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Latest News in Chester Borough, NJ

Transparency Concerns Raised By Residents For Chester Turf Project

Members of the public spoke up expressing their dissatisfaction regarding the lack of transparency with the Highlands Ridge Park project. CHESTER, NJ — Members of the public addressed the township council this week, expressing their frustrations and concerns about the Highlands Ridge Park project, citing a lack of transparency.According to the agenda, the council was set to hear public comments on an ordinance that was introduced this month, calling for an appropriation of $1,190,000 to finance an improvement project of...

Members of the public spoke up expressing their dissatisfaction regarding the lack of transparency with the Highlands Ridge Park project.

CHESTER, NJ — Members of the public addressed the township council this week, expressing their frustrations and concerns about the Highlands Ridge Park project, citing a lack of transparency.

According to the agenda, the council was set to hear public comments on an ordinance that was introduced this month, calling for an appropriation of $1,190,000 to finance an improvement project of Highlands Ridge Park.

The ordinance requires payment for the construction of athletic fields, grass and/or artificial turf, as well as all seeding, sod, irrigation systems and structures, walkways, drainage facilities, structures, site work, equipment, additional parking and lighting structures.

Local resident Alison Dahl questioned the board for not including the ordinance in past agendas, saying that when the ordinance was first proposed the only people made aware of it were representatives from local soccer and lacrosse organizations, Dahl said.

"I would like an explanation of how the ordinance was proposed in light of the way that it was not on the agenda. I listened to the recording of the Nov. 21 meeting... There was nobody else there to hear it except for the three guys from soccer and lacrosse because it wasn't on the agenda," Dahl said.

Many other residents spoke out against the unknown financial burden that would come with accepting a project of this nature, claiming that elected officials are supposed to serve the people, not vote on projects without first hearing public comment.

Carol Post, a resident, expressed her desire for a traffic study to be completed in the area before any decisions are made, citing the already heavy traffic on North Road, which faces the park.

"I live on North Road and at the last meeting, I let you know that I think that there are enough traffic concerns, that it should not only be studied… The safety on our roads, as I have mentioned before… that is of greater concern," Post said.

In response to the comments, members of the board clarified the goals of the ordinance.

The ordinance, according to the council, will not serve as a final decision on building out athletic fields, but rather as a way to set aside funds for a potential future project with greater public involvement.

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Finding Your Voice … Learning to Express Yourself

Mendham Township, NEW JERSEY (December 21, 2022) – The Mendham Township Elementary School (MTES) strives to provide students with access to a well-rounded and very robust curriculum, including many activities beyond academia. The extensive musical program at the Mendham Township School District includes the Tiger Chorus at MTES. This chorus is open to third- and fourth-grade students wishing to sing and learn how to sing as an ensemble. Being a member of the Tiger Chorus requires students to be able to sing in unison and they must also...

Mendham Township, NEW JERSEY (December 21, 2022) – The Mendham Township Elementary School (MTES) strives to provide students with access to a well-rounded and very robust curriculum, including many activities beyond academia. The extensive musical program at the Mendham Township School District includes the Tiger Chorus at MTES. This chorus is open to third- and fourth-grade students wishing to sing and learn how to sing as an ensemble. Being a member of the Tiger Chorus requires students to be able to sing in unison and they must also learn to perform harmonies and to sing in parts.

Leading the Tiger Chorus is Ms. Lauren Johnson, MTES Music Teacher. Ms. Johnson’s passion is to inspire success, growth, enjoyment, and empowerment within her students. Starting from the beginning of each school year, Ms. Johnson seeks to instill these values in her students in each of her musical education sessions. This is very evident as she works with the Tiger Chorus to prepare for their annual Winter Concert.

