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Page 2 Thursday, October 8, 1998 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION






Thomas Lyons is Appointed As Superior Court Judge In Elizabeth’s Family Division

Courtesy of Union County Sheriff’s Office NEWEST JUDGE... Thomas N. Lyons of Mountainside, third from left, is sworn into office by Union County Superior Court Assignment Judge Edward W. Beglin, Jr. of Westfield at a ceremony in Judge Beglin’s chambers in the Union County Court house in Elizabeth last month. Looking on is his wife, Gemma, and his son Tom and daughter Molly, each holding the Holy Bible for their father.


Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

Thomas Lyons of Mountainside is quickly be becoming familiar with the Superior Court of New Jersey. The newest member of the court, he was sworn in as Superior Court Judge in Family Division in Elizabeth on September 4.

Judge Lyons was appointed by Governor Christie Todd Whitman and confirmed by the New Jersey State Senate prior to being sworn in by Union County Assignment Judge Edward W. Beglin, Jr.

During a recent interview, Judge Lyons noted that he felt his legal career would ultimately take him to the bench.

Judge Lyons stated that he believes being a judge allows him to look at the law from a different perspective. He has been an advocate for over 20 years. He noted that this stage of his career will involve learning and orientation.

“Fortunately, Union County has a competent and excellent teaching environment,” he stated. “The experienced judges are very helpful in the learning process.”

Recently, Judge Lyons has handled domestic violence cases and family law.

Judge Lyons interest in the law started at an early age. The son of an attorney, Judge Lyons was interested in learning American history and then began investigating the legal world. He worked his way through

law school as an intern for the Congressional Research Service. After graduating from Georgetown Law School in Washington, D. C., Judge Lyons received a judicial clerkship in Union County for one year. He started practicing law in 1976 with the firm of McKenzie, Welt, Dwayne & Lechner.

During that period, he specialized in commercial litigation and transactional work. At the same time he was also Special Counsel to the City of Elizabeth.

In 1979, Judge Lyons’ interest in corporate work gave him the opportunity to become the General Counsel for the now defunct Howard Savings Bank, where he supervised the bank’s litigation department.

In February, 1989, Judge Lyons joined the Newark law firm, Gibbons, Del Deo, Dolan, Griffinger and Veccione. He was a partner in this firm for nine and half years with a specialty was commercial litigation.

Over the last couple of years, he has spent half time of his time engaging in employment litigation, legal malpractice defense, and contested probate (which in layman’s terms means people fighting over trusts), and some governmental litigation.

In terms of the latter, he represented the Essex County Improvement Authority with problems they had encountered with water issues.

From 1988 to 1993, Judge Lyons taught night school at the Seton Hall Law School in Newark. Judge Lyons stayed at Gibbons, Del Deo until he started his judgeship. He said his experience with this firm was “great” and he misses his colleagues.

Judge Lyons believes that what makes the legal profession special is “our ability to resolve disputes and create peace between two people.”

He continued, “As Abraham Lincoln put it, ‘A lawyer can really be a peacemaker and a lawyer who stirs up litigation should be driven out of the profession. ’”

The Judge grew up in Elizabeth and has resided in Mountainside for over 15 years. His wife is a tutor at the Children’s Specialized Hospital in Mountainside. One of his two daughters is a freelance writer for a New York magazine.

One of the things Judge Lyons said he will miss about practicing law is his friends at the law firm and working on cases with a team of people.

“Sharing ideas and debating… that’s when the whole team is living the case,” he explained.

Cranford Dramatic Club Celebrates 80th Year By MICHELLE H. LePOIDEVIN

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

A wooden casket, a variety of skulls, hovering gargoyles and a single black bat adorn the silent stage that awaits

Dracula, the first performance of the season at the Cranford Dramatic Club (CDC), located on 78 Winans Avenue in Cranford.

The CDC is responsible for an assortment of theatrical productions, including musicals, dramas, children’s theater and comedy, as well as becoming involved with the surrounding communities in an extensive outreach program.

According to Bob Pells, who has served as President of the CDC for two years and has been an active member of the theater for 32 years, “We are in our 80th year. It all started in 1918. It was just some ladies who got together to read plays and eventually performed a few of them.”

He added that performances would take place in the high schools or any other locations that would allow them to be presented. The present building on Winans Avenue opened in 1958, and marks its 40th anniversary this year.

Mr. Pells noted that the CDC has been able to provide uninterrupted theater for the duration of its existence. Throughout World Wars and other hardships, the theater has always been able to put on a production, he added.

Over the 80 years of the CDC, the club has presented three to five musicals per year. This year, the group decided to perform three.

“We try to give a crosssection to theatergoers,” stated Mr. Pells. “Our Programming Committee determines

what shows will be selected for the next season, based on input and ideas from club members and the community.”

The CDC, a nonprofit organization, functions as a general corporation, holding board meetings each month and staffing a Board of Governors.

Several committees are available to club members — such as the Playbill, Photo, Funding, Dues, Advertising, Publicity, Box Office, Ushers, Painting, Costume, and Makeup.

During a tour of the CDC, The Westfield Leader learned that the theater has prepared exhibits in the upstairs lounge which date from 1919 to the present. These exhibits include old playbills, costumes and memorabilia.

There is also a box office that is draped with old playbills, and the backstage area contains a broad collection of wardrobe, dressing rooms and storage.

The CDC hosts a Children’s Theatre which performs during the first two weeks in December. Their production this year will be Snow White Goes West, for which auditions were recently held.

In June, the Junior CDC presented a Broadway music show produced, directed and run by children under adult supervision. Mr. Pells explained that the Junior CDC productions would be open to season ticket holders this year, for more exposure in June of 1999.

He noted that this program is relatively new, saying he hoped it would expand beyond one annual performance.

Township Bd. Hopes To Conclude Pheasant Subdivision This Year



Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

SCOTCH PLAINS — Many Scotch Plains residents turned out to voice their concerns regarding a proposed subdivision during Monday night’s township Planning Board meeting.

Applicant Ernest Fantini is seeking to subdivide his Pheasant Lane property into nine separate lots, with new homes to be built on each. The hearing on the development proposal was continued from an earlier board meeting.

Larry Vastola, an attorney representing Mr. Fantini, called on traffic engineer Gary Dean to testify on behalf of the Better View Homes project.

Mr. Dean stated that, in his opin ion, the new through street from

Pheasant Street in Scotch Plains to Prospect Street in Plainfield would not cause any significant traffic problems in that area.

He added that a study was done by his colleagues during three peak traffic times — two in the morning and one in the evening — and concluded that there would not be any more significant traffic using this route during these times.

Janet Dillon of Prospect Street disagreed with Mr. Dean’s assessment, stating that there would be a significant traffic backup caused by people using this new through street.

Floyd Roberts of Pheasant Lane said he was not in favor of paving this through street. He added that he was opposed to the clearing of trees and

Mountainside BOE OKs Reimbursement


Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

The Mountainside Board of Education met briefly on Tuesday evening to discuss such agenda items as tuition reimbursement and substitute teacher appointments before adjourning to executive session.

Board members approved tuition reimbursements for three teachers who are taking graduate courses. Board members Frank G. Geiger and Linda Esemplare questioned whether teachers should be reimbursed for courses taken outside an individual’s field of expertise, or courses taken in Administrative Supervision.

Board member John Perrin maintained that as long as teachers elect to

take courses, it shows they have a “continued enthusiasm for education that is brought back to the classroom,

Copyright 1999 - The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch Plains-Fanwood