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.
Mayor Glover says new truck “reaffirms commitment to public safety”
The Scotch Plains Fire Department will hold a “wet down” ceremony this Saturday for its new pumper fire truck that replaces an outdated fire truck from nearly 30 years ago.
The purchase of this new fire truck, along with another new truck that will be purchased later this year, represents a major investment in public safety and the town’s infrastructure by the Administration of Mayor Kevin Glover.
“Our Fire Department has done an amazing job over the years despite having to use outdated fire trucks,” says Mayor Glover. “With this new truck, and another one planned for next year, we are reaffirming our commitment to public safety and to supporting our Fire Department.”
The 2016 Pierce Enforcer Engine/Pumper truck will allow fire fighters to more effectively and safely fight fires, according to Township Manager Al Mirabella.
“We are working diligently to rebuild our township’s infrastructure, from equipment to roads to buildings and parks, and this new fire truck is an important part of our investment,” says Mirabella.
The new truck, purchased through a 2015 capital expenditure, pumps 2000 gallons of water per minute, nearly double what the old pumper truck could do. Unlike the old model from 1989, it features an enclosed cab that can hold six passengers, as well as ABS brakes, traction control and air bags.
“Our brave fire fighters are willing to risk their lives to protect our community, and our goal is to do everything we can to support them and make certain they have the safest and most effective equipment available. This is a major step toward that goal,” says Mayor Glover.
As we prepare to celebrate our nation’s 240th birthday this weekend, I want to take this opportunity to invite all Scotch Plains residents to attend our first-ever Independence Day fireworks event on Saturday, July 2, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Scotch Hills Country Club.
Back in January at the Township’s reorganization meeting I made a commitment to put on a fireworks display – that would be privately funded – because I felt strongly that we should at long last honor our community’s role in the Revolutionary War. Not many communities can lay claim to having an important battle take place in their town, but we in Scotch Plains can make that claim and should do all that we can to keep this valuable piece of American history alive and well.
For those of you who may not know, the Battle of Short Hills was fought in Scotch Plains (and not in Short Hills). Although it was considered a defeat for the Continental Army, it allowed George Washington’s beleaguered troops to escape the clutches of the British Supreme Commander Lord Cornwallis and take refuge in the Watchung Mountains.
While in Scotch Plains, Lord Cornwallis stopped at the farmhouse of Gershon and Elizabeth Frazee, who had given bread to the retreating Continental Army. When Cornwallis asked Elizabeth for bread for his troops, she told him, ”Sir, I give you this bread through fear, not in love,” Cornwallis ordered that no one in his army take any bread from the Frazees.
Today, we are blessed to still have the Frazee House and it is for this historical reason that I, and the majority of the township council included in the 2016 Township Capital Budget funds to help with the restoration of this piece of Americana.
Once a piece of history is gone, it is gone forever. So as we celebrate the birth of our nation and the ideals for which it stands, we in Scotch Plains should take special pride in knowing
our community played a key role in helping to cast off the yoke of British control and creating the greatest nation on our earth.
In honor of Independence Day, the Township will host its first-ever fireworks display on Saturday, July 2 (rain date is July 3) at the Scotch Hills Golf Course.
The golf course will open at 7 p.m. for spectators to set down chairs and blankets, and the fireworks will begin at dusk. Spectators should wear comfortable shoes – no heels permitted on the golf course – and alcoholic beverages will not be permitted.
“In my State of the Township Address in January, I promised that we would have a free fireworks display for the first time ever, so I’m very pleased to announce it will take place on Saturday, July 2, and I hope all residents will join us in celebrating Independence Day,” says Mayor Kevin Glover. “This event could not become a reality without the help of a great many volunteers, so I would like to thank all the members of the Cultural Arts Committee, the Fireworks Committee, the Police and Fire Departments, the Rescue Squad and of course the individual and corporate sponsors.”
There will be several road closures leading up to and during the event to ensure safety for pedestrians and motorists alike. Please check the Township website for more details.
The golf course will be open Saturday for golfers, with the last tee time set for 10 a.m. It will reopen at 10 a.m. Sunday, July 3.
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 email@example.com.
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 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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds residents that five Union County parks are designated for sledding:
“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:
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.
Applications for permits along with general information about the 2016 Deer Management Program in Union County are now available online.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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.
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.