Wednesday, June 7, 2023
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Christ Church Newton Offers Evensong in Anticipation of Epiphany

NEWTON, N.J. – In anticipation of the Feast of the Epiphany, Christ Episcopal Church in Newton will offer Choral Evensong on Twelfth Night, the Eve of the Feast of the Epiphany, Thursday, Jan. 5, 7 p.m. 

Evensong, the choral version of the evening prayer liturgy used in the Anglican tradition, will be sung by the Christ Church Newton Senior Choir under the direction of music director Joe Mello. The choir will chant the evening service by Merbecke and offer the anthem “Arise, Shine, for thy Light is Come” by Healey Willan. Christ Church Interim Rector Tim Mulder will preach. 

The event is free and open to the public, although a free-will offering will be taken. Christ Church is located at 62 Main Street in Newton. For more information about Christ Episcopal Church call 973-383-2245 or visit

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, 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

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,

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.

Live Entertainment Venues

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

Centenary University 

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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

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!


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!

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.”

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 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. –
  • Republican Karen Lance –

B. Frelinghuysen Township Committee – (Vote for two)

  • Republican Robert H. Stock –
  • Republican Keith C. Ramos –

C. Hardwick Township Committee – (Vote for one)

  • Republican Nichole L. Meuse –

D. Knowlton Township Committee – (Vote for one)

  • Republican Frank C. Van Horn –

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
  • DEMOCRAT(S): No Petition Filed
  • Warren County Sheriff – (Vote for 1)
    REPUBLICAN(S): James J. McDonald Sr.
    Todd W. Pantuso
    DEMOCRAT(S): No Petition Filed
    Warren County Commissioner – (Vote for 1)
    REPUBLICAN(S): Jason J. Sarnoski
    DEMOCRAT(S): Theresa Bender Chapman

Check your sample ballots for the voting place and options. Visit for more information or contact the Warren County Clerk’s office:


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




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 website.

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

  • Apple Ridge Farm
  • Dove Education
  • 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

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


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.   

Kristin Shipps, RMC, CMR
(908) 362-6663 x

Monday – Friday
8AM – 4PM

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

Committee Members

Committee Term Expires December 31, 2024
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)

Committee Term Expires December 31, 2024
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

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)

Committee Term Expires December 31, 2022

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)

Committee Term Expires December 31, 2023

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

Committtee Members:

Business Hours
Monday – Friday
Closed for lunch

Mayor – Keith Ramos

Deputy Mayor – Chris Stracco

Committeeman – Todd Mcpeek

Committeeman – David Boynton

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

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)

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)

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


#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

MAYOR – Adele Starrs,


Knowlton Township Committee Members & Meeting Dates:


Phone #


Term Exp

Adele Starrs, Mayor



Debra Shipps , Deputy Mayor



Kathy Cuntala



James Mazza



Frank Van Horn



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

Blairstown Motorcyclist Killed in Hope Road Crash

Police continue to investigate a motorcycle crash on Hope Road that claimed the life of a 37-year-old Blairstown resident May 30th.

New Jersey State Police (NJSP) said Gerald Grenewicz died in the 2:20 p.m. crash in Hope, just past the Blairstown line of Hope Road, also known as County Route 521 along that section.

NJSP spokesperson Sgt. Philip Curry said an initial investigation indicated that Grenewicz was riding his motorcycle northbound when he veered to the left and struck a metal guardrail and then hit two trees.

Grenewicz was riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle at the time of the accident. The accident occurred at milepost 2.3 in Harmony, Curry said.

Severe Nurse Shortage Projected for Warren County – Some Potential Fixes in the Works

Only three years ago, it seemed that every other lawn in New Jersey had a sign thanking our healthcare heroes. Now, there are signs that those healthcare heroes may soon be in short supply.

According to a statewide report published by Health Professionals and Allied Employees in
March, the past three years have seen almost a third of nurses departing hospitals. The other two-thirds may not remain long, either, as 72% of them had recently considered leaving themselves.

Poor staffing and burnout were cited as the top two reasons for leaving. Nationwide, nurses are leaving hospitals in particular in worrying numbers. Yet the shortage is
especially acute in New Jersey and projected to get worse.

According to a December 2022 article on, by 2030 New Jersey is projected to need 11,000 more nurses than it will be able to supply. This would be the third-worst gap in the nation, behind only California and Texas.

This staffing shortage is already affecting Warren County. According to the 2023 Nursing Data and Analysis report by the New Jersey Collaborating Center for Nursing, Warren County has the third-highest demand for Registered Nurses in the state and the fourth-highest demand for Licensed Practical Nurses.

What’s driving the shortage? Nurse Scientist Susan Weaver points to two factors. One is the country’s aging workforce, which is especially true in nursing. The average age in the nursing profession is 50 years old and continues to increase.

This leads to a retirement rate in the profession that’s higher than the number of new nurses who graduate ready to work.

According to Weaver, a lack of interest in nursing isn’t necessarily the problem. In fact, she
says, “One of the schools in New Jersey turned away a thousand applicants for its nursing

The reason for the avalanche of rejections: not enough faculty to teach potential students.
“It’s very demanding to be a nurse faculty,” Weaver says. Ironically, the faculty shortage
becomes its own self-exacerbating problem. Just as there aren’t enough faculty to train new nurses, there aren’t enough faculty to train new nurse educators.

A February article on points to a drastic financial disincentive, as well. According to the article, “nursing educators in academic positions earn significantly less ($77k) than clinical or private-sector nurses ($97k) with the same education.”

But there’s some room for optimisim. Weaver points to New Jersey Senate Bill 2825, sponsored by Senator Joseph Vitale of Middlesex and Senator Fred H. Madden, Jr. of Turnersville.

The bill proposes the allocation of $26.7 million to various initiatives for the nursing profession. “The bulk of that is for grants for universities and schools to come up with initiatives to attract more faculty,” Weaver says.

Expanding the capacity of nurse education programs is bound to be an expensive endeavor
beyond personnel costs. Even simulation programs for medical professionals come with a
heavy price tag.

If funding and space allow, though, several nursing education programs in the state offer an accelerated program to help students become qualified nurses faster.

Weaver notes another bill that attempts to address the nursing shortage from a different angle. “It would expand the role of advanced practice nurses (APNs), defined as “registered nurses who are certified to provide an advanced level of health care to patients that exceeds the standard scope of nursing practice.”

Nationwide, each individual state dictates the scope of what an APN can do on their own. In 28 states and in the District of Columbia, APNs have full practice authority, meaning that they are authorized to diagnose patients, order and interpret diagnostic tests, and direct treatment plans-the tasks that are often performed by a primary care physician, another medical care role in short supply.

In New Jersey, APNs must work with a collaborating physician. One of the requirements is that the physician must review the APN’s charts on a regular basis. During the Covid crisis,
Governor Murphy signed an executive order temporarily allowing APNs to operate without this restriction.

Now that pandemic measures have been rolled back and the requirement is back in place, nursing professionals worry that nurses will leave New Jeresey in favor of nearby states that grant full practice authority, including New York, Delaware, and Maryland.

