Sandyston Honors Marie Rath

Sandyston Mayor George Harper Jr. congratulates Marie Rath. Credits: By Jane Primerano

SANDYSTON TOWNSHIP, NJ –- The township committee joined Sussex County in honoring Marie Rath for her volunteer work.

Rath, 82, was named the county’s Senior Citizen of the Year at the New Jersey State Fair - Sussex County Farm & Horse Show. At its meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9, the township committee proclaimed it "Marie Rath Day", in honor of her good works.

Rath runs two ministries. She starts at 7 a.m. picking up donations from Panera Bread, Weis Markets, and EveryThing HomeMade Pastry Shop & Cafe, in Sparta, Newton, and Lafayette, and distributing bread and bagels to the poor in the county. She also picks up produce from Weis Markets once a week. She and three other volunteers repackage the food a the Presbyterian Church.

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Her second ministry, which she started with her husband 12 years ago, distributes furniture to the needy in the county.

“When I found out people didn’t have furniture they needed, I tried to help,” she said.

Sometimes she finds enough to furnish a whole apartment. Other times just a bed or dresser for a family in need.

“I get about 30 calls a week,” she said.

She praises the Kiwanis Club for helping her, but much of the work she does herself.

“I’m a retired opera singer and now I drive a truck,” she said.

Sometimes recipients pick up the furniture themselves, but when they cannot, she often drives it to them herself.

Her motto is, “when you retire, inspire,” she said.

Mayor George Harper Jr. said, “Mrs. Rath is one of the unsung heroes. She’s a dynamo, she never quits. She’s been doing this forever and never asks for recognition. It’s very heartening to see someone give unselfishly. And she’s a sweetheart of a person.”

Post Office Meeting

The US Postal Service decided to reduce the window hours of the Layton Post Office from eight to four each day, based on its score in the “adjusted earned workload range.”

A letter from Ellen Schwarz, the Post Plan Coordinator, to Harper explained the Layton facility was part of ,“an evaluation within the postal retail network to determine the feasibility of realigning the retail window service hours.”

The letter explained, “Customers are increasingly using other venues for their postal needs instead of visiting the facility.”

Schwarz said the evaluation was based on data from the most recent fiscal year.

Harper said that was based on a year when Layton had a full-time postmaster with a large salary and benefits. Now the employee is part-time with no benefits, “so the cost is one-third” of the peak year, Harper said.

The Postal Service is holding a meeting on Friday, Oct. 12, at 5 p.m. at the post office to collect public comment on the proposed reduction of hours.

Ashwood Tavern

In other business, the committee renewed the liquor license for Hainesville Inn, LLC, doing business as the Ashwood Tavern.

It is still an inactive license, but the state Alcoholic Beverage Commission informed the township on Sept. 20, the committee could renew the license if it so chose.

Harper said the owners want to open the tavern and the township is supportive.

“We don’t have much commerce here,” he explained.

The Layton Hotel is due to reopen soon, so six of the township’s seven liquor licenses are active, the mayor added.

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