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Best Picnic Spots in New Jersey

New Jersey is a family-friendly state. With lots of outdoor and indoor destinations that will be enjoyed by the whole family, the garden state is a great location for family bonding activities, as well as travels.

Simple yet fun bonding activities like picnic will always be fun in New Jersey. The state has a wide array of areas to choose from for families who may want to eat their meals in a relaxing place outdoors.

Best Picnic Spots in New Jersey

Outdoor picnics will always be fun. (Photo Credits)

SJMAG.com has a list of picture-perfect picnic spots in South Jersey, families and friends may want to check out. One of those featured on their list is the Sayen Gardens in Hamilton.

“Pack your basket and grab a blanket for this picnic right out of a fairytale. The serene pond and beautiful bridge make the perfect backdrop for this flower-packed picnic. Keep an eye out for brides and grooms or couples – the park is popular for hosting weddings or engagement shoots.”

Check out the photographs of the picnic locations here.

Great Parks

Mommy Poppins also rounded up great picnic locations within New Jersey. Hacklebarney State Park in Long Valley was mentioned in their write-up. New Jersey Wiki

“Rustic picnic tables shaded by hemlock trees dot the landscape of this rocky park, a favorite with hikers, anglers, and picnickers. A deep ravine carved out by the trout-filled Black River remains cool, even in summer, and the area is home to 100 species of birds and other wildlife, including bears, woodchucks, deer, and foxes. Charcoal grills are available at scenic picnic areas, and a small playground is located near the ravine.“

Take a look at the rest of the picnic spots mentioned here.

Picnic by the Lake

The New Jersey Leisure Guide also shared its own list of picture-worthy picnic locations in and around the New Jersey area. Parvin State Park made it to their list. New Jersey State Golf Association

“Parvin is a state park located on the edge of the Pine Barrens. The park not only has pine forests typical to the area but also a swamp hardwood forest. Spring bursts out in bright colors and rich fragrances with blossoming dogwood, laurel, holly, magnolia, wild azalea and over 200 kinds of flowering plants. Thundergust Lake, Parvin Lake and Muddy Run are popular for fishing and boating.”

Read more here.

Apart from being a family bonding activity, picnics have also been a great way for companies to hold an out of office get together for their employees. There are state and private run parks that can accommodate such large groups through reservations.

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Where to Have the Best Burgers in New Jersey

Burgers will always been All-American food, but each state will always have the best places to grab this classic comfort food. New Jersey is no exception with the many food establishments that dot the garden state. Burger enthusiasts will surely find the one that best fits their description of “The Best Burger Ever.”

New Jersey Leisure Guide for instance came up with a shortlist of the best burgers available in the northern part of New Jersey. Topping their list is the Wagyu Beef Burgers in Blue Morel Restaurant.

Where to Have the Best Burgers in New Jersey

Eating burgers will always be fun in New Jersey. (Photo Credits)

“Their Beef Burger is one of the best in New Jersey. It’s made with ground Wagyu Beef. The beef is from Wagyu cattle in Japan and is known for it’s delicious and healthy marbling characteristics that produce a naturally enhanced flavor, tenderness and juiciness.”

Read about the other burger places that made it to their list here.

Best Bar Burgers

The New York Times meanwhile published a feature article on their search for the best bar burgers in New Jersey. One of the restaurant-bars that were featured was Zagursky’s Bar and Grill in Whippany. They had all praises for the burger, and the congeniality showed by its owners towards the customers. State of New Jersey Official Website

“No matter who shows up, they can expect a warm welcome and a very good burger. The patties come from a local butcher and are gently griddled and then steamed, which accounts for their superior juiciness. American cheese is placed on both the top and bottom roll, a simple innovation we should all consider.”

Read about the other burger places they mentioned in their feature write-up here.

Best Burger Contest

NJ Monthly meanwhile came up with a write-up on the results of the best New Jersey Burger contest. One of the winners in the competition is the Next Door Burgers. New Jersey Tourism Authority

“Topped just with partly melted cheddar (partial melting retains more cheese flavor, Arifai later explained) and caramelized onions, this burger, declared Saferstein, ‘isn’t overwhelming. You can enjoy it. I love the bun. These onions are really good’ Faison noted, ‘the cheese has a more pronounced flavor than what we’ve been having.’

