Thursday, September 29, 2022
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FREE Kayak Rentals Offered at White Lake  

Warren County and the NJ Youth Corps are pleased to continue the Kayaking Program at White Lake.  The popular program runs from May 4th through September.  Kayaks will be available for use on Tuesdays from 4-7pm and rentals are free to the public. 

All participants must bring a completed Release and Liability Waiver before the kayak trip. Please download and print the form, fill it out, and bring it with you. Copies of these forms will also be available on site.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, there will be a limited number of kayaks available by RESERVATION ONLY to ensure adequate social distancing.

To make a reservation, contact Aaron Rosado, Preserve Manager of White Lake. Rosado runs this program and is responsible for the care and maintenance of White Lake.

“I am the eyes and ears of White Lake”. Rosado explains.  

About Rosado, after completing AmeriCorps, Rosado discovered what he wanted to do. “I want to help others by maintaining and showcasing our public lands. I believe the outdoors are therapeutic and can change one’s perspective entirely.” Rosado said.

For more Information, https://warrenparks.com/kayak-rentals-2/ OR call 973 937-8748, Monday-Friday from the hours of 9am-3pm.

Some rules for White Lake

White Lake Fun Fact: 

The name “White Lake” comes from the white chalky material that lines the bottom of the lake. This is called “marl”. Marl is composed of freshwater shells and clay and long ago was processed for use in fertilizer and cement. The water takes on a tropical coloring on account of the sunlight hitting the white shells on the lake bottom.

White Lake is deep and covers 69 acres. It is part of the 469-acre White Lake Natural Resource Area, a gem within the Warren County Park System. Ample parking is located in Hardwick Township, off Route 521 (Stillwater Road), about three miles from Blairstown. The property has a dock, hiking trails and fields of beautiful wildflowers. Motorized boats are not allowed.

More can be learned about White Lake by visiting the website warrenparks.com

Kayak Fun Facts: 

Kayaks have been used for 4,000 years. In Munich, Germany, you can see the world’s most seasoned, enduring kayaks. These kayaks are from the year 1577.

Kayaking helps control the heart rate and it is scientifically proven that this sport is very beneficial.

Kayaking elevates endorphins, which improves the mood of the paddlers.

Moonlight Paddle Program 

Soil Contamination Issues Persist in Blairstown

In early 2020, over 200 tandem dump trucks arrived at 50 Mt. Vernon Road carrying loads of dirty fill to be left on the residential property. 

Blairstown Tax Map / Photo by A. Tironi, June 2022

Containing pieces of glass, asphalt, seashells and solid waste, the dumped material was originally tested in 2021 by LSRP Brockerhoff Environmental Services. 

The 2021 report found mercury, chlordane and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon contaminants above Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) standards in its sample collections. Due to these contaminants, Brockerhoff classified the dumping as a hazardous waste spill

Since those original testings, another LSRP has been assigned to the property. Peak Environmental visited the site early this year to collect additional fill samples from 26 test pits that were dug deeper and ranged over a larger portion of the property. 

Mike Suk, 50 Mt. Vernon neighbor and homeowner, came before the Blairstown Township Committee (BTC) to provide updates on these soil contamination issues at a meeting on June 8.  

Suk informed the BTC that contamination results from the 26 test pits, most recently inspected, are in and he is currently waiting on the finished report.

According to Suk and his communications with Brockerhoff, the original LSRP planned to remove all contaminated soil and test the aquifer— if affected it could contaminate all wells in the surrounding area. 

However, under the supervision of Peak Environmental, an aquifer contamination test may not be recommended. It is routine for LSRP’s to create specific Mitigration to Ground Water standards depending on site conditions, that may not be skewed by DEP standards. 

At the BTC meeting, Suk read an excerpt from an email sent to him by the DEP.

“While [the DEP] cannot predict an LSRP’s actions, for your planning purposes you should be aware that it is common for an LSRP not to recommend aquifer testing if residual soil contaminants do not exceed site specific Migration to Ground Water remediation standards.”

Suk told the BTC there’s no guarantee these contaminants haven’t reached water sources. “I don’t want to come back here 20 years from now and find that people in our township came down with some type of cancer or ailment due to us not doing our jobs. 

Suk stated that he and other concerned Blairstown residents are “dead set on having every bit of that soil removed from that property.” 

The Blairstown Land Use Board’s Soil and Fill Ordinance states, “unregulated and uncontrolled placement and movement of soil and other mineral deposits can result in conditions detrimental to the public safety, health and general welfare.” 

All soil movement and filling operations must be approved by the Township Zoning Officer or Township Engineer. With this in mind, Suk requested the township engineer and environmental engineer assist in overseeing Peak Environmental’s report and its remediation plan. 

Mayor Robert Moorhead assured Suk, “that report will be looked over carefully.”

Poor Air Quality from Planned Warehouse Traffic Through Knowlton?

It’s difficult to measure the distance a home run covered if you know where it landed but not where it started. For the same reason officials in Knowlton want establish a baseline for air quality on Route 46 before the influx of trucks expected with the planned warehouses in White Township and Mount Bethel, Pa.

Mayor Adele Starrs said the township has requested that an air quality monitor already in place from the state Department of Environmental Protection be adapted to measure small particles associated with highway exhaust.

The monitor was originally put in place to measure air quality while coal-fired power plants in just across the Delaware River on the Pennsylvania side were operating. The plants have since been decommissioned but in an ironic twist, could become the site of future warehouses that would generate their own air-quality issues.

“Having that data is really important,” Starrs said, of the measurements that would be taken before the traffic patterns change. “We will need that as a baseline for comparison.”

While the full scope and timetable of the warehouse construction has not yet been determined, Starrs said state and county officials have estimated the projects could add as many as 15,000 vehicles to Route 46 through portions of Warren County. The same roadways currently see a daily traffic volume of between 11,000 and 14,000 vehicles, according to the Warren County Transportation Master Plan.

The microscopic particles generated by vehicle exhaust, frequently referred to as PM 2.5 because of their size, indicating the size, include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and nitrogen monoxide. The particles, which measure 2.5 microns or less, can also include water vapor, mercury and unburned fuel. For comparison, there are 25,000 microns in an inch.

The monitors being requested by the township would need adjusted to be able to detect particles of that size.

Once a baseline has been established, officials would then be able to determine any changes in the amount of pollutants after highway traffic increases.

Live Music Revival Kicks Off at the Ramsayburg Homestead in Knowlton

Dancers enjoying the good vibes from the band, Yarn, at the Kickoff Concert at the Ramsayburg Homestead, June 15th, / Photo Credit: J. Phalon, June 2022

The Ramsayburg Homestead Summer Concert Series continues with blues guitarist Toby Walker July 25, at 3 p.m.

On the banks of the Delaware River, the Ramsayburg Homestead Amphitheater is celebrating the return of live music following the pandemic. Organizer Jeff Rusch said 2022 is his first year at the helm of the series, and that he was pleased to be a part of the revival of live music on the Delaware.

Several hundred people attended the opening show, featuring the band, Yarn, at Ramsayburg Homestead on June 15th / Photo Credit: J. Phalon, June 2022

“It’s really great to see the turnout,” Rusch said, of the several hundred people who attended the opening show on May 15, with the band Yarn and their Highways of Americana show.

Yarn played at Ramsayburg Homestead to appreciative onlookers. / Photo Credit: J. Phalon, June 2022

A veteran D.J. and music guy, Rusch said the contacts he has made over the years have helped him attract talent to the Knowlton Township venue.

Jeff Rusch, a veteran ‘music guy’ from radio, in charge @ Ramsayburg Homestead at the Yarn concert, May 15th. / Photo courtesy of S. Rusch, June 2022

Walker’s solo show on June 25 will be preceded by a guitar workshop at 1 p.m. More information on the workshop can be found at his website, LittleTobyWalker.com.

Through stories and songs, Walker brings listeners along on his journey through the Deep South, where he learned the roots of the Blues. He counts Blues guitar legends Etta James and James “Son” Thomas among his mentors.

Walker uses a variety of instruments during his show, including Toby uses a variety of instruments, including a one-string diddley bow, National Steel guitars, harmonicas and even a cigar box guitar.

A donation of $10 is suggested for the show, and concertgoers are welcome to bring lawn chairs and even arrive up to an hour early and bring a picnic to the natural amphitheater at Ramsayburg.

Located on Route 46, just south of the Delaware Water Gap, the Ramsayburg Homestead and its structures are all that remains of the 55-acre tract originally settled in 1795 by Irish immigrants James and Adam Ramsay. There, the brothers found a tavern that they continued operating, and added a store followed by a post office, lumberyard, sawmill and blacksmith shop.

The buildings still standing on the remaining 12 acres of the estate were built between 1800 and 1870 and include the tavern building, cottages, barn and other outbuildings.

The New Jersey Green Acres program took possession of the property in 2000 and included it in the Beaver Brook Wildlife Management area, the state Department of Environmental Protection lacked the resources to maintain the structures on the land. The Knowlton Township Historic Commission stepped in and arranged a lease of the property to preserve the buildings

with multiple state, federal and private grants. The hamlet is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

The layout of the property offers access to the Delaware River for canoes and kayaks and also offers pristine location for outdoor music.

Other artists scheduled for the concert series this summer and fall include the jazz of the Karl Latham Quartet on July 16, the Alex Radus Band on Aug. 28 and Don Elliker with his band, Me and My Big Ideas, on Oct. 1.

Blairstown Honored Those Who Sacrificed All at the Memorial Day Parade on May 30th

After skipping 2020 for the pandemic and a saturated day last year, the Blairstown Memorial Day parade kicked off under bright blue skies and sunshine the afternoon of May 30. Sponsored by the Givens-Belet Post 258 American Legion since 1945, the events began with veteran memorial services at Cedar Ridge Cemetery with the parade then winding north on Route 94 to Footbridge Park.

Sophomores Help Pope John Baseball Secure 7-6 Win on Senior Night, May 17th

Anyone that has seen the movie ‘Miracle on Ice’ has heard the famous question – “Do you believe in miracles?” That’s what the fans were saying on May 17th as the Pope John Lions defeated the Roxbury Gaels 7-6 on a two-run walk-off single from Sophomore Brandon Weir.

Two other Sophomores would be the key to win as Sophomore pitcher Parker Rutowski held the Gaels to only one earned run. To set up Weir’s walk off single, Sophomore Marco Bonfiglio walked after a stellar 8-pitch at bat. The Lions were able to tie the game in the bottom of the first inning with a sacrifice flyout by Senior Frank Ciccone, scoring Senior Gabe Weir.

Gabe Weir scoring the tying run in the First inning / Photo Credit: A. Nowel, May 2022

The score stayed tied at 1 until the Gaels added two runs in the third inning and another two runs in the fourth inning. With the Gaels leading 5-1, the Lions faced a tough predicament. The situation would get worse as the Gaels would add another run in the top of the sixth inning, but Rutowski would work his way out of the inning to limit the damage.

Pope John Sophomore Pitcher Parker Rutowski dominating on the mound / Photo Credit: A. Nowel, May 2022

“Pitching well felt good since this one of the first times I came out and dominated,” said Rutowski. “I was a little nervous to pitch the top of the seventh, but I knew that we could hit and trusted my teammates to finish the job after I did my job.”

The Lions’ offense finally came alive when Gaels Junior pitcher Justin Ford couldn’t find the strike zone. Sophomore Mac Tufts was able to get on base to get the inning started and came around to score when Freshman Jack Portman stayed patient at the plate, drawing a RBI walk. Junior Brian McKenna would also be patient and win the battle at the plate with a RBI walk.

