Borough briefs: Council meeting Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Police personnel honored

The Borough Council and mayor at their meeting Tuesday, June 9, 2015, honored detectives Theodore Pardo and John Sachau, and Sgt. Jason Culver for a bit of sleuthing the three officers performed early this year. Also honored Tuesday night were patrolmen Kevin Shiffner and Sean Bibby, credited with saving a woman’s life.

Detectives Sachau and Pardo and Sgt. Culver received the department’s ribbon for outstanding service. As the chief explained, the three men handled an investigation into a theft on Jan. 12, when a cab driver reported that two passengers had fled his cab without paying their fare, and also had stolen his personal possessions. The officers were able to locate and arrest the suspects before a full day had passed.

“Their quick actions resulted in an arrest in less than 24 hours after the crime was committed,” said Police Chief Steven Rizco.

In addition to the department’s lifesaving award, they were surprised with an even more gratifying award. They were greeted by the woman whose life they had saved. The woman’s husband had flagged police down on Raritan Avenue on April 30 because his wife was unconscious and unresponsive in the car.

The two officers administered CPR, an act that the woman credited with saving her life.

“I’m still a little wobbly and all that, but I’m still here; and if you it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be,” she said.

Go with native plantings as deer deterent

Do deer like to visit your yard for a snack? Then you might want to consider some plants the Shade Tree Commission is recommending to keep the pests at bay.

Council President Susan Welkovits pointed residents on Tuesday night to the borough’s web site, where the Shade Tree Advisory Committee has posted a list of plants that deer do not eat. The list includes 10 shrubs and two species of vine, all native to the area, including both common and scientific names.

The list includes berry-producing shrubs like American holly and the smooth-leaf hydrangea, as well as  the fast-growing Virginia creeper.

And as Ms. Welkovits reminded her listeners, native plants have an advantage over non-native species. They’re already perfectly suited to the local environment and will require less attention than plants from far away.

New officer joins police force

 A Brooklyn native, Daniel Ramos graduated from William L. Dickinson High School in Jersey City and studied at Fairleigh Dickinson in Teaneck. He graduated in 2012 from the Essex County College Police Academy. On June 9, 2015, flanked by Police Chief Steven Rizco and Mayor Gayle Brill Mittler, Mr. Ramos took the oath to become the newest member of the Highland Park Police Department

Civilian emergency response team is formed

If disaster strikes, there’s a new team around to help respond to emergencies.

Middlesex County Freeholder and Highland Park resident James Polos, the municipal emergency management coordinator, introduced the members of the Highland Park Civilian Emergency Response Team. The all-volunteer crew includes a mix of skill sets: ham radio operators; Internet technology worker; a psychologist with experience in treating post traumatic stress disorder; and others.

To join the team, the 13 applicants had to complete 24 hours of training in areas such as search and rescue and basic first aid.

“When we have large emergencies, they can provide backup to our emergency services,” said Mr. Polos.

Summer hours begin

 The Fourth of July is on its way, bringing with it new hours at Borough Hall.

July 4 this year falls on a Saturday. Municipal offices will be closed for the holiday on Friday, July 3; and the following week, summer hours will begin..

Borough offices will be open from 8 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, and from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. They will be closed on Fridays.

Regular hours will resume after Labor Day.

Sharrows mean share the road with cyclists

 Council President Susan Welkovits reminded residents of the sharrows the state Department of Transporation recently added to Raritan Avenue. The sharrows, marked by white pictures on the pavement of a bicycle, are not a designated bike lane but a lane available for both cars and bicycles.

The sharrows, which come as a part of Highland Park’s Complete Streets pedestrian and bike safety program, are intended primarily to raise drivers’ awareness of cyclists.

The borough’s web site reminds cyclists to stay three feet away from parked cars, to avoid running into doors that open unexpectedly; and to obey all traffic laws.

New trash program is no threat to trash collectors’ jobs.

 A pilot trash pickup program in the Triangle does not mean your trash collector is about to lose a job.

Council President Susan Welkovits previously reported that residents of select streets in the Triangle will receive new, 95-gallon trash cans as part of a new collection system starting July 19. The new cans go hand in hand with a new garbage truck, which will collect the trash with a giant robot arm.

That in turn means fewer people will be making the rounds to collect the trash, but no one’s employment is at risk, Ms. Welkovits said.

Instead, “economies of scale” will make trash pickup cheaper, allowing the Department of Public Works to give workers other assignments.

Residents should not use the cans before July 19, and when they start using them, they should be careful not to overfill them.

Sponsors needed for the community’s fireworks

The Highland Park Department of Community Services is looking for organizations and business to pay for the annual Fourth of July festivities, which have an expected price tag of $8,000. The annual celebration will be held in Donaldson Park, with a scheduled official kickoff at 5 p.m. July 2, with fireworks following at 9:20 p.m. Plans call for food vendors, live music and other activities. A July 5 rain date has been set.

Depending on the amount they contribute, event sponsors can receive mention in print media connected with the Independence Day festivities, secure a booth on the festival grounds in Donaldson Park, and possibly get a name on the event banner, depending upon the level of sponsorship.

For more information about sponsoring the popular community fireworks, call the Department of Community Services at (732) 819-0052.

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