Saturday, March 31, 2012

EGG HUNT ON SUNDAY

Rain rained out the annual Easter egg hunt on Saturday, so be there at 1 p.m. Sunday at Memorial Park and go to it.


MEMORIAL SUNDAY FOR CHS TEACHER


 
“A Celebration of Life”
For
 
Mr. Mark McCombs
 
Sunday, April 1, 2012
 
Orange United Methodist Church
281 Park Avenue
(Corner of Park Avenue & N. Day Street)
Orange, NJ
 
Viewing 1:00-3:00PM
Service 3:00PM
 
Condolences can be sent to The McCombs Family at the following address: 1344 Denmark Road Plainfield, NJ 07062

Friday, March 30, 2012

MAPLEWOOD VILLAGE BULLETIN BOARD: A SYMBOL OF TOWNSHIP IMPACT

It is a bit strange that so many of us made a big deal about the Maplewood Village Alliance tearing down the main bulletin board in Maplewood Village and replacing it with a glass enclosed, locked new one that only posts items approved by the Alliance.


But it also goes to the heart of what makes some communities, well, communities. When the people can choose what to put up in the town square, as it were, and then are barred from it by one group, apparently with little notice or decision-making from the masses, that community feel is lost.


Yes, when issues such as taxes, education, a recent tragic pair of crimes and day-to-day needs are more important, why is this of note? 


Well, it is a clear example of what makes Maplewood great. We are a small town in many good respects and one of them is that people can have their voices heard and that our main business district is still a homey, small town place. I often brag to people that the Village has no chain stores. Even if you count Kings, it is very much a small town store. We have no Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, Gap, Trader Joes or Jamba Juice there.


It is very much a walking retail district and with a train station that is centrally located, welcoming.


When these kinds of additions are made and done without community input, the impact is bigger because of the symbolism more than the actual effect.


Hopefully the new bulletin board will be changed so that it can revert to one that is open to the public and available to all who have needed it for years, not just the Alliance.


After initially defending the new bulletin board, Mayor Vic De Luca has yet to respond to my request for his reaction to the uproar that has sparked on MOL. The Alliance also has not responded to an inquiry e-mail.

MAPLEWOOD LEAFLET IS ONLINE - WITH LOTS OF NEW STUFF

The Township's great semi-annual newsletter is online with lots of new info.


First, it notes we will celebrate our 90th birthday this year with lots of events. Also, the new no smoking ban is included and word that recycling will be increased slightly, with pick-up every other Monday, meaning two more times per year.


Also, it has rake-out, bulk pick-up and other service schedules.


See it HERE.

BIG DEVELOPMENTS IN DOUBLE MURDER CASE

The Star-Ledger published a major in-depth article today on the double murder at Northview Terrace.


The Page One story reveals, among other things:


- Dwayne Fourney, 26, was actually adopted by the father that he allegedly killed along with his adopted grandmother.


- Fourney reportedly confessed to the killings.


- Fourney reportedly made extra efforts to clean up the crime scene and during a party in the home actually played drinking game a few feet from one f the bodies


Investigators have yet to reveal a motive in the slayings, but the way Dwayne committed the murders and set the stage for the party were made clearer by the affadavit and interviews with two officials with knowledge of the investigation, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Dwayne Flourney first stabbed Sandra and placed her remains in the trunk of her Nissan Maxima, according to the affidavit. He cleaned the knife, waited for Brian Flourney to return home, then killed him with the same weapon, the document said. Dwayne dragged Brian’s body to a sun porch in the back of the house, covering it with pillows and blankets before placing a plastic bag over the victim’s head, according to the affidavit.
In the hours after the killings, authorities allege Dwayne invited friends over for drinks, and turned the crime scene into a party space. He pushed a table in front of the door to the sun porch, intending to keep his guests from discovering Brian’s body, the officials said.
A beer pong table was setup in the living room, according to the officials and 20 empty beer cans were discovered scattered throughout.
But details about motive and the man behind the killings remain unclear. Dwayne graduated from Columbia High School in Maplewood, took classes at Essex County College and enlisted in the U.S. Navy. According to military officials, he served as an airman recruit on March, 9, 2006 and was discharged two weeks later. Officials refused to provide a reason.
The story comes a day after Fourney pleaded not guilty to both murders. He is being held on $1 million bail.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

DOUBLE MURDER SUSPECT PLEADS NOT GUILTY

Dwayne Flourney, the Northview Terrace man accused of killing his father and grandmother earlier this month, pleaded not guilty today to all charges.


