Mt. Olive Online Publication November 15, 2020
Mt. Olive Online Publication November 15, 2020
The Mt. Olive High School Marauder Innovation Learning Lab (MILL) has become the ‘face shield cave’ in Mt. Olive where three "superheroes" have been fighting against time in protecting thousands of frontline health care workers.
Thanks to the technology, dedication and passion of two teachers and a former MOHS student, thousands of health-care workers will be provided with face-shields being fabricated right here in Mt. Olive. Schools are closed in the district, but with the approval by the Mt. Olive Board of Education and superintendent, the MILL has been utilized this past week to make 3D face shields desperately needed by medical professionals interfacing with those affected by the Coronavirus.
David Bodmer, a MOHS teacher of engineering and industrial design for grades nine through 12; along with former student Matthew Dunster; and Jennifer Kalkunte, a MOHS math teacher, have been spending hours in the MILL making face shields with its 3D printers and laser cutters. Just this past week, 150 face shields were donated to Hackettstown and Newton Hospitals, and 15,000 more are hoped to be made and distributed next week.
The technology, effort, donations and willingness to contribute time and skill during this time of crisis can only be applauded.
“It’s a real tribute to the board’s support for technology we have,” says Mt. Olive School District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Zywicki, who gave a shout out to the teachers involved with the project during his Wednesday, Parent University call through Facebook, in which he provided an update to parents regarding distance learning. “With a bay of 35 3D printers in the MILL at the high school, “kids do wonderful things,” but also with Rutgers and NYU reaching out to the school “because we have so many printers and that we can be a leader in helping to support our community during this crisis, is great.”
Former MOHS Principal Kevin Stansberry, who now serves as director of Secondary Education within the district, says it’s “a tremendous story; it's an impressive journey. These guys are absolutely amazing.” They have created “partnerships with universities and companies. This is magnificent; We are so proud of everyone involved in this project.
“It’s fantastic, what these men and Jen are doing," he says. "It’s filling the gaps in this time of health crisis.”
Operation Face Shields Begins
It was last Tuesday, March 24, when a medical student at Rutgers University Hospital in Newark, Rohan Sawhnew, reached out to Bodmer via email informing him about the shortage of masks and shields for medical professionals.
Sawhnew learned about MOHS’s technology from one of his colleagues, Jason Frasca at Montclair University, who knew “we had a similar 3D lab up here,” explains Bodmer.
The request was one Bodmer could not ignore.
As a matter of fact, “When things started happening,” when COVID-19 got more serious, Bodmer tells how his wife questioned his delay in his expertise to help out.
“She said ‘how long are you going to sit there and not do anything?’” explains Bodmer.
“I’m an engineer,” says Bodmer. “I can’t help I want to help in some way.”
In this call for action, Bodmer reached out to Dunster, one of his former students, as well as math teacher, Kalkunte.
Bodmer says he chose Dunster for the project because, “Matt is someone I can trust with being a part of this effort.
“Matt and I stayed in touch since he was a student” for 11 years, says Bodmer. Dunster, a 2012 graduate of MOHS, was one of Bodmer’s students. They connected over the years during winter and summer breaks and then Dunster became one of Bodmer’s team mentors for the MOHS Underwater Robotics Team, Loggerhead ROV, a marine technology development program.
“He was my robotics teacher, robotics mentor, and then in 2016 I jumped on board when he started the MATE Loggerhead ROV team,” explains Dunster. “So, we have been working together almost three days a week since 2016. I believe my history with him, as well as my knowledge of helping in the lab that we work out of, is why he asked me to jump on board.”
After engaging his team virtually through Google meetings and texting, Bodmer then sought permission from school leaders to use the MILL. With Zywicki’s clearance, Bodmer went full steam ahead.
As early as the next day, Wednesday, March 25, the three started “on making parts for our shields up through Sunday.”
With access through the back door and then up the elevator, to avoid exposure of germs in other parts of the school, the trio got busy, and began “full printing mode.”
They set up three shifts, 7 a.m.; 1 p.m.; and 7 p.m., utilizing 24 3D printers in the MILL space.
A design for the 3D model headband was sent to them through Rutgers University Medical Center in order to follow the guidelines on the specs for the face shields, explains Dunster, who works as a vice president for Special Technical Services in Hackettstown, a family-owned small manufacturing company started by his grandfather that provides grounding equipment and static monitoring systems to protect personnel, equipment and plant operations.
Prusa Face Shields was the design they were using, he says. Their original task was to make the 3D model headbands and then send those to Rutgers to install the plastic face shields, “but we were able to make our own plastic shields,” using laser cutters, explains Dunster.
“It’s been quite a crazy week for us,” says Bodmer.
But as of Friday, Bodmer and Dunster realized that the amount of parts and shields being fabricated by the 3D printers “was not going to meet the demands” with the number of shields they were hoping to yield.
