National Night Out

National Night out is tonight. It begins at 6pm on Slocum Pl, Long Branch. West Long Branch will also be holding their Night Out at Franklin Lake.

Brookdale to Launch ‘Textbook-Free’ Math Course

Students studying introductory algebra at Brookdale Community College will no longer have to buy a traditional textbook.

Beginning this fall, all students enrolled in the college’s MATH 021 course will be able to download a free copy of a new, digital textbook or purchase a bound copy at Brookdale’s bookstore for $11.

The new course, offered as part of a college-wide Open Educational Resources (OER) initiative, could potentially save students more than $100,000 on textbook costs during the 2017-18 school year, said Vice President for Learning Matthew Reed.

“Students tell us that textbook costs can be a real barrier,” said Reed. “I’m excited that the math department has stepped up and taken the initiative to get that barrier out of the way. Now every student will be able to have the textbook from day one of the semester.”

The initiative was spearheaded by Brookdale math professors Barbara Tozzi and Linda Wang, who were granted sabbaticals in 2016 to research, design and create an OER textbook specifically for the college’s MATH 021 course. The professors also worked with faculty and staff to create new supporting materials including instructor guidelines, tests, homework assignments and review sheets.

The OER course was offered on a limited basis this spring and summer as part of a pilot program at Brookdale’s locations in Lincroft, Freehold and Hazlet. The program will be expanded to all 44 sections of MATH 021 this fall. Projected annual enrollment for the course is approximately 2000 students.

Fawn caught in fence in Elberon

A baby fawn was caught in a fence that happened to be right next to Mayor Adam Schneider’s home. When he saw what was going on he supplied the tools to DPW to free the fawn.

Baby Deer IMG_3197

Crackdown on speeding pulls over 115 in one month

By Neil Schulman
Oceanport — The Oceanport Police Department wants motorists to know they’re serious about enforcing the speeding laws.

At the July 20 Borough Council meeting, Borough Administrator Raymond Poerio reviewed the anti-speeding measures the police had been taking. Over the course of a month, 115 motorists have been pulled over at special stops, he said.

Police have been monitoring parts of Oceanport where speeding appears to be the biggest problem, including sections of Comanche Drive, Main Street, Burnt Mill Circle, Port Au Peck Avenue, and East Main Street.

Since June 20, police have conducted 162 radar details as part of this initiative. Those have resulted in pulling over 115 vehicles.

“If you speed in town, you’re going to get caught. you’re going to get a ticket,” Poerio warned.

“We’re serious about this speeding initiative,” said Mayor Jay Coffey.

He said that if people are thinking about getting around it by speeding down roads not currently being covered, the police will be changing where they monitor.

Paper street vacations?
The borough is considering changing its policy on requests to vacate paper streets from a blanket no to a case by case basis.

Oceanport has recently received a couple of requests to vacate land which has been marked as a public right-of-way but has never been used by the borough.

In the past it’s always said no to these requests, but some officials say they’re open to reconsidering that. There may be some advantages to the borough to releasing these right-of-ways. Since the nearby residents get bigger properties, they will likely wind up paying slightly more in taxes.

Sustainable Jersey is back
Councilwoman Ellynn Kahle would like to bring back Sustainable Jersey. A new committee has been formed, and she is asking the council to recognize it.
Sustainable Jersey launched in 2009. It is a program that gives training and financial incentives such as grants for green programs.

“Oceanport was one of the first communities to become Sustainable,” Kahle said. That was in 2009. During that time, she said, the program helped with an energy audit for the then-borough hall, installing better, more energy-efficient lighting there, an environmental audit which is still used by the Planning Board, and the creation of the Oceanport Community Garden.

The title of a Sustainable community must be renewed every three years, but while work was being done in 2012 to get that designation, Superstorm Sandy hit, and people’s priorities changed to “getting everyone back in their houses,” Kahle said.

Now she wants to re-form the group. Unlike last time, which required significant work from borough employees, the volunteers will be able to handle most of the paperwork and other time consuming efforts associated with Sustainable Jersey, though borough officials will still be able to participate.

The program has never cost Oceanport anything, she said.

