vernonweb Winter/Fall 99 Local News
Crash: VPD Patrol Car, Civilian Vehicle

1/18/00 Vernon Police Officer William Weiss suffered a wrist injury when his patrol car collided with a car driven by McAfee resident Elizabeth Pace on Monday. The accident occurred at 8:55 AM on Lake Shore Drive in Lake Glenwood.

Police said the collision ensued at a curve on the icy road when Pace, 51, lost control of her car.

Police Officer Weiss was treated for his injury at St. Anthony's Hospital.


What's This?!  Legends Didn't Pay Taxes??

1/13/00 Vernon Township Manager Meredith Robson has disclosed that Legends Resort and Country Club did not pay $406,000 from its 1999 tax bill as agreed. The hotel's property taxes are assessed at appx. $15 Million.

A shutdown of the hotel was averted in 1998 when the town agreed to a last minute tax-payment schedule.

Legends execs are reportedly now taking steps to refinance the hotel's mortgage. The three restaurants operated by the hotel have been given summonses because their retail food establishment licenses expired in November '99.

Town officials commented to the effect that township property owners will have to pay for the shortfall (amount not yet known) in the Y2000 budget.

And what was that item about Mountain Creek - something about temporary structures not being subject to property tax?


Bad Crash on Vernon Crossing

1/12/00 Vernon resident Christina DiMatteo, 19, was seriously injured Monday night in a car crash which occurred on Vernon Crossing Road. Also injured were Vernon residents Fran Boltz,61, and Bruce Hinchman,43.

Police said the crash occurred when Vernon Township volunteer firefighter Timothy Lemin,24, lost control of his pickup truck while enroute to the firehouse in response to an alarm. Lemin's pickup reportedly sideswiped the vehicle carrying Boltz and Hinchman, then crashed into DiMatteo's car.

Lemin was treated at St. Clare's for a minor ankle injury, while Boltz was treated for knee and chest injuries at St. Anthony's, as was Hinchman (minor injuries).

DiMatteo suffered multiple trauma injuries and was listed in serious but stable condition at Morristown Memorial Hospital.


Let It Snow…Please…

1/8/00 Skiers across the nation hope that The Season is off to a slow start, and that (unlike last year's slow start) the snow will fall and the slope conditions will improve any day now.

Meanwhile, ski resorts from Vernon to the Rockies are offering discounts, rebates and "disappointment refunds" to skiers who might otherwise be tempted to head for Canada or Europe, where snow abounds and currency exchange rates (especially for Canada) are very favorable.

According to the Wall St. Journal, bookings at Canadian resorts doubled last winter and have already doubled that number this winter. Whistler-Blackcomb (IntraWest) in British Columbia, where ski visits rose by 25% last year, reports good current snow conditions and a 14% increase in revenue from season passes.

Across the entire U.S., snow accumulation is way below normal and some ski resorts have not even opened yet.

In Vernon, Mountain Creek and Hidden Valley are open and are weathering the non-storm by means of their incomparable and deservedly famous snowmaking expertise.

So, Vwebster Skiers/Boarders , be of good cheer, pray for snow, and beware of hype from ski resorts in other states and related weasel deals from ski travel agents. Check out Vernon conditions first - as opposed to wasting your money and wrecking your skis on some faraway, rock-ridden slope.


New TC Members Sworn In

1/3/99  John Logan, Janet Morrison and Ira Weiner were sworn in on Sunday as the new members who will join James Kilby and Howard Burrell on the Vernon Town Council. John Logan was unanimously chosen to be the mayor, and Janet Morrison was unanimously chosen to be deputy mayor.

Click to: Full Text of Mayor John Logan's Remarks

Board appointments so far:
Zoning - Glen McLaughlin, David Langer (alt)
Planning - John Logan, Greg Haynes, Ira Weiner,John O'Connor, Paul Emilius (alt)
Environmental - Austin Carew, Wolfgang Pfeifer, Andrew Borisuk, Craig Williams
Local Assistance - Dan Borstad, Janet Morrison
Recreation - Greg Haynes

Very Best Wishes to all new TC members and appointees.
BTW, you gotta love that *amazing* Enviro Bd...


