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Oakhurst Fire Department Receives $66,000 Grant

  By DON STINE Ocean Township’s Oakhurst fire department will see upgrades to important safety equipment under a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The department’s Board of Fire Commissioners applied to the Assistance To Firefighters grant program, administered through FEMA. The department received $66,165 in FEMA funding, which it has to match with a 10 percent, or $6,616, contribution. “This grant money saves taxpayers money. It’s a considerable amount that taxpayers otherwise would have to pay,” Fire District Administrator J. David Hiers said. The grant money will be used to upgrade breathing tank air-refill systems at both Oakhurst…

All Ocean Students Will Have Their Own Computers

  By DON STINE Improving reading, technical skills, and facility improvements are high on the list as Ocean Township opens its schools next month. “There’s lots of good stuff going on at Ocean right now,” Superintendent of Schools James Stefankiewicz said. This year the school district is introducing a new kindergarten through fifth grade literacy program. “We want to dramatically change how we deliver reading and writing instruction. Literacy is where it all begins and when kids learn to read and write well it carries over to other subject areas. We feel it’s important for students to read at grade…

Remembering Sen. Joe Palaia

  By DON STINE One of Ocean Township’s most recognized and revered leaders, Joseph Palaia, died on Sat., Aug. 20. He was 89 years old. He was a former state assemblyman and state senator. “We will always remember our good friend Joe,” former Mayor William F. Larkin said earlier this week. “Joe is a legacy to Ocean Township. He always wanted the Deal Test Site to remain open space but he had no idea we would name the park there after him.” The former 208-acre U.S. Army test site, renamed for Palaia in 1998, was acquired by the township after…

Neptune Official Leaving Post

  By DON STINE Neptune Township Committeeman Randy Bishop will be leaving his post on the governing body Mon., Aug. 22 after 12 years of service to take a job with the county Board of Elections. “Monday will be my last meeting and I will be resigning my position effective at 11:59 p.m.,” he said. “It is required I step down now that I have a job with the county.” Bishop will be replacing Deputy Commissioner for Administration of Elections for Monmouth County Hedra Siskel although Siskel will stay in her post until after this November’s election to help Bishop…

Neptune to Seek $250,000 in Grant Funds for Liberty Park Upgrades

  By DON STINE Neptune officials are looking to pick up to $250,000 from the Monmouth County Open Space Grant Program to make upgrades at Liberty Park. Director of Engineering and Planning Leanne Hoffman said at Monday’s Township Committee meeting that the township has “a good history” with the grant program and will seek money again this year. The grant has a maximum of $250,000, which also requires at 25 percent match in funding from the township. Hoffman said two projects best meet the criteria to receive the funding right now: improving basketball courts and other facilities, such as lighting…

Drone Use Limited in Loch Arbour

  By DON STINE The use of drones and similar devices in Loch Arbour will be limited and controlled under an ordinance adopted by the Board of Commissioners on Aug. 3 by a two-to-one vote. Deputy Mayor Al Cheswick cast the only dissenting vote against adopting the ordinance with Mayor Paul Fernicola and Commissioner Denis D’Angelo voting for it. “I don’t feel it’s a wise use of police resources. I have questions about enforcement and for the overall necessity for it. To me, it is not a problem in general,” Cheswick said. Cheswick also said other questions are raised with…

Neptune to Hire Traffic Consultant

  By DON STINE Neptune will hire an independent traffic engineer to look into the chronic parking problem in Ocean Grove, particularly during the summer months. The Township Committee passed a resolution at this week’s meeting to hire independent traffic consultant CME Associates, based in Howell Township, for an amount not to exceed $5,000. The consultant will provide the results of its study to the governing body and to the newly-created parking task force. “We are not experts and we need somebody. I think it’s a necessity,” Committeeman Randy Bishop said. Deputy Mayor Michael Brantley, who has always supported hiring…

Ocean Awaits Decision on Yeshiva Dorm

  By DON STINE A decision is expected soon on an appeal by Yeshiva Gedolah Na’os Yaakov over a recent Ocean Township Zoning Board of Adjustment decision to deny its application to create a Talmudic Academy to house 96 college-age students in an existing school on Logan Road in the Wanamassa section. A hearing was held on July 27 before Judge Freda Wolfson in the U.S. District Court of Appeals for New Jersey and another hearing on Aug. 4 before Judge Douglas E. Arpert, who was sitting in for Wolfson since she was on vacation. According to court records, Yeshiva…

Madonna House Will Receive $130,000

  By DON STINE The prayers at the Madonna House in Neptune were recently answered when a generous donor paid off the charitable organization’s $130,000 mortgage. “I was always praying not to have a mortgage and what a burden has been lifted off my shoulders,” Madonna House founder Rebecca Blonski said earlier this week. Blonski said she was struggling to pay off three separate mortgages and the pressure was on when one of the privately-held mortgages needed to be paid off for the Madonna House property at 1401 Seventh Ave. She purchased the property in 1988. The 10,000-square-foot building houses…

Concerns Continue Over Land Leases

  By DON STINE Potential hefty increases for land leases in Ocean Grove, particularly for commercial properties, remains an issue with people owning property there and the Ocean Grove Homeowners Association and others have retained an attorney to look into the matter. The Homeowners Association and other stakeholders have retained Roseland-based Attorney Matthew Adams, who is the son of former Neptune Police Chief Robert Adams, to look into the land lease issue. All land in Ocean Grove is owned by the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association and leased to its property owners. In addition, property owners are still taxed on…

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