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Scotch Plains – Fanwood THE TIMES
OUR 42ND YEAR – ISSUE NO. 3042 Published Every Thursday USPS 485200
Periodical – Postage Paid at Scotch Plains, N. J. Thursday, July 27, 2000
— Serving Scotch Plains and Fanwood Since 1959 —
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A& E............... Page 21 Business ........ Page 17 Classifieds...... Page 20
Editorial ........ Page 4 Education........ Page 8 Obituary ........ Page 10
Religious ....... Page 11 Social ............ Page 6 Sports ............ Page 13
Cheri Rogowsky for The Times JERSEY FRESH TOMATOES… The Scotch Plains Farmers Market, sponsored by the Scotch Plains Business and Professional Association, was held last Saturday, drawing several customers searching for fresh New Jersey produce.
Cheri Rogowsky for The Times WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS, MY FRIEND… At Highland Swim Club in Scotch Plains, three team members proudly displayed their winning ranks. Pictured, left to right, are: Samantha Grecco, first place; Stephanie Glover, second place; and Courtney Bifani, third place.
Cheri Rogowsky for The Times LET’S MAKE A DEAL… Taking a timeout from swimming, these four girls put their swimming caps on to play a game of cards. Pictured, above, are: Taylor Guiffe, Annie O’Halloran, Kim Mary, and Julia Weigel.
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Area Pools Experience Full Membership This Summer By SUSAN M. DYCKMAN AND
Specially Written for The Times
It’s a full house at area swimming pools this summer.
At The Highland Swim Club on Martine Avenue in Scotch Plains, membership is up by 27 families over 1999, putting the pool just under its capacity of 300 families.
The club swim team is at an alltime high of 140, and The Sharks recently concluded their 22nd consecutive undefeated season in the Union County Outdoor Swim League.
In speaking with The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood, trustee Gale Miller of Fanwood made it clear that Highland is anticipating a waiting list for membership for 2001.
“We’re encouraging people to get their names in,” she said. “I feel we’ll be closing membership earlier next year.”
Highland is not the only pool in the area experiencing booming membership.
Just up the road, Willow Grove is at capacity with 300 memberships.
According to Willow Grove’s Membership Committee Chair
Nancy Sherwin, that number includes 25 senior members, which are given to families who have belonged to the club for 20 or more years.
“We’ve been in pretty good shape over the last couple of years,” said Ms. Sherwin. “We see a good turnover.”
The situation at the Westfield public and private pools also is growing increasingly tight. Families are on packed waiting lists and those numbers are growing.
At Scotch Plains’ Highland Swim Club where swim team participation is at an alltime high, swimmers ranging in age from six to 17 turned out daily rain or shine, working from 9 to 11: 30 a. m. under the direction of longtime Coach Bill Reichle and assistants Eileen Sweeney and Erin Wilkinson, who are also lifeguards at Highland.
With the addition of so many new members and several new trustees, Highland has made a big push this summer to provide a variety of activities that appeal to all members — young and old.
“We consider ourselves to be a community,” said Mrs. Miller, “and we want to foster that feeling by
offering more activities... something for everyone. We try to get people to meet people they might not meet otherwise. We help people make as much of their summer here as they can.”
Social events include: Wacky Wednesdays where youngsters enjoy a story and raft; pizza lunches that save moms from packing lunch for a day; the traditional tube and float days; and pool volleyball. The annual Family Party, which featured DJ music, dancing and swimming from 6 to 11 p. m. took place last Saturday night. All activities are organized by member volunteers.
The influx of so many new members is not without challenges. For example, scheduling swim lessons (which are provided free to members) for so many more children necessitated extending lesson times to 1 p. m.
“We increased the number of lessons that guards teach, and have been able to fulfill (members’) requirements,” said Jeremy Koscielecki, who has worked summers at Highland for six years. This year, he is filling in as needed when Pool Manager Ed
Lease vs. Buy Options for Acquiring ‘Fanwood’ Light Fixtures Explored
By SUZETTE F. STALKER
Specially Written for The Times
Members of Fanwood’s governing body reviewed three options to acquire 52 Victorian light fixtures for the downtown during a special meeting held last Thursday at Borough Hall.
