By Cheryl Conway
Improved safety, character education, new programs and building a community are just some of the initiatives that have taken shape since the new principal began at Mountain View School in Flanders this school year.
Since her approval as principal by the Mt. Olive Board of Education on Nov. 12, 2018, Melissa Kolenski, 37, of South Plainfield has been busy implementing her ideas. She had been appointed acting principal in late August 2018 by Susan M. Breton, who was serving as acting superintendent at the time. Kolenski replaces former principal Dr. Frank Fischel.
New to Mt. View, Kolenski is no stranger to Mt. Olive as this is her fifth year working in the district. She had been the instructional supervisor at Tinc Elementary School since 2014. Although she has switched schools, she says she still feels at home, and has enjoyed meeting her new school community so far.
“It’s amazing how much Mt. View School feels like home,” says Kolenski, after only five and a half months in the position. “Getting to know everyone and realizing “who she can count on” was one of her first priorities.
“I like to make sure kids know they are important to me,” says Kolenski. “Part of that is knowing that child’s name so they know they do matter to me.” Building relationships with people, such as her teachers, staff, parents and students, has been her main focus.
Kolenski has enjoyed working in the district, despite the distant drive from Middlesex County. Before coming to Mt. Olive, Kolenski was a third grade teacher for 11 years at Hazelwood Elementary School in Middlesex Borough. She had attended Seton Hall University in South Orange, where she attained a bachelor’s in elementary special education and early childhood education as well as a master’s in leadership and administration.
Upon her interview as instructional supervisor at Tinc Rd. School, former Principal Dr. Richard Fair gave her a tour of the building. During that visit, she says “I felt like it could be a home for me” as she saw the warmth of the building.
As instructional supervisor at Tinc for four years, Kolenski’s responsibilities mirrored that of an assistant principal, she says. When the opportunity for a principal within the district came knocking, she decided it was time to open that door.
“I see it as an opportunity,” Kolenski explains. “I was at the point in my career where I wanted to take on challenges of being a principal; to have my own building and make a home, so I jumped right at it.
“I knew in my mind, this is where I wanted to be; to be a leader the rest of my career,” she continues.
One of four elementary schools in the district, Mt. View currently has 500 students enrolled in grades pre-kindergarten through fifth with just under 100 staff members which include teachers, aids, therapists and office personnel.
Her greatest challenge was that “everything happens very fast,” she says. Being appointed in last August as acting principal did not give her too much time to prepare.
“I wanted to be the best I could be,” says Kolenski. “There wasn’t a lot of time. How can I prove myself as a successful leader to teachers, students, parents? I wanted to understand who they were first before I got started.”
One of the changes she has implemented at Mt. View is the arrival and dismissal procedures.
“Safety is always first,” says Kolenski, so she “told parents safety was her first priority. In my opinion, arriving and dismissal procedures weren’t as safe” as they could be.
So she came up with a new plan that utilizes three points of exits and entrance. Before, students were allowed to go in an out “any door they wanted,” says Kolenski, and that included about 20 doors. Kindergarten and first grade students were always escorted, she notes.
The challenge with implementing her plan was a need for a “quick turnover,” she explains, so she called upon the Mt. Olive Police Department for assistance. MOPD Sgt. Eric Anthony worked with Kolenski at the end of September to come up the best plan; he was present Oct. 1, 2018, for the first rollout, and remained on site the first few days.
“Each grade level has a dismissal plan,” says Kolenski. It has “been working very well.”
Character Education Blossoms
Kolenski also improved the Character Education program at Mt. View. She added classroom buddies in which kindergarten and prekindergarten students are paired up with fifth grade students; first graders with third graders; second graders with fourth graders.
“They meet with buddies to do activities,” says Kolenski, a few times a month. Some activities include writing, publishing, videotaping, STEAM activities, games.
This Thursday they will collaborate with their buddies and participate in Digital Learning Day, where they can choose from six different activities.
Each month at Mt. View represents a pillar of character education. Each student receives an award if he or she displays creativity, acceptance, tolerance, respect or kindness. Students are selected by teachers and any staff, such as lunch aids, who witness their act.
