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Latest News in Mount Arlington, NJ

NJ bald eagle rehab has been a success but manmade threats remain

From just a single nesting pair in the 1970s and 1980s to more than 220 as of 2021, bald eagles are one of New Jersey's greatest wildlife management success stories.That includes an accelerated increase in their numbers in the past decade alone, according to Kathy Clark, supervising zoologist and certified wildlife biologist for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Endangered & Nongame Species Program.However, the habitat of these fowl is changing, just as the human contingent of the Garden State continues to evolve...

From just a single nesting pair in the 1970s and 1980s to more than 220 as of 2021, bald eagles are one of New Jersey's greatest wildlife management success stories.

That includes an accelerated increase in their numbers in the past decade alone, according to Kathy Clark, supervising zoologist and certified wildlife biologist for the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife Endangered & Nongame Species Program.

However, the habitat of these fowl is changing, just as the human contingent of the Garden State continues to evolve.

In the early part of their recovery, most new bald eagle nests were found in rural areas and among farmland, Clark said, especially in South Jersey along the Delaware Bay.

That's not the case anymore.

"As the population has increased, we are finding them nesting statewide — in fact, they're in all 21 counties now — and there are more pairs that are nesting in suburban and urban situations," Clark said.

Living amongst more people can have its advantages for these birds, according to Clark.

"Some of these older trees that make good nest trees are actually in residential areas, so that can actually work out well," she said.

But there exists a heightened potential for disturbances. These are big specimens, Clark said, but they are vulnerable and need their space, and mostly want to be left alone.

So manmade threats — which make up almost all of the most severe bald eagle dangers, according to Clark — need to be watched and managed as closely as possible.

These include electrocution, vehicle strikes, rodenticides, and lead poisoning.

Not all can be tackled equally easily. For instance, the Division of Fish & Wildlife works with New Jersey's power companies to install equipment that can reduce electrocution risk.

"Some of the other things are going to take more time to help solve, like outlawing certain kinds of rodenticides because they make their way into other species' populations," Clark said.

Know the signs and signals of a bald eagle habitat, Clark said. If they are perched along a lake or other body of water, it's likely they are hunting ... and again, should be left to their own devices.

"Enjoying eagles is a great thing," she said. "You do want to keep your distance from eagles. If they're perched in a particular area, it's because there's something there that they need."

Injured bald eagles can and should be reported to the NJDEP hotline, 877-WARN-DEP.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]

Smooth Sailing Soon for Shippenport Road Sufferers

ROXBURY, NJ – Life - or, at least driving - is about to get a little better for motorists who’ve long endured the mess called Shippenport Road in Roxbury, according to town officials.Before the end of the week, the two utility poles that have been stuck out in the road near the new Stone Water Village at Roxbury housing development should be gone, said Roxbury Department of Public Works Director Rick Blood.That will allow the developers to pave the road between the Stone Water entrance and Mount Arlington Boulevard....

ROXBURY, NJ – Life - or, at least driving - is about to get a little better for motorists who’ve long endured the mess called Shippenport Road in Roxbury, according to town officials.

Before the end of the week, the two utility poles that have been stuck out in the road near the new Stone Water Village at Roxbury housing development should be gone, said Roxbury Department of Public Works Director Rick Blood.

That will allow the developers to pave the road between the Stone Water entrance and Mount Arlington Boulevard. Before that, possibly by the end of this week, the township will pave the rest of Shippenport Road down to Orben Drive, said Roxbury Township Manager John Shepherd.

The delay in having the old utility poles removed from the road has been the source of increasing annoyance by residents, motorists and township officials. It came up again at the Aug. 23 meeting of the Roxbury Mayor and Council, prompting Roxbury Mayor Jim Rilee to display the end of his rope.

“We need this done,” he declared. “That road needs to be paved. Now. Yesterday. Ten years ago.”

He asked state Sen. Anthony Bucco, who attended the meeting as Roxbury’s township attorney, to push the utility companies to get the poles removed.

“Right now, we’re going to do exactly what I said: We’re going to have the senator contact them,” Rilee said. “We’re going to contact the developer and put pressure on them to do it themselves or come back with a plan. No more conversation.”

