Summer is in full swing and I hope everyone is out there enjoying the beautiful weather we’ve been having. An annual tradition here in Monmouth County is the County Fair. The 41st Monmouth County Fair was a huge success with thousands of residents attending over the five days it was held at the East Freehold Fairgrounds on Kozloski Road.
Monmouth County is the gateway to the Jersey Shore, and you will find more than 50 miles of beaches, revolutionary history sites, nationally recognized parks and golf courses, outdoor dining experiences for all tastes and plenty of places to spend the night. The Monmouth Park System offers over 30 park areas to explore, please go out and enjoy all our beautiful county has to offer.
While we are on the topic of outdoor activities you can enjoy throughout our County, I would like to take a moment to address several concerns within different regions, including the Shark River dredging and the two-river area bike path.
Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande, Monmouth County Freeholder Tom Arnone, and Neptune Township Committeeman Randy Bishop offered the following statement Monday to update residents on the progress being made in the effort to dredge Shark River state navigation channels:
“This project is closer to reality than ever before. This is a result of years of work coordinating with the many agencies that have authority over this project. This project focuses on what we can do, dredge the state navigation channels of the river” Arnone explained, a former Neptune City Mayor. “A project like this has to have full cooperation from the federal, state, county, and municipal governments. It has been a long process, but one that is moving forward”.
There are two permits necessary to move forward with the project: one from the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, and the second from the US Army Corps of Engineers. NJ DOT has submitted applications for both permits. The State hopes to bid this project in time for a late-summer project award. If a responsive bid is received, and the selected contractor chooses, dredging could potentially begin later this year. The contractor may be given the option to conduct the work over two dredging seasons if necessary.
Bids expected in late summer. Award anticipated in Fall of 2015
The long delayed dredging of the Shark River Channels is finally moving forward, according to a statement released today by State Senator Jennifer Beck, Freeholder Tom Arnone and Neptune Township Committeeman Randy Bishop.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation’s Office of Maritime Resources has provided a working timeline for dredging the channels. Requests for proposals (RFP) will be released by DOT in August or September, according to Arnone, and a contract for the project is expected to be awarded in late October.
As home to one of the handful of international airports through which travelers from Ebola-stricken countries must enter the United States, New Jersey has screened more than a thousand passengers and monitored the health of more than 600 people in their homes. In documents submitted to the Office of Legislative Services, the N.J. Department of Health… Read the rest of this entry »
The 11th and 13th district legislators representing much of Monmouth County including the communities host Fort Monmouth sent a letter to Department of Human Services Commissioner Jennifer Valez Esq. this afternoon asking for the legal and practical justification for quarantining individuals that may have been exposed to the Ebola virus at Fort Monmouth at a time when New Jersey is marketing the property as a place for businesses to grow, create jobs and to serve as an area for new housing opportunities for people who have not been exposed to Ebola.
The letter signed by State Senators Joseph Kyrillos and Jennifer Beck and Assembly Members Amy Handlin, Declan O’Scanlon, Mary Pat Angelini and Caroline Casagrande was printed on Kyrillos’s letterhead. The letter can be viewed here.
Rita Dentino, Executive Director of Casa Freehold said her comments reported in the Sentinel and other Greater Media newspapers regarding a steady stream of unaccompanied Central American Youth arriving in Freehold Borough were not reported accurately. MMM relied on those reports earlier this week when reporting on the situation and State Senator Jennifer Beck’s response.
During an interview in her Freehold office, Dentino said that to her knowledge there has been only one refugee child, a 16 year old boy, that has arrived in Freehold from Central America since the first of the year and that there is no parade of children arriving at a rate of one per day. The Sentinel reported that Dentino said there were 5-10 young refugees in the Borough and that more were arriving daily. Denton told MMM that the 5-10 figure represents all young Central American youth that have come to Freehold over the last 11 years that she has worked at Casa Freehold, not a recent influx due to the situation on the United States’ southern border.