“It took us about 12 hours to make four headbands on each printer,” explains Dunster. “So, we were able to make about 80 in total every 12 hours or so.”
As of Wednesday, April 1, Bodmer says they were “wrapping up” its 3D printing of 300 face shields.
Their first batch of 150 face shields made with the 3D printers went out Monday, March 30, to Hackettstown and Newton hospitals.
On Wednesday, April 1, another 50 shields went out to local residents and Saint Claire’s in Denville.
In the meantime, earlier in the week, the student from Rutgers University who reached out to them “went silent” and they eventually learned that he was one of the medical students being utilized as front line medical worker for Covid-19, says Bodmer.
Sawhnew is now on the front line at the temporary hospital set up at the Jacob Javits Center in New York City.
Laser Cutting Takes Over
The team decided that they would move away from the 3D printing of the masks and utilize its laser cutters for a greater output of shields, says Bodmer. They connected with two teachers from Warren Hills High School with a plan to fabricate 10,000 face shields with the laser cutting method; that number has grown to a goal of 15,000 face shields if donations continue to come in.
They can make “two per minute” by using the laser cutters, adds Dunster, which would increase their output by 10 times.
“I am not sure of the exact model of the laser cutters,” says Dunster, “But we have two of them at MOHS. “The 10,000 are being pre-cut by the supplier to help us get them made quicker.”
Materials for the laser cut face shields include PETG, a clear film plastic; polyurethane foam; and elastic band to wrap around the head, explains Dunster, a 2016 mechanical engineering major from Worcester Polytechnical Institute in Massachusetts.
The plastic is coming in from TPI Plastics with mills in Michigan; foam coming from Chicago; and elastic from Goldstar in California, adds Bodmer. The material for the shields are expected to come in on Monday.
Foam will be placed around the plastic shields with double-sided tape instead of the 3D headbands.
The shields being fabricated at MOHS will support front-line medical professionals in Morris, Sussex, Warren and Hunterdon, they say, while those being made at Montclair State University will be supporting Essex, Hudson and Bergen.
Out of the 10,000 shields, the state police will help distribute the shields, says Bodmer. MOHS will also be giving 500 shields to Hackensack Medical Center.
In addition, 150 shields were to be given to Mt. Olive’s first responders and front line medical professionals, he adds, and 25 were to be given to local residents who asked privately if they can have one for family members who work on the front-line.
The template design for the shields meet all regulations and standards as they were designed by NYU Maker Space and also approved by Johns Hopkins University, its medical department and staff, says Bodmer.
“Our shields can be sanitized with bleach wipes,” says Bodmer. Staff can reuse the shields. “They are not just a single use product.”
He says they decided on shields instead of masks because it is “easier to make face shields verses masks since they can be wiped.”
They are effective because they will allow the medical staff to keep working, he explains. They are designed with a barrier to prevent potential liquids from getting onto the face.
They are also supposed to “stop any airborne contaminants” from getting in, says Dunster. “Before they were just using safety glasses; now they have face shields along with the masks to give them the best way to be safe.”
Donations Support Effort
Lots of monetary support came from family, friends and strangers, they say, estimating $20K in donations. The district did help with the printing costs by allowing the team to use the MILL, as well as the initial batch of plastic sheets that were in the MILL to fill their immediate need.
On March 29 they posted a request of Facebook requesting donations.
“At this time our biggest constraint is financing this effort,” Dunster posted. “If anyone is willing and able to help support this, we are looking for donations of any amount to cover the cost of the supplies necessary to manufacture these shields. The current cost for one shield is about $2.10.”
That first post attracted close to $7K that day with donations mailed to his house, says Dunster.
“They all want to help,” says Bodmer adding that a donation even came as far as California.
They used crowd sourcing, which allowed them to place their order totaling $15K, says Bodmer.
In Dunster’s second post on Facebook the next day he writes: “I want to thank everyone for their support, whether by donation, encouragement, and/or sharing our post. We would not be able to do any of this without the support of our town, school district, and community, so thank you very much! As of right now, we have over 180 people donate to help this effort!!”
After partnering up with two teachers at Warren Hills High School, they came up with a game plan.
“As of this morning, [March 30] we purchased enough material to produce 10,000 (yes, ten thousand) laser-cut face shields, hopefully by mid next week. We manage to leverage our purchasing power together to order enough material to reduce the overall cost for each shield, so we can make more shields. Materials will start arriving tomorrow and will continue until about Monday. After that, we are going to be able to package and distribute in large quantities, with the help of the N.J. State Police.”
Cost to produce each shield has been reduced even more to $1.81, they say.
On Wednesday, April 1, Dunster tells “Mt. Olive Online” that they had received 300 donations from near and far that included support from undergrads, unions and companies.
