Council: NJ should not be a sanctuary state

By Neil Schulman

Oceanport — The governing body plans to take a stand against people who enter this country illegally, though not everyone in the borough believes this is a borough issue.

At the Sept. 5 Borough Council workshop, Councilman Joseph Irace advocated for a resolution opposing letting New Jersey be a sanctuary state.

In March, Governor Phil Murphy declared that law enforcement organizations in the state, such as prosecutors and police departments, could not assist ICE, and could not stop or detain someone based solely on their suspected immigration status. Not every town is happy with this.

“It’s been an issue across the state,” said Irace. “I put together an ordinance saying Oceanport shouldn’t be a sanctuary city.”

He said that New Jersey’s treatment of undocumented immigrants is hurting the state financially and placing a burden on taxpayers.

“We’re paying money for a legal fund for illegals,” Irace said. “I think the state has better things to do.”

He also noted that New Jersey has put aside $6 million a year in financial aid for undocumented students to go to college, at a time when tuitions are going up and citizens are paying off hefty college loans.

“It’s not fair, among other illegals should get free college education,” Irace said.

While council members present seemed to support the idea, borough resident Jeff Oakes opposed the resolution, and thought that Oceanport doesn’t need to be involved.

“ICE in Oceanport? When did we have an immigration problem in Oceanport?” he asked.

Oakes also noted Monmouth County wasn’t complying with the governor’s order.

“Elected Republican officials already signed a 10-year contract with ICE,” he said.

In July, Sheriff Shaun Golden signed a contract with ICE to continue sharing information.


Out and About

See who was caught Out and About and if you are the WindMill Customer of the Week…Hunter you will receive $5.00 off your next order at WindMill North Long Branch.

Christine Caruso named to Eatontown Council

By Coleen Burnett

At the September 11 session of the Eatontown Borough Council, Christine Caruso was sworn in to the governing body. Caruso is replacing the recently departed Jen Sherrod, who resigned last month.

Christine Caruso is sworn into office as Eatontown’s newest council member

Caruso, who was chosen to fill the seat by the county Democratic committee, is also running for council in the November elections.

The other empty seat — which has yet to be filled as the Link went to press — is of former Council President Patty May Kelly. At the same meeting the job of Council President went to Al Baginsky.

The swearing in was not without some discussion beforehand. Specifically, Caruso ran for council a year ago and lost. Mayor Anthony Talerico, while not critical of Caruso’s appointment per se, questioned the wisdom of appointing someone who recently lost a council election to a council seat.

He cited the ordinance that was passed a couple years ago, in which a council member who runs for re-election and loses is then barred from serving on the borough’s Planning Board for one year. The ordinance was created in part to remove any impropriety, based on the chance that any council member may have helped craft legislation that would be a benefit to the board.

Councilwoman Jasmine Story said the brand new council member would have to vacate the seat first. “She’s never been on council,” Story said of Caruso — who at that point had not even been sworn in yet.

Councilwoman Tonya Rivera compared the issue to looking at two pieces of fruit. “They’re both fruit but they are two different kinds of fruit,” she commented.

Councilman Al Baginsky is sworn in as council president, replacing Patti May Kelly, who resigned in August.

Rivera also said that there are many ways you can lose an election. “When you lose a re-election, she said, “that’s a commentary on the job you did.”

Once Caruso finally sat up on the dais, she was gracious in her comments.

“I just want to thank the council members for the display of faith in me. I’m very humbled by the nomination… this council has tackled some pretty challenging issues over the last few months and I think its resulting in some good things for Eatontown. I’m happy to be on council. Thank you.”




Federal grant award for West Long Branch EMS

West Long Branch — Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-06) announced Friday that the West Long Branch EMS has been awarded nearly $50,000 in federal grant funding from the Assistance to Firefighters Grants (AFG) program.

The grant will enhance West Long Branch’s ability to protect the health and safety of the public through improved communication. The grant will fund the purchase of new multi-band, two-way radios.

“Our first responders perform incredible work every day to keep our community safe and healthy,” said Congressman Pallone. “This funding ensures these brave individuals have the equipment they need to do their job effectively as they save lives. We are thankful for their work and commitment to our community.”

The AFG program is sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Department of Homeland Security and is part of a coordinated effort to improve the nation’s ability to respond to emergency situations. Since its implementation in 2001, the AFG program has provided over $8 billion to fire departments and EMS organizations across the country. Congressman Pallone has consistently supported the AFG program since its creation and signed onto a letter in March that successfully pushed for an increase in funding for the program in the 2020 Homeland Security Appropriations bill.





Can Oceanport monitor for helicopter flights?

By Neil Schulman

Oceanport — Plans to expand heliport operations at Monmouth Park Racetrack may be dead, but borough officials still want to monitor the situation more closely.

Currently, Monmouth Park is allowed 10 helicopter flights a season. This dates back to when there were more tracks in the state, and jockeys would often run a race at Monmouth Park and needed to be quickly transported to a nearby track for a different race the same day.

