On Saturday, Sept. 17, the Open Space Pace will be coming back to Freehold Raceway for its fifth annual Parade and Festival! The Open Space Pace is a nonprofit organization with a mission to celebrate the horse, New Jersey’s official state animal, and to promote open space in our nation’s most densely populated state, the great state of New Jersey. The Open Space Pace raises funds in support of non-profit organizations that promote open space in New Jersey.

The scheduled events for the day will begin at 10:30 AM with a parade of horses from the Monmouth County Hall of Records to Freehold Raceway. We are proud to announce that the Grand Marshal for this year’s event is New Jersey State Senator Jennifer Beck. Senator Beck has continuously supported legislation that would expand casino gaming at racetracks that would increase purses for the horse racing industry resulting in a stronger equine industry and more open space. The parade features the Freehold Township High School and Middletown High School North Marching Bands, antique cars and various equine groups. Once at the racetrack, the festival begins with an opening ceremony followed by a wide variety of entertainment including a petting zoo, educational exhibits, live harness racing, vendor tables, food trucks and much more. Throughout the day, the Open Space Pace will have several college scholarship drawings. Any college student in attendance with a valid student ID will be eligible to enter the drawing for a scholarship. The CentraState Healthcare Foundation will offer health screening and fitness demonstrations on stage throughout the day. A concert featuring The Eddie Testa Band will begin at 1pm followed by Burlap to Cashmere at 4:30pm. The Open Space Pace has entertainment and activities that cater to all ages, so bring the whole family for a day of free, fun-filled excitement!

The Open Space Pace is a perfect event for many occasions and gatherings, including corporate parties, family reunions and many other types of social or professional gatherings. The Open Space Pace is an entirely free event thanks to the generosity made possible by its sponsors. We at the Open Space Pace greatly appreciate our sponsors and continue to seek additional supporters of any kind. The event raises funds from sponsorships, ad journal sales, tailgate space sales and vendor booth sales. If you wish to support the Open Space Pace, or obtain more information, please contact Brett Taft at 732-577-4059 or by email at BTaft@umh.com

We hope to see you at the event!

TINTON FALLS – In about four years, Monmouth County could have its first permanent residences for military veterans in need of housing.

The Massachusetts-based “Soldier On,” a nonprofit group that fights homelessness in the veterans community, laid out its concept for a series of co-op units on 12-1/2 acres on Essex Road at a press conference Tuesday.

“Fifty to 100 (units) is what we set as our goal,” said Jim Scalise, Soldier On’s engineer.

Based on 75 units, or the middle of the goal, the project is estimated to cost $16 million, Scalise said. The project is being built on open land donated by the borough.

The Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Village at Tinton Falls – named after the wounded Vietnam War Army veteran, advocate for disabled vets and former acting secretary of the federal Department of Veterans Affairs – also would provide various services, such as education and employment opportunities.

“It ends homelessness for veterans forever,” said John F. “Jack” Downing, president and chief executive officer of Soldier On. “Why? We provide services where you live.

“We want to integrate people into a whole life,” Downing said. “We want them to be a part of the fabric of the community.”

There are an estimated 30 homeless veterans in Monmouth County, with dozens in the broader area, according to those at the press conference. On any given day in America, there are 57,000 homeless veterans, according to Soldier On.

In New Jersey, Soldier On serves eight counties: Monmouth, Ocean, Burlington, Mercer, Middlesex, Hudson, Essex and Bergen.

Theoretically, Veterans Village would be open to any qualifying veteran, even beyond these eight counties, but Soldier On said normally vets would come from within 25 miles.

The conceptual plan now has the co-op units in five two-story buildings. The buildings could vary in number of units, Scalise said. The 450-square-feet units would include a living room, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom.

Soldier On has a half-dozen similar facilities either already operating or in development in New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. In Monmouth County, Soldier On is only in the beginning stages of reviewing the land and looking at financing. Scalise said the Veterans Village could be running in about four years.

Veterans Village would be the result of work initiated by the Fort Monmouth Economic Revitalization Authority (FMERA), formed to transition the base, which closed in 2010, into a civilian area.

