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A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains - Fanwood Thursday, March 23, 2000 Page 7

CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK

Mayor Kicks Off Fund Drive For Westfield Rescue Squad

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SUPPORT FOR THE SQUAD… Mayor Thomas C. Jardim signs a proclamation designating March as “Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad Month” to kick off the squad’s annual fund drive. Joining the Mayor, pictured left to right, are: Squad Captain Diane Holzmiller, President Grace Kowalski and Vice President and Fund Drive Chairman Reid Edles.

WESTFIELD — Mayor Thomas C. Jardim recently kicked off the Westfield Rescue Squad’s 2000 fund drive by proclaiming March as “Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad Month.”

Through the proclamation, the Mayor stated that the squad has unselfishly provided emergency medical care and transportation to the residents and visitors of the Town of Westfield, in the event of accident, disaster, sudden illness and the like for the past 49 years.

Mayor Jardim observed that during 1999, squad volunteers had logged tens of thousands of duty hours in answering 2,035 calls.

He added that Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad members have generously donated their time and efforts to provide for the physical wellbeing of the community and its residents, “with no reward other than the knowledge of a job well done.”

The squad, which is supported solely through private donations, is again appealing to Westfield residents for the majority of its funding. Every resident of Westfield will receive a letter in the mail asking for their financial support of the squad.

“This year we are asking Westfield residents to support us in two ways, by giving generously to our 2000 fund drive and through volunteering their time to the squad,” said Reid Edles, squad Vice President and Fund Drive Chairman.

“The fund drive is our onceayear appeal to raise enough money to fund our daytoday operations and provide the squad with reserve moneys to ensure continued service to the community in the future,” he added.

“This year the squad continues to have a tremendous need for volunteers to work as Emergency Medical Technicians and dispatchers. A number of our members have retired or moved away and we seriously need the support of the Westfield community to replenish our ranks,” Mr. Edles

noted. The Westfield Rescue Squad is an allvolunteer organization serving the community of Westfield, and one of the few resident squads in the state of New Jersey.

Tax deductible contributions may be made to: The Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad, P. O. Box 356, Westfield, 070910356.

For further information about volunteering with the Westfield Rescue Squad, please call (908) 2332500, or visit the squad’s headquarters at 335 Watterson Street to pick up an application.

For all emergency services, please call 911.

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Million Mom March Seeks Enforcement, Tighter Gun Legislation from Washington, D. C.

By DEBORAH MADISON

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

WESTFIELD — On Mother’s Day, May 14, a day mothers traditionally spend being pampered and getting served breakfast in bed, scores of American mothers will instead journey to Washington, D. C. to march on Capitol Hill.

The cause is The Million Mom March, a demonstration to end gun violence through stricter enforcement of existing gun laws as well as new tighter legislation.

Organizing local participation in the March, Julia DeSantis, a Westfield mother of four, is rallying support and participants from the Westfield and Scotch Plain/ Fanwood area.

“After seeing the violence in Littleton, Colorado on the news, I felt it was time to do something,” she said.

Besides heading up local publicity and public relations for the March, Mrs. DeSantis is also coordinating several buses to take participants to Washington D. C. ’s Capitol Hill for the event. So far, approximately 150 local people have expressed an interest to her in reserving a bus seat to D. C., but she expects that more will be going down independently.

Many local churches and schools are also arranging their own buses and car pools, according to Mrs. DeSantis.

“We’re not about denying anyone their right to own a gun,” Mrs. DeSantis explained. “We just know that stricter enforcement of the gun

laws and tighter regulations regarding purchases will save lives.” The March was originally conceived in September of 1999 by a Short Hills mother, Donna DeesThomases, after the gruesome gun attack at the high school in Littleton, Colorado and the shooting at a JCC in Glendale, Calif.

The nonprofit movement demands from Congress what the organization

terms, “commonsense gun policies,” including, child safety locks, criminal background checks, registration and licensing, limitations of one handgun purchase per month and aggressive enforcement of existing gun laws.

Even though the Brady Bill requires criminal background checks on all gun purchases, a loophole allows unrestricted purchases at gun shows with no background check required.

According to Mrs. DeSantis, this loophole is putting too many guns into the wrong hands. A onegunpermonth limitation would impede multiple purchases at gun shows, which end up being illegally sold on the streets to criminals.

“Our children’s right to safety outweighs anyone’s right to own and use a gun totally unrestricted,” Mrs. DeSantis stated.

Mrs. DeSantis pointed out that there are laws regarding safety helmets for bike riders, licensing requirements to drive a car, safety bars on windows, and childproof caps on prescriptions; all important safeguards to protect children’s lives. However, gun ownership remains relatively free from licensing and

registration requirements. “The guns used in Littleton were purchased at a gun show, where no registration or background checks were required,” Mrs. DeSantis pointed out.