*PHEW*

1/2/00  Technologically, Y2K rolled in with a whimper, not a bang - experts now hope that any problems after Monday's power-up of bigbiz systems will be isolated and not catastrophic. All Best Wishes For A Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year, VWebsters!


Jayson Vreeland Found Guilty Of Murder

12/23/99 The 11-day trial of Jayson Vreeland, accused of killing Giorgio Gallara and Jeremy Giordano, ended yesterday when the the jury found him guilty of murdering Giorgio Gallara. It was also the jury's verdict that Vreeland was guilty of the aggravated manslaughter of Jeremy Giordano, and of felony murder, robbery, burglary and unlawful posession of a handgun.

Vreeland faces life in prison for killing Gallara, 30 years for killing Giordano, 20 years for robbery and 10 years for burglary.


Y2K Liability: Local Govt's Off The Hook
12/22/99  This week Gov. Whitman signed a bill (A-2511)which gives immunity to NJ local governments from any lawsuits which may arise from Y2K-related injuries.


TV Flap At Vreeland Trial

12/22/99 A local tv station's camera and microphone were ousted from the Vreeland trial courtroom yesterday while presiding Superior Court Judge Lorraine Parker quizzed jurors re: reports that they had appeared on television Monday.

Identifying jurors in this way during a trial is Not Done.

The flap started when three jurors told the judge that their families had seen them on tv. Mountain Broadcasting Corp. representatives denied that jurors had appeared on tapes televised by UHF channel 63, the only station broadcsting the trial.

BTW, puzzled NY VWebsters: (a)No, this jury is not sequestered, which is how they got to discuss the case with their families, and (b) Yes, photographers and tv broadcasters are allowed to ply their trade in the courtroom.


Rickey Farm Gets Static From Town Gov't, County Aggies
12/21/99  Pursuing a complaint filed by Vernon officials , the county's Agricultural Development Board has decided that the campouts and music fests at Rickey Farm are not farm-based recreational activities.

Town officials said that their complaint stemmed from worries about personal injury liability, parking, safety and sanitation at the popular events. As a result of the county decision, they may soon order a stop to the farm's activities.

Farm owner Jamie Rickey said he would appeal the decision to the NJ State Agricultural Development Board.

Farm-based recreational activities - what a concept! Consider it in light of the severe economic depression created for retailers and innkeepers around Bethel NY ever since that Woodstock unpleasantness... all because of thoughtless NY farmer Max Yazgur...
But wait, are carnival rides a farm-based recreational activity?


Vreeland Case Goes To The Jury
12/21/99 On Monday, closing arguments were heard in the murder case vs. Jayson Vreeland, accused of killing Jeremy Giordano and Giorgio Gallara in April 1997.

The defense painted a picture of Vreeland as an insecure 17-yr.-old who, stoned out of his mind, sought to impress Thomas Koskovich by puppying along for the ambush of the two pizza deliverymen. They argued that Vreeland never intended to kill anyone and was under the influence of barbiturates at the time.

Earlier this year, Koskovich was convicted of the infamous thrill-killing and has been sentenced to be put to death.

Vreeland's defense has asked the jury to consider acquittal or, conceding his reckless conduct, a guilty verdict on lesser charges of manslaughter.

Prosecutors painted Vreeland as a stone killer and argued that, throughout the planning and commission of the crime, Vreeland's acts did not indicate that the operation of his mind was impaired by drugs.

The prosecution has asked for a guilty verdict on charges of murder.


T O W E R Saga Update...

12/14/99  The TC has turned its attention to a parcel of land near Lake Panorama as a possible site for the long-awaited communications tower. The aforementioned property is owned by Hopat Land Corp.

If Hopat and the township cannot come to terms re: purchase of the property, the town may institute condemnation proceedings.


Murder Case vs. Vreeland Proceeds

The trial of Jayson Vreeland,20, began this week in Superior Court, Newton.

