North Jersey Gymnastics League of a record of 8 wins, 2 losses; and 2nd Place NJSIAA North 1 State Sectionals. The gymnastics team at MOHS has existed for just three years.

Susan Pasqualone then called up students recognizing them for their accomplishment as AP Scholars in honors, seminars and research.

Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Zywicki says that the Mt. Olive School District now offers 30 AP courses, and is the only district in New Jersey to be named to the AP Honor Role for the third time.

He also commended the district for its recognition as one of the Future Ready Schools, an award it had received in October 2019. He called up the principals from each school as well its team leaders to congratulate their efforts in regards to implementing best practices and learning tools within their classrooms.

According to Zywicki, schools must adhere to a list of “180 criteria” items to be named a Future Ready School.

“It’s a huge accomplishment to meet this criteria,” says Zywicki.

Concern About Recycling

During the public portion of the meeting, one student raised the issue of recycling within the schools. 

Kathryn West, a senior at MOHS, raised her concern about her observation in regards to a “lack of recycling” in the school district.

“It is our duty as citizens to do what we can,” says West. “It’s a crisis. We have to be recycling; it’s a law.” The Recycling Act, “by not doing that, you are in violation of the law.”

West says “We are future ready,’ but “for us there will be no future,” without recycling. The issue “brings me great pain,” she says. The largest waste is the overuse of paper, tearing down 900 million trees by the Federal Teachers’ Association alone, she says.

“This is a legal issue and issue of ethics,” says West.

To act on her concern, West started a petition at MOHS to get more people on board in support of her concern.

She claims there is a “lack of caring” by the administration to improve enforce or improve recycling within the schools. 

“I will not be giving in until you do something about this issue,” says West.

The board and Zywicki took West’s concerns seriously and plan to look into the issue.

“We should be recycling if that’s not happening,” says Zywicki. The schools are supposed to be separating recycling from the trash and that food and waste should not be mixed in with the recycling. He says he plans to speak with MOHS Principal Kevin Stansberry when he returns from his visit in China, as well as the MOHS Director of Facilities about the co-mingled recycling and trash.

Giordano responded by asking whether there are receptacles at the school. West’s response was that “students don’t know about it,” and they are throwing their garbage in general trash bins. She says she has pictures of water bottles in the trash.

Robinson thanked West for attending the board meeting and raising the issue. 

 “I also feel strongly about recycling,” he says. I hope you stay with us and help us…”

West’s response: “I love to help you guys.”

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State of Township Address 2020 Delivered by mayor

Council president, members of the town council, municipal employees, friends, relatives and fellow residents of Mt. Olive, as I proudly finish my second term as mayor of this wonderful township and begin my third term, I once again thank you for the opportunity to report on the 2020 State of the Township of Mt. Olive.

Many have asked me what more I hope to accomplish in the upcoming four years. The most important goal is tax stability. For the eighth year in a row, we will be introducing a budget that will include no municipal tax increase for the residents. To accomplish that, we continue to encourage growth while at the same time limit spending.

Notwithstanding the realization of no municipal tax increases for almost a decade, nothing gives me greater pleasure then the renewed pride our residents have for this community. As in past years, I often hear from residents and non-residents alike, how wonderful our facilities are like Turkey Brook and/or our high school, and how much our residents love and enjoy Mt. Olive.

It is not enough to simply have great facilities though, we also strive to have great programs for our residents. Our award-winning recreation department is second to none. Once again, through the use of social media, radio, signs and newspapers, Mt. Olive residents are always connected to the happenings in Mt. Olive. Our communication efforts and successes are still the envy of all of our surrounding towns.
Beyond the programs that we run, I have instilled in our town employees the “can do” attitude when it comes to the needs of our residents. Our municipal departments understand that we work for the taxpayers and in many instances have gone above and beyond to resolve individual homeowner issues.

Of course, all of the accomplishments could not have been achieved without the hard work and support of the governing body. We work collaboratively as a team in Mt. Olive. I would once again like to thank Joe Nicastro for his leadership in 2019 and look forward to working with him again in 2020. I congratulate Joe on his appointment to another term, I believe an unprecedented fifth consecutive term as council president and thank him and the rest of the town council for their support and guidance. While I generally get the credit, the successes are equally shared with and earned by the town council. So too, I would be remiss by not highlighting the outstanding work and accomplishments of your department heads and employees.

Administration

The administration department continues to coordinate all aspects of local government and is responsible for the day-to-day operations associated with all municipal activities. 

As with any large organization, a significant amount of time was spent on human resources, hiring 24 new employees and processing two retirements.  We will continue to look for dedicated individuals to best serve our township.  Additionally, a new contract was negotiated with the Mt. Olive Township Police Department which will have a savings impact on future budgets.

