Category Archives: Lakewood

MADD Testifies in Favor of Lifesaving Ignition Interlock Legislation

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) will testify before the Assembly Appropriations Committee urging their support of A 1368 on Monday, June 23rd at 9 AM. A 1368, introduced by Assemblywoman Stender, will require ignition interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers, including all first-time offenders. Similar legislation has been passed in 23 states and these states have recognized a significant reduction in drunk driving deaths.

“MADD believes ignition interlocks for all offenders is the best solution to eliminate drunk driving across the Nation. New Jersey lawmakers have the opportunity to advance this lifesaving legislation that will protect the public from drunk drivers,” said MADD New Jersey Volunteer and National Board Member Steven Benvenisti, Esq., Partner at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, PC, who was almost killed by a drunk driver when he attended The College of New Jersey.

Drunk driving is a violent crime. And, drunk deaths are 100 percent preventable. Yet in 2012, 164

people in New Jersey were killed in crashes caused by a drunk driver—representing 28 percent of all traffic fatalities. In addition to the extraordinary emotional burden for victims, drunk driving deaths are an unnecessary economic hardship for New Jersey, costing the state and taxpayers $1.1 billion in 2012.

Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that (1) requiring interlocks for all convicted drunk drivers saves lives and is effective in reducing drunk driving recidivism by 67 percent; (2) license suspension alone is no longer a practical way to deal with drunk drivers, as 50 to 75 percent of convicted drunk drivers will continue to drive even with a suspended driver’s license; and (3) first-time convicted DUI offender is not a first time drunk driver

but rather has driven drunk at least 80 times prior to being arrested.

Currently in New Jersey, interlocks are required for all repeat and first-time convicted drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .15 or greater.  Passage of A 1368 would require a first-time convicted drunk driver with a BAC of .08 to .14 to use an ignition interlock for a period of three to twelve months unless a Judge determines that aggravating factors dictate that a license suspension would be more appropriate.  The last third of the time on the interlock must be violation free or the offender will have the time on the interlock extended. A 1368 will help change behavior separate alcohol from driving. Interlocked offenders are able to their jobs and provide for their families.

“MADD’s number one legislative priority is to pass lifesaving laws to ensure the public’s safety and eliminate drunk driving. A 1368 makes sense, ignition interlocks for all offenders will save lives,” continued Benvenisti.

States that are enforcing all-offender ignition interlock laws, such as Arizona and Oregon, have seen a reduction in DUI deaths by 43 to 42 percent, largely due to these comprehensive laws requiring all drunk drivers to receive an interlock.

For more information on interlocks, please visit

About Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver, Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) is the nation’s largest nonprofit working to protect families from drunk driving and underage drinking. With the help of those who want a safer future, MADD’s Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving® will end this danger on America’s roads. And as one of the largest victim services organizations in the U.S., MADD also supports drunk and drugged driving victims and survivors at no charge, serving one person every 8.6 minutes through local MADD victim advocates and at 1-877-MADD-HELP.  Learn more at  or by calling 1-877-ASK-MADD.


Lakewood Chamber Sponsors a Comedy Night at the Strand-Will Benefit Lakewood Volunteer Firefighters

The Lakewood Chamber of Commerce, 395 Route 70 West, Lakewood, is sponsoring an adults-only Comedy Night at the Strand Theater, 400 Clifton Avenue, Lakewood 08701 on Thursday, July 10, 2014.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. Part of the proceeds will benefit the Lakewood Volunteer Firefighters.

The evening includes entertainment by three professional comedians all of whom have been on late night talks shows, including the Tonight Show and have worked in Las Vegas and Atlantic City.  Light food (Kosher food is available) and a cash bar are available.

General admission is $60.00 with open seating. Sponsorships are available for $600.00 and include two (2) free tickets.  Pre-registration is required. To make a reservation,  call 732-363-0012 or email

David Nicola, executive director of the Lakewood Chamber, said, “The Lakewood Chamber and business community are proud to help make this event possible,  and we appreciate those of you who can come to support what will be a fun-filled night! The Strand is a wonderful place to see a concert or a comedy show, and a great place to hold a meeting. If you haven’t been to the Strand in a while, Comedy Night is a great way to reintroduce yourself to the Strand.”