Since September 12 of this year, Ms. Johnson and her students in the Tiger Chorus have been rehearsing diligently and with such enthusiasm for their Winter Concert which concludes the calendar year by welcoming in the holidays with seasonal melodies. The students perform a selection of songs for their families, friends, and the extended Mendham Township community, showcasing their newly acquired capabilities for singing as a chorus and inviting everyone to participate in the winter-themed music. It should be noted that students in the Tiger Chorus participate in rehearsals in addition to their regular school day.

The students learn not only to sing as a group, but they tackle new challenges such as singing in parts and creating a more rounded and richer sound by singing in harmony. As Ms. Johnson explains, “Learning to sing in parts is one of the most important steps towards high level, professional singing. The MTES Tiger Chorus gives this experience to young singers each time they rehearse together.” It is clear that these students see participation in the chorus as a collaborative effort. They enjoy the empowerment they feel as they identify and master different rhythms, lyric comprehension, and expression. Their performances clearly demonstrate their engagement with the music.

This year, the MTES Winter Themed Concert took place on December 20, 2022. Mr. Michal Ferenc, Assistant Principal of MTES, congratulated the Tiger Chorus and Ms. Johnson for their hard work and their impressive portfolio of songs for the Winter Concert. “The progression of their vocal technique and performance etiquette since the beginning of the school year is amazing and a true testament to the hard work that Ms. Johnson and the students have put into this concert,” said Mr. Ferenc. “We look forward to hearing more from the Tiger Chorus as the school year continues.”

Price Hike In Healthcare Costs Impacting Chester Budget Discussions

The township is facing a 22 percent increase in state-mandated healthcare premiums as well as a 19 percent increase in pension costs. CHESTER, NJ — Michael Inganamort, mayor of Chester Township, spoke out at a recent council meeting to address the ways in which residents will be impacted by upcoming increases in health insurance premiums.The state surprised all New Jersey municipalities, including Chester Township with a 20 percent increase in healthcare insurance rates earlier this fall, prompting local governments to ...

The township is facing a 22 percent increase in state-mandated healthcare premiums as well as a 19 percent increase in pension costs.

CHESTER, NJ — Michael Inganamort, mayor of Chester Township, spoke out at a recent council meeting to address the ways in which residents will be impacted by upcoming increases in health insurance premiums.

The state surprised all New Jersey municipalities, including Chester Township with a 20 percent increase in healthcare insurance rates earlier this fall, prompting local governments to pass resolutions opposing the increase in an effort to fight back.

Hundreds of thousands of New Jersey public employees, early retirees, and school employees could face rate increases of up to 20 percent for health benefits under the new healthcare proposals.

"As most people know, Chester Township faces a state-mandated 22 percent increase in healthcare premium costs and a state-mandated 19 percent increase in pension costs. In real dollars these are approximately $276,000 plus another $120,000," Inganamort said.

Combined the two increases represent a four percent tax increase for the township.

"This puts us well outside the two percent property tax cap, which is the state law that prevents municipalities from raising taxes by more than two percent, except for specific emergency circumstances," Inganamort said.

According to the mayor, Chester has been aware of the premium and pension increases since last year, however, Inganamort claims that the Murphy administration knew about the increases long before.

State Senator Anthony M. Bucco stated last fall that the mayors of Morris County were correct to be concerned about the impending impact of massive health insurance premium increases.

"It’s clear, however, that Governor Murphy knew this was coming as early as February, months before the increases were announced. Had the governor shared that knowledge with the rest of us this spring, we could have worked on a solution with mayors, local governments, and the administration as part of the State Budget adopted in June," Bucco said. "Unfortunately, that never happened because the administration wasn’t transparent about what it knew."

Locally, Chester Township residents may experience budget constraints and higher property taxes in this year's budget as a result of the significant increases in health insurance premiums.

"We are working to find other savings in the budget to accommodate the 22 percent and 19 percent increases. We haven't gotten all the way yet, but we know approximately $200,000 needs to be cut from other services in town," Inganamort said.

Among the budget changes, is a future shift in how garbage collection fees are paid within the township.