Legislatively, we supported policies and made changes to our ordinances to reflect the current environment and we will continue to make recommendations as we encounter issues throughout the year.  Most notably, our franchise agreement with Altice was recently renewed which we were able to negotiate a senior discount, a $25,000 technology grant and free Wi-Fi at Turkey Brook Park. 

Phase I of the Old Flanders Sewer project is near completion, the Gold Mine Hotel was demolished with our eye now on the Blue Bird and we re-negotiated our lease agreement with Centercourt for the continued use of their pool facility.  

We are bringing awareness to our 24th District Legislators about the algae blooms at Budd Lake, a new Sister City was entered into with Mt.  Olive, North Carolina, our council meetings are now live-streamed and our website has been updated.   Furthermore, our shared services continue to deliver as our contracting towns show confidence in our services by renewing their contracts and adding additional services.

More than $1.1 million dollars was awarded in grants from federal, state and county agencies and we will continue to look for additional grant opportunities to help offset our expenditures.  Major projects include the rehabilitation of International Drive, the restoration of the Seward House and Old Baptist Church, and the Turkey Brook Park Extension.  

Our office continues to support community events by fostering the relationship with the business who have partnered with us through their generous donations and various sponsorships throughout the year. 

Finance Department

The finance department, which comprises the finance, collection and assessment divisions exceeded operating expectations in 2019.  Our projected fund balances in all funds are slated to be higher than last year balances, most notably in our main operating budget.

With respect to the tax assessment division, the township received more than $1 million in revenue from $40 million in added assessments and the reverse tax appeal from Toys R Us.  We also settled twenty five county tax board judgments which resulted in no refunds.  For 2020, our property values are expected to grow by $52 million or almost 2 percent. Our state audit of the farm qualified Woodland Management Properties was found to be in 100 percent compliance with no deficiencies.  We have the lowest number of pending state tax appeals in comparison to similar Morris County towns and are near the top in added assessment revenue increases.

In the collection division, we updated our tax website to include links for all available tax relief programs and also created multiple PDF forms.  We worked closely with the township attorney to prepare and hold an assignment tax sale for the Combe Fill property and were responsible for collecting more than $110 million in property taxes, water and sewer rents. Our tax collection rate is expected to well exceed 99 percent which we have been able to do since 2014.  A successful tax sale also resulted in more than $310,000 in premiums which will return to the township in five years pending no lien redemptions. 

In the finance division, the 2018 audit was completed for the 11th year in a row with no audit recommendations, along with no recommendations for the LOSAP, JIF and arbitrage audits.  The best practice checklist was completed satisfactorily to obtain our final allotment of state aid and we met our continuing disclosure requirements.  All non-vested LOSAP accounts were closed resulting in an additional $23,000 in revenue, banking services have been renegotiated resulting in an additional $110,000 in interest, our time and attendance solution was upgraded and we were able to obtain reduced rates from our payroll provider by 18 percent. Finally, our archival storage project was completed, reports were prepared using the new FAST online module, we continued to assist with the Old Flanders sewer assessment and the annual water/sewer study was prepared. 

Police Department

The prevention of crime, crashes, and negative quality of life issues continue to be the focus of the Mt. Olive Police Department. To be successful in those endeavors, we need the support of the community. The police department remains committed to maintaining and building those positive relationships by offering and participating in National Night Out, Coffee with a Cop, Keeping Seniors Safe, Touch a Truck, and Law Enforcement Against Drugs.

The Mt. Olive Police Department is a community-oriented police department that utilizes data driven technology and intelligence to direct resources.  It is committed to following nationally recognized best practices and maintaining accreditation through the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.

Department of Public Works

In the roads department, a successful year of paving was accomplished by resurfacing over twenty roadways, including phase II of International Drive North.  Drainage improvements were also made to six areas prone to flooding. 

The parks, building and grounds department addressed the outdated HVAC systems in the municipal building by replacing four units.  Improvements were made by installing three turf baseball infields and a new concrete pad for the event tent at Turkey Brook Park.  Additionally, Lou Nelson and Flanders Park received new playgrounds with ADA accessibility. 

In the Water and Sewer Department, engineering plans continue for the installation of water lines in the Pershing Estates Development, the old sewer filtration system at the Cloverhill sewer treatment plant was replaced along with a newly expanded treatment plant office and support was provided for the Old Flanders Sewer project. 

The sanitation department continued with another successful town wide large item cleanup and will be expanding its services to the Morris Chase Development adding an additional 180 properties.  The shared service contract with Chester for sanitation pick up was also renewed generating more than $40,000 in gross revenue. 

The fleet department continues to handle all maintenance issues for township owned vehicles and assists with Fire and EMS vehicle maintenance and up fits as needed.  This new service to our volunteer departments was provided as an option to save money and to streamline the maintenance of their vehicles.  The fleet department has also continued to organize and carry out the township auctions of vehicles, equipment, police surplus, and obsolete IT equipment to maximize return on investment for the township.

