Tag Archives: Fair Haven Borough council

Fair Haven: Names in Borough Business

By Elaine Van Develde

There’s been some change in names and faces in and around Fair Haven Borough Hall.

The biggest change comes from the office of the tax collector.

With the recent announcement of 38-year tax collector Dale Connor’s retirement, effective May 1, came the appointment of the borough’s new tax collector, Denise Jawidzik.

Continue reading Fair Haven: Names in Borough Business

Meeting Night in Fair Haven: Invasive Species & Special Honor on Agenda

Tonight is Fair Haven Borough Council meeting night.

There are a few things on the agenda that may pique people’s interest.

First, Larry Quigley, a longtime resident who has served on roughly nine committees and commissions, including the Planning and Zoning boards and Historic Preservation Commission, will be honored with a proclamation.

Congratulations to Larry. Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect will be there to follow up with a full story.

In addition to Quigley’s proclamation, a few issues will be workshopped.

Among those issues on the agenda is a slated discussion on invasive (plant) species. Mayor Ben Lucarelli had said that while the borough is hesitant to be the arbiter of what people can and cannot plant on their properties, there have been problems with species — a certain variety of bamboo, in particular — rooting, creeping under property lines and cracking and unearthing driveways, for instance.

A speed limit change to River Road will also be discussed as will some tree permit denials.

To check out the agenda yourself, click here.

In with the New at Fair Haven’s New Year’s Day Reorganization


By Elaine Van Develde

Reorganization 2015 in Fair Haven brought a new council member to the dais — a lone Democrat — and new fire and first aid line officers.

In addition to Mayor Ben Lucarelli being sworn in to his first full four-year term, incumbent Susan Sorensen took the oath for her second council term. The newcomer to the governing body, Aimee Humphreys was sworn in to her first three-year and then took a seat at the dais for her first council meeting..

Fair Haven Fire Department and First Aid Squad members were sworn in as follows:

Fair Haven Fire Department line officers

• Chief, Scott Eskwitt

• Deputy Chief, Mike Weihl

• First Assistant Chief, Tim Morrissey

• Second Assistant Chief, Matt DePonti

Fair Haven First Aid Squad officers

• Captain, Joe Truex

• First Lieutenant, Kim Ambrose

• Second Lieutenant, Amanda Lynn

Fair Haven Fire Police Officers

• Captain, Lew Davison

• First Lieutenant, Frank Scalzo

• Second Lieutenant, Dan Chernavsky

Water Rescue/Dive Team

• Co-Captain/Sr. Administrator, John Felsmann

• Operations, James Cerruti and Robert Frank

• Training Officer, William Heath

Fair Haven Fire Department Ladies’ Auxiliary

• President, Trudy Wojciehowski

• Vice President, Amanda Lynn

Services Set for Fair Haven’s Councilman Koch

By Elaine Van Develde

The times and place have been set to honor and bid farewell to Fair Haven Borough Councilman Jerome A. Koch, Jr., who died on Sunday after sustaining fatal injuries from a Saturday afternoon bicycle accident in the borough.

On Wednesday, there will be a visitation at Church of the Nativity, 180 Ridge Rd., Fair Haven, from 5 to 8 p.m., according to information on the Thompson Memorial Home website.

A Mass of Christian burial will follow on Thursday at 11 a.m. at the church.

Koch, 63, who moved to Fair Haven in 1975, served on the governing body since 2006. He was retired from the family business, Karl Koch Erecting Company and served in the U.S. Army from 1973-77, according to his biography on the borough website.

He was also the council liaison to the borough’s Department of Public Works and Fair Haven Fields Natural Area.

Councilman Koch leaves behind his wife Betsy, a teacher at Knollwood School, Kristen, Kathryn (Katie) and son-in-law Erik Thorvilson, Jerome (Jake), Kerry and granddaughter Grace, the child of Katie and Erik.

Click here for Jerome Koch’s full obituary on the Thompson Memorial Home website.

Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect will be writing a tribute/feature story about Councilman Koch. Anyone who would like to contribute information and/or quotes is invited to contact us at evd@rfhretro.com

Fair Haven Says Goodbye to Mr. Charlie

Fair Haven Recreation and Special Events Director Charlie Hoffmann bids residents and officials goodbye at the Nov. 23 council meeting. Photo/Elaine Van Develde
Fair Haven Recreation and Special Events Director Charlie Hoffmann bids residents and officials goodbye at the Nov. 23 council meeting. Photo/Elaine Van Develde

By Elaine Van Develde

“I call him Charles in Charge,” Fair Haven Borough Administrator said with a smile when bidding goodbye to the town’s well-liked director of the Department of Parks and Recreation and, more recently, Special Events, Charlie Hoffmann.