Senate Bill 1522, sponsored by Senator Vitale and Senator Troy Singleton of Burlington, would eliminate these restrictions, making New Jersey the 29th state to grant full practice authority to APNs.

If passed, the bill would address another concern: the lack of access to primary care treatment, especially in rural communities. A 2022 report by the Rural Health Information Hub notes a shortage of primary care health professionals in parts of Warren County. The shortage of mental health professionals is even more severe, impacting all of Warren.

Expanding the authority of APNs would address this shortage while acknowledging the different roles of primary physicians and APNs, Weaver says. “APNs are not trying to be physicians… They’re going to help within your scope of practice and refer as needed.”

Both bills were approved by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee by seven votes with no votes against and await further action by the state legislature.

In the meantime, Weaver says, hospitals and nurses around the country are trying to give their patients the same level of care even with fewer hands on deck. “I can say, nationwide we’re trying to be innovative in addressing this shortage,” she says.

Police Looking to Capture Thief Captured on Security Camera

Do you know me? Police are looking for this masked man who was taped stealing a minibike from Tractor Supply early on May 31st. Photos courtesy of the Blairstown Police Department, 5/2023

Anybody with information about who this minibike rustler might be is asked to call Blairstown Police at 908-362-8266

Do you know somebody with a black Chevy pickup truck who suddenly came into possession of a minibike?

The Blairstown Police would like to get to know him as well.

Police are asking the public’s help in identifying an individual who stole a minibike from
outside Tractor Supply Co. on Route 94 on May 31, at about 12:30 a.m. The masked suspect was caught in the act on the store’s security.

According to police, the suspect was driving a 2000-ish Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 with black rims and what appear to be silver or grey lower side panels.

If anyone recognizes the vehicle or suspect, they are asked to contact the Blairstown Police
Department at 908-362-8266.

Fun and Fire Trucks at Frelinghuysen Founder’s Day

Eager participants waited for their chance to “Dunk Mayor Ramos” as part of a fundraiser for the new tanker truck. Photo by C. O’Chang, 5/2023

After a few spatters of rain, the sun broke out in glorious sunshine over the Recreation Center at Frelinghuysen Forest Preserve, the site of Frelinghuysen’s annual Founder’s Day on June 3rd.

There was the steady pulse of beats spun by DJ Dave. There was the thud of bean bags hitting the cornhole boards, the smell of popcorn, and the bright colors of freshly made snow cones.

Frelinghuysen’s Founder’s Day, traditionally scheduled for the first Saturday of June, is a long-time effort of the Recreation Committee.

“It’s a time for the neighbors to get to know each other that maybe don’t get a chance to get out and meet each other all the time. For some of the newer people, welcoming them to the community,” said Frelinghuysen Mayor Keith Ramos. “It’s a community day.”

The community had come out despite the threat of rain clouds. Ramos wasn’t surprised. To
hear him say it, that’s just how Frelinghuysen is.

“I’ve been here for 15 years,” he said. “I think that this community is a little unique. I’ve seen it through the worst of times, when the pandemic hit, or when Irene and Sandy hit. I mean, this community comes together like none other.”

At the event, the most eye-catching sight of all was a 1,000-gallon capacity fire truck, property of the newly formed Frelinghuysen Volunteer Fire Company Station #84.

Frelinghuysen’s new 1,000-gallon fire truck was on display. Photo by C. O’Chang, 5/2023

“See that?” Mayor Ramos said, nodding toward the truck. “That’s progress right there.”

It’s the only volunteer fire department to be founded in New Jersey within the past twenty years, Ramos said. This year’s Founder’s Day included fundraising activities for the new fire
department, including the chance to throw a ball at a target that, if hit, would dunk the mayor into a vat of water the color of chocolate milk. Attendees of all ages gleefully accepted the challenge.

For most of its existence, Frelinghuysen called on fire departments from other towns to meet its needs: Blairstown Hose Company No. 1, the Green Township Fire & Rescue and the Hope Volunteer Fire Department.

Last year, the Frelinghuysen Township Committee passed an ordinance that amended the town code and allowed for the creation of a fire department for the town.

Fundraising efforts for the new fire department began with a GoFundMe, first organized by
Ramos in April. So far, it has raised $3,325 of its $150,000 goal.

The fire department’s appointed chief, John R Shoemaker, Jr., was in attendance at Founder’s Day. A firefighter of over thirty years, he knows his fire equipment, and he’s a big fan of the fire company’s new truck.

“Yes, it’s used, but it’s in super shape,” he said. “It looks like it just rolled off the assembly line. So it’s a very good piece for us.”

At the same time, he also knows the costs of all the other necessities that go with the
dangerous and highly technical task of fighting fires. “People don’t understand or comprehend all the minutiae of what has to be [there]. All those tools on that truck probably cost nearly as much as the truck does,” he said.

He described other equipment costs, according to his experience:
–air masks (new) for ten people: $97,000
–spare cylinder: $1,000
–portable radio: between $700 and $1,000
–outfitting each member with fireproof coat, pants, and boots: almost $2,000
–fireproof gloves, one pair: $150
–helmet: $300

Luckily, as an all-volunteer department, the fire company won’t need to worry about salaries and benefits. But the next piece of equipment that Shoemaker hopes to get comes with a mind-boggling price tag: a tanker, also called a tender, a vehicle that resembles an oil delivery truck.

Shoemaker estimates that a new tanker would cost around a million dollars. The fire department has applied for state and federal grants to help cover the eye-watering costs of new equipment.

If all goes well with their fundraising efforts and sending at least eight new members to the Warren County Fire Academy for New Jersey State Firefighter Certification, the new department hopes to open in May 2024.

Former Resident Charged With Sexual Assault of Two Blairstown Children

A former Blairstown resident has been charged with several counts of sexual assault and
endangerment of two victims, ages 6 and 7, in incidents that allegedly took place in Blairstown in 2020 and 2021.

The Warren County Prosecutor’s Office has charged Andrew L. Lissitz, 51, currently a resident of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, with two counts of sexual assault and one count of endangering the welfare of a child in connection with the 6-year-old after the child reported the alleged incident in July of 2021.

In the second case involving the 7-year-old child, Lissitz was charged with one count of
aggravated sexual assault, three counts of sexual assault and one count of endangering the
welfare of a child, who reported the incident in September of 2021.

Lissitz faces up to 20 years in prison with a minimum of 10 years with no early release on the aggravated sexual assault charge, a first-degree offense.

During a joint investigation between the prosecutor’s office and the Blairstown Police
Department, it was determined that Lissitz had access to the 6-year-old victim on at least two occasions, and access to the 7-year-old on at least one occasion, Warren County Prosecutor James Pfeiffer said.

According to published reports, Lissitz’s attorney, Scott Wilhelm, said the fact that prosecutors waited three years to charge in one case and two years in the second case shows that they had “serious doubts” about Lissitz’s guilt.

Pfeiffer said that the criminal investigation is continuing and anyone with information can call the Prosecutor’s Office Special Victim’s Unit at 908-475-6040 or 908-475-6060.