Recreation Department

The recreation department held 16 special events in 2019 with more than 70k attendees, 431 business sponsors and more than 130 volunteers. Five new events debuted, including Mardi Gras, Seas the Day, Pirate Day, Oktoberfest and Bonfire Boutique.   Bubble Palooza 5K Fun Run & Walk won the Morris County Park Alliance Award for Outstanding Program. Other favorite events included Movie Nights, Touch a Truck, Chili Brewfest, Cabin Fever Reliever, Fairy & Pirate Festival, Raiders of the Lost Park Mud Run, Mt. Olive Week Carnival, and the annual Food Trucks & Fireworks.

During the school year, 49 programs for our youth and adults were held with more than 2,000 participants.  Four summer camp programs were also held which over 600 children participated. 

Between our three aquatic venues, Budd Lake Beach, Pirates’ Cove and the Mt. Olive Pool, we had more than 41k visitors this summer!

The recreation department revamped their on-line registration program, Community Pass, to be easier to navigate and Visa credit cards can now be accepted, in addition to MasterCard and Discover.

Instagram and social media videos were added to the marketing plans for events along with E-newsletters being sent out weekly to more than 8,000 people.

Health Department

The health department submitted their application for National Public Health Accreditation.  National Accreditation validates a local health department’s commitment to quality improvement, performance management, accountability, transparency, and capacity to deliver the Ten Essential Public Health Services.  In this effort, the department convened a group of approximately 30 local public health, healthcare, non-profit, religious, business, hospital, and government officials to form the Mt. Olive Health Improvement Coalition in order to complete a community health assessment and begin creating a community health improvement plan.  They will complete the improvement plan and start implementing improvement strategies in early 2020. 

The senior transportation program continues to grow.  Over the past year staff made more than 2,000 trips taking our seniors to their medical appointments.  This is more than in any previous year and is a 48 percent increase over last year.  They also delivered more than 2,500 meals to homebound, low-income seniors.  Overall, the program saw close to 6,000 passengers this past year. 

The health department continues to coordinate the township’s annual holiday gift program; again this year they distributed gifts to 50 children for 22 Mt. Olive families.  This program is only possible because of the generous donations of our residents and local businesses and churches. 

The health department began providing public health services to Mine Hill this year.  They also continue providing services to Wharton, Dover, Mt. Arlington and Netcong.  Through shared services agreements and fees collected, approximately $500,000 was generated.

The health director received the NJ Local Boards of Health Association’s annual Meritorious Service Award for outstanding contribution to public health and the Deputy Director was appointed to the Public Health Licensing Board by the Commissioner of the NJ Department of Health.

IT Department

Mt. Olive Twp. scored higher than average during an overall external network assessment and penetration test conducted by an independent cyber-security company. The testing assessed the security posture of our routers, firewalls, and other security appliances that filter malicious traffic from the internet. The network was evaluated in the same manner that a malicious outside attacker would. The company could not penetrate our firewalls, which demonstrated our network security effectiveness.

The IT department has broadened security awareness to all employees with interactive training, educational courses, and email security guidelines and best practices. Simulated phishing cyberattacks under the guidance of Morris County JIF's Cyber Risk Management Program were conducted to strengthen email security awareness for all employees. Once the simulations were complete, training courses on how to avoid phishing attempts were developed.

The IT department proactively monitors more than 280 users and groups and more than 120 devices, which includes workstations, servers and tablets. All township data is securely backed up daily and stored in two different cloud locations in the event of a true disaster.

Planning Department

The planning department’s key accomplishments for the year included the preparation of an “Area in Need of Redevelopment” study and “Redevelopment Plan” adopted by the planning board and the drafting of a new overlay zone district ordinance adopted by the council to establish a potential development on the 100 acre former Combe Fill North landfill.  The Department also prepared an ordinance to rezone six vacant acres along Rt. 46 in Budd Lake from R-6 residential zoning to a C-1 commercial designation thus implementing a recommendation in the Master Plan Reexamination Report.   The township planner assisted the planning board in reviewing a number of new development applications approved during the past year including a new Wawa on Rt. 206; Three T’s, a restoration and expansion of long term empty office building for new roofing company; a new Boat House restaurant and apartment to replace existing dilapidated building on Sand Shore Road; Fratelli Beretta’s 33,000 sq. ft. addition to their existing facility in the International Trade Zone; 700 International Drive, a new 63,440 sq. ft. bldg.; Revolution Fitness, a new personal training studio on Rt. 206, a new clubhouse building and in ground pool in Village Green; and a new digital billboard on Rt. 206. The department has begun the initial review process for a proposed 700 unit residential development to be located in the FTZ-4 district zone which will include 100 affordable units counted towards the township’s affordable housing obligation.  

