OUR 108th YEAR – ISSUE NO. 12-99 FIFTY CENTS 232-4407
The Westfield Leader — Serving the Town Since 1890 —
Thursday, Macrh 25, 1999 USPS 680020 Periodical – Postage Paid at Westfield, N.J.
Published Every Thursday
INDEX INDEX INDEX INDEX INDEX
Business ........ Page 17 County .......... Page 2 Editorial ........ Page 4
Mountainside Page 3 Obituary ........ Page 8 Religious ....... Page 9
Social ............ Page 6 Sports ............ Page 11
CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
School Board OK’s $54 Million Budget For Public Vote; Per Pupil Cost Lowered
By MICHELLE H. LePOIDEVIN
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
During the Westfield Board of Education’s budget hearing on Tuesday, members gave the green light to a $54,610,623 budget for the 19992000 school year. The public will ultimately approve or reject the spending plan at the Tuesday, April 20, school election.
The board also resolved that $46,584,649 should be raised through taxes for the General Fund for the ensuing 1999-2000 school year.
During a special budget press conference last Thursday with Superintendent of Schools, Dr. William J. Foley, Board Secretary and Business Administrator Robert Berman, and Finance Committee Chairwoman
Susan Jacobson, The Westfield Leader
learned that administrative costs in per pupil spending has decreased for the fourth consecutive year.
Mrs. Jacobson stated that the board is grappling with the consequences of increased enrollment throughout the district, and the surge is expected to continue. She revealed that demographers have predicted that young families coming into Westfield will rise through the year 2005.
Mr. Berman maintained that the board is at the mercy of the state’s mandates and controls, forcing the board to rely on property taxes and local taxpayers.
One element of the budget includes the computer initiative for four sections of fifth-grade students.
At a cost of $28,715, 20 desks, four carts, four monitors, in-service training, 20 computers and four printers will become available to students. The district will lease the computers and printers.
A computer initiative involving 22 sections of fourth-grade students will incur an expense of $139,117. The plan calls for 110 desks, 22 display carts, 22 monitors, in-service training and the lease of 110 computers and 22 printers.
Due to the new language arts curriculum in the intermediate schools, 56 desks, 12 display carts, 12 monitors, in-service training, and the lease of 68 computers and 14 printers will be required. These components will carry a $96,261 price tag.
The World Language Curriculum will necessitate new textbooks for Spanish instruction for secondand sixth-grade students, and French instruction for sixthand eighth-grade students. These textbooks will account for $31,668 of the proposed budget.
For $37,474, improved health textbooks for elementary and intermediate students will become available, while new fine arts/music and language arts/novels textbooks will be provided for intermediate students for $29,315.
The need for an increase in personnel was also reflected in the tentative budget.
Two World Language instructors
BOE Sets Saturday Opening; Learns Lesson In Planning By MICHELLE H. LePOIDEVIN
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
Calling it a “creative solution,” the Westfield Board of Education decided to open the high school on Saturday, April 24, to make up for the March 15 snow day. The option of opening school during spring break on Friday, April 9, was rejected.
After expressing their distaste for the Saturday option, board members Carol Molnar, Eileen Satkin and Arlene Gardner voted against the Saturday opening, while other board members maintained their support.
The board had previously considered opening the high school on Monday, June 21, after commencement ceremonies and the all-night Project Graduation Bash for seniors. However, Superintendent of Schools, Dr. William J. Foley, was informed by the County Superin
tendent that this would not be a viable option.
In showing his approval for the Saturday opening, Dr. Foley added that any student who chose to attend a religious service on April 24 would be excused from attending school. Such a decision would be categorized and recorded as “an excused absence,” without any penalty to the student.
The Saturday option, which will be sent as a board resolution to the County Superintendent, will include four and a half hours of instruction, instead of a full day.
Dr. Foley revealed that parents had expressed their disapproval through telephone calls and letters for opening school during the spring break because they had made arrangements for vacation.
Principal of Westfield High School, Dr. Robert G. Petix, stated
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
End of an Era Marked as Elm Deli Closes After 35 Years of Service
David B. Corbin for The Westfield Leader
PREPARING FOR THE LUNCH RUSH…Tim DeRubeis and his wife, Angela, work side by side at the Elm Delicatessen that they have operated together in Westfield for the last 35 years. The delicatessen, a local gathering place, will close its doors for good on Saturday, March 27. By KIM KINTER
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
When Tim DeRubeis began working at the Elm Delicatessen during high school in the 1960s, he never dreamed his life would be so shaped by the small Westfield business.
