Mt. Olive Online Publication January 14, 2020

Mt. Olive Online
Mt. Olive Online

Mt. Olive And CCM Sign College’s First Dual Enrollment Agreement

 Dr. Robert Zywicki, superintendent of the Mt. Olive School District on left, and Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, CCM president, sign the college’s first dual enrollment agreement to provide high school students with college credit courses.


Starting in the fall, Mt. Olive High School students will be offered the opportunity to earn college credit at their high school.

County College of Morris (CCM) and the Mt. Olive School District signed the college’s first dual enrollment agreement on Wednesday, June 12, that will provide high school students with the opportunity to begin their higher education early.

Through the partnership, CCM will provide Mt. Olive High School students with a pathway to start earning college credits, while exploring college and career options. The program is aligned with the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education’s vision for higher education that calls for providing N.J. students with early exposure to college.

Mt. Olive high school students will have the opportunity to take college courses identical in content to CCM classes at half the price of the in-county tuition rate. Currently, that cost would equate to $68.50 a credit, plus fees, for Mt. Olive students.

The program, named Titans Express, will start this fall. Classes at the high school will be taught by Mt. Olive High School teachers working collaboratively with CCM professors. Through the program, participating students also will have access to CCM resources, such as the library, tutoring services and academic advisement. To start, four courses will be offered, Audio Engineering, Music Theory, Industrial Design and Advanced Art. CCM will offer additional courses as the program grows.

“This is an absolutely fabulous day,” said Dr. Anthony J. Iacono, president of CCM. “This is a premier partnership that is not just providing students with classes but with pathways to begin their higher education early. I think we’re going to change a lot of lives in the process.”

Dr. Robert Zywicki, superintendent of the Mt. Olive School District, added “This is a true partnership because it’s the students who are going to benefit.”

Susan Breton, director of Social Emotional Learning for the Mt. Olive School District, said “What we noticed is that our faculty are speaking a common language. They have the same purpose – they want students to succeed.”

Dr. Bette Simmons, vice president of Student Development and Enrollment Management at CCM, added “It has been an absolutely spectacular journey to come to this day where will be signing this partnership agreement.”

Credit hours earned by students will be applied to the corresponding certificate or associate degree program at CCM should students decide to enroll at the college. The college credits also may apply to their high school graduation requirements or bachelor’s degree programs offered at four-year institutions.

To apply to the program, parents and guardians first need to fill out the application for CCM’s Challenger Program for high school students. The application can be downloaded at That application then should be submitted to the CCM’s Admissions office or Mt. Olive High School.

CCM plans to expand the Titans Express program to other high schools in the area. The college also offers a number of other programs for high school students. To review those programs, visit


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Contested Race For Mt. Olive Twp. Council Awaits

For those who did not hear about the results from the Primary Election held last week Tuesday, June 4, Mt. Olive Democrats will have an equal opportunity to win seats on the Mt Olive Twp. Council next year.

Three local Democrats received enough votes to make it on the ballot for the November 2019 election. The next election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 5. Three seats for a four-year term on the local council are up for grabs and there will be three Republicans running for re-election and three new candidates- Democrats- vying to grab a seat.

Voters will have to choose between re-electing the Republican constituents: Council President Joe Nicastro and Councilmembers Colleen Labow and Alex Roman; or Democratic challengers: Irene Sergonis, Lloyd Dean and Raj Singh.

The three Democrats are thankful for all those who came out to vote and are looking forward to the upcoming election.

In a statement prepared by Deans, Sergonis and Singh, they share: “We are so pleased and grateful that the voters of Mt. Olive helped us to wage a successful write in campaign to ensure that Lloyd Deans and Raj Singh will be included in the November ballot along with Irene Sergonis. We now have a full slate of dedicated Town Council candidates committed to bringing transparency and balance to our local government. We look forward to bringing new voices to the Town Council and working hard to improve the lives of all the people in Mt. Olive.”