In addition, the department continued to work with various property owners towards creating a new Highlands Redevelopment District to include vacant land in the Light Industrial zone located at westerly end of Sand Shore Road and properties on the southerly side of Rt. 46 including the Mt. Olive Parkade shopping center to facilitate new development within the Highlands Preservation Area. The department has implemented the township’s new regulations to register vacant and abandoned buildings and collect fees to ensure compliance with municipal property maintenance code.   The township planner has and continues to work with the Open Space Committee and Land Conservancy in creating an updated open space plan.  Finally, the department issued 325 Zoning Permits and processed 375 OPRA requests. 

Construction Department

During the past year, the building department has collected more than  $500,000, issuing more than 1,400 construction permits and more than 1,000 certificates of occupancy. 

The department conducted more than 5,000 inspections and will continue to bring the best possible service to the residents, business owners and contractors of Mt. Olive. 

Fire Prevention

The Fire Marshal’s Office enforces fire safety regulations to every commercial building and business in the township, along with providing shared services to Chester Borough, Hackettstown and Allamuchy.  More than 1,800 businesses are inspected annually generating more than $150,000 dollars in annual revenue.  New software was also implemented making inspections easier and more efficient for our Fire Inspectors working in the field. 

Conclusion

This is only a snap shot of the many achievements and accomplishments our township departments and employees have achieved this past year.  I will continue to strive to make Mt. Olive Twp. the best place to live, work and raise a family.  I consider every member of the community a family member.  The pride that you have shown me, the dedication for our community and the support that we have for one another is over whelming.

I know there are still many things upon which we need to improve and promise to do my best to accomplish and make as my priority in the New Year.  I look forward to and ask for the residents’ support for many years to come.  In closing, I would like to thank the council, business administrator and all of our department heads and municipal employees for a job well done in 2019.  May the New Year bring you good health, happiness and prosperity.


With Gratitude and Appreciation,

Rob Greenbaum

Mayor, Mt. Olive Twp.

 

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Hundreds Unite In Community Rally Against Hate

More than 350 Morris County residents participated Thursday night, Jan. 9, in a "Community Rally Against Hate,” joining together with the Morris County Board of Freeholders, Morris County Sheriff and Prosecutor, the state Attorney General and religious leaders from across Morris County in a special forum held at the Gottesman RTW Academy in Randolph.

The crowd, clergy and political and law enforcement officials stood united against the hatred and bigotry that recently has targeted the Jewish community and other faiths in the state and nation.

Emceed by Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon, the event featured a wide array of messages from leaders across the state and region, including New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal, Freeholder Director Deborah Smith, Freeholder John Krickus and Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp

Video messages were sent by Rep. Mikie Sherill and state Sen. Anthony Bucco, who were in legislative sessions in Washington and Trenton at the same time.

It also included the following religious leaders: Rabbi Levi Dubinsky of the Chabad Center of Mountain Lakes, Boonton, and Denville; Basel Hamdeh of Jam-e-Masjid Islamic Center, Boonton; Rev. Herman Scott of Calvary Baptist Church, Morristown;  Chandu Bhoraniya, devotee of B.A.P.S. Swaminarayan Mandir, Parsippany; Rabbi Mendy Herson, Rabbinical College of America, Morristown; and Moshe Vaknon, Head of School, Gottesman RTW Academy.

Students from the Gottesman RTW Academy offered songs during the event, including the “Star Spangled Banner” and “Hatikvah.” Along with Moshe Vaknin, they led a closing song that featured clergy and community leaders singing, hand-in-hand and arm-in-arm.

Smith made the following statement:

 "On behalf of the entire Morris County Board of Freeholders, I thank you and welcome you for being here at this important event. We are dealing with a wave of anti-Semitism and hate-crime attacks against religious institutions across our nation.  

"The attack in Jersey City,” she says. “The horrible event in Monsey, N.Y. The shooting at a Christian church in Texas. And so many more. Even here in Morris County, a menora recently was vandalized in a public space in Mendham.


 "As a community, we cannot accept this behavior,” she says. “I can tell you as a leader of county government, and a woman of the Jewish faith, that here in Morris County that we will not ignore it. We will not hide from it. We must confront it. And we will. 

"All of our residents must be able to live their lives in our county, state and nation without fear of being harassed or persecuted for their personal and religious beliefs,” says Smith. “That is a basic tenet of our democracy. Nothing is more sacred in America.

"So today, we stand as a countywide community in solidarity with our Jewish neighbors and other religions, and we reject hate with one clear voice from all of the people of Morris County.”

