LIVINGSTON, NJ — Monday was an evening of celebration for the Township of Livingston as the governing body, at its final council meeting of 2016, honored a number of citizens and organizations for their contributions to the township over the past year and their anticipated future contributions.

Mayor Al Anthony congratulated a group of young students on their efforts to restore the declining population of monarch butterflies by planting native milkweed and nectar plants to provide habitats for “the monarch and pollinators in locations where people live, work, learn, play and worship.”

In declaring Dec. 19 as Monarch Pledge Day in Livingston, Anthony noted that 20 years ago, more than one billion Eastern monarch butterflies migrated to Mexico, but that in the winter of 2014, only 60 million made the trip. Livingston students encouraged the community to help restore the Monarch Butterfly population at a recent council meeting. (Click HERE for story.)

Sign Up for E-News

Gary Schwartz, chair of the Livingston Environmental Commission, was also honored at the meeting for helping with the Orchard Park project, the township’s Complete Streets program and Bike Livingston as well as helping the township achieve Clean Communities grants.

The new Orchard Hill hiking trail, now located near the Livingston Senior/Community Center was officially opened Monday with a celebratory ribbon cutting. (Click HERE for story.) Anthony commended Schwartz for improving the lives of township residents by contributing to their health, safety and knowledge of the environment.

In introducing a new initiative that Anthony said would annually spotlight a Livingston organization that has made a distinct contribution to the residents of the community, the mayor commended the Livingston Lions Club for its efforts in recycling eyeglasses for those with sight problems and for sponsoring events like the township’s Easter Egg Hunt.

Livingston Lions Club president Nalit Patel said that Camp Marcella is being conducted under the leadership of the Lions’ Leos unit for young people, into which five new members were inducted on Monday. Bill Edge, Essex County regional chairman of Lions International, said the Livingston chapter began on Jan. 25, 1946, and that the Lions recycle 300,000 pairs of eyeglasses each year.

Edge, noting that the Lions organization is celebrating 100 years of service in 2017, said that the organization’s efforts to contribute to sight projects began when Helen Keller termed the organization “The Knights of the Blind.”

During the meeting, the mayor introduced Livingston Police Sgt. Joseph Fusco, who is leading the township’s “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign to combat driving while impaired.

Fusco, noting that 181 children were killed last year due to drunk drivers, said that Livingston police will have both roving patrols and fixed checkpoints to stop drivers suspected of driving under the influence from now until Jan. 1.

The sergeant said that prevention is the most effective way to prevent drunk-driving accidents and added that enforcement is the best way to accomplish that.

Among the others honored at Monday’s meeting was retiring Livingston Planning Board member William Kimmell, who the mayor acknowledged for his eight years of service to the township. According to Anthony, Kimmell’s efforts to keep big businesses within limits contributed to the good of Livingston during his years on the board.

To read more about this meeting, where the council tabled a proposed parking ordinance after residents opposed it, click HERE