“Even the community garden, we did for free.”

Kahle said that Sustainable Jersey will have a table at the End of Summer Festival.

While several resolutions were on the agenda to recognize Sustainable Jersey’s role in Oceanport, some council members asked to hold them until the next meeting, sometime in August, saying they had just seen them. Council voted 4-2 to postpone the votes.

Only ‘really lawerly’ issues left on buying fort land

By Neil Schulman
Oceanport — The contract for Oceanport to purchase more than 13 acres on the former Fort Monmouth site for a new municipal complex is almost ready. Work is proceeding to prepare for the move, and the demolition of the old borough hall.

At the July 20 Borough Council meeting, Mayor Jay Coffey said that Oceanport was “really close” to closing the transaction, which FMERA, the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization

Authority that oversees the development of the closed Army base, agreed to at its June meeting.

Coffey said he hoped to have the paperwork finished by the end of July, as only three items remained to be worked out in the contract, details with insurance, the trim of the buildings, and other “really lawyerly” issues.

Borough Administrator Raymond Poerio outlined the work the borough is taking to get ready for the move.

The buildings at the municipal complex will replace borough hall, the court rooms, the Oceanport library, the Oceanport Police Department, the senior center, public works (already there) and several other facilities. All of these were damaged by Superstorm Sandy and the offices have been temporarily relocated to other buildings for the last several years.

Poerio said employees recently went through boxes of documents that had been kept at the former Monmouth Boulevard borough hall, in preparation for demolishing it, and found about 125 boxes of records that need to be preserved.

Fortunately for storage space, almost all those documents can be scanned into computers and stored electronically.

“We estimated we have about 150,000 pages we need to scan in,” Poerio said. The borough is preparing a bid for the work. Once that is done, only two or three boxes worth of documents will need to be archived.

The next step will be to remove the furniture and some historic items that are housed at the old borough hall.

Because there is a working fire and security system at the building, the Port Au Peck Fire Company next door has asked if the could have it and install it there. John King of King Security in Oceanport has offered to transfer it with no charge for the labor involved.

The salt shed housed at the recycling yard will also be moved onto the fort, to the building the Public Works Department is currently using.

Poerio said he also recently met with Oceanport seniors to discuss the plans for their new center. Currently, they are meeting in a concrete building at Blackberry Bay Park that some borough officials, not very affectionately, call “the bunker.”

Poerio said the reaction to the building was well received.

“They were wonderful. They really were,” he said. “The concern was ‘when are we getting in?’”

The Fort/Oceanport divide
FMERA currently controls most of the land at Fort Monmouth, including roughly 430 acres within Oceanport. Since it’s a state agency, its control supercedes the borough’s.

But when parcels in those areas  are sold, they become officially part of Oceanport. Some so far include the Fort Chapel, fitness center and Russell Hall, and soon the 13.25 acres for the municipal complex.

But this is creating a weird temporary situation, Coffey said.

“You can go to church, and run to the fitness center, but you’re leaving Oceanport for 600 feet,” he said.

This has created a few maintenance issues. Oceanport doesn’t want to pay to cut lawns where it can’t collect taxes or control the land use. And FMERA has a limited budget, and would prefer to spend most of its maintenance costs on properties that are about to go up on the market, so prospective purchasers see nice scenery.

But after some complaints, he believes FMERA will be putting more work into their property maintenance “to ensure it won’t happen again.”

Police: man seen shoplifting twice in one day

Ocean Township — An Asbury Park man was arrested and charged with shoplifting twice in one day, at the same mall, and charged with other shoplifting accounts as well.
The Ocean Township Police Department reports that on July 21,detectives were in the area of the Seaview Square Mall on an unrelated investigation when they received a phone call from

Loss Prevention about suspicious activity inside of Target. Detectives learned that suspect, later identified as Michael Upshar, 52, of Asbury Park, was shoplifting, and were able to apprehend him outside the store.