Mr. DeRubeis, an Italian immigrant who only had been living in Westfield since he was 14 and working at the delicatessen just a few years, was offered a chance to buy the business. Suddenly in 1964, life for the 21-year-old, who had just recently graduated from Westfield High School, changed dramatically.
Now, 35 years later, Mr. DeRubeis faces another life changing experience as he prepares to close the doors of the Elm Delicatessen for good on Saturday, March 27, and begins to look for a new career.
The owner, now 56, has been forced to close his business because he was unable to meet the demands of the building owner to take over and expand into both sides of the storefronts at 37 and 39 Elm Street. His delicatessen is now occupying only 37 Elm Street.
“I could have expanded my business next door, but it would have cost at least $100,000 and I didn’t really have the experience to run something that big,” Mr. DeRubeis said matter-of-factly in a recent interview. “I didn’t go to school for it.”
Mr. DeRubeis, a pleasant and gracious man who still has a hint of an accent from the country he came from, blames no one and has a philosophical attitude about the closure. “I have no regrets. The store has been very good to us. Ninety percent of the people who come here have become our friends.”
For those who frequented his friendly delicatessen or tasted his famous mini-deli sandwiches, however, the closing is seen as nothing but a loss.
No glitzy sign hangs outside advertising the place and plain brown paneling, a red tile floor, fluorescent lights and a painted tin ceiling are inside. A black oversized blackboard lists in chalk the sandwiches, salads and soups available all at about 40 percent less than an average delica
tessen. But Elm Delicatessenor “Timmy’s,” as many call it has become a kind of local institution where regulars gather during the week daily to buy one of Mr. DeRubeis’ delicious cold deli sandwiches and homemade salads.
Regulars also can expect a personal greeting, and, when time allows, a pleasant conversation with an interested listener as the affable Mr. DeRubeis has come to know many who frequent his delicatessen.
The delicatessen also is known by everyone as being scrupulously clean and was even recently recognized by the Westfield Board of Health for its high level of cleanliness.
His wife, Angela, who has worked along side Mr. DeRubeis for years, cleans constantly.
“She gets down on her hands and knees the scrubs the floor the old fashioned way,” Mr. DeRubeis said, shaking his head with a smile.
Charlie Brandt, former attorney for the Town of Westfield and now in practice privately, can attest to the cleanliness. He visits the delicatessen twice a day nearly every day – often coming in the back door.
“When I walk in, he and his wife are constantly cleaning,” commented Mr. Brandt, who said he starts his day at Timmy’s with an iced tea and Portuguese roll for breakfast followed by one of his four favorite sandwiches at lunch.
“The food is good, of course,” Mr. Brandt said of his penchant for the place. “But he (Mr. DeRubeis) has a great attitude. He’s always in an optimistic frame of mind. It is always a pleasant experience.”
Virginia Rorden, who with her husband Warren ran Rorden Realty across the street from the delicatessen until recently, “has lived on Timmy’s ham salad for years.” She echoed Mr. Brandt’s comments, saying: “He has the same wonderful disposition every day. He’s a wonderful person. Change is inevitable, but this change (not having the delicatessen open) will take a little longer to get used to.”
Jerry Gerardiello, owner of Jerry’s barbershop on East Broad Street, actually gave Mr. DeRubeis his first job in Westfield shining shoes in his barbershop. Mr. Gerardiello would
Former Town Attorney Looks Back on Career
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10 CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
Town Council Introduces $23.62 Mil. Budget; Taxes to Rise $52 to Support Municipal Services
By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
The Town Council officially introduced a municipal budget Tuesday night that calls for an increase of three tax points, resulting in an average increase of $52 for the average Westfield home owner.
This year’s spending plan totals $23,621,353, an increase of $768,140 over 1998. The budget includes a capital improvement plan of $2,333,000, which includes a number of programs such as road improvements and upgrades to town parks.
A total of $596,000 for the capital improvement program will come from state and county aid, as well as from assessments of property taxpayers.
Of the total budget, $11.63 million represents salaries and wages, the
bulk of which are for police, fire and Public Works Department employees.
Finance Committee Chairman James J. Gruba, who represents the Second Ward on the council, added that the governing body also has approved $1.22 million in capital equipment purchases as part of the Union County Improvement Authority’s lease program.
