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The Times of Scotch Plains-Fanwood

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Page 2 Thursday, March 23, 2000 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION

CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK

DIRECTIONS: Cranford Pool: Take the Garden State Parkway to Exit 137. At the exit ramp, bear right onto North Ave. Continue on North Ave. to Centennial Ave. Make a left onto Centennial Ave. At the fourth light on Centennial Ave. turn left onto Memorial Dr.. The pool parking lot is on the right. OR Take GSP South to Exit 136 and bear right onto Centennial Ave. Go to second traffic light and make right into Pool parking lot.

Berkeley Heights Pool: Take Route 22 West to the Berkeley Heights/ Scotch Plains Exit (2nd right after McDonald’s) and continue straight through the light onto Bonnie Burn Rd. which turns into Plainfield Ave. Continue up the hill and turn right at the Mountain Ave. traffic light. Travel on Mountain Ave. to the first light and make a left onto Snyder Ave. Once past the Rescue Squad Building, turn right onto Locust Ave. The pool is on the right.

Union Township Public Works Yard: Take Route 22 East to Vauxhall Rd. Exit (just past Chuck E Cheese). Bear right onto Vauxhall Rd. and go approximately 1.3 miles (go through 4 traffic lights), make a left onto Stahuber Rd. Continue until you come to Bayberry Dr. then turn left . Follow to Swanstrom Pl. then turn left to the DPW Yard.

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WHS Principal Dr. Petix Suffers Mild Heart Attack

By KIM KINTER

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader

WESTFIELD — Dr. Robert G. Petix, principal of Westfield High School, suffered a mild heart attack sometime over the weekend and underwent an angioplasty at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston earlier this week, according to Superintendent of Schools Dr. William J. Foley.

Dr. Petix was expected to have been released from the hospital yesterday following the angioplasty procedure to clear blocked arteries, but it was unknown when he would return to work.

Dr. Foley said that Dr. Petix called him and reported that he had suffered the mild heart attack and was in the hospital for observation. He was in the hospital’s cardiac care unit. He told Dr. Foley that he had been experiencing chest pains throughout the

weekend. “He was in good spirits and optimistic that he would be back soon,” Dr. Foley said. “He takes care of himself so we expect him to recover

quickly.” Dr. Foley added that he was unsure how long Dr. Petix would be out, but thought he could be back as soon as in two weeks. St. Barnabas Medical Center does not release information on the condition of its patients.

A memorandum was sent on Monday to Westfield High School staff and all faculty was informed, he said. No announcement was made to students.

Some reassignments to cover his absence were made, Dr. Foley added.

Dr. Petix, a Scotch Plains resident, has been the principal of Westfield High School since August 1, 1980.

Scotch Plains Officials Say Frazee House Not Facing Danger of Being Demolished By DEBORAH MADISON

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

SCOTCH PLAINS — The year is 1777. The Colonial cabin of Aunt Betty Frazee sits across from the Ash Swamp nestled between several small hills. Aunt Betty was baking bread for American soldiers in the large brick oven attached to the side of her house.

The appetizing aroma of freshlybaked bread wafted down the hillside across the Ash Swamp. Desperate for food to feed his hungry troops, the enticing scent attracted the attention of Generals Cornwallis and Howe, who approached the house.

Requesting a loaf, they were rebuffed when the fearful, but courageous Aunt Betty declared, “I give this to you, Sirs, in fear, not in love.”

Cornwallis replied, “Then neither I, nor soldier of mine, shall eat it, Madam.”

This historic Revolutionary War account of the house located at the junction of Terrill and Raritan Roads during the Battle of Short Hills, reveals the integral role this house played in the early history of what was later to become the Township of Scotch Plains.

The house was recently named to the sixth annual list of “most endangered historic sites” along with nine other locations around the state, but local Scotch Plains Township officials are determined to preserve the Colonial cabin.

