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Monmouth County News Briefs, Dec. 21

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The Monmouth County Board of County Commissioners has announced the inaugural Monmouth County Travel Guide Cover Photo Contest, which is open now through Feb. 1.

“The winning photo of the Monmouth County Travel Guide Cover Photo Contest will be featured on the cover of the guide that is requested worldwide. Additionally, it will be showcased in future marketing efforts with the photographer’s spotlight placed in the official travel guide. The runners-up will have their photos published in the guide,” Commissioner Director Thomas A. Arnone said. “We can’t wait to see all of the amazing photos of our county.”

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For the contest, photo orientation preference is vertical; if horizontal, the image must be at least 3,000 pixels tall; photo should not exceed 10 MB; photo must be submitted in JPG format; photo must not have any watermarks.

“We invite everyone to grab a camera and capture a photo that shows how Monmouth County is one of the best tourism destinations in the world,” Arnone said. “Everyone who would like to help select the winning photo, make sure to visit the Monmouth County Tourism social media pages on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to vote for your favorite.”

Individuals submitting a photo must be 18 years of age or older and those under 18 will need parental consent; multiple entries are encouraged; photos must be submitted via the website submission form and include all required contact information; photos must be taken in Monmouth County; Monmouth County Tourism will select the finalists; the runners-up will receive placement in the travel guide with photo credit; the contest will be open until Feb. 1. To learn more, go to tourism.visitmonmouth.com or contact tourism@visitmonmouth.com.

 

Fulfill, an organization that works to alleviate hunger and build food security in Monmouth and Ocean counties, has announced a new slate of executive officers for its Board of Trustees and welcomed a new board member.

Returning to her role as board chair is Lauren Holman. Holman is a partner at Holman Frenia Allison, where she serves as practice leader of the not-for-profit audit and attestation division, according to a press release.

Aaron Levine has been named board vice chair. Levine is the CEO and founder of The LG Insurance Agency, Long Branch. The agency provides local and regional expertise for personal, business and specialty insurance needs.

Assuming the position of treasurer is Joseph Stroffolino III. Stroffolino is the director of advertising and marketing for the Causeway Family of Dealerships and Causeway CARes.

Janelle Griffith is board secretary and a senior vice president and North American logistics leader with Marsh McLennan, the world’s largest risk advisory company and insurance brokerage firm.

Joining as a new board member is Charles Woolston, the founder of Woolston Consulting Group, LLC, a regional certified public accounting and consulting firm in Shrewsbury.

 

The latest newsletter of Legal Services of New Jersey (LSNJ) centers on available assistance for health insurance coverage for children and help for food stamp recipients.

The bilingual publication, “Looking Out For Your Legal Rights,” may be viewed online at www.lsnjlaw.org, according to a press release.

The newsletter offers pieces on additional subjects, including protection against water and utility shut-offs.

Beginning in January and depending upon a family’s income, the state will provide health insurance coverage for all residents under the age of 19, including immigrants.

Starting in January, adults with children in their care are advised to go online at www.njfamilycare.org and click the red star on the home page to begin the application process. Information also is available by calling the LSNJ free legal hotline at 1-888-576-5519.

The children’s program covers a wide range of child health issues, including medical visits, dental exams and vaccinations, among others.

Another article in the newsletter deals with the Low-Income Home Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP), which will pay some or all of a resident’s water and sewer bill arrears – up to $2,500 each for sewer and water bills. Applicants may contact LIHWAP by calling 800-510-3102.

 

The OceanFirst Foundation has awarded $40,000 to the Brookdale Community College Foundation, giving them the opportunity to provide 40 $1,000 scholarships to deserving students to continue their college education in the 2022-23 academic year.

“I am grateful for our partnership with OceanFirst Foundation that has granted over 600 scholarships to Brookdale students throughout the years and whose careers they have helped to launch,” Brookdale President Dr. David Stout was quoted as saying in a press release.

