Election 2017: Five Compete for Two Open Highlands Seats

first_imgGreg WellsAge: 42Qualifications: Member of Highlands Open Space and Recreation Committees; former member of Highlands Land Use BoardProfession: Product Leader for Nielsen Holdings PLCCampaign Slogan: New Perspective, Fresh Ideas, Real ActionFor Greg Wells, his platform is influenced by the words of a mentor – crumbs make cake. Every little thing in town matters to the whole big picture.“It doesn’t seem like we’re really executing right now,” Wells said, adding he wants “to see if we can actually get some stuff done down here.”Wells, who lives close to the Seastreak ferry terminal, sees the dearth of parking as a real detriment to the residents in that section. He said investigating a solution is paramount.“There were times when we thought Seastreak was going to go out of business,” said Wells. “Now that they’re so popular, we have a real parking problem. It’s something that affects all of the people who live down there.”Regarding downtown flooding, Wells said executing on previously engineered projects is important. Wells also said he wants to create an “engineering project manager” position in Highlands. That person would report to the borough administrator and would be the point-of-contact for any and all infrastructure improvement projects.“Get a full-time position in town to execute on these large-scale engineering projects,” he said.  “Everybody needs to agree there’s too many cooks in the kitchen.”Wells also had a number of ideas to benefit taxpayers, including executing on shared service agreements with neighboring towns, and improving upon the unique nautical recreation opportunities.Regarding Shadow Lawn, Wells said his view might be more unique. He is for redeveloping the property, but doesn’t “want to write the developer a blank check.”He wants to rely on resident surveys done between 2015 and 2016, where over half of Highlands residents said they were comfortable with the property’s current zoning of mid- to high-rise.“I am for development up there,” Wells said, “but responsibly and with input from the community.”John CobergAge: 65Qualifications: Highlands Department of Public Works employee of 25 years; former captain of Highlands First Aid Squad.Profession: RetiredCampaign Slogan: NoneLife-long resident John Coberg, a U.S. Army Vietnam veteran who worked in Highlands for over two decades, said Highlands has struggled to come back after Sandy hit in October 2012.“I look at what they (Highlands borough council) have done since Sandy ended, and I’ve seen everything concentrated on the main street,” he said. “But if you turn down any one of those side streets, it’s terrible.”Coberg was critical of the post-Sandy rebuild, citing communities like Sea Bright and Union Beach which have rebuilt in a timelier fashion.“We’re only a little town, and all that got done was Bay Avenue?” Coberg questioned.Coberg said, if elected, he would push to get away from the “fighting with one another” he sees happening on the current borough council, and look to open up lines of communication.Among his different platforms, Coberg said he wants to implement parking meters along Shore Drive for Seastreak commuters who park on the street; not redevelop Shadow Lawn Trailer Park into multi-level housing; and focus on finding state and federal grants to help Highlands.He is pushing for major beach replenishment from Sandy Hook Bay Marina down to Miller Beach, so residents can benefit in more than one way.“That’s going to keep the water away and keep the heritage of this town,” he said.This article was first published in the Oct. 19-26, 2017 print edition of The Two River Times. By Jay Cook |HIGHLANDS – With the five-year anniversary of Super Storm Sandy around the corner, each candidate running in this year’s election said it’s time for Highlands to step forward in the post-Sandy rebuild. Opening lines of communication between the borough and its residents was also brought up by each candidate. Highlands operates a non-partisan government and has two open seats this year as council members Doug Card and Rebecca Kane-Wells are not seeking re-election. The two open seats on the Borough Council come with a full, three-year term. All five candidates have been invited to attend a debate night on Friday, Oct. 20, at 8 p.m. at the Robert D. Wilson Community Center, 22 Snug Harbor Ave. It will be moderated by former Highlands resident Muriel J. Smith.Frank NolanAge: 47Qualifications: Highlands Councilman from 2006 to 2009; Highlands Mayor from 2010 to 2016; member of Highlands Land Use BoardProfession: Real Estate Agent with Burke & Manna, Sea Bright; Title Agent with Two Rivers Title, Little SilverCampaign Slogan: Leadership, Experience, and Integrity Mean SomethingNolan, the only resident running in this election with elected political office experience, said it’s the clear-cut reason why he should return to the council.