Category Archives: NJDEP

>Transparency Once Again Turns Opaque in Middletown; APP: Middletown missed loan deadline for dredging of lake

>Very interesting article that was online at the Asbury Park Press the other day which I have been meaning to post about. One of the big issues of this past years election was the issue of Shadow Lake and whether or not the lake was going to be dredged any time soon, according reporter Kevin Penton it now doesn’t seem likely to happen before 2012.

It seems as though, the low cost loan that Middletown had planned to apply for that would cover some of the costs of dredging was never applied for. The loan application needed to be handed in by Oct. 4th to meet the deadline for possible funding and it was never sent.
What I find most disturbing about this, is how Gerry Scharfenberger and other Middletown GOP members (remember Tony Fiore’s letter) mislead many residents that live by and around Shadow Lake into believing that dredging was eminent if only they could get approval from the DEP to bury the contaminated spoils in near by Stevenson Park.
Scharfenberger attended a number of meeting with residents of Shadow Lake Village while campaigning in October and never once mentioned that funding for the dredging of the lake was a problem. He lead all to believe that as soon as the DEP agreed to Middletown’s demand of using Stevenson Park as a dumping ground for the spoils the project would begin.
With this latest revelation about the dredging of Shadow Lake, it is sad to say once again that transparency of those in charge in Middletown is sorely lacking and is turning, as resident Jim Grenafege has said at many Township meetings this year, opaque.
It just goes to show that Republicans in Middletown will do and/or say anything in order to retain their position of power in town even if it means that they have to deceive others to get it.
My thanks go out to Kevin Penton for following up on Shadow Lake and bringing this information to light, it shows residents that those elected in Middletown like to play fast and loose with certain information that they deem a possible threat to them.
Eventually residents will wise up and show the likes of Gerry Scharfenberger and the others the view form the other side of the doors at Town Hall, the view looking in from the outside.

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Filed under Asbury Park Press, dredging, Gerry Scharfenberger, kevin penton, NJDEP, Shadow Lake

>Slippery Scharfenberger Avoids Answering Shadow Lake Question On Technicality

>During the public comments segment of the Middletown Township Committee meeting this past Monday night, resident Marilyn Michaels asked Gerry Scharfenberger if he had attended a meeting with Cindy Randazzo of the NJDEP and others on Oct. 21, 2010 in Trenton, which she thought may have been a conflict of interest between his duties as an elected official and his new job as Director of the Office of Planning Advocacy (she also brought up a number of valid concerns that I will deal with later).

This exchange between Ms. Michaels and Gerry Scharfenberger is a classic example how slippery Scharfenberger can be when he answers questions from residents or reporters. His responses are classic examples of deception through omission, that many seasoned career politicians engage in.
I posted on Nov.9th that representatives from T&M Engineering, State Senator Joe Kyrillos, the new Director for the Office of Planning and Advocacy (Mayor) Gerry Scharfenberger and several Middletown Township representatives met with Randazzo and other reps from the DEP on October 21,2010 in Trenton to discuss dredging concerns as related to Shadow Lake. This post was based on information that was forwarded to me by a third party that wished to remain anonymous.
Most of what was posted was factual, what wasn’t as it turned out was the location of the meeting. My third party source had mentioned that Randazzo expressed concerns about coming to Middletown for this meeting and wanted it held in Trenton. My source then added that the meeting took place in State Senator Joe Kyrillos’s office. It was then assumed by myself and the informant that the meeting took place in Trenton, when in fact it took place at Kyrillos’s office here in Middletown.
Why Scharfenberger had to make an ass out of himself over this is anyone guess, I suppose by squabbling with Ms. Michaels over this small point, he thought that it would discredit her in someway. What it did do was to further discredit him in the eyes of reporters there covering the nights event.
When asked about the Shadow Lake meeting afterwards, he admitted to reports that the meeting did take place on Oct. 21st but it never happened in Trenton, He confirmed the fact that it happened in Middletown.

The other valid concern Ms. Michaels brought up during her comments in front of the Committee was, if during his re-election bid, did he know if anyone may have contributed to his campaign, knowing that he was going to be or had recently been appointed as the head of the Office of Planning Advocacy Governor Christie.

