My Paper Online Online Local Community News for New Jersey Sun, 09 Jun 2019 23:18:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 West Orange Resident Joins Peace Corp, Headed to Africa Tue, 11 Jun 2019 23:17:39 +0000 By: Elise Phillips Margulis


Phoebe Kurien, a West Orange resident, is packing her bags and heading to Malawi in Africa to serve in the Peace Corps. It’s something she’s wanted to do ever since she found out about the organization when she was a young teen.


Kurien explained, “The Peace Corps is dedicated to extending service and friendship to countries around the world, and this goal really connected with me on a personal level. I am so proud to be an American, and an immigrant to my country. We are part of a global community that is interconnected. I want to be able to give back in a meaningful way that can really promote development and provide opportunities.”


Kurien has several friends who are serving in the Peace Corps. She applied to the Peace Corps with a college friend who will be serving in Togo, Africa as an education volunteer. Another friend is already in Zambia working in the agricultural sector. Kurien’s career advisor worked for the Peace Corps in Costa Rica. She feels fortunate that she knows several people in the program and has been able to speak with them and the Peace Corps recruiters so she has an idea of what to expect.


Right now, Kurien is listening to podcasts to learn Chichewa, the language in Malawi. She will live with a host family during her first three months in Africa. They will help her learn the language and the culture. During the three-month immersion period, Kurien will acquire skills to assist the community. Then she will be sworn into service and assigned to a region where she will spend the next two years.


Kurien’s objective is to, “make a lasting impact during my Peace Corps service. I want to inspire and really encourage a health conscious community. I am striving to help inspire the community so that they are able to take the skills sets that I am able to provide and truly help develop themselves further. I want the community that I work with to feel empowered to keep taking steps and strive for a healthier and stronger community.’


Her family is a bit apprehensive about her being far away for two years but support her decision to go. Kurien’s been planning to pursue this noble undertaking for a very long time, and her parents are very proud of her for following through with it.


The Peace Corps was founded by President John F. Kennedy in 1961. The concept was introduced by Harris Wofford, a former United States senator from Pennsylvania, a proponent of volunteerism. Its mission is to promote peace and friendship by helping people in countries that need trained workers, helping Americans understand what is happening in developing nations and by enabling people in those countries to get to know Americans.

For over 50 years Peace Corps volunteers in 141 countries have worked alongside community members of developing nations to help them solve difficult local challenges. In the 1960s and 1970s thousands of Americans (especially young adults) served in dozens of nations in Latin America, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. They assisted in building sewer and water systems, constructing and teaching in schools, helping to introduce new crops and agricultural practices to increase productivity and many other projects.


You can help by donating to one of the many current campaigns such as Global Women’s Economic Development, Small Project Assistance, Girl’s Empowerment in Technology, Primary School Library Project, Aids Prevention, Malaria Prevention, buying projectors and computers for schools, sending students to learning camps, expanding schools, training, in field support and more.


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West Orange Schools Honor Brothers for 80 Years of Service Tue, 11 Jun 2019 23:16:04 +0000 By Dawn M Chiossi


    Longevity in career, it might be considered unique, it might be considered lucky. No matter what, it says something about the worker. It’s a sign of devotion, of caring, of wanting to do the best every single day. 

    Twin brothers Nick and Pat Galante are two such workers. As educators in West Orange, they have 80 plus years of service between them; designating a deep devotion to career. To them, educating young minds in West Orange was more than a job, paycheck, or even just going to work. 


     Partnering together, The West Orange Scholarship Fund and The West Orange Education Association recently hosted a cocktail reception to honor the brothers for their dedicated service to West Orange.


     Giving back to the community and paying it forward, they served as educators, student and teacher advocates, and are proud alumni of the West Orange High School class of 1965. 


      So much more than a party or even honoring these two educators, the celebration held a heartwarming surprise. The Galante Scholarship, named after the two, started just this year, to give approximately 50 West Orange High School Students based on academic achievement, financial need, and community involvement, the chance to further their education.


    Jim Quinn of the West Orange Scholarship Fund excitedly discloses that the idea to honor the Galante Brothers for their contribution to West Orange Schools was a “no brainer for everyone.”


    “They were so gracious when I told them about what we were planning,” Quinn relates. “They are both terrific guys.”

    Inspiring, educating and instructing youth, that’s the motto of West Orange Schools, and the Galante brothers wouldn’t have it any other way.


    Both Nick and Pat Galante speak about their moving from Newark, about growing up in West Orange, about attending various West Orange schools, including Redwood Elementary, Lincoln Jr. High, and Mountain High School. Both are animated when they talk about how they both went to Seton Hall University, getting their degrees in Elementary Education. They enjoy talking about sports and coaching, but it is the subject of family that they enjoy discussing most.


