Mt. Olive Online Publication January 14, 2020

Mt. Olive Online
Mt. Olive Online

Meet Irene Sergonis For Mt. Olive Twp. Council

By Cheryl Conway


Registered voters in Mt. Olive will get to choose between six candidates for Mt. Olive Township Council when they go to the polls for the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

Three democrats are vying for a seat on the local governing body and they are running against three republicans who seek re-election. Since this is a general election, voters can vote for either democrats or republicans no matter their affiliation, meaning it does not matter whether one is registered as democrat or a republican.

With that said, it is important to get to know these new candidates in order to choose the best representatives when visiting the voting booths in two months. Mt. Olive Online will be featuring each of these new candidates so read all about them here in the next upcoming issues.

Democrats running for Mt. Olive Twp. Council include Irene Sergonis, Lloyd Deans and Raj Singh. They will face off against Republican incumbents Colleen Labow, Joe Nicastro and Alex Roman.

‘Lady First’

Since Irene Sergonis of Budd Lake was the first to announce her run for council this past March, and she is the only female democrat running, Mt. Olive Online stuck with proper etiquette, “ladies first.”

Why did you decide to run for council?

“I became a Mt. Olive Democratic Committee Member in 2017 because I felt that apathy and the corrupting influence of big money threatened our democracy and the middle class,” says Sergonis. “I was involved in choosing Tom Malinowski as the Democratic candidate for House of Representatives and I worked hard in the 2018 election to send him to Washington. When I wore my “Vote- Your Voice Matters” t-shirt while reaching out to voters, many of the people I met would smile sadly and say, “I don’t think that’s true anymore.” I spoke with people from every district in Mt. Olive and learned that many people felt that their voices were not being heard or respected at both the local and national level. My children were visiting for my birthday in February 2019 and convinced me that I should be the one to run for local office this year to address the environmental and tax issues that threatened the future of my grandchildren.”

What strengths do you bring to the township council?

“My experience as a small business owner and in the payroll department of Ronetco Supermarkets has taught me about good financial and personnel practices,” says Sergonis.

“I have an open mind and listen to everyone respectfully,” she adds. “I work to improve upon my skills by participating in programs such as the Better Angels Organization and Bring it to the Table workshops.

“I love to research and learn about a variety of topics which is the reason I went to CCM when my youngest went to college,” she continues. “I received an associate’s degree in Business Administration with a 4.0 GPA while working two jobs.

“I learned the most as the mother of three children who have become successful, hardworking adults,” Sergonis says. “My husband and I taught them to work for the things they wanted and that sacrifices in the present were necessary for a good future. I believe that good governing is a lot like good parenting and would ask questions before spending a dime of taxpayer money.”

What issues concern you the most in Mt. Olive Twp.?

“Environment, Taxes, Transparency, Checks & Balances, Business, Infrastructure, Better representation for renters,” answers Sergonis.

What ideas or solutions do you have to resolve or improve those concerns?

“We have detailed plans on our website at,” says Sergonis.

In regards to the environment, Sergonis explains: “Environmental Education & Awareness is an essential first step to preserving the quality of our environment and to do our part to fight climate change. We would involve the newly formed Mt. Olive Community Fellowship Program in an initiative to educate and motivate our community.”

With her concern regarding taxes, Sergonis says, “Oversight and Accountability to reduce taxes. I don’t believe enough questions are being asked and that big-ticket items like the Splashpad should be submitted for referendum. Our priorities should be infrastructure and road maintenance.”

Sergonis points to an article in the Mt. Olive Chronicle: “See Chronicle article regarding splashpad to see how close to a million dollars has been spent on a Splashpad;”

In terms of transparency, Sergonis suggests, “Live streaming for the Town Council and Planning Board Meetings. Mt. Olive currently has a YouTube channel but the meetings are not published in a timely manner. For example, The March 5, 2019 meeting was uploaded on August 1, 2019 along with many other videos.

“Improving our infrastructure and reducing taxes will help to attract business to Mt. Olive,” continues Sergonis. “We should expand upon the programs currently in place to attract business and streamline the process for new businesses. Actively attracting Green jobs and working with the Robotics Program at the High School are avenues to explore.”

Sergonis also shares her concerns to those who rent in Mt. Olive.

“We learned from the large percentage of people living in rental communities that they need a seat at the table,” says Sergonis. “We would like to explore the ideas of forming a Renters Committee or appointing an Ombudsman to give renters a voice in our local government.”

Why should residents vote for Irene Sergonis?

“The team of Lloyd Deans, Raj Singh and Irene Sergonis would challenge and assist Mayor Greenbaum and the council to be better leaders,” responds Sergonis. “Diversity, challenge and accountability help everyone to grow and improve.”

This quote from the website sums it up:

“Our Democracy was built on a system of checks and balances to ensure a just and fair government. A local government ruled by only one party is at risk of making mistakes and promoting improper behavior. The bulk of the township’s 31-million-dollar annual budget is funded by taxpayers. The taxpayers should have a say in where the money goes and be confident that every cent is accounted for and that the programs being funded are run efficiently. Lloyd Deans, Irene Sergonis and Raj Singh will work for transparency, accountability and balance to better serve the people of Mt. Olive.”

