Local News

Scotch Plains Bond Rating Upgraded to Aaa

Scotch Plains Township Municipal Manager Al Mirabella announced this week that Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Scotch Plains’ bond rating to Aaa.


This is the 2nd upgrade in two years. In 2015, the Township of Scotch Plains was upgraded by Moody’s Investors Service Rating to Aa1.  It took just two years, under the prudent management of the Municipal Manager, Al Mirabella and the Township Council for Moody’s to upgrade the bond rating of the Township of Scotch Plains to Aaa. Scotch Plains joins Summit, Westfield and New Providence as the only municipalities in Union County that currently earned this highest possible rating. Statewide, Scotch Plains is one of only 7% of the 565 municipalities assigned this highest rating.


Click here to read the press release. The full report is available here. 

Scotch Plains Ranks Among Top 100 Safest Cities in New Jersey

Scotch Plains ranks 47th among the safest cities in New Jersey according to a recent report published by the National Council for Home Safety and Security, a trade association of security professionals that advocates for safe communities and home safety.    


"I am extremely proud of the work that the men and women of the Scotch Plains Police Department have done in making the Township of Scotch Plains the 47th Safest City in New Jersey according to the National Council for Home Safety and Security,” said Scotch Plains Township Police Chief Ted Conley. “We strive each and every day to make Scotch Plains an extremely safe environment for our residents and visitors to our town. Hopefully we can achieve an even higher ranking in the years to come!"    


Scotch Plains is the 3rd highest ranked town in Union County and one of only 6 Union County towns to make the top 100.  Click here to read the entire press release. 

Scotch Plains Police Dept. Gets Accreditation

The Scotch Plains Police Department has officially received its accreditation from the NJ State Association of Chiefs of Police as it was presented with a certification at the Scotch Plains Council Conference meeting on Tuesday evening.  


Only about one-third of the law enforcement departments in the State of New Jersey have achieved the status of accreditation, which gets renewed every three years.

Scotch Plains Mourns Loss of Former Police Chief Robert Luce

The Township is mourning the passing of retired Scotch Plains Police Chief Robert Luce, who passed away over the weekend.


Robert was a 1952 graduate of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. Bob enlisted in United States Armed Forces and served with the Marine Corp. during the Korean War. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division from 1953 - 1956. Prior to his discharge Robert had reached the rank of Sgt..   


Robert's Law enforcement career began in 1958 as a Patrol Officer with the Scotch Plains Police Department. In 1978  Bob was promoted to Captain overseeing the Detective Bureau and assistant to the Chief on administrative issues and in 1983 was promoted to Police Chief a position he served in until his retirement from the Scotch Plains Police Departmennt in 1996.   


Upon his retirement in 1996, Chief Luce went on to work with the Union County Prosecutors Office. In a joint appointment from the UC Police Chiefs Assoc. and the UC Prosecutors Office he was appointed the Director of the UC Police Academy in Scotch Plains. Chief Luce left the Academy in 1997, and was appointed Director of the UC Forensics Lab until his eventual permanent retirement in  January of 2000.   


Bob was a member of the American Legion Post 1000,  a life member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Scotch Plains PBA Local 87, and a former member of the Scotch Plains Fanwood Lyons Club.


Click here to read his entire obituary and details on the visitation and funeral services on the Rossi Funeral Home website. 

Township Manager Al Mirabella Named Christopher Columbus Man of Year

Scotch Plains Township Manager Al Mirabella was honored by the Italian Tribune with the Christopher Columbus Man of the Year Award Friday, Oct. 7 for his accomplishments in public service and pride in his Italian heritage.


Mirabella played an integral role in Union County’s first annual Columbus Day Flag raising established in 2009 with UNICO District X and is an active member of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Chapter of UNICO. 

Learn How Rain Gardens Cut Costs and Reduce Runoff

Members of the public have a unique opportunity to see the benefits of rain gardens, porous pavements and other examples of green infrastructure, by joining a half-day bus tour of sustainable landscaping at five sites in Summit, Springfield, Clark, Rahway and Mountainside.


The green infrastructure tour will take place on Tuesday July 19 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., conducted by experts from Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County and the Rahway River Watershed Association.


"The Freeholder Board is very proud to support the Extension's efforts to encourage sustainable landscaping practices throughout our 21 municipalities," said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. "If you work with a municipal agency or belong to an environmental group, please take advantage of this unique learning opportunity."


Landscapers, business owners and residents are also invited to attend.

The tour is designed to demonstrate the ways in which green infrastructure can help prevent excess runoff from storms and melting snow.


Green infrastructure can also cut maintenance costs while adding attractive features to a property.