This is a what housing for military veterans in need could look like when built in Tinton Falls. The actual determination of what the project looks like will be made based on suitability of the property and other factors.

This is a what housing for military veterans in need could look like when built in Tinton Falls. The actual determination of what the project looks like will be made based on suitability of the property and other factors.

“Soldier On is coming to Monmouth County,” said Lillian G. Burry, a member of the county Board of Freeholders and head of FMERA’s Veterans’ Affairs Committee. “It’s been a long journey, about five years. We tried different sites, nothing came about.”

Burry credited her husband, Donald, a retired Coast Guard captain, with urging her to continue finding housing for homeless veterans.

“Don Burry said, ‘Don’t give up,’” said Burry, as she opened the press conference at Eagle Oaks Golf and Country Club in Howell. “No, I didn’t give up.”

The project took the recent turn in the right direction when Tinton Falls Mayor Gerald M. Turning Sr., who was born at Fort Monmouth, came up with the Essex Road property, Burry said.

“It was perfect,” Downing said.

Congressman Chris Smith, a veterans advocate, said housing was “the common plea for those left behind” as veterans.

Smith thanked Burry for “her extraordinary leadership” in getting the housing for vets this far. The congressman calls Downing a “true innovative leader” who has provided “fine, safe, affordable” housing to veterans.

“There’s a passion to serve veterans in this community,” Downing said.

Various officials attended the press conference, including Turning, FMERA Chair James V. Gorman, state Senator Jennifer Beck, Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone and county Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni. Gramiccioni, who was born at Fort Monmouth, is a lieutenant commander in the Navy Reserve.

Normally, this type of project is funded by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development money distributed by the state, Scalise said. A veteran would buy a share of the property at $2,500 and pay $1,025 a month in rent.

As a cooperative, Veterans Village would pay property taxes – and qualify as “affordable housing” for the borough. Soldier On would run Veterans Village.

The site, which sits between Asbury Avenue and the sharp bend of Essex Road at the Garden State Parkway, is now zoned “Continuing Care Retirement Community,” said Borough Council President Gary A. Baldwin. It was unclear at this time whether Veterans Village complied with the zoning or would need a variance.

“Our job is to work with them,” said Baldwin, a retired Air Force captain. “We don’t anticipate any problem.”

“At Soldier On, our goal is to give our very best to our veterans,” Downing said. “Our job is to serve veterans, not anything more than that.”

Congratulations to former Monmouth County Freeholder Frank Self, who was recently elected Municipal Chairman for the Tinton Falls Republican County Committee! Tinton Falls has been a “so-called” non-partisan Borough for several years now and has been relatively inactively. Frank said: “He was inspired to become more involved because of the encouragement received from Monmouth County Chairman Shaun Golden, Senator Jen Beck, and County Vice Chairman Joe Haddon.”

Mr. Self said :” I have observed the tremendous job that Joe Hadden has done in another “so-called” non-partisan town –Ocean Township. Our Chairman Shaun Golden says that elections are won from the bottom up and that my first and foremost job is to recruit hard-working Committeemen and Committeewomen into our unfilled districts.”

Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11) and Assemblyman Declan O’Scanlon (R-13) offered the following statement reacting to news of a constitutional amendment to expand gaming in the State of New Jersey:

“Upon news that the Legislature will be hearing proposals for a constitutional amendment, we cannot offer any support to a gaming expansion proposal that does not dedicate a portion of revenues to the horse racing industry. The horse racing industry is an important part of gaming in New Jersey, and we must fight to make sure it remains so.”

With plan in place, bids expected to be written by late Summer, awarded in Fall 2015

Senator Jennifer Beck (R-11), Monmouth County Freeholder Tom Arnone, and Neptune Committeeman Randy Bishop issued a statement today announcing that the New Jersey Department of Transportation’s (NJDOT’s) Office of Maritime Resources has provided a working timeline for dredging the State channels of the Shark River.

“While the effort to dredge the State channels of the Shark River has gone on for over 20 years, I am pleased to see tangible movement, and the announcement of a timeline on when we can expect to see progress on this vital project for my district, and the region. Sediment sampling is already completed, with the data in review. NJDOT’s Office of Maritime Resources are drafting the permit plans and preparing bid documents to go out by late Summer.” said Beck.

