Fund for Roosevelt, Inc.

P. O. Box 404, Roosevelt, New Jersey 08555-0404
A non-profit corporation.   501(c)(3) recognized.
Registered with the State of New Jersey.

Selected Press Coverage
of the Fund for Roosevelt &
Historic, Social, and Preservation Issues
in Roosevelt -- Part III

(All material is copyrighted by its source corporation.)

From an article in the Examiner by Linda DeNicola, 4 October 2001:

"Millstone Tract to be Added to Assunpink" NEW

"Green Acres in the Process of Acquiring 65-Acre Suszka Tract

"The state Department of Environmental Protection's Green Acres program is in the process of acquiring another piece of land that will be added to the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area.

"The Suszka tract, located in Millstone next to the recently acquired Notterman parcel in Roosevelt, increases the Assunpink area by 65 acres. The Assunpink encompasses 5,600 acres of fields, hedgerows anda woods located in western Monmouth and eastern Mercer counties.

"Catherine Drake, project manager for the Green Acres Program, said, 'The Suszka property just came to our attention as a site. We thought that it would be a nice addition to link up the Assunpink Park with the Notterman tract in Roosevelt.'

"According to Drake, the 65-acre parcel was a farm at one point owned by a family from northern New Jersey. 'Over the course of time, family members died, and it was just sort of inherited,' she explained. 'The house fell into disrepair. It was like a country house and hadn't been occupied for 30 years.

"'Actually the house has already fallen, and there are no buildings on the property that we're keeping. There is one structure left, but it doesn't have walls. [Note: It's the opposite. Only walls remain.] That will be demolished.'

"The wooded property is very pretty, Drake said, plus, 'It is a property that would have been ripe for development.'

"Although it is a state acquisition and Millstone had nothing to do with the sale, township officials have been very supportive, Drake said.

"Drake did not want to divulge the purchase price because, she said, 'We haven't gone to closing yet, but we have a contract on the property.'

"The property forms a link between the Notterman tract and the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area.

"The state closed on the Notterman purchase in late April. The $1.7 million Notterman purchase includes 109 acres of open farmland and woodlands on Eleanor Lane and North Valley Road. The tract adjoins Empty Box Brook, which drains into the Assunpink area.

"When the Suszka parcel becomes part of the Assunpink, it will be managed by the state Division of Fish and Wildlife based in Trenton and remain dedicated to natural wildlife.

"Portions of the 5,600-acre wildlife area were acquired beginning in the 1960s. One of the goals of the wildlife management area is to preserve what is there and let the area evolve naturally without interference."

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From an article in Green Heritage, the bimonthly newsletter of the Monmouth County Park System, September-October 2001:

"Small Town Makes Big Gains in Open Space" NEW

"The small borough of Roosevelt in western Monmouth County started out in the 1930s as a visionary planned community. This forward-thinking community has made history again by preserving 340 acres, or approximately 55%, of its remaining developable land. This remarkable preservation project was the winner of the Monmouth County Board of Recreation Commissioners 2001 Open Space Planning Achievement Award.

"Roosevelt was created as a new town from two square miles of farmland by the first administration of Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression. The original 200 houses, school and former garment factory are surrounded by wooded open space and farmland that comprise over half of the town's acreage. Because of its unique history and design, Roosevelt is the only municipality in New Jersey to be listed in its entirety on the National Register of Historic Places.

"Roosevelt's greenbelt has survived intact but, in recent years, has been the subject of heated debate as development transforms western Monmouth County's farmlands into residential subdivisions. With Roosevelt's limited financial resources and high tax burden, it seemed that open space preservation would be impossible, and that a major aspect of the town's historic character and present-day appeal would inevitably be lost.

"As development pressures were encroaching, a small group of residents decided to take action and, in 1999, formed the Fund for Roosevelt (FFR), a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the community's environmental and historic resources. Hundreds of similar local land trusts exist across the country and work to save open space, farmland, and natural resources. Led by Dr. Rodham Tulloss, a Roosevelt resident, FFR began its work by researching all available open space preservation programs and sources of assistance.

"FFR's first project was to preserve as much farmland as possible in an area on the northern side of town. With initial donations from individuals in the community, FFR hired a knowledgeable consultant in open space preservation and were successful with three landowners who were interested in selling their farmed properties.

"At the same time, FFR worked with the Monmouth County Agriculture Development Board (MCADB) to apply for a state Planning Incentive Grant. The Planning Incentive Grants allow communities to submit a group of properties, or project are, to the State Agriculture Development Committee (SADC) for farmland preservation funding. This program promotes preservation of areas of contiguous farms and is more efficient than the process of applying for one farm at a time. Roosevelt's application was approved, and FFR entered into contracts with the landowners to purchase their properties, with the intention of selling the development rights to the county and then re-sellling the farms as preserved farmland.

"In May 2001, after almost two years of persistent hard work -- fund-raising, working with officials of the county and state farmland preservation programs, and lining up potential buyers for the preserved farms -- the Fund for Roosevelt succeeded in preserving two farms totalling 232 acres on the north side of town. The land deal, which closed in May, cost $3.6 million. Of the funds needed, $2.9 million came from the Monmouth County and State of New Jersey farmland preservation programs. Millstone Township contributed its municipal share, as a part of one farm lies in Millstone. Donations against price from two [Note: all three contributed.] landowners more than covered the required municipal share from Roosevelt Borough, making it unnecessary for the Borough to expend local tax dollars on the project.

"In addition to donations against price by two of the sellers [Note: all three contributed.], the Fund raised $80,000, almost all donations from individuals. A remarkable 30% of Roosevelt's 340 households voluntarily donated sums ranging from $2 to over $5,000, and residents of neighboring Millstone made generous donations, including one individual gift of $25,000. Several citizens and the local synagogue made low-interest or no interest loans. 'Many persons experienced with preservation think it is quite extraordinary that 30 percent of the household's in town contributed financially to the Fund's project,' said the Fund's president Rod Tulloss, 'and we had terrific support from Millstone Township citizens living just to the west of town.'

"The Monmount Conservation Foundation provided crucial assistance with a $10,000 grant (their first such acquisition grant) and with a guarantee for a mortgage to ensure that the land would be preserved if buyers for it were not available at the time of the completed purchase of the properties. The remainder of the funds required for the land preservation project comes from resale of the farms in their preserved state, which will result in repayment of all loans.

"Soon after the successful closing of the two preserved farms, Green Acres entered into an agreement to purchase another 109-acre tract of farmland in Roosevelt, bringing the Borough's open space gains to a total of 340 acres.

"The successful experience of the Fund for Roosevelt -- notably the partnerships it was able to build with local citizens, landowners, and county and state open space funding agencies -- is an excellent model for how local nonprofit organizations can save open space in their own towns and an equally important lesson for those who say it can't be done. Congratulations, Roosevelt!"

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From an article in the Examiner by Jane Meggitt, 20 September 2001:

"Panhandle is Prominent in Scenic Roadway Plan" NEW

"Based on a countywide scenic roadway plan, the panhandle ranks highest in miles of scenic byways.

"The Monmouth County Planning Board approved a draft of the Monmouth County Scenic Roadway Plan as an element of the Monmouth County Growth Management Guide on Sept. 17.

"Local roads included in the plan are Route 27 in Upper Freehold (sections of Holmes Mill, Purlington Park, Arneytown-Hornerstown roads, and Main Street); Route 43 (sections of Imlaystown-Hightstown, Davis Station and Imlaystown roads in Upper Freehold); Route 524 (sections of South and North Main Street in Allentown, Old York and New Canton-Stone Tavern roads in Upper Freehold, and Stagecoach Road in Millstone).

"Also Route 526 (section of Waker Street in Allentown, Allentown-Red Valley Road in Upper Freehold, and Trenton-Lakewood Road in Millstone); Route 539 (High Street in Allentown, sections of Allentown-Davis Station, Forked River and Old York roads in Upper Freehold).

"Also Route 571 (sections of Perrineville and Rising Sun Tavern roads in Millstone, and N. Rochdale Ave. and Clarksburg Road in Roosevelt); as well as the Allentown Bypass and Sharon Station Roadway in Upper Freehold as proposed scenic roadways not currently in the system.

"Jeffrey Valiante, senior planner for the Monmouth County Planning Board and author of the draft, explained that the goals of the plan were to identify and enhance scenic roadways in the county, develop alternative design guidelines for the county in its development review process and capital improvement projects, and bring design guidelines/enhancements to municipal and other government agencies.

"The plan, according to Valiante, has the 'potential in the county for beautifying roadways and the landscapes around them.' The plan states that scenic roadways 'possess such a high degree of visual quality that driving, biking or walking along these roadways is a pleasurable experience.'

"He noted that implementation of the plan, which involves only county roads, started a few years ago, working with developers for design guidelines. Now the plan will be brought, through meetings to municipalities, so that towns may establish their own scenic roadway plans. The staff of the county board will be available to provide technical assistance.

