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Thanksgiving…An Opportunity to Reflect On Our Communities’ Strength and Spirit
Today is Thanksgiving, a day when families gather together to share a traditional feast of turkey with all the trimmings, attend worship services or brave the autumn chilltocheeron theirhometownfootballteam. It is also a day to recall the Pilgrims’ journey and appreciate the privileges and opportunities which are a legacy of that first Thanksgiving Day.
These privileges and opportunities are reflected in many ways through the communities served by this newspaper. Our neighborhoods are safe. Our elected officials remain focused on meeting the needs of their constituents. Each of our towns boasts a thriving schooldistrictsupportedby thecommunityandmaintained through the collective efforts of teachers, staff, administrators,parents andstudents.Classroomsnow feature state-of-the-art resources and technology.
Police, fire, rescue squad and Public Works personnelin eachofourtowns arecommittedtosafeguarding the health,safetyandwelfare oftheirneighbors.Many of these individuals are volunteers, many also juggle families and careers, yet all respond with equal dedication whencalleduponto servetheirfellowresidents.
Many volunteers additionally dedicate their time and talents toward such ends as downtown revitalization, cultural arts, charitable endeavors and helping their hometowns gear up for the 21st century. Opportunities for fellowship, enrichment and public service alsoaboundthroughorganizations suchasRotary,the American Red Cross and the DECA program for marketingstudents.
Our houses of worship not only serve residents’ spiritual needs but are focal points for many worth
while community projects. Among these are the activities of the Interfaith Council of Union County, which shelters homeless families at local parishes on a rotating basis. Together, local churches and synagogues represent a vital part of the fabric of our towns.
Of course,notownis withoutitsproblems,struggles and occasional controversies. These events are a part oflife,andwhile theymaybestressful atthetimethey occur, they can also make us a stronger and wiser people.
Our municipal officials aren’t always in agreement, and that’s not a bad thing. Differences of opinion can spark healthydialogueonissues whichaffectthepublic at large, and give multiple ideas a platform for review and discussion. This can only benefit a community, so long as all participants respect each other’s views.
We truly have a lot to be thankful for this day, both as a nation and in our own hometowns. The Pilgrims’ vision – of prosperity, religious freedom and strong communities –remainsaliveand wellasweapproach the threshold of the third millennium. It is something we are cognizant of, yet sometimes take for granted.
Weencourage theresidentsofall ourtownstopause this Thanksgiving Day and consider the significance of this very important holiday. It is a day we should observe inourheartsthroughout theyear,becausethe hope for the future, the ideals and the community spirit forged by the Pilgrims is what made our communities what they are today.
Letters to the Editor
WashingtonIrvingwas oneofthemost prolific American writers. Irving was responsible for the Knickerbocker “knickname,” which was applied to such New York institutions as its local basketball team, the New York Knicks. In addition, he was responsible for the name of a type of men’s trousers, knickers, which were popular with boys and golfers into the 1940s. Join us as we “fast break” the origin of the work knickerbocker.
InIrving’sHistory ofNewYork,which he wrote using the pseudonym Diedrich Knickerbocker in 1809, there was an illustration depicting early Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam wearing loose knee britches. Incidentally, Knickerbocker was a common Dutch name meaning “a baker of clay marbles.”
NewYorkers, influencedbythebook’s illustration and by Irving’s pseudonym, began calling these loose fitting britches knickerbockers or just plain knickers. Knickers were also called “plus fours” by golfers, because they had an extra four inches of material at the knees, which allowedgolfers greaterfreedomofmovement.
Incidentally, the parenthetical (sic) in the heading of this piece is from the Latin and means “so; thus.” It is used to denote that a word, phrase or passage that may appear strange or incorrect has been written that way intentionally. At this point, you are probably sic (sic) of the (sic) subject.
Westfield Residents Say ‘Thanks’ By Giving to United Fund Campaign
Thanksgiving is a distinctively American holiday, set aside for giving thanks for the blessings of health, food, shelter, family, friends and community. During the Thanksgiving season, many Westfielders, who recognize how much they have to be grateful for, say “thank you” by giving to the United Fund of Westfield, which helps maintain the quality of life for all in our community.
We are grateful to all who have generously responded to the 1999 United Fund campaign, and we urge all who have not yet sent in a pledge card to do so now, as a sign of “thanks-giving.” By sharing their blessings, Westfielders can extend the spirit of Thanksgiving throughout the coming year.
