Scotch Plains Fanwood Scotch Plains Fanwood Scotch Plains Fanwood Scotch Plains Fanwood Scotch Plains Fanwood THE TIMES
OUR 39th YEAR ISSUE NO. 29-98 Published Every Thursday USPS 485200
Periodical Postage Paid at Scotch Plains, N.J. Thursday, July 16, 1998
of of of of of
Serving Scotch Plains and Fanwood Since 1959
Jeanne Whitney for The Times
LIVING WITH NATURE...Duncan Drive resident Erna Forster, in Scotch Plains, tends to her flower garden in the wooded Parkwood neighborhood where the U.S. Department of Agriculture spent five nights last week attempting to disperse huge flocks of birds that roost in the trees.
Town Tries To Frighten Away Birds
By JEANNE WHITNEY
Specially Written for The Times
Wildlife biologists with the United States Department of Agriculture spent five nights last week in the wooded residential Parkwood sec- tion of Scotch Plains with flare guns and loudspeakers trying to scare off a flock of more than 2,000 blackbirds. The township council agreed to the $4,000 attack on the birds after resi- dents complained of droppings, noise and dead birds on their property.
According to residents in the Golf Street and Wood Road area, the flock of starlings and grackles show up each July and roost in the trees every night until they migrate, sometime in October. Janet L. Bucknall, State Director for Wildlife Services with the USDA, said, "It's working out pretty well."
Biologists spent an hour-and-a- half after dusk firing both a "scream- ing siren" and explosive flares 25 yards into the woods and playing loud bird distress calls from speakers atop a vehicle, according to Director Bucknall. The nightly disturbance was intended to disperse the flock to other areas and break up the flock into smaller groups. Township offi- cials said the hope was that the birds would go to parks.
However, Ms. Bucknall said birds are habitual creatures and the scare tactics do not solve every case. Resi- dents said they noticed large flocks of birds roosting in the area since the mid-1970s. By Monday, Ms. Bucknell said the flock seemed to have broken up into smaller groups and some had moved into Arrowood Drive and Syl-
Gretchen Bowman for The Times
SMOOTH SOUNDS The jazz ensemble Smooth performs Motown music July 9 as part of the Scotch Plains Summer Concert series, held in front of the Municipal Building on Park Avenue. Area residents have had an opportunity through the concert series to experience a variety of music genres in a relaxed, family atmosphere. JCC "No-Show" Riles Neighbors,
Township Board of Adjustment By JEANNE WHITNEY
Specially Written for The Times
A last-minute no-show last Thurs- day by the Scotch Plains Jewish Com- munity Center (JCC), which is seek- ing variances and lighting approval from the township Board of Adjust- ment, left neighbors who use the slogan "the glow must go" waiting once again.
A special meeting has now been tentatively scheduled for Thursday, July 30.
A group of four residents, claim- ing they represented 33 others who live around the center, said that lights from the JCC gymnasium, pool and hallways are intrusive, disturbing and glow through large gym windows from early in the morning until late at night.
The residents said they had been waiting since March for a decision on the case. The JCC application for the variance was first heard in Janu- ary.
The objecting neighbors told the board that they had a second presen- tation, including photographs, which would show how disruptive the center's lighting had reportedly be- come. They showed the board other photographs earlier in the year.
Several years ago, when the center added an indoor pool, residents said a playground was moved closer to their homes.
There was also evidence that the center had recently pitched a tent on
the property, which one official said required a variance and which the JCC had not secured.
Another resident who lives behind the center said when he bought his house a year ago, there had been trees all along the border between his prop- erty and the JCC, but that they were removed.
Another resident, David Jones, also said he was angry about the noise and lights from the center. He remarked after the meeting that, "A five-and-a- half million dollar facility and they can't plant trees?"
The group is particularly anxious to see shrubbery and trees surround the center in order to screen out lights and sound. One resident noted that the YMCA down the street on Martine Avenue had acceptable plantings.
The board also indicated some frus- tration over the lengthy course the case was taking. A separate study of the lighting at the site was slow in coming, board attorney Anthony Rinaldo said.
