By Cheryl Conway
Thinking about the homeless during the wintertime, especially during the polar vortex that hit last week, is frightening and chilling to the bone. For those who donated to the 2018 Helping Homeless Heroes Campaign, there is nothing quite as warming.
In recognition of this past Veteran's Day, the All Veterans Memorial, Morris County American Legion and the All Veterans Alliance have placed their focus on the growing number of homeless veterans. Together, these New Jersey non-profit organizations honored their service by constructing and distributing severe weather survival backpacks in preparation for a long hard winter.
The AVM is proud of its ten year commitment of helping its warriors battle through Mother Nature’s relentless chilling effect on their lives through their 3H - Helping Homeless Heroes program. It has had the privilege of serving more than 3,500 homeless over the years by collecting gently used backpacks from the community and filling them with hats, gloves, scarves, socks, sweatshirts, hygiene and first aid items, says Charlie Uhrmann, founder of the AVM.
Studies have proven that the most effective programs for homeless and at-risk veterans are community-based, nonprofit, "veterans helping veterans" groups. Because government money for homeless veterans is limited and VA serves less than half of this population, it is critical that community groups reach out to help provide the support, resources and opportunities most Americans take for granted: Employment, housing and health care.
A new 501(c)19 non-profit military service organization called All Veterans Alliance is currently underway. The AVA will provide a boost to existing military and privately held non-profit organizations by creating an effective networking base to fill the gap. It has already demonstrated its commitment to Mt. Olive through its support and sponsorship of the Warrior Obelisk and the POW/MIA 24 hour vigil that was held at the AVM on Sept. 21 and 22, 2018. There are more than 2,100 community-based homeless veteran service providers across the country and many other homeless assistance programs that have demonstrated impressive success reaching homeless veterans. These groups are most successful when they work in collaboration with federal, state and local government agencies; other homeless providers; and veteran service organizations. Veterans who participate in these programs have a higher chance of becoming tax-paying, productive citizens again. A small ceremony honoring the nation's members of the U.S. Armed Forces was held on Veteran's Day, Monday Nov. 12, 2018 at 10 a.m. The remainder of the day was committed to collecting the items for the Helping Homeless Heroes campaign. The backpacks were delivered to the Bowery Mission on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018 so that they were distributed before the bitter cold.
As a result of this Helping Homeless Heroes Campaign, the AVA and the Morris County American Legions delivered more than 175 severe weather backpacks to homeless on Nov. 18. The unbearable sting of winter will be lessened for those who have fallen between the cracks and into homelessness. The effort garnered amazing support, which allowed the assembly of comprehensive survival backpacks that contained the following items: Backpack, Bible, thermal sweatshirt, hat, scarf, gloves, socks, cough drops, Kleenex, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, bath soap, washcloths, razors, lip balm, Ibuprofen, first aid kit, hand sanitizer, sanitary wipes, hand warmers, rain poncho, blanket, peanut butter, granola bars, candy bars, extra plastic bags and much, much more. Extra items such as hand sanitizers, tooth brushes, soaps, band aids, ointment were boxed up and donated to the warming shelters in the area.
In bulk, the organization provided 75 blankets, additional women and men's warm clothing items, 42 jackets, sleeping pads and bags. Clothing was color and size coordinated to the backpack. The plans included delivery of more backpacks after Thanksgiving.
Holiday Blessing Boxes followed and were delivered on Christmas Eve. These included 128 Blessing boxes, of which 32 were for the Helping Homeless Hounds. Homeless with pets are prohibited to bring their beloved companion into the warming shelters, so in most cases, they remain outdoors. The boxes for canines included food, water, treats, brush and waste bags. Donors included numerous private contributors, Atlantic Healthcare, David Liebes, DDS, Keri Ingrasia-Squires DO, County College of Morris student clubs and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
CCM Students Pitch In
About 30 students from CCM “helped to raise money for “Blessing Boxes” as part of the Holidays for Homeless Heroes project by the All Veterans Alliance,” says Kathleen Brunet Eagan, CCM’s director of Marketing and Public Relations.
“The “Blessing Boxes” included hats, gloves, socks, toothbrushes, lip balm water, cookies and other items that are distributed to the homeless,” explains Eagan.
Several students’ groups got involved: Active Minds, Alpha Beta Gamma, Alpha Mu Gamma, Outdoors Club, PALS – Pets and Animals Lovers Society, Respiratory Club, Student Government Association, Volunteer Club and Young Entrepreneurs of America.
