Wednesday, February 29, 2012

LATEST SOUTH MOUNTAIN DEER KILL BAGS 79

Essex County finished its deer hunt program, reporting that 79 live and unborn deer were killed in South Mountain Reservation, part of the program that also included Eagle Rock and Hilltop reservations in January and February.


A total of 274 deer were removed from the three locations, with rules requiring hunters to turn over the deer meat to the Food Bank beyond a certain amount.


The county release on the program stated:

 This year, about 3,700 pounds of venison were donated to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey in Hillside, which translates into about 15,000 meals made available to the needy and homeless. Volunteer marksmen who completed at least six (6) half-day shifts of volunteer service received 40 pounds of venison.

CHS GIRLS FENCING WINS STATE CROWN

Congrats to the gals who beat Montgomery 14-13 Tuesday.

POST OFFICE MEETING TONIGHT

Reminder

Community Meeting to Discuss the Future Redevelopment of the Post Office Site
Wednesday, February 29th 7pm to 9pm 
Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, 10 Durand Road.

This is a follow-up meeting to the January 19th meeting. The summary minutes from the January meeting can be found on the Township's website at http://www.twp.maplewood.nj.us/DocumentView.aspx?DID=497

Representatives from Phillips Preiss Grygiel, the Township's planners, will present ideas on design and development standards. Township officials also will be present.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

TOWNSHIP WANTS MORE LOCAL BUSINESS CONNECTIONS

Just got this letter from Mayor Vic De Luca, noting a new effort to work with local companies and a March 9 meeting planned for it:




To the Maplewood Business Community:

The Township of Maplewood is seeking to spend more of its dollars in Maplewood, with Maplewood-owned businesses. We know that keeping publicly spent dollars in town will help our economic revitalization efforts. We are now “looking local first” when buying goods and services, and the Township has already increased its efforts to patronize local bakeries, delis and caterers, contract with local professionals, and purchase products from local businesses.

We know that small and home-based business owners are sometimes reluctant to get involved with government. Others who may be interested just don’t know how to go about it. But we also know that there may be greater opportunities for the Township to more actively support local businesses. 

We want to discuss the opportunities with local business people on Friday, March 9th. The meeting will begin at 8:30am at Town Hall, 574 Valley Street. We hope the information we provide will encourage more of you to do business with the Township.  

Below are ten questions we’ll discuss. We know you will have more questions, comments and ideas for us.

1.      How do I find the list of opportunities to do work for the Township?
2.      What types of businesses does the Township use?
3.      What is the bidding/proposal/quote process? What is the difference between a bid, proposal and quote?
4.      How much time does it take for the Township to make a decision on a bid, proposal or quote?
5.      What qualifications do I need to submit a bid, proposal or quote?
6.      What is the term of a contract with the Township?
7.      What is the payment schedule? How long do I need to wait to be paid?
8.      What are the insurance requirements?
9.      What is the term of the contract and/or the contract language?
10.  Who is the contact person to speak about a bid, proposal or quote?
Please come out on Friday, March 9th. This is an investment in time that we hope will benefit all of us. If you have any questions, please call Annette DePalma, Director of Community Relations, at 973-762-8120, ext. 3400.
                                                                                   
Mayor Vic De Luca

PART OF BOYDEN AVE. CLOSED

...Scanner indicates Boyden Ave. south side closed between Brown St. and Newark Way, unknown reason....

TOWNSHIP BUDGET BREAKDOWN

PATCH offers a great look at the $38.2 million proposed township budget that is less than last year, but needs more cuts to keep taxes down.


See it HERE.

ESPN'S CHRIS BROUSSARD IN TOWN TODAY

Caught this being passed out at the train station last week. Check it out:

Monday, February 27, 2012

LIBRARY RIP-OFF LEADS WEEK OF BURGLARIES

This release just in from Maplewood Police:




February 21, 2012: Burglary. On 2/21/12, officers and detectives responded to a Raymond Terrace residence on a report of a burglary. The homeowner reported that between the hours of 11:00 am and 12:15 pm, unknown suspect(s) forced open a rear door to gain access to the residence. Once inside, the unknown suspect(s) removed a Gateway Laptop computer and an assortment of jewelry including a wedding ring and an engagement ring.

February 21, 2012: Attempt Burglary. On 2/21/12, officers responded to a North Terrace residence on a report of an attempted burglary. The homeowner reported that between the hours of 8:00 am and 3:00 pm, unknown suspect(s) attempted to gain access to the residence by removing the screens from two rear windows and a second floor window. The Youth Aid Bureau is investigating.