Voter turnout was quite impressive for the recent primary. As of May 16, 18,834 local residents had registered to vote in the primary election, according to Michelle Masser, Mt. Olive Twp. clerk. Of those registered, 4,985 were registered Democrats; 6,094 were registered Republicans; and 7,755 were unaffiliated.

Out of those registered to vote, 11,268 local residents came out to vote in Mt. Olive for the primary, according to Masser. Out of those voters, 430 voted for Sergonis; 102 voted for Lloyd; and 97 voted for Singh. Both Lloyd and Dean were write-in candidates so many may not had known about their candidacy.

For the Republican candidates, Nicastro received 709 votes; Labow received 693 votes; and Roman received 691 votes.

Running for re-election for a four-year team in an uncontested race for Mt. Olive Twp. Mayor is Rob Greenbaum, who received 734 votes.

During the primary, voters must vote in their declared party…. meaning registered Democrats must vote for Democrats and registered Republicans must vote Republican. But for the general election, voters are free to choose the best candidates. Unaffiliated voters are allowed to vote in the general election only.

With that in mind, voters should take the time to learn about each candidate, be informed on the issues and decide on the best persons for the job come election time.

During the next five months, Mt. Olive Online will be covering the issues and platforms for these candidates. Please stay tuned for their individual profiles to get to know these candidates, and to learn more about their stance on local issues and concerns. Be informed. Read Mt. Olive Online. Meetings by the Mt. Olive Democratic Committee are held monthly on the third Wednesday in the meeting room of the Mt. Olive Public Library.

For more information, questions, and to get involved with the local Democrats, go to or email


Local Senior Sparkles In One-Of-A-Kind Prom Gown

By Cheryl Conway

As many prom-goers know, a big part of attending the high school prom is the attire.

Shopping for that perfect dress is one of the highlights, but for this local senior, she wore the most one-of-a kind gown around.

At the Mt. Olive High School Senior Prom held on Thursday, May 23, Hannah Lake of Flanders was honored to wear a special hand-made gown designed by her first cousin, Genevieve Lake of Montville. An inspired young designer, Genevieve Lake is currently interning for Vera Wang in New York and plans to graduate from the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising on June 24.

The 17-year old looked stunning in her mini corset, blue and champagne dress, with a long,  princessy overskirt hemmed with pearls and flower appliques. She was most grateful for her cousin’s hard work and creativity on her special day.

“I was speechless when I first saw it,” says Hannah Lake. “I thought it was the most beautiful thing in the world.”

Others agreed.

“A lot of people were completely shocked cause no one saw the dress,” says Hannah Lake. “Most people were absolutely in love with it just as much as I was.”

She knew from early on that she wanted her cousin to design her dress.

“We brought it up around Christmas-time because it’s been an idea our family has been thinking about since she made her own prom dress when she was a senior at Montville
High School,” says Hannah Lake.

Hannah Lake’s sister, Sofia Lake, also wanted her cousin to make her prom gown the year before but Genevieve Lake was overwhelmed at that time with design competitions and helping make her own sister’s two wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses, explains Hannah Lake.

One-Of-A-Kind Gown

“We worked together,” says Hannah Lake. “She sent me a couple of base designs; we pulled from those. I didn’t want a very tight dress; I wanted something flowy.”

When they first went shopping in New York in late March, Hannah Lake says she was looking for an emerald green fabric for her dress because she thought it was a “gorgeous color” that she had seen on a fashion show runway. But that all changed “until I saw the lace that made the bottom of the dress” in a light sky blue.

Cost for the dress came to be about $200, estimates Hannah Lake, as the lace cost $24 per yard; over-skirt was $8 a yard.  

Arm wraps, pearls and light blue fabric made this a “wow” dress.

One aspect of the dress that made the design stand out were the lengthy arm wraps attached to the bodice of the dress that wrapped around Hannah Lake’s arms that put on-lookers in awe.

Another feature of the gown were the pearls sewn around the bottom of the over-skirt as a tribute to their late grandmother who loved the fine jewel, as well as the color blue.

