FIFTY CENTS 2324407
Scotch Plains – Fanwood THE TIMES
OUR 40th YEAR – ISSUE NO. 3799 Published Every Thursday USPS 485200
Periodical – Postage Paid at Scotch Plains, N. J. Thursday, September 16, 1999
of of of of of
— Serving Scotch Plains and Fanwood Since 1959 —
CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
CONTINUED ON PAGE 12
Towing Company’s Case Sparks Debate During Council Meeting By SUZETTE F. STALKER
Specially Written for The Times
Last Thursday’s regular meeting of the Fanwood Borough Council was a mix of congratulatory moments and emotional discussion over the application of zoning regulations to businesses in the downtown.
The meeting opened with the appointments of Neil F. Schembre and Peter Chemidlin to the Fanwood Downtown Revitalization Committee, which is coordinating efforts to rejuvenate the borough’s business district.
Mr. Schembre is a certified public accountant with an office on North Avenue, while Mr. Chemidlin is Vice President of Family Investors Company on South Avenue.
Resolutions were presented honoring Kathy Ryan, former Executive Director of The Chelsea in Fanwood, who recently relocated to Connecticut, and to William and Patricia Winey, longtime members of the Fanwood Rescue Squad, who are moving to Pennsylvania.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Winey have held multiple officer positions within the squad and have received awards for their service. Between them, the couple has responded to 4,300 calls during their tenure on the squad, Mayor Maryanne S. Connelly revealed.
Additional resolutions were issued recognizing the United States Air Force Rhythm in Blue Jazz Ensemble, sponsored by the Scotch PlainsFanwood High School Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), and Chief Master Sergeant Robert R. Rybitski of the ROTC upon his retirement.
Finally, a resolution was presented to nineyearold Julia Capodicasa, who created the winning design for the new computerized children’s library card for the Fanwood Memorial Library. Her multicolored illustration features the original logo “Books Come Into Your World.”
Enlarged replicas of the new adult and children’s library cards were displayed at the council meeting, and Library Director Dan Weiss noted that the library will unveil its full automation technology with a ribboncutting ceremony this Saturday, September 18. The festivities will begin at 10 a. m. with the dedication of a new MIA/ POW flag.
During committee reports, CounCONTINUED
ON PAGE 12
Borough Committee Hopes to Work With Consultant on Strategic Plan By SUZETTE F. STALKER
Specially Written for The Times
Borough officials are expected to approve a contract shortly for a consultant to work with Fanwood’s Long Range Planning Committee in developing a strategic plan for helping the community achieve its goals in the next millennium.
Committee Chairwoman Donna Dolce, who presented an overview of the project to the Borough Council at its September 1 agenda meeting, told
The Times this week that the plan will include a “visionary statement,” as well as goals and strategies for meeting those objectives.
Committee members anticipate working with Brenda Vander Meulen of River Hills Consulting in Holland, Michigan, who would help the group identify the work which needs to be done for the plan to come to fruition and coordinate input from the community, according to Ms. Dolce.
Ms. Vander Meulen holds a master’s degree in management from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich., and has been a private consultant for six years, revealed the committee Chairwoman. Pending council approval of the contract, she is scheduled to make seven trips to New Jersey to meet with the committee, beginning in November.
Ms. Dolce pointed out that the consultant’s hometown of Holland,
Mich. was selected as an AllAmerican City in an annual competition sponsored by the National Civic League and the Allstate Foundation. She noted, however, that the borough is not planning to pursue that designation itself this year.
The project, at a cost not to exceed $18,000, will be funded through several sources. As part of the expected renewal of its franchise agreement with the borough, Comcast Cablevision will contribute $5,000, while another $5,000 will come from a Union County Development Block Grant. The remaining $8,000 has been allocated in the municipal budget.
The council had placed a resolution approving the contract with River Hills Consulting on its regular meeting agenda last week, but postponed voting on the matter until negotiations with Comcast for the franchise agreement are finalized.
Ms. Dolce said the committee’s proposal calls for the plan to be completed no later than December of 2000. She anticipated, however, that it would actually be done “much sooner than that.”