On Thursday, April 2, Dunster updated the community on Facebook:
“Due to everyone's generous donations, we just placed an order for more material to produce an additional 5,000 shields. That will bring our total up to 15,000 shields. We are still accepting donations, and if we are able to purchase another 5,000 shields, we will do so. Right now, we are about $5,500 short of that goal. You can find multiple ways to donate on our website www.makingwhatsnext.com. “As originally intended, we are supplying these shields free of charge. To our surprise, many in the health care industry could not believe it. Some of our phone calls ended in tears because those on the front lines could not believe the generosity of our whole community coming together. “We are having meetings with our team every few hours during the day to make sure we are prepared to get these made and delivered ASAP. Just this morning we received our first large shipment of the foam we will be using. These will be cut to size over the course of the weekend in preparation for the plastic arriving early next week.”
The team was planning to prep Thursday, Friday and Saturday so it is ready for its shipment this week and plan for production on “a larger scale” of thousands of shields, Bodmer tells “Mt. Olive Online.”
He counts 20 different locations that have requested the face shields, but says their shields are expected to be delivered to near 100 different places since the N.J. state police have a list of requests as well.
Better To Give Than Receive
While they know they are making a difference in many people’s lives, and they know others are grateful, the appreciation is exchanged virtually rather than in person.
With social distancing, not much more can be expected. Forget the handshake, forget the hug.
“I don’t see anyone,” explains Bodmer when he delivers the face shield donation. “I drop a box off. I then text someone in the building. I would then leave. We don’t get to see the people because of the social distancing part.”
But “knowing it’s helping people,” is all that matters really, he says. “It’s about helping those people on the front lines. Our team isn’t very big; it’s just us three, Matt, Jennifer and myself and two gentleman from Warren Hills and also Megan Boyd,” a former MOHS teacher who is helping with order processing by creating a Google form for orders to be entered.
With a team of six, who would think they would be making up to 15,000 face shields, a quantity Bodmer admits he was not expecting.
“People just kind of jumped on board,” says Bodmer.
“I have a lot of family and friends in the medical field, and hear about the desperate need for any assistance,” explains Dunster. “I believed there had to be a way that I could get involved and make a difference, so when Dave proposed this idea, I was more than happy to do it. This effort is just a drop in the bucket, but eventually we hope industry can catch up to meet the demand, as this was to help the immediate need. I truly believe everyone wants to help in some way, but it just takes a few to start to bring it all together.”
A life-long Mt. Olive resident, Dunster says their goal “is to try to meet the immediate need.” They realize that “companies are making 40,000 a day.
Juggling their full-time jobs while making the face shields was the challenge, but they did not seem to mind.
Bodmer explains how the teams starts texting at 5 a.m., he then jumps into his teaching duties. For the 3D printing last week “we were cycling in 7 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., then 11 o’clock at night say ‘it’s time to stop bothering each other.’”
Their plan is to continue fabricating these shields through this week,
“to fill the gap until these major companies can do 40,000 a day,” says Dunster, “or until we run out of funds.”
In two to three weeks companies should be making so many more, says Bodmer.
“Our job is to do what we can,” he says. “We are doing what we can to help with the front lines.”
Companies may be delayed as they need to train employees, convert space for production, seek vendors, sanitize their environment, explains Dunster.
“We are just four guys; here’s my credit card,” says Dunster. “We beat the initial rush.”
Educational Platform To Students
Stansberry commented on how the MILL plays a role in education toward “real world problems.” The face shields are just one product being used for lessons, for an educational platform. “It’s a great model for students.” As a district, “as a facility to give back to the community in this time of need, it’s fantastic.”
“I’ve been posting in my classroom on updates,” says Bodmer. “This is the real-world situation, now evolved to a different approach.”
For anyone in the healthcare industry who is in need of shields, visit
www.makingwhatsnext.com and fill out a quick request form to be placed on the list.
Financial contributions are still being accepted; click the monetary support link. Additional questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Despite the call for social distancing and the United State’s order for larger family gatherings/celebrations to be cancelled, Mabel Maxwell of Hackettstown still had the “happy” in her birthday this past week.
Maxwell turned 90 on Saturday, March 28, and to her surprise her loved ones, about 20 family members lined up in 15 cars and drove by her house to honk their horns, sing “Happy Birthday” and drop off presents at the front of her house.
The drive-by birthday party was a pleasant surprise to the long-time great grandma.
“She was shocked and happy,” says grand-daughter Monica Palko of Hackettstown. “She had wondered how we got everyone together there to make this surprise happen for her.”
Born in 1930, Maxwell has lived in Hackettstown as long as Palko could remember.
“She has been in the same house and area since I was born,” says Palko, a life-long resident for the past 37 years. “Her kids grew up in that house so been a while.”
Maxwell has four kids, two daughters and two sons, one which is deceased. She also has six grandkids “all but one live in the area,” and five great grandkids, “all but two live in area.”
Celebrating family milestones has been a tradition for Maxwell’s family.
