goleader.com - Union County, NJ Newspapers 97sep18

News Briefs

Fanwood, NJ

New Municipal Judge Appointed By Fanwood Council in 4-3 Vote; Traffic Regulations Approved

By SUZETTE STALKER Specially Written for The Times

The Fanwood Borough Council last Thursday approved the appointment of the Honorable Susan MacMullen as Fanwood’s new Municipal Judge. She succeeds former Municipal Judge Jacqueline Drakeford, who was appointed in January of 1996. The latter resigned on September 1 to accept a position as Assistant County Counsel for Union County.

Members of the governing body were split 3-3 along party lines concerning Judge MacMullen’s appointment, with Democrats Bruce H. Walsh, Karen M. Schurtz and William E. Populus, Jr., voting in favor of the new magistrate and Republicans Louis C. Jung, Dr. Chester R. Lindsey and Stuart S. Kline voting in opposition.

Mayor Maryanne S. Connelly, a Democrat, cast the tie-breaking vote in support of the appointment, which was effective immediately.

The judge is a graduate of the Seton Hall University School of Law. She has served as a Judicial Clerk and as Assistant Prosecutor with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office for nine years. During her tenure with the Prosecutor’s Office, she worked in the Violent Crimes, Trial

Unit, Juvenile and Family Court, and Appellate Division.

She is married to Union County Manager Michael J. Lapolla. The couple have an eight-month-old son.

After last week’s meeting, Councilman Jung told The Times that while he had no reservations about Judge MacMullen’s professional qualifications, he felt the council should have selected someone who lives closer to Fanwood. Her resumè gives an Elizabeth address, but she and her family will be moving to Westfield, according to the Mayor.

Similar sentiments were expressed during the meeting by Joel Whitaker, one of two Republican candidates for Borough Council this year, who also voiced concern over whether someone coming directly from the Prosecutor’s Office would be able to bring a "balanced approach" to a municipal court setting, where there is no jury deciding cases.

The Mayor, who described the judge as being "extremely well-qualified," said that of the three applicants who were interviewed for the position, Judge MacMullen was the only one who was able to serve Fanwood exclusively. Mayor Connelly explained that this would give the judge the "flexibility" to work with the Fanwood Police Department and others involved in the local judicial process.

Under other business, the governing body adopted a resolution approving special traffic regulations for the south side of Madison Avenue, between Hunter and Martine Avenues. The regulations, which affect the area near Elementary School One on Willow Avenue, prohibits parking, stopping or standing between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 a.m. and again between 2:30 and 3:30 p.m.

Neighbors on Madison recently expressed concern to the council’s Public Safety Committee regarding people who park or turn around on the residential street while dropping off and picking up their children at School One.

As anticipated, officials adopted on second reading an ordinance authorizing a capital surplus appropriation of $12,400 to purchase a used support utility vehicle for the Fanwood Fire Department. In conjunction with this, the council re-adopted a resolution supporting funding for the vehicle, which had been approved last month. The vehicle will allow firefighters to transport all their necessary gear to the scene of

an emergency in a single trip.

Also adopted on second reading was an ordinance to amend the borough’s property maintenance code. The measure, which gives the council authority to have immediate action taken in the event of an emergency, was prompted by a recent incident in which a large tree was uprooted and toppled across a local street.

Officials approved a resolution awarding a bid of $2,000 to Nancy L. Zerbe of Historic Preservation Consulting, Inc., for a preliminary historic assessment of the area surrounding the Fanwood train station, to determine whether it is eligible to be designated as a historic district.

During her report as Chairwoman of the council’s Building and Zoning Committee, Councilwoman Schurtz reported that revisions to the borough’s Zoning Ordinance are "90 to 95 percent" complete.

Charles H. Brandt, the attorney for the Fanwood Board of Adjustment, is expected to review the updated ordinance for members of the Fanwood Planning Board at its Wednesday, September 24, meeting.

Councilwoman Schurtz also discussed the pending arrival of benches and banners for the borough’s downtown, which represent the first phase of an effort to reinvigorate the community’s business district. These enhancements are expected to be followed by additional trees and planters for the area. The Fanwood Downtown Revitalization Committee (FDRC) is still discussing how these planters would be maintained, according to the councilwoman.

Earlier in the evening, Robert Sommerich, President of the Fanwood-Scotch Plains Recycling Association, presented a check for $3,550 to FDRC Chairman Jack Molenaar toward the purchase of the benches, which officials noted will be constructed from recyclable materials.

The Mayor also made a presentation of $25,000 to the Fanwood Volunteer Rescue Squad to help with the purchase of a new ambulance, which the squad hopes to have in time for its 50th anniversary celebration next year.

Officials renewed their discussion of a proposal to merge the Fanwood Planning Board and the Fanwood Board of Adjustment. The concept would require a council resolution, which would subsequently be decided by a public referendum. Borough Attorney Dennis Estis informed

the board that the deadline for putting the proposed merger on the ballot for this November had already passed, and added the earliest they could begin the process would be in January. The proposed merging of the two boards would not go before voters, however, until November of next year, Mr. Estis confirmed.

An additional appointment and several resolutions were made during the meeting. Patricia Nering, a Russell Road resident, was named to the Fanwood Board of Health. Her term expires on January 31, 2000.

The late Roland Beetham, who served as Mayor of Fanwood from 1968 to 1971, was fondly remembered with a resolution read by Mayor Connelly. Mr. Beetham, an experienced pilot and decorated World War II veteran, died on August 25 when his twin-engine 337 Cessna airplane crashed into a wooded area in Warren.

Although she had not served with him herself, the Mayor recalled Mr. Beetham’s contributions during his years as a Councilman and as Mayor. She commended him for his "sound judgment and wise counsel," adding that Mr. Beetham "will always abide in the hearts of those who knew and worked with him."

Also honored with resolutions were Dennis Yarcheski and Paul Ewing, who retired August 31 as Executive Director and Assistant Director, respectively, of the Fanwood Recreation Commission. Both men, accompanied by their wives, were lauded by Mayor Connelly for their contributions to the borough’s recreation programs.

In addition, Dean Talcott was cited for his perseverance in having wildflowers planted in the right-of-way of the Public Service Electric and Gas company property near the Fanwood Nature Center on Cray Terrace.

The Mayor read a poem titled "Somebody Had a Vision," written by Ruth Samuelson of Fanwood, which was inspired by Mr. Talcott’s endeavor, and urged residents to visit the property but not to pick any of the flowers.

Copyright © 1997
TheWestfield Leader
Send your comments to:
Revised: September 23, 1997
Other Westfield, NJ Information