“It was a lot of emotions in one moment,” says Hannah Lake, when she first put the dress on. She says she was sad that her grandmother- Ellie Lake- had passed in December 2018, but excited that it was “a one-of-a-kind, unique dress.”

Says Hannah Lake: “Grandma liked pearls. She had rings and broaches. She passed a lot of that jewelry onto us.”

The Lakes, first cousins since their dads are brothers, had an idea of what they were looking for when picking out the fabric and details of the gown.

“When we were looking for fabric, it seemed only natural that it would have pearls on it,” says Hannah Lake.

And there was no questioning the color blue.

“She always was very vocal” about the color blue, says Hannah Lake about her paternal grandmother. “Whenever we wore a blue dress she’d say it was her favorite. She was sure to tell us. She would knit sweaters for us that were blue; it was one of her favorite colors.”

Like wedding gowns, prom gowns are usually a one-time wear. But Hannah Lake hopes to re-purpose the gown for other occasions.

Since the over-skirt was not sewn into the dress, Hannah Lake says she can re-wear the lacy body mini dress. Currently see-through, she plans to have her cousin line the mini dress so she can continue to model it for future occasions.

“This is the first work I’ve modeled for her,” says Hannah Lake, who plans to attend Rutgers Honor College in New Brunswick in the fall for economics with a pre-med track and minor in international global studies. 

Meet the Designer

Majoring in fashion design, 22-year old Genevieve Lake has had her designs in New York Fashion Week, Paris Fashion Week and El Paseo Fashion Week.

Her internship with Vera Wang - which specializes in made-to-order and ready-made bridal wear and red-carpet attire- started in October 2018 in Los Angeles, Calif., while she was attending the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in California.

Photo credit: Photos by Sarah Lee


Since she was switched this past January to the design team for Vera Wang in New York, she returned home this semester to finish her classes online, she explains.

Genevieve Lake says she has been interested in design since she was six years old when “I started to watch Project Runway.” Her mother always liked to sew so Genevieve Lake learned at an early age.

“She was one of 12 kids, didn’t like to wear hand-me-downs so she made her own clothes,” says Genevieve Lake about her mom.  “I grew up making basic stuff,” she says, designing her first dress for her First Communion in second grade, made by her mother. “She taught me to sew dresses, it was really for events. I started with making dresses and formal wear.”

Genevieve Lake designed and made her first dress for her Sweet 16, she says.

“It was very gaudy,” she laughs. “I had multiple animal prints,” she describes, on the black and white top, accompanied with a blue satin skirt. “I made a dress that was over-the-top,” she says, “but I loved it at that time.”

From Gaudy To Grace

Genevieve Lake started to make her cousin’s gown in April, just a month before prom. She started with a mock dress, fit dress, “to get it right,” she says.

It was at the end of April when she began designing “the actual dress,” she says, with the fabric, making the design and then finishing the final dress the same week as the prom.

Making dresses for others seems to suit Genevieve Lake well.

The joy and expression she sees on her clients’ faces have been most gratifying.

“She loved it,” says Genevieve Lake about her cousin’s reaction on the dress. “When she tried it on she was like ‘“I didn’t want to take it off.’ It seemed like everyone loved the dress. She really looked stunning that day, my beautiful cousin. Wow!”

Genevieve Lake was there on prom night to see her cousin off.

“It was great,” says Genevieve Lake. “People were coming up to her and complimenting her. My aunt would say, ‘this is the designer.’

The young designer has her work cut out for her as she is already making a name for herself.

“After I did this gown, a bunch of friends who got engaged have said ‘I want you to do my wedding gown,’” says Genevieve Lake. “I’m sure I’ll be busy the next couple of months.”

Anonymous Woman Pays Bill For Celebrating 8th Graders

By Cheryl Conway

Kindness moved beyond the classroom earlier this month when a group of eighth graders celebrating after their graduation dance received a generous surprise from a complete stranger.