She felt (as do I) that if someone was to have contributed to his campaign this year or in future years, that they may expect some special treatment if ever they may need special consideration for the state office that he now represents.

That assumption on Michaels part is, as I said, a valid concern. It goes to the heart of the issue of whether or not Scharfenberger acted ethically or not by not divulging information about his appointed during the campaign. It should be explored now and watched for in the future.

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Filed under Cindy Randanzzo, dredging, Gerry Scharfenberger, Joe Kyrillos, Middletown NJ, Middletown Township Committee, NJDEP, Office of Planning Advocacy, Shadow Lake

>Was The New Director Of The Office of Planning Advocacy "On The Clock" When He Was Acting As Middletown Mayor During Meeting With NJDEP Officials?

>Back on October 21st a meeting took place at the office of Cindy Randazzo, the Director of NJDEP office of Local Government Assistance, in Trenton for the purpose of discussing options for dredging Middletown’s Shadow Lake.

In attendance at this meeting were various DEP personnel that had concerns with the dredging plans presented by the Township, representatives from T&M Engineering, State Senator Joe Kyrillos, the new Director for the Office of Planning and Advocacy (Mayor) Gerry Scharfenberger and several Middletown Township representatives.
From what I understand the meeting wasn’t very productive, the two sides (Middletown verses the NJDEP) couldn’t come to an agreement concerning the scope of the project or what to do with the spoils. The NJDEP made it clear that burying contaminated spoils from the bottom of Shadow Lake in neighboring Stevenson Park was out of the question and recommended that the project be downsized to fall within budget constraints while the Township, lead by the new Director for the office of Planning Advocacy (Gerry Scharfenberger) and Joe Kyrillos insisted that dredging the whole lake and burying the spoils near by was the only way of dealing with the lake. As you can imagine, no resolution to this issue was forth coming and another meeting was planned on for a future date.
After learning this yesterday I began to wonder about Scharfy’s role during this meeting. As the Director for Planning Advocacy, Gerry’s duties are “asking questions about policy, overseeing planners and GIS specialists. To help spur economic growth and revitalize the economy by, for example, reusing commercial properties” he has stated and the purpose of the Office for Planning Advocacy is to stimulate new growth and business opportunities for those wishing to do business in the State. His position is a full time job, 40+ hours a week, that pays him $95K a year.
What was he doing on “company” time, at a meeting with Joe Kyrillos, the NJDEP, Engineers from T&M and other from Middletown discussing Shadow Lake in the middle of a work week?
He certainly wasn’t there to promote smart growth or new business opportunities I can tell you that as require by his job title, he was present representing Middletown as it’s Mayor.
It’s nice to know that in his new position as Director of Planning Advocacy, his boss the Governor, allows him time to pursue other interests that are contrary to what he is suppose to be doing as Director.
I am sure that the 1,200 State employees will be happy to learn of this as well. Here they are losing their jobs while Gerry is running around the city of Trenton wasting tax payer dollars, acting as Middletown’s mayor when he should be in his office somewhere, asking questions about policy, overseeing planners and GIS specialists to help spur economic growth and revitalize the State economy.
Do you think he left early that day or did he stay late to make up for the time he was conducting Township business on State time?

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Filed under dredging, Gerry Scharfenberger, Gov. Chris Christie, Joe Kyrillos, NJDEP, Office of Planning Advocacy, Shadow Lake, Trenton

>Democrats Byrnes & Mahoney Lose In Middletown;Township Committee Will Revert Back To 5-0 Super Majority

>
It was a somber night as district results started rolling in to the Democratic Headquarters at the Leonardo American Legion, it was evident early on that it wasn’t going to be a good night for Democratic Committeeman Sean Byrnes or his running mate Mary Mahoney. From the moment that the first few districts started reporting in, the numbers didn’t look good. Byrnes and Mahoney only managed to capture 6 out of 46 districts and gave their concession speeches shortly after 9pm.

