Feature Stories Police & Fire

New Jersey American Water Announces 2021 Grant Program for Volunteer Fire Depts. & Emergency Responders

CAMDEN, N.J. — Recognizing the bravery and commitment of volunteer firefighters and first responders, New Jersey American Water announces its 2021 grant program for volunteer fire departments and emergency responders (e.g., ambulance and first aid squads) located within the company’s service areas.

“We are proud to continue to support the brave men and women who volunteer their time and risk their lives to protect our communities. This program is just one way we say thank you to these everyday heroes,” said Denise Venuti Free, director of Communications and External Affairs, New Jersey American Water.

Grants may be used to cover the costs of personal protective equipment, communications gear, first aid equipment, firefighting tools, vehicle maintenance and other materials that will be used to support volunteer firefighter and emergency responder operations.

Reimbursement for specific training courses, including the cost of training manuals, student workbooks, and instructors is also eligible.

“We recognize the impact an increase in funding can have on the capabilities of volunteer Fire and EMS departments. Extra funding helps these groups purchase necessary tools and equipment to keep themselves and their communities safe,” said Marc Sowden, volunteer EMT and supervisor of fleet operation services at New Jersey American Water.

Sowden is one of 20 employees who serve on the committee to help select the grant recipients each year.

The committee is comprised of employees from across New Jersey American Water who are first responders within their local communities.

To apply, organizations must complete the online application, located at, under News & Community, Community Involvement.

The maximum grant amount awarded to any organization is $2,000 and the deadline to apply is March 12, 2021.

Interested applicants can find more information and apply online at

Grant recipients will be notified at the end of March.

About New Jersey American Water

New Jersey American Water, a subsidiary of American Water (NYSE: AWK), is the largest investor-owned water utility in the state, providing high-quality and reliable water and/or wastewater services to approximately 2.8 million people.

For more information, visit and follow New Jersey American Water on Twitter and Facebook.

About American Water

With a history dating back to 1886, American Water is the largest and most geographically diverse U.S. publicly traded water and wastewater utility company.

The company employs more than 6,800 dedicated professionals who provide regulated and market-based drinking water, wastewater and other related services to 15 million people in 46 states.

American Water provides safe, clean, affordable and reliable water services to our customers to make sure we keep their lives flowing.

For more information, visit and follow American Water on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Bright Side Feature Stories

William Paterson University Adjunct Professor Named as N.J. Nurses New President

TRENTON, N.J.—Jan. 4, 2021— The New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA) welcomed Mary Ellen Levine, DNP, MSN, RN, CHPN, as its 48th president on New Year’s Day.

“These are challenging times for nurses, yet our primary role and mission remains clear—to advocate for the health and well-being of our patients and the public,” Levine said. “We are advocates, educators and leaders who promote health and proponents for system-wide improvements through policy reform, community-building and health promotion. I am honored to lead New Jersey’s nurses at this critical time. Now more than ever, the need for nurses has never been greater. I look forward to acting on key legislative matters and addressing the evolving needs of our society amid the coronavirus public health crisis.”

With more than 30 years of nursing experience in a variety of settings—acute care hospital, home care, school nursing and hospice care—Levine is an adjunct professor of community health and adult medical/surgical nursing at William Paterson University.

Levine has extensive experience teaching in the classroom, clinical experience and simulation lab for community health, fundamental and health assessment courses, as well as a healthcare ethics course.

Levine earned a doctorate in nursing practice from William Paterson University, a master’s degree in the science of nursing education from Walden University, a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Dominican College and an associate degree in nursing from Bergen Community College.

She also earned a school nurse/health educator certificate from Caldwell College (now Caldwell University) and is a certified hospice and palliative care nurse through the Hospice and Palliative Credentialing Center (HPCC).

Levine’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program project is titled, “Palliative Care Self-Competence: An Examination of Registered Nurses in the Acute Care Hospital During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”  


NJSNA, established in 1901, is a constituent member of the American Nurses Association. 

The New Jersey State Nurses Association (NJSNA) represents the interests of more than 140,000 registered nurses and advanced practice nurses as an advocate for the nursing profession.

NJSNA’s lobbying arm continues to protect the nursing profession through legislative victories.

