North Brunswick council members look forward to 2017

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Editor’s Note: Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack’s State of the Township address will be given during the council meeting on Jan. 17. However, the township’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration will be held on Jan. 13.

By JENNIFER AMATO
Staff Writer

NORTH BRUNSWICK — Setting aside the ups and downs of 2016, the focus of the North Brunswick Township Council in 2017 is solely on the future.

With the promotion of former Councilwoman Shanti Narra to county freeholder and the retirement of former Councilwoman Cathy Nicola, Amanda Guadagnino and former Mayor Sylvester “Sal” Paladino will now serve alongside Mayor Francis “Mac” Womack, Council President Carlo Socio, Councilman Bob Davis, Councilman Robert Corbin and newly re-elected Councilman Ralph Andrews.

Guadagnino and Andrews were sworn into the council during a reorganization meeting on Jan. 2 at the township municipal building.

“Our roots are here. Our history is here. Our family is here. Most importantly, our future is here, right here in North Brunswick,” said Guadagnino, a former North Brunswick Board of Education member who was elected in November to serve her first term on the council.

Guadagnino and her husband have lived in North Brunswick their entire lives, and she called herself “lucky” to do so. She cited the proximity of the township to New York City and Philadelphia; Rutgers University and its prominent professors and athletic program; two area hospitals with their esteemed physicians; major companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Toys ‘R’ Us and Campbell’s; State Theatre; the beach, ski resorts and parks; major league sports teams; and Atlantic City.

She also mentioned the town’s award-winning school district, which she said will be enhanced by the upcoming construction of a new middle school that will emphasize STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) curricula.

“Even George Washington spent more time in New Jersey than anywhere else during the Revolutionary War,” she said. “I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know: North Brunswick is a fantastic place to live.”

Guadagnino stressed the importance of traditions while noting that changes make things better.

“North Brunswick should be the community that people want to be a part of,” she said, mentioning how North Brunswick Community Park and the Shoppes at North Brunswick will celebrate their 10-year anniversaries this year, examples of thinking and brainstorming that brought about positive change in the area.

She also noted the MainStreetNB transit village project on Route 1 that exemplifies change for years to come.

Guadagnino said that all of this will continue to improve infrastructure, build a sense of community, protect children and care for the elderly.

“We need to take the lead and hold our community together. We are going to help North Brunswick realize its full potential because we want to change our community for the better. Who doesn’t?” she said.

Afterward, Andrews was administered his oath of office for the fifth time.

After asking everyone to shake hands as a New Year’s Day tradition and offering up a moment of silence for all those lost in 2016, including his own mother, he said he feels “humbled” to be able to serve again.

“My father always said, ‘You don’t have to tell people you’re having a good game — they’ll tell you,'” Andrews said. “We come together at the end of the day and we move forward, always thinking about the residents of North Brunswick. … It’s been a blessing to be on the council and to be involved in North Brunswick for, I guess, 18 years.”

Socio was then nominated as council president for 2017, succeeding Corbin. Ronald Gordon was next sworn in as the township attorney for another year. Then, the chiefs of the North Brunswick Volunteer Fire Department were given the oath of office: Fire Chief Ken Graulich, 1st Assistant Chief Donald Salzmann Sr., 2nd Assistant Chief Kevin Meehan and Chief of the Bureau of Fire Prevention Tom Lettieri.

After Womack praised the commitment of township department directors and employees, Narra was presented with a plaque for her service to the community at large.

“I’m so proud to be from this town, and I am proud every day to have grown up here and now every day to be surrounded by the people who live here,” said Narra, who continues to live in North Brunswick. “I look forward … to the council continuing to do excellent work.”

Womack will present his State of the Township address at the Jan. 17 council meeting, the same night as the township’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration.

Contact Jennifer Amato at jamato@gmnews.com.