Information about Prescribed Burns in NJ

From the NJ DEP

The New Jersey State Forest Fire Service advises residents that its seasonal prescribed burning program – which reduces wildfire risks by burning away the buildup of undergrowth, fallen trees and branches, leaves, pine needles and other debris on forest floors – is underway. Residents are advised that they may see large plumes of smoke in areas where these controlled burns are being conducted.

Prescribed burns will take place through the end of March, conditions permitting. These burns are generally conducted during the winter – especially toward the late-winter months – to minimize the amount of smoke produced, and when weather conditions tend to be safer for controlled fires.

“Prescribed burning is an important tool in keeping our forests and other wildlands safe and healthy,” said Bill Edwards, Chief of the New Jersey Forest Fire Service. “These burns are conducted only under exacting conditions by highly trained personnel. By burning them away now, we can reduce the risk of these materials serving as tinder for wildfires later in the year. This practice also improves the overall ecological health of our forests and grasslands.”

The New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry will provide as much notice as possible of prescribed burns through its Facebook page at: www.facebook.com/newjerseyforests. The public may also contact the State Forest Fire Service at (609) 292-2977 about the prescribed burning program and where burns are expected to be conducted. When in doubt about the source of smoke or fire, call 9-1-1 or 877-WARN-DEP (877-927-6337).

The peak wildfire season in New Jersey typically begins in middle to late March and runs through late spring, when the weather tends to be dry, windy and warmer. This also is the time of year when forest canopies and undergrowth have yet to leaf out, making forest debris more susceptible to the drying effects of wind and sunshine.

Because of the types of trees and shrubs it supports, the sprawling Pinelands region of southern New Jersey is particularly susceptible to wildfires and is typically the focus of much of the prescribed burning activity conducted by the Forest Fire Service.

During prescribed burns, Forest Fire Service personnel use hand-held torches to set smaller fires to burn away fallen leaves, pine needles, fallen branches and other debris on the forest floor. The personnel take into account wind, moisture and other conditions. These prescribed fires do not reach the forest canopy or cause significant loss of mature trees as wildfires do.

While the annual burning program began late last year, the Forest Fire Service is entering peak season for controlled burns. The Forest Fire Service expects to burn between 10,000 and 20,000 acres of forests and grasslands this season, depending on weather conditions. Most burns take place on state-owned property, such as state forests, parks and wildlife management areas.

“Prescribed burning has been a successful wildland fire mitigation tool used by the Forest Fire Service since the 1920s, protecting property, lives and infrastructure by creating defensible space around developed areas and strategic fire breaks that help the Forest Fire Service quickly contain wildfires,” said Richard Boornazian, DEP’s Assistant Commissioner for Natural and Historic Resources.

In 2016, the Forest Fire Service responded to 1,065 wildfires, 75 percent of which were a quarter-acre or smaller. The largest was a 464-acre fire in Bass River State Forest in Burlington County.

Roads in areas where burns are taking place are clearly marked. Motorists traveling through these areas are advised to observe posted reduced speed limits and to be alert to the presence of trucks and Forest Fire Service personnel. During the burns, firefighters employ best management practices to control smoke impacts, but nearby residents and forest visitors should expect temporary smoke.

For more information on wildfires in New Jersey, steps you can take to protect your property and other resources, visit: www.njwildfire.org. For more information on New Jersey’s Statewide Forest Resource Assessment and Strategies, visit: www.nj.gov/dep/parksandforests/forest/docs/NJFSassessment.pdf.

Wood available for pick up

Provided the wood can be safely removed without impeding traffic, residents are welcome to take the wood on the side of the following streets.  Budd Avenue, Seminary Avenue, Ridge Road, Oak  and Orange Streets.

Christmas tree pick up

Christmas Trees will be picked up on garbage day through the month of January by Mt. Olive.

Trees for removal should be curbside Tuesday night for early Wednesday morning pickup.

Any trees not out in time for morning collection will be picked up the following Wednesday.

Holiday Happenings in Downtown Chester

Chester’s Holiday “12 Days of Giveaways” Contest

Shop Small Business-Shop Chester & You could WIN during 12 Days of Giveaways!

