Middletown Police Chief Robert Oches. Photo courtesy of Middletown Patch
Middletown Police Chief Robert Oches is getting $249,338 for unused sick and vacation time accumulated over his 40 year career upon his retirement at the end of this month. The payout is at Oches current pay scale, despite the fact that the time accumulated over a 40 year period.
The Township Committee approved the payment, reluctantly because it is required by State Law, at Monday night’s meeting.
Committeeman Tony Fiore said that most Oches’ unused time was accumulated prior to 1996 when the Township Committee passed a 150 day cap on retirement awards.
Dr. Dale Whilden, President of the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Assoc, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Sen Jennifer Beck, Gov Chris Christie, Congressman Chris Smith and Neptune Mayor Dr. Michael Brantley cut the ribbon of Ocean Grove’s rebuilt boardwalk
After being twice denied funding from FEMA before finally getting $2.4 million on their second appeal, the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association re-opened their boardwalk to the public today with a ceremonial ribbon cutting lead by Governor Chris Christie, Congressman Chris Smith, Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Neptune Township Mayor Dr. Michael Brantley and Dr. Dale C. Whilden, President of the OGCMA.
“Today is truly a great day for Ocean Grove, Neptune Township, Monmouth County, and the Jersey Shore, and a critical step forward in our recovery from Sandy,” said Smith.”This boardwalk is an integral part of Ocean Grove the neighboring Jersey Shore community, a fact we reinforced during our efforts to reverse FEMA’s original decision at the local level—and yet another at the regional level—to deny critical funding.”
Monmouth County Legislators Senator Jennifer Beck and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande will be sleeping under the stars on the grounds of the Statehouse in Trenton tonight, April 11, along with 8 other members of the legislature, from both parties, to raise awareness and funds in support of New Jersey’s homeless runaway and trafficked youth who are served by Covenant House.
Click on photo to support a legislator’s fund raising efforts for Covenant House
“Covenant House is always there, when no one else is, to help homeless, at risk adolescents,” says Casagrande. “I was moved to get involved by the stories of those whose lives have been changed by this remarkable organization. It is my hope that my participation in this ‘Legislative Sleep Out’ will bring attention to the work of Covenant House and encourage others to get involved.”
“Those of us sleeping outside tonight will be lucky. We only have to do it for one night and it will be during the spring,” Beck said. “Hundreds of youths sleep outside every night through the most brutal of seasons and during the harshest of weather.”
Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande announced yesterday that she will introduce legislation that will protect the sender of a text message from civil liability if the receiver of the text is involved in a car accident while reading the message.
Thank goodness, and let’s hope that legislation get fast tracked
In what can only be considered a gift to the overpopulated legal community, the Appellate Division of New Jersey’s Superior Court last week ruled that senders of text messages could be liable for accidents that occur while the receivers are reading them “when a texter knows or has special reason to know that the intended recipient is driving and is likely to read the text message while driving, the texter has a duty to users of the public roads to refrain from sending the driver a text at that time.”
What is a “special reason to know?” That is new legal distinction that will have to be defined in another expensive court decision, unless Casagrande’s common sense legislation is passed and signed into law before the next ambulance chaser gets his law school buddy on the bench to define it.
Imagine the cases, and legal fees, this new legal liability will create. Imagine the increases in insurance premiums, auto, homeowner’s, and business liability, this will cause.
If a spouse texts “pick milk” to his or her significant other during rush hour, and the receiving spouse gets into a car accident, the couple’s homeowner’s insurance company will get dragged into the law suit filed by the ambulance chaser.
Imagine the deposition questions asked at $250+ per hour per attorney:
We visited the City of Sderot and received a briefing at a lookout point over Gaza from Captain Kobi Harush, coordinator of Security for the city. Sderot is along the Gaza Strip and is regularly under rocket attack. Most of the exploded rockets are from Hamas, but lately, with the instability in the region, more rockets are coming from places like Libya and Sudan. Seeing the remnants of these rockets that were launched into Israel was like seeing a museum of terrorist weapons.
