OUR 109th YEAR – ISSUE NO. 40-99 FIFTY CENTS 232-4407
The Westfield Leader — Serving the Town Since 1890 —
Thursday, October 7, 1999 USPS 680020 Periodical – Postage Paid at Westfield, N.J.
Published Every Thursday
INDEX INDEX INDEX INDEX INDEX
Arts................Page 20 Business ........ Page 16 Classifieds..... Page 19
Editorial ........ Page 4 Obituary ........ Page 8 Religious ....... Page 9
Social ............ Page 6 Sports ............ Page 11
CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
Crossway Place To Be Closed Oct. 12 to Dec. 5
Crossway Place in Westfield, the road that travels between North and South Avenues near the town’s Department of Public Works, will be closed to traffic beginning Tuesday, October 12, and continuing through Sunday, December 5.
The road is scheduled to reopen Monday, December 6.
The road will be closed because of renovation that is being done to the NJ Transit bridge that goes over Crossway Place, said Town Engineer Kenneth B. Marsh.
The NJ Transit renovation project, which began this spring, is a $1.4 million plan that includes the replacement of the current steel structure with one made of concrete. The current bridge was built in 1915.
It predates NJ Transit and may have been built before the Central Railroad of New Jersey operated the railway that previously ran on the Raritan Valley track.
When the project was originally discussed, Mr. Marsh had
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
Committee to Release Ordinance Regulating Newsracks in Westfield
By KIM KINTER
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
Following 1-1/2 years of discussions and deliberations, members of the Laws and Rules Committee of the Town Council believe they have put together an ordinance regulating newspaper vending machines that will satisfy both concerned Westfield officials and anxious media representatives.
The proposed ordinance will likely be considered by Town Council in two weeks, and, if passed, become effective in November. Minor changes are currently being made to the document before it is presented to the full Town Council for consideration.
Under the proposed ordinance, companies that place newspaper vending machines, or so-called newsracks, in Westfield will have to seek a permit, pay a yearly fee and adhere to a series of rules that regu
late box size and construction and placement.
Currently, there is no regulation of newsracks in Westfield and any publication can set up a box in any part of town.
Fourth Ward Councilman Lawrence A. Goldman, who is Chairman of the council’s Laws and Rules Committee, said that the committee worked hard to come up with an ordinance that would be “palatable” to both town officials, who are worried about a proliferation of the news boxes, and the media, who are concerned about freedom of the press issues.
“The impetus (for the ordinance) actually came from several fronts,” Mr. Goldman said.
Discussions about the regulation of news boxes first started in early 1998 by members of the Downtown
Prospect Street Residents Protest Over Proposed Lot Variance By SONIA V. OWCHARIW
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
During Monday night’s Planning Board meeting, Westfield residents angrily protested a proposal to subdivide a single property at 1260 Prospect Street into two building lots.
The application for a variance was submitted by Dr. Gary M. and Rona Kramer, who live on a lot adjacent to the one they wish to subdivide. Dr. Kramer testified that there have been no bids on that property, which he has owned since 1974 and which has been for sale for some time. He added that if it is not sold, the impact would be an economic hardship for himself and his family.
However, surrounding residents from Kent Place, Rising Way, Trail’s End Court and Prospect Street bitterly objected.
They voiced concerns that the proposed subdivision could cause a negative domino effect on their block,
resulting in a reduction in property values, according to Prospect Street resident Dr. Nancy Prandergast.
“This decision could set a precedent; it wouldn’t be good to build there; it would take away from the area,” Dr. Prandergast said.
Neighbors spoke proudly of Prospect Street’s topography, which includes an abundance of trees; wetlands where a stream runs through the backyards of houses, and spacious backyards sometimes visited by deer.
Kent Place resident Christy Evans, apparently fearing the board would grant the subdivision and deal with any consequences later, commented, “They respond after the fact, when the problem starts. They’re not proactive, but reactive.”
The hearing on the application will continue at the board’s meeting on Monday, November 8, beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the Community Room of the Municipal Building.
In other business, a variance was approved by the board to convert a first-floor apartment in a two-family house at 545 Westfield Avenue into office space, on condition that certain provisions are met such as adequate lighting for parking and screening for the next door lot.
Applicant Santo Tartivita, an architect who owns the site and plans to design the planned alterations, intends to remove an existing detached garage and construct a paved driveway and parking lot with eight spaces. No changes will be made to the second-floor apartment.