Is there anything you would like to add?

I am truly blessed to have two qualified and capable running mates and look forward to working with Lloyd Deans and Raj Singh to bring about positive change in Mt. Olive,” she says.

Are there any events coming up to get individuals involved to help with the campaign?

“Our website is Sign up to volunteer or be added to our contact list. We have a variety of ways to get involved and deeply appreciate any time, treasure or talent our supporters are able to give.”

More on Sergonis

A resident since 1980, 62-year old Sergonis has been involved with Mt. Olive Democrats since it was rejuvenated in May 2017. She currently serves as a committee member for District 13 and attends Mt. Olive Twp. Council meetings to raise concerns that are brought to her attention by her community, she explains.

A grandmother of three, Sergonis and her husband Sergio, raised three kids in town, Angela, Rita and Michael. Through their interests, she became involved in Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and was instrumental in starting the local volleyball program- Mt. Olive Volleyball Association-in April 2000, which she ran for 10 years through Mt. Olive Recreation.

Sergonis works full time in the payroll human resources department for Ronetco Supermarkets.

When she had first moved to town 39 years ago, Sergonis had voiced her concerns to get a landfill closed and designated as a Superfund site between 1980 and 1983.

Through Mt. Olive Park Partners from 2002-2009, Sergonis served as secretary and treasurer and helped raise money to develop Turkey Brook Park.

Outside of Mt. Olive, Sergonis is a member of the St. Andrew Greek Orthodox Church in Randolph in which she has served as a Sunday School teacher, volunteer for Greek festival, and member of the Women’s Group which provides philanthropic outreach to those less fortunate; and visits Faith Kitchen at the Trinity Lutheran Church in Dover to help feed hot meals to 70-100 people every fourth Saturday of the month.



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24-Hour Vigil To Recognize NJ’S POWs/MIAs Planned At AVm

By Cheryl Conway

The All Veterans Memorial in Budd Lake will be the local site for the National POW/MIA 24 Hour Vigil being held this weekend.  

The Opening Ceremony begins at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20, followed by an on-going vigil that will continue until 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21.  Closing ceremony will be at 3:30 p.m. and is open to the public. 

Commemorated around the globe, National POW/MIA Recognition Day ceremonies are held to ensure that America remembers its responsibility to stand behind those who serve the United States. This year the Morris County American Legion is co-sponsoring the local vigil with the All Veterans Alliance at the AVM’s REMEMBRANCE WALL and ceremonial grounds. 

“It is a national day of remembrance,” says U.S. Army Veteran Amery Vasso, commander of the Morris County American Legion who led the coordination of this year’s event. “It is set aside for us to remember. The AVM is such a meaningful setting with the POW/MIA’s and PTSD’s.

“It’s an absolutely fitting setting to conduct a memorial,” says Vasso, a member with the American Legion for the past 20 years and commander of Morris County American Legion for two years. “Hopefully we have a lot of people dropping in. They are welcome to come in anytime to participate.”

Vasso says National POW/MIA Recognition Day is an “important event on our calendar. We feel honored to be part of it for the second year in a row.”

Full Itinerary Planned

During the vigil, names of New Jersey soldiers missing in action from all wars will be read, says Vasso. He says there are about 3,000 names.

If participants want to come at a particular time to hear the name of a loved one read, they can contact Vasso at

An eternal flame will also be lit for the full 24 hour period; dog tags recognizing POW/MIA soldiers from N.J. will be hung at the AVM REMEMBRANCE WALL; students of the Mt. Olive High School ROTC will be on duty marching around Turkey Brook Park for the 24-hour vigil; opening and closing ceremonies with speakers throughout the vigil is planned.

Vasso plans to provide opening remarks to remember those missing in action. With the itinerary still being organized, Vasso was hoping on additional remarks from Morris County American Legion Chaplain Adam Charman, Mt. Olive High School ROTC Chief Mass Sgt. Rob Bedell and AVM Founder Charlie Uhrmann.

A replica of the Liberty Bell, which was scheduled to be installed last weekend at the corner of the REMEMBRANCE WALL, will also be at the AVM and will be rung every hour for 24 hours, says Vasso.

Sponsor A Dog Tag

Uhrmann, originator of the AVM and All Veterans Alliance, came up with an initiative to sponsor dog tags to be placed on the REMEMBRANCE WALL to recognize POWs missing in action or who were held as prisoner of war.

“We will be adding the dog tags of all NJ POW/MIA warriors to the REMEMBRANCE WALL and currently seeking sponsors,” says Uhrmann.  “Sponsorship is $5 which will allow the sponsor to place a POW/MIA dog tag into the wall.  We have upwards of 4,000 dog tags from WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Cold War.  

“The entire Civil War and Vietnam POW/MIA’s have all been sponsored,” she adds. “We received more than 200+ WWII warriors sponsored but need more sponsors.  We do not have any POW/MIA’s from the Global War on Terror. 

