Sunday, April 21, 2024
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Hanover Community Invited to Take Survey Regarding Superintendent Search

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HANOVER — The Hanover Township Board of Education is inviting the public to participate in a survey designed to seek input for the current Superintendent search process.

You can read the letter they posted on their website below:

Dear Hanover Township Community,

The Hanover Township Board of Education has contracted with Strategic Educational Advantage LLC to assist us with our search for the next Superintendent. 

We have created a survey to help us gather information from the entire community regarding the desired characteristics they would like to see in the next Superintendent.

The data collected will be used to create a Profile of the Candidate which will be utilized in our advertisements, screenings, and the Board’s assessment of candidates. 

I urge you to use the provided link and take a few minutes to complete this brief survey.

Click here to complete the survey.

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and opinions with the Hanover Township Board of Education.

Please note that a “Superintendent Search Info” tab has been created and placed at the top of the District website. Throughout the search process, this new tab will serve to provide a convenient place to access information and updates regarding the Superintendent Search.

Sincerely,
The Hanover Township Board of Education





Twelve North Stars Gymnasts Advance to Nationals

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Level 10 National qualifiers Top row: Olivia Kelly, Mahwah; Alana Walker, West Orange; Kai Mattei, Melville, N.Y., Stella Fischer, Bridgewater. Second row: Leah Higgins, Boonton; Sophia Rocca, Blairstown (All-Star Session/event specialist-beam) Level 9 Eastern National qualifiers Second row: Mira Kalra, Basking Ridge; Sh’Nai Thompson, Dunellen Bottom row: Lia DiNapoli, Butler; Keira Schwarz, Basking Ridge; Ashlyn Cummings, Oak Ridge; Olivia Cuff, Denville (alternate).

MORRIS COUNTY — The North Stars Gymnastics Academy proudly announces 12 National Qualifiers from its USAG National Women’s Development Program, with one of its gymnasts dominating the national field scoring the highest all-around among all Level 10s at the annual U.S. regional meets.

After intense competition, six Level 10 gymnasts and six Level 9s from North Stars Gymnastics qualified at the USAG Region 7 Regionals held at the Nittany Valley Sports Center in State College, Pa. April 11-14. The gymnasts are trained by Head Team Coach Ashley Umberger, Faith Baranowski, Heather Moroz, Shenice Martin, Melissa Jones, and Brielle Benoski.

The USAG Gymnastics Women’s Program is comprised of eight regions throughout the nation, representing all 50 states. Region 7 Gymnastics is the governing body of USAG Gymnastics representing Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.

The top seven all-around finishers and one alternate from each age group qualify to represent Region 7 nationally. Ten is the top score gymnasts could receive for each event including balance beam, uneven bars, floor exercise, and vault. All-around scores are comprised of all four events with 40 as the highest.

In line with North Stars’ long-standing tradition of excellence, senior Olivia Kelly of Mahwah earned the highest all-around score among all Level 10s from the eight USAG regions with a 39.425The Missouri Women’s Gymnastics Team commit also won the top spot at the New Jersey Level 10 State Championship last month.

“We are proud to have so many of our talented athletes qualify to compete at these prestigious events,” said Ashley Umberger, CEO, part-owner, and head coach of North Stars Gymnastics Academy. “Their hard work, dedication, and perseverance have paid off, earning them an opportunity to compete and showcase their skills on a national level.”

The Level 10s will compete in the USAG Development Program 2024 National Championship May 9-12 at the Volusia County Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Fla. The top four all-around athletes from each age division will make up the USA Development Program National Team and receive an invitation to participate in a special training camp. The event will be streamed live via a subscription service.

North Stars’ Level 10 National qualifiers include:

  • Olivia Kelly, 17, Mahwah (Bergen County) Class of 2024, Sr. D

North Stars Gymnastics Academy Homeschool Program, senior

University of Missouri Women’s Gymnastics Team commit

AA champion, first place 39.4250

Beam, first place 9.900

Bars, first place 9.850

Floor, first place 9.950

Vault, 9.725

  •  Leah Higgins, 13, Boonton (Morris County) Class of 2029, Jr. A

North Stars Gymnastics Academy Homeschool Program, 7th grade

AA, fifth place 37.4250

Bars, 9.500

Beam, 9.000

Floor, fifth place 9.575

Vault, 9.350

  • Stella Fischer, 14Bridgewater (Somerset County) Class of 2027, Jr. B

North Stars Gymnastics Academy Homeschool Program, freshman

AA, fourth place 36.8250

Bars, fourth place 9.400

Beam, second place 9.625

Floor, 8.725

Vault, 9.075

  • Sophia Rocca, 14Blairstown (Warren County) Class of 2028, Jr. B (All-Star Session/event specialist-beam)

