Mayor-elect Joshua Halpern with local Republican Chairman Andy Trocchia and a resident following the council meeting Tuesday. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
By JOHN T. WARD
A political newcomer is set to become Fair Haven’s next mayor.
At its semimonthly session Tuesday night, the council chose Joshua Halpern, a 10-year borough resident who’s never served on a government committee, to fill the chair vacated by Ben Lucarelli when he abruptly quit September 14.
Artist Suzanne Ritger’s mini-watercolors — done in real-time during her morning bus commute to NYC — are a highlight of her exhibit opening Saturday at Middletown Library, while Jon Peters offers up star-spangled examples of American Art (below) at Laurel Tracey Gallery.
It’s kind of a cliche for an artist to talk at great length about their “journey,” but in the case of Suzanne Ritger, that journey was a very real way of arriving at a point of inspiration — hurtling through space at 65 mph, and with a busload of fellow passengers along for the ride, whether they realized it or not.
A resident of Red Bank for the past three years, Ritger spent a solid two of those trips around the sun going back and forth from the borough to Manhattan, where her job at a nonprofit agency required her to spend a considerable chunk of her time on a NJ Transit commuter bus. Scenes of that morning journey — hundreds of them; captured in watercolor on postcard-size canvases — form the centerpiece of Are We There Yet?, a solo show of the artist’s work going up on display at Middletown Township Public Library, beginning with a reception this Saturday, October 11.
Fair Haven propery owners will see no change in the local portion of their property tax bills this year, the Asbury Park Press reports Tuesday.
For the fifth consecutive year, according to Press reporter Larry Higgs, the borough council has introduced a spending plan that either reduces or maintains the municipal slice of property levies excluding school, Monmouth County and Open Space taxes, that is.
Two sitting council members and a former member are the nominees to fill the empty seat of former Fair Haven Mayor Mike Halfacre, who resigned last month to take a job in the Christie Administration.
The local Republican Committee last week submitted the names of Council President Jon Peters, Councilman Ben Lucarelli and former Council President Andrew Trocchia to fill out the 2012 portion of the two years remaining on Halfacre’s term, committee chairman Rich Magovern tells redbankgreen.
A sprinkler system outside a River Road home in Fair Haven. New Jersey American Water has asked residents to consider voluntary water restrictions in anticipation of a hot, dry summer. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
Following the brief blast of heat and dry weather in the area nearly two weeks ago, and in preparation for more of it this summer, New Jersey American Water sent a letter to local mayors suggesting residents consider voluntary water restrictions at home.
On its face, it’s a move by the water company to help prevent what happened last year, and all of a sudden: a mandatory restriction that confounded locals at the height of a holiday weekend.
But at least one Fair Haven official is calling the water company out, and questions whether it has made the necessary improvements to its treatment and distribution system to handle growing demand in Monmouth County.
“We’re starting pretty early in the year to be asking to (reduce) our consumption,” Council President Jon Peters said. “We were told last year this was anomalous. We’re going to be watching very closely.”
With the help of partially restored state aid, Fair Haven’s Board of Education is bringing its budget just within the two-percent cap for the 2011-’12 school year.
The $12.2 million plan $11.8 million of it to be raised through local taxes includes $184,807 in state aid, a $90,000 boost from the current school year’s aid, which was slashed significantly.
“We definitely had a lot of cuts on the table, so it was a very happy day when we found out we’d get some state aid back,” Superintendent Kathi Cronin said Monday night, when presenting an overview of the budget to the borough council.
Joining the Fair Haven Borough Council Monday night was this wooden duck found in a storage closet at borough hall by Mayor Mike Halfacre. “I thought it was serendipitous,” he said, considering the recent attention on the borough over 12-year-old Nicole Stover’s request to keep six ducks as pets. But there was a minor controversy over the table piece. “I think it’s a goose, actually,” Council President Jon Peters said. The council is expected to decide the fate of Nicole’s ducks at its April 11 meeting. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)
Mike Halfacre, who had previously vowed not to run for re-election but changed his mind after coming up short in his bid for the GOP nomination in the 12th congressional district, will get a second term as Fair Haven’s mayor.
Zoe Gallagher, 12, in front of the Poplar Avenue property where trees are being cut down to make room for two houses. (Photo by Dustin Racioppi; click to enlarge)
By DUSTIN RACIOPPI
By last Wednesday, Zoe Gallagher figured it might be too late. By 7:30a Saturday, she was sure.
That’s when she was awakened by sound of trucks and chainsaws. Looking out her window, the 12-year-old knew that there was no chance she’d be able to save the dozen trees that were about to be cut down across the street.
Zoe, who is the president of the environmental club at Knollwood School, was a step behind in her fight for the doomed trees on Poplar Avenue. She hadn’t learned of their impending demise until Wednesday, the day after the home builder, Spencer Foxworth, won an appeal to cut down the trees in order to make room for two new homes on the property. He had previously been denied permission by Elizabeth Lilleston, chairwoman of the shade tree commission and Fair Haven’s code enforcement officer.
“So what’s the point of having a tree ordinance?” Zoe asked, as she watched workers load trucks with tree limbs and brush. “It’s like there isn’t any. You just waste a day presenting the case because you’re going to get it anyway.”