NEWTON, NJ – A day ahead of their usual Wednesday evening bimonthly meeting, the Sussex County Freeholders met instead on Tuesday night May 7, for an evening packed with special proclamations and presentations, for various charities and causes, which are both global, yet intrinsically tied to Sussex County.
There were three proclamations on the agenda, and then one requested to be added by freeholder Phil Crabb, to consider a proclamation for the 100th anniversary of Franklin Borough.
Three of the freeholders read proclamations for the honored groups, posed with the recipients accepting the proclamations on behalf of the organizations, and then those representing the groups had an opportunity to speak.
Freeholder Gail Phoebus presented a proclamation to both Barbara Miller and Shauna Gregory of the Sussex County Youth Services Commission, proclaiming May 9 as “National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day.” The proclamation was to recognize the stigmas associated with mental health issues, and the need to eradicate them.
“The stigma associated with mental health should no longer exist,” Phoebus read.
She then turned to both Miller and Gregory, and said, “You both do a great job.”
Phoebus said the cause hit her heart personally, with some family members struggling with mental health issues. She encouraged meeting attendees to look at the artwork, and tiles on display in the freeholder meeting room, created by youth depicting the way they empower themselves.
Gregory recounted a crisis she endured with her daughter, that was very overwhelming, and to receive the proclamation, she described, as an honor.
The second proclamation was designating the week of May 13 as “Relay for Life Days,” and freeholder Dennis Mudrick presented the proclamation to Hank Pomerantz, with the Relay for Life of Greater Sussex County coming up May 18 and 19. Pomerantz is currently one of the top participants for the event, in which monies raised benefit the American Cancer Society.
Pomerantz said this year also marks the 100th anniversary of the American Cancer Society. He told the audience cancer was a death sentence for his grandparents, and friends of his who have it, are now surviving it.
Freeholder George Graham presented the third proclamation to Lorraine Hentz, Director of Sussex County Senior Services, designating May as “Older Americans Month.”
Hentz said older Americans are being celebrated at an upcoming event at Selective Insurance, with special workshops, and events. There are over 27,000 residents in Sussex County aged 60 and over.
It was during the freeholder comments that Crabb spoke more about the anniversary for Franklin Borough. He said Franklin was more than a mining town, and has strong cultural roots. He said he remembers from his youth, a multicultural town, with orderly streets, and each neighborhood having its own butcher shop. On May 18, there will be a special presentation at Franklin Pond with the official proclamation by the freeholders.
During the first public session, David Fanale was the only citizen to take to the microphone. He had concerns about the resolution regarding sustainable state funding for preservation and stewardship of open space, parks, farmland, and historic sites in New Jersey. Fanale was concerned Sussex County has plenty of space, and may have an inability to attract ratables. He asked the freeholders to give some further consideration before moving forward with the resolution. The freeholders in fact, tabled the resolution for further review.
During freeholder comments, Crabb talked about the Relay for Life, something he was a speaker at last year.
“The first leg of that all night walk was done solely by cancer survivors,” said Crabb.
He said Pomerantz walked the entire night, and the awareness that the event brings changes the whole outcome.
Phoebus noted her attendance at the Vision 20/20 meeting, as well as the 24th district meeting with assemblyman Parker Space, assemblywoman Alison Littell McHose, and senator Steve Oroho.
“They are very willing to work with us,” said Phoebus of the 24th Legislative District.
Graham said he has had great learning opportunities since coming onto the freeholder board, and met with Sussex County Sheriff Michael Strada, to learn more about the jail, and sheriff’s department. Additionally, Graham visited the main library, which will have some refurbishments soon.
Mudrick complimented Sussex County Engineer Walter Cramp for work his office has done.
Sussex County Freeholder Director Rich Vohden talked about the Sussex County Chamber of Commerce’s Family Fest, and all the wellness information available. Vohden mentioned his participation in the pie-throwing contest, as the recipient of the flying pies in the face for charity. Vohden also talked about the legislative update meeting, and its value to the attendees meeting.
Fanale finished up as the only citizen again to speak in the second public session. He told the freeholders how he has attended many seminars recently, and met leaders from all over the state, and is grateful Sussex County does not have the same problems as other parts of the state do. He thanked the freeholders for their accessibility, and the opportunity to speak freely.
An executive session followed, for which Sussex County Administrator John Eskilson said there would be no action taken after it.
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