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CONTENTS:
20 New Jersey people you need to watch in 2020
38 More Acres Preserved, Thanks to Your Support
Looking for the Perfect Holiday Gift? Consider an Annual New Jersey State Parks Pass
DEP Announces Seedlings Gift to Ensure Legacy of Famous Salem Oak Lives on in Every New Jersey Municipality
Division Educator Honored With Award
Preservation news - 18 acres added to preserved greenway in Hunterdon
EPA Enforcement Actions Help Protect Vulnerable Communities from Lead-Based Paint Health Hazards
20 New Jersey people you need to watch in 2020             (Posted: 1-10-20)

Chief Resilience Officer

20 New Jersey people you need to watch in 2020

Michael Sol Warren

NJ Advance Media

January 7, 2020

https://www.nj.com/news/2020/01/20-new-jersey-people-you-need-to-watch-in-2020.html

Each year brings new storylines, and 2020 is set to be a big year. The people at the heart of those stories will come from all walks of life, from politicians and public officials to actresses and athletes. With the new year, its time to learn a few new names, and check in on some more familiar characters.

Here is a look at 20 New Jerseyans who are likely to have huge impact in the Garden State and beyond in 2020.

20. Phil Murphy

Yes, Gov. Phil Murphy is an easy pick. But there's no denying Murphy will be at the center of nearly every story out of Trenton in 2020, as he continues to push an progressive agenda for the Garden State. But there's a twist this year, as Murphy is the new chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. That means he'll be working to ensure the election of Democratic governors across the nation in President Donald Trump's re-election year.

19. Lenny Dykstra

Lenny Dykstra, the former Mets and Phillies star, had a wild year in 2019. From allegedly running an illegal boarding house in Linden to almost fighting a guy called "Bagel Boss," Dykstra never strayed far from the headlines. Now he's living in Livingston with his $80,000 dentures and is launching a podcast with guests like Artie Lange and Anthony Scaramucci. He's not a person to watch as much as he's a person from whom we simply can't look away.

18. Charles Rosen

An entrepreneur who lives in Montclair, Charles Rosen is the man behind Ironbound Cider. The name is a reference to the famous Newark neighborhood, and Rosen's company employs former prisoners from Newark. It's part of Rosen's effort to create a model business for helping prisoners reenter society, which the entrepreneur described to Civil Eats. The cider is made from partially from heritage apples grown on a large farm in Hunterdon County, which is also home to New Ark Farm — another Rosen enterprises.

17. Vera Farmiga

Actress and Clifton-native Vera Farmiga will have a big part in "The Many Saints of Newark," a prequel movie to "The Sopranos." Farmiga has been cast as Livia Soprano, the matriarch of the fictional North Jersey crime family. The movie is being released this year. But that's not all; Farmiga also returns to her starring role in "The Conjuring" series when "The Conjuring 3: The Devil Made Me Do It" hits theaters in September.

16. Omoyele Sowore

Omoyele Sowore, a Haworth resident, is an activist and journalist who in August was arrested and held in his native Nigeria on charges of treason, money laundering and cyberstalking the Nigerian president. Sowore was released on bail on Christmas Eve after heavy pressure from neighbors and lawmakers in the United States. Sowore remains in Nigeria as his legal situation is still unresolved, leaving lots of question marks as to what comes next.

15. Frank Pallone

The congressman for New Jersey's 6th District, Frank Pallone's role as chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee means he is still arguably the most powerful New Jerseyan in Washington. The panel, which deals with issues from health care and climate change to consumer protections and tourism, is one of the most important in Congress, so Pallone continues to play a major role in most legislation passed by House Democrats.

14. Nick Suriano

Groomed at Bergen Catholic before blossoming into one of Rutgers' biggest wrestling stars, Nick Suriano qualified for the Olympic trials in December after a strong showing in December at Senior Nationals in Forth Worth, Texas. In April he'll head to Penn State to grapple for a ticket to Tokyo.

13. CJ Griffin

Few people understand the ins-and-outs of public records law in New Jersey better than CJ Griffin. A partner at the law firm Pashman Stein Walder Hayden, P.C., Griffin was recently named the head of the Justice Gary S. Stein Public Interest Center and is on the board at the ACLU. Griffin has had a hand in most of the big police accountability and government transparency strides in the last few years, and is currently representing The Bergen Record in a major dispute with the New Jersey Department of Health. Griffin also had a hand in expanding access to bilingual election ballots in the state last year.

12. Riley Sager

Riley Sager is the psuedonym for New York Times best seller Todd Ritter, a former Star-Ledger editor who lives in Princeton. Already a prolific author with three books published since 2017, his fourth thriller, "Home Before Dark," comes out July 7. To top it off, Paramount TV is working on an adaptation of his novel "Lock Every Door."

11. Ruby Felix-Curtis

Ruby Felix-Curtis is the new executive chef at one of New Jersey's hottest new restaurants: The Fox & Falcon in South Orange. Felix-Curtis was raised in the Philippines and brings experience from kitchens in New York City and Jersey City. She'll use that knowledge and honed technique to shape the Essex County eatery's next chapter.