“With cooperation from our local communities, who see the importance of this project, we have made this project closer to a reality than it ever has been before. NJDOT has already conducted site visits at the proposed areas offered by local municipalities where the material can be dewatered. The project may take up to two years since there are certain parameters National Marine Fisheries has in place around when you are able to do this type of work, but will be well worth it.” said Freeholder Arnone.

These estimates are all subject to the bid process requirements, the award of a feasible low bid and the project running smoothly.

“The NJDOT and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) have taken substantive, affirmative steps to getting Shark River’s State channel dredged and I believe we have all worked together to bring this project further than it is has ever been in recent history. This is a large project, with approximately 106,000 cubic yards of material to be dredged and requires communication and cooperation from the local municipalities, of which I am happy to provide” concluded Neptune Committeeman Randy Bishop.

“Our lives have been forever changed since the tragic terrorist attacks of 12 years ago this morning. Although our great nation and communities have grown stronger, there are still scars that remind us each day of those on the planes, those in the buildings and those brave first responders who rushed into perilous situations to save complete strangers. Continue reading

Tuesday night, Senator Jennifer Beck, Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini and Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande accepted the Republican nominations for the 11th  Legislative District. The state’s first all female legislative ticket will seek reelection Tuesday, November 5th.

“Mary Pat, Caroline and I are honored to accept our party’s nomination,” Beck said. “We are dedicated to representing our constituents to the best of ability and we look forward to the voters returning us toTrentonto continue advocating for their needs. We take no election lightly and we plan on running a vigorous campaign.”

Beck, Angelini and Casagrande were first elected as a ticket to the 11th District in 2011. Beck, a former Red Bank Councilwoman, currently sits on the Senate Budget Committee, Casagrande, an attorney, sits on the Assembly Appropriations Committee. Angelini, the Executive Director of Prevention First, serves as the Deputy Conference Leader and sits on the Health and Senior Services Committee.

“I am humbled by the support I received from the primary voters and I look forward to a spirited campaign this November that focuses on the important issues facing our state,” said Angelini.  ”Working with Governor Christie, we have made great strides in reformingNew Jerseybut we have a lot of work to do to make our state affordable.”

“Running for re-election to the Assembly is a tremendous honor that I do not take lightly” says Casagrande.  “I, along with my running mates Senator Beck and Assemblywoman Angelini, will continue to fight for women, men, families and the hardworking taxpayers of New Jersey to make our state more affordable and the best place to live.”

The 11th District is comprised of Allenhurst, Asbury Park, Colts Neck, Deal, Eatontown, Freehold Borough, Freehold Township, Interlaken, Loch Arbour, Long Branch, Neptune, Neptune Township, Ocean Township Red Bank, ShrewsburyBorough,ShrewsburyTownship, TintonFalls, West Long Branch.

Senator Jennifer Beck (R-Monmouth) lauded an Assembly panel for advancing her bill, S2505, which facilitates fair flood insurance settlements and hold insurance companies accountable to state laws.

“It is absolutely unacceptable that thousands of Monmouth County families have been without a home since Sandy struck, having received slow responses or low ball offers from flood insurers,” Beck said. “Politics should not block this bill allowing  swift recovery for Superstorm Sandy victims being neglected or shortchanged by their insurance companies. I thank the Assembly for getting the ball rolling today.”

Beck introduced S2505 in January to hold New Jersey licensed flood insurers accountable to state laws. The bill specifies that, though flood insurance is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the actual claims process must adhere to New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) laws and regulations.   It also establishes a process for DOBI to enforce provisions of what is referred to as the “Unfair Practice Act” that outlaw unfair or unreasonably delayed settlements.

“Let’s forget the politics that are preventing Republican bills from advancing,” Beck urged. “Legislation like this is simply good public policy and should be treated accordingly in the Senate, I urge the Senate leadership to act on this bill swiftly. Victims of Sandyshould not have to suffer further at the hands of flood insurers.”

Beck’s bill was introduced in January and has been referred to the Senate Commerce Committee. The Assembly version, introduced in February, was passed by the lower house’s Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee.

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