5 Things From Last Week’s Council Meeting

5 1.  T&M spoke about their work with FEMA and what was needed to start the work to repair the community center. They estimate the cost to just repair and waterproof  the building back to its pre-Sandy condition to be $800k, which they believe Highlands should be reimbursed up to 90% by FEMA. Side note, in Oct 2013, the costs to rebuild and waterproof the community center was quoted at $300k.

2. Tom Smith was voted in as Highlands new municipal Judge. Mr. Smith is a past president of the Monmouth Bar Association, former municipal prosecutor and the current public defender in Highlands as well as two other New Jersey municipalities.  Side note: there is now a resolution requisitioning a new Public Defender R-15-095

3. New Parking Rules are now on Portland Road. 0-15-16 was passed that amends Section 7-3.4, to allow parking on Portland Road between Highland Avenue and Hillside Avenue, with the exception of parking ten (10) feet from a fire hydrant, twenty-five (25) feet from an intersection and fifty (50) feet from a stop sign. Further, it prohibits parking on Portland Road at all times in those areas not designated above, with the exception of the east side of Portland Road at the area one hundred and twenty-four (124) feet south of the utility pole identified as BT40103hb to forty (40) feet north of the utility pole identified as B7224;

4.  Nancy O’Neil submitted her resignation from the construction office and it was accepted. The town is actively looking for a P/T replacement. Not being able to backfill the position immediately could slow down the permitting process for those residents trying to lift this spring/summer.  Interested applicants should submit an application and resume to the Borough Hall located at 42 Shore Drive, Highlands.

5. Speaking of procrastination, the council tabled the following to a future date: “R-15-91″ A Resolution Authorizing RFP’s for Website Design & Hosting Services, “0-15-15″ an Ordinance Prohibiting Certain Animals, “0-15-13″ an Ordinance to Exceed Budget Appropriation Limits, and the rewording of “R-14-220″ which requires disclaimers from all employees, agents, volunteers when posting on the Highlands NJ Facebook page as well as all other Social Media.

These are only 5 of the items discussed in April 1st council meeting. To view the whole meeting, please view online.

Highlands Pancake House to Reopen and Corresponding Resolution To Be Anticipated

HighlandsPancakehouseThe Highlands Pancake is house is set to reopen, and as such, the Highlands Council is set to offer a new resolution about possible future communication taking place in the Highlands Pancake House. Their fear is, they may receive of 3 to 4 hours a day of phone calls to the Borough from residents overhearing conversations from other diners in the Highlands Pancake House about what is going on in Highlands and want clarification on what is official communications from the Borough of Highlands. Simply, they just want to mitigate the fact that residents might confuse the Highlands Pancake house with an Official Highlands Communications outlet. So if residents are in the Highlands Pancake House eating breakfast and overhear conversations from elected officials, employees or volunteers, that unless those folks specifically state otherwise, those conversations might be somehow interpreted as “official communications” from the Borough of Highlands.

The proposed resolution shall read:


A Resolution Concerning “The Highlands Pancake House”, And any conversations Therein, Or, In Any  Breakfast Establishment within the Borough of Highlands, N.J., By Elected Officials Of The Borough Of Highlands As Well As, Other Officials, Employees, Agents, Representatives And Volunteers,

WHEREAS, the restaurant “Highlands Pancake House” has been established on Bay Avenue in Highlands, NJ, and, as of the date of preparing this Resolution, has had thousands of local Highlands patrons; and

WHEREAS, elected and other officials of the Borough could be approached by residents and employees concerning information overheard therein said restaurant which may not true nor accurate; and

WHEREAS, as a result, it is necessary to clarify that the “Highlands Pancake House” is not an official media outlet of the Borough of Highlands; and

WHEREAS, the governing body recognizes that individuals possess a First Amendment right to comment and converse in any restaurant; and

WHEREAS, the governing body further deems that it is necessary to adopt protocols for its elected officials, other officials, employees, representatives and volunteers, so that statements overheard in any restaurant by those individuals are not misinterpreted as official statements of the Borough of Highlands; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that any elected Borough official, or other Borough official, employee, agent, representative or volunteer, including appointees to boards, commissions, committees and or subcommittees, who wishes to speak within the “Highlands Pancake House” over breakfast, lunch or any other meal, as well as, in any other similar breakfast establishments, which are currently established or may be in the future established, shall state out loud, before speaking that any comment, conversation or statement from that individual is a statement, comment or conversation of that individual only and does not represent an official statement, comment or communication on behalf of the Borough of Highlands.