Lakewood Car Show to Benefit Lakewood Museum

Lakewood Historical Society and the Lakewood Heritage Commission are holding the first “Sheldon Wolpin Memorial Car Show” fundraiser Sunday, August 17, 2014, from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. at the Clarence Brown Pavilion, Pine Park, (near the Lakewood Country Club), West County Line Road Lakewood, N.J.

The pre registration car entrance fee is $12.00 and $15.00 the day of the event.  The car show lineup will begin at 1:00 p.m. The proceeds of the car show will benefit the renovations of Kuser Hall, the home of the Sheldon Wolpin Lakewood Heritage Museum, 500 Country Club Drive, Lakewood Pine Park, Lakewood, N.J.*

Attendees can also enjoy Oldies music by the “Oldies Maven” Jimmy Givens, the “Dr. of Musicology”; a display by the Ocean County Society of Model Railroaders; a P. B. A. Local #71 special full-sized charter bus, through Classic Tours, in memory of fallen police officers, and Local #71’s  S.W.A.T. (Special Weapons and Tactics) vehicle.  P. B. A. members will be selling hot dogs and hamburgers to raise money for their organization.

Registration checks should be made payable to the Lakewood Historical Society, 245 Martine Way Lakewood, NJ 08701. Be sure to include year, make, and model of the car. To register or for more information, contact Jimmy Givens, chairman of fundraising committee for the Lakewood Historical Society, at or call the special cruiser hotline at 732-770-7245. The rain date is Sunday, August 24.

The Lakewood Historical Society is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization. Visit Donations are always welcome.

After the Reign

The Strand is proud to announce that After the Reign will be performing on 7/18/14. Doors open at 6:30! Come early and enjoy the bar, food, snacks and soft drinks. Special Appearance by Academy of Dance. Don’t miss out on a chance to see New Jersey’s Premier Country Band at The Strand!


after the reign

You are your own box office, open 24 hours a day, every day. Visit our website at and click on the “Buy Tickets Online”. If you prefer to buy your tickets and speak to a live person, you can call the call center at 732.730.5925

Lakewood Township Shade Tree Commission Recognizes Arbor Day Poster Contest Winners

Lakewood Mayor Menashe Miller and members of Lakewood’s Shade Tree Commission recently recognized the winners of the annual Arbor Day Poster Contest, open to public school students, grades one to six.

All recipients received a Proclamation from Lakewood Township and from the New Jersey State Legislature, and two tickets to a Lakewood BlueClaws game, donated by the Lakewood BlueClaws. First, Second and Third Place award winners also received a cash prize donated by First Commerce Bank, Lakewood.

Shade Tree Commission members who presented awards to the winners were Dr. Michael F. Gross, chairman, Craig Theibault, vice chairman; Ryan Semblewski, member; and Mary Kay Malec, executive assistant. All posters were judged by the Shade Tree Commission members.  The winners are

Oak Street School

Grade 1: Brenda Mazzoco – Honorable Mention

Grade 2: Camila Maria Urbina-Taveras – Honorable Mention

Grade 3:Giovanni Miron Ramos,  Christopher Jimenez Rojas and Javier Veloz – all Honorable Mention

Grade 4: Andre Smith – Third Place; Janet Calvario, Yandiel Colotl Camacho, Emelie Mayorga and Eniya Rosado, all Honorable Mention

Grade 5: Kevonna Oliver – First Place; Jose Gomez Aranda – Second Place; Rene Garcia – Third Place; Jason Harilal,  Lidia Morales, and  Issis Retana –  all Honorable Mention

Special Ed: Freddy Ortiz – Honorable Mention


Clifton Avenue:

Grade 1: Jamey Terzi-Retes – Honorable Mention

Grade 2: Clive Boswell, Lizbeth Gonzalez Meneses, and Hanna Hernandez–all Honorable Mention

Grade 4: Maria Mejia – Honorable Mention

Grade 5: Amy Cardozo and Yadira Meza – all Honorable Mention


Lakewood Middle School: Grade 6: Kaitlyn Montoya – Honorable Mention


Dr. Gross, who is a full-time administrator and biology professor at Georgian Court University (GCU) and director of the university’s arboretum, noted that Lakewood has been designated a Tree City for having a commitment to caring for and managing public trees, and for its annual Arbor Day programs.


