Mayors Cast Wishes For 2016

first_imgBy John BurtonAs we look ahead to 2016, we take stock on our lives and often make those resolutions to better ourselves. We say we’re going to lose weight, quit smoking, exercise more and take other steps to improve our lot in life. Mayors also have to take into consideration the future of their communities they govern. And many of the Two River area’s mayors offered their hopes for this year.MONMOUTH BEACH – “No snowstorms and no hurricanes!” was Mayor Susan Howard’s wish for the year, as the shore community moves toward completing its recovery from 2012’s Super Storm Sandy. “And everybody will be home,” able to return to the renovated, rebuilt and often elevated homes, she continued.The municipality is in the process of elevating and repairing its Sandy-damaged public library. And when that work is completed, officials will begin work on raising and additional repairs to borough hall. Howard said that work is on track to be finished this year. With that, “Monmouth Beach will have completed its recovery from Sandy,” she said.HIGHLANDS – Mayor Frank Nolan’s resolution is not so dissimilar to those expressed by Howard, as Nolan looks ahead to his Sandy-ravished town. “We hope to have everyone back in their homes who aren’t there yet,” Nolan wished for the coming year. He said there remains “a few dozen families who are not done, done,” completing the rebuilding so they can again live in their homes. About 1,000 homes were damaged or destroyed by the storm.This is Nolan’s last year of his current term. “I don’t know if I’m going to go again,” he said, regarding running for another term, given he’d like to spend some additional time with his kids. But until he makes that final call, “Obviously, I want to finish we started,” in terms of the rebuilding efforts.In 2015 “We turned the corner” moving beyond victim and rebuilding, he said. Now there is progressive development, with projects in the works that will mean completely recovering the $200 million in ratables the community lost to Sandy damage.“So in the end, it’s tough to swallow now, but we’re going to be better off than we were before the storm,” He maintained. “It’s just a shame it took that devastation to get us there.”One lesson that came out of Sandy and from his last election campaign, which he said he will continue to use, is aggressive communication with the public, “letting everyone know what’s going on.” Nolan uses Facebook to keep the community informed, which complements two other Facebook pages on Highlands goings-on. “People really have a chance to learn about the issues in the town,” he said.RUMSON – Mayor John Ekdahl acknowledged that some of 2015’s steps forward couldn’t be predicted if asked about them a year ago. The establishment of the bike lanes wasn’t on the agenda last January; nor were the repairs and repaving of county thoroughfares Rumson and Ridge roads that allowed for the new bike lanes. “They weren’t planned,” not on the local level, he said. “They just sort of evolved, if you will.”“Looking ahead,” he explained, “we have a couple of planned projects,” and in a sense they are Sandy-related.Rumson has had some additional savings in its sanitary water treatment costs. And with that money “we’re going to make a long-term commitment” and address infiltration of its sewer lines over a three-year period. The system has rain and river water infiltrating the system. And that means that extra water is taken into account in the treatment cost at the regional treatment center. “Which is very expensive,” he said.The borough’s Department of Public Works facility, behind the municipal complex, 80 East River Road, and much of its accompanying equipment, were damaged by Sandy. Plans now call to have flood doors installed on the facility. In addition, the below-ground gasoline tanks, which had taken a hit from the storm, will be reinstalled above ground.“They’re not sexy or exciting projects,” Ekdahl acknowledged, “but they will save money over time.”ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS – Mayor Rhonda “Randi” Le Grice, on her first day in office said there are two secrets in keeping resolutions: “One is setting goals that are realistic and the second is having the support of other people.” And her resolutions involve focusing on “what we can achieve together and not what we can’t.”To that end Le Grice said she’ll concentrate on revitalizing the borough’s First Avenue business district. She plans on working with the local Chamber of Commerce and commercial property owners to have a strategy to welcome businesses and fill vacant storefronts.“I feel we can do a better job marketing the Atlantic Highlands we all love,” she said on Jan. 1, “not only as a great place to visit, but also to work in, to shop in, and to live in and raise a family.”The incoming mayor also plans to ensure the community is better informed about events and issues. She plans on having the website revamped to make it more accessible.But Le Grice acknowledged the mayor can only do so much and called upon community members to get more involved, volunteer and serve.Those would be some ways “to turn resolutions into results,” she said.SHREWSBURY – “I think it’s going to be a positive year,” predicted Mayor Donald Burden. But he hopes county officials are able to correct the ongoing property tax assessment morass that has preoccupied local and county officials for months and apparently is the subject of a county prosecutor investigation.In the coming months the local planning board and zoning board of adjustment will have substantial applications before them for proposed senior housing and retail projects. “We want to get these businesses integrated into the community, if approved,” Burden said, “making sure we’re not putting too much pressure on our First Aid and fire departments.”The council and department heads will be drafting the municipal budget in the near future. “I can’t predict what we’re going to do in terms of taxes yet,” he acknowledged. But, he added, “I think it’ll be pretty low.”FAIR HAVEN – Mayor Ben Lucarelli had a pretty simple wish moving forward: “Let’s hope it’s a nice, calm, peaceful year,” he hoped.There are things in the works that Lucarelli said he wasn’t at liberty to discuss just yet. But plans are in the works to move forward on the planned passive park overlooking the Navesink River on DeNormandie Avenue, providing a “clean, well-lit place for residents to use,” providing another recreational opportunity, he said.Last year, the council drafted a budget that did not include a tax increase.Lucarelli hopes to be able to do it again or pretty close to it, “keeping the budget flat as we can and to maintain what it is we have,” he said.HOLMDEL – Mayor Eric Hinds said “I’m excited for the future.” And that future for Holmdel will include continuing the town’s five-year plan for road improvements, infrastructure upgrades and other community projects.Last year the town spent $2.6 million for various projects. “We’ll probably spend a similar amount this year and next few,” on the projects, he said.“We have aggressive goals,” he offered. And those goals include renovating the public library and investigating the construction of a recreation center for local youth.“We want to make sure we’re a premier spot for families,” he said.MIDDLETOWN ­– “The snowless winter we’ve had so far, we’re off to a good start for the year,” saving money on employee overtime and road treatment, said Township Committeeman Gerard Scharfenberger, selected to serve as this year’s mayor.The five-member township committee will undertake an aggressive plan to generate economic development. “Every time you see a half-empty strip mall or an empty office building, that’s a big drain on the town,” he acknowledged.The committee will be reviewing ordinances “to see what can be done to make us more business friendly,” he saidThere are a number of shared service agreements in the works with county government and the board of education that will curb costs and generate some revenue, offering some relief to taxpayers, he said.As mayor, Scharfenberger will initiate a Mayor’s Wellness Campaign that could help in employee health care costs and help employees’ health. In addition, he’ll reach out to community groups to keep them informed.“Anybody who has any interest,” he said. “That gives me a chance to educate them on how the system works.”LITTLE SILVER – Mayor Robert Neff Jr., last year saw his town change a long-standing tradition of no liquor licenses and embrace that change. Now he and the borough council members will undertake drafting the ordinance that will lay out the provisions and regulations for a future restaurant and bar. “We changed our minds last year,” Neff observed at the Little Silver reorganization meeting, offering his annual prepared rhyming couplets. “We changed our minds last year by vote, a license is to be / A family style watering hole? Or gourmet fare? We’ll see…”This year plans call for paving Prospect Avenue and new sidewalks for Church Street. And the borough received a county Open Space grant for to renovate the borough’s sports field.The borough will have a new communications tower built this year—improving cellphone receptions and emergency communications in the community. And the historic Parker Homestead will have work done on its dilapidated barns.last_img read more