William A. Burke for The Westfield Leader
NOT A DAY AT THE POOL…Proposed plans for renovations to Westfield Memorial Pool, pictured above, and Memorial Park by the Westfield Recreation Commission are stirring controversy and ire among Westfield residents. Citizens attended a recent Commission meeting and expressed their concerns to Commission members and Westfield Mayor Thomas C. Jardim.
A PERFECT MIX…On October 1, right on schedule, Franklin Elementary School in Westfield was visited by 15 cement trucks, each emptying its contents in a continuous flow of concrete to form a new second floor at the back wing of the school. Construction at Franklin will result in nine new classrooms to help accommodate increased enrollment.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
Public Continues to Protest Proposals For Memorial Pool and Park Complex
By DEBORAH MADISON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
Residents continued to oppose preliminary plans to renovate the Westfield Memorial Pool and Memorial Park complex during Monday night’s monthly meeting of the Recreation Commission.
In response to the public’s concerns, the Commission has formed a committee to analyze the proposed renovation plans and develop revisions. Members are still being named and no meetings of the group have occurred yet.
Preliminary separate plans for Memorial Park and the Memorial Pool complex total around $3 million.
Memorial Park plans call for regrading ball fields, adding lights and restrooms, construction of roller hockey courts and a new 62-vehicle parking lot near Drake Place.
The pool plan includes removal of the diving tank, construction of “splashdown” pool with two slides and construction of a permanent competition lap pool and an adult leisure pool.
Among the objections voiced at last month’s special hearing on the proposed plans by residents whose properties abut Memorial Pool and Park were that many of the proposed changes would add considerable noise, traffic and parking congestion to their neighborhood. They are concerned that the proposed plans will disrupt their quality of life and devalue the homes in that neighborhood.
At Monday night’s meeting, several residents asked the Commission to clarify some aspects of the proposed plans, including an explanation as to why the diving boards and tank were being removed and the purpose of the adult wading pool.
According to Recreation Director Glenn S. Burrell, the diving boards and tank are in need of expensive repair and also present a legal liability to the town. Mr. Burrell stated that many other pools have replaced their diving boards and tanks with
safer, more economical water-slides and splash pools.
Mr. Burrell also stated that the diving boards were not being fully utilized for their intended purpose of diving, on a regular basis, but rather, being used for “entertainment” purposes, such as jumping.
Mr. Burrell also explained that the design of the proposed adult wading pool was in response to a number of pool members who expressed their desire to enjoy a pool area free from splashing children.
Several area residents and pool members expressed their desire to keep the diving tank and boards and their willingness to pay extra in membership fees to cover maintenance and insurance costs. Other area residents voiced their disapproval of the proposed adult wading pool.
Several residents asked for a clarification as to why non-residential membership at the pool must be allowed.
Commission Chairman Dr. Seymour Koslowsky explained that the land on which the pool sits was purchased with state Green Acres money. Under the state Green Acres funding policies, the town must open membership to residents outside of Westfield.
“The Commission is looking into ways that the pool complex might be excluded from Green Acres rules and pool membership restricted to Westfield residents only,” Dr. Koslowsky said. “However, at the present time, we are bound to comply with Green Acres rules mandated by the state.”
Commission member Robert Smith told the audience that non-residential pool membership accounts for only 13 percent of the total pool membership.
People from the audience shouted derogatory remarks at Commission members, disagreeing with Mr. Smith’s statement.
Board member Melvyn Coren asked the audience to refrain from insulting the commission with derogatory comments and to recognize
that the commission has worked “very hard” to obtain factual information.
Mr. Coren outlined the step-bystep procedure that the Commission was carrying out, which began with consultations with the design firm of Kinsey Associates of Hackettstown, incorporating input from park users and designing the preliminary renovation plans based on community needs.
The next phase of the process, which is being conducted now, is seeking public input in order to give residents an opportunity to voice their concerns, objections and needs.
Mr. Coren assured the public that their comments were being heard, and would be incorporated into the redesigning phase, as much as was
reasonably possible. “Making revisions, based on citizens’ input, was always a part of our intentions,” Mr. Coren explained. “These are strictly preliminary proposals.”
He expressed his concern that area residents seemed to have the perception that the Commission was attempting to make decisions without taking their input into account.
