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You can embrace a brighter, pain-free future.

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  • Back PainBack Pain
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Physical Therapy Atlantic Highlands, NJ  Sciatica Pain Therapy Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Physical Therpy For Injuries and Pain in Atlantic Highlands, NJ

If there's one universal truth in life, it's that it can be unpredictable. Everyone experiences unexpected events that throw us off. While some surprises may only affect our bank accounts, such as home expenses, others can cause physical harm, such as car accidents that result in long-term pain and discomfort. Many Americans suffer from chronic neck and back pain - according to research, half of Americans over 18 develop musculoskeletal injuries that last longer than a year. These injuries often cause a range of mobility issues that make everyday tasks seem hard to do. Unfortunately, many people with chronic pain turn to addictive medications and invasive surgeries for relief, which tends to lead to further complications.

However, if you are experiencing chronic pain or mobility issues, there's good news: Safer and more effective options are available to you. Physical therapy in Atlantic Highlands, NJ is one of the best solutions for eradicating pain, maximizing mobility, improving range of motion, building muscle strength, and helping you regain control of your body. At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, our physical therapists and trainers offer customized programs designed for your body and address your pain symptoms. That way, you have the best possible chance of reclaiming a normal, active life, without surgery or harmful pills.

With the incorporation of therapeutic exercises and manual therapy as well as newer techniques and modalities like AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmills and DRX9000 Spinal DecompressionMachines, our physical therapy services can help address conditions such as:

  • Sciatica Pain
  • Ankle Pain
  • Back Pain
  • Elbow Pain
  • Headaches and Migraines
  • Hip Pain
  • Knee Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Shoulder Pain
  • Wrist Pain
  • TMJ Pain
 Headaches And Migraines Therapy Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Service Areas

When it comes to physical therapy in New Jersey, few clinics can match the care, compassion, and effective treatment options that NJ Sports Spine & Wellness can provide.

Why is Physical Therapy in Atlantic Highlands, NJ So Important for Wellness?

Physical therapy can provide numerous benefits, such as pain reduction, enhanced joint and body movement, improved range of motion, proper alignment, and more. While the main goal of physical therapy is to restore function and facilitate a return to regular activities, these outcomes usually result from a broader rehabilitation process, wherein many patients learn a brand-new way of moving.

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, our physical therapists work closely with patients to understand their unique goals, preferences, and abilities. Based on their findings, they create a customized treatment plan that caters to the patient's specific needs.

Here are just a few specific examples of why physical therapy is crucial when recovering from an injury:

  • Physical therapy helps restore function and mobility after illness, injury, or surgery.
  • Physical therapy promotes healing and pain management by utilizing therapeutic modalities and exercises.
  • Physical therapy helps patients suffering from neurological conditions improve their independence.
  • Physical therapy helps seniors avoid falls by improving balance.
  • Physical therapy can improve flexibility and strength to enhance sports and physical activity performance.
  • Physical therapy facilitates injury prevention through education and analysis of proper body mechanics.
 Shoulder Pain Therapy Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Whether you're searching for long-term pain relief or need to improve your strength and balance as you age, physical therapy from NJSSW can help.

Now that you understand why physical therapy is crucial for recovery and wellness, let's take a closer look at some of the most effective treatments at our physical therapy clinic in New Jersey.

 Wrist Pain Therapy Atlantic Highlands, NJ

The DRX9000: Relief from Chronic Back and Neck Pain

Are you sick of living day-to-day with long-lasting neck or back pain? Have you searched high and low for a safe and effective alternative to surgery? The DRX9000 may be the answer you're looking for.

Beloved by high-level athletes and even celebrities, this advanced medical device employs non-surgical spinal decompression therapy to treat painful conditions such as:

  • Bulging Discs
  • Herniated Discs
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Facet Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • Arm Pain from Nerves in Your Neck

The DRX9000 is a device that has been approved by the FDA for treating herniated discs through spinal decompression therapy. This therapy works by applying equal amounts of pressure on your vertebral columns, which stretches your spine and creates a gap between spinal discs. This gap allows for better nutrient flow through your spine, which can help heal injuries gradually with regular treatment sessions. The DRX9000 also utilizes servo motors that rely on nested closed-loop feedback to customize therapy to your unique needs. By using DRX9000, you can often speed up your recovery by addressing your spinal disc issues ASAP.