For the month of February, students and staff have been busy creating the Mt. View Kindness Quilt. A new program, each student and staff member created a paper patch to be part of the Kindness Quilt soon to be hung in the main office.
Grades were assigned different colors for their patch: Pre-K and kindergartners had to make a red or orange patch; first graders orange or yellow; second graders yellow or green, and so on.
“It was a unity type of activity to remind them of kindness and to be kind,” says Kolenski.
Each patch is being glued to a backdrop to create the giant quilt which measures about 10 ft. long and 5 ft. tall.
“Kindness sure goes a long way at Mt. View School,” says Kolenski. “I’d like to keep it up there for the remainder of the year.”
An assembly was held at the beginning of February called the Magic of Kindness and each grade wore a color of the rainbow to promote kindness and be kind. As part of kindness month, the kindergarten students have been working on 100 acts of kindness; third graders created hearts with acts of kindness.
Another new program is WINN Time, What I Need Now.
Introduced in February to third graders, students are being placed in focus groups to concentrate on their individual needs in this new enrichment program, Kolenski explains.
Six areas are being offered with three in English-language arts and three in math, being led by six different teachers and separate classrooms. WINN Time is held for 30 minutes, every day, five days a week.
“Groups are ever changing,” says Kolenski. “Once you reach a desired outcome of that group you go to another group. It’s on a rotating schedule.”
The program will continue as a pilot program to third graders for the remainder of the year and may expand next year to invite students in other grade levels, says Kolenski.
“It targets specific needs; gives time for all students to deepen their skills; gives them the individual instruction they need for small groups,” explains Kolenski.
Piloting for fifth graders this year is the Genius Hour, another new program, offered one hour per week. Designed by Google, students gain access to research “whatever they want to research,” explains Kolenski.
A student poses a question and then researches multiple websites. Students then use the information they find and create a presentation through various methods such as Google slides, flip, flow chart or poster.
Teachers act as facilitators to help students come up with “good questions” to research and then formulate a judgment or conclusion.
“Students are taking in facts and coming up with solutions,” explains Kolenski. The problem-based learning program may also be extended to other grade levels in the future.
“We’re doing a lot of innovating here,” says Kolenski, “with a lot more on the horizon including technology and using more critical 21 century skills.
“Trying to get kids to be creative,” she says, “to really think to work out problems.” So instead of saying “this is how you do it,” get students “to work and think through it so that they learned it.”
Her ultimate goals are “to build a community where every day children and teachers want to come to school, that they are excited to come here, that parents want to send their child here, where children really want to be.”
Also “to give children the individual instruction so they can succeed,” says Kolenski, and to “build relationships and foster community to help each other.”
Kolenski says “learning is a growth mindset, that’s why we are here; to applaud each other through our successes and build that community from one another.
She has enjoyed her new role so far.
“There’s a lot of camaraderie,” says Kolenski. “Mt. View is a very strong community. PTA is wonderful. Children are working with a growth mindset; I can do it, I can do it, I can do it.
“They really are creative,” she says. “You give them a task and they run with it, the teachers too. Teachers and staff are amazing. I may mention one thing and they take off with it.”
By Cheryl Conway
What is so great about a Wawa anyway? Two ladies question as they exited the Mt. Olive Twp. Municipal Building late Thursday night, Feb. 21, following the four hour Planning Board meeting.
One woman says her child often drives all the way to the Hackettstown Wawa with friends. What do they like there? “Is it the sandwiches?” the other woman asks.
Any teen, and some adults, may say they like the late hours, affordable prices, coffee, healthy options and variety.
Well locals may get to find out what is so spectacular about Wawa if Mt. Olive Planning Board members approve an application from the developer, HSC Flanders, LLC, to build the convenience store. The applicant presented to the board and residents last week its plan to build a 24-hour 4,736 sq. ft. Wawa with a five-pump fueling gas station on the six acre property of Herold’s Landscaping located at 194 Rt. 206 south.
More than 150 concerned residents packed the meeting room at 7 p.m., with many left standing or flowing out into the hallway. Most of the time was utilized to review the developer’s application in terms of the site plan by an expert civil engineer.
A good number dwindled out before the applicant’s traffic expert presented his testimony, and before a Mt. Olive Police Sgt. Eric Anthony shared his concerns and recommendations at the end.
At 11 p.m., Planning Board Chair Howie Weiss adjourned the meeting until Thursday, April 11, at 7 p.m., when the discussion regarding the traffic at the intersection of Route 206 and Flanders-Netcong Rd. will continue from the experts. Resident will also be invited to ask their questions regarding traffic at that time.
“I’m looking at the time, we’re not going to resolve this tonight,” says Weiss. “We have a lot to work on with traffic.”
Weiss kept the crowd in order from the start of the meeting by reviewing the rules.
“This is not a room for litigation,” Weiss clearly states. The Planning Board is “assembled to listen to land use law. I will be patient. What I need from the public is to listen.” The planning board will have a counter expert to question the applicant’s experts.
“When the process is done we will open to the public for questions, not comments,” says Weiss who has served on the planning board for the past 20 years. “Ask the question once. If you don’t like the answer there’s nothing we can do. Public questions must be specific, not to share your opinions. ”
Since the meeting was recorded, he asked residents to eliminate side conversations and silent cell phones.
“Do not speak out, don’t shout, don’t give me your opinion; for questions about the process ask; be patient this is a process,” Weiss says. “Be specific; this is not my first rodeo. People may not ultimately agree; they’ll at least appreciate why this application is here this evening.”
Weiss explains that that Planning Board needs to approve the conditional use and site plan approval, in order for the application to go through.
Civil Engineer’s Site Plan
Josh Sewald of Dynamic Engineering Consultants in Chester went over the site plan for the Wawa application providing specifics regarding nine conditional use requirements.
“The site plan has been designed to meet all conditions,” he says. Some items he spoke about included trash being enclosed; storage areas inside the building; gas pumps within the required property limit; jumps or lifts excluded from the property.
Board members then voted and unanimously approved the conditional use of the property.
Sewald then spoke about the removal of two structures on the property, driveway on Route 206, elevation of the property and presented the site plan rendering of the 4,736 sq. ft. store with a five pump fueling station for gasoline and Diesel.
Some points he brought up call for a right in, left in and right out of the Rt. 206 driveway with no left-hand turn out onto Rt. 206; a 10 ft. shoulder along Rt. 206; 52 parking spaces; 353 new plantings to provide a buffer around the property; 16 area light poles, free standing with downward facing LED lights; 20 canopy lights also downward facing and shielding; removal of the tower part of the building roof to meet the 2.0 height variance.
Sewald spoke about the need for a 20 ft. sign on Rt. 206, rather than a 15 ft. sign, so people driving down Rt. 206 can see the sign, improve safety and identify the driveway into the Wawa.
He also spoke about the need for a 7 ft. sign on Flanders-Netcong Rd. with the Wawa logo and gas prices.
Regarding deliveries, Sewald testified to dairy truck three times per week during the day; fresh groceries by tractor trailer four to five times weekly in the afternoons/early evening; soda vendor in a boxed truck during the day; baked goods at night or early morning; and fuel on demand.
He spoke about the need to comply to the state’s noise statutes; trash and recycling pick up two to three times per week; and ten to 12 employees per shift with 40 to 50 employees hired.
Residents then lined up to pose questions to the engineer.
Questions varied, touching on property elevation, lighting, coverage of property, drainage, retaining wall in regards to buffering noise, fencing to maintain property lines, garbage odor and clean up around property, water usage and pressure, storage tanks in regards to oil spillage, steep slope ordinance.
Linda Holmes of Bartley Flanders Rd. asked about the noise from tractor trailers stopping at the Wawa for gas.
“The fueling station is not designed to accommodate tractor trailers,” says Sewald. “This is not going to be a truck stop.”
Kathleen Olup of Mountain Ave. asked if Wawa will purchase the property adjacent to the Wawa since a young family with small children/babies, live there and their property value will plummet.
“Those people are going to be impacted greatly,” says Olup.