"There was a public comment section of the meeting, but no participants. Board member Dr. William Warters, Lincroft section of Middletown, commented 'Scenic [views were] natural 40 years ago. With population and growth, it is important to focus attention on this.'

"A total of 134 miles of county roads are eligible for this plan. Ratings are done in half-mile increments. County roadways are identified as having positive attributes including but not limited to: panoramic views, dune vegetation, historic buildings, natural focal points, seasonal changes, agricultural pattern, and stone walls or wooden fences.

"Negative attributes would include: severe erosion, dilapidated structures, overhead utility lines and corridors, litter, high traffic volume, excessive curb cuts, inappropriate fencing, out-of-context development, obstrusive signage and lighting, strip development and other unaesthetic factors.

"Roadways will be reviewed every six years for landscape and other changes. According to the plan, 'All scenic roadways traverse through an environment composed of multiple elements [natural, man-made, historical, cultural, recreational, view, topographical]. The environment, through which a person travels, affects both their visual and psychological perceptions and impressions.'

"The Scenic Roadway Program also will be coordinated with other efforts, such as historic preservation and environmental commissions, open space and farmland preservation programs, and Monmouth County Clean Communities, which sponspors the Adopt A Roadway program.

"There is also a N.J. Scenic Byways Program, prepared by the state Department of Transportation in 1995. Eligibility requirements for the state program include a minimum route length of five miles, with 'significant opportunities to observe waterways, skylines, mountain tops and ridges and other features of natural, historic or recreational interest.'"

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From an article in the Examiner by Linda DeNicola, 16 August 2001:

"'Forever Roosevelt' to Celebrate Open Space NEW

"Sept. 8 party to highlight borough's recent successes

"Borough residents can look forward to an outdoor celebration of open space acquisitions on Sept. 8. On Monday, the Borough Council voted to allow the use of some of the borough facilities, namely the monument area near the school. It also agreed to contribute up to $500.

"The mayor and council members seemed delighted with the idea. 'It's an opportunity for people to learn about why having farmland and natural areas is a good thing,' said Mayor Michael Hamilton

"The event, called 'Roosevelt Forever,' was proposed by Mary Tulloss, a member of the Fund for Roosevelt. Her husband, Rod Tulloss, is president of the fund, a nonprofit, community-based corporation established specifically for the purchases of farmland and for historical, environmental and social preservation.

"Mary Tulloss said during a council workshop that when the farmland deal was concluded May 25, she and others decided that they wanted to have a townwide celebration with food and music. State officials had mentioned having a celebration once the Notterman tract preservation was concluded, but they lost interest in that idea, she said.

Note: The state officials had desired to make a public announce of the preservation, but news of it appeared in the press before a ceremony/event could be set up.

"Thanks to the deal, two farms that were once part of the Jersey Homesteads' cooperative farm, totaling 232 acres, were preserved. [An additional property,] the 109-acre Notterman tract, had been under severe development pressure for a few years.

"An additional 2 1/2 acres was preserved on Lake Drive thanks to a two-for-one swap made with Beth Battel, a trustee of the Fund for Roosevelt.

"The Roosevelt Forever celebration will be a collaboration between the town and the Fund for Roosevelt. Tulloss said last week that she has a committee of about 10 people already working on it. It will be held outdoors unless it rains, then it would be moved into the school.

"The tentative schedule includes horseback rides in the morning at Battel's farm. Tulloss said Battel has one burro, so they are planning to put up a sign, 'See the Borough (or Burro) of Roosevelt.'

"The event will also include a treasure hunt that will start at the school. Children, as well as adults, will be encouraged to find things and places around town, she said. Hamburgers, hot dogs and veggie burgers will be servedand people will be asked to provide potluck food. 'We are also hoping for some ethnic food contributions,' Tulloss said.

"The Roosevelt String Band will perform as well as other entertainment. Fliers will be mailed to residents and posted around town."

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From an article in the New Jersey Jewish News by Ellen Friedland, 9 August 2001:


"Jews past and present play a role in settling, sustaining NJ farmland community

"In the two-square-mile bucolic farmland community of Roosevelt, located about 13 miles from Princeton, one would expect to find a steepled church, its bells calling out the hour. Instead, the only house of worship is a synagogue.

"The small town -- today comprising 328 homes and fewer than 900 people [Note: 1999 population data] -- was founded in 1936 during the New Deal administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt as a cooperative homesteading community. Inhabitants of what was originally called the Jersey Homesteads were Jews fleeing the crowded warrens of New York City's garment district.

"The town's philosophy was conceptualized by Jewish-American businessman Benjamin Brown, whose social visions were rooted in the Jewish back-to-the-land movement popular in the early 1930s.

"Brown had to do battle with federal representatives and leaders of the International Ladies' Garment Workers's Union; they had feared that a privately-owned clothing factory established in Hightstown--where expenses would be lower than in New York -- would pave the way for sweatshop conditions.

"But Brown set forth his ideas in a 1933 paper that he hoped would convince the naysayers. He planned, he wrote, 'to demonstrate the feasibility of permanently combining subsistance farming with a highly seasonal industry, which readily lends itself to decentralization; to make sefl-sustaining 200 skilled workers and their families who are now partially or totally unemployed and for whom the prospects of future reemployment are very limited because of recent technological advances in the industry; and to demonstrate the practicability of community owned agricultural and industrial production and marketing enterprises.' Brown continued, 'The project will also serve to demonstrate the extents to which the Jewish people can succeed in farming when combined with industry. The tradition now i that Jews do not make successful farmers.'

"It took a few years to get the project started, but in 1936, Brown's proposal to resettle Jewish clothing workers to the Jersey Homesteads was implemented.

"Ownership and management in the Jersey Homesteads was cooperative rather than private, each family who moved in paid $500 to own shares in three industries: a women's coat factory, an adjacent farm, where dairy cows, chickens, and crops would be raised; and cooperative retail establishments including a food store, an outlet for clothing, and a tea room. The federal government agreed to invest approximately one million dollars in the experiment.

"Some of the government funds were used to erect the settlement's houses, which share holders could rent for $14 a month. Designed in Bauhaus style, they were built from cinder blocks, covered with flat roofs, and boasted no decorative adornments. Neighboring towns had almost no Jewish inhabitants; the region had once been home to the Ku Klux Klan.

"Down the road from the Jersey Homesteads, the newcomers would recive agricultural training on a hechalutz (pioneer) training farm.

"Today, the community's original progressive spirit struggles to survive, even as a newfound Jewish religious spirit picks up steam. Of all the historic districts in New Jersey, Roosevelt is the only self-governing municipality.

"Pearl Seligman, a member ofone of the original seven families who settled in the Jersey Homesteads -- later renamed in honor of the president -- recalled that group members had 'very socialist' views. 'Older teens were training to live on kibbutzim,' socialist cooperatives in Israel, she said, adding that members of the founding families and others were still living there through the 1950s.

"Seligman is the only original family member who maintains a full-time residence in the town. In an interview with NJJN -- at her house that she's decorated with artwork from around the world and portraits she has drawn -- the 79 year old shared a speech she wrote some time ago about the community. In it, she recollected the Yiddish message of her Russian-born father on her first day of school in the Bronx: 'If anyone tells you in school that war is good, stand up in the class and say that no wars were ever justified except the American Revolution and the Russian Revolution.'

"Seligman, an outspoken activist who opposes real estate development in the borough, smiled as she remembered her father's intense commitment to a social justice theory that informed the founding of the cooperative settlement.

"'Believe in something. Be a socialist, a Zionist, a communist, a trade unionist,' she recalled her father saying. 'He wanted some idea to be central in our lives, even an idea that he did not agree with.... He wanted us to commit ourselves to some notion of social justice.'

"Reminiscing about the original settlers, Seligman said: 'They were Eastern European Jews, adventurous and eccentric. A few had even lived in other utopian communities. Most had been in the country for fewer than 15 years. Their heads were stuffed with three or four languages, songs, prayers, jokes, talmudic argument and parables, folk medicine, ancient curses, a bit of Chekhov, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Sholom Aleichem, and ideologies, ideologies, ideologies.

"'Jersey Homesteads was immediately a familiar home to them. It was a shtetl, just like in the old country. The first thing they did when they came here was set up the hevra kadisha (burial society).

"'We were not religious in the sense of Orthodoxy,' said Seligman, 'but we were cultural Jews, the way I still am to the bone -- but not in the sense of "Thou shalt not do this or that."'

"By the end of 1939, however, the federal Farm Security Administration declared the settlement's clothing factory a failure. A report prepared in 1942 for the United States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Agricultural Economics, attributed the failure to mismanagement -- the hiring of a general manager with no experience in running a clothing factory, the decision to produce a complete line of men's and women's clothes and women's hats rather than focusing on a few lines of clothing, relatively high labor costs, and low production efficiency.