Pope John Sophomore Mac Tufts at bat in the sixth inning / Photo Credit: A. Nowel, May 2022

The Gaels would get out of the inning with only this damage done, but the Lions’ weren’t done. Going into the top of the inning, Lions Head Coach Sean Bierman thought about taking out Rutowski, but decided to keep him in. Rutowski shut down the Gaels one final time, giving the Lions an opportunity to complete the comeback.

Tufts, again, got on base to start the inning followed by Senior Nolan Niziol hitting the ball into the right-center gap for a RBI triple. McKenna came to the plate and doubled Niziol in and suddenly it was a 1-run game.

With two outs and a runner on second, Bonfiglio came to the plate. He had struck out both times in the game, but he worked the count to 3-2. Bonfiglio fouled off the next three pitches and stayed patient, walking to bring up Brandon Weir.

Pope John Sophomore Brandon Weir after the win / Photo Credit: A. Nowel, May 2022

“I felt a lot of anticipation, waiting during Marco’s [Bonfiglio] at bat,” said Weir. “I’ve known Marco for a long time, and I know he could get the job done in stressful situations and that’s what he did.”

All nerves would be settled as Weir hit a hard ground ball off of the glove of the shortstop and into the outfield. McKenna scored easily, but Junior pinch-runner Ayden Alexander would be waved home by Coach Bierman in a close play. The throw was too late and the Lions ran onto the field in celebration.

The Seniors were exceedingly grateful to Weir for winning the game, but also felt happy to have won this big game at home and on Senior Night.

“It felt great, I was honestly excited to be out there,” said Senior outfielder Steve Mesaros. “I’m really glad we were able to battle and win.”

Gaels Head Coach Ryan Roumes was upset about the loss, but felt his team still played well even though they didn’t pull out the win.

“We hadn’t been playing too well lately, but we came and played well for a while in this game,” said Coach Roumes. “Pope John [the Lions] gets all the credit, they battled and they came back hard.”

DIRECTORY: Live Entertainment Venues Nearby

1. CENTENARY STAGE COMPANY @ The Lackland Performing Arts Center –

Centenary University

http://www.centenarystageco.org/ 

LOCATION: 715 Grand Ave, Hackettstown, NJ 07840-1113

PHONE: 908 979 0900 

Centenary Stage Company produces full-scale productions with its mainstage Equity Company and with the Young Performers Workshop, as well as offering concerts and special events in the new state of the art Lackland Center featuring a 485-seat theatre and a 120-seat Black Box space for smaller productions.

2. DuBOIS THEATRE @ Armstrong-Hipkins Center for the ArtsBlair Academy

https://www.blair.edu/

LOCATION: 2 Park Place, Blairstown NJ, 07825

PHONE: 908 362 6126

Blair’s lively arts scene features student concerts and theatrical productions, professional art exhibits in the Romano Gallery, annual Bartow Series performances and workshops, and more. Our community celebrates the arts, and we encourage everyone to experience and participate in our many on-campus arts events.

3. HOPEWELL THEATER https://hopewelltheater.com/

LOCATION: 5 S Greenwood Ave, Hopewell, NJ 08525-2019

PHONE: 609 466 1964

Hopewell Theater is a 180-seat theater we feature independent films, live music, comedy and performances. With flexible seating options, from intimate banquette table seating to traditional fixed theater seats, as well as a balcony

4. NEWTON THEATRE “The Newt” –

LOCATION: 234 Spring Street, Newton NJ, 07860

PHONE: 973 940-NEWT 

The Newton Theatre is a beautifully restored 600 seat performing arts center in the heart of Sussex County, presenting diverse programming, including world-renowned music acts, comedians, family shows and much more, in an intimate setting.  Iconic performers such as Judy Collins, Lyle Lovett, Kansas, Arlo Guthrie, Jon Anders. on, and The Glenn Miller Orchestra have all graced the stage.

5. PAX AMICUS CASTLE THEATRE http://www.paxamicus.com/about.htm 

LOCATION: 23 Lake Shore Road

Bud Lake, NJ 07828

PHONE: 973 691-2100

Pax Amicus is a first-rate community theatre specializing in contemporary comedies, dramas, and musicals for the public with cast-calls open to all adults over the age of 16.

6. ROY’S HALL – https://royshall.org

LOCATION: PO Box 548, 30 Main Street, 

Blairstown, NJ 07825

PHONE: 908-362-1399

Roy’s Hall is a forum for artists who best exemplify world traditions, reflect contemporary trends and explore artistic frontiers, and by nurturing the artistic and cultural life of its own community in and around the Skylands region of New Jersey.

7. RUTHERFURD HALL – https://rutherfurdhall.org/event/spring-arts-festival/

LOCATION: 1686 Country Road 517
Hackettstown, NJ 0784

PHONE: 908 280-3654 

Rutherfurd Hall is a cultural center and museum owned and managed by the Allamuchy Township Board of Education. For ten years it has provided educational and enrichment programs to the public. Information regarding Rutherfurd Hall consort series and theatrical performances please see our calendar.

8. SHAWNEE PLAYHOUSE – https://www.shawneeplayhouse.org

LOCATION: 552 River Road, 

Shawnee on Delaware, PA 

PHONE: 570 421-5093

The Shawnee Players, consisting mainly of local actors and actresses, performed here to enthusiastic audiences from 1904 to World War II.  In 1943, Fred Waring and the Pennsylvanians began to broadcast their famous radio programs from the Hall.

9. THE SHERMAN THEATER https://shermantheater.com/
LOCATION: 524 Main Street,
Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania
PHONE: 570 420-2808

The Sherman Theater first debuted on January 7th, 1929; exposing the Stroudsburg area to newfound cultural beginnings on opening night with Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Through the decades, the theater became the central point of the community. The Sherman Theater is proud to have served our community by featuring demanded artists, assisting in the betterment of the community, and always having our doors open for the public!

10. THE STANHOPE HOUSE https://stanhopehousenj.com/

LOCATION: 45 Main St,
Stanhope, NJ 07874-2626
PHONE: 973 347 7777


The Stanhope House is a small venue located in a quiet New Jersey town. In the past, it focused on blues music, but now shows range from rap to pop punk and folk. Be sure to check out the beer garden during the warmer months!

Deadline Extended for Applications to the Warren County Community College Trustee Board

PRESS RELEASE: Warren County, NJ (June 1, 2022) – The Warren County Community College Trustee Search Committee has extended its application deadline to June 30, 2022, seeking persons interested in serving as Trustees of the Warren County Community College.

Applicants shall have been residents of Warren County for at least four years, and cannot currently hold any elected public office or be employed by Warren County or Warren County Community College.

College trustees must be available approximately 20 hours per month. Trustee duties include: fiscal and operational oversight of the institution; setting policies and procedures to be implemented by the college administration; evaluation of the college president and appointment of other staff; determination of the educational curriculum and programs consistent with the institution’s mission; development and approval of master planning concepts; and preparation of reports to New Jersey Higher Education, the Warren County Board of County Commissioners and the community in general.

Interested applicants are required to submit resumes, a letter outlining their interest and ability to fulfill the role of WCCC trustee, and any other pertinent material by Thursday, June 30, 2022.  Please send applications to Chairperson, Warren County Community College Trustee Search Committee, c/o Board of County Commissioners Office, 165 County Route 519 South, Belvidere, NJ  07823.

Jersey Shore and Lakeshores Declared Ready for Summer

PRESS RELEASE: NJ DEP (May 24. 2022) – Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette says New Jersey is ready for a stellar summer season following review of water quality monitoring and visits to both the Jersey Shore and North Jersey lakeshores ahead of Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the outdoor summer season.

Coastal monitoring flights and preseason sampling confirmed that beaches and water quality are in great shape, Commissioner LaTourette announced during the annual State of the Shore event in Asbury Park, which followed the Commissioner’s visits to Greenwood Lake, Lake Musconetcong and Lake Hopatcong Tuesday, May 24th.

During the event, Commissioner LaTourette noted that Governor Murphy announced that entrance to all state parks, forests and recreation areas will be free this summer for all visitors, regardless of state residency.  Anyone who already purchased a 2022 annual State Park Pass will automatically receive a full refund. Other individual park fees remain in place, including but not limited to camping, interpretive programs, and mobile sport fishing permits.

The State of the Shore address is held every year heading into Memorial Day weekend to update the public on the status of beach readiness and water quality monitoring. The annual event is sponsored by the New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium, which is made up of academic institutions and organizations dedicated to coastal and marine research, education and outreach. State of the Shore has taken on even more importance as New Jersey grapples with the adverse impacts of climate change, including coastal erosion and increasingly hot summers.

Overall, New Jersey’s beaches are healthy due to a combination of relatively mild winter storm seasons the past four years and continued efforts by federal, state and local governments to bolster state beaches through beach renourishment projects, according to findings by the Sea Grant Consortium.

“New Jersey Sea Grant Consortium is honored to release the State of the Shore report once again,” said Dr. Peter Rowe, Executive Director. “Our beaches are what defines our beautiful coastal state and this report is integral in examining their condition. As you will read in the report, New Jersey’s sandy shores are in good shape and ready for the 2022 summer season.”

“In spite of two back-to-back late season Nor’easters, state and federal investments in beach nourishment in the decade since Superstorm Sandy, along with a mild winter have left the majority of New Jersey’s beaches in good condition heading into the Memorial Day weekend,” said Dr. Jon K. Miller, the Coastal Processes Specialist for New Jersey Sea Grant Consortiumand a Research Associate Professor, as well as Director of the Coastal Engineering Research Group at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, Hudson County.

The Murphy Administration has also made support for New Jersey’s inland lake communities a priority, and Commissioner LaTourette kicked off the summer season along New Jersey’s lakeshores with a visit to Greenwood Lake, Lake Musconetcong and Lake Hopatcong. These lake communities are go-to destinations for summer recreation and key drivers of local economies.

“We were extremely pleased to welcome Commissioner LaTourette back to Lake Hopatcong,” said Martin ‘Marty’ Kane, Chairman of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation.  

“It is wonderful that the Commissioner visited three of our public lakes to see for himself the many challenges they are confronting. Through collaboration with the DEP staff and our local officials, we are starting to see real progress with many important projects to ensure Lake Hopatcong remains one of the state’s real treasures.”   

“The Lake Musconetcong Regional Planning Board, the municipal representatives, Assembly members and state Senators are extremely pleased with the genuine concern and interest shown by the Commissioner,” said Earl Riley, Lake Musconetcong Regional Planning Board Chairman.

“We all look forward to a growing positive relationship between the local lake communities and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.”

About Coastal Monitoring

The Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program is one aspect of the comprehensive New Jersey Beach Monitoring Program which evaluates water quality; conducts aerial visual assessments of coastal waters and shoreline conditions; tracks chronic water quality problems in partnership with DEP’s Bureau of Marine Water Monitoring and local health authorities; and uses prison inmates to remove floatables and other debris from tidal shorelines.

Debris removal enhances the beauty of natural resources, protects wildlife habitats and provides safer navigation in state waterways. Last year, the Cooperative Coastal Monitoring Program collected and analyzed 3,753 ocean, bay and river water quality samples. New Jersey in the last three years has had zero ocean beach closures as a result of exceedances of the primary recreation bacterial standard. Several ocean closures last summer stemmed from heavy rains that led to Combined Sewer Overflows from the New York / New Jersey Harbor. A combination of wind direction, surface currents and tides pushed floatable materials onto New Jersey beaches after the heavy storms.