February 22, 2012: Package Theft. On 2/22/12, a Brown Street resident reported that a UPS package delivered to his front porch had been removed during the day on 2/3/12.

February 23, 2012: Burglary. On 2/23/12, at approximately 4:03 pm, officers responded to an Overlook Terrace residence on a report of a burglary. Officers determined that unknown suspect(s) had gained entry through the side door of the residence and removed an HP Laptop computer, three X-Box video game controllers, multiple X- Box video games, and a Kenneth Cole watch.

February 24, 2012: Burglary. On 2/24/12, officers responded to the Maplewood Library located at 51 Baker Street on an alarm activation. As officers were checking the exterior of the building, Officer J. Lareau heard the sound of an object hitting the ground, which was later determined to be the cash register from inside the Library. Officer Lareau then observed a suspect running across a footbridge that leads into Memorial Park. An extensive search for the suspect was conducted with negative results. The cash register was recovered at the scene.

STATE OF THE COUNTY NOW

Essex County Executive Joe DiVincenzo delivering his State of the County speech now via the web.


See it HERE

GREEN DRINKS TONIGHT

Green Drinks

Green Drinks Logo

NEXT GREEN DRINKS:
Monday, February 27, 2012
7:00 - 9:00 PM
  
We are meeting at 1978 Maplewood Arts Center at 1978 Springfield Avenue in Maplewood.  




This month, Monika Hannemann, local gardening expert, will talk about seed starting with some suburb-friendly, easy to grow vegetable plants for a food garden.

Monika worked as an educator and horticulturalist at the Horticultural Society of New York and The Brooklyn Botanic Garden for 12 years before moving to Maplewood.  Currently she teaches high school biology and runs the MapleFood garden, an education garden that works with volunteers and kids to grow and harvest vegetables for a local food pantry.

Your $8 contribution will cover your organic beer and wine, as well as light munchies.  

SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE DEADLINE IS TODAY, GLEASON OUT

The school board race is heating up to be a real challenge as the deadline to enter approaches today at 4 p.m.


Veteran board member and former School Board President Mark Gleason told PATCH he will not run again and has endorsed incumbent Wayne Eastman, who is up for re-election with incumbent Jennifer Payne-Parish.


But Eastman has broken ranks somewhat with Payne-Parrish, running with challengers Madhu Pai and Jeff Bennett against her.


The election is set for April 17.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

7-11 PUSHING ONE DOLLAR COFFEE

The owner of the new 7-11 at Springfield Ave. and Tuscan tells me he is going to sell any cup of coffee for $1 starting March 1.


Give 'em a try.

MANY SCHOOL BOARDS MOVING TO NOVEMBER ELECTIONS - C'MON SO-M

Star-Ledger reports that dozens of school boards are moving to November elections while our board nixes the idea despite a strong push from Maplewood's Township Committee:


More than 400 school districts have moved their elections from April to November — one of the most sweeping changes to scholastic politics in state history as most residents will no longer vote on their districts’ budgets.
Not that many residents have taken advantage of the opportunity to vote on school budgets. Since 1984, there has been only one year in which more than 20 percent of registered voters cast ballots. That was 2010, when Gov. Chris Christie lobbied voters to reject their districts’ budgets in protest of ever-rising property taxes.
By contrast, 26 percent of registered voters cast ballots in the general election this past in November, and that was the lowest ever recorded. This year, because of the presidential race, the turnout is expected to be significantly higher.

Come on school board folks and give up your control that keeps voters away and costs more money. No excuses

TC BUDGET MEETING LOOKS FOR COST-SAVINGS EVERYWHERE

Lest you think the Township Committee is not trying to save money wherever it can, and subsequently lower taxes, think again.


We peeked in to the budget session Saturday and found them grilling Township Administrator Joe Manning and Township Clerk Liz Fritzen on how to cut all costs. Nice work!


Below, TC member Kathy Leventhal raises an important issue

video

CRANE'S LIVES ON AT HIGHLAND PLACE

Patch tells us Crane's Deli owner Steve Crane's dishes will live on at Highland Place:



While Crane’s Delicatessen & Cheese Shoppe will close the doors of its current location at 5pm on Saturday, February 25, we are extremely excited to announce the opening of Crane’s @ HP. That’s right, Crane’s and Highland Place Steak, Bar and Grille are merging!!!
The merging of two great town eatery’s will fulfill the needs of their patrons, as they continue their commitment to the community and bring to Maplewood what it enjoys– Great Eats, Great Atmosphere and a friendly place to go.
Crane’s will be featuring it’s Classic Fare- Best coffee in town, Breakfast, Lunch & bringing Back Dinners To Go! Crane’s menu items will complement HP’s terrific menu and will also feature full service catering (on and off premises). Whether you are a Crane’s fan, a Highland Place fan, or both you can now hold your events with a terrific variety of fare.