"In 1940 the farm cooperative was liquidated, and it passed into private use. The Department of Agriculture report found that 'factory workers were accustomed to indoor work and high rates of pay.... The young people of the community were simply not interested in working hard for what seemed to be low wages, so the general farm came to depend upon outside transient labor to seupplement the efforts of the five homesteaders who were hired full time by the farm.'

"On the dairy farm, the need to replace part of the herd and disharmony between those who were operating the enterprise contributed to its failure.

"News of the failure of the cooperative spread, and 80 of the 200 houses initially built by the government remained vacant. The 1942 report stated that the 'local Federal officials, therefore, warned the homesteaders that if these houses were not occupied by members of the project by a certain date they would be rented to desirable applicants, whether they were Jews or not. This policy the government proceeded to carry out.'

"Nonetheless, most of the inhabitants remained, commuting to work as far away as New York or Philadelphia. Vacant houses were rented, the factory was leased, and the stores were sold. Friends and relatives of the original settlers, including non-Jews, moved in.

"The renowned artist Ben Shahn, commissioned to paint a mural in the town school, moved his family to Roosevelt, and other artists followed. (One of his children, Jonathan Shahn, still lives in Roosevelt; he is the sculptor of a large statue outside the Roosevelt elementary school depicting the head of Franklin Delano Roosevelt.) Eventually the government sold the houses and farms to their occupants, and Roosevelt became an incorporated borough.

"Frieda Anish moved to Roosevelt in 1948 from Brooklyn. Her husband, she said, 'worked in an insurance company in New York, and his colleague said the government was giving away houses in Roosevelt. The house we bought cost $3,400 for a quarter acre. At the time we had every Jewish organization you could name in Roosevelt.'

"'Everything that happens in the United States happens here,' Seligman maintained, specifically referring to the communist witch hunts of the McCarthy era and the social upheavals of the 1960s.

"'Jews were turning in other Jews' during the McCarth period, she said. 'It got so bad that someone complained about a communist nursery school teacher! Her daughter-in-law today is [author] Letty Cottin Pogrebin.

"'In the 1960s a new bunch moved in,' recalled Seligman. 'This was a hip town. I was on the school board, and people wanted their kids to be like Henry Kissinger yet never have to do homework. There were complaints about structure. There were no longer just Jews, but the hippie types and artists, writers, musicians....' Of course, she said, some older Jews remained, people who regarded the social change around them 'and said, "What's this?" There were anti-Viet Nam War activities; I was marching with my nieces, and my mother said, "Go! I marched plenty in Russia!"'

"Michael Ticktin, who is now vice president of Congregation Anshei Roosevelt, moved to the borough in 1972 because he 'liked the idea of a small town with a large Jewish community -- two thirds of the people at that time were Jewish -- and the housing was affordable.'

"The borough's only house of worship was founded in 1938 as an Orthodox shul, Ticktin said. By 1955, when the building was erected, the congregation was only 'nominally Orthodox.'

"'In the '80s nothing much happened, Selgiman said, 'People were relatively successful, and the population became more diverse. The houses here are relatively inexpensive.'

"Today, said Seligman, 'Roosevelt is thoroughly gentrified. Many of the children of the clothing workers and even some grandchildren returned with college degrees and genteel professions to raise their families. On this street are me, my two nieces, my brother [a part-time resident] and my nephew's wife.'

"The Jewish population of the town has decreased by 20 to 30 percent. Although the synagogue's last rabbi left in 1986, religious school classes are ongoing, and recently the congregation hired religious director Shalom Gittler, who is making arrangements to move into Roosevelt with his family.

"Synagogue president Neil Marko feels that the Jewish community 'is in a transitional phase. We have a full slate of programs that are going to be happening. Hopefully the new director will move into town soon, and we are interested in resuming services on a more frequent basis.'

"With a new roof and decorative trim recently added to the synagogue, the board intends to be proactive, Marko said, adding that annual dues are only $250 per family, which includes burial plots. New members have been joining from neighboring communities like Twin Rivers and Millstone. For Marko, however, the synagogue is an integral part of the historical sense of community that constitutes Roosevelt.

"Gittler and his family are observant Jews who have been influenced by Chabad, a movement the religious leader believes 'taps into the Jewish thirst' for religious ritual and spirituality.

"'God puts us in certain places for certain reasons and gives us opportunities,' Gittler said. He learned about Roosevelt from Marko, whose son attends Jewish day school in East Windsor with Gittler's child.

"Gittler sees Jewish religious life in Roosevelt as 'eclectic.' 'We have an Orthodox prayerbook but no mehiza [separation between men and women]. We don't yet have regular services. We want to do things in an halachically correct manner, but there must be latitude in that. There are intermarried couples here. Often I speak with couples where the father is Jewish and the mother is not. I tell her that Judaism the last 3,300 years defined Jewishness through the mother. Come to classes and learn, and if your soul feels Jewish, I can guide you in that direction.

"'People associate Judaism with sitting once a year on their tuches in the synagogue,' Gittler said. 'I say, if you're going to come once a year, come on Sukkot or Purim and have fun; then you'll come 20 or 40 times a year.'

"Gittler's view seems to be contagious. His wife Ilene told NJJN that she had anticipated that 65 people would come to a Hanukka party in December; more than 150 attended.

"At the party, Susan Schwartz was kept busy serving a variety of latkes with different national origins (true Roosevelt-style). She said she had attended two lectures by Gittler and walked away feeling 'how much I don't know. In services I know all the prayers, but I don't know what they mean. It feels good to be connected in a way I was when I was little. Finally there is a comfortable place for people like us to get back to some religious stuff.'

"Schwartz's husband is not Jewish, but her 13-year-old son is studying to become a bat mitzva.

"'We're so excited' about the reenergizing of the Jewish community in Roosevelt, Anish said, 'When I came here 52 yearsago, the only one in town who was not Jewish was the garage guy Frenchie. But the Jewish community has aged and gone to Florida or died. A lot have moved. We were beginning to die.'

"Newcomers to Roosevelt today are drawn there for a variety of reasons. Said Seligman: 'Housing pressure in the Princeton region attracted home buyers. The village is no longer either working class or predominantly Jewish. Its oddball quality now comes from a high percentage of artists, poets, writers, musicians, composers, and computer geeks. For the moment, town life remains intimate and intensely active. But all around us the rich farmland grows a profit-making new crop: real estate. Roosevelt may soon be plowed under by development and become an impersonal no place place.'

"The original 200 Bauhaus houses still stand, but 138 additional homes have been erected, including three geocentric [sic, "geodesic"] homes. Most of the farmland is still undeveloped.

"Seligman, however, is concerned about an attempt by a corporation called U. S. Home to buy open land on which it would like to build a gated adult community.

"Such communities, Seligman contends, 'vote down school budgets; they vote only for their own interests. U.S. Home comes with a proposal for 350 homes, but their profit point is 1,200 houses. Once they get in, this town is over, and that is the death of something that is very important to me.'

"But Roosevelt residents who favor the U. S. Homes proposal sense doom if the land goes undeveloped. Sixty-two-year-old Mary Alfare, who has lived in Roosevelt since 1978 and was very active in the schools for years as a Democratic committee member, believes that 'we grow or we die.'

"'A small town is expensive to run; we have our own water sewer system and school, and our taxes are the highest in the state -- maybe even in the country. Our house is appraised at $90,000, and we pay $4,000 in property taxes,' Alfare said.

"Nor is she concerned that seniors who would reside in the gated community will voted down the school budget. She said she has worked with someone in Monroe Township, 'where they have a lot of adult communities, and their experience is that seniors put time into schools and raise money. If you explain appropriately where the money is going and how it is used, seniors feel that someone educated [my] children, so I have to educate theirs.'

"'Seligman's husband, Ralph, who served as chair of the town planning board for 30 years as well as a planner for Hoboken, is leading the battle to keep U. S. Home away. Ralph Seligman has a strong appreciation for 'green-belt communities' in which 'community members live close to their work but still have contact with nature.' A resident of Roosevelt for only the last 50 years -- he says with some seriousness, 'I admit that I am not an original pioneer.' Seligman divides residents of Roosevelt into two categories: those who view the community as somewhat like an Israeli moshav -- a community of private homes, but with cooperative enterprises -- in which 'you know that in whatever holes your child falls down, someone will pick him up,' and those who simply see the community as an affordable place to live.

"Many people in the latter category are disturbed by what they consider high taxes, he said, largely because the only ratable today is one pizza parlor.

[Note: Their are three businesses in the town's light manufacturing area.]

"'If you bought a house for $100,000, the taxes are only $5,000 [Note: Currently, less than $4,540 before subtracting the homeowner's rebate of approximately $1,000 -- the highest in the state..] for the second safest town in New Jersey with good schools. The hidden ratable in this town are people like me and my friends. Because the town is so livable, we stayed. Seventy-five percent of the tax bill is for the school; we pay the same taxes as everyone else, and we have no children,' Ralph Seligman said.

"The battle over the development issue is being played out on the local council level. According to Pearl Seligman, the mayoral candidate as well as three council seats backed by those opposed to development were victorious in the November election. Three other council members, two of whom are politically vulnerable this year, favor development.

