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Councilwoman Forms Group to Assist Flood Victims

Lonni Miller Ryan wants to help with long-term recovery efforts.

Councilwoman Lonni Miller Ryan is spearheading an effort to assist flood victims long after floodwaters have drained away and dried up.

Ryan has organizaed a group of volunteers to help flood victims with long-term recovery efforts. 

“What we’ve seen is that when the floodwater recede the need for help and aid does not go away,” Ryan said. “It just goes from emergency assistance to having to put your life back together.”

The group will help people to clean up their homes, file insurance claims, and organize fundraising efforts, among other things.

The group will also assist town officials to identify those flood victims who need long-term assistance.

“There are so many resources out there for victims but in order to get those resources to them, we need to know where they are and what they need,” Ryan said.

The group will file for non-profit status after it is formally organized and named.

“We still have people who are not in their homes, who are still displaced after the severe flooding that occurred last year,” Ryan said. “There are a lot of people who are still struggling who need our help.”

Ryan is only working with a few people so far, but she wants to expand the number of volunteers and organizations the group will work with. She has already spoken with Regina Parks, the township’s social services director. Parks will act as a contact person between the group and the township.

“I think there are a lot of people who are out there who still need our help and together we’re going to try our best to get them that help,” Parks said.

Wayne Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) is also lending its support. There are parallels to VOAD's founding and the group Ryan has organized.

VOAD was of Hurricane Irene. The severity of the flooding Irene caused was so great that local officials had difficulty responded to everyone’s needs in a timely manner. and others formed the organization to assist others with short-term recovery efforts like who lost power for days.

Ratcliffe, who is the pastor of , said she has offered Ryan her, and VOAD’s, “full support.”

“There is currently no system in place to identify the unmet needs of our residents so I’m thrilled that she is undertaking this effort,” Ratcliffe said. “It allows VOAD to utilize our resources to help people in need.”

For more information or to volunteer, call Ryan at 973-686-3660.

