The Latest Buzz

"The Latest Buzz" will give updated status reports on those issues that seem to generate the most buzz throughout town, that may be under-reported in other news outlets. We will keep this information fresh and up-to-date, with the "Last Updated" date noted at the end of each article. 

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What's Buzzing This Month? (most recent stories)

New Jersey’s Good Samaritan Law Don’t Run, Call 911!

From the Franklin Lakes Addiction and Recovery Advisor

My son, Frank passed away 18 months ago due to an accidental overdose and fentanyl poisoning. If the individuals who were with Frank were aware of NJ’s Good Samaritan Law, Frank would be alive today. NJ’s Good Samaritan Law exempts from arrest and prosecution and limits liability for any victim or “Good Samaritan” who renders aid in an alcohol or drug related emergency. The individual will not face any criminal consequences if medical assistance is sought. This protection applies to all “Good Samaritans,” including under age individuals. Each US state, with the exception of Kansas and Wyoming, have some type of Good Samaritan Law in place.

Please watch and encourage your kids to view this 5 minute video, BREATHE, illustrating the importance of the Good Samaritan Law. Many of our children are heading to their new lives in college soon and they need to understand that they are doing the right thing by calling for help. Enforce the simple phrase, “Don’t Run, Call 911”. They can save a life.

As Franklin Lakes’ Addiction and Recovery Advisor, I am available, on a strictly confidential basis, to assist residents who are in crisis and need help navigating the many resources available to help. Please view the article which was recently sent out regarding my position as Addiction and Recovery Advisor.

Ellen Trotta Carmody, Franklin Lakes Addiction and Recovery Advisor

Cell: (201) 466-1408  Email: reach@franklinlakes.org

Ellen Trotta Carmody Appointed as Addiction and Recovery Advisor

At the April 2 meeting of the Franklin Lakes Mayor and Council, Mayor Charles J.X. Kahwaty appointed Ellen Trotta Carmody as the Borough's Addiction and Recovery Advisor. In this position, Ellen will support REACH in its efforts to combat the abuse of drugs and alcohol by serving as a confidential point person for individuals and families in need. This dedicated resource is the cornerstone of the Borough’s Substance Abuse Awareness Initiative, which has been spearheaded by REACH.

Ellen Trotta Carmody is a former resident of Franklin Lakes and raised her triplets in town. She is a former lector at Most Blessed Sacrament and former President of the Franklin Lakes Library Capital Campaign.  

Ellen’s son, Frank Trotta, passed away on October 16, 2022, at the age of 26 from an accidental overdose and fentanyl poisoning. She is honoring her son’s memory as a Parent Member Speaker with Alumni in Recovery, a Bergen County nonprofit. Alumni in Recovery Parent Member Speakers work alongside young adults in extended recovery and speak in area schools and at community events. They work to spread awareness, educate and reduce the stigma of substance use disorder, with the goal of saving lives. Frank is one of the beloved posters in The Black Poster Project, made up of close to 700 posters of lives lost to overdose. Among its many area dates, The Black Poster Project will be on display at the May 15, 2024 Living Lessons Day at the Franklin Avenue Middle School. Alumni in Recovery and The Black Poster Project were recently featured in the January issue of Franklin Lakes Living Magazine.

Ellen is interested in working with the community to help other families who have a loved one struggling with addiction. “When Frankie needed help, I was not aware of the abundance of resources offered by Franklin Lakes and Bergen County.  As I have lived with the unknown and terrifying situation of needing to provide help to my son and not knowing where to turn, I’d like to save others from this pain. “

Ellen will be available by cell phone (201-466-1408) and email (reach@franklinlakes.org) to Franklin Lakes residents.  She will assist those in crisis or those who need guidance on substance abuse issues by referring them to appropriate services to address their needs. All communications with Ellen will be strictly confidential.

In addition to her role in emergency referrals, Ellen will work with REACH, the Police Department, the Ambulance Corps and the Borough to develop and participate in appropriate programming and communications to assist in addressing the substance abuse epidemic.

REACH Chairman Frank O’Brien says, “I have had the opportunity to work with Ellen and sincerely believe she will be an instrumental partner to our program. Ellen brings with her, not only experience, but kind and compassionate awareness that will help any of our residents.”  
     
If you need help and don’t know where to turn, please reach out to Ellen Trotta Carmody at 201-446-1408, or by email at reach@franklinlakes.org.

Arbor Day Foundation Names Franklin Lakes a Tree City USA

 

Franklin Lakes was named a 2023 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management. The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. 