Mr. Coren also expressed that the Commission has been “unfairly misrepresented” in The Westfield Leader,
and that the paper was, “full of distortions and untrue facts, which misled the public regarding the Commission’s intentions.”
When asked what statements in
Virus-Infected Crows Turn Up in Area Counties; Mosquito Control Bureau Maintains Surveillance
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
By SUSAN M. DYCKMAN
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
Though the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) announced Monday that four dead crows from Bergen, Essex, Middlesex and Union Counties have tested positive for the West Nile-like virus, health and mosquito control officials are not pushing any panic buttons in Union County.
State officials did not anticipate receiving results for two weeks. However, the birds were analyzed over the weekend by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Ft. Collins, Colo.
According to Dennis McGowan, spokesman for the DHSS, the CDC was able to analyze five of the 30 birds submitted last Thursday for testing.
A fifth crow, which did not test positive, came from Mercer County. The department is awaiting results on the remaining specimens.
Neither the DHSS nor Westfield Regional Health Department Direc
tor Robert M. Sherr could say where the infected bird had been found in Union County.
No New Jersey residents have been diagnosed with the virus, which has afflicted 37 New York residents since August. Four individuals have died from the illness.
The West Nile-like virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.
At the Union County Bureau of Mosquito Control, Chief Inspector Carolyn Vollero is fielding a heavy volume of calls from concerned county residents.
She assured The Westfield Leader
that the bureau is proceeding with its mosquito control surveillance program and will continue to monitor its 30 light traps across Union County for the presence of adult mosquitoes. Normally, the traps are pulled in at the end of September.
According to Ms. Vollero, the trap count was low as of October 4. “There isn’t any need to do additional spray
ing,” she stated. She confirmed that the bureau had treated certain known mosquito breeding grounds around the county on September 29 and October 1, between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. Because of still winds, “there’s less possibility of pesticides moving off the target areas at those times,” Ms. Vollero explained.
One spot in Westfield that was ground-sprayed recently was an area behind the rear parking lot of St. Helen’s Roman Catholic Church on Rahway Avenue where a problem was identified.
The Chief Inspector said the bureau is following up on numerous calls from residents asking inspectors to investigate standing water areas in neighborhoods, as well as such locations as unused pools or foundations of new construction.
Ms. Vollero was scheduled to attend a meeting with Union County health officers Tuesday afternoon in Springfield to share information about the ongoing mosquito control
effort. The bureau is also considering placing a public service advertisement in the Star Ledger in an effort to reassure and educate residents.
She urged county residents who wish to contact the Bureau of Mosquito Control for information or to request an inspection of a potential mosquito breeding ground to call the bureau directly at (908) 654-9835.
“You have to try to do the right thing,” said Ms. Vollero, commenting on the importance of following the recommended precautions. “If people are informed, they can.”
Symptoms of the West Nile-like virus are closely related to those of St. Louis Encephalitis, which was last diagnosed in New Jersey in 1975. In most cases, the West Nile-like virus causes only mild illness with the following symptoms: fever, headache and body aches, skin rash and swollen lymph glands.
“In some people, there are no symptoms,” explained Mr. McGowan at the DHSS. “You won’t even know
Town to Apply for NJ Transit’s Shuttle Program; Contract With County Still in Talking Stages By PAUL J. PEYTON
Specially Written for The Westfield Leader
In an effort to get the ball rolling on bringing a commuter jitney service to Westfield, the Town Council has agreed to file an application for NJ Transit’s Community Shuttle Program.
The transit agency has received $3 million in federal grants through the Transportation Equity Act of the 21st Century (TEA-21) to fund the program. While NJ Transit will not charge towns for the service, municipalities will be responsible for costs related to the operation of the bus, including the salary and benefits of the driver.
The town would also have to put into place the Federal Transit Ad
ministration drug and alcohol testing policies which Town Administrator Edward A. Gottko said are more stringent than the town has in place for its employees.
Westfield would have to comply with New Jersey Department of Transportation rules and regulations for inspections and maintenance of the bus.
Mr. Gottko said NJ Transit officials have indicated that the town, if successful in its application, would receive a mini-van no earlier than next September. After the applications are evaluated, towns selected to receive the buses will be notified by the end of the year. Applications are due by the end of this month. The buses seat 20 passengers.
