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Michelle H. LePoidevin
ARTS and ENTERTAINMENT
During the reign of Queen Anne of England (1702-1714) and the reign of Louis XIV of France (1643-1715), according to etymologist C.E. Funk, Jr., it was fashionable to don wigs at court.
This fashion evolved to the state that the size and type of wig worn provided an indication of the importance of the wearer, i.e., the more important the person, the more impressive the wig. Wigs eventually lost favor, but are still worn by judges in the British court.
The bigwig idiom persists today connoting “an important and influential person, especially a party leader.” The popular expression biggie is the contemporary version of bigwig.
Today, one can be a bigwig regardless of the quantity of his tresses, or, indeed, even lack thereof. While not everyone can be a bigwig, he can if necessary, still buy one!
Leader Receives Thanks For April 15 Issue
I would like to take this opportunity to give belated thanks to those involved in working on your issue of April 15.
It is obvious that lot of effort was involved in putting this issue together and in making sure all residents received a copy, even if not current subscribers. Please accept my apologies for waiting so long before sending this letter.
To me it seems that this issue is an excellent example of the good work your community newspaper continues to do.
Robert H. Sommerich Fanwood
Cartoon Found Negative in Light Of Students’ Many Accomplishments
I found a strange irony in your newspaper on May 13, your cartoon lampooned the Board of Education questioning the focus ofourstudents.Yet, ontheverynext page you printed a letter from the Student Council Teacher Appreciation Committee of Franklin Elementary School.
Therein the students commended the teachers and staff for making their years at Franklin fruitful and memorable. The obviously well-written and received letter was testament to the fine job our schools are doing with our children.
Rather thanexpressingboredom,these Franklin students expressed the exact opposite. The same could be said for all of our schools. If your cartoonist took the time to see the dedication of our students, teachers, staff, administration and our parents.
Having had an opportunity to tour most of our nine schools within the last year as Parent-Teacher Council President, I was enormously proud of our students and their achievement. I believe our schools are pulling out the best in our students.
In fact, their achievement is evident every where you look. From the list of colleges our children are accepted to, to the athletic fields, to the fine drama and musical performances, our schools produce a first rate product. Just this week our district had an impressive art show, which displayed the incredible talent of our youth.
I found this particularly remarkable since all of our elementary art teachers make do with “art on a cart.”
In this day when there is so much sadness in the world, I wonder if it is necessaryforyou toprintsuchunfounded negativity. Rather, I’d like to invite your cartoonist into the schools to visit the award winning Hi’s Eye staff, to watch a drama or musical performance, to look at our college placements, or to even just tour the schools.
I think he might just come away with a different impression.
Denise Fontana Ricci Westfield Roosevelt, Edison School Parents
Are Proud of Their Children
Editor’s Note: This letter was verified by the director of the Westfield Municipal Alliance/PANDA (Preventing Alcohol, Narcotics And Drug Abuse), which is made up of various community organizations and citizens in Westfield.
* * * * * Totheparents ofEdisonandRoosevelt peer leaders: As a child grows, there are days or events which signal that they have moved onto the next plateau of learning. As adults, we look back at these events and formulate a memory which is cherished and indelible.
This summer, your children made a commitment to become Peer Leaders. They learned to work together, break boundaries, develop trust, build self confidence and become the best they are capable of becoming. This year, your children demonstrated their accomplishment of reaching the next plateau.
They completed their training and began immediately to impact the Westfield community. In the district, the peer leaders conducted outreach activities with their peers and elementary students which show the power of Peer-toPeer mentoring and making healthy choices in today’s challenging world. They performed outreach activities for you, their parents.
They also shared their growth at numerous speaking engagements and train
ing in the evenings and out of district including: participation in The New Jersey Middle School Peer Leadership Initiative Day of Learning, a presentation to parents before a joint parent meeting and most recently, a presentation for mayors, municipal elected officials from Union County as a State recognized model program.
Your children will also be presenting to the Governor’s Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse and newly selected adult mentors in the State of New Jersey.
These peer leaders helped develop a demonstration lesson for the future training of peer leaders which was videotaped and will serve as a teaching tape for new programs in New Jersey and other states.
Your children speak with poise well beyond their years. Their addresses are confident and well thought out. Your children ask the audience to listen to them because they speak from their hearts.
Your children discuss the strength of “Kid-to-Kid” helping with decisions regarding alcohol and drug use. Their respect for each other models our program in a manner that words cannot and do not do justice.
