Remembering the Heroes: NNJ Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Since I was a kid, I liked going to the cemetery. I know it may sound strange. I grew up in a big Italian family and, unfortunately, as each family member passed, they would go to the cemetery. Once I was old enough to go a little further away from home on my bike, I would ride to the cemetery on weekends when it was nice. I would sit on the ground, clean the headstones of my loved ones and talk to them. When I was able to drive, I went more often.

Now that I live almost an hour away from Glendale Cemetery in Bloomfield, I don’t get there as often as I would like, but I am still fascinated by cemeteries. They hold not just our loved ones, but the history of our country.

nnjvmc-logoEnter the Northern New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery.

If there is one group of individuals who should always receive our respect and care, it is our nation’s veterans. And those who made the ultimate sacrifice for us deserve our highest level of respect. The Northern New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery’s focus is to make sure vets receive a respectful resting place in Northern New Jersey nearby their families.

It took a long time, lots of planning, and plenty of effort to get this cemetery in place. It is the only veteran’s cemetery that is privately owned and receives no funding from the State or the Federal governments. It relies on their small burial costs and donations to stay in place and available for vets and their families in Northern New Jersey.

This cemetery is the brainchild of John Harrigan, president of Wallkill Valley Chapter 1002 in Vernon, New Jersey. He took on the mission of creating this cemetery and enlisted the help of the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders, VFW organizations, Associates of Vietnam Veterans of America, Sussex County, and services from individuals like Attorney Kevin Kelly, and businesses and organizations Mark DeVenezia of Mulch Concepts, Gardell Land Surveying, Pompton Lakes Elks Lodge 1895, and from the Sussex County Technical School. Local veterans’ organizations also have supported the effort.

The New Jersey State Legislature has approved the addition of the cemetery non-profit on the state income tax check-off list.

Now add my partner-in-crime Lisaann.

She is an amazing individual – a breast cancer survivor, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Chinkchewunska Chapter; the National Society Daughter of the Union 1861-1865, and the cemetery’s Administrator and she can trace her blood line to many veterans who fought during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. It wasn’t until she attended a good friend’s Father’s Military Funeral at the Veterans Cemetery in Goshen NY, that she decided she wanted to be part of the mission of the new cemetery in Sussex County. She takes her position seriously and does all she can to make sure the vets who are buried at the cemetery receive the care and respect they deserve.

They do fundraisers periodically, but rely heavily on donations from individuals. This iscemetery-enterance an important place in New Jersey for vets and their families. If you are able, I hope you will consider making a donation to this important location in New Jersey.

If you are interested in planning a service at the Northern New Jersey Veterans Memorial Cemetery, please reach out. I am sure Lisaann and John will help you plan a service fitting of a vet!

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Get Ready for Fishing Season!

As the latest round of snow slowly melts away and we officially enter spring, that means one thing for anglers in New Jersey – fishing season!

LafayetteBridge

Paulinskill River, Lafayette – Sussex County

Waters that are stocked by the New Jersey Division of Fish and Wildlife are now officially closed to fishing until April 8th, 8:00 a.m. It is incredibly important to leave these waters as they are while staff and volunteers stock and allow fish to become acclimated to their new surroundings.

It is also incredibly important that those required purchase a fishing license and know the fishing regulations for New Jersey. I know many people complain about the cost of the licenses for fishing and hunting, but they really are important. These fees help make sure our rivers are stocked, and rules are enforced through conservation officers. They also provide other great programs like Hooked on Fishing, Not on Drugs (Glenn and I are proud to be a part of) and free licenses for specific groups of people, such as handicapped, senior citizens, and active military. My husband and I always catch and release, but we still purchase a trout stamp because we believe in the work Fish and Game does and we know how limited their budget is. So I ask each and every one of you who requires a fishing license to spend the $22.50 and make the purchase. The cost of a ticket for fishing without a license is FAR more expensive.

Enjoy the fishing season, follow the regulations, fish ethically, and remember to “carry in/carry out.

Tight lines!

Independence Day – Jersey Style

Many may not realize the significance of New Jersey in the fight for Independence. Morristown National Historical Park is nationally significant as the site of the 1779-80 winter encampment of the Continental Army under General George Washington. This amazing place represents patriotism and sacrifice during this pivotal period in our nation’s history.

There are multiple locations in the area of Morristown that are worth a visit in the summer. From Fort Nonsense, to Jockey Hollow, to Ford Mansion – you can easily spend a few days experiencing all this area has to offer.

RevTimes-2016-logoThere are plenty of great events taking place during the upcoming Independence Day Weekend. Known as “Revolutionary Times Weekend,” the event will also salute the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service and the 200th anniversary of the Trustees of the Morristown Green.

Saturday, July 2nd
The Hanover Township Landmark Commission kicks off the weekend with a free tour of its 1718 Burying Yard located off of Route 10 East in Whippany. This one-hour tour will highlight people who first settled Morris County and are buried in the cemetery.

Sunday, July 3rd
Morristown National Historical Park will host a Revolutionary War encampment at the Ford Mansion. Costumed re-enactors will be on hand demonstrating a soldier’s life in the Continental Army. As a special event, between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. the park welcomes the United States Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps for a concert, on the lawn between the Ford Mansion and the Washington’s Headquarters Museum.