The rain-or-shine tour will visit green infrastructure at schools, libraries, public works yards, and private homes. The examples include rain gardens that use special soil and native plantings to reduce excess stormwater, porous asphalt surfaces that enable excess rain and snowmelt to seep into the ground, and cisterns for rainwater harvesting.


"In addition to its bottom line benefits, green infrastructure helps to keep contaminants out of our rivers and streams," said Bergen. "It's a win for the property owner, and for our environment."


The cost of the tour is $20.00 per person. The bus will leave from Union County's Trailside Nature and Science Center, 452 New Providence Road in Mountainside, at 9:30 a.m. and return at 1:00 p.m. Free parking is located on site.


Participants can register online at tinyurl.com/raingardentour. Payment must be received by Thursday, July 14.


For more information about the green infrastructure tour contact Michele Bakacs, County Environmental Agent, at (732) 398-5274 or mbakacs@rutgers.edu.


The Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Union County is a program of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers University, supported in part by the Freeholder Board. To learn more about its programs and services visit online at ucnj.org/rce or call 908-654-9854.

Union County Grant Helps Transform an Empty Field into a Community Garden

Union County Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen, Freeholders Bette Jane Kowalski and Alexander Mirabella, Scotch Plains Councilwoman Rose Checcio and officials from Scotch Plains and Fanwood, and Groundwork Elizabeth Executive Director Jonathan Phillips and his staff joined with local volunteers to celebrate the start of construction for the Scotch Plains – Fanwood Community Garden on the grounds of the historic Frazee House in Scotch Plains. Guided by Groundwork personnel, the volunteers will shape mounds of new soil into raised garden beds and transform a barren field into a productive community resource. The project is among 20 community garden projects funded with the help of matching grants from the Union County Community Garden Grants program, as part of Chairman Bergen’s Union County Means Green environmental initiatives for 2016. (Credit: Jim Lowney/County of Union)

Union County Grants $1.5 Million to Road & Infrastructure Improvements

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders today announced the second annual infrastructure awards to 21 municipalities to help fund projects aimed at spurring economic development growth and street improvements throughout the County.


As part of his Chairman’s initiatives for 2016, Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen had asked that municipalities focus on street improvements, given the toll on local roads over the past several winters. As a result, 20 of 21 municipalities responding will use their award to make road improvements, many of which are repaving.



“The end result of several bad winters and tough budgets during a time of shrinking state and federal funding have placed a strain on local roads,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “With this in mind, our goal is to prioritize road projects, and our municipal partners responded with great interest in making these improvements.”


The matching grant initiative makes available approximately $1.5 million to Union County’s 21 municipalities, assisting them to accomplish tasks undertaken in calendar year 2016. The funding for the grant is provided through the proceeds from the sale of Runnells Specialized Hospital in 2014.


“Union County is a commuter County, and transportation—including our local roadways—is at the heart of this

network,” said Freeholder Kowalski. “Better roads not only ensure the safer flow of traffic with less stress on vehicles, but also the smoother flow of commerce, which is essential to the economic well-being of the County.”


Some examples of work funded include:  roadway improvements to three local roads in Berkeley Heights, Westfield

Avenue streetscape project in Clark,  MacLennan Place Roadway improvements in Fanwood, Center Street milling project in Garwood, West Henry Street improvements in Linden, resurfacing on East Second Street in Plainfield, East Second Avenue improvements in Roselle, improvements to Larch Street in Roselle Park, and the 2016 Union Township Road Rehab project. 

24th Annual Mayor's Gala

Celebrating the community's exceptional volunteers, Mayor Kevin Glover and dignitaries gathered on Friday, May 6 at Snuffy's Pantagis Renaissance for the 24th Annual Mayor's Gala. 


Glover opened the night with a reminder of the importance of volunteers in Scotch Plains, saying they are a cornerstone in all of the town's functions.


Presenters Joe McCourt, Father John Paladino, Art Coon and Bob Lacosta awarded Janet Blaes, Ralph Checchio, Pete & Judy Terry, and Italian American Club representatives Americo Checchio and Pete DiNizo with commemorative plaques.


A registered volunteer and daughter of a U.S. Air Force veteran, Janet Blaes was recognized for her countless hours spent in the local American Legion Post 209 and Veterans Hospital.


Likened to both a fist and open hand by Father John, Ralph Checchio extended his thanks to his immediate family after receiving his award. Among the many contributions to Scotch Plains, Checchio said he is most proud of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial he co-created with longtime friend Bob LaCosta.


