Tag Archives: Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari

Joseph H. Vicari Sworn Into His 12th Term As The Board Of Freeholders Readies For 2015

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Freeholder Joseph H. Vicari is sworn into his 12th three-year term on the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders during the board’s 2015 Organization Meeting on Jan. 5 in Toms River. Vicari’s wife Joyce holds the Bible while his daughter Dina, a Toms River attorney, administers the Oath of Office. Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr, who was named board director, stressed the importance of continuity and the freeholders working together for the good of all of Ocean County. Freeholder Gerry P. Little was also named Deputy Director for 2015.

 

Improvements Coming To Road Network At Interchange 91

Wide ranging improvements to Ocean County roads accessing the Garden State Parkway at Interchange 91 in Brick Township are expected to increase safety and reduce commuter congestion, according to Ocean County officials.

The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders is expected to award a contract to Green Construction Inc., South River, on Sept. 3 and work on the project could get underway by mid-October.

“The improvements at Interchange 91 which include adding and relocation of on and off ramps to create a fully accessible interchange that will reduce traffic congestion and increase safety along with the level of performance on the roadway now and 20 years into the future,” said Freeholder John P. Kelly, Director of Law and Public Safety.

Kelly, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Engineering Department, noted the project is being done in partnership with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.

“This is one of our most far-reaching designs to upgrade a Parkway interchange,” Kelly said. “We’ve worked closely with the New Jersey Turnpike Authority and Brick Township to redesign the roads leading into this interchange to meet the needs of the region’s growing population.”

Plans call for a full interchange with both northbound and southbound entrance and exit ramps.

Currently, Exit 91 allows only northbound vehicles to enter the Parkway, while only southbound traffic can exit.

“This project will meet the needs of our growing population far into the future,” said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “This area is home to a large number of commuters especially living in Brick and Lakewood townships and this will help ease their ride to and from work.”

Kelly noted the redesign will also allow easier access to the Park-N-Ride commuter lots on both the east and west sides of the highway.

“Not only will this almost totally new interchange ease traffic on nearby Lanes Mill Road and Burnt Tavern Road, it will also reduce congestion at nearby Exit 90 at Chambers Bridge Road,” said Freeholder James F. Lacey, who serves as liaison to the Ocean County Road Department. “Many of those motorists who now drive the extra miles from Chambers Bridge Road to northern Brick and Point Pleasant will now be able to utilize this interchange instead.”

Among the planned changes are:

  • A new northbound entrance ramp from Burnt Tavern Road and Lanes Mill Road, with access to the Park-N-Ride lot on the east side of the Parkway.
  • A second northbound entrance ramp for vehicles traveling eastbound on Burnt Tavern Road. This ramp will also allow access from Burrsville Road. The single existing northbound ramp will be eliminated.
  • A new northbound exit and entrance ramps linking the Parkway and Burrsville Road.
  • A new southbound entrance ramp for traffic heading west on Burnt Tavern Road.
  • A second southbound entrance ramp linking Lanes Mill Road with the Parkway. Herborn Avenue would be extended south and east to Lanes Mill Road, where it would meet the new entrance ramp at a signaled intersection.

Southbound Parkway traffic could exit at the existing ramp or continue under the Burnt Tavern Road Bridge and use a new ramp that will link with Lanes Mill Road at a second new signaled interchange.

The project also includes the construction of seven new traffic signals and the installation of storm water quality measures.

The County received nine bids on the project and the lowest qualified bidder came in 3.5 percent under the engineer’s estimate.

“This project is funded 100 percent by the state,” Kelly said. “We have worked in partnership with the state Department of Transportation, the Turnpike Authority and with the support of Brick Township to get this underway.”

The contract amount is $21,319,770. While the project is expected to take about two and a half years to complete, disruption is expected to be minimal because much of the project is new roadway.

Buy Local When Shopping For Back To School

WHETHER IT’S a new backpack or that perfect outfit for the first day of school, Ocean County’s shops and businesses are the places to be for back-to-school shopping, Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari said.

Vicari, who initiated the successful Buy In Ocean County campaign for holiday shopping, encouraged residents to stay close to home when stocking up for the new school year.

