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Council Honors Diversity Committee and Knights of Pythias

Aaron Snyder

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 • 7:58pm

LIVINGSTON, NJ – Livingston’s Town Council held its second meeting of the year on Monday night, honoring the Diversity Committee and the Knights of Pythias for services rendered to the community. A few notable resolutions included a study to see the applicable uses for a prospective new DPW site, as well as the approval of pool fees for fiscal year 2014.

The Diversity Committee, a group composed of several organizations whose volunteers are mostly children, which is involved with many charitable activities from making anti-bullying decorations to holding food drives, was honored by the council with commendations. The committee included several Girl Scout Troops, the League of Women Voters, the Livingston Chinese Association, the Presbyterian Church and others.

The Knights of Pythias was also awarded with a commemorative plaque by the Council for their 150 years in service to the community. According to their website, “The Knights of Pythias is an international, non-sectarian fraternal order, established in 1864 in Washington, D.C., by Justus H. Rathbone and was the first fraternal order to be chartered by an Act of Congress. Its aim was to heal the wounds between the North and South and promote friendship among men and relieve suffering.”

The organization is involved in sponsoring underprivileged youth homes, scholarship funds, blood drives, and notably the Cystic Fibrosis Research center.

“Thanks for your philanthropy—see you in another 150 [years],” Mayor Michael Rieber said with a grin.

The Council passed a resolution to authorize the Planning Board to ascertain whether or not a property in town is usable for the needs of the DPW. Resident Bernard Searle said he was concerned with the use of this newly looked-upon property.

“There is only 1.5 acres that is even usable on this property,” Searle declared.

Resident Margie Rieger said she was concerned with the wording of the resolution, which she interpreted as ‘basically locking the decision in once this resolution was passed and the property was evaluated for redevelopment.’

“This is the right first step to see what can be redeveloped in that area,” Councilman Al Anthony stated about the resolution.

Mayor Rieber stated that the resolution, “has been beaten to death” by the discussion. All Council members voted yes.

Resolution R-14-67 was passed 4-1 at the meeting, with Councilman Rudy Fernandez the only “No” vote. Fernandez said he did not agree with the raise in the rate for seniors, although it is to go up no more than for any other members. Fernandez expressed concern for seniors with “fixed incomes” and did not want to burden them. Councilwoman Shapiro stated that she agreed with Fernandez, but voted “Yes” for the resolution anyway.

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