Wednesday, August 31, 2016

TOWNSHIP ANNOUNCES PARADE/CELEBRATION FOR OLYMPIAN IBTIHAJ MUHAMMAD

From the Township today:


MORE VALLEY STREET CLOSURE, AND ORCHARD ROAD

From Maplewood Police:

Valley St. will be under construction today from Tuscan Rd. to Millburn Ave. Expect delays and plan an alternate route. See Twp. website for further info. 

Orchard Rd will be closed from Woodside Rd to Elmwood Rrd due to construction.

MAPLEWOOD GIRL IS MISS NEW JERSEY PRE-TEEN

Meet Maplewood's own Nyla Edwards, who is also Miss New Jersey Pre-Teen.

And she wants your help.

The Our Lady of Sorrows incoming eighth grader is trying to raise $1,500 so she can travel to the national pageant in November in California.

See how to help here HERE and more about the pageants HERE.

Good luck Nyla!

SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFICIALLY LOOKING FOR A NEW CHS BASEBALL COACH

We reported on Monday that troubled Columbia High School baseball coach Joe Fischetti would not be back in 2017, citing sources within the district and a letter from the CHS Baseball Boosters to parents seeking support for the coach.

Now it appears to be official as the district on Tuesday posted a job listing for the position. It states candidates should submit their applications by Sept. 13.

See the posting HERE.

Fischetti's troubles date back more than two years with several claims of harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) leveled against him by former players. 

Six months ago, a former player filed a lengthy lawsuit accusing Fischetti and some of his staff of bullying. 

Several other parents have also filed complaints, several of which were found to be valid by the district's own investigation.

Since then, the school district has racked up more than $20,000 in legal bills, with more on the way; paid an outside investigator $5,000 to re-investigate the coach -- and has yet to release those findings; and still has not indicated publicly how it plans to handle the team's future.

Ramos was expected to update residents at the last school board meeting last week, but did not. And no official word of the coach's future has been announced

Fischetti, who was appointed to coach the team again last spring in a split, 6-3, school board vote, was also allowed to coach them this past summer in the High School Development League.

POST OFFICE SEWER LINE CONSTRUCTION CONTINUES TODAY, PARKING AFFECTED

From the Township: 

On or about 08/31/16, Pipeline Construction will resume in Municipal Lots 2 (Village Coffee) and 7 (between post office site and Baker Street) in the area of Maplewood Ave. This construction will take approximately one week to be complete. Please plan alternate routes and parking in the area. Further updates to follow.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

MAPLEWOOD MAN GUNNED DOWN IN JERSEY CITY

kyell jeter.jpg
From NJ.com:

JERSEY CITY -- Officials have identified the man fatally shot on Woodlawn Avenue in Jersey City last night as a 30-year-old Maplewood resident.

Police responded to Woodlawn between Ocean and Garfield avenues at about 10:20 p.m. and found Kyell C. Jeter with multiple gunshot wounds to his upper body, Hudson County Prosecutor Esther Suarez said.

Jeter, who was unresponsive, was taken to Jersey City Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at about 10:45 p.m., HCPO spokesman Raymond Worrall said.
No arrests have yet been made.

"There was like six gunshots and I saw the boy lying in the street," said a resident whose front porch is about 40 feet from where Jeter was found. "I hollered, 'Oh my God, he's shot!' He wasn't moving. It looked like he was shot in the head."

The woman, who chose not to give her name this morning, said she has lived in her home 32 years and described the block as quiet. As she spoke, another resident walked by and said, "I'm moving. I got to get out of here."

The woman replied, "Honey, you can't run away from this, it's everywhere." 

Read the rest HERE.


OVERNIGHT STRING OF THEFTS PROMPTS POLICE WARNING TO LOCK DOORS

From Maplewood Police today:

DURING THE OVERNIGHT HOURS ON 8/30/16 THE MAPLEWOOD POLICE DEPARTMENT RECEIVED A NUMBER OF REPORTS FROM RESIDENTS ON KENDAL AVE REGARDING THEFTS FROM UNSECURED MOTOR VEHICLES. 

WE ALSO RECEIVED A REPORT OF A BURGLARY TO A HOME. RESIDENTS ARE REMINDED TO LOCK YOUR DOORS TO YOUR HOME AND ALSO YOUR CARS. 

IN OUR HOME BURGLARY THE BACK DOOR TO THE HOME WAS UNLOCKED AND ALL MOTOR VEHICLES WERE LEFT UNSECURED. 

WHILE MPD IS WORKING ACTIVELY TO IDENTIFY SUSPECTS, WE RELY ON THE PUBLIC'S HELP IN KEEPING PERSONAL PROPERTY SECURE. WE URGE RESIDENTS TO CALL AND REPORT ANY SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY.