“Each one of the POW/MIA warrior’s name, rank, serial number and branch of service will be called out during the ceremony and their dog tags will be permanently affixed to the REMEMBRANCE WALL,” says Uhrmann who has spent countless hours researching POW/MIA names for the tags. 

Uhrmann liked the idea of the dog tags “in order to remember those who did not return, we must minimally know their names.  Calling out their names and providing a little information about those who went missing allows us to get a little closer to identifying them as individuals and not a mere statistic.“

The $5 cost per tag covers the cost to make the custom tags being made by a private company in New York.

Contact Uhrmann at 973-479-4959 or visit

History Of National POW/MIA Vigil

“The POW/MIA Vigil is not limited to veteran organizations and/or veterans - as this issue is far reaching and impacts all of us as a nation,” says Uhrmann, who hosted and organized the AVM’s inaugural National POW/MIA vigil at the REMEMBRANCE WALL last year.

“It is important to remember that the POW/MIA consequences have a personal and lifelong effect on the families who were denied the necessary emotional closure of losing a child, brother, sister, husband, wife, father or mother,” says Uhrmann. “This is why we embrace public support for this event. 

“The AVM is a place of inclusiveness,” says Uhrmann.  “We not only honor those who serve, their service and sacrifice- but their family’s sacrifice as well. We open our invitation to all Patriots who would like to show their support.“

According to Uhrmann, NATIONAL POW/MIA DAY is observed annually on the third Friday in September.

“Every year since 1989 by presidential proclamation, The United States remembers and honors those men and women of the armed forces who remain missing in action or who are prisoners of war.”

She adds, “the 24-hour vigil was first held for those who entered into the eventual death to burial.  Many POWs and all of the MIA warriors were denied a proper sending or funeral.  The vigil demonstrates our nation’s promise to never forget them or their sacrifice.”

The day of recognition stems from the formation of a non-profit organization that began almost 50 years ago.

The National League of POW/MIA Families, incorporated on May 28, 1970, was formed to obtain the release of all prisoners, the fullest possible accounting for the missing and repatriation of all recoverable remains of those who died serving the U.S. during the Vietnam War. Without the league, America's POW/MIAs would long ago have been forgotten.

The league is a nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)3 humanitarian organization, financed by contributions from the families, veterans, and other Americans.  
During the National POW/MIA Vigil the league’s POW/MIA flag is flown with the focus to ensure that America remembers its responsibility to stand behind those who serve the U.S. and account for those who do not return.

Uhrmann says, “Countless U.S. servicemen and women went missing in action all over the world.  That is why we chose a world globe as our POW/MIA flame receptacle to be lit only during the National POW/MIA 24-hour vigil.”  

Flying The Flag

Mt. Olive JROTC C.M. Sgt. Rob Bedell will be having the cadets conduct a 24-hour march around the park while holding the National League of POW/MIA Families POW/MIA flag.

“The POW/MIA flag will be kept marching,” says Bedell. “We will keep the flag moving” around Turkey Brook by cadets from Mt. Olive High School signing up as volunteers.

This is the first year the MOHS ROTC cadets are participating in the 24-hour vigil.

Cadets will fill in for one-hour intervals from 4 p.m. Friday to 4 p.m. Saturday, and are invited to march for as many hours as they choose, he says. Cadets who complete 14 miles will receive a Bataan Death March Ribbon “in recognition of that faithful journey of those prisoners of war,” says Bedell. “If they do enough hiking they can earn their ribbon,” as long as it is conducted within a three day period. 


“It does not have to be continuous,” he says, meaning cadets can sign up for one hour at a time, take a break and then return to continue their march. The cadets will march around the loop at the AVM. They will be dressed in civilian clothes to keep warm and will be recognizable as they will be carrying the POW/MIA flag.

Bedell is “hoping as we walk their flag around, it will draw attention as to what we are there for”- the POW/MIA Recognition Day vigil.

“We want them to pose that question: How many people know that the 20th is National POW/MIA Day?” he says. “As students, why am I walking this flag around? That they do it in honor and respect. I hope it draws attention that people stop and show gratitude.”

With school just starting on Sept. 5, Bedell was not certain as to how many cadets will participate. JROTC has been around since the late 1940’s, says Bedell, but this is the third year offered as an elective at MOHS. There are 90 students signed up for this year’s course, he says.

“JROTC is an elective; they get five credits,” says Bedell. “It is a class but it’s so much more. The focus is “to develop citizens of character; young men and women ready to succeed in what they pursue.” While they are not obligated to enlist in the armed services, Bedell says 40 percent of the cadets are interested in pursuing the military.

“Most enjoy the camaraderie and activities,” he says. Saturday, for example, we’re out picking up trash.”

For the upcoming march, students can reflect on the meaning of the day.

“We want them to get a grasp of patriotism,” says Bedell, “sacrifice to those who’ve afforded us these freedoms. “This is remembering the prisoner of war; you have endured great hardships or are still missing. Us enjoying our freedoms, it came with a cost.”

