O’SCANLON BILL ENDS FLEECING OF NJ DRIVERS BY OUT OF STATE SPEED AND RED-LIGHT CAMERA PROGRAMS

Legislation will prohibit NJ drivers’ information from being shared with private companies for purposes of speed or red-light camera enforcement

 

NJ101.5 photo

NJ101.5 photo

Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon announced today that he has filed legislation that will not allow New Jersey drivers to be preyed upon by red-light or speed-camera manufacturers that operate in other States. This legislation was modeled after a South Dakota statute that passed both houses and was signed into law by South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard this year.

“New Jersey’s red light camera program, mercifully, appears to be headed towards certain death this December – and we already wisely ban speed camera enforcement – but these systems continue to operate in neighboring states where our drivers often commute,” O’Scanlon explained. “These systems have proven to be error-ridden and non-effective so we shouldn’t allow our motorists to be preyed upon when they are outside of our borders.  By continuing to share this information – now that the evidence is clear that these systems don’t improve safety – New Jersey would essentially become complicit in the scam.  And that’s exactly what these systems are – government sanctioned theft.  If you set yellow light times and speed limits based on sound engineering criteria you end up with the safest roadways.  You also eliminate the profits in these systems.”

The bill will prohibit the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission from sharing residents’ license plate information with the private companies operating these systems for the purposes of speed-camera and red-light camera citations.

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Posted: July 15th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Declan O'Scanlon, Press Release, Red Light Cameras | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Rabies Alert in Middletown

Photo credit: Noel Westerland, Sr

Photo credit: Noel Westerland, Sr

The Middletown Township Health Department has received confirmation of a sixth raccoon testing positive for Rabies. The raccoon was captured and tested after a resident noticed the animal was acting sickly. The raccoon was found on Highway 35 between Kanes Lane and Kings Hwy East.

Previous cases have been found over the last two months at the following locations:

  • Red Hill Road between Dwight Road and Deepdale Drive,
  • Michael Drive off of Nutswamp Road,
  • Ueland Road off Nutswamp Road,
  • Essex Street off of Bray Avenue, and
  • Clay Court off of Hartshorne Road,

The Middletown Township Health Department would like to remind residents to be aware of your pets when they are outside. Wildlife will be attracted to areas where residents put food out for their animals.  Any dog or cat found to be in direct contact with a known rabid animal that is not properly immunized could be at risk. The domestic animal would be placed under either a strict 6 month confinement in a cage with no human contact or would be humanely euthanized to protect the family and the public from the Rabies virus.

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Posted: May 20th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Middletown, Press Release | Tags: , , , | Comments Off

Middletown Military Shout Out

Middletown - The three Middletown Middle Schools, in conjunction with ‘Middletown 350‘, will be honoring World War II veterans at “MIDDLETOWN MILITARY SHOUT OUT”, beginning at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 24, 2014.  The theme of this multi-faceted event is to “Remember, Educate, and Entertain,” culminating in an authentic World War II U.S.O. Show performed by students from the Thorne, Bayshore, and Thompson Middle Schools.

Battle or Bulge ThorneThorne Middle School, home of the WWII Battle of the Bulge Monument, will host the event.  Special guests will include survivors of that battle, and other World War II Veterans.  The school is named for Corporal Horace Thorne, Middletown’s only Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.  The Medal was awarded posthumously for Corporal Thorne’s heroism during the Battle of the Bulge.  The “MIDDLETOWN MILITARY SHOUT OUT” event is part of a series commemorating Middletown’s 350th Anniversary.

“MIDDLETOWN MILITARY SHOUT OUT” will feature three events, beginning with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Battle of the Bulge Monument in front of the school.  This Monument, previously housed at Fort Monmouth, was relocated to Thorne in May of 2011, with a re-dedication ceremony that included over 90 survivors of the Battle.  Next, attendees will be welcome to visit inside the school to see a “WALL OF HEROES” and showcases of World War II gear and uniforms.  There will be a special presentation by Mr. Frank McGinley, an artist who captures history through painting.  Several of Mr. McGinley’s original paintings depicting the Battle will be on display.  The program will conclude with the U.S.O. Show, which will take place outside, behind the school.

