Wednesday, March 1, 2017

MORE ON SOUTH MOUNTAIN SWASTIKAS; PEACEFUL UNITY PROTEST

We told you about the antisemitic graffiti found scrawled on a bridge in South Mountain Reservation Tuesday.

Residents from both Maplewood and South Orange gathered Tuesday night at the location to peacefully protest and show unity.

See this report from WCBS TV:


SCHOOL BUDGET "STRESS" AS DEFICIT LOOMS AND "MORE WITH LESS" NO LONGER WORKING

School board members braced for another tough budget battle that could mean both lost jobs and services -- along with significant tax increases -- as they began on Monday to try closing a $2.4 million budget deficit.

During the latest budget presentation at the meeting, Superintendent John Ramos was blunt in his assessment of the district finances, declaring, "We all have to understand ... yes, we are losing services. We are losing programs and services, year in and year out. That's the reality."

He later added, "We cannot expect that when you cut 19 positions one year and you are faced with another deficit, as we are this year, that programs and services are probably going to remain the same. They are not. They're not."

His comments followed Business Administrator Paul Roth's budget update that revealed a budget deficit that could top $2.4 million if the district remains within the state-limited 2% tax increase cap.

More on that HERE.

Roth described it as a "budget stress."

"We're pushing more classes to maximum class size limits than ever before," Roth said. "We have more people working later and later into the night and at some point we will begin to struggle at meeting deadlines and quality of work ... if we don't have some funding relief."

He cited a growing enrollment vs. staffing disparity. See that below:



"At some point we can't do more with less," Roth declared. "At some point we have to say, 'if we cut this we really can't provide the service.'"

Ramos agreed: "If we continue to go forward at the same trajectory, then we will continue to lose programs and services," the superintendent said. "That's the answer. We can't fund them."

But Ramos said there is a solution if the district seeks funding and revenue in new ways.

"There's no way around this unless we become a revenue-generating source ourselves," he said. "I think the people are beginning to understand that tax dollars go only so far as long as we continue to abide by the 2% cap. We have to find other ways of generating revenue." 

No formal cost-cutting or revenue generating proposals were made at the meeting. But more details are expected at the next board meeting, which will be a budget workshop on March 7.

LOCAL LEADERS DECRY SWASTIKA GRAFFITI

Leaders from Maplewood and South Orange issued this statement in reaction to the swastikas that were found scrawled on a bridge wall in South Mountain Reservation on Tuesday:

Statement of Elected Leadership of South Orange and Maplewood
Hatred and bigotry against any group and in any form are unacceptable. We, the elected leaders of South Orange and Maplewood, are united in speaking firmly and clearly against the rise of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, racism and misogyny in our country and within our communities. In our two towns we embrace our neighbors and are proud that people of different ethnic, racial, religious and cultural backgrounds and sexual orientation are living and thriving together.
We deplore the recent acts of vandalism in South Mountain Reservation, which was primarily anti-Semitic but more far-reaching. Hate and hate symbols go against everything our two towns stand for.  We will work with law enforcement officials so that those responsible are apprehended and punished.
With broadening threats to Jewish institutions nationwide, growing assaults on mosques and Muslims, and attacks on civil rights gains made over the years, we call upon political leaders to not stand idly by but to speak out forcefully against all forms of bigotry, hatred and divisiveness. We cannot and will not be silent.
Maplewood
Victor De Luca, Mayor
Nancy Adams, Deputy Mayor
India Larrier, Township Committeewoman 
Greg Lembrich, Township Committeeman
Frank McGehee, Township Committeeman
South Orange
Sheena Collum, Village President
Howard Levison, Trustee
Mark Rosner, Trustee
Deborah Davis Ford, Trustee
Steve Schnall, Trustee
Walter Clarke, Trustee
Jeff Dubowy, Trustee

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

SWASTIKAS FOUND IN SOUTH MOUNTAIN RESERVATION

Photo: NJ.com
From NJ.com: 

Authorities are investigating several swastikas that were spray-painted along a new bridge in the South Orange section of South Mountain Reservation

Photos show at least seven swastikas splattered across the bridge with the words "they lie" and the numbers "666." The markings -- made in purple, red, green and black -- were cleaned by Tuesday afternoon after park workers painted and sandblasted the bridge early in the morning, county officials said. 

Authorities are investigating several swastikas that were spray-painted along a new bridge in the South Orange section of South Mountain Reservation. 
 
"What's happening in South Mountain Reservation is discouraging and maddening," Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. said in a statement. "In Essex County, our diversity is our strength, and our open spaces are there for the enjoyment of everyone. We do not condone the defacing of public areas and we do not tolerate the hateful intent of this graffiti."  
 