“For the big milestones we always try to do something... may not be a party but the family gets together,” says Palko who works as a storage facility representative and school cafeteria aide
“My aunts and uncles planned to have a party for her with friends and family at Schooley's Mountain Firehouse,” says Palko. “It was planned for her actual birthday March 28. Not sure how many were attending but I'm sure it was a good amount of people. My aunts and uncle planned it.”
Palko says it “was disappointing when Covid 19 postponed the plans for the party; this was a well-deserved party for her. My aunts and uncle had talked about rescheduling the party after this is all over but that is up in the air.”
Despite the circumstances, the celebration carried on.
“Instead we all met up by her house and did a drive by birthday celebration, honking horns up her road and driveway,” says Palko. “Then we all got out and sang happy birthday to her while she stood on the porch, 6 ft. away of course.”
Crediting her uncle for coordinating the surprise, Palko describes: “We all stayed in our cars and lined up as we got closer to her house we started honking our horns, then parked. We all got out and sang “Happy Birthday” to her and then we went up and gave her gifts and well wishes one by one.....”
The kind gesture left a warm fuzzy feeling to all those involved.
“Myself and my family were happy we were able to make this happen for her and still make her feel special on her 90th birthday despite Covid 19 changing things on us,” says Palko.
While family gatherings and celebrations are currently banned, Palko stresses the importance of finding alternatives to keeping the “happy” in daily lives.
“Yes we all do have to follow what we are being told to do in order for us all to come out of this situation safe,” says Palko, but also “embrace the unique ways to celebrate things and enjoy the fact that no matter how it is done you have just brightened someone’s day and made them feel special and the center of attention for a brief moment.”
While she was not able to reach out to her grandmother before sending this, she says “I am sure what she would say is.... ‘She is very thankful and was surprised with the way me managed to celebrate for her that day.’”
Palko concludes: “On behalf of my family I would like to say we are blessed to have this amazing lady in our lives and we were able to celebrate her 90th birthday with her.”
As of Saturday, April 4, Mt. Olive Twp. Mayor Rob Greenbaum had reported 74 total positive cases of the coronavirus within the township.
His message: “Stay at home, stay at home, stay at home,” he writes on his Facebook page. With the spread of social distancing, that is all anyone can do at this time, but the township and school district is still at work under these current conditions using virtual-means to get the job done.
The Mt. Olive Twp. Council held its first virtual council meeting on Tuesday, March 30, at 7 p.m. Mt. Olive Twp. Business Administrator Andrew Tatarenko set up the meeting using the Zoom app. Residents were invited to tune in whether through computer, tablet, iPad or iPhone.
It was business as usual passing resolutions and ordinances. Tatarenko mentions the delays on some purchases, which amounts to suspending $2 million worth in capital projects.
“A lot of the capital projects” need to get put on hold, explains Greenbaum, until “we get a handle on where we are revenue-wise” like other municipalities are doing.
The township will move ahead with some purchases, such as a new fire truck and other emergency vehicles, but all others are at a standstill “until we have some sense of where we stand,” Greenbaum reinforces.
It is “inappropriate to move forward with these kinds of projects during a time frame when a lot of the residents might otherwise be in financial distress,” he says. We “need to hold the line on things we are going to move forward with and try to do the best we can with the residents with what we have.”
Council President Joe Nicastro started off the meeting thanking the medical professionals and first responders “for putting their lives on the line each day for us to keep us safe.” He also thanks the mayor and administration “for keeping everyone informed of what’s going on through Facebook and emails.”
In regard to keeping residents informed, Council-Member Alex Roman tells of his inquiry from a resident informing him that not everyone has Facebook. With that, he requests that the township post all of its information on the township website. He also asks if an alert system, like the school district’s Honeywell Instant Alert System, can be used in which residents get either a phone call or an email with updates.
Roman asks Tatarenko to look into creating a database with residents’ emails.
Tatarenko replies saying that all information will be posted on the township website in regard to any updates with Covid-19.
Roman also asks about housing emergency workers/skilled employees, “critical employees who operate infrastructure” such as those who manage the sewers or are electricians, in trailers on alternating shifts to protect them from contracting the virus.
Roman questions whether there are any state guidelines about housing critical employees and shares his concern on “if there’s a worse-case scenario, to house them. God forbid we lose some critical employees that are the only ones who know how to operate the sewer department, or maybe in our own fleet maintenance a vehicle goes down and there’s no one to repair it.”
Tatarenko responds saying the township has its employees working in teams on alternating days but that it has not looked into any housing.
“If you are sick you don’t come in or you self-quarantine,” says Tatarenko.
Greenbaum interjects and lessens these concerns.
“Alex, I don’t think that housing our employees is going to potentially stop them from ultimately contracting the virus anyway because they still have contact with the number of employees and individuals throughout the town and then families. I don’t see that’s a viable option here. We have thought about the contingencies” and are “separating employees the best we can.
“Ultimately, there’s a vast resource on the county level in terms of worst-case scenarios,” Greenbaum says. “If we should lose key employees, I do believe the county could then bring resources and we’d be ok.”