Sewald says Wawa has no plans to refund any money to this family.
Chuck McGroarty, director of the Mt. Olive Planning Board, questions Sewald about the reasoning behind a 20 ft. sign on Rt. 206 verses a 15 ft. sign in order to meet the township’s variance.
“It’s a variance, it’s only five feet but variances are not to be given lightly,” says McGroarty.
With the grade change coming down Rt. 206, a lower sign will be harder to see, explains Sewald. “I can’t say that 15 ft. will not be unsafe,” he adds.
“Can you see the sign if it’s five feet shorter?” questions Brian Schaechter, planning board member.
One resident suggests moving the sign further up the hill so the height would not be an issue, but Sewald explains that the goal is to install the sign right before the driveway so drivers can prepare to pull in.
Traffic Engineer Report
Representing Wawa in regards to traffic is Gary Dean, a professional transportation engineer of Dolan & Dean Consulting Engineers in Somerville. He began his report well into the meeting at 10:15 p.m.
Dean had conducted a traffic impact study previously to examine the intersection of Route 206 and Flanders- Netcong Rd. at the time that Morris Chase community was being built as it has been a concern for more than 30 years.
“Very little bit has been done to improve operations at that intersection,” says Dean. “Nothing has been done, traffic continues to grow.”
Solving the traffic concerns by looking at frontage improvements and widening has been suggested. There are currently three lanes on Rt. 206 with two lanes travelling north and one traveling south. Also, Dean notes that all south bound businesses in town on Rt. 206 are permitted to turn left. The issue with turning left out of the Wawa driveway to go left on Rt. 206 north is that it is “too close to the corner” of Flanders Netcong Rd.
To take in these concerns, Dean worked with the site engineer and the NJ DOT to design a plan to look at lane widths.
“The municipality needs to be the applicant for improvement,” says Dean.
“We submitted a traffic impact study,” to examine traffic counts, he says. The study was completed on Feb. 15, 2018, during 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.; and on Saturday, Feb. 24, to consider weekend traffic.
From all of the counts, he found that the morning peak hour, or 60 minutes that are busiest, was 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., 4:45 p.m. to 5:45 p.m.; 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Saturday to depict the volume of vehicles. He found 1,800 to 1,900 vehicles in morning; 2,300 in afternoon on Saturday.
“There is more traffic at night,” he says. “The entirety of the intersection needs improvement.”
Dean also considers “how much traffic does the Wawa generate? Wawa is considered a super convenience store with gas pumps.” He notes that the Mt. Olive Wawa store will be smaller than other Wawas. Typical Wawa stores are 5,600 sq. ft.; the Mt. Olive Wawa would be 4,736 sq. ft.
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Wawa story continued....
Dean worked with ITE, Institute Traffic Engineers, to analyze data and determined that 200 customers or vehicles may come in daily during the weekday and 152 on Saturdays. He says more than 85 percent of customers stop into Wawa while in route, rather than making a special trip to just go to Wawa.
“It doesn’t put new traffic on the highway,” says Dean. It’s not a generator of traffic.”
Dean agrees to a larger sign. “There’s no sign that is too big or to tall,” says Dean, and he also suggests a 10 ft. shoulder to improve the transition at the intersection and make it safer.
“Right now driving through the intersection requires attention by the driver,” says Dean.
The Wawa parking lot calls for wider spaces, with 10 spaces per 1,000 sq. feet. The “objective is to never have a customer look for a parking space.”
Walter Lublanecki, traffic consultant to the Mt. Olive Planning Board, followed up with some questions to Dean. He had used a different method to measure traffic at the intersection of Route 206 and Flanders- Netcong Rd.
He maintains there are nine studies dealing with street traffic.
“A very important factor is the unit of traffic passing the site,” says Lublanecki. Dean’s method, Gross Floor Area Variable, counted 396 trips in the a.m.; while Lublanecki’s counted 462 trips using the Adjacent Street traffic method.
“Trip generation is a projection, it’s an estimate,” says Lublanecki.
Keeping in mind the traffic, Lublanecki suggests lengthening the left turn lane into the Wawa on Rt. 206.