Veterans who wish to attend “MIDDLETOWN MILITARY SHOUT OUT” should contact the school at (732) 787-1220.  Families and the general public are welcome to attend any part of the program, and need not contact the school.  For the U.S.O. Show, seating will be available for veterans and their families.  Other attendees are encouraged to bring chairs or blankets for seating.  Thorne Middle School is located at 70 Murphy Road, in the Port Monmouth section of Middletown.     For more information Middletown 350 and planned events, please visit http://www.middletownnj.org/content/middletown 350.

Posted: May 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Middletown, Press Release, Veterans | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Manalapan bridge is closed for repair work

Detours will be in place

Pine Brook RoadMANALAPAN, NJ  – The bridge on Pine Brook Road between State Highway 9 and Arrowood Road is closed for repair work.

“The heavy rain last week created a scour condition beneath the bridge over Pine Brook,” said County Engineer Joseph Ettore. “In the interest of public safety and to complete the bridge repair as quickly as possible, a detour for motor vehicle traffic has been put in place.”

It is expected that the County bridge (MN-40) will be closed for up to three weeks, weather permitting.

While the section of Pine Brook Road bridge between Arrowood Road to State Hwy. 9 is closed, traffic should use Pease Road. Northbound traffic on Pease Road should travel to Union Hill Road to access Hwy. 9; southbound traffic on Pease Road should travel to Gordon’s Corner Road to access Hwy. 9.

“County crews are posting the detour and will be mobilizing to begin the repair work,” Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone said. “The County understands the inconvenience that this closure will have on the motoring public in the area. Our first concern is for the safety of the travelling public and the County will work to get the bridge and road reopened as soon as possible.”

In total, the county maintains of approximately 1,000 lane miles of roads, 980 bridges and culverts and 250 traffic signals and beacons.

If an adjustment to the work schedule is necessary, updates will be posted to the County’s website at www.visitmonmouth.com.

Posted: May 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Manalapan, Monmouth County, Press Release | Tags: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Flo’s Happy Clipper joins Facade Improvement Program

Groomer receives $1,727 check

EATONTOWN, NJ – The Grow Monmouth Facade Improvement Program recognized Flo’s Happy Clipper for recent upgrades today.

FlosHappy_Clipper_4-8-14“Flo’s is receiving a check for $1,727 for a new awning,” said Freeholder Thomas A. Arnone. “Every Facade Improvement Program check helps make a needed improvement to a local business. This is the seventh check presented so far.”

Flo’s Happy Clipper is located at 20 Main Street in Eatontown. Owner Robert Ferrara accepted the reimbursement check from Arnone.

The program is part of the successful Grow Monmouth initiative that is utilizing HUD Community Development Block Grant funds to help improve the look of privately held commercial buildings located in HUD eligible areas of Monmouth County. No County funds are being used for the program.

HUD eligible areas include all or part of 26 of the County’s municipalities. Eligible municipalities are: Aberdeen, Atlantic Highlands, Belmar, Bradley Beach, Colts Neck (Naval station only), Deal, Eatontown, Farmingdale, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Hazlet, Highlands, Howell, Keansburg, Keyport, Lake Como, Manalapan, Matawan, Neptune City, Neptune Twp., Ocean Twp., Red Bank, Shrewsbury Twp., Tinton Falls (naval station only), Union Beach and West Long Branch.

Asbury Park, Long Branch and Middletown businesses are not eligible for this program because those municipalities receive designated HUD Community Development Block Grants directly.

“No matching funds are required from the business,” Arnone said. “To date, $12,178 has been dispersed out of a total of $85,000 that has been set aside for this program, so businesses should apply now.”