We should have known when he kept urging patrons to come and mourn the demise of his great eatery last night at the Highland Place restaurant. Great way to keep it going.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

CRANE'S OWNER SAYS GOODBYE

We stopped in to Crane's Deli in Maplewood Village today where owner Steve Crane is locking the doors for the last time come 5 p.m.

Then its off to Highland Place for what he describes as "an Irish wake" for the shop he opened seven years ago.

See his thoughts on the future and past below.

video

TC BUDGET MEETING TODAY

The Township Committee is also expected to discuss the change in school board elections to November.


Can't get to town hall? It is on Comcast Ch. 35 now.

GOODBYE CRANE'S

Crane's Deli in Maplewood Village is closing down today at 5 p.m. for good.


Give 'em a good send off with some lunch, snack or homemade potato chips.


Word has it another such eatery will soon take its place. But will it be the same?

Friday, February 24, 2012

STATE SCHOOL AID BOOSTED 23% FOR SOM SCHOOLS

Looks like South Orange-Maplewood schools will get a 23% increase in state funding, according to figures released this week by the state. 

They come after Gov. Chris Christie announced he would boost school aid in his new budget.

The boost raises the state aid from $3,310,958 this current 2011-2012 school year to $4,075,898 for next school year, 2012-2013.

That is an increase of $764, 940 or about 23%.


TEENS READ TO KIDS TODAY

A great Maplewood Library program:


Date:Today
Time:3:30pm
Information:Teens Read to Kids 
Kids, ages 4-9: hear some stories read by teens. 
Teens, grades 6 and up: read some stories to kids. 
A great opportunity for kids to hear some good stories and for teens to help out in the community. Each teen will read one or two picture books by or about Black Americans. 
Friday, February 24 at Main Library. 
Teens arrive by 3:00. The storytime will begin at 3:30. 
Teens, pre-register in the Teen Zone. 

Thursday, February 23, 2012

GOV. CHRISTIE SHOWS HIS LACK OF CLASS AGAIN

When Chris Christie isn't playing political games with a veto of gay marriage and an income tax cut proposal instead of property taxes, he is showing off his big mouth.


This week he told billionaire Warren Buffett, who advocates higher taxes for himself, to "just shut up."


Christie should take that advice himself.

ANOTHER BUSINESS SHUTS DOWN

Add I.D. Bakery to the list of recent Maplewood businesses biting the dust. 


A swing by the eatery on Springfield Ave., which opened less than a year ago, found it empty and locked up.






This follows the recent closing of KoCafe just down the street and the pending closure of Crane's in Maplewood Village set for this weekend.

SCHOOL BOARD MOVES TOWARD DE-LEVELING

PATCH reports:




After months of listening to school administration explain and answer questions about proposed changes to middle school and high school class levels, the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education finally got down to the business of discussing the proposals at Wednesday night's meeting. The board will take official action on the proposals at its regular March 5 meeting.
A proposal to reduce the number of levels in the middle schools and phase in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme was introduced in December. Then, a proposal torestructure levels at Columbia High School was unveiled in January. Subsequently, three public meetings — for which questions were pre-submitted as well as taken from index cards filled out by audience members — were held in December, January and February. [Read about the meetings herehere and here.]
On Wednesday, the majority of the BOE signaled support for both proposals. Board President Beth Daugherty said that she “personally thinks this is the right time to move forward” with the proposals. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

PAY-AS-YOU-THROW AD "PREMATURE"

Look like the township was a bit too eager to promote the pay-as-you-throw option for Waste Management garbage.


Even though this ad was posted on the Township site this past week, WM tells me it was "premature" and no date set for when it is available.

HEAD INJURY, FROM A ROCK

Scanner indicates medical crews treating a "significant head injury" from a rock...no further details.....looking for witnesses.....

OSBORNE WANTS TO WAIT AND SEE ON CHRISTIE SCHOOL BUDGET PROMSIES

Gov.Chris Christie release a budget Tuesday that claims to offer big improvements in school funding.


The Star-Ledger stated:


Gov. Chris Christie Tuesday threw money behind his promise to support education in New Jersey, proposing in his budget address an increase of $108 million for higher education and a nearly $213 million more for K-12 school districts.
Christie called higher education the "key to advancement" and proposed increasing both the amount the state provides for financial assistance to students and the funding it gives to colleges and universities.
The story also chose to ask our own Superintendent Brian Osborne what he thought of the plan. His views: "We’re waiting now on what the governor’s determination means for our districts."
Considering we get only 8% of our school budget from the state compared to a statewide average of 24%, I hope we do get more.