"Rod Tulloss is president of the nonprofit Fund for Roosevelt. 'We want to preserve farms,' he said. 'We want to preserve our unique historic heritage. We want to preserve the natural habitat into which the designers of our town so cleverly wove our streets and homes. You can't separate these things. Together they are sustenance for our ongoing sense of community.

"'The folks who came here originally had to find $500 to put down on their homes,' said Tulloss. 'They walked to work instead of taking a five-cent subway. The social commitment is still there.'"

[BOX] "Bill preserving open space underscores link with founders' vision

"Former Gov. Christine Todd Whitman believed there is a connection between the goal of Roosevelt's initial settlers to build a cooperative homesteading community and current efforts to preserve open space in the area. To underscore the relationship, she signed a bill appropriating over $8 million for farmland preservation on Dec. 19 of last year.

"The event took place in Roosevelt's elementary school the day before it was formally announced that she was George W. Bush's choice to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

"The legislative measure appropriated $8,280,300 from the Garden State Preservation Trust. Some of the money was allocated for the preservation of 240 acres in Roosevelt.

"'People originally came here for open space and agriculture; today we are trying to preserve that,' Whitman said at the signing. 'This community started as a cooperative between farming and industry. Now we have a partnership between the business community, nonprofits, landowners, and government.'

"Whitman spoke in the school's multipurpose room to students and dozens of local townspeople. Addressing the children, she asked whether they knew how many languages are spoken in New Jersey.

"One child guessed the answer was four, but Whitman told them the answer was over 150 languages, representing 'people from all over the world. We may look different and worship differently, but we are really alike, and most people in New Jersey want to preserve open space.'

"'This is a quality-of-life issue,' she told the crowd. 'The bill is helping move us toward our goal of preserving one million acres in the next 10 years. We are allocating eight million dollars toward open space preservation, and part of that will go to 240 acres in your town.'

"NJ Assembly member Joseph Malone III's District 30 includes Roosevelt. 'To have the governor sign this in Roosevelt underscores what your town means,' the Republican lawmaker said at the ceremony.

"Whitman's words were welcomed by many in the audience who are fighting of developers. Said Rodham Tulloss, president of the nonprofit Fund for Roosevelt: 'The town has limited resources. The problem with our historic infrastructure is that the government gave us a water and sewer system, but maintaining them is difficult. Maintaining the quality of education is difficult with the cost of education. We believe a partnership between nonprofits, government, and the business community can make a difference in bringing resources to the community.'"

From an article in the Asbury Park Press by Kristen Ostendorf, 3 August 2001:

"Builder's Lawsuit Raises big Fears in Small Town

"There's no Wawa, no gas station, no bagel shop on the corner.

"When residents meet, it's while strolling the borough's handful of streets or picking up mail at the post office next to the only store.

"Fewer than 1,000 people live in this Monmouth County borough, where young
families, lured by cheap mortgages, live side by side with artists.

"But some are worried a lawsuit -- brought against the borough by a developer that wants to build more than 260 homes in a municipality with only about 350 households -- will change a zealously guarded, 60-year-old way of life.

"U.S. Homes Corp. filed the lawsuit, saying the borough didn't file a plan with the state to build the affordable housing it is constitutionally required to provide. It asks for a 'builder's remedy,' which allows developers to build four units of 'fair market' priced housing for every lower-priced one.

"The lawsuit also may point to a bigger battle in November, as gubernatorial candidates pitch their ways to fix what some say is a broken system of bringing affordability to one of the priciest housing markets in the country.

"Roosevelt residents scoff at the suggestion their community isn't affordable.

"'We want the town to remain a town,' said Arthur Shapiro, who moved to Roosevelt as a toddler and taught at its school. 'Those of us who grew up here don't believe small is bad.'

"Out of the city

"Roosevelt was incorporated in 1937 -- during the Great Depression -- as Jersey Homesteads, a social experiment of the Great Depression. The families paid $500 to buy into the cooperative, which included farming and working in a garment factory.

"The experiment failed, but Roosevelt's cultural roots are deep.

"A mural by artist Ben Shahn, who came to Roosevelt for the project but made the borough his home, traces its history on the school wall. In the Jewish tradition, stones are left on the graves of borough forefathers. Residents' announcements about community news are put up at the post office.

The borough's original homes feel tucked away in the woods, even though they sit on small lots, thanks to a greenbelt put there by its original designers.

"With Shahn, an entourage of artists arrived. Ralph Seligman, who moved to Roosevelt in 1949 after he married a native who wanted to go back, called those times 'a cross between summer camp and graduate school.'

"Now the borough is a mix of families, looking for low-cost houses and good schools, and longtime locals who either returned home or never left, Mayor Michael Hamilton said.

"'My feeling is we have something special here to protect,' he said.

"A legal challenge

"U.S. Homes, the contract purchaser of about 220 acres in the northern part of Roosevelt, filed its lawsuit in state Superior Court on May 15 -- a day after the borough decided to send its affordable-housing plan to the state. The suit blocks the borough from filing its plan.

"The developer had wanted to build about 350 units of age-restricted housing on the property.

"In the suit, the company says the borough has taken steps to repeal a layer of zoning that would have allowed it to build affordable housing on the land and has imposed costly restrictions on the property.

"'They've tried to change the rules of the game, late in the game,' said attorney Stephen Eisdorfer of Princeton.

"Eisdorfer declined to say what kind of housing the company would build on the land if a judge grants the company's request.

"Roosevelt had years to file an affordable-housing plan, and it only tried to when it appeared U.S. Homes was moving forward with its proposal, Eisdorfer said.

"'They developed a sudden urgency when U.S. Homes became serious,' he said.

"Sidna Mitchell, deputy director of the Council on Affordable Housing, which reviews towns' affordable-housing plans, said filing a plan is voluntary, but it can protect a municipality from a builder's remedy lawsuit.

"Claiming a town is already affordable to live in is not a defense against such a lawsuit, she said.

"The council reverted to the property's original agricultural zoning in response to the voters' wishes, Hamilton said. The mayor, who was elected on an anti-development platform, said construction could tax the borough's infrastructure.

"'There was no (U.S. Homes) application before us,' he said. 'I think you need to listen to what your constituents are saying and change the zoning.'

"A sense of community

"Judging by election results, many residents want to keep the borough similar to how it was more than 60 years ago.

"When the school, which has about 90 students, graduates its sixth-grade class every year, most residents show up. And most of the borough also gathers when some-one is buried in its cemetery, a quiet place nestled between woods and a corn field where gravestones engraved in Hebrew stand next to the avant garde markers of artists.

"Ralph Seligman, who lives with his wife in one of the original Bauhaus homes, said the borough is a testament to what government can do: Created during the depths of the Depression, Roosevelt was a glimmer of hope that the country could move ahead, he said.

"The borough is truly an 'exercise in self-government' with many residents being tapped to serve on boards or through volunteer groups. Over the years, newcomers who trickled in were woven into the social fabric of town. A sudden addition of more than 200 new homes could rip that apart, Seligman said.

"'You get 200 people at one time -- 200 houses at one time -- and it's bound to make a difference,' he said.

"But residents pay a premium for their small-town life, and some want the borough to have ratables built to lower the tax burden.

"Rose Murphy, a former councilwoman who was voted off the governing body in 2000 after serving about 10 years, said U.S. Homes' senior housing proposal could have lowered taxes and helped pay for infrastructure repairs.

"'It's always been there -- always,' she said of the anti-development sentiment in town. ' "The developers are coming, the developers are coming!" '

"Building on the open acres would not eliminate the borough's existing greenbelts nor affect the wildlife area it borders, she said.

"But she called the developer's suit against the borough 'scary' because it could bring in any kind of housing, ranging from age-restricted homes to single-family homes with children that would fill up Roosevelt's school.

"While she enjoys life in the borough, Murphy pays about $5,500 in property taxes on her geodesic home, which is assessed at about $125,000.

"'Once my husband retires, that's simply a waste of income,' she said.

"A campaign promise

"Both major-party candidates for governor say they want to re-examine the state's system of ensuring there is enough affordable housing.

"Steve DeMicco, campaign director for Democratic candidate Jim McGreevey, said the Woodbridge mayor believes it's important to make sure there is an adequate supply.

But he said McGreevey would like to "re-examine" the ability of a developer to use the builder's remedy 'to basically change the entire character of a community.'

"'There clearly needs to be a re-examination of how we go about bringing affordable housing to communities in the state, but we need to maintain a commitment to keeping housing affordable,' DeMicco said. 'But at the same time, we need to give local government the power they need to control as much as they need to maintain the character of communities.'

"Republican candidate Bret Schundler, the former mayor of Jersey City, called Roosevelt 'a classic example as to why this approach is so bizarre.'

"In order to repeal the Mount Laurel court decisions, the voters of the state would have to approve a proposal asking for it. Schundler said he would work to get a bill through the state Legislature calling for a referendum on such a proposal.