North Stars Gymnastics Academy Homeschool Program, 8th grade

Bars, 9.275

Beam, first place 9.650

  • Kai Mattei, 17Melville,Y. (Suffolk County) Class of 2025, Sr. B

North Stars Gymnastics Academy Homeschool Program, junior

AA, fourth place 37.4500

Bars, 8.975

Beam, first place tie 9.625

Floor, 9.400

Vault, 9.450

  • Alana Walker, 17, West Orange (Essex County) Class of 2024, Sr. D

North Stars Gymnastics Academy Homeschool Program, senior

Stanford Women’s Gymnastics Team commit

AA, second place 38.5250

Bars, 9.375

Beam, fourth place 9.500

Floor, second place 9.850

Vault, second place tie 9.800

In Level, 9, gymnasts will compete individually in their respective age groups and as part of the Region 7 National Team from May 2-5 at the USA Gymnastics Women’s Artistic Level 9 Eastern Championships at the Myrtle Beach Sports Center in South Carolina.

Easterns consists of Regions 5, 6, 7, and 8 — representing 26 states in the Eastern part of the U.S. The other half, Regions 1, 2, 3, and 4, will compete at Westerns the same weekend in Coralville, Idaho.

North Stars’ Level 9 qualifiers for Easterns include:

  • Mira Kalra, 15Basking Ridge (Somerset County) Class of 2026, Sr. 3

Ridge High School, sophomore

AA champion, first place 38.1750

Beam, first place 9.450

Bars, first place 9.500

Floor, first place 9.675

Vault, first place 9.550

  • Olivia Cuff, 14, Denville (Morris County) Class of 2027, Jr. 7 (first alternate)

Morris Knolls High School, Rockaway, N.J., freshman

AA 35.900

Beam, 8.525

Bars, 8.375

Floor, fourth place 9.525

Vault, third place 9.475

  • Ashlyn Cummings, 12, Oak Ridge (Morris County) Class of 2029, Jr. 2

North Stars Gymnastics Academy Homeschool Program, 7th grade

AA, sixth place 36.950

Beam, 8.725

Bars, second place 9.450

Floor, 9.500

Vault, 9.275

  • Lia DiNapoli, 15, Butler (Morris County) Class of 2026, Sr. 3

North Stars Gymnastics Academy Homeschool Program, sophomore

AA, third place 36.5750

Beam, 9.200

Bars, 8.600

Floor, 9.300

Vault, second place tie 9.475

  • Keira Schwarz,14, Basking Ridge (Somerset County) Class of 2028, Jr. 6

William Annin Middle School, Basking Ridge, 8th grade

AA, third place 37.600

Bars, first place 9.400

Beam, 8.950

Floor, first place tie 9.700

Vault, third place 9.550

  • Sh’Nai Thompson,16Dunellen (Middlesex County) Class of 2025, Sr. 5

Dunellen High School, junior

AA, second place 37.6250

Bars, 8.800

Beam, second place 9.425

Floor, second place 9.600

Vault, first place tie 9.800





April Recognized as National Sexual Assault Awareness Month

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Morris County Commissioners Deborah Smith and Thomas Mastrangelo, Commissioner Deputy Director Stephen Shaw, Sherry Aitchinson, LPC of the Morris County Sexual Assault Center, Kerri Bossardet-West, LCSW and Manager of Atlantic Behavioral Health, Commissioner John Krickus, Commissioner Director Christine Myers, and Commissioners Doug Cabana and Tayfun Selen

MORRIS COUNTY — The Morris County Board of County Commissioners declared April 2024 National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month at a meeting last week, when Commissioners Director Christine Myers presented a framed proclamation to members of Atlantic Health System’s Behavioral Health Team for their work to provide outreach and support to victims through the Morris County Sexual Assault Center. 

