Thursday, February 23, 2017

SCHOOL DISTRICT'S OUT-OF-TOWN TUITION PAYMENTS ON THE RISE

The Board of Education is expected to boost its tuition payments for South Orange/Maplewood students to attend out-of-district schools by 25% in the 2017-2018 school year, according to recent budget documents.

That marks a sharp increase in the money paid to other schools to teach our students. The district funded 199 students for out-of-district education in 2016, according to data provided through an Open Public Records Act request. That cost us $11.9 million, or about $60,000 per student.

The per-student payments for out-of-district tuition is well above the $18,000 per student spent on those that attend class in district schools. 

That is the latest in a continued increase in such numbers dating back to 2013 when 156 student went elsewhere. That rose to 180 in 2014, and 191 in 2015. 

District Business Administrator Paul Roth, during his budget presentation on Jan. 30, estimated the district would pay for about 250 students to go outside the district in 2017-2018. No specific monetary estimate has been made, but it is likely to boost the budget significantly.

The out-of-district tuition is paid for a variety of reasons, ranging from vocational education to special education and other mandated services. 

Asked to provide more specifics, Roth sent this email to Maplewoodian.com several weeks ago:

To help clarify the information contained in the response to your OPRA request, tuition costs cover students receiving special education and 504 services out of district as well as students attending Vo-Tech schools. Since much of this information regards our students I cannot get more specific. The amounts listed are actual prior year expenditures and range in the overall cost do amount into the millions.

When we asked last week for further explanation of the expected increase and other details of how the money is used and why the district did not respond. 

One indication of where the money goes was found in a resolution the board approved on Jan. 30 for nearly $318,000 worth of outside tuition. 

See that resolution and the schools receiving the funding below:




ASSAULTS ON JUVENILES, BURGLARIES LEAD POLICE WEEK

From Maplewood Police:

February 18, 2017; Simple Assault, At approximately 10 PM officers responded to a report of an individual on the train tracks.  Upon their arrival, they discovered several groups of juveniles in the area of the train station and Memorial Park.  A 17 year old was taken into custody for assaulting another juvenile.

February 18, 2017; Simple Assault, At approximately 10:45 PM officers were in the area of Baker St when they observed 20 year old Jamesson Archille of Maplewood assault a juvenile male.  He was taken into custody and charged with simple assault.


February 13, 2017; Burglary; During the daytime hours, entry was forced to a home on  20’s block of Courter Ave.  At the time of the report it was undetermined what the proceeds were.

February 15, 2017: Shoplifting; At approximately 2:20 PM a male entered the CVS on Valley St and placed several items in his pants before leaving.  The theft was discovered the next day and reported to the police department.

February 17, 2017; Burglary; Sometime during the previous month, entry was forced to a home on Manley Terr.  A small amount of cash and jewelry were reported stolen.

February 18, 2017; Burglary; Sometime over the previous five days, entry was forced to a  vacant home on Harding St.  A hot water heater and cooper pipes were reportedly stolen from the home.

 




Wednesday, February 22, 2017

TOWNSHIP TIGHTENS RESTRICTIONS FOR AVALON BAY REBUILDING; NO FIRE CAUSE YET

Maplewood Township is implementing tighter safety requirements for the rebuilding of the portion of the Avalon Bay project recently destroyed by fire, including "fire watchers" to be hired by the developer and a ban on propane heaters that were in place when the fire occurred.

Mayor Vic Deluca announced the new restrictions during Tuesday night's Township Committee meeting. 

While he said the Essex County Prosecutor's Office had not determined a cause for the six-alarm blaze that struck on Feb. 4 and destroyed the final portion of the 235-unit complex, Deluca said propane heaters were in use and would no longer be allowed. 

He also said the Township will ask that developers of other similar projects in town also not use such heaters.

The mayor added that the reconstruction of the destroyed portion will begin in March, with the completed project likely finished by the end of 2017.

See his entire update below:


BEER GARDEN AGAIN APPROVED FOR MAPLEWOODSTOCK

For the sixth year in a row, Maplewoodstock will provide alcohol sales through an enclosed beer garden after the Township Committee on Tuesday approved such sales.

The TC voted, 4-1, in favor of the request by event organizers Drew Dix and Gary Shippy. TC Member India Larrier, who had regularly opposed the sales in the past, was the lone vote against it.