Bedell points out that many of his students were not born before 911- Sept. 11, 2001.

“We will reflect on that; a lot of those kids were not even alive. Just want to make sure they don’t forget,” he says.

As a grandson of a prisoner of war, Bedell carries a personal connection to National POW/MIA Recognition Day. His grandfather, Robert Bedell from Lakewood, served in the U.S. Army Air Corps, flew bomber B24 as a gunner during World War II, when his plane was shot down in Poland. He was held as a POW for eight months at a Nazi Stalag (POW camp) in Poland until World War II came to an end.  

State, County and Municipal Recognition

N.J. Governor Philip Murphy paid tribute to National POW/MIA Recognition Day by issuing a proclamation; the Morris County Freeholders followed suit by also preparing a Proclamation and presenting it Wednesday morning Sept. 11 to Vasso, commander of the American Legion in Morris County.  

“As a participating member of the event and a leading veteran’s organization in Morris County, and a strong supporter of the vigil and of POW/MIA issues, we asked them to come in and accept the resolution,” shares a spokesperson for the Morris County Freeholders.

As a second-year participant and organization co-sponsor of the National POW/MIA Vigil at the AVM, Vasso was surprised by the freeholders recognition by proclamation.

“They reached out and said they’d like to do a proclamation,” says Vasso. “I was kind of surprised. They want to come out and show their support. We’re involved in the county,” says Vasso, “creating an outreach through veterans”  by putting veterans’ information on the county website.”

Mt. Olive Twp. prepared a proclamation this week to recognize the day.

While partnerships are welcome, those involved with the AVM agree that politics does not belong at veteran memorial sites.

“You got to have allies and partners,” says Vasso. The freeholders, “they were there appreciating what veterans are doing and the AVA. I didn’t ask for the proclamation; they asked for it so I said ‘why not?’ You want to be there for the right reasons.”

School Begins With Brighter Halls, New Courses,technology


Mt. Olive High School in session.

By Cheryl Conway

A school year ends with many accomplishments intact as a new school year begins with much to look forward to.

Almost two weeks into the new school year, students, teachers and faculty in Mt. Olive began their 2019/2020 school year on Thursday, Sept. 5.

Connections with County College of Morris, amped up security, Chromebooks to all high school students, brighter and cooler schools and new classes are in the mix for this year. 

“My focus is security and academics,” says Dr. Robert Zywicki, superintendent of Mt. Olive Schools.

Looking Back At Last Year

In 2018-2019, new programs were introduced and there was a greater emphasis on blended learning, says Zywicki.

Facility upgrades with the “overhaul” at Tinc Road School was one of the highlights from last year, he adds.

Academically, he points out that there was “a real emphasis on professional development” last year.

“Teachers are sharing and collaborating best practices,” says Zywicki. This creates “better learning. Kids get extra help and remediation.”

One new program that began is ST Math, Spatial Temporal Math. Offered in the elementary schools through eighth grade, “kids think they are playing a math game,” when they are really learning.  

Another tool introduced last year is Curriculum Mapping, which involves lining the curriculum.

Starting this September, all subject areas including math, science, social studies and language arts, will be publicly visible, says Zywicki, by being on the website.

Mt. Olive schools earned a 92 out of 100 for aligning curriculum by the N.J. State Department of Education.

Another achievement which began last year involves increased communications which includes a printed newsletter, updated website, social media on multiple platforms and SMORE which allows principals in each school to provide their own online website.

Vamped up security continues this year. The N.J. State Dept. of Education collaborated with police to provide a full security audit and new security manual.

“This summer we put in a lot of cameras at all the elementary schools,” notes Zywicki.

Also in place is a new lockdown at all schools.

In addition, all teachers, faculty and students are required to access the schools with identification and lanyards, he says. Parents will have to wear visitors’ lanyards.


Happy to be back fifth-graders Gianna Ferrugio and Emma McNeil are all smiles on the first day of school at Mountain View Elementary School in Flanders. Schools opened on Sept. 5.  Photo by Michael Cravotta

New This Year

Mt. Olive High School students and County College of Morris in Randolph have entered into a Dual Enrollment Program, and this year that will be expanded to include even more courses. 

Through the partnership, CCM provides MOHS students with a pathway to start earning college credits, while exploring college and career options.

New courses this year being offered include Barcode and Life DNA Mapping, says Zywicki.

All students at MOHS have also received their own Chromebooks to be used inside the classroom and can be taken home. More than 200 teachers have been certified to use Google tools with this new 1 to 1 initiative.

Devices had been at the high school but students could not bring them home, explains Zywicki. A decision was made to re-purpose the old Chromebooks and give them to the middle school while providing brand new Chromebooks to 1,400 students at the high school, he says.

“It’s a safe platform using Google Platform; conduct research,” he says. “It allows for project based learning with digital learning products.”

Things are looking brighter at Sandshore Elementary School with its new hallway lighting, says Zywicki, and classrooms that have been painted.

