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Latest News in Mine Hill, NJ

The Addams Family at CCM Fall Musical Celebrates Hispanic Heritage and Family Dynamics

Randolph, NJ: The Department of Music, Performing Arts & Music Technologies at County College of Morris (CCM) is presenting The Addams Family, the musical, an entertaining exploration of family dynamics, as part of its celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.With music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, the musical revolves around Wednesday Addams, who has fallen in love with a “normal” man who, along with his family, has been invited to dinner. The dinner forces the quirky and macabre Addams ...

Randolph, NJ: The Department of Music, Performing Arts & Music Technologies at County College of Morris (CCM) is presenting The Addams Family, the musical, an entertaining exploration of family dynamics, as part of its celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

With music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa, the musical revolves around Wednesday Addams, who has fallen in love with a “normal” man who, along with his family, has been invited to dinner. The dinner forces the quirky and macabre Addams family to confront change, as secrets are revealed and relationships are tested.

The performance of the Addams Family begins Wednesday, October 26, and runs through Saturday, October 29, at 7:30 p.m. A Saturday, October 29, matinee also takes place at 2 p.m. All performances are held in the Dragonetti Auditorium in the Student Community Center on CCM’s campus, 214 Center Grove Road, Randolph.

Making up the cast and the roles they are playing are Adoran Ball, Pugsley, of Montville; Alyssa Correa, Saloon Girl Ancestor, of Dover; Andreas Mathikolonis, Samurai Ancestor, of Randolph; Andrew Price, Cowboy Ancestor, of Madison; Dani Mederos, Marie Antoinette, of Sparta; Eugene Kotlarchuk, Ghost, of Lake Hiawatha; Gabriella Sanchez, Roman Ancestor, of Rockaway; Johnny Mustion, Gomez, of Morristown; Joseph Hernandez, Revolutionary Ancestor, of Flanders; Joseph Rivera, Dancer, of Dover; Julia Bachman, Indian Ancestor, of Rockaway; Junior Gonzalez, Mal, of Mount Olive; Katie O’Shea, Bride Ancestor, of Mount Olive; Katy Campbell, Flapper Ancestor, of West Milford; Kayla Delvalle, Morticia, of Denville; Kevin Casey, Cave Man Ancestor, of Flanders; Lydia Girardy, Wednesday, of Long Valley; Mackenzy Reilly, Alice, of Byram; Marc Chisholm, Revolutionary Ancestor, of Mine Hill; Matt Steen, Fester, of Hackettstown; Matthew Budesheim, Lurch, of Butler; Megan Hertlein, Ballerina Ancestor, of Vernon; Melissa Hamfeldt, Nun Ancestor, of Succasunna; Miah Moore, Puritan Ancestor, of Roxbury; Mollie McLoughlin, Cowgirl Ancestor, of South Orange; Naomi Canilao, Nurse Ancestor, of Madison; Owen Gately, Lucas, of Belvidere; Rayne Yelinko, Flight Attendant, of Netcong; Savanna Brackelmanns, Show Girl Ancestor, of Randolph; Sean Cahill, Revolutionary Ancestor, of Netcong; Sebastian Cedeno, Shakespeare Ancestor, of Mine Hill; Shari Yelinko, Grandma, of Netcong.

General Admission is $15 and $10 for CCM students, CCM alumni, children under 12 and seniors 62 and over. Tickets can be purchased at https://bookstore.ccm.edu/current-shows.

To learn more about the Department of Music, Performing Arts & Music Technologies at CCM, go to https://bit.ly/CCM_Performing_Arts.

A Fundraiser for Brothers Who Drowned Near Roxbury

ROXBURY, NJ – (Updated 10:30 p.m.) An online fundraiser has been established to cover the costs associated of returning to Guatemala the bodies of two brothers who drowned Tuesday in Mine Hill.The GoFundMe site, viewable here, was set up by Randolph resident Alan Verá, a friend and co-worker of the victims.The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, which is handling publicity related to the incident, has not released much informatio...

ROXBURY, NJ – (Updated 10:30 p.m.) An online fundraiser has been established to cover the costs associated of returning to Guatemala the bodies of two brothers who drowned Tuesday in Mine Hill.

The GoFundMe site, viewable here, was set up by Randolph resident Alan Verá, a friend and co-worker of the victims.

The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office, which is handling publicity related to the incident, has not released much information about the victims other than to describe them as Hispanic and being 17 years old and 22 years old.

“The case is still an active investigation with no further information to release at this time,” said prosecutor’s office Agent Paul Merkler in an email.

