Lakewood Briefs

 

Wild Turkeys Descend on Toms River Retirement Community

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has enacted a plan to address an invasion of wild turkeys at a retirement community in southwestern Toms River.

Residents in Holiday Village have reported that the birds have been exhibiting aggressive behavior pecking at cars, house windows, and other property-occasionally at people. The DEP conducted meetings with residents and announced a plan to trap the turkeys and re-locate them. According to reports, crews have begun leaving trails of food laying the groundwork for trapping them, a process that could take several weeks.

New Jersey is home to over 20,000 wild turkeys. Residents were discouraged form approaching the birds and told that if necessary, they should scare them away by blowing an air horn, waving a broom, or spraying them with water. As turkeys often mistake their reflections for another bird, which they then attempt to attack, the DEP also recommended covering windows with cardboard.

The DEP also recommended people use air horns to scare them away, or wave brooms at them or spray them with water from a garden hose. It also said people may want to cover windows with cardboard so the birds won’t see their reflections and peck at them, thinking they are attacking another bird.

Sen. Singer Bill to Ban Menthol Cigarettes Passes Committee

A bi-partisan bill co-sponsored by Sen. Robert Singer (R-Ocean) that would ban the sale of menthol cigarettes has passed the state senate’s Health Committee.

Sen. Singer said that while vaping had garnered far more public attention of late that the flavored cigarettes still poses a far greater danger that he says has not been sufficiently addressed.

“While vaping is the latest public health crisis, menthol cigarettes have been causing cancer, respiratory issues, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, and birth defects for decades. For many people, flavored cigarettes are easier to start smoking and tougher to quit. Restricting the sale of menthols will save lives.”

The bill is co-sponsored by Sen. Joseph Vitale (D-Middlesex). The legislation would add menthol and clove cigarettes to a current law banning the sale of flavored cigarettes.

Menthol is a substance found in mint plants and softens the tobacco flavor making it more appealing to first time smokers. The Tobacco Control Legal Consortium, an organization that advocates for stronger legal controls on tobacco, says that menthol is the source of addiction for nearly half of teen smokers.

According to a statement by Sen. Singer’s office, nearly 90 percent of black smokers prefer menthol and the NAACP has supported a federal ban.

“Big tobacco disproportionally markets menthols to African-Americans, severely impacting their health and well-being,” said Sen. Singer. “By banning menthols, we can prevent a significant amount of the chronic disease and deaths caused by smoking in the African-American community, reduce the prevalence of youth smoking, and improve the health of New Jersians statewide.”

Sen. Thomson Bill Requiring Disclosure of LLC Owners Passes Committee

A bill sponsored by Sen. Sam Thomson (R-Monmouth-Ocean) that would reveal the identities of members of limited liability companies that own residential property has based the Community and Urban Affairs Committee.

The legislation is designed to address what the Senator identifies as a growing phenomenon of “shell corporations,” purchasing property in his district. The bill would require LLCs to disclose the names and business addresses of all members and authorized agents in deeds or the homes they own. If passed, the law would apply to all homes of four units or more.

“Shell corporations are coming into neighborhoods. If there are any problems, people can’t find anybody to talk to get issues resolved,” said Sen. Thompson. “It’s frustrating when neighbors don’t know who to turn to for help. Making the names of responsible parties available eliminates the obstacle.”

The Senator said that the bill will also aid municipalities that have run into difficulties in enforcing code violations with nameless LLCs.

Congressional Delegation Demand Answers on Stalled VA Clinic Plans

Ocean County’s congressional representatives and New Jersey’s senatorial delegation penned a letter to the office of Veterans Affairs demanding answers about a stalled project to expand the area’s VA medical facilities.

“We are writing on behalf of our constituents and veterans who are frustrated and suffer needlessly because for the long wait times, low number of providers, and numerous barriers to care at the Community Based Outpatient Clinic,” reads the letter in part. “We also hear regularly from exasperated veterans in the region about the protracted timeline for the new facility and share their desire to provide the highest quality care possible.”

The present facility located in Brick was built in 1991 to serve some 5,000 veterans. It now serves some 10, 000 active patients. Of New Jersey’s 21 counties, Ocean contains the largest concentration of veterans, many of whom are elderly.

The letter is signed by Senators Robert Menendez and Cory Booker as well as by Representatives Chris Smith and Andy Kim.

Plans to build a new and larger veteran’s clinic began in 2015, but the project has never progressed. The letter addressed to Dr. Joan McInerney, National Director of the Department of Veterans Affairs for New York and New Jersey, demands answers about the quality of care and plans to construct a new facility in the area.