Little Rookies T-Ball Basics

Freeholder John C. Bartlett, Jr., announces that the Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation will be conducting T-Ball classes. Please bring your own baseball glove.  Rain dates cannot be rescheduled. The fee for each session is $14.00 per child, ages 4-7.

* Location: Softball Field B, Jakes Branch County Park, Beachwood

Date: Mondays, June 30-July 14

Time:  1:00-2:00 pm             Program #223312-1A


*Location: Softball Field, Beaver Dam Creek County Park, Pt. Pleasant

Date:   Tuesdays, July 1-15

Time:  1:00-2:00 pm                         Program #233312-1B


*Location: Softball Field, Lake Shenandoah County Park, Lakewood

Date: Wednesdays, July 2-16

Time: 9:30-10:30 am                                    Program # 233312-1C


* Location:  Softball Field, Ocean St. and Bay Ave. Beach Haven

Date:  Monday- Thursday, July 21-24

Time:  11:30 am-12:15 pm                          Program # 233312-1D


  • Location:  Softball Field, Jersey City Ave. and Rt. 35 South, Lavallette

Date:  Monday-Thursday, July 28-31

Time:  1:00-2:00 pm                        Program # 223312-1E


To register, send a check made payable to the “County of Ocean” to: Ocean County Park and Recreation, 1198 Bandon Road, Toms River, NJ  08753.  Please provide name, address and daytime telephone number, along with program # when registering

To receive more information or to receive a Parks & Recreation Newsletter call 732-506-9090 or visit the web site at

Health & Wellness Fair in Lakewood

The Improving Pregnancy Outcomes (IPO) and the Ocean County Family Success Center is holding an “Every Woman Counts” health and wellness fair in the Lakewood Town Square (Clifton Avenue and 3rd Ave.) from 1:30 – 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 28. The fair will include fun activities like Zumba and Music Remedy with Breana Rehak, arts and crafts for children, free consultations by local health providers, giveaways and plenty of learning opportunities. Bring your family and friends for an outdoor recreation that caters to the mind, body and soul!


There will be a special performance by the Trenton Education Dance Institute (TEDI), a Trenton-based program under The Children’s Home Society of NJ that teaches teamwork, concentration and self-esteem as students learn about music and dance. There will be additional programs specifically catering to families and individuals affected by Super Storm Sandy provided by Operation Hope.


If you are interested in joining our various vendors or would like to contribute to our cause please contact our Community Partnership Specialist Victoria Domite at 732-557-5037 ext. 205 or by e-mail


All other inquiries should be made to Fatima Reynolds ( or Heather Greenwood ( of IPO.


About the Ocean County Family Success Center

The Ocean County Family Success Center is the third Family Success Center to be opened and managed by The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey.  State funding is provided through a competitive grant awarded by the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Division of Prevention and Community Partnerships.

Hours of operation are Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. with some evening and weekend events.  A monthly calendar of events can be found online at  The Ocean County Family Success Center is located at 1433 Hooper Avenue, Suite 121, Toms River, New Jersey, 08753.

About the Children’s Home Society of New Jersey

The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey is a nonprofit child and family serving agency whose mission is to save children’s lives and build healthy families.  Founded in 1894, the agency protects abused or neglected infants and at-risk children by insuring stable, permanent, and loving homes for each and every child it serves.  All services are confidential and most are free.  For more information, visit The Children’s Home Society of New Jersey website at


Local Girl Scouts Earn Gold Award

The Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore presented 25 Girl Scouts from Monmouth and Ocean counties with the Girl Scout Gold Award during a special ceremony on June 2nd at Woodlake Country Club in Lakewood. Nationwide, only five percent of all eligible Girl Scouts earn this prestigious award, the highest achievement a teen Girl Scout can earn.


