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N.J. pets in need: Nov. 12, 2018

Animal shelters continue to be the leading source of pets.

Facts on animal shelters from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA):

* Approximately 6.5 million companion animals enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year. The number is evenly split between dogs and cats. A positive note is that the number of dogs and cats entering U.S. shelters annually has declined from approximately 7.2 million in 2011.

* Approximately 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted each year, again with an even split between cats and dogs.

* About 710,000 animals who enter shelters as strays are returned to their owners. In this, we don't find so even a split; 620,000 of the returned animals are dogs and only 90,000 are cats.

* Each year, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized (670,000 dogs and 860,000 cats). The number of dogs and cats euthanized in U.S. shelters annually has declined from approximately 2.6 million in 2011. This decline can be partially explained by an increase in the percentage of animals adopted and an increase in the number of stray animals successfully returned to their owners.

These are the most common sources from which primary methods cats and dogs are obtained as pets (this information was based on a multiple response question, which results in the total percentage exceeding 100% individually for cats and dogs. In addition, the 'other' category includes all source categories that were reported by less than 10% of both dog and cat owners):

Animal Shelter/Humane Society

Dogs      23%   Cats     31%

Friends/Relatives            

Dogs     20%   Cats     28%

Breeder              

Dogs     34%   Cats     3%

Stray

Dogs     6%   Cats     27%

Private Party

Dogs     12%   Cats     6%

Other

Dogs     32%   Cats     39%

Greg Hatala may be reached at greghatalagalleries@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.



Mon, 12 Nov 2018 11:30:00 UTC


WATCH N.J. football: Ranked teams battle in major playoff matchups - LIVE

Don Bosco vs. Delbarton Friday night - watch live or on-demand on any device

Playoff races are heating up with sectional final and semifinal berths on the line and you can watch some key games this week thanks to NJ High School Sports Live.

NJ High School Sports Live will broadcast live from eight games this weekend - six playoff matchups and two consolation games. 


MORE: Learn about NJ High School Sports Live


If you couldn't make it to the games or want to watch an on-demand replay, NJ High School Sports Live was made for you. You can watch these games on your computer, phone or tablet - and you can watch live or on demand. Our season pass also gives you access to any in-network game. This week's schedule is listed below, click on the links to watch.

NOTE: The list below reflects changes made due to expected bad weather Friday. That includes the elimination of the Mater Dei-DePaul game, which we will no longer be able to broadcast. It was postponed to Saturday at 4.

FRIDAY, NOV. 9
5-Delbarton at 4-Don Bosco Prep, 7

SATURDAY, NOV. 10
5-Pope John at 1-Red Bank Catholic, 6 (moved from Friday)
3-Lyndhurst at 2-Verona, 7 (moved from Friday)
8-Seton Hall Prep at 1-Bergen Catholic, 1
7-St. Augustine at 2-St. Joseph (Mont.), 1
5-North Bergen at 1-Montclair, 1
Gloucester Catholic at Donovan Catholic, 1 -- Regional crossover game, link coming soon

Andrew Koob can be reached at akoob@njadvancemedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewKoobHS. Like NJ.com High School Sports on Facebook



Fri, 09 Nov 2018 14:00:23 UTC


Mountain Creek near deal on $28M sewer debt, ending bankruptcy

A new majority owner and a deal with the township of Vernon could right the resort's financial woes.

Mountain Creek could be out of bankruptcy protection early next year if two agreements -- including a shift in ownership structure -- are approved in the coming weeks. 

SNOW Operating would acquire controlling ownership of the ski resort and water park from current majority owners Mountain Creek Resort, Inc. and the Koffman family. And, $28 million in sewer debt that has plagued the business would be worked out with Vernon Township, according to the parties.  

The terms of the agreements remain confidential until they are reviewed by the court. First, the Vernon Township Council must approve the sewer component. Both are expected to happen by the end of the year.   

The resort should be out of bankruptcy within 60 to 180 days, said Joe Hession, founder of SNOW Operating.

"We're very motivated to get this done," Hession, 38, a Vernon native who now lives in Mountain Lakes, said during a phone interview Thursday.  

Mountain Creek Management, LLC filed for bankruptcy protection in May 2017, citing debt that it inherited from previous owners.

The biggest chunk of that debt -- $28 million -- is owed to Vernon Township Municipal Utilities Authority for sewer system capacity of 166,000 gallons per day that was set aside for Mountain Creek under a previous owner, Intrawest, who planned to build 1,200 more condominiums.

The $40 million tab for the additional sewer capacity was covered with municipal bonds and the resort was made responsible for $28 million of it. That development never materialized and the resort's share of the sewer bill was never paid. It has financially plagued the struggling proprietor since.

But, Hession said, the sewer is an asset that allows the resort to expand in the future. "I see the sewer as a positive thing," he said. "We need to figure out a way to get the town paid and allow us to keep the capacity."

Vernon Mayor Harry Shortway says he has been stedfast that taxpayers should not shoulder that financial burden.