Sderot is the closest city to Gaza. Because of the short distance these rockets are often shot from playgrounds, schools and hospitals in Gaza, knowing there won’t be a counterstrike. Since the Arab spring, these rocket attacks have increased.
My visit to the old City of Jerusalem included a visit to the Western Wall – or what is known as the Wailing Wall – a sacred site for Jewish prayer and pilgrimage for centuries.
I had a very informative meeting with fellow legislators who are Members of the Knesset, the Legislative branch of the Israeli Government. The 120 members of the Knesset not only pass all laws, but elect the President and Prime Minister as well. They serve four-year terms, but it is their party that is elected and the party chooses the member. Fascinating to see the differences between Israel’s form of Democracy and that of the United States.
The American Jewish Council once again did an amazing job of making sure we received a broad understanding of what is going on in Israel today. On Thursday we visited Ramallah in Palestine and met with the spokesman for the Palestinian Authority negotiating team. Both Israelis and Palestinians remain hopeful of positive discussions when Secretary of State John Kerry visits next week. He has a huge challenge ahead of him with these peace talks. Everyone brings to the table thousands of years of their people’s history as well as their personal experience to the discussions.
Friday we visited Yad VaShem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum, and it was an incredibly moving experience. It is difficult to imagine how a people moves forward after 6 million are murdered, including 1.5 million children. The museum serves as a stark reminder that there is true evil in the world. The resiliency and spirit of the Jewish people is astounding.
The individual memorials also serve as a reminder to “Never Forget.” I was particularly drawn to the one for a doctor who took care of children whose parents were missing or killed. When the children were ordered to be deported to a camp he went with them, reasoning he wouldn’t leave them alone in life nor should they be alone in death. He is just one of the many heroes in the holocaust.
I feel very fortunate as a Christian to have been able to visit two of the actual sites I have heard about in Sunday sermons and read about my whole life. First I visited The Basilica of the Beatitudes, which is on a hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee on the traditional site of Jesus’ delivery of the Sermon on the Mount.
We were also brought to the location of the Biblical account of Jesus instructing His disciples to throw their nets over the right side of the boat and then their nets were overflowing with fish. The spot where Jesus was cooking the fish is preserved: Sacellum Primatus Sancti Petri, the Table of Christ. I also saw a boat that was recently discovered by two fishermen on the shores of the Sea of Galilee that carbon dates back to the time of Christ.
Before coming to Israel I read the book StartUp Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle by Dan Senor and Saul Singer. It describes how Israel’s policies on immigration, research and development, and military service have lead to a tech boom here. Israel has more companies on the NASDAQ than Korea, Japan, Singapore, India and all of Europe combined. We heard from the CFO of an angel investment company today, who explained Israel’s multifaceted success story. A portion of that success can be attributed to the elite tech units in Israel’s Army.
Before entering college most of the nation’s young people receive millions of dollars in training in the military where they also have access to Generals. Students call teachers by their first names here, which they say leads to a business culture that’s flat and very helpful in a start up environment. Israel has a Chief Scientist who has the responsibility of fostering research and development. There are also great incubator programs subsidized by the government that include free educational seminar speakers and workspace. A percentage of the property tax portion of the rent for tech company start-ups is forgiven.
I am here in beautiful Israel as part of Project Interchange, a program of the American Jewish Council. Despite the worldwide travel alert, I feel very safe.
For my first seminar, we had a fascinating introduction to Israeli society and politics with Dr. Elinat Wilf, a former member of Knesset. She described Israel for us as an idea of the mind. At the end of the Seder you say, “To next year in Jerusalem.” The worldwide Jewish community decided to make that happen literally by founding Israel. It is an incredibly diverse nation of immigrants. It is a Jewish state, which can be confusing for Americans, who are used to the separation of church and state. Zionism is an idea about bringing ethnic Jews together. I found it very surprising when our speaker identified herself as a Jew who is an atheist. She said many people in Israel are non-practicing Jews religiously, but practice the culture. Israel has a very sizable minority population – approximately 20 percent Muslim and Christian.