In addition to the Gold Award, each recipient received special commendations from President Barack Obama, their senate and congressional representatives, Governor Chris Christie, and in many cases, from their county and state elected officials.


In order to earn the Girl Scout Gold Award, girls must utilize the leadership skills learned through Girl Scouting to address and raise awareness of a specific issue or issues within her community. Each recipient is required to complete at least 80 hours on a project that combines organizational leadership and networking skills with community service. Highlights of this year’s projects include an art therapy program, sustainable living garden, a ‘Neuroscience Matters’ workshop, Hurricane Sandy book drive, ‘Operation Smile Club’, and more.


girl scout gold award

Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore is proud to share the unique projects of each 2014 Gold Award recipient:


Rachel Anton, Toms River

My endless love for dance inspired me to focus my project on fitness. Growing up I always wished for grandparents of my own ,so subsequently volunteering at a nursing home allowed me to be surrounded by history I would have never experienced. I taught chair yoga and choreographed dance routines for the residents at the local nursing home. I came to the realization that even teachers are consistently learning and that there are always reasons to be grateful. I am a senior at Toms River High School South and will be attending The College of New Jersey in the fall. I am the president of the school’s Interact Club, a student council representative and a member of the National Honor Society.


Shreya Bendre, Morganville

The project I completed is called the Sustainable Living Garden. My project was completed at Collier Youth Services day camp, a camp for under privileged and emotionally challenged kids. There I taught the kids about sustainable living, a lifestyle that attempts to reduce an individual’s or society’s dependency on Earth’s natural resources. Another topic was healthy living on a budget. I demonstrated sustainable living by teaching the kids how to grow a garden in which the produce is reusable. I also taught them techniques about growing a garden organically. Finally, I showed them how to save money by growing their own food in the backyard.


Amy Bielicki, Spring Lake

My project consisted of restoring a mural at my elementary school and discussing the importance of organ donation. The mural restoration was in honor of Alexandra “Zan” Rose Tozzi who died in a car crash while attending H.W. Mountz Elementary School. Zan donated her organs and helped to save the lives of others when hers could not be saved. I wanted to make sure that Zan’s memory was not forgotten, so I restored the mural in conjunction with my elementary school, donated school supplies to a school that had been destroyed by Superstorm Sandy, and explained how through organ donation, one person can save eight lives.


Mary Beth Bielicki, Spring Lake

For my Gold Award project I created an art therapy program to benefit the women at Mary’s Place by the Sea in Ocean Grove, a retreat for women with cancer. I was able to get art supplies to help implement an art therapy class at the home and to run art days for the children of these women. My goal was to provide these women with an outlet for their emotions and to help them heal: mind, body, and soul. With support from my peers and community, I was able to do so.


Jillian Cavaliere, Ocean

I’m a disabled girl and I noticed that my classmates were having trouble fitting in with “regular” social situations. With the help of my friend, Megan, we came up with an idea. We would teach my friends to dance and act appropriately at all social gatherings. I held the class many times. It was such fun and I didn’t want it to end. My friends are still asking me to hold another dance.


Bridget Clark, Pt. Pleasant Beach

For my Gold Award project I started “Sandy Reads,” a local book drive that donated new books to libraries in Monmouth and Ocean counties damaged by Hurricane Sandy. These books were sold for the individual libraries’ profit and helped to pay for new books and fix damages the libraries had after the storm that grants from the state did not cover. Through my high school and community, I was able to gather over 500 books to donate to four different libraries affected by Hurricane Sandy. In addition, I was able to run programs for the children at the Point Pleasant Beach library this past summer.


Erin Ditmar, Manahawkin

I interviewed dozens of students about their experiences during Hurricane Sandy and took pictures of the community directly following the disaster. I created a book to provide hope for similar situations in the future and distributed the book to my school and town library.


Allison Filosa, Freehold

For my gold award I supported the Pajama Program Charity. The Pajama Program Charity supports and aids children who live under impoverished and undesirable circumstances with new books and pajamas. The books and pajamas that the Pajama Program donate allow children to actually enjoy the luxury of having a good night’s sleep. To support the Pajama Program Charity I hosted and organized a multitude of events to collect donations of books and pajamas and raise awareness for the cause and charity. With the help of my team and generous donations, I was able to collect a plenitude of donations for the charity.