The mayor adds, “We’ve taken appropriate steps in Mt. Olive to limit contact amongst employees so that if there were a situation, our employees start to test positive, we have others that can step in who haven’t been in contact with other people.”
Regarding housing employees, Greenbaum says “We are not this large organization, like an electric company that key employees’ knowledge can’t be replaced by others down the line.”
Roman specifies his concern to be more “about employees who go home and interact with public off hours,” and not so much about their interaction while working.
Greenbaum concludes “I just don’t see that happening and I don’t see the benefit of doing that in the long-run” regarding housing employees.
At the end of the meeting, Greenbaum thanked the council for organizing the online meeting and residents for adhering to social distancing.
“Over the next two to three weeks we have to buckle down further,” says Greenbaum, adding that the township “will see numbers and hospitalization that far surpass what we have now.”
He talks about his daily conference calls that he has been on for the past several months to identify issues and says Mt. Olive is “one of the first municipalities that started to plan for what we’re dealing with now,” based on past experiences Superstorm Sandy, October snowstorm and other tragedies that we’ve had in town. “Every day at 10:30 we have a conference call among first responders, administration, Nicastro on behalf of the town council and Atlantic Health to talk about what’s going on, to try to identify issues, illness amongst first responders, PPE’s and how to get them.”
Despite the situation, he says, “It’s been a wonderful experience working with all of the people that we have these conference calls with; they are all professionals.” He says, there is “not an issue that has come up to date that we haven’t been able to deal with or haven’t thought about in advance.”
“To all first responders, health care professionals out on the front line, you put your life on the line every time you go out to work,” he says. “You also jeopardize your family’s health and you do it for the benefit of our community. I tip my hat off to all of you. May God bless all of you.”
At the end of the council meeting, Tatarenko thanks the 72 residents who signed up as volunteers for the food delivery program, the 20 who made face masks and the big corporations and companies who have donated during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Schools Stay With Distant Learning
Mt. Olive Township schools remain closed and students have been engaged in distant learning since March 16.
All students in the district have Chromebooks, even the elementary school kids who received 700 of the ones left on the classroom carts, says Mt. Olive Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robert Zywicki.
In his daily update on Thursday, April 2, Zywicki gives an overview and update within the school district. As of March 30, “we started a more directed online instructional model for grades 1-12 leveraging Google classroom and Google Hangouts.”
He writes “Students are expected to check their course-respective Google Classrooms on a daily basis to receive updates and assignments from their teachers.”
For those who need extra help, “they can schedule an office hour appointment with their teachers.”
Also students needing support from guidance counselors or parents of special education students, appointments can be made each day 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Programs such as the MO Success Academy and the Aspire program will resume this week, he notes.
All registered MOTSD students who qualify for free or reduced lunch have been provided with boxed breakfasts and lunches at the Mt. Olive Middle School via pick-up.
Home instruction will be ongoing until April 8; spring break will remain as originally scheduled from April 9 until April 19.
“If the health-related closure is still in effect, home instruction will resume on April 20,” he notes.
Every Wednesday, Zywicki has been providing a Parent University through the school district’s Facebook page.
During that meeting, he says, “I don’t know when we are coming back, was hoping to come back soon, but can continue in this fashion until the end of the school year if we have to.”
Some have questioned why spring break is still scheduled and he says, “Everyone needs a break; everyone needs a mental health break.” If they did not have a spring break, then they could get out earlier but he “wants to preserve June. If we are able to salvage June,” for field days, graduation, then that would be a positive way to end the school year.
He announces that the eighth grade Washington DC Trip is “probably cancelled” because of travel restrictions in Maryland and DC. Medieval Times is also cancelled, and he is not yet sure about Senior prom. If it does get cancelled in May, he says maybe they can have prom later, like in June. He also mentions perhaps a “virtual graduation.”
Last day of school is still set for June 23 for elementary grades and the high school; the middle school is set to end on June 24.
The Mt. Olive Board of Education, meanwhile, plans to host a remote meeting on Google Hangout on Monday, April 6, at 6:30 p.m. The public can attain access via Hangouts Meet Link: meet.google.com/hpk-sixp-krc; or can dial in at 1-832-779-5654 Pin: 547 917 031 #.
Library Goes Virtual For Kids
Virtual Storytime: Do your kids miss Storytime and coming to the library? Tune in Monday through Friday to see all of the Children's Room Librarians reading stories on Facebook and Instagram.
Buzz's Spring Reading Challenge: Are your kids looking for a fun challenge, that could also brighten up your home? Take part in Buzz's Spring Reading Challenge and help Buzz grow flowers all over Mt. Olive. Printable reading logs and flower coloring pages can be found online at www.mopl.org/youth.
Morris County is putting out an emergency call for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and medical professionals who are available during this COVID-19 health crisis to sign up for paid openings at healthcare facilities across Morris County that are short of qualified medical personnel and looking to hire people immediately.