No Harmful Medications Needed (Do we really need this paragraph or could we just mention it int he beginning about how it is a non-pharmaceutical method)

Perhaps the most significant advantage of the DRX9000 is that it provides a non-pharmaceutical method for relieving pain. With the opioid epidemic affecting the entire nation, many patients are reluctant to take prescription painkillers. The DRX9000 offers a secure and non-addictive alternative for pain relief that does not require medication.

During the course of the treatment, the patient will lie down on a specially designed table that is connected to the machine. The table will then be gently stretched as the machine creates negative pressure within the affected disc. This process will be repeated over a series of sessions, typically ranging from 20 to 30 sessions, depending on the patient's specific condition.

The DRX9000 treatment is considered to be safe and effective for many patients. It is designed to be gentle on the body, and patients usually experience little to no discomfort during their sessions. The machine is also equipped with advanced safety features, including sensors that can detect any sudden movements and stop the machine if necessary.

Expedite Rehab and Training with the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill

The AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill boasts NASA Differential Air Pressure (DAP) technology, which is a highly accurate air calibration system that leverages your actual body weight to achieve exceptional results in rehab and training. By utilizing a pressurized air chamber, the AlterG allows you to move freely and without pain, as it uniformly reduces gravitational load and body weight by up to 80% in precise 1% increments. This process helps foster improved muscle strength, balance, function, range of motion, and overall fitness.

What Makes the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill So Effective for Physical Therapy in CItyname, State?

AlterG®'s state-of-the-art treadmill provides an entire range of benefits, such as mimicking natural movement and rhythm without the contrived feel of hydrotherapy or harnesses attempting to imitate real-life strides and motions. Additionally, it's beneficial for speeding up recuperation after orthopedic injuries or surgeries by enabling early mobilization and retaining strength. Furthermore, it's excellent for sports recovery since athletes can utilize it to maintain their physical fitness.

Some of the numerous benefits of using the AlterG® Anti-Gravity Treadmill include:

  • Accelerated Recovery Time
  • Relief from Impact-Related Pain and Discomfort
  • Customized Programs Suited to Your Needs
  • Effective Solution for All Ages
  • Safe and Controlled Environment
  • Improves Motivation and Confidence
  • Used by Elite Athletes and Celebrities

The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill is a revolutionary piece of equipment that has transformed the field of physical therapy. With its list of unique features and superhero-worthy benefits, this anti-gravity treadmill is a game-changer that can help you achieve your fitness and recovery goals while also minimizing the risk of injury.

 Chronic  Pain Therapy Atlantic Highlands, NJ
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Physical Therapy Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Experience Optimized Healing with LiteCureâ„¢ Low-Level Laser Therapy

After reading the headline above, you might be asking yourself, "Are lasers really used for physical therapy in cityname, state?" The answer to your question would be a resounding "Yes!" This advanced type of laser therapy harnesses the power of light through photobiomodulation (PBM), which is revolutionizing how patients heal and deal with pain.

Photobiomodulation (PBM) is a medical process that utilizes targeted light to activate the body's natural healing mechanisms. By penetrating deep into the tissue, photons interact with mitochondria (the cellular powerhouses in your body) to increase energy production. This interaction triggers a biological cascade that leads to increased cellular metabolism. As a result, PBM can reduce pain, accelerate tissue repair, and enhance overall well-being.

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a non-invasive and painless treatment that utilizes specific wavelengths of light to stimulate healing and reduce pain. It works by penetrating the skin and tissues to promote cellular activity and increase blood flow, which in turn helps to reduce inflammation, relieve pain, and accelerate the healing process.

LLLT has been shown to be effective for a variety of conditions, including musculoskeletal injuries, arthritis, neuropathy, and more. It is a safe and gentle treatment option that can aid in regaining function and mobility from injuries, accidents, surgeries, and other conditions. That makes it a viable and trustworthy addition to your personalized physical therapy plan from NJ Sports Spine & Wellness.