Same goes at Chester M. Stephen’s Elementary School with its new windows.

At Mt. Olive Middle School things are cooler now that it received new chillers to supply cool air for its air conditioning system to regulate the humidity.

Adding up all that is new, Zywicki continues that all students in grades kindergarten through eighth will learn a new math program called Envisions. He describes the program as an “old school pen and paper math with an online component to practice in school and at home.”

This year is also a pilot year for a new computer science curriculum being introduced by a grant from the National Science Foundation, says Zywicki. All teachers in grades kindergarten through 12 will be highlighting a new computer science curriculum.

Other new programs being introduced this year include AP Psychology, AP Human Geography, Human Rights, AP Principals of Computer Science, and the expansion of world languages in grades kindergarten through fifth with the addition of Spanish, notes Zywicki.

A Financial Education Lab, with stock tickers and Bloomberg terminals, “will be up and running in October,” says Zywicki. The lab will provide different classes with different tools focusing on financial literacy and economics.  


 Her first official first day of school Eleanor Hamilton Jones is welcomed by Melissa Kolenski, principal of Mountain View Elementary School in Flanders. Kolenski served as acting school principal at the start of the 2018-2019 school year and became the official principal when appointed by the board of education in November 2018. Schools in Mt. Olive opened on Sept. 5.  Photo by Michael Cravotta


In his second year as superintendent of schools, Zywicki looks forward to this school year.

Some challenges he plans to tackle include continuing to provide professional development for teachers “to constantly improving their craft with tools and strategies.”

Continuing to communicate with parents is another priority, Zywicki mentions. He plans to conduct a demographic study to see how things are improving and how to make improvements to the facilities. 

The Mt. Olive Middle School awaits the hiring of a new school principal, hopefully in October, to replace Principal Matthew Robinson who will be working in the district’s central office.


One of Zywicki’s main goals this year is “to continue to forge good relationships with the community.”

He would also like to reorganize the ED Foundation, “a tremendous program and opportunity for our kids to maintain and how to innovate and take things a step forward.”

While a lot has been done with STEAM, Zywicki says more needs to be done with businesses and financial services.    

Mt. Olive School District used to have an ED Foundation but it stopped in 2011, notes Zywicki.

Through the Ed Foundation, monies can be raised through donations in order to provide scholarships. Corporations can provide thousands of dollars; the district can use this as a mechanism to accept donations to provide enhanced programming, explains Zywicki. 

Initiative Provides Computer To Every MOHS Student


Kaylee Rios received her Chromebook in the MOHS commons. 

Textbooks and notebooks now have company in the backpacks of Mt. Olive High School students: Chromebooks.

Every student received a new Hewlett Packard Chromebook to use at home and in class during the school year. Providing MOHS students with their own computers accomplishes several important goals.

The initiative provides reliable devices to students who do not have computers or tablets of their own at home, or have inadequate, aging technology.

It also encourages more project-based learning and more individualized instruction. Since all students are now empowered to access the internet and internet-based applications outside of school, it’s easier for them to research, communicate with their teachers, and collaborate with each other.

Whenever and wherever they want, students can use instructional applications such as Google Classroom – an app that allows students to see classroom assignments and announcements, submit work, and exchange notes with their teachers and one another. They can even receive and respond to real-time personal feedback since teachers can use their own Chromebooks to check student work as its being done.

“This levels the playing field and ensures that all our high school students have the same access to resources,” said Dr. Robert Zywicki, superintendent of schools. “As a district we’re also focusing on tailoring instruction to meets the unique needs of each student and technology is essential to help teachers deliver those personalized learning experiences.”

The use of computers and other instructional technology to enhance learning has long been a hallmark of the district. However, for the past year under Zywicki’s guidance, the district has made an intensive effort in all its schools to use technology even more. An essential step to do that was to boost teacher and student mastery of Google Classroom and Google’s suite of web-based productivity apps including Google Docs (word processing), Slides (presentations), and Sheets (spreadsheets).

Approximately 250 faculty members trained for and received Google educator certification – an indicator of expertise in leveraging digital resources (e.g., apps, multimedia, websites) to make instruction engaging, dynamic, and individualized.

In years prior to the Chromebook distribution, most high school classrooms were equipped with computers for student use in class.

Mt. Olive School District Recognized As Future Ready

All six Mt. Olive schools were recently recognized for their commitment to harnessing the power of instructional technology and were certified as “Future Ready” by Future Ready Schools-New Jersey.

FRS-NJ is a partnership of the New Jersey Department of Education, the New Jersey School Boards Association, and New Jersey Institute of Technology. To receive certification, teams at each school composed of teachers and building administrators developed action plans to align their planning and teaching practices with the framework of the national Future Ready Schools program.

Over the course of six months, the teams defined the best ways to use technology and digital tools to engage students, improve learning, and personalize instruction to meet each student’s unique learning needs.