As part of the process of developing the plan, Ms. Dolce said her group hopes to sponsor a weekend retreat in late winter or early spring in which committee members and others – including elected officials –
would have an opportunity to share their ideas for the project.
She added that the retreat would involve CoNexus, an electronic system which can register input from multiple participants on a graph. The program, Ms. Dolce observed, would help the committee gauge public sentiment on various issues.
The next step, she explained, would be to take this “raw data” and use it to prepare goals and strategies for inclusion in the plan document. Once completed, this document would be submitted to the governing body for review.
A typical goal the plan would address, Ms. Dolce said, is the need for sufficient volunteers to staff Fanwood’s rescue squad and fire department. Strategies for building up the borough’s emergency service ranks, she noted, might include appointing a coordinator of volunteers, taking a new look at the current recruitment process and obtaining a budgetary commitment from the Borough Council to help these organizations stay afloat.
The plan developed by the committee, Ms. Dolce explained, could ultimately be used by borough administrators as a guide for how to best utilize human resources as well as taxpayer dollars in Fanwood.
The Long Range Planning Com
Suzette F. Stalker for The Times WINNING ENTRY… Nineyearold Julia Capodicasa displays her design for the new computerized children’s library card to be used at the Fanwood Memorial Library. She was presented with a resolution honoring her efforts during last Thursday’s Borough Council meeting. Surrounding her, pictured left to right, are: Mayor Maryanne S. Connelly, Library Director Dan Weiss, Julia’s brother, Matthew, and Children’s Librarian Susan Staub.
Suzette F. Stalker for The Times THANKS FOR EVERYTHING… Mayor Maryanne S. Connelly presents William and Patricia Winey, Fanwood residents who are moving to Pennsylvania, with a resolution honoring the couple for their longtime service to the Fanwood Volunteer Rescue Squad. The Wineys have each held multiple squad
cilman Joel Whitaker’s update on Planning Board and land use activities lead to a tense debate between him and Mayor Connelly over the borough’s handling of a situation involving the parking of commercial vehicles at Steve’s Towing Service on South Martine Avenue.
The business was issued a summons August 30 by Fanwood Zoning Officer Nancy Koederitz for “out of door overnight parking of commercial vehicles in (a) street side yard,” Fanwood Municipal Court Administrator Mary Ann Corcoran confirmed.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 12
Bulging Enrollment Forces Board To Consider Refiguring Schools By SUSAN M. DYCKMAN
Specially Written for The Times
Reconfigure all five elementary schools to include kindergarten through grade six. Make Terrill Middle School a sixth elementary school. House all seventh and eighth graders at Park Middle School.
That’s the latest idea to come out of the Scotch PlainsFanwood Board of Education in the dawdling discussion of how to manage the growing student population, an issue which dates back to 1994.
If and when the board makes a decision this fall, it will be at least three years before students actually benefit from that decision.
The K6 idea, which was an option first considered by the 1994 and 1998 Task Forces on Enrollment and Facilities, was resurrected during the board’s annual selfevaluation during the week of August 30.
During that process, the board began to draft guidelines for itself that address considerations such as longterm solutions; optimal enrollment per school; equity in delivery of pro grams among schools of similar grade
configurations; maintenance of racial balance, and maintenance of class size averages.
Board Member Jean McAllister stressed the importance of making sure the public “knows what we’ve done and why, and how we got to a certain point” in establishing decisionmaking guidelines.
While the details of a public information campaign have not been fleshed out, Public Information Coordinator Kathleen L. Meyer, herself a former board member, suggested word will get around the community rather quickly once the board “starts talking about moving offices, changing grade organization and changing district boundaries.”
Consideration of the K6 option follows on the heels of the board’s hiring of The Thomas Group of Princeton to conduct a feasibility
study of district schools and their ability to house projected enrollment.
During the summer, the board specifically asked the consultant to consider the following scenarios:
·Move administrative offices out of Evergreen School to free up classroom space.
·Reconfigure district grade levels to kindergarten through fourth, fifth through eighth and ninth through twelfth.
·Add on to Brunner School. It left open a fourth scenario in which The Thomas Group could present its own recommendation. The consultant’s report will be delivered to the board during a special public meeting on Monday, October 18, at 8 p. m.