According to the township, a new agreement for continued garbage collection with Blue Diamond Disposal, Inc. will be paid for by Chester Township, which will establish a municipal utility as the payment method.

"The council explored and ultimately decided to create a municipal utility for the purpose of directly billing residents for garbage collection. Doing so takes the cost of garbage collection out of the municipal budget and puts us back in the range of getting under the two percent property tax cap," Inganamort said.

As part of the new utility, all residents will be billed approximately $400 per year for garbage collection. A $25 discount will also be available for certain senior residents and for veteran residents, the council said.

Following discussion from the council, the ordinance was later amended to instead call for semi-annual payments with the first being due on April 1 and the second being due on Oct. 1.

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Cary, Vizzard Propel Pirates to Win at NJIT

Newark, N.J. – Seton Hall men's swimming and diving picked up another convincing victory on Friday afternoon, defeating NJIT, 142-91, at the Wellness and Events Center. Kevin Cary (West Chester, Pa.) and Sean Vizzard (Mount Laurel, N.J.) each won a pair of events on the da...

Newark, N.J. – Seton Hall men's swimming and diving picked up another convincing victory on Friday afternoon, defeating NJIT, 142-91, at the Wellness and Events Center. Kevin Cary (West Chester, Pa.) and Sean Vizzard (Mount Laurel, N.J.) each won a pair of events on the day.

Cary would notch his first victory of the day in the 200 Free in a time of 1:41.37, marking the fourth time this season he has won the event. The Pirates swept the podium in the event, as Gideon Langenbusch (Oberhausen, Germany) and Ben LaClair (Belchertown, Mass.) nabbed second and third, respectively. Cary would later add a win in the 100 Free, touching the wall in 46.74, and would swim the third leg of the 200 Free Relay team which swam the fastest time in the event of 1:23.99.

Vizzard's first of two wins came in the 400 IM, winning the event for the first time as a Pirate in a time of 4:07.03. He would later take first in the 500 Free with a time of 4:41.43.

The 200 Medley Relay team of Ross Pantano (Bennington, Neb.), Ben Endersby (Caldwell, N.J.), Michael Klimaszewski (London, England) and Thomas Minar (Oxford, Conn.) were able to claim victory, combining for a time of 1:31.35. Just behind them in second were Bryant LaCroix (Bloomsburg, Pa.), Gennarino Conzemius (Bethel Park, Pa.), Justin Oosterwyk (Pequannock, N.J.) and Langenbusch with a time of 1:34.53.

Each member of the winning 200 Medley Relay team also swam the fastest time in an individual event on the afternoon. Pantano went on the win the 100 Back in 49.90, sweeping the podium with LaCroix and Ethan Shonk (Mount Joy, Pa.). Endersby swam the fastest time in the 100 Breast, clocking in at 57.66. Klimaszewski continued to dominate the fly events, taking first in the 100 Fly for the fourth time this year in a time of 48.27. Minar would grab a win in the 50 Free in a time of 20.96, with Endersby joining him in third in the event.

In diving, reigning BIG EAST Male Athlete of the Week Trevor Post (Bay City, Mich.) picked up another victory in the 1-meter with a total score of 295.43. Post would finish second in the 3-meter behind Joel Satir (Greenwich, Conn.), who tallied a score of 297.00 to claim victory.

The Pirates face a quick turnaround as they hit the road again tomorrow at 1 p.m. against Delaware.

Decorating Den Interiors Honors Top Sales Achievers

Pictured left are Lisa Bibawi, center, and her team and on the right are the Pulcine Team—Catherine sitting on table, Jerome to her right.Decorating Den Interiors franchisees across the U.S. and Canada continued solid sales results with two of its top U.S. franchisees having their best year ever, along with the top Canadian design business. “2022 was our second highest year for sales in more than a decade,” said James S. Bugg, Jr, president and CEO.The company announced the following individual sales ...