LLLT has shown promising results for challenging conditions that other treatments can't match. Some of the most common conditions treated include:

  • Muscle Pain
  • Pain from Tendinopathy
  • Osteoarthritis Pain
  • Swollen Joints
  • Myofascial Pain
  • Back and Neck Pain
  • Pain from TMJ
  • Achilles Tendon Injury Pain
  • Plantar Fasciitis Pain
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If you're slogging through life and suffering from one or more of the conditions above, you should know that there is hope for pain relief. Contact NJ Sports Spine & Wellness today to find out if low-level laser therapy is right for you.

Freeze Away Pain and Swelling with Ice Compression Therapy

Game Ready Ice Compression Therapy is an advanced treatment technique that combines the advantages of modern cryotherapy (ice therapy) with the proven benefits of compression therapy. This clinically proven, synergistic approach is widely used in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics, and post-operative care to speed up recovery, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance rehabilitation.

Understanding the Powerful Benefits of Ice Compression Therapy

 Sciatica Pain Therapy Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Game Ready Ice Compression Therapy is an advanced treatment technique that combines the advantages of modern cryotherapy (ice therapy) with the proven benefits of compression therapy. This clinically proven, synergistic approach is widely used in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics, and post-operative care to speed up recovery, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance rehabilitation.

The "cold" component of ice compression therapy helps nullify nerve-ending sensitivity, which provides pain relief. The extra compression gives you even more pain relief by reducing swelling and pressure on limbs and other body parts.

By improving lymphatic flow and enhancing blood circulation, compression therapy can help reduce swelling and edema, thereby improving your recovery process and simultaneously reducing pain and discomfort.

The concurrent use of cryotherapy and compression can enhance the body's innate healing mechanisms by reducing inflammation, mitigating tissue damage, and stimulating tissue repair.

Game Ready's combination therapy has been shown to be effective in improving joint flexibility and range of motion by promoting tissue healing. This treatment can be a great option for those looking to alleviate discomfort and improve overall joint health.

 Headaches And Migraines Therapy Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Whether you're recovering from surgery or you're trying to manage chronic pain in your back or joints, ice compression therapy may be the advanced treatment you need. Contact NJSSW today to learn more about how this treatment can help you live an active life free of pain.

NormaTec Compression Therapy:

A Non-Invasive Option for Enhanced Recovery

Game Ready Ice Compression Therapy is an advanced treatment technique that combines the advantages of modern cryotherapy (ice therapy) with the proven benefits of compression therapy. This clinically proven, synergistic approach is widely used in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics, and post-operative care to speed up recovery, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance rehabilitation.

What Makes NormaTec Compression Therapy Best for Physical Therapy in Cityname, State?

Game Ready Ice Compression Therapy is an advanced treatment technique that combines the advantages of modern cryotherapy (ice therapy) with the proven benefits of compression therapy. This clinically proven, synergistic approach is widely used in sports medicine, physical therapy, orthopedics, and post-operative care to speed up recovery, alleviate pain and inflammation, and enhance rehabilitation.

NormaTec's compression therapy devices have undergone continuous refinement and improvement since their inception. The adjustable settings of their system enable users to regulate the intensity, duration, and pattern of compression, thereby enabling our skilled providers to tailor treatment to suit the specific requirements and comfort levels of each patient.

 Shoulder Pain Therapy Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Experience Holistic Wellness with Cupping Therapy in New Jersey

In the realm of holistic wellness, cupping therapy is a venerable and time-honored practice that has proven to be an effective technique for managing pain and enhancing blood flow. At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we recognize the diverse benefits of cupping therapy, which we offer at both our Matawan and Marlboro, NJ locations.

This ancient technique creates suction on your skin using specialized cups that help promote blood flow, muscle relaxation, and pain relief.

Why is Cupping Therapy Helpful for Physical Therapy in CItyname, State?