When speaking to residents over the proposed new resolution, the reaction was mixed. One stated they felt it was “a violation of [their] right to free speech, and [they] should not have to preface breakfast conversation with a disclaimer, stating what [they are] about to say is not an official Borough statement.”

Another resident did not feel the resolution was infringing at all, stating, “I mean really, if they [the restaurant owners] just changed the name of the restaurant to something besides ‘Highlands’ pancake house this actually wouldn’t be an issue.”



The above post is an April Fool’s Day post.  The Highlands Pancake House is not opening in the near future, the Highlands Council is not planning on introducing a resolution against speaking in breakfast establishments without disclaimers .. (yet). And no residents were interviewed for the comments about the fictitious resolution.

Guest Blogger: Stacey Pritchard on Rain Barrel Grant in Highlands

This one was raffled in 2014 in a community project to raise awareness in Vermont.
Image Courtesy of jaclynbishop.blogspot.com

If you have not heard, Highlands has received a grant from NJ American Water for Rain Barrels. This grant is for environmental concerns and is for ten thousand dollars ($10k). Highlands is expecting to be able to buy at least 100 barrels, and possibly more with those funds to distribute to homeowners in Highlands.

A survey to be able to get your name in for a barrel should be published on the town website sometime this week, according to the town administrator Tim Hill.

Now many people may roll their eyes and think oh yeah… rain barrels “whoop di dooo…” no big deal.

Well one or two don’t make a huge difference beyond the garden and yard of the person using them. But for every barrel (which on average are 55 gallons) that is less water running directly into our drainage systems with a heavy rain fall. Even a fairly small roof line of 800 Square feet can produce up to 500 gallons of water in a 1/2 inch rainfall. When that water is hitting driveways ad sidewalks, which is not uncommon in our small densely packed streets, it is going right into the drainage systems and contributes to some of our flooding issues.


By diverting the water to enter the system at a non rainfall event, each rain barrel used can contribute to less street flooding in our little town.  Just like with recycling efforts, when we start working together as a community our individual efforts can add up quickly. Of course there are other great benefits beyond the flooding issues.


Rainwater is highly oxygenated, free of the salts, inorganic ions, and fluoride compounds contained in tap water that accumulate in the soil over time and potentially harm plant roots. Use of rainwater in your garden dilutes this impact, making plants more drought-tolerant, healthy, and strong. I have already started my seeds and cannot wait to start planting my garden this year, and feel even better when I can be as green as possible with the way I tend it. Why worry about my organic food when I then flood them with tap water?


You’ll help to reduce runoff pollution. When it rains, runoff picks up soil, fertilizer, oil, pesticides and other contaminants and pushes them into other areas of the landscape. These pollutants can increase algae growth in lakes, alter the habitat for fish, and even make lakes and oceans dangerous for recreational activities. Your water collecting stops some of this damaging flow. This is one of the most important issues for me. Living downtown, especially in the spring, I watch as a great deal of run off flows off the lawns of homes further up the hill. I know that many of these lawns are being treated with chemicals that are being picked up and carried on to my sidewalks, where my dogs are walking and picking up all sorts of toxins. Not to mention draining into the water.

You’ll have a fresh, green way to wash your cars and pets. Rainwater doesn’t have the salt and other chemicals found in tap water.


Rain runoff is also a particular issue in places where land erosion is a concern. Your rain catch will be especially helpful in these cases.


You can reduce your water bill. Garden and lawn watering accounts for 40 percent of residential water use during the summer, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Thanks to a rain barrel’s water catch, the typical gardener can save 1,300 gallons of water during the growing season.

Oh and finally… If you don’t like the way the barrel looks… you can always get creative and paint it.


Rutgers Storm Water Management
How To Install A Rain Barrel
What To Do If There Is Sediment In Your Rain Barrel

Open House at Henry Hudson Regional School


 Tuesday, March 10, 2015, HHRS Cafetorium with School Tour after presentation

6:30 pm: In-District Elementary School families; especially 6th grade parents/students

7:30 pm: High School parents/students currently in 8th grade or students who attend private schools and are interested in a change


Highlands, NJ (March 4, 2015) – On Tuesday, March 10th, Henry Hudson Regional School (HHRS) will host an Open House to showcase its unique middle/high school experience. The open house not only introduces the administration and staff to the Atlantic Highlands and Highlands Elementary School families, but also hopes to entice families from out-of-district to consider HHRS over other options.