On Wednesday, Blood said he was told, by Optimum and Verizon, that the two poles in the road and one on the shoulder, will be gone in 48 hours or sooner.

“The relocation of the utility poles has been a long grind for the developer,” said Shepherd earlier this week. “Our understanding is that the relocation of the poles and associated utility lines occurs in a particular sequence.”

He said JCP&L is the first to move wires. Then comes Verizon, followed by Optimum. Some town officials asserted Ryan Homes, the developer of Stone Water Village at Roxbury, should have been more aggressive in pushing the utilities to complete the wire transfers, something that they expected to happen last year.

“This has been an issue for people in Landing for a couple of years,” Blood said today. “It’s been on-again, off again detours.”

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California changes school start times. Is NJ next? (Opinion)

When California decided to mandate that schools begin later in the morning so the kids would have extra time to get “much-needed” sleep, I was dubious.While it’s true that studies show that teenagers, as well as younger kids, don’t get enough sleep for their health, this new law mandating that schools begin no earlier than 8:30 for high school and 8 a.m. for younger kids is just a way to pander to whiny little brats who can’t get out of bed.And what one liberal state does, other liberal states ofte...

When California decided to mandate that schools begin later in the morning so the kids would have extra time to get “much-needed” sleep, I was dubious.

While it’s true that studies show that teenagers, as well as younger kids, don’t get enough sleep for their health, this new law mandating that schools begin no earlier than 8:30 for high school and 8 a.m. for younger kids is just a way to pander to whiny little brats who can’t get out of bed.

And what one liberal state does, other liberal states often follow. Legislators in Massachusetts have looked at the law with interest, as have lawmakers here in New Jersey. It’s a typical New Jersey move. Instead of realizing that kids aren’t going to use the extra time for any practical purpose, our lawmakers will probably look at this as a really good idea.

I look at some of the farm states in this country where kids arise before dawn to do their chores and make it to school on time. I also think of students who are ambitious enough to be Olympic hopefuls. They routinely practice at 5 a.m. and sometimes even earlier, and manage to get their homework done, get to school on time and somehow get in a decent nights sleep, to boot.

It sounds good to have a law like this that allows kids to sleep in a little. It feels good to people. But the reality is, kids are better off learning the discipline of getting up earlier because if they’re given a later start time for their day, many, if not most kids, will simply use that as an opportunity to stay up a little later playing video games, texting with their friends, smoking weed, or God knows what else.

Are we really doing kids a favor after generations of getting up early and being responsible by making life easier for them? Isn’t getting up early a really good discipline to learn? If we are so concerned about our kids' lack of sleep, how about as parents, we insist that they sleep a little earlier at night? But, you know Jersey. There’s not a family responsibility they won’t try to usurp if given the opportunity.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

Online predator: NJ youth pastor had more male victims, police say

A Burlington County youth pastor accused of blackmailing teen boys online into recording sexual videos of themselves has now been linked to at least 13 victims, according to law enforcement.Sean Higgins, 31, of Palmyra, would pretend to be a teen girl on either Snapchat or Instagram to begin his chats, according to Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia Bradshaw.He was first accused of the crimes whil...

A Burlington County youth pastor accused of blackmailing teen boys online into recording sexual videos of themselves has now been linked to at least 13 victims, according to law enforcement.

Sean Higgins, 31, of Palmyra, would pretend to be a teen girl on either Snapchat or Instagram to begin his chats, according to Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia Bradshaw.

He was first accused of the crimes while serving as youth pastor and music leader at Harbor Baptist Church in Hainesport in 2020.

Higgins also was a teacher at the Harbor Baptist Academy, a private K-12 school within the same facility, at that time.

A Burlington County Grand Jury has indicted Higgins on 75 total charges — 13 of them first-degree — that include endangering the welfare of a child, aggravated sexual assault, criminal sexual contact, cyber harassment, and obscenity to a minor.

Each of the victims ranged in age from 12 to 17, living in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Alabama, Michigan, Minnesota, South Dakota and Tennessee, according to investigators.