Lissitz is currently lodged at the Warren County Jail pending his first court appearance, Pfeiffer said.

Friends and Family Remember Firefighter Jim Mangine

Among the memories shared at a Celebration of Life for Jim Mangine. Photo by J. Phalon, 5/2023

Friends, family and fellow firefighters gathered June 3rd to honor the memory of Jim Mangine with a Celebration of Life. At Triple Creek Farm, which Jim started after his retirement, several hundred people shared stories and legends about Jim, and some were said to even be true!

He died April 15th after a short bout with cancer. Jim was honored with a ceremonial last call over the Fire Service frequencies, the firefighters’ version of the 21-gun salute.

James Anthony Mangine was born in 1957 in Trenton and was raised in Hamilton. He attended West Virginia University, where he met his wife, Cheryl. They moved back to New Jersey in 1981 to be closer to family.

After a brief stint with the West Virginia Division of Forestry, Jim joined the New Jersey Forest Fire Service, where he served for 25 years. He served on the Knowlton Volunteer Fire Department, the Relief Association and was a member of the Search and Rescue Teams of Warren County including High Angle Rescue, a very high-risk rescue method that requires extensive training.

Members of the Knowlton Township Volunteer Fire and Rescue Co. No. 1 pay their respects to Jim Mangine. Photo by J. Phalon, 5/2023

After he retired from the Forest Fire Service, Jim and Cheryl started Triple Creek Farm and Nursery at their residence in Knowlton where he specialized in arborvitaes and Christmas trees.

He also pursued his interest in winemaking with his firefighting buddies, creating a vintage they christened “Retired Wine.”

Jim’s daughter, Ashley said her father was happiest outdoors, where he enjoyed kayaking,
fishing, hiking and playing Frisbee. She said Friday night pizza was a family tradition.

Ashley Cattafi shares memories of her father. Photo by J. Phalon, 5/2023

Jim is survived by his wife of almost 44 years, Cheryl. He is also survived by his three children, Jeremy Mangine and his wife Ashley, Ashley Cattafi and her husband Nick and Cara Stokes and her husband Bill.

He is also survived by his four grandchildren, Avery, Ellie, Jett and Liam. He was predeceased by his brother Joseph and his parents.

Memorial Day Parade Marches Under Sunny Skies

Grand Marshal Paul Avery. Photo by J. Phalon, 5/2023

Memorial Day was observed by Blairstown and its surrounding communities under sunny skies May 29th with the temperature holding just a bit below sweltering.

Unless, of course, you just marched two miles under that sun.

Members of the Givens-Belet American Legion Post 258 lead the parade. Photo by J. Phalon, 5/2023

The parade, hosted by the Givens-Belet American Legion Post 258, kicked off at 1 p.m. following a solemn ceremony at the Cedar Ridge Cemetery at noon. This year, the parade and ceremony honored the 20th anniversary of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

This year’s grand marshal was Paul Avery, who served as a helicopter crew chief preparing helicopters for the 1st Air Cavalry and medivacs at Ben Hua Airbase in Vietnam, frequently under enemy fire. In addition, he logged more than 200 jumps with the Army Skydiving Team including a 10,000th-jump from a CH-47 Chinook chopper for Armed Services Day.

Blue Star Mothers of North Warren, military moms who support each other, as well as active-duty service members, veterans and their families. Photo by J. Phalon, 5/2023

After the parade, all attendees and participants were invited to Footbridge Park to celebrate the lives of those lost fighting for our nation.

“If you ask most veterans or those on active duty, they will likely admit that if they perished in battle, they would like for everyone to remember them with a glass raised and with a smile on their face,” according to Post 258. “We have, for the past 77 years in Blairstown, honored our fallen in both spiritual, as well as jovial manners.”

PHALON’S FILE: When Did Libraries Become Media Centers?

A few years ago, while I was serving on a Board of Education, a neighbor from down the street had a minor issue he wanted to bring before the board and asked me when the next meeting would be held.

Monday at 7 p.m., in the Media Center of the high school, I dutifully told him. So, the meeting came, but he was late and not happy.

“Why didn’t you tell me the meeting was in the library?”

I had said “Media Center,” so he spent 20 minutes looking for the room with the TVs, video
recorders, and movie projectors. (He was a little Old School.) That was what he understood
“media” to mean.

He was right. We were, indeed, in the library. Somewhere along the digitalization of information, somebody came up with the term media center to replace the traditional
designation of library. This is a mistake and contributes in part to the decline in the interest of the classics and the arts in education.

Perhaps somebody thought “library” suggested a room with dusty old books and papers. And delightfully, it does. There are documents in libraries that will never find their way to Google and the digital firmament. Researchers will still have to use ingenuity, not keystrokes, to find them.

Granted, what Google and other organizations are doing to convert the printed word to digital form is a wonderful thing, especially in our new era of book-banning. Making information more available to all is the foundation of a free society.

Being able to reach into your pocket and access almost every printed work in the history of humankind (when not trading pictures of cats or arguing with total strangers) is as big a development, I believe, as moveable type was centuries ago.

So, the information is now available across many platforms.

But we still need libraries. It’s all about rebranding, I suppose, to make a staid institution sound more current. Like when the Personnel Department became known as “Human Resources.” Watch the movies “The Matrix” or “Soylent Green” and you might not feel so comfortable being a human resource.

“Media” has become an overused word. In the news business, you used to get a press card.
Now you get media credentials.

The line between news reporting and entertainment has become all the more blurred, to where many people think somebody like Sean Hannity, because he is in the media, is a journalist. He’s not.

The “press” has been subsumed into the “media” to the point where many people don’t see the line between news and entertainment. It’s all just one big blur. Where is the line between “Meet the Press” and “Meet the Fokkers”?

Radio-satellite-internet personality Howard Stern has proclaimed himself The King of All Media.

Not so fast. Martha Stewart presides over the eponymous Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia.

One of them may lay claim to your school’s media center one day. Let’s call these academic institutions what they are: libraries. The media by which its content is available may be evolving, but its mission remains the same as it has for centuries. A repository for knowledge, learning and pictures of cats.

Speaking of cats, you will never see the lions Patience and Fortitude standing proudly before the New York Public Media Center. And may there never be a field trip to The Media Center of Congress.

WBID’s Sustainably Green Music & Arts Fest Kicks off Farmer’s Market Season June 17th

WASHINGTON, N.J. – Washington Borough has been recognized as one of the greenest communities in New Jersey. In celebration of that designation, and as a kick off to its award-winning weekly farmer’s market, the Washington Business Improvement District and the Washington Borough Green Team are partnering up for the Annual Sustainably Green Music & Arts Fest on Saturday, June 17th in downtown Washington.

The festival action takes place throughout the downtown and in Veteran’s Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The Sustainably Green Music & Arts Fest features terrific eco-friendly art and displays from artisans and organizations in the region, kids activities with Dove Environmental and plenty of music. 