The Star-Ledger reports the 26-year-old entered the plea in Essex County Superior Court and remains held on $1 million bail:



The 5-foot-5, 155-pound Flourney appeared in court this morning wearing a green Hudson County Jail uniform, and with short-cropped hair and a beard. His court-appointed attorney, Olubukola Adetula, addressed the judge, saying his client was pleading “not guilty to each and every single count.”
Flourney was returned to jail with bail remaining at $1 million.
Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn Murray attended the two-minute appearance. The prosecutor’s office has not offered a possible motive for the killing. Flourney has been arrested twice previously, but has no record of violence.
Outside the courtroom, Adetula indicated more information may be forthcoming that may shed light on the case.
“There is more to this than has been previously reported,” he said, without explaining further. “I think that as the case progresses more facts and information will be begin to come out.”



AUTO BREAK-IN?

....Scanner has police responding to report of a car broken into on Gerard Place, but nothing taken?

SOUTH MOUNTAIN RESERVATION ANNUAL MEETING TODAY



SCHOOL BUDGET APPROVED AT 2% TAX HIKE

Board of School Estimate chair Vic De Luca
The Board of School Estimate held firm Wednesday night, approving a school district budget with a 2% tax hike.


PATCH reports:



The Board of School Estimate approved a tax levy for the 2012-2013 school year at a 2% "all in" increase over the 2011-2012 tax levy on Wednesday night, March 28.
$3,324,625 will be raised to pay for debt service for the district; while $101,959,453 will be raised to pay the general fund. The total amount to be raised is $105,284,078.
Because the towns of Maplewood and South Orange are on calendar years fiscally, the amount to be raised for 2012 is somewhat different for the yearly budget compared to the school year calendar. A total of $104,251,375 will be raised in 2012 across the two towns. Maplewood is responsible for $59,803,069; South Orange for $44,448,306.
In Maplewood, the owner of a home at the average assessed value of $422,800 will be paying $7,739 in taxes to the school district in 2012. In South Orange, the owner of a home at the average assessed value of $460,274 will pay $9,098 in taxes to the district in 2012.

Superintendent Brian Osborne showed his approval with this tweet:

SOMSD'S 2012-13 budget passed unanimously by BSE at 2% tax impact. No program cuts or increases to class size. More support for instruction.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

CHS MOURNS PASSING OF P.E. TEACHER

The school district posted this statement on the passing of Mark McCombs, the teacher who died suddenly Tuesday.



SOMSD Mourns the Loss of Mark McCombs

CHS Mourns Mr. McCombsWednesday morning at Columbia High School began with Dr. Lovie Lilly informing students of the loss of Mr. Mark McCombs, a beloved Health and Physical Education teacher. Dr. Lilly shared that: “Throughout his tenure at the school, Mr. McCombs touched the lives of many, many students, faculty and staff.The results of Mr. McCombs outstanding teaching and his insistence on high expectations for all students will live on forever.”
 
Key staff members spent time with each of Mr. McCombs classes today to support his students. A Grief Speaks counselor worked with Physical Education staff, administrators, and students throughout the day. Staff counselors are also available to support students and staff as they process this terrible loss.
 
Mr. McCombs served as a well-respected teacher at Columbia High School since 1999, and also as a former Head Coach of the CHS football team. Friday, March 23, 2012, was Mr. McCombs’ final day teaching at CHS.Mr. McCombs passed away unexpectedly while in the hospital on Tuesday, March 27th.
 
Judy LoBianco, the Supervisor of Physical Education, Nursing Services and Health, said “Mr. McCombs was one of the most caring and compassionate teachers I have ever had the privilege of knowing.”



The district also posted a video of Principal Dr. Lovie Lilly addressing the student this morning.

BOARD OF SCHOOL ESTIMATE MEETS TONIGHT

The Board of School Estimate, which is formed with members of the Maplewood Township Committee, the Board of Education and the South Orange Village Trustees, meets tonight to approve -- or disapprove -- the annual school district budget.


