Archive for the ‘Morris’ Category

Waterloo village to reopen?

After a shutdown in 2006, Waterloo Village seems set for a reopening. The state has allocated some money to repair some of the buildings, although considering how Chris Christie has been swinging the budget ax, who knows if that will actually materialize or continue.

Episode of House filmed at Greystone

Definite must-see tv

70 cats removed from home, owner charged with animal cruelty

The cats will be placed in a shelter

A deal has been worked out to remove more than 70 cats from the home of a Chester Township woman who faces 186 civil and criminal counts of animal cruelty stemming from a March 26 raid on her feline-infested, million-dollar house, officials said last night. In a letter to Chester Township officials, Wanda Oughton agreed to allow animal control officers and health officials take the cats from her home and also volunteered to pay for veterinary care and shelter for the animals. A coordinated removal effort by Chester Township health officials, police and the Morris County Office of Emergency Management’s Animal Response Team is expected next week. The animal response team includes volunteer animal control officers and veterinarians from throughout the county.

A shelter for the cats is being set up at an undisclosed site in Mendham Township. “This is a very good development,” said Lt. Rick Yocum of the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. “We will be able to assess the health of all of the cats and consider adoption possibilities.” Acting on a tip, SPCA officers, accompanied by police and armed with a search warrant, raided Oughton’s home two weeks ago and discovered 93 cats. The 12-room house was infested with urine and fecal matter from cats who ruled the two-story brick-faced structure isolated at the end of a cul-de-sac in an upscale neighborhood in western Morris County. A total of 22 cats were removed that day and remain at a veterinary hospital in Roxbury. Oughton was subsequently served with animal cruelty summonses. She pleaded not guilty this week via a letter sent to the Chester Township Municipal Court by her attorney, Lawrence Fox.

No date has been set for a hearing, court officials said. Officials worked behind the scenes over the past week to find a non-confrontational way to remove the remaining cats. A meeting was held Monday with the Chester Township mayor, police chief, administrator and health officials, as well as with SPCA and county officials to devise a removal plan. Morris County Emergency Management Coordinator Rick Loock said a temporary shelter is being prepared. Once the cats are removed, they will be thoroughly examined by veterinarians and taken to their new home.

“The well-being of those animals and the lady who lives in the house are our number one priority,” said Loock, who credited township health officer Diane Trocchio with opening a dialogue with Oughton and taking steps to try and help clean up her house. Oughton has lived in Chester Township since 2005, according to documents. The house was up for sheriff’s sale last year, but Oughton paid back taxes in January, canceling the sale. Oughton, who has declined comment, refused to leave the residence and remains there with an adult daughter and the cats. Trocchio said she does not have authority to condemn the house unless there is a public health issue.

the round house on stilts

It’s a round house

It’s on stilts.

It’s on Heartbeat Rd.

I don’t know much else

an ostrich? in jersey?

I know this is a pet and not a farm animal because this was not a farm.

Jersey’s Bat Hibernaculum

There are nine species of bats that can be found in NJ, six of which stay here year round. Caves are their natural habitat but are become increasingly disturbed by human contact, leaving them unsuitable for them to hibernate in.   Abandoned mines and tunnels are rarely entered by people because of their relative lack of safety, and are now their preferred place to remain during the winter.
The Hibernia Mine in Rockaway Township, Morris County was first used by bats in the 1930s. Thrillseekers and explorers persisted in entering the mine, leading to attempts to seal the mine. Doing so would seal it off from the bats as well, making this an unsuitable solution.

Enter the Bat Gate

In 1994,  the Endangered and Nongame Species Program was able to install a bat gate, which is a specialized gate that keeps people out but lets bats freely enter and exit. The mine is now part of the Wildcat Ridge Wildlife Mangement Area, and an estimated 30,000 bats call the mine home. During the months of July & August the bats can be seen at dusk leaving the mine by the thousands. Bat watching has become so popular that watch stands were installed to give people a comfortable place to view from.

There is a geocache here.

hope he didn’t store the gifts in there…

towns balking at cost of Superfund cleanup costs

towns feel unfairly burdened by settlement

For decades, starting back in the 1940s, garbage trucks servicing parts of northern New Jersey rumbled into the landfill to dump household trash and industrial waste. The landfill had been a disposal site for many of the area’s corporations and most surrounding towns from the 1940s until 1981, when it was closed and became a federal Superfund site due to soil and groundwater contamination with pollutants such as benzene, ethylbenzene, toluene and chlorethane.