NJ Transit does not expect to award the contracts for the buses until January, the administrator indicated.
In addition to transporting commuters to and from the train station, the bus would be available mid-day and in the evening for other municipal-sponsored events requiring transportation.
Among the criteria the agency will consider in awarding the buses are: improved access to rail stations, how many people might use and benefit from a shuttle service, the town’s previous track record in resolving rail access issues with NJ Transit and whether or not the town intends to charge a fee for the service.
“I would urge that we move forward strongly,” said Mayor Thomas
C. Jardim, noting that NJ Transit officials have told him Westfield would “very likely” be one of the towns awarded a bus.
The town is currently working with Union County officials concerning the use of buses from the county’s Paratransit fleet.
Early projections released by Mayor Jardim over the summer estimated the annual cost to the town for the program at $63,000. The town has proposed four designated routes split evenly between the north and south sides of town.
The town would charge riders $1 per trip to fund the service. Riders would pay $10 per week, $40 a month or $480 per year for the program. The
CONTINUED ON PAGE 10
Page 10 Thursday, October 7, 1999 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION
CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
WESTFIELD POLICE BLOTTER
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Virus-Infected Crows Turn Up in Surrounding Counties
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Crossway Place to Be Closed October 12 to December 6
been told that the renovation would require that the street only be closed for a week at a time several times throughout the work. In recent talks with NJ Transit officials, however,
Mr. Marsh was told that once the contractor got into the project, it was discovered that the road needed to be closed for a longer period of time.
Mr. Marsh said the contractor needs to erect a permanent scaffolding around the bridge, which will prohibit traffic from traveling back and forth. Originally, the contract thought the abutments could serve as scaffoldings, but has found that is not possible, Mr. Marsh explained.
Upon completion of the project in the spring, the Town of Westfield will have to work on Crossway Place again to widen and straighten the road, but Mr. Marsh does not think that will necessitate closing the thoroughfare.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14
· An Austin Street resident reported that an unknown person entered his Ford pickup truck and removed a cellular telephone and two wallets, one of which contained $250 in cash. The vehicle was parked on the street where the victim lives when the robbery occurred.
· Police received a report that $3,400 was taken from a locker at a local recreational facility.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 15
· A Central Avenue resident reported that an unknown individual broke a mirror and damaged the tires on her 1984 Plymouth while it was parked outside her home. A day later, the victim also reported that someone punctured the right front tire on her vehicle.
· George P. Falana, 54, of Elizabeth was charged at Westfield police headquarters with the theft of approximately $850 in cigarettes from an Elm Street supermarket on August 26, authorities said. Falana was released on $250 bail.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
· A resident of Park Street reported the theft of a pocketbook from the front seat of her car while it was parked on South Avenue.
· A Lamberts Mill Road resident reported the theft of his wallet from under the driver’s seat of his vehicle. The victim told police he discovered the theft after the vehicle was towed from a flooded area in the 1600 block of Lamberts Mill Road.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 17
· A North Scotch Plains Avenue resident reported the theft of a cement angel lawn ornament from her property.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 19
· Two 17-year-old males, one from Westfield and the other from Scotch Plains, were taken into custody on narcotic and trespassing charges after they were spotted on the roof of an East Broad Street store, according to police.
The Westfield youth was charged with possession of less than 50 grams of suspected marijuana and with trespassing, while the Scotch Plains teenager was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia and with defiant trespass. Both were released to the custody of responsible adults.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 20
· A resident of Windsor Avenue reported finding numerous scratches and dents on the hood and body of his vehicle while it was parked on Ross Place. The front windshield was also broken, authorities said.
· A 1999 Infiniti sustained damage from criminal mischief while parked on Prospect Street, according to police. A long scratch had been left along a panel of the car.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21
· John Adams, 21, of Levittown, New York was arrested in the 1200 block of Summit Avenue and charged with possession of under 50 grams of suspected marijuana, according to police. Bail was set at $500.
Fugitive warrants had also been issued for the suspect out of Holmdel ($500 bail), Wayne ($76 bail), Fairfield ($250 bail) and Oradell ($156 bail).
· A Cranford resident reported that his 1993 Dodge was stolen from the 200 block of Prospect Street. The vehicle was recovered Monday in Scotch Plains. No one has been charged in connection with the incident.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23
· A local automobile repair business reported that three vehicles on the company
lot had sustained damage through criminal mischief. A side panel on one vehicle had been kicked in, the headlights were broken on the second and the windshield was broken on the third. Police said there are currently no suspects in the case.