For more information about the Grow Monmouth Façade Improvement Program please contact the Division of Economic Development at 732-431-7470 or visit the Grow Monmouth section of the County website at www.visitmonmouth.com

Posted: April 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Board of Freeholders, Press Release, Tom Arnone | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

Christie Administration Asks FEMA To Give New Jersey Residents And Businesses A 6-Month Extension To File Flood Claims Related To Superstorm Sandy

photo by Art Gallagher

photo by Art Gallagher

TRENTON –The Christie Administration today urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to grant New Jersey residents and businesses who suffered property damage or destruction in Superstorm Sandy an additional six-month extension to file a complete flood insurance claim, or proof of loss, in connection with the storm. The Administration is asking that the filing deadline be extended from April 28, 2014 to October 28, 2014.

“Superstorm Sandy was the worst natural disaster to strike New Jersey in a generation, and the process of rebuilding has been expensive and complicated. Homeowners and business owners simply need more time to file their final flood insurance claims,” said Governor Christie. “Many property owners have begun to rebuild only to find there was more damage than they originally thought. This extension would give New Jersey residents the vital extra time they need to successfully navigate the flood claims filing process and restore and rebuild their properties.”

A proof of loss is a form used by the policyholder to support the amount they are claiming under the policy, which must then be signed, sworn and submitted to the insurance company with proper supporting documentation. An extension of the filing deadline would give homeowners and business owners additional time to evaluate newly discovered damages and costs, obtain proper documentation, and submit detailed information in a supplemental proof of loss.

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Posted: April 8th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Christie Administration, FEMA, National Flood Insurance Plan, Press Release, Superstorm Sandy | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

O’Scanlon: Time to make Interest Arbitration Law permanent

Task force study on arbitration reform confirms law works – and is essential

declan-oscanlon-budgetFollowing up on his comments last week that allowing the interest arbitration law to expire on April 1st would have disastrous consequences on towns and property taxpayers, Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon will introduce legislation on Thursday that would make the law permanent.

From January 2011, when the law took effect, to September 2013, average raises in contracts, whether through arbitration or negotiations, were 1.86 percent — the lowest in at least 20 years. O’Scanlon was a member of the task force charged with studying the effects of the law since its inception and said there is no doubt the cap has been the single most significant tool responsible for the stabilization of municipal budgets.

“The data contained in the task force report is irrefutable that the interest arbitration law works and is an essential element in helping towns control costs,” said O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth. “The cap on arbitration awards was a critical part of our 2010 reforms and was the most important tool ever enacted to bring under control the never-ending, upward pressure on property taxes and the gradual strangling of local government services.  One simply cannot logically argue that we can maintain a cap on property taxes without providing this tool for municipal officials to control their largest expense categories.

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Posted: March 19th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Declan O'Scanlon, Press Release, Property Tax Tool Kit, Property Taxes | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

House Passes ‘Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act’

Bill would reform National Flood Insurance Program, aims to protect homeowners from steep insurance hikes

Congressman Chris Smith and Monmouth County Shaun Golden prepare to survey Hurricane Sandy damage

Congressman Chris Smith and Monmouth County Shaun Golden prepare to survey Hurricane Sandy damage

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives voted last night to provide relief to hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing huge flood insurance premium rate increases, including many still recovering from the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy. Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), who represents severely damaged areas in southern Monmouth and northern Ocean Counties, praised the vote.

“The bill makes targeted and necessary reforms and will prevent massive premium increases from hitting homeowners who simply cannot afford them—and cannot find a buyer to take them on, leaving them stranded and without a solution,” Smith said.  “Many cannot afford the recommended mitigation measures that may or may not reduce their premiums, creating a further environment of uncertainty. Accordingly, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act slows the rate of increase that was included in the 2012 Biggert-Waters reform bill, allowing homeowners to remain in their homes and plan accordingly to continue flood insurance policies.”

