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Latest News in Chester Borough, NJ

8 Boy Scouts From Chester Earn The Rank Of Eagle Scout

CHESTER, NJ — Eight members of a local Boy Scouts of America Troop will be honored with their Eagle Court of Honor ceremonies on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at the Chester Township Council meeting.Michael Marano, Nick Patino, Mark Marano, Aidan Lowry, Jack Lia, Michael Kotarski, Ben Klosowsky and David Frees all satisfied their Eagle Scout requirements, earning the rank of Eagle Scout, the Boy Scouts' highest honor.A Scout must be active in a troop, earn a minimum of 21 merit badges, assume a position of leadership in a troop, and c...

CHESTER, NJ — Eight members of a local Boy Scouts of America Troop will be honored with their Eagle Court of Honor ceremonies on Tuesday, Feb. 21 at the Chester Township Council meeting.

Michael Marano, Nick Patino, Mark Marano, Aidan Lowry, Jack Lia, Michael Kotarski, Ben Klosowsky and David Frees all satisfied their Eagle Scout requirements, earning the rank of Eagle Scout, the Boy Scouts' highest honor.

A Scout must be active in a troop, earn a minimum of 21 merit badges, assume a position of leadership in a troop, and complete a community service project to be eligible for the award.

Michael Marano finished his Eagle Scout project by building six bat houses and mounting them on poles in various parks throughout the Chester area. The houses provide a safe habitat for bats while also reducing mosquito populations, making the parks a more enjoyable place for residents to visit.

Patino completed his Eagle Scout requirement by building a garbage collection station at a beach in Wildwood, a location he often visits every summer. The trash system has benefited all beach visitors and since its installation, has allowed hundreds of pounds of debris to be collected from the beach.

Lowry completed his Eagle Scout requirement by building picnic tables and benches near the tiger brook reservoir. The new additions have provided visitors with a new place to sit and relax while enjoying the park.

Mark Marano completed his Eagle Scout requirement by building a 100-foot boardwalk through the marshy area of the yellow trail in MacGregor Park, which will now allow residents to easily traverse through that section of the park.

Frees built a 150-foot boardwalk on a muddy section of trail in the Tanners Brook Preserve in order to complete his Eagle Scout requirement. The new boardwalk will serve hikers and visitors to the area.

Lia completed his Eagle Scout requirement by building mobile food shelves at the Chester-Mendham Food Pantry, which has allowed volunteers to reorganize the facility. The new shelves will benefit not only the food pantry volunteers but also the residents who benefit from the food pantry.

Kotarski completed his Eagle Scout requirement by creating a half-mile trail in the Tanners Brook Preserve. Alongside the trail, Kotarski also erected two new benches in the area providing hikers a new place to rest.

Klosowsky designed and built a fire pit and four benches at Mendham Hills Community Church in order to complete his Eagle Scout requirement. The new communal space will provide a place for various church groups to gather, including the local Youth Group.

The eight boys will be awarded on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at the Chester Township Council meeting, to view the full agenda, click here.

A cleaned-up Superfund site in Chester County could become home to a massive data center

A Chester County developer is planning to build a data center approaching the size of the retail space at King of Prussia Mall that could consume more power in one location than any other Peco customer.Charles Lyddane said he hopes to begin construction this year on the two million-square-foot facility on 65 acres of a remediated Superfund site he owns in East Whiteland Township.“This will be a major economic engine for Chester County and for Pennsylvania,” said Lyddane, whose company Green Fig Land LLC is partnerin...

A Chester County developer is planning to build a data center approaching the size of the retail space at King of Prussia Mall that could consume more power in one location than any other Peco customer.

Charles Lyddane said he hopes to begin construction this year on the two million-square-foot facility on 65 acres of a remediated Superfund site he owns in East Whiteland Township.

“This will be a major economic engine for Chester County and for Pennsylvania,” said Lyddane, whose company Green Fig Land LLC is partnering with Fifteen Forty Seven Critical Systems Realty of Matawan, N.J., to develop the East Whiteland site.

A pair of two-story structures costing as much as $300 million each to build would house as much as $6 billion in technology to provide data storage, processing, and distribution services to commercial and institutional customers.

East Whiteland approved zoning variances that Lyddane requested for the project in 2021, and he plans to submit a land development plan to the township this spring. If the plan is approved, construction would begin within six to 12 months and be finished by the end of 2024.