· A resident of the 700 block of Central Avenue reported the theft of his wireless doorbell. The following day, the same resident told authorities that his intercom box was stolen.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24
· A Westfield man reported that someone threw a large piece of concrete at his vehicle in the 900 block of Summit Avenue, shattering the rear windshield.
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 25
· A tanning salon reported that someone forced open the main entrance doors to the establishment but that nothing was disturbed or stolen.
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 26
· A resident of New York reported that one or more individuals scratched two letter “w”s into the hood of his 1999 BMW on Walnut Street.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 27
· A resident of a Central Avenue apartment complex reported being assaulted by another man during an argument at the complex. No one had been charged as of press time.
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 29
· Kim Paster, 45, of Westfield was arrested in Newark on four counts of theft by deception for allegedly using the account number of a Central Avenue business to fraudulently obtain $1,700 from an Atlantic City bank, according to police. Bail was set at $1,000.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1
· Christopher Galati, 23, of Roselle was arrested and charged with shoplifting approximately $43 in merchandise from an Elm Street supermarket, authorities said. He was released on his own recognizance.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2
· A Westfield resident reported that her cellular telephone was stolen while she was attending an evening function at Westfield High School.
· A 17-year-old Westfield resident reported that his 1991 Chevrolet was taken from him by force while he was visiting a friend at a Forest Road apartment complex, according to police.
The suspect, who police identified as a juvenile from Scotch Plains, drove the car about 100 feet before crashing it into two parked cars. Authorities said the suspect fled the scene and was still being sought as of Tuesday.
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 3
· A Roselle resident reported the theft of his 1999 BMW, which he had left running at a Springfield Avenue service station.
Police said a green Honda pulled up to the station and a suspect, described only as a black male in his mid 20s, got out of the passenger side and into the BMW. Both cars then left the scene.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 4
· A Westfield resident reported that someone entered his car on Roger Avenue by ripping a hole in the convertible top. A radio faceplate and two speakers were taken from the vehicle.
· A Tamaques Way resident reported that his daughter’s bicycle, valued at $150, was taken from their backyard.
· A Westfield resident reported that someone entered his motor vehicle on Downer Street and took a laptop computer, two calculators, an electronic notebook and some paperwork, according to police.
The Gourmet Basket and Gifts
270 East Broad St • Westfield • 654-8444 Our new location across from the Presbyterian Church
An Epicurean’s selection of gourmet foods, jams, jellies, oils, vinegars, pastas, chocolates and much, much more.
We also carry many Kosher items, aromatherpy candles, bath items and other unique items.
Stop in for the perfect gift. • Corporate Accounts Welcome! ~ We of fer the finest in gift baskets f or all occasions ~
Westfield Corporation in downtown Westfield, Mayor Thomas C. Jardim, Mr. Goldman and former First Ward Councilwoman Gail S. Vernick who were all concerned about the number of boxes that they thought had begun appearing on the sidewalks of Westfield.
Concerns centered around aesthetics and safety, Mr. Goldman explained.
“The Laws and Rules Committee decided that it wanted to do it (develop an ordinance) the right way and not buy the town a lawsuit,” Mr. Goldman said, referring to other municipalities that passed similar regulating ordinances and then were challenged in the courts by the media on the basis of First Amendment issues.
Mr. Goldman said that the committee examined the way in which various municipalities instituted regulations and decided on its own approach to the issue.
The committee decided to work closely with the press to develop an ordinance that would address freedom of speech issues and news organizations’ concerns about their already established identity, such as the use of certain style and colored boxes that some newspapers have adopted to sell their publications.
Mr. Goldman said that representatives of The Star-Ledger, Dow Jones, publishers of The Wall Street Journal, and the New Jersey Press Association all met with committee members on a fairly regular basis to discuss concerns on language and elements of the proposed ordinance. Language was, in fact, altered during conversations with newspaper representatives.
These groups also have received copies of the proposed ordinance and have been kept up to date about the status of the pending legislation.
Mr. Goldman pointed out that despite several invitations by the committee, smaller advertising-based publications failed to participate in any discussions.
He pointed out that concerns about the news boxes have, in fact, focused more on the small plastic newsracks that contain advertising-based pub
lications. He said that the boxes are often chained to other boxes and lamp posts, are not maintained and are often empty or abandoned and filled with trash.
“The basic scheme of the ordinance is to license newsracks – the cost is modest to cover administration,” Mr. Goldman said. “Hopefully that (licensing) will eliminate some of the smaller, plastic boxes and they will be impounded. We hope that the traditional boxes will stay.”
Under the proposed ordinance, a newsrack owner will be unable to set up a box without first obtaining a permit from the Town Clerk. One permit will be required for each box. Each permit will be valid for one year and will have to renewed yearly.
A permit fee in the amount of $25 for the first newsrack and $10 for each additional box will have to be paid to the clerk when the permit is submitted.
Other points of the ordinance pertain to size, style and location, particularly as it applies to the safety of both pedestrians and motorists.
If newsrack permit holders fail to meet certain standards established in the ordinance, the boxes may be impounded by the town and the permit holder may be fined not more than $500.
The Town Clerk will be responsible for correspondence with the news organizations, but another undetermined town employee will take on the extra duties of monitoring the newsracks and making sure that boxes on Westfield’s sidewalks meet all the requirements of the ordinance, Mr. Goldman said.
“I’m as comfortable as I can be about this ordinance,” said Mr. Goldman. “The test will be when it is enforced for the first time. But I’m as confident as I can be that we have been diligent and have tried to take into consideration First Amendment issues and the concerns of the town.”
Ordinance to be Released On Regulating Newsracks
The Leader were misrepresentations, Mr. Coren specified the editorial, published in last week’s Leader, as being “unfair, biased and unnecessarily derisive” in its representation of the commission.
In addressing the audience, commission member Thomas Cusimano agreed that The Leader was, “giving the Commission bad PR (public relations).”
Mr. Cusimano also stated that Mr. Burrell was being unfairly targeted by the public with “personal attacks” for the proposed renovations.
He reminded residents attending Monday’s meeting that Mr. Burrell was only an advisor to the commission, and not personally responsible for designing the proposed plans.
Area residents Joseph Penczak and John Korunow, representatives of the citizen’s committee opposed to the renovations, have circulated an itemized questionnaire asking area residents their opinions regarding all of the proposed plans.
Approximately 25 of the questionnaires have been returned and Mr. Penczak is expecting more surveys to be returned to him in the next few weeks.
Dr. Koslowsky explained that pool complex renovations would be privately funded by bonds purchased with pool membership dues, and that no tax dollars would be used.
The park renovations, he explained, would be funded through “public tax dollars and grants.”
Westfield Girls Softball League Director, Robert Guerriero, addressed the commission regarding the need for upgrading the condition of the fields in Memorial Park.
“I realize the impact that these proposed renovations would have on area residents, but our fields are in deplorable conditions,” he said.
He explained that Memorial Park fields lack basic necessities such as a bathroom and a phone, which are commonly found at parks in other towns.
Mr. Guerriero stated that he believed that basic field maintenance was something that everyone could agree to, without imposing on area residents. He implored the commission and the public to consider the need for improvements to the fields, “before a serious accident occurs.”
He added, “We are one step away from a major injury occurring.”
Scotch Plains Avenue resident James Motta voiced his objections to comments previously made by residents who requested sidewalks on Scotch Plains Avenue. Mr. Motta said that he did not want sidewalks running from his house to a nearby convenience store, making it more accessible to foot traffic, and more accessible as a teen hang-out.
Commission members also discussed ways in which they could inform the public of proposed plans earlier on in the planning process. Posting signs in neighborhoods, as well as distributing flyers to all residents within 200 feet of a facility where changes are proposed.
Commission members also agreed that Memorial Park was over utilized at times and discussed coordinating league scheduling in order to reduce parking congestion in the neighborhood.
The commission also discussed how many members of each representative group should be on the committee to revise the proposed Memorial Pool and Park plans.
The commission decided that this group should consist of three commission members, three area residents and a representative of the sports leagues that play at Memorial.
Since most of the leagues have similar concerns and needs, it was decided that one league representative would suffice to represent all of the field users.
It was agreed that the commission could represent those residents in favor of the proposed renovations.
