Tuesday, January 31, 2017

SCHOOL DISTRICT HANDLING OF RACE DOCUMENTARY SPARKS "ANGST"

The decision by the school district to cancel the classroom showing of the Academy Award-nominated documentary 13TH and instead schedule an after-school screening prompted "angst" and claims it was "racist in nature," Superintendent John Ramos said Monday.

Ramos explained what went into the decision that has sparked opposition by some parents who gave permission for their children to screen the movie in middle school classes and were told that plan was cancelled by the district office.

He said the central office was unaware of the previous plan to show the film in specific classes where permission slips had been sent home and signed. Some parents were concerned because they believed that the classroom screenings were cancelled after one lone parent objected. 

One of those parents spoke Monday night and claimed that the move was a sign of institutional racism because the parent was white.

13TH, which is name for the 13th Amendment that barred slavery, follows racism from that point citing mass incarceration up until the modern day. It was shown at Columbia High School last fall.

See the discussion at Monday's meeting below:




The district has scheduled the after-school showing for 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 6 at South Orange Middle School. 

See more on the movie HERE. It is also available on Netflix.

PORTIONS OF COLLINGWOOD AND RIDGEWOOD ROADS CLOSED FOR ROAD WORK

From Maplewood Police today: 

Ridgewood Road will be closed from Jefferson Avenue to Arcularius Terrace due to road construction.

Collingwood Road will be closed from Ridgewood Road to Colonial Terrace due to road construction.

TOWNSHIP SEEKS MORE REVENUE FROM PARKING ENFORCEMENT, BUT NO METERS YET

The Township is looking to beef up parking enforcement in an effort to increase revenue and hold more motorists accountable, according to officials who discussed the issue on Saturday.

During the first Township Committee budget hearing of 2017 the TC heard from the municipal court about its budget and staffing and brought up the issue of enforcement and revenue. 

Mayor Vic Deluca announced that more tickets had been issued in the last months of 2016, but said it is still below what South Orange produces.

"I think there's a reality that more tickets are written, not just parking tickets, in South Orange than in Maplewood," the mayor said. "Hopefully that will change with our emphasis on enforcement." 

He later added, "We're still in about 1950 in the way in which we do parking tickets. We have people, our parking enforcement people ride around with pad and paper writing down times and license plates, in South Orange it is completely different."

He cited South Orange's use of electronic devices and electronic meters to enforce parking limits. Maplewood does not use parking meters.

"From a productivity level, our people having to write all this information down, takes a lot of time and they can't cover as much area," he said. "They (South Orange) also have the meters, it is much easier to write a ticket cause you see that meter, that flag comes up and you write the ticket ... and there's issues sometimes because we have people challenging parking tickets ... It is easier to prove the ticket with electronic proof."

Asked if he believes Maplewood should install parking meters, the mayor offered a firm "no." But he did say their modern devices and procedures could be instituted. 

"Our moving traffic violations numbers are low," TC member Frank McGehee added. "I think they need to be higher and I think the residents want them to be higher. It's a revenue opportunity for our town."

But Municipal Prosecutor Annette DePalma warned the TC that seeking to use such tickets as a revenue stream could be problematic.

"I would caution the governing body against considering the municipal court a revenue generator," she said. "It's not and it's not supposed to be."

BABY LIT TO DIGITAL AT LIBRARY TODAY

Baby Lit

10:30 am – 11:00 am

Main Library * Ages Birth – 2 ½ * Drop In
Tuesdays @ 10:30-11 am, 1/10, 1/17, 1/24
All children must be accompanied by an adult.


Create Space – Maplewood Library’s Makerspace is Open!

5:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Hilton Branch – Every Tuesday 5:00-8:00 pm, Thursday 5:00-8:00 pm, and Saturday 10-1 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, January 30, 2017

RESCHEDULED SCHOOL BOARD MEETING IS TONIGHT

The Board of Education holds its regular monthly meeting tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Columbia High School auditorium, 17 Parker Ave.

See the agenda HERE.

This meeting was originally scheduled for last Monday, but postponed due to weather.

And, of course, there will be a public comment portion where you can ask a question, give them a piece of your mind or just a pat on the back.