HILTON NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION ANNOUNCES TC AND SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE FORUMS

From the Hilton Neighborhood Association today:

The Hilton Neighborhood Association will 
sponsor a Maplewood Township Committee 
Candidates Forum on Thursday, September 
22, 2016 at 7:30 PM in DeHart Community
Center, 120 Burnett Avenue, Maplewood. 

Frank McGehee (Democrat) and Michael 
Summersgill (Republican) are the two 
candidates vying for the seat vacated by Marlon Brownlee.

Each  candidate will present an opening statement, respond to 
prepared questions, participate in a question and answer session
and then provide a closing statement. 

This meeting is free and open to the public. You do not have to 
be an HNA member to attend. Everyone is welcome. Since no 
incumbent is running, the two candidates may be new to many 
residents. Join us on the 22nd as we become more informed about
their opinions on important issues. 

An HNA Board of Education Candidates Forum will be held on 
Thursday, October 20th at 7:30 PM. 
Five candidates are running for three open seats. 
So please mark your calendar.

BALL PLACE AND VALLEY STREET CLOSURES TODAY

From Maplewood Police:

Valley Street will be closed from Tuscan Rd To Milburn Ave. Expect Delays.

Ball Place will be closed between Parker Ave and Ball Terr. Expect Delays

POLICE INVESTIGATING POTENTIAL OFFICER MISCONDUCT AFTER JULY 5 FIREWORKS

Police are investigating whether officers engaged in any police misconduct that might have occurred after the July 5th fireworks, which included the arrests of several juveniles.

Police Chief Robert Cimino issued this notice on Monday:

The Maplewood Police Department considers all allegations of police misconduct to be extremely important and investigates all such allegations in accordance with the NJ Attorney Generals Internal Affairs Guidelines. On July 5th, Maplewood Police officers responded to various reports of disorderly conduct, fighting, the failure of large crowds to disperse and various other violations of the law. Several arrests were made on that date. The Internal Affairs Unit of the Maplewood Police Department is currently conducting an investigation into allegations regarding police activities on the date of July 5, 2016. Upon the conclusion of the the investigation the results of the investigation will be disseminated according to the NJ Attorney Generals Internal Affairs Guidelines.
 

FORMER MMS PRINCIPAL NOW WORKING AT NON-PROFIT EDUCATION ORGANIZATION

Former Maplewood Middle School principal Jerrill Adams is now working at a non-profit organization that provides support and consulting to schools.

Adams is now a director of school support at Achievement Network, a job he took in July, according to Teimosa Martin, regional vice-president for the organization that describes itself as:

An education nonprofit that helps schools boost student learning with great teaching that’s grounded in standards, informed by data, and built on the successful practices of educators around the country.

Martin said Adams joined Achievement Network in July, shortly after his surprise resignation on June 30. 

In an email to Maplewoodian.com, Adams said he was offered the job while he was still at MMS. It also stated, in part:

I don't have much to add about my reason for leaving other 
than stating that a new opportunity became available 
and supported my goal of furthering my career towards a 
central office/ leadership development position. An employment 
offer was made prior to leaving MMS. I attended an ANet 
professional development  along with two MMS math teacher 
leaders at the recommendation of our district leadership in 
the fall and winter, where I learned so much (about the common 
core and analyzing standards based tasks) as a school leader 
that I left inspired!

Adams held the MMS principal post for less than two years. The school board approved the hiring of his replacement, Dara Gronau, last week.

LIBRARY TECH EVENTS TODAY

Create Space – Maplewood Library’s Makerspace is Open!

5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Hilton Branch – Every Tuesday 5:00-8:00 pm and Thursday 5:00-8:00 pm. Patrons can use Rhino 3D software to build a model, print an object on our 3D printer or use our new color printer or laminator.  There are also Snap Circuits, Squishy Circuits, littleBits and SparkFun kits for the kids. Raspberry Pi single board computers are also available to learn more about computer science.  More information about the Create Space…

 

Digital Device Clinic

5:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Get free one-on-one support for using your e-reader, tablet, smartphone, or other electronic device.  The clinics will take place during the Create Space drop-in hours. Open to adults, teens and children.

Monday, August 29, 2016

FARMER'S MARKET IS ON TODAY

Check out the fresh goodies today from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Indiana Street and Springfield Avenue.


YOU MAY JUST WANT TO AVOID VALLEY STREET TODAY

From Maplewood Police:

Valley St is Closed between Milliburn Ave & Tuscan Rd. Expect traffic delays in the area of Springfield Ave & Prospect St due to traffic detour.

Valley Street is closed from Parker Avenue to Crowell Pl and between Tuscan Street and Millburn Avenue. Please prepare for traffic delays.

