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  • Writer's pictureAmalia Duarte

Swearing-In Ceremony & Re-Organization Meeting Tonight

The Township Committee meets to re-organize on Tuesday, Jan. 5, at 7 p.m. Residents are invited to join via Zoom. Get the participation details.

I will be sworn-in to a three-year term at the start of the meeting, and then the business of selecting a new mayor and deputy mayor begins. In our form of government, the Township Committee members are elected at large and considered equals. Each January, the Committee votes for a new mayor and deputy mayor to serve for a one-year term.I appreciate the letters and e-mails of support asking the other Township Committee members to put aside their partisanship and elect me as mayor. I received the most votes ever in a contested local race -- 2,146 -- and am the longest serving Committee member.

I won with broad, bipartisan support: At least 47 percent of those who voted for me are not registered Democrats. Hopefully, the other Township Committee members will not disenfranchise the Democrats, Unaffiliateds and Republicans who supported me for re-election.

The Township Committee also will approve appointments to our various sub-committees and commissions. Thank you to all who stepped up to volunteer their time and expertise!

Prior to the Township Committee meeting, new officers will be sworn in for the First Aid Squad, Brookside Engine Co. No. 1 and Ralston Engine Co. No. 1. (Because of the pandemic, this is being done in a separate ceremony at the Emergency Services Building.)

Congratulations to the officers (listed below) and thank you to everyone who volunteers as a first responder in our community:

  • Brookside Chief Eric Cooper; Deputy Chief Stephen Sauerman; Assistant Chief Dan Wood; and Lieutenant John Kemp.

  • Ralston Fire Chief Chief Tom Montgomery; First Assistant Chief Scott Mortensen; Second Assistant Chief Jeffrey Betz; and President Joseph Gomeringer.

  • First Aid Squad Captain George Budd; Lieutenant Ghen Saito; Quartermaster Bill Dunlevy; Quartermaster East Patty Marold; Quartermaster West Harriet Zimmerman; President Leslie Dunlevy; Treasurer Debra Nails; Secretary Bob Marold; Training Coordinator Dan Wood; and Data Steward Alex Kane.

As mentioned previously, starting Jan. 4, the township is reverting back to what's called "dual-stream" recycling. There is a cost savings of about $40,000 and a benefit to the environment. By separating out cardboard and paper from other recyclable products, there is a greater chance for materials to be recycled and not end up in a landfill.

With single-stream recycling, everything is dumped into one container and truck, there is a far greater chance for cross-contamination and the rejection of paper goods. With dual-stream, there is reduced contamination and better quality of materials.Separating out recyclables and waiting two weeks for pick-up is less convenient, of course. The alternative is easier but more costly and is less eco-friendly. Somerset County is transitioning to dual-stream, and the city of Hoboken did so last year as part of its Climate Action Plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

I am working with the township Environmental Commission to host a Webinar in which residents can learn more and provide feedback. Please stay tuned for more details!

  • Meanwhile, read an article that explores the pros and cons of single- and dual-stream collection.

In addition to recycling as much as possible, think about ways to donate items for reuse by others. There are places that take clothing, furniture, household items, books, appliances, etc. See a list of places to donate.

If you would like to discuss this topic in depth, please send me an e-mail, so we can set up a time to talk.

Styrofoam Recycling - On Saturday, Jan. 9, from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., bring your Styrofoam for recycling to the Mendham Borough Department of Public Works facility at 37 Ironia Road. The recycling event is sponsored by the township and borough Environmental Commissions. Read more.

No doubt your holiday celebrations were quieter and smaller to ensure the health and safety of loved ones. While vaccines are being administered to health-care workers and elderly residents and staff of long-term care facilities, it is imperative that we continue taking all precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The pandemic has been devastating. At this point, nearly everyone knows someone who has been infected or needed treatment in a hospital, or, even died of COVID. Let's keep wearing masks, social distancing and following guidelines to remain safe.

There is free COVID testing being offered on Wednesday and Thursday to township residents, volunteers and employees. Please register in advance.

Finally, on a bright note, congratulations to the West Morris Junior Women's Club for their holiday luminary fund-raiser! The Club sold luminary kits to light up neighborhoods and businesses and raise money for the Chester Mendham Food Pantry. It was a wonderful way to end the year, by giving to those in need.

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