Remember, they work for you!

TRIPLE HOMICIDE VICTIMS DIED OF GUNSHOT WOUNDS

The three victims of a triple homicide discovered Sunday morning on Van Ness Court suffered gunshot wounds, according to investigators who said they had still not determined what exactly occurred.

The victims were identified as Michael Davis, 45, of Maplewood; Roshana Kenilson, 30, of Paterson; and Lance Fraser, 44, of Newark.

We reported Sunday that firefighters entered the home at 11:45 a.m. after receiving a call from someone concerned that there was no answer at the apartment. Police are still awaiting results of an autopsy and have no motive or suspects.

Anyone with information is asked to cal the Essex County Prosecutor's Office at 877-847-7432.

MAPLEWOOD CONGRESSMAN RIPS REFUGEE BAN

From our Congressman, Rep. Donald Payne Jr.:

Payne, Jr. Condemns Trump's Muslim Ban
Washington, D.C. - Congressman Donald 
M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10) issued the following  
statement on President Trump's decision to 
bar Syrian refugees and residents 
of seven predominantly Muslim nations:

"The American presidency of Donald Trump 
reeks of un-American values. His Muslim ban has caused 
countless families to suffer, and it puts the safety of the 
American people at risk by providing fodder for extremist 
groups. I condemn this ban and the unfit president behind it. 
And I ask my Republican colleagues, How can you remain 
silent?

"Since 9/11, not one perpetrator of any major terrorist attack 
in the U.S. has come from the countries on President Trump's 
list. So how can he justify barring people from these countries? 
Many have lived in our country for years, and they are part 
of the fabric of our communities. President Trump's ban is 
an affront to common sense and America's values."

TAKE THE SCHOOL DISTRICT WEBSITE SURVEY

From the School District: 

The School District of South Orange and Maplewood is working to redesign the district website. We are currently looking for input on what critical information should be accessible from the home page. 

Please take a few minutes and provide us your thoughts by completing a short survey. You may participate in the survey by clicking the the following link.

CHS LIBRARY CLOSED FOR TWO WEEKS

Columbia High School Principal Elizabeth Aaron issued this notice in her weekly email to parents:

Please be aware that the CHS Library will be closed next two weeks while we inventory over 35,000 items, re-arrange the area, and set up a newly-designed student and staff learning space/tech lab. We deliberately chose this week and next to complete this work since the new semester is just underway and library use is traditionally lighter at this time. Our academic labs are open for student use and printing. 

Should you have a particular question regarding the CHS library, please contact our media specialist, Ms. Ng, directly, at sng@somsd.k12.nj.us

Students who have study halls will not be able to use the library at this time. Please be sure your student is prepared to do work in study hall, and not planning to use the library. While we regret needing to close for a bit, it is critical that we get this work done now. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

MORE FROM TRIPLE HOMICIDE CRIME SCENE

We told you earlier this evening about the investigation into a triple homicide on Van Ness Ct.

Police at the scene had no new information on the incident, in which three people were found dead in an apartment this morning.

Tonight police had the entire roadway blocked off and were questioning residents and those who drove on to the street if they had any information.

See scenes and one resident's reaction below:




MAPLEWOOD TRIPLE MURDER BEING INVESTIGATED

From Essex County Prosecutor's Office tonight:

Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray and Maplewood Police Chief Robert Cimino have announced that authorities are investigating an incident in which three people were found dead in a Maplewood apartment earlier today.  

At approximately 11:45 am, the Maplewood Fire Department responded to an apartment on Van Ness Court to check on the well-being of a resident. Upon entering the apartment, firefighters discovered three unresponsive adults, two males and a female. The individuals were pronounced dead at the scene.

The deaths are being investigated as homicides, according to Chief Assistant Prosecutor Thomas S. Fennelly. The identities of the victim are being withheld pending formal identification and notification of next of kin. Additionally, the exact cause of death will be determined by autopsies at the Regional Medical Examiner's Office.

This matter is being investigated by the Essex County Prosecutor's Major Crimes Task Force and the Maplewood Police Department. The investigation is active and ongoing at this time, according to Fennelly.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Prosecutor's Tips Line at (877) 847-7432.