Lyddane said strong demand for new data center capacity is expected to continue despite current economic uncertainties.

Nevertheless, he has “put on hold” a proposal to build a 100,000-square-foot data center along with a power-generating facility on 25 acres he owns in West Whiteland Township that are contiguous with his East Whiteland property.

“Our only plan at this time is to build two data center buildings ... in East Whiteland Township,” Lyddane said Tuesday.

With utilities already in place and room to accommodate customers seeking expansive, build-to-suit space for their data operations, he said, the project also would encourage tech-related firms to expand or locate in the area.

Philadelphia and its suburbs have about a dozen data centers, including in Center City and at the Navy Yard.

With their towering stacks of servers, utilitarian architecture, and relatively small workforces, the centers generally create less traffic in their neighborhoods than warehouses, office buildings, or retail facilities of similar size. Unlike large residential developments, they don’t directly add to public school enrollments, either.

But Loudoun County, Va., home of what’s widely regarded as the greatest concentration of data centers on the planet, last year approved guidelines to limit their growth. And the East and West Whiteland proposals have sparked concerns among environmentalists and some residents in northeastern Chester County, where rolling hills, winding roads, and quaint stone buildings belie the sometimes toxic legacy of mining, steelmaking, and other heavy industries that once dotted the landscape.

“We have a real industrial heritage here,” said Zachary Barner, East Whiteland’s director of planning and development. “We have some challenging sites. And one of the challenges is not only to clean up and make them safe but to return them to productive use.”

East Whiteland has been described as among the fastest-growing municipalities in the state. Development pressures, as well as the presence of 600 linear miles of pipelines within the county’s borders, contribute to public wariness about data centers.

“I’m not against responsible development,” said East Whiteland resident Carla Zambelli Mudry. “But when you’re talking about new kinds of technology and new kinds of factories, basically, you need the most updated [municipal] codes available, and our current codes are out of date.”

Noting that the impact of lithium processing on the environment and public health became clear long after damage had been done, she said: “We don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past.”

Sometimes called server farms or carrier hotels, data centers are nothing new. But what’s proposed for East Whiteland would be significantly bigger than most.

The center would use more energy during periods of peak demand from its customers than any other single location in Peco’s service territory, said Phil Eastman, the regional utility’s senior manager for economic development.

“The site is literally adjacent to the Planebrook substation at Routes 202 and 30,” Eastman said. “It’s a major substation, and our analysis shows it has ample capacity.

“The bottom line is the surrounding customers will not see any impact on their service due to this project.”

The proposed East Whiteland data center location once was home to a limestone mining and later, lithium ore-processing business called the Foote Mineral Co., which closed in 1991. A Superfund cleanup project there was substantially completed in 2010, although monitoring of several locations on the property is continuing.

Although an 800-unit continuing care retirement community was proposed for a portion of the site about 12 years ago, in 2017 then-Gov. Tom Wolf announced a program to fund site preparation work at six locations statewide. Pennsylvania provided a $4 million grant and a $6 million loan to spur data center development on the East Whiteland property.

And in 2021, the state legislature approved a measure to exempt sales and use taxes on equipment to outfit data centers that meet certain employment and other economic development goals.

“These tax abatements are one of the most favorable among programs like this in the country,” Lyddane said.

In West Whiteland, nearly 250 people have joined a “Protect Exton Park from Power Plant/Data Center Hub” page on Facebook since it was established earlier in this month. The popular recreation area is close to where Lyddane has explored building a second data center and a power plant.

A 700-acre expanse of woodlands, ponds, and open space, Exton Park was established 30 years ago after local residents fought fiercely to prevent construction of a large housing development, said Ginny Marcille-Kerslake, the administrator of the Facebook page.

“The zoning amendment Charlie requested is very open-ended and would open the door to [development of] hyper-scaled data centers in West Whiteland,” said Marcille-Kerslake, the Eastern Pennsylvania organizer for the national advocacy organization Food & Water Watch.

“If Charlie had come to the township with a plan, sketches, and impact statements and said he wanted to just put up a 100,000-square-foot data center ... I don’t think there would be widespread public opposition,” she said.

“But this power plant, especially, is a whole different kettle of fish.”

Lyddane, who gave a tour of his East Whiteland site on Jan. 5, said his proposed hydrogen power generation facility would have offered data center customers a sustainable energy option. He and Marcille-Kerslake strongly disagreed about whether the plant he described would provide “green” power.