“Our local businesses offer everything for school shopping, whether it is that perfect lunchbox for the first day of first grade or a new laptop for a student heading off to college,” Vicari said. “Keep a friend or neighbor working. Buy local.”

Shopping locally not only supports neighborhood businesses, but it has other advantages over ordering online or through a catalog.

“When you buy local, you are protected against fraud,” Vicari said. “Both our county and state agencies have much more power when dealing with a local business complaint.”

For example, if a computer bought locally doesn’t work and a customer has a problem returning it, the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs can help.

However, there is little the department can do if an item is purchased from online and from out of the area.

“Buy local and have confidence in your purchases,” said Vicari, who is also Chairman of Consumer Affairs.

Shopping in Ocean County can also save money.

“Many times catalog and online offers can seem cheaper, but don’t forget to add in the shipping costs,” Vicari said. “If you have to return an item, it’s much easier to drive down the street and visit the store rather than pack and ship a package across country.”

Frequenting local businesses also helps protect Ocean County jobs.

“When you buy local you are supporting your neighbors,” Vicari said. “Our business community is a vital part of Ocean County.”

Local businesses also donate to local charities and give back to their communities, something that cannot be said about most catalog and online firms.

“With our many mom & pop businesses, chain stores, malls and outlet stores, everything you need for back to school is located right here at our doorstep,” Vicari said.

Earlier this year Vicari established the Ocean County Department of Business Development and Tourism to better assist local businesses in these difficult economic times.

“Expanding the Buy in Ocean County program is just one way the Board of Freeholders is helping to protect the local economy,” Vicari said.

Senior Services Resource Directory Available

Seniors living in Ocean County can find information on programs and services available to them and their caregivers in the 2014 Resource Directory distributed by the Ocean County Office of Senior Services.

Recently updated, this handy directory includes information on a host of programs that provide help and assistance to seniors living in Ocean County.

“The Office of Senior Services serves as a focal point that older adults and their families can turn to for information and assistance regarding programs and services,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, Chairman of Senior Services. “Our mission is to lead the way in advancing the well-being of older adults.”

The Office of Senior Services goals include improving access to services, promoting healthy aging, fostering greater independence for frail older adult, supporting family caregivers, and advocating for older adults at the federal, state and local level.

The department administers a comprehensive system of community based services including transportation, benefits screening and care management; community support such as education, recreation, physical and mental health screenings, physical fitness, legal assistance; home support such as friendly visitor, residential maintenance, housekeeping, certified home health aides; nutrition support such as congregate meals and home delivered meals; and caregiver support such as respite, caregiver counseling, caregiver support groups and in-home education and support.

“Ocean County is home to the largest senior population in the state,” Vicari noted. “With more than 160,000 seniors calling Ocean County home, it’s a priority of the Board of Freeholders to provide them with programs and services that will help them remain independent so they can enjoy a good quality of life here.”

The resource directory provides at a glance Senior Services program and contact information as well as a service index.

“This directory is a great tool to refer to when looking for programs and services,” Vicari said. “I would recommend it to our seniors and also their caregivers.”

Some services featured within the resource directory are the HAAAD Program (Hearing Aid Assistance to the Age and Disabled); educational programs such as adult education classes at Georgian Court University, Lakewood and Ocean County College, Toms River, among other locations; employment assistance such as the Senior Employment Program; health services such as the American Cancer Society and American Heart Association among others; counseling such as the Psychiatric Emergency Service System (P.E.S.S.); hospital locations; insurance in regards to Medicare, senior, community and recreation centers found in Ocean County; and transportation such as Ocean Ride.

“The resource directory can be accessed online, or mailed to anyone requesting it,” Vicari said.

To obtain a copy of the Senior Services Resource Directory, visit www.co.ocean.nj.us; stop by the Office of Senior Services located at 1027 Hooper Ave., Bldg. 2, Toms River, or call (732) 929-2091.