“More than half of all women and nearly one-third of all men in America have experienced sexual violence according to statistics released this year by the White House,” said Myers. “And let’s not forget about the children who are victimized and who many times are nameless. It can happen anywhere, to anyone, and the trauma is life-changing for victims. National Sexual Assault Awareness Month serves as a critical reminder that sexual assault is a serious societal issue that requires collective action and commitment to create a safer world where everyone can feel protected.”

Kerri Bossardet-West, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Manager of Atlantic Behavioral Health, and Sherry Aitchinson, Licensed Professional Counselor of the Morris County Sexual Assault Center at Atlantic Behavioral Health, accepted the proclamation.

“We want to thank the Commissioners for once again acknowledging Sexual Assault and Prevention Awareness Month,” said Aitchinson. “And to let people know that we are here, and we are available. Our hotline is open 24/7; we don’t want victims to suffer in silence. This is a free service in Morris County, and we want everyone to spread the word.” 

Sexual abuse can happen almost anywhere, whether at work, home, school, or other public places—or even online—to virtually anyone, regardless of geography, race, age, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or economic and social background. The trauma of sexual abuse is life-changing for victims and can lead to depression, anxiety, and PTSD, among other physical and emotional impacts.

“We have seen an increase in sexual violence after the pandemic, so your support for the Morris County Sexual Assault Center under Atlantic Health System is very important,” said Bossardet-West. “Thank you for getting the word out that we are here to serve the victims of sexual assault.”

Sherry Aitchinson, Kerri Bossardet-West and Commissioner Directory Myers.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual assault, please call the Atlantic Behavioral Health Sexual Assault Program Hotline: (973) 829-0587. Confidential support and crisis counseling provided by a professional therapist are available around the clock, every day.

Advocates, certified forensic nurses, and specially trained law enforcement investigators of Atlantic Health’s Sexual Assault Response Team are available to address the medical, emotional, and legal needs of survivors 13 years of age and up who are in acute crisis and have been sexually assaulted within five days.

Please visit the Atlantic Behavioral Health website by clicking here for more information on the Morris County Sexual Assault Center.





N.J. Assembly Quietly Votes to End 2% Property Tax Cap for Schools

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File Photo

On April 15, the state Assembly passed bill A4161, which assists schools in offsetting their reduced state aid by raising property taxes. The Assembly passed the bill with a 52-20 vote allowing certain school districts, which faced reduced state aid in the past five years (226 districts, around 40% of all districts), to hike property taxes by up to 9.9% without prior voter consent.

The situation worsens as the increase becomes part of the new base, perpetuating the elevated levy. Moreover, schools are prohibited from staff reductions except in cases of enrollment decline and with pre-approval from the Department of Education Commissioner.

In essence, it’s not just a repeal; it’s a dismantling of the 2% cap, alarming residents of New Jersey.

Assemblyman Jay Webber (R-26) condemned Democrats for treating the detrimental consequences of their flawed school funding formula as if facing a natural disaster, rather than addressing the issue head-on. He explained how their temporary fix eviscerates a 2010 state law that limited property tax increases to 2% and circumvents the requirement for public approval on significant property tax hikes.





Individual Allegedly Tries to Lure Kids Through Chat Platform

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Morris County Correctional Facility

BOONTON TOWNSHIP — Morris County Prosecutor Robert J. Carroll confirmed that Brian Stewart, 41, of Clifton, faces charges related to attempting to lure two children for sexual activity via the KIK Messenger app.

Allegedly, between March 18 and March 27, 2024, Stewart engaged in sexually explicit conversations with the minors and arranged to meet them in Boonton Township for the purpose of sexual intercourse, using the username “Brian Being Brian” on KIK Messenger.

The investigation is ongoing, with no further details disclosed at this time to protect the identities of the juvenile victims.

Stewart is charged with two counts of second-degree luring, four counts of second-degree attempted aggravated sexual assault, second-degree attempted endangering the welfare of a child, and two counts of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child.

He remains in custody at the Morris County Correctional Facility pending court proceedings.

Individuals with information about this incident are urged to contact the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office Sex Crimes/Child Endangerment Unit at (973) 285-6200.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, this Defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.





Boonton Enforces Flag Restrictions at Town Hall

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Boonton town officials have voted to modify a divisive ordinance regarding flag displays on municipal property. Notably, the Pride flag is now barred from flying at Town Hall during June, the designated Pride Month.