Pictured left are Lisa Bibawi, center, and her team and on the right are the Pulcine Team—Catherine sitting on table, Jerome to her right.

Decorating Den Interiors franchisees across the U.S. and Canada continued solid sales results with two of its top U.S. franchisees having their best year ever, along with the top Canadian design business. “2022 was our second highest year for sales in more than a decade,” said James S. Bugg, Jr, president and CEO.

The company announced the following individual sales awards.

Chairman’s Circle

Honored as the company’s Chairman’s Circle were the top ten franchisees for highest sales in the United States along with the highest in Canada. Number one overall and number one in Canada were Catherine and Jerome Pulcine, Ottawa, Ontario, whose franchise had the highest sales in the history of Decorating Den Interiors.

Number one in the U.S was Lisa Bibawi, Dallas, Texas, who has been in business only since 2019.

Others who achieved Chairman’s Circle status are Kiran Arif, Cincinnati, Ohio; Linda and Dana Coin, Sanibel, Fla.; sisters Barbara Elliott and Jennifer Ward Woods, Stone Mountain, Ga, Michelle Jett, Los Angeles, Calif.; Sandy and James Kozar, Knoxville, Tenn.; Claudia Leah, Naples, Fla.; Bonnie Pressley, Fort Worth, Texas; Nola Shivers, Springfield, Mo., and Charla Traugott, Montgomery, Texas.

“Kiran Arif’s accomplishment is especially worthy of note, because 2022 was only her second full year in business,” Bugg highlighted. The Coins achievement also is notable having had their studio destroyed by Hurricane Ian.”

Thirty additional top sales achievers were announced to round out the company’s top 40. They are: Amy Ahearn, Williamsburg, Va.; Deborah Betcher, West Chester, Pa; Jan Bromberek, Plainfield, Ill.; Sandra Burroughs and Allison Fikejs, Lenexa, Kan.; Marina Colella, West Chester, N.Y.; Suzanne Christie, Clearwater, Fla.; Debbie Demboski, Wesley Chapel, Fla.; Sherry Franzoy, Las Cruces, NM.; Kathy Golson, Orlando, Fla.; Monique Holland, Upper Marlboro, Md.; Bohne Jones, Nashville, Tenn.; Lynne Lawson, Columbia, Md.; Maria Loveless, Manassas, Va.; Barbara McInnis Hayman, Kissimmee, Fla.; Karen Miller, Polk City, Iowa; Kathleen Monteleone, Wind Gap, Pa.; Kim Morgan, Phoenixville, Pa.; Angie Palmer, Peachtree, Ga.; Kimberly Paulus, Missouri City, Texas; Kristen Pawlak, Louisville, Ky.; Roz Redmond, Brandywine, Md.; Valerie Ruddy, Verona, N.J.; Diane Schaefer, Venice, Fla.; Krista Shugars, Pasadena, Md.; Veronica Simmons, Wixom, Mich.; Marni Sugerman, Riverdale, N.Y.; Tonie Vander Hulst, Palm Beach, Fla.; Suzan Wemlinger, Milwaukee, Wisc.; Gina Wolleat, Lino Lakes, Minn.; and Cassy Young, Bogart, Ga.

Top decorators who are part of a franchise: Paula Esterline, Fort Worth, Texas, was the leader. Others in the top five were: Kayla Anderson, Dallas, Texas; Breann Bohne, Dallas, Texas; Heather Malachowski, Springfield, Mo.; and Trinette Nelson, Sanibel Island, Fla.

The top Canadian decorator was Natlie Cox, Ottawa, Ontario.

About Decorating Den Interiors Founded in 1969, Decorating Den Interiors is North America’s largest interior design and home furnishings franchise company. Its nearly 300 franchisees operate throughout the U.S. and Canada. Its franchisees have direct relationships with suppliers in its LIVV Home Collection™ of fine furniture, custom window treatments, wall and floor coverings, accessories, lighting, and closet systems.

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