Vreeland is accused of slaying Giorgio Gallara,25, and Jeremy Giordano, 22.
The April 23,1997 double homicide has since gained notoriety as "the Pizza murders."

Vreeland's criminal confederate, Thomas Koskovich, has already been convicted for his part in the thrill-killing of the two pizza deliverymen. Koskovich has been sentenced to be put to death.

So far, eleven witnesses have given evidence in the case against Vreeland, including medical examiner's evidence which tends to show that Giorgio Gallara was killed by a bullet from Vreeland's gun.


Cat Killer Gets 90 Days in Psych Hospital

McAfee resident Charles Whritenour,36, has been sentenced to 90 days in Greystone for killing, gutting and boiling Gizmo, his cat. Whritenour was arrested after his room-mate/ex-girlfriend Kelli Smith,20, walked in and caught him in the act of eviscerating his victim.

Whritenour has been in Greystone voluntarily since his arrest for the March 5, 1999 crime.


Schoolbus, Car in Vernon Accident- Five Injured

12/8/99  At appx. 8:00AM on Monday, a schoolbus collided with a car at Route 517 and Vernon Crossing. Two of the 38 children on the bus, which was enroute to Glen Meadow School, were taken to St. Anthony's Hospital in Warwick, NY for treatment of injuries. The car's driver and two passengers were taken to St. Clare's Hospital in Sussex. Police said that none of the injuries appeared to be life-threatening.


ALL ABOARD

This just in:The new town council would like to encourage anyone who would like to be appointed to any of the township boards or commissions to send a letter to Meredith Robson at town hall stating their interest and some background as to what they would bring to the position. For those who have always wanted to contribute in some way, this might be a good way to get involved. Meredith Robson will make sure the letters get to the council. The address for town hall is P.O. Box 340, 21 Church Street, Vernon, New Jersey 07462.

Even if there is no spot for you right away, your interest will be noted for future openings.


Radio Tower Site Nixed

12/2/99   The Zoning Board has rejected Wm. Gennaro's application to site a 195-ft. commercial radio tower (rent-free space to town) on his property near Glenwood Road.

The ZB's unanimous decision was met with approval by wildlife preservationists and by owners of properties adjacent to the proposed tower site, but Vernon PD officials were disappointed by the vote.
Now the quest will resume for a suitable property on which to build the much-needed commmunication tower. Until it is built, portions of the township will remain beyond range of existing police radio capability.

Is there no end to this saga?
Why won't the township find and purchase the right property and have its own tower built to suit the improved communication equipment it has long since purchased? Seems like an appropriate use of public funds...
The police cannot protect and serve the public in areas where radio communication does not work.


Backhoe Trashers Nabbed

12/1/99 Police have charged five local children, all 12-and-13 year old boys, with last month's vandalization of a backhoe owned by EarthTec Associates. The vehicle was parked at a construction site off Vernon Crossing Road at the time. EarthTec's offer of a $1000 reward (for info leading to a collar /conviction) prompted several leads. Police have not specified how the accused perpetrators were discovered.


HL Vandalism & Mischief Unabated By Cold Weather

1/1/99  Jack Frost may be the best policeman, but frosty temperatures have not deterred vandalism in certain sections of Highland Lakes.

Earlier this week, the owners of Plain and Fancy, a candy store at the corner of Rt. 638 and Breakneck Road, found three of their store's thick plexiglass windows smashed. Evidently the windows were battered by very large rocks. This has happened so many times that the store owners said they are considering installation of solid metal pull-down gates for the windows, NYC style. Vandals also broke a window on a private residence not far from the store, an area that has been plagued by mischiefmakers after dark.

It's ten o'clock. Do you know where your children are?


Happy Thanksgiving!
BTW, Benj. Franklin wanted to make the turkey our National Bird instead of the eagle.
See? Even in colonial times, Americans were obsessed with food.

"THE TURKEY SHOT OUT OF THE OVEN"
A THANKSGIVING POEM
by Jack Prelutsky

The turkey shot out of the oven
and rocketed into the air,
it knocked every plate off the table
and partly demolished a chair.