For the second year in a row, an added attraction for the day takes place at Kids R People 2, located at 47 E. Washington Avenue (Route 57) in the center of downtown, where it will be featuring Juneteenth activities starting at noon. Among the special activites scheduled will be a performance by the Praise Dancers from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in front of the Veterans Park stage. 

The musical line up this year starts with local favorite Rick Houston and continues with the fabulous jazz sounds of the Alex Radus Trio. National recording artist Alexis P. Suter is the headliner from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. 

Over 30 vendors are signed up to participate in the festival, with more expected. The Green Fest typically includes an array of environmentally-friendly vendors and activities. Among the specialty vendors and exhibitors this year are Brogsdale Candles, Cosmic Debris, Trudes Design, Forged by Hand tie-dye clothing and laser art, Stefania Caracciolo Art, Manic Pixie Couture, Sun to Moon Farm & Pottery, Antisocial Jewelry, Scentsy wickless candles and fragrances, Lara Andrew homemade vegan bath and body products, Lola Head soaps and soy candles, Luli Bodi skin care products, Flowerchic Boutique hair accessories, SOLitude Lake ManagementAcre Windows, and Renate Cushing doll clothes and other products. The NJ Clean Energy Program will have a booth with information. We Squeeze to Please will be on hand as a food vendor as well as the Laughing Goat Coffee Truck. Around town, Washington also offers an array of unique shopping and dining choices.  

During the course of the day, numerous services are being offered:  

– Paper shredding at Serendipity – $10/box or bag 

– Used electronics collection by Abilities of Northwest Jersey 

– KN Butterfly Garden clothing drive 

– Project Medicine Drop to safely discard unused and expired medications (Warren County Sheriff’s Department) 

-EV Ride & Drive will have an information table. Rossi Auto Group will have an EV vehicle on display along with related information.

Also, Washington’s EV charging station will be available for use by visitors with electric vehicles. The borough is the only downtown in Warren County to have an EV charging station. 

Sponsors of the fest include Schembre & Gannon Accountants, Get A Grip and More, Good Impressions Print Communications, Visions Federal Credit Union, Swift Print Solutions, PrintAbilities, Fred Beans Ford of Washington, Rossi Auto Group, The Meat Shoppe, Brogsdale Candles, the Washington Borough Green Team and David A. Santini, CPA, LLC.

The weekly farmer’s market is held in the center of downtown Washington every Saturday by Veteran’s Park, beginning on June 17, and continuing through the end of September, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each week features a different special activity or theme, including musical performers, DJs, farmer appreciation, senior and veterans days, a mini kids fest and more. 

Among the farmer’s market vendors coming this year are Pipers Hill Farms, Greenbytes Farm, K & A Farm, Bee To The Honey, and The Rooted Lion/Dandy Lion Acres Farm. Other vendors include: Le Crepe Café, Touchtone Crystal, Sourland Mountain Spirits and Missy’s Angels Animal Rescue.

For more information about the farmer’s market, Sustainably Green Music & Arts Fest, vendor opportunities, and other WBID news, visit or LIKE the Washington BID Facebook page. More about the sustainability event and the farmer’s market can be found on the Washington Borough Green Team Facebook page as well. You can also email

Food Safety Recall – Imported Ready-To-Eat Pork Rind Products


PRESS RELEASE: WASHINGTON, June 2, 2023 – DEKA Trading Corp., the importer of record located in Miami, Fla., is recalling approximately 13,771 pounds of imported ready-to-eat pork rind products. The products were imported from Guatemala, a country ineligible to export meat products to the United States, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The following products are subject to recall, regardless of the product date [view labels]:     

  • 5.3 oz. (150g) foil pouch packages containing “TorTrix Con Chicharrón.”

The products subject to recall do not bear an establishment number nor a USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to wholesale and retail locations in Georgia, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, and Virginia.

The problem was discovered during routine FSIS surveillance activities. Guatemala is not eligible to import meat products into the United States.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about a reaction should contact a healthcare provider.  

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ pantries. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at

Consumers and members of the media with questions about the recall can contact Alejandro Mencos, President, DEKA Trading Corp. at 305-716-8375 or

Consumers with food safety questions can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-MPHotline (888-674-6854) or live chat via Ask USDA from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Consumers can also browse food safety messages at Ask USDA or send a question via email to For consumers that need to report a problem with a meat, poultry, or egg product, the online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at

Product Images


Company Information


Heat Treated – Shelf Stable

Company Contact Information


DEKA Trading Corp

Alejandro Mencos

(305) 716-8375

FSIS Contact Information


Congressional and Public Affairs

Meredith Carothers


Last Updated: Jun 02, 2023

Food Safety Recall – Frozen Ready-To-Eat Beef Chili Products


PRESS RELEASE: WASHINGTON, June 4, 2023 – J.T.M. Provisions Company, a Harrison, Ohio establishment, is recalling approximately 22,530 pounds of frozen, ready-to-eat beef chili with beans products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically white plastic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The frozen, ready-to-eat beef chili with beans items were produced on February 27, 2023. The following products are subject to recall [view labels]:

  • 30-lb. case of “CHILI WITH BEANS” containing six 5-lb. boilable bags of “CP5309 CHILI WITH BEANS” with lot code 23058 printed on the bag, and “February 27, 2023” and lot code 23058 printed on the case.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 1917” inside the USDA mark of inspection on the case. These products were purchased by USDA Foods for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP). These items were shipped to distributors in California, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Wisconsin.

The problem was discovered after the company received a customer complaint about semi-rigid white plastic material found in the frozen, ready-to-eat beef chili with beans and notified FSIS.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.  

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in school freezers or refrigerators. School nutrition professionals who have purchased these products are urged not to prepare or consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers.

Consumers and members of the media with questions about the recall can contact Matt Montgomery, CFO, J.T.M. Provisions Company at 513-367-4900 or  

Consumers with food safety questions can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 888-MPHotline (888-674-6854) or live chat via Ask USDA from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Consumers can also browse food safety messages at Ask USDA or send a question via email to For consumers that need to report a problem with a meat, poultry, or egg product, the online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at

Product Images


Company Information


Harrison, OH




Fully Cooked – Not Shelf Stable

Company Contact Information


J.T.M. Provisions Company

Matt Montgomery

(513) 367-4900

INTERESTING FOLKS: Hope’s Carolyn Vanheteren Serves Up Delicious Comradery at Popular Lunch Cart

When told by Vanheteren that she wanted to operate a lunch truck, Chefs LLC’s owner, Lisa McLaughlin, happened to have one discarded behind her new restaurant, Serendipity. Photo by Ridge View Echo staff for article, “Chefs LLC, Brings Delicious and Innovative..” 11/2022

The new lunch cart chef and pastry chef at Chefs Catering and Events, 411 Route 94, Columbia, just outside of Blairstown, is operated by Hope resident, Carolyn Vanheteren. She’s been happily serving up a varied menu to regulars from near and far. The gourmet food and affordability bring steady lunchtime crowds every weekday.

Vanheteren hails from Hope with a degree in culinary arts from Paul Smith’s College in upstate New York, with a concentration in baking.