The bill passed in a 309-91 vote. If enacted the bill will provide relief and stability to these homeowners and their communities while bringing reform to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  It also provides a mechanism for enhanced community participation in the flood mapping process and increases transparency by making information publicly available to impacted parties.

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HR 3370), co-sponsored by Smith, remedies many of the unintended consequences of the so-called Biggert-Waters Act of 2012. It repeals certain rate increases on Pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (Pre-FIRM) properties and restores Grandfathered Rates for Post-FIRM properties that were built to code at the time of construction. It prevents a property sale from triggering rate increases and refunds those who have already faced one.

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Posted: March 5th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, FEMA, Flood Maps, Flooding, National Flood Insurance Plan, Press Release | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Joint Super Bowl Operation Targeting Commercial Child Sex Trafficking Rescue 25 Minors, Apprehends 45 Suspects

seated_on_setWASHINGTON, D.C. – Members of U.S. and New Jersey law enforcement agencies who took part in a Joint Super Bowl Operation deserve tremendous credit for rescuing 25 children ages 13-17 from lives of misery and sexual abuse, and for arresting 45 suspects who allegedly exploited the children for commercial sex, said Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), Chairman of the House congressional panel that oversees global human rights, and author of the landmark law, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (Public Law 106-386).

 

According to the FBI, which announced the arrests yesterday, some suspects claimed to have traveled to New Jersey from other states specifically for the purpose of prostituting women and children at the Super Bowl. High-profile special events, which draw large crowds, have become lucrative opportunities for child prostitution criminal enterprises, the FBI said.

This unprecedented effort by federal agencies in collaboration with local law enforcement from New Jersey aggressively focused on combating commercial child sex trafficking,” said Smith. “The joint efforts and the extraordinary leadership shown by Governor Christie and the New Jersey Human Trafficking Task force is to be applauded for working effectively to help save lives. 

“Young victims now have a chance for a new start thanks to these arrests and rescuesThose who took advantage of young runaways and women forced or mislead into a life of sex trafficking and abuse must now face justiceHopefully this effective effort will become a prototype and have a chilling effect on perpetrators across the nation and around the globe.”

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Posted: February 6th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Chris Smith, Human Trafficking, Press Release, Super Bowl | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment »

Super Bowl More Than a Game to Highlands, New Jersey Kids

The Robert D. Wilson Memorial Community Center and the Snug Harbor Park will be having repairs to damage from Hurricane Sandy thanks to

NY/NJ Snowflake Youth Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

 

Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan, Jets owner Woody Johnson, and Douglas Eagles, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County at November 2 announcement of NY/NJ Snowflake Foundation Grant for Highlands

Highlands Mayor Frank Nolan, Jets owner Woody Johnson, and Douglas Eagles, Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County at November 2, 2013 announcement of NY/NJ Snowflake Foundation Grant for Highlands

Highlands, NJ (January 30) – Long after this year’s Super Bowl Most Valuable Player is named, the game will continue to have an impact on youngsters throughout the State of New Jersey. The NY/NJ Snowflake Youth Foundation (SYF), the charitable arm of the NY/NJ Super Bowl Host Committee, is refurbishing run-down or damaged youth-serving organizations throughout the Garden State. Today, the Borough of Highlands announced that it is one of at least 23 sites benefiting from a $1.5 million grant for repairs and renovations from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to SYF through the Community Foundation of New Jersey.

 

Although some of these sites were in need of repairs and upgrades long before Hurricane Sandy came along, the superstorm had a huge impact. Many facilities were forced to shut their doors entirely, and more than a year after Sandy made landfall, the repair work continues. The funds provided will assist with the Community Center main room flooring replacement, installation of a new playground and renovations to the basketball and tennis courts that were undermined during the storm.

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Posted: January 31st, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Highlands, Press Release, Super Bowl | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off