During Superintendent of Schools Dr. Carol B. Choye’s sixyear tenure, she has commissioned two volunteer
Township to Lease 25 Acres For Ball Fields, Jogging Track
CONTINUED ON PAGE 12
By FRED ROSSI
Specially Written for The Times
Scotch Plains Mayor Geri M. Samuel announced Tuesday night that the township will lease about 25 acres of property from Union County at the corner of Raritan Road and Martine Avenue and turn the presently wooded tract of land into a park.
The site, located behind the Park Place Diner, will contain two regulationsize soccer fields, a baseball field, a softball field, a threequartersofamile walking and jogging track and bathroom facilities. The tree line along Raritan Road and Martine Avenue will be maintained, the Mayor said.
She said Scotch Plains will sign a 99year lease with the county for the land, at a cost of $1 per year, and said the county’s Board of Chosen Freeholders was expected to pass a resolution of intent on the matter at its meeting tonight, Thursday, September 16.
The Mayor, who told The Times
last month that she had a big announcement planned for midSeptember, said she has been working on the new park project for several weeks.
Also at Tuesday’s meeting, Union County Freeholder Linda d. Stender presented Mayor Samuel with a $450,000 county economic development grant that will be used for improvements to the downtown business district.
Mrs. Stender said the county allocated $5 million for downtown development projects this year, and “we received about $12 million worth of requests.” A small part of the grant money awarded to Scotch Plains will be used to pay for work provided by the Philadelphia consulting firm of Wallace Roberts & Todd.
That evening, the council approved a resolution giving the firm the nod to undertake preliminary design phase work for downtown improvements. Mayor Samuel said the firm will, in effect, serve as project manager for the redevelopment efforts.
Republican Councilman Martin
PLANNING BOARD MAY SCHEDULE ADDITIONAL HEARING
Public Comment to be Limited At Dean Oil Appeal Next Week By SUZETTE F. STALKER
Specially Written for The Times
The Fanwood Planning Board will limit the amount of time people may comment on the Dean Oil site application next week in an effort to wrap up its hearing on the controversial appeal by the required Friday, October 1, deadline.
Like three earlier board sessions dealing with the case, the Wednesday, September 22 meeting will begin at 7: 30 p. m. in the Park Middle School auditorium in Scotch Plains and last until 10: 30 p. m.
LaGrande Realty Associates, LLC, a development partnership, is seeking approval to erect a 25unit apartment complex on 1.3 acres of land at LaGrande Avenue and Second Street
in Fanwood, known as the Dean Oil property.
The petition has drawn the ire of many area residents who feel the proposed building would have a negative impact on quality of life in the surrounding area.
Board Chairman Gregory Cummings confirmed yesterday that the applicants still have two witnesses scheduled to testify next week. Members of the board and the public will then have an opportunity to question these witnesses.
Afterwards, time will be allocated for factual testimony by members of the audience. Mr. Cummings noted that speakers will testify under oath and be subject to crossexamination by the board and the applicants.
The final phase of Wednesday’s session will be devoted to public comment. Individuals wishing to speak will be asked to put their names on a signup sheet at the meeting.
Time remaining after testimony is given by witnesses and the public will be divided equally among the number of people wishing to comment, Mr. Cummings said.
In accordance with state law, the Planning Board must conclude its hearing by the end of this month or the petition will be approved by default. If the matter is not wrapped up by next week, an additional board meeting will be held on Wednesday, September 29, at the same time and location.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 12
Teachers Union Reaches Agreement With Catholic Principals Group By SUSAN M. DYCKMAN
Specially Written for The Times
The Regional Principals Association (RPA), the administration that oversees eight Catholic high schools in northern New Jersey, has reached an agreement in principle with the Lay Faculty Union. Lay women and men compose more than 90 percent of all Catholic school teachers.
Union Catholic Regional High School of Scotch Plains and Mother Seton Regional High School of Clark are represented by the union.
Negotiations between the RPA and union officials have concluded, according to attorney Jeff Corradino, of the law firm Jackson, Lewis,
Schnitzler and Krupman in Roseland. Mr. Corradino’s firm represented the RPA.