Check out the article here.

The best burgers can indeed be found in New Jersey.

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Most Photographed Places in New Jersey

Most millennials are fond of photographs such that when they travel, one of the must-dos in their list is to check out the most photographed places in the area. In New Jersey there are a lot of interesting spots to check out, and pose in that will truly give an NJ trademark to one’s vacation photos. Same goes with photography enthusiasts who delight in taking shots of wonderful and even bizarre places that add depth to the story of the pictures that they produce.

Most Photographed Places in New Jersey

There are a lot of Instagram-worthy locations in and around New Jersey. (Photo Credits)

Loaded Landscapes featured famous New Jersey locations that have been well loved by photography enthusiasts. The Palisades in one of the locations featured in their write-up.

“The Palisades are also called the New Jersey Palisades or the Hudson River Palisades. This area lies on the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, just north of Manhattan. The steep cliffs rise as high as 540 feet and run for about 20 miles. Palisades Interstate Park was created to protect and preserve the area.”

Check out the rest of the list here.

Great Locations

The website New Jersey Isn’t Boring meanwhile shared a list of the most “instagrammable” locations in and around the state. The Barnegat Lighthouse made it to their list, as the location makes for awesome photographs no matter the season of the year. New Jersey State Golf Association

Barnegat Lighthouse: aka Old Barney is the most popular lighthouse photographed in New Jersey, in my opinion. The Historic Lighthouse and it’s surrounding park, which is located in Long Beach Island, is always a great destination to photograph. Whether it’s during the day…at night, Or in the WINTER, the Barnegat Lighthouse is always photogenic. Make sure you make it to the top to get an amazing view.”

The other IG-worthy locations in their article can be found here.

Most Photographed

The website Improve Photography for its past chose close to three dozen locations that produce stunning photos. The Sunflower fields in Sussex is part of their list. State of New Jersey Official Website

“Sown in the spring, sunflowers bloom in the fall sometimes with their stalks stretching seven feet high. There are currently more than 200 acres in New Jersey which offers a boost to the state’s agri-tourism. In the Northeast part of the state lays Augusta and its 70-acre sunflower maze of 1.5 million flowers.”

Find the rest of the locations in their original article here.

New Jersey indeed has a lot of Instagram-worthy spots for photography and personal mementoes.

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Why New Jersey is Called “The Garden State”

A lot of people know that “The Garden State” refers to New Jersey. Not all people though know where this came from, why it has been the monicker of the state, and who thought of giving the said nick name.

The State government of New Jersey tried to explain this in its official website. In their article, they mentioned the history of the slogan. Ad the personalities involved in naming New Jersey s such.

Why New Jersey is Called “The Garden State”

Why New Jersey is called “The Garden State.” (Photo Credits)

“Abraham Browning of Camden is given credit for giving New Jersey the nickname the Garden State. According to Alfred Heston’s 1926 two-volume book Jersey Waggon Jaunts, Browning called New Jersey the Garden State while speaking at the Philadelphia Centennial exhibition on New Jersey Day (August 24, 1876). Browning said that our Garden State is an immense barrel, filled with good things to eat and open at both ends, with Pennsylvanians grabbing from one end and New Yorkers from the other. The name stuck ever since.”

Read the whole text here.

Special Slogan

In 2017, the state nickname has become an official state slogan. The website NewJersey.com published an article on this, saying the slogan was given special status following the orders of the governor.

“Just hours before he and his family head overseas for a 10-day summer vacation, Gov. Chris Christie on Monday signed into law 50 bills, including one inspired by a Girl Scout troop who wondered why New Jersey had an official state bird, state flower, state shell, state dinosaur and even a state tall ship — but no state slogan. A law requiring “Garden State” to appear on New Jersey license plates was enacted in 1954, but until now the phrase had not received special legal status.”

Read the rest of the report here.

Very Apt

Local online publication New Jersey Monthly meanwhile says that no matter how many objections there were in calling the state, the “garden state,” there apparently rises enough reasons why the nick name should stick. New Jersey Tourism Authority

“Agriculture is New Jersey’s third largest industry, behind pharmaceuticals and tourism, generating $65 billion a year. The state ranks second in the country in production of both culinary herbs and blueberries, and it boasts more horses than Kentucky. A full 806,000 acres, or 17 percent of the state, still comprises farmland, a designation that includes nurseries, vineyards and orchards, horse farms, and produce and livestock farms.”