No, you do not get to vote on the budget, they do. But you do get to show up at the 7:30 p.m. meeting and tell them what you think.


PATCH details the inside dope:

As the South Orange-Maplewood School District looks to raise more than $100 million in taxes to support the 2012-2013 school budget approved by the Board of Education earlier this month, it is uncertain whether or not the Board of School Estimate will vote to approve the tax levy this evening.

The South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education approved a 2012-2013 school budget of $114.9 million on March 12. The Board of School Estimate will vote on the proposed $101,959,453 tax levy to support the budget at a public meeting on March 28.

Members of the BSE — which has the power to vote the levy up or down — indicated that the votes may not be there at a meeting on March 14 because, although the Board of Education approved a budget within the 2% cap mandated by state law, the district's debt service will increase more than 2%. The district considered its debt service outside of the budget cap, as per the law.

CHRISTIE DOES NOT KNOW SPRINGSTEEN

You have to wonder how little Gov. Chris Christie knows about Bruce Springsteen when he asks him to play at a new casino. Bruce's views are likely far different from the Gov's and he is about the last person to play at a casino.


Star-Ledger reports Christie said:

 "I think Labor Day weekend at Revel with Bruce Springsteen would be an incredible show of support by Bruce for his home state,’’ Christie said this morning at a press conference at the casino. "And to come down here on Labor Day weekend and to perform at Revel would be a real sign of support for those working men and women who’ve been put back to work.’’



OSBORNE ON JURY DUTY

If you wondered where the Superintendent was Tuesday...


At jury duty today, reminded once again teachers have most important & most challening jobs. Judge & lawyers answerd one questn at a time!

POST OFFICE MEETING REPORT

The Township has posted on its website a report of the Main Post Office redevelopment meeting that was held Feb. 29.


Among other things, it states:



Concerns 
• Timing and staging of construction important – must limit impacts on local 
businesses and others 
• Need to consider impact of additional residents in area given nearby 125 
Dunnell Road redevelopment project 
• Opposed to Kings moving into this location vs. worries about impacts if Kings 
leaves Maplewood Village 
• Also concern about reuse of existing Kings building if store moves 
• Traffic patterns in Maplewood Village already an issue 
• For example, Baker Street/Maplewood Avenue intersection needs to be fixed 
• Worries about where residents will park if not enough spaces provided – will 
impact parking for others in Village 
• Concerned about impacts of apartments 


Considerations 


There are various factors that need to be considered in the planning for the study 
area. Given its prime location within Maplewood Village adjacent to the train station, 
the study area presents a rare opportunity for the Township. This site is larger than 
many other downtown properties, but is constrained in terms of allowing multiple 
uses while accommodating parking and loading. There is a change in elevation from 
one portion of the study area to another, which could be a constraint but could also 
be an opportunity for creative development. Another challenge is the limited market 
for new retail space given Maplewood Village’s lack of vehicular access and visibility.


Read the entire report HERE.

CHRISTIE CAN'T TAKE REALITY

Our governor loves to blast anything that upsets his views - especially facts.


When the state Office of Legislative Services undercut Christie's rosy outlook for revenue to the tune of $537 million, Big Chris had to use his obnoxious mouth once again, calling the office a tool for Dems.


See HERE.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

CHS P.E. TEACHER DIES SUDDENLY

News via Twitter of a terrible loss...



SOMSD mourns the sudden passing of CHS PE teacher Mark McCombs. condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, students. He will be missed.


PATCH also reports.....

At 5:25, Dr. Lovie Lilly, Columbia High School principal, sent this email to families of high school students:
Mark McCombs, a Health and Physical Education teacher at Columbia High School, passed away suddenly today.  The district will be issuing a formal statement shortly. In the meantime, we offer our sincerest condolences to Mr. McCombs’ family, friends, colleagues and students.  Mr. McCombs was an extraordinary man and he will be sorely missed.

COLUMBIA HIGH SCHOOL - FACT, FEARS OR FOLKLORE

BULLETIN BOARD UPROAR GROWS, REBELLION STIRRED

Maplewood Village Alliance, under attack for replacing the open Maplewood Village bulletin board with a glass enclosed locked version that requires all notices go through the Alliance, changed the notices Monday and replaced them with Maplewood Village Alliance promotional fliers and still no public notices or residential alerts.

