CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
Independent Wins Committee Seat In Berkeley Heights
By KIM KINTER
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
BERKELEY HEIGHTS – In what was a surprise even to the victor himself, Independent Michael Chait handily beat a Republican challenger for a three-year term on the Township Committee of Berkeley Heights.
According to unofficial results, Mr. Chait, a newcomer to politics, captured the most votes with 1,990. Republican incumbent John Miller received 1,558 votes, while another GOP challenger, Susan Sabol, garnered 1,277 tallies.
The three contenders competed for two three-year seats on the Township Committee.
Mr. Chait, 55, is one of the founders of the local Taxpayers Association group that was formed almost two years ago by citizens concerned about rising taxes. Mr. Chait resigned from the non-partisan group when he ran for the committee post.
He ran on the platform that he wouldn’t play politics after switching from being a Democrat to an Independent. Mr. Chait, a 22-year resident of Berkeley Heights who works for an investment firm, said he first became interested in running for the Township Committee because he was unhappy with what was happening locally.
“I was surprised at the margin with which I won,” he told The Westfield Leader. “Maybe they’re (voters) saying it’s time for a change.”
Mr. Chait said his first goal after he is sworn in in January is to “get along” with the other committee members. “If I get stuck on an island, I definitely won’t get anything done.”
He said one of his goals in office would be to push for the rehiring of a Township Administrator. Berkeley Heights has been without an administrator for almost two years, since the position was eliminated and the duties divided among several departments.
Officials described the move as a costcutting measure.
Mr. Chait said one area where an administrator would have been beneficial is Union County downtown development grants. These grants were awarded to many communities to help redevelop their downtowns.
Berkeley Heights was one of the few municipalities that did not receive a grant, but Mr. Chait pointed out that the township did not even apply for one, chiefly because there was no one in place to handle the application.
There also were two issues on the ballot in Berkeley Heights during the General Election on November 2. One involved whether or not the township’s police chief should get a pay increase that would bring his 1999 salary to $103,000. Voters turned that down, along with a series of pay questions regarding the chief extending back to 1998.
Mr. Chait said the Township Committee will some time have to address how much the police chief should make, adding that it was too bad that citizens felt forced to put the question on the ballot.
Nearly a year ago, the Township Committee voted in favor of the pay raise for the police chief, but took away some other benefits he was receiving and paid him one fee for his salary only.
In response, the Taxpayers Association gathered signatures on a petition protesting the pay increase. The petition was deemed flawed by the township attorney, however, and the Taxpayers Association then filed a lawsuit, asking that the issue be voted on by the public.
A Superior Court judge subsequently ruled in the Association’s favor, which resulted in the issue being put before voters this month.
Voters, however, did okay a nonbinding referendum to purchase property on both sides of Stanford Drive, east of Snyder Avenue, and turn it into public park land.
The property is now owned by a developer who wants to build a 259unit townhouse complex there. While the site plan for the complex was approved by the local Planning Board, the project has been put on hold due to recently-discovered contamination caused by asbestos and petroleum materials.
Mr. Chait said that the developer will have to sit down with committee members and decide what will happen with the property.
Child Development Center Of ARC Opens in Cranford
CRANFORD — The Arc of Union County has opened, “Bright Beginnings,” a specialized day care program at 135 Dermody Street in Cranford that brings together children aged three months to five years old with developmental disabilities and special needs.
“By integrating children of various abilities, maximum growth and development are achieved for all children,” said Deborah Pomianek, Associate Director of The Arc of Union County.
“The individualized, open-learning program is designed using developmentally appropriate practices. Each child is guided and directed so that he or she develops, physical, social, creative, and intellectual skills at his or her own rate in a nurturing environment that promotes choice and independence,” she added.
“When we integrate children with disabilities and those without disabilities, we provide a tremendous opportunity for all children to achieve maximum growth and development. Learning to appreciate people’s differences and focusing on potential at young ages can certainly play an integral part in teaching children about compassion, diversity and tolerance,” said Thomas Baffuto, Executive Director of The Arc of New Jersey.
“I am most impressed with the scope of the curriculum that is in place at the center and the outstanding staff that is implementing it on a daily basis,” Mr. Baffuto added.
The center is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and provides flexible program schedules to meet the needs of the children and families.
Headed by Sarah Woods, Children Services Administrator, the staff includes special education/early childhood educators, teacher assistants, a registered nurse, social worker, speech pathologist, physical therapist, and occupational therapist.
The Arc of Union County notes with gratitude the many donations and grants received which assure a quality program for the children.
