Mt. Olive High School Hosts its annual Snowland Dance on Saturday, December 7. Pictured from left are seniors Leah Schmidt, Aliyah Lloyd and Molly Conway.
From donations and collection, to sorting and packing, a local effort to provide backpacks to homeless veterans has gone full circle with three deliveries already complete and more to come after the new year.
As of Monday, Dec. 9, 500 backpacks filled with essentials have been delivered to homeless veterans in New Jersey. The severe weather backpack campaign- Helping Homeless Heroes/Helping Homeless Hounds- is sponsored by the All Veterans Alliance and Morris County American Legion.
One of the deliveries occurred during last week’s snowstorm, but freezing rain, icy roads and inches of snow did not halt their mission.
“The snowstorm did not deter our team,” says Charlie Wood Uhrmann, organizer of the severe weather backpack campaign and founder of the All Veterans Memorial and All Veterans Alliance.
“We loaded more than 150 backpacks and blankets on Sunday evening and delivered them in the early morning hour,” she says. The project was an incredible success.”
Morris County American Legion, All Veterans Alliance Chaplain and wounded combat Veteran Adam Charman hand-delivered the backpacks, all three days.
Deliveries were held Nov. 24, Dec. 2 and Dec. 9.
“Each backpack included: New sweatshirts, hats, scarves, gloves, socks, hand and feet warmers, water bottles, hygiene items, first aid items, food and bibles,” says Uhrmann. “We delivered 12 backpacks for our homeless hounds.”
Deliveries also included more than 250 blankets, 50 raincoats and 75 brand new coats, she adds.
After realizing that the local counties were on top of providing necessary items to homeless, Uhrmann found a greater need in Newark.
“We first checked with several Morris County agencies to see if they had the location or need for the backpacks and learned that Morris County does a wonderful job helping their homeless population,” Uhrmann says.
“We then reached out to Sussex and Warren and learned the same.
“Next, we made contact and vetted the Essex County (Newark) Police Department Community Affairs and learned that they had thousands of documented homeless heroes,” says Uhrmann. “It just so happens that the very next day clergy from several counties and the Newark Police Explorers were setting up a mobile soup kitchen where most of the homeless live. This was an excellent opportunity for The All Veterans Memorial / All Veterans Alliance Chaplain Adam Charman to use the event to deliver the much-needed backpacks, coats and rain gear to documented homeless. The timing could not have been better – the following day, after the distribution – the area experienced a torrential down pour.”
Charman is pleased by the success of the campaign and from all of the support along the way.
When asked how it is going his reply: “Going amazing! We are touching hundreds of lives giving hope and love.
“It’s an outstanding project to support and be part of - from donors, to the team of backpack organizers, the Hope One team, Newark police, AVA/ AVM /Morris Essex County American Legion team make this combination a true “WIN “ for all we are serving. I’m just so grateful to share myself with this entire project of amazing people.”
In a message on social media, Uhrmann thanks the State of N.J. Department of Military and Veterans Affairs for its grant to provide for the backpacks for Helping Homeless Heroes/ Helping Helpless Hounds.
Charman added thanks to Mansfield Walmart “for their most generous grant …between their generosity, state of N.J. of Veterans Affairs, the American Legion from the county and the post and all the people on behalf of myself Chaplain Charman, we have delivered over 500 backpacks, hundreds and hundreds of blankets and all these things with all these grants delivered straight to the people going straight from our hands to theirs.
“The joy, the warmth that we are bringing is absolutely detrimental,” he says.
“We are showing we are Jersey strong; we are Jersey proud and we are full of that love,” he adds. “It doesn’t matter where we come from or how we do it, we are showing that we’re all in this together and that’s how it should be.”
The year is ending, but their mission continues.
“We want to keep the momentum going,” says Uhrmann, on her social media post, “and we hope that we can start this up again after the first of the year.”
In an exclusive interview with “Mt. Olive Online,” Uhrmann confirms, “We will continue to assemble and deliver these backpacks until our funding runs out. We are hoping to keep this going until mid-January.”