The County Office of Emergency Management has created Operation Save-a-Life, which will develop a roster of available medical personnel and provide that list to healthcare facilities, or for home health care providers, that are short-staffed due to the virus and in dire need of employment help.
“Nursing homes, assisted living, long-term care, and rehabilitation facilities across Morris County are working hard to take care of their patients and residents,” said Morris County Emergency Management Director Jeff Paul. “But many are desperately in need of qualified people and struggling to fill staff shortages that are making it difficult to maintain a quality level of care for patients in need.
“Now, more than ever, we need to sound the alarm and do our best to support our healthcare facilities who are working hard to keep their patients safe and to help save their lives,” he added.
To sign up for these critical jobs through Operation Save-a-Life, and help some of the most vulnerable people during this pandemic, qualified medical personnel are asked to call the Morris County Office of Emergency Management at (973) 829-8600.
For those who do not speak directly with a call taker and get the OEM voice mail recording, please leave name, contact number and medical certification (i.e. Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical Nurse, etc.). One of the Office of Emergency Management staff members will return calls within 24-48 hours.
“We are talking about protecting some of our most vulnerable people, our senior citizens and disabled residents, many are older veterans or former police and firemen who long ago served on the front lines protecting us; now they need our help,’’ said Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon.
“Please, we need your help right now,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Deborah Smith. “On behalf of all Morris County residents, we ask you to consider filling this great need.’
County OEM officials have spoken to healthcare providers across Morris County to identify this need, and are reaching out to RNs, LPNs, and others in the medical field to see if they can match the need with available personnel. Those who are hired would be paid directly by the individual facility.
The New Jersey Firemen’s Home, located in Boonton, is one example of a facility that needs help caring for its 62 patients/firefighters, who are in danger of possibly having to be moved from their safe location due to a lack of staff.
“We love our firemen, and we don’t want them to leave our facility, but at the same time, we need to make sure that they are provided with the same level of exceptional care that they are accustomed to here at the New Jersey Firemen’s Home,” said Donna Russo, Director of Nursing for the New Jersey Firemen’s Home. “We welcome healthcare providers, RN’s, LPN’s, to join our team.”
The need for meals for Morris Families Has Increased and so has the difficulty of getting donations.
With early spring food drives and fundraisers cancelled, and increased numbers of county residents in need of food as they are out of work due to the COVID-19 situation, food providers and soup kitchens across Morris County are in need of some help.
In addition to a need for food, these nonprofit providers also need supplies, such as forks, spoons, to-go boxes, sandwich bags, and other items for their operations.
It is not just the larger pantries and kitchens that could use a boost, but also smaller providers, many of which normally rely on local churches for donations. But with church, synagogue and mosque services temporarily cancelled, donations collected and dispersed through the generosity of congregations, and by members of local organizations, such as the county’s YMCAs, have dried up.
From the Interfaith Food Pantry:
“Under normal circumstances, we rely heavily on this April fundraiser to provide food to clients through the Spring and into the Fall. We are now facing an unprecedented challenge as demand is picking up and we are bracing for an influx of unemployed workers. Now more than ever, please consider supporting our efforts.
From Nourish.NJ (formerly Community Soup Kitchen in Morristown):
“With most buildings we operate shut down, we have little storage space for new goods. We’ve switched to take-out lunches and pre-bagged groceries. For now, the best way to support us is with a monetary donation through our website, which allows us to buy as-needed items on a day-to-day basis. We feel it is the safest way to protect our guests, our staff, and our volunteers.”
In particular, the Table of Hope run by the Spring Street Community Development Corporation www.springstreetcdc.org is especially in need of donations. Table of Hope serves all of Morris County and is available to assist any of Morris County’s 39 municipalities. It is an agency of the Community Food Bank of New Jersey https://cfbnj.org.
This week, Table of Hope will be distributing food to residents of Dover, Morristown and Parsippany, and it hopes to serve additional municipalities as needed. Volunteers can sign up on our website. Their greatest need is funding for the operation of the Mobile Food Pantry. Donations can be given online or mailed to our Center at 65 Spring Street, Morristown, NJ 07960.
