“We talk about parents and guardians practicing responsible gun ownership, but the same needs to extend to those who are selling guns in this state,” Houghtaling said. “Again, it comes down to taking responsibility. When you’re in that business, you have a responsibility to inform your customers. And we certainly need to take responsibility in creating information that can be consumed.” The first of two bills (A-3696) requires the safe storage of a firearm and establishes penalties for improper firearm storage. Under the measure, a legal owner of a firearm that is not in use at a premise under the owner’s control is required to store the firearm in a securely locked box or container in a location, which a reasonable person would believe to be secure. Users may also secure the firearm with a trigger lock. By creating a law that calls for stricter storage requirements for firearms owners, Assemblywoman Joann Downey believes unnecessary tragedies can be avoided and the threat of gun violence in schools stemmed. Both bills are due to gobefore Assembly SpeakerCraig Coughlin (D-19) forfur ther consideration. “There are no protections against an all too familiar story we’ve seen in the news, like a young person who is suffering from anxiety or depression and then locates their parent’s gun. They take their own life and leave their family to mourn a senseless tragedy,” Downey said. Those who fail to adhere to the mandate will be found guilty of a disorderly persons offense, which carries the potential for a six-month prison sentence and a maximum $1,000 fine. According to testimony about the bill provided by Downey to the Assembly Judiciary Committee, though there are requirements and penalties meant to protect children from accessing loaded firearms that are not in use, there is no general requirement for the storage of unloaded firearms. Another staggering figure is that 80 percent of guns used in youth suicide attempts were reportedly stored in the victim’s home or accessed in the home of a friend or relative. The lack of regulation allows gun owners to leave weaponry in accessible locations like a kitchen table or a bedroom nightstand, even with ammunition situated nearby. Additionally, 75 percent of first and second graders know where their parents store their weapons and approximately 36 percent admitted to handling the family firearm without parental permission. An Assembly panel recently advanced seven measures to address gun safety concerns, including legislation sponsored by Downey (D-11) and fellow Democrat Eric Houghtaling (D-11), which specifically targets safe storage of unloaded firearms in the home, as well as mandatory education of firearm dealers about suicide prevention. According to Houghtaling, the informational materials would advise store customers and firing range patrons about different ways to prevent a friend or family member in crisis from accessing their weapon. “This is about responsibility,” Houghtaling said. “If you’re going to own a gun it’s not too much to ask that you store it properly. I’m not here to be anti-gun person. I’m not preaching about limiting a gun owner’s rights. But we have to be better about keeping guns out of the hands of those who are inexperienced, like young children.” It was a particularly disturbing sentiment for Houghtaling, who recognized a mental health concern among youth across the nation and citied several instances of youth suicide in his district during a June 17 interview with The Two River Times. The Center of Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia published statistics stating that 1.7 million children live with unlocked, loaded guns in their homes. The second piece of legislation (A-3896) requires the State Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal to cooperate with the Shareef M. Elnahal, the commissioner of health, to develop suicide prevention course curriculum and informational materials for retail firearm dealers who sell guns or operate a firing range to display and distribute to patrons. “No other reasonable nation allows for firearms to be left unsecured where any child or thief can easily obtain them. If every firearm in New Jersey were safely secured in a locked container tomorrow, we would see the rate of suicides, unintentional tragedies and school shootings rapidly plummet,” Downey said.