The commission members chosen for the revision committee were Janis Fried Weinstein, who is also Westfield Fourth Ward Councilwoman, Jonathan Jones and Mr. Smith, who will be chairman of the revision committee.
The commission voted in favor of electing Mr. Guerriero, to represent the leagues, if he would agree to serve as league representative. Public members have not yet been named.
In other business, the Commission heard residents’ testimony regarding renovations being made to the Sycamore Field playground.
Boulevard resident Caroline Loffredo and Sycamore Avenue resident Kim Sokol voiced their concerns regarding the newly constructed concrete seating-barrier in Sycamore Field playground.
The semi-circular, 16-foot, concrete barrier, in their opinion, poses a safety hazard to children on the nearby playground equipment. They also objected to a concrete barrier surrounding the swings on the same grounds that it posed a safety hazard.
Dr. Koslowsky said that he was sure that the designers, Kinsey Associates, designed the playground according to acceptable safety standards, but that he would have Town Engineer Kenneth B. Marsh visit the site. In addition, Kinsey would be questioned regarding the purpose of the design and whether safety standards were met.
Mrs. Sokol and Mrs. Loffredo stated that the residents had requested a fence around the playground, and were not informed that a concrete seating barrier would be constructed.
Several commission members noted that they did not realize the potential safety hazard posed by the concrete seating from viewing the blueprints of the plans. Some members said visits to the park would be more beneficial than simply reviewing the plans for Sycamore. The park is undergoing a $120,000 upgrade.
In other business, Dr. Koslowsky reported to the commission that he met with the Scanlan family, whose property abuts the playground at the former Lincoln School.
The Scanlans had previously voiced their objections to new playground equipment placed at the school, which they said created a noise and litter problem in their backyard.
According to Dr. Koslowsky, more than 100 area residents approved of the new playground equipment.
Dr. Koslowsky reported that the Scanlans agreed to the construction of a 10-foot stockade fence, to be placed as a buffer between the playground and their yard. The fence, which would run 115 feet in length, would cost the town $4,300.
Commission members also suggested that shrubbery be planted along the fence as an additional buffer.
Construction of the fence was unanimously approved, pending approval by the Westfield Board of Education, which owns the land. The town recently leased the playground from the board.
The next Recreation Commission meeting will be held on Monday, November 1, at 8 p.m. in the Municipal Building.
P PP PPERFECT ERFECT ERFECT ERFECT ERFECT P P P P PAINTING AINTING AINTING AINTING AINTING
Owner on The Job • No Subs
Z Z Z Z Z Free Estimates
Z Z Z Z Z 20 Years of Experience
Z Z Z Z Z Fully Insured
Z Z Z Z Z Residential
Z Z Z Z Z Commercial
Z Z Z Z Z Interiors
Z Z Z Z Z Exteriors
Present Coupon After Estimate. Expires 10/31/99
Fall Fix-up Special $ $$ $$ 1 11 115 55 550 00 00 Any Full
Exterior Paint Job
OFF OFF OFF OFF OFF
Public Protests Continue Regarding Pool, Park Plans
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
you’re infected.” Indications of a more severe infection are high fever, stiff neck, stupor, disorientation, tremors, occasional convulsions, coma and paralysis. At higher risk are very young or very old individuals with underdeveloped or weakened immune systems.
Going forward, the DHSS will only collect additional bird specimens from areas “where we think we need them,” said Mr. McGowan. Residents are encouraged to take precautions when handling any dead birds they may find.
Individuals are advised to wear gloves and to double-bag birds before disposing of them in the trash.
Questions about the West Nilelike virus or dead bird sightings should be directed to local health officials. The Westfield Regional Health Department, which also serves Fanwood, Garwood, Mountainside, Roselle Park and Springfield, may be reached at (908) 789-4070. The Scotch Plains Health Department may be reached at (908) 322-6700.
To reduce the likelihood of mosquito bites, Mr. Sherr reiterated the need for residents to take the following precautions:
· Wear long pants and long-sleeve shirts outdoors.
· Use mosquito repellent that contains DEET.
· Curb outdoor activity between dusk and dawn.
· Avoid mosquito breeding areas.
· Eliminate standing water (a potential mosquito breeding area) on personal property which can accumulate in such things as empty recycling pails, old tires and backyard pool covers.
“This is something to be concerned about until the first frost, though we’re in a lot better shape than New York City,” said Mr. Sherr. “People should continue to take preventative measures until the first one to two good frosts.”