BOONTON — Boonton town officials recently voted to amend a controversial ordinance concerning flag displays on municipal property. The revised ordinance now prohibits the flying of the Pride flag outside Boonton Town Hall, limiting it to only the American flag and the POW flag. This decision has stirred discontent among some residents. The final vote was 6-3 in favor of passing Ordinance 8-24. Ms. Maris DeVenzia, Mr. Jacob Hettrich and Mr. Benjamin Weisman voted against approving this ordinance.

Click here to read the entire ordinance.

The ordinance reads “To establish the Town of Boonton policy governing the display of flags by the Town on flag poles on Town property and upon stages and podiums at Town sponsored events. Town-owned flag poles are not intended to serve as a forum for free expression by the public and are for official purposes.”

In response, a grassroots movement has emerged, known as Rainbow Main Street, aiming to cover as much sidewalk as possible with Pride symbolism to show support for the LGBTQ+ community. The group emphasized the temporary nature of chalk art, paralleling it with the impermanence of safe spaces. The group believes that by strategically placing the chalk art, individuals will be confronted with the message, sparking awareness and discussion.

Resident Peter Notho said “I’ve been a resident of Boonton for over 40 years; I am a Vietnam vet. This town is always welcomed to everyone regardless of religion, race, sexual identification, etc., The American flag and state-mandated flags are all-inclusive. Having an ordinance that would allow other flags to fly with the American Flag simply opens up the opportunity for every group, movement, or idea to follow. We are all Americans under one flag and we don’t need to identify every group, religion, sex, movement, etc. that wants to be recognized.”

The main request from the community members involved in Rainbow Main Street is to have the Pride flag flown below the American flag and POW flag at Town Hall for the month of June, in recognition of Pride Month.

“We strongly encourage a council not to replace the current flag with the one proposed the newly truncated list of government and military entities reflect to perversely limited. Our town slogan is ‘small town, big heart’ saying the desire is to avoid the potential for intended consequences. Makes sense in this word, it eliminates public observance is a national holiday for example was that the goal of the owned flag may not be intended to serve as a warm for express expression by the public. We can see no reason whatsoever or to be replaced,” Michael and Alexandra Owens.

On the other hand, town officials defend the updated town code, stating that it aims to clarify policies and procedures to prevent unintended consequences. However, the decision continues to be a source of contention within the Boonton community.

You can click here to view portions of the meeting.





Employers Association of New Jersey Welcomes Christine Myers as New President

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Christine Myers

MORRIS COUNTY — Employers Association of New Jersey (EANJ) proudly announces the appointment of Christine Myers as its new President, effective March 11, 2024. With a distinguished background in public service, corporate leadership, and community engagement, Myers brings a wealth of experience and a dynamic vision to her role as the fourth president in EANJ’s 108-year history and its first woman president.

Myers’ remarkable career spans various sectors, showcasing her commitment to excellence and innovation. An experienced corporate executive, successful small business owner, presidential appointee, non-profit board member, and elected official, Myers’ extensive experience and proven track record make her an invaluable asset to EANJ and its members.

“The Board of Directors is delighted to welcome Christine Myers as the leader of EANJ,” said Richard Balka, Chair of the EANJ Board.  “With a deep understanding of the needs of New Jersey employers, she resonates with our core mission to help all New Jersey employers to strengthen the relationship between employer and employees while navigating the ever-changing legal and compliance landscape.”

Currently serving as Commissioner Director for 2024 on the Morris County Board of County Commissioners, Myers has spearheaded the implementation of a County Strategic Plan and debt reserve policy, ensuring the long-term prosperity of Morris County. The Board of County Commissioners, with broad powers granted by the state legislature, regulates county property, finances, and affairs.

In 2017, Myers was appointed Regional Advocate at the Office of Advocacy, U.S. Small Business Administration, where she addressed regulatory challenges faced by thousands of business owners, earning widespread recognition for her dedication to the success of small businesses.

Myers’ corporate career began at AT&T, managing critical technology and communication programs for entities such as the U.S. Dept. of State, the White House, and U.S. presidential candidates. She later held executive positions at Lucent Technologies, Avaya and Siemens Enterprise Networks, designing and leading global alliance organizations and delivering innovative solutions for public and private sector clients.

As the co-founder of Madison Park Foods, an award-winning seasoning and spice rub manufacturer, Myers has demonstrated entrepreneurial acumen and a commitment to quality.