Board member Thomas Perrucci said, "This thing has been dragging on. It's unfair to the neighbors."
The board attorney also pointed out the JCC would need to send notices again to all the neighbors about the rescheduled hearing at the end of the month. Mr. Perrucci added, "They (JCC) must come, with no excuses."
The board attorney said if center representatives did not appear at the
specially scheduled meeting, the ap- plication could then be denied.
In other business, the board okayed a deck for the rear yard of Christo- pher Koster on Princeton Avenue. He estimated the rear yard setback at 30 feet. Mr. Koster's next door neighbor asked whether the deck would have a slab base, but the application indi- cated only four posts would support the structure.
Study Maintains Schools Spend Double On Service Contracts By SUSAN M. DYCKMAN
Specially Written for The Times
During its July 9 agenda meeting, the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Board of Education was told by Chris Jones of Servicemaster Management Ser- vices Co. that the school district is spending nearly double what its counterparts across the state pay per square foot for supplies and materi- als in purchasing contracted ser- vices.
The district's facilities and physi- cal plant budget totals approximately $3.8 million.
The assessment was part of a pre- liminary report.
Maintenance expenses which were consistently over budget were first identified in September of 1997, when it was revealed that the district's unreserved fund com- monly referred to as "free balance" was entirely depleted.
At no cost to the district, Servicemaster said it will conduct an in-depth, on-site analysis of the district's facilities management practices, the adequacy and alloca- tion of resources, why and how con- tractors are used, the skill level of existing staff, training opportuni- ties and energy usage.
"Servicemaster is in the business of providing support for public school districts," stated Mr. Jones, apparently referring to advice in cost savings analysis.
District Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carol B. Choye assured board members and residents that Servicemaster would need to com- pete in a bidding process for the district's business if, in fact, the board decided to assign services to an outside provider.
On a separate matter, outgoing Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School
Principal Dr. Terry K. Riegel briefed the board on proposed curriculum changes at the high school. Among the curriculum committee recom- mendations are the addition of a full-year Advanced Placement (AP) art course; reduction in the number of levels of English courses from five to three (AP, academic and stan- dard), and the addition of an En- riched Communication course for students showing poorly on the High School Proficiency Test.
In addition, a Physics course at the standard level was recom- mended, plus an AP Art History class. The Special Education cur- riculum committee has proposed an elective, non-credit Study Skills Support course.
"Kids would go because they want help," explained Dr. Riegel, "and attendance would be mandatory once
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Scotch Plains Planning Board Hears Predictions Of Traffic Problems at Proposed Development
By MICHAEL P. BABIK
Specially Written for The Times
Traffic engineer Hal Simoff took the stand Monday, to testify in front of the Scotch Plains Planning Board over the case involving the Donato family property in Scotch Plains, Weldon Materials, and developer K. Hovnanian at Scotch Plains 1, Inc.
K. Hovnanian, New Jersey's larg- est home-builder, is planning a 116- unit housing complex which is
thought to worsen the gridlock of the already busy intersection at New Providence and Bonnie Burn Roads. The 7.7 acre plot of land owned by the Donato family of Scotch Plains, is located off of Meadow Avenue in Scotch Plains.
The site, a peninsula, which sits in a flood basin and is said to flood five to six feet in a hundred year flood is considered unsafe for residential housing, by the neighboring Weldon
Materials quarry. A hundred year flood is one where 7.5 inches of rain falls in a 24 hour period, explained William Butler, the Westfield attor- ney representing Weldon.
Mr. Butler asked Mr. Simoff to clarify traffic patterns at several in- tersections and roads near the project.
Mr. Simoff examined current traf- fic levels and made projections on traffic levels after construction. For the approach to the intersection, Mr. Simoff cited the measure of the vol- ume of an intersection compared with its capacity, referred to as a V/C ratio. Capacity, which is based on the num- ber of lanes and the amount of green light time, is a measure of how much traffic the intersection can handle.
Eastbound New Providence road currently has a V/C ratio of .718, or 72 percent, of capacity compared with an increase to .742, or 74 percent, of capacity when the project is com- pleted.