    Warm and gregarious, for both brothers, Nick and Pat Galante, family is everything. In speaking to both of them, their enthusiasm and devotion to family shines with every word. 

    They speak about their parents, and how they raised four sons, and how all of them went into education of some kind.


    “My father was our biggest fan,” Nick Galante shares. “To both my parents, education wasn’t just a thing, it was the thing. Both of them were way ahead of their time. They encouraged us all in so many ways. They took an interest in what we were doing, talked to us, helped us.  When it came to our wanting to go into education to become teachers, his philosophy was, “Try it, you’ll know if you like it after a couple of years. You’ll know it by wanting to get up in the morning. If you do what you love, that makes all the difference.”

    “They were so supportive, and selfless, they really made a commitment to us all.”


    With such amazing role models as their parents, Nick and Pat Galante sought out to give children just some of what they were given. The brothers not only loved what they did, they sought to make a difference in the lives of their students, teachers, parents and co-workers. In short, they sought to give back to West Orange.


    The Galante’s shared philosophy was an amazing one of treat the students like they are family.   


     Their approach to teaching was an inclusive one. Realizing that the old adage that it takes a village to raise a child was 100% accurate, the Galante brothers actively sought to bring parents, co-workers, and administration into the lives of students.


   An example of this was when, in 1984, Nick Galante helped implement the Madeline Hunter Method, a model of teaching that benefited students everywhere, not just in West Orange.  “It concentrated on things such as studying teacher behavior, their lessons, recognizing the efforts of students, making successful programs, what they should say, how to say it,” he explains.


     For Pat Galante, he asserts, “I wanted to give the students a reason to come to school more, to give them a positive and personal experience.”


   He had the opportunity to test this out when he was the Dean of Students, in charge of discipline. He gave the students both guidelines and boundaries as well as inspiration.

    His approach was golden. Through guidelines and his critical thinking, Galante taught and advised students, giving them consequences when they needed them, and always turned a negative situation into a positive one. 


    Sometimes he didn’t even know the results of his approach.

    In disbelief, Galante shares a story of a former student who had some school troubles but had an interest in cooking.  “He had left the school for a more technical one but had shown up one year on Superbowl Sunday with a whole mess of food for me, just to say thanks.” 


    Despite their 80 plus years of service between them, the Galante Scholarship is something they just cannot wrap their heads around.  “It completely blew me out of my shoes,” comments Nick Galante.


     “It was totally a surprise,” adds Pat. Focusing fully on the ultimate goal, the next words he says are a humble characteristic of the Galante family. “The best part of all of this is that it benefits the kids.”


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ESSEX COUNTY EXECUTIVE DIVINCENZO AND THE DIVISION OF SENIOR SERVICES CELEBRATE ESSEX COUNTY’S ANNUAL OLDER AMERICAN HERITAGE MONTH, LEGEND AWARDS ARE PRESENTED TO FIVE ESSEX COUNTY SENIOR CITIZENS Tue, 11 Jun 2019 23:14:41 +0000 Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. and the Essex County Division of Senior Services hosted the Annual Essex County Older Americans Heritage Month Celebration on Tuesday, May 7th in the Essex County Robert O’Toole Building in Essex County Cedar Grove Park in Cedar Grove. May is recognized as National Older Americans Month.


During the ceremony, DiVincenzo presented Essex County Legends Awards to Stephanie Gerstein from West Orange, Bessie Johnson from Newark, Claire Seidner Scholz from Livingston, Yusuf Statum from Newark and Catherine F. Willis from East Orange.

“Older Americans Month is an opportunity for us to recognize the tremendous contributions our senior citizens have made to shape and mold today’s community and bring attention to the contributions they continue to make on a daily basis to improve our quality of life. Active in all aspects of life, our senior population is proving that you don’t slow down after you reach a certain age,” DiVincenzo said. “Our honorees have exhibited a tremendous amount of responsibility by advocating for and providing assistance that is helping their fellow seniors to remain active and continue living in our community,” he added.

“Our Legends Award recipients demonstrate that you can still contribute and make a difference in your community no matter what your age. All of our seniors are role models for the contributions they have made and continue to make, inspiring our younger generation to get involved and for the assistance they have provided to their fellow seniors,” Essex County Division of Senior Services Director Jaklyn DeVore said.