The whole article can be read from here.

New Jersey’s support for its agricultural industry could also be a reason why the nick name should remain.

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Best Plants to Cultivate in New Jersey

New Jersey is not called the Garden State for nothing. It produces a great variety of fruits and vegetables that are not common in other places in the United States. It also has a high production of crops and vegetables and fruits that are considered all- American hence its monicker, regardless of the real historical background, remains favorable to those with green thumb.

Best Plants to Cultivate in New Jersey

Lovely plants and flowers can be propagated in New Jersey. (Photo Credits)

For gardening enthusiasts who are new to NJ and wondering what to cultivate, there is a good number of plants, fruits, trees, flowers, and crops to choose from.

NJ-Based landscaping company, Abort Landscape Design, for instance came up with a list of 20 flowers that are great to cultivate given the New Jersey climate. Coral Bells made it to their list.

“The diverse colors and interesting textures of coral bells, makes them a favorite on the list of perennial flowers for NJ gardens. Coral bells produce spires of dainty, white, pink and green flowers and different colored foliage in silver, purple and burgundy. They grow in low clumps, so they work well as border plants and groundcovers. Coral bells like rich, humusy soil that retains a lot of moisture.”

Read about the other perennials that made it to their list here.

Best Fruit Trees for New Jersey

NJ.com meanwhile shared their list of best fruit trees to propagate in the Garden State. Grapes is one of the fruits that have been featured on their list. State of New Jersey Official Website

“Grapes have become a very important crop for New Jersey over the past few years. Much of the popularity is a result of the hybridization of European and North American grapes to produce wine. However, there are a few excellent varieties, both seeded and seedless, for general consumption and use in jams and jellies.”

Check out the full list here.

Gardening website Jersey Yards meantime shared tips for those who are planning to cultivate plants in their New Jersey home. One of their tips is to choose native plants for their gardens as they are the easiest to care for. New Jersey State Golf Association https://www.njsga.org/

Hardy, low-maintenance native plants save time and money. Native plants are well-adapted to our local climate and soil and have natural defenses to plant diseases, harmful insects, and other pests. When the right native is planted in the right place, it will thrive with minimal care. Once established, native plants flourish with normal rainfall and need little, if any, additional watering. Save money on fertilizers and pesticides too”

The rest of their advice can be found here.

Planting native trees and flowers also have better chances of blooming optimally as they can withstand the climate and the type of soil in the state.

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Dangers of Homeowners Removing Asbestos

Some of the most common issues we see when testing for asbestos happen during the home-buying and selling process. If you’re gearing up to put your house on the market, or if you’re looking to purchase a new home, here’s what you absolutely need to know about asbestos dangers, testing, and removing asbestos.

Should You DIY When Removing Asbestos?

No! After the asbestos testing homeowners may need remediation, but all too often, instead of hiring a professional asbestos abatement company, many sellers try removing asbestos themselves. This creates problems when the buyer then asks for a certificate of removal from an abatement company, and the seller doesn’t have any proof to provide.

Not only is this a major headache for both parties, but it is also very dangerous for everyone involved, as well as the general public. Asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) need to be disposed of in an asbestos landfill. Otherwise, the public could be exposed to these harmful particles, not to mention you, your family, and the next family who lives in this home.

Moreover, if you try to DIY when removing asbestos, it is very likely that asbestos could still be present in your home, despite your best efforts. If a second air quality test still indicates asbestos, you’ll need to start all over again with the removal process.

Why It Pays to Hire a Professional

The upfront costs of selling a home can be a bit daunting, especially when you’re hit with a positive asbestos testing and are now faced with the process of removing asbestos. However, hiring a professional asbestos testing inspectors and abatement companies now will end up saving you time and money in the long run.

As in the example explained above, the cost of professional asbestos removal now will be offset by the money you’ll save later when you go to sell your home and don’t have to scramble to get a certification of removal, which would require you to go through the entire process all over again, as well as delay the sale of your home.

