Sussex Fire Department
Proudly serving our community since 1896

Latest Top (5) News

Vintage photos of bird's-eye views of N.J.

Checking out the Garden State from the sky.

Although drones and Google Earth may have taken the novelty out of aerial photos, it wasn't all that long ago when one of the more attention-getting illustrations a business could have for a postcard was a picture of its location captured from an airplane. But it was photography from an even higher vantage point that went from eye-pleasing to humankind-helping.

NASA's earliest satellites in the 1960s provided photos of weather systems allowing meteorologists to more accurately track and predict hurricanes and typhoons. According to, advancements in technology (and its miniaturization) allowed future satellites "to measure the 3-D properties of clouds, smoke and other pollutants in the atmosphere; the speed and direction of wind near the ocean surface; the precise elevation and shape of Earth's surface; and changes in Earth's polar ice sheets."

MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

The site goes on to note that "airborne observations conducted by NASA played a critical role in helping scientists understand why the Antarctic ozone depletion was occurring - through a connection between meteorology, aerosol/cloud chemistry, and industrially produced chlorine. These findings dramatized the significance of environmental change." The 1988 Montreal Protocol, an international agreement requiring the signatory nations to employ nondestructive alternatives to CFCs, was one of the important results of this research.

While not taken from quite so high, these vintage photos provide a look at New Jersey from above from years gone by. And, here are links to some other galleries you may enjoy.

Vintage photos of N.J. from above

Vintage aerial photos of N.J.

Vintage N.J. photos that deserve a second look

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

Thu, 17 Jan 2019 11:30:00 UTC

N.J. pets in need: Jan. 14, 2019

Consider a shelter dog or cat for your next pet.

Petfinder -- an online, searchable database of adoptable animals -- compiled a list of common misconceptions about pet adoption in the hopes that if myths are debunked, more people will adopt dogs and cats from shelters and rescues.

"I don't know what I'm getting."

There is likely more information available on adoptable animals than pets for purchase in pet stores. Many of the pets from rescue groups are in foster care, living with their fosterer 24/7; information on their personality and habits is typically vast. Even shelters have a very good idea about how the dogs and cats in their care behave with people and other animals.

"I can't find what I want at a shelter."

Not only are their breed-specific rescue groups, but some rescues and shelters maintain waiting lists for specific breeds. There are even means on to be notified when certain breeds are posted for adoption.

"I can get a pet for free from a friend or acquaintance; why pay an adoption fee?"

The "free pet" from a source other than a shelter or rescue group isn't necessarily free. Adoption fees usually cover a number of services and treatments including spay/neuter and veterinary checkups. Covering these costs on your own would call for spending the following estimated amounts:

* Spay/neuter: $150-$300
* Distemper vaccination: $20-$30, twice
* Rabies vaccination: $15-$25
* Heartworm test: $15-$35
* Flea/tick treatment: $50-$200
* Microchip: $25-$50

"Pets are in shelters because they don't make good pets."

Here are the main reasons animals end up in shelters or with rescue groups:

* Owners have to move, pets not allowed
* Allergies
* Owner having personal problems
* Too many, no room for littermates
* Owner can no longer afford a pet
* Owner's health does not allow for pet care

While no one can say that every pet adopted from a shelter or rescue will work out perfectly, it's important to remember that misinformation about these homeless animals often keeps them from finding loving homes.

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

Mon, 14 Jan 2019 11:30:00 UTC

Vintage candid photos of folks from N.J.

When you least expect it ....

What's a "candid" photo? Pretty much anything that hasn't been staged. By "staged," I can mean anything from a publicity photo to a group shot of family all standing in the same pose.


Why do we like candid photos so much? A friend of mine explained it, and I can't possibly do any better:

"There is something compelling about pictures where the subjects don't know they are being photographed. A sort of invitation into a moment in time unfettered by vanity or awareness that just captures a split second of life."

MORE: Vintage photos around New Jersey

And even when the subjects are aware of the camera, simply going about living and enjoying life make these photos priceless.

Always one of our most popular galleries, here are split seconds of life from New Jersey's past, with a few classic photobombs thrown in for good measure.

And here are link to other similar galleries you'll enjoy.

Vintage candid photos from N.J.

Vintage N.J. candid photos

Vintage candid photos in N.J.

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

Thu, 10 Jan 2019 11:30:00 UTC

Taking a cue from 'Twilight Zone,' Theatre of Terror sets anthology premiere at Loew's

The "Theatre of Terror" features four short films directed by local filmmaker Tom Ryan.

In the two years it's taken for production company Theatre of Terror to toil away on their eponymous anthology feature, anthology horror has continued a resurgence that makes the film's premiere Saturday, Jan. 12 at the historic Loew's Theater in Jersey City perfect timing.

