Saturday, May 31, 2014

CODA DISASTER SIGN OF MEMORIAL

We came across this at the scene of Friday's deadly building collapse in Maplewood Village.

If you have a moment, may want to drop of your own flower memorial. We did.


TUSCAN SPRING FLING TONIGHT




And check out some of the fun auction items donated by Tuscan parents and staff HERE

CODA FATALITY VICTIM NAMED, BUILDING HAD PASSED INSPECTION

Coda Restaurant, which was the scene of a deadly internal collapse that killed one worker and injured another Friday, had undergone and passed a construction inspection just two days earlier, the Star-Ledger reports.

Township officials also released the name of the dead worker as Guo Tai Chen, 51, of Flushing, N.Y. The building remain condemned and investigations are being conducted by police, fire and several state agencies.

DE LUCA NOT TAKING YOUR VOTE FOR GRANTED

Mayor Vic De Luca, who along with Township Committee Member India Larrier is up for re-election in next Tuesday's Democratic primary, is not taking anything for granted even though he has no opposition on the ballot.

De Luca sent out this friendly reminder to voters this week asking for their vote.




More on Primary Day and who is on the ballot HERE

Also up for election in Maplewood is the lone Republican TC candidate, Angel "Bob" Perez.

And, of course, you can write in anyone you want for any seat.



Friday, May 30, 2014

MAPLEWOOD COLLAPSE SCENE WINDS DOWN, BUT PRESS LINGER

Things started winding down in Maplewood Village just after 1 p.m. as emergency vehicles left the scene outside Coda restaurant where one person was killed and another hospitalized Friday morning after an internal collapse.

Police reported four people were inside the structure attempting to work on a new stairwell into the basement when it gave way, trapping two construction workers.

Most of Maplewood Avenue and other side streets, including the entire stretch of Baker from Maplewood Avenue to Valley Street, were shutdown for hours. The building was issued an unsafe for occupancy order.

 


We visited just as things were opening up this afternoon. See below:






MAPLEWOOD VILLAGE BUILDING COLLAPSE UPDATE

Latest word from Maplewood Village is that three construction workers were in the Coda restaurant basement at the time of the internal collapse this morning around 9 a.m.

One person was killed and has yet to be identified, and another was injured and taken to University Hospital. 

The entire block of buildings within the same block between Highland Place and Baker Street has been evacuated and investigators from the Occupational Health and Safety Administration and the Essex County Prosecutor's Office have also responded to join fire and police investigators.


ONE DEAD IN MAPLEWOOD VILLAGE BUILDING COLLAPSE

Several news outlets reporting one person has died in the internal building collapse at Coda restaurant at Maplewood Village.

Others report workers were installing a stairway down to the basement when the collapse occurred.

Area still blocked off and busy with emergency vehicles.


MMS PRINCIPAL ISSUES ALERT ON VILLAGE BUILDING COLLAPSE

From Maplewood Middle School principal Jeffrey Truppo:

Dear Maplewood Middle School Community Member,

The Maplewood Police Department has informed me that there has been an internal floor collapse in one of the restaurants in Maplewood Village.  While our school is not in danger, I have been asked to keep all students and staff in the building because of the volume of emergency vehicles.  I have also been informed that roads leading to our school have been blocked for safety reasons.

As a result of our proximity to Maplewood Village, our students and staff can hear the emergency vehicles and news helicopters.  I have informed our students about the situation, and explained that I will update them about any instructions for dismissal I may receive from the MPD later this afternoon.  As I write this to you students are in classes where they are supposed to be, engaging in their work as they would on any other day.

I know that as a school community we hope that there were no serious injuries to anyone.  I will update you if our school day is impacted in any other fashion.

Sincerely,
Jeff Truppo   

POLICE ISSUE WARNING RELATED TO MAPLEWOOD VILLAGE BUILDING COLLAPSE

From Maplewood Police this morning:

There is heavy police and fire activity in the area of Maplewood Ave and Baker St due to a partial internal floor collapse at a business. Pedestrian and vehicle traffic is asked to avoid this area.