We have sent this letter with pride and a sense of commitment to our youth. You see, this year, your children formed the indelible and cherished memory for us and all the adults who have witnessed the Peer Leadership program.
We wish to thank you for the role you have played in the development of these proud young men and women. They have indeed reached that plateau. They go forward ready to embrace the future with confidence and courage. They have abilities which are limitless.
Thank you for encouraging your children to be part of the Peer Leadership program of Edison and Roosevelt Intermediate Schools. They have set the standard for the State and all future Peer Leaders. We are proud to sponsor such a worthy program with the Westfield School District.
Board Members of the Westfield Municipal Alliance/PANDA
Thanks for Publicity Of Godspell Production
Thank you so much for the great publicity your paper gave to the Westfield HighSchoolproductionof Godspell.The students and their parents were delighted to be cutting articles for their scrapbooks.
Thanks to your help, we had two sellout nights.
From all of us associated with the play, thank you.
Bernadine Liebrich Westfield Verneiro Vote: Republican Senators
Owe Community Some Explanations
On May 10, Peter Verniero, Governor Whitman’s loyal accomplice in establishing the culture of death (abortion, partial-birth abortion, and the death penalty) in the state of New Jersey received the necessary 21 votes in the State Senate to become a new member of the New Jersey Supreme Court.
The shock and surprise came from the following 17 Republican senators who voted to place Verniero on the court: Senators Martha W. Bark, C. Louis Bassano, Cafiero, Gerald Cardinale, Andrew R. Ciesla, Leonard T. Connors, Jr., Donald T. DiFrancesco, William L. Gormley, Peter A. Inverso, Louis F. Kosco, Joseph M. Kyrillos, Jr., John J. Matheussen, Henry P. McNamara, Joseph A. Palaia, Bill Schluter, Robert
Singer and Walter J. Kavanaugh. All of these legislators voted to override Governor Whitman’s veto of the legislature’s ban on partial-birth abortions. The Governor’s response to the override was to have then Attorney General Verniero put forth an in-your-face refusal to implement the ban on partialbirth abortions.
And so, you could think that if these 17 senators operated on principles demonstrating respect for human life, they could never vote to place Verniero on the high court.
But they did vote to place him on the high court and it was not because they failed to remember the override vote because Senator Edward T. O’Connor, Jr., a Democrat from Hudson County, reminded them on the floor of their override vote dealing with partial-birth abortion.
Seventeen Republican senators owe us some answers.
Ray Kalainikas Toms River Edward J. Saridaki, Jr. Offers Thanks
To Community for SP-F BOE Election
The results of this year’s school board election reflect the tremendous efforts madebymanypeople intheScotchPlainsFanwood community.
I want to thank all those people who publicly supported me with their letters to the papers and phone calls to other voters.
I also want to thank my flyer distribution team who dedicated many personal hours to walking the streets of our community in the effort to garner one more vote. Being the top vote earner did not
come easily, every vote counted. I must also thank all the voters who expressed their confidence in my ability to represent them by casting their votes for me.
I now look forward to the hard work facing the board over the next three years. I will continue to work tirelessly to fulfill yourconfidenceinmy abilitytoactfairly, objectively, and responsibly on behalf of the entire community. Thank you.
Edward J. Saridaki, Jr. Scotch Plains
FROM THE DESK OF GERI SAMUEL FROM THE DESK OF GERI SAMUEL FROM THE DESK OF GERI SAMUEL FROM THE DESK OF GERI SAMUEL FROM THE DESK OF GERI SAMUEL
– MAYOR OF SCOTCH PLAINS –
Property Tax Reform: Let’s Wake Trenton Up
Property taxes are on the mind of every taxpayer. We recently passed a budget in Scotch Plains with a five point tax increase. Did we want to do it? No! But, services cost money, and the only source of revenue we have is property taxes.
Let’s look at the state government. They are floating in surplus. They are reinstating the Homestead Rebate for every citizen that they abolished in 1992. It wasn’t a good plan. But now, it is called property tax relief. The Governor thinks it is a new idea. It isn’t.
The Democrats instituted the original Homestead Rebate. They sent everyone $500 a year rebate. There was no phase-in program. It was a straight $500. Then it was changed so that if you made over a certain amount of money, you didn’t receive the money.
