NJ Transit Thanks ‘True Partners’ for Help, $144 Million in Federal Funds
To the Editor:
Rebuilding in the aftermath of Sandy has truly been a team approach. I am grateful for the efforts of Sens. Lautenberg and Menendez, our Congressional delegation, the Federal Transportation Administration and its Administrator Peter M. Rogoff, as well as the leaders and staff at FEMA and the U.S. Department of Transportation for their assistance and support during this trying time. They have been true partners in the recovery effort.
In particular, I want to specifically recognize Gov. Christie for his continued leadership and his continued success in leading the rebuilding of our great state.
Exactly two weeks after NJ Transit submitted its application to the federal government, NJ Transit was awarded more than $144 million in federal funds to help our transit system recover in the wake of the worst natural disaster to ever strike the Garden State. This award, which covers the first, initial phase of recovery, covers emergency transportation costs as well as repairs to facilities and infrastructure made in the first three months following Sandy.
NJ Transit has come a long way in the short time since Sandy devastated our transit infrastructure. Not only has all bus and light rail service been restored, but as of March 24, 97 percent of our rail service will be fully operational – all in the aftermath of the worst natural disaster in our state’s history.
I want to again express my thanks to our hundreds of thousands of daily customers for their patience and understanding while NJ Transit, and, indeed, the entire State of New Jersey continues to rebuild after Sandy.
Repairs and resilience both take funding. Money invested in preventing future storm damage will limit the bill for future storm relief – as well as ensuring that our transit systems have a better chance of avoiding service interruptions. We are committed to rebuilding our system in a stronger, more resilient manner to withstand future storms on par with, or exceeding that of Sandy.
Thanks to the efforts of our team at the federal and the state level, we are well on our way toward that important goal.
Fertilizer Pollution, Warmer Water and Jellyfish: Not Perfect Together
To the Editor:
Green tourism and hospitality is becoming a Jersey Shore-wide effort to help increase recycling. These endeavors should also be put toward protecting our watersheds.
In the summer months many locals and tourists enjoy the rivers and bays with boating, swimming and watersports. The past few years there have been months where people were incapable of enjoying a dip in the water without being smothered by stinging sea nettles, commonly known as jellyfish. The two main factors at fault for the recent rise in jellyfish population are higher water temperatures and artificial fertilizer pollution.
Water temperature is an unforeseeable variable a community cannot change. The amount of fertilizer run off created by the community is an adjustment that can be monitored. Everyone inland and along the rivers wants to have the greenest grass for everyone to see. Artificial fertilizers, of course, are there to help make that easy to achieve. The problem with these fertilizers is the high amount of nitrates. These nitrates eventually end up in the waterways through run-off helping birth the species invisible to human eye, plankton. These small creatures are what jellyfish feed on with their stinging tentacles. This endless stream of food for sea nettles allows them to reproduce more easily. The result of this can be these swarms we have been seeing over the past years.
Natural fertilizers, such as composting materials or manure, can help reduce this dramatic increase of jellyfish.
The setback is that people are unaware of the causes to this problem. Many people hire landscaping services to seed and fertilize their lawns without knowing what products they use. An integration of regulating and educating the community on these problems can make a difference. This will not only help reduce the amount of jellyfish but increase the water quality of our rivers and bays.
As the summer approaches quickly there are huge efforts in rebuilding the shore due to Hurricane Sandy. Why not improve this restoration effort by decreasing our water pollution?
Waterways are a key to a Jersey Shore lifestyle and no one wants to be afraid of enjoying water because of a jellyfish.
Support NJ Vietnam Vets’ Foundation through Golf Outing
To the Editor:
On Monday, July 15, the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation will hold its 19th annual Golf Tournament at Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club in Farmingdale.
Our golf outing provides a major source of funds for the foundation’s work throughout the year. It is one of the finest golf outings of the year and I am proud to be a part of it. I welcome you to take advantage of our early bird prices and send a foursome, sponsor a hole, donate a prize for our auction or raffle or choose one of the other sponsorship options.
The early bird prices are available through April 1. If you would like more information on the event or to RSVP your participation, please call our office at 732-335-0033, Ext. 100.
New Jersey Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Foundation
Ordinary People Can Change the World Through Big Brothers Big Sisters
To the Editor:
I thought about becoming a mentor with the Big Brother Big Sisters for years before I acted. The commitment and responsibility scared the heck out of me. The last thing I wanted was to be another in a long line of male figures that had come into, and drifted out of, a kid’s life. I had loving parents, was happily married, comfortable with my life and two of my three kids were grown. Life had been kind to me and I wanted to give something back.
In 2004 I was matched with my 7-year-old Little Brother Wayne. He was shy, quiet and unsure of himself. In the time since we’ve been together, he’s been through a lot. So much so that one might assume Wayne would have become a youth crime statistic; but he hasn’t.
Wayne experienced heartbreaking family trauma and violence, was placed in foster care twice and, among other things, was removed from his school and moved to a school for behaviorally and developmentally troubled kids. But he kept fighting and through great courage he earned his way back into his school, and today is a self-assured 10th-grade honor student. He plays in his school’s marching, concert, and jazz bands, has done charity walks and helped others in the community in need. Wayne is a great kid, growing into a fine young man. I don’t take credit for who he has become; but I like to think I helped.
If I were to give advice on becoming a mentor, I would say that you don’t have to be rich, or cool, or young or old. You don’t need particular skills, or training. You don’t have to be special in any way. All you need is a good heart, and the willingness to spend a couple of hours every other week, with a kid who will really appreciate it. If you do that, you are special; and you will witness miracles.
Through Wayne, I have been witness to miracles. He chooses to study over doing drugs. He chooses to go to church over hanging out and getting into trouble. Those are miracles. He has given me a perspective on life that I could never have gained from the confines of my comfortable existence. He has shown me what real courage is. Wayne has demonstrated how to show grace when faced with terrible disappointment. He has reaffirmed in me the belief that society’s troubles can be overcome. Those are miracles. It’s easy to feel that we are powerless against society’s ills, but we are not. Ordinary people can change the world. We do it one kid at a time.
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Monmouth & Middlesex Counties
Two River Moment
During the summer of 1965 the Monmouth County Chapter of the American Red Cross sponsored the raffle of a Cadillac convertible, worth $6,191.40, to benefit the Monmouth Park Charity Fund. The car was on display at Monmouth Park, Oceanport. The theme of the charity event was Monmouth Carnival in Peru, hence, the llama.