A cleanup has been under way for decades, with a total cost estimated at upwards of $100 million. After the landfill was closed, trash trucks were gone, only to be replaced by soil-hauling trucks involved in the extensive environmental remediation. Now, there’s a $100 million lawsuit settlement under way over the cleanup that would require hundreds of users of the dump to share in the costs of the remediation, in order to reimburse the state and federal governments. The settlement is as much about the future as it is about the past. The pact also would raise funds to pay for the cleanup for the next 30 years.

However, Chester and Washington townships, which have borne the brunt of having a landfill/Superfund site, are balking at the pact, because it would require each town to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars as their share of the settlement. Short and Chester Township Mayor Bill Cogger say enough is enough. “We were on the western front (of New Jersey landfills) since the 1940s,” Short said. “We’ve been putting up with this anguish and grief for decades. We’ve paid our dues. It doesn’t seem fair to make us pay.”

But the towns also are balking at the possibility of losing out on future revenue from the landfill, should it ever be sold years from now for some sort of development. There’s a precedent for landfills having new life. After the former Combe Fill North landfill in Mount Olive was cleaned up, it went from pariah to hot real estate. In 2006, Mount Olive had foreclosed on it and sold the landfill site for $10 million to real-estate giant the Rockefeller Group, the same developer of the International Trade Zone center in Mount Olive. Now, with Combe Fill South, the state DEP has put a $2 million Spill Act lien on that landfill, and the federal EPA is expected to place its own Superfund lien on the land, so that if it ever ends up foreclosed or sold, the liens would have to first be paid, said Rick Engel and Mary Ellen Halloran, who are attorneys with the state Attorney General’s Office handling the settlement.

Once the Combe Fill South cleanup is done, Chester and Washington, which have their own liens on the site, could try to foreclose on it and sell it to recoup their own losses, as Mount Olive had done. While the government liens take precedence, the DEP and EPA are trying to work out an agreement with the towns over any possible future proceeds, Halloran said. “The folks in Chester and Washington are eyeing that (potential future) windfall (from a landfill sale), and the EPA and DEP are eyeing that windfall,” Halloran said. Cogger said, “We were told if we didn’t agree to the settlement, they would put a Superfund lien on it (and) unless we agree to give up any tax revenues and proceeds from any sale in the future.”

While future development of the landfill is only a hypothetical possibility at this point, the subject has become a bone of contention in the settlement. U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas, sitting in Newark, has issued an order for officials from the two towns and federal officials to appear at a hearing on Jan. 29 to discuss each party’s respective lien rights in connection with any proceeds from future site development. Ultimately, both mayors concede they may have little choice but to go along with the settlement, because to do otherwise could leave the towns left as the only remaining defendants in the lawsuit, and thus entirely liable. “If push comes to shove, I may have to agree to protect the town, but it’s a travesty,” Cogger said.

UFO hoaxers get $250 fine

and they have to do 50 hours of community service too

Two New Jersey men who staged a UFO hoax will have more earthly pursuits, such as picking up trash from the side of the road. A judge fined Chris Russo, of Morris Plains, and Joe Rudy, of Chester Township, $250 each and ordered them to perform 50 hours of community service.

Authorities say the pair triggered a flurry of 911 calls when they lit road flares tied to helium balloons and released them in central New Jersey in January and February. The men said they did it to trick people who believe in UFOs. They posted details of their exploits on a Web site on April Fools’ Day. The prosecutor charged them with disorderly conduct, saying the balloons could have interfered with air traffic and posed a potential fire hazard.

Tripod Rock

Tripod Rock is a 170 ton rock balanced on 3 small boulders. There are many tripod rocks in the US but this is the largest. Geologists say it was left there during the retreat of the glaciers thousands of years ago, however it does line up along magnetically lines, and the summer solstice sets thru a small notch in the rock. Coincidence? The site held a spiritual significance for the local Indians, and even today for the spiritually inclined.

There is a geocache here

NJ Skylands article complete with hiking directions



It is a good 30 minute hike to get to Tripod Rock, over rugged terrain. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under 11 or for dogs, although I’ve seen both on my trip there. Nearby to the North is Whale Rock, and to the SE is Bareroke aka Bear Rock, shown below) They are much more mundane. Nothing weird, just two reallllly giant boulders left by retreating glaciers thousands of years ago.