In terms of the revenue needed to support this year’s budget, $11,929,678 will be raised through property taxes, accounting for a little more than half of the spending plan.
The average home in Westfield, which is assessed at $174,000, will pay three cents per $100 of assessed valuation over 1998, a hike from 63 to 66 cents. That comes to an in
crease of $52 over last year, for a total average bill of $1,148 to support the municipal portion of tax bills.
Westfielders pay around $7,000 in property taxes each year.
The largest chunk of the Westfield property tax bill, 66 percent, supports local schools, with 20 percent going to Union County and the town getting 14 percent.
While the county budget has yet to be introduced, the Westfield school board has approved a spending plan of $54,460,623, with $47,254,054 of that amount to be collected in local taxes.
If the budget is approved by voters on Tuesday, April 20, school taxes will rise on average by $122, according to school district officials.
Third Ward Councilman John J. Walsh, now in his third year on the
council, pointed out that the town budget includes a number of improved services. These include jitney bus service for commuters as well as transportation for senior citizens as part of an agreement being worked out with the Union County Paratransit system; Sunday hours for the Westfield Memorial Library, and painting of the exterior of the Municipal Building.
The capital spending plan includes $948,000 in street improvements, $185,000 for sewer drainage enhancements and $300,000 in municipal parking lot upgrades, as well as $235,000 in improvements to town parks and recreation facilities, including $125,000 for the Mindowaskin Park overlook im
By SUSAN M. DYCKMAN
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
For the past 25 years, it has been hard to be involved in municipal government in Westfield and not run into Charlie H. Brandt.
As a professional, he served as town attorney for more than 20 years (1977-1998), attending approximately 1,056 council meetings. Before that, as a citizen, he served on Westfield’s Recreation Committee and Town Council in the early to mid-1970s. He officially retired at the conclusion of last year.
During those years, neighboring communities sought Mr. Brandt’s legal advice, as well. He represented the Rahway City Council for several years, and the Planning Board and Board of Adjustment of the Borough of Fanwood for 17 years.
Interestingly enough, Mr. Brandt received his bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering and was originally employed by the Standard Oil Company (now known as Chevron). The call to practice law came later.
Born in Cranford, but raised in Westfield, Mr. Brandt graduated from Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, in 1956. As a member of the R.O.T.C. (Reserved Officers Training Corps), he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
The young officer was called into service at Fort Dix, New Jersey during the Cuban Missile and Berlin Wall Crises in 1961-1962. It was in the U.S. Army that Mr. Brandt had his first taste of what it might be like to practice law.
As an officer, he served as defense counsel for enlisted men accused of minor offenses.
“If you did well,” explained Mr. Brandt, “other enlisted men asked for you. That’s what happened. I liked it.”
Mr. Brandt attended Seton Hall Law School at night on the G.I. Bill from 1963-1968, graduating third in his class.
While working in a Newark law firm, he taught business law at
Fairleigh Dickinson University for 10 years. When the municipal attorney jobs presented themselves, “it made more sense for me to continue to work in my field,” he said.
When asked what part of his decades of work with municipal government he enjoyed most, Mr. Brandt answered, “It’s almost a form of community service that you get paid for. It’s an opportunity to contribute to the local government and environment in a meaningful way.”
“There’s always plenty of controversy,” he added, particularly with respect to issues presented before planning boards and boards of adjustment. The attorney recalled the Fanwood meeting a number of years ago where residents opposed construction of a monopole in the borough for cellular phone service.
“That was the largest crowd I’d ever seen turn out in Fanwood,” he recalled.
During Mr. Brandt’s tenure in Westfield, he saw “a lot of neighborhood conflict” mostly over zoning issues, “things like subdivisions.”
He recalled the first time a proposal was made to expand Brightwood Park in the late 1970s. “The crowd was so large we had to hold the meeting at a school,” he said.
In retrospect, Mr. Brandt viewed his ultimate role as municipal counsel as “the protection of the town.” He used Westfield’s handling of the “Mount Laurel situation,” which called for towns across New Jersey to expand their offerings of affordable housing, as an example.
“We really protected neighborhoods who could have been intruded upon by inappropriate housing,” stated Mr. Brandt.
In addition, “Westfield did great things with some of its land acquisition and disposition,” he said.
