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Latest News in Dover, NJ

Dover delays vote on filling board seat as Democratic factions clash over candidate

DOVER — A vacancy on the Board of Aldermen will continue into next month while Mayor Carolyn Blackman and the town's ...

DOVER — A vacancy on the Board of Aldermen will continue into next month while Mayor Carolyn Blackman and the town's governing body seek outside legal counsel regarding whether one of three candidates chosen to fill the seat is qualified to take office.

The outcome could tip the balance of power between the town's two Democratic factions in an election year in which the mayor's office and alderman seats in all four wards are up for grabs.

Former Third Ward Alderman Adrian Ballesteros has moved to California and resigned on Jan. 8. Following state law, the Dover Democratic Committee convened on Jan. 22 to choose three nominees to fill his seat.

Committee Chair Edward Correa, a former Third Ward alderman; DDC Treasurer Michael Scarneo; and Hope Summerset were chosen from a field of five candidates to be the nominees.

Correa was previously appointed to fill Blackman's Ward 3 seat on the board after she was elected mayor in 2019. But he lost a bid for re-election in last year's Democratic primary to Karol Ruiz, who won the seat in the November general election.

All three nominees were in attendance Tuesday night for an expected final vote from the board.

But the mayor opened the meeting by saying "no action will be taken tonight" to fill the empty seat while the administration sought legal counsel for an undisclosed reason. On Wednesday, town Administrator BettyLou DeCroce said Dover is seeking another legal opinion after receiving a letter from attorney Walter Luers that Summerset could be barred from taking office due to conflicts with the federal Hatch Act.

Summerset is a social service administrator for the federally funded Morris County Housing Authority. The Hatch Act, passed in 1939, limits certain political activities of federal workers, as well as some state and local government employees who work in connection with federally backed programs.

"We need to get our legal opinion on this and also need to have some of the board members meet the candidates," Blackman said.

DeCroce said Summerset's qualifications for office had also been questioned by some board members.

"Hope said she had confirmation from the federal government that she wasn't in conflict, but I have reached out to get another opinion from our labor counsel," she said. That opinion was expected to arrive Wednesday but cannot be made public until it has been disseminated to the board members for review, DeCroce said.

"This is an inward fight of the Dover Democratic County Committee, so that's where it is," DeCroce said. "So we're trying to determine which legal opinion is right and which is wrong."

The expectation is the seat will be filled at a special meeting called for Feb. 7.

Also in limbo is the status of municipal attorney Tim Downs. Tuesday, the board approved more than two dozen professional service appointments − mostly re-appointments − ranging from various legal counsels to engineering and water-service contractors. Among the few appointments withheld was for municipal attorney.

DeCroce said the town would again issue requests for proposals from other attorneys. Downs has already submitted his proposal, she said. No date was set to make that appointment.

Downs did not immediately return a call for comment on his status.

William Westhoven is a local reporter for DailyRecord.com. For unlimited access to the most important news from your local community, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

Montville bowling returns to Morris County Tournament peak

ROCKAWAY − When Montville bowling last won the Morris County Tournament, Tyler Polachek was a freshman. He was proud to contribute. But at Thursday's MCT, Polachek knew he had to do a lot more for the Mustangs.Polacheck led the team to success, including a 2-0 victory over Morris Tech in the final. The Mustangs dedic...

ROCKAWAY − When Montville bowling last won the Morris County Tournament, Tyler Polachek was a freshman. He was proud to contribute. But at Thursday's MCT, Polachek knew he had to do a lot more for the Mustangs.

Polacheck led the team to success, including a 2-0 victory over Morris Tech in the final. The Mustangs dedicated their victory to George Kattermann, their bus driver and unofficial assistant coach − and the father of two former Montville bowlers: Erik and Karl.

Erik Kattermann had bowled a perfect 300 game in 2017 as the Mustangs won their third consecutive MCT title. George Kattermann missed Thursday's MCT after hernia surgery, so he wasn't able to give the bowlers his little tweaks and adjustments.

"It's tough without him," said Polachek, who had the second-best individual game in the preliminary round and tied for second in high series.

"This win is not just for the team, but for him too, because we wish he was here. ... The last time we were on top was freshman year. I remember bringing a lot of energy to the table, and stepping up as a freshman. Now they all look up to me to see what we can do."

Morris Tech relied on a trio of female bowlers − seniors Amanda Granata and Aubrey Schwager and junior Amelia Lemanowicz − in the MCT. Granata, who has signed a National Letter of Intent with Youngstown State, had the top girls' game: a 258 in the prelim. Lemanowicz had the best series by a female bowler.

"I found the line quickly, but it was easier because these are our home lanes," said Lemanowicz, a junior from Mount Arlington who is focusing on interior design and architecture.

