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David B. Corbin
The Westfield Leader
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Westfield, N. J. 07091 P. O. Box 368 • 1906 Bartle Avenue Scotch Plains, N. J. 07076
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A& E and EDUCATION
NEWS & EDITORIAL
Local Television Stations Can Benefit By Working to Coordinate Their Efforts
Local cable TV stations provide communities with useful opportunities to communicate. Many programs are entertaining and informative to the public. Volunteers work hard to produce programming and to keep the stations on the air.
Each year, we have a good time working with TV34, TV35 and TV36 producing the candidates debates. Last week, Bob Merkle and his crew did an outstanding job with the debates on TV34 for Scotch Plains. This week on Friday, we look forward to working with George Weiss and all with TV35 in Fanwood for the debates.
They are on the ball and their productions seem seamless. We know, however, that they undergo a lot of preparation and hard work to make these telecasts work.
On October 26th, we have the opportunity to work on the debates with Doug Black in his new position as TV36 coordinator for Westfield. The High School TV34 people are helping out too.
Last year, we worked with Mountainside for the candidates debates. Things aren’t set up yet there for the debates this year. Hopefully, arrangements with the candidates will be made in Mountainside, and that that telecast will occur.
There are several obstacles for local television stations to overcome. Interesting content is difficult, expensive and time consuming to produce. There are several stations but little in the way of published schedules for the public to know what’s going on and with what station.
Each station produces calendars to fill up air time. Although calendars are good, it’s difficult to achieve a comprehensive calendar for the region. So, listings of events are scattered over several stations. This adds to public confusion and to the cost of production.
Depending on how transmissions are administered by the cable company, only a few local stations can
be viewed by each town. Recently, the Mountainside TV station was rearranged to merge with Governor Livingston High School rather than as previously arranged in sharing with Fanwood.
Now, Mountainside activities can’t be viewed in Westfield, Fanwood or Scotch Plains. Similarly, activities of our neighbors from Garwood, Cranford and Clark can’t be viewed by this region either.
Each station has limited equipment of various age and condition. Volunteer talent and experience available to stations vary from town to town. So, each may be hampered in different ways.
It seems that opportunity exists for sharing of resources. It may be desirable for goals to be modified between the local stations so that all can achieve more. As example, a major advance could be achieved if this coordination could be extended to community emergency notices.
Our region can view three local stations as currently configured by the cable company. It is possible for one station to dedicate much of its attention to producing the best event calendar and emergency notification system. Another could telecast all the town meetings from the region (such as to include Cranford, Mountainside, Fanwood, Clark, Scotch Plains, Berkeley Heights and Union County). Custom developed content could be consolidated on the third station. This coordinated system and content could be shared with our neighbors that have different cable arrangements.
Each station could benefit as they learn to work more together. Knowledge, resources, equipment, buying power and skills could be pooled.
We’re sure it would take untangling some administrative issues to achieve this. But, in our view, with the many good people working with the various local stations, much benefit could result for the public.
What do you think?
Strife In The Middle East Threatens Home Heating Oil
Undoubtedly, the chaos and death in the Middle East are dreadful. It seems far away, but the ramifications on our oil supply are already felt here in the price. Matters could get worse. The home heating season is approaching, and shortages of oil and gas are anticipated. There’s no time for supplies to be increased. Unfortunately, we knew about the potential problem long ago but did nothing. The U. S. has a problem even without taking into account the current upheaval in Palestine.
In the July 20, 2000 edition of this newspaper, the editorial spoke about the impending energy problem. We called for government action. Here’s what we said:
“High heating oil prices and shortages are coming this winter. This is one of the lessons learned and forgotten from the 1973 oil embargo and from the prolonged energy crisis during that decade.” The editorial concluded, “We think that government should act now to inform residents in Union County about how to prepare and cope should an energy emergency occur. Perhaps the Emergency Management Council of Union County should take the lead on this issue. Meanwhile, we feel citizens should start to conserve and cut back on gasoline and electric consumption. Ultimately, this is the citizens’ greatest weapon of defense.”
We’re down to the end of the line now as cold weather approaches. Things still can be done to keep the potential for shortages to a minimum. First, government must acknowledge that there is a threat and that some people here could suffer. Government should urge citizens to conserve right now. Furnaces,
thermostats and storm windows should be in the best of repair. Emergency heating oil delivery telephone numbers should be publicized if someone gets caught short on a cold winter’s night. People should know where to go if they need some help. Even if you’re wealthy and don’t care about the cost, that’s not enough. Prepare and conserve for everyone’s sake.
Here’s how a friend from England and frequent visitor to Westfield views their analogous situation and ours.
“I was meaning to put pen to paper a few weeks ago when we had our great petrol (gas) crisis. The country just about to grind to a halt. Food was about to be rationed, folk could not get to work, the military was put on standby to safe guard essential supplies.