10. George Norcross

For South Jersey powerbroker George Norcross, long recognized as one of the most powerful people in New Jersey, 2019 was quite the year. The state has been investigating whether tax incentives improperly benefitted a number of companies, many of which are based in Camden and have ties to Norcross. The FBI is reportedly investigating the state's tax break program, as well. So what will 2020 bring for Norcross?

9. Ramy Youssef

Ramy Youssef won critical acclaim and (a Golden Globe Sunday night) with the debut of "Ramy" on Hulu — which also stars fellow New Jerseyan Steve Way. Youssef, a Rutherford native, was the driving force behind the show, which has a second season on the way. Now Youssef has signed a deal with the A24 and is developing two more shows: One for Netflix and one for Apple. Way is set to star in the so-far-untitled show on Apple.

8. David Rosenblatt

Between sea level rise, strengthening storms, shifting precipitation patterns and hotter temperatures, climate change is a growing threat to New Jersey and the state's residents. David Rosenblatt, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's first-ever Chief Resilience Officer, is the man tasked with figuring how the Garden State will deal with its new reality. The DEP is set to unveil its Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy in September, a master plan to guide how the state will adapt to rising seas and stronger storms in the future. Rosenblatt's office is leading that work.

8. David Rosenblatt

Between sea level rise, strengthening storms, shifting precipitation patterns and hotter temperatures, climate change is a growing threat to New Jersey and the state's residents. David Rosenblatt, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection's first-ever Chief Resilience Officer, is the man tasked with figuring how the Garden State will deal with its new reality. The DEP is set to unveil its Statewide Climate Change Resilience Strategy in September, a master plan to guide how the state will adapt to rising seas and stronger storms in the future. Rosenblatt's office is leading that work.

6. Rachel Zegler

Rachel Zegler will be the driving force in Steve Spielberg's version of "West Side Story" as 18-year-old from Clifton stars as Maria. Pretty amazing stuff considering Zegler was not long ago performing in her high school's production of "Shrek." The film, which was partially shot in Paterson and Newark, is set to be released in December.

5. Sue Altman

She is the thorn in George Norcross's side. Sue Altman, the state director of New Jersey Working Families, was one of dozens of protestors thrown out of the Statehouse in November during a hearing in which the South Jersey powerbroker was set to testify before a Senate committee investigating the state's tax incentive program. The incident thrust Altman into the spotlight, and now she has her biggest platform yet. How will she use it in 2020?

4. Marcheta Evans

Bloomfield College, New Jersey's only Predominately Black Institution, has a history-making new president. Marcheta Evans is both the first woman and the first African American to hold the position. In an Op-Ed published on NJ.com, Evans pledged to focus on addressing inequity in higher eduction by investing new resources into making sure that students at Bloomfield College have all they need to thrive.

3. Greg Schiano

After a few dramatic weeks, Rutgers football fans and boosters got their man. Greg Schiano is back, with a mission to return the Scarlet Knights to relevance on the gridiron. The coach has been given a hefty contract with shiny perks, including the use of a private jet. He's already made a splash on the recruiting trail, including a star transfer from Ohio State. He's added Rutgers stars to the coaching staff. But will it all translate to wins?

2. 070 Shake

This 22-year-old hip-hop star from North Bergen — born Danielle Balbuena, her stage name is a reference to her hometown's ZIP code — is set for a major breakout in 2020. The hype behind her has been building since 2018, thanks for her work with Kanye West and a well-received debut EP "Glitter." Her anticipated debut album, "Modus Vivendi," finally drops on Jan. 17.

1. Sydney McLaughlin

The brightest New Jersey star at the Tokyo Olympics is likely to be Sydney McLaughlin, a 20-year-old hurdler from Dunellen. McLaughlin, who was the subject of an in-depth NJ Advance Media profile last year, reached new heights in the sport in 2019. A season-long rivalry with fellow American Dalilah Muhammad culminated in a head-to-head battle at the 2019 World Championships in Doha, Qatar.

McLaughlin ran the third-fastest time ever recorded in that race, but she finished second to Muhammad. In Tokyo, the lights will be even brighter, and the stage even bigger. McLaughlin has a chance to reach superstardom with a gold medal.

38 More Acres Preserved, Thanks to Your Support             (Posted: 1-7-20)

Click HERE.

Looking for the Perfect Holiday Gift? Consider an Annual New Jersey State Parks Pass             (Posted: 12-12-19)

Click HERE.

DEP Announces Seedlings Gift to Ensure Legacy of Famous Salem Oak Lives on in Every New Jersey Municipality             (Posted: 11-21-19)

Click HERE.

Division Educator Honored With Award             (Posted: 11-18-19)

Division educator Liz Jackson was recently recognized with the 2019 Youth Education Award by the the Jersey Coast Anglers Association (JCAA) at their annual awards dinner. Liz, state coordinator of New Jersey's Hooked on Fishing - Not on Drugs (HOFNOD) program, was nominated by the NJ State Federation of Sportsman's Clubs in recognition of the accomplishments HOFNOD has achieved over the last six years. Liz was also presented with a Certificate of Congressional Recognition by Jerome Townsend, Constituent Advocate for 3rd Congressional District Representative Andy Kim. Liz in turn paid tribute to her assistant, Alanna Newmark, for her work enabling HOFNOD to be successful.