It ricocheted into a corner
and burst with a deafening boom,
then splattered all over the kitchen,
completely obscuring the room.

It stuck to the walls and the windows,
it totally coated the floor,
there was turkey attached to the ceiling,
where there'd never been turkey before.

It blanketed every appliance,
It smeared every saucer and bowl,
there wasn't a way I could stop it,
that turkey was out of control.

I scraped and I scrubbed with displeasure,
and thought with chagrin as I mopped,
that I'd never again stuff a turkey
with popcorn that hadn't been popped.

Thanx to VWebster J. McC. of Poultney, VT for sending us this immortal rhyme.
Park Bond Ordinance Gets Thumbs Up

11/22/99 The $1.2 mil bond ordinance for construction of a town park on Maple Grange Road was approved at last night's Vernon TC meeting. Environmental studies of the 182-acre property, owned by Edward Fagan, are still underway.


The Cost of Running for SC Freeholder

11/22/99 According to published reports of campaign spending for the Nov.2 ,1999 Freeholder election, winner Howard Burrell (D) outspent Dick Durina (R) by a country mile.

The campaign finance reports, filed at the county clerk's office on Monday, show that the Burrell camp spent $41,000. and the Durina camp spent $23,000.

Burrell beat Durina by 510 votes.


Uh Oh... Impact Fees for Builders?

11/21/99 If legislation re: residential construction impact fees is passed in the NJ Assembly, towns (Vernon!) will have the option of charging impact fees for new housing construction. Opponents of the measure warn that such fees will be passed along to homebuyers, thus pricing many folks out of the market.

Legislators acknowledge that colossal school funding requirements associated with new housing (i.e. young families settling in a given town) are the impetus for the impact fee bill, which many see as a deterrent to further residential development in the state.

§[editorial rant

Meanwhile, in what should be a related story, an annual study of NJ state income tax returns revealed that nearly half of all income earners residing in NJ are in the $100,000.+ bracket. . Nearly half! Including appx. 7,000 of the nation's top 2.7 million richest people, whose earnings will equal the earnings of the bottom 100 million taxpayers.

Workaday stiffs feel NJ's triple tax bite most keenly - the income, sales and property tax (pays for schools) burden rests disproportionately on their shoulders. (BTW the NJ courts have said that use of the property tax for school funding is unconstitutional.) See '97 VWeb editorial rant re: the property tax.

About ¼ of the earnings in NJ go to those making $50,000. to $100,000., and the remaining ¼ must be eating bread and jelly for supper if they ever hope to own a home.

But suggest an income tax increase for the richest 10% of NJerseyans and there'll be political blood on the moon.


2 Injured In Schoolbus/Car Accident

11/21/99 Two children, passengers on a schoolbus enroute to Lounsberry Hollow Middle School in Vernon, were injured when the bus was rear-ended by a car Friday morning on Rt. 515. The bus was not equipped with passenger seat belts.

The two children were treated at St. Clare's Hosp. in Sussex and released thereafter. No other injuries were reported. It is believed that sunglare may have interfered with the car driver's ability to see the flashing schoolbus lights. The car was totalled.


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No Action Re: Historic Pres. Rules

11/16/99 At their workshop meeting last night, the TC did not take any action on the town's historic preservation law. Both sides of the Owner Veto question reiterated their positions at the TC's workshop mtg. last night. The Historic Preservation Committee's designation of the Sea Captain's House as a landmark/preservation building (despite owner Ralph Carnissecchi's objection) has given rise to discussion of whether or not the owners of designated buildings have any say in the matter.

See VWeb Past News, click on Sea Captain's/Ralph's House link.


Vreeland Trial To Begin

11/16/99  Jury selection has begun in the capital case vs. Jayson Vreeland, who will be tried (Superior Court, Newton) for his role in the "pizza murders," a thrill-killing which took the lives of pizza deliverymen Jeremy Giordano and Giorgio Gallara in 1997.