DELUCA: UPCOMING BUDGET WILL NEED MORE INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS

Mayor Vic Deluca on Saturday said the upcoming budget will likely include more money for infrastructure, saying it might be necessary to change the recent practice of reducing long-term debt in order to achieve the improvements.

"We ... have some infrastructure needs, our roads are really deteriorating, our public buildings need attention," the mayor said at Saturday's first budget hearing. "I think we're falling behind on our infrastructure repair."

During the hearing, in which several departments presented their preliminary budget requests, Deluca said the township may have to "rethink" the past policy of adding new debt only when old debt is retired, and at a rate of 80% of the previous debt.

Township Committee member India Larrier said, "I would have to look very, very hard at changing that formula."

The mayor also said recent state-level meetings offered no hope for any funding help from Trenton, adding,  "I think we're on our own and the school board is on our own for a few years and that means we're going to have to keep the taxes down as low as possible."

Deluca vowed to keep the increase at the state-mandated 2% limit, adding that the TC will not seek to use any of the loopholes that allow some increases beyond the 2% in certain areas.  

Last year's $41.52 million municipal budget included an average tax increase of 1.96% or $82 per home.

"There's no more important job than we have ... right now, and that is crafting a budget which provides the services that people expect and desire and at the same time keeping any tax increase as low as possible," Deluca said. "This really goes to the ability of people being able to stay in our community."

He also addressed the recent property value reassessment, stating, "This is a year we had a reassessment revaluation. This is a year when there is a natural dislocation of people's taxes...any increase just magnifies those differences."

The next budget hearing is set for next Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017.

MAPLEWOOD PROPERTY TAXES JUMPED AN AVERAGE OF $375 LAST YEAR

The average Maplewood property taxes jumped 2.6%, or about $375, in 2016, according to data released from the state last week.

It indicated the average Township property tax bill was $14,626, up from $14,251 a year earlier.

See the data HERE. 

That continues a steady increase that saw the average property taxes at $13,926 in 2014, $13,657 in 2013, $13,435 in 2012, $13,118 in 2011, and $13,023 in 2010. 

The average rate was $10,639 in 2006, which means an increase of nearly $4,000 in the average yearly tax bill in just the last decade.

That also coincides with the loss of the state property tax rebates, which ended in 2007.

MAPLEWOODIANS JOIN PROTEST OF REFUGEE BAN AT NEWARK AIRPORT

Donald Trump's executive order Friday denying entrance to the U.S. for refugees from seven countries prompted protests at several airports, including Newark Airport.

Several protesters from Maplewood and South Orange joined the demonstration there Saturday. See them below:






SIX OPEN HOUSES TODAY

No football today, except the Pro Bowl tonight, so plenty of time to find your next home or just see what the market is offering.

Full list HERE.

 

Saturday, January 28, 2017

WOMENS MARCH POSTCARD-WRITING PARTY TODAY

 From the organizers:

Come on out SOMa to this family friendly event!Time to continue to rally with our community Postcard and letter-writing campaign. Let's make sure our state representative hear our collective voices about what matter most to us!

Join us at The Woodland from 1-4pm. Bring pictures, markers or anything else you want to add to your letters. Women's March Postcards will be available for free and donations of stamps are welcome. Drop in any time. And definitely bring the kids!

Volunteers needed at 4pm for clean-up. Bring a snack, cookies or baked good to share.

We are Stronger Together!

FIRST TOWNSHIP BUDGET HEARING TODAY

The Township Committee will hold its first budget hearings of 2017 today at Town Hall.

The TC will convene at 10 a.m. and meet until approximately 4:30 p.m. to hear proposed budget expenditures for each department for the 2017 fiscal year.

See the agenda below:

                        10:00 A.M.


1.      SALUTE TO THE AMERICAN FLAG


2.      STATEMENT


3.      ROLL CALL


4.      MAYORS INTRODUCTION


5.      2017 BUDGET & PROCESS OVERVIEW (10:00 A.M.-10:15 A.M.)