“The thing I love about the certification process is that it is driven by teacher leaders,” said Dr. Robert Zywicki, superintendent of schools. “We have amazing teachers here and they spent hours focusing on what would work best for their own classrooms and students. I commend the effort of everyone involved; I couldn’t be prouder. The certification of every school is an achievement that will be celebrated throughout the entire the district.”

Among Future Ready’s key principles are the importance of: ● active learning that involves technology and “real-world” problem-solving ● school cultures dedicated to collaboration and innovation ● using assessment data to drive educational decisions.

The schools received bronze certification which is awarded to schools at the first level of Future Ready implementation. This school year, the teams will work toward silver certification which requires schools to use their Future Ready experiences to further expand their use of digital learning tools (e.g., applications, media, video, websites, technology-powered collaboration and communication methods, etc.)

Zywicki sits on the national advisory team of Future Ready Schools. In 2018 he was named by the organization as a "district thought leader," an honor recognizing his expertise in using instructional technology to improve learning.

senior soccer night

Senior Soccer Players Shine Under The Stars


Senior night is a big deal at Mt. Olive High School when the senior soccer players get recognized on the field accompanied by their family.

This year MOHS combined the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams and had MOHS Senior Night back to back on Saturday, Sept. 7, at the new turf field stadium. It was home-opening games for both teams and the stands were packed for both the 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. games, both ending in victory. 

The MOHS Boys’ Varsity Soccer Team tied Hackettstown High School 2-2 after a double golden goal overtime.

The MOHS Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team won 5-3 also against Hackettstown High School.

Thank-you to the MOHS Soccer Booster Clubs for organizing with players’ posters, signs, flowers and game-ending receptions.

Welcome to Senior Night!



MO Parents and Fans in the Stands!



Local Library News


A workshop, How Money Works, is set for Tuesday, Sept. 24 from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. in the Gathering Room. Join Sean Van Sickle, financial adviser with Primerica for this free financial workshop and learn the fundamental concepts that have helped millions of their clients build financial security.

Unwind after a busy say to the Sounds of Instrumental Music. Peter Biedermann, a solo instrumental guitarist, is set for a repeat performance on Monday, Sept. 30 at 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. in the Gathering Room. Biedermann is based in Green Valley, Ariz., and has been composing and performing for more than 40 years. He will be focusing on pieces from his latest recording “Tales from the Desert” on a variety of 6 and 12 string guitars in unique tunings.

Yoga for Beginners is set for Saturday, Sept. 21, from 10:30 a.m.- noon in the Gathering Room. This workshop offers simple yoga postures to bring stability and balance; enhance flexibility, strength and physical well-being. Limited to 50 adults and children, age 12 and older.

Interested in learning to speak Spanish? Join Dr. Paul Reilly for a 10 week class, which will emphasize spoken conversational Spanish in travel situations as a tourist.

Classes are set for Thursdays through Nov. 21, from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. in the Career Room. If someone misses more than two classes, they will forfeit their space. Limited to 10 adults.

Registration required for all programs. Call 973-691-8686 Ext. 106 or go to to register.

Strut With Mt. Olive Exercise Walkers

Step into shape with a new walking program, Mt. Olive Walkers- a new class on Fridays through the Mt. Olive Exercise program. Get Lean At Lunch is held at 1 p.m. Walk-Ins are welcome.

Free to members; $5 fee for non-members.

This new class will bring local residents together to walk with weights, core toning and stretch.

Email for more details and to sign up.

Local and county news


Former Chester Woman Selected As Chief Sheriff’s Officer

Morris County Sheriff James M. Gannon has selected Kelley Zienowicz as the person to lead the Sheriff’s Office into the future.

Zienowicz, a graduate of the elite FBI National Academy, was promoted to the rank of Chief Morris County Sheriff’s Officer, the highest-level officer position in the Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Law Enforcement. Her swearing in ceremony was held Sept. 3, making her the highest-ranking woman in the Morris County Sheriff’s Office and the sole female chief in Morris County.

“I am so proud to announce the promotion of Kelley Zienowicz to Chief Sheriff’s Officer of the Morris County Sheriff’s Office,” Gannon said.

“Chief Zienowicz has a temperament that motivates and energizes others. She is highly-educated, a graduate of the elite FBI National Academy, and a true leader with an impeccable work ethic.

“With Chief Zienowicz at the helm of day-to-day operations overseeing all divisions in the Sheriff’s Office Bureau of Law Enforcement, we will accomplish great things which the people of Morris County deserve,” Sheriff Gannon said.

Commented Zienowicz, “Not only am I proud to have the backing of the Sheriff, I know this is an important time for the agency as a whole. I hope to bring positive motivation to the agency, from the top to the bottom.” 

As chief, she will be responsible for management and day-to-day oversight over the Bureau of Law Enforcement’s four divisions: Support Services, Protective Services, Legal Services, and Special Services, which includes the Crime Lab and Crime Scene Investigation Unit.

Zienowicz – who has received multiple awards, including the New Jersey Women in Law Enforcement Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award – will be promoted to chief from her previous rank of detective lieutenant.