Advisories and closures are rare, generally occurring after heavy rainstorms that can carry nutrients and bacteria in runoff from pet waste and wildlife such as gulls, geese and other warm-blooded animals into recreational waters. Bay and river beaches that do not have good natural circulation are more likely to experience closures.

The most significant impact on water quality at recreational bathing beaches continues to be nonpoint source pollution transported by stormwater and discharging through outfalls to waterways which can increase bacteria concentrations near stormwater outfall pipes. The Beach Monitoring Program will continue Source Tracking Projects to find and eliminate nonpoint source pollution impacting recreational bathing beaches.

In addition, the DEP’s efforts to combat non-point source pollution include the state rules and guidance for stormwater management, development and implementation of Long-Term Control Plans to address CSOs, and 319(h) Water Quality Restoration Grants to mitigate Nonpoint Source Pollution.

Visitors can get up-to-date information on all water sampling results and beach notifications by visiting https://njbeaches.org/. The public can use this website to get beach status information (open, under advisory or closed), reports, and fact sheets, as well as a link to the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission website to purchase a Shore to Please license plate.  Proceeds from the sale of these plates fund the work of the New Jersey Beach Monitoring Program.

Follow Commissioner LaTourette on Twitter and Instagram @shawnlatur and follow the DEP on Twitter @NewJerseyDEP, Facebook @newjerseydep, Instagram @nj.dep and LinkedIn @newjerseydep 

Local Candidates for the 2022 Primary Elections, Tuesday, June 7th:

A. Blairstown Township Committee – (Vote for one)

  • Republican G. Eric Lohman G. – Eric.Lohman@gmail.com
  • Republican Karen Lance – kbartlettlance@yahoo.com

B. Frelinghuysen Township Committee – (Vote for two)

  • Republican Robert H. Stock – rhstockftc@gmail.com
  • Republican Keith C. Ramos – kramosftc@gmail.com

C. Hardwick Township Committee – (Vote for one)

  • Republican Nichole L. Meuse – nichole.meuse@gmail.com

D. Knowlton Township Committee – (Vote for one)

  • Republican Frank C. Van Horn – Fmvanhorn@earthlink.net

Countywide, Democratic candidates are only running in the municipalities of Alpha and Washington Boro.

E. Warren County Clerk – (Vote for 1)

  • REPUBLICAN(S): Holly Mackey hollymackey519@gmail.com
  • DEMOCRAT(S): No Petition Filed
  • Warren County Sheriff – (Vote for 1)
    REPUBLICAN(S): James J. McDonald Sr. macj7601@hotmail.com
    Todd W. Pantuso toddpanz@gmail.com
    DEMOCRAT(S): No Petition Filed
    Warren County Commissioner – (Vote for 1)
    REPUBLICAN(S): Jason J. Sarnoski sarnoski@hotmail.com
    DEMOCRAT(S): Theresa Bender Chapman tbc4commissioner@gmail.co

Check your sample ballots for the voting place and options. Visit https://www.warrencountyvotes.com/elections/ for more information or contact the Warren County Clerk’s office:

ADDRESS

Warren County Clerk
Warren County Courthouse
413 Second St.
Belvidere, New Jersey 07823

CALL

908-475-6211

EMAIL

Warren County Clerk

Blairstown Tax Hike Approved in 2022 Municipal Budget 

On May 11th the Blairstown Township Committee voted with a 3-2 majority to approve the 2022 municipal budget, which brings a $450 tax increase to the average property owner.  The vote took place following an animated public hearing where Blairstown taxpayers raised questions and concerns regarding this year’s tax bill. 

The first resident to speak, Joe Rich, asked the Township Committee for a budget break down. “The public deserves an explanation”, stated Rich. 

Blairstown Auditor John Mooney reiterated the township’s financial situation. He described that after years of balancing the budget off of the NJ Energy Receipts Tax afforded to the township by Yard’s Creek, the stagnant State Aid is no longer the financial savior it used to be. When the township’s savings began to run dry, a municipal tax was introduced. 

Mooney explained, “We have started addressing the capital needs of the town which kind of have been put off…going out taking care of the roads, taking care of a bridge, taking care of vehicles, equipment and maintenance items.” 

Under the 2022 Municiple Tax Budget, $767,375 is devoted to Capital Projects. “We are finally being fiscally responsible with our spending,” stated Mayor Robert Moorhead. 

Resident Wayne Dixon asked the Township to take a closer look at its Capital Fund allotment. 

Dixon pointed out, “I noticed that every single year, we’re spending $76,000 to buy a new police car. We have eight vehicles lined up back there— some old, some new. Is that totally necessary? Can we buy one every other year?” 

According to Committee member Charles Makatura, the short answer is no. 

“When you take a patrol car out…that car runs for the entire shift, you don’t shut them off. There’s so much electronics in them now you can’t shut them off, they’ll overheat. They don’t have the lifespan that an ordinary automobile may have,” said Makatura. 

Dixon then moved on to question open space and historic farmland preservation. In 2022, nearly $170,000 will go towards the acquisition and protection of undeveloped land. 

“We take tax dollars, and we go out, buy a piece of land…And the first thing that happens with our property is that it comes off the tax rolls. So, the taxpayer has put tax dollars up front, and they lose the tax revenue on the back end. That doesn’t sound like a really good idea,” said Dixon. 

Mayor Moorhead disagreed with Dixon on the value of these types of investments. 

“You will always get pushback from me if you’re gonna question open space…the most valuable thing we can do for generations to come is to preserve what we have. And that is our open space,” said Moorhead.

Blairstown resident Rita Gross stood up and stated, “But we have so much property in Blairstown, but we still have no place to walk.” 

She continued, “We have Sycamore Park, we have Footbridge Park – which is underwater half the time, and we have no walking trail.” 

The Mayor assured Gross that two new pieces of open space – the property across the street from North Warren Regional High School and the stretch of farmland between First Hope Bank and the Blairstown Dairy, would both host a one mile walking trail. 

At the conclusion of the public hearing, a vote was taken. Mayor Moorhead, Deputy Mayor Walter Orcutt and Committee member Makatura voted in favor of adopting the budget. Committee members Joanne Van Valkenburg and Debra Waldron voted against it.

Grand Opening Day of the “Blairstown Farmers Market” – Saturday, June 4th

Tis the Season to buy fresh local produce plus so much more at the Blairstown Farmers Market on Saturdays, from 9:30 to 1 PM, starting June 4th.

The Blairstown famers Market has been a successful Market providing locally grown and produced food to our community for the past 15 years. Most vendors at the market are 25 miles of Blairstown.

The vendors offer everything from abundant produce, meats, local honey, artisan deserts and breads, fruit and eggs plus pickled and prepared foods. Special market events will take place throughout the market season. Every market day features live music and children’s activities.

The farmers market will be having its Grand Opening Saturday, June 4th, 9:30 AM to 1 PM. The market season runs from June to October 29. Remember BYOB, bring your own bag please. 

The Market is located at 5 Stillwater Road (Route 521) across from the Blairstown Elementary School and next to the Blairstown Firehouse. Except for handicapped visitors, parking for non-vendors is at the school.  

In 2007, a group of people got together and decided Blairstown needed a farmers’ market. The first Market was at the Givens Bellet. It grew organically into the thriving market we all look forward to today. After a couple of years, the Market outgrew the space at Givens Bellet. It was moved to its present location in town.

 

Kendrya Close, executive director of The Foodshed Alliance said, “When we started the market, we only had eight farmers.”

“From our first Market Day, our community supported the Market,” She elaborated. “The Farmers’ Market is successful because of the vibe. It is a gathering place, a community event where you can have friendly conversations with your neighbors and help support your local farming community.  This makes for an ideal family friendly experience! I like to think of our Market as “The little market that could.” 

The Blairstown Farmers’ Market will again accept EBT/SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) participants this year. Simply bring the EBT card to the Foodshed Alliance table. The Market Manager will swipe the card for the amount that is needed and give Tokens that can be used to buy groceries from participating fresh food vendors at the Market.

This year, SNAP participants will receive $20 extra in free “Good Food Bucks” each Market Day to spend on fresh produce. This benefit is made possible thanks to a grant from the Garden State Good Food Program, administered by City Green, a nonprofit working to improve access to fresh, locally grown foods.

Close works with Lisa Kelly, Development and Communications Director. They have been working together from the start. The dynamic duo has seen The Foodshed Alliance evolve into a 501C3 food and farm organization. The goals of the organization are to create sustainability in this beautiful region.  

L-R: Lisa Kelly and Kendrya Close outside their office at 326 High Street in Hope / Photo Credit: MB Journe
  • Another successful endeavor, the Foodshed Alliance now owns preserved farmland in Sussex County where it leases 66 acres to nine new sustainable farm businesses. 
  • Did you know The Foodshed Alliance has a “Gleaning” program? This program was created so volunteers may harvest the extra produce from the farms. Foodshed works with Local Share. 

Local Share, is an organization that connects food pantries, also known as Food Banks, with local farms so that crops left after the harvest don’t go to waste. If you are interested in volunteering to help with gleaning (aka harvesting) and/or delivering food to our pantries, please see the foodshedalliance.org/ website.

Throughout the market season the following vendors may be found at Blairstown Farmers Market: 

  • Apple Ridge Farm
  • Dove Education
  • ESTROG
  • Godlewsky Farm
  • Seeds to Sew International
  • Heaven’s Gate Llama Farm
  • Hope Cress Farm
  • Imperfectphil
  • Jersey Pickles
  • LovelyLou Mama Crochet
  • Jimmy’s Mushrooms
  • Kaleidoscope Learning
  • Kimball Farm
  • Manskirt Brewery
  • Miner’s Daughter
  • Orlando’s Bakery
  • Paulinskill River Photography
  • Rosie’s Empanadas
  • Top of the Mountain
  • Valley Fall Farm
  • Mike’s Pasta
  • Untamed Ferments
  • Breadlock Botanical

The Market is the creation of The Foodshed Alliance. “The Foodshed Alliance grew out of a dream of a self-sustaining rural economy,” states their website.

Venomous Snakes – Things We Should All Know Now

A Message from Blairstown’s Animal Control Officer, Scott Hendricks:

There are a number of different types of snakes in our area. The two that are venomous to humans are the Timber Rattler and the Copperhead. In the spring the snakes emerge from their dens. They like rocky areas for their dens, so the Kittatinny Ridge is a prime habitat for snakes. 

We are nearing the start of the snake’s emergence phase. The emergence phase can start in early April and continue through May. Both gravid (pregnant/with eggs) females and males and non-gravis females begin to move, shed, and forage for food beginning in the May timeframe.  

Looking at the two charts, the months of June – August (are when) the snakes are active, and this is the time to be vigilant. The following charts show the seasonal cycles. 

As they begin to forage for food and to mate, they move into areas that are inhabited by humans. It is  important to be aware of your surroundings and alert for any snakes in the area. This is especially true if  you are hiking in the woods. 

All snakes are beneficial to our environment since they are an important player in the population control of mice, voles, insects, etc.

It is illegal to kill, harm, harass, handle or collect ANY of New Jersey’s snakes  (and their parts) under the NJ Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act. 

Contact Info:

Hardwick, Frelinghuysen and Knowlton are served by Animal Control Officer Alan DeCarolis

He can be reached @ 908-377- 0808

Tragic Accident at Blairstown Airport Results in Death of Bergen County Pilot

Around 2:30 p.m., Sunday, May 15th, a glider in final landing approach at Blairstown Airport, crashed short of the runway. Despite the efforts of the Blairstown police, fire and EMT responders, soon on the scene, the pilot could not be resuscitated.

