Jay Dunham being sworn in as Town Council Vice President. (Photo: Kalen Luciano)

Jay Dunham, a current member on the Town Council, was elected by the Council to be the new Vice President following the resignation of the previous vice president, Michael Sanchelli. Dunham was sworn in on May 3.

Following Dunham’s election to the position, Police Officer Daniel Florio and Firefighter Steve Norman (Fire Company 2) took the oath of office, and the occasion was celebrated with a break for cake.

Officer Daniel Florio being sworn in. (Picture: Kalen Luciano)

After the break, Chief Craig proposed an expansion to the police department building, which includes adding a fenced-in area and additional building space for storage and other necessities. The primary purpose of the addition would be to provide a more secure location for processing prisoners as they are currently unloaded from the police vehicles in an open parking lot. The addition would provide a fenced-in area for the police car to drive into and then take out the prisoner, limiting the risk of escape. This would help the police station become an accredited facility, giving the police a break on their insurance and providing access to the best police practices and methods used.

The Council recognized an array of groups and people as well. Dakila Mina, a Jefferson Township High School graduate and a student at Northeastern University, was recognized by the Council for his achievement in Boy Scouts. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout and had a ceremony for this honor held for him on March 11. His project consisted of building two cabinets and a step stool for a local organization that helps the disabled.

The Council proclaimed the month of May as Poppy Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. During this month, people are encouraged to buy poppies that are made by disabled veterans and family members. The poppies pay tribute to those who sacrifice themselves for the freedom of the United States and represents the sacrifice of war.

Mayor Felter commented after making the proclamation that it’s important pay tribute to soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice and reminded the public that there are two memorials being held at the Milton Legion Hall and the Lake Hopatcong Legion Hall on Memorial Day .

The proclamation for Mental Health Awareness Month was received by local organization JTConnect. The group raises awareness for and tries to eliminate any stigma related to mental illness.

With half the population being diagnosed with some kind of mental illness at some point in their lifetime, mental illness is an important issue that JTConnect brings to the spotlight. They provide education to the community and connect people to any support and resources necessary. Upcoming events revolving around mental health include a Hike for Hope on May 20 at Camp Jefferson and a mental health first aid class on May 24.

The Council ended the night addressing issues revolving around the recent Berkshire Valley Road accident. They observed that the recent collision was the second one on that road in a few years. They are looking into putting bumps in the center line of the road to prevent this from occurring in the future. Debi Merz and Kim Finnegan discussed the quick response time and how the town is working closely with victims of the accident to follow up on their mental health.

The next Town Council meeting on May 17 will be moved from Camp Jefferson to the municipal building and changed to 6 p.m., to make time to hear the new possible candidates for Council that will take the vacant seat that was left after Michael Sanchelli resigned.

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