The real problem, however, ac- cording to Mr. Simoff, is with the westbound lanes during morning rush hours when current traffic levels stand at 283 percent of capacity. The Hovnanian development will push this figure up to 300 percent. At three times the normal capacity, he sees
this as a complication of an already congested stretch of road.
At the intersection of Route 22 and Union Avenue he concluded that a considerable backup of rush hour traffic entering Route 22 West from Union Avenue. The backup is esti- mated at 30 cars which is approxi- mately 600-700 feet, according to Mr. Simoff. This backup will block the intersection of Union Avenue and Meadow Street causing gridlock in both directions of Union Avenue, making it difficult to enter and exit the complex, according to Mr. But- ler.
Additionally, the sight distance to the New Providence intersection is 150 feet, much less than the pre- ferred 475 feet of sight distance, Mr. Simoff told the board. He gave the level of service rating for the project an "F" calling the proposed traffic conditions unsafe. The "F" level of service rating is the worst on the scale, indicating delays up to 45 sec- onds at certain intersections.
Board members suggested possible cutting down of foliage to improve the visibility problem.
Another matter of concern is the Union Avenue bridge. The bridge measures 18 feet across and is not considered suitable for two way traf- fic with little side clearance and no pedestrian sidewalk, stated Mr. Simoff. The bridge is striped for one way traffic and was never intended for two way crossings, he added. He recommended widening the bridge to at least 28 feet or more if it is to be used by pedestrians.
The bridge is also marked for a maximum weight capacity of four tons, indicating the structure is not necessarily sound for school buses, garbage trucks, or emergency ve- hicles, some weighing up to 30 tons.
In an emergency situation at the new complex, fire trucks coming from Scotch Plains would be forced to travel a mile and a half west on Route 22, make a U-turn at Glenside Av- enue, and travel a mile and a half
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Different Views Aired Regarding Pocket Park
By SUZETTE F. STALKER
Specially Written for The Times
During last Thursday's regular meeting of the Fanwood Borough Council, officials debated whether governing body members had been adequately informed of their options concerning grant money which was approved for the municipality by the county under its Project Pocket Park Program.
The borough was awarded a total of $125,000 from the county which it will match through a combination of funds and in-kind services for the creation of a pocket park on Watson Road.
Grants have been approved for all 21 of the county's municipalities, which may be used for acquisition of park land; renovation of existing parks or playgrounds, or the devel- opment of new parks on land already owned by the communities.
Borough officials applied for fund- ing in the spring to develop the pro- posed pocket park on a parcel of vacant land where the borough's ad- ministrative offices and fire com- pany headquarters were once located. The site has become overgrown and, in the words of one member of the council, an "eyesore" in the subur- ban community.
Councilman Stuart S. Kline stated he had learned only recently that municipalities could also use county grant money to refurbish existing parks or playgrounds. He said he felt officials were not sufficiently advised by the administration of all their options at the time that the applica- tion was submitted.
Mayor Maryanne S. Connelly re- sponded that the governing body held more than eight meetings concern- ing the county's Project Pocket Park Program. She said officials focused their efforts on the pocket park con- cept because they felt it would fill the greatest need, noting that council members had an opportunity to ex- press their concerns over how the money would be spent at these ses- sions.
"There's been no secret on this, no hiding of the facts," added Council- man William E. Populus, Jr. Chair- man of the council's Administration and Finance Committee. He told Mr. Kline he could have called the county several months ago for additional information on the types of projects covered under the Pocket Park pro- gram.
Borough Clerk Eleanor McGovern told The Times that in May, Fanwood officials learned there might be a surplus of grant money beyond what was needed for the pocket park, which could possibly be used for improve- ments at existing borough parks.
Fanwood's Recreation Commis- sion was then asked to make a "wish list" of things it would like to see done at the parks, according to Mrs. McGovern, in the event the extra funds became available.
She said, however, that she did not receive confirmation from the county that leftover grant money could actu- ally be dispersed this way until the day of the council meeting.