Volunteer Couple of the Year Pete & Judy Terry, two local historians who have helped preserve Scotch Plains' oldest historic sites, credited local government for working hand-in-hand with volunteers.


"This community comes together and does what has to be done," Pete Terry said, citing the township's bicentennial celebration and tercentennial memorial of the Battle of Short Hills as memorable moments in Scotch Plains.


Last, but certainly not least, Mayor Glover and Mr. LaCosta recognized the Scotch Plains Italian American Club, who is celebrating its 110th anniversary in 2016. Club members Americo Checchio and Pete DiNizo accepted the award on behalf of the private, non-profit organization, thanking the descendants of Montazzoli, Italy for laying the foundation for diversity in Scotch Plains.


In addition to the night's honors, a silent auction was held, offering exclusive deals to small businesses in and around Scotch Plains.


The Mayor’s Gala is a non-partisan event, which serves to gather all segments of the community for an evening full of dining, dancing and a silent auction. Proceeds from the event support the Municipal Alliance Committee and other local non-profit organizations.

Arbor Day

Mayor Glover and Town Manager Al Mirabella helped kick off Earth-conscious activities on Friday, April 29 as they planted two redbud trees at the Shady Rest historic site here in town.


The trees were  donated through the 2016 Arbor Day Tree Planting Program sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders in conjunction with the Union County Shade Tree Advisory Board.

Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work Day

Township Manager Al Mirabella joined Fire Chief Ellis, Police Captain Ted Conley and members of the Department of Public Property on Thursday morning, as employees celebrated Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work Day.


The children, who got a sneak peek of what their parents do on a daily basis, learned the extensive requirements for becoming a township employee, how fires are extinguished, and even got a view from the cherry picker.


Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work® encourages girls and boys across the country to dream without gender limitations and to think imaginatively about their family, work and community lives.

Walk to School Day 2016

Students from Park & Terrill Middle Schools celebrated Walk to School Day on Friday, April 22. On a beautiful morning, Mayor Glover welcomed the kids with healthy snacks as they prepared for the weekend.

Rockin' For Autism Festival Raises $10,200

Rockin’ For Autism Music Festival is pleased to announce that its inaugural event, held on Saturday, April 16 at LaGrande Park in Fanwood, has raised more than $10,200 to support autism programs and services in New Jersey.


The fundraising effort surpassed the $7,000 fundraising goal set by its creator, 14-year-old Fanwood resident Mallory Banks, an Autism Awareness Junior Ambassador who ranks among the top kids in New Jersey raising money for Autism Awareness Month. It also doubled the $10,000 that she had previously raised from 2011 through 2015 in honor of her brother Ethan (16) and all those affected by autism spectrum disorder.


“We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the Town of Fanwood; the volunteers, musicians, entertainers, vendors, merchants and non-profits who helped make the festival a success; our friends and family; and the people who participated in our raffles, bake sale and who otherwise donated to the cause,” said Gina Banks. “Rockin for Autism 2016 exceeded all of our expectations. There’s no turning back now. Time to start planning for 2017!”


Several hundreds of people packed into LaGrande Park throughout the day to listen to music from a variety of local bands, including: Goodworks; Three-Piece Nugget; The Broadcasters; Leave the Gun; and Eric Harrison’s Crash Course. Additional entertainment was provided by Main Source DJs; special needs music therapist Jammin Jenn; and the Cindy Smith Dance Studio.


Food and refreshments were provided by Nick’s Pizza & Deli, “The Empanada Guy” food truck, Picklelicious, New Jersey American Water and more than three dozen volunteer bakers.


Local merchant and non-profit participants included: Be Craftful; Child’s Play Challenge Course; Robert Wood Johnson Hospital; Children’s Specialized Hospital; Autism NJ; Watchung Pediatrics; Tiny Tots Therapy; Jammin Jenn Music Therapy; Functional Performance Therapy; Rich Tric Photography; Temple Sholom of Scotch Plains’ Inclusion Taskforce; Dip's Fashion Conception; Glam Pam and Her Glitter Overload; Eddie Lin, the “Ausome” Balloon Creator; Pete the Magician; Rodan & Fields; Chloe & Isabel; and many others who donated products and services for the raffle.


The festival also coincided with the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Youth Baseball Association’s annual opening day ceremony, where Miss Banks, Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr and Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover threw ceremonial first pitches. In addition, the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Soccer Association and Wolves Basketball Academy ran sports clinics for special needs kids.


All proceeds will be donated to Autism NJ, the largest statewide network of parents and professionals dedicated to improving lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorders.


Those wishing to donate online may do so here.

Fanwood Police Help Scotch Plains Family

Selling Girl Scout cookies on their own street in Scotch Plains turned ugly for two little girls in February. But as one of them now says, it was a blessing in disguise.