There was no physical contact in any of the cases and none of the known victims were members of the church congregation or students at the school, Bradshaw said.

After introducing himself as “Julie Miller” to each of the teen boys, Higgins would then suggest that they trade photos — sending each juvenile victim a photo of an unidentified female teen, investigators said.

In return, Higgins would often receive nude photos that the victims took of themselves, according to the prosecutor's office.

Immediately upon receiving those images, Bradshaw said that Higgins would take a screenshot of the victim’s visible friends list and threaten to share the boy’s own nude photos unless the victim did exactly what Higgins demanded.

In most of the cases investigated, Higgins then demanded that his victims masturbate or perform sexual acts on themselves in a video chat as Higgins recorded, according to the prosecutor — even as many of the boys would audibly beg for him to stop taping.

The first case linked to Higgins involved a Pennsylvania boy in Berks County, who contacted Snapchat and reported that he sent nude photos of himself to someone he believed to be a teen girl, according to the prosecutor's office.

The unknown female, who in actuality was Higgins, had then threatened to expose hisnude photographs after they exchanged pictures, investigators said.

That was followed by a similar report from an underage male in Alabama, according to authorities.

Higgins has remained in Burlington County Jail since being arrested at his home in October 2020.

Anyone who believes their child has had inappropriate interaction on Snapchat or Instagram with someone going by the user name of Julie Miller, Julia Miller, or some variation of that name, has been asked to call Burlington County Central Communications at 609- 265-7113, or send an email to [email protected]

Erin Vogt is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach her at [email protected]

What would happen to NJ if we were attacked by nuclear weapons?

We used NUKEMAP by Alex Wellerstein to see what would happen if a nuclear warhead hit New York, Philadelphia, Washington or New Jersey.

The models show what would happen in aerial detonation, meaning the bomb would be set off in the sky, causing considerable damage to structures and people below; or what would happen in a ground detonation, which would have the alarming result of nuclear fallout. The models do not take into account the number of casualties that would result from fallout.

Gallery Credit: Eric Scott

New York City - Aerial Detonation

The blast would be felt as far away as Newark, Elizabeth, Nutley, Fort Lee and Englewood. Buildings would be damaged or destroyed.

Thermal radiation would cause third-degree burns throughout Jersey City, Union, and Cliffside Park.

It would likely destroy or severely damage Newark Liberty International Airport, the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, George Washington Bridge and the rail tunnels under the Hudson River.

Deaths: 1.6 million

Injuries: 2.9 million

New York City - Ground Impact with fallout

The blast would be felt as far away as Jersey City and Ridgefield.

It would likely destroy or severely damage Newark Liberty International Airport, the Holland and Lincoln tunnels, George Washington Bridge and the rail tunnels under the Hudson River.

Thermal radiation would cause third-degree burns in West New York and Fort Lee. Fallout would generally be carried away from New Jersey as far away as New Hampshire.

Deaths: 1.3 million

Injuries: 1.4 million

Philadelphia - Aerial Detonation

The blast would be felt up the Route 1 corridor causing damage from Trenton to East Orange.

Buildings would be destroyed as far away as Deptford, Voorhees, Riverside and Delanco.

Thermal radiation would cause third-degree burns from Haddonfield, Cherry Hill, Cinnaminson and Riverton.

Fallout would drift Northeast, spreading as far away as Middletown and Neptune to the East and Mount Olive to the West.

Deaths: 539,000

Injuries: 845,000

Philadelphia - Ground Impact with fallout

The blast would be felt as far away as Cherry Hill, Deptford, Maple Shade and Moorestown.

Thermal radiation would cause third-degree burns from Trenton, Plainfield, East Orange and Yonkers.

Deaths: 441,000

Injuries: 409,000

Trenton, NJ - Aerial Detonation

The blast would be felt up the Route One corridor causing damage from Trenton to East Orange and into New York City.

Buildings would be destroyed from Burlington to Coxs Corner, Princeton, Plainsboro and Pennington.

Thermal radiation would cause third-degree burns from Bordentown to Crosswicks, Lawrence and Ewing.