Its nonprofit foundation, the Institute For Nursing, helps nurses further their careers by providing continuing education, scholarships and research grants, in addition to invaluable networking opportunities.

For more information, visit, contact NJSNA at, or call (609) 883-5335.

Education Feature Stories

Gloucester County Vocational-Technical and Special Services School District

Michael C. Dicken, Superintendent of the Gloucester County Special Services School District and the Gloucester County Vocational-Technical School District, on behalf of the Board of Education announces the 2020-21 Employees of the Year.

These outstanding individuals listed below represent each of their schools, programs, and districts well.


Teacher – Stephen DePasquale
Educational Services Professional – Bryan Vahey
Support Staff – Colleen Simmons


Bankbridge Regional School
Teacher – Brendon Green
Educational Services Professional – Ryan Stahl
Paraprofessional – Deborah (Debbie) Riccardi

Bankbridge Elementary School
Teacher – Lisa Nanfara
Educational Services Professional – Yunique Blakney
Paraprofessional – Karrie Lamb

Bankbridge Development Center
Teacher – Maria Genoese
Educational Services Professional – Kathleen (Katy) Fogle
Paraprofessional – Darin Timberman

Support Staff
Sean McEnroe

Non Public Programs
Educational Services Professional – Icely Moss

Center for Regional Education Support Services (CRESS)
Educational Services Professional – Renee Delre

Bright Side Feature Stories

Leading Loyalty Marketing and Rewards Provider Contributes Hundreds of Pounds of Food

Margate, NJ (December 29, 2020) – Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties (JFS) received a donation of an abundance of non-perishable foods, basic essentials and cleaning supplies from Rymax, a loyalty marketing and rewards provider based in Pine Brook, New Jersey.

Their generosity assures the JFS Food Pantry can continue to meet the increased demand perpetuated by the current economic environment.

Rymax’s heartfelt donation included hundreds of pounds of pasta, hearty soups, cereal, tuna, macaroni & cheese, vegetables, beverages and more. In addition to purchasing and donating pallets full of products, Rymax staff delivered directly to the pantry and helped unload the donation.

The company has worked with the Atlantic City hospitality/gaming industry for years providing comprehensive loyalty programs and rewards.

“We’ve been a supplier to the gaming industry for over 20 years,” said Eve Kolakowski, President of Rymax. “We know it is one of the hardest hit industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. We wanted to give back to the community that has given us so much over the years. This donation will help our friends who have lost their jobs at the casinos, as well as other families who need additional support this holiday season.” Kolakowski continued, “Studies show that in the wake of COVID-19, the number of people who are food insecure in the United States could rise to more than 50 million, including 17 million children. When you read and hear about those staggering numbers, it’s heartbreaking and you know you have to act.”

Last May, Kolakowski and her team sent a similar shipment as the JFS Food Pantry.

That delivery included boxes and bags of pasta, jelly, snacks, vegetables, beverages, condiments and more which fed hundreds of community residents during the shelter at home order.

While the need for food is still escalating, contributions to the agency have slowed. Rymax’s support affords JFS with the opportunity to restock their shelves and assures no one will go hungry this winter season.

“At JFS, we are grateful for Rymax’s ongoing support,” said Andrea Steinberg, JFS Chief Executive Officer. “Many people who have needed support have experienced job loss from the Atlantic City hospitality industry. By giving on a reoccurring basis, Eve and Rymax ensure our shelves can remain stocked and meet the increase demand into the future,” she added.

For more information about JFS programs, services or how you can get involved, contact 609.822.1108 or visit

Jewish Family Service volunteer Donna Levin helps sort and stack some of the hundreds of pounds of food donated by Rymax, a leading marketing and rewards provider, in Pine Brook, New Jersey.

The company graciously donated the non-perishable food and basic essentials to restock JFS’ Food Pantry which has experienced an increase in demand since mid-March.

This is the second contribution by Rymax who pledged to help JFS provide for community residents in need.

About Jewish Family Service

Jewish Family Service of Atlantic & Cape May Counties (JFS) encourages strong families, thriving children, healthy adults, energized seniors and vital communities.

With dozens of program areas, JFS specializes in counseling, mental health services, homeless programs, vocational services, adult and older adult services and also hosts an on-site food pantry.

The agency impacts 8,000 lives throughout Atlantic and Cape May Counties each year.