She credits her family with taking her often when she was young to the Adirondack Mountains, plus both her parents worked for a recreation camp near where Paul Smith is located. Her mom was a naturalist and her dad was the chef.

This exposure fostered in her a lifelong appreciation of the outdoors, as well as cooking. And outdoors is where she enjoys working in the locally infamous, retro-looking, steel lunch truck from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a view of the Kittatinny Ridge framing Knowlton.

As the restaurant’s pastry chef, she’s up early baking delectables and often features them at the lunch cart. Getting an exquisite carrot cake in a sample cup for a mere $2 seems like the perfect ending to a gourmet lunch.

Like a lifesized “Barbie” play camper, the cart is complete with at least two grills, many shelves, cubbies, an American flag and peekaboo coolers in front to hold beverages. She is in radio communication, as needed, with the inside restaurant staff to bring her cold supplies.

Long view of trailer off Route 94. Photo by D.L. Dunn. 5/2023
Vanheteren expertly grills chicken. Photo by D.L. Dunn, 5/2023
Vanheteren checks on the buns and sides toasting on the grill behind her. Photo by D.L.Dunn, 5/2023

Vanheteren bakes all of the confections offered. She produces small desserts like the delicious carrot cake in a cup, chocolate marshmallow cake pops, $4 raspberry lemon tarts and the decadent $5 brown derby cake. She said her most popular menu choice by far has been the “pickled chicken” sandwiches and burgers of all kinds, freshly grilled.

Even her hotdogs defy the stereotypical variety expected from a lunch cart, said Vanheteren, and indeed they are grilled and can sport sauteed and lightly seasoned onions, instead of the hotly debated New York style red-sauced or West Jersey style raw alliums.

Easy to read choices. Photo by D.L. Dunn, 5/2023
More choices. Photo by D.L. Dunn. 5/2023

“Some poeple, seeing this old-fashioned food truck, expect me to have just ‘dirty water’ (a derogatory descriptive used in New York City) hotdogs but are pleasantly surprised to have choices from a full restaurant menu available,” said Vanheteren.

With plenty of outdoor table seating available nearby, the comradery is infectious as patrons from near and far happily share stories and favorites. Much like the famed bar on the old TV show “Cheers,” master pastry chef and cook Vanheteren offers pleasant food and conversation, bringing people back, again and again.

Rob, a proud regular, waits whille his cowboy cheeseburger wrap is made. Photo by D.L. Dunn, 5/2023

A Farmer’s Tip: Creating Black Gold by Composting

The worms are busy at Sussex County Community College eating food waste and making valuable, rich soil. They move freely through the soil, leaving behind their castings, a.k.a. work poop.

A rising number of people are concerned about the current state of the nation’s soil.

A practical solution is to create compost, or “black gold,” to help enrich the soil. Compost is created from the broken-down food waste, grass clippings, leaves, wood chips and much more. It results in rich soil that can be added to farms and gardens.

Currently, planting is underway with more dry conditions that are a bit less hospitable for cultivation. This is the perfect time to create composting infrastructure, both big and small.

The longtime benefits include creating onsite high quality black gold – something valued by any devoted gardener or farmer. There are both practical and economic reasons to consider building your own at-home composting systems and this endeavor can prove to be relatively inexpensive.

A practical composting system takes into account what type of home you live in and what type of composting methods you can reasonably do given the limitations of space, time and other factors.

A traditional and widely used composting system is a triple bin system, so that you start off
in one bin and move to the next when that bin becomes full, allowing, over time, the material gathered in the first bin to fully degrade. It allows the user to move the compost to the next bin and rotate the pile.

There are many material choices for the bins, including cement cinder blocks, wood, circles of chicken wire fencing or even upcycled heat-treated pallets. The idea is to have enough air circulation and natural water filtration into the system to stop anaerobic conditions from developing. Frequent watering and rotation of the compost greatly reduces anaerobic conditions which causes mold and odors.

When choosing materials to make a compost bin, make sure that the materials do not contain harmful chemicals that can leach into the finished compost. If using pallets, make sure the wood is heat treated rather than chemically pressure treated.

At SAGE, a Foodshed Alliance property off Route 206 in Andover, farmers can obtain long-term affordable leases. Here, they have set up a triple bin composting demonstration. With the help of their staff, they upcycle heat-treated pallets to create the common design layout for a composting system.

Tess Mullen showing the triple compost bin system at SAGE.

Key to creating a good compost situation is to ensure that you have a mix of green and
brown materials. Green materials could be leaves, grass clippings and food scraps, (excluding meat), while browns could be fall leaves, straw, hay, nut husks corn cobs, wood chips and more.

A rule of thumb is to do equal parts of each. There are different situations that may call upon more or less materials or specific ingredients.

Sussex County Community College has an exciting agricultural program and those taking classes there may have the opportunity to work with vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is a composting method using worms. They are introduced into a composting system to create castings, a.k.a. worm poop.

A compost extract is often produced from the worm castings, “creating a rich liquid filled with nitrogen and phosphorus which is amazing for soil,” said Erin Shroll, agricultural business and horticultural science supervisor.

“We have to stop putting food into a dump, as we are only adding to a problem,” Schroll further explained. “By creating compost on your farm or home can make a big impact for the environment.”

The college purchased their compost worms at Jims Worm Farm of Pennsylvania. They created their worm bins utilizing the Jeff Lawton recipe, a base layer of manure, wood chips to help prime the fungal network and food scraps. Covered with a shade cloth, it’s kept in the greenhouse.

Since the creation, the worms have since multiplied, which will allow the school to split and make more compost bins or create a possible secondary economic business venture with
the sale of the worms to other farmers interested in this method.

The college uses the worm castings and extract as the primary organic fertilizer for the potted plants in the greenhouse. It is important to note that while you can do this method outside, temperatures that dip below 40 degrees Fahrenheit make it impossible for worms to survive therefore they will need to be kept indoors under those warmer conditions.

For those that need large amounts of compost all at once, there are companies that sell conveniently finished products. One such local company is Ag Choice, 98 Stickles Pond Road, in Andover ( They are known in New Jersey as the premier supplier of finished compost. They sell their composts at Garden centers and also do deliveries locally for bigger needs. Their number is 908-786-5176.

Many local farmers in New Jersey rely on Ag Choice as they build their own and composting methods to replenish soil. Too often, the soil has been degraded by over-use, depleting the nutrients needed for proper plant-growth.

For those living in homes that a larger compost system would not easily fit in, fret not, there are high-tech systems that use electrical components and hand-cranked smaller bins to easily break down food scraps more readily so that the finished product is ready for potted plants and small garden plots.

Another cute option is a mini composter that is directly put into the garden outside and fed food scraps and yard debris to help feed the garden. A cute and adorable option is a gravity locking system made by Edenscircles. You can find this adorable ladybug mini composter at

Lady Bug composter from

This composter is best suited in a raised bed or smaller home garden. Regardless of how big or small your garden is at home, there is a perfect method for you to make the best out of your food and yard waste. It’s a win-win for the environment and your home garden,

  • The author, Jennifer Ann Major (Jersey Jen), a digital creator and farmer from Hopatcong currently operates Jersey Bee Good Farm at SAGE.