Richard Bousquet, President of the Scotch Plains Historical Society describes the house as, “one of the single best examples of preRevolutionary architecture still standing in Union County.”

Built between 1720 and 1740, the Frazee House has changed ownership

and survived numerous renovations and additions. However, the exposed brick rectangle where the outdoor oven was once attached and the original foundation reveal the true age of this 300 yearold treasure.

Owned by Franklyn Tuttle Terry and Ella Louise Terry from 1949 to 1994, the 5.7acre parcel of land, on which the Frazee house sits, was operated as the Terry Lou Zoo. The zoo housed alligators, lions, elephants, monkeys and many other forms of indigenous and exotic wildlife, much to the dismay of the neighbors who lived downwind. The Terry’s occupied the Frazee house as their residence.

The zoo was sold to Harold Kafka and Deborah Kafka in 1994, who continued to operate the property as a zoo, changing its name (but not its aroma) to the Scotch Plains Zoo. Numerous complaints from neighbors and animal rights groups regarding the mistreatment and neglect of animals led to the zoo being shut down by the Division of Fish, Game and Wildlife.

The property was then sold to the Scotch Plains Realty Investors, Inc. in 1997, who then sold the deed to Sunrise Assisted Living Corporation, also in 1997. The corporation’s intention was to build an assisted living facility on the land, while maintaining the old house as a residence/ office.

The town, however, condemned the property before the Sunrise application was ever heard.

According to Councilman Tarquin Bromley, liaison to the Board of Adjustment, threefourths of the property is either a deeply sloped hillside or under water, which presented seri ous obstacles to supporting a large

building. It was also recognized by the town that the house was an historic treasure, which should be preserved, despite its current state of neglect and decay.

In 1998, the board condemned the property in order to seize it with the intentions of turning it into a public park, while renovating and preserving the historic house. A professional appraiser assessed the property to be worth in the neighborhood of $550,000.

According to Councilman Bromley, Sunrise responded to the town that according to their independent appraisal, the property was worth a great deal more — in the neighborhood of $1,000,000.

The situation is now being handled by an independent appraiser, who will arbitrate a fair price for the purchase of the property from Sunrise by the town.

Councilman Bromley told The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood that the town will definitely purchase the property, no matter what the outcome of the arbitrator’s decision. If the purchase price is raised considerably, the town will issue bond notes to acquire the funds.

“Because of the historical significance of the property to the town, we have decided that the property is deserving of preservation,” Mr. Bromley stated.

The town is in the process of applying for State and National Historical Registration for the house, in order to insure that it will be saved from demolition or marring its original features. The house currently has local historic designation, which offers it some protection from being inappropriately modified.

The Township Council has discussed several options regarding the final disposition of the land. Those options include turning the property into a passive, openspace park, building a Police Athletic League (PAL) or selling the house as a private residence.

Whichever option the Council and the Historic Commission agree on, State and National Registration will protect the house from destruction and insure that it is renovated in keeping with its original historical style.

“The real threat to the house is not demolition, but neglect,” Councilman Bromley stated, in disagreeing with the Preservation New Jersey report. The longer the house is left unheated and without proper maintenance, the more damage is done to the aging structure by decay and dry rot, he asserted.

It will be very difficult to renovate the house, according to Councilman Bromley if it is allowed to decay beyond a certain stage. For this reason, it behooves the town to act quickly to save the house from the elements of time and neglect, Mr. Bromley added.

The town does not have a timeline on when this arbitration process will be completed.

County Creates Separate Dept. for Parks; Freeholders Seek Funds for Route 28 Study

By PAUL J. PEYTON

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

ELIZABETH — In an effort to improve efficiency, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders has upgraded parks and recreation operations to a full department. Previously a division under the Department of Operational Services, officials believe making the department a separate entity will enhance existing operations.

The Department of Parks and Recreation will be headed by Charles Sigmund, previously head of the Division of Parks and Recreation. Serving under him are:

Daniel J. Bernier, previously head of the Bureau of Park Operations, has been placed in charge of the Division of Maintenance and Planning. He is now responsible for the day to operations, maintenance, park planning and environmental issues.