The gooseneck lamps, featuring a bishop’s crook with scroll design, are modeled after light fixtures which adorned the borough’s train station and other railroad depots in the area for decades beginning in the 19th century.
Officials are seeking to either purchase or lease the lamps from Public Service Electric & Gas (PSE& G) as part of a plan to implement a Victorian streetscape in the borough. It is hoped the streetscape will create a unique ambiance that will attract more patrons to the downtown.
Together with decorative pavers and concrete, the lamps will be funded with $400,000 in state and county grant money which was received last year for downtown improvements.
Affixed to 15.3foot poles and equipped with 175watt bulbs, the lamps will provide pedestrian lighting but will not replace the regular streetlights which currently line borough streets.
Purchasing the light fixtures would cost the borough a onetime fee of $6,000 to $8,000 per lamp and would
cover installation but not maintenance. It was noted that the borough would have to keep replacements of all components in stock for whenever a light fixture needed repairs, with maintenance costs incorporated into the annual municipal budget.
An arrangement known as a “lease buydown” would enable the borough to acquire each lamp for a onetime fee of $2,000, although the municipality would have to pay $33 per lamp each month to cover maintenance, repairs and electricity.
A straight lease option would require no money down for the lamps, but the borough would have to pay $63 per lamp per month to cover installation and maintenance. With each of the lease options, the monthly charges would be included in the annual budget.
Clayton S. Pierce, Coordinator for the Fanwood Downtown Revitalization Committee (FDRC), appeared before the council that evening to answer questions about the borough’s options for obtaining the lamps.
He displayed for the council and others in attendance both an 1880 lamp which once stood at the Fanwood train station and was recovered by the borough’s Department of Public Works, and a sample of the new model, to be known as “The Fanwood” which the borough hopes to acquire.
After conducting extensive interviews and research as a volunteer for the FDRC for several months on issues related to downtown revitalization, Mr. Pierce was formally
named as Coordinator for the committee in April. He was responsible for convincing PSE& G to include “The Fanwood” in its catalogue.
The lamps will be made by Hadco, a Littlestown, Pa.based company which serves as PSE& G’s manufacturing unit, and will be available to customers worldwide.
Councilwoman Katherine Mitchell asked Mr. Pierce last week whether the borough could expect to receive any royalties from sales of Fanwood’s namesake lamp to other customers.
Mr. Pierce responded that there was no royalty agreement pending, noting that a Hadco representative had told him such an arrangement would be difficult to execute. He emphasized, however, that “The Fanwood” name would be seen by a global market.
Borough Attorney Wilfred P. Coronato said last week that he wanted to research several legal points before the governing body decides whether to pursue a lease or purchase option regarding the lamps. That decision is expected to be made at the council’s Wednesday, August 2, agenda session.
He also said he planned to seek input from representatives of several neighboring towns which have either entered into a lease agreement with PSE& G for street lamps or are considering the prospect.
Mr. Coronato noted that the borough cannot negotiate a final agreement with PSE& G until contracts are awarded for the rest of the streetscape work.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 12
Scotch Plains Family Hosts VP Al Gore During Recent Fundraiser
By FRED ROSSI
Specially Written for The Times
This past Sunday, while other families may have headed for the shore, the local swim clubs or the amusement park, one Scotch Plains family was doing something no one else in town was doing: hosting the Vice President of the United States.
Al Gore, set to be nominated for President at next month’s Democratic Party convention, dropped by the Arlington Court home of Dr. Arvind Kumar and his wife, Chitra, for a noontime fundraiser with members of the local IndianAmerican community.
About 150 people —including U. S. Senate nominee Jon Corzine, Woodbridge Mayor James McGreevey, a likely gubernatorial candidate next year, Newark Mayor
Sharpe James, Representative Frank Pallone and State Senator Raymond Lesniak (Union) — crowded into Dr. Kumar’s backyard and sampled Indian cuisine donated by Royal Albert Palace in Fords.
How does a family end up spending their Sunday hosting the man who is currently only a heartbeat — and, Democrats hope, an Electoral College majority — away from the Presidency?
Dr. Kumar told The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood the Vice President was in New Jersey trying to raise money for the coming presidential campaign.