Centenary Stage Company Announces 2023-2024 Season

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. – Centenary Stage Company (CSC) has prepared a full schedule of professional theatrical performances for its 38th season. Productions from the Professional Theatre Series, Fringe Festival, NEXTstage Repertory, Women Playwright’s Series, plus plenty of concert events, will make up the company’s 2023-2024 season. 

Early access to tickets and seat selection for the entire CSC season will open to all returning and new season subscribers and flex pass holders on June 19th. Season subscriptions and flex passes can be purchased online at, by calling the box office at 908-979-0900 or by stopping by the box office in person. Box office hours are Monday to Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and it is located at 715 Grand Avenue in Hackettstown. Individual ticket sales go live on July 1st.

Curtain Up! Gala Concert

CSC will open their season with the return of their “Curtain Up!” Gala event featuring The Company Men on Saturday, September 23rd at 8 p.m. A modern-day rat pack, The Company Men deliver a theatrical concert experience in which the group “mashes” today’s Top 40 hits with reimagined classics of the last eight decades, blending artists from Sam Cooke to Sam Smith and The Temptations to The Weeknd and many more. The Company Men features a roster of performers who have appeared on television’s “The Voice” and “American Idol” as well as in numerous Broadway and national touring productions. Tickets are $35 for all orchestra seating and $30 for the balcony.

Young Audience Series

CSC’s Young Audience Series company will present an in-house performance of children’s theatre running September 28the through October 1st. CSC’s YAS touring troupe will present “A Year With Frog and Toad.” Waking from hibernation in the spring, Frog and Toad plant gardens, swim, rake leaves, go sledding and learn life lessons along the way. The two best friends celebrate and rejoice in the differences that make them unique and special. Part vaudeville, part make believe, “A Year with Frog and Toad” tells the story of a friendship that endures throughout the seasons. Ticket prices are $15 for adults and $10 for students and children 12 and under. 

Fringe Festival

“The Fringe Festival features three events in CSC’s Kutz Blackbox theatre this season, beginning with “MOTHER (and me)” starring Melinda Buckley from October 19th-22nd. MOTHER (and me) is the story of Hungarian “Mama Rose” who’s slowly waltzing into dementia, as her Broadway baby Melinda shimmies into middle age. A one woman show about stepping up and into your own light. Melinda Buckley (writer/performer) has appeared on Broadway and in the national tours of several shows, including “Crazy For You,” “A Chorus Line” and Bob Fosse’s revival of “Sweet Charity.”

Next up in the Fringe Festival is “ALONE: Stories By Edgar Allan Poe” starring Daniel Hall Kuhn running from October 26th to 29th. This mutli-disciplinary immersive show brings six stories and poems by Poe, including “The Raven,” “Tell Tale Heart” and “Annabel Lee” to life as Daniel Hall Kuhn brings this show to the Kutz theatre.

The last event in the 2023 Fringe Festival is STING*Chronicity featuring Rosemary Loar from November 2nd to 5th. STING*Chronicity offers a combination of monologues with a variety of musical arrangements of the music of contemporary songwriter, Sting. The show is set in Madison Square Garden on the occasion of the final reunion concert of the iconic band The Police which was headed by Sting.

Ticket prices for all the Fringe Festival events range from $22.50 to $27.50 for adults. Discounts may be available for students and children under 12 for select performances.

Professional Theatre Series

CSC’s professional theatre series will kick off in November with CSC’s holiday spectacular: Disney’s “The Little Mermaid.” The performances of the family-friendly musical will run from November 24th to December 10th. In a kingdom beneath the sea, the young mermaid, Ariel, longs to leave her ocean home to live in the world above. Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen’s stories and the classic animated film, Disney’s “The Little Mermaid” is a love story for all ages. The production features music by eight-time Academy Award winner Alan Menken, lyrics by Howard Ashman and Glenn Slater and a book by Doug Wright. Ticket prices range from $27.50 to $30 for adults. Discounts may be available for students and children under 12 for select performances.

“The Receptionist” by Adam Bock will hit the Sitnik Stage from February 16th to March 3rd, 2024. At the start of a typical day in the northeast office, Beverly deals effortlessly with ringing phones and her colleague’s romantic troubles. But the appearance of a charming rep from the central office disrupts the friendly routine. “The Receptionist” is a play about ringing phones, office politics and mysteries happening when you least expect them. Ticket prices range from $25 to $29.50 for adults with discounts available for students and children under 12 for select performances.

A world premiere rounds out the mainstage Professional Theatre Series. “Backwards, Forwards, Back” by Jacqueline Goldfinger runs April 4th to 14th, 2024 in the Kutz Blackbox Theatre of the Lackland Performing Arts Center. When a soldier returns from war carrying the ghosts of their tour, they’re faced with a sobering decision: address their alarming PTSD with virtual reality therapy, or risk losing access to their family forever. Can this new technology recalibrate the brains and bodies of wounded soldiers? This one-person show explores the power of healing and finding strength in vulnerability. Developed with support from the Sloan Foundation and Operation Warrior Resolution. “Backwards, Forwards, Back” was originally a part of the annual Women’s Playwrights Series in the spring of 2023. Adult ticket prices range from $25 to $29.50 with discounts available for veterans, students, and children under 12 for select performances. The preview performance will also feature $10 tickets for Hackettstown residents and the matinee on April 13th will be free to all veterans and active military. 

Women’s Playwrights Series

CSC’s Women’s Playwrights Series will take place on Wednesdays in April 2024: the 10th, 17th and 24th. The chosen plays will be announced later in the season. A $5 donation is suggested, but not required to attend a reading, but required to make a reservation in advance.

NEXTstage Repertory

NEXTstage Repertory, the all-student performance division of Centenary University’s theatre department kicks off their portion of the CSC season with “Six Rounds of Vengeance” by Qui Ngyuen. In post-apocalyptic “Lost Vegas,” a young gunslinger named Jess December enlists the help of a mysterious samurai cowboy to help avenge the murder of her sister. However, the gang they’ll be going against has powers that go way beyond just gunpowder and steel. To get revenge, they may have to become just as bloodthirsty as the monsters they’re facing. Tickets are $17.50 for all seats.  

Then, the NEXTstage Rep will perform William Shakespeare’s “Romeo & Juliet” from February 8th to 12th, 2024. Two young people fall in love but are doomed. It is not simply that their families disapprove; the Montagues and the Capulets are engaged in a blood feud, and the tragic ending seems almost inevitable. Shakespeare’s timeless tale of star-crossed lovers comes alive on the Centenary Stage. Ticket prices are $17.50 for all seats.

Another, yet to be determined, NEXTstage Rep show will close out the student season running from April 18th to 28th, 2024. Most likely a musical, it will be announced later in CSC’s season. 

