Tuesday, August 7, 2007

A Tale of Two Towns

It’s the best of times, and it’s the worst of times for Jefferson Township, as the mayor’s motto, “one town, one future,” might have an overwhelming crux against it—recreational basketball for the youth.

And that’s because there are actually two sides to this story, one from Lake Hopatcong, and the other from Oak Ridge.

In one corner, you have the Milton Recreation Association (MRA), and on the other side, you have the Jefferson Sports League (JSL) in Lake Hopatcong.

For all intents and purposes, though, with the possibility of unity and a merging of both clubs to form one individual group, some people are for it, while others are not as supportive of the merge.

Mr. Brad Ferguson, the equipment manager for the MRA and girls director of travel, happens to be for it.

“With the kids under one umbrella, it would remove animosity between the two towns,” says Mr. Ferguson,

On the flip side, though is Mr. Bob Rubel from Lake Hopatcong who didn’t want to really speak to the paper about the issue while negotiations were still being handled.

“Let’s get the facts straight,” said Mr. Rubel, “I’m not against the vote. Once all the matters are settled, though, I’ll be happy to speak with the paper.”

But which side is right in their beliefs? This article is not here to pick sides or point fingers but rather to open up a discussion that will hopefully further advance the matter.

Should there be a merge of the Oak Ridge and Lake Hopatcong recreational basketball teams, or should the two remain separate?

It’s a matter that could probably be better decided if more people came to the table, as at the last Jefferson Basketball Association (JBA) meeting, a mere twelve people showed up to vote on the merge. Eight were in favor (All Oak Ridge residents) of it, three abstained (Lake Hopatcong), and one (Mr. Rudel, also from Lake Hopatcong) voted no to merge the two teams together.

One thing leaning in the merge’s favor though is that basketball is the only sport in Jefferson that has yet to bring Lakeside and Oak Ridge together into one group, as every other sport in the township has already done so.

But there are other reasons that Mr. Ferguson feels that the merge should occur, too.

“[With two separate sides], there’s a lack of coordination. And when there’s snow involved, some kids might lose six or seven practices because they don’t know which gym to go to,” says Mr. Ferguson.

Separation or not, though, Mr. Ferguson just wants to see more butts in the seats when they have meetings about certain issues.

“It seems like the MRA is really cramming this down people’s throats, but a lot of people want it to happen. And if they don’t, they should come down and vote,” says Mr. Ferguson.

The phrase “one town, one future,” all depends on how you look at it. But we here at AIM think it’s a far, far better thing that we do by staying as objective on this matter as possible.

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