That was Monday night at the Borough Council meeting, five-and-a-half years after Hoffmann first met Fair Haven and fell in love at first sight.

“When I interviewed for this job five-and-a-half years ago, I had no absolutely no intention of taking it,” Hoffmann said at the meeting. “Someone just told me to come here and practice interviewing. I took a drive around. I was pulled over twice — so, good job with your men, chief — and instantly fell in love with this town. Then I met (then) Mayor (Michael) Halfacre in his Hawaiian shirt and said (to myself), ‘I need to work here.’ It’s probably the best decision I’ve ever made, professionally.”

Since then, Hoffmann worked as the full-time Recreation director until two years ago, when he announced his resignation. The notice was met with such chagrin that Hoffmann ended up staying on part-time transitioning D.J. Breckenridge, now director, into the job. Once that transition was complete, Hoffmann continued until now as Special Events director.

It was a transition that Borough Administrator Theresa Casagrande said was “seamless” for the residents and good for the town.

That’s because, she said, “I think it’s fair to say that Charlie is near and dear to the hearts of the people of Fair Haven. For many people, he was the face of Fair Haven, because they saw him (spearheading events around town) more than us. I think he has done an exemplary job.”

Hoffmann called attention to some new events he brought to the borough that he was particularly proud of, and thanked all those residents and officials, especially Recreation commissioners and council members Susan Sorensen and (former) Bob Marchese, who helped bring them to fruition as standing new traditions: the annual campout, father-daughter dance, grants, concerts on the dock and the centennial celebration, which has now turned into an annual Fair Haven Day.

Saying he was “dealt a great hand here” in Fair Haven, Hoffmann signed off by saying, “The ZIP code 07704 will always have a special place in my heart.”




Meet the Newest Fair Haven Borough Council Member

By Elaine Van Develde

“Aimee, would you like to join us?” asked Fair Haven Mayor Ben Lucarelli of Councilwoman-elect Aimee Humphreys as the governing body went into executive session after the Nov. 10 meeting.

It was slightly a week shy of the newest council member’s election. The next meeting, now an annual tradition, was held at Knollwood School as a civics lesson to students about the workings of the group of people elected to represent them and their parents.

And Humphreys was there and eager for indoctrination into her new post as of the New Year.

Humphreys, a Democrat, is the first to break the all-Republican hold on the Fair Haven dais in a very long time. The last was independent Mayor Joseph Szostak, who won his independent bid for mayor in 2002. He served one term through 2006 when former Mayor Michael Halfacre won the mayoral election.

Since the election, Humphreys has been seen around town. She told Rumson-Fair Haven Retrospect at the borough’s Veterans Day service that she anticipated, despite her minority position on the governing body, that “everything will be great.

“We’re all friends. We’ve all lived here a long time and all have the town’s interests at heart. I think it’s going to be a really positive experience. I’m really looking forward to it.”

She no sooner said that when Mayor Lucarelli walked over and welcomed her as a future governing body member and thanked her for being there.

“We’re happy to welcome Aimee,” he said.


Knollwood Students Experience Municipal Government at Work

By Elaine Van Develde

Fair Haven students had a lesson in civics on Monday.

As part of a now annual tradition, the Fair Haven Borough Council conducted one of its meetings at Knollwood School. And the kids learned some things about local government policy that they did not necessarily understand.

For one, members of the governing body told the group that if you want to be heard, you need to speak up and go to meetings.

And, said Council President Jonathan Peters, “It’s always best to approach us first … ask us your question. Don’t yell at us right away. Just ask us what you need an answer to and if you don’t get the answer, then you can yell at us.”

Councilman Rowland Wilhelm called attention to the fact that two women who have lived in the borough for decades, Ruth Blaser and Susan O’Brien, are at every meeting “holding us accountable.”

Like it or not, he said, the two exemplify what residents’ rights are all about. They are usually at every single meeting, “keeping us in check,” he said. Blaser asked council, among other things, if they’d consider having an open public meeting, agenda-free, to get people in town together when more are available, perhaps on a Saturday.

Mayor Ben Lucarelli explained something that he acknowledged many people don’t understand — what type of government their town is working under.

In Fair Haven, for example, the form of government, he said, is that of Borough Council. “It’s a form of municipal government that has a strong council and weak mayor,” he said. “What that means is that the council members are the ones who vote on all the local laws.”

The mayor, if necessary, breaks ties only. He does not customarily vote. He, on the other hand, sets agendas and has veto power.

Council took questions from the student body, many of whom took the opportunity to ask questions.

Some questions included those about pot holes around town, the pending lights at Fair Haven Fields, recycling and open space acquisitions.

Council also recognized its newly-elected member, Aimee Humphreys, and invited her to join them for a first time in executive session.

Check out our photos from the meeting.

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Stay tuned for more council action at the meeting and our interview with Aimee Humphreys.