She was thrilled with the support of Newark’s Hope One van. Launched in Morris County in 2017, Hope One brings Narcan training and kits, substance use and mental health services to the communities.
“Newark’s Hope One mobile van has been extremely accommodating in allowing Adam to ride along and distribute the items,” says Uhrmann. “They chose their location with our mission in mind; which made it a huge success.
“It is a pleasure to work with people who truly care about those less fortunate,” says Uhrmann. “It is important to note that the Newark Police Department credits Morris County Sherriff James Gannon for inspiring them to add a Hope One van to their force. Not surprising. Anyone who has met Sherriff Gannon knows that he truly cares about people.”
Business news travels fast, just like Amazon deliveries, but before any green light is issued the Mt. Olive Planning Board plans to discuss the application next month.
For those who have been debating as to whether an Amazon Delivery Station opening up at the former Sam’s Club location at the International Trade Center in Budd Lake is a good move or not, be sure to attend the planning board meeting set for Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020.
“The meeting starts at 7 but they are listed last,” says Mt Olive Planning Board Chair Howie Weiss. He estimates an 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. start for the applicant. “They will come in with an overall site plan,” and then planning board members will discuss before any approvals are granted.
A preliminary and final site is listed on the agenda for Amazon to occupy the space. According to Andrew Tatarenko, Mt. Olive Twp. Business Administrator, Sam’s Club closed on January 11, 2018.
Amazon Public Relations spokesperson, Shone Jemmott, “Amazon Logistics announced it will open a New Jersey Delivery Station, located in Mt. Olive Twp. The new station will power Amazon’s last-mile delivery capabilities to speed up deliveries for customers in the Morris County area.
“Delivery Stations enable Amazon Logistics to supplement capacity and flexibility to Amazon’s delivery capabilities to support the growing volume of customer orders,” says Jemmott. “Additionally, the station will create hundreds of part-time and full-time jobs, starting at $15 per hour.
“Delivery Stations also offer entrepreneurs the opportunity to build their own business delivering Amazon packages, as well as independent contractors the flexibility to be their own boss, create their own schedule delivering for Amazon Flex. To learn more, visit www.logistics.amazon.com and https://flex.amazon.com/.
Based on if approval is granted, Jemmott says “We expect the site to open in 2020.”
Weiss is excited about the idea of Amazon moving into the spot that Sam’s Club vacated. He foresees “no variances, no issues,” with the concept plan that he was presented with so far.
“It’s going to be bringing jobs,” says Weiss, 130 positions he was told, and that can mean more local employment opportunities to Mt. Olive residents.
This is a “good opportunity for Mt. Olive,” says Weiss. “We get vacant building brought back to life and can hire people from town.”
Looking at overall retail shops, Weiss says “who wants that space anymore? Anytime a big box goes out we are in trouble.”
More shoppers purchase online and with that more distribution centers and deliveries are a benefit to the customer so they can provide one day deliveries.
“They need to open these satellite offices,” explains Weiss. “This one [application] is kind of exciting. Nice thing is there’s no traffic impact.”
Amazon.com is an American multinational e-commerce company headquartered in Seattle, Wash. It is the world’s largest online retailer that was founded in 1994 by Jeff Bezos and began as an online bookstore. The company expanded selling other items in 1995, going online as amazon.com.
By Cheryl Conway
December is an exciting month for many, not only because of the many holidays that bring people cheer, but because the last month of the year ensues an opportune time to reflect on the ups and downs from the 365 days just passed and the new year about to begin.
Mt. Olive Twp. has had its share of accomplishments and challenges in 2019, and looking ahead at the forecast, positive goals and plans are in sight.
“Things are looking positive for 2020,” says Mt. Olive Twp. Mayor Rob Greenbaum. “I foresee numerous businesses opening in vacant spaces in town, infrastructure and beautification projects, paving etc.”
With 22 years behind him as a township official in Mt. Olive, Greenbaum has seen a lot of growth and changes in Budd Lake and Flanders. In the November election, he was reelected in an uncontested race to his third four-year term as mayor.