The 11 friends were dropped off at Chile’s Grill & Bar in Flanders after their dance on Saturday, June 1, at 9:30 p.m.

“We picked them up from the dance and dropped them off,” shares one mother of the group who asked to remain anonymous. “The girls had fancy dresses; boys had shirts and ties on. There was a couple sitting next to them,” and the woman came up to them. “She asked what are they celebrating because they were all dressed up.

“Someone said ‘graduation dance,’ from the friend group,” the mother explained. “She said ‘I would like to pay your bill.' The kids said ‘no no,’ and she said ‘I insist' and then paid their bill.”

The mom did not know how much the bill was but the kids did get dessert and drinks, she says.

“I don’t think the kids ever got their bill,” the mom says. 

The kids did not know who the stranger was who paid their bill, but the daughter described her to her mom as “’like older than you mom, but not too old.’”   It was just a “normal couple sitting next to us.”

Why these kids were treated with such kindness, the mom does not know for sure, but the thoughtfulness surely had a positive impact on these young customers.

“There were other kids at tables; why she picked them? I don’t know why,” the mom says. “They were really surprised and happy. They all told her ‘thank you.’”

The gesture from this kind stranger sends a positive message to the lucky teenagers.

“I told her that I thought they must have been well behaved at that restaurant,” the mom says as to what she said to her daughter after learning about the altruism. “We let them eat out without us. We talked about paying it forward; let’s try to be nice to other people. A couple of parents commented on Facebook and said ‘oh my, that’s so amazing!’

“It’s nice to see someone do something nice to the kids,” the mom says, especially “younger teenagers, it was nice. Sometimes teenagers get a bad rap; hopefully they will pay it forward. This was the highlight of their night. It made them special, made them feel good.”  

Local Library News


Slide Into Summer At Local Library Events

All grades are welcome to join on June 22 at 10 a.m. for the Summer Reading Blast Off.  There will be space carnival games, crafts, and an Out of this World author workshop.

Mt. Olive Public Library is “Ready to Launch” this Summer with “Out of this World” Events for its Adult Summer Reading Program 2019: “A Universe of Stories,” June through August!

Tuesday, June 18, at either 1 p.m.-3 p.m. or 6 p.m.-8 p.m. the Gathering Room will feature the movie “Apollo 11.” Never before seen footage and audio recordings take viewers straight into the heart of NASA’s most celebrated mission-landing on the moon!

Registration requested. Call 973-691-8686 ext. 106 or go to to register.

A “College Funding Seminar” is set for Thursday, June 20, at 7 p.m. in the Gathering Room. 

This free seminar, presented by Alvin G. Newell, vice president of Solutions for College Funding, Inc., explains what every parent should know about getting maximum financial aid funding for their college-bound high school sophomores and juniors.

Registration requested. Call 973-691-8686 Ext. 106 or go to to register.







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Two CCM Alumni Selected In Major League Baseball Draft


 Photo: Shayne Fontana  

The County College of Morris (CCM) Athletics Department is beaming with the announcement that two alumni who played on the Titans baseball team were selected in the 2019 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft.  Both players graduated CCM in 2017.

Shayne Fontana, of Lebanon, who played center field with the Titans was selected in the 23th round by the Baltimore Orioles. Fontana, who received an associate degree in Criminal Justice at CCM, recently graduated from Lynn University.

Right-handed pitcher Tyler Poulin, of Randolph, was selected in the 29th round by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Poulin received his associate degree in Business Administration from CCM and then transferred and graduated with a BA from Quinnipiac University.

“The selections of Shayne Fontana and Tyler Poulin in the 2019 MLB Draft are tremendous accomplishments for these student-athletes, their families and our program,” said Brian Eberly, CCM head baseball coach and 2019 Coach of the Year for the NJCAA Division II Baseball All Region XIX Selections.  “It is further evidence of CCM attracting and developing top-notch talent."