 Wrist Pain Therapy Atlantic Highlands, NJ

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we believe that incorporating holistic treatments into physical therapy can greatly benefit our patients. As part of our efforts to alleviate stress and manage chronic pain or conditions, we offer cupping therapy as one of those holistic treatments. This modality has been proven effective and offers numerous benefits for physical therapy, which include:

Cupping therapy can help release muscle tension and relieve back pain. The suction from the cups releases fascial restrictions, decreases muscle tightness, and relieves muscle knots, providing relief from pain caused by muscular tightness or strain.

Our skilled practitioners and physical therapists use modern cupping devices and techniques to create consistent suction on the skin, which stimulates blood flow and encourages oxygen-rich blood to flow into muscles and tissues. This improved circulation can reduce inflammation, remove toxins, and promote healing.

Cupping therapy can relieve back pain by improving circulation, reducing muscle tension, and increasing lymphatic drainage. It's a natural and non-invasive approach that can improve mobility and quality of life.

Cupping therapy uses a gentle suction and pulling sensation that helps ease back pain and reduces stress by creating a calming effect on the body and mind, promoting physical and mental healing.

Reclaim Your Mobility with Physical Therapy in Atlantic Highlands, NJ

At NJ Sports Spine & Wellness, we always prioritize your well-being and offer comprehensive care tailored to your needs. With customized physical therapy tailored to your specific needs, we provide a drug-free, non-invasive, and highly effective treatment path for pain relief and recovery. From tried-and-true techniques to cutting-edge treatments, we're New Jersey's top choice for innovative physical therapy.

Take the first step towards a pain-free, vibrant life by contacting our office today. It all starts by scheduling your initial consultation. With our highly-trained and licensed specialists by your side, you can embrace a brighter, pain-free future.

 Chronic  Pain Therapy Atlantic Highlands, NJ

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Latest News in Atlantic Highlands, NJ

Five Atlantic Highlands Council members say they will vote yes on regionalization

By Muriel J. SmithATLANTIC HIGHLANDS — Continuing to reiterate that this is only the first step, and that they ultimately want to see Sea Bright as part of a new school district, five of the sitting members of the Atlantic Highlands Mayor and Council said they are voting yes on the Sept. 26 special election ballot question to regionalize the preK-12 schools in this town and Highlands, without the addition of Sea Bright....

By Muriel J. Smith

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS — Continuing to reiterate that this is only the first step, and that they ultimately want to see Sea Bright as part of a new school district, five of the sitting members of the Atlantic Highlands Mayor and Council said they are voting yes on the Sept. 26 special election ballot question to regionalize the preK-12 schools in this town and Highlands, without the addition of Sea Bright. The three school boards that would merge into one — if the voters give their approval — are Atlantic Highlands Elementary, Highlands Elementary and Henry Hudson Regional. Proponents of the plan also want Sea Bright, which sends its students to Oceanport for elementary school and Shore Regional for high school, to join the new district.

The opinions in Atlantic Highlands are in sharp contrast to the Highlands Mayor and Council, who made it public at their meeting last week that each is voting against the Sept. 26 ballot since it does not include Sea Bright and would be a costly measure for both Highlands and Atlantic Highlands.

At Thursday’s meeting of the Atlantic Highlands governing body, Mayor Loretta Gluckstein and council members Vito Colasurdo, Eileen Cusack, Brian Dougherty and Lori Hohenleitner all said they plan on voting yes on the question. Councilman Jon Crowley was absent from the meeting and Councilman James Murphy pointed out he has recused himself from any action or meetings on the question. As such, he said, he did not feel it appropriate he announce at a council meeting how or if he is voting.

Murphy's wife, Molly, is the president of the Atlantic Highlands Board of Education.

The agenda for the council meeting was changed to enable the borough’s special attorney on the matter, Matthew Giacobbe, to appear via ZOOM to give the governing body an update on the regionalization issue, as well as to respond to questions from council and the public.

The attorney, whose contract sets his fee at $165 an hour, gave a brief history of the borough’s input with regionalization, explaining the state Commissioner of Education has not yet responded to the request made by the two boroughs, as well as Sea Bright, and the three boards of education involved, to OK a question calling for all four entities to merge. He noted the commissioner had dismissed a complaint filed against Sea Bright by the Oceanport and Shore Regional schools, the two districts where Sea Bright students now attend school, calling for Sea Bright to remain where they are.

