Mt. Olive Online Publication January 14, 2020

Mt. Olive Online
Mt. Olive Online

Skills, Camaraderie, Positivity come with girls travel bball

By Cheryl Conway

Travel basketball for girls is on the rise in Mt. Olive since the new program began three years ago.

The Mt. Olive Maniacs just finished up its third season in March and every year more teams for different grade levels are being added. Mike Schwartz of Hackettstown, physical education teacher at Mountain View Elementary School in Flanders, started the program with two teams in October 2016 for girls in grades sixth through eighth.

Since then, the program has expanded to four teams for girls in grades fifth through eighth, and next year will reach even greater heights with five teams adding fourth grade to the mix.

“Our girls learned a ton and got a lot better during the year,” says Schwartz, program director/head coach of the Mt. Olive Maniacs. “Our goal is to focus and get better each year.”

This year 37 girls played with the Mt. Olive Maniacs, competing in the Garden State Basketball League, against other teams  such as Long Valley, Chester, Rockaway, Basking Ridge, North Hunterdon, Wayne and even High Point. In the summer, it carries over in a separate summer league at Hoop Heaven in Whippany.

“We do travel a bit,” says Schwartz.

Overall the girls had a successful season in terms of wins, says Schwartz. The sixth grade team “had a phenomenal year,” says Schwartz, finishing as league champions; and the seventh grade team won in the finals, but winning or losing is not the purpose for this program.

Schwartz, says the ultimate mission “is to develop our players,” and get them prepared for high school.

“They do become better people in general and get to work on and improve their basketball skills,” says Schwartz. Participating in a travel program “helps prepare them to play at a higher level when they get to high school,” says Schwartz. “That starts at a younger age, that development.”

By playing for a travel program, “they also learn the camaraderie; learning to be a great teammate, that’s a huge skill; learning to have a positive mindset.”

Schwartz decided to start the travel basketball program for girls after another parent suggested the idea to him. While attending a middle school basketball game four years ago, Schwartz was approached by a parent who said to him: “Did you ever think about starting a girl’s travel program since we don’t have one?”

Working as a teacher in the district for the past 11 years, Schwartz says he had not known of another girl’s travel program in town, so he jumped on the idea.

As a former boys’ basketball coach in Byram back in 2007, as a physical education teacher and a former basketball player, Schwartz had all the tools to get the program in motion.

“In order to catch up with the other towns, we needed a travel program in place,” says Schwartz, who operates the program as a 100 percent volunteer. This past season, seven volunteer coaches- made up of some teachers and parents- led the teams.

It is all about the love of the game and for coaching, says the 35-year old coach/teacher.

“I love doing it; I love working with all the girls; I love teaching the game; I love basketball,” says Schwartz. “I’m working to be a better coach every day. I’m here til 9, 9:30 every night during the season,” and works with the girls in the off season. “It’s an all year thing for me. I’ll never give it up. I love coaching; to me it’s not a job, it’s something I love doing.

“I’m a basketball junkie,” continues Schwartz, who played for the boys’ basketball team when he was student at Roxbury High School in the 90’s, as well as for AAU growing up, and continues to play “pick up all the time. I just love the game.”

Sign Up

Girls in elementary and middle school can sign up to try out for the Mt. Olive Maniacs though Mt. Olive Recreation starting in August or September. Tryouts then take place in late October and the season ends the first or second week in March, explains Schwartz. About 20 to 30 games are played each season, with home games played at Mt. View Elementary School. The program next season is open to all girls in grades four through eight, ages 9 to 14, who live in Mt. Olive.

Cost varies between $200 to $300 per year to play, depending on the grade level. As a bonus, every year, the Mt. Olive Maniacs plan a trip to see the professional basketball team, New York Liberty, play.

Mt. Olive Maniacs Camp

Starting at the end of this month, girls in grades first through fifth can sign up to participate in the Mt. Olive Maniacs Basketball Camp offered through Mt. Olive Recreation. Six one-hour long sessions are set to be held April 23-25; April 30, May 1 and May 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., at Mt. View Elementary School. Mt. Olive Maniac coaches and former players will be on hand to work with the girls on their skills. Cost is $50 for the six sessions.

Follow the club on Twitter @MOManiacs.


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MO Students Build Shelters To Survive Disasters

By Cheryl Conway

Students in seventh grade at Mt. Olive Middle School are learning tips on how to survive in natural disasters.

