Concerns Raised How To Help County Residents In Need
Thursday, October 11, 2012 • 9:32pm
NEWTON, NJ – Phillip Crabb, Sussex County Freeholder Director, presented a proclamation yesterday night to two Eagle Scouts, Michael Albert Bell and Marshall Thomas Chudley, at their October 11 meeting.
“These two men have taken the path less traveled, while others have fallen by the wayside, they have stayed the course and kept their eyes on three things performance, execution and most important, delivery,” said Crabb.
“Isn’t it the way of the Eagle Scout, finding ways to get things done, working together to make things better?” Crabb asked, then congratulated their families.
Two candidates, Kate Yascovic and Glenn T. Gavan, were appointed to the Sussex County College Board of Trustees. Their terms will run from November 1, 2012 through October 31, 2016.
“We’re very proud of the Board of Trustees and of the college, it is still ‘the diamond on the hill.’” said Crabb. He and John Eskilson, Sussex County Administrator both offered their congratulations to the candidates and to the search committee, led by John Drake.
The Sussex County Department of Human Services made a presentation of its 2013 Request For Proposal process. Administrator Stephen R. Gruchacz, introduced Barbara Miller, who presented the Youth Services Plan Update. Miller explained that there are three Federal funding sources: State and Community Partnership $153,379, Family Court $164,848, and Juvenile Accountability Block Grant $3948. There is a County Match to the Block Grant of $439.
The Juvenile Justice Commission Plan Update prioritized program categories, for which they will award the monies to agencies demonstrating the ability to provide programs with the most promise of achieving the specified goals. Weight will be given to programs with evidence based practices, which means a university has analyzed and evaluated both the goals and results to show measurable accomplishment of the mission.
The Plan Update showed six categories: Delinquency Prevention; Diversion, which offers youth the opportunity to informal sanctions, such as community service, to keep them out of the formal system; Detention, Detention Alternatives, sometimes called the “bracelet program,” which keeps kids with their families and schools; Disposition, which making sure the kids complete the sanctions put upon them by the judge, for example drug treatment; and Reentry, following release from a facility/structured program.
Miller presented the results from a survey given statewide to Middle School youth, from 2010. She provided the caveat that the results are probably not completely accurate because the response from Sussex County was not as great as some of the other counties, and some of the youth surveyed may not have answered honestly, thinking they" sounded cool."
“It speaks to the fact that drug use in Sussex County is rising. Among sixth to ninth graders, in cocaine use, we are fourth in the state, heroin second in the state, and ecstasy, first in the state, this is something you don’t want to be first in,” said Miller.
“I’ve heard this presentation every year, and I am still stunned by the data we get from Middle School,” said Crabb.
Christine Florio, coordinator of the Human Services Advisory Committee, then presented the results of the Countywide Human Services Needs Assessment. The groups surveyed include the elderly, families in crisis, the homeless, single parents, people with disabilities or mental illness, families affected by drug abuse or domestic violence, all in Sussex County.
The number of Sussex County children receiving free lunches increased, the number of Sussex County children receiving food stamps increased by 25 percent, and the number of Sussex County children receiving Medicaid increased by 39 percent.
The needs were identified and prioritized, the top three being transportation, mental health services, and subsidized child care.
During the open public session, Diane Updike, the manager of the Sussex County Adult Day Care Center, spoke to make the board aware that the Meals on Wheels program is severely underfunded.
“I wanted to make you aware of the impact of the cut of Peer Group Funding, and that with that loss, we have no funding to keep our Meals on Wheels program. People were being provided two hot meals per week, and some extra food, up until September, but at this point, we are only able to give them one hot meal per week and some canned goods, just to sustain them. We know that this isn’t the nutrition that they need. We do not have any money to feed them, and the appeal needs to be met, so we ask for your consideration in that matter,” said Updike.
Freeholder Susan Zellman asked, “Although this is not the answer, do you hook up with our food pantry here?”
“We do, but it’s only canned goods, and one hot meal a week. Most are homebound and don’t have any other means to get out to get food, and not too many people to care about them to help,” responded Updike.
Mary Emilius, Chief Professional Officer of the United Way of Sussex County, explained, “I thought it would behoove the Freeholder Board to understand our position in the county of helping these agencies. For the last three years, the funding has been flat, we’ve continued to give 100 percent of what we gave three years ago.”
“We give money to support programs and initiatives, which include vouchers for child care and 211," Emilius said. "Our campaign just kicked off last week. We have started two new initiatives, one is called the Sussex County Care Givers Coalition, to support unpaid family health caregivers in Sussex County. According to their estimate, 30,000 people in the county are caregivers. We also implemented a program to support child care centers and families that cannot afford child care. I implore the board to consider that Human Services cannot be cut. I encourage you to do everything you can to help these agencies sustain themselves.”
Anne Smolowitz added her concerns. “I do my acts of charity, but my heart goes out to these organizations, when hearing this. To think that in this magnificent country, there are people who are only getting one hot meal a week. Can I also add my support, is there anything the county can do to feed our residents?”
Crabb responded, “That’s not lost on us, either. Nothing that’s been brought up tonight will be dismissed.”
Back in session, Freeholder Parker Space reported that Ginnie’s House is currently serving 145,000 kids who are being molested. They are promoting their upcoming dinner on November 7 at Perona Farms.
He reported that Sparta will be hiring paid EMT’s during the day, as they do not have enough volunteers. Space posed a solution: keep jobs local, if volunteers have to go out of town for a job, they won’t be around in an emergency. He noted that volunteer firemen have to take the same training as paid firemen.
“I think it’s going to be an up and coming trend to go with paid in many communities, unless we can keep jobs in the communities," Space said.
Zellman reported about the sold out fundraiser at Waterloo Village. She also said she spoke at a D.A.S.I. Candlelight Service, and, that it was "very meaningful."
Freeholder Richard Vohden reported that as he travels around the county, he notes whether construction projects are in process, and right now, he has not seen much, which to him equates people are not working.
However, Vohden said he regularly visits six solar projects that the county is working on, which are all moving along. He praised the work at the college and at Sussex Vo-Tech, although he expressed disappointment because the marble from the columns was smashed, and not saved.
Vohden went to a Board of Elections meeting, and reported that everything is running smoothly. There are 400-500 poll workers currently being trained for Election Day. The Board produced a “How to Vote in Sussex County” video, which can be seen on YouTube.
There was a Trapper’s Show recently held at Space Farms, drawing people into the county from N.Y., Pa, and Del. This was cited as a good example of Eco-Agritourism.
The Franklin Viaduct will be closing on November 1, and an announcement in a prominent place on the website, which will be upgraded with regard to progress.
Crabb thanked The New Jersey Herald for their coverage of the Sussex County Fireman’s Parade.
“The photos are bringing so much pride to all corners of the county,” he said.
Crabb explained that the discipline shown for the last four years is beginning to pay off, as the County is in a stable position with regard to the budget.
“We are going to take a real hard look and do what we can,” he promised.
Vohden and Crabb said they attended a very important Solid Waste Advisory Council meeting on Tuesday, and there will be more information to come.
Smolowitz spoke again to voice her appreciation of the way this board has worked together for the past four years.
“I have watched your work as a group and I’m impressed with the way you have tackled long standing issues that have gone unattended," she said. "I am disappointed to be losing Susan Zellman and Rich Zeoli.”