Installing Miles Of Protection

Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari and Freeholder Deputy Director John C. Bartlett Jr. joined with state Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin, along with Mantoloking Mayor George Nebel and Brick Township Mayor John G. Ducey to view the beginning of the installation of four-miles of steel sheet piling into the ocean beaches of Mantoloking and Brick Township in order to protect Route 35 and nearby homes and businesses from future severe storms. The project is expected to protect a segment of Ocean County coastline that was breached as a result of Superstorm Sandy in October 2012. The storm destroyed the dune system and flooded the highway along this stretch of northern Ocean County destroying homes and causing significant damage to the infrastructure. The sheet piling infrastructure protection project, which is funded in part by the Federal Highway Administration and the state of New Jersey, will extend from Lyman Street in Mantoloking south to the southern end of coastal Brick Township. The steel sheeting project will complement an impending engineered beach and dune system planned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to bolster storm protections for nine coastal towns on the northern barrier island in Ocean County. Pictured at the work site in Mantoloking are (left to right) Freeholder Bartlett, Commissioner Martin and Freeholder Director Vicari.

Vo-Tech Programs Win Freeholder Praise

From culinary school to new home construction programs, Ocean County Freeholders praised the efforts of the Ocean County Vocational Technical Schools in providing beneficial training and skills to both traditional and non-traditional students.

In recent weeks, freeholders saw firsthand the work done by students in vo-tech programs including the New Home Construction Program, the Ocean County Center for  Culinary Arts and the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science also known as the MATES program, just to name a few.

“I had the opportunity to meet a family who now has a new home as a result of the efforts of the students in the New Home Construction Program partnering with Northern Ocean County Habitat for Humanity,” said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, who serves as liaison to the Vo-Tech schools. “This has provided the family with such a sense of pride and that experience also spills over to the work of our students.”

The New Home Construction Program got underway shortly after Superstorm Sandy struck the area in October 2012 leaving in its wake thousands of damaged and destroyed homes. Following the storm, Northern Ocean Habitat for Humanity reached out to OCVTS for assistance.

“Much of Habitat’s volunteer workforce had shifted its focus to repairs and restoration of damaged homes for so many families in need following the storm,” Vicari said. “Habitat was finding it difficult to fulfill their mission of building new homes.”

Concurrently, Ocean County was seeing a shortage of skilled construction workers for the enormous task of rebuilding.

“In response OCVTS developed the New Home Construction Program for adults,” Vicari said.

A partnership with Habitat for Humanity allows students to learn all aspects of home construction as they build a house from the foundation up on-site for a selected Habitat family. The newest home was built in Berkeley Township.

“Habitat benefits from having a full-time construction crew working under the supervision of an experienced instructor and OCVTS students gain real world experience building a house to industry standards in real time,” Vicari said. “This program is a winning experience for everyone involved.”

Vicari noted that while the 10 adult students in the OCVTS program paid $6,000 each for the hands on course it provided them real-life experience in home construction.  Eight of the 10 already have construction jobs with firms such as: Wagner Builders, Madden Builders, Lacey Kitchens, Bruce Jetty Construction and Frankoski Builders.

“The students who are receiving this training are encouraged about their future,” said Freeholder Gerry P. Little, who attended a recent graduation ceremony at Cuisine on the Green in Little Egg Harbor Township. “They are receiving skills that will help them gain employment in areas they enjoy in addition to them staying in their home county.”

Cuisine on the Green at Atlantis opened its doors in October 2013 and houses the vo-tech’s Ocean County Center for Culinary Arts which relocated there from a building at Navy Lakehurst on the Joint Base – McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, after it outgrew the facility.

“The Ocean County Department of Parks and Recreation presented the opportunity for OCVTS to assume the management of the restaurant facilities at the county’s owned Atlantis Golf Course in Little Egg Harbor,” said Freeholder John C. Bartlett Jr., who serves as liaison to the county’s Department of Parks and Recreation. “Moving to Atlantis allowed for expansion of the program as well as unlimited opportunities for students.”

Bartlett, who recently attended the MATES graduation, said the MATES program is another OCVTS program that provides opportunity to students attending it.

“MATES provides a rigorous academic curriculum with
concentration in the areas of math, science, and technology,” Bartlett said. “It is highly competitive to get into.  These students are the best and the brightest in these areas.”