"I made all the spares but one, which is still bothering me. I leave a lot of 7-pins, because I'm a lefty."

Newcomers take trophies

Roxbury didn't have a varsity bowling team in Gavin Mattes' freshman year. But he'd been bowling in a league since he was 6, so when the Gaels' team launched this winter, it was a natural fit.

Mattes shone at his first MCT, winning both the high game with a 268 and high series.

Mount Olive started its own team this winter as well, after years as a co-op program with Hopatcong. Marauders senior Dylan Cupen stepped up and had the third-best game on Thursday.

"It's similar to leagues, but it's a bigger competition," Mattes said. "Representing the school, it's hard to put (the feeling) into words. We have to show we're here to compete. We're not just, 'Oh cool, a first-year team.'"

Team scores

Finals

Montville 2, Morris Tech 0

Montville 227, Morris Tech 212

Montville 278, Morris Tech 222

Semifinals

Montville 2, Morris Knolls 0

Montville 220, Morris Knolls 175

Montville 218, Morris Knolls 196

Morris Tech 2, Morris Hills 1

Morris Hills 216, Morris Tech 151

Morris Tech 247, Morris Hills 181

Morris Tech 205, Morris Hills 170

Opening round

Montville 1053-1026-1043-3122; Morris Tech 1059-916-967-2942; Morris Hills 922-934-949-2805; Morris Knolls 866-958-888-2712; Roxbury 820-961-899-2680; Delbarton 886-861-908-2655; Morristown 888-882-757-2527; Kinnelon 860-832-822-2514; Jefferson 892-726-777-2395; Butler 788-828-793-2389; Dover 782-699-844-2325; Mount Olive 766-730-809-2305; Madison 729-707-764-2200; Chatham 599-702-635-1936

Individuals

Boys high game: Gavin Mattes (Roxbury) 268; Tyler Polachek (Montville) 235; Dylan Cupen (Mount Olive) 233.

Boys high series: Gavin Mattes (Roxbury) 675; Tyler Polachek (Montville) 637 (235); Joe Agodini (Morris Knolls) 637 (227); Jack Sherman (Montville) 637 (224)* Tie broken by highest game

Girls high game: Amanda Granata (Morris Tech) 258; Amelia Lemanowicz (Morris Tech) 255; Laura Tomasella (Butluer) 186

Girls high series: Amelia Lemanowicz (Morris Tech) 689; Amanda Granata (Morris Tech) 674; Laura Tomasella (Butler) 473

Boys Basketball: Results, recaps, photos, and links for Monday, Jan. 23

MONDAY, JAN. 23FEATURED GAMESMiddletown South 58, Middletown North 53Colonia 47, Robbinsville 45West Morris 54, Morristown 48No. 2 Camden 82, No. 10 St. Augustine 51TOP 20 SCOREBOARDSTATEWIDE SCOREBOARDMonday, Jan. 23Cherry Hill West 66, Collingswood 43 - Box ScoreHaddonfield 96, Camden Tech 28 - ...