“Is there room for striping to expand that left turn?” asks Lublanecki.
He also mentions concern regarding the driveway on Flanders-Netcong Rd. Blockage may occur if more cars start lining up to turn there.
“If we allow that turn, will that draw southbound vehicles?” questions Lublanecki. Some motorists heading south may rather turn right on Flanders-Netcong Rd. “to get to those pumps” quicker than driving another 400 feet down Rt. 206, he says. “Is it really going to be that few” cars? "I’m concerned it’s going to be more.”
In response, Dean circles back as to the reasoning behind the higher sign to inform drivers that they can enter off of Rt. 206 instead of turning onto Flanders-Netcong Rd.
At the very end of the meeting, Weiss invited MOPD Sgt. Eric Anthony to address his concerns and make recommendations.
Anthony starts off by recognizing that he is not “by any means a traffic engineer” but after working 19 years on the MOPD police force, with 10 years focusing on traffic and crashes, he is quite familiar with that intersection.
He requests that the township implement an ordinance to prohibit deliveries by 55 ft. wheelbase tractor trailers on Flanders-Netcong Rd.
“Route 206 is designed to handle truck traffic; that’s what that roadway is designed for,” says Anthony. All trucks should be restricted from entering and exiting only on Rt. 206 and not Flanders-Netcong Rd.
Anthony also suggests that the stop sign on Flanders Netcong Rd. be “afforded more site distance,” for cars turning right onto Rt. 206; and that cross hash lines be drawn on the pavement with regulation signs on Flanders-Netcong Rd. so motorists “Don’t block the box” into the driveway to the Wawa.
Extra signage within the property of Wawa informing drivers that no left turn is allowed onto Rt. 206 north is also suggested by Anthony, “before they get into the area,” what he calls “the point of no return.” He suggests an “arrow pointing where they can get on 206 north” before they take the ramp down for 206 south only.
Anthony’s greatest concern, which generated applause from the audience, was his request to push the 10 foot suggested shoulder, five feet further down Rt. 206.
“The only delineation to go onto Flanders Netcong Rd. and southbound traffic are the two yellow lines,” says Anthony, who often sits there stationary waiting to turn left at that light. “It’s still very concerning when you see that 18 wheel tractor trailer driving at you. It’s not comforting,” as he has been told multiple times by drivers. “Traveling through that intersection requires extra attention,” says Anthony. “More drivers are using less attention; more drivers are using cell phones. It’s going to be a matter of time before we are going to have a serious crash.”
Weiss ended the meeting at that point in hopes that Dean and Lublanecki will consider implementing Anthony’s recommendations.
Weiss also clarified a misunderstanding by going on record to say that “multi factions” such as Mt. Olive Twp. and Morris County plan to contribute along with Wawa to any traffic/roadway improvements pertaining to this intersection.
Mayor Rob Greenbaum explains “In that the intersection of Route 206 and Flanders-Netcong Road is already a difficult intersection, the town is contributing a small percentage to the intersection improvement in the extent that the application is approved. The amount is yet to be determined, but it will be a small percentage of the overall cost of the intersection improvement.” Funds will come from the township’s Capital Improvement Ordinance and taxes will not be affected.
Follow Up Thoughts
Heather Carlton, one of concerned residents who helped rally residents to address their concerns, was pleased with the “solid turnout,” she says. “It was well run, but very long, which lost a lot of the audience. Many concerns of the community have yet to be addressed though. With the length of the meeting, we did not even get to ask questions of the second expert and many people who might have asked important questions wound up leaving.”
She says “I was pleased to hear that the Wawa is not designed to service tractor trailers. Knowing they were going to offer diesel fuel had me concerned initially. I continue to be concerned about the safety of the traffic flow and the ingress/egress. This was not cleared up and we left without knowing what will be changed and what will not be changed from the original plan. In addition, no one was able to bring up the proximity to the HS and the potential of walkers with no sidewalks from both the HS and the apartments.”
To prepare for the April meeting, Carlton says “We will be meeting to discuss our concerns and prepare thoughtful questions for the experts who will be providing testimony.”
