Highlands Economic Development and Tourism Corp.
WEST MILFORD – Calling all hikers. Get your boots and join
us on a fun hike for a great cause.
The second annual “Gromit Hike” to benefit the West Milford Animal Shelter
Society (WMASS) is scheduled for Nov.
7, at 10 a.m. Starting point for the rocky two-mile hike will be on Otter Hole
Road, just south of Weaver Road. The guided out-
and-back route will go to, and slightly beyond, the Stone Living Room,
a manmade grouping of rocks, shaped into sofas and
chairs, set atop a flat overlook. The trail will follow the blue-blazed
Hewitt-Butler Trail up a short, steep hill to the “living room”,
continue to additional viewpoints, and
return by the same route to the starting point.
Numerous overlooks along the route offer lengthy views to the surrounding
towns of Kinnelon and Butler, as well as
longer vistas all the way to New York City. We will stop briefly at several
spots to enjoy the views and to eat a snack.
All proceeds from the hike, which is sponsored by the West Milford Recreation
Department in conjunction with
Highlands Economic Development and Tourism Corp. (HEAT), will once again benefit the
township’s award-winning local animal
shelter. The 2014 hike provided a $500 donation; the 2015 goal is $1,000.
For additional information, visit the HEAT website, www.NJHEAT.org. To register for the hike, or to donate to WMASS,
email info@NJHEAT.org. Meeting and donation instructions will be provided by return email. Suggested donation for each
participant is $25,
but each hiker is encouraged to seek additional donations from family and friends.
Each hiker is advised to wear sturdy
shoes, and carry a backpack with snacks, water, and clothing appropriate to the
conditions. Several guides will make
sure no one gets too far ahead, nor falls behind. Though the hike length is short, the
rewarding views require going
out and back on a steep hill. All participants should be in sufficient physical condition.
WMASS has been honored with
the distinction of being listed as a "Must-See Shelter" in an ASPCA nationally
distributed animal shelter
handbook. West Milford’s shelter is one of only two in New Jersey to receive that distinction. The
a 100% volunteer organization and IRS-recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization.
The West Milford-based HEAT, also
a 501(c)3 non-profit, is dedicated to enhancing the lives of New Jersey residents
affected by the state’s highly
restrictive 2004 Highlands Act, which protects the source of water for more than half of the
Garden State’s residents
by creating severe limitations on building and growth for the 88 towns within the Highlands Zone.
West Milford is the
largest municipality within the zone, and all of the township lies within the stricter of the two Highlands Act
West Milford group hoping to change hearts and minds on town hall displays - NorthJersey.com
A local group is spearheading supplementary celebrations at town hall this year with a view to making them permanent
Economic Development and Tourism Corp. member Jon Sherwood climbs a tree in West Milford’s Veterans Park to string holiday
lights. The local action group donated $1,000 in lights to spur its efforts to make the area around town hall more festive
this holiday season.Earlier this year, West Milford’s governing body chose to limit the local government’s holiday
displays and celebrations to a tree-lighting ceremony and sing-along event, effectively restoring its pre-2012 policy. The
Highlands Economic Development and Tourism Corp., or HEAT, however, has been adamant about continuing the expansion of one
HEAT will join Rabbi Mendy Gurkov of the Chabad Jewish Center in Ringwood for his second annual menorah lighting on town hall
property at 5:15 p.m. Although last year’s policy, which allowed locals to take out permits to place faith-based holiday
displays in front of town hall during the season, is no more, Gurkov was able to secure a permit for the temporary erection
of a menorah on site.
Then, on Dec. 24, HEAT plans to team up with Our Lady of Queen of Peace Church and the local Knights of Columbus to hold
a prayer service and temporarily place a crèche outside town hall.
It is not ideal, according to HEAT Chairman Tim Wagner. However,
it is something to sustain the spirit of community built last year, he said.
The last several months have featured much debate from residents
regarding the brief existence of the policy, and HEAT has been at the center of it. Last month, HEAT proposed its own policy
that added a few restrictions to the 2012 policy, which proved controversial after an atheist banner sparked outrage among
some local Christians before it was destroyed.
During the council’s public meetings, however, there has been no discussion regarding
changes to the policy on the dais. Most township representatives have remained mum, as per the town attorney’s advice.
Council President Lou
Signorino, who is not one of them, recently appealed to the council for the development of a referendum that would allow the
voters to decide whether to expand the holiday display policy once again. His request, however, was met with more silence
from his fellow representatives.
Township Attorney Fred Semrau noted that any decision made this year would not be binding, as the
2014 council would have to approve any referendum placed on a ballot next year.
Still, Wagner said HEAT will not sit idle and wait for that to
necessary, HEAT and its affiliates will start a petition to get a referendum on the ballot," Wagner said.
To do that, HEAT would
need a conforming petition signed by 10 percent of the registered voters from the previous general election in an odd year.
Consequently, HEAT would need nearly 800 voters to get a proposed ordinance on a special or general election ballot –if
the governing body does not approve it first.
Wagner said the residents’ reactions to the celebrations should help to make HEAT’s
case. The upgraded decorations, he said, are just extra.
With the approval of local government officials, HEAT helped brighten up Veterans
Park with $1,000 in white lights for the holiday last week. In total, it draped 16 trees in roughly half a day with the help
of a few ladders, poles, and friends.
to Knights of Columbus from Our Lady of Queen of Peace Church and members of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars council and
American Legion, West Milford Chamber of Commerce Vice President Stu Feldman, Councilwoman Vivienne Erk, and former Councilman
Paul Bailey lent a hand.
North Jersey Media Group Inc.
Kids learn safety at the Bicycle Safety Rodeo