Lakewood Briefs

Rep. Smith Amendment calls on Pentagon to Report on Testing of Insects

An amendment proposed by Congressman Chris Smith ordering the Pentagon to reveal whether it released disease carrying insects into the public domain during biological weapons testing decades ago.

The legislation is part of a larger effort by the Congressman to raise awareness and federal funding to fight Lyme disease which is carried by ticks.

The amendment was passed as part of a large spending bill that authorizes defense spending for the coming year. If ratified by the senate and signed into law, it would require the inspector general to review Defense Department experiments with ticks and other insects between 1950 and 1975. The theory that military testing is linked to the rise of Lyme is based on a recently released book, Bitten, which alleges the link.

However, experts on the disease dismiss the claims as a conspiracy theory.

A report by the Washington Post quoted director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at University of Minnesota, Michael Osterholm as saying that the link has “no credible evidence.” Among his arguments against the theory is that the disease was not named until 1977, well after the US banned biological weapons experimentation.

The report cites the Center for Disease Control as citing increasingly warmer temperatures and increasing development of wooded areas as likely causes to the increase in the tick borne illness.

Some 300,000 cases of Lyme are reported yearly across the country and New Jersey is one of the main concentrations.

Rep. Smith (R-NJ) is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Lyme Disease Caucus. The Congressman’s own daughter suffers from chronic Lyme.

Ocean County School Board Candidates Must Register by End of July

Ocean County officials announced that citizens who wish to run for a seat on their local school boards have until Monday, July 29 to register in order to have their names on the ballot this coming November.

“The Ocean County Clerk’s Office makes every effort to inform potential candidates of approaching filing deadlines and about the process to file,” said Ocean County Freeholder Gary Quinn, who serves as liaison to the County Clerk.

Petitions to run are available at the county clerk’s office in Toms River and at the Ocean County Southern Service Center in Manahawkin.

All candidates are required to file a Disclosure Statement with their petition declaring that they are not a disqualified voter and have not been convicted of a disqualifying crime.

A total of 66 seats on school boards will be up for elections in the county this coming November 5.

Assemblyman Dancer Sponsors Bill Aimed at Bringing More Federal Jobs to NJ

Assemblyman Ron Dancer has introduced legislation aimed at bringing more federal jobs to New Jersey.

At the core of the issue is a claim that the state does not receive a fair share of employment commensurate to the tax levy it delivers to Washington each year.

“We get the short end of the stick with our taxes, and we get the short end of the stick with federal jobs,” said Assemblyman Dancer (R-Ocean). “New Jersey has a highly educated and trained workforce, is ideally located between Washington and New York, has access to air, rail and ground transportation and is a premier location to raise a family. Washington can help bolster our economy by correcting the funding imbalance and bringing more good-paying career opportunities to the state.”

The bill would create a special state office as part of the Treasury dedicated to advocating for permanent federal jobs and expanding military operations in the state.

A press release from the Assemblyman’s office says that New Jersians paid $21 billion in federal taxes in 2018 enough to fund 140,000 federal jobs with a salary of $150,000 per year. The statement also claims that the state does not receive its fair share in other federal allotments such as infrastructure grants.

Lithuanian Festival Held in Jackson

Beth Medrash Gevoha and the yeshivah community around it is not the only Lakewood area organization with Lithuanian roots that is flourishing in Lakewood and surrounding townships. As the 10th annual Lithuanian Festival highlighted, non-Jews from the Baltic region have also established an increasing presence in the area over the past decade.

Held at the Lakewood Estonian Cultural Center at Cross Street and East Veterans Highway, the event drew several hundred participants according to a report by Jersey Shore Online.

“This event brings many people together for a celebration of our culture,” said Kostas Mastaukas, President of the Central New Jersey American-Lithuanian Community Inc. and Jackson resident said in the report.