By Thomas A. Arnone
Each year the Greater Monmouth Chamber’s annual search for outstanding contributions to the community is reflected in what is known as The Circle of Excellence Award. This year the proud recipient of this most prestigious award is none other than our very own Monmouth County Library system.
There are six categories in which an individual or an organization can be awarded. The library received the award in the public service category. The award was presented at the annual dinner held on June 7. Accepting the award for the library were Renee B. Swartz, chairwoman of the Monmouth County Library Commission, and my fellow Freeholder, Lillian G. Burry, liaison to the county library system.
Undoubtedly, the success of the library has been a focal point and a genuine passion of Freeholder Burry’s. I applaud her for her tenacious efforts and achievements.
In recognition of the award, it gave me great pleasure to be able to present a proclamation to Freeholder Burry and Ms. Swartz on behalf of the entire Board of Chosen Freeholders. We all should be proud of our county library system because it is among the best – if not the best – in the state. A lot of that has to do with the steady oversight the library has received over the years through the efforts of its library commissioners and its executive director, Renee Swartz. Together, Freeholder Burry, Swartz, and the library commissioners past and present should be commended for their ability throughout the years to make learning fun and exciting, and for bringing us new opportunities to access the world of literature, knowledge, and lifelong learning.
Perhaps it is this very approach to learning that we can attribute to all the successful students who have recently graduated throughout Monmouth County. It was with immense pride that I attended several of the ceremonies and witnessed first hand the level of achievement attained by so many young scholars. I offer congratulations to the graduates and to their families as one chapter closes and a new book begins.
In keeping with the necessity to encourage positive development in our youth, the Division of Workforce Development recently presented a series of workshops to the youth from Asbury Park, Camden and Newark for the national program Jobs for America’s Graduates. The goal of the program is to work with at-risk youth and provide alternatives to dropping out of high school. Over 60 youth attended and learned about college and vocational school to continue their education. As liaison to the Workforce Investment Board, I am extremely proud of this outreaching to our youth and remain optimistic that we will continue to broaden the spectrum in the attempt to assist as many youth as possible.
In other news, recently a major fire broke out that severely damaged the Buhler Car Dealership in Hazlet. Fire departments from numerous municipalities rallied and responded by pumping water on the fire for hours. Due to the duration of the fire, the fire apparatus required refueling. The Monmouth County Department of Public Works and Engineering, Division of Fleet Services, was called upon to provide the refueling services at the fire scene. The division responded promptly and refueled the emergency vehicles and fire apparatus. This is yet another example of the many shared services being provided by the County of Monmouth that serves as a savings to the taxpayer, while providing support services in emergency situations. Kudos goes to the Department of Public Works and Engineering for providing their immediate assistance.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the great time had by all at the 2012 Belmar Seafood Festival held recently at Silver Lake Park in Belmar. Employees from Monmouth County Public Information and Tourism staffed the county booth at the festival. Crowds were estimated to exceed 150,000 over the three-day weekend. It was amazing to see how interested and excited people were to see that Monmouth County had a presence at the festival. The freeholders, including myself, were on hand to answer questions as well as hand out a selection of county books, brochures and some give-a ways embossed with the county Web address. It was a fantastic way to engage the public, have fun and encourage people to view the county’s website to see all this great county has to offer.
Finally, hoo-rah the summer has arrived, and with it so has the Monmouth County 2012 Accessible Beach Guide. This annual guide includes information about the county’s accessible beaches, walkways, ramps, parking, curb cuts and surf chair availability. It also provides detailed information about 2012 beach fees, lifeguard hours and amenities. To access the beach guide online go to www.visitmonmouth.com and simply click the online beach guide.
With the temperature heating up outside, let’s do our best to stay cool. Although the warm weather certainly affords more opportunity for fun in the sun, with the extreme temperatures please be careful to use good sense especially when it comes to children, pets and the elderly.
Thomas A. Arnone is deputy director of the Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders.