Wednesday, July 29, 2020

What Have I Done For You? -- Josephine Noone

Josephine Noone
Josephine Noone

What Have I Done For You?

As a voter, you have a choice to make in November regarding who will be your next mayor. I want to share some of what I have done for you as a Councilwoman since 2015. First and foremost, I am a cooperative team player. I have worked to build positive relationships with my fellow Council members, our Borough Manager, Borough employees, our business community, and you, the members of the public. I listen to people’s concerns and work cooperatively to get things accomplished. It takes at least four votes to pass a resolution, ordinance, or budget. I am able to make convincing arguments and build coalitions in order to achieve passage of resolutions and ordinances.

Accomplishments I am proud of:

  1. As the Chair of the Code Book Committee, I worked to pass the Abandoned Properties Ordinance, which has decreased the number of abandoned properties in the Borough and improved the maintenance of properties that are still vacant.

  2. Worked to create the Open Space Trust Fund which enabled us to obtain $135,800 from Warren County through the Department of Land Preservation and $415,000 from the State of New Jersey to purchase the 80-acre Shabbecong Mountain Preserve as recreational open space.

  3. Washington Borough, like any rural community in NJ, is under constant pressure from rising personnel costs. We need to maintain control of taxes and this requires innovative thinking. One method of solving this problem is engaging in shared services. I have voted in favor of Shared Services Agreements for our Police, Animal Control Officer, Fire Prevention Officer, Engineer, Municipal Court, Manager, and Building Maintenance/Custodial Services. All of these agreements allow us to have high-quality services for our residents at a decreased cost to our taxpayers.

  4. Serve as the Council Liaison to the Washington Business Improvement District. To promote new businesses, I have attended almost every grand opening since 2015. I voted to provide up to $1,000 to reimburse businesses that make sign and facade improvements. I help to organize the annual GreenFest and volunteer at WBID events such as Hometown Holiday and Festival in the Borough.

  5. Started the Washington Borough Farmers’ Market in cooperation with the WBID and Green Team, and I volunteer to manage the market with the support of Green Team volunteers every Saturday from June through September. The farmers’ market supports local farms and small businesses and brought over 2,000 people into our downtown in 2019.

  6. Coordinated the Green Team’s successful effort to earn Sustainable Jersey’s Bronze Certification in 2019. Washington Borough is one of only four communities in Warren County to earn Bronze Certification. To achieve this certification, we worked with the Borough Manager and Council to implement practices that led to cost savings in our energy bills. We now have access to training and tools to help our community improve efficiency, cut waste, and stimulate our local economy. We also get special priority access and notification of incentives and grants, and are eligible for the Sustainable Jersey Grants Program.

  7. Voted to revise our Master Plan and development regulations to bring Washington Borough into Highlands Plan conformance within the Highlands Planning Area, which makes us eligible for significant grant aid through the Highlands Act.

  8. Advocated and voted for paving roads and repairing sidewalks. We currently have a 5-Year Paving Plan based on the Borough Engineer’s assessment of roads most in need of paving. We have received numerous grants for paving roads and sidewalks, and over 4.5 miles or about 25% of the Borough’s roads have been paved. This includes the paving of Grand Avenue including sewer upgrades and the recent repairs to the sidewalks on Carlton Avenue.

  9. In response to health and safety issues brought about by absentee landlords who were not maintaining their properties, I voted to pass an ordinance in 2019 replacing our rental property code. We instituted a property registration and inspection procedure with fees that allowed us to hire a dedicated Housing Inspector. We need to continue our efforts to ensure that rental properties are well-maintained. This will improve property values in the Borough and protect the health and safety of our citizens. This ordinance and fee structure is designed to be self-sustaining and without cost to taxpayers.

  10. In response to citizen’s concerns regarding our outdated ordinance, I worked with our Animal Control Officer and Borough Manager to update our Dog and Cat Ordinance and to create a specific chapter outlining the requirements for keeping chickens and other agricultural animals in the Borough.

  11. Voted to implement a plan for the Borough to provide our own solid waste disposal service with the goal of controlling solid waste costs and delivering high-quality service to residents. This plan will be implemented beginning in January 2021.

  12. Served on the Search Team to hire our current Borough Manager, Matthew Hall, and voted to hire him. Owing in large part to his hard work, Washington Borough has been awarded $689,792.30 in grants since 2017. These grants helped us to provide essential services with no municipal tax increase since 2017.

As your mayor, I will be a persuasive and effective leader who works cooperatively with all members of Council and the Borough Manager to get things done for the benefit of our community.

Thank you for your support!

Josephine Noone

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Sunday, July 26, 2020

Chris Bauknight calls for a community conversation on race

On July 26, 2020, Chris Bauknight, Council Member Candidate for Washington Borough, spoke to a gathering at Meadowbreeze Park on the need for a community wide conversation on race.

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Friday, July 24, 2020

The local primary race has been certified. Here are the results.

Ballot Box

The Warren County Board of Elections has finished certifying the July 7th 2020 primary election.  The official report can be downloaded here.  