“The fuel protest began over the very high price of petrol. As you know, we are paying nearly $6 a gallon. The UK has the highest fuel prices in Europe. If nothing else, the uproar over the high gas prices brought the feelings of the people to the governments notice. The price of fuel is now an election issue, it’s something we should have done years ago.
“The short answer to the great fuel crisis is of course ‘to walk. ’ Walking might be the answer to Westfield’s traffic problems. You have a smashing town, but you also have a lot of motor cars in and around your lovely little town. I can understand why the good folk of the United States don’t walk very much the size of the country and the large distances between towns. But the major reason why Americans don’t walk is cheap gas!”
In New Jersey, let’s act now in the little and practical ways that we can. It all adds up. If you have ideas or a differing view, we’d like to hear it.
At the January 1, 2000, annual reorganization meeting, I set Fanwood downtown revitalization as the top priority for this year. As you read this, the streetscape work is well underway on Martine Avenue.
Taking full advantage of $400,000 in 1999 grants from the county and state, we have awarded two contracts. One calls for installation of new concrete sidewalks, paver blocks and electrical conduits, and Victorian street lamp foundations. The other covers installation of the street lamps themselves, including pulling the electrical wiring in the conduit. The work is being performed on Martine Avenue from LaGrande Avenue to South Avenue and on South Avenue between First and Second Streets. All work is scheduled to be completed by year’s end.
We have also completed negotiations with NJ Transit for a renovated and expanded South Avenue parking lot at the train station. NJ Transit has purchased the former Scotchwood Automotive property. Early in 2001, NJ Transit will clear that property and combine it with the present parking lot to provide a new lot with 53 additional parking spaces.
NJ Transit will also repave and landscape the entire new combined parking lots. In addition, they will provide new concrete sidewalk and paver blocks, and will install the new Victorian street lamps (provided by the borough) on the north side of South Avenue. This will be done per the same specifications and requirements for the work already begun on Martine Avenue.
The Downtown Revitalization Committee has worked very hard this year, in particular serving as a catalyst to get the new Fanwood Business and Professional Association underway. Monthly meetings are now being held at the Chelsea on South Avenue. The next meeting is
From the Desk of Fanwood
Mayor Louis C. Jung
Fanwood Coordinates Resources For Downtown
Wednesday, October 25, at 6: 30 p. m. We are looking for business people and professionals from all over Fanwood, not only those who are in the downtown area.
Looking to the future, on October 12, the Mayor and council passed a resolution asking the Planning Board to investigate the feasibility of declaring all or any part of our downtown commercial block an “area in need of redevelopment.” The block is bounded by South, LaGrande, and Martine Avenues, and by Second Street.
Under New Jersey state statutes, an area declared as “in need of redevelopment” would give the Mayor and council total control over such an area, superseding all zoning and Master Plan requirements for development and improvement. The Planning Board will make its recommendations to the Mayor and council early in 2001.
A strong and vibrant downtown is vital to any community. Fanwood is no exception. An improved downtown brings pride to the community, more stores and services, raises home values, and brings in more tax ratables, helping to offset the tax burden on homeowners. We can’t afford not to make the downtown our top priority. We will continue to do so.
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Letters to the Editor
Good Guys at Fire Department Give a Boy a Happy Birthday
I want to commend the Westfield Fire Department for being a most excellent part of our community. My threeyearold son Jack and eight of his closest friends went to the firehouse for a tour on his birthday. It was a thrill!
Firefighter Scott Mazza showed extraordinary patience with his young admirers — he spoke in terms they could understand, slid down the brass pole, and even let each child pose for a picture on one of the pumper engines! When the firefighters had to answer an emergency call, he invited us to await their return and to explore the fire stalls on our own
in the meantime. The Acting Chief, who arrived while we waited, shook hands with Jack and the others and reiterated Firefighter Mazza’s kind invitation. When the truck returned from the false alarm a short while later, our tour continued.
In all my travels (I am not a native of Westfield) I have never encountered a friendlier, more accessible fire department. Thank you for making our day special and for being such a vital part of our community.
Jennifer Schildge Westfield
Ringer has developed several independent meanings, including one who rings a bell, a throw in the game of horseshoes in which a shoe encircles the stake making a ringing sound, an expert, and a lookalike. We shall analyze the latter of these ringer idioms, as well as the ultimate of its kind — the dead ringer.
A ringer is defined as “a person who, or thing that strongly resembles another.” The word dead proceeding ringer further intensifies the degree of exactness and is taken from such usages as dead center or exact center of a circle. In U. S. slang parlance, a ringer is also a horse or other competitor fraudulently substituted for another of less ability in a horse race or other sporting event.
The origins of both ringer idioms can be traced to the practice of some unscrupulous English money changers (ringers) who would ring in (substitute) counterfeit coins along with genuine ones. From this practice, ringer developed its dual meanings of close resemblance and fraudulent substitute.
