The Lodi Borough Council, New Jersey, recently held a meeting marked by commendations for local achievers, the discussion of key civic improvements, and the heartfelt farewell of a respected council member. The session convened on June 20th, 2023.
The council paid tribute to local sporting and academic prodigies, with awards handed to the most valuable players (MVPs) in a wide range of sports and scholarships granted to high-achieving high school students. The award ceremony, hosted by renowned coach Pat Torico and Lodi Moose Lodge President Jeff Lavender, recognized talent across the borough. Among the celebrated MVPs was Jordan, a two-time state track champion, and among the scholarship recipients were ambitious young students such as Brianna, studying Interior Design and Architecture at NJIT, and Paola, an aspiring surgeon.
An emotional segment of the evening was the presentation of the TJ Luna Scholarship, awarded in memory of Mayor Luna’s late brother, TJ. The recipients, close family acquaintances Juliana Cruz, Leah Mike, and Victoria Scandiffia, added a personal touch to the recognition.
The council also passed numerous resolutions and ordinances. Key resolutions included improvements to municipal facilities, upgrades to the sanitary sewer system, acquiring new equipment for public safety departments, and initiating street improvements.
A significant portion of the evening was devoted to honoring the service of Councilman Albert DeChara. Having served from 2016 to 2023, DeChara chose not to seek re-election. Council members, including newly elected Councilman Bruce Mastapus and Councilman Ted, paid tribute to DeChara’s service and lauded his efforts in securing grant money for a state-of-the-art multi-purpose sports facility.
In a touching speech, DeChara acknowledged the strong community spirit of Lodi, labeling it a “giant family” and thanking local volunteers, police, and the Department of Public Works (DPW) for their exceptional contributions. He assured his colleagues of his continued involvement in community projects and declared that due to their collective efforts, “every park in this town will be pretty much new” within the next year.
The council also addressed several issues raised by citizens. Matters ranging from traffic violations to littering in private properties and shopping centers were discussed, with the council committed to seeking solutions and even considering citizen-suggested initiatives, such as the launch of an educational campaign to increase community consciousness.
The meeting ended on a warm note with a humorous farewell tribute to DeChara, who jokingly voted ‘no’ to adjournment.