“Our students groups tend to be very community focused,” says Eagan.
“Also, the students’ groups reached out to the campus community through the college’s employee e-newsletter.”
To continue their interest with veterans, Eagan adds that The Student Film Association is looking into working with the All Veterans Alliance to produce a video highlighting the All Veterans Memorial in Budd Lake.
Here’s what’s happening at Mt. Olive Public Library for February 2019! Just a reminder that the library will be closed this month for the following holiday: Monday, Feb. 18 for Presidents’ Day.
Book Clubs Attract Readers
The MOPL plans to have the Morning Book Club meet on Tuesday, Feb. 12, at 11 a.m. to discuss Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy: A Story of Love and Redemption.”
The Classics Book Club plans to meet on Wednesday, Feb. 27, at 7:30 p.m. to discuss Raymond Chandler’s “The Big Sleep.”
Both groups will meet in the Conference Room. Books are available at the Circulation desk.
Free Programs Offered
Mark calendars for the following free programs being offered at the library this month.
By appointment only: Tax preparation appointments are at the library in the Gathering Room on Thursdays starting Feb. 7 through March 11. To make an appointment, call: 973-691-8686 ext. 100, Monday through Thursday 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Movies at the Library: “What They Had,” rated R; drama; 1 hr. 41 min., in the Gathering Room on Tuesday, Feb. 19, at: 1 p.m.-3 p.m.; and 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Snacks included!
Stop by the library, visit www.mopl.org or call (973) 691-8686 ext. 106 for further information regarding any events.
Violet, My Love
When I look in your eyes
I see the colors of a rainbow
Blue for the warm skies,
Yellow For the bright sun,
Green for the pastures
yet to come…
Orange for the sweetness
as the fruit tastes;
Red for the love
my heart aches;
Indigo, because you know without it,
life wouldn’t be complete;
And last, but not least,
your name, Violet.
Written by M. Oliver
Love is like eating
Oreos in the rain
Veering to be near you,
Evenings under a full moon
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.
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
The Chabad Jewish Center of Northwest NJ in Flanders is excited to announce the grand opening of its new location. A grand opening, which will be the place for center’s services, events and Hebrew school, is set for Sunday, Feb. 10, at 10:30 a.m., at 11 Deerfield Place, Flanders. Go to https://www.mychabadcenter.com for more information or call 973-927-3531.
By Cheryl Conway
A hint of warmer weather this week is a reminder that summer is right around the corner and the community pool awaits.
Registration for the 2019 season is currently underway through Mt. Olive Recreation. Sign-ups began January 1. Go to https://register.communitypass.net/mountolive.
The community pool is located at Centercourt Sports in Flanders. Call 973-426-7262 or 7263 to register.
The Township of Mt. Olive and Centercourt Club & Sports, also known as Centercourt entered into a private-public partnership for a community pool last summer 2018. As its pilot program “with hopes of making this a long term relationship,” the idea made a splash with 1,200 pool memberships sold last summer season.
For years, the community had an interest in a town pool facility, as stated in a township write-up. While residents already had access to a lake beach and splash pad, a community pool was missing. The governing body explored the possibility of purchasing land, building and operating its own pool, but the cost was substantial, the write-up stated.
Purchasing the existing facility owned by Centercourt was also looked into but never came to fruition. Negotiations with Centercourt led to the pool lease agreement “which is a win, win for the township.”
Centercourt Club & Sports was established in 1974 and has become a leader in sports programming in the Northeast. It offers membership tennis clubs, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, ninja warrior training, as well as eight sports training facilities throughout the state of New Jersey, focusing on delivering top-level year round training. Mt. Olive is fortunate to have one of those facilities right in its backyard.
The Mt. Olive Sports Training Center consists of a 13 acre multi-sport campus with facilities and programming, as stated in the write-up. Situated on site is a 5,933 sq. ft., 188,871 gallon modified “Z” shape heated pool equipped with lanes, deep area diving and slides; a baby pool; locker rooms; concession stand; sand volleyball court; and grassy area for picnicking.
“Over the past several years, since Centercourt took ownership of the facility in 2016, the township noticed a decline in activity, especially with the underutilized pool facility,” as stated in the write-up. The pool was being slightly used for small summer camps with declining membership and not open to the public, as stated in the write-up.