The deceased was a 70-year-old resident of Ho-Ho-Kus and student of Jersey Ridge Soaring on his second solo flight of the day. 

Observers of the accident reported that a wing of the plane seemed to clip a prominent tree on approach causing it to rotate and drop nose-first to the ground. The glider crashed inside the township owned, fenced storage area across Lambert Road opposite the airport runway.

In an email reporting the tragic event, Kevin Martin, owner of the glider operation said the student had begun learning to soar with them in 2021 and first soloed in November. He was well known and liked around the airport, and drew great joy from his flying, learning, and interactions with his fellow pilots. 

Martin said he was a conscientious student who took his aeronautical education very seriously and often participated in the winter online ground school and glider simulator training.  

The causal details of this incident are unclear. The NTSB is investigating.

Tranquility & Culture Planned for Blairstown’s Farm Meadows Community Park in 2023

Blairstown farmland to become a public garden in 2023.

Farm Meadows Community Park, a hub for tranquility and culture, will be established in Blairstown within the following year. The park will be governed by the Farm Meadows Park Advisory Committee, which will operate under the Town’s Open Space Committee.

Soon to be located in the stretch of farmland between First Hope Bank and the Blairstown Dairy, this piece of protected open space will host walking paths, extensive horticulture and opportunities for artistic exhibition.

Stretch of farmland designated for passive recreation in 2023 / Photo Credit: A. Tironi. May 2022

Spearheaded by Rosalie Murray and Monika Hamburger, local residents with an affinity for gardens and design, plans for the new park envision a large walking path that would edge the 62 acres with intimate lanes branching from the main path.

These smaller adjoining paths would be lined with flowering trees and lead to attractions such as a children’s garden, a decorated pergola or a water feature. The entire park would be a botanical garden containing native plants of all varieties. 

Murray and Hamburger imagine a space dedicated to lifetime sports: tennis, badminton and handball. Blueprints for the Park feature open areas for kite flying, Tai Chi, and family picnics. They plan for stone tables and chairs to be scattered around the property for card games, chess and checkers.

The two ladies are looking for local contributions—  local artists to display their work and musicians to play throughout the day. 

“The park will be a celebration of our community,” explained Hamburger. 

Murray added, “There’s a lot of very talented people in our community and we want to enlist them.”

The Farm Meadows Park Advisory Committee identifies four major sources of funding for this project. The first would be from community members – people who can lend expertise regarding architecture and construction. 

The second would be the township Department of Public Works for the creation of a walking path. 

The third is through grants such as the New Jersey Recreational Trails Grant or  Arbor Foundation Grant. 

And finally, utilizing allocated open space funds, Blairstown’s 2022 Municipal Tax Budget sets aside over $169,000 for the preservation of open space and historic farmland. 

“It is time to spend some [money] on a community park. Our Citizens need and deserve a reward which they can enjoy for the support they have given through the Open Space tax,” stated Murray. 

Proposed Blairstown Budget to Move Tax Rate Higher

The Blairstown Township Committee and Auditor John Mooney introduced the 2022 Tax Budget in a meeting Wednesday that calls for increasing the tax rate from 9.9 to 25 cents this year.

Ordinance 2022-02 proposes an exceedance of the municipal budget appropriation limits by 3.5% instead of the 2.5% allocated by the state. To the average local taxpayer assessed at $250,000 to $300,000 property value, the tax bill would estimate $741 in 2022. Last year taxpayers in this bracket owed only $292.

Up until 2018, Blairstown residents paid no local or municipal taxes. This tax break was possible because the township hosted Yard’s Creek and therefore earned an Energy Receipt Tax which could fund Blairstown’s budget in its entirety.

The Energy Receipt Tax allocated by the State has remained the same despite inflation. In an effort to protect the local tax rate, the BTC began to utilize surplus or fund balance, but it wasn’t enough.

Three years ago, a five-cent local tax rate was created which rose to 9.9 cents in 2021.

This year’s budget is looking at a 15.2 to 25 cent tax rate. If the BTC moves forward with a tax rate over 10 cents next year, the township will be subject to a 2% cap on an increase in the tax levy as sanctioned by the state of New Jersey.

By raising the local tax rate and taking advantage of historically low interest rates in bonds, Blairstown township can now begin to fund Capital Projects such as fixing roads, buying equipment and building up the municipal coffers.

Committeemember Joanne VanValkenburg acknowledged the financial severity of the situation. “My concern is (Public Notice about the increase.) This is going to be a nightmare come August and September when people get their tax bill.”

To this, Mayor Robert Moorhead stated, “In all fairness, it’s less than the cost of DIRECTV…it’s less than they pay for satellite TV.”

VanValkenburg responded, “You know, to us up here, maybe $10 a month, $50 a month, $100 a month is peanuts. But to many in the public, that is not peanuts.”

The Blairstown Township Committee will hold a Public Meeting on May 11 so Blairstown residents can ask questions and raise concerns on the 2022 budget and potential tax increases.

Nick Morro: A Lion that Never Quits


Nick Morro is a Senior at Pope John XXIII Regional High School in Sparta, New Jersey.
Commuting every day from his home in Blairstown to the school can be challenging. The
addition of a knee injury that has inhibited his ability to make this commute alone would make most people give up.

Playing on Pope John’s baseball team has given Morro an outlet and being taught by his coaches to never quit when the going gets tough, helps Morro to never quit.

“Morro takes ball 4 during a game on a drizzly Saturday morning” / Photo Credit: A. Nowell 2022

From the time he stepped on the field, Morro fell in love with the game. Pope John’s baseball program was Morro’s next step after 8th grade, and he was ready to play for Coach Vincent Bello. “Three years with Coach Bello really helped me improve my baseball game,” said Morro. “We have a new head coach, Sean Bierman. He played at big level schools, so he knows what it takes to play at the next level.”

Coach Bierman played baseball at Vanderbilt University, one of the most prestigious baseball schools in the country. He joined Coach Bello’s staff as an assistant coach last season and was promoted to head coach when Coach Bello left for a high school job in Florida.

The coach that has had the greatest impact on Morro was Coach Benny Perez. Coach Perez played independent baseball in Puerto Rico after graduating from Marist High School in Bayonne, New Jersey, and playing one season at New Jersey City University (NJCU).

“Coach Benny has coached me since 6th grade, and he’s always putting [the things he’s talking about] toward life too,” said Morro. “He and the other coaches always give me good life lessons.”

“Nick has been a 3-year starter for our Varsity team,” said Coach Perez. “Nick has contributed tremendously, regarding teamwork and leadership, not only on the field, but off the field as well.”

Morro is moving on from Pope John baseball after this season and attending Fairleigh Dickinson University where he’ll continue to play ball for their team.

“Morro sets for a pitch against High Point” Photo Credit: A. Nowell 2022

Morro’s teammates have seen a kid that works hard and is successful, carry it with him in social interactions. Nick Buchman, a Senior pitcher in his 4th season playing for the Lions alongside Morro, has grown close as a teammate and friend to Morro said, “Nick [Morro] and I have been friends since 8th grade/Freshman year, and my Senior year wouldn’t be the same if he wasn’t there,” said Buchman. “I wish he was still on the field with us, it’s a shame he got injured. I think, personally, Nick’s a great kid. He has a great work ethic, and I think he’ll come back from this injury even better.”


Morro is sidelined due to an injury to his knee but hopes to return to the field soon and roam the outfield with the same dominance that he left on the field. A keystone in the Lions’ offense and defense, Morro is ready to finish his high school career with the success that the Lions are hoping to acquire this season

NJDOT to Look into Possible “Sudden Failure” of Route 80 Retaining Wall

As reported by Bruce A. Scruton in the New Jersey Herald –

A state Department of Transportation internal committee met this week to advance a project to study damage to a retaining wall that supports a raised section of Route 80 near the Delaware Water Gap, which may be “subject to sudden failure,” according to the meeting’s agenda.

The committee received approval for its request for $5.5 million in state funds to inspect the wall and come up with solutions to address the problem, which includes the deterioration of the wall and a minimum 12-inch-deep crack.

The estimated cost of the repairs to the wall’s crack and deterioration stands at $51 million.

The “failure” warning was included in the project description from the meeting’s agenda,  which also stated the retaining wall “does not meet current serviceability requirements due to its minimal reinforcement,” and that a failure “is a risk to the traveling public and could result in a closure of I-80.”

The retaining wall stretches for more than a quarter-mile around the base of Mount Tammany, an area known as the S-curves that was built in the 1950s.

This file photo from March 2022 shows the "erosion cave" repairs made to the retaining wall on I80 in the Delaware Water Gap. The photo also shows water stains of a leak (left of repair) through the wall and evidence of water coming from weep holes (right of repair) installed as part of the project.

The engineering study will take a look at the retaining wall issues that were discovered by crews making repairs to a nearby section of the wall that had been scoured or eroded by water coming down from Mount Tammany. The mountain is located on the New Jersey side of the Delaware Water Gap and is maintained by the NJDOT.

The scour, known by locals as the “erosion cave,” is at milepost 1.4 of the wall, which is 1,470 feet long, 13 to 18 feet tall and consists of 49 individual panels.

According to an NJDOT memo, “upon clearing vegetation west of this wall repair, additional wall deterioration, with a minimum 12-inch-deep crack adjacent to the wall shear key, was observed.” The memo also stated the wall “does not meet current serviceability requirements due to its minimal reinforcement. Due to the tied-back construction of the existing wall, it could be subject to sudden failure, which is a risk to the traveling public and could result in a closure of I-80.”

A video taken in 2020 by local residents as part of their effort to draw attention to the “erosion cave” and other problems with the 75-year-old road and wall, shows the crack existed at that time. 

When the wall was constructed, a drainage system was included that would collect and control the water flowing off the mountain to channel it into the river.

However, breaks and cracks in that system of mostly concrete pipes allowed water to get into the fill. The water, seeking a path to the river, pushed down to the bottom of the wall and eroded parts of it away.

Over the years, other breaks and cracks in the drainage system allowed water to get into the fill behind the wall that holds up the highway.   

A retired civil engineer who worked for public entities looked at the information that the engineering study will include and said he thinks the water has built up behind the wall, creating more pressure on the structure.

The S-curve on Route 80 west at the Delaware Water Gap Recreation Area.

The engineer, who asked that his name not be published, said the concrete, like a piece of chalk, can take a lot of pressure, but is also “brittle” and can break without warning.

As part of the repair project, the contractor drilled a series of “weep holes” in the retaining wall. Those holes are attached to perforated piping and provide a route for water trapped behind the wall to flow through the wall to reduce the pressure.

“However, that’s just a temporary measure,” the engineer said. “It’s a sign that there’s water back there.”

The engineer also said he thinks there was minimal steel used in building the wall and in anchoring it to the base of the mountain. 

While there are strict federal laws on how often inspections need to be conducted on bridge structures, there is no similar law on how often retaining walls need to be inspected.

The study is needed since the structure is likely nearing the end of its useful life and was built to standards of the 1950s, not modern standards, the engineer said. He added he does not think there is immediate danger, but a full inspection needs to be done.

Additional photos provided to the Ridge View Echo by Tara Mezzanotte. Follow up interviews will be conducted with State & County Officials on this matter.

Blairstown Committee Offers No Solutions for Maple Lane Residents’ Flooding Problems

At the April 20th regular town meeting, Donna Holsterman and Mark Scialla came before the Blairstown Township Committee (BTC) for a second time to discuss flooding on Maple Lane.