“Yes, that means I have a record you can pick at,” Nolan said, “but also I’m not going to need on-the-job training.”The former mayor didn’t seek re-election to respect term limits. He said it gave him the opportunity to step back and refocus on his positions.Nolan said, if elected, he’ll focus on funding the school system, infrastructure, and the police department. Those three entities are the pillars of the Highlands community, he said.One of this election’s hot topics – infrastructure – was discussed heavily this summer when fecal matter was draining into the stormwater sewer system. It was polluting Highlands’ two public beaches.Nolan said during his time on the borough council, pre-Hurricane Irene, the council approved a bond for an infrastructure reconstruction project. It entailed installing a pump station on Snug Harbor Avenue, as well as creating more floodline piping through town. He said it is ready to go, and would advocate for starting that project.Nolan also said he’s a parent to a child currently in the Highlands school system. He said that alone means he has an investment in what the school system is doing, and how much funding it could need.“You also want to make sure you have a good product,” he said. “The kids who we’re sending there are our future leaders.”Talk about having Sea Bright students leave Shore Regional and attend Henry Hudson Regional have resurfaced, Nolan said, and he would be receptive to that plan “if it doesn’t water down the product.”“If we have the capacity, I’m all for it,” he said.Ken Braswell Age: 58Qualifications: Member of Highlands Land Use Board; Former chair, vice chair, member of Highlands/Atlantic Highlands Sewer AuthorityProfession: Owner of ShoreGrafx, HighlandsCampaign Slogan: Levelheaded LeadershipBraswell, running for office the first time with running mate Rosemary Ryan, said improving the underground infrastructure would be his top priority if elected.The Army Corps of Engineers presented a plan to Highlands in April which called for building a flood wall along much of the borough’s bayshore frontage to protect from Sandy-caliber storms. Braswell said he was against the plan because homeowners would still need flood insurance and basic roadway flooding wouldn’t cease.As a small business owner with an office on Bay Avenue, he said the perpetual fear of flooding is a real concern.“It’s been overlooked way too long in Highlands, and it’s going to catch up to us,” Braswell said. “It has already in some respects.”With experience on the expired Highlands/Atlantic Highlands Sewer Authority, Braswell believes he can open talks with neighboring towns and the state to reduce the amount of stormwater draining downhill along Route 36.“We just can’t handle it anymore,” he said, bluntly. “We can’t attract new businesses.”It’s a Catch-22, Braswell continued, as the borough will have to pay to fix flooding issues and, until it happens, tax revenue from new businesses will be dormant. He said finding that balance is key.Fixing the flooding is “just the willpower to go through and find a way to do it without impacting our taxes a great deal,” he said.His wife, Carla Cefalo Braswell, is president of the Highlands Business Partnership. Braswell wants to strengthen the relationship between local businesses and the governing body.Rosemary RyanAge: 49Qualifications: Member of Highlands Land Use Board; member of Highlands Business Partnership; former president of Henry Hudson Regional Board of EducationProfession: Paralegal with Law Office of Toby Grabelle, ShrewsburyCampaign Slogan: Levelheaded LeadershipAlso running in her first political election, Ryan said her presence on the council with Braswell will allow for an efficient government, where more can be done than what is currently happening.“In the past, there seemed to be some friction on the board, which has hindered progress,” she said, adding “I can be aggressive, but I’m very pleasant to deal with.”Branching out from Braswell’s position on downtown flooding, Ryan said she plans to spotlight residential code enforcement. Simple things like property maintenance and ensuring homes are safe and attractive to the eye are important. It goes a long way if everyone is responsible for their properties, she said.“Yes, we want to keep this nice, small town atmosphere,” Ryan said. “But we need improvements.”Ryan and Braswell said they were on a Land Use Board subcommittee which selected a planner to investigate if Shadow Lawn Trailer Park could be deemed an “area in need of redevelopment.” The 14-acre site has nearly 100 residents leasing trailers, and is the last major developable piece of land in Highlands.Ryan said she wouldn’t want to see an equivalent to the neighboring EastPointe high-rise development, but said redevelopment could benefit Highlands sooner if shorter tax abatements are provided.“We would love to see more residents up there,” Ryan said. “I just don’t know how many units.”With experience on the local Board of Education, Ryan said bringing Sea Bright students to Henry Hudson would be a priority of hers. The high school is “a private school setting in a public school environment,” she said.Ryan said conversations over recent years have made the school district change for Sea Bright students a reality. Those students would travel less and be closer to home.“It’s something that I’ve supported from the beginning,” she added.last_img read more