At press time, he could not confirm if union membership had ratified the contract. Union attorney Barbara Mehlsach, of the Newark firm Gorlick, Kravitz and Listhaus, could not be reached for comment on the contract’s ratification.
The new agreement provides for a nearly 19 percent increase in salary over three years. It also includes an increase in the teachers’ annuity program and provides for a retirement bonus that will pay up to 100 percent of one year’s pay, according to a
teacher’s age and length of service. What the teachers did not get was the second pension — a national pension program — they had sought through much of the negotiation process.
“At the end of the day,” said Mr. Corradino, “the annuity increase and retirement benefit was enough.”
During the summer, teachers picketed the offices of Newark Archbishop Theodore McCarrick. The threat of a strike hung over the most recent negotiations as the contract expired August 31.
In addition to Union Catholic and Mother Seton, the union represents
William A. Burke for The Times
GRATEFUL FOR THE GRANT… Union County Freeholder Linda d. Stender presented a check in the amount of $450,000 to Scotch Plains Mayor Geri M. Samuel, Councilman Martin Marks and President of the Scotch Plains Business & Professional Association Ray Pardon. The grant is part of the Downtown Union County Grant Program. Pictured, left to right, are: Freeholder Stender, Councilman Marks, Mr. Pardon and Mayor Samuel.
INDEX INDEX INDEX INDEX INDEX
Arts................ Page 22 Classifieds..... Page 18 County .......... Page 2
Editorial ........ Page 4 Mountainside Page 3 Obituary ........ Page 10
Religious ....... Page 11 Social ............ Page 6 Sports ............ Page 13
Page 12 Thursday, September 16, 1999 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION
CYAN YELLOW MAGENTA BLACK
SCOTCH PLAINS POLICE BLOTTER
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Township to Lease 25 Acres For Ball Fields and Jogging
Enrollment Rise Forces BOE To Consider Reconfiguration
Committee Hopes Consultant Aids With Strategic Planning
FANWOOD VOLUNTEER RESCUE SQUAD BLOTTER
Statistics for July 1999 Most Common Emergencies InTown Emergency Calls: 34
Outof Town Mutual Aid Calls: 3 Total Calls: 37 Trips Made to Area Hospitals: 23 Advanced Life Support Called 13 Total Volunteer Hours: 179: 00
Sudden Illness Injuries
Chest Pain/ Difficulty Breathing Pediatric Unresponsive
Of Special Note:
The Mayor and Council approved the Length of Service Award Program (LOSAP) ordinance at their Council meeting on Aug 12th.
This is a deferred pension program for rescue squad and fire department volunteers, which will be a public question on the Nov ‘99 ballot for the residents to approve. If approved by the residents, the program will start January 1, 2000.
In other matters, a contract was awarded for an emergency generator, powered by natural gas, for the Rescue Squad Building.
The Squad participated in a Union County SWAT training drill during the month of August. The Squad also participated in the 2nd District First Aid Council Meeting during the month.
Fanwood’s TV35 Weekly Schedule Thursday, Sept. 16, 8: 00 P. M.
FYI Fanwood – The Mayor talks to Muhlenberg Hospital Coalition for Cardiac Surgery
Thursday, Sept. 16, 9: 00 P. M.
Contact We Care Race of ’99
Saturday, Sept. 18, 8: 00 P. M.
Saturday, Sept. 18, 9: 00 P. M.
Great Labor Day Storm of ’99
Monday, Sept. 20, 8: 00 P. M.
COPTV Use of the 911 emergency number and safety around our schools
Monday, Sept. 20, 9: 00 P. M.
Council meeting of 9/ 9/ 99
Wednesday, Sept. 22, 8: 00 P. M.
FYI Fanwood The Mayor interviews Fanwood Cultural Arts Director, Adele Kenny
Wednesday, Sept. 22, 9: 00 P. M.
Autumn in Fanwood The leaf collection
Towing Company’s Case Sparks Tense Discussion
FANWOOD POLICE BLOTTER WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1
· A bicycle valued at $150 which had been chained and locked to a pole was reported stolen from outside a South Avenue supermarket. The owner discovered it missing after exiting the store, according to police.