A 30+ year resident of Maple Lane, Holsterman described how the next-door property used to be a depression where rainwater would collect. When developers came to build Scialla’s house, the land was filled in without any accommodating drains.

Both residents described how several days of heavy rain will cause Scialla’s basement to fill with water that must be pumped out. This water, sometimes four feet deep, then deposits onto Holsterman’s front lawn. According to the Warren County Board of Health, this creates an issue that can lead to leach field failure.

They’ve asked the Blairstown Township Committee to place a pipe at the end of their property lines which would deposit the water to a wooded area owned by residents across the road.

Mayor Robert Moorhead and Deputy Mayor Walter Orcutt are against the installation of a pipe.

“You can’t let water run onto someone else’s property just because it’s on your own,” stated Moorhead.

However, on Maple Lane, there are several drains that deposit water from one side of the road to the other through a connecting pipe. And, when the fire department is called to pump the standing water, it’s pumped onto the road and drains into that same wooded area.

Orcutt asserted that installing a pipe where the water collects will not alleviate the problem as the pipe would be too low to pitch water across the road.

“I couldn’t disagree with you more,” Scialla replied.

Moorhead claimed Maple Lane flooding occurs only during the winter months when the ground is frozen.

Holstterman, living on the property year-round. insists this is not a seasonal issue. He asserted that Maple Lane was repaired a few years ago and because of those township repairs, the road sits higher than the property low point, trapping the water Scialla pumps onto Holsterman’s front lawn.

A representative of French & Parello Associates, an engineering consultant company, met Scialla on his property to evaluate the issue and spoke with the BTC on his findings.

At the township committee meeting, Orcutt claimed the Engineer agreed that a pipe would be insufficient. Scialla countered saying the Engineer agreed the position of the township road exacerbates the issue. French & Parello did not write up a report on this particular site visit.

The Blairstown Township Committee left Scialla and Holsterman with no solutions.

Moorhead stated, “I have no suggestion to mitigate the water in your basement.” Apparently in agreement, Orcutt said, “We can’t get in the business of worrying about when your basement is flooding.”

Developers Denied a 40-Cabin Retreat in Frelinghuysen. Crowded Meeting went ’till Midnight

Brag Farm Retreat was denied a use variance, April 4th, to develop a retreat on the former 178-acre Sugarbarb property off Silver Lake Road, in Frelinghuysen.

Russ and Natalia Brag of Columbia proposed building 40 A-frame cabins, a 2-story, 7,500 square foot Clubhouse and a 6,000 square foot dwelling on a separate 27-acre flag lot. According to their use variance plan by Finelli Consulting Engineers, all were shown surrounding the existing 5-acre lake on the property and/or scattered along new drives throughout the heavily forested lot and pastures.

The Sugarbarb Farm property currently has three dwellings, a barn, 10-stall horse stable and several outbuildings. The property is zoned AR-6, Agricultural Residential 6-acre minimum lot size.

The Land Use Board meeting was held in the Frelinghuysen School Auditorium, April 4th, because a large crowd was anticipated since the Brag Farm Retreat application attracted an overflow crowd to the Town Hall last month. Indeed, a large crowd showed up and the meeting went nearly to Midnight.

Application documents also showed that Brag Farm Retreat wanted to host artists’ retreats, a small art gallery, painting classes and various art installations throughout the property.

Because it was a “d”, or use variance, the applicant needed at least five (5) affirmative votes from the seven members comprising the Board’s Zoning representatives. They failed to get that with four voting against the proposal.

Prior to the determination against the application, opponents to the development questioned how the shared septic systems for each structure would protect fragile ecosystems known to be onsite, as well as traffic.

Because they were seeking use variance approval to be followed up with the more in-depth testimony for their hoped-for Site Plan review, Brag Farm didn’t present an Environmental Impact Statements (EIS), Letter of Interpretation (LOI) or Traffic Study.

INTERESTING FOLKS: Karin White, a Renaissance woman

“Karin White sees the beauty in the discarded.” / Photo Credit: MB Journe 2022

Karin White is a Renaissance woman who transforms the old into new by combining a love of art with a passion for recycling old things. As defined by Merriam-Webster, a Renaissance woman “is interested in and knows a lot about many things.” Indeed, she has managed to combine her successes in art with a successful business to enrich her family and friends. 

White is a jewelry artist, working with semi-precious metals, gemstones and a variety of discarded items. She incorporates found objects, natural gemstones, silver and silverware, copper and bronze. When inspiration strikes, she gathers some items at garage sales and creates beautiful, one-of-a-kind jewelry using recycled and natural materials. Her work can be seen at Gallery 23 in Blairstown. They have an online store at www.Gallery23.net.

She said she’s met many people selling her art at music festivals and street fairs. Her work has been sold at stores, home parties and she has taught jewelry making.

White is also well known for selling real estate. She currently works for Burgdorf Real Estate ERA in Hope, New Jersey.  She was the secretary for the Warren County Board of Realtors for many years. White has won the NJAR Circle of Excellence Award for the past five years. This prestigious award recognizes realtors who are experts in their field.   

“I have real estate customers who have bought jewelry from me in the past” said White.  “I have sold my jewelry at music festivals. This was ideal, enjoying the music while working and dancing to my favorite bands. I have met so many people with this career. The same people who bought a spoon bracelet from me, trusted me and wanted me to help them buy or sell their home.” 

In 2020, White’s love of antiques spurred her to buy a neglected historic home in Hardwick. Known to be constructed by a Wheelwright, named Wildrick, over 200 years ago, she’s been dutifully restoring its quaint charm and structural integrity of the three-story barn.

A stay-at-home mom for 15 years, White has three children – Daniel, Michael and Grace; each of whom she’s raised to be creative and compassionate. Her daughter Grace has her mother’s artistic talent, making stunning illustrations of animals. White’s involvement in the lives of her children and our community is extensive. She was the president of her PTA for many years. 

A philanthropic woman, she was asked to design spoon bracelets for a church organization to raise money to aid refugees in Africa. Several hundred spoon bracelets were created and sold to support the people in need.

White is always willing to lend a hand. She volunteered at her children’s school and is a longtime member of the Blairstown Historic Preservation Communitee. Many have been enriched by her willingness to serve.

White grew up in an artistic family. Her childhood home was filled with paintings, sculptures and photography reflecting generations of family artists. White’s mom and grandmother inspired her to paint. Her great grandfather worked in copper and metal. Her father repurposed and built beautiful furniture and household items.   

“I grew up going to estate sales and flea markets. My mom would pick things off the side of the road,” White giggled. “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure. This was before garbage picking was cool.”

“I decided to take my mom to a bead store for a jewelry making class for Mother’s Day. This outing jump started my jewelry business,” she reminisced. 

Together they learned the technique of metal clay jewelry. The process involves metal clay that is stamped with a design from an antique button collection. The clay is fired in a kiln which transforms the clay into a silver pendant. The pendants are high quality – 999 silver. Each participant went home with a completed necklace. 

White was hooked. She started making gifts for family and friends. Soon many of her acquaintances wanted to buy her work.  

She is a graduate of Montclair State University with a major in art and photography. Her formal training in the arts and her family background transformed her life as a Renaissance woman of today.   

White recalls fondly, “Being a stay-at-home mom, I had the time to make presents for friends. It was very encouraging that my hobby was appreciated. This built my confidence.” 

“I love making jewelry and it was fun selling my line. My spoon bracelets were my signature piece, it was fun buying heirloom spoons and repurposing them into bracelets,” said White. 

Her father passed away after a long illness.  At the same time, her marriage of many years was coming to an end. She credits her art with helping her heal in these trying times.   

White is truly a Renaissance woman, dovetailing all her gifts and talents into a phenomenal artistic lifestyle thus adding rich color and texture to the local environment and providing a valuable service to others. 

White’s unique creations / Photo Credit: MB Journe 4/2022

“Please Do Not Hurt Me or My Mom.”

“We just temporarily moved to the neighborhood so we can be safe,” conveyed the harmless baby fox kit / Photo Credit: Antler Ridge 2022

If you have suddenly seen a fox in the yard near your home, there is a good reason for this. It is denning season.

Between the end of March and early April, a mother fox will give birth to between 4 and 5 kits. A coyote will often find a fox den, dig out the babies, and kill them. A mother fox knows this and will frequently choose a den site close to people, away from where coyotes generally go. It is not unusual for a fox to den under a porch, shed, garage, barn, or side of a hill, trying to keep her family safe.

Please allow these short-term accommodations because this is not a permanent situation. If you are lucky enough to see how beautiful an adult fox is or witness the kits playing (at a distance of course) you will be glad you did!

It is not uncommon for Red Foxes to change dens several times during the season, so you may not see them for long. Kits do not leave the den until they are about a month old. Foxes do not live in a den year-round, only when a mother has babies. During the summer as the kits grow older, you will see less and less of them, and by September everyone will have packed up and moved on.

If you see a fox during the day, it does not mean she is rabid. A mother fox works tirelessly to feed her kits and will often be out during daylight hours foraging for food. Foxes are omnivores, generally feeding on berries, grasses, and small rodents.

They are solitary and prefer to be left alone. They do not want to hunt and eat your children or mate with your dog. A fox simply wants a safe place to raise her family. Please allow her to do that.

Adult red fox / Photo Credit: Antler Ridge 2022

The Paulins Kill Flooded Footbridge Park, April 9th weekend.

The National Weather Service reported that at 6:15AM, Sunday, the flood stage of the Paulins Kill was at 5.04 feet. The flood stage is 5 feet. One local resident reported waking up to 55 inches of rainwater in her basement from groundwater, flooding important utilities.

Footbridge Park was flooded. Seen here on April 9th / Photo Credit: D.L. Dunn
Lonely park benches / Photo Credit: D.L. Dunn, 4-9-2022
High water engulfs Footbridge Park, April 9th weekend / Photo Credit: D.L. Dunn
Turbulant waters @ Footbridge Park, Saturday, April 9th / Photo Credit: D.L. Dunn 2022
This young teen from Hardwick couldn’t resist / Photo Credit: D.L. Dunn, 4-9-22
Playground underwater @ Footbridge Park, April 9th / Photo Credit: D.L. Dunn 2022

Opening Day of Fishing Season in Blairstown

Many fisher folk could be seen throughtout the area Saturday, April 9th for Opening Day of Fishing, luring fish despite turbulant water from heavy rainfall.

Young Grayson of Blairstown hoped to catch Trout or Bass on Saturday, for the First Day of Fishing in New Jersey / Photo Credit: D.L. Dunn 4-9-22
Stephen and his son, Grayson, brought their gear to Footbridge Park / Photo Credit: D.L. Dunn, 4-9-22
Stephen & Grayson took their chances fishing in the very turbulant Paulins Kill, on Saturday, April 9th. / Photo Credit: D.L. Dunn, 2022

2022 Brings Some Changes to Township Governments

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As is customary in New Jersey, weather permitting, Township Governing bodies meet on or soon after January 1st their annual Reorganization Meetings to swear in new members to their respective Township Committees, give public notice of the names / contact information for municipal officials and the forthcoming Committee meeting times and dates.

The Ridge View Echo hereby offers this useful information to keep everyone informed about who is running their towns. This information and more data is available via the Towns’ websites and is required by law to have been posted in their respective municipal buildings and Official newspapers.

Blairstown Township

The Township of Blairstown is governed by the Township form of government, registered voters directly elect members of the five-member Township Committee. The Committee selects the Mayor and Deputy Mayor, from amongst themselves, annually at the reorganization meeting held annually on January first. It is at the reorganization meeting when newly elected members of the Committee are sworn-in, committee assignments are delegated, and members of Board/Committee are appointed.