Fallout would drift Northeast, spreading across most of Central and North Jersey into New York City and as far as Stamford, Connecticut.

Deaths: 126,000

Trenton, NJ - Ground Impact with fallout

The blast would reverberate across the Delaware River to Philadelphia with shockwaves that would reach down to Burlington in the South and Upper Freehold to the East.

Buildings would be destroyed from Mansfield to Crosswicks and Princeton.

Thermal radiation would cause third-degree burns from Long Branch to Bedminster, Morristown, Spring Valley and Fort Lee.

Deaths: 108,000

Injuries: 97,000

New Brunswick - Aerial Detonation

The blast would be felt up the Route One corridor causing damage from Trenton to East Orange and into New York City.

Rutgers University, SoFi Stadium and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital would be reduced to ash.

Buildings would be destroyed from, Kingston to Marlboro, South Amboy, Woodbridge, Plainfield and Somerville.

Thermal radiation would cause third-degree burns from Kendal Park to Spotswood, Metuchen, South Plainfield and Millstone.

Fallout would drift Northeast, spreading across most of Central and North Jersey into New York City and as far as Stamford, CT.

Deaths: 140,000

The blast would reverberate across the Delaware River to Philadelphia with shockwaves that would reach down to Burlington in the South and Upper Freehold to the East.

Rutgers University, SoFi Stadium and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital would be reduced to ash.

Buildings would be destroyed from Spotswood to Millstone, Bound Brook, South Plainfield and Spotswood.

Thermal radiation would cause 3rd degree burns from Franklin Park to Woodbridge, East Brunswick, Sayreville and South Bound Brook.

Fallout would carry Northeast as far away as Elizabeth, Newark, New York City and Nashua, New Hampshire.

Deaths: 108,000

Atlantic City, NJ - Aerial Detonation

While a nuclear blast in Atlantic City would spare most of inland New Jersey, it would destroy the barrier islands from Long Port to Toms River.

The casinos would fall, the boardwalks would burn and the sand would be contaminated for a generation. Atlantic City International Airport would be leveled.

Buildings would be destroyed from Pleasantville to Margate and Brigantine.

Thermal radiation would cause third-degree burns from Linwood to Galloway and Longport.

Deaths: 57,000

Atlantic City, NJ - Ground Impact with fallout

Thermal radiation would cause third-degree burns from Longport to Barnegat Light.

Fallout would drift mostly out to sea, but would hit the Eastern half of Long Island up to Rhode Island.

Deaths: 57,000

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, NJ - Aerial Detonation

While New Jersey does have a handful of military targets, the primary target is likely the Joint Base.

If a nuclear missle were to detonate over the base, the entire facility would be reduced to ash.

Buildings would be destroyed from Mount Holly to Manchester Township, Bordentown, Allentown and Red Valley.

Thermal radiation would cause third degree burns from Pemberton to Plumsted and Chesterfield.

Deaths: 14,000

Buildings would be destroyed from Pemberton to Georgetown and Plumsted.

Thermal radiation would cause third-degree burns from Whitesbog to Georgetown and Arneytown.

Fallout would carry Northwest through Millstone, Freehold, Holmdel and Highlands and stretch all the way to Massachusetts.

Deaths: 9,000

Washington, DC - Aerial Detonation

The entire DC area would be reduced to rubble, including the White House, Congress, Pentagon and monuments. Andrews Air Force Base, Annapolis and Arlington National Cemetery would be destroyed.

Deaths: 505,000

Washington, DC - Ground Impact with fallout

The entire DC area would be reduced to rubble and buildings would be destroyed from Alexandria, Virginia, to Silver Spring and Bethesda, Maryland.

Thermal radiation would cause third-degree burns up to six miles from ground zero.

Fallout would carry Northwest through Baltimore, Philadelphia into Trenton and as far as the Northern New Jersey border.