· The owner of a singlefamily home in the 100 block of North Avenue reported that a former tenant broke windows and damaged a wall in the resi dence, according to police. No one had
been charged in connection with the incident as of press time.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
· The assistant manager of a Terrill Road establishment was assaulted by a patron who subsequently fled the scene, authorities said. The identity of the suspect was unknown and police said they were unable to obtain a detailed description of him.
mittee, whose 12 members represent a crosssection of the community, is one of several which grew out of the four action groups formed last year by the Fanwood Commu nity Assessment Committee.
Those groups were asked to develop improvement strategies to help strengthen borough resources in a variety of areas.
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 6
· A burglary was reported to a Plainfield Avenue business. Entry was gained through a rear window and tools were taken.
· A motorist reported the driver’s side mirror to her vehicle was mashed while parked on Coles Avenue.
· An Elizabeth Avenue resident reported the theft of approximately 100 compact discs from his car.
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 7
· A motorist reported finding his window broken and steering column tampered with after leaving the car parked at a Park Avenue business over the weekend.
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 9
· A Richmond Street resident reported finding several window panes smashed
on a storage shed in the rear yard.
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 10
· Wesley H. Porch, 3rd, 18, and Francis Long, 18, both of Plainfield, were arrested for possession of a vehicle reported stolen on September 4 in Willingboro. Both men were passengers in a vehicle that fled from police on Route 22 East and Glenside Avenue after the officer attempted to stop the driver of the car for careless driving. A computer check reported the car stolen. The pursuit ended at Second and Berkman Streets in Plainfield with all passengers fleeing the vehicle. The driver was not apprehended. Porch and Long were released on summons, with an additional charge of resisting arrest. Mayor Connelly maintained that
there has been as many as 16 vehicles parked at the towing company site at one time, in violation of a variance which was awarded to the company by the Fanwood Planning Board several years ago for six parking spaces. In light of ongoing efforts to revamp the community’s business district, Mrs. Connelly called the situation “a real problem.”
Borough Attorney Dennis Estis concurred the number of commercial vehicles stationed at the towing company regularly exceeds the provisions of the variance. Among them, he observed, are flatbed trucks and other large vehicles.
Mr. Estis said officials met with the owners of the business about the problem in 1997, adding that they promised then to remove the vehicles from the site. Steve’s Towing is owned by brothers Steve and Ralph Spagnuolo and has been at its present location since 1971.
He remarked that the Spagnuolos were given extended time to find a new location for the trucks after several relocation prospects fell through.
According to Mr. Estis, the Spagnuolos were advised in March of this year that they had until May to produce a contract with the owners of a site in Plainfield where they planned to relocate their commercial vehicles. The attorney noted last week, however, that he had heard nothing from them in four months.
Contacted by The Times last Friday, Ralph Spagnuolo said he and his brother “have done nothing wrong” and had been attempting to find a new site for the business for some time. He claimed they spent 14 months and $10,000 exploring the feasibility of one Plainfield site in a prospective arrangement which ultimately fell through.
Mr. Spagnuolo said he and his brother now have a contract to lease a lot on North Avenue in Plainfield for their business, with an option to buy the property. He said they also have a buyer for their current site in Fanwood, which includes the Coastal of Fanwood service station.
According to Mr. Spagnuolo, the entire business will be relocated to Plainfield. He said he has been in touch with the Zoning Officer about developments concerning his property, and called the Mayor’s account of the number of vehicles on his lot “exaggerated.”
Councilman Whitaker said during last week’s meeting that a similar situation exists at a neighboring business, but that this establishment had not been cited for it.
Invoking George Orwell’s 1945 satirical novel about social justice, “Animal Farm,” he questioned whether all local companies received the same consideration, or if some are considered to be “more equal than others.”
During the discussion, Mayor Connelly commented that the citation issued to Steve’s Towing was based on the specific variance which had been approved by the Planning Board for that company.
Mr. Whitaker suggested that there is a feeling in the downtown that current zoning laws in the borough are not “businessfriendly.” He said such a perception may be responsible for some businesses having been sold or difficulties in getting other properties developed.
Under a separate committee report, Councilwoman and Police Commissioner Karen M. Schurtz announced that all school crossing guards in the borough would be equipped with cellular telephones, programmed exclusively for 911, courtesy of several individuals who had donated them.
