Sunday, February 21, 2010

Woodbury, NJ's Treatment of Senior Citizens

I awoke early, and I mean early, Friday morning filled with anxiety about the treatment of my 89 year old mother by the City of Woodbury, NJ. Although her problem has been ongoing during a tree's life, I only learned from this latest occurrence, when I became fully involved, that no one of true authority was aware of the problem. So with this newest technology of e-mailing available and the city government's availability to contact individual councilpersons , I sent each councilperson an e-mail.

Out of 9 councilpersons e-mailed 5 took the time to read my attached Blogs, Firecrackinmama's World: An Open Letter to President Obama and Firecrackinmama's World: Only View If You Have A Strong Stomach and respond. I truly appreciated their time and shared concerns. Mr. Fleming was the first to respond followed respectively by Mr. Villari, Mr. Louis, Mrs. Tierney, and Mr. Trout. Each has assured me that they will work towards some resolution. I hope this is true.

Since I no longer live in Woodbury I no longer have real interest in local politics. However, I do listen out of my good ear to the group of neighbors that sit on my mother's porch during the good weather. A lot of topics are covered, particularly local politics. They reported that one if not three of the above mentioned councilpersons has stopped by to talk, generally during the election year. During those short visits from candidates, issues facing these residents in particular were shared. However their issues appear as "small potatoes" compared to the larger issues like revitalizing the downtown and they will tell you that. Yet with the 5 responses and sincerity shared within those responses, I am hopeful that one of these "small potato" issues will be addressed.

Meanwhile there is always some good that comes out of bad. The mess in the basement has of course led to cleaning out years of collected items, some of value, but mostly junk. I'm very careful when cleaning out my mother's stuff as she was from the old school where you sometimes find things of value stuffed in nondescript boxes, coolers or whatever. I can assure everyone there is nothing left and, Don, there's nothing in the backyard either.

During this latest clean out, I found some old books down in the basement. My heart dropped as I love old books. However these somehow survived and I have rescued them. Of particular interest to the present City Council was a History of Woodbury, New Jersey book written in 1937. My grandmother had purchased the book and noted all the relatives that played a prominent role in the development of the city. It's pretty cool.

What caught my eye though is the following:

Pg. 103 - Sewers Authorized - On January 22, 1901 Councilman Joseph B. Best introduced an ordinance in City Council to establish a system of sewers in Woodbury, which after discussion in and out of council was enacted. On May 23 Council approved plans at an estimated cost $50,000. On July 16th the contract to construct the system was awarded for $48,825.65.

Pg. 105 - Sewer Job Difficult - "Sewer construction in Woodbury was more complicated than the contractors, the Artificial Stone Pavement and Construction Company had anticipated, because of unimagined areas of quicksand and springs. So, with 30 per cent of the work done, that company abandoned the job in the fall 1902, and the contract was re-let to B.F. Sweeten & Son, of Camden, for $45,246.14, the lowest of several bids."

Pg. 107 - Sewers Cost $105,000.00 - "On February 21, 1905, the Sewer Committee of City Council reported the new sewer system completed at a cost of $104,756.35. There were twelve miles of sewer line, and the system was working satisfactorily. But the expanding needs were a constant source of unending problems. Extensions were demanded, streets disturbed by deep digging were a constant danger. Demands for new sidewalks, new curb lines, and countless problems kept City Council in a constant foment of oratory, and clash of ideas."

Now they have tree roots causing all kinds of problems. I spoke with one of my mother's neighbors last night after I dropped her off at her home. He lives down the street and had heard through the neighborhood grapevine about my mother's dilemma. He too is a Senior Citizen and very close in age to my mother. He too is having problems with the roots from his tree blocking his sewer line. Maybe I really should consider contacting all the neighbors with a petition and sending it to the newspapers. Petitions really aren't effective at at public meetings. Generally they are accepted for review and never heard from again.

Hello roots - plenty of water here. Come on over!

I had to use the above picture to end this Blog as I also found interesting within the History of Woodbury, New Jersey the following. I've reprinted it as I posted it on Facebook.

While cleaning out my mother's basement I found my grandmother's 1937 book, History of Woodbury, NJ from 1871-1936.

On pg 117 - "When 1910 dawned, this section was buried under at least two feet of snow, 22 inches of which fell between Saturday evening 12/25/09 - 12/26/09 resulting in a general cessation of business. Sunday morning, James C. Giscom, on the Mantua line of the trolley, discovered two trolley
cars stalled in front of his home. Going out to investigate he found 24 passengers who had spent the night in the cars while their friends at Mantua spent the night worrying about them. They were cold and hungry. "Jim" couldn't move the cars so he did the next best thing - invited the travelers to his spacious bachelor’s quarters, and soon the party was warm and fed.

Wow! Sounds like this year!!!

Well, everyone, have a Firecrackin Great Day!!!

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