WOODBRIDGE — A number of families with children attending Colonia High School are calling for a remote learning option as investigations into a possible brain cancer cluster continue.

Twenty people from 16 families signed the letter sent to Mayor John McCormac and Woodbridge Superintendent Joseph Massimino. Dated April 30, it states that the signees are "concerned Colonia High School parents, alumni, and township members."

"Our children enjoy attending school and many prefer in-person learning to remote. We are not insisting that the school close down completely, but why isn’t remote learning an option?" the letter asked. "As it is, there are parents who have been keeping their children home because they do not want to take any chances."

It comes amid an investigation into a possible brain tumor cluster found by Colonia graduate Al Lupiano.

New Jersey 101.5 first reported that Lupiano had found dozens of rare brain tumors among graduates and former staff at the school. That number has grown to over 115 people, according to Lupiano, a former EPA emergency responder who has decades of experience in environmental cleanup.

With the number of possibly connected brain tumors still growing, concern among the Woodbridge community is growing as well. And the township is unable to take further action until the results of radon and radiation testing, as first reported by New Jersey 101.5, come back, Mayor McCormac told New Jersey 101.5 Tuesday.

The letter further expressed concerns that these tests are not enough. It also calls for a community and school board meeting dedicated to the issue, along with the demand for remote learning.

"Make remote an option. You have the power to do this," the letter stated.

But Massimino wrote back that he does not have that power. The superintendent told New Jersey 101.5 that he responded to the families in a letter Tuesday.

In his response, Massimino wrote that the state created a remote learning option amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Then last year, Gov. Phil Murphy mandated all public schools to return to in-person classes.

"I have made several inquiries with the New Jersey Department of Education, in an effort to determine whether there could be any exception to this rule, but was informed that remote instruction is only available in the event of an active health crisis or emergency," Massimino said.

"At this time, the Woodbridge Township Board of Health has informed me that there is no substantiated public health concern related to Colonia High School."

While many Woodbridge residents have expressed concerns about the possible brain tumor cluster, there is still no solid evidence backing it. That will depend on testing results and further investigation.

The results of the radon and radiation testing are expected later this month.

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To find the top 20 states with the most new small businesses per capita, Simply Business analyzed the Census Bureau’s Business Formation Statistics from August 2020 to July 2021.

These are the best hiking spots in New Jersey

A trip to New Jersey doesn't have to be all about the beach. Our state has some incredible trails, waterfalls, and lakes to enjoy.

From the Pine Barrens to the Appalachian Trail to the hidden gems of New Jersey, you have plenty of options for a great hike. Hiking is such a great way to spend time outdoors and enjoy nature, plus it's a great workout.

Before you go out on the trails and explore some of our listeners' suggestions, I have some tips on hiking etiquette from the American Hiking Society.

If you are going downhill and run into an uphill hiker, step to the side and give the uphill hiker space. A hiker going uphill has the right of way unless they stop to catch their breath.

Always stay on the trail, you may see side paths, unless they are marked as an official trail, steer clear of them. By going off-trail you may cause damage to the ecosystems around the trail, the plants, and wildlife that live there.

You also do not want to disturb the wildlife you encounter, just keep your distance from the wildlife and continue hiking.

Bicyclists should yield to hikers and horses. Hikers should also yield to horses, but I’m not sure how many horses you will encounter on the trails in New Jersey.
If you are thinking of bringing your dog on your hike, they should be leashed, and make sure to clean up all pet waste.

Lastly, be mindful of the weather, if the trail is too muddy, it's probably best to save your hike for another day.

I asked our listeners for their suggestions of the best hiking spots in New Jersey, check out their suggestions:

Every NJ city and town's municipal tax bill, ranked

A little less than 30 cents of every $1 in property taxes charged in New Jersey support municipal services provided by cities, towns, townships, boroughs and villages. Statewide, the average municipal-only tax bill in 2021 was $2,725, but that varied widely from more than $13,000 in Tavistock to nothing in three townships. In addition to $9.22 billion in municipal purpose taxes, special taxing districts that in some places provide municipal services such as fire protection, garbage collection or economic development levied $323.8 million in 2021.

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