The award winners were nominated by social service agencies and community organizations that work closely with the Essex Division of Senior Services and were chosen because they are positive role models for the younger generation, have worked tirelessly to assist fellow seniors and made tremendous contributions to improve the quality of life. The honorees are as follows:

Stephanie Gerstein from West Orange is a volunteer with Listen to Children, the Friend Advocate Program, Reading Buddies, Interfaith Hospitality Network and Succeed2gether. The plaque presented to her states: “Stephanie Gerstein makes a positive impact on every person she meets. Much of her volunteer work is focused on children. She instills a love of reading and promotes literacy by reading stories to elementary school students in class, tutors and helps homeless children with their homework and teaches children the card game Bridge, allowing them to develop socialization skills and play games that are not on a computer. Her personal touches – sharing homemade cookies, using humor and truly listening – allows her to connect with the younger generation. Ms. Gerstein also lends a helping hand to seniors, including one woman who she helped organize her bills and regain control of her life after her mother passed away. Ms. Gerstein is a special person whose enthusiasm motivates and inspires others.”

“I am totally humbled at receiving this recognition. I get so much more personally than what I give,” Gerstein said.

Bessie Johnson from Newark is a retired food service worker with Newark Public Schools volunteers at the Essex County Weequahic Park Café in the Park program and knits lap blankets for seniors in nursing facilities. The plaque presented to her states: “Providing delicious and nutritious food has been an ongoing theme in the life of Ms. Johnson. For 28 years, she worked as an employee of the Newark Public Schools Food Service Department serving meals to elementary and high school students. After retiring from a second career in retail, she returned to her love of cooking and baking to feed children at a day care center. She also has utilized her crocheting skills to create hats for infants taking their first breaths in area NICUs and blankets for hospitalized chemotherapy patients and seniors in nursing facilities. She currently can be found back in the kitchen serving lunch to participants in the Essex County Senior Café program in Weequahic Park. We are proud to recognize this “super volunteer” as an Essex County Legend.”

“Thank you for thinking this much of me. I have always enjoyed working with children and seniors,” Johnson said.

Claire Seidner Scholz from Livingston is a retired school psychologist and supervisor with the Irvington Public School District who operates the Kosher Nutrition Lunch Program at the JCC in West Orange and is a member of the Livingston Senior Advisory Committee and AARP Chapter in Livingston. The plaque presented to her states: “As a school psychologist and supervisor in the Irvington Public School District for 28 years, Claire Scholz impacted the lives of generations of students and parents. When New Jersey mandated sex education be included in the curriculum, she took the lead to train other teachers, wrote curriculum guides and became a well-respected authority throughout the state. In retirement, Ms. Scholz is a devoted volunteer at the Margulies Center at the JCC in West Orange, where she has served in various leadership roles and essentially runs the Kosher Nutrition Lunch Program. She further advocates for seniors as a member of the Livingston Senior Advisory Committee and Livingston AARP Chapter. Ms. Scholz’ desire to give back to her community is an inspiration to us all.”

“I worked in Irvington for 28 years and enjoyed every day and I continue to work because I enjoy what I’m doing. This is a tremendous honor and I appreciate it,” Scholz said.

Yusuf Statum from Newark worked 24 years at UMDNJ, helped found and organize the annual Scudder Homes Reunion, and was a founding member and president of the Central Ward Community Group. The plaque presented to him states: “Mr. Statum has always involved himself in helping others and building a stronger community. He assisted older Americans as a senior service worker at UMDNJ for 24 years. After lamenting that the community only came together in times of grief and crisis, he was instrumental in organizing an annual three-day celebration on Howard Street. The event has evolved into the “Scudder Homes Reunion” and continues to strengthen the bonds between neighbors. He also is a founding member and President of the Central Ward Community Group, a grassroots group that has been championing and advocating for the neighborhood for the last two decades. We are proud to honor Mr. Statum as an Essex County Legend for his leadership, activism and concern on behalf of his neighbors.”

“My reward of helping others is to see the smiles on their faces. I appreciate this award greatly, but I would continue to do what I’ve been doing even if I wasn’t being recognized,” Statum said.

Catherine F. Willis from East Orange served as the Director of Planning and Economic Development for East Orange, President of the Essex County Board of Taxation, Director of the Essex County Division of Community Action and held a leadership role with the Girl Scout Council of Greater Essex and Hudson Counties. The plaque presented to her states: “After holding several corporate positions, Catherine Willis found her calling in public service and the non-profit sector. It was through this second career that this social worker at heart was able to fulfill her passion to help others and assist the public to improve their living conditions. Ms. Willis empowered young girls through her work with the Girl Scouts and was a founding member of the first state-funded day care program, which continues to operate today in East Orange. She also impacted the community through the positions she held with the City of East Orange and County of Essex. Among her notable achievements is successfully lobbying several states to enact “motor voter” legislation that enables residents to register to vote when they apply for a driver’s license or registration.