Unable for a number of technical reasons to find a suitable venue for a fundraiser, leaders in the IndianAmerican community who are active in helping Mr. Gore’s campaign
turned to Dr. Kumar, a medical oncologist who has lived in Scotch Plains for three years with his wife and two children, and asked, just days before the event, if his home could be used.
He said that, after giving his assent, the U. S. Secret Service, which protects top governmental officials and presidential candidates, did a background check on him “to make sure I didn’t have a criminal record and that I had paid my taxes.”
Agents from the Secret Service also visited Dr. Kumar’s home to inspect the premises and to check out his yard where the function was going to be held.
On Sunday morning, the Vice President arrived and was ushered inside to Dr. Kumar’s bedroom, which,
CONTINUED ON PAGE 12
Local School Districts Evaluate New Construction Legislation By SUSAN M. DYCKMAN
Specially Written for The Times
While the July 13 passage of the “Educational Facilities Construction & Financing Act” by the New Jersey Legislature should mean good things for schools in Scotch PlainsFanwood, Westfield and Mountainside (and the taxpayers that support them), districts won’t know just how good for a while.
In order to be considered for funding under the new legislation, school districts must submit a fiveyear building plan to the state by December 15.
John Crosbie, Director of Communications for the State Department of Education (DOE) spoke of the “profound impact” the bill will have on helping schools’ upgrade their physical plants without using property taxes.
He emphasized Commissioner David Hespe and the department’s
commitment to insure that the tax dollars allocated for facilities construction financing be used properly.
“Part of our job is to make sure the money is spent wisely, as responsibly as possible,” explained Mr. Crosbie. “Every district will be held accountable for every dime.”
Nonspecial needs’ districts (also known as Abbott districts) will soon be receiving a letter from Commissioner Hespe along with a Frequently Asked Questions guide to the new legislation.
Around Labor Day, the DOE will distribute a software package to the more than 500 nonAbbott districts that are eligible for construction financing. The package will include a template for submitting fiveyear plans to the state. The package will define, “in broad terms,” said Mr. Crosbie, what is eligible for funding according to the Facility Efficiency Standards (FES).
FES are regulations adopted by the DOE each year in accordance with federal and state criteria. They set forth what the state deems appropriate in terms of school facility design, including classroom size.
The creation of a fiveyear plan will “require some forward thinking” on the part of districts statewide, said Mr. Crosbie, who acknowledged many districts have already thought long and hard about the kinds of projects they want to see implemented.
The DOE then has 120 days to review the plans and return them to individual districts. This “preliminary review phase,” said Mr. Crosbie, will allow districts to further clarify what kind of work they wish to do in the hopes of receiving state funding.
Come late May/ early June 2001, the DOE’s goal is to return the plans to individual districts, indicating what elements of the plan have received state approval.
Given that time frame, The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood asked Mr. Crosbie what would happen to districts such as Scotch PlainsFanwood that are planning to go out for a bond referendum this year? He indicated that, while no decision had been made, the matter is under discussion.
Scotch PlainsFanwoood Schools Business Administrator and Board Secretary Anthony DelSordi is fairly confident that the new construction being proposed in Scotch Plains will qualify for funding under the bill. He added, however, “I’m not sure yet how much renovation is covered under the new legislation.”
It so happens that renovations represent the lion’s share of the work
Page 12 Thursday, July 27, 2000 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION
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Cheri Rogowsky for The Times SIDEWALK JAM… A local ska band comprised of Scotch PlainsFanwood High School students, “The Purple Money Dishwasher,” performed in front of the Scotch Plains Music Center on Saturday. The band, which has released a CD, has been collaborating for seven months. Band members include tenor saxophone player Matt Deegan, trumpet player Luis Cruz, trombonist Joe Rohrer, drummer Matt Schaible, bassist Ken Kocses, and lead guitarist and vocalist Jason Ruggiero.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Area Pools Experience Full Membership This Summer
Sweeney and Assistant Manager Lori Schnedeker are off duty.
Mr. Koscielecki spoke positively of the increase in (member) volunteers he has seen this summer, particularly at swim meets.
The sheer size of the swim team presented its own set of challenges for Coach Reichle, who lives in Scotch Plains and teaches math at Pingry School. During the daily two and a half hours of practice, he and his assistants spread their time across seven different ability groups.