ONE PERSON STILL TRAPPED IN CODA BASEMENT, EVACUATIONS OCCURRING

Police and fire radios reveal one person has been removed from the basement collapse at Coda restaurant in Maplewood Village, but one person is still trapped.

Setting up a staging area and mutual response has come from many other towns, also awaiting special "emergency aparatus" from Newark. Some other buildings being evacuated, apartments above.

Maplewood Middle School is being advised to withhold dismissals of any children.

Avoid Maplewood Village if you can.




BUILDING BASEMENT COLLAPSE SHUTS DOWN MAPLEWOOD VILLAGE ROADWAY


Major emergency response of fire, police and rescue vehicles in Maplewood Village this morning have blocked off most of the street responding to a basement collapse at Coda restaurant on Maplewood Avenue.
At least one injured person has been removed, more details to come...

Embedded image permalink
Photo: WNYW

SOMA 9-YEAR-OLDS SWEEP STATEWIDE TOURNAMENT


The South Orange Maplewood Cougars 9-year-old team completed a sweep of the Mount Olive Memorial Day Tournament by winning 6 of 6 games, including a comeback win in the semi-finals against the Peapack Pirates.  

Down 11-5 in the bottom of the 6th inning, they made a miraculous rally to tie the game and send it to extra innings.  Nicolas Lorenzo cleared the bases with a long triple, and then came home on a throwing error by the Pirates.  

Again, down 2 runs in the bottom of the 8th inning, the Cougars refused to lose and scored 3 runs to win 14-13.  That win sent them to the Championship game where they beat Kinnelon 11-4 to cap their undefeated weekend.  

Congratulations to the boys for their tireless effort, and to all of the coaches and parents who support them.


Photo above: Front row:  Official team mascot Liam Johnson

2nd Row L to R:  Nicolas Lorenzo, Alejandro Lorenzo, Dominic Starzynski, Alex Chibbaro, Jack Kalsched, Jake Gewirtz

3rd Row:  Nick Williams, Brandon Doubek, Matthew Motiwalla, Dylan Sullivan, Zach Johnson, Nico Reyes
4th Row:  JC Lorenzo, Joe Doubek, Head Coach Eddie Starzynski, Rob Chibbaro

MAPLEWOOD LAWYER AMONG THOSE ARRESTED IN DRUG CASE

From NJ.com:

NEWARK — Two corrections officers and a former Essex County prosecutor were charged today with smuggling marijuana and cell phones into a pretrial lockup for federal inmates at the Essex County Jail, Newark federal prosecutors say.

Essex County corrections officers Stephon Solomon, 26, of Irvington and Channel Lespinasse, 25, of Florham Park were charged with smuggling contraband, including cell phones and marijuana, into the Newark facility. Solomon was arrested at his home this morning and Lespinasse was issued a summons to appear in court on June 2.

Also arrested today was attorney Brian Kapalin, 66, of Maplewood, who left the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office in 2003 after nearly 20 years of service. 

More HERE.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

SCHOOLS SUPE OSBORNE LEAVING FOR NEW YORK JOB

At least one report reveals that Superintendent Brian Osborne is leaving S.O.-Maplewood schools for New Rochelle, N.Y.

A Westchester County area website, Talk of the Sound, reports:

NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The New Rochelle Board of Education is expected to announce that they have hired Brian Osborne to be the next Superintendent of Schools for the City School District of New Rochelle. 

 
Osborne is currently the Superintendent of the South Orange-Maplewood School District, a district with approximately 6,600 students and 500 faculty members.

This comes just weeks after School Board President Beth Daugherty told Maplewoodian.com that the district had been in discussions with Osborne for a five-year contract.

But one of the sticking points was likely the new state superintendent's salary cap imposed last year that dropped Osborne's salary from about $225,00 annually to around $175,000. The fact that he is going to a district outside New Jersey is not a surprise.

Osborne had been offered a post in Ann Arbor, Mi., last year but turned it down.

Osborne could not be reached for comment yet Thursday.