“I’m retired, but I don’t know I’m retired because I’m still so active. I’ve always lived my life being ready to help another person,” Willis said.

The Essex County Older Americans Heritage Month Celebration is part of a yearlong series of programs initiated by County Executive DiVincenzo to recognize and celebrate the diversity of Essex County. Other cultural celebrations celebrate African American Heritage, Irish Heritage, Italian Heritage, Jewish Heritage, Latino Heritage, Portuguese Heritage and Women’s History.

The Essex County Division of Senior Services offers a wide range of services to eligible Essex County senior citizens. The Division offers adult protective services, provides basic transportation services, administers adult day care centers, offers counseling services, provides home delivered meals and offers visiting nurse services. For more information, please call the Division of Senior Services at 973-395-8375.


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Roxbury Teen Helps Save Route 80 Motorist’s Life Tue, 11 Jun 2019 23:12:06 +0000 By: Elise Phillips Margulis

Christopher Caccavella, 17, was driving to Morris County School of Technology when he encountered a car that was blocking his lane on Route 80. He saw that the driver’s body was slumped over the steering wheel, pulled over immediately and called #77. The driver was barely breathing. Just then another driver, Denville attorney Matthew Troiano, pulled over.


Caccavella said he was nervous because he had never been in a situation like that but knew he had to do something. “I was just at the right place at the right time. I knew the driver needed help so I decided to help him. I didn’t know how serious his condition was when I stopped.” 

Fortunately, Dr. George Mazpule, a gastrointestinal robotic surgeon at HUMC and The Valley Hospital, also stopped to investigate the situation. The car doors were locked so they broke the car window with a golf club that Mazpule had in his car, pulled the man out through the window and performed CPR on the unconscious motorist until the paramedics arrived.

The motorist who was slouched over his steering wheel is a 24-year-old deliveryman for Hansel ‘n Griddle in Denville. Although Mazpule’s position as a robotic surgeon doesn’t involve CPR and reviving patients like the one he was presented with, he knew from medical school that when a person’s face is purple, they are cyanotic–suffering from oxygen deprivation. The man had no pulse but his body was warm so Mazpule knew that the man had recently suffered a cardiac arrest.

The surgeon started doing chest compressions and explained to Troiano how to administer oxygen. Soon the police arrived and gave the motorist Narcan, an opioid antagonist that partially or completely reverses an opioid overdose.

The driver began to regain consciousness and started moving a bit, but Mazpule knew they had to continue the CPR for a while. Mazpule took the oxygen from the police officers’ emergency kit and administered it to the motorist. By applying an Automated External Defibrillator, Mazpule determined that the man did not need defibrillation.

After ten to twenty seconds the victim had a pulse and began coughing so Mazpule pulled him up into a sitting position.

During questioning, the police learned that the man had taken Kratom which is a psychoactive herbal extract that stimulates the same opioid brain receptors as morphine does. The effect of the herb was still apparent. The victim was taken to St. Clare’s Hospital in Denville.

The motorist was very fortunate that Caccavella, Troiano and Mazpule pulled over to see what was wrong. All three were modest and just happy they could play a part in helping the man. He’s also fortunate that one of the concerned fellow motorists was a doctor.

Caccavella doesn’t see himself as a hero but is glad he was there to assist the surgeon. By pulling his car over and calling #77, he was able to summon the ambulance (and Mazpule) quickly. The doctors at the hospital agreed that the motorist would have died if he hadn’t received treatment when he did.

The Roxbury police officers called his school to explain why he would be late for class.

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Luan and Rust, Roxbury High School Valedictorian and Salutatorian, Prepare to Say Goodbye to the Halls of RHS Tue, 11 Jun 2019 23:10:03 +0000 By: Melissa A. Kay


It’s that time of year again. Graduating seniors are ready to don their caps and gowns, receive their diplomas, and pave the way for their post-high school journey. Embarking on exciting new changes is part of the step into adulthood, moving towards a bright and prosperous future. Like so many students around the world, the 2019 Roxbury High School graduating class is filled with high hopes for tomorrow and dreams they’ll dare to follow.

Two standout Roxbury students who are receiving special recognition this year are the class valedictorian – Carrie Luan, and salutatorian – Robert Rust. Both are highly accomplished both in and out of the classroom, pleased that their hard work has paid off, and eager to graduate and step confidently onto the college campus.