Als0 on the 3rd, check out a fireworks display. Fireworks will begin at 9:15 p.m. at Central Park of Morris County, off West Hanover Avenue. Central Park of Morris County will be open for picnicking beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Monday, July 4th
Events will begin at the Ford Mansion where the Continental Army re-enactors will march to the Morristown Green at 11 a.m. At the Morristown Green there will be family activities beginning at noon. Members of the Morristown National Historical Park’s ranger corps will provide the annual Reading of the Declaration of Independence, a long-standing Morris County tradition, at 12:30 p.m.

Following the reading there will be a musket salute and free guided tours of the Presbyterian Church of Morristown‘s church and Colonial-era graveyard.

So make sure to party this weekend like it is 1776!

Bald Eagle Rescue in Tuckerton

This past week, local residents, wildlife enthusiasts, the Mercer County Wildlife Center, Tri-State Bird Rescue, and Ben Wurst, Habitat Program Manager came together in a tricky bald eagle rescue attempt. You can watch the amazing rescue video and read the entire story on the Conserve Wildlife Blog.

On Tuesday, February 17th, the call came in that two bald eagles were stuck in a tree and appeared to be injured. A local resident on the scene knew someone who worked for AC Electric who had a truck with a cherry picker on it. Ben went up in the cherry picker to rescue the two eagles. Unfortunately, one had already died, but their talons were interlocked and they were precariously hanging from a tree limb.

Ben wound up using a hand saw to cut the limb to bring down the two eagles. It took three grown men to get the talons separated in order to save the remaining live eagle. Ben then transported the eagle to the Mercer County Wildlife Center and met with Director Diane Nickerson.

Dr. Erica Miller, a leading expert in bald eagle care and rehabilitation, sutured up a wound on the bird’s leg and found several fractures in the other leg. The bird was treated and transported to Tri-State Bird Rescue & Research, Inc. in Delaware for further care.

While this story doesn’t have a happy ending, it does show the lengths New Jerseyans will go to protect our precious wildlife.

“The Swamps of Jersey” – The Meadowlands

“And my tires were slashed and I almost crashed but for Lord-have-mercy. And my machine she’s a dud, all stuck in the mud, somewhere in the swamps of Jersey” ~Bruce Springsteen

NJ Meadowlands

Photo credit: nj.com

Those swamps of Jersey are known as The Meadowlands, just outside MetLife Stadium and the Izod Center (what was referred to as Giants Stadium and the Area growing up) and despite their bad rap  in movies and by the NFL’s negative opinions regarding the upcoming Super Bowl, the ecosystem has made great strides in recent years and deserve great respect.

It was referred to as “The Meadows” by original Dutch Settlers in the 1600s and was full of white cedar, the Hackensack River flows through the area the Lenape people called the land Lenapakoking and they called the river Atchensehaky – the “River of Many Bends.”

Since then, there have been many changes to the area, including the creation of dam systems and pollution, which pushed the area to the brink. Luckily, the in 1980s, conservation groups came together to try and save what was left of this natural resource. Today, the Hackensack Riverkeeper and other organizations work hard to continue to preserve and improve “The Meadowlands.”

Right now, all eyes are on the upcoming game that will take place in frigid temperatures. However, there is much more to this special area that offers eco-tours, estuary education programs, paddling tours, birding, and more. I hope you check out this amazing wetlands that is making a great comeback!

Christmas Tree Farm Preserved Just in Time for Christmas!

The following is a reprint of a recent press release from The Land Conservancy of New Jersey.

The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, in partnership with Sussex County and the Allison Family, has preserved the Wintergreen Christmas Tree Farm, a bucolic 130-acre property in the heart of Lafayette Township. A community treasure for 52 years as a Christmas tree farm and since the late 1700’s as a dairy farm, residents and visitors can now count on the Wintergreen Christmas Tree Farm being a permanent part of our future.

Wintergreen Christmas Tree Farm

The Wintergreen Christmas Tree Farm.

The Farm has won awards from both the New Jersey Christmas Tree Growers Association and the New Jersey State Fair Sussex County Farm and Horse Show, as well as winning the Hunterdon Fair People’s Choice Award for their Norway spruce, Fraser fir, Canaan fir, and Concolor fir.

The Land Conservancy has been working with Lafayette Township to identify farmland owners who qualify for the State’s Farmland Preservation Program. Land Preservation Director Sandy Urgo points out, “Farm owner Bill Allison has taken a unique property and made it a beautiful and thriving agricultural operation. The work and effort that has been invested in Wintergreen Christmas Tree Farm is apparent to everyone who visits. It is a very special place.”

The Land Conservancy of New Jersey secured funding to preserve the Wintergreen Christmas Tree Farm from the New Jersey State Agriculture Development Committee and the Sussex County Agricultural Development Board. The County will own and monitor the easement under the Sussex County Farmland Program. Farm owners interested in preserving their agricultural lands for future generations may contact Sandy and her team for assistance.

Please visit www.njchristmastreefarm.com for more information about the tree farm and its trees for the holidays.

To learn more about The Land Conservancy of New Jersey, check out www.tlc-nj.org/.