"Schundler said the state should find ways to get developers to renovate homes in cities.

"'I think the best way to increase our housing stock is to solve the problems in our cities that have driven people out of them,' he said.

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From an article in the Examiner by Linda DeNicola, 2 August 2001:

"Where Wildlife Reigns

"Hunters, anglers, horse people all share Assunpink"

Note: This is a fine article on the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area that overlaps the Borough of Roosevelt. Rather than insert notes in the body (not wanting to distract from the piece), we insert a single note here.

It is important to note the very small amount of human and financial resources available to the Assunpink WMA and, as well, the history of introduction of invasive foreign species (more than 20 years ago).

Today, the Assunpink needs volunteer help and a serious infusion of funds.

Purple Loosestrife is beginning to show up in a number of wet areas. Japanese Barberry, Autumn and Russian Olives, Multiflora Rosa and other invasives have long ago siezed and held many acres in the WMA and moved out into the surrounding area. Deer from the WMA have nearly eliminated many flowering plants from Roosevelt and other communities -- our wild orchids and other beautiful plants are basically wiped out.

The invasive plants and deer make stewardship of public and private lands in Roosevelt a constant headache -- a war that, at the moment, we are losing.

The citizens of our region need to work with the NJDEP to find a way to protect the wonderful WMA resource and our communities, recover our lost biodiversity, and remove or reduce the animal and plant threats to stewardship of our lands. - R. E. Tulloss

"The Assunpink Wildlife Management Area, located in western Monmouth and eastern Mercer Counties, is one of the most natural, pristine settings in the area.

"Growing on the lush green land, which encompasses 5,600 acres of fields, hedgerows, and woods, is the typical vegetation of central New Jersey: maple and pine trees, as well as wetland trees like sweet gun and red maple. Upland are the oaks and hickory, said Raymond J. Porutski, regional superintendent for the state Division of Fish and Wildlife's Central Region Office, located in Assunpink.

"The area , which forms Upper Freehold's norther border with Millstone and Roosevelt, is home to fox, deer, wild turkeys, geese, ducks, quail, hawks, possum, pheasant and a variety of birds. Driving down one of the dirt roads, Porutski looked for a wild turkey that he said usually hung around the area eating bugs, but the turkey was either gone or hiding.

"A brown fox also peeked out from the side of an unpaved road, but quickly disappeared.

"On this particular midweek day in late June, it was a quiet wildlife paradise, except for the buzz of remote-control airplanes owned by members of the Mercer County Radio Control Club, which has leased a field not far from the regional office for approximately 30 years.

"'Fish and wildlife areas are not really compatible with model airplane flying. Our main objective here is fishing and hunting,' Porutski noted.

"The land remains dedicated to natural wildlife and not to sports fields for games like soccer or baseball. There are no tennis courts or swimming pools. There is a bow-and-arrow range with hay bales and a shotgun area for clay bird shooting. There are no tours and naturalist on hand.

"'But there may be in the future,' Porutski said. 'Eventually, if we ever get a good source of general funding, we would probably consider getting into camping.

"The area did have camping about 30-40 years ago, he said, but it was eliminated because of lack of funding, and there is no proposal to bring it back.

"The Central Region Office is currently located in an old farmhouse at 386 Clarksburg-Robinsville Road, but will move to a new facility being constructed near the Herbert Road entrance. 'The new office will open in about a year,' Porutski said.

"The current office building and two vacant homes in the Roosevelt section of the wildlife area are being evaluated for historic significance. If they are not deemed historic, they will be demolished.

"There are very few buildings in Assunpink. Besides the office building, there's the Assunpink Conservation Center, built in 1985 and located near the new central office construction site. Used by sportsmen's clubs and other groups, it seats 50 people and has a kitchen and restrooms.

"There are alos another three houses where people live. Two are occupied by Division of Fish and Wildlife security personnel. The occupants of the third, the Stillwell house, retain lifetime rights, Porutski said.

"Porutski, whose father was a sportsman, double majored in wildlife and fisheries managment at Cook College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and then became a fisheries biologist for five years. Seventeen years ago he took on the busy position of regional supervisor of the central region of the Division of Fish and Wildlife. 'I thought it would be a neat career to go into,' he said.

"The Trenton-based Fish and Wildlife arm of the Department of Environmental Protection has three regional offices, north, south and central, and manages more than 234,000 acres of land. Founded in 1892, the division purchased its first 100,000 acres with hunting and fishing license money. The oldest wildlife area, in Sussex County, was acquired in 1932.

"Today the state manages 99 wildlife areas which provide fishing, crabbing, hawk watching, hunting, outdoor photography, dog training, nature hikes, wildlife observation, outdoor education, and bow-and-arrow, shotgun and rifle training. The division has re-established the wild turkey, bobcat and bear populations and maintains an aggressive deer management program, stocks 50,000 pheasant and 5,000 quail each year, and has an active black bear research project to monitor population and habitat.

"According to Porutski, 20-25 people work out of the office in the Assunpnik. There are 12-14 conservation officers. 'They used to be called game wardens and they have county-wide responsibilities. They are the law enforcement officers of hunting and fishing,' he explained. The state police also patrol the area, he added.

"'Most of the problem is the kids coming out and drinking and whipping around,' with their all-terrain vehicles, he said.

"Alcohol is illegal in the wildlife area. 'If we catch a fisherman with beer, they're going to get a summons,' he said, and the same applies to anyone who uses the park, whether they're hunters, horse riders or bird watchers.

"Generally, Porutski said, there are few problems in Assunpink, and that's the way he likes it.

"'Boring, less headaches for me,' he said.

"Except for a drowning several years ago when a vehicle rolled into Rising Sun Lake, Porutski said he is unaware of any serious accidents occurring in Assunpink. Things are pretty much routine, he said.

"Some of the horse people complain about litter and tend to blame the hunters, but Porutski said, 'it's not a serious problem.'

"There's nothing seasonal about it either. 'We have litter all year round,' he said.

"There have been conflicts between the hunters and the horse peole. For that reason, Porutski said, they have put out additional information to horse people and 'advised they ride on Sundays when no hunting is allowed.'

"They also make sure people applying for bridle trail permits are aware of popular hunting season dates.

"Of the 14 wildlife management areas where horseback riding is permitted by permit in designated areas, Assunpink is the most popular.

"'[We] now have stables surrounding the place,' he said.

"The wildlife management area supports a substantial deer herd and upland game population that offers excellent hunting opportunities for both the bow and shotgun enthusiast, he said. The principal native species of upland game are quail and rabbits. Squirrels, woodcock and grouse are also present. The division's stocking program ensures a supply of pheasants and quail during the hunting season.

"Porutski said he has no idea how many people use the Assunpink property. The last study of park users was done about 30 years ago, he said.

"They also 'don't really have a handle on the numbers [of hunters] who are coming in,' he said, but estimates there are about 750 to 1,000 for the small game season which begins in early November.

"Deer season, which includes bow, firearm and shotgun seasons, 'really goes for three or four months,' he said, from about the second week of October to the first week in February.

"The most popular hunting seasons are the six-day firearm season in early December; the permit deer shotgun season, tenatively scheduled for three days in mid December and again for most of the month of January; and the pheasant and quail season, tentatively scheduled for Nov. 10 to Feb. 11, according to information issued to horseback permit applicants.

"Assunpink consists mostly of dirt roads devoid of signs, and while some visitors would like to have trail markings, 'at this point, we really haven't gotten into it,' Porutski said.

"The wooded eastern part of the wildlife area has a number of trails and unrestricted riding areas.

"'People do get lost in here occasionally,' said Porutski, who is responsible for managing this Eden-like setting as well as 24 other wildlife management areas that add up to 80,000 acres and extend south to Smithville. He does this with a staff of seven people.

"'We have to maintain the roads, manage the fields and all of the visitors, most of whom are hunters and fishermen,' he said.

"The fields are an ongoing maintenance problem, Porutski said. 'The biggest shurb problems are the autumn or Russian olive and multiflora rose. They were both introduced in the 1960s as a wildlife food plant because they produce berries. They are great wildlife berry plants, but they spread so fast they take over. If we'd known that the control of the harvest was so difficult, we would never have introduced them. Now we have to live with it. The fields have to be mowed every two or three years,' he said.

"The Russian olive trees have enclosed areas that were formerly trails. Several Horse Association of Millstone Township members are involved with trail clearing, including the removal of the trees.

"'After you get land from [the state] Green Acres [Program], you have to maintain it. All our money comes from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses,' he said. Hunting and fishing licenses run $28 per year and fishing licenses run $22. There is also a $28 permit fee for each of the deer hunting seasons. Deer quotas are established in the spring for the fall he said.

"The Assunpink is the state's main trial area for dogs. They are judged on their pointing and retrieving. Field trials are primarily conducted during the spring and fall. Also the Monmouth Hunt organization, which has a lease with the state Fish and Wildlife Division, has jumps on various trails in Assunpink.