Franklin Lakes achieved Tree City USA recognition by meeting the program’s four requirements: 

  • forming a tree board or department – the Borough’s Shade Tree Commission;
  • creating a tree-care ordinance;
  • having an annual community forestry budget of at least $2 per capita; and
  • an Arbor Day observance and proclamation.

“Everyone benefits when elected officials, volunteers and committed citizens in communities like [City] make smart investments in urban forests,” said Dan Lambe, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “Trees bring shade to our homes and beauty to our neighborhoods, along with numerous economic, social and environmental benefits.” 

Trees are assets to a community when properly planted and maintained. They help to improve the visual appeal of a neighborhood, increase property values, reduce home cooling costs, remove air pollutants and provide wildlife habitat, among many other benefits. 

Michael Tulp, Chairman of the Shade Tree Commission, explained what the Tree City USA award means to the Borough, “This year we again celebrate the Borough’s qualification for the prestigious Tree City USA award. The Shade Tree Commission is dedicated to the preservation of the Borough’s precious tree inventory. Trees play an enormous role in the well-being of our local environment, and, in fact, they also have a positive economic impact on our community. This year marks the 16th consecutive year that our Borough has qualified for the award. Of note is that Franklin Lakes is only one of 154 municipalities (out of a total of 565 municipalities) in New Jersey that has been awarded this designation. The achievement has been made through the dedication of our volunteer Shade Tree Commissioners: Marion Mahn, Donna Robinson, Mary McBride and Michael Kolenut. The Shade Tree Commission also would like to acknowledge the enthusiastic support from Mayor Charles Kahwaty as well as the Borough Council. In 2023, the Mayor and Council approved a new tree ordinance which aims at conserving the Borough’s tree inventory for future generations of residents. I remind Borough residents that our new revised ordinance provides stricter rules and property owners are advised to apply for approval for a tree cutting permit before removing any trees larger than seven inches in diameter. The ordinance does require tree replacement for any live tree removed. The Borough is also enforcing a much strong penalty schedule for violations. The Shade Tree Commission appreciates the support of our residents, and we welcome members of the community interested in volunteering along with us.”

More information on the program is available at arborday.org/TreeCityUSA

ABOUT THE ARBOR DAY FOUNDATION: The Arbor Day Foundation is a million-member nonprofit conservation and education organization with the mission to inspire people to plant, nurture, and celebrate trees. More information is available at arborday.org

Spotlight on Volunteers Fire Chief Charles "Chuck" Bohny, Jr.

 

"Spotlight On Volunteers" is a new Buzz feature which will help residents get to know some of the many volunteers that spend countless hours providing services to the Franklin Lakes community.  

As Chief of the Fire Department, Charles “Chuck” Bohny is responsible for the safe and efficient operation of the Fire Department. Chuck joined the Fire Department in August of 1992 as a Probationary Member. He became the Fire Department Engineer in 1995. The Fire Department Engineer is the member of the Department that assists with maintenance of Fire Department equipment. 29 years later, Chuck still holds that position and, in 2007, he became the Chief Engineer. He has been a “Firematic” officer (officers in charge of firefighting operations) since 1998, including serving as Chief of the Fire Department from 2008 to 2010, and then, after a ten year break, he was again elected as Chief of the Fire Department in 2020, and has continued to service as Chief to the current day.

Chuck has held every Fire Department Officer position including Lieutenant, Captain, Assistant Chief and Chief of the Fire Department. Chuck has also been the President of the Franklin Lakes Fire Department Exempt Association since 2011. In 2012, Chuck received the Northwest Bergen Mutual Aid Association Medal of Valor Award. In addition to this award, he has received several other citations, commendations and lifesaving awards throughout his time in the Franklin Lakes Fire Department.

Chuck grew up in Oakland, New Jersey and has lived in Franklin Lakes since 2006. He has been with his fiancé Jessica since 2009. Chuck loves to play the guitar and loves any and all things music. He also enjoys tending to his fresh and saltwater aquariums in his free time, along with fixing anything mechanical. He is also very fond of classic cars and trucks and has a love of trains.

Among the Chief’s duties, he develops yearly goals and objectives for the Department that fit the needs of the community and best utilize the Borough’s assets. Chuck is responsible for ensuring that the members of the Fire Department follow all of the best practices and procedures. The development and implementation of new policies and ensuring compliance with those already in effect is an important responsibility of the Chief. He works with the Borough Administrator, the Chief Financial Officer and the Mayor and Council every year to develop a budget that is cost effective and serves the needs of the community.

Chief Bohny explains, “Safety and outreach to the residents and guests of the Borough are our priority. As an agency, we are always searching for ways to better serve the town whether it be through expanding our interaction in the schools or attending community events.” 