The chief contributor was Mario Morelli, the owner of In Touch Com munications in Garwood, who donated
10 cellular telephones, along with batteries and chargers. Mr. Morelli also programmed the units.
Councilwoman Schurtz additionally reminded motorists to be especially alert now that school is back in session. She noted that while there are adult guards at all major street crossings, children also travel across other streets en route to school.
According to Mrs. Schurtz, the Fanwood Police Department has replaced two of its vehicles with new units, one of which is already in service. Of the two older cars being replaced, one will be retained for radar enforcement.
Mrs. Schurtz also reported that a portable speed monitor has been ordered and will be used to monitor traffic along various streets in the borough.
Finally, she announced that the police department is currently reviewing applications from 30 candidates to replace Officer David Carson, who left the force at the end of August to take a job with the Raritan Township Police Department in Hunterdon County.
In other news related to the Fanwood police force, the governing body opted to seek a third round of bids for new computers for the department. The first bid process was unsuccessful because some firms did not receive all the necessary paperwork, according to Borough Clerk Eleanor McGovern.
She said the second round of bids produced a wide disparity in the amounts received for the work, convincing officials that their specifications were too ambiguous. The council then decided to go out for bid again.
The governing body approved three resolutions dealing with pending repairs to the Patricia M. Kuran Cultural Arts Center on Watson Road, formerly known as the Carriage House, which will be funded through Union County Development Block grants.
These funds will cover a study to determine needed renovations to the exterior of the structure, as well as a staircase and design specifications and drawings to be rendered by an architect for a ramp which can be accessed by handicapped individuals.
During the public comment section of last week’s meeting, Adele Kenny of Coriell Avenue, a Democratic candidate for the Borough Council and Director of the Fanwood Cultural Arts Committee, offered kudos to Fanwood Police Chief Robert Carboy and his department.
Saying a community “really revolves around its police department,” Ms. Kenny praised the Fanwood force for its visibility and accessibility, and for what she described as the department’s effort to “protect the hometown character of Fanwood.”
Ms. Kenny’s running mate on the Democratic ticket, council candidate and local Realtor Patricia Plante, commented on the application by LaGrande Realty Associates to build apartments at the Dean Oil site.
Revealing that home values have risen in Fanwood over the past decade, Mrs. Plante expressed concern that the proposed 25unit apartment complex could have a negative impact on the community. She speculated that, if the project is approved, there could be a density of 50 or more people dwelling on 1.3 acres of land.
The application for the building remains before the Fanwood Planning Board, which must render a decision by Friday, October 1, or the project will be approved by default. The board will resume its hearing on the appeal on Wednesday, September 22, at 7: 30 p. m. in the Park Middle School auditori um in Scotch Plains.
CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1
Catholic Principals Group Finds Accord With Teachers
task forces made up of parents and other community members to explore the facilities and enrollment issue. The first committee submitted a report in April 1994, which was followed by a recommendation from Dr. Choye to the board in November 1994.
The following actions resulted: the Office of Pupil Services moved from Brunner School to Scotch PlainsFanwood High School (SPFHS) and the Chapter One Office moved out of Brunner into Park Middle School. This opened up five classrooms.
In addition, the board reassigned to Brunner students from Riverside Apartments and Country Club Estates who were being bused to Coles. It also reassigned PreK classes from Coles, McGinn and Evergreen Schools to Brunner.
It reassigned to School One 19 ESL (English as a Second Language) students who had been attending Coles and reassigned the middle school ESL program to Park from Terrill Middle School.
In 1994, Dr. Choye also advised the board to be prepared to expand one or more schools with modular classrooms. In 1998, modular classrooms were added to Coles, Evergreen and School One — a full year behind schedule due to construction delays.
Prior to that, at least one elementary school had been forced to condense art classes to materials that could fit on a cart that was rolled from class to class.
Dr. William Leighton, a Scotch Plains resident who has tracked enrollment projections in the district for years, has called the actions taken following the 1994 report “Bandaids” rather than a real fixit to the problem.
The second task force convened in June 1998. It finished meeting in January 1999, and submitted a report the following June. While the committee evaluated 17 options, it did not present a specific recommendation for Dr. Choye’s consideration.