In particular, Mr. Brandt spoke of the Ewing tract along Prospect Street
William A. Burke for The Westfield Leader
A SIGN OF THE TIMES...The Westfield Historical Society was presented, Monday night, with an original Westfield Train Station sign by members of the Union Model Club. Pictured, left to right, are: club members Joe Marateo, Jeff Taylor and Richard Cornell, Assemblyman Richard H. Bagger of Westfield, and Donald Mokrauer, representing the Historical Society.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
Bergen to Pay Union $38 Mil.
To Settle Suit
Bergen County will pay Union County $38 million in order to settle litigation brought by Union against Bergen when it terminated payments pursuant to an interdistrict agreement entered into when the Union County Utilities Authority (UCUA) constructed its Resource Recovery Facility in Rahway.
The purpose of the original agreement was to ensure that the burner would be financially solvent under the old regulated system.
The litigation came in the aftermath of a court decision, which deregulated the garbage disposal business in New Jersey.
After the state lost on appeal and the United States Supreme Court refused to hear the case in 1997, garbage haulers began to dump out of the county, including those from Bergen County.
Prior to the court decision, haulers were required by state regulation to dump at the designated incinerators and/or landfills as outlined in the individual county’s solid waste management plan.
Union County haulers were required to dump at the Union County Resource Recovery Facility, more commonly known as the incinerator.
The settlement, which was approved by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders during a special meeting Monday night, was mediated by Judge Harold Ackerman of the United States District Court in Newark.
Union County Freeholder Chairman Nicholas P. Scutari said that the proceeds of the settlement will be used to pay outstanding debt that remains following the lease of the facility to Ogden-Martin Systems of Union, Inc., which operates the incinerator, last October.
In an effort to make the incinerator financially solvent in a free market system, the Union County Freeholder board and the Utilities Authority negotiated a 25-year lease of the facility with Ogden-Martin.
The agreement, completed last summer, provides $180,000 in lease payments, which the county will use
Page 10 Thursday, March 25, 1999 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION
CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
BOE Okays $54 Mil. Budget For Vote in April Elections
Town Council Introduces $23.62 Million Budget
Elm Deli to Close Doors After 35 Memorable Years
at the elementary schools, 2.8 World Languageteachers attheintermediateschools, two Language Arts teachers at the intermediate schools, two mathematics teachers at the intermediate schools, .4 health teachers at the intermediate schools, 3.5 resource room teachers throughout the district, aides and computer technicians will equal a cost of $670,800.
Capital projects, with a final price tag of $536,000, are also represented in the budget. These projects include fascia and soffit roof repair at Jefferson Elementary School, and a new bell and intercom system at Washington Elementary School.
Partial roof repair at Edison Intermediate School and an upgrade in heat controls at Roosevelt Intermediate School, along with floor tile replacement and a new air conditioner for the nurse’s suite at the high school, are additional
capital projects included in the cost. The major revenue components of the budget are the $47 million tax levy, comprising 88 percent; $3.6 million, or 7 percent, in state aid; $1.6 million, or 3 percent, free balance, and $1 million, or 2 percent, categorized as miscellaneous.
In the course of crafting and re-crafting the budget, the board has come approximately $54,130 under their cap. The budget has increased 2.8 percent since last year.
With the average home assessed at $174,000, the Westfield taxpayer would be responsible for $122 of the budget this year, or $10 per month.
Voters may mail absentee ballots between Tuesday, April 13 and April 20. Polls will be open for the school election from 2 to 9 p.m. The new electronic voting machines will tally the ballots, which determine the fate of the budget.
provement plan. “Its the most ambitious capital budget that I have seen...It shows that we are on the move,” Councilman Walsh said.
Third Ward Councilman Neil F. Sullivan, Jr. pointed out that the budget includes the addition of three new traffic enforcement officers for the downtown, which will help the Westfield Police Department implement its new safety plan following the deaths of two pedestrians this year.
Mr. Sullivan, who chaired the Transportation, Parking and Traffic Committee in 1998, noted that jitney service is a major component of the parking system improvements that are being implemented by the town.
Councilman Sullivan said the additional Sunday library hours, which will begin in September, will only enhance the valuable resources the library provides to residents.
The council, for the first time in several years, agreed to the full $1.29 million budget as submitted by the library’s Board of Trustees. The governing body also granted a request for another $14,000 to cover 13 Sunday openings starting September 26.
Freshman First Ward Councilman Carl A. Salisbury said there was an “extraordinary” amountofworkdone by town officials and department heads in drafting the spending plan.
Mr. Salisbury said that while he favors the programs and services included in the municipal spending plan, he has “struggled” with the budget process itself, adding that he may not support it for that reason.