Zienowicz of Morris Twp. grew up in Chester and attended Villa Walsh Academy. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Boston College in 1999, and a master’s in forensic psychology from John Jay College in New York City in 2003.

She began her career with the Morris County Sheriff’s Office in 1999 as a civilian clerk-typist assigned to the Internal Affairs Section. Within a year, she was hired as a Sheriff’s Investigator and in 2001, she attended and completed training at the Morris County Police Academy.

Zienowicz was first assigned to the Protective Services Division, which provides security and judicial protection at the courthouse complex.

In August 2001, she was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Section – now called Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) – and spent 11 years in the Unit, assisting in multiple criminal investigations throughout Morris County.

She was called as a witness for the prosecution in several high-profile criminal cases in Superior Court between 2003 and 2014. Zienowicz was promoted to the rank of sergeant in April 2012 and assigned to the Legal Services Division as the Executions and Foreclosure Section supervisor. That promotion was followed on March 1, 2016, by another advancement to the rank of detective lieutenant.

She was assigned the post of division commander in the Administrative Division, overseeing Internal Affairs and the Special Operations Section. She then was transferred to the Protective Services Division in September 2016, where she oversaw the courthouse complex and operations and security at the Dover Probation Office.

One of her most profound pleasures was her nomination to attend the 273rd Session of the prestigious FBI National Academy, a 10-week course of study in Quantico, Va., in the summer of 2018.  The FBI National Academy is a professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement managers who are nominated by their agency heads because of their demonstrated leadership abilities. The program provides coursework on intelligence theory, terrorism, terrorist mindsets, management science, law, behavioral science, communication and forensic science to improve the administration of justice in police departments and agencies.

Upon returning from the FBI National Academy, Zienowicz was transferred in Sept. 2018 to the Special Services Division, overseeing CSI, Evidence Section, and the Bomb Unit.

She has received the Sheriff’s Achievement Award, Exceptional Duty Award, Unit Citation Medal, Professional Service Medal, Educational Achievement Medal-Master’s Degree, Morris County Detective’s Association Distinguished Achievement Unit Award, and the NJ Women in Law Enforcement Breaking the Glass Ceiling Award, which is awarded to women who achieve a law enforcement rank of lieutenant or higher.

Zienowicz is a three-time Police Unity Tour rider and participates annually in the Special Olympics Torch Run.

High Holiday Services Approaching

Celebrate the High Holidays this year at the new Chabad Center in Flanders. Rosh Hashanah services are set for Sept. 29-Oct. 1. No sign-up necessary; no fee. A kippah and prayer book will be provided with services interspersed, explanations and a guide page to usher in the new Jewish year.

Yom Kippur services follow starting October 8.

See the service schedule below for further details or visit or

Rosh Hashanah Evening // September 29

Evening Services: 6:30 p.m.

Community Dinner: 7 p.m.

Rosh Hashanah Day 1 // September 30

Morning Service: 9 a.m.
Shofar Sounding: 10:45 a.m.
Children's Program: 10:30 a.m. 

Rosh Hashanah Day 2 // October 1

Morning Service: 9 a.m.
Shofar Sounding: 10:45 a.m.

Yom Kippur Night // October 8

Kol Nidrei: 6:30 p.m.
Yom Kippur Day // October 9

Morning Service: 9 a.m.
Yizkor Memorial Service: 11 p.m.
Children's Program: 11 a.m.
Mincha: 6 p.m.
Neila: 6:45 p.m.

Community Garden Plans Open House & Volunteer Day

Join in at the Community Garden at South Branch Preserve for an Open House and Volunteer Day on Sunday, Sept. 29, from 9 a.m. -2 p.m.  

Interested gardeners may tour the garden and registration for plots for 2020 may be completed at this time.  

In addition, anyone who would like to volunteer at the garden is welcome to lend a hand in helping with fall maintenance. Volunteers are needed to overturn plots, spread woodchips and other basic tasks to help prepare the garden for the winter.  

Individuals and families with children are welcome to participate. Suggested work attire is long pants and closed shoes. Gardening tools and gloves will be provided. Potential gardeners can see firsthand the work involved with maintaining a garden plot. Light refreshments will be served.  

“The camaraderie and friendships among the gardeners has been amazing, and the gardeners have already donated over 300 lbs. of excess produce this season to the local food pantries,” said Barbara McCloskey, garden manager and Membership & Outreach manager for The Land Conservancy.  

The annual membership rate for Mt. Olive Township residents and/or members of The Land Conservancy is $35 per 10’ x10’ plot and $45 for non- residents. There is a one-time irrigation fee of $30 for each plot.  

The Community Garden is located at the intersection of Wolfe Road and Route 46 West in Budd Lake. It is part of South Branch Preserve, which totals more than 200 acres in this location. Preserved by The Land Conservancy and its partners (including Mt. Olive Township) this land was purchased to protect the headwaters of the South Branch of the Raritan River, a drinking water supply source for more than 1.5 million New Jersey residents.  

