Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Vacant and Abandoned Houses

 
With the recent Passage of Ordinance 2014-11, Hillsborough is finally trying to control the abandoned houses that don't just look bad, but contribute to lower property values and attract unwanted visitors - both human and not.
 
 

The ordinance addresses "Vacant and Abandoned Residential Properties", establishing minimum standards for the maintenance, appearance, and condition of these houses.

The exterior should not be in disrepair, have out-of-service pools, have dead/rotting/diseased trees or loose or overhanging tree limbs, accumulated junk, litter or debris, accumulated hazardous, noxious, or unhealthy substances or materials, and not have landscaping in major disrepair.

There is a list of 15 conditions used to ascertain that a property falls under this ordinance.  These include overgrowth, accumulated papers/circulars/flyers, disconnected utilities, junk/litter/trash, absence of window treatments, broken windows, deterioration of the property, and boarded up entries. Three of them existing on an individual property may fulfill the ordinance's definition of an abandoned and vacant property.   

The ordinance also list maintenance standards for vacant and abandoned properties including uncut grass, exterior repair, loose parts that may fall, water entering the building, and broken gutters.

For more complete information, the entire ordinance may be read at the Township website under Introduced Ordinances 2014-11

If it appears that an empty house exists in Hillsborough that may meet these criteria, they may be reported to Health Officer Dr. Glen Belnay at the Hillsborough Municipal Building.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Prospective Jury Duty


This week one of the HNJJ crew had jury duty.  That is not to say that they served on a jury or even saw the inside of a courtroom, but following the receipt of a Jury Summons in the mail and several emails over two weeks-or-so they actually drove into the county seat at 8:30 a.m. one morning to report for jury duty. 

This person forgot what commuting at the same time as people who work "normal" hours is like.  It is not good. Try not to let it effect your mood if you get on a jury.

After finding the parking garage, walking over to the Jury Assembly Room via the courthouse metal detector, and checking in, the waiting began.  The jury assembly room is in a beautiful historic church that even contains four Tiffany stained glass windows.
The waiting room has a small library, some games, tables, coffee and tea, and a microwave.

Finally, the nice jury duty lady gave the welcoming informational speech and the potential jurors screened the NJ Judiciary Juror Orientation Video Part 1: You the Juror.  This is an interesting movie that everyone should watch, even if they haven't been summonsed for jury duty.  But, the HNJJ crew member - being a type A person - had already watched the movie at home.

 By late morning the peanut-butter-and jelly sandwich brought for lunch was beckoning. But just then, the nice jury duty lady made an announcement that we were free to go as our potential case had settled.

The remainder of the week consisted of several more emails advising that the jurors did not have to report and finally thanking the jurors for their service.

Interesting, but kind-of a disappointment and makes for a rather boring HNJJ post which won't have to be repeated for three years.

Friday, June 13, 2014

My Brother's Adventure circa 1944

This letter was found in the family papers of one of the HNJJ crew.  Lyn is the crew member's older brother.  It was brought to mind after reading Barry Carter's article this morning in The Star-Ledger about the restoration of Newark's Military Park. 

                                                                                96 Grand Avenue
                                                                                   Newark, 6, New Jersey
Dear Mother, Dad & Janice;

Here is a little note you can put in your scrap book and thank your lucky stars you weren't here.

Lyn and the little boy (3 1/2 yrs.) next door were lost from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. yesterday. 

The radio police from Newark, East Orange and Orange were out looking for them

All the boys over 12 who had bicycles for a couple blocks around were out looking, too.

The neighbors in the whole block were out. they were just grand.  The men who were working nights got up from bed and took their cars and scouted around the streets.

They were found in the Public Service terminal downtown.

They were trying to buy a horse.  They had been around some of the stores.  They had been down by the Passaic river  and seen the boats. (That's past Penn Station)  They had tried to get on a bus but the buses wouldn't stop.  They had been down the subway at Public Service to try and get on a trolley.  They had been in military park and watched the pidgeons.  A soldier had bought them a coca-cola each.  When they took them to the police station they had a better time yet the police gave them sandwiches and tea and took them to see the horses.

They had walked all the way.  They looked too tired to move when they were brought home.  It certainly was an adventure for them.  They had a grand time.