Looking at 2019, Greenbaum highlights some of the positives.
This is the “seventh year in a row with no municipal tax increase while doing major infrastructure improvements,” Greenbaum says. “The town continues to grow which is very positive. People want to live and work here. I truly believe that others believe that MO is an extremely attractive place to live, work and have their business.”
Adds Greenbaum, “We constantly have new businesses moving in and those here expanding. White Birch, Lakeside Tavern, Fratelli Barretta expansion,” to name a few.
“Recreation adds new programs every year,” continues Greenbaum. “This year the big new program was Oktoberfest which was very successful.” The family two-day event was held Oct. 12 and 13 at Turkey Brook Park in Budd Lake and featured beer, food, music and traditional German dancers.
As far as any awards won within the township, the Mt. Olive Twp. Recreation Department was recognized by the Morris Park Alliance with an Outstanding Program Award for Bubble Palooza which was held in April in 2018 and 2019, according to Mt. Olive Twp. Business Administrator Andrew Tatarenko.
The Bubble Palooza event was held Saturday, April 27, this past year and included a Bubble Run and Color Run Family 5K event.
While shining moments stand out for 2019 in Mt. Olive, there were a few losses that stunned many this past year.
“We lost our fire marshal and town engineer,” says Greenbaum. “Huge losses to the town and personally. Both losses were devastating.”
A life-long member of the Flanders Fire Department, Frederick John Detoro died on June 15 at the age of 52. He was serving as Mt. Olive Twp. fire marshal at the time.
Another devastating loss was the passing of Eugene F. Buczynski on April 18 at the age of 69. He served as a Mt. Olive Twp. engineer and Planning Board engineer for more than two decades.
Looking ahead to 2020, Greenbaum admits to some challenges such as “Maintaining services without raising taxes, fixing the roads, dealing with traffic issues, cleaning up and redeveloping the Route 46 corridor.”
A few things are on the horizon but nothing too extraordinaire to inflate spending.
“Next year we will improve the dog park, lights, water, and obstacles,” says Greenbaum. “No other major park improvements planned. Instead, we are focusing on improving existing infrastructure.”
When asked why 2020 is going to be a happy new year in Mt. Olive, Greenbaum concludes “Because we have developed a sense of community.”
Mt. Olive Online wishes everyone happy holidays all around. May the lights, whether on the menora or on the tree, in the windows of residents and businesses, and those that line the streets, shine brightly and the new year be less bitter and much more sweet.
Library Warms Patrons With Music, Movies & More
“Movies at the Library”….. Join in on Tuesday, Dec. 10 at either 1 p.m.-3:15 p.m. or 6 p.m.-8:15 p.m. for the movie “Where’d You Go, Bernadette?,” based upon the novel of the same name by Maria Semple. When Bernadette suddenly disappears without a trace, her concerned family sets off on an exciting adventure to solve the mystery of where she might have gone. Registration requested.
Live Your Best Life with Essential Oils….. a workshop titled, “Essential Oils 101 (Make & Take Diffuser Bracelet)” is set for Saturday, Dec. 14, from 9:30 a.m.-11 a.m. Come join Perri O’Flynn for this fun essential oils project; the bracelet can be used as a diffuser on the go, to take oils anywhere and use them for any situation. Also, learn the benefits of using essential oils in daily life. Registration is required; limited to 10 adults.
For all programs, call 973-691-8686 Ext. 106 or go to www.mopl.org to register.
By Cheryl Conway
The township may seem a little brighter on Sunday, Dec. 22, when the community Hanukka lighting event is planned.
Join in on the first night of Hanukka at 6:30 p.m. to light the menorah at the Mt. Olive Senior Center. The annual event is sponsored by the Chabad Jewish Center of Northwest New Jersey-Western Region and Temple Hatikvah in Flanders.
Free to all ages, attendees can expect delicious latkes and doughnuts, dreidels and Jewish music.