Lauren Margaret Kaiser, Morganville

For my Gold Award project, I have created Emergency Medical Information Cards (EMIC) which provide the first aid members and police with an individual’s important information they would need to know in an emergency situation. I chose this project to alleviate stress and confusion for all involved. I worked closely with the Morganville and Marlboro First Aid Squads, and the Marlboro Police to compile the emergency information needed. These cards were distributed to all four Marlboro Adult communities, in which they are taped inside the top half of the refrigerator door. The impact of my project will save lives!


Katelyn Kearney, Rumson

For my Gold Award project I started a program at Monmouth Medical Center which brought art to the pediatric wing. I organized a group of peers to help me bring spin art, canvases, and jewel boxes, along with many more art projects to the very enthusiastic patients. The children there were both excited to be able to craft and make new friends.


Megan Kelleher, Ocean

All around the country, children with disabilities are mainstreamed into schools. While this is great in some aspects, this also leaves them feeling uncomfortable at events such as school dances. I am passionate about this issue because one of my best friends and fellow Girl Scout, has disabilities. She expressed how she wanted to earn her own Gold Award, so together we brainstormed to create “our” Gold Award Project. My project featured weekly sessions that taught basic dance steps and etiquette. I got high school volunteers to work one-on-one with the participants, teaching them popular line dances and proper etiquette.


Sara Kraeutler , Oakhurst

As president of the OTHS Italian Club, I brought awareness to the diversity of cultures in my community by collaborating with the other cultural clubs in my school to organize the first annual International Food and Fun Night! At the event, students participated in events and activities included limbo, Ping-Pong, Chinese Buffet, spaghetti eating contests, Dance-Dance Revolution, karaoke and even piñata smashing! International Food and Fun Night was a huge success, with over 250 students in attendance and was continued again this year.


Sarah Lin, Marlboro

My Gold Award project addressed the issue of STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education. By coordinating a three-day summer workshop titled “Neuroscience Matters” at the Aslan Youth Ministries’ summer camp, I aimed to impact at-risk youth by teaching them and getting them excited about neuroscience. As part of my project, I created lesson plans about neuroscience that were adapted to fit each age group and then trained volunteers to assist me in teaching the lessons to the campers. The event gave me an opportunity to teach and show our leaders of tomorrow just how exciting science can be.


Megan Lynch, Manahawkin

For my Gold Award project, I created an “Operation Smile Club” at a local school in my district. Operation Smile is a non-profit organization that raises awareness and funds for children with cleft lips and palates. The purpose of my club is to spread awareness throughout the community through various events. The club has 40 members and has worked incredibly hard to bring smiles to faces of the children affected. Due to my Gold Award Project, I will be attending a leadership conference this summer resulting from my involvement with Operation Smile. I’m expecting to also go on a Medical Mission to see lives changed first hand this coming year.


Alexa Marten, Howell

For my gold award project, I decided to create a mural in the Women’s Food and Environmental Services Lounge and Locker Room in CentraState Hospital. The people who use the facility typically work extremely long and exhausting hours and when they finally do get a break, they would have to recline in a bleak and boring atmosphere. I saw this as a major problem and wanted to create a mural that would not only uplift the workers’ attitudes, but also put a smile on their faces. I enlisted the help of my family, friends and a professional mural painter to help me achieve my goal. All of my materials were donated. With much support and help all along the way, I feel like I created something that is not only visually pleasing but also beneficial to the community.


Jessica Martin, Manalapan

My gold award focuses on the need for a community center in Manalapan. By connecting and educating both the youth and adults and meeting with various groups from scouts, town leaders, and citizens, I was able to assemble and direct a group of high school peers. During reconstruction of the facility, I promoted the idea of positive youth development, as well as the grand opening event. With over 250 residents in attendance, I planned and executed a carnival-like day while exposing everyone to available community committees, plans for the center and the need for a safe environment for our teens.


