Letters to the Editor
Transportation Initiatives are Vital To Economic Viability of County
A recent proposal in the New Jersey Register included the following initiative, which could only be understood by an alphabet lover.
It read, “Upon approval of the New Jersey STIP, the NJDOT will distribute copies to the MPOS.” The rough translation, the Federal and state agencies – STIP (State Transportation Infrastructure Plan), NJDOT (New Jersey Department of Transportation), MPOS (Metropolitan Planning Organizations) — controlling the flow of transit dollars are making decisions which will determine the basic ability of our citizens to commute, and for commerce to move.
Union County, through groups such as our Council of Economic Advisers, understands that basic to sustaining our economic growth is the rehabilitation and expansion of mass transit opportunities.
The thrust of our plan has included Light Rail Transit between Elizabeth and Plainfield, as an economic stimulus and unification of the county. We have also come to understand that passenger and freight service developed in concert are a tremendous tool for economic growth. We also look to better transit access to the Port of Elizabeth and new partnership with the CSX-Norfolk Freight Service, and the resolve of right away issues on existing lines for new passenger development.
The availability for funding is decidedly mixed. The Federal government grapples with Amtrak funding, with the House of Representatives offering $555 million for operations — considerably less than the Senate’s $621 million.
The shortfall could prevent the very kind of continued station and track rehabilitation necessary for enhancement at Rahway and other stations. This cutback is ironic, in that Amtrak looks to be free of all subsidies by the year 2002.
At the very time this debate rages, ridership into New York on tunnels and bridges is at an almost saturation level. The George Washington Bridge has seen a total 2 million car increase in just the past two years.
Will people use mass transit? The answer is a resounding yes. Path ridership is up 3.8 percent, despite the continued attempts by Mayor Rudolph Guiliani to have this fare increased. NJ Transit has held fares stable for eight straight years, and has experienced record ridership.
The State of New Jersey has begun the process of reconsidering the long-range transportation plan. As the plan changes are considered, it is my goal to have Union County weigh-in in support of mass transit improvement. We have begun in Union County revising our Economic Development Plan. Our TDP (Transportation Development Plan) provides a unique force on the US-I Corridor through the eastern end of the county.
The alphabet names may be confusing. But their importance can be spelled out pretty clearly. The continued economic viability of Union County requires the expansion of transportation opportunities for our communities.
Donald Goncalves Union County Freeholder
Elizabeth UCC Plans Workshops
To Inform Students About Financial Aid
The Financial Aid Office of Union County College will continue its monthly schedule of financial aid workshops this month for current and prospective New Jersey college students.
Workshops will be held on Wednesdays, August 12 and 19, at several campus locations. On August 12, the workshops will be offered at 6 p.m. in Room C-228 at the Cranford campus, and in Room 205 at the Plainfield campus. On August 19, workshops will be held at 10 a.m. and again at 6 p.m. in Room 424 at the Elizabeth campus.
Financial Aid Office personnel will advise participants on how to complete the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid, in order to get the most from the federal, state, and college financial aid for which they may be eligible.
Attendees are asked to bring with them their 1997 federal income tax returns and verification of all untaxed income received in 1997.
For further information, please call either (908) 709-7141 for the Cranford workshop, (908) 412-3571 for the Plainfield workshop, or (908) 965-6063 for the Elizabeth workshops.
Fanwood GOP Ticket Urges Look at Park Alternatives
David Trumpp and Will Coronato, Fanwood Republican council candidates, have stated they are pleased “that apparently the Fanwood Borough Council is reconsidering the Watson Road site as the only alternative for a ‘Pocket Park’ at Watson Road.”
The candidates maintained that, as a result of the July 9 council meeting, during which Councilman Stuart S. Kline and members of the audience questioned the wisdom spending $125,000 of borough funds to match a Union County grant for the Pocket Park, the governing body is now considering alternative uses for the grant funds
“Although early in July the council Democrats seemed aware of the fact that these grant funds were available for more recreational facilities than only a Watson Road pocket park, now they have formed a committee to investigate how the use of such funds could be used at other Fanwood recreational locations,” the Republican candidates stated.
Mr. Trumpp questioned why, when Mayor Maryanne S. Connelly and
the council knew in the first part of the year that county grant funds would be available for Fanwood recreational uses, Democrats waited until July to appoint a committee to study uses of the grant funds that would be matched by local residents.
Mr. Coronato asked way the committee was what he called “so limited in scope,” including two council representatives, a resident living next door to the Watson Road site, Public Works Director Raymond Manfra and Borough Engineer Richard Marsden.
The Borough Engineer will receive for his work at the proposed Watson Road site 10 percent of the engineering cost of the project, according to Mr. Trumpp and Mr. Coronato.
Both Republican candidates said they “hope that the Democratic members of the governing body will look at alternatives that will benefit many of our citizens rather than the few that may sit and watch the cars go by on Watson Road.”
An annoyed daughter writes:
My mother has always meant well but she is a pain in the neck. She raised me by always referring to figures of speech, such as “She walks like a duck, so you had better learn to keep your head up high and walk straight.” Needless to say, she was always teaching me or correcting me. I grew up feeling somewhat insecure and defensive. It was no wonder that I had a difficult time dating. Three years ago, I met “Keith.” She loved him instantly. He had a business, was polite and caring, and she felt I would be happy and never want for anything. Her statement was: “He’s as good as gold.”
The problem is that he is still tied to his mother’s apron strings and takes her feelings into consideration before he does mine. He also keeps feelings in and explodes when he becomes angry, always at me, never at his mother. Is it too late to change things, and what should I tell my mother?