Rabbi Jesse Olitzky of Congregation Beth El in South Orange said some of his congregants called him early in the morning after they saw the symbols.

See the entire story HERE.

DJANGO A GOGO CONCERTS BEGIN TONIGHT


STEPHANE WREMBEL PRESENTS
THE DJANGO A Gogo 2017 MUSIC FESTIVAL AND CAMP
THE CONCERTS
March 3, 2017 8PM
The Stern Auditorium at Carnegie Hall Starring
STEPHANE WREMBEL, AL DI MEOLA, STOCHELO ROSENBERG
LARRY KEEL, RYAN MONTBLEAU, DAVID GASTINE
NICK ANDERSON, THOR JENSEN, ARI FOLMAN-COHEN

February 28, 2017
The Woodland
Opening Night Performance
Sara L'Abriola, and many more

March 1, 2017
The Woodland
Django Flamenco!
Alfonso Ponticelli and Juanito Pascual

March 2, 2017
The Woodland
Olli Soikkeli and Rhythm Future Quartet

March 4, 2017
The Woodland
Paulus Schafer and Special Guests

March 5, 2017
The Woodland
Street Fair and Student Performances Free to the Public

March 5, 2017
Barbes In Brooklyn
SUPER JAM!!
PRESENTATION
Django a Gogo Music Camp is a first-class music program providing musicians of all levels and instruments access to the greatest knowledge and teachers available. 

The program focuses mainly on the musical style of Django Reinhardt (referred to as "Gypsy Jazz" in the USA). The goal of this camp is for students to learn from all the teachers and performers of the festival either in a small group setting, or in the form of workshops. 

More information HERE.

THREE CANDIDATES VYING FOR DEMOCRATIC TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE ENDORSEMENT

Three candidates have tossed their hats in the ring for the Maplewood Democratic Committee endorsement for Township Committee, according to MDC Chair Ian Grodman.

As Monday's deadline passed for prospective candidates to submit their names for the committee endorsement, those entering the race include incumbent Vic Deluca and challengers Dean Dafis and Carla Caraballo.

Read more about Dafis HERE and Caraballo HERE.

Dean Dafis
All three are seeking the primary nomination for the two seats up for grabs this year. Along with the seat held by Deluca, who is also Maplewood mayor, the second seat held by TC Member India Larrier is open as Larrier has chosen not to run for re-election.

Grodman said the MDC will interview the three candidates sometime in March and make its endorsement public then.

The endorsement is key in that it gives those who receive it a party line spot on the June 6 primary ballot and access to Democratic Committee funding.

Candidates who do not receive the endorsement can still run in the primary. The deadline to enter is April 3. 

DRUG STORE SHOPLIFTERS, AUTO-RELATED THEFTS LEAD POLICE WEEK

From Maplewood Police:

February 26, 2017; Shoplifting; At approximately 3:30 Pm, a male entered the CVS on Valley St, picked up several bars of soap and left the store without paying.  He then fled on a bicycle toward South Orange.

February 25, 2017; Shoplifting, At approximately 8 AM, officers responded to the Walgreens on Springfield Ave on a reported shoplifting.  Christopher Black, age 47 of Irvington was taken into custody and charged with shoplifting following the investigation on scene.

February 21, 2017; Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours two unsecured vehicles parked on Park Ave were entered.  Change was removed from one of them and a pair of sunglasses were removed from the other vehicle.

February 22, 2017; Theft from Auto; Between 9 PM and 10:30 PM a unsecured vehicle on Fernwood Rd and an unsecured vehicle on the 200 block of Elmwood Ave were entered.  A purse and credit cards were stolen from one vehicle and a cell phone and change were stolen from the other vehicle.


February 23, 2017; Motor Vehicle Theft, During the overnight hours, a Jeep Liberty was stolen from Newark Way.  The vehicle was later recovered in Newark.

February 25,2017; Motor Vehicle Theft; Sometime between 7 AM and 3 PM a vehicle was stolen from the DPW parking lot.

February 26, 2017; Burglary; Sometime over the previous week a vacant home on Boyden Parkway was entered and copper pipes were stolen.

LAST DAY OF MAPLEWOOD SPEAKS OUT AT THE LIBRARY

Main Library ● All Ages ● Drop In

Kids and families are invited to continue the conversation from the Kids Speak Out art display.  Throughout the month, feel free to share your thoughts, feelings, stories, and drawings.  Supplies will be available in the Children’s Room to create something that expresses your feelings about race, equality, and justice.  Your work will be displayed in the Children’s Room.

“You really can change the world if you care enough.” – Marian Wright Edelman