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Letters to the Editor
Closing Statements Should Have Been Included in Fanwood Debate Story
I was very disappointed to see that
The Times chose not to publish the closing arguments from the debate held among the candidates running for the Fanwood Borough council. The Q&A portion of the debate was printed in the October 28 edition of The Times, but the closing arguments were omitted. In contrast, the transcript from the Westfield debates was printed in full.
This is unfortunate since anyone who saw the Fanwood debates either in person or on the television rebroadcast knows that the closing arguments were a turning point in the campaigns.
It was in Mr. Ryan’s closing statement that the true color of the Republican platform came to light when, instead of choosing to discuss why he was the best candidate for the job, he decided to launch a personal attack on
his opponent, Adele Kenny. Without presenting all of the facts, probably because he didn’t care to know them, he cited Ms. Kenny’s voting record as reason to elect him. This was later followed up with a mailing to the residents of Fanwood with further attempts to slander Ms. Kenny.
I wonder why The Times chose not to include this part of the debate. I hope it wasn’t a reflection of their bias towards the Republican candidates, for that would be a disservice to their readership. Fair, impartial journalism dictates that you should include all of the information relevant to the story and the closing statements made by the candidates was certainly relevant to this story.
Matthew T. Glennon Fanwood Town Rec Commission Needs to Look
For Ways to Relieve Stress on Fields
I read with interest Dr. Koslowsky’s defense of the Recreation Commission as it was reported in the November 11
Westfield Leader. He argues, in essence, that residents’ demands for more recreation facilities and parking lots leaves no alternative but to expand them in our already over-crowded parks. He urges citizens opposing this to “compromise,” seemingly, even if natural beauty is destroyed or neighbor’s property rights or privacy is violated.
It seems to me that Dr. Koslowsky is missing a golden opportunity which lies right in front of us. Last spring, at the peak of the playoffs, every Tamaques Park field was occupied and cars hunted futilely for parking.
Several of us checked the fields at our town’s schools. They were idle despite, as we later learned, paper records showing some of them reserved for various organizations. This finding confirmed a survey which showed that
over 90 percent of area respondents believe more parking lots in Tamaques are unneeded and unwanted.
Yes, some upgrading of school fields may be necessary or desirable. Yes, school fields and town parks come under different jurisdictions. These are not insoluble problems.
I would urge the Recreation Commission to use its energy, intelligence, and resources to explore this opportunity to relieve stress on over crowded parks by downloading to under utilized resources. Both are the property of our town and its taxpayers. A thorough, comprehensive, and competent study is needed with documentation that can be made public.
Wouldn’t it be nice if no unsatisfactory compromises are found necessary to fill our needs at less cost —leaving everyone happy?
Robert P. Wederich Westfield
Seniors Can Experience Life in the Healthy Lane Flood Assistance Deadline
Extended to December 17
The deadline to register for disaster recovery assistance has been extended to Friday, December 17, for those who suffered losses in New Jersey because of Hurricane Floyd.
Officials of the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management (NJOEM), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the extension.
FEMA extended the deadline following a request from the state of New Jersey.
The extension means that residents and businesses affected by the disaster in the nine declared counties may apply for aid from FEMA, SBA and other federal and state disaster recovery programs through close of business on December 17.
Union was declared among the counties eligible by the President. Residents and business owners affected by the floods may apply for aid by calling the FEMA toll-free registration number at 1-800-462-9029. Persons who are speech or hearing-impaired may call 1-800-462-7585.
Homecoming Events to Include Special Parade and Ceremony
SCOTCH PLAINS – The Student Government Association of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School will begin its homecoming festivities on Wednesday, November 24, at 6:30 p.m.
The ceremony will not be held in the high school gymnasium as in past years. It will be held on the high school football field.
The parade will commence at Park Middle School in Scotch Plains at 6:30 p.m. The parade will feature floats from various school organizations and classes, the marching band and the candidates for homecoming king and queen.
The parade will follow Portland Avenue to Westfield Road and into the High School parking lot. At the conclusion of the parade, the homecoming ceremony will begin at 7 p.m.
The Black Student Union Step Squad will be performing at the end of the parking lot, while the newly formed dance team, the cheerleaders, the marching band and the front squad
will all be performing afterwards on the football field.
After the performances, the traditional ceremony of crowning the new homecoming king and queen will take place.
At the conclusion of the ceremony the Student Government Association will help usher in the new millennium with a special ending.
There is no admission fee.
By FRED LECOMTE and SHAWN BEIHL
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times Editor’s Note: This is the second of a two-part series on health guidelines.
* * * * * Question: Regardless of how much emphasis we put on the importance of fitness, Americans are fatter and not as fit as they were 10 years ago. Why?
Answer: People have a lot on their minds today and encouraging words tend to roll off. Finger-pointing does not resolve this situation either. So what is the problem? Our jobs consume and control our lives. Ten to 20 years ago we were led to believe that technological advances would turn America into a society where we worked less and enjoyed life more. This never happened. Inflation, small recessions and company downsizing only added to the problem. A lot of Baby Boomers now have to work harder and longer for those bigger homes and newer cars.
In order to meet growing financial obligations, women have to become a large part of the work force. Both parents work in four out of five families. The long hours and energy spent on the job have created an imbalance in the American home. That fine line between our job and private lives no longer exists.
But a new concernpower and moneymaking abilityconsumes the working individual.