The report said a “show of hands” showed majority support for the seventh of the 17 options, which called for moving the fifth grade up into the middle schools.
In a matter related to facilities, the board approved at last Thursday’s meeting the hiring of Patricia Morris Associates of Clark to conduct a community survey to gather information from Scotch Plains and Fanwood residents on issues and concerns related to enrollment and the costs of upgrading present facilities. The survey will be prepared with the assistance of Mrs. Meyer.
The survey will gauge community sentiment as board members consider a February 2000 bond referendum to fund the broad scope of anticipated improve ments.
“We can’t just spring it on people,” said Dr. Choye. “We want to hear what they have to say about the issues.”
Park Middle School, for example, was built in 1926 and is in need of renovation. The board is looking at installing elevators at one and perhaps both of the middle schools and SPFHS, along with other improvements in keeping with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The schools’ athletic fields need work as well.
Board Members August Ruggiero and Richard R. Meade were reluctant to support the survey.
“I’m skeptical of its usefulness,” said Mr. Meade. “We run the risk of tallying (the survey) and having that drive the decision. The issue is too complex.” He voted against authorizing $10,000 to conduct the survey.
Mr. Ruggiero, who abstained from the vote, said surveys “can be a waste of time.” He asked that the board be allowed to review the questions before the survey is mailed to residents.
While Board Member Thomas Russo also questioned the usefulness of survey results, he said, “There’s value in letting the public know we want their input in the direction of the school district.”
Board Member Jessica D. Simpson overcame her skepticism when she saw samples of surveys other boards have done. “It’s written in a way that would capture interest, and not take much time to fill out. I’m more optimistic about the attempt (to get information).”
The administration hopes to have the survey out to residents in early October.
The board’s quibbling over the survey contradicted its oftrepeated call for more community input and better communication with the public.
In other business, the board recognized the newlytenured teachers (24) and administrators (2) of the district, including Mariana Cassidy, principal, McGinn School and Ronald Upperman, assistant principal, SPFHS.
The following tenured elementary teachers were recognized: Grace Cooke and Carol Russoniello (Brunner School); Heidi Griswold, Laurel Muenzen and Jennifer Murphy (Coles School); Anthony Arno, Karen Nobile and Alexandra Queripel (McGinn School); Kathryn Cannon, Karen Cristaldi, Teresa Joslyn, Suzanne Lannin, Sally Lembo and Charity Morris (School One).
Newlytenured teachers at SPFHS include: Suzanne Aguero, Kyle Banghart, Maureen Basta, Karen Franzone, Jeffrey Koegel, Natalie Piontkowski, Lisa Rebimbas, Jillian Ritchie, Erik Rosenmeier and Judith Swan. Marks said the township has worked
with Wallace Roberts & Todd in the past and that “some of their recommendations have already been implemented.”
He said the $450,000 county grant will be spent within a year’s time and that the planned improvements will “enhance the town” and “make everyone’s property values higher.”
On another matter related to downtown development, the council voted to accept a bid of $143,767 from Al Sanguiliano Inc. of Scotch Plains to reconstruct the parking lot on East Second Street behind the CVS drug store.
Mayor Samuel said the project will add 67 new spaces to the lot, which will stretch from CVS westward along East Second Street.
Township Manager Thomas E. Atkins told the governing body that a new set of bids have been received for the refurbishing of the Hetfield Avenue Bridge.
He remarked that the bids “didn’t come in as low as we expected,” and said he anticipates that NJ Transit, which operates the Raritan Valley Line that runs under the bridge, will come up with some revisions to the project in order to pare back the overall expense.
Separately, Mr. Atkins revealed that township emergency services personnel met earlier this week and are prepared for any situations which may arise if remnants of Hurricane Floyd should strike the area in the next several days. As of press time, the Category 4 storm was expected
to have its strongest impact along the coasts of several southern states.
The township’s auction will be held this Saturday, September 18, in the parking lot behind the police station, Mayor Samuel announced. Previews of things to be auctioned, which range from cars and bicycles to a variety of items confiscated by the police, will begin at 9 a. m., with the auction itself starting at 10 a. m. There is also a list of the items which is available for review in the Township Clerk’s office.