However, Verá said the victims were named Jesus and Arnulfo Del Cid Sifuentes. He said they have a 29-year-old brother, Jose, living in the area, but their parents are still in Guatemala. Verá, who works at the Kenvil IHOP, said the brothers also worked there.

According to Verá, Jesus was the older sibling. He drowned in Sunset Lake in Mine Hill on Tuesday evening while attempting to rescue Arnulfo, who’d fallen into the water, he said.

A Hidden Lake Bottom Ditch

Verá said the brothers had just gotten to the lake when the accident happened. "They were just playing around, talking" when Arnulfo went into the water a short way and slid down an underwater ditch.

"He took like ten steps and then the ditch went down to a different level, like 22 feet down," he said. Verá said Jesus' attempts at rescuing his younger brother were likely complicated by roots and deep mud on the lake bottom, elements that also made difficult the recovery of the bodies, according to authorities.

Verá, is hoping to gather $40,000. On his fundraising page, he described Jesus El Cid Sifuentes as his “little brother” and said he was a happy and loving young man.

“If you ask me about the meaning of joy … I would describe Jesus as ‘The Little Brother’ because he reflected the meaning of life: Living happily every day and making others happy,” wrote Verá. “His big heart and his desire to get ahead made him bring his little brother ‘Arnulfo’ … who in less than a month stole everyone's heart.”

Verá added, “That same love led him to give his life for him in his attempt to rescue him from the waters of the lake.”

Verá said the money will be used to “cover the expenses that the repatriation of both bodies to their families and to their country,” adding that “Any help is welcome to get his parents to give him a Christian burial.”

More TAPinto Roxbury coverage:

Bodies of Two Drowning Victims Recovered from Lake on Roxbury Border

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Water restrictions continue in N.J. as drought conditions worsen in 6 counties

New drought status maps issued Thursday morning show drought conditions have worsened in some parts of New Jersey and most of the state remains unusually dry because of the extreme heat and lack of heavy rain during the past several weeks.Six counties have been elevated to “moderate drought” status — just one level away from sever...

New drought status maps issued Thursday morning show drought conditions have worsened in some parts of New Jersey and most of the state remains unusually dry because of the extreme heat and lack of heavy rain during the past several weeks.

Six counties have been elevated to “moderate drought” status — just one level away from severe drought conditions, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center, which updates its drought status maps every Thursday.

Moderate drought conditions are now affecting virtually all sections of Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset and Union counties, and parts of Essex and Hudson. Several other counties — including Monmouth, Morris, Atlantic, Cumberland and Cape May — still have “abnormally dry” conditions, along with small sections of other counties. (Those areas are shaded in yellow on the drought status maps.)

Earlier this week, as an eight-day heat wave was winding down and no heavy rain was in the forecast, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection asked residents and businesses to conserve water, and some water companies imposed water restrictions on its customers.

“Now is the time for New Jersey to be especially mindful of water usage and proactively moderate our consumption,” Commissioner of Environmental Protection Shawn M. LaTourette said in a release. “Although our reservoirs and other indicators are healthy, persistent hot and dry weather coupled with the high water demands of summer can quickly impact water supply. Simple steps, like reducing lawn and landscape watering, go a long way in preserving our water supplies and avoiding the necessity of significant restrictive measures.”

Last week, New Jersey American Water — the state’s largest water company — asked customers in seven counties to conserve water because of the long heat wave and low rainfall.

The company’s customers in Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean, Somerset and Union counties were asked to follow an alternating watering schedule for lawns, gardens, car washing and other outdoor water use to ease water demand. The schedule is based on house addresses, with odd-numbered homes allowed to water on odd-numbered days, and even-numbered homes allowed to water on even days.

The water restrictions are mandatory in Monmouth and Ocean counties, and voluntary in the other five counties, according to a customer notice issued by New Jersey American Water.

In all areas, the company advises customers to water their lawns or plants during early hours or late hours in the permitted days to help minimize evaporation.

There are a few exceptions to the New Jersey American Water restrictions:

Middlesex Water Company, which has more than 60,000 customers in Middlesex County and a small portion of Union County, issued a “voluntary water conservation notice” on July 21 asking all of its customers to reduce their water usage.

“Please voluntarily limit all non-essential water use until further notice,” the notice said. “Your cooperation will help to avoid more restrictive measures to reduce usage. Customers will be notified when the conservation notice is lifted.”

Some areas of New Jersey got a little relief from the super-dry conditions when isolated rain showers and thunderstorms popped up early Thursday morning, dropping a tenth of an inch to a quarter-inch of rain in parts of Middlesex and Monmouth counties and as much as an inch in parts of Somerset and Hunterdon counties, according to data from the Rutgers NJ Weather Network.