Al Scala April 12, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Wayne's World.....I'll tell you what. If you want to assist me in this endeavor, I'm in!
Wayne's World April 12, 2012 at 01:32 PM
THAT is the way to put some pressure on the politicians to reduce town expenditures. Justice's non-sensical rantings cause the arrogant to laugh at message boards as just another forum. The way Mr. Alfieri handled the chicken law issue is how local politics and local activism is SUPPOSED to work. He may not have gotten the result he wanted, but he was heard and the issue considered. In my estimation, Wayne is saddled with high-cost union contracts for police and teachers which are locked in until the next negotiations. But the town also provides services beyond what most other towns in the area provide. For example, we have a health department that provides some free medical care and an animal control department. There is a DPW and a parks department. Perhaps there can be some consolidation of departments (DPW could also take care of town parks, for example) or outright elimination. SOMEONE has to make the effort to go through these items and make a determination what is a luxury or what can be consolidated. Clearly the council isn't going to take up that banner. I would have done it already myself but can barely make it home from my day job.
Justice April 12, 2012 at 01:48 PM
If you call this board the lunatic fringe, what do you call a township who allowed a World War II Veteran to lay dead while the Town sent the DPW to cut his lawn because the neighbors were complaining? You call that a sane action?
Justice April 12, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Justice 11 seconds ago If you call this board the lunatic fringe, what do you call a township who allowed a World War II Veteran to lay dead while the Town sent the DPW to cut his lawn because the neighbors were complaining? You call that a sane action?.
Justice April 12, 2012 at 01:51 PM
All government works for the people. We have impeached a President or two. This town Council is not above the Presidency. Furthermore, why are there people on the payroll (including Council members) who are over 70 years old?
Justice April 12, 2012 at 01:54 PM
WW, I agree with your comment about the "silent majority"; therefore, it is imperative that the reigns to this horse be taken back.
Wayne's World April 12, 2012 at 01:58 PM
What I am suggesting is that your rantings are emotional and over-the-top, and usually so stream of conscious as to be hard to understand. How can you blame the mayor/council for the dead guy? I mean, it's an unfortunate thing. But unfortunately we live in a day and age where people don't even know their neighbors anymore, much less look out for them. It sad that someone didn't have ANYONE to check on him at his age. But to blame the town for not busting the door down to determine if the guy was still alive....that's a bit much. And entirely the wrong thing to focus on when it comes to town politics and our tax dollars. One thing that bothers me tremendously about this board...and our society in general...is the constant need to denigrate others, question their motives and to invent conspiracy theories. Whatever their shortcomings, let's put our town council in perspective. These are all fellow citizens, low paid (or not paid) for thankless work, who also care about their town and who take the time out of their lives to run for office and try to serve their community. This is tough enough in the best of times, let alone with all the criticism and instant reaction to every piece of news that people now have. Localities in NJ have enjoyed a 60 year run of prosperity since WWII, one that has been slowly diminishing since the 1970s. NO ONE to date has had the guts or the honesty to simply tell residents "YOU HAVE TO LIVE WITHOUT." It's the same issue as nationally
Wayne's World April 12, 2012 at 02:00 PM
just at the local level. The town gov't has grown as a leviathan in recent decades - in part due to growth of the town, in part due to patronage, in part due to poor management. It's all of these things. In Bergen, people pay for their own garbage collection and water. Here it's part of the town services. Is it desirable to drop these things in the name of property tax relief when you'd pay more on your own to a private company? THESE are the types of debates people should be having, not the knee-jerk reactions to every little thing that happens or whether Ms. Ryan responded to a random blog post within 24 hours.
Justice April 12, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Al and WW, Who are the Auditors for this township that should be exposing inconsistencies and providing us with the line detail that would allow the public to make their outcries?
Wayne's World April 12, 2012 at 02:06 PM
As I said, the only way to control municipal spending is for someone to actually see what departments are being funded, what the salaries are, what the services are, and whether these are necessities. Of course, in a perfect world, nothing would get cut and we could go on like we did for decades. But those days are over and they are not coming back. So if we can't afford the dog catcher or nurse ratchet to give out free flu shots, so be it. That's what leashes and Medicare/Medicaid are for. If the Preakness library doesn't get any visitors, shut it down. If the adult school is a money loser - pare down the offerings or cut it. Just in my dealings with the town, there is a lot of fat and beauracracy. I can never understand why I have to call 3 different people to find out what my property taxes are, zoning requirements, etc. I mean, tax dept and zoning could be combined, at least insofar as their clerical people. I'm sure there is a lot of that. And maybe Wayne needs to rebel against the county...25% of our municipal tax bill goes there. Does Wayne get 25% of the county's services? Of course not. I personally think the county gov't system is the largest reform that NJ needs to control it's debt. If county gov't were disbanded and responsibilities divided betweeen state and municipalities (e.g. courts/jails overseen by state, roads/parks by town), we could probably solve a lot of budget issues and not lose much in the way of services.
Wayne's World April 12, 2012 at 02:07 PM
I've never even heard one politician or journalist broach this issue. I called Steve Adubato (Mr. NJ) once about it on the radio and he totally brushed off the topic. His dad was a big power player in Essex County and the state and Steve owes his career to his dad's political connections. There is just TOO MUCH self-interest and much of it is based on the fact that the citizenry doesn't have enough watchdogs to keep government accountable.
