Noon luncheon meetings are held on the first two Tuesdays of each month, at Charlie Brown's Steakhouse in Chatham Township. Breakfast meetings are held at 8:00 AM on the last two or three Tuesdays of each month. Breakfast meetings are held at Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse in Chatham Township. Guests are always welcomed to attend our Tuesday meetings. COME JOIN US


March 26 Kiwanis Meeting Program: Tom Belding, President, Board of Education of the Chathams spoke on "School Budget and Programs"

Tom Belding (left), President of the Chatham Board of Education, and Peter Daquila (right), Business Administrator for the schools, gave a presentation to Kiwanis members at the March 26 breakfast meeting. Tom covered the current situation, the priorities, the budget and its impact on taxes.

He compared Chatham to neighboring districts. Recent per pupil annual cost in Chatham is approximately $12,000 compared to about $14,500 in Milburn. The number of students has grown - Chatham has managed education costs well. Compared to all of Morris County, the Chatham school district has had a history of providing excellent education for the dollar. SAT scores are very high in Chatham.

The first priority is the high school and Tom covered instructional, extra-curricular and facilities. Enrollment has almost doubled in the last decade. Growth is expected to continue over the next few years but enrollment will then level out.

District-wide overall enrollment growth is expected to level off with attendance at earlier grades falling off slightly. There is a large “bubble” of students working through the grade levels and that will cause continuing growth at the high school. Educators are being added to meet this challenge. Some older programs are being cut back to increase focus on more urgently needed new programs.

Extra-curricular activities are encouraged and participation by students is very large. These activities are very important because they prepare graduate for working in the real world. The school district funds faculty advisors to manage these programs.

Facilities at the high school are being expanded with the addition of a second floor over a classroom area installed about a year ago. This would add four classrooms and be funded out of capital reserves (it does not add to the tax base).

Tom explained the three questions which will be on the ballot at the April 16 School District election. The “first question” is the base budget. The next question is the “1st second question”. The last is the “2nd second question”.

The “1st second question” has to do with student wellness and well-being. This funds additional staff to help students. More students need counseling help and NJ State requires submission of more data and forms.

The “2nd second question” has to do with security of the students. The district has already installed secure access plus cameras on the inside and outside. This question funds additional improvements to security.

Districts budgets are limited by NJ State to annual increases in taxes of 2 percent; but several adjustments can be made to that amount. Enrollment adjustments and health care adjustment can be made. Also, if some of the authorized taxing amount wasn’t used in past years, it can be used this year. This is called banked cap.

With additions, the requested budget tax increase is 2.6 percent. If all questions are approved, the increase will be 3.46 percent. The total budget (without second questions), which is funded by $55,409,233 in taxes, is $65,131,111.

After Q and A, the members of the audience enthusiastically applauded the clear and comprehensive planning carried out by the Board of Education for the School District of the Chathams.


Kiwanis Fish N Chips a huge success

The March 20 Chatham-Madison Kiwanis Fish 'N' Chips was a huge success. 450 carry-out and eat-in dinners were served by Kiwanis, Key Club, Builders Club and Circle K. Funds are earmarked for scholarships and service projects.


March 19 Program: Dennis Kohl, Scout Executive for Patriots' Path Council presented the "LEDR - Leadership Excellence - Direct Results Program".

Scout Executive Dennis Kohl (right) was introduced by Past Kiwanis Club President Dick Plambeck (right) at the March 19 Chatham-Madison Kiwanis Club breakfast meeting held at Charlie Brown’s restaurant in Chatham Township. Dennis is Scout Executive for Patriots’ Path Council of Boy Scouts of America. He gave an overview of the new LEDR – Leadership Excellence – Direct Results Program”.

LEDR is a weeklong retreat designed to give students a chance to explore their leadership skills, to connect with peers, and to learn how to get involved in their community. This one week program is to be hosted at Camp Winnebago for 15-20 year old boys and girls. This program will be offered to current scouts and non-scouts with registration occurring during the application process.

Dennis started his presentation by giving an update on the Patriot’s Path Council (Morris, Sussex, Union and Somerset counties). In the past year, 345 young men became Eagle Scouts. Ten percent of their scouts become Eagle Scouts, compared with four percent nationwide. There are three outstanding Scout troupes in Chatham. Scouting is doing well, especially in our area.

Scouting is known for developing leaders. A new foundation and program was developed by Dennis with the assistance of Eagle Scouts to expand and focus efforts on leadership training.

Dennis presented a complete and clear description of LEDR. He asked Kiwanis to sponsor a student. The audience was very impressed with the program and enthusiastically applauded after a short Q & A session. To learn more, please visit the LEDR website.