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Saracens coach rejects Glasgow’s claim before Champions Cup quarter-final

first_imgnews Glasgow’s Callum Gibbins warns Saracens may suffer Twickenham hangover Share on Facebook Read more Saracens have rejected claims of gamesmanship made by Glasgow’s head coach, Dave Rennie, before Saturday’s Champions Cup quarter-final between the sides. The Warriors have accused the English champions of deliberately seeking to provoke opponents and have urged the match referee, Nigel Owens, not to fall for the tactic. Saracens Rugby union … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you. Mark McCall, however, has brushed aside Rennie’s view and also believes Scotland’s eventful Calcutta Cup draw against England this month will have no bearing on this supposed grudge match. “I’m not sure why he would say that,” the Saracens head coach said, referring to Rennie’s claim. “I’m not here to talk about them … I don’t really care what they say. We’ve got to do all the things we’ve done in these big matches over the last few years if we’re going to win.”Saracens beat Glasgow 38-13 at the same stage in Europe’s premier competition in 2017 and McCall, with Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and George Kruis all available having sat out last Saturday’s win over Harlequins, thinks his squad are well set for another strong finish to their season. “The squad’s got a bit of a love affair with this competition,” he said. “We had to go through quite a lot before we won the title but I think this is our eighth quarter-final in a row, which is quite an achievement. While we felt the pain of getting knocked out at the quarter-final stage last year, we’ve put ourselves in a much better position this year by having a home quarter-final.” Share on Pinterest Share on WhatsApp The Breakdown: sign up and get our weekly rugby union email. Since you’re here… Reuse this content Champions Cup Topics The clubs have already had two feisty pool games this season, described as “very tasty encounters” by the Saracens captain Brad Barritt. Rennie, however, believes a pattern is emerging whenever they make a mistake or concede a penalty. He said: “Often if they make an error it’s followed by a lot of push and shove from them to maybe bring the referee in to change a decision.“We can’t afford to get sucked into that sort of stuff. It’s clearly a ploy. I’ve seen Saracens do it against every other side they play. We can’t be passive, but we’ve got to be smart around that sort of thing. We had a decision go our way [in the pool game at Scotstoun]; there was a bit of push and shove, Fraser Brown got penalised and they got three points out of it. I think Nigel’s pretty smart; he won’t get sucked into that.” Share on Messenger Glasgow Rugby Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share via Email Support The Guardianlast_img read more

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