Concludes Greenbaum, “I have the same concerns as many of the residents, specifically with regard to traffic and turning movements. I do believe that the intersection improvements are needed and happy to have a private entity paying for those improvements if the application is approved.”
Greenbaum’s main concerns involve “traffic and turning movements.
“Knowing land use, I recognize that Wawa is an approved use in a commercial zone and there is no legally sustainable way to deny this application,” continues Greenbaum. “I thought the planning board did a great job in trying to protect the adjacent property owners’ interests and get what they can in concessions from the applicant within the bounds of the law in the best interest of the township.”
To stay informed or to live stream the recent Planning board meeting, go to "2019 Wawa Information Mt. Olive" on Facebook, or go to the next meeting on April 11.
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Kick off that weight loss before summer by entering the 2019 Biggest Losers Contest offered through the Mt. Olive Exercise Program. Challenge that body for this two month contest to lose as much as possible while getting fit in this invigorating and fun workout program. A variety of classes are taught by different instructors to offer unique styles that focus on cardio, toning and core training.
The contest is being held March and April and is only $90 for unlimited classes, weigh-ins and nutrition advice. See the flyer for more details or call Laura Hars at (973) 903-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org for questions.
Now entering its seventh year of operation, the Community Garden at South Branch Preserve has plots available for the 2019 season, which runs from April 1 through Nov. 30.
An informational meeting will be held on Tuesday, March 5, at 6:45 p.m. at the Mt. Olive Township Public Library in Flanders.
Free vegetable seeds will be available to interested gardeners and sign-ups for plots may be completed at this time.
“The camaraderie and friendships among the gardeners has been amazing, and the gardeners donated over 514 pounds of produce in 2018,” said Barbara McCloskey, the Garden manager and Membership & Outreach manager for the Land Conservancy.
The annual membership rate for Mt. Olive Township residents and/or members of The Land Conservancy is $35 per 10’x10’ plot and $45 for non- residents. There is a one-time irrigation fee of $30 for each plot.
The Community Garden is located at the intersection of Wolfe Road and Route 46 West. It is part of South Branch Preserve, which totals more than 200 acres in this location. Preserved by The Land Conservancy and its partners, including Mt. Olive Township, this land was purchased to protect the headwaters of the South Branch of the Raritan River, a drinking water supply source for more than 1.5 million New Jersey residents.
The garden is surrounded by fencing, to keep out deer and rodents, including rabbits and groundhogs. A shed is located onsite, which houses some gardening supplies. Gardeners are encouraged to bring their own gardening tools. Water is provided by The Land Conservancy by individual spigots and hoses throughout the garden. Only organic gardening practices are allowed at the Preserve.
Mt. Olive School District plans to host its Maker Fest event on Saturday, March 9, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mt. Olive High School dome. This event is an exciting showcase of how Science & STEAM education are celebrated both in the education sector and workplace.
It will also have Drones competition, District Elementary Science & Innovation Fair, Musical and dance performances, STEAM exhibits/activities for all age groups, live animals and their bio-facts and so much more.
The County College of Morris (CCM) Art and Design Gallery in Randolph is pleased to announce the upcoming installation of the 2018 New Jersey State Teen Arts Festival Traveling Exhibition.
The touring exhibit runs from March 4 through March 26 in the CCM Art and Design Gallery in the Sherman H. Masten Learning Resource Center, Randolph. The CCM Art and Design Gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The Teen Arts Festival exhibit showcases the artwork of 56 New Jersey high school students who received the highest accolades in the 2018 N.J. State Teen Arts Festival. The award-winning pieces consist of a variety of artistic mediums such as photography, painting and design. The exhibition has been traveling the state since July 2018 and will be conclude its run in May 2019.
Since its formation in 1969, the Teen Arts Festival has encouraged middle and high school students to pursue their artistic passions and build upon their talents. CCM over the past 38 years has served as a host institution with professors and staff conducting workshops in art, design, drama, graphic design, music, theater, photography, video and writing.
For information on the academic programs offered through the Art and Design department at CCM, visit https://tinyurl.com/y9kzbxqf.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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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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