Get to know these two stellar students a bit more, learn what has led them to the top of the class, and understand just what it takes to be named valedictorian and salutatorian.

Carrie Luan – Class Valedictorian

Starting off with humbleness, class valedictorian Carrie Luan says, “Being valedictorian is an honor for me, but I couldn’t have done it without support from my parents, teachers, and friends.” Such encouragement surely shaped Luan, who not only achieved great grades and high accolades, but took her talents beyond test scores by participating in a variety of extra-curriculars that helped form a well-rounded and respected individual.

“I have been involved in many extracurricular activities, including volleyball, Jazz Ensemble, National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, peer tutoring, Key Club, and Peer Leaders. I was also Class President freshman and sophomore year, General Student Council Treasurer junior year, General Student Council Vice President senior year, Key Club Secretary junior and senior year, and National Honor Society President senior year,” Luan shares.

Finding time for it all was a challenge, but Luan was able to tackle the to-dos and find a way to work things out. “My biggest obstacle throughout high school has definitely been trying to balance all my extracurricular activities with my academics while still maintaining some personal time for myself. It took a little while for me to get used to the pace of high school, jumping from middle school into a sea of honors and AP classes, and after-school activities and responsibilities. However, despite my workload, I learned to prioritize, enabling me to stay as involved as I wanted to but still leave time to sit back and enjoy my high school experience. I worked hard and played hard,” she explains. With a mature mentality like hers, the “real world” should be a piece of cake for the graduating senior.

But her extra-curriculars don’t end there. Greatness comes to the most gifted, proven by what Luan considers her “greatest accomplishments.” “Being accepted to the New Jersey Governor’s School of Engineering and Technology at Rutgers University and having the opportunity to present research at an MIT undergraduate research conference were amazing experiences that exposed me not only to a realistic representation of the engineering field, but also to an incredible body of students from all around New Jersey who were truly inspiring. In addition, I had the opportunity to play piano at Carnegie Hall freshman year! It was an exciting culmination of all my years of playing piano since I was 8.”

Luan received the Presidential Scholarship from Rutgers University and will be attending the school in the Honors College through the School of Engineering. She intends to study either mechanical or industrial engineering, planning a career in one of these fields. This summer, Luan plans to get a job before college begins.

Robert Rust – Class Salutatorian

Robert (Robbie) Rust is proud (and ought to be) of his hard work throughout high school and wishes to congratulate the class of 2019 for all they’ve accomplished as well. He’s an ace in the classroom and active outside school as well, participating in a range of extra-curriculars while working part-time.

Rust considers his rank as salutatorian one of his biggest accomplishments along with getting accepted to The College of New Jersey (where he will be studying Mathematics Secondary Education in the efforts to become a high school math teacher), and his 2019 win at the Indoor Percussion Championships. He was awarded with the TCNJ Provost Scholarship as well.

Along with his passion for percussion, playing with Roxbury Indoor Percussion, Rust shares his other interests, “I’ve played four years on Varsity Tennis, as captain junior and senior year, I tutor at Eisenhower Middle School in math and science with ESL students, I’m the National Honor Society Vice President, and a Spanish National Honor Society Officer.” Varied interests make Rust’s time interesting, while he also works at Weis Markets and will do so through the summer until school starts. That said, there will be some time for fun as he plans to vacation at Wildwood with his family too. Well-deserved time off, indeed.

These two students exemplify excellence, a work ethic that’s strong and steady, and serve as role models for fellow students and those following in their footsteps.


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Roxbury High School Celebrates Athletes With the Class of 2019 Hall of Fame Inductions Tue, 11 Jun 2019 23:09:02 +0000 By: Daniel del Ben


Athletics are a vital component in just about every school, and that is why Roxbury High School recognizes the importance in preserving the legacy of the athletes and coaches that have passed through the school over the past century. On May 18th, Roxbury High School had their induction ceremony to honor the newest members in this year’s induction class.


The Athletic Hall of Fame Committee was founded in 2012 and had their first ceremony in 2013. Every year, the athletics department looks through their entire history, and makes a decision on who to add into their hall of fame.


I believe it was important to establish an athletic hall of fame because it connects the past with present,” said Director of Athletics and Student Activities Stuart Mason. “The Hall of Fame recognizes the best of the best and gives our current students a blueprint for success. By hearing about the hall of famers, they learn that the same attributes that make someone a success on the playing field will lead them to a successful career and life.”


The school’s lobby proudly displays the plaques of all the previous Hall of Fame inductees which includes exceptional students, coaches, and teams. The class of 2019 saw the addition of:


Laura Ahern who leads Roxbury girls basketball in points with 1632 in four varsity seasons from 2000-2004.