Perry said when the meeting’s discussion turned to a proposed regional shared service agreement he was immediately intrigued, but admits pulling it off could take some effort, especially when Middletown stands to shoulder a great deal of the operational burden. “What we’re looking to see is if, as employees retire, instead of replacing completely, can the three of us share the costs of bringing in someone new to oversee all of our operations,” Gonzales said. “These are the types of things that will save taxpayers and the towns money. And it aligns with what the state is looking to do.” Perry views the new town hall construction as a possible centerpiece for this regional shared service accord and called it a potential resource for the entire Bayshore community. “We don’t need the state to tell us that shared services are the way to go. We’ve all been doing that already,” Middletown Mayor Tony Perry said. “Reducing duplication and allowing for cost savings to occur is our responsibility.” “We used to use a database so we can seeif Joe Smith had been arrested previously inother municipalities. There is other softwarein use today, but it proves how useful regionalservices can be.” According to Middletown Township administrator Tony Mercantante, the investigation could go out to bid in July. Bayshore area towns share a similar geography and comparable maintenance obstacles. That has some municipal officials pondering the benefits of a regional shared service agreement. “There’s absolutely a benefit to shared services in general, let alone regional collaboration. We would not be doing our job if we didn’t consider it. Fiscal responsibility lies with all of us,” Hubeny said. “Right now, if we want to do work with Union Beach or Hazlet, we can’t, because we don’t have an agreement in place and there is a process we would need to go through,” Gonzales said. “With a joint agreement in place, any town in the Bayshore region could opt in if they wanted to.” County and municipal government reform and the use of additional shared services is a pillar of the state Legislature’s Path to Progress, a bipartisan plan to rescue New Jersey from what Senate President Steve Sweeney called a “fiscal crisis.” In addition to expanding interlocal shared services, Path to Progress calls for pension and benefit reform, leveraging assets to stabilize the pension system, education reform at the administrative level – including the concept of regional districts to create fewer administrative-level employees – and reworking the state and municipal tax structure. According to Gonzales, Highlands is currently using free DCA services for an audit of each of the borough’s municipal departments to determine if future personnel sharing is an option with the neighboring boroughs of Atlantic Highlands and Sea Bright. Last week Middletown broke ground at the future site of its new town hall complex, a 72,000-square-foot facility that will place all municipal operations, including the police department and court services, under one roof. Some think it could work, and one borough administrator says she’s already taking the steps to test the viability. Hubeny said his borough currently works with neighboring Highlands for mechanic work on municipal vehicles, as well as courtroom services. Another agreement is in place for Middletown to handle the borough’s brush and leaf collections. Earlier this month, Middletown announced its plans to investigate the Bayshore’s main thoroughfare, Route 36, as an area in need of redevelopment. The investigation will study about five miles of highway from the border of Keansburg at Palmer Avenue to the intersection of Leonardville Road and Route 36 near Atlantic Highlands. The goal is to create mechanisms that will entice developers to work with tricky properties that remain undeveloped, underutilized or abandoned. “A lot of towns are leaning on Middletown and it’s because of our size and resources. But there’s benefits to us. One of the reasons we’re building the new town hall is because of the potential it creates to expand our shared services. I already see the potential court sharing, which already happens a lot in the Two River area. The more we share, the more we can reduce taxes for residents,” Perry said. Though the investigation is limited to Middletown properties, better collaboration and a pooling of resources could lead to similar research and development in other Route 36 municipalities. Since the meeting, which occurred in May and included representatives of Aberdeen, Atlantic Highlands, Hazlet, Holmdel, Keansburg, Keyport, Matawan and Middletown, Gonzales said she has had preliminary discussions with the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to lay the groundwork for an eventual feasibility study. Atlantic Highlands Borough administrator Adam Hubeny is a former police officer who said he’s witnessed the fruits of similar collaborative efforts at the technological level. During a recent monthly meeting of the Bayshore mayors the topic was broached and approximately “90 to 95 percent” of the municipalities in attendance expressed interest in striking such an accord, said Highlands Borough administrator Kim Gonzales. “We investigate every shared service and sometimes proposals don’t get implemented because we don’t see enough of a benefit for the town. For this to work each governing body is going to have to weigh in on what they can bring to the table, Middletown included, and compare it to what they’re getting back. It will be a process, but it’s possible,” Perry said. But a regional agreement could expandthe benefits. The Bayshore mayors are due to meet again Friday, June 28.