In its second year, Surviving Natural Disasters is a newer marking period elective being offered at MOMS. Health and physical education teachers, Carly O’Reilly of Blairstown, and Kelly Buck of Hackettstown, wrote the curriculum two years ago and team teach the cycle class during the school year. 

Team work, problem solving, engineering and real life experiences are some of the skills and advantages students gain by taking the class.

“This is definitely things they don’t learn about in any other class,” says Buck. “It’s something that could come in handy if they’re on vacation or at the beach,” like if there was a tsunami, for example.

“It’s not technology based, it’s hands on,” says O’Reilly. “It’s cool, it’s an elective a lot of kids get.”

The purpose for the class is to teach students first aid; survival tips and techniques if they get lost in the woods; and how to identify and plan for natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes, blizzards, avalanches, wildfires and floods.

Students learn how each event develops, how to prepare, how to recover afterwards and natural warning signs for each disaster.

Some hands on activities include practicing rope tying using specific knots; creating an emergency plan for the home with diagrams identifying emergency access points and exits, emergency shut off valves and switches for water, heat and gas, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers; emergency contacts; and making lists to assign responsibilities to household members such as who should grab the first aid kit, who should grab the pets.

About 50 students signed up this past marking period and have been engaged in all that they have been learning. When the class began, they had a small group project to demonstrate a natural disaster, its warning signs and why it occurs. In another project, they were given a scenario of being stranded in a remote area of the world such as Alaska, desert, everglades, and “they tell us how to survive,” says Buck, in 30 days “with just a few trinkets.” They had to specify their water source, identify edible plants, explain how they would signal for rescuing and describe the area such as the terrain, weather and animals.

Building outdoor shelters during class time was their final project. As of last week, six shelters were in the midst of completion. 

Emergency Shelters

Students ventured outside during class to build their survival shelters. As part of the assignment, students had to research different kinds of survival shelters, study its pros and cons and then decide which one to build with their group.

The four different survival shelters they researched include Smoke Hole, Tepee, A-Frame and Lean To.

Students were divided into groups of four to six students and sent out into the wooded area across the street and adjacent to the middle school near the baseball field to search for outdoor supplies they could use to build their shelter. They then spent a total of about four hours during the week to construct their shelter, the teachers explain.

“A few days into building we give them trinkets or random items to collect water,” says Buck, such as a glass jar, plastic bag, and other items to help with their shelters such as chapStick, a scarf, a ball of yarn or even a laminated poster which one group used as a funnel to collect water.

One group found a Mylar balloon in the woods and used that.


“They can use whatever they find,” says Buck. “We’ll give them one thing; if they find something out there, random trash, then they are allowed to use it.

The shelters have been built mostly in the woods across the street from the school and usually take about five class periods to complete. Sticks, tall dry grass for roofing or installation, vines used for rope and whatever is fallen from the trees were the main supplies used in building the shelters, the teachers describe.

“We’ll leave second marking period’s up so third marking period get an idea,” explains Buck. “They can use materials from past shelters to use into theirs. At the end of the year, we will destroy everything.”

Students are required to fit their whole group inside the shelter, whether kneeling or squatting. They are also required to provide water collection and a fire pit as part of their project.

“We want it to be closed in as possible,” says Buck.

Students also provide a reflection of their project in explaining their shelter based on a scenario provided to them as part of their project, and what their challenges were regarding the prebuilding of their shelter.

The project gets the students thinking about how they could survive: “If I don’t have power, how can I create light or cook food?” says Buck.

The teachers decided that having the students build a shelter provides a fun hands-on activity for their class.  

“It’s fun,” says Buck. “Mrs. O’Reilly and I are very hands on types of people. It’s a nice way to have that hands-on experience.”

There is a huge difference in reading about shelters compared with students having to produce something on their own, adds O’Reilly.

If for some reason they do get lost, they get to use their skills.

“It takes time, patience and great cooperation” to work together and create a shelter, says O’Reilly.





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Community Awareness Night Set For MOHS

A Community Awareness Night is set to be presented by the Mt. Olive High School Class of 2019 on Tuesday, May 21, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at MOHS The goal of the evening is to bring the community together by having students connect with local resource providers to spread awareness regarding health and wellness topics. 