NICE MOMENT FROM TC MEETING, EXTRA EFFORT

A nice moment at the end of  last night's Township Committee meeting.


If you stuck around for the last public comment, you saw an elderly woman from the Ukraine who spoke, in a thick accent, about her property tax troubles.


Instead of just listening and letting her go when her time limit was up, Mayor Vic De Luca, township officials and the TC offered a kind ear and vowed to help give her appeals the proper review through the tax assessor.


Another example of how they give the extra effort.

TC NOT BACKING DOWN ON SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION MOVE

The Township Committee plans to again take up the issue of moving school board elections to November, despite the school board opposing the move and the South Orange Village Trustees declining to take up the issue.


The TC said last night that it will use part of its Saturday 9 a.m. budget meeting to look at what to do and possibly consider a ballot measure to move the elections. Good for them, keep it up.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

NO SMOKING BAN APPROVED, POOL FEE HIKES ON HOLD

The Township Committee on Tuesday night gave a final unanimous vote to a ban on smoking in public parks, playgrounds and within 25 feet of public buildings.


But the TC delayed approval of new pool fees after a request to change the fees slightly to make them lower for senior citizens and to allow caregivers to be included in family plans for eight or more. 


The changes will be advertised and put forth at the next TC meeting on March 6.

PROPOSED ORDINANCE GIVES FEE CUTS TO VOLUNTEERS

An interesting ordinance being introduced tonight at the Township Committee meeting gives a well-deserved break to some local volunteers.


According to the ordinance, folks who volunteer with the police and fire auxiliary, the community emergency response team or the First Aid Squad for at least a year would get a half-price fee for the Maplewood Pool and a fee cut for pet licenses and building fee permits.


See it and the entire agenda HERE.

BIG LIBRARY DAY

Check out these events at the branches today:


Hilton Create Your Own Greeting Cards

February 21, 2012
2:00 pm
Hilton Branch – Make your own personalized greeting cards with the help of Microsoft Publisher 2007 and your friendly Hilton Branch Librarian.  Free and open to all ages.  Familiarity with Microsoft Office is recommended.  You can bring your cameras and USB cables.

Black History Month Trivia

February 21, 2012
3:00 pmto6:00 pm
Main Library  – Grades 6 & Up
Tuesdays in February
Each week there will be a new question about words or music by Black Americans.  Answer the question correctly and win a prize!

Tuesday Music Films

BHM instruments
February 21, 2012
4:30 pm
Main Library – Join us in the Adult Room at Main Library each Tuesday in February for concert films celebrating some of music’s most illustrious African Americans.
February 7 – Louis Armstrong: Live in ’59
February 14  – The World According to John Coltrane
February 21 – Sarah Vaughn, The Divine One
February 28 – The Intimate Duke Ellington
All at 4:30 p.m.

REMINDER - TC MEETING TONIGHT - POOL FEE HIKE, SMOKING BAN



Come and tell them what you think of the 30% pool fee hike and the smoking ban on public parks.

Not a surprise given the big renovations the pool apparently needs, and new water slides.

See agenda HERE.

STOLEN BIKE FOUND, POT BUST AND OTHER POLICE ACTIVITY

Police released this week's report:


Maplewood Police Department

Press Release

February 20, 2012


February 13, 2012: Recovered Stolen Property. On 2/13/12, officers responded to a Plymouth Avenue home on a report of recovered stolen property. Officers spoke with the owner of a bicycle that had been reported stolen on 11/07/11 who indicated that the bicycle had been returned to him by an anonymous male. The male told the owner that he had purchased the bicycle at a garage sale in Irvington, and had returned the bicycle after seeing notices that the owner had posted throughout the neighborhood.

February 14, 2012: Warrant Arrest. On 2/14/12, Officers J. DeFazio and B. Rodrigues responded to Jacoby Street on a report of individuals believed to be smoking marijuana in the street. Although officers found no evidence of narcotics, officers did recognize a suspected wanted person, Sydir Baptist, 20, of 16 Jacoby Street Maplewood. Officers confirmed the active warrant, placed Baptist in custody, and transported him to police headquarters for processing.

February 15, 2012: Graffiti. On 2/15/12, officers responded to Borden Park on a report of graffiti in the park. Officers observed that a tree had been spray painted with white paint. The Department of Public Works was notified.