JFS’ mission is to motivate and empower people to realize their potential and enhance their quality of life.

In keeping with Jewish values and the spirit of tikkun olam (healing the world), JFS provides services with integrity, compassion, respect and professionalism regardless of their religion, race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, age or background.

For more information or to keep up-to-date with JFS events and programs, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Feature Stories Recent News

Request to Extend Existing Discharge to Groundwater Permit-By-Rule For Construction Dewatering As Part of I-295/Route 42 Connector a/k/a Missing Moves Project Has Been Submitted

As part of construction of the I-295/Route 42 Connector a/k/a “Missing Moves” project, “a request to extend an existing Discharge to Groundwater Permit-by-Rule for construction dewatering has been submitted to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (Department) to discharge to groundwater in accordance with a permit issued pursuant to the provisions of the New Jersey Water Pollution Control”, according to a Public Notice that was published on December 26, 2020.

The I-295/Route 42 Connector a/k/a “Missing Moves” project is located in Bellmawr, Runnemede, Westville, and Deptford.

The Department’s Site Remediation Program is reviewing the permit-by-rule extension request to discharge to groundwater for the purpose of managing construction dewatering effluent on site in recharge/infiltration basins as part of the above linear construction project with the program interest number 165123.

The public notice states: “The results of New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) site investigations in 2011, 2015, and 2016 indicated the presence of PAHs (benzo[a]anthracene, benzo[a]pyrene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, dibenzo[a,h]anthracene, indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene) and metals (aluminum, lead, manganese, mercury, beryllium, and manganese) detected at concentrations above NJDEP Impact to Ground Water Soil Screening Level (IGWSSL) and/or NJDEP Soil Remediation Standards (SRS).”

“The contamination detected in soil is consistent with historic fill,” the public notice reads. “Additionally, a portion of the project is located within areas of NJDEP mapped historic fill.”

“Although no groundwater sampling data exists within the project limits, it is likely that the groundwater has been impacted by the detected soil contamination and mapped historic fill material.”

A copy of the discharge to groundwater permit-by-rule extension request is available from the person responsible for conducting the remediation, New Jersey Department of Transportation, 1035 Parkway Avenue, Trenton, New Jersey, or as part of the administrative record which is on file at the offices of the Department, Site Remediation Program, located at 401 East State Street, Trenton, Mercer County, New Jersey. 

The file may be reviewed under the New Jersey Open Public Records Act (“OPRA”), N.J.S.A. 47:1A-1 et seq. Information regarding the OPRA procedures is available at

Interested persons may submit written comments regarding the discharge to groundwater permit-by-rule extension request to:

New Jersey Department of Transportation
1035 Parkway Avenue
P.O. Box 600
Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0600

All comments shall be submitted within 30 calendar days after the date of the public notice, or the end of any public hearing that the Department may schedule that occurs after that date.

All persons who believe that the discharge to groundwater proposal is inappropriate, must raise all reasonably ascertainable issues and submit in writing to the Department all reasonably available arguments and factual grounds supporting their position, including all supporting material, by the close of the public comment period.

The Department will consider all public comments that relate to the discharge to groundwater proposal, provided that the Department receives the comments by the close of the public comment period.

After the close of the public comment period, the Department will render a decision regarding the permit-by-rule extension request.

The Department will respond to all significant and timely comments with its decision regarding the discharge to groundwater permit-by-rule extension request.

Each person who has submitted written comments will receive notice of the Department’s decision.

Any person may request in writing that the Department hold a non-adversarial public hearing on the discharge to groundwater permit-by-rule extension request.

This request shall state the nature of the issues to be raised in the proposed hearing and shall be submitted within 30 calendar days of the date of the Public Notice that was published on December 26, 2020 to the address cited below.

A public hearing will be conducted whenever the Department determines that there is a significant degree of public interest in the discharge to groundwater decision.

If a public hearing is held, the public comment period in this notice shall automatically be extended to the close of the public hearing.

Comments and written requests for a non-adversarial public hearing shall be sent to:

NJ Department of Environmental Protection
Site Remediation Program Bureau Case Assignment & Initial Notice
Mail Code 401-05H 401
East State Street
P.O. Box 420
Trenton, NJ 08625-0420
Attn: DGW PBR Extension Request