If you ever wish to know more about the Fire Department, or become a member, please visit the Fire Department’s website which is full of helpful information. “Residents can always contact us with any concerns you may have, it is our pleasure to serve such a wonderful community,” says Chief Chuck Bohny. 

 

Franklin Lakes Named a "New Jersey Healthy Town"

 

The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute announced that seventeen municipalities have been designated as a “2023 Healthy Town,” including Franklin Lakes, as part of its Mayors Wellness Campaign (“MWC”), a program of the Quality Institute in partnership with the New Jersey State League of Municipalities. These cities and towns go above and beyond to improve health and wellness in their communities through innovative programs in areas such as exercise, healthy eating, and mental health education and awareness. 

Each year, communities participating in the MWC complete a comprehensive Healthy Town application outlining the research they’ve done to identify their community health needs and explaining how they have organized their local MWC program. The application also highlights the actions they’ve taken to make their communities healthier places to live, work, and play.

“The League of Municipalities is excited to see the growth of the MWC Healthy Town designations. It shows what we already know: that community leaders across the state are focused on the health of residents and want to continue to provide these important wellness opportunities at the local level,” said Mike Cerra, Executive Director of the New Jersey League of Municipalities. 

This is not the first time that Franklin Lakes has been recognized for its comprehensive and innovative Mayor’s Wellness Campaign. In 2015, Franklin Lakes was recognized as a “New Jersey Healthy Town” and, again, in 2020, Franklin Lakes was recognized as a “New Jersey Health Town to Watch.”

The New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute issued a press release which explains the reasons Franklin Lakes was chosen: “In 2023 the Borough of Franklin Lakes received its first gold level designation and was awarded as a Healthy Town. Through comprehensive recreational activities and an increased focus on using data to inform programming, the program has continued to grow and provide a culture of health and wellness for residents.”

“The Borough of Franklin Lakes is honored to be recognized by the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute as a 2023 Healthy Town. Dina Robinson, the Borough’s Community Director, coordinates Mayors Wellness Campaign programs throughout the year to promote healthy activities and well-being in our community,” said Mayor Charles Kahwaty. “In 2023 we also became part of the City Health Dashboard where we can gain access to local health data and use it to impact our community’s overall health and wellness.”

Community Director Dina Robinson emphasized the significance of promoting healthy living in Franklin Lakes, “The focus on well-being is integral to all events and programs organized by the MWC, as reflected in the campaign logo – ‘Franklin Lakes Living Healthy.’ By prioritizing opportunities for residents to enhance their health and overall quality of life, the MWC demonstrates a commitment to fostering a healthier community. Recognition from the New Jersey Health Care Quality Institute further validates the effectiveness of these initiatives in making a positive impact on health in our community.”

 

Community Events 2024

  • April - Living Healthy Challenge 
  • May 4 - Clean Up Day – 3 parks (rain date May 11)  
  • May 15 -19 - Franklin Lakes and Lions Club Carnival at Parsons Pond Park - Parsons Pond Commuter Lot
  • May 17 - Beer Garden at Lions Club Carnival (Parsons Pond Park)
  • May 18 - Franklin Lakes Day at Carnival (vendor booths, music, beer garden)
  • May 19 - Rain date for Franklin Lakes Day 
  • May 27 - Memorial Day Ceremony at Veterans Plaza 
  • June 1 - National Trails Day – Walk with the Mayor at Parsons Pond Park
  • June 3 - Football Camp with AMPT (Athletes Making Progress Together) at Pulis Field
  • June 22 - Baskets 4 Hope – Pulis Field outdoor courts  
  • June 12 - Movies in the Park – McBride Field
  • July 17 - Movies in the Park – location to be determined
  • August 14 - Movies in the Park – location to be determined 
  • August 24 - Eats N’ Beats at Veterans Plaza (food trucks, music, rides, beer garden) – rain date August 25 
  • September 11 - 9/11 Ceremony at Memorial Garden behind Borough Hall 
  • October 27 - (tentative) Trunk or Treat - Borough Hall
  • November 11 - 11:00 AM Veterans Day Ceremony at Veterans Plaza
  • December 3 - Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Gazebo in Veterans Plaza
  • December - Menorah Lighting Ceremony date to be determined

Pride in Franklin Lakes is Picking Up Anti Littering Campaign

Driven by concerns over the debris that has been left on Borough ballfields and in its parks and public areas, the Mayor and Council, Environmental Commission and Recreation Department of the Borough of Franklin Lakes are launching an Anti-Littering Campaign. Its major theme is “Pride in Franklin Lakes is Picking Up.” The central message of the Anti-Littering Campaign, as is featured on the Anti-Littering Campaign flyers (see attached), is as follows:

“The Franklin Lakes community can work together to clean up our parks, fields and public areas. Clean up after yourself and make sure that others do as well. The beauty that is Franklin Lakes should be free of litter. Be responsible to your community, your neighbors, the environment and yourself, by always picking up. Pride in Franklin Lakes is Picking Up!” 