6.      DEPARTMENT HEAD HEARINGS



A.    MUNICIPAL COURT & PROSECUTOR          (10:15 A.M.-10:45 A.M.)


B.     CONSTRUCTION OFFICIAL/CODE ENFORCEMENT     (10:45 A.M.-11:15 A.M.)


C.     HEALTH  (11:15 A.M.-11:45 A.M.)


BREAK (11:45 A.M.-12:00 NOON)


D.    FIRE & OEM       (12:00 NOON.-1:00 P.M.)

     LUNCH BREAK (1:00 P.M.-1:30 P.M.)

E.     POLICE & DISPATCHING        (1:30 P.M.-2:30 P.M.)


F.   RECREATION & CULTURAL AFFAIRS        (2:30 P.M.-3:15 P.M.)

G.   LIBRARY           (3:15 P.M.-4:00 P.M.)

H.   ADMIN/IT/LEGAL/ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT   (4:00 P.M.-4:30 P.M.)

      7.    PUBLIC COMMENT

      8.    ADJOURNMENT – TO MEET AGAIN IN REGULAR SESSION ON SATURDAY,

                                                FEBRUARY 4, 2017.  (BUDGET MEETING)

PATH MEASLES ALERT

From NJ.com:

The case of a Hudson County man who came down with the measles has prompted state health officials to warn residents of the possibility of exposure at more than a dozen locations.
The alert, issued late Friday afternoon, said the man had visited many Jersey City locations between Jan. 16 and Jan. 24, including multiple PATH stations, a drug store, a restaurant, and the Newport Mall.
The man, who is recovering, acquired the illness while traveling abroad, according to the N.J. Department of Health.
Health officials recommend that anyone who visited the locations during the dates/times listed below should contact a health provider immediately to discuss potential exposure and risk of developing the illness.

Read the entire story HERE.


COLLEGE PREP EVENT TODAY

Image may contain: one or more people and text

KINDERGARTEN Q&A TODAY

Friday, January 27, 2017

STROLLERS PRESENT "THE DAY THE RAINBOW BROKE UP" THIS WEEKEND

WHY CHS PHYSICS FIELD TRIPS TO SIX FLAGS WERE CANCELLED

From Columbia High School:

January 27, 2017

Dear Parents/Guardians of Physics Students,  


The May Six Flags Great Adventure physics field trip has been a tradition for our sophomores at Columbia High School for the last four decades, and it is with some sadness that we announce the discontinuation of this event. 

The field trip has served as the culmination of the sophomore physics course, providing students with realworld physics experiences. The goal was for students to have fun while collaborating on observations and problem-solving based on the rides.  Schools from all over the state have participated in the past. 

Historically, a substantial majority of the sophomore class, about 400 students, participated in the field trip. Scholarships were available to partially or fully defray the cost of the trip if financial assistance was needed. Over the years, the number of students participating has declined. In 2016 less than 50% (200 of 450) attended. Causes included:  


- Steadily rising cost. In 2016, the price of participation reached $76.  
- Sports and AP commitments. These activities pre-empted participation for many as students cannot participate in the trip if they have an AP exam, and students did not return on time to make a practice or game.    
- Increased health concerns and fear of the increasingly extreme rides, including the incidence of several concussions suffered by students.  

Along with declining attendance, there has been a marked decline in the number of students making measurements at the park or completing the assignment in a way that we believe merits continued participation given that the guidelines for school trips is that they connect to our curriculum.  

Our physics teachers have done much work over the past several years rewriting curriculum and learning activities to align with the Next Generation science standards, and we will surely consider trips that support that learning going forward.

Thank you,
Jameel Misbahuddin 9-12 STEM Supervisor  

Columbia High School

TOWNSHIP BUDGET HEARINGS BEGIN SATURDAY

From the Township:

The Township will be holding their 2017 Budget hearings on the following dates:
Saturday, January 28, 2017
&
Saturday, February 4, 2017
10:00am to 4:30pm (both days)
The meetings will be live and residents at home can email askthetc@twp.maplewoodl.nj.us to ask questions about the budget as the hearings take place.

CHS LITERARY MAGAZINE WINS NATIONAL AWARD

From Columbia High School:

CHS Art-Literary Magazine, Guildscript, wins First Place!
 
