Welcome to the first edition of the new South Toms River Independent series and thanks for reading!

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Erik J. Weber
South Toms River Independent
Riverside Signal

  Scene Around Town: Tree Seedlings Handed Out at STR Elementary
(from left) Mayor Oscar Cradle, along with council members Greg Handshy and Bill Gleason, plus former council member Don Williams, hand out state-issued tree seedlings to students throughout South Toms River Elementary School on April 2nd. The group was also aided by several other parents and volunteers, who gathered at the Recreation Building earlier that morning to organize the seedlings and include planting and care information sheets.

The following news reports cover the late February and both March mayor and council meetings.


Coming Soon to Mathis Vet Park: Chuck's Ice Cream!


Chuck Watson sells frozen treats from one of his rigs during the Beachwood Memorial Day parade last year.


SOUTH TOMS RIVER - Longtime borough resident, military veteran and area mobile ice cream vendor, Charles "Chuck" Watson, received approval to establish an ice cream vending business using a trailer and other improvements on the northwest corner of Mathis Veterans Memorial Park, along Route 166, here.

Following a public bidding process, in which Mr. Watson was the sole bidder, at $4,500, he was awarded the contract during the March 23rd governing body meeting to hold operations through 2017 at the site. Earlier this month, Mr. Watson was seen meeting with borough officials at the site, formerly the location of a 1930s fueling station that was demolished in 2011.

Last year, Mr. Watson approached the governing body with the proposal for the park corner but the public bidding process began too late in the year to establish operations in time for summer 2014. 



 All Residents Invited to Special Events Committee

Over the past month, a Special Events Committee has held meetings at borough hall to primarily organize a Independence Day on the Waterfront event in Mathis Veterans Memorial Park.

Mayor Oscar Cradle asked that "anyone that knows anyone interested on working on the special events" should be informed that they can come out to the committee meetings, the next of which is set for 7 pm this Thursday, April 16th in borough hall.

"If you have any ideas on it please come out and join us," he said. "The 4th of July will be upon us before you know."

Summer Camp Returns

The annual South Toms River Recreation Commission Summer Camp & Teen Summer Program will return this year beginning Monday, June 29th and running every weekday - save July 3rd - until July 24th. Featuring regular near-daily trips and activities to parks, attractions and more throughout the county and shore, those interested are urged to register early as its popularity often causes it to fill to capacity quickly.

Open to residents of South Toms River and Manitou Park, the cost is $75 for the first camper and $35 for each additional camper in the household, with trip fees extra. The summer camp is available for ages 5 to 12 while the teen program is open for ages 13 to 17.

Registration dates will be held at the Recreation Center on Drake Lane beginning Saturday, April 18th from 10 to 11 am, then again on Saturday, May 2nd from 10 to 11 am.

Registration is on a first come, first served basis and fees are non-refundable. For more information, visit or call Bill Gleason at (732) 505-3243 or Sandy Ross at (908) 783-0291. 


First Aid Squad Updates

South Toms River First Aid Squad Chief Robert Krohn approached the governing body at their late February meeting to thank those who attended their annual installation dinner and to inquire about $50,000 in allocated capital funds from two years earlier for renovations to the interior of the squad building, located on Dover Road.

"I wanted to say thank you for everything you did last year and I look forward to everything you're doing this year," he said. "The squad has a lot of big plans."

The chief added that the renovations, if possible using the capital funding, would upgrade the 30-year-old ambulance bay lighting to energy-saving light emitting diode (LED) models, among other things.

Borough Clerk Joseph Kostecki stated that he would inquire about the allocation with Chief Financial Officer Stephen Gallagher and report back to the squad.

Chief Krohn also reported that one of their ambulance rigs was going out to repair a leak.

Mayor Cradle thanked the squad for the installation dinner invite, which he said was "one of the best dinners I've been to."

He also appreciated the opportunity to swear in the 2015 line officers.

"It was a good night and I enjoyed myself over there," the mayor added. "Great company - got to see some people I hadn't seen in a while. It was nice."



And in other news of the mayor and council:

Homeowners with an average household assessed at $205,779 will see roughly a $54.91 increase in their annual property taxes under the budget introduced last month, according to Mr. Gallagher, who noted that the increase would continue to provide for borough "operations as they stand."

Mayor Cradle thanked Mr. Gallagher, Councilman Sandford "Sandy" Ross and Mr. Kostecki for "taking the lead in the budget meetings - we had three weeks of budget meetings, and there were a lot of other people, but they took the lead and got a lot of work done concerning that." 


As with the rest of the municipalities in Ocean County, South Toms River is going to have its properties reassessed upon order of the county board of taxation for an equalization program to bring properties in line with market value. During the March 23rd mayor and council meeting, a contract was awarded to Realty Appraisal Company for a hybrid assessment at a cost of $55,000. 