Every weekend from November 12th to December 18th, special “holiday helpers/entertainers” will be strolling throughout Chester randomly giving away HCBA member-affiliated gift certificates and other prizes to unsuspecting shoppers. No purchase necessary. 

Other Exciting Holiday Activities and Entertainment

  • Manhattan Holiday Dickens’ Carolers
  • Sculpted Ice Works
  • Ron Albanese is POLKA DOT the Elf!
  • S.C.3. Entertainment Presents ‘Sounds of the Holidays’

Exciting holiday events, in-store events, holiday sales, and complimentary holiday treats will be offered at various merchant locations to enchant even the Grinchiest of bargain hunters. For details and schedule, visit www.ilovechester.com

Save the Date for the Annual Tree Lighting and Visit from Santa– December 4th at 5:00pm.

Veterans Day Observances

Veterans Day observances will take place this Friday 11/11 at 11:00am at the Veterans Memorial at Chubb Park, and at 11:30am at the Larry Maysey Memorial Park on Main Street.
These programs are provided by American Legion Post 342 in Chester. Please come out and join us in honoring our veterans.

veterans

Information regarding vote on school funding

A letter from Robert O. Strobel, President, West Morris Regional High School District Board of Education
November 1, 2016

Dear West Morris Regional High School Community:

Please remember to vote on November 8.  The ballot includes the following question put to the voters by the West Morris Regional High School District Board of Education:

“Shall the West Morris Regional High School District’s annual and special appropriations be apportioned on the following basis:  50% on each municipality’s equalized valuation allocated to the West Morris Regional High School District as provided by state law and 50% on the proportioned number of pupils enrolled from each municipality on the 15th day of October of the pre-budget year?”

If approved, this would change the funding of annual and special appropriations (more simply put, the District’s budget) from the current formula based 100% on each municipality’s equalized valuation.

The attached presentation, which is also available on the District website, is provided to inform your decision.  Most of it is self-explanatory, however, a couple of items may benefit from further discussion.

Some basic background provides context for the ballot question.  5 municipalities participate in the two high school District.  With only a few exceptions, West Morris Mendham High School is dedicated to the Chesters and Mendhams, which in the current year send 51.2% of the Districts’ students and pay 65.95% of the taxes necessary to run the District.   Likewise with few exceptions, West Morris Central High School is dedicated to Washington Township, which in the current year sends 48.8% of the Districts’ students and pays 34.05% of the taxes necessary to run the District.

The current 100% equalized value formula was mandated by a state law adopted in 1975.  Prior to that, and dating back to the District’s formation in 1958, the district’s budget was funded based 100% on the proportioned number of pupils enrolled from each municipality.

Pages 9-12 of the presentation contain charts that will give you a qualitative view of the potential tax impact of changing the funding formula.  They should not be viewed as providing a statement as to what you will actually pay.  This is because your actual taxes will depend on three variables that we can not predict with certainty: (1) number of students; (2) equalized property values and (3) district spending.  For this reason, the charts only provide the dollar impact for prior years, for which each of the variables is known.  These prior year charts show what would have happened if the new formula had been applied in those years.

Looking forward to years 2017-2020, the charts only provide the percentage of district funding (“% Regional Tax” in the last column) that might be paid by each municipality if the number of students currently in each of the sending K-8 districts arrive at the high school in exactly the same percentages as currently exists in the 5th through 8th grades. The actual numbers may be close, but it is highly unlikely they will be exactly the same.  As a result, the calculation of each town’s % Regional Tax should be viewed as illustrative and not absolute.

The best way to look at the charts for years 2017-2020 is to compare your town’s % Regional Tax  for the Current Formula of 100% Equalized Value in the top chart on page 7 of the attachment to future years % Regional Tax.  Assuming (1) the 5th through 8th grade student populations accurately predict the percentage of student from each town in the high school in a given year, (2) equalized property values hold steady and (3) the district’s spending is unchanged, in any year in which your town’s % Regional Tax is greater than its 2016 % Regional Tax, you will pay more tax than you will in 2016.  Likewise, in any year in which your town’s % Regional Tax is less than its 2016 % Regional Tax, you will pay less tax than you will in 2016.