In the wake of recent attacks, the freeholders reached out to county law enforcement and religious leaders to explore a possible county response, and are asking members of faith-based communities across the county and the general public to join in standing up against hatred, violence and bigotry.

Local and county news

 Movies, Tax Prep, Kids Events At Library 

 Mt. Olive Public Library presents “Movies at the Library,” in its Gathering Room on Tuesday, Jan. 21, at either 1 p.m.-3 p.m. or 6 p.m.-8 p.m. for the movie “Downton Abbey,” a movie based on the esteemed TV series.

The beloved Crawleys and their intrepid staff prepare for the most important moment of their lives, a royal visit from the King and Queen of England.

Registration requested. Call 973-691-8686 Ext. 106 or go to www.mopl.org to register.

NORWESCAP will once again offer free income tax assistance to senior citizens, disabled, and income eligible New Jersey residents at Mt. Olive Public Library.

What’s Happening At The Library For Kids?

Mindfulness with Monica: Jan. 22, at 7 p.m. – A new tween/teen program all about learning mindful habits and making cool projects.

Mid-Winter Luau: Feb. 1, at 1 p.m. - Looking to take a break from the long, cold winter? Come join in for a Mid-Winter Luau at the library! Pretend it’s a warm, summer day of dancing, crafting and playing games! (Ages 4-12).

Income Tax Assistance 

NORWESCAP will once again offer free income tax assistance to senior citizens, disabled, and income eligible New Jersey residents at Mt. Olive Public Library.

Tax assistance is offered beginning Thursday, Feb. 13 and runs every Thursday through April 9 from 10 a.m.-3:15 p.m.

There will also be appointments available on the following Saturdays: Feb. 22; March 7; and March 28 from 9:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

Tax assistance is offered by appointment only! Appointments this year will NOT be made through the library! To make an appointment, call NORWESCAP at: (973) 784-4900 Ext. 3502 or visit website at:  https://tinyurl.com/VITAMtOlive.

The library will still provide access to tax forms and instructions, reference materials to help demystify the tax filing process, and online access for e-filing.

NORWESCAP is a private, non-profit corporation established to serve the low-income population of northwest New Jersey.  The agency employs about 300 persons, both full and part time, dedicated to housing development, energy conservation, childcare, Head Start, volunteerism, and much more. Community Action remains an important local resource for families with NORWESCAP and other agencies across the state demonstrating their cost- effective service delivery method which creates thriving communities.

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Photo: Freeholder Director Deborah Smith and Deputy Director Stephen Shaw

Morris County Freeholders Sworn In For 2020 

 

Morris County Freeholders Doug Cabana of Boonton Township, Kathy DeFillippo of Roxbury, and Tom Mastrangelo of Montville, and Sheriff James M. Gannon and new County Surrogate Heather Darling were sworn into office Thursday, Jan. 2, at the Board of Freeholders’ 2020 Annual Meeting, held in Morristown. 

Also at the ceremonial event, Freeholders Deborah Smith of Denville and Stephen Shaw of Mountain Lakes were elected as director and deputy director, each for the first time.  

Smith succeeds Freeholder Doug Cabana as director. 

“My goals this year are to make decisions that benefit all residents of Morris County, to keep close watch on spending while delivering critical public safety and quality of life services that make Morris County the number one county in New Jersey, by far,” Smith.  

Says Shaw: “I look forward to working with and supporting my freeholder colleagues and the county administration in my role as Deputy Director. It is an honor and privilege to serve the residents of Morris County.” 

Showing support for those who took the oaths were a host of political dignitaries, including Rep. Mikie Sherill, state Sens. Joe Pennacchio, Anthony Bucco, and Tom Kean Jr.; Assembly Members BettyLou DeCroce, Aura Dunn, and Christopher DePhillips.  

Also attending were County Clerk Ann Grossi, County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp and First Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Zelante, and recently retired County Surrogate John Pecoraro, and former freeholders Frank Druetzler, Gene Feyl, John Inglesino, and John Sette.  

Freeholder Smith highlighted some of Morris County’s top rankings and high quality of life during her address to overflow audience in the County Administration and Records Building. She touted the following about Morris County: 

·  It has the number one county park system in New Jersey; 

·  It is a statewide leader in open space and farmland preservation; 

·  It is the number one healthiest county in N.J.; 

·  It is a statewide leader in recycling; 

·  It has the top-ranked Triple A bond rating; 

·  It is ranked in the top 25 counties to live in the U.S.; 

·  County College of Morris and the Morris County Vocational School are ranked among the best in the nation. 

“The Freeholder Board's intent in 2020 is to maintain those top rankings,’’ Smith told the crowd. “We know we have a lot of work ahead of us and look forward to your participation and collaboration.’’ 

Smith joined the Freeholder Board on Jan. 3, 2016, and is now serving her second three-year term. She has served on the Budget Committee, chaired the Insurance Commission, and has been liaison to the Morris County Park Commission and Finance Department. 