However, Oceanport and Shore Regional appealed that decision, he said, resulting in the commissioner taking no further action until that issue is resolved. When thethree local boards of education then filed their own request to regionalize PreK-12 without Sea Bright, the commissioner granted that request and the special election, without Sea Bright involved, was set for Sept. 26.

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The special election gives the power to voters, Giacobbe said, and termed it the first step in forming a regional district that Sea Bright will be able to join, if the commissioner ultimately approves the move. That would require another election, he said, and it was unclear whether it would also require yet another feasibility study similar to what has already been completed by two separate experts, or whether the current studies could simply be updated.

Former councilman Michael Harmon, who also served as a former mayor in Atlantic Highlands, praised the current plan and thanked the governing body for presenting it, saying he too planned on voting for it as a first step. He noted Sea Bright is “in a relationship” and has to be dissolved from that before it can be included in another district.

The polls are open Sept. 26 in all regular voting locations in both Highlands and Atlantic Highlands from noon to 8 p.m. It requires a majority vote from the voters in both towns in order for the question to be approved and a preK-12 regional district formed.

Q&A on Tuesday's regionalization vote in Highlands, Atlantic Highlands

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS — Since there is a lot of information circulating regarding the upcoming School Regionalization vote this coming Tuesday — with those supporting and those opposing the regionalization plan on the table often disputing each others' information — one thing that is not in dispute is that the Attorneys of Porzio, Bromberg, & Newman are some of the leading experts on school regionalization in New Jersey.In an effort to provide ...

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS — Since there is a lot of information circulating regarding the upcoming School Regionalization vote this coming Tuesday — with those supporting and those opposing the regionalization plan on the table often disputing each others' information — one thing that is not in dispute is that the Attorneys of Porzio, Bromberg, & Newman are some of the leading experts on school regionalization in New Jersey.

In an effort to provide voters with some of the facts surrounding the proposal, PBN Law has provided the following Q&A's for the voters, who will head to the polls next Tuesday, Sept. 26 between noon and 8 p.m. in their regular polling places in Highlands and Atlantic Highlands.

Q. What cost allocation method is being voted on at the upcoming election?A. 100 percent equalized valuation for a PK-12 all purposes school district.

Q. Is this the only method that is allowed?A. No. While rumors have circulated that 100 percent equalized valuation is the only method the Department of Education would approve, this rumor is false. The Department of Education never made such a representation or recommendation. Instead, there are three ways under the law that the costs can be divided between Highlands and Atlantic Highlands: (1) the per pupil method; (2) the equalized valuation method; or (3) a combination of per pupil and equalized valuation.

Q. How do the three methods to divide the educational costs between Highland and Atlantic Highlands differ?A. As mentioned above, the three ways the costs can be divided between Highland and Atlantic Highlands are: (1) the per pupil method; (2) the equalized valuation method; or (3) a combination of per pupil and equalized valuation.Per Pupil Method: The per pupil method is based on the principle that each municipality should pay a percentage of the costs based on the percentage of students it sends. Therefore, if one municipality sent 20 percent of the students that make up the school, it would be responsible for 20 percent of the school’scosts required to be collected through taxes.Equalized Valuation MethodEach year the Division of Taxation in the New Jersey Department of the Treasury releases its table of equalized valuations, which provides the “equalized value” of property in each municipality in the State. Equalized valuation is an attempt by the State to calculate the total market value of all taxable property within a municipality. Under the equalized valuation, each community’s contribution to the school’s expenses is based on the percentage of the total market value. Therefore, if one municipality’s total market value represents 60 percent of the combined total market value of both municipalities, that municipality would be responsible for60 percent of the school’s costs required to be collected through taxes. By way of example, if Community A has an equalized value of $60 million and Community B has an equalized value of $40 million, Community A would be responsible for 60 percent of the costs and Community B would be responsible for 40 percent of the costs. The number of students each community sends is not relevant for this calculation. CombinationThe law allows the apportionment of costs in a regional school district to be based on a combination of the per pupil method and the equalized valuation method.

