Tag Archives: Bergen County

Clarity: Seven Years In The Making

Next week [Monday, July 22] will mark seven years since the passing of my dear friend, Lee. And in those seven years I’ve found my wings and grown into the young lady before you today – I’m the assistant editor of three weekly community newspapers; I freelance for two magazine publications; I’m a fiancée and will be a wife in two months and 10 days [But who is counting?!]; I’m a half-marathon finisher; and I like to think I’m a pretty great friend, older sister, daughter, etc. and soon-to-be sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, etc.

In those seven years, a lot has changed for me personally, and in growing I found acceptance – acceptance not only for who I am, but also for Lee’s death. For years, I was bitter; angry; and unsettled. But, those days are gone and I didn’t come to that realization until last night.

After a long workday and walking into my house, I was greeted by Fiancé who excitedly said he had something to show me. I dropped my bags and headed to the TV where he turned on a recorded news program.

The program highlighted the Borough of Cresskill who had just unanimously approved an ordinance that would fine residents who ignore lightning alarms as much as $1,000.  Under the new Cresskill ordinance, anyone who fails to vacate a field or public pool within 10 minutes of a lightning alarm could face the fine.

The broadcast journalist, stationed at a Cresskill field, interviewed a local woman on hand. Before I knew it, she uttered Lee’s name. In 2006, two teens were struck by lightning in Montvale, killing them, she said. Since, towns around New Jersey have adopted lightning detection systems, and more are in the process of installing them, she continued.

Then images of my friends and I hugging, crying and huddled around “the spot” where Lee lost his life flashed across the screen. In an instant, a flash of light, I was transported back to that field – my heart indeed was heavy, hurting, bleeding.

But, a light bulb went off.

For years I’ve been keeping this blog and watching towns throughout New Jersey, specifically Bergen County, install lightning detection systems in light of Lee’s tragedy. In light of Lee’s tragedy.

Last night, for the first time, I realized Lee was taken for a reason – a reason that will save others lives. Lee’s death has made a difference. Lee’s death is making a difference.

In life, Lee went out of his way to put a smile on the faces of friends and even strangers. So, in death, it is not surprising to me that he’s still attempting to help people.

That was his life purpose. And, for that, my heart is finally content. Sure I wish he were here with me – I wish that everyday. But, I’m tired of being even an ounce bitter. I’m tired of wondering what if. It’s time for clarity.



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Lightning Detection Systems Become Norm in Bergen County

“Bergen County started investing in lightning detection systems following the deaths in 2006 of two teenagers on a Montvale soccer field.”

– ‘Lightning detection systems becoming standard for North Jersey fields
from The Bergen Record, Sunday, July 25, 2010

… one life can make a difference. (Thank you, Lee Weisbrod and Steve Fagan.)

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Lightning Bolt Causes Fire Locally

Yesterday my area of Bergen County received not one but two lengthy and powerful thunderstorms both of which made me want to crawl in bed and hide for their duration.

Unfortunately, the first canceled a trip to the beach that my family had planned for the day. Luckily, we didn’t suffer an attack from Mother Nature, like one local family did.

About 10 minutes away in the neighboring town of Emerson, one family awoke on  Monday morning to a small fire and leaving a gaping hole of about 6 inches in their one-family home’s attached garage. The cause: a lightning bolt strike.

Read the full story here: http://www.northjersey.com/news/071910_Lightning_bolt_causes_Emerson_garage_fire.html

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With A Flash Of Light

With a flash of light, this semester at Rowan University has come to an end. With winter break on the horizon followed by my last semester before graduating in May, I have become very reflective.

In my time at Rowan, I have been introduced to many diverse elements of journalism; however, this online journalism course has been one of the most influential.

I am grateful for the opportunity to not only further grieve for the loss of my best friend, Lee Weisbrod, but also for the opportunity to educate the public on lightning, the underrated killer.

Due to the overwhelming interest in lightning detection and safety throughout Bergen County, I will be continuing my blog in order to further educate and provide information as long as it is available.

While blog posts will not continue two times a week, as per part of my class assignment, they will steadily continue – so continue checking back for the newest information regarding lightning in the Bergen County area.

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Schools Taking Steps to Implement Lightning Safety

Every year school districts are threatened by severe weather including lightning, which puts students and faculty in jeopardy.

Without an appropriate weather alert system, students and faculty are playing a guessing game with Mother Nature. While many Bergen County schools are equipped with lightning detectors on their campuses, not all are – which is a main concern.

Rick Thompson, Lightning Protection Coordinator of Orange County Public Schools in Orlando, Florida, is an advocate of keeping students and faculty safe.

“I always wondered why someone didn’t do something and then I realized I was someone,” said Thompson, a lightning strike victim on the NWS Lightning Safety Success Stories website.

Schools have to be aware of how to react in situations where lightning is present. It is essential that schools adopt a training program.

According to Thompson, training in school settings should include:

  • Lightning safety videos produced for all ages to understand and be part of a scheduled educational cirriculum.
  • Lightning safety and CPR certification courses should be mandatory for coaches and others in charge of outdoor events/activities.
  • Educational organizations should have a certified Lightning Safety Professional to implement and maintain a lightning safety program.

Many schools across the nation are taking steps to implement lightning safety initiatives.

Loudoun County Schools in Virginia and Broward County Schools in Florida are just two school systems in the country that are taking that next step.

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Woodcliff Lake System Now Installed

The lightning detection system in Woodcliff Lake has been both installed and tested as of recently.

In addition to installing the system, Woodcliff Lake has passed a town ordinance which declares that everyone must immediately get off the field if the system is activated.

Citizens will know the system is activated when a lightning strike within 8 miles sets off the siren. The siren will be activated every 30 seconds accompanied by flashing strobes.

An ‘all clear’ sign will be given when it is safe to return to the sports fields/recreation areas. The ‘all clear’ sign will consist of a different sounding siren.

This system is very similar to other systems installed in surrounding Bergen County towns.

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A Bergen County Update

Numerous mayors, recreation facilities administrators, and town officials have informed me of their plans to install lightning detection or have informed me of existing lightning detection systems.

Here’s a quick update

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