Township officials jumped on in to take the opportunity to approach Centercourt for the possibility of leasing the pool facility. Centercourt liked the idea in hopes that it would attract added traffic and allow the township to market the facility by supplying memberships, the release stated.
“The one caveat being we already adopted our budget and needed to structure the agreement whereby the township took on as little financial responsibility and risk as possible,” as stated in the write-up.
Ultimately, an agreement was made in which Centercourt supplies the pool, staff, lifeguards and operating responsibilities, while the township sells the memberships to its residents. The only out of pocket expense to the township was purchasing pool tags and an on-site pool monitor, and agreeing to turn over a percentage of the revenue to offset the cost of operating the pool.
The township was able to set the membership fees and control the services being offered. As its pilot season, services were kept basic.
“There are certain residents who prefer the lake, while others prefer a pool environment, now we have both,” as quoted in the write-up. “The pool is another great resource to offer our residents as we found many were joining neighboring pools. The community has embraced the new recreational activity and Centercourt is very happy with the collaborative effort.
“The pool has been a great new addition to the Township of Mt. Olive and we are excited for a long partnership with Centercourt Club & Sports,” as stated in the write-up. “The township was able to leverage an underutilized private facility and offer a great public service to its community without increasing taxes. This is a great example of a private-public partnership and how two entities can work together for the benefit of the community.”
Township Recognized By State
In November 2018, Mt. Olive Twp. received the 2018 Innovations in Governance Award for its Private-Public Community Pool Partnership.
Mt Olive Twp. Business Administrator Andrew Tatarenko said he applied last July 2018 with the League of Municipalities Governance Award Program.
“I thought we had a great project that we worked on,” says Tatarenko. For this award, “the criteria is for local government to be creative to try to solve a local problem.”
The community pool is a “public service which was wanted in Mt. Olive,” says Tatarenko.
Annual Innovation in Governance Awards
The N.J. Department of Community Affairs and the N.J. League of Municipalities acknowledge and promote Innovation in Governance through this annual recognition program.
“This is a great opportunity to showcase innovative solutions and an opportunity to showcase innovations that solved problems or prevented them from arising,” as stated on the program’s website.
Established to highlight exemplary local government activities that exhibit creative and practical approaches to local problems and concerns, winning entries were shared with municipal leaders at the 103rd Annual League of Municipalities Conference Mayors’ Luncheon held Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, at the Sheraton in Atlantic City.
Mt. Olive was one of three honorees. The other two honorees for 2018 included: Borough of Highland Park for its Civics for the Community; and Gloucester Twp. for its Building Community Trust.
Mt. Olive Twp. Mayor Rob Greenbaum received a plaque at the luncheon and was recognized for the township’s pool partnership.
“I was very pleased and honored and I thought that project was very deserving of this award,” says Tatarenko.
By the end of last summer, Tatarenko says 1,200 members used the local pool.
“We exceeded our goals,” says Tatarenko. “Centercourt was also very happy with it,” and both parties agreed to renew their agreement for this summer with even expanded services.
Tatarenko says this summer members will be allowed access to two tennis courts on site, swim lessons and party rentals, as well as a 50 percent off discount to sign up for Centercourt camps.
The pool will be open from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.
The community pool is located at Centercourt Sports in Flanders. Call 973-426-7262 or 7263 to register. See flyer for details.
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.
Have the grey skies of winter made you glum? Are children climbing up the walls at home? Mt. Olive Recreation in partnership with Toll Brothers Luxury Home Builders is hosting a free family friendly event, Cabin Fever Reliever, on Saturday, Feb. 9, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Mt. Olive Senior Center located at 204 Flanders-Drakestown Road.
Open to residents and non-residents this day of indoor fun will feature dancing, games, crafts, sports, karate, and more! The event will be separated into zones: Art, Sports/Health, Enrichment and Dance/Fashion. Each zone will feature at least three different activities appealing to children ages 2 years to 10 years. The day will also feature interactive demonstrations. All of this activity is likely to result in some hungry bellies, so food will be available for purchase. A variety of vendors and business will be onsite which include Bath fitter of Hackettstown, Engineering for Kids, British Swim, Club Z, The Candle Lady, Flanders Martial Arts, T Mobile, Mad Science, Slattery School Of Irish Dance, DotDot smile, Fashion First, Crunch of Stanhope, Healthy Kids, Abiding Peace Church, Us Sports, Young Living Essential Oils and CS Gymnastics.