“I’m grateful that I am going to have a little more time to do some soul searching, perhaps even talking to my colleagues about that (the budget) process,” he said, indicating he may not support the budget when the council votes to adopt it next month.
Mayor Thomas C. Jardim echoed Councilman Salisbury’s sentiments, noting that he would like to the council to begin adopting bi-annual capital budgets. He said this would enable the council to better focus on long-term priorities.
He said the change would also create a “less strenuous” budget process.
In other business, the council approved an ordinance that sets the police salaries for this year as per the recentlyratifiedPolicemen’sBenevolent Association Local No. 60 contract. The pact calls for increases of 3.6 percent, 3.4 percent and 3.8 percent over the next three years.
Also adopted was an ordinance for the town’s inclusion in the county capital lease program. As per the ordinance, the town is purchasing $737,000 inPublicWorksequipment,
as well as $135,000 for a fire communications system and $350,000 for a new fire pumper truck for the fire department.
The council approved the ordinance by a vote of 6 to 2, with First Ward Councilman Gregory S. McDermott and Second Ward Councilman Matthew P. Albano voting against it, indicating their support for fire officials’ request to buy two trucks.
Councilman Sullivan, who cast a negative vote on introduction of the ordinance two weeks ago, said that while he felt he had to vote in favor of the other purchases in the lease program, he still supported the purchase of two fire trucks.
As PublicSafetyCommitteeChairman, Mr. Sullivan said he had hoped to have fire officials make a presentation before the full council for the trucks at Tuesday’s hearing. The change to one truck though, in effect, ended that possibility.
On another matter, council members agreed to have officials move ahead with improvements to a parcel of land vacated by the town a few years ago.
Mary MaslovskyofCoolidgeStreet said the town’s action a few years ago, in effect, resulted in the acquisition of the land by her family and surrounding property owners, thus resulting in an increase in their taxes.
She said a path on the parcel is still being used by passersby who dispose of items on the property, apparently not realizing the land is privately owned.
In addition, Ms. Maslovsky said the property needs to be graded.
“The place is a mess and is overgrown,” said Councilman Gruba, adding that the town should clean up the property as soon as possible.
The council also authorized a contract with Waste Management Systems of New Jersey, Inc. to conduct the town’s residential cleanup program. TheElizabeth-basedfirm’sbid was $35.30 per permit. The additional costs to the town are mailing and printing costs related to the mailing of the permit application forms and related information that will be sent to all households.
Residents may purchase permits at $50 apiece to dispose of a maximum of 750 pounds of bulky waste as part of the spring curbside program now in its fourth year.
Councilman Sullivansaidhewould have preferred to set the rate at $45 per permit, indicating that he believesthisprice wouldresultingreater participation by residents in the program.
The town averages between 950 and 1,000 permits sold for the program, officials indicated.
send the youth to the delicatessen for sandwiches.
Now,Mr. Gerardiello,whogetslunch there frequently, bemoans the closure.
“He didsowellthere becausehegotto know all the people,” he said. “He’s the type ofguyifyou couldn’taffordasandwich, he’d give you one.”
There are stories, indeed, of Mr. DeRubeis delivering his food to those physically unable to make it into his delicatessenand ofvariousotherunsung generosities, but Mr. DeRubeis isn’t the kind to discuss any good deeds.
Mr. DeRubeis does agree, however, that personal service is the main thing that set his delicatessen apart from others.
“I know people by their first names,” he said.“Andyouget goodvalueforyour money here. They’ll put up with slower service Angela and I don’t have a staff to serve them for what they get.”
Mr. DeRubeis uses only the highest quality of Boar’s Head cold cuts and makes the salads himself. He and his wife cook their own meatloaf and beef, however. His famous mini-deli, known in some delicatessens as “sloppy joes,” consists of boiled ham, turkey, Russian dressing, cole slew and Swiss cheese. It can be had for $3.75. Daily soups are $1.95.
He said 85 percent of his daily business is repeat. Some of the “repeats” he has cometoknowso wellthattheydon’t have to say much if they call in their orders.
“A lot of people will call and say this is Joeandthatis all,”Mr.DeRubeissaid, grinning. Or, “I’m so and so, the usual,” he said. Some call saying: “One MD (mini-deli) and that’s it.”
Every morning at 4:50 a.m., Mr. DeRubeis is known to open his door to local postal employee Walter Schubert. Mr. Schubert, an accounting clerk, who buyscoffeeand Portugueserollsforhimself and other postal employees.