Mayor Connelly remarked several days later that it was "very unusual"
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INDEX INDEX INDEX INDEX INDEX
County .......... Page 2 Editorial ........ Page 4 Mountainside Page 3
Obituary ........ Page 9 Religious ....... Page 8
Social ............ Page 6 Sports ............ Page 11
OFFICIALS CALL INCREASE LOWEST IN AT LEAST A DECADE
Residents of Scotch Plains to Witness Only 1 Percent Hike in Municipal Taxes
By JEANNE WHITNEY
Specially Written for The Times
The Scotch Plains Township Coun- cil released, in an agenda-setting meeting on Tuesday, the final figures for residents' tax bills this year. They showed an increase of $58 per house- hold on an average assessed home of $115,000.
The average total annual tax bill is $5,773, officials reported. This rep- resents a 1 percent tax increase or five tax points from last year, officials explained. "This is the low- est increase in 10 years, at least,"
Councilman William F. McClintock, Jr., said.
The market value on a Scotch Plains house is about double the assessed value.
About two-thirds of a resident's tax dollar goes to the schools, and the remaining one-third is split about evenly between the county govern- ment and the township.
Township officials said the tax bills were mailed out last week.
In a separate move, the council agreed to pan an aircraft flight path test known as the 260-degree turn
out of Newark International Air- port. Mayor Joan Papen said the test "was never really implemented," the way that aviation officials had said it would be.
The council initially supported a six-month test of the new flight path, which started on March 15, to find out if noise from low-flying aircraft could be reduced over the township.
Councilman Martin Marks admit- ted that the proposal for the test by Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) officials earlier in the year, "sounded very appealing, on paper."
Township resident Barbara Hardie, a member of Scotch Plains Aircraft Noise Committee Inc., showed the council during the meeting that maps of actual flight paths during the test- ing period, so far, do not reflect any positive results.
Councilman Marks described the test as "threading" an estimated 1,200 flights a day out of Newark Airport "through the eye of a needle."
In fact, Mrs. Hardie said, one former airline official familiar with
the routing and the test told her that the instructions for pilots on how, when and where to make the 260- degree turn after take-off at Newark Airport, are so poorly written that it is impossible for pilots to execute the procedure.
Councilman Marks also pointed out that the council never received a study it requested from the FAA on proposed "ocean routing" over the Atlantic. Mrs. Hardie claimed that Staten Island and southern New Jer- sey counties would never let up the pressure on the FAA to scrap ocean routing plans because it takes air- craft over their neighborhoods en route to the ocean. "Newark Airport is not on the ocean, that's the prob- lem," she said.
Mrs. Hardie said Congressman Bob Franks supported the use of some sort of plan for night abatement from aircraft noise, which could include a curfew for use of the airport. How- ever, according to Mrs. Hardie, Con- gressman Franks did not support the
Page 10 Thursday, July 16, 1998 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION
SUNDAY, JULY 5
· Henry Burch, 25, of Plainfield was charged with volunteering false infor- mation to a police officer after he was stopped for motor vehicle violations on Terrill Road, authorities said. He was released on his own recognizance.
SUNDAY, JULY 12
· A Burns Way resident reported that two bicycles and an electric drill were stolen from a garage. The total value of the stolen items was $400.
· Richard Scala, 37, of Plainfield was charged with driving while intoxicated after being stopped for motor vehicle vio- lations on South Avenue, authorities said. He was released on his own recognizance.
FANWOOD POLICE BLOTTER SCOTCH PLAINS
POLICE BLOTTER TUESDAY, JULY 7
· A motorist reported a car being broken into and a cellular telephone taken. The incident occurred during the evening hours in a parking lot adjacent to Route No. 22.
WEDNESDAY, JULY 8
· A 1994 Honda Accord was reported stolen from the parking lot of the Union County Vocational-Technical Schools campus on Raritan Road. The theft oc- curred during the morning hours.
THURSDAY, JULY 9
· Tires were reported slashed on two vehicles, one parked in a Route No. 22 parking lot and the other parked on Front Street. Both incidents occurred during the early morning hours.
· A car door was pried open and a stereo system was removed from the vehicle while it was parked in a Route No. 22 parking lot during the evening hours.