The Mayor, and the Deputy Mayor (in the absence of the Mayor), serve as the presiding officers at Township Committee meetings, administers oaths of office and execute contracts/agreements along with the Township Clerk, who serves as the Governing Body’s representative/liaison to the various departments of the Township.

The Township Committee governs through the adoption of policy ordinances (municipal legislation) and resolutions (codified actions) of the municipality.  In the Township form of government, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor do get the opportunity to vote.  In the Borough form of municipal government, the most prevalent form in the state, the Mayor can only vote in the event of a tie.   

TOWNSHIP CLERK
Kristin Shipps, RMC, CMR
(908) 362-6663 x 230clerk@blairstowntwp-nj.com

HOURS
Monday – Friday
8AM – 4PM

MUNICIPAL BUILDING
106 Route 94, Blairstown, N.J.  07825
(908) 362-6663 (OFFICE)

Committee Members

ROB MOORHEADMayor
Committee Term Expires December 31, 2024
Contact: rmoorhead@blairstowntwp-nj.com
Committee Assignments:

Deputy Police Commissioner

Water Utility (primary)
Personnel (primary)
Emergency Management (primary)
Blair Academy (primary)
Intermunicipal, County, State & Federal Liaison (primary)
Fire Department (primary)
DPW (alternate)
Finance (alternate)
Open Space (alternate)
Municipal Court (alternate)
Rescue Squad (alternate)
Blairstown Elementary (alternate)

CHARLES MAKATURA
Committee Term Expires December 31, 2024
Contact: cmakatura@blairstowntwp-nj.com
Committee Assignments

Police Commissioner
Animal Control Officer (primary)
Municipal Court (primary)
Rescue Squad (primary)
Class III Land Use Board member
Buildings & Grounds (alternate)
Water Utility (alternate)
Emergency Management (alternate)


WALTER ORCUTT- Deputy Mayor 
Committee Term Expires December 31, 2023
Contact: worcutt@blairstowntwp-nj.com

Committee Assignments: 
DPW (primary)
Finance (primary)
Open Space (primary)
Buildings & Grounds (primary)
Class I Land Use Board member
Personnel (alternate)
Blair Academy (alternate)
Intermunicipal, County, State & Federal Liaison (alternate)

Fire Department (alternate)
Paulina Dam liaison (alternate)

GIOVANNA “JOANNE” VAN VALKENBURG –
Committee Term Expires December 31, 2022
Contact: jvanvalkenburg@blairstowntwp-nj.com

Committee Assignments: 

Recreation (primary)
COAH (primary)
Main Street (primary)
North Warren Regional (primary)
Paulina Dam Liaison (primary)
Senior Citizens (alternate)
BEC (alternate)
Blairstown Historical (alternate)

DEBRA WALDRON-
Committee Term Expires December 31, 2023
Contact: dwaldron@blairstowntwp-nj.com

Committee Assignments:

Blairstown Elementary (primary)
Senior Citizens (primary)
BEC (primary)
Blairstown Historical (primary)
Recreation (alternate)
COAH (alternate)
Main Street (alternate)
North Warren Regional (alternate)

2022 Township Committee Meetings will meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month and will begin at 7:30 PM:

January 12, 2022
January 26, 2022- Cancelled
February 9, 2022
February 23, 2022
March 9, 2022
March 23, 2022
April 13, 2022
April 27, 2022
May 11, 2022
May 25, 2022
June 8, 2022
June 22, 2022
July 13, 2022
July 27, 2022
August 10, 2022
August 24, 2022
September 14, 2022
September 28, 2022October 12, 2022
October 26, 2022
November 9, 2022
November 30, 2022 (5th Wednesday due to holiday)


Frelinghuysen Township

Frelinghuysen Town Hall

Frelinghuysen Town Hall in Johnsonburg” Photo Credit: B. Barbour, 2022

Township Clerk

Donna Zilberfarb, RMC

Phone: (908) 852-4121
Fax: (908) 852-7621
Email: clerk@frelinghuysen-nj.us

Committtee Members:

Business Hours
Monday – Friday
7:30-3:30
Closed for lunch
12:00-12:30

Mayor – Keith Ramos
email: kramosftc@gmail.com

Deputy Mayor – Chris Stracco
email: cstracco@daypitney.com

Committeeman – Todd Mcpeek
email: tjmcpeek50@gmail.com

Committeeman – David Boynton
email: dcboynton@hotmail.com

Committeeman – Robert Stock
email: rhstockfc@dldunnllcgmail-com

#2022-01 SETTING MEETING DATES FOR FRELINGHUYSEN TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE WHEREAS, Section 12 of the Open Public Meetings Act, Chapter 231, P.L. 1975, requires that at least once a year, not later than January 10th of such year, every public body shall post and mail to newspapers designated by said body, a schedule of the location, time and date of each meeting of said body during the succeeding year. 

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, by the Frelinghuysen Township Committee that the regular public meetings of the Frelinghuysen Township Committee will be held on the third Wednesday of each month at 6:00 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 210 Main Street, Johnsonburg, New Jersey. The full regular meeting schedule is as follows: 

Regular Meeting Dates for 2022:

January 19, 2022
February 16, 2022
March 16, 2022
April 20, 2022
May 18, 2022
June 15, 2022
July 20, 2022
August 17, 2022
September 21, 2022
October 19, 2022
*November 9, 2022
December 21, 2022

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the following dates during the calendar year of 2022 are hereby designated as the workshop meetings of the Mayor and Committee of the Township of Frelinghuysen, to be held on an as needed basis. 

Workshop Meeting Dates for 2022:

January 12, 2022
February 9, 2022
March 9, 2022
April 13, 2022
May 11, 2022
June 8, 2022
July 13, 2022
August 10, 2022
September 14, 2022
October 12, 2022
*November 21, 2022
December 14, 2022

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that unless otherwise specified, all workshop meetings will be held at 6:00 p.m. at the Municipal Building, 210 Main Street, Johnsonburg, New Jersey. Work meetings may be subject to cancellation. Formal action may be taken at any regular or workshop meeting. Executive sessions may be conducted by the governing body at these meetings. *Denotes change in meeting dates due to the League of Municipalities Conference.

Hardwick Township

*Kristin Shipps, Township Clerk, RMC

Email:  clerk@hardwick-nj.us
General Information:  908-362-6528 X 8
Office Hours: 

Hardwick Office Hours: Thursday 10:00 am to 2 pm

Blairstown Office Hours: Monday – Wednesday and Friday 8:00 am – 4:00 pm

Hardwick Township Commitee

"Hardwick Township Mayor Chris Jacksic being sworn in by NJ State Senator Steven V. Oroho at the Reorganization Meeting." Photo Credit: C. Jacksic, 2022
“Hardwick Township Mayor Chris Jacksic being sworn in by NJ State Senator Steven V. Oroho at the Reorganization Meeting.”  Photo Credit: C. Jacksic, 2022

The Township Committee is comprised of three Committee members who are elected at large for staggered terms of office. Each year voters elect one of the members to a three (3) year term on the Township Committee. In January, the Committee reorganizes selecting one of its members to serve as the Mayor and a second member to serve as the Deputy Mayor. The title of Mayor is a largely ceremonial position responsible for chairing meetings, acting as the Committee president and representing Hardwick’s interests at regional and state functions. The Township Committee adopts an annual budget, approves contracts and authorizes the payment of bills. The Committee further appoints the professional staff, consultants and members of various advisory committees and boards. The Township Committee is responsible for the adoption of local ordinances governing such diverse issues as land use and general nuisances.

Committee Members:

CHRIS JACKSIC – 2022 Mayor
Mayor’s Term expires December 31, 2022 (Committee Term expires December 31, 2024)

cjacksic@hardwick-nj.us

908 362-6018  
973 477-9111 Cell

Committee and Department Liaison Assignments: Mayor, Municipal Attorney, Municipal Clerk, Animal Control & Licensing Clerk, Public Safety/Court, Emergency Management, 9-1-1, Police, Fire, EMS, Board of Health 

JOHN LOVELL – 2021 Deputy Mayor (Committee Term expires December 31, 2023)

jlovell@hardwick-nj.us

908 362-1485
201 230-4005 Cell

Committee and Department Liaison Assignments: Deputy Mayor, Engineering Department, Insurance, Public Works, Road Department, Building/Grounds, Finance Department, Auditor & CFO, Tax Collector, Tax Assessor, Open Space Committee 

KEVIN DUFFY – Committee Member (Committee Term expires December 31, 2022

kduffy@hardwick-nj.u 

#908 625-7450 Cell

Committee and Department Liaison Assignments: Committee Member, Agriculture Comm., Zoning Code, Enforcement, Land Use Board, Environmental Comm., Affordable Housing, Hardwick Seniors

Knowlton Township

Paulins Kill Viaduct

“Paulins Kill Viaduct – Knowlton’s spectacular landmark”

Photo Credit: P. St. Andre

Info @ a glance:

Municipal Building
628 Route 94
Columbia, NJ 07832
908-496-4816, FAX: 908-496-8144

www.knowlton-nj.com

MAYOR – Adele Starrs,
908-496-0055

Email: adelestarrs@gmail.com

Knowlton Township Committee Members & Meeting Dates:

Name

Phone #

Email

Term Exp

Adele Starrs, Mayor

908-496-0055

12/2022

Debra Shipps , Deputy Mayor

908-217-0836

12/2023

Kathy Cuntala

908-496-4193

12/2021

James Mazza

570-396-8043

12/2023

Frank Van Horn

908-475-5664

12/2022

Meeting: 2nd Monday of each month and 4th Thursday of each month at 7 p.m.

* (Meetings, unless otherwise noted, are held at the Municipal Building.)

Municipal Clerk – 

908-496-4816 ext. 6

clerk@knowlton-nj.com

Rosemary Meyer

0

Rosemary Meyer, 83 years of age, a resident of Stewartsville, NJ, passed away in St. Luke’s Warren, Phillipsburg, NJ on September 25, 2022.  She was born on September 11, 1939 to Harry and Mabel (Hepp) Sweeney. She had been a teacher at Hope elementary School for over 30 years. She had received her BA in Education at University of Bridgeport in CT and a Master’s in education from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, NJ. She enjoyed painting and doing crafts.  Walking her dog every day gave her great pleasure. 

She is survived by her loving  daughter Michele Meyer of Stewartsville and a granddaughter, Alyssa Gleason.  She was predeceased by her son Werner Meyer, two sisters Anna Mae Koeck and Emma Jane Johnson and her beloved dog Misty.

A graveside Inurnment will be private. Services  have been entrusted to the care of Newbaker FuneraRosemary Meyer, 83 years of age, a resident of Stewartsville, NJ, passed away in St. Luke’s Warren, Phillipsburg, NJ on September 25, 2022.  She was born on September 11, 1939 to Harry and Mabel (Hepp) Sweeney. She had been a teacher at Hope elementary School for over 30 years. She had received her BA in Education at University of Bridgeport in CT and a Master’s in education from Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, NJ. She enjoyed painting and doing crafts.  Walking her dog every day gave her great pleasure. 

Project Self-Sufficiency Will Host Career Fair

Newton, NJ (September 27, 2022) – Local businesses and organizations are gearing up to recruit new staff members at Project Self-Sufficiency’s Career Fair on Thursday, October 13th, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.  Representatives from local employers and educational institutions will be on hand to promote job openings and scholastic opportunities.  Additional job searching resources, such as mock interviews, will be offered to attendees by Project Self-Sufficiency Career Center staff.  The Career Fair is free and open to the public; all attendees must wear masks. 