Preparing Graduates for Success

Principal Lenore Kingsmore has much to be proud of. For over 50 years, Henry Hudson has proudly navigated students through the competitive waters of college and career, but Mrs. Kingsmore has turned this understated middle and high school into an academic powerhouse by providing a private school education in a public school setting. The school was recently rated in the top 101 in all of New Jersey, yet Kingsmore continues to raise the bar by consistently building innovative programs and renewing those that are currently in place.  Most noticeably, she has more than doubled the number of AP/dual-enrollment programs available to students since her start in 2010, and she most recently advocated for a Middle School STEM Academy that has begun to take shape. These programs give Henry Hudson students a competitive edge over their counterparts in neighboring school districts.

HHRS traditionally enrolls between 300 and 400 students in Grades 7-12 from Atlantic Highlands and Highlands every year. The school offers a wide array of Honors and Advanced Placement courses, either in-house or through online education, and has a dual enrollment agreement with Brookdale Community College for 12th graders, allowing students the opportunity to experience college advancement while still in high school. Students can participate in theater, art, robotics, television production, and a myriad of other extra curricular activities, as well as middle school, junior varsity and varsity sports.  However, the school is probably best known for its award-winning marching band. While this program has been a cornerstone to the school’s reputation over the years — especially given the body of research proclaiming the link between music proficiency and achievement in school — most recently it has begun entering various music festivals and competitions and has taken top honors at the Hershey Park Music Festival the past two years.

HHRS also provides a unique experience for students with special needs, giving them the support required to meet academic goals without traditional constraints and most recently incorporating an innovative therapy dog program that has been a hit for all students and staff.

Students graduate from HHRS prepared for highly competitive universities, colleges and military academies.  In recent years, seniors from HHRS have been accepted into Princeton, NYU, West Point, Rutgers and TCNJ.  According to Mrs. Kingsmore, “The list of acceptances is quite impressive.  Students graduate with a well-rounded education through personalized learning.”

Middle States Accreditation

This month will also see HHRS become re-accredited through the Middle States Accreditation validation process.  When it comes to educational excellence, the Middle States standard is the benchmark every high school strives to meet. “It takes an intensive self-study for a school to achieve Middle States Accreditation along with a validation by an outside team of educators who spend four days in-district making certain that the twelve standards of Middle States is accomplished through the mission and vision of the administration, staff and community.  This is an ongoing process that requires introspection and creativity.  It also involves making changes to the school environment that will make it even better than it is today.  I know that outside consultants will find our school as impressive as I do,” explained Mrs. Kingsmore.

According to the Middle States Association results (2008):

“Henry Hudson Regional School is truly a unique educational experience.  This is evident upon entering the school building and walking down the hallways lined with student lockers. The first appearance is of a warm, friendly and welcoming environment directed toward promoting student success.”

Middle States Accreditation occurs every seven years in a school district if they choose to undergo this process.

Please join Principal Kingsmore on March 10th to learn more about Henry Hudson Regional School. Go Admirals!!


Media Contact:

Laurie Brekke, Tri-District PR & Communications
lbrekke@tri-district.us 732.291.1019

Wanted: Mural Artist for Miller Hill Wall in Highlands

miller hill wall
Miller Hill Artist RFP

A nautical theme or subject matter is desired, specifically relative to the history of Highlands. This should include, beach, boating, lighthouse, and dining.

To view the full RFP click here:


Guinness Run in Highlands – CHANGED AGAIN

guinness run

Again with the changes, if anyone shows up I’ll be amazed..

WhenSaturday SUNDAY March 14, 2pm

Cost: Registration is $20.00 $25.00 and includes a t-shirt, a pint of Guinness Beer and access to the Post-Race Party at Chubby Pickle.

The race will begin at Chubby Pickle, where contestants will fill their cup and race to Miller St., and back to the finish line at Chubby Pickle. The contestant with the most liquid in their cup at the finish line, wins the 1st Place trophy and $100 in Bid Bucks. 2nd Place will receive a $50 Bid Buck. Something.

Kilts optional..

Born To Hula Hot Sauce Review: Hawaiian Flavors at the Jersey Shore

Featured Image -- 8606


Highlands Gets Another Hot Sauce.. Bay Ave Bakery, Chubby Pickle and Lusty Lobster are carrying it

Originally posted on Jersey Shore Vacations:

Born To Hula BTH NJ hot sauce reviewWe’re continuing our series of Made In New Jersey hot sauce reviews with one of our neighbors, Highlands-based Born To Hula. This is a very small producer, trying to make its mark by providing both a high-quality product and customer satisfaction. Founder Ed Bucholtz picked this Hawaiian theme as an incentive to enjoy life, break down your boundaries and live it up. And their tag line says “It’s not just a Hot Sauce… It’s a way of life!”