The borough has been discussing an interlocal agreement with Berkeley Township to handle garbage pickup at the Lakeview Crossings development on the corner of Mill Street and Dover Road as, according to Mayor Cradle, the borough's large garbage trucks are unable to enter and successfully exit the narrow private property lanes within the development.

"It's a rough situation - when they were given a permit we said we would pick up their garbage and do their snow plowing," said Mayor Cradle. "It's giving us a problem with our trucks getting in there. It was okay when there was only one building, but now they're building out and it's a real tight squeeze." 


Mr. Kostecki reported receiving word that a competitive non-matching $25,000 grant from State Farm Insurance was available to applicants that could issue funding to improvements at the baseball fields, playground equipment.

"It is very competitive; there are over 2,000 applicants who generally apply and only a few hundred are approved," he said. "There is another social media aspect of this, so once we state what project we would like to apply for for these funds, our borough will have to get back on social media and request these votes."

Mr. Ross pointed out that it may be of interest to State Farm Insurance in considering their application to know that some of the borough's older playground equipment will soon be out of compliance with state guidelines and need to be removed or replaced.

Those interested in voting for South Toms River's grant application can find the link by scrolling down the timeline on the official borough Facebook page, found here


Borough officials discussed finding someone suitable to conduct the state mandated dog census by canvassing the borough and making an assessment of dogs present.

Mayor Cradle said he may know of someone who can "fit this bill" and that he would reach out to the individual to see if they were interested. 


Councilwoman Tanya Mosley reported that she and Councilman Greg Handshy have been working on bringing an English as a Second Language (ESL) program into the borough, potentially at the Recreation Center as "our population of Spanish-speaking residents has grown, so we wanted to work something out there." 


Councilman Ed Murray, a lineman with Jersey Central Power & Light for the past 30 years, reported that he has distributed a video on downed power lines safety to the borough police, first aid squad and Manitou Park Vol. Fire Company "so that we know our people are safe, because even if it's not moving doesn't mean it's dead. There are certain protocols I have to go through and these guys have to stay back." 


Councilman Ernest Reevey reported getting several complaints from residents about multiple abandoned and unregistered vehicles in private yards around town that were "eyesores." He said he would follow up to see if the violators were ticketed yet or not. 


Mr. Ross reported that the South Toms River Municipal Alliance's monthly senior and adult program, held the last Sunday of each month from 3 to 5 pm, was still ongoing and continued to feature "a little socialization, bingo for fun and refreshments" at the Recreation Center on Drake Lane. All adults and senior citizens are invited. 


The South Toms River Optimist Club held its annual high school senior scholarship program for college-bound seniors from either South Toms River or Manitou Park, with winning submissions expected to be judged and announced later this week. 


Mr. Gleason reported that the South Toms River Sewerage Authority reorganized for the year under Bill Britton as chairman. 


Several issues at the Recreation Center included heat programs and a pipe breaking, and Mr. Gleason reported that he changed the video surveillance system around in order to free a camera up for possibly the public works property. 


Mr. Handshy reported that he was working with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection to set up "cameras in the couple areas that people are driving in through the power lines in Berkeley Township and into our property" plus other wooded trails and areas to illegally dump trash and bulk items. 

Girl Scouts Troop 201 Beautify Boro Park


Sixteen kindergartners from South Toms River Elementary School, members of Girl Scout Troop 201 here, came together with their parents to fix up a triangular park between Tilton Avenue and Double Trouble Road on April 2nd.


After raking leaves and pine needles, pulling weeds and tilling a circular raised garden, the group planted new flowers and installed a bird feeder and weather-resistant "free library" box post through which neighboring residents can swap or borrow books. Money for the improvements came from their annual cookie sales.












Officials' Notes, Department Updates & Readers' Letters

The Borough of South Toms River will now be able to send important messages to residents through their phone or email using the Nixle alert system. Register your phone or email address here to be able to start receiving messages. Nixle is a community information service dedicated to helping residents stay connected to the information that matters most, depending on physical location. The service is built on the most secure, reliable, and high-speed distribution platform, ensuring that trusted and immediate, geographically relevant information. Information is immediately available over your cell phone by text message, by email, and over the web. Accounts can be customized to receive the information that matters most to each individual.

Mayor Cradle Pens Letter to Residents on Bulk Pickup Changes
Public works vehicles in the borough yard on Drew Lane, January 2010.

Dear South Toms River Residents,

By now most of you should have received your recycling calendar for April and May. The recycling and trash pickup remains the same for all districts. There has been a change in the bulk pickup schedule and procedure. You will notice the back page of the calendar gives directions for the NEW bulk pickup schedule.

We realize the new procedure adds an additional step for the residents but we believe this will reduce the opportunity for those who abuse the bulk pick up service we offer and will make the process better for everyone.

