Lakewood Briefs

“Round the World Fair” in Toms River

A group designed to encourage greater harmony among varying groups of Toms River residents hosted a, “Around the World” fair this past Labor Day.

The event held in Toms River’s Huddy Park gave participants a “passport” which they took to various booths where they learned about the relevant culture and received a stamp making themselves eligible for a prize from the town’s police department.

Booths were operated by various religious institutions and community organizations including the Toms River Jewish Community Council.

The fair was organized by Toms River UNITED, which was founded in 2018 by Police Chief Mitchell Little, amid rising tensions over the influx of Orthodox Jewish families to the town.

BOE Member Resigns

A member of Lakewood’s Board of Education has resigned his seat siting a lack of support from state authorities.

“The state does not care about Lakewood,” wrote Heriberto Rodríguez. “Providing emergency loans to our district, in order to provide services that are mandated by law to our children, is not the kind of help we need. The state is fully aware that we cannot repay our prior loans nor our new loans.”

According to a report by the Asbury Park Press, Mr. Rodriguez has been a member of the nine person board since 2016. His letter makes reference to the fact that he similarly resigned his post in 2018, but in that instance returned to the board after what he called “careful consideration.”

Assemblyman Dancer Introduces Bill to Add Healthcare Facilities to Program to Promote Local Produce

A bill introduced by Assemblyman Ron Dancer will allow health care facilities to advertise themselves with the New Jersey Farm Fresh Facility designation provided they get at least 20 percent of their produce from providers in the state.

“New Jersey has some of the best homegrown products in the country,” said Assemblyman Dancer (R- Ocean). “When the Jersey Fresh label was first established, it made sure local farmers were given the opportunity to promote their high-quality homegrown products. It’s only right that health care facilities which have met this high standard be allowed to proudly be designated as a New Jersey Fresh Facility.”
The bill would apply to hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and other similar institutions. Should they meet the requirements, it would allow them to display the New Jersey Farm Fresh Facility symbol on any promotional material.

The Assemblyman has been the sponsor of several bills to promote the use of locally grown produce. A statement released regarding the present legislation cites studies linking “fresh high-quality food has a direct effect on the cause, prevention and management of various ailments such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes and high blood pressure.”
“Jersey Fresh labeled food as well as other high-quality products have helped to treat the body as well as the mind,” said Assemblyman Dancer.

Health Department Urges Vision Testing for Young Students

As the school year begins, the Ocean County Health Department (OCHD) urged parents to take a proactive role in detecting vision problems particularly in young students.

The department cited a study that one in four students across the country suffer from undiagnosed vision problems leading to a host of learning challenges and promoted early and comprehensive testing.

“The goal is to educate parents about the critical relationship between vision and learning,” explains Daniel Regenye, OCHD Public Health Coordinator. “Students should not have to struggle getting through their studies due to a lack of undetected vision issues. As parents we look for so many health concerns but we can’t forget how important eye sight is to their academic success.”

The OCHD cited a newly implemented state law that mandates comprehensive vision tests for any student six or under entering a public school or Head Start program.

The department said that in many instances parents and educators mistake student’s vision problems for poor work habits or a learning disability. They cite the American Optometric Association which lists headaches, short attention span, excessive blinking, or difficulty remembering the content of reading material as possible symptoms of vision problems.

In many instances the additional strain and effort children with undiagnosed vision issues experience while learning detracts from their processing and performance.

“Early detection of vision problems can make all the difference for a child in the classroom,” said Ocean County Freeholder Gerry P. Little, liaison to the OCHD.