Police: New drought rules, same enforcement policy

Police would rather
people comply voluntarily, but will write tickets

By Karl Vilacoba
Staff Writer

Police would rather
people comply voluntarily, but will write tickets
By Karl Vilacoba
Staff Writer

Police in Brick maintain that the latest set of water-use restrictions will not complicate matters from an enforcement standpoint.

Last week, Brick Mayor Joseph Scarpelli met with officials from the Brick Township Municipal Utilities Authority (BTMUA) to discuss New Jersey’s recently relaxed restrictions. Because municipalities have the right to supersede state guidelines to make them stricter if warranted, the township was able to adopt most of the state’s, except one. The window of time to water lawns in the township on odd/even days is now 20 minutes from the hours of 7 p.m. to midnight.

"Is it going to be hard? We’re not going to be sitting by people’s lawns timing them for their 20 minutes," said Brick Township police Lt. Doug Kenny. "It may be easier because what we’re looking for is compliance and not enforcement."

Kenny said that during the summer, authorities made a concerted effort to enforce water-use violations, which then prohibited any lawn watering whatsoever. Special officers, code enforcement officers, BTMUA personnel and regular police all patrolled the township.

Kenny estimated that more than 1,000 warnings and 25 summonses were issued at that time.

"Our policy has been, we’ll warn you once, and if we have to come back, we’ll issue a summons," Kenny said. "Our policy hasn’t changed."

Despite the long-standing media coverage and efforts by government agencies to promote awareness of the state’s drought conditions, Scarpelli said last week that there are still isolated cases of people saying that they were unaware. However, Kenny said those claims have died down lately, just like the volume of phone calls from concerned citizens reporting violations.

"I think everybody has pretty much heard about the drought by now," Kenny said. "I’ve really only heard of one phone call this week (reporting a violation)."

A full set of the latest restrictions can be found on www.njdrought.org. On the Web site, a statement from N.J. Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bradley Campbell warns that the situation is still considered an emergency, and residents should still take measures to conserve water.

"We’re just praying for rain," Kenny said.

Charities get $55K in grants

By karl vilacoba
Staff Writer

By karl vilacoba
Staff Writer

BRICK — Several charitable organizations were recently given a boost through the disbursement of $54,600 in federal grant funds.

Six groups received donations at the Oct. 22 Township Council meeting from the Community Development Block Grant program (CDBG). The overall program is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The organizations that received CDBG funds were: Word of Life, manager of a food bank for area residents; Meals on Wheels, a provider of meals to homebound area seniors; Providence House, a provider of services to victims of domestic abuse; VetGroup of Ocean County, which assists veterans with job training and counseling services; Interfaith Hospitality Network of Ocean County, which provides assistance to the homeless; and Contact of Ocean County, which provides telephone counseling and referral assistance.

Presenting ceremonial checks to representatives of each group, Mayor Joseph Scarpelli praised the CDBG for 13 years of improving the quality of life in the area.

"Every mayor should be having a night like this," Scarpelli said. "Could you imagine that fun?"

Individually, Word of Life, Meals on Wheels and Providence House received $15,000 each. VetGroup received $5,000, Interfaith Hospitality Network, $4,500, and Contact, $3,100, respectively.

"These charitable groups provide many important services to the people of our community," Scarpelli said. "I will continue to work to see that funds received by Brick Township through the CDBG program are used to make Brick Township a better place."

Along the lines of philanthropic work, the council passed a resolution naming the mayor, U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-4th District) and Anthony Cirillo as the Parents of Autistic Children (POAC) People of the Year.

According to the resolution, Scarpelli has been a "staunch supporter" of the group who has raised funds and awareness for their cause. Smith was recognized as being instrumental in obtaining federal funding for a study of autism that was conducted in the community several years ago. Cirillo, whose nephew is affected by autism, was also praised for raising funds and awareness for the POAC’s cause.

Two 1-acre tracts will be preserved as open space

House on one of
the Hulse properties
dates back to 1890s

By karl vilacoba
Staff Writer

House on one of
the Hulse properties
dates back to 1890s
By karl vilacoba
Staff Writer

BRICK — Township officials have moved ahead with a plan to purchase two tracts known as the Hulse properties for open space preservation near the intersection of Herbertsville Road and Maple Avenue.

One of the two 1-acre tracts is said to have some historical value.

A home standing on one of the properties dates back to the 1890s, Brick Township Historian Gene Donatiello said. The home was originally a farmhouse located on Maple Avenue but was moved to its current spot between 1940 and 1950, he said.

The properties, located at 471 and 481 Herbertsville Road, were registered to Matilda and David Hulse, and Agnes Hulse, according to Ocean County Clerk’s Office records.

Officials said the century-old home will be used by township staff and community groups. The properties will become part of an unofficial historic zone along Herbertsville Road that includes the Havens Homestead, the Herbertsville Schoolhouse, the Herbertsville Methodist Church and several other older homes.

During the Oct. 20 Township Council meeting, a resolution was passed authorizing the purchase of the properties for the total sum of $527,500.

Aside from the historical value of the properties, Councilman Stephen Acropolis said during the meeting that the purchase was a win for Brick in terms of blocking further development.