There are many providers of food and meals in Morris County. Here is a list of some local providers with contact information:
St. Eliz Ann Seaton Parish 973-927-1629
Abiding Peace Lutheran Church 973-691-9393
United Methodist Church of Stanhope 973-347-0247
Chester Food Pantry 973-879-2548
Bethlehem Church 973-366-3434
Rockaway Food Closet 973-627-1059
Municipal Building 973-448-2026
Drakestown United Methodist Church 908-852-4460 or 908-319-4734
Long Valley Presbyterian Church 908-876-3471
First Memorial Presbyterian Church 973-366-0216
Women’s Infants and Children’s Clinic (WIC) 800-427-3244
First United Methodist Church 973-366-1804
Grace United Methodist Church 973-366-3681
Salvation Army 973-366-0764 or 973-366-0875
St. Mary’s Parish 973-366-0184
Township Municipal Building 973-366-9031 ext. 62
Table of Hope 973-267-8912
Interfaith Food Pantry 973-538-8049 ext. 12
Interfaith Food Pantry 973-538-8049 ext. 12
Hendrickson Smith Food Pantry 973-455-9802
Meals on Wheels 973-538-2160 ext.211
Table of Hope 973-267-8912
Nourish NJ 973-267-0709
Interfaith Food Pantry 973-538-8049 ext. 12
Women’s Infants and Children’s Clinic (WIC) 800-427-3244
Market Street Mission 973-538-0431
7th Day Adventist Church 973-984-2970
Salvation Army 973-539-2700
If there are other food pantries or soup kitchens in Morris County, please email firstname.lastname@example.org so we can add them to this list or make any corrections to the list above.
The Morris County Board of Freeholders plans to meet on Monday evening, April 6, via a telephone conference call that is open to county residents.
The county governing board was supposed to hold its public session on Monday as a “road meeting” in Long Hill Township. Instead, due to the COVID-19 situation, the freeholders will not meet in that municipality at this time.
The Freeholder Board’s work session that had been scheduled for Monday, April 6, at 4:30 p.m. in Morristown has been cancelled. Instead, there just will be one public meeting via phone at 7 p.m.
The Freeholder Board held a similar phone in session for its meeting on March 25.
“While we all struggle to get through this crisis, county government still has a vital obligation to continue operating, to be sure we serve our residents in this time of need,” said Freeholder Director Deborah Smith. “We invite you to listen-in to our meeting and to participate in our meeting in its temporary format, and look forward to meeting you in person at our future meetings.”
Residents are invited to attend the April 6 meeting:
Call: 1-201-546-5293. Guest passcode: 439862.
Residents are asked to mute their phones as they listen, and to speak only during the public comment period. Please try to “line up” politely with other callers during the comment period. It would be much appreciated.
We find ourselves in a new norm with a situation none of us have ever been through before. The pandemic has brought a plethora of anxiety, stress, panic, anger, sadness and fear. People are scrambling to keep their sanity.
With the pandemic upon us, a question keeps arising for many of us. When this pandemic is all over and things go back to normal – do you even want to go back to that norm? Do you want to go back to the way things were?
Do you want to continue to work 60-80 hours a week?
Do you want to be tied down to your phones and tablets?
Do you constantly want to be multi-tasking just to get your daily to do list done?
Do you always want to feel stressed and overwhelmed? Do you want to find yourself on the bottom of your priority list?
Do you want to be living on little to no sleep?
Do you want to be in careers you don’t like, relationships you settled for or friendships that don’t serve you anymore?
We will all be stuck in our houses for a while and the best thing we can do for ourselves is re-evaluate who we were and who we want to be?
We are stuck in the grey area, the in between. We all have the time to think the questions above through and make choices that aren’t rushed or done through fear or anger. This is a time for clarity. This is the time to take care of you and not feel selfish or guilty for it. It’s the time to learn NO is a complete sentence. It’s a time to learn your emotional health is just as important as your physical health, it’s a time to realize doing nothing is sometimes just what you needed. It’s a time to realize self-care is a necessity.
My suggestions for the short term is a re-evaluation and a start of a new chapter. I see this pandemic as a gift. A gift of quality time with yourself and your family. Use this time wisely!
Sports and entertainment management students at Centenary University in Hackettstown are learning a valuable lesson that the show must go on, even during times of unexpected chaos.
Each spring, a capstone project for the students is to plan a Sports and Entertainment Management Conference on the university’s campus. The annual event draws panels of professionals from major sports teams like the NY Jets, NY Mets, NY Red Bulls, and many others, as well as hundreds of attendees from universities and high schools. Centenary students plan the entire conference, from logistics and publicity, to ticket sales, attaining event sponsorships, and booking guest speakers.
Associate Professor of Sports Management David Perricone knows that dealing with the unexpected will make his students better employees someday. So, when New Jersey issued a statewide quarantine order due to COVID-19, he urged his students to find a solution. They did, quickly retooling their in-person conference originally scheduled for March 27 into a two-day, virtual event on April 8 and April 15. Working via Zoom conferencing, the students grappled with lots of issues, including how to fulfill event sponsorships, revamp panels, deal with collateral, and reconsider event invitations. The event still features an impressive lineup of speakers representing professional sports teams. Each session is set up as a Zoom conference.
The following are the panel topics, speakers, and login information for each below.