See the presentation by the organizers below:



"While I do support Maplewoodstock," Larrier said. She later added, "I am still continuing to believe that alcohol does not belong in our parks."

TC Member Nancy Adams said she supports the sales, but did caution that there had been some past clean-up problems that she hoped would be improved.

Maplewoodstock, which is in its 14th year, is set for the weekend of July 8 and 9.

CODING FOR MOMS AT HILTON BRANCH TODAY


10:15 am – 11:15 am  
 
Hilton Branch – It’s not just for your kids! Here’s your chance to learn about programming in a   relaxed and non-intimidating setting.  See what all the buzz is about: find out how much fun hands-on coding can be.  Open to new and returning participants. Babes in arms ok.  Registration is required. Go to https://codingformomsfeb22.eventbrite.com

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

BUSY TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE MEETING TONIGHT: FROM LEAF BLOWERS TO PARKING FINES

Tonight's Township Committee meeting has a pretty busy agenda.

Along with a promised update on the Avalon Bay Update, the TC will consider the annual application for a beer garden at Maplewoodstock, as well as discuss possible changes to the leaf blower ban and increased parking and traffic ticket fines.

See the entire agenda HERE. The meeting is at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall, 574 Valley St.

There is always public comment as well, where you can speak up, ask a question, give them a piece of your mind or just a pat on the back.

Remember, they work for you! 

SECOND GAY CANDIDATE ENTERS TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE DEMOCRATIC RACE

A second candidate has thrown a hat into the Township Committee Democratic primary race, assuring there will be at least two challengers seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat being vacated by TC Member India Larrier, who has said she will not run for re-election.

Carla Caraballo, a seven-year Maplewood resident, is also the second gay candidate to publicly declare for the Democratic nomination for Township Committee. In a letter to the Maplewood Democratic Committee, Caraballo stated she is a U.S. Air Force Reserve flight nurse and currently working as a licensed practical nurse.

As a resident of Jacoby Street, she has also been involved in the Neighborhood Watch Program there since 2012.

See her candidacy letter HERE.

Caraballo is also in a same sex marriage with her long-time wife and the mother of two and grandmother of two.

She joins gay activist and consultant Dean Dafis, who tossed his hat into the primary race two weeks ago. 

Also running is Mayor Vic Deluca, who is seeking re-election to the seat he has held since 2009.

MDC Chairman Ian Grodman said the committee will continue to accept nominations for the primary endorsement through Feb. 27.

On the Republican side, former TC candidate Mike Summersgill has said he plans to seek the Republican nomination once again in 2017. He lost his bid in the 2016 general election against Democrat Frank McGehee.

Candidates seeking the Democratic or Republican primary nominations can submit their paperwork until April 3. The primary is set for June 6.

TOWNSHIP DECLARES "BLACK LIVES MATTER" SUPPORT

Maplewood has continued to promote the rights of all residents, from gays to immigrants to minorities of all types.

The most recent was the declaration of the Township as a "welcoming community," a clear defense against federal efforts to prosecute immigrants in our community. 

This past week, another strong supportive move was seen in Maplewood Village as the Township raised a banner not only supporting Black History Month, but declaring that "Black Lives Matter," clear support for the positive racial equality movement that some on the right have sought to demonize.

Bravo!

MAPLEWOOD YOUTUBER NAMED AMONG TOP YOUNG BLACK INNOVATORS

Maplewoodian and Columbia High School graduate Marques Brownlee was named one of the top black young innovators in the nation by NBC News this month.

The NBC News NBCBLK28, described as the top 28 black "innovators, vanguards, trendsetters and pioneers under 28" cited Brownlee for his success as a YouTuber and tech reviewer.

The award notice stated:

Marques Brownlee, 23, Maplewood, NJ
Tech Reviewer & YouTube Star
One can arguably say that there aren't many people in tech like Marques Brownlee. If you factor in that he's 23, Black and basically spends his days testing really cool technology and showcasing his findings on YouTube, that disparity is a little more self-evident.
Our NBCBLK28 recipient has an uncanny knack for shedding light on what he calls "dope tech." You can tell he knows his stuff, but he also breaks down the specifications of the products in a very conversational manner that's easy to digest.
Affable yet informative. Armed with more than 4 million YouTube subscribers and an alias fit for a Terminator villain, it's no wonder as to how menacing the digital grind is for the New Jersey native known online simply as MKBHD. He's not actually a Schwarzenegger adversary—MKB are the initials for his first, middle, and last name. The HD stands for high-definition

See more on Brownlee, who is the son of former Township Committee Member Marlon Brownlee, HERE.