A past edition of the “Friendly Place,” a newsletter for Westfield Community Center Senior Citizens (one of the 21 memberagencies supportedbyourUnited Fund), contained the following inspirational message which we would like to share again this year:
“Be Thankful Even though I clutch my blanket and growl when the alarm rings each morning, thank you, Lord, that I can hear. There are those who are deaf.
Even though I keep my eyes tightly closed against the morning light as long
as possible, thank you, Lord, that I can see. There are many who are blind.
Even though I huddle in my bed and put off the effort of rising, thank you, Lord that I have the strength to rise. There are many who are bed-ridden.
Even though the first hour of my day is hectic, when socks are lost, toast is burned, tempers are short, thank you, Lord, for my family. There are, many who are lonely.
Even though our breakfast table never looks like the pictures in the magazines, and the menu is at times unbalanced, thank you, Lord, for the food we have. There are many who are hungry.
Even though the routine of my job is often monotonous, thank you, Lord, for the opportunity to work. There are many who have no job.
Even though I grumble and bemoan my fate from day to day, and wish my circumstances were not so modest, thank you, Lord, for the gift of life.”
On behalf of all of us at the United Fund of Westfield, let me wish everyone a most happy Thanksgiving season.
Alan J. Gutterman President, Board of Trustees
United Fund of Westfield Boy Scout Thanks All Those Who
Helped With Recent Eagle Project
I recently completed my Eagle Scout projectandwouldlike tothankthepeople who assisted me in doing so.
For my project, I chose to restore the Japanese Garden located at Westfield High School. This garden had been neglected for a long time and needed a lot of tender loving care.
The restoration required hard work from me and my fellow scouts from St. Helen’s Troop 79.
First we had to clean up the garden by removing all litter, weeds and dead shrubs. We then planted several new shrubs and put down a fresh layer of
Mr. LaPorta Alleges ‘Falsehoods’ By Local Republican Representatives
I feel compelled to respond to the falsehoods, allegations and poor sportsmanship expressed by some members of the Westfield Republican Party and their supporters over the last few weeks. The issue at hand is the tone and demeanor of the comments reported in the local newspapers and letters to the editor by this group.
The Westfield Democrats have been accused of negative “campaigning” and “win at any cost” behavior during the fall campaign.These allegationsseemtostem from our decision to point out to the voters specific exaggerations, misstatements and errors in what Republican candidates for the Town Council said, and printed in their literature.
I publicly stand by the letters written by Mayor Thomas C. Jardim in an effort to inform the public of misstatements by Republican candidates. The Mayor’s letters were written in a completely civil tone and stressed that the Town Council must work together to accomplish good deeds for Westfield.
I do not wish to rehash the campaign at this date, but I must give a few examples of what this is all about. Third Ward Councilman Neil F. Sullivan took credit for voting in favor of the certificate of occupancy ordinance for multi-family dwellings. In fact, he was the only memberoftheTown Councilthatvotedagainst this measure. One only has to check the minutes of the meeting of June 22, 1999 to confirm this.
Also, Mr. Sullivan took credit for writing the ordinance that created the special improvement district in Westfield when, in fact, this ordinance was written by formerCouncilmanKennethMacRitchie.
Given the type of campaigns that we have in Westfield, if the opposition party does not correct its opponents, who will? We do not have an investigative press that takes on candidates as is done on the national level. I am not advocating a press that is always on the attack for Westfield, I only ask who will correct misinformation?
Now let me ask my Republican friends if they had anything to do with the literature that was a personal attack on the ethnic backgrounds of Union County Democratic Chairwoman Charlotte DeFilippo, and County Manager and
Westfield resident, Michael Lapolla? This literature was sent out countywide. It was meant to harm these individuals, their families and friends.
Does UnionCountyRepublicanChairman Frank X. McDermott think this crossed the line of what is decent? Will the Westfield Republicans say this was negative and uncalled for in the political process?
Finally, do the local Republicans think that the hate literature against Claire Lazarowitz that was sent out under cover of darkness to be proper? Not one word has been expressed by them over this. Why not?
Certainly local politics should be civil and uplifting. However, I will not sit silently when hate literature and false statements are part of any campaign. I am proud of our local Democratic Party, its candidates, our Mayor and Democratic Council members. I can only ask, out of a sense of decency, that all this bashing of good people come to an end and the local government work for the benefit of all of us.
I wish I did not have to respond to these attacks; however, a falsehood that goes unanswered is a falsehood that lives forever.