It is no small feat to balance the talents of kids who swim competitively year round with those who are strictly summer swimmers and, at the same time, give every swimmer a shot at one of the coveted ribbons that are awarded for first through sixth place finishes.
This is Eileen Sweeney’s second year assisting Coach Reichle. She saw “tremendous improvement” over the past three weeks among the 3540 new swimmers to the team, particularly the littlest Sharks, who, she said, have come a long way with their strokes and their dives.
“It’s been a little more stressful to get all the kids where they’re going at meets,” she acknowledged, given the size the team, but, all in all, “It’s been fun.”
Martha Lynch of Plainfield, who coordinates the team’s parent volunteers, admired Mr. Reichle for the way he sees to it that every member of the team gets attention.
“I’ve found him to be fair,” said Mrs. Lynch, whose own children first began swimming for Highland seven years ago. “Bill treats all the kids as if each of them had a special gift and talent, and he works hard to bring that talent out.”
During the course of the onemonth season, swim team parents are needed to work the individual meets as timers, scorers, marshals, runners, announcers and more.
Following this weekend’s league championships, to be held at Willow Grove Swim Club in Scotch Plains and at Westfield Memorial Pool, the 2000 season will be over and swim team will be just a happy memory until next year.
Going into this summer, Highland’s 48th season, Board President Craig Guiffre, also of Scotch Plains, and the rest of the trustees made some improvements to ensure the ongoing safety and enjoyment of members.
For example, the board acted on legislative changes in 1999 which required upgraded electrical systems throughout the pool property. The board also purchased a new pump for the pool, painted the locker rooms, refurbished the ladies’ locker, replaced floor mats and upgraded the public address and communications systems.
Additional money was spent on installing new entrance railings, shrubbery and paving. More chairs, tables and cushions were also purchased for members’ comfort.
Mr. Guiffre spoke highly of the quality staff at Highland. He said, “Most of our staff return each year, due to the camaraderie and family feeling that makes Highland unique. We have a terrific staff, which contributes to our success.”
In addition to the aforementioned staff members, Highland guards also include: Jennifer Bassman, Sara Beth Euwer, Amanda and Jill Koscielecki, Mark Lynch, Marissa Melendez and Chris Smith.
Looking ahead to the rest of the sum mer, things like water volleyball and a
possible Dibble tournament are on tap. For those not in the know, Dibble is a game that provides hours of pleasure for kids eager to leap into the water in the hopes of being the first to find a floating golf tee (also known as “dibble”).
Willow Grove’s 120member team, the Barracudas, matched up well against the Highland Sharks this past Saturday at Willow Grove. There were a host of pool and club records broken by individuals as well as relay teams during the morning meet as all the kids swam their hearts out on behalf of their respective clubs.
Despite intense competition, both teams showed good sportsmanship. At the conclusion of a particularly close race, the top swimmers from both teams in the 1517 boys’ level congratulate each other with handshakes across the lanes.
Highland ultimately won the meet, 310 points to 221, thus concluding another undefeated season.
In Westfield, at Manor Park Swim Club and Nomahegan Swim Club, which also have swim teams, the pools are beginning to stretch the limits of their membership. Currently each of the clubs have 400 families that belong to their respective pools.
Karen Infantino, Manor Park’s pool manager said, “We don’t know what we’re going to do. Last year we reached 320 memberships, this year we’re at 400 memberships. We can’t expand any further.”
The waiting list at Manor Park is up to 50 people. This is its first year with a waiting list.
Nomahegan currently sports a waiting list of fivesix years. A maximum of 400 families is its capacity as well.
Kathy Ostrowski, head of membership at Nomahegan, said the issue of how to deal with the waiting list has been brought up at many board meetings, but has never been resolved.
Westfield Memorial Pool has, for the second year in a row, reached its capacity of 9,000 people.
Last year Memorial Pool sold out on June 28. This year, however, Memorial reached its capacity over a month and a half before, on May 8.
Also this year, for the first time ever, Memorial Pool has a waiting list. For this season, Memorial has a waiting list of 130 families, or approximately 500 people.