FRIDAY, JULY 10
· A cellular telephone and cash were reported stolen from a vehicle which was parked overnight on Argyle Court.
· A patron at a Terrill Road nightclub reported the theft of her wallet from her pocketbook while she was inside the establishment.
SATURDAY, JULY 11
· Edward A. Scott, 29, of Plainfield was arrested and charged with eluding police after allegedly failing to heed an officer's signal to stop on Cushing Road. The officer had attempted to stop the suspect for motor vehicle violations, ac- cording to police.
Scott allegedly fled the area at a high rate of speed onto Watchung Avenue in
Plainfield, and lost control of the vehicle at the intersection of Hillside Avenue. After a brief foot pursuit, the suspect was apprehended in the rear of a Sunnyside Street residence with assistance from Plainfield police.
Authorities discovered there was an outstanding warrant for Scott from Middlesex Court, and he was addition- ally charged with numerous motor ve- hicle violations, law enforcement offi- cials confirmed.
SUNDAY, JULY 12
· Police reported the theft of a cellu- lar telephone and credit cards from a vehicle parked overnight on Nepawin Lane.
for municipalities to be able to use a grant that way, explaining that such awards must typically be used for a singular, specific purpose, such as the Pocket Park.
Councilman Joel Whitaker com- mented at the council meeting that he was initially unaware that left- over grant moneys might be used for improvements at local parks.
Mr. Whitaker, who chairs the Rec- reation and Community Services Committee, said that once he was informed by another council mem- ber that supplementary funds might be available, he notified the Recre- ation Commission.
Pamela Sayles, a member of the commission, acknowledged during the meeting that she and her col- leagues had been informed about potential leftover funding for park projects.
During the meeting, the govern- ing body announced the appoint- ment of a Pocket Park Committee to coordinate work involved in devel- oping the park.
Committee members include Councilwoman Karen M. Schurtz, Chairwoman; Councilman Kline, Director of Public Works Raymond Manfra, Borough Engineer Richard Marsden, and Sergeant Howard Drewes of the Fanwood Police De- partment.
While emphasizing that he sup- ported the concept of a pocket park, Mr. Kline voiced concern over what he described as "sinking our eggs into one basket."
He proposed that some of the money might indeed be used to con- tinue upgrades at La Grande and Forest Road Parks in Fanwood, though it is not yet known what the total tab for the proposed park will be.
The councilman also said he had not yet seen a comprehensive spend- ing plan for the proposed park, which he predicted could run as high as $300,000, plus maintenance costs. "I haven't seen a soup-to-nuts bud- get," he remarked. Mayor Connelly said officials were still calculating the full cost of the project.
The Mayor said she realized around the time the Fanwood Oak a majestic tree which had stood for centuries on Martine Avenue was cut down in the fall of 1996 that the nearby Watson Road property was in dire need of rehabilitation.
Regarding Mr. Kline's concerns about using the grant exclusively for a pocket park, the Mayor noted that there is still an opportunity to amend the borough's application, and in- vited the councilman to present his recommendations as a member of the Pocket Park Committee.
Former Fanwood Mayor Theodore "Ted" Trumpp also spoke out on the pocket park proposal, saying it would be better to locate the park else- where and utilize the Watson Road site for ratables such as housing.
He suggested the park could be located instead at the Midway Circle. Mr. Trumpp said that while the circle is located in a wetlands area, it has not experienced significant flood- ing in many years, and is not avail- able for building.
Mayor Connelly responded that, during the past dozen years, Fanwood officials had considered an array of proposals for the Watson Road property, including residen- tial use, senior housing, supplemen- tary parking for train station com- muters and possible subdivision. All except the pocket park idea, she added, were ultimately rejected by officials and residents.
Under other business, officials adopted on second reading an ordi- nance addressing voting privileges of governing body members who sit on the Fanwood Planning Board.
The decree, which amends Chap- ter 23 of the Borough Code, prohib- its Mayor Connelly and Mrs. Schurtz from voting on certain applications, since if a Planning Board decision is appealed it could potentially come before the Borough Council.