What to Look for in Asbestos Testing and Abatement Companies

Another thing to watch out for when dealing with asbestos inspection and removal is fraudulent or unqualified individuals trying to pass their services off as “professional.” Don’t be fooled by too-good-to-be-true pricing, or “under the table” work. The only way to get accurate, certifiable asbestos testing results is to work with a certified asbestos testing company.

Similarly, don’t hire just anyone to remove asbestos-containing materials if your testing comes back positive. Unless you use a professional asbestos removal company, you won’t be able to provide future buyers proof that these materials were effectively and safely removed from the home.

If you still have questions about asbestos testing or removal, feel free to contact IRIS online or give us a call at 1-800-908-6679. You can also read through our FAQ page to learn a little more about the asbestos inspection process and how results are reported.

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Asbestos Floor Tiles-Tips for Installation Companies

For any company, employee and client safety are of the utmost importance, and most reputable flooring, construction, and demolition companies do take necessary steps to ensure the safety of everyone involved. However, in some cases, there could be health hazards lurking at the job site that workers may be unaware of, which could put them and the homeowners at risk. Anytime a flooring company is asked to remove old flooring, asbestos floor tiles are one of their biggest hazards.

The Importance of Asbestos Testing before Flooring Removal

IRIS Environmental Laboratories has encountered quite a few homeowners who wanted to have their floor tiles inspected for asbestos. One, in particular, had previously hired a general contractor to have his floor tiles encapsulated with another layer of floor tile, simply because he’d always suspected that the floor tiles were actually asbestos floor tiles. However, when the workers arrived, they mistakenly began removing the floor tiles instead of sealing it, which resulted in the dust – and potentially asbestos – particles throughout his home.

Sure enough, the flooring tested positive for asbestos. Unfortunately, the entire time the workers were removing the flooring, they were unknowingly exposed to deadly asbestos particles. Had it not been for the homeowner asking them to stop for asbestos testing, they would have continued their work and risked further asbestos exposure.

Sealing Asbestos Floor Tiles vs. Removal

Even if a job requires sealing asbestos floor tile rather than removing it, all workers should be made aware of the dangers of asbestos exposure and what to do if they find themselves in a potentially hazardous situation. In the story described above, had even one of the employees realized that asbestos testing should be done prior to flooring removal, the entire incident would have been avoided altogether.

If, on the other hand, the job requires workers to completely remove flooring tiles, it’s best to play it safe and test for asbestos before starting anything. A good rule of thumb to follow is to arrange for asbestos testing prior to any demolition or flooring renovation project that could disperse asbestos particles into the air.

Taking the Next Step: How to Arrange for Asbestos Testing

So, how do you go about testing for asbestos and safely removing asbestos, if necessary, before beginning a demo project? You can either work with a company like IRIS Environmental Laboratories to ensure all necessary testing is complete prior to beginning a job, therefore you know your workers are safe, or you can ask the homeowner to have the material tested prior to your arrival.

It’s important to note that you need to make sure you’re working with a certified asbestos testing company, as there have been many incidences of fraud in the past. When it comes to keeping your workers and clients safe and healthy, it really doesn’t pay to skip this step or hire an unauthorized asbestos inspector.

For more information about how to arrange for asbestos testing prior to a flooring removal job, contact IRIS online or give us a call at 1-800-908-6679.

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Consequences of Violating Clean Air Act

Man Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Violating Clean Air Act

When it comes to keeping people safe from environmental hazards as outlined in the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency does not take policy violations lightly. Recently, a man was charged with three counts of violating the Clean Air Act for his unlawful involvement in an asbestos inspection and removal scheme within the Pillsbury Mills plant in Springfield, Illinois.

Why It Doesn’t Pay to Be Caught up in an Asbestos Scheme

Joseph J. Chernis IV was ordered to spend a total of 37 months in federal prison because he knowingly hired an untrained person to illegally inspect and remove asbestos-containing materials (ACMs) from the Pillsbury Mills factory. As a direct result of his actions, asbestos-containing dry insulation was improperly and unsafely removed from four buildings within the Springfield facility, putting countless people at risk of asbestos exposure. Clean-up efforts that are estimated to cost the U.S. EPA millions of dollars will now need to be carried out to ensure the safety of factory workers.

