Monthly Archives: January 2011

New Web Service Allows Users to Search New Jersey Civil Law Case Index.

The New Jersey Judiciary placed their computerized civil case index on-line. This does away with the need for an individual to access these records only at a county courthouse.

The system is accessed directly at: http://njcourts.judiciary.state.nj.us/web1/ACMSPA The Judiciary’s main site is at http://www.judiciary.state.nj.us/ . From this link, look under Online Resources in the left-hand navigation links and click Civil Case Public Access. The site will direct you to turn off any pop-up blockers.

Users may search for high-level civil case information and cannot view actual documents online. However, as the records are public, the case’s docket number may be used to view documenation or acquire copies of the case from the county courthouse where the case was heard. In the case where a municipality is involved, an OPRA request may be submitted to the town seeking the civil complaint filed in the matter.

After logging in to the search screen, enter the last name in the field provided. If you are looking for cases involving municipalities, you must know the form of goverment of the municipality. Type in City of [City Name] or Borough of [Borough Name] and then click Party Inquiry. The system returns a list of all non-archived court cases with either the name of the individual or the municipality you are searching for.

The docket number field may contain an alphabetic code: LT stands for Landlord Tenant cases, DC for Special Civil Part (cases where less than $15,000 in damages were claimed), SC is small claims, C is chancery, and F is foreclosure.

The Date Disposed field shows the date the case terminated.

Because the lawsuit titles are entered exactly as the suit’s filing, finding a municipality may require multiple searchs. The Borough of Belmar, for example, may alternatively entered as Belmar Boro or Boro of Belmar.

Additionally, only NJ State Court filings are included, not federal court. Federal court filings may be found via free services like: http://dockets.justia.com/ or through an account with: http://www.pacer.gov/

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Heightsonline Joins New Jersey Hyperlocal News Press Association

Heightsonline has joined the New Jersey Hyperlocal News Press Association, a new initiative of the Metuchen-based open government group, The Citizens’ Campaign.

 The Citizens’ Campaign founded the New Jersey Hyperlocal News Press Association (HNA) to “facilitate robust and sophisticated reporting of local political and governmental news.” The organization estimates that over 90% of New Jersey electronic local news outlets have joined.

The HNA will provide member organizations with support and advice on how to deliver local coverage of local government. An advisory board is led by Jeff Jarvis, the director of the Interactive Journalism Program at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.

The Citizens’ Campaign is a volunteer, non-partisan organization which provides a platform of educational tools and training to give citizens, with limited time, the power to end the blame game and have real influence in tackling today’s tough problems. The Citizens’ Campaign offers free training and coaches so that people have the power to participate in the leadership of our government and political parties. Visit their Web site at: http://www.jointhecampaign.com/.

First Regular Council Meeting of 2011 Held

The Spring Lake Heights Borough Council met on Monday, January 10 for the first regular meeting of 2011.

Editor’s Note: During the early portion of the meeting, Citizen of the Month Proclamations were distributed to students from the Spring Lake Heights Elementary School. Heightsonline has chosen to include only the audio of the proclamation distribution as the recipients are all of school age. During this portion of the recording, the camera stays on the Council. 

Part 1: Call to Order and Proclamations

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WlSOsKr0_lA

Part 2: The Council waits as the majority of the audience clears the room. They appoint the new Borough Attorney for 2011. The discussion session begins.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIGYYQwR5Gk

Part 3: Discussion items continue. Councilman Butch Maccanico discusses reintroducing Ordinance #28-2010 that Mayor Enright vetoed; this ordinance amended the appointing structure of the Environmental Commission to be more in line with the New Jersey State Law. It was passed at the December 20, 2010 meeting and subsequently vetoed by the mayor.

The Voice of the Public session is held.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2v5aE-WGFHk

Part 4: Meeting conclusion.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tanEwALCuxQ

Happy New Year!

Editor’s Note: heightsonline starts the New Year with a new goal — to provide video recordings of the Spring Lake Heights Borough Council meetings. As per New Jersey’s Open Public Meetings Law, any public meeting may be video recorded by a member of the public. Many municipalities provide recordings of their meetings online as a service to their residents. For residents of Spring Lake Heights who may be unable to attend meetings, either for physical or scheduling reasons, heightsonline provides these recordings as a public service.

Note that rendering the recording from camera to computer to internet causes a long recording to be diced into several components of approximately 10 minutes each. Heightsonline will continue to work toward improving the video delivery to you.

Part 1: Introduction

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYuqNvkx0r8

In this brief clip, the January 3, 2011 reorganization meeting of the Borough of Spring Lake Heights is opened. A brief camera check interupts the beginning of the swearing in ceremony.

Part 2: Swearing In Ceremony and Resolutions Appointing Borough Professionals and Borough Officials.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRvAywYUH7M

The new Council members are sworn in. The Council begins the business of making appointments for 2011 and, in some cases, years beyond that. Can the taxpaying viewer determine what individuals are being appointed to which position?

Part 3: Resolutions completed and Voice of the Public begins.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tcVISEW-kfU

The resolutions are completed and the Voice of the Public session begins.

Part 4: Voice of the Public concludes and Council adjourns into closed session.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P2f6zsjJEC0

Once the Voice of the Public concludes, the Council adjourns into a closed session to discuss the Borough clerk, Theresa Casagrande. It is noteworthy here that on the evening of December 31, 2010, Mrs. Casagrande received a hand-delivered letter from Mayor Frances Enright, informing Mrs. Casagrande that she would not be reappointed for the new year. The Council had never discussed this item, nor were they aware of Mayor Enright’s letter.

Part 5: Action after closed session and adjournment.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FqAf0kOni1Y

After the closed session, the Council returned to the dais and voted to install an acting Borough clerk. However, that individual is never named. It is Janine Gillis, the Borough’s Deputy Clerk. Although the reason given for not reappointing Mrs. Casagrande is because she makes in excess of $70,000,  it should be noted that Mrs. Gillis makes approximately the same amount, although she is not a certified Municipal Clerk.