Winter Thaw Music Fest and Concert Series

CSC will kick off 2024 with their Winter Thaw Music Festival. The first concert will take place on January 13th, 2024, featuring Jumaane Smith with his show titled “Louis, Louis, Louis”. Five-time Grammy Award-winning acclaimed trumpeter and vocalist Jumaane Smith celebrates the origins of jump blues and jazz in “Louis! Louis! Louis!” Hear Smith’s renditions of classics from Louis Armstrong, Louis Prima and Louis Jordan, along with music he composed especially for this show. See why he has sold over 60 million records. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students and children 12 and under. 

Next will be “Reverie Road” on January 20th, 2024. Grounded in their collective Irish roots, “Reverie Road” features fiddler Winifred Horan and accordionist John Williams (founding Solas members) alongside former Gaelic Storm fiddler Katie Grennan and jazz and raga pianist Utsav Lal, they weave the roots of Irish musical traditions with new departures and curated pieces including distilled airs, continental waltzes and upbeat reels and jigs. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students and children 12 and under.

Next up on January 27th, 2024 is Rosaway. Vocal, flute, drums and machines – that’s Rosaway, a pop-jazz band hailing from Paris. Distinctly French, somewhat theme-tune-style, and a whole lot of groovy, this four-piece group is a blend of past and present. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students and children 12 and under.

Closing the Winter Thaw Music Festival is Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba on February 3rd, 2024. Hailing from a long line of Senegalese musicians and storytellers known as griots, Diali Cissokho made the transatlantic move almost 10 years ago. Shortly afterward, he formed the band Kaira Ba with the aid of several like-minded Piedmont musicians. Together, they blend the traditions and rhythms of West African music with timbres of the American South. In essence, Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba makes dance music that bridges the continental divide. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for students and children 12 and under.

The first of CSC’s regular concert series will be the Tartan Terrors. Tartan Terrors are their own Celtic invasion, mixing music with traditional folklore, dance and humor. With an arsenal featuring classic bagpipes and fiddle, drum tones and signature guitar styles, the Tartan Terrors will hit the Sitnik stage just in time for St. Patrick’s Day on March 14th, 2024. Tickets are $30 for all seats.

Next in CSC’s concert series will be the Buckwheat Zydeco, Jr. and Ils Sont Partis Band. Carrying on his father’s legacy and band, Buckwheat Zydeco, Jr. finds himself the front man to the Ils Sont Parti Band. This Grammy and Emmy Award-winning band has performed over 2,500 shows and a host of television appearances (“David Letterman,” “CBS Morning News” and “Good Morning America” to name a few). The Creole cousin of jazz, Zydeco music is family-festive music. Tickets are $30 for all seats.

Closing out CSC’s concert series is Gypsy, a tribute to Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. Gypsy performs the greatest hits from Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac. Diane Lutz gives her performance as Stevie Nicks with vocals and visuals that strive to capture Nicks’ stage presence. Tickets are $35 for all seats.

Dance Events

CSC is also excited to announce the return of several professional dance events throughout their season. November 11th will feature a performance of “Once upon a Time” performed the New Jersey Ballet. The performance will take place in the Sitnik Theatre at 8 p.m. More dance events will be announced as the season begins in September. 

For more information, specific performance dates or ticket price details please visit or call the box office at 908-979-0900.

Knowlton Township Committee Discusses Juneteenth as Paid Holiday

Should Juneteenth be a paid holiday for Knowlton Township employees? Deputy Mayor Debra Shipps thinks it should, but other members of the township committee are not sure they want to add another paid day off.

Juneteenth, observed on June 19th, marks the emancipation of African-American slaves on June 19, 1865. The day was declared a federal holiday in 2021 and has been adopted as a holiday by the state of New Jersey and Warren County.

At the May 8th committee meeting, Shipps said the extra holiday would conform with the other levels of government that give their employees the day off.

“How can we not give a day off that every other level of government gives off?” Shipps asked.

Shipps said it was an opportunity for the township to offer a benefit to town employees, whom, she added, are not paid as well as their counterparts in other municipalities.

“Is it really going to hurt us? Is it costing us any more money? No. Is it going to affect the
budget? No. Is it going to make them happy? Yes,” Shipps said. “A three-day weekend in June.”

Mayor Frank Van Horn said he was concerned about adding another holiday to the calendar.
While not outright saying no to the idea, Van Horn said there are already many paid days off available to employees.

“I think that there’s already abundance of personal days and sick days and vacation days,” Van Horn said.

Committee member James Mazza said the issue might be more appropriate being discussed during collective bargaining with the employees. He also suggested that it may be more practical to add a floating holiday.

If the holiday can’t be adopted for 2023, Shipps suggested at least allowing employees to leave early on June 19th this year.

The issue is expected to be discussed further at the June 12th committee meeting.

Blairstown Man Among Four Dead in Andover Crash

A Blairstown man was among four people killed in a head-on collision in Andover Township May 29th.

Andover police said a 2021 Jeep Rubicon driven by Bruce Cseh, 22, of Blairstown, was traveling westbound on Newton-Sparta Road, east of Limecrest Road near the Sparta Township line, when he crossed over the double yellow lines and into the eastbound lane.

Cseh’s vehicle struck a 2001 Ford Ranger pickup truck head-on. As a result of the collision, the Ford Ranger was engulfed in flames, trapping three people, including Andrew Benavente, 36, of Newton; and his two children, Andrew Benavente, Jr., 13; and Madelyn Benavente, 5.

Andover police said first responders utilized fire extinguishers and attempted life saving
measures, but the flames proved to be too intense.

The Andover Township/Andover Boro Fire Department and Sparta Fire Department extinguished the fire, but all three victims were pronounced dead at the scene.

Cseh, the driver of the Jeep Rubicon, was also trapped in his vehicle and was extracted with the Jaws of Life. He was flown to Morristown Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead as a result of his injuries.

Newton-Sparta Road was closed for more than five hours for the investigation, which is

Warren County Community College’s 36th Commencement Was SRO

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP, N.J. – The tent was filled to the brim for Warren County Community College’s 36th commencement on Saturday, May 20th as parents, families, friends and others gathered to celebrate the graduating class of 2023.

Student speaker Sarah Sylverne quoted poet Ralph Emerson in addressing her fellow graduates: “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.”

“On your journey here today,” she said, “you have met numerous individuals who have had a profound impact on your life. From the classmates turned friends that supported you through classes with great laughs, to the professors who guided you through course material, your journey is a culmination of different experiences ranging from racing to the library to print out your essay before class to enjoying lunch with friends in the Eagle Nest Cafe.” 

“You are here today because you have successfully challenged yourself to being better than you were before attending WCCC,” Sylverne added.

Warren County Community College commencement student speaker Sarah Sylverne. Photo provided by Warren County Community College.

Yvonne Reitemeyer, chair of the college’s board of trustees, urged the graduates to “never give up, even when the going gets tough. Embrace failure and learn from it. Embrace changes. Dig deep and persevere.” 