“Gun legislation supporters don’t want to deprive hunters, sportsman or homeowners from owning a gun, but rather to bring gun ownership under the same kind of regulations

that governs any dangerous technology,” Mrs. DeSantis remarked. Some of the organizations endorsing the March are the National Parent Teacher Association, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Center for the Prevention of School Violence, Physicians for Social Responsibility, the Children’s Defense Fund, Hadassah, National Council of Catholic Women and the American Jewish Congress, among others.

Debra Wachspress, the New Jersey Coordinator of The Million Mom March, and a professional publicist, stated, “This is not just about other towns. We are no different than Littleton and Glendale. If we don’t do something, it can happen here next.”

According to Mrs. Wachspress, true sports enthusiasts do not have a problem with licensing or any of the legislation being proposed by the gunsafety advocates.

“It’s gun fanatics who are hyperparanoid about government control, that oppose any kind of regulations.

Ingrid McKinley for The Westfield Leader and The Times GEARING UP FOR MARCH... A few of the mothers working on the Million Mom March, scheduled for Mother’s Day, May 14, in Washington, D. C., prepare for the inaugural event. Pictured, left to right, are: front row, Denise Bailey, Chris Jennings, Karen Geltzeiler, Julia DeSantis (coordinator), Maggie Savoga; back row, Sara Braun, Jenny Murphy and Leslie Wallant.

It’s the unlicensed gun dealers at gun shows, who know their guns are being sold on the streets, who don’t want legislation to hamper their profits,” Mrs. Wachspress stated.

Mrs. Wachspress pointed out that getting a license to drive a car is also inconvenient, but the need is recognized for it to insure everyone’s safety.

Likewise, putting a safety lock on a gun or getting a gun license may be

inconvenient, but is equally as much a lifesaving necessity as brakes on a car or laws against drunk driving.

More than 5,000 American children are killed each year by guns. The gun homicide rate of children under 15 is 16 times higher in the U. S. than in 25 other industrialized nations combined, according to a White House study on Kids and Guns accessible on the Million Mom March Web site.

Supporters are invited to help publicize the Mother’s Day March, mobilize marchers from their church, synagogue or school and reserve buses to Washington.

People are going to be flying in from all over the country, according to Mrs. Wachspress. By conservative estimates, the organizers are hoping for at least 50,000 marchers in the first year of the program. Monetary donations to defray the costs of the March are also being sought. “We are giving up our traditional day in bed, because being a good mother, sometimes involves changing the laws. We plan on keeping the pressure on Washington until our streets, schools and community centers are safe from gun violence,” Mrs. Wachspress added.

Rallies and marches are also being staged in many cities and towns all across the country to coincide with the D. C. March on Mother’s Day, for those who can’t make it to Capitol Hill.

Anyone from the Westfield, Scotch Plains/ Fanwood area interested in reserving a bus seat can contact Mrs. DeSantis at (908) 3891970 or by emailing her at: hules61@ aol. com.

Debra Wachspress can be reached via email at: MillionMomNJ@ aol. com.

The March is scheduled to begin at 11 a. m. and will continue until 5 p. m. with many speakers and other activities planned for Capitol Hill’s Mall area.

To learn more about the March and to volunteer, contact the Web site at www. MillionMomMarch. com or call (888) 989MOMS.

‘Million Mom March’ Meeting Is Scheduled

WESTFIELD — Organizers of the WestfieldScotch Plains area Million Mom March are planning an organizational meeting for Tuesday, March 28, at 8 p. m. in the Community Room of the Westfield Municipal Building, 425 East Broad Street in Westfield.

All people who have registered or are thinking about registering to attend the rally in Washington, D. C. this Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 14, in support of common sense gun legislation are encouraged to attend the organizational meeting.

To respond or for further information, please call Julia DeSantis at (908) 3891970, email Hules61@ aol. com or visit www. MillionMomMarch. com on the Internet.

Junior League Plans Estate Sale To Benefit Center

SCOTCH PLAINS — The Junior League of ElizabethPlainfield will hold a Millennium Garage/ Estate Sale on Saturday, April 1, to benefit the Center for Hope Hospice and Palliative Care, headquartered in Linden.

Founded in the 1970s by Peggy Coloney and the late Reverend Charles Hudson, the Center for Hope seeks to provide physical, emotional and spiritual support to all individuals facing the challenges of a lifelimiting illness, without regard to their ability to pay.

The Millennium Sale will take place from 8: 30 a. m. to 3 p. m. at Acadia House, located at 175 Glenside Avenue in Scotch Plains. It may be reached by taking the exit off Route 22, West, just before the Exxon station near the Bowcraft Amusement Park.

The cashonly sale will feature furniture and household items that have been donated to the hospice and the Junior League. Among the many items featured at the sale will be an upholstered Victorian rocking chair, a set of four dining chairs with needlepoint seats and a Chippendalestyle sofa.

Medical equipment such as walkers and wheelchairs will also be available for purchase.

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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)