The Columbia High School art and literary magazine, Guildscript, received a First Place award from the American Scholastic Press Association for Top-Scoring Magazine for 2016! The annual magazine received high marks in creativity, organization, and presentation.  The Association stated that the Guildscript exhibited "superior efforts of talented and creative editors, writers, artists, photographers, layout/graphic designers, staff members and advisors!"
 
The 2016 Guildscript Advisors, Ms. Lubrano and Ms. Malhotra, are thrilled that the magazine was so well received and attribute the magazine's success to the dedication and hard work of all the editors, writers and artists involved.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

POLICE INVESTIGATING KNIFE ASSAULT

From Maplewood Police today:

The Maplewood Police Department is currently investigating a reported aggravated assault with a knife that occurred on 1/25/17 and was reported to MWPD at approximately 10 PM.

The incident took place in the area of Coolidge Rd and Irvington Ave at approximately 7:45 PM.

The incident was initially reported to Newark PD who determined the incident occurred in Maplewood.

 The investigation indicates that the victim, a twenty three year old male from Newark,was involved in what appears to be a mutual fight with another male he knows and had
a previous dispute with. 

During the course of this altercation, the actor took a knife out
of his pocket and slashed at the victim. The victim received minor injuries which he received medical attention for at Newark PD. 

The victim was not transported to the hospital. The incident is still under investigation. Anyone with information about the incident is requested to contact the Maplewood Police Department Youth Aid Bureau.

SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT TOWN HALL MEETING TONIGHT


SEVERAL ROAD CLOSURES TODAY DUE TO CONSTRUCTION

From Maplewood Police today:

The following roads are closed due to construction. 

Valley Street closed between Park Rd. and So. Pierson Rd.; Ridgewood Road closed between Arcularius Terr. and Hoffman Pl.; and Ridgewood Rd. between Euclid Ave and Durand Rd.

MAYOR DELUCA VOWS TO PROTECT IMMIGRANTS DESPITE TRUMP ANTI-SANCTUARY ORDER

When the Township Committee approved a resolution last week vowing to protect immigrants from federal efforts to remove them, it made a point not to use the term sanctuary. 

Still, the legislation put the Township on record as vowing to oppose federal law enforcement action against immigrants, clearly stating no township employees would aid in such efforts. 

See the entire resolution HERE.

Mayor Vic Deluca on Wednesday reiterated that vow in a statement reacting to President Donald Trump's executive order on Wednesday to withhold funding from such sanctuary cities and seek to prosecute any undocumented immigrants residing in them.

Deluca issued this statement late yesterday:

Maplewood has been and will continue to be welcoming and open, embracing individuals of diverse racial, ethnic, religious and national backgrounds, and different ages and sexual orientation. We will not participate in dividing people based on citizenship or immigration status nor will we profile or register people because of where they are from or what they believe. Our police will fight crime and not enforce immigration laws. If President Trump threatens our responsibility to protect constitutional rights and liberties, we will join with other municipalities in pursuing legal remedies

We also reached out to the other TC members for their reaction. So far, India Larrier has responded with the following:

We believe we are on firm legal footing as regards to this issue 
and we stand by our values. Our resolution does not label 
Maplewood a "sanctuary city", but rather states our foundational 
beliefs regarding our responsibility towards all of our
residents while acknowledging that our law enforcement will 
work within established parameters as set forth by the 
Attorney General. Our values will not change in the face 
of threats.



SEVERAL THEFTS FROM UNSECURED VEHICLES LEAD POLICE WEEK. LOCK THOSE DOORS!

From Maplewood Police:

January 18, 2017; Theft from Auto; At approximate 5 PM a male broke the window to a tractor parked on Camptown Rd. It is believed items may have been removed, but the owner was not available at the time of the report.

January 19, 2017; Attempted Burglary; During the overnight hours the lock to a detached garage on Hudson Ave was damaged.

January 20, 2017; Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours a cell phone charger was removed from an unsecured vehicle on Walton Rd.

January 20, 2017; Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours, change was removed from two unsecured vehicles parked in the driveway of a Jefferson Ave home.