In another matter, former Fanwood Councilman David Pickering, Chairman of Fanwood's Community Assessment Commit- tee, told officials that all seven of the committee's "potential action projects" had been rated by a Na- tional Civic League representative as "excellent" candidates for All- America Cities designation.
The projects, based on a survey of 100 people taken last year regarding the borough's strengths and weak- nesses, address downtown revital- ization, communications, infrastruc- ture improvements, shared services, transportation, long-range planning and volunteerism.
The proposals, along with the cri- teria by which the committee would evaluate them, were outlined by Mr. Pickering during the governing body's July 1 agenda session.
Among the criteria was whether or not a concept was a candidate for entry into the All-America Cities competition, sponsored annually by the National Civic League and the Allstate Foundation. Ten munici- palities are selected each year as All-America Cities, for which they are awarded $10,000.
At the top of the meeting, Mayor Connelly swore in Colleen Huehn as Fanwood Tax Collector, succeed- ing Alice Pareti, and Anthony Doyle as the borough's Construction Offi- cial, Building Inspector and Build- ing Subcode Official. He replaces James Silance, who previously held the position. In addition, Frank Oberlies took his oath as Fire In- spector and Fire Subcode Official.
In addition, proclamations were presented in honor of Dr. Terry K. Riegel, outgoing Principal of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, and for CONTACT We Care, which will hold its annual 5K road race on Saturday, August 22.
Finally, resolutions were issued recognizing Dean Talcott, Chair- man of Fanwood's Environmental Commission, and Sergeant Drewes, a 21-year veteran of the Fanwood force.
Mr. Talcott was honored for his leadership in the planting of wild- flowers in the PSE&G right-of-way, located adjacent to the Fanwood Na- ture Center on Cray Terrace. Ser- geant Drewes was also recently sa- luted by the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Optimist Club for his service to the community as part of Respect for Law Week.
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Different Views are Aired On Fanwood Pocket Park
The deck will be two feet off the ground, extend out from the dining room door, and have stairs at the center, Mr. Koster said.
Eula Andrews won a temporary operating license for 441 Hunter Avenue. Keith and Julia Alexander of Algonquin Drive, and Stephen and Marcia Flood of Kevin Road, were also approved for variances, but the board secretary was unable to provide details on these appeals.
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back to enter Union Avenue and avoid the bridge. In heavy traffic this could take up to ten minutes or more, a condition deemed unsafe by Mr. Simoff.
Hovnanian has added an emer- gency bridge to the project that Weldon suggested, which can ac- commodate emergency vehicles in case of flooding, but can not be used for entry or exit by residents. In flood- ing conditions, residents would be stuck either outside the development or inside the development, with no way of coming in or out.
Mr. Simoff then presented the land- scaping plan of the project and pointed out parking inadequacies. He found the streets to be two narrow for park- ing, and the garages arranged to make moving of two cars in a driveway difficult. The defense pointed out, however, that with two people mov- ing two cars the problem is allevi- ated.
Mr. Simoff also presented prob-
Board Hears Predictions About Traffic Problems
van Lane. An earlier USDA study at the site revealed a pesticide similar to DDT in the dead birds and bird droppings. The pesticide, called choridane, was used widely in the 1960s before it was banned. Biologists said the chemical resides in the soil and in- sects that the birds eat.
Whether or not the so-called pyro- technics and distress calls fully suc- ceed in dispersing the birds, biolo- gists said an alternate method is to cut and thin the tallest trees.
Some area residents said they did not find the flocks of birds to be a problem, although one Duncan Drive resident said she found several dead birds on her lawn so far this year.
Town Attempts To Frighten Away
Flock of Birds
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JCC "No-Show" Riles Neighbors, Board Members
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lems with the grading of the site. The 7.52 percent slope (7.52 feet verti- cally for every 100 feet horizontally) between Meadow Road and Donato Drive needs a smoother slope, he told the board.
In a cross examination, defense attorney, Robert H. Kraus, challenged many of Mr. Simoff's claims. He presented an updated plan of the development which includes more parking. He claimed that in an hour's time, five more cars are predicted to cross the Bonnie Burn and New Provi- dence intersection with the new de- velopment, an insignificant increase. There is a traffic problem already at the intersection and the project will hardly impact that, he explained.