 
 

Community Director Dina Robinson stresses the importance of working together to end littering. Dina states, “Keeping our parks, ball fields, and trails litter free shows pride in our community. We have added water bottle stations to many of our sports facilities and encourage our athletes to come together as a team to pick up waste left in our parks. The Recreation and Parks Department does not tolerate littering in our parks, fields, courts, walking paths and trails.”

We have also put together fun community events and programs to promote, “Pride in Franklin Lakes is Picking Up,” and maintain a beautiful and healthy environment. Consider joining us for Clean-Up Day, and Adopt a Park/Trail program. For additional information, email drobinson@frankinlake.org, or visit www.frankinlakes.org/mwc.

The Anti-Littering Campaign flyers will be provided to schools to send home to parents and will be displayed in the Franklin Lakes Public Library. Anti-Littering Campaign signs will be installed on ballfields and in parks.

Carole Holden, the chair of the Franklin Lakes Environmental Commission, believes that the Anti-Littering Campaign fits in with the goals of the Commission. She states, “Franklin Lakes is a beautiful town. Individuals and families come here because of that and our residents are proud of and feel responsible for maintaining its natural beauty. As a community we also know that the absence of litter is an important sign that we know it is vital that we reduce waste and recycle all our used materials as an additional way to maintain and to make it sustainable for the future. Please do your part to keep Franklin Lakes the beautiful town we all love.”

Pride in Franklin Lakes is Picking Up After Your Dog

Walking around Franklin Lakes in all of our parks and trails, I have noticed (as have many others): dog poop throughout the Borough; dogs not on leashes; and dogs on our playing fields. How disappointing it is to see that our residents who own dogs are not cleaning up after their pets and following the rules, which are in place for the health and safety of our residents. Our parks and trails are beautiful and for all to enjoy. Please pick up after your dog/s, or if you see someone who’s not following the rules, I encourage you to remind them to please scoop their dogs poop, leash their dog and keep off of recreation fields. We have waste stations, or garbage cans in all of our parks for you to dispose of your filled doggie bags.  

The Mayors Wellness Campaign also has doggie bags to hand out. Stop by the Rec office (1 Vichiconti Way) and pick one up! Thank you for helping to keep our parks and paths clean. 
 

Why clean up after your dog?

  • Dog poop carries contaminants. Bacteria and diseases from pet waste can be transmitted to people and other pets. Bacteria, parasites, and pathogens in dog feces and contaminate soil and get washed into waterways.
  • It's just gross. Would you like to see and smell piles of feces on a daily basis? Or accidentally step in a pile and end up tracking it into your car or home? No? Then don't do it to others. Picking up after your dog isn't only the responsible thing to do, it's also the polite thing to do.
  • It's the law. Dog owners are required by Borough ordinance to clean up after their pets. Dog bags are cheap , portable, and widely available (or just use plastic bags).
  • Be a good pet ambassador. There is always a lot of 'pushback' from individuals or community groups who don't want dogs allowed in venues around town, including parks. Some will even lobby to get rid of current dog parks due to the overwhelming number of owners who refuse to clean up after their dogs. Be a good ambassador for dog owners: pick up after your dog, immediately and consistently.

 

Why are dog leashes important?

  • Prevent dogs from running into dangerous situations, such as busy roads or dangerous wildlife.
  • Control their behavior and prevent them from aggressively running off or approaching strangers or other dogs.
  • Keep dogs safe and under control while out in public and to serve as a training aid (when used properly).
  • Protect you and your dog from getting hurt.
  • Prevent your dog from getting knocked up or knocking up another dog (if they’re not neutered or spayed).

 

Why must dogs be kept out of ballfields and play areas?

  • Dogs on children's playgrounds and sports fields represent a major health and injury hazard: Toxocariasis - a rare infection caused by roundworm parasites, most commonly found in cats, dogs and foxes feces.
  • Children and young adults are usually affected due to contact with contaminated soil or sand within play areas by swallowing the infected egg.
  • There is evidence that dogs can also carry E.coli and hepatitis in their feces.
  • There are over 7,000 admissions to hospital for dog bites and attacks annually in the U.K. and under 10's were most likely to be admitted.

Dina Robinson, Franklin Lakes Community Director

2023 Latest Buzz Archive