ARCADIA, Calif. (May 25, 2016)–A runaway 16 ¼ length first-out maiden winner at 6 ½ furlongs on April 10, Nick Alexander’s homebred Enola Gray heads a field of six California-bred or sired 3-year-old fillies in Saturday’s $200,000 Melair Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.Originally run at Hollywood Park in 1996, the Melair was taken last year by trainer Phil D’Amato’s Sheer Pleasure and will be run for the third consecutive year at Santa Anita on Saturday. HACKTIVISM: Owned and bred by Reddam Racing, LLC, this Square Eddie filly clipped heels late and was placed fifth, beaten 3 ¼ lengths, in Golden Gate’s Campanile Stakes May 1. A maiden winner at a mile on turf here two starts back on March 10, Hacktivisim has run three good races on turf, but it remains to be seen if she can be effective on dirt, as she was well beaten going six furlongs on the main track in her debut here on Jan. 2. Hacktivism, who is out of the Irish-bred mare Prima Creatura, will make her fifth career start in the Melair.THE $200,000 MELAIR STAKES IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS Race 4 (of 11) Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PDT SHY CARMELITA: D’Amato’s second entrant, she is also owned and bred by Alexander and is by Grazen, from the Malek mare Malley Girl. A first-out maiden winner at six furlongs Jan. 30, she comes off 4 ¼ first condition allowance win here going six furlongs on May 7. Shy Carmelita, who has shown she can press the pace or come from behind in four sprints, will try two turns for the first time in the Melair. MELAIR IS ONE OF FIVE CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH DAY STAKES FOR HORSES BRED OR SIRED IN CALIFORNIA ENOLA GRAY: Trained by Phil D’Amato, Enola Gray is by the Alexander-owned Grazen and is out of his More Than Ready mare, Unsung Heroine. Off at 4-1, she demolished eight rivals with a front-running blitz under Tyler Baze in her debut and will likely employ similar tactics as she stretches out in the Melair. First post time on Saturday is at 2 p.m. Admission gates will open at 11:30 a.m. For scratches, late changes and complete morning line information, please visit santaanita.com. ALLSQUARE: A chestnut filly by Square Eddie out of the Decarchy mare, Showtime Apollo, Allsquare, who was bred by D’Amato, is his third entrant in the race. A game maiden winner going a flat mile on turf here two starts back on March 31, she disappointed as the 5-2 favorite in the mile turf Campanile, finishing seventh, beaten four lengths by Cheekaboo. CHEEKABOO: Trained by Peter Eurton, this chestnut filly by Unusual Heat from the Souvenir Copy mare Sandy Cheeks comes off a come from behind win going one mile on turf in state-bred Campanile Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on May 1. Owned by Sharon Alesia, Mike Burns and Joseph Ciaglia Racing, LLC, Cheekaboo broke her maiden coming from off the pace on dirt here four starts back on Jan. 10. With Enola Gray in the lineup, there figures to be a solid early pace and if good enough, Cheekaboo will hope to be flying late. Her overall mark stands at 6-2-2-1, with earnings of $137,680. Enola Gray–Tyler Baze–120Allsquare–Joe Talamo–120Cheekaboo–Rafael Bejarano–124Hacktivism–Mario Gutierrez–120The Spiral Jetter–Santiago Gonzalez–120Shy Carmelita–Martin Garcia–122 THE SPIRAL JETTER: Originally fourth, beaten two lengths by Cheekaboo, this Andy Mathis-trained filly by Don’tsellmeshort, out of the Renteria mare Early Arriver, was placed third in the Campanile Stakes and will try natural dirt for the first time in the Melair. A 2 ½ length open maiden special weight winner going a flat mile on synthetic Tapeta at Golden Gate three starts back on Feb. 7, The Spiral Jetter, who is 5-1-2-1, has been ridden in all five Golden Gate starts by Julien Couton, but will be handled for the first time by Santiago Gonzalez on Saturday.