Other community lightings organized by the local Chabad are planned for Sunday, Dec. 22, at 5 p.m., at the Gazebo Park in Chester; Monday, Dec. 23, at 6:30 p.m. in Blairstown; and Thursday, Dec. 26, at 6:30 p.m., on Main Street in Hackettstown.
For more information, visit www.mychabadcenter.com.
Santa will be accepting letters this year from Mt. Olive children.
Parents who would like their child to receive a response from Santa can visit the Santa House located at Turkey Brook Park, 30 Flanders Road, Budd Lake.
There is a mailbox just for Letters to Santa. Please make sure to include a return address so that Santa can deliver a letter to the child. All letters must be received no later than Wednesday, Dec. 18.
Santa is only accepting letters from Mt. Olive residents and one letter per child.
Since 1995, the Kiwanis Club of Mt. Olive has been operating the Santa House for the children and families of Mt. Olive.
Photos with Santa are available for $10 each and are printed on-site for your convenience. All children who visit receive a free toy and candy cane. Pets are also welcome!
The Santa House is open every weekend from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
All proceeds raised from Santa's Holiday House benefit the Mt. Olive Kiwanis Club and Foundation. The Mt. Olive Kiwanis Club sponsors the Key Club at Mt. Olive High School, provides scholarships for deserving high school students and supports the Mt. Olive Food Pantry.
For more information, contact Club President, Richard J. Moore, Jr., at email@example.com or 201-841-7783.
The Mt. Olive Community Christmas Tree Lighting originally planned for Saturday, Dec. 14, at 4 p.m., at Turkey Brook Park in Budd Lake, has been cancelled due to the projected forecast.
The Morris Area Paratransit System (MAPS) plans to offer a new, upgraded ride appointment system starting on Dec. 17, with a goal of increasing efficiency to provide more rides for county residents and a more flexible appointment program.
A web and cloud-based paratransit and software system, approved by the Board of Freeholders, should offer technological advances to MAPS resulting in more and better service for eligible senior, disabled, veteran riders, and persons living in rural areas.
“We know there is a great demand for our MAPS system and we want to be able to offer rides to as many people as possible, to more destinations, and with less advance booking time,” said Freeholder Kathy DeFillippo.
The new Ecolane system, which is currently used by Somerset County, will include installation and use of tablets in MAPS vehicles, allowing drivers and dispatchers to be better connected and better engage in real time scheduling.
If an appointment is cancelled or a person is delayed for pickup at a doctor’s office, for example, the new system can quickly deal with the vacancies and re-route to more efficiently care for other riders.
Expected improvements offered by the new system include: Efficiencies in scheduling and completing trips; Real-time scheduling, allowing instant evaluation of available timeslots; Future client web- and app-based dashboard, to allow residents to personally schedule or cancel rides by using the new digital system; A focus on ridesharing, instead of individual appointments, which should result in increased ridership; Greater accountability for county vehicles and drivers; More accurate grant reporting.
The new system will make a change in business practices that will require longtime customers to get comfortable with some new rules: A decrease in taxi-type service, with emphasis placed on shared rides, with one or more passengers dropped off or picked up during each trip; Increased travel time for passengers due to the sharing of transit services; A new 20-minute pickup window versus the current exact-time appointments; A four-minute wait time for residents who are not ready for pick up at their appointment time. (But they will be telephoned before the van departs).
County officials stress they will work with customers to ensure the transition goes smoothly for passengers and drivers.
“We have been scrutinizing MAPS to make it more efficient, to allow for more rides and riders, and to better serve our county residents,” said Morris County Human Services Director Sharon Yoo. “Over the next few months, we will work closely with our customers to make sure they understand the system and use it to their advantage.”
MAPS is Morris County’s curb-to-curb transportation service for senior citizens (over age 60), people with disabilities, veterans, and the residents who reside in rural areas of the county that have no public transportation.
MAPS provides feeder service to NJ TRANSIT bus and rail, and travels to destinations five miles into contiguous counties. The scheduling of rides will remain the same with the new system.
Riders can schedule appointments up to one month in advance and are encouraged to call or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org at least a week in advance due to high demand.
