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Township Wins 10K Sustainability Grant

Profeta and Leventhal outline green benefits to residents

Under the guidance of Township Committee member Fred Profeta, Maplewood continues to work toward the goal of becoming the greenest town in New Jersey—if not the country. A few examples of recent green initiatives include: Maplewoodisgreen.org, a new Web site under development; Green Drinks, a group devoted to sharing information about sustainability while enjoying organic wine and beer, next meeting is Sep. 22 at O’Reilly’s; and the annual Green Day environmental fair to be held on Oct. 10.

Profeta and Vice Mayor Kathy Leventhal met with about two dozen Hilton Neighborhood Association members last night to talk about the recent grant awarded to Maplewood from Sustainable New Jersey and Wal-Mart.  

This $10,000 grant will be used to conduct energy audits for those township families whose income falls within certain guidelines. Homeowners who qualify are entitled to free energy audits of their homes to see where the energy leaks are, whether new windows or better insulation, for example, are needed. Many of the fixes are free or cheap. 

The township will also use a portion of the grant money to fill three part-time (intern) positions: one will supervise the volunteers who will be canvassing neighborhoods to give out information about program eligibility and assisting in properly filling out forms; another will assess and analyze the data collected; and a third will create a marketing/communications program to "get out the word."

One half of the grant money is in hand and the remainder will be awarded when the program is fully implemented. Check with Profeta (you can leave a message for him by calling the Township's main number at 973-762-8120) for more information on the guidelines and the internship positions.

There was an interesting discussion about electric cars during the question and answer period. Profeta noted that anyone who has a total electrically run car  (Prius is not eligible) is entitled to a 50 percent discount in the commuter parking lots.  He also said that there was a possibility that a Tesla electric car would be showcased at the Green Day event.

Also, Joanne Beckerich, president of the Maplewood Garden Club announced the ten winners of the annual Garden Contest. The Sullivan family and Kathy Easton picked up their awards and had the opportunity to thank all. 

Additionally, Maplewood resident Dr. Barbara Velazquez spoke about her upcoming “Visions of a Better World” conference, which will be held at Seton Hall on Oct. 10.  www.suntfprograms.iwarp.com. Mayor Vic De Luca is scheduled to give the welcoming address at the conference with the keynote by noted motivational speaker, John Uzzi. Velazquez said there are many health benefits associated with giving, and she’s working on the kinds of societal changes that support that vision, including being green.

Velazquez mentioned that her organization is sponsoring an essay contest for high school juniors and seniors on “My Idea for Creating a Better World." First prize is $500. 973-762-6722 for more information.

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