Senator Jennifer Beck working with federal officials and Governor to handle the crisis
Between 5 and 10 Central American children, ages 11-16, who have crossed our borders without adults have found their way to Freehold Borough, according to a statement by Rita Dentino, Director of Casa Freehold, an immigrants rights organization that helps newly arrived immigrants integrate into the community.
Dentino said that more children are arriving everyday, according to a report in the Sentinal.
State Senator Jennifer Beck issued a statement today saying she is working with federal and state officials to secure funding to deal with the situation and to evaluate New Jersey’s legal options and obligations.
“This is an issue with far ranging implications that is being experienced all across the country. I am working closely with federal representatives and the Governor’s Office to fully understand our legal options and obligations. I am hopeful that money will come from the federal government as part of an overall response to this issue. There are real humanitarian, fiscal and capacity concerns so all decisions must be fully vetted. I will continue to communicate openly with local officials to keep all appraised of our progress.”
Published reports indicate that over 1,500 Central American children have arrived in New Jersey. The federal government operates only one 10 bed facility in the State, and none of the children are housed there.
Dentino told the Sentinal that she would be contacting DYFS (Division of Youth and Family Services) to begin the process of finding the children guardians.
Beck: Federal and State Agencies Haven’t Approved Drying Sites
Governor Chris Christie told his Town Hall gathering in Belmar yesterday afternoon that the dredging of Shark River is being held up because the municipalities along the river and Monmouth County can not agree on a destination for the dredge spoils to be dumped.
The issue has gathered increased public attention in recent months due to a massive fish kill in the river last May. 310 tons of dead fish were removed from the shoreline of the estuary that feeds into the Atlantic through the inlet between Belmar and Avon-by-the-Sea and extents 11 miles through Neptune and Wall Townships.
In answering a question from a man who identified himself as Bob from Wall, Christie said that he supports the dredging, fought for money from FEMA to pay for the dredging and would impose a solution on the county and municipalities if he had the authority to do so. He said he had been briefed on the issue three weeks ago.
Maybe the Governor remembered a briefing from a different dredging project when answering Bob’s question.
Both the Monmouth County and Neptune landfills are willing to take the dredge spoils, according to Senator Jennifer Beck. The river hasn’t been dredged, Beck said in a phone interview last night, because over the last two decades various federal and state agencies have rejected every proposed location for the dredged materials to dry before being moved to their final disposal site.
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.”
Beck: “Hubris and Ego have no place in this recovery process. We have all made some mistakes. Now we need to fix them.”
Thomas P. Largey, 82, and Senate President Steve Sweeney talk in Largey’s gutted Sea Bright home prior to Sweeney’s press conference. May 30, 2014. Photo by Art Gallagher
Senate President Steve Sweeney held a politically charged press conference in a partially gutted Sea Bright home this morning, ostensibly to create political pressure on Republicans in the State Legislature to join Democrats in overriding Governor Chris Christie’s conditional veto of the Sandy Bill of Rights.
Sweeney’s comments sounded like a campaign rally against Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon, Senator Jennifer Beck and Senate Minority Leader Tom Kean, JR.
The “Sandy Bill of Rights” passed both houses of the State Legislature unanimously in March. Christie conditionally vetoed the bill earlier this month, making over 150 changes to it. Some of the changes were to bring the law into compliance with federal Housing and Urban Development regulations, others removed what Christie called “partisan language.” One of Christie changes removed the requirement on the State that applicants for RREM grants be able to access the status of their applications online.
Sweeney penned an OpEd published in The Asbury Park Presslast week wherein he appealed to Republican legislators who had unanimously voted for his bill “to do something they have yet to do under this (Christie) administration, and that’s to put aside their partisanship and override the governor’s veto.”
O’Scanlon responded with an OpEd of his own, wherein he said, “after further analysis we found a number of critical flaws that the Governor wisely and reasonably addresses in his conditional veto.”