The National Weather Service says there’s a 20% to 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms Thursday afternoon and a 40% to 60% chance of downpours Friday afternoon and Friday evening. Forecasters say the storms will be isolated, so some areas of the Garden State won’t see a drop of rain.

Current weather radar

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Concrete Firm Proposes Pond Fill-in, River Reroute in Roxbury

ROXBURY, NJ – Rutgers Pond, also known as Sunset Lake, was formed by decades of quarrying.Now, Roxbury-based County Concrete Corp. wants to return to that hole on the Roxbury/Mine Hill border some material long ago removed.The company has applied to the state for permission to fill in a section of the pond and to reroute a piece of the Black River through the reclaimed area. In an application describing the plan, County Concrete says the river would be returned to its “natural channel” instead of going through...

ROXBURY, NJ – Rutgers Pond, also known as Sunset Lake, was formed by decades of quarrying.

Now, Roxbury-based County Concrete Corp. wants to return to that hole on the Roxbury/Mine Hill border some material long ago removed.

The company has applied to the state for permission to fill in a section of the pond and to reroute a piece of the Black River through the reclaimed area. In an application describing the plan, County Concrete says the river would be returned to its “natural channel” instead of going through the man-made pond as it does now.

The project is outlined in a 597-page application filed with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) which refers to the plan as the “Black River Restoration.” County Concrete is seeking from the DEP a flood hazard individual permit and an open water fill individual permit.

“The Black River … currently routes through man-made Rutgers Pond in Roxbury and Mine Hill Townships,” says the application. “The proposed project will reestablish the natural channel of the river, disconnecting it from Rutgers Pond. This will be accomplished by mainly using fine-grained materials that were separated from aggregates removed from the pond to build up land surface along the southwest edge of the pond.”

The pond is the body of water that includes Mine Hill Beach on the eastern shore across the water from County Concrete’s plant in Kenvil.

A River Runs Through It

County Concrete proposes to build a “naturalized stream channel” through the filled-in area that would “directly connect the Black River to itself” below the pond. That new channel would be shored-up with gravel and vegetation, according to the letter. “Landscaping and shade trees will be implemented along both sides of the new stream channel,” it notes.

The company proposes filling-in about 16 acres of the 56-acre pond, with about nine acres of the filled area rising above the water. If approved, the project would take seven to 10 years to finish, according to the paperwork.

“To date, there have been no attempts to restore or stabilize the Black River channel through the project site,” says the application. “The causes of ecological degradation that led to the Black River connecting to Rutgers Pond were mechanical quarrying operations. Quarrying operations are no longer active in the project area, and this mechanical removal of restored stream channel and banks is not a concern.”

The document asserts that replacing the material into the pond “is the only way to restore the Black River Channel to a typical cross-section,” adding that the river’s channel “has been drastically reconfigured due to the historical quarrying operations.“

The project is the only viable alternative, asserts the application, suggesting County Concrete is running out of room at its Kenvil site to store unwanted material it can't sell. If not allowed to proceed “County Concrete would have to either “haul and properly dispose of the sifted native soils at an offsite location,” continue to store it on site or buy new land to conduct its operations, it says.

“The materials have no market or resale value,” says the document. “Relocating this material would require significant truck transportation of the material, resulting in increased truck traffic and air pollution. Disposing of this fill at regulated facilities would also incur significant costs.”

County Concrete President John Crimi did not return a message.

The application seemed to come as a surprise to Mine Hill Mayor Sam Morris and to Roxbury Township Manager John Shepherd. Both said they had no idea it was coming.

Don’t miss any Roxbury news! Click here to sign-up for our free daily e-newsletter.

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Schools teach kids to swim in other states. Why can’t N.J. do it? | Calavia-Robertson

Another day, another drowning. Or two. Or three. Or fourteen?! At least that many people drowned in New Jersey last month. With another 6 weeks of summer, it’s sure to go up. But any number is too high.A ...

Another day, another drowning. Or two. Or three. Or fourteen?! At least that many people drowned in New Jersey last month. With another 6 weeks of summer, it’s sure to go up. But any number is too high.

A high school senior in a pond in New Milford. A 17-year-old and a 22-year-old in a lake at Mine Hill Beach. Two teenage brothers in an indoor pool in Bayonne. A 7-year-old girl in a backyard pool in Teaneck.

In ponds, in lakes, in reservoirs, in the ocean and in pools, the young, and sometimes the not-so-young —last month a 53-year-old man and 59-year-old woman drowned in separate incidents—are dying in New Jersey. It’s concerning, sad and — for the most part — very, very, preventable.