Those sentiments were echoed last week by Mayor Joseph Scarpelli, who said the purchase was another step forward in protecting the environment. The Manasquan River runs a short distance away from the properties.

The Hulse properties are also adjacent to the Sawmill tract, purchased by Brick as open space in 1997. Today, the area is used for its more than two miles of bicycle trails.

Brick High guest speakers warn against drug dangers

By karl vilacoba
Staff Writer

By karl vilacoba
Staff Writer

BRICK — The staff and student body of Brick Township High School took time out from their schoolwork recently to listen to some poignant stories about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.

In an all-day lecture series called Join Hands Against Drugs, held Oct. 24 at the school, 17 parents, support group members and law enforcement officials shared their life experiences with experiences. Venues ranged from a large auditorium to the smaller, more personal confines of the classroom.

One common thread among the speakers was the personal ways that drug and alcohol abuse have affected their lives.

A parent’s story

When Ellen Lurig of Phillipsburg, Warren County, took the podium early in first period, several students sat leaning back comfortably, ready for a nap. By the end of her talk, the silence in the auditorium was permeated by the sniffles of weeping listeners.

Before speaking, Lurig played a videotape that began with childhood pictures of her son Rob, set to a soft piano version of "My Heart Will Go On." The audience watched as the Lurig family grew together and young Rob evolved into a handsome, athletic young man.

Suddenly the film was interrupted by footage of authorities spraying down a flaming car wreck. News clips in the video detailed the fatal car accident that took Lurig’s son at the age of 16. The car in which he was a passenger was involved in an accident in Pohatcong, Warren County, in 1998 with a man who was reportedly drunk and speeding.

Lurig recalled sitting beside Rob on their last day together, running her fingers through his hair and telling him it needed to be cut. Later, Rob decided to go to a paintball store with some friends in what normally was a 10-minute trip.

"He kissed my cheek and said, ‘Later, mom,’ and that’s the last time I saw him," Lurig said.

Later that night, two police officers came to the Lurigs’ door to inform them of the crash. Rob was being treated in the intensive care unit of a Lehigh, Pa., hospital, still breathing but burned beyond recognition.

The hospital was more silent than she expected, she said. Against her husband’s and doctors’ recommendations, Lurig demanded to see Rob.

"I wanted so badly to hug my son, but I realized I couldn’t," Lurig said. "As I got closer, I saw that the beautiful hair I had stroked my hand through earlier was burned off."

Lurig lifted the burn blanket covering her son to reveal his legs, which she said were "busted up and burned to the bone." She said she wanted to hold his hand, but both were gone. The doctors asked for permission to amputate his arms, but she refused.

The Lurig family spent the next 15 hours hoping for a miracle as Rob was dosed heavily with morphine. Early the next morning, they decided they had no alternative but to let him go.

As a result of the tragedy, Lurig has decided to dedicate her time warning high school students about the perils of drinking and driving. If any students present were not yet moved by the lecture, one last visual aid was used to drive her point home.

"Because someone was ignorant and drunk, this is what’s left of my son," Lurig said, holding the charred remnants of cloth that were Rob’s flannel shirt and jeans during the crash.

The pitcher

Osbornville Elementary School Principal Dennis Filippone spent five years dealing with students just like those in the audience during his days as vice principal of Brick Township High School. During those years, he said, he saw too many cases of talent ruined by drug use.

But it was another case, a family-related incident, that brought into focus the importance for Filippone to reach out to youths.

About 20 years ago, Filippone’s brother-in-law was a southpaw pitcher with God-given, raw talent. Following a standout career at St. John’s University, Jamaica, N.Y., he was a draft pick for the New York Yankees, Filippone said.

One night, several prospects were invited to enjoy a game at Yankee Stadium. Filippone said his brother-in-law had a couple of beers at the game, decided to drive home and was killed in an accident on the Major Deegan Expressway.

"The family’s life can never be the same," Filippone said.

The key to being successful and avoiding trouble situations is to start setting goals at an early age, he said. Whether those goals are monetary, educational or emotional, what’s important is getting into the habit of achieving them, he said.

Filippone cited a recent study of the life expectancy of American females which concluded that about 97 percent who have reached age 15 will live at least until they are about 25. Most will see their 87th birthday, he said.

"You’re going to have to live from 25-87 with the decisions you made when you were 15-25," Filippone said.

"It will kill you"

Perhaps the most disturbing trend among teen drug users is heroin abuse, according to Jerome Hamlin, director of special projects of the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office, Freehold.

Kids are smoking, snorting and shooting up heroin, and it has resulted in two recent deaths in the area, he said. Most youths feel they are invincible, but his experiences have shown the truth to be tragically different, he said.

Hamlin said one of his toughest duties used to be identifying the dead and informing the families of their losses. One man in particular, Hamlin remembered, was an outstanding musician with an outgoing personality, and Hamlin recalled being struck by such a tragic waste of talent.

"I had to tell my wife that her brother was dead because of heroin," Hamlin said.

The pain for families in those situations never gets better, Hamlin said. Now and then, an empty seat at the dinner table or a passed birthday brings it all back.

"It will dance with you; it will mesmerize you; it will kill you," Hamlin said. "Your first time using heroin could be your last time."