Upshar was charged with that shoplifting and for another that he had previously committed on July 3. He was released on a criminal summons pending a future court appearance.
Upon his release, Upshar traveled back to the area of the Seaview Square mall on his bicycle. Detectives Michael Legg and Jesse  Orbach were still in the area and observed Upshar enter

Sears. The Sears Loss Prevention Office was notified of his actions earlier in the day and he was again observed shoplifting merchandise. He was apprehended a second time and charged with shoplifting.

After a follow up investigation, police say Upshar was identified and charged with an additional five counts of shoplifting from earlier in the week. He was transported to the county jail pending his initial court appearance.

Officers involved in the case included Detectives Legg and Orbach, and Michael Melody along with Detective Sergeants Gregory Tongring and Patrick Martin.

Cardboard Box City: funds for family homelessness

Tinton Falls — Family Promise of Monmouth County invites you to their Eighth Annual Cardboard Box City Fundraiser, to help raise awareness about family homelessness in Monmouth County.

The Cardboard Box City “Friend” and “Fund” raiser will start on Friday, September 15 at 5 p.m. until Saturday, September 16, rain or shine, at Monmouth Church of Christ located at 312 Hance Avenue.

Families, youth groups, scouting troops, schools, corporations, and small businesses often take part.

Participants in Cardboard Box City raise a minimum of $100 in pledges and contributions, and sleep overnight in a cardboard box “home” as a resident of Cardboard Box City.

Family Promise will award prizes for participants who raise the most money and present the most creative dwelling.

Family Promise of Monmouth County provides food, shelter and services to homeless families in Monmouth County in cooperation with a network of interfaith congregations, while advocating innovative solutions to chronic homelessness.

For more information, visit familypromisemc.org under “Events.”

Long Branch man charged with murder

FREEHOLD – A Long Branch man was arrested and charged for Sunday’s shooting death in city, announced Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni.

Jeffrey S. Williams, 29, of Long Branch, was arrested and charged Thursday evening in connection with the shooting death of Hector C. Mejia. Williams is formally charged with first degree Murder, first degree Felony Murder, first degree Robbery, second degree Possession of a Firearm for an Unlawful Purpose and second degree Unlawful Possession of a Firearm.

Williams is scheduled to make his first appearance today at 1:30 before Monmouth County Superior Court Judge Richard W. English at the Monmouth County Courthouse.

The Long Branch Police Department received a 911 call from a resident of 111-2 Liberty Street, in the city at approximately 11:41 p.m. on July 16, 2017. The caller reported to police that she found her husband, Hector C. Mejia, lying on the ground bleeding in front of her home at that address. Police and medical personnel responded to that location and found the victim, with a gunshot wound, near the front door of the aforementioned address. Shortly thereafter, the victim was pronounced deceased at 11:56 p.m.

Long Branch Police contacted the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office and a joint investigation was launched into the murder of Hector Mejia. Over the course of the next 4 days, detectives from both agencies worked tirelessly to identify the person responsible. Both the Keansburg and Lakewood Police Departments, also assisted in this investigation.

Anyone with additional information regarding the murder of Hector Mejia should contact Detective Adam Hess of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office at 800-533-7443 or Detective Todd Coleman of the Long Branch Police Department at 732-222-1000.

If convicted of Murder or Felony Murder, Williams faces a minimum sentence of 30 years in a New Jersey state prison without parole and a maximum sentence of life imprisonment, subject to the provisions of the “No Early Release Act” (NERA) requiring him to serve 85 percent of the sentence imposed before becoming eligible for release on parole. He would also be under parole supervision for five years following his release from state prison.

If convicted of Robbery, Williams faces up to 20 years in state prison. If convicted of second degree weapons offenses, Williams faces a sentence of up to ten years in state prison on each count.

Despite these charges, every defendant is presumed innocent, unless and until found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, following a trial at which the defendant has all of the trial rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and State law.

The case is assigned to Monmouth County Assistant Prosecutor Christopher J. Decker, Director of the Office’s Major Crimes Bureau.

Williams is represented by Gregory Sharkey, Esq., of Lakewood.

Swing Sabroso Latin music

Swing Sabroso Latin music tonight at the Broadway Band shell (behind Brookdale Community College) Long Branch. Come on down and enjoy the beat!