Space Honored by Freeholders

Freeholder Director Richard Vohden shakes hands with his predecessor Parker Space as Space is honored by his former colleagues. Credits: By Jane Primerano
Melissa Latronica, Director for Community and Youth Services with the county Department of Human Services, introduces the updated menthal health services report. Credits: By Jane Primerano
Dr. Debra Koss, chair of the mental health planning committee, addresses concerns about the duration of medication management appointments. Credits: By Jane Primerano
Freeholder Clerk Elaine Morgan installs new batteries in a microphone so Christine Florio can continue the mental health report. Credits: By Jane Primerano
Lauren Hirtes, chair of the county mental health board, accepts a proclamation from Freeholder Gail Phoebus. Credits: By Jane Primerano

NEWTON, NJ -  Assemblyman Parker Space (R-24) accepted a lamp and a card from his former colleagues on the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders before the regular agenda began at the May 23 meeting.

Looking around at the full meeting room, Space said to Freeholder Director Richard Vohden, “You must be a more popular freeholder director than I was, because I never had so many people here.”  

Many of the people were actually at the meeting to hear a report from the county mental health board. The mental health board provides services to children and adults with mental or drug abuse problems.

Sign Up for E-News

Melissa Latronic, director of community and youth services, said the report was the result of gathering data and applying it to the desired outcomes. 

Christine Florio, who works under Latronic, explained this is actually a plan update started with a 2012 human services needs assessment. They had a focus group report on services as they saw them and reported a perception that there is a severe shortage of individual help. The mental health forum held in January attracted more than 60 participants including police, mental health service personnel, representatives of agencies and health care workers.

Dr. Debra Koss, chair of the mental health planning committee, said mental health services in the county concentrate on outreach, education, collaboration and advocacy.

“We are aware a lack of knowledge and stigma stand in the way of care,” Koss said.

She said the human services department funds any opportunity for education.

One of the concerns brought to light during a survey was that the average visit to a psychiatrist for medication management is only five minutes. Koss said the board must look at what needs to be accomplished in a medication management session. Latronic pointed out there is a shortage of psychiatrists in the county.

Koss also noted “in lean times we must be efficient.” But she said the department will concentrate on early intervention in care of children and teens.

Latronic said the department is working to link services to the rest of the community.

Prior to the presentation by the mental health board, Freeholder Gail Phoebus presented a proclamation designating May “Mental Health Awareness Month,” to Mental Health Board Chair Lauren Hirtes.

The freeholders also appointed Richard A. Laruffa to a vacancy on the Sussex County Community College Board of Trustees.

Laruffa will fill the unexpired term of Patrick Aramini.

In his brief thank you to the board, Laruffa said, “I believe the community college system is even more important now than in the past."

County Administrator John Eskilson complimented the freeholders, past and present, for keeping the board of trustees’ search process “truly independent.”

During the public portion, Helen Wilson LeFrois of the SCCC Foundation Board told the freeholders her board and the trustees held their first joint retreat. She said the foundation is expanding its role from just fundraising to raising awareness of the college. She said the foundation board is seeking out of county participation, since students come from Warren County, as well as Pike and Monroe counties in Pennsylvania.


Follow The Alternative Press for Sussex County News and information, as well as news and information on The Alternative Press of Sussex County's Facebook Page.


TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Sparta Police: Drunk Brooklyn Man Asks Police to Shoot Him

May 20, 2018

SPARTA, NJ – A Brooklyn man was taken for observation when he asked police to shoot him after having crashed his car down an embankment on County Road 517 near the Sparta Middle School.  On May 17 around 2:06 a.m. Sparta Police Officers Brian Porter and Timothy Lynott found Joshua Lindland of Brooklyn asleep in the driver’s seat of a gray Audi against a tree, police ...

Sparta Police: Passengers Face Drug Charges in Traffic Stop

SPARTA, NJ – Two Wantage women face drug charges after the car they were in was stopped for a broken headlight on Route 15.  On May 5 around 2 p.m. Sparta Police Officer Ben Griffin pulled over Alex Torres, 22, driving a white Honda Accord with two passengers, police say.

The officer saw a metal marijuana grinder behind the driver’s seat.  The car and ...

JCP&L Latest Information, Free Ice and Water

SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ – As of 8:47 p.m. JCP&L is reporting 12,745 customers or 22.11 percent, are without power in Sussex County.  In Sparta 2749 or 32 percent remain in the dark.

JCP&L said they anticipate the “vast majority of the remaining customers to be restored to service by late Thursday.”

JCP&L customers without power can get ice and water ...

Republican Party Values

May 21, 2018

Campaigns are interesting things.

Throughout the process, my opponents' supporters have labeled me a "political prostitute", "pimping" a message as a "spokesperson". I've been in a public meeting when referred to as a "lackey" who 
"belongs in a cage like the animal you are".