Sandy Alexander was on Roxbury’s first girls cross country team as a freshman in 1978 where she won her first of three conference championships.


Jessica Musmanno was one of Roxbury High School’s most prolific soccer players and was on the school’s championship team her freshman year in 2007.


Alan Andrews was on Roxbury’s football first ever conference championship team in 1978. He later went on to be drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers as a seventh round pick in 1984.


Mike Bennett graduated in 1972 with some very impressive wrestling achievements. He won state champion by a 6-0 decision while going 24-0 for the year. His overall record was 46-6.


Angelo Mangiro graduated 2009 and will be recognized as both a football and basketball player. In football, Mangiro was a two-time first team All-State offensive lineman selection, and went on to play three years as center for Penn State University where he was designated team captain in his senior year. In basketball, Mangiro became the all-time leading boys scorer with 1074 points.


Coach Byron Collins built Roxbury’s cross country team in the1970s and coached from 1974-1995 and 2008-2010. During his tenure, he coached four undefeated teams and two Hall of Fame students.


The 1998 football team was Roxbury’s first football team to win a championship game (previous champions were declared by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association). After going 10-2 for the season, the Roxbury Gaels beat Plainfield 7-6 at Giants Stadium.

Bill Tardive played football, basketball, and baseball when he graduated in 1953. After he returned from the Korean War, Bill and his brothers set up and coached the junior football team the Roxbury Colts which organized a program that allowed boys to play football without having to travel long distances.


All the honorees were thrilled to be added to the Roxbury High School Hall of Fame. Many attended the evening on May 18 with their families and friends.

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Sunny Day at Lake Hopatcong Block Party Draws the Crowd Tue, 11 Jun 2019 23:04:24 +0000 Photos by Jane Primerano



John Morsh, a lieutenant in the Mt. Arlington Fire Department, and his son, Kyle, a firefighter, with the 1939 truck.

For the first time in five years, the Saturday of the Lake Hopatcong Block Party dawned clear and bright, defying even the weather reports that called for partly cloudy.

The Block Party, the biggest event of the Lake Hopatcong Foundation year, is held at Hopatcong State Park on Mother’s Day weekend. The Foundation pulls together about 200 volunteers to create the event each year.

Like any block party, this one features music, food, vendors, games for children, non-profit groups, plenty of swag and opportunities for neighbors to catch up.

The center entertainment area was set up in front of the park’s pavilion. In previous years, local bands played almost constantly, but the volunteers decided to bring in demonstrations instead.

Rizzo’s Reptiles had two shows. Animal handler “Miss Sam” brought Junior a 3-year-old American alligator for a “look but don’t touch” spin around the audience.  After Junior, Miss Sam let the children and adults pet Jelly Bean, an albino Indian python.

Other shows demonstrated Crossfit and martial arts routines. The mayors of the municipalities were invited to talk about their community services.

Wes Martin with the brightly polished chrome of the 1939 Ahrens-Fox fire truck.

Some demonstrations were on the lake. The Defender 2, the new Jefferson Township Fire Department Fireboat gave a demonstration. Although property of the Jefferson Fire Department, it is used all around the lake and each municipality contributed to its purchase and upkeep. Jefferson has the largest percentage of shoreline.

The Mt. Arlington Fire Department proudly displayed the 1939 Ahrens-Fox engine that served the borough until the 1970s. It was the second truck the borough bought and the first it bought new, according to past chief John Morsh who has been leading the two-year effort to restore the engine.

The truck fought some of the big hotel fires: the Alamac, the Dawn Patrol, the Suomi Hovi, Morsh said.

The Alamac, originally the Hotel Breslin, was the biggest hotel around the lake, overlooking Van Every Cove, it burned in 1948. The Dawn Patrol was originally the Edgemere Hotel and was in the process of being restored when it burned in the 1960s. The remains are now the Parish Hall of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church. The Suomi Hovi on Nolan’s Point, was the last of the major hotels to burn, in the 1970s.

Morsh and Firefighter Wes Martin said it is amazing how much of the technology on the 1939 truck remains today.  

“A lot of tech just doesn’t change,” Martin said, noting how the Defender 2 has centripetal pumps just like the Ahrens-Fox.

The main difference is the strength. The newer trucks produce more pressure and more speed and carry more

The Defender2 demonstrating on Lake Hopatcong.


The old truck pumped 150 gallons per minute while new ones pump 1500 gpm.

Martin was publicizing the department’s beefsteak dinner which will be Friday, June 21, at Casa Bianca on Berkshire Valley Road in Oak Ridge. Tickets are $50. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

The Roxbury Art Association was distributing literature along with a number of other non-profit groups.