The board will meet on this issue again on Tuesday, July 21, when the engineer for the defense, Mr. Robert Rodgers, will discuss his study of the traffic problem and analysis of the situation.
Woman's Club Announces Scholarship Recipients
The Scotch Plains Woman's Club has announced the recipients of its nursing scholarships for 1998. Each student will receive a $500 award.
Joanna D'Agostino, a graduate of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, will be a freshman in the nursing program at Rutgers University in New Brunswick.
Marisa Giordano, a 1997 graduate of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, will begin her nursing stud-
they were enrolled." Board member Thomas Russo questioned the proposal, saying, "Un- der district policy, the loss of credit is the ultimate consequence (for miss- ing class.) If there is no credit associ- ated with the course, what's the con- sequence?"
Board member Jessica D. Simpson advised her colleagues of the pro- posed changes to policies regarding attendance, tardiness and discipline.
The definition of tardiness was changed to mean anytime a student arrived late to class throughout the school day. Ten "tardies" in a class would result in loss of credit for the course.
The committee also added truancy and "inciting others to fight" to the category of "serious" offenses, she said.
The subject of handling violence or the threat of violence in local schools was broached by board mem- ber Jean McAllister.
She indicated that nowhere does the policy manual specifically ad- dress "death threats."
"What is our tolerance today for that sort of thing?" she asked, in light of several tragic incidents of student violence which occurred recently at schools across the country.
Dr. Riegel indicated that the exist- ing use of the word "threat" in the policy could be interpreted in the broadest sense to include death threats.
Dr. Riegel, Dr. Choye and Director of Pupil Services Eleanor McClymont went on to review what procedures are in place to address and ward off violent behavior.
"I'm impressed with the antennae of the staff to want to reach out and understand the influences on our young people," said Dr. Choye.
"Antecedent events are very im- portant," said Mrs. McClymont. She explained how the district uses a "broad-based team approach" which includes administration, child study team members, law enforcement and guidance staff to manage a situation before it escalates.
Dr. Riegel referred to circumstances at the high school this past school year where the system worked to have a student placed out of district.
Mrs. Simpson's research into school safety yielded information which, she said, confirmed that Scotch Plains-Fanwood schools pro- vide staff and students with a safe environment. She is in the process of drafting a safe school policy.
In other business, the board la- bored over wording changes to the recommended Strategic Plan for the
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Study Maintains Schools Spend Double on Contracts
next five years and district priorities for this coming school year. Copies of the plan are available to the public.
Board member Lance Porter asked his colleagues to consider adding a of statement which would identify safety in the schools as a district priority.
Dr. Choye noted that the "Beliefs" portion of the plan states: "People function best in a safe, supportive environment."
She also acknowledged Mr. Porter's concern that the board be on record as seeing safety as a priority.
Business Administrator and Board Secretary Matthew A. Clarke reported on a proposal to carpet one of three aisles in the Terrill Middle School auditorium, to facilitate seating of students in wheelchairs. The idea met with scorn from Scotch Plains resident Deborah Asher, who first brought the auditorium's handi- capped-access issue to the board's attention several months ago.
She called the proposal to carpet one aisle "mean spirited," and pre- dicted the occasion where a child would not be able to sit with his or her class because of the need to use the "handicapped aisle."
Mrs. Asher said, "There ought to be a way that people are looking at this (on a regular basis)."
Board President August A. Ruggiero asked Dr. Choye and Mr. Clarke to review the district's proce- dures for assessing handicapped ac- cessibility in its facilities.
Three parents from McGinn El- ementary School asked the board to consider establishing a fifth section for the 94-student, third-grade class. Similarly, enrollment in the incom- ing third-grade class at Coles El- ementary stands at 96 students.
"We're concerned about the num- bers going up over the summer," explained Michelle Petro, citing the figure for McGinn School.
"The third-grade section behind the library is very crowded. Twenty students per class, there, is too much. Now we're talking 24-25. The bud- get was passed and we're asking you to add a class," she added.