"I think this will outline a solution to go forward where Vernon will be made whole and Mountain Creek will be able to develop," Shortway said of the proposed agreement between the resort and the township.

Mountain Creek is the township's largest taxpayer -- with an annual tax bill of about $850,000 -- and the backbone of the local economy, Hession said. 

"Vernon's economy is built around being a resort town," he said."When Mountain Creek does well, the rest of the businesses around town also do well."

SNOW Operating signed a 15-year lease for the ski resort last fall and took over operations of the water park in June. 

"The team at SNOW Operating has proven themselves to be very capable operators over the past year. We are very excited about working with them at Mountain Creek for years to come, and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial partnership for all," Jeffrey Koffman, of Mountain Creek Resort, Inc. said in a press release.

SNOW Operating and Mountain Creek, Inc. would share a 50/50 ownership of the property, but SNOW Operating would be the principal owner under the new agreement. During their time at the helm, SNOW Operating has focused on making what's already there work better, Hession said, as opposed to previous owners who all had their eye on expansion.

One of the biggest tools SNOW Operating will use to improve Mountain Creek is technology, Hession said. If you pay with your mobile phone or at home you can go straight to the ski lift when you arrive. (The company can also track what customers are doing while they are there, including how many runs they take).

Construction is underway at the equipment rental shop that will change the flow and make it "look like a Disney ride," he said. Instead of processing 380 rentals per hour, it will be able to handle 1,200 per hour. 

New snowmaking fan guns will strengthen production and erosion control measures and preventative maintenance were also done this summer to enhance the trails.

"It's not the glamorous stuff, but it makes a big difference when the ski season's here," Hession said.

The mayor said he is optimistic about the future of Mountain Creek and its relationship with the township. 

"I look forward to this being put to rest," Shortway said. "And I look forward to being a partner in really a symbiotic relationship."

Communication and trust between the town and resort have improved since SNOW Operating took over, he added.

"They have skin in this game," Shortway said. "Their families live here. This is their hometown. They understand my position."

"They have everything to gain here but they know their decisions will affect the community," he said.

 

Allison Pries may be reached at apries@njadvancemedia.com. Follow her on Twitter @AllisonPries. Find NJ.com on Facebook.  



Fri, 09 Nov 2018 13:16:04 UTC


Here are N.J.'s safest hospitals -- and how they all fared in new national survey

N.J. has the most top-rated rated hospitals for safety in the nation, according to The Leapfrog safety study.



Thu, 08 Nov 2018 11:35:10 UTC


Vintage photos of N.J. veterans

"Veterans Day ... is a day for all of us to begin our journey of protecting our freedom and the freedom of many future generations."

Special thanks to vfwauxiliary.org for this explanation of the importance of Veterans Day to military veterans and civilians alike.

"On the 11th hour...of the 11th day...of the 11th month...the fighting of World War I ended in 1918.

american-flag-unfurled.jpg 

"Due to the conclusion of 'the War to end all Wars,' November 11th became a universally recognized day of celebration.

"The day was originally declared 'Armistice Day' 8 years after the end of World War I and honored only veterans of that war. Then in 1954, after World War II and the Korean War, it was renamed 'Veterans' Day' to honor all veterans who served America in war and defended democracy.

"So, today we honor all of our veterans ... who unselfishly placed their lives on the line for our freedom.

"Those men and women were ordinary people... until they heard the call of duty and answered it. They left their families ... their homes ... and their lives ... not for recognition or fame or even the honor we bestow upon them today. They fought to protect our country ... to maintain our way of life.

"As we honor our veterans and remember their great deeds, let us also salute those who are currently fighting for our freedom.

"The War on Terrorism has helped us all realize how truly unique the American way of life is. The freedom we enjoy is extremely special, and that is why we must defend it.

"So, now is the time to not only honor those have fought or are fighting for our freedom...it is also the time for each of us to take part in protecting it.

"The defense of freedom is not just for those in the military; each of us shares that duty and that responsibility. We don't have to join the army or the navy or any other organization of defense to actively defend our way of life. We can protect our freedom simply by maintaining it here in America.

"If we want to preserve our freedoms, we must put them into action - for example, by voting in elections or speaking out against injustices. We must also ensure that everyone feels the benefits of freedom. And we can do that by volunteering in our communities or teaching our children what it really means to be an American.

"Veterans' Day isn't just a day for veterans - it's a day for all Americans. It's a day to remember why they were fighting and a day for all of us to begin our journey of protecting our freedom and the freedom of many future generations.

"Thank you for honoring our veterans today. Let us walk toward tomorrow still honoring them...by living in the freedom they protected."

MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

Here are links to other related galleries:

Vintage photos of Medal of Honor recipients from N.J.

Vintage photos of women and the war effort in N.J.

Greg Hatala may be reached at greghatalagalleries@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregHatala. Find Greg Hatala on Facebook.



Thu, 08 Nov 2018 11:30:00 UTC