Sandy Fantau April 12, 2012 at 02:18 PM
I did not post this comment for people to attack Mrs. Ryan. I believe her heart is in the right place. My thoughts where to have people make suggestions that will help the town in the long run. I have seen the dispair of people first hand and also have seen the gratitude of people who received the hot meals delivered door to door. Please try to keep the post civil expecially if your not willing to post your real name..
Rob Burke April 12, 2012 at 02:29 PM
I concur wholeheartedly, Sandy. Folks who want to be taken seriously sign their names. Everyone else might as well be assumed to be a shill. If you have the courage in your convictions, and want your views to be considered, take responsibility for them. As to the sweeping accusation that these boards are blindly used to bash elected officials, that accusation is far too broad. For sure, there are some who do that, and there are others who do the same thing on behalf of the governing body. But all of those folks won't sign their names. The accusation that Al Scala has a lot of time on his hands to post? Its a bizarre attack, reminiscent of Ms. Miller Ryan's identical attack at a Council meeting. Rather than complain about folks who sign their names to their posts, and reject their content with a broad generalization without directly responding to it -- how about engage on the issues that are being raised? You say you're in favor of a thoughtful debate on issues. Well, don't just reject what someone else says because you disagree -- engage on the merits. And if you want to be taken seriously, sign your name.
Al Scala April 12, 2012 at 02:54 PM
Wayne's World......these people love this power and control they have over the Town. Don't make them out to be selfless people who are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts. They love the title, authority, the high profile nature of the position.,the televised meetings,etc., etc. They love the control they have over the town gov't. What escapes me is why this town doesn't wake up and end this one party rule. It's unhealthy. I'm not slumming for the Democrats. I'm a Republivan, and I can't stand these guys in office. They are arrogant, obnoxious,and caustic. Didn't you watch the last meeting to see Jimenez and his ridiculous and sarcastic chicken jokes? Scweigart made some caustic and obnoxious remarks to Victor Alfieri about his community garden.Talk about ranting, why don't you comment about Scuralli. In my opinion, he talks too much and should take a class on people skills.. Wake up for God sakes. This town needs change! Change the people in office. At this point, I don't care what party they're from. You accuse me of having "time on my hands". Don't confuse my passion for wanting responsive, respectful , and fiscally responsible gov't, with having too much time.
Justice April 12, 2012 at 02:54 PM
When all else fails, call it lunacy, emotional, over the top. Standard legal defense. The town not only responded to neighbor complaints but sold this home for the proverbial Judas silver. No one has been held accountable.
Wayne's World April 12, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Ok, the "time on your hands" comment was not a criticism, but rather I thought I remembered you saying you were retired. It was not meant as anything negative. As for Mr. Burke's implication that I might be a "shill" because I don't sign my name, I hope you've been paying more attention to my posts than that. I agree with a lot of the stuff posted on this board, and it's at least cathartic to have a forum for one's views, so my motivation is the same as most people's when I feel something about a topic. I am not suggesting the town politicians don't have any self-interest, I guess I am just not that cynical about their motives. I may be cynical about competence, but not as much about motives. I agree that one-party rule is terrible at any level. As I stated months ago, I can't imagine what one's affiliation would have to do with issues facing the average suburban municipality...I can't imagine ideology plays so much into what ordinances are passed or what budgetary items are favored or shunned. To me, the real problem is the lack of facing up to a shortfall of income in the face of increased costs for services. I am naive because I just don't get how most of these things are political. The town need X amount of dollars to run, and takes in Y. We have to decide what are necessities and what aren't, and cut the non-essentials. It seems so simple and yet the issues rightfully being raised in this forum are not meaningfully being addressed.
Wayne's World April 12, 2012 at 03:16 PM
The only way to have these issues faced head-on and addressed is how I outlined it above...either that, or people on this forum run for the government seats themselves! I think most of us would be surprised how much expenditure the town is locked into by state law or union contracts. I don't believe there is as much flexibility in the budget as people seem to think, although the BOE stuff that has been brought up on this board certainly has some fishy elements to it. I don't have kids in the schools yet so I just haven't been involed enough to be informed. As long as the police stay sacrosanct and their outrageous pay and benefits stay where they are, I don't see how any meaningful budgetary reform can have an impact. Wayne already tried to chase ratables and now we have a city instead of a bedroom community. We are choked with traffic, increased burden on schools, etc. and still short of money. Just like teachers, it's time for cops to pay more toward their retirement and health care benefits. It's the way of the world, no reason a cop should retire able-bodied at 45 with a full pension for the rest of his life.
Rob Burke April 12, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Please don't misunderstand me. I am not accusing you of being a shill. I have been very consistent, challenging anyone who is posting here to sign their names, regardless of whether I agree or disagree with their positions. If we all sign our names, these discussions become more effective as a legitimate means of public discourse, and have a greater likelihood to sway public opinion and even the direction that elected officials take on issues. I don't agree with everything you've written nor do I disagree with everything you've written. I nevertheless encourage you to sign your real name to your posts. Again, I fully understand if you choose not to, believe me! But it would be a big contribution to the utility of a spirited debate if you did. Either way, I don't sit in judgment of whatever decision you make. I just don't think you can expect anonymous views to be considered as seriously.