“I used to go in there every so often duringthedayand finallyoneearlymorn
ing I knocked on the door and he let me in,” Mr. Schubert explained. “I’ve been comingbackeversince. Itellhimwho’ll bein thenextdayand howmanyrollsand coffee I’ll need. When I leave he locks the door behind me. What a great person.”
Thebulkof Mr.DeRubeis’businessis done between 11:30 a.m. and 3 p.m., although he opens at 7 a.m. and does not close until 5 p.m. daily. He is also open Saturdays till 3:30 p.m.
He admits that he and his wife would have liked to stay on Elm Street a few more years and eventually sell the business to someone else. Without a longterm lease, however, he said no one would really want to buy the business.
“So I said to my wife, maybe it was meanttobe,” hecommented.“Angelais sad, but she is tired. We lasted longer than the average deli owner did. The average deli sells out in about 15-20 years. It is the long 80-90 hour weeks.”
He concedes that running the delicatessen has been a hard life. He gets to work daily by 3:30-4 a.m., when he begins tomakefreshsalads andsliceupthe dozensoftypesof rollsandbreadsdelivered every day. He leaves at 5 p.m., but goes to bed every night by 7:30 or 8 p.m.
Once thedelicatessenclosesSaturday, Mr. DeRubeis will take a few weeks getting his business in order, trying to sell equipment and inventory. Then he will go into the hospital for a long overdue hernia operation.
After recuperating, Mr. DeRubeis intends tolookfora job,hopefully,hesays, in the delicatessen department of a local grocerystore.
He said he still needs to work and that he and his wife want to continue to keep their Westfield house, which they built near the high school years ago.
It ishard,headmitted, tohavesomany things about their future up in the air.
But on his last day, he said he and his wife have already decided something.
“We’ll leave as we came in. Nice and quiet,” he said.
WESTFIELD POLICE BLOTTER THURSDAY, MARCH 18
· Americo Martinho, 38, of Elizabeth was arrested and charged with being an unlicensed driver following a motor vehicle accident which occurred on Central Avenue, according to police.
Martinho was also wanted on contempt of court warrants out of Roselle and Elizabeth. Bail was set at $225 on the Westfield charge, and at $250 each on the two warrants.
· Pablo Baloco, 25, of Elizabeth was charged at Westfield police headquarters with credit card theft in connection with a February 19 incident in which a creditcardwas removedfromawoman’s purse at a local house of worship, authorities said. Baloco posted $1,500 bail.
· JamesE. Lehmkuhl,18,ofWestfield was arrested in the 1100 block of South Avenue, West, and charged with distribution of under one ounce of marijuana, according to police. Lehmkuhl was released on $100 bail.
FRIDAY, MARCH 19
· The UnionCountyEducationalServicesCommission reportedthatfiveseats
on a school bus were slashed, reportedly by a student, while the vehicle was traveling along Central Avenue, authorities confirmed.
· Thetheftofa meterbagfromQuimby Street was reported to police.
SATURDAY, MARCH 20
· Martin R. Lemansky, 42, of Westfield was arrested and charged with driving with a revoked license, his second offense, in the 200 block of Cacciola Place, police said. He was released on $775 cash bail.
· A window on a Central Avenue delicatessen was smashed, according to police, who confirmed that entry to the business was not gained.
SUNDAY, MARCH 21
· A Mountainside resident reported thetheftofa canvasbagcontaining$1,000 cash, along with paperwork, which she had left on a chair in a Westfield bank earlier that day.
MONDAY, MARCH 22
· A Westfield resident reported that all four wheels and tires were stolen from his vehicle, which he had left for repairs at a business on South Avenue, East.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
that a survey was distributed to the student body in order to determine the preference of an April 9 or April 24 opening. He noted that the high school staff was supportive of either option, while the students preferred to attend school for only four and a half hours on April 24.
Mrs. Satkin called the survey “mixing apples and oranges,” stating that students would naturally choose to attend classes for fewer hours instead of a full dayofinstruction duringthespringbreak.
Dr. Petix assured the board and audience that no testing or new materials would be presented to the students on April 24.
Dr. Foley explained that when he called the snow day, he expected it would be made up as planned on April 9 and then Dr. Petix presented the April 24 option to him.
District students in kindergarten through eighth grade, with their last school day on Monday, June 21, are not be affected by the snow day, whereas students from the high school need to make up the day.