Deaths: 415,000

Injuries: 381,000

Runoff From Roxbury Project Dumps Dirt into Lake Rogerene

ROXBURY, NJ – In what one area resident called an “environmental Armageddon,” dirt from a massive construction project in Landing was washed away by recent storms and ended up in Lake Rogerene, leaving the water brown and lake lovers livid.The runoff came from the 161-home housing development called The Villages at Roxbury now being built off Shippenport Road in Roxbury, about a quarter mile away from Lake Rogerene, according to residents and officials. Some homeowners in the lake community, which lies mostly in Moun...

ROXBURY, NJ – In what one area resident called an “environmental Armageddon,” dirt from a massive construction project in Landing was washed away by recent storms and ended up in Lake Rogerene, leaving the water brown and lake lovers livid.

The runoff came from the 161-home housing development called The Villages at Roxbury now being built off Shippenport Road in Roxbury, about a quarter mile away from Lake Rogerene, according to residents and officials. Some homeowners in the lake community, which lies mostly in Mount Arlington, angrily demanded action at Tuesday’s meeting of the Roxbury Mayor and Council.

Among them was Lake Rogerene Civic Association Trustee Paula Danchuk, who brought aerial photos showing the condition of the 9-acre lake before and after last week’s heavy rains. The drone shots showed a once-clear lake turned to opaque tan by the storm runoff.

“We thought we had things in place that would protect Lake Rogerene,” Danchuck told the council. “But, obviously, it’s not working.”

The Villages at Roxbury project - including stormwater runoff prevention - was approved in 2007, but work didn’t begin until last year.

Early Morning Phone Call

Roxbury Township Manager John Shepherd said he was made aware of the situation late last week, noting the runoff came from heavy rain that started last Thursday evening. “Everybody who lives here knows how heavy that storm was that occurred, certainly not a common storm for us,” he said. “But it was a heavy storm. We have those.”

Shepherd said he was alerted to the problem at about 7:30 a.m. Friday by Mount Arlington Borough Administrator Carolyn Rinaldi. “She let me know there was a problem, and it needed to be looked at,” he said. “I let her know we’d look at it immediately.”

A consulting engineer for Roxbury went to the site as did inspectors from the Morris County Soil Conservation District (MCSCD), the agency that enforces the state Soil Erosion and Sediment Control Act. Shepherd said the MCSCD, by 11 a.m. Friday, told the contractors building The Villages “what needed to be repaired.”

He said the inspectors found that “something wasn’t properly blocked, one of the outlet structures, or it just broke loose due to the volume of water.” Shepherd said the broken system has been repaired, but he noted the MCSCD also “recommended some additional measures along the outlet … to provide additional controls for any sedimentation.”

'Like An Open Strip Mine'

Mount Arlington Borough Councilman Andrew Cangiano, a Lake Rogerene resident, attended the Roxbury council meeting and confirmed that “everybody jumped right on” the matter as soon as they were alerted.

“It’s a very unique situation,” he said. “You have a very, very large construction site … It’s like an open strip mine. It’s just a huge, huge project.”

Cangiano said the soil erosion prevention system that broke during the storm was little more than “an old piece of plywood” and he stressed that “the results were catastrophic.”

He called for “some redundancy … a little resiliency” in the project’s runoff prevention. “Because if the one piece of plywood breaks free in another heavy storm, we don’t know what the effects of this is going to be on the lake. We just can’t afford another break,” Cangiano said.

Roxbury Mayor Jim Rilee said he was “a little surprised” that the MCSCD allowed The Villages at Roxbury builders to have vulnerable erosion prevention systems in place. “They’re usually a pain in the butt sometimes with what they require,” he commented.

Rilee asked that research be done to see if The Villages at Roxbury's escrow account can be used to help remediate the situation. The Villages at Roxbury is being built by Stone Water Holding, a preferred developer for Ryan Homes. The company could not immediately be reached for comment.

During the meeting’s public session, Lake Rogerene resident Andrew Danchuck tried to express the seriousness of the matter, noting that the lake is “the centerpiece” of the Lake Rogerene community.

“It’s gorgeous,” he said. “And it’s being ripped apart right now. What happened here: The Villages committed environmental Armageddon against Lake Rogerene. It’s beyond horrific what’s happening.”

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