Jim Gildea worked as Westfield’s assistant director of recreation as well as the pool administrator for the past seven years. This June, he became Westfield’s Assistant Town Administrator.
He spoke of the Memorial situation and said, “8588 percent of our membership is from Westfield. The reason for the increase in memberships is the huge influx of younger families. When you have an older couple moving out of Westfield and a family of four or five moving in, the capacity of the pool will grow.”
At Mountainside Public Pool the situation is not so tight. Although the current membership is almost peaking at 3,200, attendance has actually dropped at the pool.
Due to the cooler summer, Mountainside still has openings for members from Mountainside.
As Mr. Gildea puts it, “Pools are crowded, and it’s a good thing. Don’t think of it as overcrowded.”
Westfield Resident Ed Gallagher Prepares For BikeaThon Fundraiser in August
Lynn Kolibaba for The Times PREPARING TO GO THE DISTANCE... Ed Gallagher and his sister Katherine train together for the Pan Massachusetts Challenge, August 5 and 6. Funds raised go to support cancer research, treatment and care at the DanaFarber Cancer Institute in Boston. By LYNN KOLIBABA
Specially Written for The Times
WESTFIELD -Westfield resident Ed Gallagher will cycle in his second consecutive PanMassachusetts Challenge (PMC) August 5 and 6.
The nation’s oldest bicycling fundraiser, the PMC benefits the Jimmy Fund at the worldrenowned DanaFarber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts.
More than 80 percent of the riders who participate in the PMC are close to someone who has battled cancer.
“Cancer has hit too close to home for me not to be motivated do something about it,” said Mr. Gallagher. His father, now 80yearsold, had cancers detected early and treated successfully.
His sister, Eileen Cullen was only 45 when, in October, 1998, a routine mammogram discovered a lump which proved cancerous.
After four months of chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation treatment,
all tests are now negative for any signs of cancer.
By last summer, she was well enough to make it into the finals of a tournament at her Brooklyn tennis club and to cheer her brother on at the Pan Mass Challenge.
Mr. Gallagher felt strongly that regular checkups and early detection were critical in helping his family members in their battles with cancer.
The PMC offers a choice of six routes taking riders through as many as 43 Massachusetts towns. Participants also have the option of a oneday or a twoday route.
Mr. Gallagher, 42, along with his oldest sister, Katherine Gallagher, 55, will cycle the longest and most grueling twoday route, which runs from Sturbridge to Provincetown, Mass. and totals 192 miles.
Describing his experience of last year’s challenge, Mr. Gallagher said, “There are times when you feel pains all over. Then, you see a courageous child who is bald from chemo treatments holding out a sign that cheers on the riders. All of a sudden, the pain is gone, you remember why you are doing this and you shift into high gear.”
For the Gallaghers, the Pan Mass Challenge is a team effort. Their brother, Arthur and his family live just off the route in Easton , Mass.
Midway through the run on the first day, after 65 hilly miles, Ed and Katherine Gallagher will stop at his house for a welldeserved lunch. Ed Gallagher’s wife and children will be there to greet them along with sister, Eileen Cullen and her family.
Preparation for the ride is intense. Starting in May, Mr. Gallagher reports he starts sending pledge letters.
With a full family life and responsibilities as Vice President of Equity Trading for Autranet, Inc. (a subsidiary of Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette,
Inc.), he still finds time to cycle 120 miles a week. One of his favorite training routes is through the Watchung Reserve.
The PMC is the largest twoday fund raising event in the United States.
Last year, 2,514 riders participated and helped to raise a recordbreaking $8.7 million. Mr. Gallagher raised almost $11,000 through the generous sponsorship of family and friends.
With over 150 companies donating food and services, the PMC was able to donate 93 percent of the funds raised directly to the Jimmy Fund.
In 2000, they anticipate 3,000 riders and hope to raise $9 million. “In many ways, the PMC serves as a therapy for all those involved.
Participating allows you to do something else other than worry and fall into despair,” said Katherine Gallagher. “It moves you to take a positive action that you know will produce a positive result — it will raise funds for cancer research, treatment and care.”
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according to Dr. Kumar, “served as Gore’s temporary office, with a secure phone line.”