Vreeland's confederate, Thomas Koskovich, was tried and found guilty earlier this year and has been sentenced to be put to death for his part in the killings.

Vreeland's trial is to begin in early December. If convicted he will not face the sentence of death because he was a minor at the time of the murders.


Equipment Trashed, Reward Offered

11/16/99 A backhoe belonging to Earth Tech engineering company was seriously damaged by vandals sometime between Saturday and Tuesday, police said.

The backhoe, which was found with its windows smashed and with sand dumped into its fuel tank, had been parked at a work site off Vernon Crossing Road when the vandal attack occurred.

Earth Tech is offering $1000. for info leading to the arrest/conviction of the perpetrators.


Mountain Creek Construction Update

11/12/99 Go Here for the current Mountain Creek rebuilding/building plan.


Heads Up, MS Outlook Users

11/11/99 For the first time an e-mail virus can be activated without the need to open an attachment from a message. VBS/BubbleBoy is a "proof-of-concept" e-mail worm that is spread via MS Outlook e-mail.

This Article includes links to security patches.


Situating The Future 07462 P.O. -Your Tax Dollars At Work

11/9/99 The Vernon TC has voted up a resolution re: the best site choices for the future Vernon P.O.
First choice : on the proposed town center street (the loop road); second choice: the site across from the municipal building. This means the TC members have designated a parcel that doesn't exist and a parcel that may be declared off-limits because of historical preservation.

The Vernon P.O. has renewed its lease in the D&S Mall for another two years.


Yet Another GPU/TC Confab Slated

11/9/99 The quest for answers from GPU Energy re: incessant power outages in Vernon will continue on Dec. 6 at 7:15 PM, when townspeople and GPU reps will again foregather at the municipal building . A GPU engineer /Y2K (!!) specialist plus a rep from the Bd. Of Public Works are expected to show their faces.


Vandal Sentenced to Perform Community Service

11/9/99 On July 16, 1999, Matthew Morley, 18, and three teenage confederates vandalized their neighbors' properties in Highland Lakes - and also totalled a 1985 Lincoln by means of brute force. Yesterday Morley was sentenced to 30 hours of community service and 2 years' probation for his role in the all-night trashing spree.


Vernon PD Radio Tower, Part V
For background, see spring/summer '99 VWeb Past News, click on PD TOWER OF POWER, Part IV

11/4/99    It appears that the SpectraSite deal (free tower for town/PD radio, provided commercial rentals to cellulars permitted )has fizzled. Now township resident William Gennaro, property owner of the proposed radio tower site off Glenwood Mtn. Rd., has informed the town Zoning Board that he wants to build a 198 ft. tower (free for town to use , provided commercial rentals to cellulars permitted) of his own.

Several neighbors of the proposed tower site told the Zoning Board that they did not like certain things about the tower, specifically its height, its commercial nature and its potential for bad impact on property values.

More technical data and discussion of Gennaro's proposal is expected at the Dec. 1, 1999 ZB meeting.

Get your bets down ... which of these will be erected first : the entire town park , Mountain Creek's village,
or one police radio tower in the northwest section of town?


11/2/99 Election Results:

Howard Burrell Elected Freeholder

Final tally: Burrell 10,866  Durina 10,365

Weiner, Morrison, Logan Win In Vernon
Vote tallies: Morrison, 2147  Logan, 2208  Weiner, 1770  Vince, 1336
     Howard Burrell


Town Park Bond Proposed

11/2/99 The Vernon TC has introduced a $2.1 million bond issue to purchase property for a town park to be constructed on Maple Grange Road.

The park will have a community center, picnic grove, playground, ampitheatre (!!), swimming pool, five playing fields w/bleachers/lighting, 15 practice fields, 6 tennis courts, 2 basketball courts, 2 volleyball courts, rollerblading path, trails, etc.etc.

$1mil will go for the purchase, $1 mil for development/construction. Second reading of the ordinance will be on Nov.22.

Fabulous! But wait a minute…not enough tennis courts… back to the drawing board…

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