The Alliance also boasted about the new bulletin board on its website with a posting that noted the new board but ignored the opposition that appears to be mounting on MOL and elsewhere. It stated:


This Spring In Maplewood Village

We are looking forward to putting our new Village Information Board to use. Watch the new space for a Village business directory, coming soon, and Village news and events. Thank you Brinton Brosius for your generous donation of time and talent!
In addition, we are looking forward to our upcoming springtime events including the first Maplewood Art Walk on Saturday, May 5th, noon to 5pm and our 5th annualGirls Night Out on Thursday night, June 7, 6 to 9pm. Watch our new Village Information board, and this website, for details on both events.

Apparently the new board, used for years by many residents and local business, is now under the control of the Alliance, a non-profit that also receives partial funding from the township.

At least one person has taken the rebelious approach, posting a notice on the BB urging people to tape outside notices on the glass. Found on MOL, this photo was taken this morning.

JOE D BRINGS WASTING TIME TO A HIGH ART FORM

Essex County Executive Joseph De Vincenzo seems to have a lot of free time to drive around.


He posted on his Facebook page a two-minute video of someone, presumably him, driving around what appears to be Branch Brook Park in Newark to show off its Cherry Blossoms. He then tweeted about it on Twitter.


No narrative and apparently no point at all. 


Hey, Joe, why not a video of you cutting our taxes and spending and reducing corruption?


PRO BIKE SIGNS, AT WHAT COST?

We wondered what was up with these new bike route signs.


A request for info from Township Administrator Joe Manning produced this e-mail:


The Township purchased 50 signs for $1167.00. They will be placed along the bikeway network which is in the bike network plan. There are signs currently on Oakview, Crescent, Woodland, Maplewood Ave., Cottage Pl. and Ridgewood Road. 



Thanks Mr. Manning







Monday, March 26, 2012

BURGLARIES, THEFT TOP POLICE BLOTTER

Maplewood Police issued the following report Monday night.....




March 19, 2012: Theft from Vehicle. On 3/19/12, a Ball Terrace resident reported that unknown suspect(s) had stolen a Tom Tom GPS unit valued at $200 from her vehicle between 7:30 pm on March 17th and 7:39 am on March 19th.

March 20, 2012: Burglary. On 3/20/12, at approximately 11:00 am officers responded to a Melman Terrace residence on a report of alarm activation. Officers checking the exterior of the residence noticed a broken basement window. The homeowner was contacted, and subsequently confirmed that the home had been burglarized and that a jewelry box previously located on the second floor of the home was missing.

March 20, 2012: Burglary. On 3/20/12, officers responded to a Valley Street residence on a report of a burglary. The homeowner indicated that between 9:00 am and 4:00 pm, unknown suspect(s) apparently entered the residence through an unlocked rear door and removed several pairs of Louis Vitton shoes, a Louis Vitton handbag, a Tiffany bracelet, and a Hewlett Packard Laptop.

March 21, 2012: Weapons Offense (Arrest Made). On 3/21/12, officers responded to Lee Court on a report of a female in possession of a pipe. Upon arrival, officers determined that a verbal argument had occurred between family members, and during the dispute, a female had begun waving a tire iron. Subsequent to a field investigation, a tire iron was recovered, and Natasha Edmondson, 29, of 17 Chestnut Street, East Orange was arrested and charged with weapons offenses and improper behavior.

March 21, 2012: Warrant Arrest. On 3/21/12, Officer J. Lareau observed two persons acting suspiciously in the area of Springfield Avenue. Subsequent to a field investigation, Officer Lareau determined that Patricia DeSantis, 43, of 1555 Springfield Avenue Maplewood was found to have an outstanding criminal warrant out of South Orange. She was arrested and turned over to South Orange PD.