Angelina Skolar, 9, and her sister Natalie, 12, now have boxes and boxes of Girl Scout cookies in their dining room, the result of a windfall of orders from a community that reached out after hearing that the girls were verbally abused while going door to door.


“A woman appeared in the street and started yelling at them,” said Sandy Crespo, the girls’ mother.


The disturbing incident prompted Ms. Crespo to lament on social media that the world has come to this—cursing out Girl Scouts selling cookies. Her Facebook post was seen by Dianne Howarth, Administrative Assistant to Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo.


“Dianne saw the post and contacted the woman,” said Lt. Francisco Marrerro, Fanwood Police. “She started passing around an order form here at headquarters and at our Borough Hall.”


In no time, there were orders for 250 boxes of cookies from Fanwood police officers and employees of the Borough court and administrative offices. And that was just the beginning. Word spread on Facebook and even more people from across Fanwood and Scotch Plains started buying cookies from the girls.


“I lost count,” said Ms. Crespo. “And the supplier ran out. It was wonderful to see how many people cared.”


“I couldn’t be prouder of Dianne and our police officers,” said Fanwood Chief Trigo. “It’s further proof that our officers are invested in our community.”


“There’s so much bad news about cops these days,” said Ms. Crespo. “It’s so great to see something positive come out of this for everyone.”

Thinking About Getting an Easter Pet?

From Karen Fazio, nj.com


With spring here and Easter just around the corner, those cute little chicks and bunnies in the pet store seem so irresistible. And how adorable are those pygmy goats and lambs?


Well, if you’re tempted to purchase one of these animals, here’s a tip: It’s probably best to pass up the opportunity. Read more.


Click here to read more about the town code.


NJ TRANSIT has reached an agreement with its rail union employees, ending the threat of a rail stoppage. Rail service will operate as scheduled.

Senior Bus Dedication

A special celebration was held to unveil the new Scotch Plains-Fanwood Senior Citizens Bus on Friday, January 22, 2016. Mayor Glover, Township Manager Al Mirabella, and Deputy Mayor Rose Checchio joined senior citizens in welcoming the 18-passenger Ford F450 shuttle bus.

Remembrances of Frank Terry & The Terry Lou Zoo

Photo by Richard Koles
Photo by Richard Koles

Frank Terry was one interesting man! He was born in Scotch Plains and chose to live in his home town most of his life after being 1 of the 10% in his World War II Company who came home after serving in military bombing missions. He always loved animals as did his wife Lou(ise). They loved Palomino horses and in order to pay for the farm they purchased for their prized horses, they started pony rides. Then they started taking in injured animals from zoos and other people and thus was born The Terry Lou Zoo.


Pete Terry is also a local, interesting man who grew up friends with Frank. Despite the shared last name, they are not related. On Tuesday evening, February 23 Pete will share remembrances of his colorful friend Frank at the monthly meeting of the Historical Society of Scotch Plains and Fanwood. Come hear about the tiger that got loose in the parking lot during the Memorial Day Parade. Learn why the Terry Lou Zoo had so many American Bison in the 60s and 70s. Many other stories will be told so come to the meeting to get an appreciation for this local character and his wife.


The meeting is free and open to everyone. Refreshments and fellowship will follow the program. The meeting starts at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday February 23. The meeting is held at the Scotch Hills Country Club located at Plainfield Avenue and Jerusalem Road in Scotch Plains.


Contact person: Connie Klock, 908-232-9489.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service

From the SPPD Detective Bureau: IRS Scam

With the 2016 tax season upon us residents are being victimized by individuals making attempts to collect false debts from phony IRS Agents.


As a reminder the IRS will notify you by mail if you have an unsettled tax debt. IRS agents will never ask for credit card information, debit card information or pre-paid gift card information.


The scammers will identify themselves with common surnames and IRS badge information. The scammers may even be able to recite the last 4 digits of your social security number, and will often threaten you will jail time and suspension of driver’s license.


On some occasions there will be back ground noise to imitate a call center. You may receive follow up phone calls from other scammers portraying to be agents of local law enforcement or the Department of Motor Vehicle trying to persuade you to comply with the phony IRS agents.


If you believe you are being targeted you should immediately hang up the phone and contact your local law enforcement agency.


For more information please visit the Internal Revenue Service website at WWW.IRS.Gov and type “scam” in the search box.