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Red Bank Plans for Park Improvements and a Parade

first_imgBy Philip Sean Curran The borough council voted March 27 to authorize the borough to apply for the funding from the state Department of Environmental Protection. Prior to the vote, borough engineer Laura Neumann outlined the projects and the costs involved. “It keeps the passivenature of the park, but itdoes implement a newerboardwalk to ensure thatthe shoreline stays stable,”Nuemann said. “And, again,the purpose is to maintainthe environmental natureand the passive nature thatcurrently exists in the parkbut just by rehabbing someof what we have out there.” At Riverside Gardens,the borough intends tospend $113,565 to replacethe boardwalk decking andmake other improvementsat the park located on WestFront Street next to theNavesink River. He explained the thinking into why officials chose the Riverside Gardens and Bellhaven projects to seek state funding. “Bellhaven will not be open during the work and Riverside will largely remain open with some restricted access to small areas where work is being done,” he said. After the parade is overthere will be a ceremony at51 Monmouth St. RED BANK – Red Bank will seek $162,625 in state grants to help pay for projects at Riverside Gardens Park and Bellhaven Nature Area. Borough administrator Ziad A. Shehady told officials that both projects have been funded through past bond ordinances. “So if we are successful in these grant applications,” he said, “we’ll be able to not have to draw down on funding from the bond ordinances for these, either reallocate it elsewhere or cancel those funds.” center_img At Bellhaven, plans call for installing an observation tower and “some recreational components,” she said. In recent years officials have been considering what to do with the park on Locust Avenue where the borough considered but dropped an earlier idea to install a water play area. To help pay for the $423,371 proposal, the borough will seek a grant of $105,842. In other business, the borough will have a Memorial Day parade for the first time in many years. The parade, scheduled for May 27, is due to step off at Irving and Arthur places at noon, but will be cancelled if there is rain, according to the borough. The borough recreation department and the Red Bank Elks Lodge #233 are sponsoring the parade. Groups interested in marching may call the recreation department at 732-530-2782 and ask for Oscar Salinas. Another view of Riverside Gardens Park, overlooking the Navesink.Photo by Chris Rotolo Shehady said there is noschedule in place “at thispoint” for either project. “When this grant application came up, the reason we selected these projects for that grant application was because a lot of the technical work and the design work and the engineering work was already done,” he said. “So rather than pick a new project and have to expend new resources on a project that really hasn’t gone through the full vetting process for the council and public, we figured it would be best to pick two existing projects so we can minimize the tax burden.” The borough will look for the state to provide half,or $56,782, of the projectcost.last_img read more

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Huge Retirement Sale With Lynne’s Fashion Boutique

first_imgDon’t forget to register to win one of the Fantastic Prizes such as a 55″ T.V, Ring Video Doorbell, Ninja Air Fryer, Google Home Mini and much more. Mention this email and receive 5,000 Prize Dollars toward our Prize Giveaway.  Lynne has now chosen to retire and and move on to her next phase of life. She is holding a Retirement Celebration Sale with huge markdowns on every item. Come by, enjoy the sale, save hundreds and say goodbye to your Fashion Boutique friends. Here at Lynne’s Fashion Boutique our Huge Retirement Celebration Sale just got better! We now have discounts up to 65% off regular pricing!Now is a perfect time to browse and shop for Easter, Mother’s Day, Weddings, Formal Events or just great every day casuals. Also, don’t miss our must see selections of Imported from Thailand,  Silk Dresses and Gowns.  Hurry in to save hundreds of dollars while there is still plenty to choose from! Thirty One Years ago, Lynne Goldberg quite unexpectedly began “Dressing Women” in the Toms River area from a small first floor office building. She provided top label selections in casuals, special events and accessories. Decades and four locations of growth later, Lynne’s Fashion Boutique of Little Silver has continued to serve the community. Adorning women for Mother of the Bride or Groom, Socials as well as every day casuals has been their passion. Their selections are recognizable, highly regarded international and domestic labels.  We are located at 31 Church Street in Little Silver, NJ 07739. Open Tues-Friday 10:30am to 5:30pm Saturday from 10:30am to 4:00pmlast_img read more