“We encourage anyone who is interested in advancing their career to attend this unique event,” commented Project Self-Sufficiency Executive Director Deborah Berry-Toon.  “Job seekers can get immediate feedback on their resume and interview skills in addition to learning about employment opportunities and options for furthering their education.”

Employers and educational institutions who will be promoting opportunities include Abilities of Northwest JerseyAtlantic Health SystemCapitol Care, Inc.; The Chelsea at SpartaEmployment HorizonsFedEx Ground; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 102New Jersey Army National GuardNew Jersey Department of LaborNew Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation ServicesNew Jersey Superior Courts – Morris/Sussex VicinageProject Self-SufficiencyRoNetco Shop RiteThe Rose HouseSevita HealthSkylands Medical GroupSussex County Community CollegeUnited Methodist Communities HomeworksThorLabsUnited States Air Force Recruiting OfficeVisiting AngelsZufall Health; and others.

For more information about the free Career Fair, or to find out more about the programs and services offered by Project Self-Sufficiency, call 973-940-3500 or visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org.

About Project Self-Sufficiency

Project Self-Sufficiency has assisted low-income families residing in northwestern New Jersey for nearly 35 years.  The community-based non-profit organization offers family literacy education, high school diploma instruction, legal assistance and education, computer training and job placement services, parenting classes, childcare, counseling and advocacy, referrals, and help with emergency basic needs. such as food and clothing.  To donate or for more information about the programs and services offered by Project Self-Sufficiency, visit www.projectselfsufficiency.org or call 973-940-3500.

Six State Parks & Forests Near Us to Get E.V. Charging Stations

PRESS RELEASE: Trenton, (Sept. 27, 2022) –
New Jersey state parks are among the latest recipients of funding to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure, giving visitors the opportunity to both appreciate and protect the environment while quietly charging their vehicles during outings, Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette announced today.EV chargers
In March, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities awarded more than $1 million in grants for the installation of electric vehicle chargers at 24 key tourist destinations across the Garden State as part of New Jersey’s Electric Vehicle Tourism program. That includes $45,000 to the New Jersey State Park Service for 10 Level 2 charging stations at parks and forests across the state.

In July, BPU announced another round of awards, which included $150,000 for two DC fast chargers that will be installed at Liberty State Park in Hudson County. In total, BPU has provided more than $5 million in awards to install chargers at more than 60 key tourist destinations statewide.

“The availability of EV chargers at scenic and recreational destinations throughout the state encourages residents and out-of-state travelers to choose New Jersey to charge up and unwind at any of our many destination points, whether it’s a park, down the shore, or at a historic site,” Commissioner LaTourette said. “We’re pleased to offer this new amenity and are excited to see park visitors charge their vehicles while enjoying their day outdoors. The DEP has prioritized which properties to receive the chargers based on electrical feasibility, parking lot layout and structure, and the number of daily and overnight visitors. Two charging stations are in place and operational at Round Valley Reservoir (Hunterdon County).

Other properties scheduled to receive two Level 2 charging stations include Cheesequake State Park (Middlesex), High Point State Park (Sussex), Wawayanda State Park (Sussex and Passaic), and Wharton State Forest – Batsto Village (Burlington).New Jersey state parks receive millions of visitors each year, making them popular tourist attractions. Round Valley is the first state park area to receive two EV chargers. The property is easily accessible from Interstate 78 and, like most parks in the state parks system, has high visitation, especially during summer. In 2021, Round Valley Recreation Area received more than 654,000 visitors and more than 3,000 overnight campers.

The charging stations were made possible with funding assistance from the BPU as part of its Electric Vehicle Tourism grant program, which provides funding for chargers at tourist locations across the state. During the last two years, the Board has taken substantial steps to build out its electric vehicle incentive program and a robust electric vehicle charging network,” said BPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso. “Our EV Tourism program is helping ease range anxiety for residents and visitors alike to the many wonderful attractions our state offers like our State Parks. All of our EV incentive programs are aimed directly at reducing the 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in New Jersey that come from vehicles.”

The BPU’s Electric Vehicle Tourism program eliminates barriers to purchasing electric vehicles by investing in electric vehicle infrastructure and reducing range anxiety for residents and tourists visiting New Jersey. These types of initiatives help move the state closer to Governor Murphy’s goal of having 330,000 EVs on the road by 2025, reducing transportation emissions and achieving the Governor’s goal of 100 percent clean energy by 2050.

The electrification of the state’s transportation sector, which accounts for more than 40 percent of New Jersey’s greenhouse gas emissions, is a key step toward achieving Governor Murphy’s clean energy and climate mitigation goals. Expanding EV infrastructure across the state will eliminate barriers to purchasing electric vehicles by reducing range anxiety for residents and tourists visiting New Jersey. A timeline for the installation and operation of the 10 Level 2 charging stations and the two fast chargers will be announced at a later date.

In the meantime, the State Park Service will continue to evaluate opportunities for additional EV charging stations in parks to help reduce energy usage and enhance visitor experience. For more information on electric vehicles, visit www.drivegreen.nj.govFor more information on State Parks, visit https://nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/

Blairstown United Methodist Church joins Red Bird Mission in Appalachia

 

Nestled in the mountains of southeast Kentucky sits the unincorporated community known as Red Bird and the Christian organization Red Bird Mission. 

Created more than 100 years ago, Red Bird Mission addresses the issues of poverty, poor housing, and lack of jobs that persist in their region of the Appalachian Mountains. Every year the Red Bird Mission invites members of churches all over the country to aid in their community outreach. 

In 2017 the First United Methodist Church (FUMCB) decided to join the cause. 

Red Bird Mission offers aid in the form of free education, medical and dental clinics, community outreach, economic opportunity, and housing improvement. Visiting missionaries primarily focus on the latter.  

FUMCB’s pastor David Tillish explained the work accomplished over the course of the week. “So those people [who attended] this year replaced a roof, installed three handicap ramps and decks, put down laminate flooring, and installed a handicap accessible shower.” 

When missionaries travel to Kentucky they have no idea what kind of projects they’ll be tackling— so these rookies must learn on the job. 

“What I think is really cool about this ministry is people go down there not necessarily knowing how to use the tools that we’re going to give them. But, they learn,” stated Tillish. 

He continued, “We had people who never really used to drill before, and suddenly they’re screwing in decking, you know, like, they’re pros.”

Typical renovation tasks completed by volunteers may also include repairing siding, cleaning and renovating gutters, basic plumbing, basic electrical work, underpinning, and installing additions. 

If projects take longer than a week, no worries. Red Bird Mission invites and rotates volunteer groups 11 months out of the year. When the group including BUMC volunteers left, another bus was arriving with more helpers. 

[Dorothy Quick maybe?] 

Red Bird Mission offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities since its areas of service are so diverse. Missionaries can aid in clothing assistance, clean water initiatives, food pantries, senior citizen at-home care, education at all levels, and farming support. 

Tillish recalled, “There are people ages 14 to the oldest person I think I worked with was 85 on this trip. And there’s something for every person to do.”  

Tillish tries to prepare his church’s group about the living conditions of those receiving Red Bird Mission’s aid. 

“It’s an incredibly vulnerable position that these homeowners placed themselves in. Trusting that we’re going to respect their house, we’re not going to belittle them for needing help… And so I’ve shown [the volunteers] videos about Appalachia to help them to learn about the culture of poverty because that’s really what you’re talking about is a culture of poverty.” 

Tillish believes it is a Christian principle to give to those in need without question or judgement. 

Red Bird Mission is a religious organization and defines its outreach as a “ministry commissioned to propagate its faith or carry on humanitarian work.” Although Red Bird Mission’s work is done in the name of a higher power, those receiving the benefits don’t need to hold the same beliefs. 

Tillish explains, “We are not there to evangelize them, we are not there to convert them.”

Red Bird Mission recently divulged a decline in support. The organization reported a “financial crisis that is making it difficult to continue all of the areas of ministry” and explained that without an uptick in donations the mission, “will have to reduce the level of ministry provided to this community.” 
To join the First United Methodist Church of Blairstown’s group of volunteers for 2023 contact the church at info@firstumcblairstown.com. To donate directly to Rid Bird Mission click here.

Phalon’s File: The Fall Pocket Harvest

The fall harvest season has begun. It’s the harvest that yields all kinds of produce from lost keys to cash crops such as cash.


I speak, of course, of the annual fall pocket harvest.

Joe’s annual pocket harvest yielded aplenty this year. Photo by J. Phalon, Sept. 2022


Like any other bumper crop, it begins in spring and yields its bounty in the fall when you take out those couple of coats from the hall closet that have been protecting those seedlings left in the pockets since the last time you wore them in the early spring.


Most people don’t plan the day of their last use of a coat or jacket for the season. You simply stop wearing them. That coat just gets frozen in time like the caveman who was completely taken by surprise by the Ice Age and was thawed out to find that his cave is now under a Taco Bell.


During a chilly night this past week I slid some of my summer shirts to the side of the closet to mine down to the back reaches to where my winter coat had been relegated by default.


My first big, happy surprise: It fit me a little better than it did in the spring! Having spent the summer months eating a bit healthier had produced results.


My second big, happy surprise: The pocket harvest yielded the earphones I had not seen in
months.


There were a few other things too. A receipt from the last meal I must have eaten while
wearing this coat. Apparently, that day I had a cheeseburger, onion rings and a soda. That might explain why the coat didn’t fit me by the end of the winter.


There were a few other scraps. A few coins, several napkins, a comb and one of those cool pens that that has a stylus at one end.


While I was as the deep end of the closet, I pulled out my less-formal bumming around jacket. There were no bitter harvests in this jacket, either.


First, I found a set of car keys I hadn’t seen all summer, and why I didn’t check this jacket last spring when they first went missing still beats the hell out of me.

Then I found a 9/16th wrench, a bottle cap and finally the mother lode: a nice, crisp $20 bill. Factoring in inflation, that $20 now had a purchasing power of $18.15 compared to when I put it away last winter, it was still found money.

Literally.

Happy harvest!

END COPY

Photo caption:

Joe’s annual pocket harvest yielded aplenty this year.

Join the Fun at this Year’s “Bedlam in Blairstown” 

The second annual Blairstown Fall Festival is set for Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022 at the historic Footbridge Park from 11 AM to 4 PM, rain or shine. The event features the “Bedlam in Blairstown” Bed Races, a “Pumpkin Pavilion” with kids activities, a beer garden, food trucks, live music, and a craft fair featuring nearly 50 vendors. 

The “Bedlam in Blairstown” events feature both “Race” and “Parade” categories. “Race” entrants form up in teams of five with four pushing and one riding in the bed. The team pushes the bed down a 100-meter course for the fastest time. The bed racing carriages are provided. No construction is necessary. Trophies will be awarded for best times as well as best costumes and best bed theme. Last year’s winning team was “Breakfast in Bed.”

“Parade” entrants decorate floats beds with the most fun and creative design they can think of. Teams only need just enough members to walk their creations along the parade route. Last year’s winner was “Flower Bed” by local flower farmer, Patti Doell of Little Big Farm. See www.BlairstownFestivals.com for details on how to sign up for the Bedlam in Blairstown event.

“We would like to thank the Township Committee for supporting the festival as well as the volunteers and sponsors who help make it all possible,” said BEC President Dave Paulson. “It’s events like these that bring a community together to make the memories that can last a lifetime. It’s what makes Blairstown that special place we call home.”  