But while the money ringers have been replaced by paper hangers (people who pass counterfeit paper money), their legacy rings on in the ringer idioms.
Letters to the Editor Letters to
Student Supports Sex Ed in Schools
After reading the letter entitled “Parents in U. S. poll call for more sex,” I feel it’s valid for parents to want sex education taught. Sex education is needed in schools and is beneficial to all. Parents want to know it’s being taught and that students understand of HIV, STDs, abortion, and abstinence. Kids now have another outlet to go to if they have any question when they may not feel comfortable asking their parents.
If sex education is offered in schools, it should cover all issues like birth control and how it won’t prevent against HIV or STDs. Schools should bring up ways that you can prevent those things.
If kids are educated they will think more about their sexual actions. If students aren’t aware of the consequences they may have sex. We need to give knowledge to students so they will know what to do in these situations. I don’t think sex education should stress one thing over another like abstinence. It should be covered in all for years of high school. There can never be too much knowledge shared and a teacher may connect with just one student and you’ll make a world of difference.
Sara Beth Euwer Westfield
Retired SP Policeman Defends Chief O’Brien, Captain Nelson
I am a retired Scotch Plains Police Officer, having retired in 1995 after 27 and a half years of service. I was fortunate enough to serve all 27 and a half years with Tom O’Brien, who is now the Chief of Police.
I know Chief O’Brien on a professional and personal basis, having worked side by side for many years and having occasionally socialized with Chief O’Brien and his family. I have always known Chief O’Brien to be honest, forthright and fair in his treatment of his peers and the men serving under him. I have never known him to treat any person unfairly or preferentially based upon that person’s race, color, ethnic origin, religion or for any other reason.
Chief O’Brien is an honest man who would not, under any circumstances, hide or distort the truth to protect himself or his position.
Much like Chief O’Brien, I worked side by side with Captain Marshall Nelson for over 25 years. We were patrol officers together and worked in the Detective Bureau together. During the years we worked together on a daily basis, I never observed Captain Nelson to treat any person differently or preferentially based upon a person’s race, color, ethnic origin, religion or for any other reason. I have been involved in circumstances with Captain Nelson during those years where racial or other bias had the opportunity rear its ugly head, yet it never did.
I am white and Marshall Nelson is black. We never viewed each other as anything other than a human being, each trying to do our best under the circumstances. We never viewed the people we came into contact with during our police years together as anything other than people.
Marshall Nelson never treated a white person, a member of the police family or otherwise, a peer or subordinate, as anything other than a person. As a supervising officer, Marshall Nelson has been in
the precarious position of having to reprimand subordinate officers. He is a black man on what has traditionally been a white police department. In my opinion, he always exercised his authority fairly and without regard to race.
Tom O’Brien and Marshall Nelson are decent men who have dedicated the greater part of their lives to being policemen, but more importantly, to being honest and fair men under circumstances where they could easily have taken the easy course; not put themselves on the line and not have subjected themselves to the accusations now being leveled against them by subordinate police officers whose actions in the court of duty were questioned.
I respect each of them as policemen, as superior officers, and as men. I will support them as each of them, one white and one black, as each supported me as a fellow policeman and subordinate officer. I feel for them as they now must deal with what I believe to be totally libelous and slanderous accusations.
Unfortunately, all the good things each of these men has accomplished is forgotten. The good things are forgotten as the focus is now on unproven accusations by four officers who feel aggrieved and must fight their case by name calling. What a shame that after a quarter century of dedication to the Police Department, they now must deal with their careers and names being besmirched.
Carl Sicola Scotch Plains
Stop the Campaign ‘Sell Off’? It’s Wishing for the Tooth Fairy
I have been a subscriber of your paper for many years. At no time that I can remember has your editorial section spoken with more clarity and on a more important subject than last week’s edition. I specifically refer to the editorial titled, “U. S. Senate Seat: Our Vote Money Can’t Buy.”
One point you do not mention is the fact that seats have already been purchased and more will be sought by litigation proceeds from asbestos, tobacco and all others down the road.
There has to be true campaign finance reform, including union spending, corporate soft money and the like, to maintain our two party system’s integrity and there has to be comprehensive tort reform.
At this juncture, to expect Democratic and Republican leaders to join together to stop the “selloff,” as you put it, is to wish for the tooth fairy.
George Tomkin Scotch Plains
Fanwood Lions Ask For Used Eyeglasses
The Fanwood Lions Club had a very successful White Can Drive on Sunday, September 24. The success was all due to the generosity of our friends in the community and in surrounding communities.
We ask these same friends to drop off their old eyeglasses and hearing aids in the Lion Collection Box on the south side of the railroad station in Fanwood. These donations will be delivered to New Eyes for the Needy, where they are checked for prescription and distributed where needed.
Remember, “When you help us, we help others.”
For membership and information, call (908) 8898870.
Phyllis Fischer Fanwood
More Letters on Page 18
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)