Previously, she was on the Denville Council for 20 years, including two years as council president and two years as the council’s Planning Board member. She also served on the Denville Zoning Board. 

Smith has long served her community, volunteering for many community activities. She was the Township Council’s liaison to the Denville Public Library, senior citizens’ organizations, the local historical society, fire department and many other groups. 

She resides in Denville with her husband Steven, a small business owner in Randolph. 

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Seventh Grade Mt. Olive Maniacs Win Holiday Tourney

The Mt. Olive Maniacs girls travel basketball program spent much of their holiday break participating in the Wayne PAL holiday tournament. 

The program sent four teams to the tournament in grades four through seven, traveled many miles, participated in about 20 games over a week and a half, and made it to the championship game in the sixth and seventh grade divisions.  On Monday, Dec. 30, both the sixth and seventh grade teams played in the finals.  The sixth grade team gave a great effort and came up a little short against a tough Ridgewood team.  The coaches were so proud of the sixth grade team since the year before they came to the same tournament and did not win a game. 

The seventh grade team faced a tough Montville team that had defeated Mt. Olive three times over the last two seasons, twice in overtime and once on a buzzer beater. After so many heartbreaking losses to Montville, it was the Maniacs time to come out on top!  The Maniacs were crowned seventh grade champions of the Wayne PAL holiday tournament by a score of 31-21!  Congratulations girls!  Follow the Mt. Olive Maniacs program on Instagram and Twitter @MOmaniacs. 

 

Partnership Provides Reduced Legal Services To Residents  

Morris County’s new Surrogate Heather J. Darling has announced a partnership between the Surrogate’s Office and the Morris County Bar Association’s Reduced Fee Referral Program to match attorneys with residents who cannot afford legal services and do not qualify for free or pro bono legal services. 

This new program is offered at no cost to the taxpayers of Morris County. 

“As a practitioner in the Surrogate’s Court for many years, I am familiar with the difficulties people face in trying to navigate the guardianship or probate processes without legal counsel when necessary legal counsel is unaffordable for them,’’ said Darling.  

“For this reason, I am pleased that we were able to work with Jennifer McAndrew Vuotto and the Morris County Bar Association to bring this program to the residents of Morris County.”  

Matters within the Surrogate’s Office, which are currently included in this program, are wills, guardianship and probate issues. 

Guardianship includes a declaration of incapacitation to handle one’s own affairs. It can be a complicated matter for people who had been caregivers without the need for a court intervention. 

Probate is another difficult matter for family members once a loved one has passed and grieving survivors learn the difficulty in administering the decedent’s estate. 

In New Jersey, Title 3B is the statute which addresses guardianship and probate. The statute can be complex and difficult to navigate without legal training and practice. 

“Bottom line, this program will be a way to bridge the gap for those who have been legally left behind,” said Deputy Surrogate Chris Luongo. 

To participate in the program, individuals must qualify financially by demonstrating they fall within certain financial criteria, with eligibility limits higher than those of most pro-bono services. 

“When we started this program, we wanted to ensure that as many people as possible had access to counsel as they navigated the Court system,’’ said Vuotto, who is co-chair of the Morris County Bar Association Reduced Fee Referral Program. 

“There are many litigants who do not qualify for assistance, yet still, have difficulty affording an attorney. Those are the litigants we set out to help and have succeeded in helping the most,” she added. 

Attorneys who want to participate in the program can apply through the Morris County Bar Association. They must have a demonstrated knowledge of matters within the Surrogate’s Court and the ability to undertake said matters in a timely and productive fashion. 

 Cookie Season Arrives For Girl Scouts of Northern NJ     The world's largest girl-led entrepreneurial program has two sweet new ways to celebrate young female leaders with a new cookie and new packaging.

Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) launched the 2020 Girl Scout Cookie season on Jan. 7, with two sweet new ways to celebrate young female leaders: a new lemon cookie and refreshed cookie packaging reflecting the experiences cookie earnings make possible for girls.

The new Girl Scout Cookie is Lemon-Ups, a crispy lemon cookie baked with messages inspired by Girl Scout entrepreneurs. “I am a go-getter” and “I am an innovator” are among the eight phrases that bring the experience of Girl Scouting to life. The new cookie joins the national 2020 lineup, which also includes Thin Mints, Samoas, Trefoils, Tagalongs, Trefoils, Do-Si-Dos, and Toffee-tastics, a gluten-free cookie variety. 

Girl Scouts will be taking initial orders for cookies now through Feb. 2. The Girl Scout Cookie Program teaches girls about entrepreneurship as they have fun learning essential skills like money management, public speaking, and decision making. Girls also have the option of selling online with Digital Cookie. Girls can set up their own online business, send email marketing to customers, and keep track of sales. Proceeds from each and every purchase stays local to power amazing experiences and leadership opportunities for girls.