The garden is surrounded by fencing, to keep out deer and rodents, including rabbits and groundhogs. A shed is located onsite, which houses some gardening supplies. Gardeners are encouraged to bring their own gardening tools. Water is provided by The Land Conservancy by individual spigots and hoses throughout the garden. Only organic gardening practices are allowed at the Preserve.  

For additional information and to RSVP, contact McCloskey at The Land Conservancy of New Jersey at (973) 541-1010, x14;; or

Annual Roast Beef Dinner Coming To Hackettstown Chapel

Join in on Saturday, Oct. 26, 4:30 p.m. to 7 p.m., at First Presbyterian Church of Hackettstown’s Annual Roast Beef Dinner at its chapel in Hackettstown. 

Tickets are $16 for adults; $9 for children under 12 years old.  

Advanced ticket purchase is strongly recommended. For tickets, contact: Ellen Bergman at 908-637-6236 or Donna Erickson at (908) 637-6007. 



College News

CCM Musicians To Present Free “Songs at Sunset” Concert


Pictured, from left, are Joe Howell, Kathy Knittel, Joan Bujacich, Joe Bilotti  and John Hummel. 

Come spend a late summer evening enjoying a popular classic rock music concert, “Songs at Sunset,” at County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph featuring two student and alumni bands and Morris County’s own Heart of Gold band led by CCM Music Professor Joe Bilotti.

The free concert takes place Friday, Sept. 20, from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. in the outdoor amphitheater located in front of the Edward J. Yaw Music Technology Center on the CCM campus.

Opening the concert will be two bands featuring CCM students and alumni: Junkanoo and Friar Fritzl’s Funtime Monastery. Junkanoo consists of CCM student Naomi Smith and alumni Ailed Hernandez, Rebecca Alleman, Nicole Santana and Samuel Fallas-LoManto. Friar Fritzl's Funtime Monastery includes CCM students Jayce Winant and Kenny Schweighardt.  The Heart of Gold band then will play favorites by Steely Dan, Neil Young, Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, Peter Frampton, Joan Baez and more. Along with Bilotti, the Heart of Gold Band consists of tristate music legends Joan Bujacich, Joe Howell, John Hummel and Kathy Knittel.

Bring a chair and park in lots 5 or 6. In the event of rain, the concert will take place in the Dragonetti Auditorium in the Student Community Center.

CCM To Host Morris County Regional College Fair


Representatives from more than 180 colleges presented at the annual Morris County Regional College Fair on Sunday, Sept. 15, from noon until 3 p.m.

The fair was sponsored by CCM, the Morris County Association of School Counseling Directors and The New Jersey Association of College Admissions Counseling. Colleges provided information on academic departments, admissions, campus life, housing and tuition costs and support services.

Held in the CCM Student Community Center and the Health and Physical Education Building, the event was free and open to the public. Dedicated to seamless transition to a four-year school after graduation, CCM is an excellent choice for students who want to save money while attending a nationally-ranked institution.

For additional information, contact CCM’s Admissions Office at (973)-328-5069, or

CCM Rated One Of America’s Best Colleges For Adult Learners

 Washington Monthly has placed County College of Morris (CCM) in Randolph 12th in the nation in its 2019 ranking of community colleges that best serve adult learners. This is the third year in a row Washington Monthly has ranked CCM as one of “America’s Best Colleges for Adult Learners.”

The publication notes that adult learners “are students who make big sacrifices of their time and resources to pursue their goals. They deserve a different kind of college: The kind that designs programs and services to ensure that returning adults succeed.” Adult students are defined as those older than 25.

Metrics considered in the ranking included the ease of enrollment and transfer, program flexibility, services for adult students, the percentage of adult learners at the college, the graduation rate of part-time students and the median earnings of adult students 10 years after entering the college.

Earlier this year, PayScale ranked CCM number one in N.J. for the third consecutive year for associate degree holders who earn the highest salaries in the state. That report noted that CCM alumni by mid-career, with more than 10 years of work experience, earn an average of $70,700. PayScale provides the largest on-demand salary database in the world. In yet another ranking, CCM is rated a top community college in N.J. by Best Colleges.

Shelter For Battered Women Seeks Support

Thanks to the Columbia Bank in Fairlawn for picking up the mortgage note for seven shelters for battered women and children, Strengthen Our Sisters will not lose its houses.

“However, we are living in a world where single mothers are losing their children and are being abused not only by violence, but also poverty,” says SOS Founder Sandra Ramos. “Many have come to the shelter for safety. Strengthen our Sisters (SOS) provides that haven, despite many obstacles, which includes lack of government funding, and operating with a volunteer staff.”

Now the shelter has had its utilities turned off and others are pending.

“We are behind in our utilities in our efforts to keep our mortgage current,” says Ramos. “For the continuance of the shelter to break the cycle of poverty and abuse, we need support. We are seeking contributions and monthly pledges to Strengthen Our Sisters domestic violence shelter. We are a nonprofit 501c3, and your donations are tax deductible.  For more information, please contact Sandra Ramos @ 973-831-0898. Visit


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