January 20, 2017; Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours an unsecured vehicle on the 400 block of Elmwood Ave was entered and paperwork stolen.

January 20, 2017; Theft from Auto; During the overnight hours an unsecured vehicle in the driveway of a Richmond Ave residence was entered and checks were stolen.


 January 17, 2017; Package Theft; During the daytime hours, the contents of a package left in front of a Harvard Ave residence was stolen.

January 17, 2017; Motor Vehicle Theft; During the overnight hours, a vehicle was stolen from the parking on Meadowbrook Pl.  It was later recovered in Irvington.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

PODCAST - MAPLEWOOD AUTHORS DISCUSS OPTIMIST'S GUIDE TO DIVORCE

We caught up with Maplewood authors Jill Sockwell and Suzanne Riss, who will be at Words Bookstore in Maplewood Village on Thursday to discuss their book, The Optimists Guide to Divorce. 

The duo, who also launched the Maplewood Divorce Club back in 2013, talked about forming the club, the book's stories and advice, and how today's suburban single moms deal with break-ups, kids and more.

See more about the book HERE and listen to our chat below:




The authors will be at Words, 179 Maplewood Ave., at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

TWO STUDENTS CHARGED WITH ASSAULTING A THIRD STUDENT OUTSIDE CHS

From Maplewood Police today:

The Maplewood Police Department is currently investigating the reported assault of a 16 year old female student of Columbia High School on January 18, 2017. 

The investigation indicates that the female victim was assaulted by two other juveniles on the sidewalk near the intersection of Valley Street and Parker Avenue in Maplewood while multiple on-lookers observed the assault.  Based upon the evidence developed through investigation thus far and after consultation with the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office, one female-age 15 and one male-age 16, both CHS students have each been charged with simple assault.   

Based upon the evidence available at the present time, the incident is not classified as a Bias Crime.  The investigation is ongoing.  Anyone with information about the incident is requested to contact the Maplewood Police Department Youth Aid Bureau

Police indicate the incident reportedly occurred at 3:15 p.m., just after school was dismissed.

INCREASED TUSCAN SCHOOL ABSENCES PROMPT SCHOOLWIDE DISINFECTION. AND WHAT ABOUT THE SOAP?

Tuscan School has ordered a school-wide disinfection due to parents concerns over the spreading of viruses and colds, a "large number of students absent," and an apparent lack of soap in some student bathrooms.

The concern arose on social media this week when some parents revealed their children told them that some Tuscan bathrooms did not have soap. As the annual spreading of colds and flu appeared to increase, many were concerned that there was a lack of soap in the rest rooms.

Several reached out to the school and the district and were told that some students had made such a mess of the rest rooms, and clean-up was difficult, that soap had not been replaced in some locations.

When parents complained to the district and the school, Assistant Principal Kevin Mason issued this notice to many of them:

Thank you for reaching out with your concerns about the soap at Tuscan. I would like to first assure you that we have an adequate supply of soap at Tuscan and the custodial staff check the bathrooms every morning and periodically throughout the day. We have had some issues with student(s) ripping the soap dispensers off the wall or smearing the soap on the walls and we are investigating this and it will be address through the Code of Conduct. 

Assistant Principal Kevin Mason
I have also made an announcement this morning reminding students to wash their hands throughout the day and if they do go into the bathroom and see that the soap is empty they should immediately tell their teacher or the main office. 

I have also alerted Bill Kyle, Supervisor of Building and Grounds for the district about the large number of students absent at Tuscan and requested that the entire school (railings and doorknobs) be disinfected. If you have any other concerns please feel free to reach out to administration.

We reached out to the district for comment, what the policy regarding such supplies is, and to ask about the situation at other district schools, but no response has been forthcoming. A Let's Talk request for information yielded the same note sent to parents, but nothing more about other schools.

National School Guidelines from the American Society of Pediatrics state:

Toilet facilities must be maintained to be both hygienic and safe. Areas of privacy must be provided (e.g., stall doors that are intact and operational). Adequate supplies of soap, toilet tissue, and paper towels must be maintained. Students should not be discouraged from utilizing toilet facilities for reasons of cleanliness or safety.