It was a real disappointment to many in the room after it seemed that so much of what transpired during this election season in Middletown, was leaning in the Democrats favor. From the turf field debacle in Lincroft, to the 13.87% increase to the municipal tax rate, people in town were angry at the leadership of Gerry Scharfenberger and his GOP majority, who seem to take residents for granted.

With their victory yesterday, the Middletown Township Committee will once again revert back to the 5-0 Republican super majority that it had enjoyed for nearly 20 years before Patrick Short was elected in 2006 and then Sean Byrnes in 2007.

What will that mean for residents in Middletown? It will mean less transparency and more decisions being made behind closed doors with little or no public discussion, much like it was previous to Short’s election.

Flooding issues in Port Monmouth and Leonardo will be once again placed on the back burner due to budget and cost concerns which means relief for residents in those areas will have to wait another 20 years for solutions and those that wish to see Township Committee meetings televised on the Township’s public access cable channels are out of luck, it will never happen.

Township engineering and legal fees will continue to increase because the Majority will continue to appoint the same firms to represent the Township without first competitively bidding those services out to lower costs, like Sean Byrnes has advocated for.

The local environment is also at risk. If Gerry Scharfenberger gets his way thousands of metric tons of carcinogenic and arsenic laced spoils will be dredged and from the bottom of Shadow Lake and burried in Stevenson Park against NJDEP wishes, instead of investigating alternative solutions like what may be proposed by the Army Corps of Engineers, which now has as part of their mission, responibilities over the ecosytem.

Middletown residents deserve the type of government that they voted for, unfortunately those that they voted for will not always have the best interests of all the residents in mind. That’s why I and others, will continue to act as watchdogs over those that feel that Middletown is her to serve them as opposed to the other way around.

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Filed under artificial turf fields, Byrnes and Mahoney, Gerry Scharfenberger, Middletown, NJDEP, Patrick Short, Shadow Lake

NJDEP Release: Motorists Advised to be Alert for Deer During Autumn


TRENTON – New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today urged motorists to drive carefully during autumn when New Jersey’s deer are particularly active and likely to be darting into roadways.

“Autumn is breeding season for white-tailed deer, and they are on the move,” Commissioner Jackson said. “Deer can be seen crossing roadways at any time of day, but typically are most active at dawn and dusk. Motorists can minimize the risk of accidents with deer by being alert and slowing down.”

The NJDEP encourages motorists to take the following precautions:

* Drive with caution when traveling through areas known to have large deer populations, particularly along sections of roadways posted as deer crossings.

* Slow down when you see deer on the roadside, and be alert for sudden movement. Remember that deer move in groups, so if you see one deer crossing the road, others might follow.

* Use high beams after dark when there is no oncoming traffic. High beams illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway, giving motorists more time to react.

* Always wear a seat belt as required by state law, and drive at a safe speed for road and weather conditions.

* Do not swerve if it appears you are going to hit a deer. Brake firmly, and stay in your lane. Motorists who swerve to avoid deer increase the likelihood of colliding with oncoming traffic or roadside obstacles.

* Keep in mind that deer are unpredictable. They may stop in the middle of the road while crossing or turn around and return to the roadside. If a deer remains in the road, do not try to go around it. Stop and wait until the road is clear.

* Report any deer-vehicle collisions to a local law enforcement agency immediately.

For more information about deer in New Jersey, visit the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Web site at http://www.njfishandwildlife.com.

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Filed under Deer Advisory, NJDEP, press release

NJDEP Release: Motorists Advised to be Alert for Deer During Autumn


TRENTON – New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today urged motorists to drive carefully during autumn when New Jersey’s deer are particularly active and likely to be darting into roadways.

“Autumn is breeding season for white-tailed deer, and they are on the move,” Commissioner Jackson said. “Deer can be seen crossing roadways at any time of day, but typically are most active at dawn and dusk. Motorists can minimize the risk of accidents with deer by being alert and slowing down.”

The NJDEP encourages motorists to take the following precautions:

* Drive with caution when traveling through areas known to have large deer populations, particularly along sections of roadways posted as deer crossings.

* Slow down when you see deer on the roadside, and be alert for sudden movement. Remember that deer move in groups, so if you see one deer crossing the road, others might follow.