"The area is considered one of the best for bird watching in central New Jersey.

"Now that the DEP's Green Acres Program has closed on the Notterman tract in Roosevelt, it will become part of the Assunpink Wildlife Area to be managed by the Division of Fish and Wildlife. The tract includes 109 acres of open farmland and woodlands on Eleanor Lane and North Valley Road. It adjoins Empty Box Brook which drains into the Assunpink.

"Roosevelt Mayor Michael Hamilton, who lives on Pine Drive right next to the Assunpink, says it is wonderful to be so close. He said he sees all kinds of wlidlife and birds, including heron.

"Access can be gained via routes 524, 571, 539, and Exit 11 off Route 195.

"For information, call the Central Region Office of the Division of Fish and Wildlife at 609 259 2132. The internet address is"

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From an article in the Examiner by Linda DeNicola, 19 July 2001:

"Roosevelt Mourns Loss of Community Activist

"Folk singer was a strong supporter of Roosevelt Fund, Arts Project

"The borough the loss of one of its most beloved residents, Judith Trachtenberg, who died at the age of 52.

"The community activist, attorney and singer died at home on July 6. A memorial service was held on Sunday, July 8, in the large meeting room at borough hall where she had drawn capacity crowds to her performances with the five-member Roosevelt String Band over many years.

"It is also the room where she spent many evenings sitting behind the council table as a councilwoman, selected by the Democratic Committee to serve out the remainder of Mike Stiles' term. She served as a council member for about nine months until March 12, when she stepped down because of health concerns.

"'Things were very said eloquently and spontaneously at her service,' said Rod Tulloss, who first met her when he reviewed one of her performances with the Roosevelt String Band for the newsletter The Roosevelt Borough Bulletin.

"'She affected so many people in so many ways. Musicians had wonderful things to say about her; the mayor had wonderful things to say about her; her friends had wonderful things to say about her,' he said.

"Trachtenberg was known as a folk singer. 'I was just blown away by her voice. This unusual and haunting voice that was perfect for American folk music. Her voice had a softness and an edge. It could be happy and it could be bitter. There was a tremendous range of emotion,' Tulloss said.

"'Many of us thought she would never take a position on the council because it was too exhausting for her, but I guess she figured it had come around to her. It was her turn to be on the council,' he added.

"Mayor Michael Hamilton, at last week's council meeting, said it had beeen a sad weekend for many people. He called Trachtenberg a quiet, gentle and kind person. She was also an unassuming woman who stood by her ideals, he said.

"'On the outside she was frail, but on the inside, she was one helluva woman. She wanted to work for low-income people and gave legal advice to people in town with being paid,' he said.

"According to Hamilton, when Trachtenberg joined the council, she made a big difference. 'Although she was small, she was very much a take-charge person. And she was very articulate. Work for her was all or nothing. If she couldn't throw herself 110 percent into something, she wouldn't do it.' he said. 'It's wonderful to have confidence that someone will do what she says she will do.'

"Hamilton listed the numerous ways Trachtenberg had contributed to the community and to individuals. 'I know of many instance when Judy gave professional advice and personal counseling to Roosevelt residents. She would never accept a dime from them, and her legal and personal advice was always right on the money,' he said.

"Trachtenberg was a strong supporter of the Fund for Roosevelt and the Roosevelt Arts Project, giving not only financial contributions but her time and effort, Hamilton said.

"The Fund for Roosevelt is a community based nonprofit corporation set up to protect open space in the small town. Trachtenberg was an attorney who dedicated her career to nonprofit groups, and had been honored for her work in helping low-income individuals. For 16 years, she worked for the Center for Non-profits in North Brunswick, an umbrella organization that serves more than 600 nonprofits throughout the state.

"She also had a private law practice, often providing free legal work. A leading expert in nonprofit law, Trachtenberg taught at both Fairleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, and Seton Hall University, South Orange.

"She has been called brilliant, compassionate and knowledgeable.

"Tulloss who is a founder and president of the Fund for Roosevelt, said it was Trachtenberg's expertise with nonprofit law that got the corporation set up.

"'She did it as a volunteer because she had a deep appreciation for the town. In a relatively short time she was made a trustee.' he said.

"'With all the difficulties of her life, she still managed to make donations to the fund. ... She was generous in many ways and was most adamant about saving as much land as we could save in Roosevelt,' Tulloss said.

"'She was most concerned that the town she loved so much be saved the way she loved it, with the same physical attributes,' he added.

"Trachtenberg was born in Newark and grew up in Livingston. She earned a bachelor's degree from Douglass College at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, in 1971, and a master's degree in French and linguistics from the University of Indiana, where she also attended law school.

"After a divorce, she returned to New Jersey and settled in Roosevelt, a place that became home to her. She served with a number of philanthropic organizations including Mercer Street Friends, a social service agency serving low-income residents of Trenton. In 1995, Legal Services of New Jersey honored her with the Equal Justice Medal for her work helping low-income people.

"Trachtenberg loved nature and animals and didn't eat meat out of kindness, said the mayor, who is taking care of Trachtenberg's two dogs, Max and Bijou.

"She is survived by her sister, Barbara Ross, of Highland Park, and her nephews, Christopher and Daniel Ross.

"Trachtenberg is buried in the tiny Roosevelt Cemetery. Family members have requested that in lieu of flowers contributions be made to the Fund for Roosevelt or the Canine Companions for Independence of Santa Rosa, Calif.

"'I've never seen so many unrequested donations, not only from Roosevelt, but from around the state,' Tulloss said. 'The [donations] are not only from individuals, but also from nonprofit corporations that she assisted, like the staff of a school that she helped to set up.'

"The meeting room at borough hall, according to Mayor Hamilton, overflowing during the memorial service.

"Roosevelt residents Alan [Mallach] and Robin [Gould]...emailed a letter which was read at the service. They spoke of Trachtenberg's sense of humor and how every year she would send birthday' cards with 'the most horrible puns she could find.'

"[Alan and Robin]...also described the Jewish tradition of 'Lamid-vov.' According to 'Lamid-vov,' there are 36 righteous people hidden around the world. Their purpose is to quietly relieve the suffering of the rest of humanity. Judith must have been one of them, [Alan and Robin]...wrote."

Note: In the last two paragraphs change were made only to correct the names of the persons mentioned.

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From an article in the Examiner by Linda DeNicola, 21 June 2001:

"Roosevelt Finally Repeals Conditional Use Ordinance

"Planned Community Options Added in '96 and '97 are Scrapped

"After postponing the decision for a couple of months, the Borough Council recently voted to adopt an amendment to the zoning ordinance that eliminates the PCD II/PRCD (Planned Community Development/Planned Retirement Community Development) conditional land use.

"The vote was 4-to-1, with Councilman Harry Parker abstaining because he lives within 200 feet of the 500-acre site.

"The rescinding ordinance prevents the development of a retirement community on the undeveloped parcel located on the northern end of town.

"The removal of the conditional land use designation brings the zoning back to R-AG, agricultural and residential on 10-acre lots, said Mayor Michael Hamilton.

"'It reverts back to the original master plan,' he explained. 'It's the same zoning we had before PCD-II zoning was put in place two years ago.'

Note: The original PCD-II zoning was established in 1996 (five years ago). The series of changes that produced the situation prior to recision culminated in an end of year vote of the council in 1998.

"The PCD-II zone was created in 1996 and PRCD, which allowed retirement housing at a higher density, followed in 1997.

"Hamilton explained that when the town was designed, the northern 500 acres, on both sides of Route 571, between Elys [sic] Corner and Oscar Drive, were meant to be a buffer from encroaching development.

Note: The correct spelling is "Elie's Corner." The intersection in question falls at the northeast corner of a land grant to the Elie family. The center line of Route 571 from Elie's Corner to approximately Oscar Drive is called "Elie's Line," because it was the eastern boundary of the land grant which, according to one source, stretched westward to the road between Hightstown and Allentown. Apparently, the northern boundary now lies in Windsor-Perrineville Road. The southern boundary appears to follow the tributary of Assunpink Creek that runs just south of Oscar Road and continues along Assunpink Creek until meeting the Hightstown-Allentown road.

"'That [town design] was in place until 1997 when the Borough Council decided that they wanted to have houses there instead. They had to change the master plan,' Hamilton said.

"'At the time, there wasn't any state money available for preservation of farmland and open space like there is now. People thought, if you add more houses, your [tax] bills will get cut in half.

"'We've become a lot wiser and conditions have changed. State money became available, and the Fund for Roosevelt was formed.

"'These opportunities have presented themselves since then [1997]. By preserving farmland and open space, property values go up. Unless you're building very large houses and have excess services that have already been paid for, excess [sic] housing causes taxes to go up.

Note: The word "excess" was inadvertently repeated. The word should be "additional" or, perhaps, "extra."

"'We're maxed out on just about everything. The water system is taxed to its capacity, and the sewer system runs up to the DEP (state Department of Environmental Protection) capacity.