Every time I think of all the busy streets they crossed my hair stands on end.  I was quite sick yesterday and the people next door were terrible.  I called Midge up to let him know and they sent him home.  the man next door came home too.

When the police brought them home the neighbors were outside our house to welcome them.

Some catholic children had gone over to the church to light candles for their safe return.

I was afraid some one had picked them up or that they had gone up the mountain where I took the children for a picnic.  If they wandered up there they would never be found.

When they found them Lyn said he wasn't lost.  He knew the way home.

They had made an announcement over the local station down here and were just going to send out a general alarm to a couple states in case someone had picked them up.  They had come here for their pictures. (I mean the police by they)  I was going to call you if they had sent out a general alarm because it would have been in the paper up there.

                  Love from us all
                  Alice, Bill & children

The cop said don't whip them they are such cute wellbehaved little boys.  I don't think so now!!!!!

I don't know if you can understand this jumble of words, but this is how my mind is working today. (You can tell Bill's mother I don't feel up to writing two letters right now.  I'm still upset.)

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Earth's Fragile Ecology

Parade Magazine recently had an article about American Astronaut Sally Ride (1951-2012) that included a quote that got the attention of the HNJJ crew,
"I saw the blackness of space, and then the bright blue Earth. And then it looked as if someone had taken a royal blue crayon and traced along Earth’s horizon. And then I realized that that blue line, that -really thin royal blue line, was Earth’s atmosphere, and that was all there was of it. And it’s so clear from that perspective how fragile our existence is."
While researching that quote we found a similar thought attributed to German Astronaut Ulf Merbold,
"For the first time in my life I saw the horizon as a curved line. It was accentuated by a thin seam of dark blue light - our atmosphere. Obviously this was not the ocean of air I had been told it was so many times in my life. I was terrified by its fragile appearance."

How much have humans taken this fragility to heart since these 1980's observations?

Monday, January 6, 2014

Rutgers Environmental Stewards Class of 2014

Hillsborough residents are lucky that the Central Jersey classes are held right here at Duke Farms. From the Rutgers Environmental Stewards program:

Want a New Year’s Resolution You’re Sure to Stick With?
Sign up for Rutgers Environmental Steward training

Are you looking for a New Year’s resolution that you’re likely to stick with, once you embark on the journey? How about a way to give something back to your community in a way that’s meaningful and guaranteed to get you out and about?

Consider joining the 2014 class of the Rutgers Environmental Stewards program, which helps non-scientists to become citizen-scientists. Classes begin the first week in January in Atlantic, Warren, and Somerset counties, and typically run through May.

 An innovative partnership between Rutgers Cooperative Extension and the Duke Farms Foundation, the Rutgers Environmental Stewards program teaches participants about land and water stewardship, best management practices, environmental public advocacy, and leadership.

 The curriculum is designed to introduce non-scientists to the science underlying key environmental issues in the New Jersey. Academics are joined by colleagues from government and the non-profit sector to share understanding and insights with the students.

 “Students don’t only receive facts, but also are introduced to a network of expert individuals and organizations who can be of service to them in the future as they wrestle with solving local environmental problems,” said Bruce Barbour, agricultural and resource management agent with Rutgers Cooperative Extension, the program’s originator.

 “This can be among the most meaningful six months in your life,” adds Barbour, who has led the program for years and well worth the $250 fee.

In order to serve the entire state, training is offered in regional locations and recruitment has begun in earnest for the Class of 2014. Questions about registration or schedules should be directed to the coordinator of the region in which you expect to attend classes.
 
Central/Duke Farms

Training Location: Duke Farms, Hillsborough, NJ
Normal Class Time: Thursdays, January to May, 2014; 6:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Cost: $250
Contact: Deb Thomas, dthomas@dukefarms.org , Duke Farms Foundation, 80 Route 206, Hillsborough, New Jersey 08844 908-722-3700 x 4

Duke application form


 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Cold Weather

It was 7 degrees at 7 a.m. - a perfect day for a fire in the fireplace.

This may be the first time that it has been possible to sit quietly, meditate on Christmases past, and enjoy the Christmas decorations which stay up until at least Twelfth Night. Twelfth Night is tomorrow, the last day of the Twelve Days of Christmas.