Island Shuttle Buses to Keep Running

Republicans Win Throughout the Area; Some New Faces to Take Oath

LBI School Board Has Razor-Thin Result
Nov 07, 2017
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

Republican Joseph H. Vicari, in office on the Ocean County Board of Freeholders since 1981, was re-elected Tuesday for a 13th three-year term on the five-member, all-Republican board. He is chairman of senior services and county operations. A former teacher and a school administrator, he was also a former mayor of Toms River (Dover) Township. His Democratic opponent was Forked River resident and former Lacey Township Committeewoman Helen Dela Cruz. The unofficial voting results were 84,762 for Vicari, 58,544 for Dela Cruz and 2,756 for Green Party independent candidate Barry Bendar of Forked River.

In the Ocean County portion of the sprawling N.J. 9th Legislative District, three long-time Republican incumbents appeared to coast to an easy victory, with late results from the district’s few Burlington and Atlantic county towns unlikely to sway the results. The unofficial Ocean County vote for state Senate was Christopher J. Connors, 34,822 (67 percent); Democrat Brian Corley White, 17,158. For the two Assembly seats, it was Brian E. Rumpf, 33,765, and Dianne C. Gove, 31,172; Democrats Jill Dobrowansky, 17,935, and Ryan Young, 17340.


Republican incumbents Alfonso Cirulli and John J. Novak held off a challenge from Democratic newcomers Daniel Ward and Paul Whitcraft in the Barnegat Township Committee race for two three-year terms.

Cirulli received 3,394 votes while Novak had 3,333. Ward and Whitcraft received 2,761 and 2,775 votes, respectively.

Cirulli served on the committee from 2004 to 2012, and was mayor when he lost a re-election bid. He returned to the committee at the end of 2015 to replace Martin Lisella when the latter was appointed township administrator. Cirulli had to run last year for the final year of Lisella’s unexpired term.

Novak served on the committee in 2007 and returned after winning the election in 2015. He was mayor in 2016.


Election night closed with a new borough council member gaining a seat in Barnegat Light. Mary Ellen Foley, a planning board member, tallied the highest number of votes, 235, followed by incumbent Dottie Reynolds, with 201. The two were running mates on a Republican ticket.

“Thank you to all the voters of Barnegat Light for the opportunity to serve on council,” said a “thrilled” Foley, when contacted by phone as results were just in.

Challenger Eric Svelling, a commercial fishing boat captain and owner of three commercial vessels, got 146 votes.

“In an election, voters deserve a choice of candidates. Otherwise it is more of a coronation,” Svelling wrote on his Facebook page Tuesday night. “I did not win in this election … I am very grateful for the support.”

Reynolds, a 22-year veteran on council, is currently chairperson of beaches and parks.

Reynolds and Foley had summarized in a letter to taxpayers, “We want to be your voice to continue to keep Barnegat Light a quaint village with the character, affordability and the quality of life that we know and love. With our business, professional and public service experience, we will work to support our community.”


Voters rejected a public question, 195 to 186, requesting a tax of 1 cent per $100 assessed value that would have been used to acquire private land for either conservation, recreation use (including development) or historic preservation, and as revenue for maintenance of any such acquisitions. Had it passed, it would have resulted in a tax increase of $60 on a home assessed at $600,000. Voters also turned down the question last year.


Republican Nick Sommaripa was elected to fill the township committee seat being vacated by Wayne Thomas. Sommaripa won with 271 votes, defeating his Democratic opponent, Sarah Collins (168 votes).

“I’m very happy to have won, and I look forward to start working for our community and our residents in January,” Sommaripa said moments after the polls closed.


Even without a single debate, two Democratic newcomers in Little Egg Harbor, Steven J. Schaffer and Gustav Lauer, gave long-time Republican incumbents Ray Gormley and John Kehm a good run, but both Gormley and Kehm held on for their fifth three-year terms on the Little Egg Harbor Township Committee. Gormley took the lead early in a tight race and garnered 3,046 votes, while Kehm took the second highest number with 2,876 votes. Schaffer captured a respectable 2,703 votes; Lauer received 2,624.


Voters approved a ballot question Tuesday that will allow the municipality to charge, if necessary, a nominal fee for the Island-wide shuttle bus service. A second question, to allow for the establishment of an open space trust fund, also passed.

As of Tuesday night, the results for the bus question were 1,169 votes, or 79 percent, in favor, and 306 against. Township Commissioner Joseph Lattanzi, who devised the seasonal shuttle program, said ridership exceeded 110,000 this summer: a sign of the service’s popularity, but also an indication that it must expand. The introduction of a small fare seems more and more a necessity if the program is to continue, which means adding buses, he said. Currently, the service is funded by grants, advertising revenue from bus wraps and signs inside the trolleys, and $10,000 annually from each municipality on LBI. These funding sources will continue, but they’re not enough because of the program success and its need to grow.

“We’re very excited that the referendum has passed,” Lattanzi said Tuesday night. “It’s going to allow us to solidify the future of the buses and expand the program for the better of the community.”