However, the Westfield health official believes the virus will not go away forever with the onset of frost, but will likely reoccur in the spring.
“You can’t kill off the entire mosquito population,” said Mr. Sherr. “It’s likely something that will develop on an annual basis. It’s amazing that this is the first time it’s popped up, given all the things mosquitoes carry. It shows a real need for mosquito control activities.”
Twenty of New Jersey’s 21 counties have active mosquito control programs. Only Hunterdon County does not.
County to Sponsor Barn Dance Event For Disabled Residents
MOUNTAINSIDE – Union County’s annual Barn Dance for individuals with disabilities will be held on Sunday, October 17, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Watchung Stables at the Watchung Reservation in Mountainside.
Leading the square dancing will be Dick Meyers of Cranford.
The event will also include hayrides and a barbecue dinner.
The Barn Dance for individuals with disabilities is presented by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders through the Division of Parks and Recreation.
Admission is $5 per person. Registration is required. For more information, please call (908) 527-4900.
What’s the Latest Scoop? www.goleader.com
council included a line item of $50,000 in the 1999 municipal budget to fund the program.
Mr. Gottko said county officials have indicated a preference to commence the service in Westfield sometime between 5 and 5:30 a.m., with the program ceasing sometimebetween 8 and 8:30 a.m. The town had proposed running the service from 6 to 9 a.m. and from 5 to 8 p.m.
One of the biggest sticking points for the county program is that the contract for the current company that operates the service, Community Medical Transportation, expires at the end of the year.
Community Medical has provided the service for the past four years and is expected to submit a new bid package to the county within the next few weeks, according to a county spokesman. The Paratransit system has existed in the county since the late 1970s.
The jitney was first proposed as a means of possibly reducing the parking demand at the train station lots. Also along these lines, a consultant has been hired to develop plans for a parking deck.
In other business, Mayor Jardim announced his intention to appoint Melissa Stanton, who serves on the Westfield Raritan Valley Line Coalition, to the Westfield Memorial Library Board of Trustees to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Lee E. Miller. His term was to expire on Friday, December 31, 2001.
Ms. Stanton had been a candidate for an opening on the Downtown Westfield Corporation Board of Directors.
The council is also expected to award a bid to purchase a new fire pumper truck for the fire department at a cost of
$324,000. The truck is being purchased through the Union County Improvement Authority’s capital lease program. Fire officials had sought two trucks but, due to budget constraints, the governing body approved the purchase of only one vehicle this year.
The council also agreed to purchase two signs indicating the town’s “Don’t Feed the Waterfowl” law at Mindowaskin Park, pending price quotes to be obtained by Town Engineer Kenneth B. Marsh. The law is aimed at reducing the problem of geese droppings in the park.
During reports of council standing committees, First Ward Councilman Carl A. Salisbury indicated that the Laws and Rules Committee is currently reviewing an ordinance that would require the submittal of requests for proposals to the governing body for certain professional services.
Some committee members told Mayor Jardim that due to a full agenda being handled by the committee, members had not had a chance to review the entire ordinance.
Earlier this year, the governing body became the first in Union County to pass an ordinance banning political campaign fundraising on public property.
The crux of the ordinance was developed by Common Cause, a grassroots organization aimed at returning government to the people by eliminating big money influence on politicians.
The professional service ordinance would not apply to attorneys due to the personal nature of client-attorney professional relationships.
Town to Apply for NJ Transit Community Shuttle Program
WESTFIELD VOLUNTEER RESCUE SQUAD BLOTTER
Statistics for September 1999 1. General Illness/Weakness (24) 6. Head/Neck Injury (10) 2. Cardiac Pain (22) 7. Soft Tissue Injury (7) 3. Falls (20) 8. Spinal Injury (5) 4. Respiratory (16) 9. Diabetic Reaction (5) 5. Motor Vehicle Accident (13) 10. Dizziness (4) In-Town Emergency Calls: 143
Out-of Town Mutual Aid Calls: 19 Non Emergency Calls: 10 Total Calls: 172 Total Hours Out: 395:17 Total Volunteer Hours: 1,974.25
Top 10 Response Categories The Westfield Volunteer Rescue Squad participated in the mobilization efforts to provide emergency medical services to the residents of Bound Brook in the days following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Floyd.