Anthony M. LaPorta Westfield Town Council Urged to Support
Non-Toxic Pest Control for Fields
Senator Robert Torricelli visited JeffersonSchoolNovember 8totellabout his proposed pest-control program for the country. Principal Jorden Schiff, Board of Education President Darielle Walsh, Mayor Thomas Jardim and Jane Nogaki from the New Jersey Environmental Federation (Pesticide Program Coordinator) were present, as well as several parents, school staff and some of the fifth-grade students.
Senator Torricelli told the students some of the controls proposed in his bill, and then asked them some things they had learned to reduce the dangers of pesticides. The children were great and their ideas ranged from when and where to spray, what not to use, fixing leaky faucets, etc.
Children are more vulnerable than adults due to their size and activities, playing in the yards, and all the things that children love to do, and it is important that we protect them both at the
Dining Review of Local Restaurant Leaves Bad Taste in Reader’s Mouth
I read the article about Acquaviva restaurant written by Dr. DeAlessandro last week.
Quite frankly, I can’t believe it’s the same establishment my party of four visited last Friday evening. From the 45minute delay in honoring our reservation to the 15-minute delay in receiving our check, the night was far from the glowing description given by your food critic.
Our food was delivered at different times – was not hot and was far from
cedar mulch. When we completed the work, we had a great feeling of satisfaction because we knew our efforts made the garden’s latent beauty come to life!
It would not have been possible for me to complete this project without the generous donations made by Bartell’s of Clark and William’s Nursery of Westfield. I also want to thank Mr. Richard Gange, Scoutmaster Jim McCloskey and my fellow scouts who worked so hard to make this possible.
Joe Monaco St. Helen’s Troop 79
schools and at home. Fortunately, Westfield schools have been practicing the Integrated Pest ManagementProgram(IPM) forover20years. This includes non-toxic chemicals wherever possible, no spraying when children are present and no pesticides or herbicides on playgrounds.
Where we fall short is advising homeowners what to avoid on their properties in the house and in the yards. There is good information available on these areas of concern from the New Jersey Environmental Federation, Rutgers and other organizations.
Our last, but not least, area of concern is the municipal playing fields and buildings in Westfield. Westfield should get on board with many of its neighboring towns and initiate an IPM program. Let your councilmen know your concerns.
Harvey Roberts Westfield
tasty. As a longtime Westfield resident, my wife and I try to patronize local businesses, but the general lacking in every facet of our visit to Acquaviva will preclude that.
Maybe as a restaurant critic, Dr. DeAlessandro gets special attention. Perhaps, we should dine with him!
Mark Rubin Westfield
Junior Woman’s Club Thanks Participants Of Annual Coat Drive
The Junior Woman’s Club of Westfield would like to thank all of the residents who participated in our annual coat drive. We collected approximately 200 coats which will be distributed to families in need by Westfield’s Department of Human Services and Harmony House in the Newark Community Center.
Thanks to all for your support!
Linda Venezia Pam Wiaczek
Co-Chairs Annual Coat Drive Junior Woman’s Club Freeholder Dan Sullivan’s Response
To Literature Was ‘Sad and Wanting’
I thank Daniel P. Sullivan, Vice Chairman, Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, for responding last week to my letter to the editor (November 11, 1999).
He has provided us with the neomodern Democratic rebuttal we have all come to know and love – obfuscation and innuendo.
Mr. Sullivan begins his letter by asking, “Perhaps Mr. Caruana can answer the following questions.” He then goes on to ask me why five very specific “vicious”Republican(county)campaign acts were committed. Was this a poorly constructed rhetorical question, or an artful attempt to link me in the readers’ minds to the county organization and these deeds? I have no connection to either and the suggestion or insinuation that I have knowledge that can explain those attacks is utterly false, reckless and perhaps libelous. But muddying the waters is always good for openers. Is this another example of the “High Road” Democratic County Chairwoman Charlotte DeFilippo would like to put us all on?
In my letter I had called upon Westfield Mayor Tom Jardim and Councilman Larry Goldman as elected officials and party leaders to repudiate Ms. DeFilippo’s shameful caricature of Republican County Chairman Frank McDermott and to reaffirm their standards in light of this and late attacks on the personal honesty and integrity of the Republican council candidates. Their public response is overdue. Perhaps their silence is their response, and Westfield’s political standards now risk being defined down in elections to come.
Freeholder Sullivan’s response, however, is unfortunately sad and wanting. The question I raised concerns the campaign values of our town Democratic leadership. Mr. Sullivan answers with a one-dimensional, vitriolic attack on Mr. McDermott and the county Republican organization inanauto-immuneresponse to the issue of accountability.