Al Scala April 12, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Have you ever seen anyone from the Town come onto this site and say anything. How about one of these guys coming on here and saying..."Hey guys, you got it all wrong. This is how it really is!" Nope. Silence! They just don't give a crap. They have it in their minds that they will just continue to win elections and will control the town gov't as they do. If the great silent majority would come out and vote for change, we'd remove these guys from office. Have them lose one election, where they lose a few seats. You'll see how fast they change and straighten up! What they need is a wake up call.
Wayne's World April 12, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Al Sadowski put a newsletter of sorts on here last November. Two or three of us made some comments asking for insight...and he never responded nor posted another of his quarterly newsletters. This forum could have some influence, but only if some people take the information/ideas from here and present it in an official forum. I disagree with Rob that it is necessary to sign real names to give this board legitimacy. It is the quality of the comments and a knowledge of the issues that creates the legitimacy/utility of this board. But only action in official town forums will actually bear any fruit.
Rob Burke April 12, 2012 at 04:15 PM
There's always room for reasonable folks to disagree. That said, i don't know why you think that action in official town forums would have greater impact than these message boards. Council meetings have a smaller audience than these comment sections. And they are set up so that there isn't a dialogue. Members of the public who want to speak, do so, but are limited to a few minutes. When they are done, they can't speak again. Instead, the officials take as much time as they want and can choose to respond or not respond, and pretty much say whatever they want. I believe that these comment sections matter a great deal. They are read by thousands of people and stay online forever. Despite your reluctance to sign your name, slowly, many others are starting to sign their names. It may take time, but if the trend continues, these comment sections on waynepatch will become even more influential than they already are.
Al Scala April 12, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Well....maybe your post validates my comment. Why wouldn't he respond to a couple of people looking for some insight.
Justice April 12, 2012 at 04:58 PM
As far as Lonni is concerned, she is a public figure who left herself open to comments through her action/inaction (CCW) and her proximity to someone who still is shadowed by ethics charges. How is this an "attack"?
Justice April 12, 2012 at 04:59 PM
As far as Lonni is concerned, she is a public figure who left herself open to comments through her action/inaction (CCW) and her proximity to someone who still is shadowed by ethics charges. How is this an "attack"??
Al Scala April 12, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Sandy....I don't think we're attacking her. We're somewhat dismayed that she hasn't responded. That's all. If there is a good and valid reason why she can't accept the olive branch, why doesn't she come on here and post the reason. Why stay silent and ignore it.
Justice April 12, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Regarding Mr. Domsky (the World War II veteran), the town knew that he was a senior and a vet (property tax deductions for seniors and vets). They sold his property for an unpaid water bill amounting to $150.00 or so. They cajole the anonymous neighbor complaints. They sent out the DPW to cut his lawn and charge it back. How can you possibly not hold the town accountable? These weren't inactions, these were very deliberate and calculated actions.
Rob Burke April 12, 2012 at 05:12 PM
Justice: I don't mean to be critical, and you are obviously passionate and invested in these issues, but if you want to have a real impact, you need to avoid the 'lunatic fringe' perception. I'm not accusing you of that, but others already have and you might want to think about balancing your comments and making them more measured. Just a suggestion. And as I suggested to you in the past and as I am suggesting to others, it would be even better if you posted under your real name. Think about it.
Justice April 12, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Regarding Police Officers retiring after 25 years. I believe that is done for the public's protection, due to the high burn-out, stress and constant handling of fire-arms. It would help if someone who is familiar with Police Officers to respond to this. Whereas, their salaries and percs appear to be high, I chose not to lose sight of the fact that they continue to be first-responders (same as fire-fighters/emt's) and the risk to their health and lives is catastrophic (unlike other civil service members). When the towers were falling, it was the police officers/fire-fighters who went in without question to help us. As I was coming down the stairs, they were going up, (to their deaths), carrying tons (a figure of speech) of equipment. As our eyes met, all I could do was utter a faint thank you. I'm sorry but I can't agree with you as far as cutting budgets for law enforcement/fire fighters/ ambulance .
Justice April 12, 2012 at 07:07 PM
Once again, adjectives such as: lunatic, emotional, over-the-top and others are a last resort for defense council in civil cases where the plaintiff is losing. I rest my case.
Wayne's World April 12, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Justice - I can't put suburban police in the same category of NY's finest. They face virtually none of the life-threatening situations you mention, certainly not regularly. Suburban cops are arrogant, smug and on a terrible power trip. They write tickets, retrieve cats from trees, and generally mill around our town's strip malls. I am offended by the way most suburban police treat the citizenry and how arrogantly they prance around. We all admire the 911 first responders and the sacrifices some of them made. For most suburban police, they will never be in any meaningful danger (not that we want them to be). I am continuously unimpressed by their contribution to the town's well-being given the massive expenditure. I bet we could reduce the police force 15% and not notice a difference in crime. The only thing that would be reduced is the amount of traffic tickets written, the municipal budget and the amount of annoyance to the law-abiding. We are over-policed in this community.

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