"'We would have to pay for all new infrastructure. Over the years we've seen what happened in other towns. We decided we would make our planning consistent with what the original design of the town was,' Hamilton said, adding, 'You've go to maintain the integrity of your sense of place.'"

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From an article in the Examiner by Linda DeNicola, 7 June 2001:

"No Place like Roosevelt

"Planning Incentive Grant Approach Speeds Funding Process, Tulloss Says

"Like a successful, long-term marriage, the people of Roosevelt value their town above their differences. Their sense of community shows in a number of ways, not the least of which is their support of the Fund for Roosevelt, a non-profit, community-based corporation dedicated to preserving the uniqueness of the tiny borough fo fewer than 1,000 residents, which is spread over two square miles.

"Like so many towns in rural Western Monmouth County, Roosevelt is experiencing development pressures, especially on its farmlands. According to Rod Tulloss, founder and president of the fund, 'Our residents may not always get along, but we can agree on our need to preserve Roosevelt.'

Note: Mr. Tulloss should have said (more accurately) "most of us can agree."

"Apparently nonresidents have noticed Roosevelt's commitment to preserving its identity. A citizen in another Monmouth County community recently asked Tulloss how other could learn from what the fund did. 'Your town is a community. Ours isn't,' he told Tulloss.

"'Sometimes, I think it looks like Rooseveltians are always bragging about their town. It's a combination of pride, sense of place, positive thinking, good storytelling and conscious marketing. Any town around here can do the same if they don't already,' Tulloss said.

"State Assemblyman Joseph R. Malone III (R-30) agrees that Roosevelt has a special smalltown quality. He became involved with the borough four years ago when the school district was trying to change its factor group designation so that it could qualify for additional funding.

"He remembers attending an event at the school and being surprised to see so many community members there.

"Malone has also been trying to help Roosevelt preserve its small-town appeal. 'They have something special there. It's hard to explain. It is more of a feeling about the place,' he said.

"As the only town in New Jeresy to be totally registered as a National Historic Site [District], Roosevelt really is unique, but Tulloss believes that every town has special characteristics. 'Cataloging a town's uniqueness allows its citizens to present the town well to others who can help.'

"He explained that there are many factors that can be considered, 'The quality of soil, old photographs, old stories, an arrowhead, an endangered plant or turtle, a machine from an old factory, a Mosasaur tooth from a marl bed or an old foundation could be just what somebody wants to know about. Don't discard anything from your catalog.'

"According to Tulloss, who is retired from Bell Laboratories and took up a second career in the scientific study of a family of forest mushrooms, people from other communities have told him that they can only get a certain amount of money from the state's open space program, but that has not been his experience. 'There's a lot of available funding for open space,' he said, adding that it takes a lot of work to put a proposal together and follow through.

Note: Two comments got merged here. State and county funding is very important and accessible; however, the first point was that people in towns raising hundreds of thousands of dollars per year with an open space tax may not always realize the leverage they can get. Utilizing the state and county farmland programs, the fund preserved $3.6 million worth of farm land while raising (to date) only $79,000 over two years. A municipality with an open space tax should be able to preserve much more land much faster.

"The recent acquisition of two farms, the 'southern farm' and the 'northern farm,' in Roosevelt is the result of two years of hard work by the Fund for Roosevelt. But it paid off big time. The borough has been able to preserve 232 contiguous acres of its original farmland at a cost of over $3.6 million, without [property] taxpayers having to spend a dime.

"'In 1999, when the fund was formed,we didn't have any money. Ninety percent of the money we raised came from individuals or family foundations,' Tulloss said.

"Financial support for the fund included almost $3 million from the Garden State Preservation Trust and the Monmouth County Agriculture Development Board. Plus the Monmouth County [sic] Conservation Foundation selected the fund to receive its first-ever grant for land acquisition, and helped obtain a mortgage permitting the purchase of the 'southern farm.' They are also guarantors of that mortgage.

"He cited the Monmouth Conservation Foundation, Middletown, as one group that was always ready to help. 'People in Monmouth County should be more familiar with MCF. They really deserve more county-wide support. They're experienced, very competent, have a straight-forward administrative structure, and can make their decisions rather quickly.'

"An anonymous donor from Princeton made the original donation that provided money to establish the fund. Ed and Vikii Luppens of Millstone came to the rescue during difficult times with the single largest contribution from an individual or organization, Tulloss said.

"Dr. Robert Gold not only bought the northern farm, but also has taken on historic and farmland preservation in Roosevelt as a personal cause, Tulloss added.

"The land purchases mark the first case of a state Planning Incentive Grant resulting in actual preservation of land rather than supporting the planning for preservation. Tulloss explained that a Planning Incentive Grant approach to preservation can speed the process. As in the preservation of the two farms in Roosevelt, multiple farms can be part of a single application.

"Planning Incentive Grant preservations are expected to reduce the time from application to preservation to between 12 or 18 months, Tulloss explained. 'It took us 20 months; however, we were the first. Our deal was complex, and we contributed to problems by changing the number of lots involved 14 months into the process.'

"Landowners whose properties are listed in the overall Planning Incentive Grant project can apply for preservation at anyt ime and not wait for deadlines. The applications begin to be processed right away.

"'Every remaining farm in Roosevelt is listed,' Tulloss said, 'but a number of the landowners are said to be under contract. We will not interfere when there are existing, valid real estate contracts. Barring that situation, we can help landowners apply for [preservation] or enter into a purchase contract [with a landowner] and carry out the preservation simultaneously with purchase and resale.'

"Tulloss said there are at least four farm properties that are not preserved and are not under contract. The largest is less than 40 acres.

"According to Tulloss, the most effective farmland preservation is done by an owner who wants to keep his or her farm. 'In that situation, a farm and a farmer are preserved. Essentially, an owner draws capital from the farm by sale of an easement that is held and monitored by the county. The easement is a permanent restriction attached to the deed on the property, and serves to preserve the property as farmland.'

"In a document put together by the Fund for Roosevelt, all of the borough's special attributes are cataloged. For instance, the list includes acres of farmlands and wet stream corridors; rare, threatened or endangered vertebrates that have been seen there; animals species that migrate through or hunt in the borough; hardwood wetlands and ... overlapping headwater[s] of ... the Assunpink and Stony-Brook Millstone watersheds.

"Like a mission statement or a marriage covenant between the historic town and its people, the first paragraph states: 'These and other components are intimately linked parts of a whole that is greater than we understand. A whole that has educational, social, moral, aesthetic, and monetary value. The borough is, in all these senses, a treasure left in our keeping, and for which each generation in its turn is responsible.'"

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From an article in the Examiner, 7 June 2001:

"One more Revolutionary Step Forward

"The Crossroads of the American Revolution project, a statewide initiative, will benefit from recently released legislation sponsored by Assemblyman Joseph R. Malone III (R-30).

"The project includes a driving guide and map to New Jersey's Revolutionary War Trail.

"The bill appropriates $58 million for the Garden State Green Acres Preservation Trust Fund to the Department of Environmental Projection (DEP) to provide funding for the acquisition by the state of open space for recreation and conservation purposes.

"'In a state as densely populated as New Jersey, it is important that we continue to preserve as much open space as we possibly can,' said Malone, whose district includes parts of Bulington, Monmouth and Ocean counties.

"The panhandle municipalities affected by the Crossroads of the American Revolution include Allentown, Roosevelt, and Upper Freehold in Monmouth County.

"Towns in Burling and Mercer counties are also included in the bill.

"Malone said the funding will provide a lump sum for various communities to provide stops along the trail. 'The state will go around now and try to talk to potential willing sellers to buy pieces of property in the towns.'

"The measure was released by a committee vote of 6-0 and now heads to the Assembly Appropriations Committee for consideration.

"The Crossroads of the American Revolution project will like Revolutionary War sites across the state and help to interpret New Jersey's role in the American Revolution.

"More Revolutionary War battles took place in New Jersey than in any other state. Many vestiges of the war era still remain -- mines, mills, soldier's footpaths, revolutionary leaders' homes, encampment sites, battlegrounds and barracks. Many of these sites are already preserved in public ownership, and much of the landscape over which Washington's army crossed en route from battle to battle is still open land.

"The DEP is working in partnership with the National Park Service, county and local governments, and private partners to preserve and link these historic sites and open spaces.

"For the next 18 months or so, the public will be encouraged to participate by providing information and ideas at a series of public meetings. Help is needed to identify resources in towns, villages and counties as part of a special resource study and to work with the National Park Service.

"Meetings have already taken place in Burlington, Middletown, Trenton, Princeton and Morristown."

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From an article in the Examiner by Linda DeNicola, 31 May 2001:

"Roosevelt Preserves 232 Additional Acres

"Fund for Roosevelt Preserves Northern and Southern Farms

"Roosevelt, formerly Jersey Homesteads, started out in the mid-1930s as an experiment in cooperative living. Over the years, the homogeneous population made up of Jewish garment workers has evolved into one of the more diverse towns in Monmouth County, but the sense of community has remained intact.

