Wednesday, July 27, 2016


We told you Tuesday that Maplewood Middle School Assistant Principal Marc Gold had accepted a new job in Morristown and would be leaving at the end of the Summer.

Gold sent a letter to parents today informing them of his departure.

See it below:

Letter to MMS Community from Assistant Principal, Marc Gold

July 27, 2016

Dear Maplewood Middle School Community Members and Students:

In 2009, I was given the privilege of being selected as a special education teacher at Maplewood Middle School.  I was straight out of college and I was so excited to get a chance to start my career in education.  At the time, I did not know what a supportive, dedicated, passionate, diverse, forward-thinking and kind-hearted community I was stepping into.  I have found out that Maplewood is truly a community of collaboration and I am so proud that I have been able to be involved in that partnership for the past seven years.  It is with considerable reflection and a heavy heart that I am announcing that I am leaving the wonderful South Orange and Maplewood School District.

I would like to thank all of the community members that I have been involved with during my tenure at MMS.  From all of the collaboration with our amazing HSA (Co-Presidents Kathleen Bailie and Alan Stephenson and all of the HSA representatives), Footprints program, Future Leaders, PBIS Committee Members, Model UN (thank you to all of the parents who volunteered and woke up at 4:00 am, on the weekend, to provide our students with these wonderful experiences), MMS Garden Committee, Strategic Direction Committee, Action Planning Committee, Odyssey of the Mind, Boy’s/Girl’s Night Out volunteers/donors, to the numerous interactions that I have enjoyed on a daily basis with countless community members, I would personally like to thank you for always being there for our students during this vital time of social, emotional, physical and educational growth. 

To the students, it has been an honor to serve you as a special education teacher and as an assistant principal for the past seven years.  I would like to express my profound and genuine appreciation for all that you have taught me.  Each and every day you have provided me with insight and inspiration to improve my craft and I truly thank you for that.  I ask that as you move through your lives, you put forth the effort to build positive relationships and make decisions that will better yourselves and others around you.  I hope that you are fortunate to identify a passion and if so, I encourage you to pursue your passion.  Lastly, please ensure that you treat others with respect and as you would like to be treated.  I believe if you are always interacting with positive energy, you will find that the majority of your experiences will be joyful. 

I am indebted to Maplewood Middle School and the SOMSD community for providing me with the ability to grow professionally and, more importantly, as an individual.  

Marc Gold
Marc Gold


We told you last week about the school board's plans to contract with Bloomboard Inc. for professional development needs.

At the July 18 school board meeting, Assistant Superintendent Kevin Walston explained that Bloomboard would replace Teachscape, a program that had been used but was being discontinued by its managers.

Bloomboard Inc. would cost about the same at $56,000.

Walston said the district had reviewed several options for replacement and chose Bloomboard because "we had seen it as a tremendous opportunity " to "satisfy our PD needs."

But after Board Member Johanna Wright questioned the lack of input or review of the program, the board tabled it until the Aug. 22 meeting.


From Maplewood Police today:

July 21, 2016; Robbery; At approximately, 3:20 PM, a female delivering Chinese food on Parker Ave was assaulted and a male attempted to steal the food.  Through investigation, Haqium Hope, age 19 of Maplewood was charged and arrested for the robbery.  The victim sustained minor injuries and refused medical attention.

July 23, 2016; Thefts from Autos;  During the overnight hours several unsecured vehicles were entered and items removed.  The thefts were on Kensington Terr, Hughes St and Jacoby St.  At approximately 11:15 PM, officers responded to the area of Kensington Terr on a report of a possible suspicious person.  Nyqil Heath, age 23 of Newark was located and arrested with items stolen from the Kensington Terr Theft. 

July 22, 2016, Robbery;  At approximately 10:30 PM a male reported that he was approached by a black male in his early 20’s inside of Maplecrest Park.  The male pointed a handgun at him and took cash from him before fleeing.  No injures were reported. 
July 20, 2016; Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours checks and machinery were removed from an unsecured work vehicle parked on Orchard Rd.

July 20, 2016; Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours an unsecured vehicle parked on Elberta Rd, had a change purse, change and an Ipod removed.

July 20, 2016; Theft; At approximately 6:45 PM a cell phone was stolen from a laundry mat on Springfield Ave.

July 21, 2016; Motor Vehicle Theft;  At approximately 7:45 PM, a vehicle parked in the pool lot on Boyden Ave, unsecured with a key Fob inside of it was stolen.  The vehicle was later recovered in Newark.

July 22, 2016, Shoplifting; At approximately 7 PM, CVS on Valley St reported that a male had just shoplifted several item’s from the store.  The actor fled in a vehicle East on Parker Ave.

July 22, 2016; Bicycle Theft; A bicycle left in the yard of a home on Burnett Ave was stolen during the daytime hours.