Sponsorship and Sales Panel
Arden Wright: manager, Premium Services at Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment (Centenary graduate)
Abi Lawal: Corporate Ticket Sales manager at Portland Trailblazers (Centenary graduate)
Dan Kauffman: director, Corporate Sales at New York Jets
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 299 428 0263
George Moreira: Event Manager Professional, Manager, Professional Tennis Operations at United States Tennis Association
Garrett Shea: Sponsorship & Event Agency Leader, Executive Director for Sports, Sponsorships and Events Consulting, LLC
Justin Bellinger: Assistant Tournament Director, Bermuda Championship at Bruno Event Team (Centenary graduate)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 299 428 0263
During a recent videoconference with the students, Frank Supovitz, president and chief experience officer for Fast Track Events and Entertainment and former NFL senior vice president for events, likened COVID-19’s effect on the Centenary conference to the chaos caused by a power outage during Super Bowl XLVII in 2013. “No one could have predicted this crisis, just like the Super Bowl power outage,” he told the students.
For Professor Perricone, the experience is providing invaluable training for students who will now be prepared to adapt to unexpected circumstances in the workforce: “To me, this is much more than a grade for them. When they get into the workforce, these students will be prepared for any curveball thrown at them.”
David Hedlund: Associate Professor and Director of the Institute of Interdisciplinary Sport Research at St. John’s University
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 299 428 0263
Current Events in Sports/College Panel
Kristen Volkland: President/Owner of Erbach Communications Group
Jamie Ponce: General Manager of New York Red Bulls II at New York Red Bulls (Centenary graduate)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 299 428 0263
Founded in 1867 by the Newark Conference of the United Methodist Church, Centenary University’s academic program integrates a solid liberal arts foundation with a strong career orientation. This mix provides an educational experience that prepares students to succeed in the increasingly global and interdependent world. The University’s main campus is located in Hackettstown, with its equestrian facility in Washington Township. The Centenary University School of Professional Studies offers degree programs at two locations, Parsippany and Edison, as well as online and at corporate sites throughout New Jersey.
A consistent award-winner, The Youngtown Edition, the student newspaper at County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph, has added eight more awards to its long list of accolades from the New Jersey Collegiate Press Association (NJCPA), this time for its 2019-20 editions.
Competing in the two-year college category, The Youngtown Edition won first place for Sports Writing and second place for General Excellence. It also won three more second place awards for News Writing, Editorial Writing and Column/Opinion Writing. It received three third place awards for Biography/Personality Profile, Photography and Layout/Design.
The Youngtown Edition has been published at CCM every semester since 1968. Over the last decade, it has won more awards from the NJCPA than any other two- or four-year college newspaper in the state. It is continuing to publish online while the CCM campus remains closed.
The NJCPA’s mission is to advance the prestige and integrity of New Jersey’s college newspapers. NJCPA is the charitable arm of the New Jersey Press Association.
Morris County, in coordination with Atlantic Health System, has expanded the appointment schedule for the COVID-19 drive-thru testing center for Morris County residents only, located at the County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph.
After the first day of testing ran smoothly on Monday, with 86 appointments at 15-minute intervals, the schedule of appointments was expanded today to more than 200, with shorter intervals.
The Morris County COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing Site is located at CCM, Dover Chester Road, Randolph. Residents with appointments must use the Dover Chester Road entrance to access the site: https://goo.gl/maps/gmZBrQSXvyaVc25S7
Residents must show up in a vehicle; must have identification, an appointment and a prescription from a medical provider to access the testing site. It is preferred, for the benefit of the medical volunteers, to have an easy to read printed copy of a medical prescription. However, if there is no alternative, a prescription can be displayed via phone.
For information and to make an appointment visit https://health.morriscountynj.gov/COVIDTesting
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
Testing is scheduled between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.
To be tested, residents MUST:
have a COVID-19 test prescription from a healthcare provider;
read and acknowledge the consent form;
make an appointment.
Persons WILL be turned away if they don’t meet all of these qualifications.
Residents with a prescription can move forward to scheduling an appointment after acknowledging the waiver.
Please sign up for an appointment at: https://health.morriscountynj.gov/COVIDTesting
Registration will begin at 10 a.m. each day for appointments two days in advance.
Residents may not sign up for an appointment until they get a prescription from a healthcare provider. If a resident is symptomatic, call doctor as soon as possible. Visit CDC for information on symptoms: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
There is no charge for the test.
ARRIVING AT THE TESTING CENTER:
ID (any others that have an appointment in same vehicle) and appointment verification for all potential clients will be confirmed before entry is permitted.
NO photographing or video recording is permitted.
Please pay attention to all signage which is in English and Spanish.
ALL vehicle windows must remain CLOSED.
DO NOT ROLL DOWN ANY VEHICLE WINDOW until instructed to do so
Do NOT move forward until instructed to do so.
There are no emergency services available at the testing location. If experiencing a medical emergency, please go to the nearest hospital emergency room or dial 911.
If patient included an email address when scheduling appointment, expect to receive an email within 48 hours on how to obtain test results from the laboratory’s portal.
Questions, call the County Hotline at 973-829-8250, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
For more information on COVID-19 and Morris County’s response, visit https://health.morriscountynj.gov/coronavirus.
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