Mr. Bucholtz further explains the origins of the sauces’ name: “Besides loving the beach and living at the Jersey Shore we also love music. Born to Hula is the name of a song from the band called Queens of the Stone Age. Originally we wanted to have a picture of a Hawaiian girl on the label but there was another hot sauce company already with a similar theme. When searching through some old photos I found a picture…

View original 650 more words

Where the St Paddy’s Are 2015

It’s that time of year again, St Paddy’s day month. As known in NJ, there is going to be St Paddy’s parades almost every weekend. The following list are the parades near us:

Mar 1  BELMAR  WHEN: 12:30 p.m. INFO: http://www.belmarparade.com

Mar 8 RUMSON WHEN: 1 p.m INFO: rumsonstpatricksdayparade.org

ASBURY PARK  WHEN: 1:30 p.m asburyparkstpatricksparade.com

Mar 21 HIGHLANDS WHEN: 2 p.m Bay Ave


Raising your Highlands House 2015

For the last two years I’ve surveyed on where people are with regard to their housing raising. I wanted to run this again to see house raising surveyhow things progressed..

In 2013, 36.5% were waiting on the FEMA standards to be finalized. In 2014, 35% were waiting on approvals of a grant. Any grant even though the FEMA standards were not officially adopted.  In 2013, 36% we NOT going to lift, in 2014 that number dropped to 22.5%.  In 2013, 21% were actively looking for a lifter or had already hired a lifter.  In 2014, 20% had lifted.  In 2014, 10% were in the process of hiring a lifter.

So NOW in 2015, where are you with your lift:

POLL: Where are the WORST pot holes in Highlands ?

There has been many “noise” on where the worst potholes in Highlands are. Administrator Tim Hill even acknowledged there was a “new” tool acquired by DPW to aid in combatting the Highlands pothole issues moving forward. Where do you think the worst streets in Highlands are?

What happened with the Highlands Newsletter?


carolyn fbAnybody remember the Highlands Newsletter?  We received what, 2-3 times? Then Nada. Apparently money was the issue in reproduction. I’m all for fiscal responsibility, especially after Sandy,  however according to Carolyn Broullon potential alternatives were not going to be considered.

What other ways could they do the newsletter on the cheap?

Online –  Pros:  FREE    Cons:  not everyone has online access – IMO, some communication is better than none.

Print & Have Local Business Sponsor the newsletter  Pros:  Local Business Pays for Printing & Mailing  Cons: Not All Costs may be Covered, requires reaching out to local business to get sponsorship

Print & Send out in Quarterly Tax Statements/Sewer Bills – Pros: Cost effective with mailing costs   Cons: Leaves out Renters, not totally free.

What other ideas do you have?


Navesink Shores is Now Harborside at Hudson’s Ferry

Apparently Highlands 30 + million dollar townhouse project has been sold to Pulte Homes over permit issues. Hopefully Pulte has more money to throw at the permit issues and can actually pull off construction completion by the end of 2015.  The marina and restaurant will still be spearheaded by Navesink Shores.

harbor side

Suicide on Sandy Hook

sandy hook mapPolice from Highlands and Sea Bright were called Saturday night Feb 7 to search an area on Sandy Hook when a car was found empty in a parking lot after the park had closed. Authorities found a body early Sunday morning in an undisclosed location. Charles Webster, spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutors Office, said that the death appeared to be a suicide.

Artist John Ward to exhibit in Highlands

john wardWater Witch Coffee in Highlands New Jersey, is holding an exhibition of the works of local painter John Ward. A brightly colored installation inspired by music, surfing the Jersey shore and shredding the mountains, will run from February 7 thru March 31, 2015.

A meet-the-artist reception will be held on February 7, 2015, 7pm – 9pm

John’s almost psychedelic paintings have been displayed around Monmouth County, Hoboken, Jersey City, as well as a benefit at VOLCOM NYC flagship store where he donated a piece for skateboarding pioneer, Andy Kessler.

John utilizes acrylic paint, spray paint, oil based paint pens, house paint, prismacolor, markers and black pen to create his works on canvas, skateboards and a bass guitar. Accompanying his painted guitar will be photographs by Christine M. Scarano, a freelance photographer in the music industry.