July 25, 2016; Shoplifting; At approximately 7 PM, officers responded to CVS on a report of a shoplifter.  The shoplifter left the store North bound on Valley St.  Officers located the subject later identified as Rashun Quinones, age 40 of Newark.  Mr. Quinones attempted to elude officers by fleeing on foot through backyards.  He was caught in a backyard and taken into custody.


From Maplewood Police today: 

Construction on Elmwood Avenue. Road Closures and detours: Elmwood Avenue closed between Summit Avenue and Prospect Street. 

Construction at Prospect Ave/Springfield Avenue. East and West bound lanes are open on Springfield Avenue. North and South bound lanes on Prospect Street at Springfield Avenue are detoured. Be prepared for delays.




The future of Highland Place, the Maplewood Village eatery that has been shutdown for almost two years, became a little clearer last week when the Township Committee said it would re-consider denying the renewal of its liquor license.

"If you have a lease, if you have an agreement with someone and can share that with our attorney, we will have a conversation with the prospective leasee and we can make a judgement as to whether that license should be renewed," Mayor Vic Deluca told the owners of the site at last week's Township Committee meeting.

But he also stressed, "The Township Committee based on my conversations with the members are not in a position to change our decision from the last meeting."

At that last meeting, on June 23, the TC voted to reject the renewal request from Masoud Kian, who owns the property at 5 Highland Pl. and has also owned the liquor license that he purchased last year from the restaurant's former owner, Chris Farrow.

Farrow initially lost the license after failing to pay taxes, which prompted him to shutdown the restaurant in August 2014. The license was to have been auctioned off by the state, but the auction was cancelled after Kian and Farrow indicated a deal to have it transferred.

Kian said at the time he wanted to lease the space to someone who would run the business and utilize the liquor license. But his attorney, Nelson Montiero, told the TC last month he has been unable to do so. That is when the governing body voted to deny the renewal.

But both Kian and Montiero were back last week asking for a reconsideration and stating that they were in talks with someone to lease the space and utilize the license.

"Subsequent to this meeting, we have had very fruitful conversations with a prospective restaurateur who has a restaurant in Mountainside and I believe that deal will com to fruition," Montiero told the TC. 

Deluca said they would reconsider if they were shown proof of a deal and specific details that a new tenant would be able to run the restaurant space. "Let's work this out," the mayor said.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Yet another school administrator is leaving the South Orange Maplewood School District.

This time it is Maplewood Middle School Assistant Principal Marc Gold, who is leaving to become assistant principal at Frelinghuysen Middle School in Morristown, according to the Morris School Board, which voted to appoint him on Monday night.

His new post begins Sept. 26, 2016.

Gold joins a growing list of administrators leaving the district for greener pastures. Most recently those included Business Administrator Cheryl Schneider, Guidance Director Jennifer Giordano and Maplewood Middle School Principal Jerrill Adams.

At Frelinghuysen Middle School, Gold will join another former SOMS principal, Joseph Uglialoro, who left South Orange Middle School last year and is now principal at FMS.

We reached out to Gold and SOMS officials for comment, but have yet to receive any.


St. James' Gate moved a step closer to creating a sidewalk cafe in front of its Maplewood Village location with the ability to serve alcoholic beverages last week when the Township Committee approved the move last week.

The TC, acting as the local Alcohol Beverage Control Board, voted, 3-2, to allow the restaurant to serve its own alcoholic beverages outside. TC members India Larrier and Marlon Brownlee opposed the move.

See the resolution HERE.

Currently, several other eateries have sidewalk cafes, such as Arturo's and Cactus Charley, but residents must bring their own adult beverages. This would be the first such allowance of drinks served by the establishment.

The resolution would limit the sidewalk cafe service to 11 p.m., with last call at 10 p.m. The inside service would remain open until 2 a.m.  

But while the outdoor cafe alcohol service was approved, the issue of whether St. James Gate, owned by James Meade, had the right to set up an outdoor cafe is still unresolved. 

Meade appeared at the meeting, as did an attorney for his landlord, Glenn Sussman, who opposes the idea. Sussman has said he owns the sidewalk so he must approve the idea, while Meade has said Sussman is just trying to force him to pay more for such approval.

"The owner of the building has refused to sign the application," Meade said.

Sussman's attorney, Mark Tolstoi, said, "I do think this is premature," adding that his client "has a fair amount of liability and the placement of these and serving of alcohol presents increased liability to the owner of that property."

The issue of sidewalk ownership will be resolved by Township Administrator Joe Manning and depending on that determination, the sidewalk cafe would still need to be approved by the Township.


As expected, five candidates have filed for the three school board seats up for grabs this year.

In addition to incumbents Johanna Wright and Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad, challengers Anthony Mazzocchi of Maplewood and Susie Adamson and James Davis of South Orange have also filed to run as of Monday's deadline.

Incumbent Beth Daugherty has chosen not to run for re-election.

We told you last week that Lawson-Muhammad had teamed up with Davis to run as a team.

The election is set for November 8.