"That spirit was realized Friday [May 25] with the preservation of two farms totaling 232 acres through the Fund for Roosevelt, a nonprofit, community-based corporation. The farmland was once part of Jersey Homestead's cooperative farm.

"Last month, the borough announced that the 109-acre Notterman tract will be presreved through the state Green Acres program and an additional 2.5 acres will be preserved on Lake Drive, thanks to a two-for-one swap made by Beth Battel, a resident, who is also a Fund for Roosevelt trustee.

"The Fund for Roosevelt played a role in both of those deals, said Rod Tulloss, founder and president of the fund, who has lived in the borough since May 1977.

"The borough has preserved more than 342 acres in the past 28 days, Tulloss noted.

"In addition, Millstone has benefited from the preservation project with more than 8 acres preserved on the southwest border with Roosevelt.

Note: The Millstone preservation occurred on the northern border of Roosevelt.

"The preservation of these two farms, at a cost of more than $3.6 million, has been achieved without the expenditure of any Roosevelt property tax dollars, Tulloss said, adding, but it involved two years of hard work by the directors of the fund, which was established specifically for the purchase of farmland and historical, environmental and social preservation.

"According to Tulloss, the land purchases mark the first case of state Planning Incentive Grant resulting in actual preservation of land rather than supporting the planning for preservation. 'We came to the county and state with purchase contracts in hand,' Tulloss said. 'What planning was possible in the time we had, we'd already done.'

"The deal involved three property owners who sold to the fund, one buyer from the fund, the Monmouth County Agriculture Development Board, the Garden State Preservation Trust, Millstone, a bank, and the Monmouth Conservation Foundation.

"The closing, which began in Middletown and ended in Freehold, stretched over five and a half hours, Tulloss said, adding that the deal was complicated, because there were contract buyers at the closing, as well as sellers, and the state and county.

"The fund's complex deal was recognized as innovative by the Monmouth County Planning Board in the most recent issue of its newsletter, Eco-Logic.

"'Many persons experienced with preservation think it is quite extraordinary that 30 percent of the households in town contributed financially to the fund's project,' Tulloss remarked. 'Many other "Rooseveltians" contributed significantly in other ways. And we had terrific support from Millstone Township citizens, living just west of town.'

"The first farm, called the 'northern farm' by the fund, includes all of the borough's frontage on Windsor-Perrineville Road and encompasses the entire 8-acre farm pond visible from that road.

"In order to preserve the pond in its entirety, the fund purchased a parcel in Millstone. Millstone's contribution to the project is to pay the municipal share of preservation for that lot, Tulloss explained.

"The 89-acre property, which has a network of pocket wetlands on a slope, was previously owned by D'Amico and Sons of Perrineville. Frank D'Amico handled the interaction with the fund. At the closing, the property was resold to Robert Gold of Manalapan. In 2001, the tilled land will be rented to the Wong family, who own adjacent farmland.

"'Robert Gold has not only bought the northern farm, but has taken on historic and farmland preservation in Roosevelt as a personal cause,' said Tulloss.

"He explained that the future plans for the northern farm are under discussion. The fund plans to remain involved with both properties for the foreseeable future.

"The second 151-acre farm, makes up almost all of the land south of Nurko Road and west of Rochdale Avenue, with a southern boundary that meets Rochdale Avenue just north of the old gas station property.

"Also previously owned by D'Amico and Sons, as well as John and Concetta Cuzzolino, and Ann and Anna Nurko, more than half of the land under till is rented by Peter Nurko of Millstone.

"The wetlands on the southern border of the southern farm is connected, with no interrupting road, to the area of town in which the wood turtle is most commonly found, Tulloss said. The species is threatened in New Jersey largely due to loss of habitat.

"'The fund is very grateful for the patience and good humor of the previous owners,' Tulloss said. 'First, they offered us the land if we would match an offer from a developer, so we didn't find ourselves in a bidding war. The preference of the owners was to see the land remain farmland.

"'One of the owners remarked at the outset that he'd had a lot of developers promise the moon and walk away from him, and he figured the fund might be a good bet because it was local and motivated.

"'Also, if he had a problem he could show up at my house and talk it over,' Tulloss said.

"According to Tulloss, there have been two offers on the southern farm but they did not pan out. The fund's sales arrangement has just been converted to an open listing.

"'I've taken about a dozen people around the property,' Tulloss said.

"Tulloss credits all three owners with holding up their ends of every part of the bargain. 'Given the complexity of cleaning up a farm that's been in operation for many, many years, they did a beautiful job and turned over clean properties to us.'

"In addition, all three owners made donations to the fund. 'These substantial donations made it possible for us to pay the full municipal preservation share for the borough of Roosevelt.'

"The primary motivation for the project was the perceived threat of development of the remaining farmland in Roosevelt. A natural resources inventory in 1993, revealed that the single most valued view in town was the view of a solitary tree in the field, southwest of the intersection of Nurko Road and Rochdale Avenue.

"Apparently, people interviewed for the inventory said 'seeing the tree, as they drove by, meant to them that they had come home. That's why the tree ended up onour stationery,' said Tulloss.

"According to Tulloss, the single tree is actually two old tupelos, also known as black gum, which are not long-lived trees. 'We hope to have a replanting agreement with the eventual owner of the property. We'd like to see the "solitary tree" replaced with a long-lived species like white oak when the tupelos die.'

"Tulloss said that the preservation of the two farms probably won't be the final fund project.

"'We've been doing initial inquiries about some historic preservation and restoration projects involving the public school.

"'It's possible that we will be involved in exploring the agricultural possiblities of the farms we've preserved. We have a number of ideas, but now we need to focus on serious fund raising to cover immediate expenses, and, most importantly, resale of the second farm.'"

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From an article in the Examiner by Linda DeNicola, 31 May 2001:

"Borough to Promote Its Historic Significance

"Fund for Roosevelt also Envisions Pseudo Chamber of Commerce

"The Fund for Roosevelt recently received a $2,750 grant from the New Jersey Conservation Foundation (NJCF) to help create an educational campaign to raise awareness of the Jersey Homesteads Historic District, which is listed on the state and national registers of historic places.

Note: The NJCF grant-in-aid was for $1,375. The Fund must raise the money to match this amount in order to employ the grant.

"The grant will go toward the publication of brochures as part of a larger campaign focused on the history of Roosevelt. The project will include a multimedia component -- an interactive CD describing the town's public lands, as well as plant[s] and animals found in the historic district.

Note: The CD is also conceived as including music and historical data as well as additional components.

"According to Rod Tulloss, founder and president of the Fund for Roosevelt, they plan to develop two brochures, one simple black-and-white pictorial brochure that will be put in fund-raising envelopes and sent out to prospective donors. 'We wil print a large number of these brochures,' he said.

"The second one will be in color, with more detailed information on the history of how the town began, the artists that have lived in the town and the ecosystem. Both brochures will have a timeless quality and will take an educational approach, he said.

Note: Not timeless prose, but text that won't become dated rapidly by events.

"Eventually, Fund members would like to expand the production of brochures and pamphlets to attract tourists.

"'We would like to work with the historic and environmental commissions, the same way any national historic site would. We would like to have a number of pamphlets available to tourists. For instance, we had a baseball team here once. We would have a pamphlet about that,' said Tulloss.

"'We do have tourists coming into town and they walk away with nothing, or perhaps just a picture of mural [painted by the late renowned artist and Roosevelt resident Ben Shahn on a wall in the school.]

"'We've also talked about a pseudo chamber of commerce that would involve businesses. There are tons of people in town that have small businesses.' he said.

"'The first step in conserving land in New Jersey is often raising public awareness,' remarked NJCF Executive Director Michele S. Byers.

"Roosevelt Borough is the only municipality in the state that is listed in its entirety on the State Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

"Established in 1936 as a utopian experiment of the New Deal era, the town's innovative 'greenbelt' design fits in among existing wetlands in such a way that residents can walk from any house in town to wetlands, including habitats for several threatened plant and animal species.

"The Fund for Roosevelt is working to preserve the borough's farmland, which was part of the town's original design.

"NJCF's Grant-In-Aid Program is designed to increase New Jersey's conservation community, providing organizations with resources to become proficient at land conservation, develop viable long-term programs, and design innovative projects that can serve as models for other communities. Funding for the grants is made possible through the generous support of the Education Foundation of America, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Victoria Foundation.

"Land trusts, watershed organizations, citizen action groups and other private sector community-based environmental groups are eligible to apply for up to $10,000, with a dollar-for-dollar match by the applicants required. Funded projects must be completed by Dec. 31.

"The nonprofit Fund for Roosevelt was established in early 1999 to explore preservation of farmland, and work for the general welfare of the community. According to Tulloss, they are in the right place at the right time. Farmland and open space preservation have become a statewide goal and more funds are available."

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Most recently modified 7 October 2001.
Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001 by Fund for Roosevelt, Inc.
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R. E. Tulloss.