POST OFFICE PROJECT SEWER LINE TO COST TOWNSHIP UP TO $93,000, DEVELOPER $0

We told you weeks ago the Township was paying more than $33,000 for access to land for a newer sewer line for the post office project.

Now it appears taxpayers will pay up to an additional $60,000 to construct the sewer itself.

The Township earlier agreed to pay owners of a Maplewood Village parking lot more than $33,000 for leasing and sewer easements so that the new sewer line needed for the former post office project can be installed.

Owners of the six buildings from 168 to 174 Maplewood Avenue, who also own the parking lot space behind their buildings, agreed to allow the sewer easements for $5,000 each. Those are the shops from Village Coffee to Arturo's.

In a related move, each owner -- as well as a seventh whose land does not affect the sewer -- agreed to extend their leasing of the parking lot space to the Township through June 2017 at a cost of $500 per property or $3,500 total.

Previously, the Township had leased the parking lot from the owners at an annual cost of $11,829 paid via a tax abatement. 

The sewer easement is needed to run a new sewer line behind the shops from the post office site to Baker Street for the new post office project being built by JMF Properties. That's because Township engineers determined that the three-story post office project, which will include 20 apartments and five retail shops, would overwhelm the current Maplewood Avenue sewer line.

But now that the sewer construction is underway, and causing parking and traffic disruptions, a look at the agreement with Developer JMF reveals that JMF will pay up to $60,000 in construction costs, with the Township reimbursing JMF for the construction.

See that portion of the agreement below:



That means the Township will be paying up to $93,000 for the new sewer line related to the new post office project.

Maplewoodian.com requested copies of the invoices and payment information related to the sewer construction, but was told such documents had yet to be submitted by JMF.

TROUBLED CHS BASEBALL COACH NOT EXPECTED BACK IN 2017

Several recent signs are pointing to troubled Columbia High School baseball coach Joe Fischetti not being re-appointed next spring to coach the team.

First, sources within the district indicate that plans are underway to launch a search for a new varsity baseball coach for 2017, with a job posting expected soon. 

Second, parents of CHS baseball players are being urged via email to oppose the plan to remove Fischetti, who has been under fire for nearly two years for alleged bullying of some players.

An email from the CHS Baseball Boosters has been circulating for the last week urging players and their parents to contact school board members and Superintendent John Ramos to support Fischetti, adding that they have learned he is to be removed as coach.

The letter states, in part:

We have learned that the superintendent may not recommend to the school 
board the reappointment of Coaches Fischetti and Becht for this coming season. 
This is despite a recent investigation that, I understand, has cleared the coaches 
of any HIB violations during the 2015 season, and following a very successful 
2016 season. 
 
This is also despite the fact that the coaches enjoy support among nearly 
all of the players and, from what we've heard, many of you. 
 
This is also despite the fact that they continue to enjoy the support of both 
Ms. Aaron and Mr. Busichio. 
 
Because we have just learned that this issue may be raised at tonight's 
Board of Education meeting, either publicly or privately, I am sharing this 
information with you in case you wish to email either Dr. Ramos and/or 
any of the board of members to express your position with respect to our 
coaches.

Read the entire letter, sent last Monday, HERE.

It's been six months since a former player filed a lengthy lawsuit accusing Fischetti and some of his staff of harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB). 

Several other parents have also filed complaints, several of which were found to be valid by the district's own investigation.

Since then, the school district has racked up more than $20,000 in legal bills, with more on the way; paid an outside investigator $5,000 to re-investigate the coach -- and has yet to release those findings; and still has not indicated publicly how it plans to handle the team's future.

Ramos was expected to update residents at the last school board meeting last week, but did not.

Fischetti, who was appointed to coach the team again last spring in a split, 6-3, school board vote, was also allowed to coach them this past summer in the High School Development League.

But according to the Boosters letter, there are apparently indications he is not expected to be appointed coach for the 2017 season. Fischetti is also a full-time CHS physical education teacher, a job that appears unaffected by the latest information.

Ramos and Athletic Director Larry Busichio did not respond to requests for comment on the letter or Fischetti's future as coach. CHS Boosters did respond to an email about the letter, but with no comment about their plans other than to apparently confirm the letter's validity.

PORTIONS OF BOYDEN, CLAREMONT CLOSED TODAY

From Maplewood Police today: 

Claremont Avenue is closed for all traffic between Ridgewood Rd and Wyoming Avenue due to road construction.

Boyden Avenue northbound lane will be closed between Springfield Avenue and Elmwood Avenue.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

SCHOOL BOARD SEEKS CERTIFICATION AND ANOTHER DAY-LONG RETREAT

School Board president Elizabeth Baker recently indicated the board hopes to hold another retreat this fall, as well as pursue state certification.