When local customers receive their cookies, they might recognize a local Girl Scout. Aimee Gill was selected to represent Girl Scouts on the packaging for the S’mores cookies. Aimee, one of the top cookie sellers in Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, said she was thrilled when she learned she was chosen to be on one of the cookie packages and participated in the national photo shoot for the cookie boxes.

GSUSA’s refreshed cookie packaging emphasizes what the cookie program is all about, and the updated images feature current Girl Scouts taking part in a diverse range of experiences available to members—from adventure-packed camping and canoeing, to exploring space science and designing robots, to taking action to improve their communities. Aimee is seen in a tent camping photo.

“The iconic Girl Scout Cookie Program is so much more than sweet treats,” said Betty A. Garger, president and chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey. “Girls learn how to start their own cookie business, set a goal, and decide how to reach that goal. It’s really their introduction to entrepreneurship.”

This year, the Girl Scout Cookie Program also introduced a new Cookie Entrepreneur Family Pin, that was inspired and designed for families who love to support their Girl Scout entrepreneurs. Age-specific guidelines for the pin have been tailored so that girls can learn a specific skill set and help girls achieve success in the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

Girl Scouts who participate in the 2020 Girl Scout Cookie program this year are also invited to join Girl Scouts’ National Cookie Pro contest. Twenty-four Girl Scouts from across the country will be selected as Cookie Pros and win a VIP trip to Orlando, Fla. for three days. On the trip, the winners will be guests at G.I.R.L. 2020, the national Girl Scout Council Session, meet celebrity speakers, experience Orlando’s theme parks using a special-access pass, and take part in unforgettable activities with Girl Scouts from all over the country. Girl Scouts can enter the contest from Feb. 1 through March 23 by highlighting their unique cookie business skills by answering questions about what they learned by participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program. To learn more about the contest, visit www.girlscouts.org/cookiepro.

Girl Scout Cookies can only be purchased from a registered Girl Scout. To find Girl Scouts selling cookies near you, visit www.girlscoutcookies.org or use the official Girl Scout Cookie Finder app, free on iOS and Android devices.

For more information about Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey, call (973) 248-8200 or visit www.gsnnj.org.

Girl Scouts is the premier leadership development program for girls. In Girl Scouts, girls discover themselves, connect with others, and take action to create positive change in their own communities.

Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey serves girls ages 5-18 in 160 municipalities in Bergen, Morris, Passaic, Sussex and Northern Warren counties. Girl Scouts of Northern New Jersey serves over 26,000 girls and almost 14,000 adults for a total membership of more than 40,000. 


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College news

Photo: Pride by Keith Smith, acrylic paint on clayboard, that will be on display.

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  CCM Fine Art Professors Display Work At Art Center

 

The artwork of 14 fine art professors from County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph is being featured in an exhibition at The Center for Contemporary Art in Bedminster as one of its first exhibits of the new year.

Titled REPRESENTING: Artwork of the County College of Morris Fine Art Faculty, the exhibition takes place Jan. 17 – Feb. 27. An opening reception, featuring talks by several of the artists, takes place Friday, Jan. 17, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Fine Art Professor Keith Smith is curating the exhibition. Smith’s artwork has been exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, The Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown, Ohio, the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton and the Morris Museum in Morristown.

REPRESENTING showcases the work of CCM professors who teach the foundational and intermediate art courses that lead to an Associate of Fine Arts degree. Each member of the CCM fine arts faculty is an exhibiting professional artist.

“Although the artwork in this exhibition spans a variety of media and styles, it is linked by exceptional craft and creative competence,” says Smith.

Full-time professors participating in the exhibition, along with Smith, are Clayton Allen and Todd Doney. Also participating are adjunct faculty members Marco Cutrone, Kathy DeFilippis, Patrick Gallagher, Andrea Kelly, Deborah Kelly, Charles Mulford, Barbara Neibart, John Reinking, Robert Ricciotti, Eileen Sackman and Leah Tomaino.

To learn more about the Fine Arts Program at CCM, go to http://bit.ly/CCMFineArts. 




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 CCM Holds Registration For 2020 Spring Semester 

 

There’s still time to enroll for the Spring Semester at County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph. Students can still apply and register for classes online. The college also will be holding four in-person sessions this month for students interested in working with an advisor and registering for classes that day. These sessions are offered on a walk-in

basis. Students, however, first need to apply to the college before they can register for classes. 

The in-person sessions take place in the Sherman H. Masten Learning Resource Center, Room 121, on CCM’s Randolph campus, during the following dates and times:

Wednesday, Jan. 15, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Thursday, Jan. 16, from 11 a.m. To 5:30 p.m.