Admission is free and the event is open to all students, parents and community members. 

Kids Play, Read, Watch At Local Library

Mindfulness Play: April 15, at 7 p.m. Looking to kick off spring break with a lot of fun and a little magic? Come explore the power of mindfulness and make own Mind Jar! Ages 5-105.

Double the fun for spring break! Join in for two special movie showings for families at the MOPL!

* Sunday Funday Movie: April 14, at 1 p.m. Join in for another Sunday Funday Movie, to celebrate spring returning with “Mary Poppins Returns.”

* Thursday Thrills Movie: April 18, at 1 p.m. Get ready for a special Spring Break Thursday Thrills Movie, “Spider Man: Into the Spider Verse.”

Therapy Dog Storytime: April 27 at 11 a.m. Olaf and Duffy are so excited that spring is here and they are ready to have more fun at the library. Join in for National Library Week, with this special story time with some furry friends. (Ages 4-9).

In Honor of National Library Week, help celebrate by reading more books. Help Buzz Grow His Garden! For every three books read in April, kids will get to decorate a flower for Buzz’s garden. Help make the library beautiful this month.

April 6-April 18 is MAINQuest 2019. Want to win some fabulous prizes? Visit the library and try to solve a riddle. If solved, grab the QR code and take a selfie, along with making sure to tag #mtolivepl and #MAINquest! There will be a riddle for kids up to 5th grade and another for grades six–adults.

Initiative Helps Individuals Struggling With Addiction

On April 3, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office announced the launch of the Police Assisted Addiction Recovery Initiative (PAARI), an expansion of Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon’s hallmark Hope One mobile substance abuse recovery and resource vehicle whose two-year anniversary coincides with the start of PAARI.

The launch of PAARI and expansion of Hope One in Morris County is made possible through receipt of a $332,658 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice that was applied for in 2018 by Morris County Sheriff’s Office Corporal Erica Valvano and Sheriff’s Office Trends and Analysis Team Analyst Jane Recktenwald.

Expanding on its commitment to help wrest individuals from the grip of addiction and, for some, stop the cycle of crime associated with substance abuse disorders, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office is the first law enforcement agency in Morris County to launch PAARI and the only Sheriff’s Office in New Jersey to embark on the initiative that draws municipal police departments and non-profit agencies into a partnership to help individuals fight the ravages of addiction.

Under PAARI, individuals who walk into participating police departments and request help for their addiction will be screened, and in most cases connected with a certified peer recovery specialist who will guide the individual to treatment options and resources. Daytop-NJ, a premier substance use facility based in Mendham, is the Sheriff’s Office’s partner in providing the peer recovery specialists.

Individuals who self-initiate the treatment process by going to police headquarters must surrender any drugs or paraphernalia and will not be criminally charged with possessing contraband, under a directive to police prepared by the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. As participation is voluntary, the individual can elect not to continue seeking assistance.

Separately, police can use their discretion in approaching individuals they encounter on the street to determine whether they are open to meeting with a peer recovery specialist. However, the PAARI program exclusively applies to people who ask for help and cannot be used in lieu of charges or arrest.

“With opioid and heroin addiction consuming the lives of family members, neighbors, classmates and friends, and often leading them to break the law to finance their addictions, we all have a stake as human beings to try to stop the scourge,” Gannon said.

“Police officers who are familiar with vulnerable populations in their communities are well-suited to start the process of helping people connect with treatment services in a compassionate, non-judgmental style,” Gannon said.

Daytop-NJ President and CEO Jim Curtin said of the PAARI partnership, which builds upon the non-profit’s relationship with Hope One:

“We commend Morris County Sheriff Gannon for implementing the PAARI program, and are honored to provide Daytop’s trained peer counselors as a first line of defense and a choice for people with substance use disorders.”

“The PAARI program recognizes that addiction is a disease, not a character flaw or a crime, and implementing PAARI in police stations throughout Morris County is a critical step in saving the lives of those suffering from this devastating disease,” Curtin said.

Morris County Prosecutor Fredric M. Knapp noted the array of care programs aimed at ending the disease of addiction.

"The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office looks forward to partnering again with the Sheriff and our municipal law enforcement partners on this life-saving initiative,” said Knapp. “As with Operation Helping Hand and Narcan 2.0, under the leadership of Attorney General Grewal, we and Morris County law enforcement agencies have sought to stem the tide of the horrific opioid and heroin epidemic. PAARI is another innovative effort by Sheriff Gannon towards preventing the needless loss of lives experienced during this plague which has engulfed many of our residents.