“We are thrilled that Christine Myers has agreed to lead us into our next chapter,” said Doreen Anthony, head of the search committee and EANJ board member.  “We were fortunate to have found her thanks to the efforts of DCM Associates.  DCM presented us with several excellent candidates and guided us through each step of the process.  We could not be happier with the outcome”.

In her new role as President of the Employers Association of New Jersey, Myers is committed to advancing the mission of EANJ, driving innovation and growth, and fostering collaboration among members.

“New Jersey’s prosperity hinges on our employers’ success. EANJ provides crucial resources, training, and guidance necessary for employers to thrive in today’s business climate,” said Myers.  “EANJ’s commitment to providing individual guidance to their members is truly amazing. I am excited and honored to lead EANJ and collaborate with the talented staff and dedicated board to expand and extend services to even more employers in New Jersey.”

Employers Association of New Jersey is a non-profit trade association dedicated to helping employers make sound and responsible employment decisions through education, informed discussion, training, and access to benefits plans. With a 108-year history, EANJ continues to drive innovation and growth while fostering collaboration among its members. For more information click here.





Morris County’s K9 Kaboom Takes the Crown in Bark Madness Showdown

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Detective Christopher Murarik (currently serving as a Captain in the NJ National Guard), Morris Plains Chief Michael Koroski, K-9 Partner Kaboom, Shannon Rice, and Sheriff Gannon

MORRIS COUNTY — K9 Kaboom, the Morris County Sheriff’s Office 2024 Bark Madness winner received his reward from Sheriff James M. Gannon at Arthur’s Tavern in Morris Plains.   

K9 Kaboom is a male Labrador Retriever Mix, born on January 2, 2017. He was adopted by the Morris County Sheriff’s Office after his third surrender to the Parsippany Animal Shelter. He is a certified explosives detection canine and a certified search and rescue canine. K9 Kaboom is trained to locate numerous explosive odors and search for missing people.   

In an incredible run through this year’s bracket, K9 Kaboom beat the number one seed and gallantly advanced to the finals.

This true underdog has prevailed to become the regal champion of the people. 

Kaboom’s achievement was capped by lunch with the Sheriff and his handler Det. Christopher Murarik, was able to attend despite being on active orders with the New Jersey National Guard. 

Fame and notoriety seem to come easy to this champion as K9 Kaboom sat patiently and minded his manners during the steak lunch. Special thanks to Arthur’s Tavern for hosting this celebratory event and donating the reward. 

The restaurant was closed at the time of the event, and all health and sanitary conditions were addressed by their staff.  





Dover Police Bust Alleged DUI Driver in Early Morning Incident

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File Photo

DOVER — On Sunday, April 14, at 1:22 a.m., Dover Police Officer Ulises Corona observed a 2021 Toyota Rav 4 speeding on East Blackwell Street. The vehicle was swerving erratically and struck the curb near 200 East Blackwell Street.

Officer Corona activated his emergency lights and caught up with the vehicle near South Salem Street. Despite attempts to signal the driver to stop, the vehicle continued, hitting the curb again and running a red light before finally pulling over upon hearing the siren.

Upon approaching the vehicle, Officer Corona detected a strong smell of alcohol emanating from the driver, Guillermo Vera-Lopez, 52, Dover. Field sobriety tests were conducted, which Mr. Vera failed.

Subsequently, Officer Corona placed Mr. Vera under arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol. He was then taken to the State Police Netcong Barracks for two Alco-Tests, which revealed a Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .22%.

Following processing at Dover Police Headquarters, Mr. Vera was released to a responsible adult after signing a Liability Warning form.

Mr. Vera faces charges including Reckless Driving (39:4-96), Operating Under the Influence of Liquor or Drugs (39:4-50), Careless Driving (39:4-97), and Traffic on Marked Lanes (39:4-88).

Bunky’s Towing removed the vehicle from the scene.

A criminal complaint is merely an accusation. Despite this accusation, this Defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.





St. Mary’s Church Garage Sale Extravaganza

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DOVER — Join St. Mary’s Church for a garage sale on Saturday, May 18, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Convent for their Garage Sale.

Donations can be dropped off near the barn on Saturday, April 20, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Please refrain from donating furniture or gym equipment. Volunteers are needed on Saturday, May 18. For more information or to volunteer, please contact Rick at (973) 349-8479.cvbnhf





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