Union County Sledding/Skiing Policy in Parks

The Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds residents that five Union County parks are designated for sledding:


Briant Park in Summit
GPS: 71 Springfield Ave Summit
Echo Lake Park in Westfield – ‘Summer Arts Hill’ area
GPS: Park Drive, Mountainside
Lenape Park in Cranford – Areas not close to waterways
GPS: 130 Kenilworth Boulevard, Cranford
Meisel Park in Springfield – Dention basin area
GPS: 238 Meisel Ave, Springfield
Unami Park in Garwood
GPS: 2 Lexington Ave, Cranford

“We urge all our residents who wish to sled to follow these guidelines and have a safe enjoyable time in our County Parks,” Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen said.  To avoid tree hazards, sledders in Union County parks are strongly advised to avoid sledding devices that cannot be steered. Downhill skiing is strictly prohibited in all County parks, but cross-country skiing is permitted in the following parks:


Ash Brook Golf Course in Scotch Plains
GPS: 1210 Raritan Road, Scotch Plains
Oak Ridge Park in Clark
GPS: 136 Oak Ridge Road, Clark
Watchung Reservation in Mountainside
GPS: W R Tracy Drive, Mountainside

Skating on natural waterways in County parks is contingent on the availability of at least four inches of clear ice as measured by Parks officials in accordance with widely accepted safety standards. No waterways have met that standard so far this winter.

2016 Deer Management Program

Applications for permits along with general information about the 2016 Deer Management Program in Union County are now available online.

Remembering Korean War Veteran and Long-time Volunteer Don Wussler

Don Wussler was a long-time resident of Scotch Plains and graduated from Scotch Plains High School in 1952. He served in the United States Army in the Korean War, attaining the rank of Corporal and received the Purple Heart Medal, the U.S. National Defense Bronze Medal, the Distinguished Service Medal, and the Korean Defense Service Medal.


Read Don's full obituary

Holiday Celebrations

John Shippen Drive

Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union
Photo by Jim Lowney/County of Union

Union County Freeholders Vernell Wright, Alexander Mirabella, Bette Jane Kowalski and Sergio Granados joined Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover, Councilman John Del Sordi, Councilwoman Rose Checchio and Ruby Simmons and Thurman Simmons Sr. of the John Shippen Memorial Golf Foundation at the official unveiling of a a ceremonial street sign at the Scotch Hills Country Club in honor of John Shippen, the first American to play in a U.S. Open golf tournament.

Shippen played in six U.S. Opens and he made his career in golf and served as professional at several clubs, the last of which was Shady Rest Golf Course in Scotch Plains, now known as Scotch Hills Country Club.


The road at the entrance to the golf course (off Jerusalem Ave.) will be known as John Shippen Drive.

Veterans Day

On November 11, 2015, Mayor Glover and Township Manager Al Mirabella joined Vietnam Veteran Joe McCourt and members of the American Legion Post 209 to celebrate Veterans Day in downtown Scotch Plains. Together, they honored the past and present personnel serving in the United States military. Everyday we thank you, Veterans, for your sacrifices.

Halloween 2015

SPFHS Boys & Girls Soccer teams heading to Union County Finals

Both the boys and girls varsity soccer teams of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School have advanced to the respective 2015 Union County Tournament Final which will take place on Friday, Oct. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 31 at Kean University.


The boys (16-1-2), led by Coach Tom Breznitsky, will play Elizabeth (14-2) in the tournament final on Friday. The Raiders have walked away tournament champions four years in a row.


The girls (17-1-1), led by Coach Kevin Ewing, will face Westfield (11-3-2) in the final on Saturday. Goalkeeper Andrea Leitner has only allowed three goals this season.


Both teams show excellent sportsmanship and continue to represent a rich tradition of athletics in Scotch Plains. Best of luck!

Senior Appreciation Day

Shady Rest Reopens

The Shady Rest Clubhouse reopened recently with help from preservation architect Barton Ross and a unanimous vote by the Scotch Plains Council in 2013 to restore the historical site.


Columbus Day Celebration

Scotch Plains Day 2015

Cruisin' Car Night on Park Avenue

17th Annual Marching Band Festival

Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr and Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover helped present trophies to the winning bands at this year's annual marching band competition at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School on September 19. SPFHS performed its 2015 program Chance Love: Tales Beneath a Persian Moon.

Back to School Community Fair at St. John's

Photo: Jim Lowney/County of Union
Photo: Jim Lowney/County of Union

Township Manager Alexander Mirabella and Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi joined Scotch Plains Deputy Mayor Colleen Gialanella at the 7th Back To School Community Fair at St. John’s Baptist Church in Scotch Plains. The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders donated pens, pencils and backpacks for the event.

9/11 Memorial Service

Summer Concert Series 2015

Summer Concert Series 2015





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