“There’s no option here that everybody’s going to be thrilled about,” observed the Superintendent. He added that opening schools on Saturday would offer some interesting possibilities.
Mrs. Gardner stressed, “I’d like to state up front that I am troubled by the Saturday option.” Although she applauded the dedication of the school staff to bend with either decision, she said she believed a Saturday opening would “set a bad example” and would show disrespect for the religious beliefs of students and their families.
Mrs. Gardner, who serves as Chair of the board’s Policies Committee and is seeking re-election to the board, believes that an additional snow day should be built into the school calendar to accommodate for unexpected snow days, such as March 15.
She concluded that she does not expect full attendance of either school staff or students on either day.
Susan Jacobson, who serves as Chair of the board’s Finance Committee, stated that she considered the snow day conundrum as a “unique situation.” She agreed that the calendar policy needed to be revisited and amended to allow extra snow days.
Board Member Annmarie Puleio, who is also seeking reelection to the board, stated that she believes the board as “learned a lesson” from scrambling to find room for an additional day of instruction.
BOE Plans Saturday Opening for WHS Pupils
which the town acquired over a period of 10 years.
There was a lot of abandoned property to contend with, time-consuming title clearingamong numerousheirsofformer property owners.
“It was very involved,” he recalled, “very long range planning.”
“We controlled the use of that land. In the end, it was very worthwhile,” he concluded. “That’s the kind of thing you don’t get to experience except in a municipality.”
Mr. BrandtalsorememberedWestfield residents’ opposition years ago to the township’s acquisition of land for two major parking lots, “the Citgo and Shell lots” and wondered what the town would do today without them.
When he was working for Westfield, Fanwood and Rahway, Mr. Brandt estimated that about half of his time was spent on municipal business. That varied according to the activities in each community.
“Mount Laurel (low to moderate income housing) took a tremendous amount of time, five years,” he said.
“But, when it was over, it wasn’t replaced by anything else so time consuming.”
Mr. Brandt was pleased to see the majorportion ofWestfield’srevisedtown zoning ordinance fully adopted in 1998.
“That took close to six years to complete,” he said. He explained how that process started with citizen involvement and committee work and moved on through development of the existing master plan for the town. He called the final product the work of a “committee of three”: Mr. Brandt; township planner BlaisBrancheau; andzoningofficerJerry O’Neill.
Mr. Brandt continues in the private Westfield law practice he established in 1975. Outside the office, he enjoys sailing and renovating houses. He is in the process of restoring his own home on Euclid Avenue “to its former glory.” His wife, Nancy, owns an antique shop in Spring Lake Heights, so he “does a lot of moving furniture” for her.
A retirement celebration honoring Mr. Brandt will take place tomorrow evening at The Gran Centurions in Clark.
Retired Attorney Reflects Upon 25 Year Career
By KIM KINTER
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
What business will move into the spots that Elm Delicatessen and Backroom Antiques had occupied at 37 and 39 Elm Street remains uncertain, accordingto GaryGoodman,whosefamily owns the Westfield building.
“I don’t know as yet,” Mr. Goodman said. “We have no lease.”
He acknowledged that that there are a number of people interested in renting the two storefronts and that they had been in and out of the property looking at the site.
Mr. Goodman denied various reports that a new Italian restaurant was opening at the site, stressing that he had no signed lease.
The building owner reported last July that a new tenant, a children’s clothing store chain, would be moving into the spots that the Elm Delicatessen and Backroom Antiques had occupied for years.
The announcement came as a surprise to both owners of the businesses.
Backroom Antiques, which had been at the location for 20 years, moved out at the end of the year, and will be moving into a new location at 26 Prospect Street in May.
Elm Delicatessen owner Tim DeRubeis considered expanding into the other side of the building, but decided against it (see related story, page 1). He had been at the location for the last 35 years.
Both tenants had dealt with the elder Joel Goodman over the years. Gary Goodman is his son.
The younger Mr. Goodman defended his decision at the time by saying that the tenants had either hinted about retiring or asked about for shorter leases prior to his decision to take on the children’s clothing store.
The clothing store deal later fell through, but Mr. Goodman remained committed to the idea of renting both sides of the building to one tenant.
The turn-of-the century building used to be a combination bank and post office. waste at the burner. These towns
include Westfield, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Fanwood.
“In addition to the $38 million, another $9 million in capitalized interest and reserve funds will also be freed for investment,” Freeholder Stender explained.