Gianna Miceli, Holmdel

For my Gold Award project I implemented a dog therapy program in the Holmdel School District in order to benefit many special needs students. My team and I hoped to make an impact on the students’ reading skills, self-esteem, verbal and memory skills, and general awareness. In the beginning, some of the students were weary to pet my dog, Dottie, or interact with her at all. Throughout the school year, the students became more comfortable and began displaying much more confidence. They gained this comfort as we read to them, taught them the simple commands to use with Dottie, gave them treats to feed to her, and allowed them to play ball with her. This was a great learning experience for us all.


Karen Moore, Holmdel

My Gold Award project was titled “Flower Power to Save the Bees.” My team and I built and planted a garden at Middletown United Methodist Church. The flowers were all “bee Friendly,” meaning the bees are highly attracted to them. I had the flowers planted in hopes to help increase the colonization of bees. After the garden was built, I held a presentation at the church for the Sunday school children to teach them what it is, how to keep it up, and why it is necessary. To top off the presentation I had the children paint rocks to add to the beauty of the garden.


Jordon Pappas, Howell

My Gold Award project addressed concussions and student athletes. After suffering two concussions while playing high school lacrosse and club soccer, I realized that many concussions go undiagnosed or ignored by student athletes. I created an instructional video about the basics of concussions, how relatively easy it is for a student athlete to get a concussion and concussion warning signs and symptoms. I presented the video during an educational night at Howell Public Library and featured keynote speaker, Amy Ghione, Howell High School’s athletic trainer. Student athletes, coaches and parents attended the event. Copies of the video were given to attendees and later sent to local schools and clubs.


Kristi Petersen, Manalapan

My Gold Award Project focused on renovating and beautifying the Manalapan Community Center while getting the youth of Manalapan involved in its construction. I orchestrated a mural contest amongst the youth and then painted the winner’s design in the reception room of the center. I also performed outreach to various youth organizations to promote Positive Youth Development which explains the importance of having teens and children socialize in a safe space, such as a community center.


Alyanna Privetera, Manalapan

Horse slaughter is inhumane. But even though 80% of Americans are opposed to it, President Obama recently signed a law reversing the ban on horse slaughter in America.  My mission is to raise awareness of the barbaric practice of butchering healthy horses to provide meat to countries overseas where horsemeat is considered a delicacy. Through education my project continues to raise awareness to the horrors of horse slaughter, as well as the dangers of consuming horsemeat. I continue to challenge like-minded individuals to demand a permanent ban on horse slaughter in America and the processing of horsemeat for human consumption.


Marietta Richman, Sea Girt

My burn prevention project was very important to me because I suffered third degree burns from hot coffee. My main message was that 100% of scalded burns are preventable. There are so many ways to prevent burns and I had an opportunity to educate children, parents, teachers and the community. During the month of October, which was Fire Safety Month, I was a part of a fire company’s open house. I also spoke at a school’s Back to School Night, presented a school’s Fire Safety Assembly, visited classrooms and helped students make get well cards for burn victims.


Cynthia Streeter, Freehold

For my Gold Award, my goal was to reach out to my local community to facilitate healthy eating habits. I aimed to dispel the common assumptions about healthy eating. I also wanted people to realize how easy healthy eating can be and that healthy is not about losing weight, which has become an obsession in today’s society, but giving your body the nutrition it needs to function. I was able to hold programs for my peers, and some younger girls, to teach them about the best side of food and the habits that will help sustain a healthy lifestyle.


Katarina Tornich, Howell

My Gold Award project benefitted the Children’s Specialized Hospital in Toms River. I created sensory bins that go along with the children’s favorite story books. These bins allow the kids to experience the books through all five of the senses (sight, touch, smell, taste and sound), making story time much more engaging. I also ran a workshop for the children in our community, where we played games and did activities focusing on the five senses, to give those children a better understanding of how the children in the hospital deal with their disabilities. This was an experience I will never forget.