As for the future of the West Whiteland property, which includes a storm-water management area that would serve the East Whiteland data center, the developer said: “We don’t have a plan yet. We’re not sure if we’re going to do anything there.”

As of Tuesday, West Whiteland’s Board of Supervisors was still scheduled to hold a public hearing Jan. 25 on Lyddane’s request to have the township’s zoning code amended to permit data centers and power plants in areas zoned for offices and commercial laboratories.

$880K In Lighting Improvements Proposed For Mendham Township Fields

The proposal was presented to the council by the Mendham Parks and Recreation Committee, which cited a high need among local sports teams. MENDHAM, NJ — Mendham Township has big plans to light up its parks according to a lighting proposal to spend $880,000 on upgrades at Mosle Fields.Mendham Township Parks and Recreation Director David Guida appeared before the township committee meeting on Monday night to provide an overview of potential park improvement options.According to Guida, the Parks and Recreation Commi...

The proposal was presented to the council by the Mendham Parks and Recreation Committee, which cited a high need among local sports teams.

MENDHAM, NJ — Mendham Township has big plans to light up its parks according to a lighting proposal to spend $880,000 on upgrades at Mosle Fields.

Mendham Township Parks and Recreation Director David Guida appeared before the township committee meeting on Monday night to provide an overview of potential park improvement options.

According to Guida, the Parks and Recreation Committee has been planning improvements to Mosle Field for several years but got their plans pushed back as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although the recreation committee met with representatives from all types of local sports organizations, the two that were primarily discussed were the football and baseball teams.

"Football is an organization that really feels as though they have no home for their recreational sports. For the baseball league, there have been so many times when they have night games, or away games there is no location within their area where they are able to do this," Guida said. "So there is definitely a need within these organizations for additional playing spaces."

Guida stated that after speaking with the sports representatives, they were able to narrow their wishlist down to a single more feasible project for the township, which is new lights for the fields and parking lot.

The total cost of the project would be around $880,000, and it would include new lighting on Mosle Field's football field, baseball field, and parking lot. Guida stated that the recreation department would request that the township cover the entire cost of parking lot lighting and electrical services, which would amount to $180,000.

Guida also stated that in terms of long-term financing for the project, the township would bear half of the responsibility for covering the funding, with the other half coming from the local sports organization.

"The down payment would be $35,000, with the debt issued at $665,000, a 3.5 percent interest rate issued over ten years, so ultimately over the next ten years we'd be looking at a payment of $70,000-$80,000 per year, again this would be split 50/50 by the township and the sports leagues," Guida said.

Following the presentation, several children from local sports teams addressed the committee, stating that the current fields at Mosle are not suitable for the teams' full-time use. One of the speakers, a 12-year-old Mendham Township Middle School student, spoke about the fields' "terrible condition," claiming that the poor lighting and lack of dugouts on the baseball field make it difficult to play.

Most residents in attendance were enthusiastic about the upcoming improvements, including resident Randy Lee, a local football coach in the township, who stated unequivocally, "the need is now, we are in desperate need."

Concerns and comments were raised about the potential environmental impacts of the new lights on the land, with one resident claiming that the addition of the lights would necessitate increased irrigation to keep the grass alive.

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Family-Owned Chester Farm Expands With New Location

CHESTER, NJ — A family-owned farm in Chester is expanding once again, offering convenient and year-round access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables to a new part of Morris County.Alstede Fresh at Lindeken Farms will open on April 1, in Jefferson Township, according to Kurt Alstede, founder of Alstede Farms.Alstede Fresh at Lindeken Farms, located at 54 State Route 15 and Berkshire Valley Road in Jefferson Township, will sell locally-grown seasonal produce straight from the Alstede farm fields in Chester.A...

CHESTER, NJ — A family-owned farm in Chester is expanding once again, offering convenient and year-round access to fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables to a new part of Morris County.

Alstede Fresh at Lindeken Farms will open on April 1, in Jefferson Township, according to Kurt Alstede, founder of Alstede Farms.

Alstede Fresh at Lindeken Farms, located at 54 State Route 15 and Berkshire Valley Road in Jefferson Township, will sell locally-grown seasonal produce straight from the Alstede farm fields in Chester.

Additionally, there will be apple cider, home-baked pies, dairy products, cider donuts, jams, jellies and soups, as well as other grocery items.