Visitors could take free rides on the Miss Lotta excursion boat or walk through the display of antique or modern boats. The area nearest the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum was a large food court for the day.

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Morris County Named Healthiest in State Tue, 11 Jun 2019 23:03:03 +0000 By: Kimberly Redmond


For the second year in a row, Morris County was named the healthiest in New Jersey, according to a recently released study.


The annual County Health Rankings and Roadmaps report, which is compiled by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute (UWPHI) with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), analyze the healthiest counties in America.


The rankings aim to provide a snapshot of how people’s health is influenced by the communities they live and work in. Counties were analyzed on dozens of factors that influence well being, such as food, education, jobs, housing, economics and public safety.


“Where New Jerseyans live, learn, work and play influences their health, and we know having safe, secure housing is a critical social determinant of health,” New Jersey Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnaha said in a statement.

According to the 2019 rankings, the five healthiest counties in New Jersey, starting with the healthiest, are Morris, followed by Hunterdon, Somerset, Bergen and Middlesex. The five counties in the poorest health, starting with the least healthy, are Cumberland, Camden, Salem, Atlantic and Essex.

The five unhealthiest counties, the report found, each lacked enough safe and affordable housing for low-income residents, which reinforces the belief that when there’s a lack of appropriate homes, poor health is more prevalent.

According to the report, 19% of residents in New Jersey spend more than half their income on housing, making it difficult to afford healthy food, medication and transportation.


The state’s health commissioner said officials believe the recent increase that was approved for New Jersey’s minimum wage rate could help a bit.


Dr. Richard Besser, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said, “It’s unacceptable that so many individuals and families face barriers to health because of what they have to spend on housing. This leaves them with fewer dollars to keep their families healthy. Imagine the stress and pain that come with unplanned moves. We are all healthier and stronger together when everyone has access to safe and affordable housing, regardless of the color of their skin or how much money they make.”

Morris beat out New Jersey’s other 20 counties in several measures of health, including life expectancy and clinical care, and came in second on criteria such as quality of life.


The county also ranked highly for its air quality, low violent crime rates and physical activity level of its residents.


The sole area where Morris County scored poorly was in the “physical environment” category, mainly due to commuting habits. About 44 percent of residents have a lengthy commute (longer than 30 minutes) and 79 percent do it alone.


Here are a few key statistics from the report.



Smoking rates: 12% (Morris County), 14% (State)

Obesity rates: 22% (Morris County), 26% (State)

Number of physically inactive residents: 18% (Morris County), 24% (State)

Number of residents who engage in “excessive drinking:” 18% (Morris County), 17% (State)

Rate of residents with aren’t getting enough sleep: 33% (Morris County), 38% (State)

Rate of alcohol impaired driving deaths: 18% (Morris County), 22% (State)

Drug overdose rate: 15% (Morris County), 23% (State)

Diabetes prevalence: 8% (Morris County), 9% (State)

Life expectancy: 82.7 years (Morris County), 80.5 (State)



Median income: $114,300 (Morris County), $80,100 (State)

Rate of residents without insurance: 6% (Morris County), 9% (State)

Unemployment rate: 3.6% (Morris County), 4.6% (State)

Home ownership rate: 75% (Morris County), 64% (State)

High school graduation rate: 95% (Morris County), 91% (State)

Rate of children participating in free/reduced lunch programs: 14% (Morris County), 38% (State)

Rate of residents who have attended college: 80% (Morris County), 70% (State)


The rankings can be accessed by visiting


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Randolph’s Valedictorian and Salutatorians Prepare to Say Goodbye to High School Tue, 11 Jun 2019 22:59:23 +0000 By: Megan Roche


As June is in full swing, so are the celebrations for the class of 2019. Randolph High School is no exception and the top three students have much to be proud of. Julia Miao, Yuri Lin, and Jason Gu will soon walk across the stage at graduation with their classmates, holding the titles of valedictorian and salutatorians respectively.


For Miao, she’ll be heading off to University of Virginia to begin classes at the McIntire School of Commerce as an Echols Scholar. She is contemplating a minor in Biology or Chemistry.


A competitive dancer outside of her time at Randolph High, she also finds the time to volunteer as a member of the Randolph Rescue Squad. An avid traveler, Miao has been to over 20 countries to experience new cultures and understand different ways of life. She also has a passion for photography.


Her scholastic achievements are many. As the top student in the Randolph High School Class of 2019, she is the president of the Bridges Club, vice president of FBLA and vice president of the Science Olympiad. She also belongs to the Math National Honor Society, where she serves as the treasurer.  Other honor societies include Science National Honor Society, Spanish National Honor Society, English National Honor Society, and the National Honor Society as a whole.