While Mr. Sullivan is sharply critical of all the ethnic identifications and misidentifications in Republican campaign literature, he is silent and unapologetic for the inherent ethnic slur in the Mr. McDermott caricature that was far worse by anyone’s measure. You would think as Vice Chairman, Mr. Sullivan would seize this opportunity to lead, to elevate the dialogue and move both parties to a higher standard. Yet, there is nothing conciliatory or hopeful in Mr. Sullivan’s response, nothing but hate for Mr. McDermott and more gasoline for the fire.
When Mr. Sullivan observes that Republican county campaign literature had “not one idea that would make you want to vote for their candidates,” does he not realize he is insulting the intelligence of thousands of voters?
Freeholder Sullivan asks if “my head is in the sand” when it comes to Mr. McDermott’s leadership. No, but from what I can tell, Mr. McDermott played no active role in the Westfield election, or I am sure Mr. Sullivan would have told us otherwise. My concern is quite narrow, and it is this: the noticeably higher political and campaign standards in our town (as opposed to the county) are a unique feature of Westfield and the small town culture that is so important to most of us.
When the state or county party organization tries to put its imprint on the local election, forcing lower or less civil standards, we should take careful notice. I believe the Democrats did as much last year with the Gail Vernick “poll” (a textbook muddy-the-waterscase)andthis year with the Mr. McDermott literature (which, based on timing, was probably intended to discredit council candidate Greg McDermott).
In this year’s Town Council races I believe Ms. DeFilippo, Mr. Jardim, Mr. Goldman, et. al. have far more to answer for than Frank McDermott. By bringing in Mr. McDermott’s county record, Mr. Sullivan added nothing more to the original debate than smoke, mirrors and bluster. But his tone and innuendo were worthwhile. They will serve to remind us of the negativity and callousness that surroundsour localpoliticalculturewhich is knocking at our door.
Sal Caruana Westfield
Letters to the Editor
High School Seniors Named National Merit Semifinalists SPECIAL MERIT…A group of seven Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School
seniors have been recognized as National Merit Semifinalists in the 2000 Merit Scholarship Competition. Pictured, left to right, are: seated, Chitra Kalyanaraman, Justin Ross and Amanda Rice, and standing, Kevin Grinberg, Michael Loewinger, Jay Harris and David Loewinger. The students are among 16,000 Semifinalists selected nationwide based on their performance on the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
SCOTCH PLAINS — Seven seniors atScotchPlains-FanwoodHigh School have been named National Merit Semifinalists in the 2000 Merit Scholarship Competition.
These students include Chitra Kalyanaraman, Justin Ross, Amanda Rice, Kevin Grinberg, Michael Loewinger, Jay Harris and David Loewinger.
They are among 16,000 Semifinalists selected nationwide based on their performance on the Preliminary Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT)/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.
They also rank in the top 1 percent of students in this year’s high school senior class in the state of New Jersey.
The students must maintain outstanding high school academic
records, be endorsed and recommended by their high school principal, and submit SAT scores that confirm their PSAT performance in order to achieve Finalist standing in the Merit Scholarship Competition.
Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School students who achieved Commended Student status in this year’s competitionincludedMichaelAlbert, Jessica Biegelson,AnkurDalal,Evan Flath, Rebecca Garcia, Julia Hipp, James L’Heureux, Timothy Pai, Rebecca Silver, Debra Slaugh and Elizabeth Weiler.
Rebecca was also named a Scholar Finalistin theNationalHispanicRecognition Program which recognizes exceptional academic achievement by Hispanic high school seniors.
Policeman’s Group To Hold Toy Sale
SCOTCH PLAINS — The membersof theScotchPlainsPoliceman’s Benevolent Association has kicked off its fifth annual “Toys for Tots” toy drive. The cut-off date for donations will be Friday, December 17.
Last year, over $3,000 in games and toys were donated to the drive. The gifts were placed in baskets and distributed to local churches and religious organizations throughout the community.
New toys and games are needed for this year’s drive. All donations may bedroppedoffat thelobbyofthe Scotch Plains Police Department. A special barrel has been placed for the donations.
“Please help us help the less fortunatechildren inourcommunity.Your donations will help some child in our area have a happier holiday season,” said a spokesman for the association.
For more information, please call (908) 322-7100.
Covering Fanwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield, Union County, New Jersey (NJ)