* Use high beams after dark when there is no oncoming traffic. High beams illuminate the eyes of deer on or near a roadway, giving motorists more time to react.

* Always wear a seat belt as required by state law, and drive at a safe speed for road and weather conditions.

* Do not swerve if it appears you are going to hit a deer. Brake firmly, and stay in your lane. Motorists who swerve to avoid deer increase the likelihood of colliding with oncoming traffic or roadside obstacles.

* Keep in mind that deer are unpredictable. They may stop in the middle of the road while crossing or turn around and return to the roadside. If a deer remains in the road, do not try to go around it. Stop and wait until the road is clear.

* Report any deer-vehicle collisions to a local law enforcement agency immediately.

For more information about deer in New Jersey, visit the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife Web site at http://www.njfishandwildlife.com.

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Filed under Deer Advisory, NJDEP, press release

NJDEP Release: Please Don’t Feed the Bears


TRENTON – New Jersey’s black bears are fattening up right now to prepare for winter denning, and Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Lisa P. Jackson today reminded residents to avoid tempting them with an easy meal by taking special care with food storage and garbage disposal.

“Black bears are a valued part of New Jersey’s natural landscape, and many residents enjoy seeing them from a distance. But when bears venture into backyards to help themselves to the contents of garbage cans or bird feeders, that’s a problem,”

Commissioner Jackson said. “Keeping garbage in bear-resistant containers and bringing in your bird feeders are among the best ways to discourage bears from becoming a nuisance near homes.”

Feeding bears either deliberately or unintentionally by carelessly leaving out food or garbage can have serious consequences for residents, their neighbors and the bears. Bears that learn to associate food with people readily become a nuisance, are more likely to damage property or exhibit aggression, and usually are destroyed to protect the public.

In New Jersey, it’s illegal to feed black bears, and violators face a penalty of up to $1,000 for each offense.

Incidents involving garbage, bird feeders and nuisance behavior account for an overwhelming majority of the bear complaints reported to the DEP’s Division of Fish and Wildlife.

Along with properly storing garbage, residents should avoid putting out bird feeders. Instead, consider attracting birds to backyards with nesting materials and birdhouses.

Though most of New Jersey’s black bears live in the northwestern portion of the state, sightings have been reported in all 21 counties. Sightings in residential areas are not considered a problem, if the bears are exhibiting normal behavior and are not creating a nuisance or threatening public safety.

Residents who suddenly encounter a bear should remain calm. Do not feed the bear, and do not run. Make sure the bear has an escape route. Avoid direct eye contact, back up slowly and speak with a low, assertive voice.

To minimize the potential for encounters with black bears near homes, residents are advised to take the following precautions:

* Never feed a black bear.
* Use bear-resistant garbage containers, if possible. Otherwise, store all garbage in containers with tight-fitting lids and place them along the inside walls of your garage, or in the basement, a sturdy shed or other secure area.
* Put out garbage on collection day, not the night before.
* Wash garbage containers with a disinfectant solution frequently to remove odors. Draping rags soaked in bleach over your garbage bags also helps to eliminate odors.
* Avoid feeding birds, especially if you live in an area frequented by bears. If you choose to feed birds, do so during daylight hours only, between December 1 and April 1, when bears are least active. Suspend the bird feeder from a free-hanging wire, making sure it’s at least 10 feet off the ground. Bring the feeder indoors at night. Clean up
spilled seeds and shells daily.
* Do not place meat or any sweet food in compost piles.
* Clean up after pets. If you feed them outside, remember to pick up any leftover food and remove bowls after they have finished.
* Clean outdoor grills thoroughly after each use. Grease and food residue can attract bears.
* Report bear damage, nuisance behavior or aggressive bears to the local police department or to the DEP’s hotline at 1(877) WARN DEP.

To learn more about New Jersey’s black bears, visit
http://www.njfishandwildlife.com/bearinfo.htm. In addition to brochures and other information
about living with black bears, the DEP provides free bear education seminars to schools
and civic organizations.

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Filed under black bears, NJDEP, press release