EGG HUNT SET FOR SATURDAY






Special Events
28th Annual Spring Egg Hunt    Where:   Memorial Park, Valley Street, 
    Maplewood (across from Town Hall)
    When:   Saturday March 31, 2012 
    (raindate Sunday April 1, 2012) 1:00 PM
   
    Don't forget our Jelly Bean Contest guess how 
    many.... win the jar.
    For children up to 8 years of age.
    Please bring your own basket or
    bag for each child
    Light refreshment will be served
    For more info, call Michelle at 973-763-0750

SCHOOL BOARD CAMPAIGNS ARE OFF AND RUNNING, AND SO ARE UGLY CAMPAIGN SIGNS

Looks like the school board race is on and we have seen the election signs to prove it.


In an effort to be fair, I am offering signs from both major slates running and asking again what good these cluttering images do?







If anyone chooses who to vote for based on signs they see, I wonder how informed their vote is. The election is April 17.


I urge you to, instead, read the great pieces on PATCH written by each candidate explaining why they are running.


As for the signs, I know the Supreme Court rules that they are free speech, but I would ask candidates, as some have done in the past, to agree not to use them and clutter up our beautiful town.

NEW LOCKED BULLETIN BOARD DRAWS FIRE


The new closed-off glass bulletin board in Maplewood Village, which disallows free posting and requires all items to go through the Maplewood Village Alliance, has drawn a flurry of positive and negative reaction at MOL. See more HERE.


We first wrote about it last week when Mayor De Luca compared it to the new kiosks on Springfield Ave., which the Springfield Avenue Partnership controls. 


As of this morning, the Maplewood Village  bulletin board was limited to three notices for Restaurant Week, which the Village Alliance sponsors and which ended Sunday.



Sunday, March 25, 2012

MOUSE IN THE MIDDLE SCHOOL HOUSE?

A surprise was found in the Maplewood Middle School cafeteria Saturday as Tuscan School students were coming and going from the nearby stage for the Tuscan Show - a mouse.


Several witnesses said they cornered the rodent and he appeared to offer no danger as he was forced out. But hopefully not a sign of a middle school infestation.


LIBRARY ASBESTOS

If you were wondering why the main library was closed with little notice on Friday afternoon and Saturday, it appears asbestos removal. Didn't most asbestos get removed decades ago from public buildings?




To be fair, some asbestos is so deeply placed inside walls and ceilings that it is often safer to leave it and it is okay to wait. But unsure in this case.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

SUNDAY OPEN HOUSES

From our favorite Realtor Mark Slade.



OPEN HOUSES FOR SUNDAY March 25, 2012 
                  


No: Status Address      List Price Style      
1 1-4 164 JACOBY ST* $300,000 Colonial
2 1-4 15 FERNWOOD ROAD $349,000 Cape Cod
3 1-4 716-720 VALLEY ST* $399,900 Cape Cod
4 1-4 2 ESSEX RD* $450,000 Cape Cod
5 2-4 24 HIGHLAND PL* $450,000 Victorian
6 1-4 28 MADISON AVE* $475,000 Colonial
7 2-4 112 Oakland Rd* $485,000 Colonial
8 1-4 457 RICHMOND AVENUE $510,000 Colonial
9 1-4 338 ELMWOOD AVE* $529,000 Colonial
10 1-5 73 OAKLAND RD* $585,000 Colonial
11 1-4 34 KENDAL AVE $599,000 Colonial
12 1-5 10 WASHINGTON PARK* $599,000 Colonial
13 1-4 9 Oakland Rd* $624,727 Colonial
14 1-4 41 ROOSEVELT RD* $774,000 Colonial
15 1-4 50 CURTIS PL* $819,000 Colonial












ST. JOE'S CHURCH YOUTH MINISTRY DAY



St. Joseph Youth Encounter Day
Date:March 24th, 2012
Time:10:00am
Information:A day of gathering for teens where they can share faith, witness to the power of Christ's love, and come to appreciate a whole new way of living their religious values.

Address:767 Prospect St.
Town:Maplewood
Phone:973-761-5933

LAST DAYS OF RESTAURANT WEEK

Check it out if you haven't. And if you have, check again...



Friday, March 23, 2012

POWER INTERRUPTION...AGAIN

UPDATE: Now two quick power interruptions this afternoon and police scanner reports stoplight out at Tuscan and Prospect.


For the second time this week, a quick power interruption appears to have hit at least parts of town. With temps still in the 70s, you cannot blame high power useage.


What's up?