It's 52 pages long.  Want the tl;dr?  Here are the results for the local Borough race:

Democratic Party:
(one Mayoral Candidate, Two Council Member Candidates)

Candidate Votes
Noone for Mayor
Ron for Council
Bauknight for Council

Republican Party:
(one Mayoral Candidate, Two Council Member Candidates)

Candidate Votes
Higgins for Mayor
Parichuk for Mayor
Heinrich for Council  348
Cox for Council  330
Valle for Council  139
France for Council  257

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Sunday, July 19, 2020

How to communicate via Secure Email

OpenPGP Email Encryption Technology

Hey there!

You may have received email from us with the following signature:

Do you use PGP and wish to exchange email, securely?
Download my public key. Key fingerprint should end with "56AE 2C8C 0902 D966"
and are wondering "what is secure email, and why should I be bothered?"

1) How is Secure Email different from what I send now?

Email is inherently not a secure digital communication method.  The content of your email, which includes your written words and attachments, can be intercepted and read by individuals who have access to the various email servers between your email software (for example, Gmail) and the people with whom you are communicating.   This information, as well as what is called "metadata" (for example, the date and time the email was sent, who you are, who you are sending the email to) is sent as "clear text" where anyone with access can read it.

The use of secure email guarantees the sender and receiver are the sole parties that are allowed to read its contents, and no one else.

2) What is PGP ?

PGP is a way to secure email message contents on the internet, as the message itself is transmitted between computers, and while it resides in storage until the receivers view it.

PGP stands for "Pretty Good Privacy".   It was developed by Phil Zimmerman starting in 1991 to provide secure email via encryption.  The encryption is implemented "end to end" which means only the sender and recipient are allowed to see the contents of the mail.  This integrity is realized since both users have sole access and control of the encryption keys used to scramble the message contents.   PGP also provides reasonable assurances to the email recipient that the email originated from the sender. 

Since its creation, PGP has evolved to become an open internet standard for email security, and supported by multiple different email programs.   It has remained a viable secure digital communication system since then.  In 2013 Edward Snowden reported that the NSA still has not been able to break messages encrypted with PGP technologies, assuming no direct access to the keys used to encrypt the message contents.

3) What is a convenient PGP email program to use with Gmail and Yahoo Mail ?

You may want to check out Mailvelope for this.   It is fairly easy to set up and use.   There are a few YouTube Videos to guide you through this process.   This  one is particularly helpful.

4) What is the main weakness of using PGP?

The security of PGP relies primarily on each user guarding the access to, and the integrity of, the encryption keys they used to send and read secure email.   It is helpful to treat access to these keys with the same care as the passwords to your personal banking accounts.   By doing so, you protect the information you send to others, as well as the information that they send to you.

5) I went through the YouTube video and I'm all set up.  So now how do I send you secure email?

Good!  What you need to do at this point is download our public key using the links in our email signatures, and send us an email informing us that we can download your public key from the Mailvelope Key Server.   Then we should be all set.

6) What is the "key fingerprint" you listed in the email signature?

The key fingerprint is a unique series of numbers and letters that identify the uniqueness and authenticity of keys.   This is especially helpful if keys are downloaded from public key servers, and not directly obtained from the person with whom you want to exchange secure email.

After you import our public key into Mailvelope, you should verify the last sixteen letters and numbers match those listed in our email signatures.   By doing so you are assured that you obtained the correct key we will use decode and read the secure email you send us. 

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Thursday, July 16, 2020

The localized COVID response: Not good for the country, not good for our schools

Much has been written about the failure of the USA to get the COVID response under control, nationally, since the outbreak started ramping up in March. The proof here is while some states, such as New York and New Jersey, were challenged earlier than other states, the proactive measures taken by Governors Cuomo and Murphy has led to the desired "flattening of the curve." Both governors exhibited true leadership in face of great criticism, and their states prevailed.

While New York and New Jersey were struggling with the outbreaks, the current White House administration took a hand's off, "you governors are on your own" approach. Then the administration moved to buy up key resources, effectively making a difficult job even harder for these states.

Now states, such as Texas, Florida and Arizona, who took less proactive approach in preparing for an eventual outbreak, and yet took an aggressive approach in restarting their economies, are faced with soaring new cases.

In short, this regional approach is not effective to mitigating the outbreak.

Now we are faced with school re-opening. Despite being warned by the CDC earlier this month, the current administration announced that it will leave it to the local school systems to mitigate the outbreak. Essentially they are applying the same "hand's off" "you are on your own" approach at the federal level earlier this year, to how schools should be left to manage the outbreak this fall. Given the poor results shown to date, you would think another more national and muscular approach should be shown by the administration for the sake of our children's health.

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Friday, July 10, 2020

Introducing Christopher Bauknight for Borough Council

Christopher Bauknight
Christopher Bauknight

Hello everyone,

My name is Christopher Bauknight and I'm here to give you insight of why I'm running for town council. I have been living in the Borough for six years, and since 1996 I have been associated with this town through my grandparents and Mount Pisgah African Methodist Episcopal Church on North Lincoln Ave. These experiences provided me life long friends who I now consider to be family members.

