Columns/Opinions

Thu
14
Jan
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Changing Dates

At last week’s organizational meeting of Livingston’s Board of Education, it was announced that, starting with the new academic year in September, meetings would move from the typical Monday evening slot to Thursdays. The reason for the move was to finally avoid the longstanding overlap with the Township Council meetings.

Previously (and still for the first half of this year), residents have had to choose which meeting they wished to attend between the Council and the school board, as they often were held simultaneously. For years, neither side would budge off their Monday meeting dates. The change was long overdue and we applaud the Board of Education for taking this action, which provides tangible benefit for the community.

 

 

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Thu
14
Jan
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Cooperate with Contact Tracers

Based on what we have seen in the first month of vaccine rollout, it will be quite a few more months before most of us will be vaccinated. In the meantime we must do everything we can to prevent COVID-19 from running rampant.

There is a new strain of the virus, estimated to be ten to 60 percent more transmissible, and as we stay indoors this winter, we need to stay vigilant against it. That means wearing masks, avoiding large crowds and indoor gatherings, washing our hands, practicing social distancing, and cooperating with contact tracers.

 

 

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Thu
07
Jan
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Happy Retirements

The Township of Livingston is heading into 2021 with two great losses to the administration: Department of Public Works superintendent Mike Anello, and township attorney Sharon “Shari” Weiner. Both leave an indelible mark on the town they spent decades serving.

The township owes a lot to Anello, who has been with Public Works since 1978 and has headed the department since 1988. Under his leadership, the DPW grew from a small department with just seven employees to a well-tuned “machine” with 60 employees. For example, leaf collection, which once took months, became a streamlined four-week process. (We can vouch for its efficiency; when trying to take photos of the DPW leaf collection crews in action, our photographers often find themselves having to “hunt them down” because they move so quickly from their initially reported locations!) Anello was the one who advocated for the better equipment and new collection techniques that made this possible.

 

 

Thu
17
Dec
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Reorganization Meeting

Each New Year in Livingston, town officials and members of the public gather at the Senior/Community Center for the annual township reorganization meeting.

There is a celebratory feeling to this meeting, where Council members are sworn in, along with a new mayor and deputy mayor for the upcoming year (for 2021, Shawn Klein and Ed Meinhardt, respectively), and dozens of residents are officially appointed to committees, having made pledges to volunteer their time for the betterment of their community.

The public meeting is typically attended by hundreds of Livingston residents, and the hope for a prosperous New Year in town is palpable in the room.

 

 

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Thu
17
Dec
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Stay Safe This Holiday Season

Livingston surpassed 1,000 total COVID-19 cases this week, and with the holiday season in full swing, there is no reason to expect things to slow down anytime soon. It is on all of us to be responsible this holiday season, no matter how difficult it may be to do so.

There are clearly individuals who believe social distancing guidelines should not apply to them and their families, that they should still be able to travel, host large celebrations, and go about their daily lives without wearing masks. If this does not change, we are in for a long and brutal winter.

 

 

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Thu
10
Dec
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Affordable Housing

When it comes to affordable housing, there are long stretches of time when we only hear about the negatives associated with it.

For example, the township has been involved in litigation over the appropriate amount of affordable housing in town for several years. It appears that Livingston and the Fair Share Housing Center have finally reached a tentative agreement on the town’s affordable housing obligation, pending a hearing in January. This would save the township from future unwanted development as a result of “builder’s remedy” lawsuits, where a developer cites the ability to create affordable housing as a way to force construction of a much larger project, and the township’s Council, Planning, and Zoning Boards lose control over what is built.

 

 

Thu
03
Dec
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Be Watchful on the Roads

As winter approaches and the sun sets by 5 p.m., we must remember, as drivers and pedestrians, to be wary of others on the roadways. Especially given the COVID-19 pandemic, with many more people taking to the streets to get some fresh air and exercise, drivers must remember to be careful, particularly when it gets dark out. And walkers, runners, and bicyclists should not assume that motorists can see you; particularly when navigating around leaf piles into the center of streets, be sure to look out for vehicles, wear reflective clothing, and use flashlights.

Thu
19
Nov
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Close the Schools

As daily COVID-19 cases continue to climb in Livingston, it is time to reassess how our children will complete the rest of school through the calendar year.

We fully understand the value of the in-person experience for students, and the burden it puts on working parents when their children stay home on weekdays. And we are glad that our students were able to spend some time physically in school these past few weeks and months. But New Jersey’s daily case counts are skyrocketing to levels higher than have ever been recorded. It is no longer safe for students and faculty to spend unnecessary time in classrooms.

 

 

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Thu
12
Nov
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The Second Wave Has Arrived

We have been warned for months that it would arrive this fall, even as cases continued to drop this summer. Now it is impossible to deny: the “second wave” of COVID-19 is here. In the past month, Livingston reported 146 new cases. New Jersey has reported more than 3,000 daily cases for the first time since early May, with Governor Phil Murphy saying two weeks ago that Essex County was the “biggest concern” in the state; on Tuesday, the county recorded the most cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic. The U.S. has now reported 10 million total COVID-19 cases since March, of which nearly 240,000 people have died. Eight months into the pandemic and we are still breaking records.

Thu
05
Nov
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Join a Committee

The Township Council will make appointments to Livingston’s many advisory committees at the township’s annual organizational meeting on New Year’s Day, and the Council hopes to attract new residents — and those who have not previously been active in the community — to serve on any of its many committees.

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