Kiwanis March 12 Program: Dick Plambeck gave an overview of the Chatham Borough Environmental Commission’s "Explore Chatham” Website.

Dick Plambeck (left), member of the Chatham Environmental Commission, was introduced by Joan May (right) at the March 12 Kiwanis luncheon.  Dick described the new “Explore Chatham” website. He brought along a poster which is in the background in the photo. The Environmental Commission invites you to “take a hike”.

Dick worked with two highly qualified volunteers to produce the “Explore Chatham” program and website. Four trails have maps and descriptions which link to historic places and events. Residents and visitors can learn about the town while they enjoy their hike. The website lets people upload photos. There are also links to similar websites for Mendham, Chester and other towns. To view the website, open Google and type in “Explore Chatham” – then select the Borough website.

Trails are rated (for example, degree of difficulty) and downloadable maps are provided. Dick and the two volunteers are Boy Scouts and believe in being prepared. Information needed to hike the trails safely is provided on the website. There are wooded paths through forests, urban paths on sidewalks, and hybrid paths (combinations of both).

Descriptions of the trails are complete, including hyperlinks to other websites. For example, the Cornell ornithology website is used for birds. The “About” section includes the benefits for using the trails. Dick showed and described some of the photos on the “Photo Reel”. The Interactive Google Map shows hiker icons at each of the four trails and you can click on the symbol to go to the trail map.

What’s next? The program is coordinated with the Mayor’s Wellness Campaign and will be coordinated with other organizations.  Trails are being improved and new ones planned. Stanley Park trail needs improvement and that will be done starting 8:00 AM April 20. Also, a photo-contest is being planned. QR code signs are being planned for providing links to trail information for hikers.  Dick also recommended smart-phone Apps iBird and Leafsnap to use along the trail.

Members of the audience were delighted by the trails and the excellent presentation by Dick. To learn more, please visit the website.


Kiwanis March 5 Meeting Program: Vince DeNave, Chatham Borough Engineer, presented "Borough Infrastructure Upgrade Projects"

Vince DeNave (left in photo), Chatham Borough Engineer, was introduced by Dick Plambeck at the March 5 Kiwanis Meeting. Vince spoke about “Borough Infrastructure Upgrade Projects". He covered major problems caused by recent storms, which resulted in lengthy loss of power and interruption in traffic and commerce. Vince has been the Borough Engineer for a number of years and he has spoken to Kiwanis several times in the past. Vince mentioned that Bob Falzarano, Borough Administrator is now back to work after recovering from serious injuries and he is now providing leadership to our community. 

Last year’s super-storm Sandy created unprecedented challenges to Chatham Borough. Hurricane Irene and the “Halloween snowfall” caused extensive problems. It could be that lengthy, two weeks or more, power outages may be the new “norm”. People wonder why we don’t put all power lines underground. Vince pointed out that it would be too costly to do that.

Local communities are unable to help their neighbors when all of them have damage due to large scale storms. Chatham needs to be self-sufficient. In recent years, Chatham installed back-up generators for water and sewer pump stations.

Chatham Emergency Management Team holds weekly meetings to make continuous improvement in readiness to withstand future disasters. They are also meeting with JCP&L, the predominant electrical utility in Chatham, to try to do things better.

The audience listened with great interest to how preparations are being made for the next storm. After a few questions and answers, everyone applauded the presentation and innovative changes being considered to make our town safer and to speed up recovery in the future.


Kiwanis February 26 Program: Michael Goodnight, Chatham Branch Manager of Valley National Bank and President of the Chatham Area Chamber of Commerce, presented an update.

Michael Goodnight, Chatham Branch Manager of Valley National Bank and President of the Chatham Area Chamber of Commerce (right in photo) was introduced by John Eyre, Kiwanis Club President-Elect at the February 26 meeting held at Charlie Brown’s restaurant in Chatham Township.

Michael moved to New Jersey from the San Francisco area of California about a year ago to lead the Chatham branch of Valley National Bank.  The branch was awarded the Chairman’s Club award as one of the top five percent branches and Michael was named one of the best rookies of the year.

Our Chamber has had a tough time over the past few years but Michael has approached his leadership role with enthusiasm and optimism. He appreciates the support by local business members, including some from Kiwanis. He is providing better connections to political leaders and to new businesses in the area. He and the Chamber will have increased participation in activities of the community.

The Chamber is working with The Alternative Press to provide improved visibility of Chatham businesses. Michael want to make sure everyone in the area is aware of the fine businesses operating in Chatham Borough and Township. More information on local business is available on the Chamber website. More “mixer” events are being held with businesses (both breakfast and evening). Networking and working together are being encouraged.

The audience enthusiastically applauded Michael’s inspiring presentation.