Opening Reception Feb 7, 2015 7pm- 9pm

For more information:

Valerie McLaughlin
Waterwitchcoffee@gmail.comwwc logo

Water Witch Coffee
67 Waterwitch Ave,
Highlands, NJ, 07732

5 Things From Feb 4th Council Meeting

51. R -15 -31 Resolution Establishing Additional Public Portion Comment Period – This in essence would allow questions and comments from residents on the consent agenda items before the council voted on them in addition to at the end of the meeting. The scope would be limited to the consent agenda items being voted on and the 3 min time limit would apply.

Typical consent agenda items are routine, procedural decisions, like approval of minutes and decisions that are would not be considered to be noncontroversial and most likely not invite public comment.  However, the council has in the past have included controversial items to this agenda, such as the Facebook item R-14-220 knowing full well it couldn’t be discussed by the public until after the vote was executed.

The end result was it was voted down.  Mayor Nolan stated he didn’t like hearing some people at the end of the council meeting so he didn’t want to have to listen to them twice during a meeting. Apparently Councilpersons Rebecca Kone and Kevin Redman agreed with as they both voted “No.”

2. R-15-55  Resolution Authorizing Bid for Lease of Clam Depuration Plant, the clam plant which is owned by the town has a 20 year lease up in August. They want to get a more of a market value for the building as with Sandy and all our taxes have increased as our property values have decreased any increase revenue stream is gravely needed. Its really just a negotiation tactic because the 20 year lease is up. If two companies bid on it, Highlands has a fair shake at getting a higher value for the lease. Reality being (and everybody knows this) Highlands is hurting since Sandy. We still have to pay the cops and if you even suggest that they tighten their belts you’re labeled a cop hater. We still have to staff and run the schools and if you suggest they tighten their belts you must hate children. We still have to pay for the engineering and lawyer fees and if you suggest they tighten their belts the council says it did by posting the notice for RFP on the highlandsnj.us web site and its not their fault nobody else bid on those positions.

The bid for the lease is expected to go out in March of this year and the minimum bid is expected to be set at $76,000 a year. Normally an industrial lease would go for between $3 – $15 a square foot, depending on the area, the building etc. I’m lumping that in to all industrial real estate, I have no idea what a clam plant lease should go for.

3. R-15-36 Resolution Awarding Professional Engineering Service – Street Scape – remember the grant we got last year? Then at the last council meeting they table awarding the job but said they were going to start sometime this year?  They awarded the job and are planning on doing sometime this year. So they say..

4. Presentation from Gateway National Recreation Area about the three Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for leasing up to six historic Army buildings within the Fort Hancock and Sandy Hook Proving Ground National Historic Landmark, which encompasses all of Gateway’s Sandy Hook Unit. The park will accept lease applications through April 17, 2015. Maybe the Park service could throw some of the rejected RFP’s Highlands way, we could use some more business in town..

Sandy Hook lease project5. Borough Trailers & PD – Tim Hill in his report indicated that he is meeting with FEMA this Friday to go over rebuilding 171 Bay Ave. Where have I heard that before? Oh I know last August in a Two River Times article about Highlands running business out of trailers.

“We’re not closing the door on any options” said Borough Administrator Tim Hill, who hopes to have a more definitive direction by next month.”

I guess by “next month” he meant……

To see the meeting in its entirety click here

Random Act of Kindness Month in Highlands

heartsFebruary is Random Acts of Kindness Month.. As a tribute I wanted to put some ideas you can do this month to see how many you actually accomplish..

1. Donate food to the OLPH food bank

2. Buy a gallon of gas to person behind you waiting in line.

3. Pay for the toll for someone behind you on the parkway/turnpike

4. Offer to pay for lunch for a busy co-worker

5. Give up your seat to someone standing on the bus/subway/boat

6. Out of the blue send a friend flowers without sending a card

7. Send someone an anonymous valentines day card to someone not expecting it.

8. Honestly listen to someone and don’t interrupt.

9. Give a struggling local store/restaurant your business for a day that you normally don’t frequent.

10. Buy 3 people behind you a cup of coffee as you are leaving.hearts

11. Buy a complete stranger a beer from across the bar.

12. Smile at 10 strangers and say hello.

13. Post a nice review of a local Highlands establishment on the Highlands FB page or Yelp.

14. Shovel your neighbors walkway

15. Call someone you haven’t spoken to in months just to say hi

16. Leave a gift basket of food to an elderly neighbor

17. Leave encouraging notes where people least expect it.