“I feel very humbled and grateful for the honor of Valedictorian. I know it wasn’t easy for all of us but I’m really glad that we got to this point and be successful.” Miao said.


This is the second year in a row that Randolph High School will have two co-salutatorians. Yuri Lin and Jason Gu have tied for second highest GPA in the class and will both speak at the June 19 ceremony.


Lin will be heading to UCLA in the fall to major in Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics. She plans to minor in Music.


Her passion includes music as she has played violin for nine years. She even has a quartet group with her friends where they play at local senior homes and special events. She has been selected to region orchestra and all state orchestra for many years. She also enjoys figure skating and volleyball as hobbies.


As far as Lin’s scholastic achievements, she belongs to many clubs and is even a co-founder of one. She is a member of the Bridges Club and serves as president of the Science Olympiad. She is president of the Science National Honor Society and of the Future Medical Leaders of America Club. Lin also serves as the vice president of English National Honor Society and is a member of Math National Honor Society. She also helped co-found the Mental Health Club at the school after dealing with her own mental health struggles.


“I think it’s really rewarding to feel that your hard work has paid off. It makes me really proud to see that I’m here after four years.” Lin said.


Gu will be heading to Washington and Lee University in Lexington, VA to double major in Economics and Math.


Gu is an all-around athlete. He was captain of the Randolph boy’s varsity swim team. He was also captain of the club volleyball team at the school. Besides sports, Gu is also a small business owner where he sells LEGO sets.


When it comes to academics and clubs, Gu is also no stranger to the honor societies. He is president of the Math National Honor Society, a former president of Math League, in charge of running the science fair this year. He is also first chair trumpet and a member of the Science Olympiad.


“I’m happy but I wasn’t really expecting to be here because school has always been hard for me. I’m happy and grateful to be a co-salutatorian.” Gu said.


Principal Debbie Iosso couldn’t be prouder of all of her graduating seniors, especially the top three.


“From the very first moment that we called them down to the office to tell them about their achievements, you could just sense the camaraderie among the three of them. It’s not often that we have co-salutatorians and a valedictorian. It was just an instant pleasure for each other, happy for each other, congratulating each other which is always such a fabulous feeling.”


The Randolph High School Class of 2019 will gather together for one final time on June 19 to celebrate their graduation.

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Cadette Girl Scout Troop #95705 held a Kindness Workshop Tue, 11 Jun 2019 22:56:29 +0000 On April 26, Cadette Girl Scout Troop #95705 held a Kindness Workshop as a Take Action Project at Randolph Middle School to educate middle school students about bullying prevention and strategies on healthy friendships.  The project was a part of their Amaze Journey which discussed how to navigate through the twists and turns of relationships.  The night included speakers Dr. Maryalice Thomas -Randolph District Anti-Bullying Coordinator and Jennifer Wagener- Randolph Middle School Counselor. 

The workshop was selected by the Randolph Education Association as a PRIDE event. The Randolph Education Association had awarded Nancy Podesta, a Randolph High School Paraprofessional and Girl Scout Troop Leader #95705, a PRIDE grant for a community involved project.  The purpose of a PRIDE grant is to bring the school and community together to celebrate the achievements of New Jersey’s public schools.  The PRIDE grant assisted the Girl Scout Cadettes to achieve their diplomat award promoting positive group messages with peer support. The grant funded the purchase of tee shirts that were created exclusively for the event to spread the “Kindness Message” throughout the community. Cadette girls Jessa Altemose and Lauren Podesta created 2 positive slogans for their t-shirts, “Labels are for jars, not people” and “Kindness is the most beautiful trait”. The girls positive messages were voted on by fellow Cadettes. The event also included students writing positive messages on Kindness rocks, thumb printing a Kindness pledge and role playing friendship scenarios.  One of the Cadette Moms, Nikki Colella -Bagner also provided information about an upcoming anti-bullying campaign by a yarn company, Lion Brand Yarn that is asking people to knit blue hats as a way to raise funds and awareness.  Nancy, also worked alongside, Leader Melissa Altemose,  Cadette girls (shown in the picture- Front row- Grace Karaces, Dionna Bagner, Lauren Podesta, Hayley Ross, Isabella Jones. Back row- Jessa Altemose and Ellie MacGregor ) and their moms including Angela Jones, Sarah Karaces, Jackie MacGregor and Meredith Ross. An amazing exchange of thoughts was shared amongst the girls, their parents and Randolph community members.


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