If parents at other schools are finding a lack of soap let us know at editor@maplewoodian.com.

IBTIHAJ MUHAMMAD NAMED TO PRESIDENT'S COUNCIL

In one of his last acts in office, President Barack Obama appointed Maplewood's own Ibtihaj Muhammad to the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.

Muhammad, of course, is a world-renowned fencer who earned a bronze medal in the 2016 Rio games last year.

The Team USA announcement on the appointment said, in part:

Muhammad made history as the first U.S. woman to compete at the Olympic Games wearing a hijab. The team saber bronze medalist in Rio, she also serves on the U.S. State Department’s Empowering Women and Girls Through Sport Initiative. Currently ranked No. 8 in the world, Muhammad was a three-time All-American for Duke University and holds five world championship medals (one gold, four bronzes).  

Other Olympians already serving on the council are track and field’s Allyson Felix, figure skater Michelle Kwan, volleyball player Christa Dietzen and basketball’s Grant Hill, Alonzo Mourning and Chris Paul. 

Read the entire announcement HERE.

OBAMACARE IS NOT GONE YET, SIGN-UP HELP TODAY

1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Open enrollment is from Nov. 1, 2016 to Jan. 31, 2017. Trained in-person assisters will help you find a plan to fit your budget—one that covers emergencies, doctor visits, prescriptions, hospitalization and maternity care. Pre-existing   conditions, too.
Main Library, 51 Baker St.
Consultations are on a drop-in basis. No registration is required.
What to Bring
  • Social Security Numbers for all household members (or immigration documents)
  • Employer and income information for every member of your household who needs coverage (from pay stubs or W-2 forms)
  • Current health insurance plan information for everyone in the household
Brought to you by the Oranges ACA Navigator Project under contract with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

PORTION OF MIDLAND ROAD CLOSED FOR REPAIR

From Maplewood Police today:

Midland Blvd will be closed from Orchard Road to Boyden Avenue until further notice due to road construction

KIDS LIBRARY FINES MOUNTING? READ IT DOWN

Are your child's library fines mounting and he or she doesn't have the money to pay? (And you don't want to keep forking over the dough?)

Well, instead of having them miss the chance to check out books, they can pay it off. Not with cash, but with time.

Reading time!

For years now the Maplewood Library has allowed youngsters to pay off their fines in a "time-out" of sorts where they need only read to reduce the debt.

"It is a way to allow people to still borrow books, for kids to still borrow books even if they have fines," said Jane Folger, head of children's services at the Maplewood Library, which launched the program more than 10 years ago. "Because they're kids and don't have a job or an income, how do they deal with it? Here is a way their actions can resolve the fine."

Right now, fines for both libraries run 10 cents for each day that a book is overdue in the children's section, 20 cents in all other sections. There is a $5 limit. 

But any child or adult who owes money on their account is barred from borrowing more books until it is paid off, Folger said. "No library wants to charge a fine," she said. "But what is the impetus for returning things?"

They can work it off in the reading room, she said. Any youngster who owes back fines can come in, speak to the librarian and reduce their debt by $1 for every half-hour of reading time. 

"They have to read in the library," she said. "Words, printed on a page or printed on a screen. If it is a children's fine we have them read in the children's area. We have a slip, they fill it out, and we sign it when they are done."

Fines can be lucrative for the libraries, which took in $31,013.62 in fines in 2015, up from 2014 and 2013. It is an overall decline, however, from 2012 when more than $32,000 was raised and 2011 when the fines topped $35,000.

"It's pretty steady," Folger said about the reading down participation. "People who come in a lot know about it. It's grown." 

For more information call the main library's children's room at 973-762-1622, ext. 5005.

STAR-LEDGER RATES PARKWOOD BEST DINER IN ESSEX COUNTY

The Star-Ledger website, NJ.com, named Maplewood's own Parkwood Diner as the best in Essex County.

A new listing of the top such eateries in each county offered up the Springfield Avenue site as our county's best. We agree.

See what they posted online below:



This comes just over a year after the diner won a NJ.com online poll as the best diner in North Jersey.

To try it out for yourself, see their menu HERE and stop by.