Volunteers are still needed. Visit our SignUp Genius page to see how you can help. You may also contact BEC Administrator Kaitlin Eamigh at kaitlin@blairstownbec.com for more information.

The Blairstown Enhancement Committee (BEC) is a group of volunteers committed to beautification, economic, and community projects that make the Blairstown area a better place to live, visit and do business. The BEC carries out activities and events such as the Spring Clean Up, “Bedlam in Blairstown” Fall Festival, “Jingle on Main” Holiday Festival and local business networking events. In collaboration with residents, business owners, township, schools, and other stakeholders, the committee’s goal is to create a thriving economy while still retaining the character and charm of the area. Visit BlairstownBEC.com to learn more about the work the organization is doing. To get involved send an email to info@blairstownbec.com. Follow us on Facebook or Instagram @BlairstownBEC.

Blairstown Police Department introduces STARS Program

Corporal Richard Herzer and Chief Scott Johnsen of the Blairstown Police Department explained the force’s new missing person database, created to ensure the safety of those with special needs, at a Blairstown Township Committee meeting on Sept. 14. 

The new database named Blairstown STARS will profile every person with cognitive disorders in the township and provide information that would allow for a speedy recovery. Profiles will include an annually updated photo taken by Blairstown police officers— creating an opportunity for special needs residents to meet and interact with officers. 

Addresses and emergency contacts will be made available along with a detailed outline of that person’s disability. Understanding of the person’s individual needs may help officers communicate with them and show they are there to help. 

Areas of interest will be logged into the system alongside an aerial map of the person’s home with identifiers of places or people they might visit. In a Facebook post, Blairstown PD explained the process saying, “When the officer pulls up the profile, they will have a picture so they can be checking the area as they are responding to the address and have all vital information in case they encounter the person before meeting with the caller, knowing the person’s name, and their needs.”

With privacy in mind, only Blairstown Police Officers can access this information unless outside resources are needed. If outside resources such as Blairstown Search and Rescue, Ambulance Corp, K-9 Unit, or Fire Department are required, the profile can be shared. “They have all the information already, even if they’re coming late to the call,” stated Herzer. 

With caregiver consent, an up-to-date photo of the missing person can be posted to the Blairstown Police Department Facebook page alerting other residents and guaranteeing more eyes on the lookout. 

The idea for this kind of database came to Corporal Herzer after a mother asked him if Blairstown Police had any program that could help locate people with autism, like her son, if they were to go missing. “I told her no and the look on her face was just distraught… it almost kept me up at night,” recounted Herzer. 

Back at the station Herzer got to work and devised Blairstown STARS. Inspired by astronomy, Herzer explained that stars are like the Blairstown residents with special needs: “A star is something very special and no two are alike. A star is so beautiful that it must be cared for with extra love and care.” 

“The Blairstown Police Department will always go above and beyond for the residents we serve. With this program, we want to give back to our stars.”

To enroll a family member in the Blairstown STARS program contact Corporal Herzer or call (908) 362-7667. 

At the BTC meeting, Committee member, Joanne VanValkneburg asked, “You sort of went through this a year and a half ago? When you were looking for someone?” 

VanValkenburg was referring to Mary Margaret Murphy, a 54-year-old Blairstown resident who went missing from the Easterseals group home located on Beechwood Rd. in December of 2019. After ten days of searching, she was found dead in a heavily wooded area. 

Chief Johnsen responded, “That had a tragic ending. But, believe it or not, we have three group homes in town and there’s a lot more special needs than I think most people realize. It’s not uncommon.”

Blairstown’s United Methodist Church Joins Red Bird Mission in Appalachia

Nestled in the mountains of southeast Kentucky sits the unincorporated community known as Red Bird and the Christian organization Red Bird Mission. 

Created more than 100 years ago, Red Bird Mission addresses the issues of poverty, poor housing, and lack of jobs that persist in their region of the Appalachian Mountains. Every year the Red Bird Mission invites members of churches all over the country to aid in their community outreach. 

In 2017, the First United Methodist Church (FUMCB) decided to join the cause. 

Red Bird Mission offers aid in the form of free education, medical and dental clinics, community outreach, economic opportunity, and housing improvement. Visiting missionaries primarily focus on the latter.  

FUMCB’s pastor David Tillish explained the work accomplished over the course of the week. “So those people [who attended] this year replaced a roof, installed three handicap ramps and decks, put down laminate flooring, and installed a handicap accessible shower.” 

When missionaries travel to Kentucky they have no idea what kind of projects they’ll be tackling— so these rookies must learn on the job. “What I think is really cool about this ministry is people go down there not necessarily knowing how to use the tools that we’re going to give them. But, they learn,” stated Tillish. 

He continued, “We had people who never really used to drill before, and suddenly they’re screwing in decking, you know, like, they’re pros.”

Typical renovation tasks completed by volunteers may also include repairing siding, cleaning and renovating gutters, basic plumbing, basic electrical work, underpinning, and installing additions. 

If projects take longer than a week, no worries. Red Bird Mission invites and rotates volunteer groups 11 months out of the year. When the group including FUMCB volunteers left, another bus was arriving with more helpers.

 

Red Bird Mission offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities since its areas of service are so diverse. Missionaries can aid in clothing assistance, clean water initiatives, food pantries, senior citizen at-home care, education at all levels, and farming support. Tillish recalled, “There are people ages 14 to the oldest person I think I worked with was 85 on this trip. And there’s something for every person to do.”  

Tillish tries to prepare his church’s group about the living conditions of those receiving Red Bird Mission’s aid. 

“It’s an incredibly vulnerable position that these homeowners placed themselves in. Trusting that we’re going to respect their house, we’re not going to belittle them for needing help… And so I’ve shown [the volunteers] videos about Appalachia to help them to learn about the culture of poverty because that’s really what you’re talking about is a culture of poverty.” 

Tillish believes it is a Christian principle to give to those in need without question or judgement. 

Red Bird Mission is a religious organization and defines its outreach as a “ministry commissioned to propagate its faith or carry on humanitarian work.” Although Red Bird Mission’s work is done in the name of a higher power, those receiving the benefits don’t need to hold the same beliefs. 

Tillish explains, “We are not there to evangelize them, we are not there to convert them.”

Red Bird Mission recently divulged a decline in support. The organization reported a “financial crisis that is making it difficult to continue all of the areas of ministry” and explained that without an uptick in donations the mission, “will have to reduce the level of ministry provided to this community.”

 
To join the First United Methodist Church of Blairstown’s group of volunteers for 2023 contact the church at info@firstumcblairstown.com. To donate directly to Red Bird Mission click here.

Patriots Outrun by Kinnelon

North Warren’s roller coast of a season continued with a 28-7 loss to Kinnelon Sept. 22. Now at 2-2, the Patriots have felt the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat on alternating Friday nights.

Unlike the previous week’s nail-biter win over Parsippany, when the Pats overcame a 13-0 halftime deficit to win on the extra point in the closing seconds, North Warren went scoreless in the second half against Kinnelon.

The wind seemed knocked from the Patriots’ sails with an end zone interception by Kinnelon after North Warren had driven downfield in the first quarter.

“Yeah, that interception really did it. We never really got our footing back after that,” head coach Gene Fluri said.

Later in the second quarter North Warren did regroup long enough for a quarterback keeper when Jared Van Valkenburg rushed five yards for a touchdown. Van Valkenburg had 15 yards passing on the night.

North Warren rushed for 77 yards against Kinnelon’s 103.

“Kudos to them,” Fluri said. “They’re a tough team.”

Looking beyond the Kinnelon game, Fluri said, “The past is in the past. We’re getting ready for Boonton.”

North Warren will visit Boonton Sept. 29 at 7 p.m.

1)
Alex Diaz breaks through Kinnelon’s defense.

2)
Jared Van Valkenburg scored North Warren’s lone touchdown against Kinnelon.

New Business Spotlight: HOPE WELLNESS CENTER of Hope, New Jersey – Open House Successful


Diane Hynes and Renae Jenson are partners of Hope Wellness Center, located at 2 Walnut Street, in the historic Village of Hope, New Jersey. They hosted a 6-hour Open House, Saturday, September 24th.

The day was a meet and greet – an introduction to their
practitioners.The Open House was well-attended, each practitioner introduced themselves, lectured and
demonstrated their wellness practices.

Food and drinks were provided while Russ Berger gave intuitive card readings throughout the day.


The Open House lineup:

Dr. Karen Zuidema demonstrated Kinesiology. This is used to compare the strength and weakness of any muscle and detect allergens. Once a weakness is detected, Acupuncture and or Acupressure is applied to remove energy blockages. When the blockages are removed, energy can flow freely through the energy meridians, bringing the body in perfect balance.  


Her next lecture demonstrated cold laser therapy – a low-intensity laser therapy that stimulates healing
while using low levels of light. The main uses for cold laser therapy is tissue repair and relief from pain
and inflammation.


She demonstrated cupping therapy, the cups are applied to the skin creating a suction force to pull blood into the skin to help ease pain.


Brian Nolan discussed the journey that is one’s life, and the adventure that can be found, even in the
darkest of times. He discussed the eclectic application of the Shamanic Healing Arts, mindfulness practice and Massage Therapy to empower individuals to explore their own transformation.


Gabe Aiello has 50+ years of experience with a variety of spiritual traditions, he was a founding member
of Snow Lion Publications, a publishing effort dedicated to the preservation of Tibetan Culture. He
teaches meditation and astrology. He gave a lectured on astrology, discussing the astrology chart and
personal mandalas which he creates for his clients.


Hynes spoke about the nervous system and how to release stress and anxiety. She spoke about nutrition
and herbs to strengthen and empower your whole being.
She taught a Qi Gong lessons to all. Qi Gong is a moving meditation that incorporates the breath and gently flowing exercises to increase the body’s chi. Chi is the life force of the body.


Jenson spoke about her work with Feng Shui. Feng Shui is known as the art of placement to bring peace and harmony to the home and office. Jenson explained the state of your living space is a direct reflection of your life. She discussed ways to balance and heal the home and work spaces.

”It is ancient wisdom for modern times” Jenson states happily.


The day ended with a crystal sound healing meditation with Ruth Rathiff. She spoke about the healing properties of crystal bowls as a gentle therapeutic way to nurture and restore the body and mind. She then instructed a guided breath meditation using quartz crystal and Zen singing bowls, gongs and sonic instruments.


For more info please see their web site https://www.hopewellnessnj.com/about-us


About the two partners:

Diane Hynes is an intuitive bodyworker, she uses shiatsu massage therapy. She uses acupuncture, sound healing, Qi Gong and Cranial Sacral therapy in her practices.

”I allow my clients to find that place of wellness within them.” Hynes explained.


Qi Gong is an ancient moving meditation which tones the body to promote healing by circulating the life force called

chi.


Cranial Sacral therapy is a form of bodywork or alternative therapy using gentle touch to palpate the
joints of the cranium. The therapy uses light touches to a patient’s spine and pelvic bones.


J
Hynes is a shiatsu therapist, who applies pressure on the body’s meridians, to balance or unblock the
flow of energy.


In 1989 Hynes graduated from the International School of Shiatsu in Doylestown Pennsylvania where she became
senior teacher for one year and where she continues to teach today. Hynes teaches at several schools including Warren County collage as part of their massage degree.


Jenson of The Conscious Design® Institute is a certified Feng Shui professional and teacher with experience in Feng Shui consulting in commercial and private properties, community development planning, and business consulting. She is a NJ Certified Real Estate instructor, founder of a Real Estate
certified school, and offers CEU programs. For more info check out her web site at
https://www.consciousdesigninstitute.com/teachers/