The two main changes are:

1) We will have one bulk pickup per month, picking up all districts on the same day and
2) We are asking residents to contact the Borough Hall to schedule your pickups.

By making these changes we are attempting to make the collection of our bulk more efficient, thus keeping our streets clean and using our tax dollars more efficiently.

The reason there are only two (2) months on the calendar is that we want to see how this new procedure works for the residents of our town. We will look at this schedule for April and May and see how it works. We would appreciate any feedback, positive or negative, regarding these changes.

In order to answer any questions residents may have regarding these changes or anything else they would like to get answers to I will be available at the Borough Hall every Tuesday evening for the next couple of months between 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM. Although I am not at the Borough Hall all day, If you need to talk during daytime hours call the Borough Hall and they will contact me.

Thank You,
Oscar Cradle
Recycling Pickup
First & Third District: Every First & Third Wednesday (Except Holidays)
Second District: Every Second & Fourth Wednesday (Except Holidays)

Trash Pickup
First & Third District: Every Tuesday (Except Holidays)
Second District: Every Thursday (Except Holidays)

Bulk Pickup
All Districts on Third Thursday of Each Month
Vendors & Exhibitors Sought for Independence Day on the Waterfront

The borough and its new Special Events Committee seek vendors and exhibitors to join their Independence Day on the Waterfront event, being held starting at 3 pm at Mathis Veterans Memorial Park, Route 166, and continuing through the end of Beachwood's Fireworks on the Toms River display, which starts at dusk.

Residents are invited to this event, which will include food, merchandise, crafts and free attractions for the entire family.

If you are interested in being a vendor or exhibitor, please visit or contact Borough Clerk Joseph Kostecki at (732) 349-0403, Monday through Friday from 9 am to 4 pm.
Club & Organization News

The South Toms River Optimist Club is a not-for-profit service organization composed of men and women who live and/or work in the South Toms River area. Their primary focus is on service projects that benefit youth and community.
Chartered as a chapter of Optimist International in 2007, the club meets the third Thursday of each month at the Recreation Center on Drake Lane unless otherwise noted. Optimist club members do many community service projects each year, often in conjunction with other community organizations. In addition to many service projects, the club also enjoys social events together. Optimist club members can choose to take part as many projects and social events as they desire.

For more information about the Optimist Club, contact William Gleason by email at or phone at (732) 505-3243. They can be found on Facebook here.

Are you a member of a club, group or organization and want to get the word out about news, calls for action, programs and events and more? E-mail them to - anytime!
Police, Fire & First Aid Reports

The  Manitou Park Volunteer Fire Company , located in Manitou Park, Berkeley Township, and servicing an area that includes  South   Toms   River , reported its  total calls for service to date in 2015 are 125 (with the last call being in Holiday City, Berkeley Township for a carbon monoxide alarm); total calls for service in 2014 were 438. Average number of calls for service during the decade 2005 to 2014 is 480.6. The year with the highest number of calls for service was 2012, with 654. The fire company is always looking for new members and welcomes any residents within the region, not just from  South   Toms  River  and Berkeley Township. They can be reached via e-mail at  and phone at  (732) 341-5950 . Their main station house is located at 110 3rd Avenue in Manitou Park and they are online at .

The  South Toms River First Aid Squad  wants residents to know that the 'Vitalboards' available for pickup  at the squad building and borough hall save lives - and are completely free! Vitalboards are 8-1/2" x 11" write-on/wipe-off magnetic memo boards with pen and clip that mounts to the refrigerator door. These boards are great for jotting down notes, shopping list items, important reminders, and also feature a simple weekly planner. On the reverse side there are areas to include vital health information for the homeowner(s), which can assist first aid staff and other first responders in emergency situations. An EMS decal is also included which the recommend citizens affix on or near the front door of their residence, which alerts to the presence of the Vitalboard. Vitalboards can also be requested at your home by emailing . Vitalboards courtesy Kedz Funeral Home,  Toms   River . The squad can be found online at .

The Beachwood and South Toms River first aid squads, in association with Spotlight Music Productions, Inc., will present a Johnny Cash Tribute Concert fundraiser on Saturday, April 25th at 8 pm in Toms River High School North. Featured will be Terry Lee Goffee as The "Ultimate" Johnny Cash Tribute. A portion of ticket sales will benefit the squads. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased online here.
Riverside Life 100 Years Ago

Read about life in our towns a century ago today. Use password 0916 and click the newspaper below to give it a go!

South Toms River 1935

Life along the river, eighty years ago this month.