Norman Worth, president of WRNJ Radio in Hackettstown, was the keynote speaker and offered the following advice: 

“Many of you will be going on to further your education and many will be entering the workplace almost immediately. As an employer, I’d like for you to consider two things. No matter what occupation you enter, please know that who you are will have a lot more to do than what you know. How you treat people will determine your rise more than almost anything else.”

“No matter what occupation you choose, you’ll have an opportunity to make yourself useful and valuable beyond your job description,” he continued. “Just look around and see what needs to be done. It could mean the smallest of things that nobody else notices.”

Dr. Marianne Van Deursen, acting president of WCCC, welcomed the SRO crowd and Warren County Commissioner Director Lori Ciesla congratulated the graduates on behalf of the county. 

Eleanor Vera White

Eleanor Vera (Nicoletti) White, 95, passed away peacefully at Spring Creek Healthcare Center on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. Eleanor was born on June 16, 1928 in Newark and was the youngest of five sisters of Ralph and Maria (Castellano).

She attended Central High School in Newark, graduating in 1946, and was active in the school newspaper. She was married on February 17, 1952 to the late Arthur D. White, who passed on January 25, 2008. She worked as a legal secretary for most of her life and especially enjoyed working for the Hon. R. Benjamin Cohen for over 15 years. Eleanor and Art retired young and loved being snow birds, traveling to Florida for four months each year.

Eleanor was a big Frank Sinatra fan and loved being retired. She could often be found working on her knitting/needlepoint or at the clubhouse, swimming or playing mahjong with her friends. She was a gracious and generous friend as well as a wonderful mother and grandmother. She loved cooking and baking and was known for making the absolutely best deserts on the planet.

She is predeceased by her husband, Arthur D. White, Sr.; and is survived by her son Arthur D. White, Jr. and his wife, Elaine Salvadore; son Michael White; and her granddaughters Kimberly and Nicole White. 

Michael Edward Bartolozzi

Michael Edward Bartolozzi, 56, of Blairstown, passed away at his home on May 22, 2023. He had been a licensed plumber and a union plumber for Local 24 in West Caldwell for over 30 years. He was a lover of the outdoors, especially fishing all around New Jersey.

He is survived by his mother, Theresa; a sister, Lisa Hepburn and her husband, Nathan; and brother, Christopher.

Centenary Stage Company Announces Cast for Summerfest

HACKETTSTOWN, N.J. – This summer, Centenary Stage Company (CSC) presents their summer musical series featuring “Rock of Ages” and “Seussical the Musical.”

The cast of “Rock of Ages” will include Centenary University students, alumni, CSC veterans and a few brand-new faces. The cast includes Deanna Elisa Beaucher, Jeremy Ashton, Brandon Conti, Andre Williams, Lou Steele, Emily Rose, Johnathan Lindeblad, Danny Sims, Maria Alessi, Matthew Green, Annie Wogisch, Sabrina Olivieri, Molly Davison, Crystal Ann Bennett, Jasper “DJ” Scott, Sarah Shea Mabes, Mark Squindo, Zach Orr, Claire Finegan, Jordan Sievert, Alexandra Koch, Kylie Smith, Mackenzie Castle and Madison Rhine. 

Directing this production of “Rock of Ages” is Michael Restaino. Michael is a multi-hyphenated creative with a diverse background in working on theatrical experiences world-wide. Currently serving as the manager of creative production integrity at RWS Global, Michael oversees all productions at sea, internationally. In addition to his role at RWS, Michael is the esteemed founder of Michael Anthony Theatrical, one of the leading cabaret companies in New York City. Michael’s leadership extends to The Actors Studio of New Jersey, an emerging professional theater company focused on becoming a hub for artistic expression and innovation. As an advocate for the arts, Michael actively works to mentor emerging talent by being dedicated to creating a safe and welcoming theatrical environment, prioritizing inclusivity, diversity and respect within the industry. After spending nine months performing in “Rock of Ages” at the Eldorado Resort, Michael is honored to be telling this story from the opposite side of the bar at the Bourbon Room. 

The cast of “Seussical the Musical” will also include Centenary University students, alumni, CSC veterans and a few brand-new faces. The cast includes Cody Jackson, Olivia Tomlin, James Gerard Russo, Megan Schmeidhauser, Nicole Boscarino, Morgan Damato, Zac Cruz, Gabriel Argate, Johnathan Drayton, Katie O’Shea, Amanda Ackerman, Makayla Labode, Joshua Laudor, Aycha Lima, George Xavier, James Brandes, Hope Keil, Kayla Chirip, Kai Vialva, Matthew Steen, Judy Kolek, Michaela Thiessen and Kayla Yepez.

Co-directing and choreographing this production is Lea Antolini-Lid. Antolini-Lid is the assistant professor of theater and dance as well as the director of CSC’s Young Audience Series Tour, and the producer/director of the NEXTstage Rep. Summer Stock Musical Series. Most recently, Antolini-Lid co-directed “Addams Family” in April 2023, directed “RENT” in the summer of 2022, as well as the YAS production of “Frog & Toad” at CSC this past fall and was seen onstage as the stepmother in “Cinderella.” Antolini-Lid has directed the CSC Summer Stock Musical Series for several years and you have also seen her directorial work on “Hair,” “Jesus Christ Superstar,” “Always…Patsy Cline,” and more.

Jillian Petrie will also serve as co-director and choreographer for “Seussical the Musical.” Petrie is an award-winning choreographer/director with over 100 productions under her belt, and she is just getting started. She is currently company choreographer for The Growing Stage, a professional regional theatre company located in New Jersey. Here she also served as director on the company’s first film production and has previously served as director of multiple main-stage productions. As of June 2018, she has been director of TGS’s new theatre dance program. Productions are full-length plays that aim to challenge existing boundaries by incorporating movement-based storytelling and exploring audience engagement. In addition, Jillian is a professor of dance and theatre at Centenary University and founder of the media company, Athletes & Artists. Jillian was recently a member of the 2018-2019 Stage Directors Choreographers Foundation’s Broadway Observership Class, Directors Lab Class of 2019, Broadway Dance Center’s Choreography Program of 2021 and SDCF’s Broadway Observership 2013-2014 Class. Her most recent CSC credit, Jillian directed “The Marvelous Wonderettes” in the summer of 2022. 

Performance dates and times for “Rock of Ages” are Thursdays, July 6th and 13th at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, July 7th and 14th at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, July 8th and 15th at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, July 9th and 18th at 2 p.m. Performance dates and times for “Seussical the Musical” are Thursdays, July 27th and August 3rd at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays, July 28th and August 4th at 8 p.m.; Saturdays, July 29th and August 5th at 8 p.m.; and Sundays, July 30th and August 6th at 2 p.m. Tickets range from $25.50 to $29.50 for adults with discounts available for seniors, students and children under 12 for select performances and Thursday evening performances.

For more information or to reserve tickets, visit or call the Centenary Stage Company box office at 908-979-0900. The Centenary Stage Company box office is open Monday through Friday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. and two hours prior to performances. The box office is located in the Lackland Performing Arts Center on the campus of Centenary University at 715 Grand Avenue in Hackettstown.