The funding formula has been a source of controversy for many years, however, the Board takes no position on the ballot question other than to urge you to please vote on November 8.

Sincerely,

Robert O. Strobel, President

West Morris Regional High School District Board of Education

Click here to view the presentation.

Flu Shot Clinics Offered for Boro Residents

The Bernards Township Health Department has scheduled five dates for 2016 Seasonal Flu Shots in October. All clinics are open to those 4 years old through adults and no appointment is needed.

Four clinics will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on:

  • Wednesday, October 12th at St. James Church, 184 S. Finley Ave. in Basking Ridge;
  • Thursday, October 13th, at the Mendham Area Senior Housing (MASH) located at One Heritage Drive in Mendham;
  • Friday, October 21st at the Peapack-Gladstone Municipal Building, 1 School St. in Peapack; and
  • Saturday, October 22nd at the Bernards Township Community Center, 289 S. Maple Ave. in Basking Ridge.
  • The fifth clinic will be held from 3:30 pm to 5:30 on Tuesday, October 25th at the Bernards Township Community Center, 289 S. Maple Ave. in Basking Ridge.

The cost of the flu shot is $25 for residents and $30 for non-residents; they are also available for no charge for those with a valid Medicare Part B card. Participants should consult with their doctor before receiving the flu vaccine. Clinical services are provided by the Visiting Nurse Association of Somerset Hills.

Parents should note that New Jersey law requires that children up to 59 months of age attending any licensed child-care center or pre-school facility, must receive at least one dose of influenza vaccine between September 1st and December 31st of each year.  To assist parents in obtaining this vaccination for their pre-school child, the Bernards Township Health Department has scheduled our Seasonal Flu Shot clinics to include children who are age 4 and older in addition to administering flu shots to adults.

For additional information, call the Bernards Township Health Department at (908) 204-2520.

The Bernards Township Health Department is the contractual health agency for Bernards Township, Bernardsville Borough, Chester Borough, Long Hill Township, Mendham Borough, Mendham Township, and Peapack and Gladstone Borough.

 

‘Town-wide Treasures’ yard sales this weekend

Do you love to bargain shop and hunt for amazing finds? Then the annual Chester ‘Town-wide Treasures’ yard sale is for you. Treasures await you as we have over 50 families participating in this sale which takes place at private residences throughout Chester on Saturday, September 17th, 2016 from 9am-3pm. Antiques, collectibles, and furniture are some of the items you will find at the sales.

In addition, be sure to stop by and visit the Community Yard Sale at the Chester First Aid Squad Building, 100 North Rd. Come browse for bargains from a dozen sellers, enjoy free popcorn, free blood pressure screening, and other activities. Sellers at this location are helping to raise money for the Chester First Aid Squad, so be sure to show your support!

The yard sale location map is available by clicking here or at the Chester Township & Chester Borough Municipal Buildings, or pick up your map at the Chester First Aid Squad building or Chester Library on Saturday morning. Please note that the locations on the map are not perfect, but the addresses are correct. Shoppers are encouraged to use their own maps or GPS devices to locate the listed addresses.

9/11 Remembrance at Chester Firehouse

Each year on 9/11, members of the Chester Volunteer Fire Department and Ladies Auxiliary stand in front of the Chester Firehouse on Main St. in Chester to honor those killed on 9/11/2001. This remembrance will take place on Sunday, September 11th, 2016 and will be all day long. The public is invited to stop by and join in paying their respects to the fallen.

Morris County Veterans’ Services available

Sabrina Baarda, the new Social Worker in the Veterans Services Office serving Morris County, will be working with Ken Brenzel, the Veterans Services Officer, on connecting Morris County Veterans and their families with the resources and services they need and are entitled to.  If you know a resident in your community who may benefit from these services, please encourage them reach out to their office.

 

Contact info:

Sabrina Baarda, BSW

Veterans Services Office

Morris County Office of Temporary Assistance

340 W. Hanover Ave.

Morris Township, NJ 07960

(973) 285-6866

(973) 285-6456 fax