On another matter, the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad presented to Police Chief Thomas F. O’Brien the first of what is hoped to be several heart defibrillators for placement in patrol cars.
Chief O’Brien noted that his department has already purchased two of the mechanisms on its own, bringing the total number of machines in police department hands to five.
The council also honored Scotch Plains resident Nicholas DeNichilo, President of Killam Associates Consulting Engineers, for being selected as 1999 New Jersey Civil Engineer of the Year by the American Society of Civil Engineers.
The council also congratulated players in the Scotch PlainsFanwood Youth Baseball Association for their accomplishments during this past summer.
Mayor Samuel also issued a proclamation declaring September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
The council’s next meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 28.
lay teachers at the following schools: Immaculate Heart Academy, Washington Township; Bishop
Francis Essex Catholic Regional High School, East Orange; Hudson Catholic Regional High School, Jersey City; Paramus Catholic Regional High School, Roselle Catholic Regional High School, and St. Joseph Regional High School, Montvale.
The Lay Teachers Union is aligned with the Laborers International Union of North America, an AFLCIO affiliate. The New Jersey alliance was established in 1997.
Scotch Plains Woman’s Club Names Officers for Year CLUB LEADERS… Officers of the Scotch Plains Woman’s Club are gearing up
for another year of programs and activities. They include, pictured left to right: front row, President Marianne Muoio and Treasurer Harriet Shaner, and back row, First Vice President Edith Czeropski, Corresponding Secretary Vera Lukacovic, Second Vice President Betty Wulf and Recording Secretary Celeste Krowicki.
SCOTCH PLAINS — The Scotch Plains Woman’s Club, Inc., a member of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs, has announced its slate of officers for the year.
They include Marianne Muoio, President; Edith Czeropski, First Vice President; Betty Wulf, Second Vice President; Celeste Krowicki, Recording Secretary; Vera Lukacovic, Corresponding Secretary and Harriet Shaner, Treasurer.
The club meets on the second Wednesday of each month, September through May, at noon at the Scotch Hills Country Club in Scotch Plains. Visitors are welcome.
Club departments include Bridge, Home/ LifeSocial Services, Fundraisers for the Nursing Scholarships given annually and support for the State Federation of Women’s Clubs Project and Children’s Specialized Hospital.
We’re Just a Click Away: www. goleader. com
Senate President DiFrancesco To Speak at College Club
SCOTCH PLAINS — Senate President Donald T. DiFrancesco will be the guest speaker at the Monday, September 27, meeting of the College Club of FanwoodScotch Plains.
The meeting, which will also be a “Men’s Night,” will begin at 8 p. m. at the First Methodist Church in Scotch Plains. The public is invited to attend.
Senator DiFrancesco will discuss the state of the New Jersey education system, including the challenges facing the state’s public education system as it enters a new century. He will
examine such issues as school construction needs, the growth of education technology and the debate over school choice and charter schools.
Senator DiFrancesco of Scotch Plains was reelected by his colleagues to serve an unprecedented fourth term as the President of the New Jersey Senate during the 19981999 Legislative Session.
He was first chosen by his colleagues to serve as the President of the Senate
in 1992. He represents District 22, which includes Middlesex, Morris, Somerset and Union Counties.
Senator DiFrancesco has been responsible for the enactment of such landmark New Jersey Laws as New Jersey Family Leave Act, Catastrophic Illness in Children Relief Fund Act and the $98 Million Open Space & Farmland Preservation Bond Act.
For more information about this meeting or about College Club, please call (908) 2331601.
Donald T. DiFrancesco
Royal Conservatory of Music
Susan B. Rosenberg • (908) 769-6355
~ Over 20 Years Experience ~ Lessons in my Studio, your Home or Pre-School
Classes Forming Now
Music & Movement for Newborn to Pre-school Music for Children with special needs for ages 3 to adult Suzuki and traditional violin, viola & piano for ages 3 to adult
Governor Declares State of Emergency
As this newspaper went to press, Governor Christine Todd Whitman had declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the arrival of Hurricane Floyd.
This action will enable the state to deploy the National Guard and close schools should it become necessary.