In a vein reminiscent of the "Twilight Zone," the "Theatre of Terror" features four short films directed by local filmmaker Tom Ryan. Influenced by horror TV that also includes "The Outer Limits" and "Tales from the Dark Side," Ryan is careful to point out that, while this anthology's four films have a degree of social commentary, "Theatre of Terror" is mostly in the character-study mold of those shows. "I think we focus on that a lot more than making a broader statement," Ryan said. 

The four films consist of "The Gift," about a scorned mother who meets a stranger willing to do whatever it takes to be reunited with the family she's estranged from; "The Bookworm" is the story of a young man getting more than he bargained for when he purchases an old library with his inheritance; "Abducted" is a country bumpkin's obsession with an alien encounter changing his life forever; and in "Endangered," three radical activists trying to save endangered wolves find themselves facing something much more dangerous.

The Bloomfield-based production company made sure all four films were shot in the state. "I was born and raised in Jersey City," Ryan said. "I've been living in Bloomfield for maybe the past 15 years or so, but I still work with Jersey City actors and locations, and we actually shot part of our film at the Loew's. I premiered a feature film I did called 'Faces' in 2014 (there). That film was shot all over Jersey City, so I like to return to the town where I grew up."

Ryan said he didn't want to write scripts for something that was beyond the capability of the Theatre of Terror team to shoot, "so we basically tried to keep the story within reach of a lot of the locations, and we actually got some really fantastic locations for these "100 percent Jersey-shot" stories.

"As far as the first film, we needed an antique shop, and that was a place that we shot in Bloomfield: a small ma and pa antique shop that was just perfect and creepy. ... For our second film, we needed a mansion and we needed a library. I reached out to the town of Bloomfield, and there was a mansion called the Oakside Manor, and it's an old colonial that was beautiful and perfect. I told them I was a local filmmaker, and they were great about working with me and letting me shoot in there."

"I also shot in the Glen Ridge Public Library," Ryan said. "I scouted six or seven libraries, and it was the only one that still had kind of a classical wooden shelf, rows, staircase, wooden trims and everything, as opposed to these more updated libraries which are a lot of metal racks and they're not as comfortable and as picturesque as Glen Ridge was."

Friends of the production team happened to have a house out in the woods that fit the third film, said Ryan. He found everything he needed for the fourth film in Branchville. "I found this picturesque diner, and I reached out to the owner, and she let us shoot on her property. And I wound up meeting Mayor Anthony Frato, and he got some locals out, and they wound up being in the film."

Theatre of Terror team-members Louis Libitz and Michael Beck grew up in Jersey City and still live there. Ryan said they all went to the Loew's Theatre when it was still fully functioning, and he loves to share his work among the historic architecture the Friends of the Loew's have renovated.

Doors open at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12 for the 8 p.m. screening of "Theatre of Terror" at the Loew's Jersey Theatre, 54 Journal Square, in Jersey City. The first 100 people in the door get a free movie poster. Purchasing tickets online gets the buyer a chance to win a copy of "Theatre of Terror" on Blu-Ray.  

Check out Theatre of Terror's Facebook page to learn more about the company's troupe who are on and off the screen, and check out Ryan's film "Faces" on Amazon Prime Video.

Tue, 08 Jan 2019 15:15:01 UTC

N.J. pets in need: Jan. 7, 2019

Dogs and cats throughout New Jersey await adoption.

The year 2018 is over, but the drive to 'Clear the Shelters' goes on.

'Clear the Shelters' is an annual pet adoption drive sponsored by NBC- and Telemundo-owned television stations across the country. More than 91,900 pets were adopted since the 2018 event was launched in July, over 26,000 on August 18 alone. By year's end, a total of 102,686 pets found homes as part of the drive.

The program began in North Texas in 2014 as a partnership among the NBC and Telemundo stations in Dallas-Fort Worth and dozens of North Texas animal shelters. More than 2,200 homeless animals were adopted that first year, the most in a single day in North Texas.

The need remains great to find homes for the millions of homeless animals in the United States. The number of animals entering shelters each year is about 6.5 million, 3.3 million dogs and 3.2 million cats, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Though the number has declined from about 7.2 million in 2011, with the biggest drop in the number of dogs, approximately 1.5 million shelter animals end up being euthanized each year.

On the happier side, about 3.2 million shelter animals are adopted annually and another 710,000 are returned to their owners.

Clear the Shelters began in North Texas in 2014 as a partnership among the NBC and Telemundo stations in Dallas-Fort Worth and dozens of North Texas animal shelters. More than 2,200 homeless animals were adopted that first year, the most in a single day in North Texas.

For more information, go to

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

Mon, 07 Jan 2019 11:30:00 UTC