February 17, 2012: Burglary. On 2/17/12, officers and detectives responded to a Mosswood Terrace residence on a report of a burglary. A large stone was apparently used to break a rear French door window allowing the suspect(s) to unlock the door.  Upon entry, the actor(s) removed an Apple Mac Pro laptop computer valued at approximately $1500.00.  The Detective Bureau is investigating.

February 20, 2012: Narcotics Arrest. On 2/20/12, Officers J. DeFazio and B. Rodrigues were patrolling in the area of Tuscan Road and Hilton Ave. Officers observed a suspected wanted person, Daniel Exantus, 20, of 65 Franklin Ave. Maplewood. Officers conducted a field interview and subsequently confirmed the active warrants. Officers also discovered that Exantus was in possession of (4) small bags of suspected marijuana. He was transported to police headquarters where he posted bail and was released.

Monday, February 20, 2012

E-MAIL SCAM INVESTIGATED

.....Scanner reports police responding to a home on Oakland Road for an e-mail scam.....


Yes, the cops will investigate if you report these.

TUESDAY TC MEETING INCLUDES FINAL VOTES ON POOL FEE HIKE, SMOKING BAN

Come and tell them what you think of the 30% pool fee hike and the smoking ban on public parks.

Not a surprise given the big renovations the pool apparently needs, and new water slides.

See agenda HERE.

BUS STOPPED, SLEEPING PASSENGER

.....Scanner shows transit bus stopped at Millburn Ave. and Cypress, man sleeping on the bus....

Sunday, February 19, 2012

CHS BOYS BASKETBALL LOSES IN TOURNAMENT

The Cougars had a great season, but fall short in a tough playoff, losing 61-48 to Seton Hall Prep. on Saturday.


NJ.com reports:


Seton Hall received 12 points each from Hofstra-bound guard Dallas Anglin and senior forward Spencer Mosley and junior forward Tom Lacey added 11 second-half points as Seton Hall won for the 13th time in its last 14 games under first-year head coach Kevin Williams.
"Coming into this game, our coaches said we have to play how they play, and play with the intensity that they were going to bring," Anglin said. "This is their Tournament of Champions, and we knew they were going to come hard at us and I'm just happy for the win."
Seton Hall Prep led at the half, 32-26, and went on a 10-3 run, keyed by four points each from Weisz and Mosley, to take a 42-29 lead with 2:47 left in the third quarter en route to a 45-35 lead heading into the fourth. Columbia cut the lead to eight, 47-39, after a Maxim Michel basket with 6:10 left in the fourth quarter, but would come no closer.
Michel led Columbia with 12 points, freshman Michael Runcie added 10 and Robert Gordon chipped in with nine, including six in the first quarter, for Columbia, which dropped only its second game in its last 11.

NEW OPTIONS FOR MAPLEWOODIAN.COM

It has come to my attention that leaving comments has been difficult. I have hopefully improved the comment system so that you can leave your thoughts more easily.


You may need to sign in as anonymous, but please identify yourself within the comment so that we can know who you are.


Also, I recently added a search option on the right column so that you can look up past postings easier.


Please let me know if any other problems arise or concerns come up. All concerns should be sent to joestrupp@yahoo.com.


Thanks, Joe

NEW PROPERTY TAX MAP SHOWS MAPLEWOOD HIGHER THAN AVERAGE

NJ Spotlight posted a great map showing the average property taxes for each municipality. 


Not a surprise Maplewood is above the state average with a $13,118 average per home tax compared to the state average of $7,519.


More from the site on Maplewood below:

Municipality: Maplewood Township

Total Tax Levy: $101,798,317.39
Levy Change: 6.1%
Total Tax Rate: $3.102
Tax Rate Change: -33.4%
Average Home Value: $422,840
Home Value Change: 57.6%
Average Property Tax: $13,118
Property Tax Change: 5.0%
Average Homestead Rebate: $314
Rebate Change: -75.3%
Average Net Property Tax: $12,804
Net Tax Change With Rebate: 14.0%

As we know, most of this is due to the state school funding formula which provides SOMA schools with only 8% of its budget while the state average for such funding is 24%. 


I also credit TC leaders for doing a lot to cut costs and combine services with South Orange, but with no layoffs or furloughs in the past two years.



HYDRANT OUT OF SERVICE ON FIRE CALL, NO OTHER INFO

.....Scanner shows fire department responding near Prospect and Tuscan, where hydrant is out of service.....No other details on incident or impact of hydrant out of service.....

Saturday, February 18, 2012

MAYOR READS TO THE KIDDIES

photo credit PATCH
PATCH has a great piece on local celebs reading to kids at Clinton School, including our own Mayor Vic De Luca.


As I have said in the past, he is everywhere. Nice work!