He told The Times the Vice President used some of his free moments inside the house to “play on the Internet,” making a point to visit www. algore2000. com, his campaign’s official Web site.
Dr. Kumar then stepped outside and delivered a welcoming speech to the crowd gathered in his backyard. He was followed by two leaders from the local IndianAmerican community, and then the Vice President addressed the gathering for about 2025 minutes.
After finishing his remarks and sampling some of the Indian cuisine, Mr. Gore went back inside the house and took care of some business matters before deciding to walk from Dr. Kumar’s house down the street to the Park Place Diner at the corner of Martine Avenue and Raritan Road for some fleshpressing with patrons there.
Dr. Kumar estimated that the Vice President spent about one andahalf hours in Scotch Plains on Sunday and that the event in his backyard raised about $150,000$200,000.
Dr. Kumar felt honored to host Mr. Gore, noting that “it is not very common for Vice Presidents to go to private homes” for fundraisingtype events.
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Area School Districts Evaluate New Construction Legislation
Hetfield Bridge Now Will Close Monday
By FRED ROSSI
Specially Written for The Times
WESTFIELD — Local drivers now shouldn’t expect Crossway Place in Westfield to completely reopen for another two weeks.
According to Town Surveyor Bill Fritzinger, the roadway, which runs underneath NJ Transit’s Raritan Valley railroad line, will be closed between 7 a. m. and 3 p. m. for the next two weeks while Elizabethtown Gas Co. finishes putting in new gas mains, a minor water leak is repaired and PSE& G moves some utility poles.
Until these tasks are completed, Crossway Place, a major connector between North and South Avenues, will be open from late afternoon until early morning, with one lane of traffic in each direction.
Mr. Fritzinger also told The Times
that there will be “minor closings” when the northern section of Crossway Place is slightly realigned so that, at the intersection with North Avenue, it lines up more evenly with Edgewood Avenue on the far side of North Avenue. The town will purchase a small parcel
of land from the American Legion Hall on North Avenue to allow for the roadway’s slight bend to the west.
When asked the reasons for the delays, Mr. Fritzinger attributed them to the contractor, who, he said, was “almost a year behind schedule.”
He pointed out that the contractor finished its work only a few weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Hetfield Bridge, which was supposed to be closed last Monday, will remain open until Monday, July 31. On July 31 the bridge will close.
Dennis Harrington, Scotch Plains Principal Engineer, said Crossway’s opening date could be as early as August 4, so there may be a sixday overlap in which both gateway’s will be under construction. During that time, Martine Ave. and Tuttle Parkway will be the alternatives.
Crossway will also remain open to emergency vehicles only during that sixday crossover.
Hetfield is set to be closed for three months, barring any unforeseen problems.
SCOTCH PLAINS POLICE BLOTTER TUESDAY, JULY 18
·A bicycle was reported stolen from the parking lot of a Westfield Avenue convenience store. During the incident, the suspect punched the victim in the face.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 19
·A motorist reported that on July 18 at noon, she was grabbed by the hair and punched by another motorist in a parking lot on Raritan Road in an apparent case of road rage. There were no visible signs of injury.
·A videotape was reported stolen from a Westfield Road video store. A boy described as being in his midteens was seen concealing a tape, and when confronted, ran out of the store with it.
THURSDAY, JULY 20
·A pharmacy on Park Avenue reported the theft of cash and merchandise valued at approximately $3,000 over the past several months.
·Ernest L. Coles, 39, of Plainfield was arrested and charged with robbery and resisting arrest in connection with a theft and assault that was reported on July 18. The incident occurred at a Westfield Avenue convenience store.
Detective Donnell Joyce of the Scotch Plains Police Department conducted the investigation. Coles was remanded to the Union County Jail, where he was held in lieu of $10,250 bail set by Judge Joseph Perfilio of Scotch Plains Municipal Court.
FRIDAY, JULY 21
·A burglary to a residence in the 100 block of Martine Avenue was reported to police. Entry was gained by forcing a rear porch door. Once inside, the suspect broke a glass pane to an interior door, then fled when the alarm system was activated. As of press time, nothing appeared to be taken.
·Police received a report of a burglary to a residence in the 1900 block of West Broad Street. Entry was gained by breaking out a rear sliding glass door. It appeared that a guitar amplifier and a small amount of cash were taken.