Preservation news - 18 acres added to preserved greenway in Hunterdon             (Posted: 11-4-19)

Click HERE.

EPA Enforcement Actions Help Protect Vulnerable Communities from Lead-Based Paint Health Hazards             (Posted: 11-1-19)

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EPA Enforcement Actions Help Protect Vulnerable Communities from Lead-Based Paint Health Hazards

WASHINGTON (October 23, 2019) — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today announced that it completed 117 federal enforcement actions from October 2018 through September 2019 to ensure that entities such as renovation contractors, landlords, realtors and others comply with rules that protect the public from exposure to lead from lead-based paint. Exposure to lead dust, chips or debris from lead-based paint can pose serious risks to human health, particularly for young children.

“EPA’s work to enforce federal lead paint laws helps protect children all over the country,” said EPA Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and Compliance Assurance Susan Bodine. “These cases deter bad actors by holding violators accountable for their actions and help maintain a level playing field for companies that follow the rules.” 

EPA has designated the reduction of childhood lead exposures as a high priority. The actions announced today support the agency’s implementation of the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts issued December 2018.

Regulations promulgated under the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) and the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act (LHRA) apply to most pre-1978 dwellings and child-occupied facilities. These regulations – TSCA’s Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule, TSCA’s Lead-based Paint Activities Rule, and LHRA’s Section 1018 Lead Disclosure Rule (LDR) – require lead-safe work practices and disclosure of information about lead-based paint, among other things. By ensuring compliance with federal lead-based paint requirements, EPA can address a major source of lead exposure that occurs in communities across the nation.

Since the 1970s, the United States has made tremendous progress in lowering children’s blood lead levels. Lead exposure, particularly at higher doses, continues to pose a significant health and safety threat to children, preventing them from reaching the fullest potential of their health, their intellect, and their future. No safe blood lead level in children has been identified.

Included in the FY 2019 lead enforcement actions are EPA civil administrative proceedings and judicial civil and criminal prosecutions by the U.S. Department of Justice. Enforcement actions require alleged violators to come into compliance with the law and, in most cases, to pay penalties. In determining the appropriate civil penalty amount, the agency considers a violator’s ability to pay, ability to continue to do business, and other factors. In many of the settlements announced today, EPA reduced the penalty because the cases involved small-scale lead-based paint businesses. Also, in some settlements the alleged violator has agreed to perform a Supplementary Environmental Project (SEP) or other project to help prevent lead exposures.  

Selected highlights include:

Investment Properties, LLC (ME) is subject to a $82,896 penalty under an administrative Default Order, for failing to respond to allegations regarding LDR violations. Default Orders are subject to collection by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. 

Euro-Tech, Inc. (IL) paid a $52,793 penalty to settle alleged RRP violations associated with window renovations at 42 residences over a 5-year period.

Gerald Wojtalewicz (NE) pled guilty and was sentenced to a $7,500 fine for LDR violations associated with lead poisoning. Wojtalewicz leases approximately 160 properties in the North Omaha area (an Environmental Justice community). A tenant’s two-year old child had an elevated blood-lead level. EPA had issued two prior notices to Wojtalewicz for alleged LDR violations years.

Smith Rentals, LLC (WV) paid $56,114 to resolve 22 alleged violations for failure to provide lead-based paint notifications. 

Mohammad Sikder and District Properties, LLC (DC) pleaded guilty to violating requirements for lead disclosure and lead-safe renovation work practices. Sentencing is set for November 2019. Also, Sikder’s company, District Properties LLC, pleaded guilty to making false statements in building permit applications, which understated the age of properties. The charges against Mr. Sikder carry up to 12 months in prison and potential fines. He and the government will jointly recommend a $50,000 fine in addition to any prison time. The company has agreed to pay a $150,000 criminal fine and to put another $25,000 towards funding lead-based paint compliance trainings in the area.

High Rise Build & Design Inc. and Somattie Surujnarine (NY) received final judgments against them at $48,000 each plus interest, handed down by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The court issued the final judgment based on sanctions the defendants had incurred for failure to comply with an earlier Contempt Order stemming from the defendants’ failure to comply with an EPA subpoena that sought information about their RRP Rule compliance.  

To see a full list of the FY 2019 lead enforcement actions: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/epas-lead-based-paint-enforcement-helps-protect-children-and-vulnerable-communities-2019

To view the Progress Report on the Federal Action Plan to Reduce Childhood Lead Exposures and Associated Health Impacts, visit: https://www.epa.gov/leadactionplanimplementation/progress-report-federal-action-plan-reduce-childhood-lead-exposures-and

Members of the public can help protect our environment by identifying and reporting environmental violations. Learn more here: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/report-environmental-violation-general-information

We encourage you to share EPA's Environmental Education eNewsletter with your colleagues.  To subscribe, visit: https://www.epa.gov/newsroom/email-subscriptions

Office of Public Engagement and Environmental Education
Office of the Administrator / U.S. Environmental Protection Agency