“Expanding upon the concept of Hope One and the addition of Medically-Assisted Treatment (MAT) at our County Correctional Facility, the innovative work of the Sheriff's Office has taken the lead in New Jersey towards reducing overdose deaths and we join in this effort today and going forward. "

On April 3, about 50 police chiefs and officers from 20 municipal police departments around Morris County participated in four hours of instruction on their obligations under PAARI, at Morris County’s Public Safety Training Academy in Parsippany. Police chiefs and superior officers from the Butler, Mt. Olive, Montville, Dover, and Morristown Police Departments are part of an advisory group that met in February to plan the PAARI launch.

Police department participation in PAARI is voluntary and the Morris County Sheriff’s Office hopes to make the program available at all police departments in the future. To activate their police department’s participation in PAARI, governing bodies in the respective municipalities have to pass resolutions.

The Morris County Sheriff’s Office has signed on as a venue to receive walk-in requests for help from individuals battling substance abuse, after the Morris County Board of Freeholders in March 2019 approved a resolution of support.

The freeholder resolution commends the Sheriff’s Office “for taking a leadership role in creating a positive impact on individuals and their families struggling with addiction, thus, providing a clear path to recovery.”

PAARI was launched in 2015 in Massachusetts as a constructive alternative to incarceration for people battling substance abuse and about 430 law enforcement agencies in 33 states have signed on.

Hope One, which travels twice a week to communities in Morris County where drug overdoses and narcotics arrests are occurring, has logged more than 6,400 contacts with individuals since April 3, 2017; and as of March 31, 1,636 people were trained by Hope One staff in how to administer Narcan to a person who is overdosing. Hope One has verified that at least 32 lives have been saved by people administering Narcan provided to them on their visit to Hope One.


Local Police Seek Support For Unity Tour

The Mt. Olive Police Department is looking for donations to support its upcoming Police Unity Tour.

As participants since 2002, several members of the MOPD plan to take part on May 9 through May 12 and are seeking community support.

The Police Unity Tour, established in 1997, is a 300-mile bicycle ride from New Jersey to Washington D.C., which raises awareness and honors those law enforcement officers who have been killed in the line of duty.

Since its establishment, the Police Unity Tour has donated nearly 16 million dollars to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund ( based in Washington D.C., according to a support letter from the MOPD. Those donations have come directly from the fund raising efforts of local, state and federal law enforcement officers who are required to individually raise a minimum of $1,950 to take part in the ride.

As with previous years, officers from the MOPD have primarily relied on the generous donations made by Mt. Olive businesses and community members to participate.

This year, four Mt. Olive officers- Chad Rossy, George Jadue, Christopher Saunders and Tyler Mullooly- will look to take part in the Police Unity Tour, which will be starting in East Hanover on May 9, and arrive in Washington D.C. on May 12.

“In order our reach our financial requirements for the ride, we are seeking donations from our local community members and businesses,” the MOPD letter states. “Your donation to the Police Unity Tour is fully tax deductible (Tax ID #22-3530541) and most importantly greatly appreciated.”

Additional information about the Police Unity Tour, and other fundraising efforts, can be found; or

Donation Checks should be made payable to: Police Unity Tour – Mount Olive, P.O. Box 134, Budd Lake, NJ 07828.


CCM Student Film Association Holds Film Festival For Students


Photo: Stephanie Berek (left), president of the Student Film Association at CCM, and Alexa Metro, vice president, in the college’s Media Center. 


The Student Film Association at County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph plans to present its first student-run film festival, “Screening Under the Stars,” showcasing the work of local high school students.

High school students are encouraged to submit their work at The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, April 10.

The festival takes place Friday, April 12, from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. in the Davidson Rooms in the CCM Student Community Center. The event, free and open to the public, provides an ideal opportunity to view the creativity of high school students as evidenced in their films.

Attendees are encouraged to bring blankets and pillows for floor seating and to wear pajamas; actual seats and tables will be available for those who prefer them.

At the festival, the films will be screened and then judged by a panel, including two college professors and a high school teacher. First, second and third place winners will be selected and presented with gift certificates.