Friday, Jan. 17, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 18, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

The Spring Semester begins Wednesday, Jan. 22. Several mini-term sessions also are offered after that date.

Students can apply to the college online at www.ccm.edu/admissions or by visiting the Admissions office. The Admissions office can be contacted at admiss@ccm.edu or 973-328-5100.

At CCM, students can choose from 50 academic degrees and a wide range of certificate programs. In addition, the college offers more than 125 transfer agreements to simplify the process of applying credits toward a bachelor’s degree. A listing of those agreements can be found at https://tinyurl.com/ybpy9qqy/.



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 Centenary University Presents Lecture On Disability 

 

Renowned authority on access and design for the disabled Dr.  Amanda Kraus will present “Everyday Ableism: Challenging What We Think We Know about Disability” on Tuesday, Jan. 21, as part of Centenary University’s Gates-Ferry Distinguished Visiting Lecture series. The event will begin at 7 p.m. in the University’s Sitnik Theater, located in the David and Carol Lackland Center in Hackettstown. This lecture is free and open to the public.

In her lecture, Kraus will identify stereotypes that contribute to ableist policy, practice and attitudes. She will challenge attendees to reimagine “disability” as a consequence of how to design environments, rather than a personal tragedy—or an inspirational tale.  She will explore practical strategies to create more inclusive and welcoming spaces, processes, and experiences for all. While at Centenary, Kraus will also lead practice-focused discussions for the University’s students, faculty, and administrators.

A well-known speaker in the United States and abroad, Kraus was recently invited to join a delegation convened by the U.S. Department of State to engage in dialogue on disability access in education and employment in Beijing, China. She is president-elect of the Association of Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) Board of Directors, and previously chaired its standing committee for diversity.

A resident of Tucson, Ariz., Kraus is assistant vice president for campus life and executive director for disability resources and housing & residential life at the University of Arizona (UA). One of the largest in the nation, UA’s Disability Resource Center is an international model of progressive service delivery. Dr. Kraus is also assistant professor of practice in higher education, coordinating the master’s program and teaching courses on student services, student development, and disability in higher education. She earned an undergraduate degree from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as master’s and doctoral degrees in higher education from UA.

Outside of work, Kraus is an avid wheelchair tennis player. As past president of the United States Tennis Association Southern Arizona District Board, she works to grow opportunities for disabled players and increase the national visibility of wheelchair tennis.

The Gates-Ferry Distinguished Visiting Lecture at Centenary University recognizes the dedication to the University of Joseph R. Ferry, trustee from 1948 to 1976 and treasurer of the Board of Trustees for 20 years. It was established to set high standards and goals for students and faculty, and to enrich the quality of life on the Centenary campus.




Centenary University’s MLPA Named Top 50 In Nation

 

Intelligent.com has named Centenary University’s Master of Arts in Leadership and Public Administration (MLPA) degree as one of the top 50 MLPA programs in the nation. The website recently assessed MLPA programs at 139 accredited colleges and universities across the United States before developing its final ranking, which listed this year’s selections in alphabetical order.
“Our students work incredibly hard to learn the nuances of effective leadership in our program, which they begin using immediately in their lives,” said Dr. Jeffrey Carter, graduate program director for leadership and public administration. “This recognition solidifies the success of our program based on our graduates’ proven abilities.”

The recognition follows a fall semester highlighted by Centenary’s inclusion on four additional prestigious listings of colleges and universities. In addition to Intelligent.com, Centenary was recently recognized by “News & World Report” as a Top Performer on Social Mobility—Regional Universities North; as the U.S. sixth best among New Jersey’s colleges and universities by personal finance website WalletHub; as a Top 3 MBA Program by “NJBIZ;” and as a Top 50 Best Online Business Program in the nation by Study.com.

For its 2020 research guide, Intelligent.com evaluated MLPA programs based on curriculum quality, graduation rate, reputation, and post-graduate employment. The process employs a unique scoring system that also includes student engagement, potential return on investment, and leading third party evaluations. Noting projected steady job growth in this field, the website concluded, “Students who pursue any one of these programs can expect to gain employment much quicker in comparison to candidates without a degree.”

Centenary’s MLPA prepares professionals to advance into supervisory and management positions in a wide variety of career fields, from public and private sector employees to police, firefighters, military personnel, and healthcare workers. The university offers flexible scheduling for the 30-credit program, including traditional classes at its Hackettstown campus, as well as an accelerated online program. Sworn law enforcement officers, full-time fire service personnel, and government employees receive a 30 percent tuition discount.

For more information about earning a MLPA degree from Centenary University, contact Associate Director for Graduate Programs Jenna Racioppi, 908-852-1400, ext. 2074 or Jenna.Racioppi@centenaryuniversity.edu.

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