William Gallman, Jr., previously director of the Bureau of Park Maintenance, has been named Director of the Division of Golf Operations, in charge of the maintenance and operations of the county’s four golf courses and the clubhouses.

Debra Judd, Director of the Division of Recreation and Administration Support, responsible for the management of recreational programs including the Watchung Stables skating center, pools, Trailside Nature and Science Center, pistol and skeet and trap shooting ranges. Ms. Judd will also be responsible for personnel, purchasing, budget and public relations activities.

Michael Murray, Director of Public Information for the county, noted that given the millions of dollars the freeholder board has invested in park and playground upgrades and open space initiatives such as the Pocket Park program, it made sense to reorganize parks and recreation segment of county government.

He said the move was made to streamline operations and match existing staff with their strengths thus creating a much more efficient setup. The county has 26 parks and recreational facilities totaling 5,574 acres.

Mr. Murray noted that Union County had been one of only three of

New Jersey’s 21 counties that did not have a separate parks and recreation department.

The county recently approved a 10year, $46 million upgrade to its parks and recreational facilities.

County Manager Michael J. Lapolla signed the necessary paperwork to form the new department and designate the staff promotions last week.

“We’re excited and think this structure will be more efficient and allow for more recreational and educational opportunities for our county residents,” Freeholder Vice Chairman Alexander Mirabella told The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood.

In other business, the freeholders approved a resolution to file an application with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority for funds for a South Avenue/ Route No. 28 corridor management study.

The funds are available through the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration. The county will pick up $33,600 of the $168,000 cost of the study.

The board also approved a resolution to seek state aid of $525,000 through the Department of Transportation for replacement of the Vauxhall Road Bridge over the East Branch of the Rahway River in Millburn and Union.

At the start of last Thursday’s meeting, the board held a 40minute hearing concerning a proposal to sell a section of John Russell Wheeler Park in Linden to the Department of Transportation. The parcel will be used to expand what the City of Linden has described as a dangerous section of Route Nos. 1 and 9.

Freeholder Chairman Daniel P. Sullivan explained that as part of the sale of a section of the Linden Airport site to a private firm for a retail and commercial development, road improvements were necessary in the area including the intersection of Route 1 and 9 and Stiles Street.

The proposed improvements include widening on all approaches to the intersection to provide increased turning

lanes and additional travel lanes. Of the 25.8acre park, two parcels — a 320foot long, a 12foot wide strip along the southbound lanes of 1 and 9 and a 375footlong parcel varying in width from 6.55 to 16.6 feet along the westbound section of Stiles Street, will be turned over to the state. The combined parcels equate to 8,678 square feet or twotenths of oneacre or oneeighth of 1 percent of the total Wheeler Park area.

Ralph Strano and Thomas Boland of the Linden City Council and a representative of the General Motors plant were among those who spoke in favor of the plan.

Mr. Boland said the intersection has been the site of thousands of accidents, a number of them fatal in nature. He described the intersection as “dangerous and deadly.”

Mr. Strano said the highway should have been widened 20 years ago due to the increase of traffic over the years.

Vincent Lehotsky of Elizabeth, while in favor of improving safety on the highway, told the board he was opposed to sale of county park land. He questioned why no alternative plans had been presented during the hearings.

Another hearing was held in February before the City Council. The New Jersey State House Commission will meet and consider the application on Monday, March 27, at 9 a. m. in the State House Annex in Trenton.

Dr. Robert G. Petix

Cheri Rogowsky for The Westfield Leader and The Times

STUMPING FOR VOTES... Republican Seventh Congressional District candidate Patrick Morrisey did not let a rain storm get in the way of tracking for votes during the fourth annual Union County Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Union on March 11.

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Copyright 2000 - The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch Plains-Fanwood
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)