As part of the county-wide push to get residents most affected by the Great Depression back to self sufficiency, the county relief group met and suggested, among other things, the creation of community or "group" gardens locally using unused plots of land. Among those who offered land were a Mr. Perry of Manitou Park, who had seven acres near the Pennsylvania Railroad line "that he would gladly allow use of by Manitou Park residents." Another here was Anthony Kosich, who offered five acres in this borough. Mr. Perry scolded other residents in his section of Berkeley Township, stating that if they "would stop drinking rum and running around all night and plant their own gardens they could support themselves." A number of Manitou Park residents appeared interested in the garden project... C. Budd Wilsey, one of the first council members of this borough, drove with his wife to meet their son, Budd Wilsey, Jr., as he arrived in Brooklyn after a long service with the U.S. Army at the Panama Canal... a garage and truck owned by Mrs. Carrie Watts in Manitou Park burned the previous Saturday morning at about 2:30. A short time earlier in the year, her house burned and authorities felt it was more than a coincidence."...

The Underhill & Underhill Pontiac dealership in downtown Toms River opened a satellite repair shop and parts department here on Flint Road opposite the Newbury Lumber Company... Alma Froriep offered dressmaking at her 104 South Main Street home, here... fancy seed oats, grass seed, fertilizers, lime, peat moss and more were offered by the United Feed Company here... "Come in and look over our fine variety of new and used furniture and rugs - furniture sold and exchanged" advertised the Furniture Exchange in the Kosich Building opposite the Central Railroad of New Jersey Station on Flint Road... 
     Word from Our Sponsor: May People's Choice Donuts @ Uncle Dood's 

TOMS RIVER - The time has come for fans of the delectable sugary fried treats served at Uncle Dood's Donuts, Robbins Street, here, to vote their favorite six donuts in the running to be featured on the May menu.

To vote, click the graphic below and write in the comments section on Dood's page.


Cap Bank Ordinance Introduced

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the foregoing Ordinance was introduced and passed on first reading at the regular meeting of the Borough Council of the Borough of South Toms River, in the County of Ocean and State of New Jersey, held on the 23rd day of March 2015, and will be considered for second reading and final passage at the regular meeting of said governing body to be held on the 27th day of April, 2015 at 7:00 pm at the Borough Hall, 144 Mill Street, South Toms River, New Jersey, at which any person desiring to be heard upon the same will be given an opportunity to do so.
Joseph A. Kostecki, RMC Municipal Clerk

Contract Awarded for Property Reassessments

The Mayor and Council of the Borough of South Toms River has awarded a contract for Professional Services pursuant to New Jersey Law (P.L. 2004 c. 19, N.J.S.A. 19:44-20.4 et. seq.) by a "Fair and Open" process. This Contract and the Resolution authorizing it, Resolution 2015-97, are available for public inspection in the office of the Municipal Clerk.
TIME PERIOD: March 1, 2015 - December 31, 2016
COST: $55,000.00
Joseph Kostecki,RMC Borough Clerk

2015 Budget Introduced

2015 Municipal Budget of the Borough of South Toms River, County of Ocean for the fiscal year 2015
Revenue and Appropriation Summary
Anticipated 2015 2014
Summary of Revenues
1. Surplus $425,000.00 $425,000.00
2. Total Miscellaneous Revenues 543,618.51 606,541.38
3. Receipts from Delinquent Taxes 285,571.01 235,449.27
4. Local Tax for Municipal Purposes 2,957,370.82 2,880,907.75
Total General Revenues $4,211,560.34 $4,147,898.40

Summary of Appropriations
1.Operating Expenses: Salaries and Wages $1,637,057.00 $1,612,011.02
Other Expenses 1,453,154.67 1,431,848.38
2.Deferred Charges and Statutory Expenditures 337,403.00 342,925.00
3.Capital Improvements 40,000.00 25,000.00
4.Debt Service 272,380.00 253,440.00
5.Reserve for Uncollected Taxes 471,565.67 482,674.00
Total General Appropriations $4,211,560.34 $4,147,898.40

Total Number of Employees 41 42
Balance of Outstanding Debt Appropriated in 2015 General Interest on notes $25,750.00
Principal on notes $246,630.00
Outstanding Balance of Notes at December 31, 2014 $1,870,680.00

Notice is hereby given that the budget and tax resolution was approved by the Governing Body of the Borough of South Toms River, County of Ocean on March 23, 2015. A hearing on the budget and tax resolution will be held at the Municipal Building on April 27, 2015 at 7:00 P.M. at which time and place objections to the Budget and Tax Resolution for the year 2015 may be presented by taxpayers or other interested persons. Copies of the budget are available in the office of Joseph A Kostecki, Borough Administrator/ Municipal Clerk at the Municipal Building, 144 Mill Street, South Toms River, New Jersey 08757, (732) 349-0403 during the hours of 9:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

Public Auction @ Storage Station on May 13th

STORAGE STATION will sell at PUBLIC AUCTION at 29 Flint Road., South Toms River, NJ. 08757 all personal property stored in it's facility by:
Unit #258 Jennifer Swain totes, boxes and more.