The main reason people drown is that they don’t know how to swim. Not well, anyway.

An American Red Cross report found that while 80% of Americans said they could swim, only 56% of them could perform the basic skills needed to swim safely, meaning more than half of them can’t swim well enough to save themselves in the water—which is likely the reason nearly 4,000 people drown in the U.S. every year. That’s about 10 fatal drownings a day.

It’s bad news all around: Drowning prevention group Stop Drowning Now notes when parents “have no to low swimming skills ...their children are also unlikely to have proficient swimming skills.”

We need to teach kids how to swim. It could start with teaching kids about water safety in school, which is what a bill, A618, introduced in the New Jersey Legislature the past three sessions is proposing, but even that doesn’t go far enough because it doesn’t require swim lessons in water. Legislators say it’d be too expensive. But other states have found ways to make sure kids learn this vital life-saving skill, and with all the private pool clubs in New Jersey, there needs to be a solution—maybe even like the short-lived partnership Plainfield Public Schools had with a local sports club.

Whatever it is, we can’t leave our children to sink or swim: Data from The Red Cross shows just four in 10 parents of children ages 4-17 say their child has basic swimming skills, yet more than nine in 10 say their child is likely to participate in water activities during the summer, anyway.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have an equally troubling statistic: 20% of the nearly 10 people who drown in the country every day are children aged 14 or younger.

The statistics are worrisome and there are plenty. But here’s a good one: Learning to swim can reduce the risk of drowning by 88%. That’s why swimming lessons for kids are crucial, especially given all the recent drownings and especially in a state surrounded by water on three sides.

Even so, mandating swimming as part of New Jersey’s school curriculum could cost “tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars,” says Assemblywoman Nancy F. Muñoz (R-Summit) who’s sponsoring the bipartisan bill that would require school districts to provide instruction on water safety as part of the state’s health and physical education curriculum.

“Most public schools here don’t have a pool so that’s a limitation,” she said. Ideally, she says, the bill—which calls for students in grades K through 12 to learn the proper use of flotation devices, how to become aware of water conditions, the dangers of rip currents and how to respond if caught in one, and the importance of swimming in areas monitored by a lifeguard—would include swimming lessons for students.

But “realistically,” she says, “many districts may not have access to a pool” and it’d be “a much harder lift” for schools financially.

Bill sponsor Assemblyman Sean T. Kean (R-Monmouth) agrees. He says it “comes down to dollars and cents” and says, because the bill, as written, “doesn’t add an alphabet soup of requirements” it’d be easy to implement the basic safety instruction at all schools throughout the state.

“The implementation would be up to the discretion of the school districts,” he said, adding he’s sure some would likely “run with it and expand the mandate to include swimming instruction.”

Both Kean and Muñoz told me they see the proposed mandate as a “positive first step” towards ensuring New Jersey children are safer in the water. I hope they’re right and pray the bill passes but as a mother of two I still can’t help but think maybe more can be done.

I spoke with Amanda Duvall, coordinator for teaching and learning at the Juneau Borough School District in Alaska, who said all fourth-graders in the district’s eight elementary schools receive 10 days of swimming instruction. They’re bussed to one of the two pools in town for lessons, she said.

At one school, students in grades K-5 alternate between a week of gym class and a week of swimming lessons throughout the year. “And you can find it as a high school graduation requirement in some of our schools,” she said.

In San Diego, California, a portable pool program launched in the late ‘60s to prevent children from drowning and provide free and low cost swimming lessons to locals who can’t afford them or don’t live near one of the city’s 13 pools is still ongoing.

According to Fox News, the portable pools can be built in 20 short minutes and the residents who learn to swim in them either pay just $10 or do so for free.

In years past, some of our residents also learned to swim for free. In 2018, thanks to a partnership with the YMCA and money donated by foundations, 1st through 3rd graders in Plainfield Public Schools got free lessons. For eight weeks, they were bussed to the Y during the school day to learn how to swim.

But, Plainfield’s community engagement liaison Gloria Montealegre says, the program no longer exists and the local YMCA closed.

Both ideas, however, give me hope—they speak to what’s needed in New Jersey, initiatives that make learning to swim affordable and accessible for all kids.

Daysi Calavia-Robertson may be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Instagram at @presspassdaysi or Twitter @presspassdaysi. Our journalism needs your support. Please subscribe today to NJ.com. Here’s how to submit an op-ed or Letter to the Editor. Bookmark NJ.com/Opinion. Follow us on Twitter @NJ_Opinion and on Facebook at NJ.com Opinion. Get the latest news updates right in your inbox. Subscribe to NJ.com’s newsletters.

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