   Photo: Tyler Poulin 


The CCM baseball team has a proud history, producing more than 50 professional players and three trips to the NJCAA World Series. CCM has produced more MLB players than any other New Jersey junior college. During the 2017 season, the CCM Titan’s baseball team went 41-8, winning a Garden State Athletic Conference title and finished the year ranked 8th in the nation. 

“Poulin was a dominant presence on the mound for us and helped lead our team to a 41-8 record in 2017,” remarks Eberly.  “Fontana is a tremendous athlete. Not only did he continue to grow as an athlete, but he worked very hard to turn around his academic career. I am very proud of both of these young men.”

To learn more about the CCM Athletics Department, visit

CCM Offers Summer Workshops On Music Industry Experience


Photo: Professor Todd Collins (right) works with students in the state-of-the-art Music Technology Center at CCM. 

 High school students with a passion for music technology have the opportunity to learn from professionals in the field using the latest equipment through one of two workshops being offered by County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph this summer.

Workshops, for students ages 15 to 18, are being offered in Music Recording and Electronic Music at the college’s state-of-the-art Edward J. Yaw Music Technology Center. The sessions, taught by music professionals, take place July 11 -13 from 9 a.m. to noon. The cost for each is $500.

In the Music Recording workshop, students will be provided with an overview of audio gear and terminology and learn how to set-up for recording sessions and obtain quality sounds on vocals and instruments, while honing their listening skills.

In the Electronic Music workshop, students will learn the foundations of sound synthesis and develop their skills in design and production. They also will be working with Logic and Reason software, one of the most popular programs in the music industry.

On Friday, July 13, students in both workshops will provide a presentation of the projects they produce.
Registration is through the college’s continuing education programs and can be completed online by going to and clicking on “Continuing Education (Non-Credit).” For more information, contact Professor Todd Collins at or 973-328-5430.



Shelter For Battered Women And Kids Seek Solutions

With more than 60,000 children going to bed hungry or living in shelters, the plea for help continues for New Jersey people in crises. Women and children who have been thru domestic violence and abuse, often with little job training (even college grads are working as waitresses or cab drivers) are expected to rebuild their lives in 60-90 days.  Before going off to vacation this summer, think about what can be done and either support a local shelter or offer some solutions. Keep in mind that the children are the future.

Thru a great miracle Strengthen Our Sister’s (SOS) mortgage note was assumed by Columbia Bank.

“For this we are eternally grateful and although we are assured, we won’t lose our seven houses, we don’t have money for utilities and gas,” says Sandra Ramos, founder of SOS. “While we worked diligently to keep paying the mortgage when it was in foreclosure, we got behind on operation costs. DFC is trying to help and we’re working with them; however, we need your support. The dedicated people that comprise the SOS unpaid staff (10) are working day and night. We accept people most of whom are not eligible for Social Service payments because they have already utilized their 60 days’ worth of per diems and other shelters turn them away. 

“This is horrendous and unfair and we urge you to support and reach out to others that want to help change this situation,” says Ramos. “This is a state-wide problem - four N.J. shelters are closing because sometimes people refuse to leave at the end of their time limit as they have nowhere to go.  The shelter operators are forced to go to landlords tenant court, which can take up to three months for an eviction; during this time the shelter does not receive reimbursements for those participants.

“We do need money, but let’s also work together and start a grass roots action to change N.J.’s stipulation limiting a shelter stay for only 60-90 days (60 if you’re battered and 90 if homeless),” says Ramos. “It’s unfair to think a person coming out of an abusive situation can go into fortifying and preparing a person to take charge of their life and start on the road to become an independent, strong person after being beaten down.  They not only have themselves to renew, but the children often need counseling, tutoring, etc.  Sixty days is simply too short a time.

“Our miracles take a little longer, but the results are priceless.”

For more details or brain-storming ideas, call Sandra Ramos, at 973-831-0898 or email


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Experienced journalist since 1990, living in Flanders for 21 years and covering Mt. Olive Township for the past 10 years.

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