The state government raises money mostlythrough salesandincometaxes. If you don’t buy things, you don’t pay sales tax. If you don’t work, or if you haveincomebelow acertainlevel,you don’t pay income tax. There are ways out of paying the taxes the state imposes. But, you always pay property taxes.
Whether itisaportion ofyourrentor a portion of your mortgage payment, you must pay them. They are used to fund our schools, our county governmentand ourlocalmunicipalservices.
The property tax is an antiquated system. When manufacturing or some otherbigindustry werepayingtaxesto municipalities (mostly cities), it made sense. They used more local services, theyoccupiedmore land,theyhadmore income, they could afford to pay more.
With the development of suburbia, there was no heavy industry or manufacturing plants that were generating hugeproperty taxpayments.Thatmoney had to come from the taxpayers themselves.Theyarenot justthepeoplewho live in your town; they are the people who work in your town and many of them are people who are employed by your municipal corporation.
They don’t want to pay taxes any more than the average citizen does. What is the answer?
We need to reform the property tax system. We need to appeal to Trenton tochangethe wayeducationisfunded. Instead of taking more money away from the schools and giving people income tax rebates, provide more and better funding for the schools. That will help to lower the property tax burden.
If the state mandates that a program be instituted in a school or a municipality, take responsibility for it. Don’t passitoffto thelocalgovernment.Pay fortheprograms youareforcingschool systems to implement. If the federal government mandatesaprogram,send the money along so that the program is adequatelyfunded.
Onereasonthat thefederal,stateand county governments have huge surpluses is because they are not adequately funding the programs they mandateatthelocal level.Untilwecan achieve true property tax reform, we canneversolve thisproblemofhaving to increase property taxes to pay for our schools and our municipal services.
Ourlegislatorsare doingusadisservice. It is time that we let them know how we feel. I urge you to contact the SenatePresident,AssemblymenRichardH.Bagger andAlanM.Augustine, Governor Christie Todd Whitman, Congressman Bob Franks, Senators Frank LautenbergandRobertTorricelli and even the President.
Tell them you have had enough and that you are not going to take it any more. The Governor has set up a commission to study how we can achieve property tax reform. Let them deal with the real issue. Until the public schools are funded through either incometaxesorsales taxes,wecannever hope to have true property tax reform.
Thismightbe averyunpopularidea, but one that needs to be looked at carefully now more than ever. Reform is required to preserve our future.
While Improvement Plan Has Its Plusses, Let’s Keep Westfield’s Character in Check
Last weektheWestfieldTown Councilwasgivena quickoverviewofplans tomakesignificantaesthetic improvements in the downtown as part of a larger improvement plan which will soon be released for public and council scrutiny.
Theplan,aspresented bytheDowntownWestfield Corporation, calls for over $2 million in enhancements toupgradethedowntown. Anumberofbricked pathways are proposed for locations such as behind theRialtoTheatre andinanumber ofalleywaysinthe downtown. In addition, a granite block “square” and bricked crosswalks at the intersection of East Broad and Elm Streets are planned.
Newvintagelightingand trashreceptaclesarealso planned for the town, as is landscaping in a number of locations, including the Central Avenue approach to Downtown Westfield.
A number of the projects included in the plan will only enhance Westfield’s appearance. These include some of the bricked pathways, specifically the one that will lead from the municipal parking lot behind the Brick Oven and the Liquor Basket to Quimby Street, and the one planned for next to the Rialto and the Windmill Restaurant. The sidewalk entrance to the walkway will feature a decorative overhead arch with a wall-mounted globe light.
The Central Avenue approach to Westfield on the south side of town has long been an eyesore. The DWC proposes to add shade trees on both sides of Central Avenue between North Avenue and the railroad tracks in addition to vintage lighting. A new four-foot-wide sidewalk is also included along the corridor between the train tracks and North Avenue.
Shade trees and new sidewalks are also proposed for both sides of Central Avenue at its intersection with South Avenue. A bricked crosswalk would be placed at the intersection which also includes Ross Place and New Street. The tree plantings and sidewalk, asitstands,would continuedownpastCacciola Place and Sussex Street.
The areas of the plan which we are not enthusiastic about are the bricked crosswalks and, more importantly, the Bank Square proposed for East Broad and Elm. We are also concerned about a plan, yet to be unveiled, to replace downtown sidewalks. Regardless of whatever improvements that are made, it is crucial that Westfield’s unique character remain unchanged. Let’s not brick our entire downtown like Cranford and Union.