Health Risks of Asbestos Exposure

What is particularly troubling about Mr. Chernis’ actions is the fact that they did not just put him at risk. Asbestos removal workers, factory workers, and anyone else in the vicinity could have been exposed to dangerous asbestos fibers, which can cause a deadly form of lung cancer called mesothelioma. For this reason, asbestos testing and removal need to be performed by a trained and certified professional who will abide by all EPA standards and policies to ensure the safety of everyone involved.

EPA Regulations for Asbestos Removal

Asbestos is included as a type of hazardous pollutant outlined in the Clean Air Act. As such, business owners, contractors, or anyone else overseeing a demolition or renovation project needs to be aware of the EPA’s rules and regulations for identifying and properly removing and disposing of asbestos-containing materials.

In the long run, it simply doesn’t pay to try to save a few bucks by illegally hiring an unqualified individual to remove ACMs. Before beginning a demo or renovation project, make sure you’re compliant with EPA regulations.

How to Know If You’re Hiring a Legal Asbestos Testing Company

The first step in getting rid of ACMs safely is to call in a professional to inspect the property for asbestos and have samples tested. To make sure you’re working with a reputable company, don’t be shy about asking for things like certifications, accreditations, and whether or not they are compliant with all federal rules and regulations regarding the removal and disposal of asbestos-containing materials.

At IRIS Environmental Laboratories, a trained professional will always conduct a thorough asbestos inspection and have any possible ACMs tested for the presence of potentially deadly asbestos fibers. Once any detected asbestos is properly removed by a professional asbestos remediation company, IRIS Environmental Laboratories will then conduct an air quality test to ensure that there are no longer dangerous asbestos particles in the air.

If you still have questions about how to properly test for and remove asbestos before starting a demolition or renovation project, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-908-6679 or contact us online.

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Chrysotile Asbestos Threatens Schools, and Businesses

Contrary to popular belief, Chrysotile asbestos is far from being a thing of the past. Although regulations are now in place that prohibits the use of some asbestos-containing materials (although not all) in new construction, any home, school, business, or other structure that was built before 1980 is likely to still contain ACM’s.

If disturbed, ACM’s can release microscopic particles into the air, leading to serious health concerns. Chrysotile and other types of asbestos have been linked to a form of lung cancer known as mesothelioma, as well as a serious non-cancerous lung disease called asbestosis.

What Is Chrysotile?

Chrysotile also called “white asbestos” or “serpentine asbestos” is the most common type of asbestos that is still found in homes, schools, businesses, and even ships. According to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), an estimated 95% of all asbestos found today is chrysotile. Like other types of asbestos, which include actinolite, amosite, anthophyllite, crocidolite, and tremolite, chrysotile poses a serious health risk if its tiny fibers are released into the air and inhaled through your lungs.

Thus, asbestos-containing materials on their own are not necessarily a hazard to your health, but if you are planning a demolition or renovation project that could disturb these ACM’s, you’ll need to have the area inspected and tested for asbestos first. If found, a professional asbestos remediation company should come in and safely remove the materials before your project moves forward.

How to Tell If There Is Asbestos In Your Home, School, or Business

One of the most common questions people ask about asbestos detection is, “Can’t I just look around for asbestos in my home or business?” Unfortunately, it’s not enough to just look for asbestos, because it is impossible to tell with the naked eye whether or not a material contains asbestos fibers.

Asbestos is considered to be a hazardous material, so any school, business owner (among other occupations that may expose you to asbestos)  or overseer of a demolition or renovation project needs to have the space-tested by a trained professional and properly remediated if asbestos is found. Once ACM’s are professionally removed, an environmental laboratory can provide a final air quality test to ensure that all traces of asbestos particles are, indeed, removed from the space.

About IRIS Environmental Laboratories

IRIS Environmental Laboratories is a fully accredited lab with certified experts in the field of asbestos testing, mold testing, air quality testing, and other environmental testing services. We are committed to providing each and every client with the highest-quality environmental testing available and at an affordable price. IRIS Environmental Laboratories understands that the health and safety of you and your family mean everything to you, so we go out of our way to ensure the best possible testing and consulting services to keep your family safe.

If you’d like more information about IRIS Environmental Laboratories or how to take the first step to have your home, school, or business tested for asbestos, please feel free to contact us online or give us a call at 1-800-908-6679.

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