Lattanzi thanked the LBI Chamber of Commerce for itsefforts in promoting the program, including the “Save the Shuttle” signs it placed throughout the township.

Taxpayers also approved – by a vote of 823 to 588, (58 to 42 percent) – an additional 1 cent per $100 of assessed value on the annual local property tax levy for the conservation of open space in the municipality. The amount raised by the township will be matched by the county.

Lattanzi said he was very pleased to see that residents were also supportive of this measure.


Republican incumbents Edward English and David Hartman ran unopposed for three-year terms on the borough council. English is the current council president.


Republican incumbents William D. Hodgson and John G. Hadish III ran unopposed for three-year terms on the borough council.


Republican incumbents John Schwartz and Keith F. Vreeland Jr. ran unopposed for three-year terms on the borough council.



Two Barnegat Board of Education incumbents staved off a challenge from six newcomers in winning three-year terms on Tuesday. Marie Pereira led all vote getters with 2,192, while board Vice President Robert Geddes received 1,649 votes. They were both initially elected in 2014. Also victorious was Doreen Continanza with 1,684 votes.

Other vote totals were Robert J. Sawicki (1,576), Patti Deem Robbins (1,509), Richard Quelch (1,187), H.E. “Tripp” Rogers (1,152) and Jamie Feola (866).

Incumbent Gary Brown did not seek re-election.


Meredith O’Donnell and Jennifer Tomlinson ran unopposed for three-year terms.


Steven Halford and Isabella Pharo ran unopposed for three-year terms.


John V. Bellone ran unopposed for a three-year term.


Georgene HartmannWilliam Fenimore and John McMenamin were ahead in the race to fill seats representing Long Beach Township, Ship Bottom and Surf City on the Long Beach Island Board of Education.

Incumbent Hartmann claimed 617 votes, while challenger Richard Vaughan earned 334 votes from Long Beach Township.

Fenimore was the only name on the ballot for Ship Bottom. He will replace Jennifer Bott, who chose not to run for another term. He earned 197 votes, while 35 voters (16 percent) wrote in a different name.

Meanwhile in Surf City, McMenamin was ahead of incumbent Allyn Kain by just one vote – 190 to 189, the unofficial total – after the polls closed. There were also three write-in votes.

Those elected to the LBI Board of Education will serve terms of three years. The county clerk’s office said results will not be official until Monday, Nov. 13.


Tuckerton will send Kim E. Hanadel to the Pinelands Regional Board of Education. She captured 367 votes against 208 votes for T.J. Page.

Jeff Bonicky and Christie Palladino ran unopposed for three-year terms to represent Little Egg Harbor.


Heather Tatur and Tom Serpico ran unopposed for three-year terms to represent Stafford. Stuart Snyder ran unopposed to represent Beach Haven.


Following the largest board of education race in Ocean County, two newcomers will join the Stafford Township School District Board of Education when it reorganizes in January. Incumbent Deborah M. Lyons, Patricia Formica and Gerald “Jerry” Simonelli were the candidates chosen on Nov. 7 to fill the three board seats.

Lyons, one of two incumbents on the ballot, tallied 2,098 votes to lead the 10-candidate race, while Formica took the second-highest number, 1,674, and Simonelli tallied 1,535.

“It’s an honor to be re-elected,” said Lyons, who four years ago was elected as a write-in candidate. “I’ve lived here since 1979 and I’m a graduate of the Intermediate School, so this district means a lot to me. My only agenda is to take care of the needs of the district, and my only plan is to do what I believe is right for Stafford’s students, teachers and staff.”

Former district teacher Michael Dunlea finished fourth with 1,445 votes, while Suzanne Caporrino garnered 1,396 votes in the fifth spot and Joshua Smith had 1,345 votes. The rest of the field consisted of Steven E. Derion (1,124), Michelle Weiss (920) and Erin Sharkey-Coxen (663).

Interestingly, the other incumbent on the ballot, Michael Benson – who effectively ended his re-election bid several weeks ago due to personal circumstances, but missed the deadline to be removed from the ballot – ended up getting 737 votes.

Formica, who grew up in Stafford and went through the district’s schools as a youngster, was especially pleased given it was her first time seeking a spot on the board.

“I’m really happy and excited to serve for the children of Stafford. I can’t believe I was elected the first time I ran. … It’s definitely an honor to be elected, and I won’t take this opportunity for granted.”

“I hope I can make a difference and bring a different perspective to the board,” said Simonelli. “I’m anxious to see what’s going on behind closed doors, but I’m going in with an open mind. If I feel something is wrong, I will speak up about it. And if something is going right, I will say that, too. I just want to do what’s best for Stafford Township. It’s a wonderful district, and I want it to stay that way.”


Anna Morey (380 votes) and Ryan M. Short (344) outdistanced Renee Gioiello (241) for a pair of three-year terms. However, there may yet be a spot for the third-place candidate because there was no formal candidate for an unexpired two-year term. There were a few write-in votes for that position.

— Neal Roberts, with staff reports

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