Q. Will the apportionment of costs between Highland and Atlantic Highlands remain the same?A. No. While there are rumors circulating that this will remain the same, there will be differences if the referendum passes. While the method may appear to be the same, there is an important difference that may result in one community receiving a greater share of the cost. Presently, Highlands and Atlantic Highlands use a 100 percent equalized valuation method for a limited purpose 9-12 school district (a “limited purpose” regional school district means that the school does not serve all grades). The upcoming vote would modify the apportionment method to be 100 percent equalized valuation for an all-purpose PK-12 regional school district (an “all purpose” regional school district means it serves all grades).

Q. Is Sea Bright part of the upcoming vote?A. No. The vote only includes Highlands and Atlantic Highlands forming a PK-12 regional school district.

Q. Will Highlands and Atlantic Highlands continue to receive substantial savings with Sea Bright not included?A. No, since Sea Bright is not part of this vote, the substantial annual savings that the experts calculated (collectively, over $1 million dollars annually) would not occur due to Sea Bright not being included as part of this regionalization.

Q. Will Highlands and Atlantic Highlands both continue to receive tax savings if the upcoming vote passes?A. No, since Sea Bright is not part of this vote both Highlands and Atlantic Highlands will not receive a tax reduction. Instead, according to the tax analysis performed by the Tri-District, residents in Atlantic Highlands would expect to receive a tax increase due to the regionalization.

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Q. Does this vote need to pass for Sea Bright to join?

Q. Does the vote passing make it easier for Sea Bright to join?A. No. If the vote passes, Sea Bright could join at a later date regardless. If the vote does not pass, Sea Bright, Atlantic Highlands and Highlands can still move to create a new all-purpose PK-12 regional school district. However, the vote passing does not make it easier for Sea Bright to join Highlands and Atlantic Highlands.

Q. Is Sea Bright required to join a PK-12 School District?A. No. We understand that recent news articles included statements that Highlands and Atlantic Highlands must first become a PK-12 regional district and only then could the voters be asked to vote on Sea Bright joining. That is not correct. Under the law, with the Commissioner’s approval, Sea Bright is allowed to withdraw from the schools where its students currently attend in order to “form or enlarge a limited purpose or all purpose regional district.” This means that the law allows Sea Bright to: (1) form a K-12 all-purpose regional school district with Highlands and Atlantic Highlands at the same time in one single vote; or (2) enlarge a currently existing K-12 all-purpose regional school district (if Highlands and Atlantic Highlands form such an arrangement before Sea Bright joins). While not as relevant to our current situation, Sea Bright also is allowed under the law to join Highlands School District or Atlantic Highlands School District by becoming a regional K-8 school district (with one of them), or enlarge Henry Hudson Regional by seeking to join the currently existing regional high school district. All of these options are allowed under the law.

Atlantic Highlands again honored by Sustainable Jersey

By Muriel J. SmithATLANTIC HIGHLANDS — The borough of Atlantic Highlands, once again, attained certification and this year received the Small Town Champion Award from Sustainable Jersey, a major accomplishment for the town.Sustainable Jersey is a statewide organization that certifies municipalities who are the nation’s leaders in implementing solutions for challenges to reduce waste, and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Municipalities also have to certify they have tak...

By Muriel J. Smith

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS — The borough of Atlantic Highlands, once again, attained certification and this year received the Small Town Champion Award from Sustainable Jersey, a major accomplishment for the town.

Sustainable Jersey is a statewide organization that certifies municipalities who are the nation’s leaders in implementing solutions for challenges to reduce waste, and cut greenhouse gas emissions. Municipalities also have to certify they have taken measures to improve public health, among other things, which also stimulates the local economy and offers grants to accomplish even more for a town.

Just about every municipality in New Jersey is registered with Sustainable New Jersey, but not many have achieved the successes that Atlantic Highlands has.