Any crosswalk changes should reflect input from theWestfieldPoliceDepartment andtheRBAGroup, whichiscurrentlyconducting atrafficcalmingstudy for the town.
Weheardfroma representativeoftheB.R.A.K.E.S. (Bikers, Runners, And Kids are Entitled to Safety) who informed us that by slowing traffic in the downtown, the town might be able to route this traffic flow away from business district. The biggest headache continues to be the link between the Garden State Parkway and Route 22 via Central Avenue. Motorists come down Mountain Avenue off Route 22 and take it across East Broad to Central Avenue and on to the Parkway, where they can reach Route 1.
We’ve heard of a plan to signalize the intersection of East Broad, Central and Mountain. That plan, though, is said to involve widening Central at The Presbyterian Church in Westfield. This proposal does not make any sense to us. In fact, it seems to be contradictory to the efforts to reduce speeds in town and direct through traffic to alternate routes. If we widen the road, wouldn’t that create more of a highway through the downtown?
Downtown Westfield has been undergoing a number of aesthetically pleasing changes the past few years,themostsignificant beingtheimprovementsto the Rialto, as well as the buildings on East Broad which house Classic Thyme, Nine West and Anne Taylor. The second and third floors, designated for luxury apartments, have been designed to give the building a New Orleans motif.
Any changes in the downtown should primarily focus on making Westfield more pedestrian and shopper friendly. Creating free two-hour street parking would go a lot further toward attracting customers than bricked sidewalks and concrete “squares”.
Once the plan is officially unveiled, it is important that a number of public forums, not just one, are held to garner opinions from residents, downtown landlordsandmerchantsalike. TheTownCouncil,which must vote to spend the moneys for the plan — now in the range of $1.2 million – should visit communities where bricked crosswalks, walkways, and concrete intersection “squares” exist in order to get a better feel for its overall impact on a downtown area.
In addition to the improvement plan, numerous parking lot enhancements are proposed for this summer, not to mention talks on proposals for a parking deck. This should be an interesting next few months in Colonial Westfield.
SPFCAAN Gives Thanks To Mayor Connelly
For Her Support
Scotch Plains/Fanwood Citizens Against Aircraft Noise, Inc. wishes to thank Mayor Maryanne S. Connelly and the Council of the Borough of Fanwood for approving a resolution in response to complaints about increased aircraft noise in the evening and early morning hours.
Prior to April 1996, the FAA directed night-time aircraft over paths away from residential areas. Borough officials call upon the FAA to reinstate noise abatement procedures to reduce the racket at night.
Martha Sides Secretary Scotch Plains-Fanwood Citizens
Against Aircraft Noise Senator Torricelli
I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for the complimentary copy of your paper. I was very impressed with the quality and wide number of participants you featured. It was a great opportunity for the public to get a good cross section of ideas.
It is very important for newspapers to take an interest in school board elections.
Bydevotinga specialedition(theApril 15 Opinion and Editorial Section), you underscored to the public that they must get out and vote and that school board elections are just as important as Presidential elections.
I commend you for your effort and for allowing me the opportunity to give my view.
Robert G. Torricelli United States Senator
Letters to the Editor
Young Scotch Plains Resident Would Like to Start Local Children’s Group
Hi! I’m Jennifer L. Bauer. Let me tell you about myself. First of all I’m 11 years old. I have blue eyes, long, dirty blonde or brown hair and lightly tanned skin since I came back from Florida.
I am hoping that you will put my letter in your newspaper; please don’t say no
till you see why. My godmother, Leslie Anderson, is in charge of a children’s civic in North Carolina and I would like to start one here. This civic would be a group of kids of proper age that would express how they feel about our community, what they think we need to change and so forth.
I am hoping to get this organized to open the eyes of all adults so they will see what kids see, so they can understand what kids are trying to tell them. Can your paper help?
What I’m trying to say is that with this children’s civic people will be able to hear and see what the children of our community think about how their life is. Also, children could explain how they think it could be better. It would give adults another perspective on the kids of this community.
This could educate all of us. I’m certain that the kids of this community can help all of us in ways most of us didn’t even know possible if we just got the chance.
Please, this is the generation that will take care of the earth after you have left us. Give them your trust.
I am hoping you understand what I have been trying to tell you. If you will accept my offer for your paper to publish my letter you can write it in any way you wish. But please at least mention my name and keep a few of my real sentences in it.
Jennifer L. Bauer Scotch Plains
Letters to the Editor
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