MONDAY, JAN. 23

FEATURED GAMES

Middletown South 58, Middletown North 53

Colonia 47, Robbinsville 45

West Morris 54, Morristown 48

No. 2 Camden 82, No. 10 St. Augustine 51

TOP 20 SCOREBOARD

STATEWIDE SCOREBOARD

Monday, Jan. 23

Cherry Hill West 66, Collingswood 43 - Box Score

Haddonfield 96, Camden Tech 28 - Box Score

BCSL

BIG NORTH

CAPE-ATLANTIC

Middle Township 54, St. Joseph (Hamm.) 51 - Box Score

COLONIAL

West Deptford 62, Pennsauken Tech 54 - Box Score

CVC

GMC

Carteret 70, Wardlaw-Hartridge 26 - Box Score

Calvary Christian (Old Bridge) 57, East Brunswick Magnet 45 - Box Score

South Amboy 44, Piscataway Magnet 37 - Box Score

Somerset Tech 99, Perth Amboy Magnet 60 - Box Score

South River 76, Timothy Christian 75 - Box Score

HCIAL

Pompton Lakes 68, University Charter 34 - Box Score

St. Peter's Prep 59, North Star Academy 44 - Box Score

NJAC

Lenape Valley 65, Hopatcong 22 - Box Score

North Warren 53, Kittatinny 43 - Box Score

Kinnelon 51, Morristown-Beard 34 - Box Score

Morris Knolls 57, Randolph 36 - Box Score

West Morris 54, Morristown 48 - Box Score

Wallkill Valley 43, Jefferson 41 - Box Score

Morris Catholic 52, Mountain Lakes 41 - Box Score

Hanover Park 77, Parsippany Hills 72 - Box Score

NJIC

Pompton Lakes 68, University Charter 34 - Box Score

West Milford 46, Garfield 43 - Box Score

Hasbrouck Heights 61, New Milford 38 - Box Score

Manchester Regional 50, Paterson Arts 30 - Box Score

Ridgefield Park 53, Palisades Park 28 - Box Score

Indian Hills 66, Eastern Christian 55 - Box Score

OLYMPIC

Camden 82, St. Augustine 51 - Box Score

SEC

Newark Vocational 57, Technology 46 - Box Score

St. Peter's Prep 59, North Star Academy 44 - Box Score

SHORE

St. John Vianney 53, Freehold Borough 40 - Box Score

Freehold Township 74, Howell 38 - Box Score

Ranney 83, Wall 54 - Box Score

Brick Township 47, Toms River South 35 - Box Score

St. Rose 44, Neptune 30 - Box Score

Manasquan 59, Point Pleasant Boro 47 - Box Score

Middletown South 58, Middletown North 53 - Box Score

Rumson-Fair Haven 63, Red Bank Regional 56 - Box Score

SKYLAND

Franklin 73, Princeton Day 60 - Box Score

Belvidere 73, Warren Tech 48 - Box Score

Somerville 54, Manville 29 - Box Score

Hunterdon Central 60, West Windsor-Plainsboro North 35 - Box Score

TRI-COUNTY

Audubon 53, Highland 48 - Box Score

Pennsville 64, Salem Tech 57 - Box Score

Clearview 62, Atlantic Tech 52 - Box Score

UCC

Union 52, Hillside 41 - Box Score

Independent

Newark Vocational 57, Technology 46 - Box Score

Franklin 73, Princeton Day 60 - Box Score

Veritas Christian 60, Trinity (PA) 36 - Box Score

Pennington 70, Moorestown Friends 30 - Box Score

Camden Academy Charter 85, LEAP Academy 62 - Box Score

West Deptford 62, Pennsauken Tech 54 - Box Score

Belvidere 73, Warren Tech 48 - Box Score

Manchester Regional 50, Paterson Arts 30 - Box Score

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Work Resumes on Extending NJ Transit Rail to Sussex County

Trees are being taken down along the former Lackawanna Cutoff about seven miles east of Roxbury as NJ Transit prepares for train serviceBYRAM, NJ – Preparations for the restoration of a 112-year-old railroad tunnel on the former Lackawanna “Cutoff” in Byram are taking place, marking an important milestone in the proposed extension of NJ Transit trains west into Sussex County.Work crews have been clearing trees in the vicinity of the Roseville Tunnel and at the site where a new NJ Transit stati...

Trees are being taken down along the former Lackawanna Cutoff about seven miles east of Roxbury as NJ Transit prepares for train service

BYRAM, NJ – Preparations for the restoration of a 112-year-old railroad tunnel on the former Lackawanna “Cutoff” in Byram are taking place, marking an important milestone in the proposed extension of NJ Transit trains west into Sussex County.

Work crews have been clearing trees in the vicinity of the Roseville Tunnel and at the site where a new NJ Transit station will be built nearby in Andover. It is estimated the $32.5 million job will be done in 2026, allowing for passenger train service to extend from the current Lake Hopatcong station in Landing to the new station in Andover.

Passenger trains last ran on the historic Cutoff – a flat, relatively straight, high-speed beeline between Port Morris and Pennsylvania - in 1970. Tracks on the route were removed in 1984, but about four miles of rail have been replaced as part of a restoration project that stalled a decade ago due to an environmental problem in Sussex County that was recently resolved.

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“It’s been 11 years, almost exactly,” said Chuck Walsh, president of the North Jersey Rail Commuter Association, an organization that wants to see the trains return to the Cutoff. “The last trackage put down in Byram was in February 2012. Trying to keep the momentum going during that time, with all the naysayers saying it’s not going to happen, was tough. So, it’s very gratifying to see it is moving, and you can actually go out there and take photos of it.”

In 2021, Amtrak announced a proposal to restore service to the full Cutoff, re-establishing passenger service between New York Penn Station and Scranton, Pa. If that project receives funding, it might delay the opening of service to Andover, according to Walsh.

"My personal opinion is if Amtrak gets the designation for the Scranton Corridor, Andover service may slip and almost go hand-in-hand," he said. "If Amtrack service is activated in 2027, I would probably say that's when they open service in Andover. Clearly there is some connection between the two."

Amtrak envisions high-speed passenger stations in New Jersey at Summit, Morristown, Dover and Blairstown. NJ Transit has not proposed service past Andover.

Those who want to see the Amtrak project funded are being asked, by Walsh, to write letters to Gov. Phil Murphy.