STORY DOOR PROJECT ENDS TONIGHT

SOUTH MOUNTAIN DAM PROJECT TO BE DISCUSSED TONIGHT

The proposed dam in South Mountain Reservation to alleviate flooding along the Rahway River will be part of a discussion tonight in Millburn to review alternatives to the plan:

 

The Army Corps of Engineers and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection are currently evaluating several flood risk management alternatives for the Rahway River Basin, and will be sharing preliminary findings to be shared with area residents at a public information sessions to be held tonight in Millburn. 

The public will be able to learn more about the ongoing study and the flood risk management alternatives being evaluated and will have the opportunity to discuss them with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and New Jersey DEP personnel. Each public information session will include two open house poster board and information exchange sessions with a formal informational presentation given between each poster board session each evening.

The meeting agenda is slated to be as follows:

7:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. – Informational Poster Board Session and Information Exchange
7:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. – Formal Informational Presentation
8:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. – Informational Poster Board Session and Information Exchange

 
Millburn  
Millburn Town Hall  
7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.                                  

375 Millburn Ave (2nd Fl.) 
Millburn, NJ 07041

OUR ASSEMBLYMAN'S STUPID IDEA

Assemblyman John McKeon
This could be one of the more ridiculous legislative ideas in New Jersey, a state known for corrupt and useless legislators. And it took our own assemblyman, John McKeon, to do it,

McKeon, who represents Maplewood and other towns in the 27th state legislative district, is proposing a "Half-Valentine's Day." His argument: it's too cold in February, when the real Valentine's Day is celebrated.

As per his proposal, he would seek to designate Aug. 14 as "Half-Valentine's Day." With all of the other problems our state has with property taxes, unpaid Sandy relief and other issues, this is what takes up their time.

TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE MEETING DAY CHANGED

From the Township:

Township Committee meeting moved to Wednesday, June 4, 2014.

Dear All,
As a result of the New Jersey primary election on Tuesday, June 3, 2014, the Maplewood Township Committee meeting was moved to Wednesday, June 4, 2014.
Please be reminded that the Township Committee will meet at the Maplewood Police and Court Building located at 1618 Springfield Avenue in Maplewood NJ (from June through September) starting at 7:30 PM.
For a copy of the agenda, please visit the Agendas & Minutes webpage.
Thank you.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

MAYFEST ENDED, BUT NOT AT TOWN HALL

It's been three days since May Fest ended, but at Town Hall today they still wanted to run up the electric bill by keeping the front lawn message sign going with news that the May Fest is coming up.

Your tax dollars being wasted.

COPS ARREST BURGLARY SUSPECT WITH THE GOODS, AND MORE

From Maplewood Police today:

May 19, 2014; Theft; During the daytime hours a basketball hoop was stolen from in front of a Tuscan St residence.

May 23, 2014; Burglary; At approximately 0945 a suspicious person was reported to be in the backyard of a Fernwood Rd residence. Upon officers arrival, the home was found to have been burglarized. The male was stopped a short distance away and found to have proceeds from the home. The male Lee Simon age 44 of Newark was arrested and charged with the burglary.

 May 24, 2014; Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours two unlocked vehicles, one on Boyden Ave and one on Plymouth Ave were entered and a GPS unit and change were stolen.

END THE HOLIDAY NO GARBAGE PICK-UP RIP-OFF

I haven't ranted about this particular issue in a while, but it seemed appropriate given the Memorial Day weekend.

Yes, for those of us who have garbage pick-up on Monday and Thursday, each Monday or Thursday holiday (think Thanksgiving) is essentially ignored by Waste Management and Waste Industries.

They say you can put out double the garbage on the next regular pick-up day. But that does nothing for the piles of trash that accumulate during the days after the ignored holiday.

And if you have racoons and other varments who dig into your trash, you cannot just leave it in the can. And, of course, there is no reduction in fees for that week.

So, essentially, the garbage collectors can steal your money, making you pay the regular fee when they do not pickup your trash.

Why is this allowed? Can't the garbage collectors just pay people holiday pay to work that day? No, they would rather ignore customers, cheat them and save money.

It would be nice if the Township Committee would do something the next time contracts are up.

MMS ALUM BEATRICE MILLER IS BACK

A year ago former Maplewood Middle School student Beatrice Miller exploded on to the national scene as a top X Factor contestant, placing high up in the national contest and drawing the interest of Simon Cowell.