“We wanted to create this event to showcase the abilities of high school students,” said Stephanie Berek, president of the Student Film Association. “We hope that this festival will allow the contestants to network with other film students and encourage them all to pursue their passion of film.”

“Having an audience watch your movie is the end goal for all film majors,” said Alexa Metro, vice president of the Student Film Association. “For many of the high school students attending ‘Screening Under the Stars’ will be the first time a large audience will view their film, and we think that is very exciting.”

Representatives will be at the festival to provide information on CCM’s media programs. Hot food, snacks and drinks will also be available for purchase.

For more information, contact

CCM To Hold Open House College & Career Showcase

County College of Morris in Randolph plans to hold “An Open House for Everyone” on Saturday, April 13, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., providing attendees with opportunities to explore degree and certificate programs, a range of career opportunities and to take part in workshops on successful job searching strategies.

Career workshops will be provided on information technology, manufacturing and engineering, hospitality and culinary arts, criminal justice, health care, early childhood education, music recording, exercise science and personal training, and human services. The workshops will cover salaries, job demand and what requirements are needed to seek employment.

Sessions also we offered on financial aid, career services, transfer opportunities and programs for high school students to earn college credit.

For job seekers, workshops will be offered on “Creating a Resume for Today’s Job Market,” “LinkedIn: What’s in Your Profile?” “Nailing Your Interview Do’s and Don’ts” and “Job Search in the Digital Aid.”

All sessions will be offered multiple times during the course of the day. Campus tours also will be provided, so visitors can explore the college’s state-of-the-art equipment, facilities and labs, meet with current students and enjoy CCM’s beautiful surroundings.

There will be three introductory sessions on the college offered at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon. Park in Lots 7, 8 or 9.

Reserve a spot for “An Open House for Everyone” by registering at For more information, contact the CCM Office of Admissions at or 973-328-5100.

CCM Offers Open House And Registration

Registration for the summer and fall semesters is now taking place at County College of Morris in Randolph. By registering early, students are offered the best selection of classes to fit their schedules.

Summer classes start as early as May 20 with a total of four sessions being offered:

May 20 – June 24;  June 25 – July 29; June 27 – August 15;  July 30 – August 19.

Summer classes provide an ideal opportunity to keep on track to earn a degree or certificate. For example, to earn an associate within two years, students need to take 15 credits a semester, or 30 credits a year. However, part of those credits can be taken during the summer to lighten a fall course load. Summer classes also are a good way for visiting students from four-year schools to earn their bachelor degree as quickly as possible or to explore new areas of interest.

Courses offered this summer at CCM cover a range of general education requirements and disciplines such as the arts, humanities, science, business, engineering, health and more. Summer courses are offered in a variety of formats – traditional in-classroom courses, online or as hybrid courses with instruction provided both in-class and online. To view available courses, go to

The Fall Semester at CCM begins on Sept. 4. At CCM, students are able to select from more than 45associate degrees and a wide range of certificate programs taught by a faculty specifically focused on teaching. In addition, the college offers more than 150 transfer agreements to ease the process of earning a bachelor’s degree. 

To get started, review the degree and certificate programs at CCM at To learn even more about all that CCM has to offer, attend the college’s Open House on Saturday, April 13. The college will be open from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. with sessions starting at 9 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and noon in the Health and Physical Education building

For more information, visit

CCM Japanese Language Students Awarded For Achievement

Three County College of Morris (CCM) students are the recipients of the 2019 Japanese Language and Culture Study Award granted by the New Jersey Association of Teachers of Japanese.

Katarina A. Notarnicola, of Hackettstown, Preston C. Peoples of Lafayette, and Yu Sun of Green Township, were nominated to receive the award by CCM Japanese Professor Ayako Morrell for their commitment to learning the Japanese language and culture. All three students were granted the award for their outstanding achievement in Intermediate Japanese I.

CCM in Randolph offers courses in Japanese in addition to 11 other languages including American Sign Language, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. To learn more about the language programs at CCM, visit


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Chapel Serving Fish & Chips Dinner

Join in at the First Presbyterian Church’s Chapel in Hackettstown on Friday, April 26, from 5 p.m.-7 p.m., for the “Tastefully British” Fish & Chips Dinner.

Tickets are $15 for adults; and $8 for children under 12.

Advanced ticket purchase is required! For tickets, call Ellen at 908-637-6236.

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