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Seniors Adjust to Life in Lockdown

first_imgAs with most senior residences, Chelsea Senior Living communities closely follow New Jersey Department of Health guidelines. All employees have the personal protective equipment they need, including masks, gloves, face shields and hand sanitizer, and are screened before each shift.  To keep residents and their families in touch with one another Brighton Gardens uses iPads and schedules Facetime and Skype calls, said Rathgeber.  She chats on the phone with family and friends, and keeps busy reading, most recently Ken Follet and Robert Parker. “I have a dear friend with a lot of books,” she said. “I’m hoping to get another batch from her soon.” The hardest part of quarantine for many of the seniors, Rathgeber said, is understanding why they can’t have visitors.  With the coronavirus touching every aspect of our society, all everyone is affected. Officials, celebrities and loved ones tell us to “Stay home. Stop the spread. Save lives.”  “Communication with families is done through text, email, telephone and video venues. Our residents no longer take their meals in a communal dining room,” he said. “Their meals are delivered to their apartments.”  Some of these seniors – many of them octogenarians or older and many with pre-existing medical conditions – are struggling to accept the changes to their lives. Rose Tamburro has lived through World War II and outlived two husbands and a daughter, but she never thought she’d find herself masked and quarantined in her Lincroft apartment. It’s an unprecedented time but Plant, a widow, and her generation have weathered more: World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars and 9/11. Plant remembers the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 when her children were young. “I was terrified,” Plant recalled. “My husband was coming home early from work. I packed the whole car – baby formulas and all. I was a wreck,” she said of her plans to flee and take cover. “We were going to drive to Pennsylvania.” Now they must rely on family, friends or volunteer groups to shop for their food. Known as the Greatest Generation, many are living alone, suddenly cut off from their activities, houses of worship, even the supermarket. Some who’ve embraced technology may be navigating how to get the news online and what to do when their grandchildren want to talk to them on something called Zoom. Rose Tamburro of Lincroft doesn’t venture out of her apartment without donning her mask. Photo by Judy O’Gorman Alvarez But she spends her time reading the newspaper, chatting with family on the phone, watching TV, cleaning her apartment and cooking. “I love to cook and I love to dance. And I do them both every day in my apartment,” she said. “I cook lamb shank, pasta fagioli, whatever.” In pre-COVID-19 days, the Middletown Senior Center would be organizing bus trips, bingo games and crafts. But nowadays, staff is checking in with seniors to see how they’re faring. Seniors living alone have tried to make the best of it though. Davis said, “It does take a village. And this hardship exemplifies the community spirit and it’s wonderfulto see.” When Barbara Plant’s grandchildren visit, they keep their distance to avoid any possible transmission of the coronavirus. Photo courtesy Pat Nelson So Plant doesn’t spend time ruminating about what she’s missing now. Sure, she’d prefer to be going to breakfast with friends, spending time with family and doing everyday activities. “But so much of that stuff is not that important,” she said. “Some seniors are very stressed,” said Alison Block, a psychologist in Oceanport. “They’re not familiar with technology, they worry they may be ‘hacked,’ and they may be having trouble ordering food online.” At Brighton Gardens in Middletown, like most long-term care and senior living community facilities, residents’ health is closely monitored. Outside visitors and group activities have been suspended and residents stay in their rooms. She points out that a person who “normally would be playing mah-jongg or bridge” has been thrust into a world without those activities. In her practice, specializing in anxiety disorders, Block said, “I’m seeing people cut off from their normal support system.” “We have amazing life enrichment managers,” said Lori Rathgeber, director of sales. “Someone goes into every single apartment, reads to them, plays a game, so that they are getting stimulation every day.” Plant said at Shadow Lake Village in Middletown, an active adult community where she lives, some residents do informal exercises in the parking lot and many of her neighbors play mah-jongg online. “We’re turning a disadvantage into something that’s new and unique.” “And then that got settled,” she said. “And it was over.” “Oh, this is serious,” she said of COVID-19. She only goes for short walks outside her building. “And I always wear my mask.” Her daughter and daughter-in-law bring groceries and hot meals so she doesn’t have to venture to the supermarket. When her grandchildren visit they stand outside the glass door. “We personally contact each member to make sure they have resources and they’re in touch with their family members,” said Kourtney Davis, Middletown Senior Center supervisor.  “If the weather is good, I’ll walk with a girlfriend – but she’s 6 feet away from me,” she said. Staff can advise seniors of stores that may have curbside pickup or contactless checkouts and, if needed, steer them to programs for monetary help such as Lunch Break or Meals on Wheels. Some seniors are frail or convalescing and unable to get out of their homes in nonpandemic times. “We’re here to assist all members,” Davis said. “It’s so important right now for families to be in touch – even if they’re out of state,” said Davis. “That’s where the breakdown can happen. We follow through to make sure everybody is talking.” Some residents have embraced the technology and for some the reactions have been endearing. “We get a lot of ‘Where are you? I can see you, but I can’t touch you.’ ”  Plant admits it’s a trying time and she’s had disappointments; her 85th birthday celebration was scheduled for the Molly Pitcher Inn. “We had to cancel,” she said. “But that’s neither here nor there.”  She misses attending the Zumba classes the building used to run and daily Mass at St. Leo the Great church across the street. “I don’t know when we’ll be able to go back,” she said.  Keeping seniors safe is on the minds of the Monmouth County Freeholders who have launched initiatives to help them, including expanding SCAT service, early morning transportation for seniors to take advantage of designated shopping hours offered by many grocery stores and other essential retail locations. “People are talking about dying,” Block said of seniors and the middle-aged. “I’ve had people who have said to me, ‘I’m not afraid to die, but I’m afraid to die alone.’ ”  And she has discovered she has a penchant for online shopping, although among the purchases are some she plans to return. “I have so much that has to go back to Talbot’s when this is all over.” Easter came and went with barely a celebration but Tamburro’s grandchildren and dog came to visit – social distance-style. “They came to the window with plants and homemade cookies,” said Tamburro, who lives on the first floor. They sang “Happy Easter” and left the gifts on the chair outside her window so she could retrieve them later. “We have had a strict no-visitation policy in effect since March 12th,” said Tom Kranz, director of communications, in an email.  But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people 65 years and older are considered at high risk for severe illness from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.  She urges everyone to ask themselves, “What can we all do to help our seniors?” Sometimes that means chatting with seniors about their concerns, especially about fears and isolation. “There is a loneliness factor, of course,” said Davis, “when you’re afraid to leave your house. But I’ve heard great things too, like it’s an opportunity to finally clean out that drawer, tackle projects.” Rose Tamburro has heeded the warning to stay home and out of supermarkets – even though she lives in a senior living apartment house adjacent to the Lincroft Acme. Instead, her daughter comes to drop off groceries.  “The health and safety of our residents and employees has always been and remains our number one priority,” said Kranz. She allows herself a walk to a small nearby store and recently brought a bagel back for a neighbor. “When she opened the door I threw her the bag – keeping 6 feet back – and she threw me a kiss,” Tamburro laughed. “It’s what we have to do.” Perhaps the most important role of the senior center is keeping the lines of communication open, especially between the senior and their family. Each member has supplied the center with an emergency contact to be called if their loved one is possibly at risk.  The article originally appeared in the April 30 – May 6, 2020 print edition of The Two River Times. Some favorite pastimes include residents lining up in their doorways and playing Hall Bingo. “We yell the numbers down the hall,” said Rathgeber. “Or we go down the hall and let them sing karaoke. That’s a lot of fun. You know, you’ve got to get creative.” Barbara Plant celebrated her Easter this year 6 feet away from her loved ones. And even though social distancing can be inconvenient, she doesn’t feel lonely. By Judy O’Gorman Alvarez “Just put me with a book and I’ll be OK.”last_img read more

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