Fast forward to Spring 2014 and Miller has shortened her name to Bea, released her first four-song EP, and is set to come back to Maplewood for an appearance at Pride Festival on June 8.

Hear her new single below and check out more on her HERE.


 
Also, listen to our last podcast with her from 2013 when she was already planning for bigger and better things.

STORYTIME YOGA TODAY

Storytime Yoga 

Ages 2 ½ - 5 * Online registration required 


Wed 5/28 @ 11am - Main Library 


Join us for this creative approach to yoga! Self-expression and silliness are encouraged as kids imitate animals and nature through storytelling, music, and games. Dawn is a certified kids yoga instructor. 

http://maystorytimeyoga.eventbrite.com

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

FLASH FICTION TODAY AT THE LIBRARY

3:30 p.m.

Main Library – Grades 6 & up 

Flash fiction is very short stories.  

You will get to choose a story, read it aloud and then the group will talk about it.  We usually have time to read a few stories each month. Refreshments will be served.

MAPLEWOOD MIDDLE SCHOOL EVACUATED DUE TO "GAS-LIKE" ODOR

Evacuated MMS students in Memorial Park
Maplewood Middle School was evacuated for more than an hour this morning after a "gas-like" smell was discovered.

Students were moved to Memorial Park and allowed back in when the situation was determined to be resolved. This incident comes less than two months after an after-school evacuation was conducted for a similar incident.

Principal Jeffrey Truppo issued the following email to parents this morning:

Dear Maplewood Middle School Community Member,

Before the start of school today, there was a gas like smell in a section of the building near the construction site.  In the interest of safety, we activated our alarm, and sent staff out of the building to bring students to our designated evacuation site.  

The Maplewood Fire Department and our gas utility company came to inspect both the new construction and our current school building.  After inspection, both the Maplewood Fire Department and our utility company determined that there was no gas leak and it was safe to have students return to the building.

It is important for me to inform you that as a building principal I am proud of the way students and staff handled this emergency.  Because the students were never allowed in the building at the start of the school day, teachers went outside and moved students to our evacuation site as a school.  Once settled, students moved to their first period teachers quickly so we could begin to account for everyone.  

While on the field, students stayed assembled and ready for further directions.  Once given clearance, students and staff walked back to our school so we could start our school day.  I encourage you to commend your children on their demeanor and comportment during this event.   

Sincerely,
Jeff Truppo

SNOW DAY SPRING MAKE UP DREW POOR TEACHER AND STUDENT ATTENDANCE

So it only took a month of requests, but the school district finally released the attendance figures for April 25, 2014, the extra day added into spring break to make up for too many snow days.

As we predicted, it found that nearly one out of four teachers, or 24%, missed school that day and some 42.1% of students, or two out of five, skipped class.

In raw numbers, that means 126 of the 527 teachers did not show up and 2,861 of the district's 6,795 students ignored the extra day. Perhaps the state, which forces the practice by disallowing days to be added at the end of the year if they change graduation day, can look at this and see what a stupid practice it is. 

The school district, which made us file a public records request for the information that it had just handed over in the past, spelled it out in a letter below. The letter that also could have used spell check.




ACHIEVE FOUNDATION CAN EARN YOUR DONATION


Monday, May 26, 2014

MAYFEST SPARKS FUN, COMPLAINTS

Although Sunday's MayFest on Springfield Avenue was a great event with nice weather and fine food and other fun, it has sparked some controversy with complaints that the few rides in the fair were expensive and no tables provided for vendors.

In the past, the event, held by the Springfield Avenue Partnership, was run by local volunteers. But this year they turned it over to an outside company, StreetFairs.org.

That company did good organizing, but did not provide tables for vendors and charged $5 per ride. In the past, you may recall, participants paid a one-time charge for a wristband that covered unlimited rides.

Hopefully things can be tweaked before next year.