Registration is not required for the event. It is suggested that families arrive no later than noon to allow for time to engage in all the offerings of the day. Due to the audience size and space please understand that strollers will not be permitted into the Senior Center during the event.
On Saturday, April 27, Layups 4 Life will be hosting its 5th annual 3v3 charity basketball tournament at the Parsippany PAL Youth Center in Parsippany. This tournament has quickly become one of New Jersey’s largest 3v3 charity basketball tournaments as it averages 40 teams per year. Registration for this tournament is open to ages 18+.
Layups 4 Life is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that is founded on the principles of making a difference in the fight against cancer. Led by cancer survivor Dan Exter and his wife Dana Levine Exter, it is L4L’s mission to help raise vital funds for cancer research and clinical trials. Since 2014, Layups 4 Life has raised close to $80,000 through hosting a variety of events in the sports and social spaces. With the funds that they have raised during the last four years, L4L has made contributions in support of leukemia, pediatric and bone marrow research departments supporting one of the leaders in cancer innovation and research, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC).
To learn more about Layups 4 Life, visit its website at www.layups4life.org. Questions about this theme night or anything else regarding L4L, email Dan Exter or Dana Levine Exter at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If the snow and polar vortex kept you in last week, warm up this week with additional free classes offered at Mt. Olive Exercise, sponsored by the Mt. Olive Recreation Dept. Classes are set to be held at the Mt. Olive Senior Center all week… except for on Saturday, when class will be relocated to the Mt Olive Public Library.
Call Laura Hars at 973-903-0453 for more information or email email@example.com
When colleges host educational events and hands-on opportunities in addition to providing high quality classes, it ensures that students are receiving a well-rounded, diverse education.
At County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph, the Community and Civil Engagement (CCE) initiative offers high-impact, interdisciplinary opportunities to help broaden students’ knowledge of the world and teach them how to positively impact society.
During the 2019 Spring Semester, CCE will be debuting its newest initiative called “Project Yellowstone.” The project focuses on conservation and protected lands, citing examples from Yellowstone National Park and other natural environments. The project consists of multiple events throughout the semester.
On Tuesday, March 5, at 12:30 p.m. in Davidson Room A— A Talk with Mike Coonan, a park ranger from Yellowstone National Park, via Skype is planned. Attendees will learn about the history of the National Park Service and Yellowstone.
On Thursday, April 18, at 12:30 p.m. in Sheffield Hall, Room 100—Dr. Shane Doyle (Crow) will travel from Montana to discuss the story of “Clovis Boy,” a young boy who was buried some 12,600 years ago in what is today southern Montana. This sacred land is important to the Crow tribe and led to an international research project.
Want to learn more about the Crow tribe? Join Dr. Doyle Wednesday, April 17, at 2 p.m. in the Media Center, located in the Sherman Masten Learning Resource Center, for an intimate interview on his heritage.
Thursday, May 2, at 6 p.m. in Davidson Room A, located in the Student Community Center, —View the Screening of “Saving the Great Swamp,” a documentary on the preserved public land in one’s backyard. Members of the film’s creative team will be in attendance for an audience Q&A.
During the 2018 Fall Semester, five CCM professors traveled to Yellowstone National Park with the nonprofit organization Yellowstone Forever. As they traveled through the park, the professors learned a great deal about Native American history, the indigenous wildlife, such as antelopes and bison, and the various geysers that erupt regularly. Lessons learned during this trip are being incorporated into “Project Yellowstone” to create greater awareness about conservation and protected lands.
All events are free and open to the public. If interested in attending a “Project Yellowstone” event, RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Mount Olive Soccer Club (MOSC) Travel Program is forming a high school girls’ travel team for the upcoming spring season. If interested, contact email@example.com A.S.A.P. Deadline to register is Feb. 8.
Peach has been missing for 14 days from Mount Olive Road. She was seen in the apartments, Stedwick Village, Budd Lake. Please call 862-251-2742 with any information.
February is approaching- the festival of romantic love- so send in your poems to be printed for the entire month of February; submissions may include a photo of the poet. All ages are invited to submit.
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Experienced journalist since 1990, living in Flanders for 21 years and covering Mt. Olive Township for the past 10 years.