You may recall the board recently had a day-long retreat with a New Jersey School Boards Association representative facilitating.

"I'm very excited about the year ahead," Baker said at last Monday's board meeting. "One point of discussion at the retreat was that there is an opportunity for the board to become certified."

She added that certification is a way for the board to "train together ... and undergo a review of best practices, including an end-to-end review of policy." She said training can become customized.

The New Jersey School Boards Association offers the certification over a three-year period. It's website states:

The board must:
  • Participate in at least one full-day retreat or the equivalent in board workshops
  • Verify through an NJSBA Policy Wellness Check that the board’s policy manual is up-to-date
  • Complete an analysis of the district’s union contract by NJSBA’s labor relations staff
  • Demonstrate board effectiveness through the board self-evaluation and the New Jersey Department of Education monitoring process
If the composition of the board remains the same or if the board experiences less than one-third turnover in membership, credits will be maintained.
Due to the special nature of direct service training, each credit earned will equal one hour of training. To earn credits, attendance must include at least seven out of nine board members, five out of seven, or four of five. Core areas and suggested topics to address are as follows:
  • Group Process
  • Decision making
  • Planning
  • Effective Meetings
See more HERE. 

It did not indicate cost, if any. The recent retreat facilitator was provided free of charge.

"As we discuss the many plans upon us, in terms of resources and curriculum and instruction as well as our day to day challenges here, there was a great interest" in certification, Baker said.

As for the next retreat, Baker said it could include "cultural competency training" and "map out other ground rules ... to work as a board together."

12 OPEN HOUSES TODAY

Lots to choose from today so find your next home or just see what the market is offering.

Full list HERE.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

BIG VALLEY STREET ROAD CLOSURE TODAY

From Maplewood Police:

VALLEY ST WILL BE CLOSED TODAY FROM BAKER ST. TO MILLBURN AVE. FROM 9AM TO 5PM DUE TO CONSTRUCTION.
PLAN ALTERNATE ROUTES AND EXPECT DELAYS. SEE TOWNSHIP WEBSITE FOR MORE INFORMATION.

WHY YOU SHOULD THANK, AND SUPPORT, THE SOUTH ORANGE RESCUE SQUAD

The Township Committee recently severed ties with the defunct Maplewood First Aid Squad and penned a new deal with the South Orange Rescue Squad to be the official back-up ambulance option for our town.

That means that if the Maplewood Fire Department cannot respond to an ambulance call, South Orange will do so. They also are in talks to take over the former Maplewood First Aid Squad building on Boyden Avenue.

Now it appears that back-up service will not cost Maplewood anything.

We asked Township Administrator Joe Manning what the cost will be. His response via email:

South Orange Rescue Squad is a volunteer rescue squad 
so the service is free to the user. Funding for the Squad comes 
from contribution received as part of their annual
appeal to the community for donations, direct donations 
from the township and, in-kind services from the municipality 
such as gasoline for the vehicle(s). This is
the same way that the Maplewood First Aid Squad
operated when they were functioning.

So if you want to help support this service for our residents, donate to and support the South Orange Rescue Squad. 

To donate, go HERE.

TV PRODUCTION COMPANY LOOKING FOR AN HISTORIC HOME TO FACE LIFT


Friday, August 26, 2016

DI PIETRO FOODS, A SPRINGFIELD AVENUE MAINSTAY, TO CLOSE AND PERHAPS RELOCATE

With a new 30-unit apartment building going into the Springfield Avenue location that has housed Di Pietro Foods for more than 40 years, it was clear the great Italian food shop would have to close or move.

Now comes word on their Facebook page that that will be happening.

See below:

We will be closing our store on Saturday, September 10th.
We would like to take this opportunity to extend a most heartfelt thank you all of our customers who have visited our store over the last 41+ years. To those of you who we see on a daily or weekly basis, you are not just customers to us, but you are family. For that, we are forever grateful and we treasure these relationships.


A tremendous thank you, as well, to Maplewood – it is truly our home. We feel very blessed and fortunate to have been a part of this wonderful community for so long – four generations, in fact!
We hoped for a seamless transition to a new location; that did not work out, but our plan IS, indeed, to reopen. 


This is very bittersweet for us. To say we are sad about closing our Maplewood storefront is an understatement, but we very much look forward to what the future holds. Please feel free to call in/leave us whatever contact information you feel is the best way to reach you and we will be happy to contact you as soon as we are reopening. We will keep our Facebook page as updated as possible.

We hope that whether you’ve stopped in once or if you are a regular customer that we have made your experience a unique and memorable one. Thank you for all of our wonderful memories. We look forward to making more!

Mille grazie!
Lucy, Alfonso, Josephine, and Jennifer