MEMORIAL DAY PARADE, DUCK RACE TODAY


 

One of the best holidays in Maplewood has the Memorial Day parade and memorial service at Town Hall, followed by the annual Duck Race in Memorial Park:

See the details below:

Memorial Day Parade Monday


When:
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Location:
Starting at Parker - Maplewood Avenue - Baker Street - Valley Road

Rubber Duck Race

When:
11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Location:
Memorial Park

Sunday, May 25, 2014

MAYFEST IS TODAY

We will be there. Look for our table. Enter our raffle

JUST TWO OPEN HOUSES TODAY

You can check them out, then head to May Fest.

See the list HERE.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

DIAPER DRIVE


MAPLEWOOD POOL OPENS TODAY

Maplewood Pool opens today. Be there to cool off, slide the slides or see the new renovated bathrooms

More info below:

Pool Hours:
The Maplewood Community Pool will open this year May 24th, 2014.  Here is the schedule of hours:
              
May 24th- June 15th: open on Weekends from 12:00pm-6:00pm (Saturdays and Sundays)
June 16th- June 27th:
weekdays from 3:00pm-8:00pm, and weekends from 10:00am-8:00pm

June 30th- September 1st:
weekdays from 12pm-8:00pm, and weekends from 10:00am-8:00pm


Photo ID's:
Photo ID's are required for all members. If you were a member last year, your ID will be re-activated upon payment for 2014. You can get your photo ID's from the Recreation Department at 574 Valley Street. If you are unable to come to the department, you can email us your photo. We will load it onto a card and send your card in the mail. The email address you can send your photos to is recinfo@twp.maplewood.nj.us. If you have any questions about your Photo ID card for the pool, please call (973) 763-4202.

Replacement Cards: If you were a member last year and you have lost or misplaced your ID card, you can obtain a new one at the Recreation Department for a fee of $5.

Guest Passes:
Passes are purchased at the Maplewood Community pool during normal pool hours or at the Recreation Department between the hours of 9am and 4:30pm, Monday- Friday.


Waterslide Rules:
              * You must be 48" tall or able to swim one pool length unassisted
           * No tubes, mats or lifejackets permitted in flume of body slide
           * Only one rider at a  time. NO doubles or chairs.
           * No diving or jumping from waterslide.
           * Follow the instructions of the waterslide attendant.
           * Enter waterslide in sitting position.
           * Ride waterslide feet first either sitting or lying down on back.
           * Keep both hands & feet inside the waterslide flume at all times.
           * Exit plunge pool area immediately.

           To view a photo of the slides, please click the following link: Slides


Concession Menu:
Freemen's Fish Company will be doing the concession stand at the pool this season for a look at their menu go to Concession Menu.
P

Friday, May 23, 2014

TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE "HAPPY" NESS

Here's to a happy holiday weekend:


TEACHERS UNION SERVING UP GOODWILL, AND FREE EATS

With teacher contract talks still, well, in talks, some members of the South-Orange Maplewood Education Association sought some goodwill at last night's Maplewood Middle School chorus concert and fifth grade open house.

They offered up free pretzels and water for parents and kids.




Hopefully the union and the district can offer up a new contract before the current agreement ends next month.

POLICE ISSUE TRAFFIC ADVISORY FOR FUNERAL CROWD

Today's funeral for former Port Authority Chief Ernesto Butcher, who died last week, is expected to draw so much interest that police have issued a traffic advisory:


Advisory: Traffic Advisory for Friday 5/23

,
On Friday May 23rd, at 10 AM, there will be a Memorial Service taking place at St George's Church (Ridgewood Rd/Woodland Rd). A large attendance is expected which has the potential to cause traffic and parking issues in the immediate are. Police Officers will be assigned to this area to help prevent or minimize any issues. 

It is recommended that you avoid the immediate area or plan an alternate route.

Thank you

Thursday, May 22, 2014

BURGLARY, AUTO THEFT MARK POLICE WEEK

From Maplewood Police today:




May 17, 2014; Burglary; During the late afternoon hours there was a burglary and an attempted burglary on Indiana St.  Jewelry was reported missing from the home that was burglarized. 
 
May 19, 2014; Theft of Motor Vehicle; During the previous three days a Dodge Caravan was stolen from the parking lot of 50 Burnet Ave.  It was later recovered in Newark.