Answer: You and your boyfriend have the same thing in common — you are both emotionally attached to, and depend on, your respective mothers. Do not be too concerned regarding “What should I tell my mother?” It is time for you to stand up and examine your own feelings, and it is time for Keith to reevaluate his priorities in terms of you and his mother.
Address these issues with him and determine if the two of you can consider each other’s feelings first before pleasing your mothers. Keith has to change and be more sensitive to you, and he must not transfer the anger he feels, towards his mother, onto you.
Some counseling might help. Good luck. Had you evaluated this situation differently, you probably would have determined that Keith is not “as good as gold,” but that he is “gold-plated.”
A wife writes:
Therapy does not always work. I thought it would solve all my problems but it hasn’t. I married a sweet, kind gentleman but he hasn’t remained that way. He and I totally disagree on how to discipline our three children.
Although we want to get joint counseling to clarify how to apply good parenting skills, “Charles” continues to use primitive measures with the children. He will physically hit the children on the rear end since, he says, he doesn’t want to inflict any “real damage,” but he hits them until they cry.
All the while he says, “this hurts me more than it hurts you...I’m doing this for your own good...You are nothing but a lazy child who will be a failure in life and amount to nothing.”
My therapist has begun to counsel with me alone and I am beginning to realize that Charles has to change or I will have to consider another option to this marriage: separation. Does a separation between parents cause permanent damage?
Answer: I am pro family and favor a family staying together if problems can be resolved. I am very concerned about your family, in particular your children. It would appear that your husband, sweet and kind, has become an abusive parent, a person who uses his parenting role to demonstrate harsh, angry feelings.
He is displaying physical and emotional abuse. The pain he inflicts upon the children does not hurt him more than it does the children, and he is not doing this for their good. His verbal abuse creates strong feelings of inadequacy, self-dislike and rage, often resulting in dysfunctional feelings of self, underachievement in life, and unfortunate relationships.
I strongly recommend that you take a firm stand; your children need a protector
and advocate. Charles needs to stop this behavior and involve himself with you and the therapist in changing his behavior. His behavior strongly suggests an unhappy, abusive childhood which is often repeated in one’s later life.
If Charles continues to act out, see a lawyer to determine how to best separate from Charles. Maybe this realization, this possible “pain,” will result in “gain” for him.
A man writes:
I am a 35-year-old male who used to be criticized by my peers for being too weak and easily intimidated. My friends told me that I don’t confront people easily, and thereby I avoid arguments. This means, I am told, that I lack self-respect, or I would stand up for my convictions. I disagree and I feel quite content with myself.
I read people pretty well. If someone is argumentative and rigid, I feel there is no reason to disagree, since the other person will not change. If I talk with someone about an inconsequential issue, why aggravate myself when it really does not matter?
I do offer my opinion on issues of importance to me. I try to be kind and sensitive to people’s feelings and needs, and I really am quite comfortable. I wish people would realize that kindness is not weakness. Would you agree? (I also want to state that I have no high blood pressure problems, no heart problems and my stress level isn’t too bad.)
Answer: You are correct; kindness is not weakness. With such understanding,
Former Westfield Resident and Patron Saddened by End of Elm Deli and Era
The news of the imminent demise of the Elm Deli, known as “Timmy’s” by its legions of beloved customers, hit me harder than I thought it would. Like many Westfieldians during the past several decades, the Elm Deli was more than just the best roast beef in town and the only place to find mini-deli sandwiches on earth.
The Elm Deli is practically where I grew up. Before classes, I went for coffee and a buttered roll, seasoned with the day’s gossip. After school, that mini-deli was always waiting for me on my way to my after-school job. If I was short — or even had no money at all — Timmy DeRubeis would always spot me the cash.
And I would always pay him back ASAP.
I left New Jersey after I graduated 10 years ago, but I made a beeline for the deli every time I returned. Westfield just isn’t Westfield without the Elm Deli.
Or the Bandstand. Or Backroom Antiques. Or a dozen other shops that are
rapidly fading into sepia-toned memories of a childhood not too distant.
Westfield’s downtown has been a vital center of town life for more than 100 years, largely on the backs of merchants — good people, my paisanos — who took care of their customers. And in turn, those customers took care of them.
I cannot — will not — contemplate the loss of that relationship in the face of the antiseptic spread of chain stores that has homogenized our downtown. Such a thought is too sad. What will become of Tim, his wife and his son (and my classmate) Joe? Tim’s too young to retire and too old to easily find work elsewhere.
Thanks to greedy landlords — and they know who they are — we can’t take care of Timmy and his family anymore. Tough as the DeRubeis family is, they may just need our help, too.
Hank Shaw Westfield, Class of 1988
HUNG UP!! HUNG UP!! HUNG UP!! HUNG UP!! HUNG UP!!
By Milt Faith, Executive Director
Youth and Family Counseling Service
Couple Needs to Cut Apron Strings In Order for Relationship to Succeed
A LESSON IN SHAKESPEARE...Eighth graders at Terrill Middle School in Scotch Plains proved to their class that Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream is still humorous after 400 years. Students did an informal performance of the play within a play entitled, Pyramus and Thisbe, on the outdoor stage of Terrill Middle School during their English class. The eccentric characters were played by, left to right, Jessica Maggs, Moonshine; Julia Sheffield, Quince; Jonathan Quijano, Wall; Jennifer Harrison, Lion; Brian Raszka, Thisbe; and Gina Cangialosi, Pyramus.