“I know receiving a scholarship is so meaningful because it means someone believes in you and is willing to put their resources behind you. I was a scholarship recipient myself and understand the transformative impact a scholarship can have,” Stout said.

In the 13 years of the OceanFirst Scholarship Program, $3.7 million has been awarded to more than 2,500 students across OceanFirst Bank’s New Jersey footprint to help them pursue their dream of higher education, according to the press release.

“Through the generosity of organizations like OceanFirst, the Brookdale Community College Foundation awards a number of scholarships for our students,” Vice President of Advancement Nancy Kaari said. “Last year the foundation was able to provide over $700,000 in scholarship, grants and program support.”

 

New Jersey Assemblyman Alex Sauickie’s first bill signed into law will ease the relocation process for service members and their spouses and dependents by allowing them to use their out-of-state driver’s licenses while temporarily stationed in New Jersey.

Sauickie’s bill (A-325), which was signed by acting Gov. Sheila Oliver on Dec. 12, exempts active military members and their immediate family from the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission requirement that mandates new residents obtain a state driver’s license within 60 days to legally operate a vehicle, according to a press release.

“This new law is a small, but important step toward making life easier for those who serve our country, including their families who also must sacrifice stability and predictability,” said Sauickie (R-Monmouth, Ocean, Middlesex, Burlington).

“I am committed to making New Jersey more military friendly, so having this as my first bill signed into law is very encouraging. Removing unnecessary obstacles for service members adjusting to life in the Garden State will help alleviate stress and demonstrates New Jersey’s support of military families,” he said.

The law is effective immediately. It received unanimous support in the state Assembly and state Senate, according to the press release.

Sauickie joined the Assembly in September following the passing of Ron Dancer. His first bill became law 13 weeks after he took the oath of office.

 

As a result of United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties’ 2022 Warmest Wishes Coat Drive, local preschool, elementary school and middle school students in need have a new coat to keep them warm this winter.

Thanks to the generous donations of 117 local organizations and individuals, United Way distributed more than 9,000 new coats and winter items to children in 57 schools throughout its region. This includes 5,500 pairs of socks donated by Bombas, according to a press release.

United Way thanked FirstEnergy Foundation and Holtec International for donating $5,000 each to the drive.

United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties is one of 93 nonprofit organizations that received American Rescue Plan Act COVID-19 Community Recovery Grant funds from the Monmouth County government, a portion of which was used to purchase coats for the Warmest Wishes Coat Drive, according to the press release.

United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties began the Warmest Wishes Coat Drive in 2012 and has supplied its community with more than 16,000 new coats.

“One of the things United Way does very well is listen to our community and identify needs that are not being met,” said Lori-Anne McLane, president and CEO of United Way of Monmouth and Ocean Counties.

“In speaking with our local school partners, we learned one of their top needs was new winter coats, especially in the districts where many students walk or ride their bike to school,” she said.

 

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed S-896 with Governor’s Recommendation into law, which prohibits the State Board of Education from requiring the completion of the Educative Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) as a condition of eligibility for a certificate of eligibility with advanced standing (CEAS) or certificate of eligibility (CE).

The Legislature unanimously concurred with Murphy’s conditional veto of an earlier version of the legislation that prohibited consideration of any Commissioner of Education approved performance-based assessment as a factor in determining whether to recommend a candidate for a CEAS or CE, according to a press release.

Murphy recommended changes necessary to maintain the elimination of the state’s current requirement that educator candidates pass the edTPA test and instead moved the responsibility for administering a performance-based assessment to the educator preparation programs (EPP), which are best-positioned to select or create the most appropriate assessment for their candidates, according to the press release.

The legislation Murphy signed on Dec. 16 eliminates the State Board of Education’s ability to require candidates to complete a Commissioner of Education-approved performance-based assessment, including the edTPA, as a condition of certification.

Rather, under the legislation, CEAS and CE candidates will be required to complete performance-based assessments as part of their EPP, beginning with teaching candidates who complete their EPP in the spring of 2024, according to the press release.

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