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Children’s Theater & Dover Restaurant Receive Small Business Grants

Checks for $15,000 Each Presented to Growing Stage & Sabor LatinoThe nonprofit Growing Stage—The Children's Theatre of New Jersey in Netcong and the Sabor Latino Restaurant in Dover were today’s recipients of $15,000 checks through the Morris County Small Business Grant Program, as the Morris County Board of County Commissioners continued to assist shops and nonprofits hit hard by the pandemic.Sabor Latino was a particularly special st...

Checks for $15,000 Each Presented to Growing Stage & Sabor Latino

The nonprofit Growing Stage—The Children's Theatre of New Jersey in Netcong and the Sabor Latino Restaurant in Dover were today’s recipients of $15,000 checks through the Morris County Small Business Grant Program, as the Morris County Board of County Commissioners continued to assist shops and nonprofits hit hard by the pandemic.

Sabor Latino was a particularly special stop for Commissioner Director Tayfun Selen and Deputy Director John Krickus because owners Wilson and Maria Vasquez had opened their business to host a kick-off for the grant program on Valentine’s Day. With the Morris County Chamber of Commerce, Morris County Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and other partners, Wilson and Maria permitted their restaurant to serve as a one-day staging area for owners of Dover businesses, including their own, to apply for up to $15,000 grants under the program on Feb. 14.

“On behalf of the Morris County Board of Commissioners, it is my pleasure to present you with this grant,” said Director Selen to Wilson and Maria, noting the family business, operating since 2007, was substantially impacted by the pandemic.

Joining the check presentation was Dover Mayor Carol Blackman, Chamber Vice President Michael Stanzilis and Ed Ramirez of the Morris County EDC.

“This is an example of different levels of government coming together … all working for nonprofits and, most importantly, to help out our small businesses,” said Deputy Director Krickus, noting the county built the program using American Rescue Plan Act funds.

“This is a visionary approach to helping small businesses, and we really appreciate what the Morris County Commissioners have done with this funding. We are not seeing programs like this elsewhere,” said Stanzilis.

Later in the afternoon, Netcong Mayor Joseph Nametko joined Commissioner Krickus in presenting a $15,000 check to Stephen L. Fredericks, founder and Executive Director of The Growing Stage—The Children's Theatre of New Jersey, which is celebrating its 40th Anniversary.

“It has been a difficult time for all of the arts … We thank you for this,” said Fredericks, as Commissioner Krickus presented at check.

The Growing Stage is a non-profit professional performing arts center for young audiences, and as with all performing arts centers, the pandemic essentially shut down operations for many months, leaving the center struggling to recover. The presentation was held in the lobby of the historic Palace Theater in Netcong, where The Growing Stage established its home in 1994.

In attendance for the presentation were Morris Arts Executive Director Tom Werder and Growing Stage Business Manager Stephanie Kingsbury in attendance.

Nearly 600 small businesses and nonprofits have applied for grants under the unique Morris County program, which is designed to help shops who overcame the pandemic, but continued to face financial impacts as they struggled to maintain their business.

The Commissioners dedicated $10 million to the program, and $3 million currently remains uncommitted. Morris County is still accepting applications.

Most of applications heading for final approval will provide each of the qualified businesses and nonprofits the maximum grant amount of $15,000. While the remaining applications are still being reviewed, the program remains open to new applications.

There is no cost to apply.

The Small Business Grant Program eligibility requirements include, but are not limited to:

Federal guidelines covering the grant program will determine exactly which expenses qualify for coverage under the grant program and which applications may be approved.

The grants are capped at $15,000 per applicant. However, business owners and nonprofits are encouraged to submit applications that include all costs they believe may qualify for the grant, even if the total amount of a single claim exceeds $15,000.

A final review may determine that some costs submitted for consideration are not covered under the program guidelines. However, by submitting all expenses that may qualify, applicants increase the possibility of getting the maximum amount of grant dollars possible.

Photos

Top Right: Director Selen and Wilson Vasquez greet Ed Ramirez with Dover Mayor Blackman and others at the start of the Sabor Latino event.

Top Left: At the Growing Stage, in the lobby of The Palace Theater in Netcong, (l-r), Morris Arts Executive Director Tom Werder, Growing Stage Business Manager Stephanie Kingsbury, Commissioner John Krickus, Growing Stage Founder and Executive Director Stephen L. Fredericks and Netcong Mayor Joseph Nametko.

Center Right: At Sabor Latino, (l-r) Ed Ramirez, Maria Vasquez, Wilson Vasquez, Mayor Carol Blackman, Director Tayfun Selen, Deputy Director John Krickus and Michael Stanzilis.

Bottom Left: The Palace Theater, home to The Growing Stage - The Children's Theatre of New Jersey.

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