My background is in retail sales and customer service which gives me the benefit of working with everyone. When you have a career selling Mens Clothiers in Morristown and Livingston you are serving customers of different social, economic and political backgrounds.  This experience helped shape and sharpen my communication, patience and confidence skills. Currently I work for The Arc of Warren County as a Direct Support Professional. This is by far the best job I ever had: great staff, housemates make for an enjoyable work environment.

I'm running for council because of the need for change in the Borough. For the past few years  the Borough has experienced significant economic change.  And now with Covid-19, we as a community need fresh new ideas for a whole town: a new ideal diverse business strategy with still maintaining our hometown charm, increase entrepreneurship to drive business growth, continue our educational excellence, help our community with the dealings of Covid-19 adjustments in mental health, teaching the youth of more possibilities to earn a living and expanded their knowledge.

You may be wondering about my educational background. I was educated in Springfield, NJ at Jonathan Dayton High School. Following graduation I was accepted into the college of my first choice Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa. I graduated with Bachelors of Arts in Sociology in 2010.

My community involvement consists of leadership positions on the following organizations. Last year I was elected to the Borough's Board of Education.  I volunteered to be a member of the Friends of the Library board as a trustee. I was elected last year to be a Warren County Democratic Committee person. I was appointed Vice President of Warren County Young Democrats. I am a active member of the NAACP chapter of Warren/Sussex counties. I took on all these responsibilities in a three year span. Throughout my life I have always taken an active role in social justice movements to promote racial equality. Now I am speaking and leading demonstrations to bring about a more equitable society in America.

In closing I just want to thank everyone in the Borough who came out and voted during this week's primary. In these times we have to remember we must care about our town by supporting the people who want to lead and carry out our town policies and leadership. Now comes the race for November 3. Thank you again for your continued support of my ambition to be elected to the Borough council.

Christopher Bauknight

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Thank you, thank you for your vote! -- Sonia Ron

Sonia Ron
Sonia Ron

Thank you, thank you for your vote!

This election shows me that we as a people are still strong enough to stand up and support not only each other but our community. You did that yesterday July 7th, 2020 by voting.

Today we again begin to move forward to election day in November. I will not be moving forward alone; I will be moving forward with each and every person of my community.

Change is needed, we all see that. We need to reinvest in our future by investing in every area of our community. We as a people will reinforce our commitment to this town and to our local businesses, to our streets, to our mental health, to the growing concern with addiction of our young and our old.

We need to build a stronger bond between our police department and our youth; in other words, we need change towards a better tomorrow.

I look forward to building a greater and stronger Washington Borough. Together we will make this happen. We are all invested; we are each other’s neighbors, friends, our kids either know each other by having gone to school together or played for the Streaks, little league, soccer and or football teams. In other words, we are the community of this town.

Thank you again for your vote and I look forward to November so that we can begin working towards a brighter future together.

Sonia Ron

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Monday, July 6, 2020

Introducing Josephine Noone for Mayor

Josephine Noone
Josephine Noone

I would like to introduce myself to you and tell you why I am running for mayor. I am a long-term resident of Washington Borough and have lived here since 1994. I live in the house that my grandparents built. I am a wife, mother, and proud member of our community.

I am very familiar with the Washington Borough School District. My grandmother graduated from Taylor Street School, my mother graduated from Washington High School, and my son went through the Washington Borough and Warren Hills Regional School Systems.

I have benefited from and support Washington Borough's recreational programs. I learned how to swim at the Washington Borough Pool and spent many hours in the summer at the Washington Borough Public Library. My son swam and played soccer, baseball, and hockey on Washington Borough Teams.

I currently serve on the Washington Borough Council and I am the Council Representative on the Washington Business Improvement District (WBID). As a member of the Green Team, I manage the Washington Borough Farmers’ Market in partnership with the WBID. As the Chair of the Code Book Committee, I worked to pass the Abandoned Properties Ordinance, which has decreased the number of abandoned properties in the borough and improved the maintenance of properties that are still vacant. I worked to create the Open Space Trust Fund which enabled us to obtain $135,800 from Warren County and $415,000 from the State of New Jersey to purchase the 80-acre Shabbecong Mountain Preserve as recreational open space.

I served on the Washington Borough Library Board of Trustees and was President of the Board from 2012-2014. I served as the Referendum Committee Chairperson for the Washington Borough School District in 2002 and Warren Hills Regional School District in 2004 and helped to successfully pass bond referendums which paid for necessary renovations and new construction.

As a retired school leader with over 25 years of experience in the field of education as a Director of Curriculum, school principal and teacher, I have demonstrated strong leadership skills, including team building, identifying and working towards common goals, and community outreach. I regularly interviewed, hired, supervised, managed, and evaluated staff members and allocated and monitored annual budget expenditures.

I have a strong educational background. I have a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in International Relations and a minor in Economics, and a Master of Arts in Education Leadership, Management, and Policy from Seton Hall University. I am currently enrolled at Rutgers University and pursuing a Master of Education in Language Education.

I look forward to continuing to serve the citizens of Washington Borough as Mayor. Please vote for me on November 3rd.

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