For more information on MAPS, visit https://hs.morriscountynj.gov/adv/maps/ or call 888-282-6277.
Born in Dubai, Sydney the Saluki was chosen as a young pup to be a racing dog. She ran at top speed to please her owner but when she became injured and unable to continue racing she was no longer wanted. The sleek,
athletic dog was alone and in urgent need of help. Rescue groups in both the Middle East and the United States worked together to find Sydney a forever home.
First-time author, Danielle Caro of Long Valley, formerly of Budd Lake, shares Sydney’s story in her new children’s picture book, “A Home for Sydney.” The book is fictionalized but based on true events experienced by Caro and her family while adopting Sydney.
This unique story shows children how powerful volunteer work between countries can be in finding homes for animals in need.
A life-long animal lover, Caro grew up surrounded by pets of all sizes from fish to horses. She’s an animal advocate and a member of several animal welfare organizations.
Despite an unusual start in life, Sydney has become a wonderful family pet. Her book is available for purchase through the author’s website www.daniellecaro.com or on Amazon.
Readers may follow Sydney’s adventures on Instagram@sydneysaluki.
Hispanic-American Chamber Awards CCM President
Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, president of County College of Morris (CCM), has received the Enterprise Organization of the Year Award from the Morris County Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce (MCHACC) in recognition of his and the college’s support of the Hispanic-American community.
In presenting the award to Iacono, Esperanza Porras-Field said, “The Morris County Hispanic-American Chamber of Commerce recognizes you as a leader with a profound local impact on our business. Your strength of character, passion and commitment to service are admirable. You have been an outstanding representative of the mission of the MCHACC.” Porras-Field served as event chair for the 30th Anniversary MCHACC gala and award ceremony held December 5 at the Birchwood Manor in Whippany.
“It is such an honor to be recognized by the MCHAAC,” said Iacono. “As I like to note, County College of Morris does great things every day, but we do even greater things through the strength of our partnerships with organizations such as the MCHAAC, which is such a strong resource for the success of the Hispanic-American community.”
The mission of MCHAAC is to advance the interests of businesses and organizations that serve the U.S. Hispanic-American market.
Iacono became CCM’s third president in 2016. Since then, he has worked diligently to strengthen the college’s relationships in the community and with business and industry. One of his guiding principles is that “great community colleges are those which strengthen the local economy by helping to attract, retain and support businesses, along with providing a high-quality education that changes lives.”
In addition to building strong ties with the MCHAAC to support the Hispanic-American community, the college also recently was awarded an $110,000 grant from Impact 100 Garden State to launch the Dover College Promise. That project will prepare low-income students in Dover for college and provide them with scholarships to cover tuition at CCM. The population of Dover is 70 percent Hispanic or Latino. By increasing the number of students who earn college degrees, CCM and its project partners, The Educational Center of Dover, the Dover School District and business and community leaders, hope to further elevate the town as graduates become leaders in their community.
Photo: Abstract Reflection by Anna Taggart, of Rockaway, one of the students whose work is on display at the Morris Museum CCM Portfolio Class Exhibit.
Morris Museum Hosts CCM Visual Arts Students Exhibition
The Morris Museum in Morristown is once again hosting the Portfolio Class Exhibit featuring design and fine art pieces created by students at County College of Morris (CCM). This is the seventh year in a row that the museum is hosting the work of CCM students.
The exhibition, consisting of works created by students taking Portfolio classes through CCM’s Department of Art and Design, runs through December 12. A reception is set to be held Thursday, December 12, from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Morris Museum in Morristown.
“Portfolio courses at CCM help students to critique, improve and select their best work; create effective presentations; write documents for marketing their creative work to galleries, museums and prospective clients; and develop portfolios to gain entrance to four-year colleges and universities,” notes Todd L. W. Doney, CCM professor of visual arts. “Having their work on exhibit at the Morris Museum also is a wonderful opportunity for our students to showcase their work.”
The exhibition represents the summation of all of a student’s work from his or her creative studies at CCM. For information on the Department of Art and Design at CCM, visit http://tinyurl.com/yc4pfzef/.
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