“Thus, $47 million of principal will be invested to pay off the remaining debt, reducing our total exposure to $35 million, which is what the county has guaranteed in the original UCUA financing,” she noted.
Freeholder Scutari said that Union County is the only county with a resource recovery plant that is not facing the prospect of insolvency.
“When the Supreme Court ruled that counties could no longer direct waste flow within their borders, Union County was faced with $293 million in debt and no garbage at its facility,” he remarked.
“It is unfortunate that many counties in New Jersey, including Union and Bergen, were put in this predicament due to a state law that was ultimately found to be unconstitutional,” he stated.
Freeholder Stender thanked State Senate President Donald T. DiFrancesco, State Senators Raymond J. Lesniak and C. Louis Bassano, and Governor Christine Todd Whitman’s office for their help in reaching this settlement.
Freeholder Stender said the state is providing $25 million to Bergen for the settlement as part of its efforts to deal with the incinerator crisis statewide.
Freeholder Scutari said that the 12 Union County communities which participated in the Ogden-Martin lease are now paying one of the lowest dumping fees in the state.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
towards the outstanding debt on the $293 million incinerator.
In addition, 12 of the 21 municipalities in the county signed quarter century contracts to continue dumping at the incinerator at a rate of $50 a ton, with increases based on inflation.
The settlement has already been approved by the Union County and Bergen County Utilities Authorities.
Under the terms of the original interlocalagreement,BergenCounty agreed to provide 40 percent of the garbage necessary to operate the facility, Union County officials explained. The Bergen Freeholder board is scheduled to vote on the settlement as early as next week.
“The Resource Recovery Facility was built as a result of an interdistrict agreement. WhentheSupremeCourt deregulated New Jersey’s garbage industry, Bergen stopped delivering their garbage to Rahway,” explained Freeholder Scutari.
“At the direction of the Freeholder Board, the UCUA filed suit, Bergen countersued and was then ordered to continue to pay while the litigation was pending,” he added.
“The $38 million we will receive represents Bergen’s share of the debt that remains outstanding following the lease of the facility to OgdenMartin for $180 million for a period of 25 years.”
Freeholder Linda d. Stender, who served as Board Chairwoman when the Ogden deal was negotiated, said that following the lease of the facility to Ogden-Martin, the county guaranteed$86 millioninremainingdebt.
That debt was to be paid by Bergen and by an environmental impact charge, or tax, to be assessed on solid waste originating from towns that have not signed contracts to dump
Union and Bergen Counties Reach Accord on Lawsuit
Future of Elm Deli Site Yet to be Determined
AIDS Benefit Committee Reveals Successful Auction
WESTFIELD — Three hundred and fifty people attended the AIDS Benefit Committee’s 11th Annual Auction at Temple Emanu-El in Westfield on March 6, which raised more than $65,000.
This year’s auction inaugurated the John DeMarco Humanitarian Award, which honors the founder of the AIDS Benefit Committee.
Mr.DeMarco, arealtorinWestfield and a Plainfield resident, was on hand to accept the honor of President Emeritus. The first annual award was presented to Riki Jacobs, Executive Director of the Hyacinth Foundation, an organization which supports people living with AIDS.
During the event, AIDS Benefit Committee President Mike Kenny of Westfield and Past President Ron Oberdick, proprietor of Pereaux Interior Design of Morristown and Summit, honored the memory of Richard Lane, an avid supporter of the
AIDS Benefit Committee. Mr. Lane and his wife, Rita, dedicated many hours in support of the AIDS Benefit Committee and many other causes.
A joint resolution of the New Jersey Assembly and Senate, sponsored by Senate President Donald T. DiFrancesco and Assemblymen Richard H. Bagger and Alan M. Augustine, commemorated the accomplishments of Mr. Lane and was presented to his widow the next day.
Jon Bramnick, nicknamed “New Jersey’s funniest lawyer,” once again served as auctioneer for the event. Mr. Bramnick entertained the crowd by trying on auction items from leather jackets to robes and sombreros. He even lead a trio of bag pipers (auctioned for $550)
The committee welcomes donations and volunteers. For further information, please call Mr. Oberdick at (973) 993-8255.
Y YY YYou’r ou’r ou’r ou’r ou’re Invited! e Invited! e Invited! e Invited! e Invited!
Please join the Westfield community in thanking the owners of the Elm Delicatessen at the Rorden Building,
44 Elm Street, Westfield on Saturday, March 27, from 5 to 7 p.m.