The corporate door used to swing shut when workers turned 50. It now seems to be slamming shut when they turn 40.
What employees have concluded is that if they haven’t made it or do not make it soon, they never will. Expecting
the worst, thousands of 50-year-old or older workers return to school to learn new skills.
People today just do not have the time, energy or motivation to lead a healthy lifestyle. Fast foods have become the meals of choice.
As a result, staying or getting in shape seems almost impossible. Companies should help cover the cost of a gym membership and employees should be urged to work out on their lunch hour or company time. This would reduce burnout rates, absenteeism, lack of enthusiasm at work and inefficiency.
Have you ever seen a 40-year-old who has never worked out look overweight (particularly in the stomach) and show a high degree of aging? Yes, we all have.
Let’s replace him or her with a fresher, younger person. See where this is going? Faced with all kinds of pressures, we quickly get run down just trying to survive. The only real things we can control in our lives are our bodies and our health. Ultimately, we make decisions that affect the way we look every day.
Ask yourself honestly if you’re happy with yourself. Can you look in the mirror and say you are happy with your body? Possibly you’ve asked yourself if you’re healthy and you’ve thought about ways you can reduce the stress in your life. Most of us know the answers to these questions and can say that we’re not truly happy with the way we look and feel but want to improve those things. Find time to take care of yourself. Don’t let factors that you can control ruin your life.
* * * * *
Shawn Biehl is the President of Peak Performance Health and Fitness in Berkeley Heights.
County Manager Rips GOP Over Negative Campaign Literature
By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times
ELIZABETH – Union County Manager Michael J. Lapolla last week criticized Republican leaders over what he said was a personal attack on himself and his family during the fall Freeholders election campaign.
Mr. Lapolla, a resident of Westfield, specifically referred to literature that labeled the Lapolla family as the “poster children for Democratic excesses.” The piece charged the Democrats are inventing “unnecessary jobs for cronies and their relatives.”
The literature listed a number of the county manager’s relatives, including his father, who has worked for the City of Elizabeth for many years, and his brothers. The piece charged that the family receives income of $500,000 collectively for county and municipal jobs, paid for by property taxpayers.
The GOP had hoped the literature would gain the party three seats on the freeholder board, thus reducing the Democratic majority to a 6-3 advantage. The Democrats have had control for the past three years, the last two with a 9-0 edge.
The piece listed seven individuals whom the Republicans have said are part of the Lapolla family. Below each name was the person’s purported salary, although job titles were excluded. Mr. Lapolla said he does not even know who one person – Patricia Lapolla – is. The literature claimed she was his sister-in-law.
The county manager said his two brothers have worked for the county for 13 years and 20 years, respectively. His wife, Susan MacMullen, also included in the campaign piece, is a municipal judge in Fanwood. The couple were both employed by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office a few years ago.
Mr. Lapolla questioned the relevance of including his family in a freeholder campaign piece. He called the implication that this year’s Democratic Freeholder candidates had anything to do with his family’s employment status “despicable.”
He said the Union County Republican Committee and its Chairman, Frank X. McDermott of Westfield, “should be ashamed of themselves.”
“I don’t see how my family has to be connected (to a political campaign),” he added.
The county manager specifically took offense with what he believes was an ethnic slur aimed at his family. The literature referred to the Lapolla family as “a politically well-connected Elizabeth family of Albanian heritage.”
The county manager said he is actually of Italian-Irish descent.
“You only bring that out because you are hoping people will vote against
them (the Democrats) for that reason,” the county manager charged.
Last year, he noted, the GOP portrayed Freeholder Mary P. Ruotolo, also a Westfield resident, as “Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, because they have no respect for women.”
Mr. Lapolla noted that while he is of Albanian descent, his Italian-American family emigrated to the United States 100 years ago.
Mr. McDermott, in response, said the campaign literature on Mr. Lapolla was not intended as a personal attack but rather as an informative piece, “to show there are people taking advantage of county government.”
He said by holding a 9-0 majority, Democrats have been able to approve legislation, such as raises for themselves, without the benefit of public debate.
Mr. McDermott said the GOP campaign was aimed at showing that without a Republican “watchdog on the board,” Democrats would continue “piling their relatives on the county payroll.”
“I don’t think it (the Lapolla literature) made that much of a difference (in the election results),” he said.
Charlotte DeFilippo, Union County Democratic Chairwoman, as well as the Union County Democratic Headquarters did not return phone calls from The Westfield Leader and The Times.
In response to the Republican piece, Ms. DeFilippo distributed literature which showed a likeness of Mr. McDermott with a cocktail glass in one hand and a wad of money in the other. The piece accused the GOP Chairman of collecting over $1 million when Republicans held the majority on the county freeholder board.
The literature was sent as an open letter to Mr. McDermott, his son, Greg, a recently re-elected Westfield councilman, and other neighbors, and was distributed at the Westfield Train Station.
“In all the years that I have been (Democratic) Chair, we have never used our literature to attack you personally, and do our best to speak to issues, not personalities,” she said in the letter.
Ms. DeFilippo urged the GOP to “take the high road,” rather than to defame county officials.
Mr. McDermott said he was surprised Mr. Lapolla has continued to bring the matter before the press, noting that the Republican’s emphasis on changing the current one-party government system in the county is only likely to gain momentum in the new year.
Mr. Lapolla said he only brought the matter forth again in hopes that the Republicans will end their practice of negative campaigning in future elections.
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)