Usha Trivedi, Marlboro

In 2012, I noticed that the town of Neptune, NJ, which is located close to the water, was particularly affected by the disastrous Hurricane named, Sandy. I noticed that the American Red Cross was the most prominent organization in giving aid and relief to all Sandy victims and I was inspired to establish an American Red Cross Chapter. Initially, I faced several obstacles, but through the support of my family, my peers and my teachers, I was able to develop leadership and organization skills. These skills grew through my projects, Holidays for Heroes, where I collected holiday cards for military personnel overseas, and Totes for Hope, where I collected almost two thousand personal care items for homeless veterans in my community. Above all, I was able to enlist others to become volunteers, to gain an appreciation for community service.

Builders Development Group Meets with N.J. American Water Co. to Hear about Improvements

The rapid growth of Lakewood, now the largest municipality in Ocean County and the seventh largest in the state, has meant increased demand for services between developers and contractors, and utility companies.

The newly formed Builders Development Group, which arose from talks between the Lakewood Utility Advisory Council (LUAC) and the New Jersey American Water Company, recently met with officials from the water company to hear about a New Services Department that would better serve local contractors and developers.

Among other improvements, New Jersey American Water Company, 100 James, Street, Lakewood, established a special team that will be available to contractors and developers Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., at the James Street facility or via email, phone or fax. The goals of team are better communication, immediate contact, accessibility, and a speedier processing of service requests.

Committeeman Meir Lichtenstein said, “It is gratifying that Kevin Kirwan of N.J. American Water Co. has taken steps through the Lakewood Utility Advisory Council to help our builders and developers. This will be a win-win for everyone.”

Greg Stafford-Smith, the chairman of LUAC, said, “We thank Kevin Kirwan and his associates for bringing this plan, which was started 18 months ago, to fruition. We endorse and support them for doing a good job.”

The team is made up of Crissy Forrester, the Operations Supervisor and point person for the Builders and Contractors Development Group; and Carol Saunders, operations specialist. Both have extensive office and field experience, and both are available to assist builders and contractors.

Kevin T. Kirwan, senior director, Coastal North Field Operations of N.J. American Water, said,  “Because we have had a good dialogue with the Lakewood community, we were getting some feedback that some of the methods used to process services for construction in the Lakewood community, a very fast, dynamic, and sometimes moving at the speed of light state, needed some improvement.

“We decided to put a team in place right at the front door.  We are removing some trees so we can see people coming. We have the hours of operation here. All this will help you get the service you need.

“Dealing with a big company can be awkward at times, going through different processes, but we are confident with the team we have here we can help you get your service request processed and the installation in the quickest amount of time. At the end of the day, we’re here to deliver service to you.

“Although we cannot shortcut certain things, we can definitely speed up the process that we have to go through so hopefully you’ll find this beneficial for you folks.”

Forrester said, “We are committed to providing special courteous and efficient service to all our customers with respect and fairness. All customers are welcome to come in to hand in paperwork or to explain any project or service. Be sure to copy both of us in case one of us happens to be out for the day. We’ll make sure we are not duplicating anything.

“Feel free to fax your application.  We will stamp it in immediately.  Once we verify that you have water and sewer in front of the property, we are going to call you within three (3) business days to make sure you have service available and we’ll call you to let you know we are going forward with it.  We’ll send you an application if you haven’t sent one in and we’ll go forward with the process and apply for permits. We can also give you assistance with the application and the application process.”

Richard Larsen, area manager for Henkels & McCoy, Farmingdale, said, “This is a good step to take care of some of the problems we have. Creating a team solely for this purpose is something they needed to do.”

Others in attendance were Steven Reinman, acting Lakewood Municipal Manager and executive director of the Lakewood Industrial Commission (LIC); Sam Rabinowitz, member of the LIC; Aron Mansoun, Ann Construction; Brian Flannery, a partner in the engineering firm of FWH Associates (Flannery, Webb and Hansen); Seth Haber, Ray Builders; Aaron Engelman, Destiny Homes; Charlie Schonbrun, Silverline Construction; Jeremiah Johnson, Andrew Johnson, and Greg Matthews of Bil-Jim Construction; Yosef Kahn, Beth Medrash Govoha; Abe Auerbach of Regency Development.