The Edward W. and Stella C. Van Houten Memorial Fund and the Ambrose and Ida Frederickson Foundation supported renovations to the center. The E.J. Grassmann Trust donated funds to satisfy equipment needs and the contribution made by the Dombal-Vogel Foundation will help to purchase computer software for use by the children.
A donation made by Mae and Harry Nessell and the Fanwood-Scotch Plains Service League will help support the new playground.
The center would not have been completed if not for the contributions made by Merck & Co., Inc., the Bovis Construction Corporation, CUH2A, Kling Lindquist and Schering-Plough.
The Arc of Union County is a not-for-profit organization that serves more than 700 individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. For more information on “Bright Beginnings Center,” please call Sarah Woods at (908) 276-6660.
For additional information regarding The Arc’s services, please contact Carlotta Holton, Director of Resource Development and Public Relations at (908) 7547826.
Cheri Rogowsky for The Westfield Leader and The TImes
SHOWING THE FAITH...Westfield Mayor Thomas C. Jardim, right, presents proclamations from the State of New Jersey and the Town of Westfield to Faith In Westfield Award recipients named by the Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce last month. Pictured, right to left, are: Employee of the Year, Julia Black, Westfield “Y”; Community Service Award recipient, Edward A. Gottko, Town Administrator; Business of the Year recipients, Horace and Gail Corbin of The Westfield Leader; Merchant of the Year, James Brown, of WindMill Restaurant, and Guests of Honor, Warren and Virginia Rorden.
High School PTO Sets Meeting for Nov. 17
WESTFIELD – The Westfield High School Parent Teacher Organization will hold a meeting on Wednesday, November 17, in the high school cafeteria at 7:45 p.m. for a program entitled “What’s on Your Mind?”
Parents, teachers and students will have an opportunity to establish a dialogue on matters important to them. All are invited to attend.
Health Department Reminds Public Not to Feed Waterfowl
WESTFIELD — The Westfield Board of Health has issued a reminder to the public that in May the town’s governing body passed an ordinance prohibiting the feeding of migratory waterfowl such as swans, geese and ducks in any public park or on any property owned by the Town of Westfield.
Individuals found to be in violation of the ordinance shall be subject to a fine of not less than $25 or more than $100 for the first offense, and a fine of not less than $100 or more than $200 for a second or subsequent offense, according to the Westfield Regional Health Department.
Feeding migratory waterfowl encourages the animals to congregate in the area, resulting in a nuisance associated with their droppings and the possibility of botulism developing in surface waters used by the birds. The Health Department has asked for the public’s cooperation in this matter.
Parent Education Night Slated in Mountainside
MOUNTAINSIDE – As part of its Parent Education Night on Wednesday, November 17, the Mountainside Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) will present “Smart Discipline — The Positive System That Gets Kids Self-Motivated to Follow the Rules.”
This free program, beginning at 7 p.m., will be presented by “Miss Molly” of the nationally syndicated show, “Romper Room and Friends.”
Parents in the Mountainside school district are invited to attend this educational program, which will focus on ways to stop fighting and bickering between siblings and to get children to do what parents ask the first time without parents having to raise their voice.
The seminar will offer ideas about discipline and self-esteem. Refreshments will be served.
The seminar will be held immediately following the 6:45 p.m. PTA General Membership meeting at Deerfield School on Central Avenue in Mountainside.
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Thanks the following restaurants, caterers and businesses who
generously contributed to
“A Taste of Westfield,” fundraiser for “First Night Westfield.”
Anthology Amberg Perennial Farm & Garden
Artistic Nail Salon B. Kubic Opticians Big Sky Bread Company
The Brick Oven Chico’s Edwards Super Food Store
Foot Locker Galata’s Restaurant
Just Adorable King’s Supermarket
Lancaster’s. Ltd. Lia’s The Papery Parker Greenhouse, Farm & Garden
Salon Salon ShopRite Supermarket
Tarpley & Company Tom The Green Grocer Westfield Symphony Orchestra
William’s Nursery Music: Carolyn Klinger-Kueter • David Louie • Christina Yang • Allen Yu • Peter Yu
Art: Lynne Applebaum • Daniel Black • Cyndy Saul • Ginny Schottland And of course all of the volunteers who made this event possible including the committee:
Lilian Louie & Margaret Chinn, • Lynne Applebaum Dan Black • Laura Marhefka • Ellen Smith
Cosimo’s Restaurant & Pizza The Crossroads
Kotobuki South Side Roman Bistro
Westfield Seafood Jade Garden
The Westfield “Y”
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)