Enter Ellen O’Dwyer, the captain of the Green Team, who also chairs the borough’s Environmental Commission, a quiet but hardworking group of dedicated residents following O'Dwyer's penchant for getting things done. O'Dwyer is also one of the council candidates waiting to see what the final count will be for the close Nov. 7 vote, which is currently being reviewed.

The borough had first registered with Sustainable Jersey in 2009, earning several bronze certifications every three years, including the last recertification of Bronze in 2022. The certification expires after three years, so while the town did not have to go for silver, O'Dwyer said, “ I just knew we could achieve silver, and do it in about a year. So we forged ahead and did it in record time."

This year, in addition to achieving the Silver Award, this ambitious group were awarded the Champion Award for being the very best Small town (under 5,000 residents) for sustainability.

Sustainabile New Jersey, under the Sustainability Institute at The College of New Jersey, doesn’t make it easy to achieve their awards. They set a high bar and have an entire team of professionals who verify what each town says it has done.

The Awards were presented by Christine Guhl-Sadovy, President, New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. Champions for each of the three groups, Atlantic Highlands for communities with populations under 5,000; Madison for population higher than 5,000 to 40,000 and Woodbridge, with populations more than 40,000.

O'Dwyer is passionate about the environment and served for one year on the Beautification Committee and Environmental commission before Mayor Loretta Gluckstein named her to the Shade Tree as well as the Green Team Committee, an advisory group to the governing body.

O'Dwyer said as an environmental commissioner and former Shade Tree Commissioner, it was important experience for her to have in order to achieve what she did with the Green Team.

In the past, the borough was interested in maintaining its certification as a member of Sustainable New Jersey, but O'Dwyer strove to go higher. She did a lot of research, and found that as far as recycling and reusing goes, the borough has done an awful lot over the years, thanks to a great Public Works Department and residents who take pride in their neighborhood. But moving even higher seemed like a better idea, so O'Dwyer did more research and documented all the accomplishments of the town, and memorialized them.

That earned the Bronze medal last year.

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This year, rather than simply being recognized for maintaining the bronze status, taking the silver award also enabled the borough to receive the Best award for small municipalities.

“We could have rested on our laurels for three years, but we didn’t,” she said. “Atlantic Highlands deserves the credit for all the work that it is already doing, and with a community whose heart is in it. We went for Silver, and achieved it in one year by completing some innovative projects, like being the first community to adopt a ban on plastic straws and bags, and partnering with a local company on biodegradable packaging solutions."

O'Dwyer continued, "We applied for and received two grants, educated on native species, shared wildflowers and milkweed, and encouraged green solutions to anything and everything.”

At the League of Municipalities annual conventionin Atlantic City, Sustainable New Jersey had a luncheon to honor all the municipalities who received honors. In her acceptance talk, in which she praised both Sustainable New Jersey’s efforts and her own team and borough residents, O'Dwyer said, “We’ve got a real “walking” town where the sidewalk outside your door can lead you to anywhere you would want to go in the borough, and our tree-lined streets are the result of our Tree City USA commitment of 42 years. We also established new and innovative ways to reach and educate the public, having a column in the local Atlantic Highlands Living magazine, hosting our first “Envirossance Faire” and an “Earth Day Walkabout” where visitors walked to various "Green Stops" throughout town.

She explained that with limited resources, "we networked beyond the borough teams and commissions to collaborate with the local arts council, the library, the schools, Scouts, Chamber of Commerce, Garden Club and even the Historical Society. With a new organization called “Wild About Atlantic Highlands,” the entire town is a Certified Wildlife Habitat with the National Wildlife Federation. This involved 100 residential and business gardens."

O'Dwyer said with other programs like “No Mow May,” “Grass – Cut it and Leave It,” “Don’t Spray” and “Leave the Leaves,” the group was able to get the public to learn, engage and commit to being stewards of the town.

Lest anyone think she is content with simply garnering the Best Small Town and silver swards, O'Dwyer put the League on notice that, “We are now aiming for “Gold Star,” which will set a new precedent for small, historic communities with classic infrastructure. I will leverage this status and other tactics to elevate Atlantic Highlands as a unique entity in order to preserve this unique ecosystem of mountains to bayside beaches to forested lands in the face of potential overdevelopment.”