It's been said directly to me by a ...

Ethical Or Political Stunt

On May 9th Sussex County Freeholder Director Jonathon Rose announced formation of the Sussex County Transparency Committee. A committee established to monitor the ethics of County politicians.  

Alarming is what was left out of this announcement. Besides naming the dynamic duo Lazzaro and Graham, two other names show cause for curiosity. Jonathon never acknowledged, nor did he ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, May 23, 7:00 PM

Livingston Community Center (lower level), Livingston

NJ-11 Congressional Candidates Debate, hosted by ...


Thu, May 24, 6:00 PM

Sparta High School Media Center, Sparta

Sparta High School Art Gala

Arts & Entertainment


Sat, May 26, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market


Sat, May 26, 11:00 AM

Sparta High School Media Center, Sparta

Sparta High School Art Gala

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, May 27, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River



Sat, June 2, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market


Sat, June 9, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Sun, June 10, 1:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Life Along the Wallkil River



Sat, June 16, 9:00 AM

Sparta Health and Wellness parking lot, Sparta

Sparta Farmers Market

Thu, June 21, 2:00 PM

Van Kirk Homestead Museum, Sparta

Summer Afternoon Garden Soiree

Home & Garden

Newton's Petition to Move Election Certified, Tabled to May 30 by Council

May 15, 2018

NEWTON, NJ—The petition to move elections from May to November was certified by the clerk and presented to the Newton Town Council at the meeting on Monday night.  The petition has been circulating since April and was a point of controversy in the recent council election campaigns.

According to the town attorney, the town clerk certified “369 valid signatures of qualified ...

10-Year Old Boy Battling Cancer Receives Generous Donation From Randolph Hockey Family

May 20, 2018

RANDOLPH, NJ- While the inter-town hockey battles on the ice between Randolph and Roxbury are fierce at every age level, when it comes to real life battles off the ice there is no hesitation to offer help to their neighbor.

Such is the case with a recent gesture of unity and support from the Randolph Varsity hockey team, when they came together to deliver good wishes and ...

Is Your First Home Within Your Grasp Now?


Bottom Line

According to the US Census Bureau, ‘millennials’ are defined as 18-36-year-olds.

According to NAR’s latest Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers, the median age of all first-time home buyers is 32.

More and more ‘old millennials’ (25-36) now realize homeownership is within their grasp now!

Are YOU ready for ...

Find Your Dream Home During Our DOUBLE Open House Weekend!

The forecast for this weekend is rain, rain, and more rain---so why not spend your time touring your new home?  Team Nest Builder offers 2 wonderful Open Houses this weekend, PLUS a new listing for you to check out via video tour!

27 Hilltop Trail, Sparta

Step into your own fairytale with this Lake Mohawk, storybook-sweet 3-bedroom, 1.5-bathroom gem! Gather in front of the rustic ...

Help Feed Hungry Sussex County Families Through Foodstock

Did you realize food pantry shortages INCREASE during the summer months? Decreased donations and increased need due to the summer break from school lunch and breakfast programs leave many Sussex County families hungry.  

Enter Foodstock:  an annual spring countywide food drive started 15 years ago through the coordinated efforts of Pass it Along, United Way of Northern New Jersey, ...

3 Tips for Making Your Home-Ownership Dream a Reality


Here's Highlights:

Setting up an automatic savings plan that saves a small amount of every check = one of the best ways to save without thinking much about it.

Living within a budget right now helps you save money for down payments while also paying down other debts holding you back.  What are you willing to cut back on to make your dreams of homeownership ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 15

On this week’s AtlantiCast, learn some important tips for controlling and avoiding diabetes from an Atlantic Health System expert, see how Atlantic Health is advancing cutting-edge research, hear what’s being done to keep health care environmentally friendly and much more!


Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders May 9 video

SUSSEX COUNTY, NJ - Video of the Sussex County Board of Chosen Freeholders May 9 meeting. 


SURVIVING A STROKE: Quick Medical Response Gives Mom Her Life Back

Carotid artery dissection. It’s one of the most common causes of stroke in younger adults.

And while you might not associate the word “stroke” with younger patients, the condition – if not treated immediately – could lead to paralysis and even death.

Lindsey Singh can attest to the importance of immediacy. The 31-year-old mother of two from Flanders experienced ...

Making Matters: Fresh Perspectives in Fine Craft

May 22, 2018

On display are exceptional examples of contemporary crafts by Peters Valley School of Craft’s resident artistic staff and visiting instructors.  The eclectic show features objects in metal, ceramics, fibers, fine metals, photography, woodworking, and mixed media, reflecting the array of courses offered at the school. Opening Reception June 2nd 5-7pm.