This spring, the track asked for permission for two possible expansions. One was to increase the number of flights permitted for track use so that a business partner could commute to and from the area more easily. They also said a commercial company had expressed interest in providing flights for high rollers from New York City, since Monmouth Park provides sports betting and New York doesn’t yet.

Due to concerns from neighbors about the noise and disturbance the flights create, in August council rejected both expansions. But Councilman Robert Proto said that he wants to make sure the track is actually sticking to 10 flights a year.

The website is currently offering commuting services from New York to Monmouth Park at $395 a flight (though no current flights were being scheduled as of this week). Proto said that Borough Administrator Donna Phelps was asked to check who kept track of the number of flights to the track and was “told it was basically on the honor system.”

Unlike airplane flights which must follow detailed paths, helicopter flights are less stringently tracked. And Proto said that different people have given him different numbers for how many flights were taken this year, though the highest was eight.

Proto wants an ordinance to require that all flights to and from the park be filed with the borough. He wants a hefty fine to accomplish any that exceed the 10-trip limit.

“Based on the possibility of a $400 seat… I think it needs to be quite substantial.”

Proto suggested a $5,000 fine per violation. “It has to sting,” he said, worried that a company making $400 a seat would shrug off a few hundred dollar fine as worth it.

Borough Attorney Scott Arnette said a borough ordinance could impose a fine, though there are limits to the amount.

Councilman Joe Irace said that he wanted to make sure there was a system in place to make sure that the flights residents are complaining about actually come from Monmouth Park, since there’s a heliport in the corporate center off Eatontown Boulevard a few blocks away.

“I’m not so sure all the flights coming over [Oceanport homes] are attributable to Monmouth Park,” he said, asking if it would be possible for Oceanport to monitor other heliports in the area as well to see if they’re causing the issues.

Sam Zimmerman, board president of Jockey Club Estates, said that he favored the proposed ordinance.

“We’ve very happy you’re introducing this,” he said.

Zimmerman, who says they can not only hear helicopters overhead but feel the vibrations, believes there have been “a lot more than eight” flights over his house this year.

He also thanked council again for rejecting the proposed commercial heliport last month.

“A heliport behind the houses… I think it’s just a non-starter,” Zimmerman said.

FMBA Local 68 raises money for good causes

The Long Branch Professional Firefighters FMBA Local 68 cigar outing is not just about smoking your favorite stogies.

Greeting arriving participants of the 12 Annual Cigar Dinner is Larry Fornicola, Tim Phillips and James Migliaccio from FMBA Local 68.

“We raise money for our charitable trust organization and donate it for local scholarships and many other needs,” said Tim Phillips.

Their 12th annual event was held Thursday, Sept 4th under a huge tent in the parking lot of Rooney’s Restaurant overlooking the ocean in Long Branch. It attracted iver 325 cigar afficionados, or people who wanted to support a good cause while enjoying cigars, open bar, a gourmet buffet, and an auction.

“We are using the money to finish a handicapped access playground on the beach at the end of South Bath,” Phillips said.

A few weeks ago they held a block party on Union Ave. for the community. They also sponsor scholarships, give out backpacks for school children, donate to Pop Warner teams and high school activities.

In previous years the organization has paid for full renovations at the Ronald McDonald House in Long Branch, making a room look like a firehouse.

“This is a great event we hold every year,” Phillips said. “All the money we raise goes right back to the city.”

Fun at 1st Constitution Bank

At the 1st Constitution Bank in Ursula Plaza, North Long Branch there will be a Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 21, 9am-1pm.

There will be a DJ, Face Painting, Giveaways, Grand Prizes, Ice Cream Truck Food, Drink and Refreshments!

Out and About

Local People – Local Places – Local Businesses

Pallone: No new city hall planned

Long Branch — Mayor John Pallone and the City Council have made a decision not to build a new city hall, and instead will repair the roof and continue various improvements to the building.

At an August council meeting, following news that the leaking roof would need to be repaired, some officials asked if it was time to look at a new city hall altogther. Pallone said the economics don’t work.

“We simply cannot afford a new city hall, and want to make it clear to residents that’s not happening,” said the mayor. “We are proceeding with an evaluation of the current roof with plans to fix and repair the problem. At the same time, since coming into office, we have made several steps to beautify City Hall both inside and out.”

The leaking roof remedy will start with an evaluation and design work which will cost the City $45,000, all out of a capital budget. This evaluation will likely call for a new roof. Officials say that, like the replacement of the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system which was done two years ago, repairs like these are necessary for the update and maintenance of this building which was built in the 1970s.

Beautification projects have been in the works at city hall since the new administration took over. Flowers, landscape, and maintenance of the outside of City Hall has been a large focus. The second floor of City Hall also has artwork spread out from the council room, small conference room, and lobby area. All of the art work is historical and most pieces come with a story or explanation of its relationship to Long Branch. Visitors are encouraged to see the many new historical art displays.

The Mayor and Council are also looking at what can be done to improve access for residents who visit city hall as well as other municipal offices including the building and development department, economic and community development department and the court offices.


The Boss at WindMill North

Don’t miss Bruce Springsteen music at the Usula Plaza WindMill in North Long Branch, Sept 22.