Looking toward the future, another of Ellen’s aims, endorsed by the entire commission, is to save and protect the water utility through grants and other support. Municipalities can play a significant role in creating a holistic approach to the management of water, she said. Each municipality in New Jersey has its own water profile, shaped by its geography, infrastructure and local concerns. The Gold Star in Water identifies specific actions and level of performance for municipalities to achieve improvements in water quality, quantity and use.

“We can do this,” O'Dwyer said.

Currently there are only four municipalities in the state that have achieved a gold star: Maplewood, Princeton, Readington Township and Woodbbridge, which has earned it twice. All four townships are much larger that Atlantic Highlands.

Judging from O'Dwyer's energy level and the hard working members of the commission, together with residents proud of their community, it will not come as any surprise when Atlantic Highlands reaches the gold award next year.

Highlands Council says vote no on regionalization proposal

By Muriel J. SmithHIGHLANDS — All five members of the Highlands Borough Council made it loud and clear at last night’s meeting of the governing body: A no vote in the special school election Sept. 26 is the best thing for borough residents.Councilman Donald Melnyk also indicated the way the election was called by the school boards of education leaves a concern that “the intent is less than above-board.”As Mayor Carolyn Broullon has said several ti...

By Muriel J. Smith

HIGHLANDS — All five members of the Highlands Borough Council made it loud and clear at last night’s meeting of the governing body: A no vote in the special school election Sept. 26 is the best thing for borough residents.

Councilman Donald Melnyk also indicated the way the election was called by the school boards of education leaves a concern that “the intent is less than above-board.”

As Mayor Carolyn Broullon has said several times in the past, she would not be presumptuous enough to ever tell anyone how to vote, however, she is definite her vote on Sept. 26 will be no simply because it is not a good thing for Highlands and Atlantic Highlands to regionalize without the inclusion of Sea Bright. The New Jersey State Commissioner of Education has OK'd the regionalization question to move forward, with voters being asked if the three districts should merge. The question will not, however, include asking Sea Bright voters if they want to join the new district, as issues with Sea Bright's current agreements to send elementary school students to Oceanport and high school students to Shore Regional High School are worked out.

Each of the other four members of the governing body also put on record their concern for the current proposal to merge the Atlantic Highlands, Highlands and Henry Hudson school districts into one, saying it is unfair for Highlands voters, taxpayers and students at the schools.

Melnyk said he has given the question a lot of consideration and questioned once again why it is necessary to have a special election only six weeks before a regular election. Traditionally, fewer voters turn out for special elections, and the hours for this school election are from noon to 8 p.m., depriving early morning voters from getting to the polls. There have to be reasons for this, Melnyk said, questioning if the intent is less than above-board.

Council President Joann Olszewski, a retired teacher and school department head in Teaneck, said it would be “dangerous” to vote yes for regionalization without Sea Bright and challenged the method of financing for the new district as outlined in the question being decided Sept. 26 by the voters of Highlands and Atlantic Highlands.

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Olszewski pointed out the school boards approved a resolution and the question on the ballot that splits financing of education between Highlands and Atlantic Highlands strictly by assessed valuation and does not include student enrollment.

Olszewski pointed out, “This year, Atlantic Highlands paid “more than $1 million for the Elementary School than Highlands did for our Elementary School."

Why?” she asked. “Because they have 135 more students than Highlands does," as she answered her own question.

Such a formula, at this time, considering only equalized valuation and not student enrollment, forces Highlands taxpayers to underwrite the cost of their neighboring town’s student enrollment. The council president publically thanked the school board members for serving in elected positions sometimes difficult to fill, but said they should wait until it was possible to include Sea Bright before making any changes in regionalization.

Experts retained both by the school boards and the boroughs have all said the inclusion of Sea Bright in the regionalization plan would immediately bring in millions of dollars, while at the same time splitting the cost of education among three, rather than two, towns.

Both council members Karen Chelak and Leo Cervantes agreed with the statements made by the mayor, council president and Councilman Melnick, with Cervantes adding a yes vote Sept. 26 “makes no sense."

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