Board member Richard R. Meade acknowledged a parent's concern for their own child, but added, "We're looking at a bigger problem. How do we balance (class size) within the district?" ies at Bloomsburg State College in
Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. Katherine Santo, a graduate of Union Catholic High School in Scotch Plains, will attend Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylva- nia, where she will be enrolled in the nursing program.
Since 1941, the members of the Scotch Plains Woman's Club have awarded more than $90,000 in nurs- ing scholarships to 150 graduates of Scotch Plains schools.
Nicole Kreger Is Awarded German Council Scholarship
Nicole Kreger, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Brian Kreger of Scotch Plains, was recently chosen as one of five statewide scholarship recipients, the German Heritage Council of New Jersey announced.
The council selected outstanding high school seniors with a special interest in German language and culture as recipients for its awards.
The scholarship winners were judged on their academic achieve- ments and activities, as well as on essays which they wrote in German.
Nicole, a National Merit Scholar- ship Commended student and a Bloustein Distinguished Scholar, had been accepted as a member of the National Honor Society and the Ger- man National Honor Society. She was also an active member of her school's German Club.
In her junior year, Nicole traveled
SCHOLARSHIP WINNER Nicole Kreger, center, who graduated last month from Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, displays her scholarship award from the German Heritage Council of New Jersey. Pictured with her are German language teacher Helga Thomas, left, and Barbara Oberding, German Heritage Council Scholarship Chairwoman.
with the German Club to Bonn, Ger- many. An active member of the Marching Band for four years, she also played flute in the Concert and Symphonic Band, as well as the Wind and Flute Ensemble.
Nicole also pursued dancing through classes and competitions. In the fall, she plans to attend James Madison University.
The senior was recognized at her high school's Awards Program, where Barbara Oberding, German Heritage Council Scholarship Chairwoman, presented her with a certificate.
Nicole will be honored again on Sunday, September 13, at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, on the stage during the German Heritage Festival program.
For additional information on the Festival and for tickets, please call (609) 585-6757.
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Solberg Mitigation Proposal that evi- dently was the result of a Federal government study that some resi- dents claim will provide some relief to neighborhoods from low-flying aircraft noise.
In other business, the council met with local sign maker Peter Catelli in a new effort to replace the township's welcoming signs at the "gateway" roads into the commu- nity. This comes on the heels of the posting of nine new signs in the township by the Scotch Plains Busi- ness and Professional Association that direct visitors to "Towne Cen- tre," otherwise known as the down- town.
Mr. Catelli said that to replace the 15-year-old signs would cost ap- proximately $1,400 each. Township officials said the existing signs cost one-half that much, in 1983. Offi- cials estimated about 10 signs were needed. Mr. Catelli proposed wel- coming and goodbye signs on either side of the roads at the gateways.
Councilwoman Irene T. Schmidt said she liked the oval design of the current township border signs. "I prefer not to have sponsors," she added, to pay for the signs. Mayor Papen agreed.
On a separate matter, township officials noted that the Union County government was considering creat- ing a separate County Health De- partment even though an existing
Union County Regional Environ- mental Health Commission seems to be "working beautifully," accord- ing to Mayor Papen. Officials con- sidered passing a resolution to meet with county officials to look at the need for an agency, "to avoid dupli- cation."
In other business, the council okayed a "cross-acceptance" plan- ning development report that asks the state to re-designate parts of the township as "suburban," as opposed to "urban." Councilwoman Schmidt said the historic sites in the town- ship may also be highlighted in the report to the state and county, in order to complete the whole picture for planning in the area.
On a separate action, Councilman Marks asked the council's attorney, Jeffrey Lehrer, to draft an ordinance to make it a misdemeanor crime to give "handouts" or handbills to mi- nors who are unaccompanied by adults.
Some officials scoffed at the pro- posal, and questioned whether "free- dom of speech" rights guaranteed under the first amendment to the United States Constitution would be violated under such a measure.
Councilman Marks said he was made aware of cases where children en route to schools had been the victims of aggressive hawkers.
Mr. Lehrer said he would look into the legal issues.
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Township Residents Witness 1 Percent Hike in Taxes
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