Vicari said for programs like home construction, culinary arts and the Twilight Automotive Technology Program, the Ocean County vo-tech school system recognized a trend in the increased enrollment of adult students interested in retraining and re-entering the workforce.

“OCVTS focused on the development of innovative approaches to address the unique needs of adult learners,” Vicari said. “Accelerated training programs and flexibility in class hours provide more opportunities for students and OCVTS is a leader in providing these opportunities.”

Be Vigilant About Home-Based Work Opportunities

In today’s society, it is becoming more fruitful for people to make a living from home. There are numerous flyers, advertisements and emails promising thousands of dollars a week for stuffing envelopes, typing, and/or processing medical bills. However, knowing whether these are scams or legitimate opportunities is extremely important.

“Home-based businesses and work-at-home opportunity scams are among the highest type of internet fraud,” said Ocean County Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari, Chairman of the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs. “That being said, it’s important to note that not all home-based work opportunities are scams. Carefully investigating a company you are interested in working for is an essential first step.”

Knowing who you are dealing with also is vital. The company may not be offering to hire you directly, but rather to sell you training material for the work. Before you pay, be sure to get all of the details. A legitimate company would be happy to give you any information you may need in order to make a decision.

“It’s important to ask questions and find out as much information as possible before committing to the job,” Vicari said. “It can be a costly mistake if you neglect to do the proper research first.”

According to consumer experts it also is important to find out if there is a true market for the work being advertised. Just because the company claims they have clients doesn’t necessarily mean they do. Helpful tips include asking for references of other employees and potential clients and contact them. Also, inquiring about future work is advisable.

One of the most classic scams is the “envelope stuffing” job. Instead of getting material to send out on behalf of a company, you get instructions to place an ad not unlike the one you answered. The company would then have you asking people to send you money for information about working at home. Not only is this an illegal pyramid scheme, but you could get prosecuted for fraud.

If you think you’ve been scammed, contact the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs at (732) 929-2105 or visit the office at 1027 Hooper Avenue, Building 2, here, to file a complaint.

Check Megan’s Law Website For Information On Sex Offenders

THE END of the school year is an ideal time to check the Megan’s Law website for up-to-date information on known sex offenders, said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari.

“Children are home and will be spending more time outdoors enjoying the summer weather,” Vicari said. “For peace of mind, this is an ideal time to review the state’s sex offender list for any individuals that may be living in your community.”

The database lists up-to-date information on all convicted sex offenders who are residents of the Garden State.

Towns, counties, zip codes and even individual streets can be easily reviewed.

More advanced checks allow users to input the names of convicted sex offenders or check only newer records.

“This only takes a few minutes and can make a big difference in keeping a child safe,” Vicari said.

Vicari also suggested periodically checking the Megan’s Law database throughout the year.

“It’s important to know what dangers a child may encounter when they travel to and from school,” he said. “It’s also essential that they learn to avoid strangers and how to react if they are approached by an adult they do not know.”

If a child is approached by a stranger in a car, they should be taught to run the opposite way – towards the rear of the car. This way, the driver will have to first turn around before they can pursue the child, Vicari said.

The database can be accessed through a link on the Ocean County Government Homepage at www.co.ocean.nj.us. The page can also be accessed directly at www.njsp.org/info/reg_sexoffend.html.

Put Safety First This Summer

SUMMER IS HERE and with it comes the excitement of swimming pools, barbecues, bike rides and trips to the beach.

But behind all of the good times lurk hidden dangers that can quickly and unexpectedly turn fun into tragedy.

“Schools are closed and our roads and shore communities are already filled with visitors,” said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “Ocean County’s population will more than double during the week of July 4th and while everybody wants to have a good time, we have to remember that safety comes first.”

Summer safety often begins in your own backyard, Vicari said.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, six people drown in swimming pools every day and young children are especially at risk.

Vicari, who is also liaison to the Ocean County Department of Consumer Affairs, said accidents often happen when adults are nearby.

“Tragically, many drownings occur when children get access to the pool during a short lapse in adult supervision,” Vicari said. “Emergency officials recommend that if a child is noticed to be missing, always check the pool first.”

Ocean swimmers also need to be aware of the dangers they face.