SATURDAY, JULY 22
·Two vehicles were reported entered at a restaurant on Park Avenue during the evening hours. Access to the vehicles was gained by breaking out windows. Police reported that assorted cash and a car stereo were taken.
·A shoplifting incident was reported at a convenience store on Westfield Avenue.
SUNDAY, JULY 23
·An Argyll Court resident reported that, over the last month, his identity was being used to make fraudulent credit transactions.
on tap for Scotch PlainsFanwood schools.
According to the business administrator, “what’s covered and what’s not” will certainly have an impact on what is included in the final bond referendum approved by the board. A vote is scheduled for September 28.
“The board has a lot of things to address,” stated Mr. DelSordi.
“Ultimately, the board will do what’s reasonable for the taxpayers.”
“We will get some guidance from the administration as to final recommendations for inclusion in the bond,” said Theresa Larkin, President of the SPF Board of Education. “The public will also play a large role. The September meetings (14th, 21st and 28th) are important. We want it to be a good proposal that passes.”
Once districts know how much the state is prepared to kick in, they can present their case to the public in the form of a bond referendum.
As Mr. Crosbie explained it, the wording of a bond referendum should be such that taxpayers will vote on the whole facilities construction package with the understanding that the state is prepared to offset a certain percentage (at least 40 percent) of the total cost.
In Scotch PlainsFanwood, Mr. DelSordi added that, once the particulars of the bond have been finalized, secondary programs which have been identified as mustdo projects will be incorporated into the capital expenditure portion of the board’s annual budget. Voters’ April approval of three second questions attached to the 20002001 school board budget was a first step toward helping the district build up a capital expense fund.
In the Westfield schools, Robert A. Berman, business administrator and secretary to the board of education, said that anything that would help the taxpayers would be good.
Westfield recently formed an advisory committee to explore whether another school bond is necessary to pay for various improvements to the town’s high school. The group has been meeting every other Wednesday for several weeks to discuss the issue, Mr. Berman said.
The committee will continue to meet throughout the summer and make a presentation to the board in early fall. Depending on what is decided, a bond could be placed on the ballot in December, he said.
If it is decided to seek a bond, Mr. Berman said that bond counsel would then be brought in to help figure out what particular projects might be eligible under the new state legislation.
Westfield schools passed a $12.7 million bond issue in December, 1998,
to fund a variety of projects throughout the elementary and middle schools and the high school.
Mr. Berman also said that his understanding is that the new construction legislation may be retroactive and may apply to some of the construction that Westfield schools undertook as a result of the bond passage.
In Mountainside, Chief School Administrator Dr. Gerard Schaller said he was “ecstatic” that the bill passed.
“We’re looking at our options,” he said, explaining that an ad hoc committee was formed in early spring to evaluate the needs of the district and to determine whether construction will be needed to fit the district’s needs. Additions may be necessary to either or both the present Deerfield School and Beechwood School, which is currently being rented by the Union County Educational Services Commission.
Dr. Schaller said that the ad hoc committee was formed partly because of growing enrollment, but also because of changing classroom needs, particularly at the middle school level.
Enrollment so far for this fall is up from 611 to 634, Dr. Schaller said.
The ad hoc committee, which is made up of a wide cross section of community and school people, will present its findings to the school board on Tuesday, September 12. Based on the report, the board will decide what projects might be needed and what may be covered under the new state legislation.
“Knowing that 40 percent could be funded by the state,” would be helpful if the district needed to seek a bond. “Anything is better than nothing.”
In Berkeley Heights, where Mountainside high school students attend Governor Livingston High School, the school district currently is reevaluating a $10.6million bond referendum that was defeated in April.
William VanTassel, Berkeley Heights school business administrator and board secretary, said the fate of another bond soon would be decided. He said that a decision will be made by the end of August in time for an October vote.
Berkeley Heights is already using a bond counsel and has asked the counsel to analyze the new legislation and decide what work might be eligible to be covered.
The bond that the Berkley Heights board of education is considering would cover an expansion to the district’s middle school and fund a number of safety issues, such as the repair of roofs.
* * * * *
Kim Kinter contributed to this story.
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