“We can’t wait to share with families the goodness of what we grow,” said Alstede. “That we make this goodness accessible to everyone, every day, matters to us. We look forward to being an important part of the local community.”

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The new venture is Alstede Farms' fourth location, and the area's only locally sourced farm store, according to Alstede.

The original retail store is located on their family farm at 1 Alstede Farms Lane in Chester. From April to November, two farm stands are open: Alstede Fresh in Mendham/Chester and Alstede Fresh in Bridgewater.

Alstede Farms, with the opening of the farm store on Route 15, is carrying on a tradition started 73 years ago by the Stanlick family when they opened Lindeken Farms in 1949.

Lindeken Farms' current retail space was previously occupied by Alstede Fresh, which for generations improved families' quality of life by providing a consistent supply of locally grown produce.

“Our family and our team members are proud to continue Lindeken Farms' tradition and keep the Stanlick legacy alive in the community," Alstede said.

Alstede is a first-generation farmer who founded Alstede Farms in 1982. His wife, Mary Thompson- Alstede, comes from a farming family that has lived in Chester for over a century. Alstede's children inherited a passion for farming and intend to stay in the business while completing their college degrees and utilizing their talents and gifts as second-generation farmers.

Alstede Farms grows a wide variety of its own local fruits, vegetables and flowers using only sustainable farming methods, and is open year-round to provide warmth, family fun, quiet solace, and friendly service to visitors from all over New Jersey.

For more information on the new venture, or the current selection of pick-your-own fruits and vegetables, visit www.alstedefarms.com or call (908) 879-7189.

Army General Teaches Mendham Students About Honor

The senior leader of the United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command spoke to eighth-grade students about honor and ethics. MENDHAM, NJ — The senior leader of the United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command used a variety of props to teach Mendham middle school students about honor and ethics.Dr. Mitzi Morillo, Superintendent of Mendham Borough School District, invited Lt. Gen. Daniel Karbler, USASMDC commanding general, to speak to Mountain View Middle School students on Monday, Feb. 13.The the...

The senior leader of the United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command spoke to eighth-grade students about honor and ethics.

MENDHAM, NJ — The senior leader of the United States Army Space and Missile Defense Command used a variety of props to teach Mendham middle school students about honor and ethics.

Dr. Mitzi Morillo, Superintendent of Mendham Borough School District, invited Lt. Gen. Daniel Karbler, USASMDC commanding general, to speak to Mountain View Middle School students on Monday, Feb. 13.

The theme of the interactive presentation was "honor," with Karbler speaking specifically about how the honor code he learned at West Point has guided him throughout his personal and professional life.

Before the Mountain View Middle School students arrived, Karbler outlined a miniature football field in the front of the classroom, laying down about eight feet of white tape along the wall, including goal lines and hash marks.

"It’s the ethical playing field," Karbler told the nearly 70 eighth-grade students as he stood near the center of the taped-off area.

During the presentation, Karbler moved from each edge of the makeshift football field, repeatedly asking the students if he was in bounds or out of bounds. When he finally made it to the middle of the taped field, he asked again, "am I in bounds or out of bounds?" Both students in the back and front of the room answered in unison, "in bounds."

"I’m clearly in, and everybody knew that because I’m in the middle of the ethical playing field," Karbler said. "Conduct yourself so you’re always in the middle."Karbler encouraged students to not put themselves in positions where their honor, ethics, or truthfulness could be questioned."Don’t be the person who’s right here on the edge," he said. "Some will know your position, but others won’t be too sure."

Karbler told the eighth graders that life will present them with situations and pressures that will tempt them to cheat, lie, or steal, but they must choose how they respond.

"The West Point Honor Code says 'a cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal or tolerate those who do.’ This is my model for honor and honorable living," Karbler said. "It’s a simple code, but it's hard to live by."

Karbler went on to demonstrate honor by pouring water on sand, pebbles and a brick.

According to Karbler, the water represented the difficult times in one's life. He then asked students to consider how they would react in situations where life becomes difficult.

"A brick doesn’t dissolve," he said. "It represents an honorable foundation. "When the going gets tough, someone with honor doesn’t collapse; they don’t let their integrity fall," Karbler said. "They stay tough."

Following the presentation, students were encouraged to reflect on the value of integrity and commitment and to create their own honor code to guide them through their final semester of middle school and beyond.

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