“First and foremost never swim at an unguarded beach,” Vicari said. “Even if the water looks calm, there may be rip currents that can quickly overpower the strongest swimmer.”

If caught in a rip tide, lifeguards advise swimmers to swim parallel to the coast until free of the current.

No matter where you choose to swim, some simple safety precautions can go a long way to preventing a tragedy.

Never swim alone or after drinking alcohol and always supervise children while they are in the water.

“Parents and guardians of children should also learn CPR,” said Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the Ocean County Health Department.

Other summertime dangers can lurk where they are least expected.

Barbecue and picnic foods must be kept fresh and cold to avoid the growth of potentially dangerous bacteria.

“Foods, even if left out in the sun for a short time, can spoil quickly and turn a fun-filled picnic into a sudden trip to the emergency room,” Little said.

Safety is also important while travelling to the beach.

“I urge all drivers to slow down and be aware of bicyclists on the road,” Vicari said.

Vicari reminded everyone that state law requires anyone under the age of 17 to wear a helmet while riding a bicycle.

“Share the road,” he advised. “Both motorists and bicyclists need to work together to prevent tragedies.”

Ocean County Reminds Summertime Visitors To Recycle

Ocean County is known for its 44 miles of oceanfront beaches, its recreational jewels like Barnegat Bay and its award winning recycling program.

“While it may not sound like it goes hand in hand, recycling while on vacation is an activity we want our visitors to embrace,” said Ocean County Freeholder James F. Lacey, who serves as liaison to the county’s recycling program. “We want to remind residents and visitors alike that recycling in Ocean County is just as important while you are here on vacation as it is in your own hometown.”

During the summer of 2013, more than 23,000 tons of materials were recycled in Ocean County which resulted in towns saving more than $1.6 million because the items did not go to the landfill.

“Recycling comes with many benefits,” said Freeholder Director Joseph H. Vicari. “It saves landfill space, it protects the environment and it helps out economically.”

When it comes to summer recycling, Lacey suggests visitors check with their municipalities to find out recycling rules. He noted that Ocean County towns have implemented single-stream recycling which means all recyclables including cans, bottles, newspapers and junk mail can be placed at the curb in one container.

“It’s important to check on how the town where you are staying collects recyclables and on what days,” Lacey said.

He added that recyclables should not be placed in plastic bags.

Lacey noted that many municipalities have recycling centers where materials can be dropped off.

Visitors and residents using beaches and marinas also should look for the big green igloos placed in visible locations throughout Ocean County.

“When you are leaving an area we encourage you to deposit your recyclables in the igloo. It is much more convenient than taking them home with you or back to where you may be staying,” Lacey said. “The goal of our recycling program in Ocean County is to make it easy and convenient so people want to recycle.”

Also, recycling drop-off venues are easily accessible at the county’s regional recycling centers. Residents and visitors can drop-off recyclables at the Northern Ocean County Recycling Center off of New Hampshire Avenue in Lakewood and also at the Southern Ocean County Recycling Center off of Haywood Road in Stafford Township.

“These sites are open 24-hours a day, seven days a week,” Lacey said. “We are also running our household hazardous waste collection program during the summer months to assist homeowners who own vacation homes in the County and need to dispose of items that cannot be tossed out in the regular trash.”

Lacey added that visitors can also recycle cooking oil and cooking grease by depositing it in tanks installed at the county’s recycling centers.

“Our recycling programs address many of the tasks we do every day,” Lacey said. “We have built the program so that it is convenient for everyone.”

Since the county began operating its materials processing facility in Lakewood in 1991, more than 1,324,140 tons of materials have been processed resulting in a total savings of $95,549,942 by avoiding the tipping fee at the landfill.

Lacey noted that the revenue generated from the sale of the material also is distributed back to the municipalities.

“We created the recycling revenue sharing program to be another benefit to our municipalities,” Lacey said. “In 2013 municipalities received $739,220 from the revenue sharing program.”

“Recycling helps us to reuse materials and saves landfill space,” Lacey said. “This is such an important program. We urge everyone to recycle.”

For more information on recycling in Ocean County visit www.co.ocean.nj.us and click on Solid Waste Management under departments or call 1-800-55-RECYCLE.