And watch his YouTube videos HERE.

BIG LIBRARY DAY: BABY LIT TO PAJAMA STORYTIME

Baby Lit

10:30 am – 11:00 am

Main Library * Ages Birth – 2 ½ * Drop In
Tuesdays 2/7, 2/14, 2/21 @ 10:30-11 am



Hilton Drop-In Craft: Gee’s Bend Quilt

12:00 pm – 8:00 pm

Hilton Branch ● All Ages ● Drop In
Every Tuesday in February 2/7, 2/14, 2/21, 2/28 @ 12-8 pm
Drop in and make a paper quilt square for our Gee’s Bend quilt! The Quilts of Gee’s Bend are quilts created by a group of women who live or have lived in the isolated African-American hamlet of Gee’s Bend, Alabama. They are considered to be one of the most important African-American visual and cultural contributions to the history of art within the United States.

Hilton Computer Explorations

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Hilton Branch – Computer beginners and intermediate users can get help with:
  • Using a mouse
  • Creating basic documents
  • Managing an email account
  • Searching the Internet
  • Viewing photos online
The instructor will help with your specific needs. No registration needed.

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. 

Pajama Sing-a-Long Storytime

7:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Hilton Branch All Ages Drop In
Come comfy-cozy in your PJ’s, hear stories, and sing songs! The best bedtime treat around!

Monday, February 20, 2017

LEGENDARY CHS EDUCATOR CROSS DIES

Maplewood lost a longtime educator and community servant last week with the death of Peter Cross.

Although he had lived in Lakewood for 10 years, Cross had a legacy of support and service at both Columbia High School and the Maplewood Pool, among other locations.

See his obituary HERE and below:

Peter Lown Cross, 80, passed away on February 12, 2017 surrounded by his loving family. Mr. Cross was a lifelong resident of Maplewood, NJ before settling in Lakewood for the past 10 years. He served in the US Army during the Korean Conflict. Peter was a graduate of Panzer College and Montclair University, obtaining his Master's in Education. 

He worked for Columbia High School, serving as a Coach, Teacher and Guidance Counselor for 35 years. Peter was recognized by the creation of the Peter Cross Columbia High School Athletics Hall of Fame Award and was inducted to the Columbia High School Hall of Fame. He was very active in the Maplewood Community, including the Community Pool where he served as the first manager of Summer Pool Operations.  

Peter was an avid Mets and Rangers fan and loved spending time with his family. He was a loving husband, father and grandfather and will be greatly missed by all. 

Mr. Cross is predeceased by his parents, Arthur and Mable Cross and brothers, Robert Cross and Arthur "Elliot" Cross. Peter is survived by his wife and high school sweetheart of 60 years, Jeanmarie; children, Peter Cross Jr., Cathy Saudelli and her husband Randy, Andrew Cross and his wife Virginia and David Cross and his wife Erin; grandchildren, Cara Willis and her husband Kyle, Cristina Saudelli, Tyler Cross, Olivia Cross, Peter Cross and Kelly Cross; numerous relatives and friends; and his beloved Dachshund, Buster.

UPDATE ON AVALON BAY FIRE EXPECTED TUESDAY

It's been more than two weeks since the devastating six-alarm fire destroyed part of the Avalon Bay development at Boyden and Springfield avenues and there is still no word on what caused it.

Avalon Bay says they plan to rebuild the portion that was destroyed and was the only remaining part of the 235-unit complex still under construction.

But the Essex County Prosecutor's Office, which has been investigating along with the Maplewood Fire Department, has yet to offer a cause.

Mayor Vic Deluca is set to provide an update at Tuesday night's Township Committee meeting.

See the full meeting agenda HERE.

LIBRARIES CLOSED TODAY

Presidents Day 

Both Maplewood libraries closed today for President's day. Enjoy! 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

NO JITNEY SERVICE OR TOWN HALL MONDAY

The President's Day holiday Monday means no school, no jitney and Town Hall offices are closed.

Have a fun holiday!

VIDEO: ST. JAMES GATE FUNDRAISER OFFERS A PIPER PREVIEW

Some Maplewoodians got a preview of next month's St. Patrick's Day festivities at St. James Gate this morning as bagpipers tuned up outside the Maplewood Village mainstay, where a fundraiser is being held today.

The event is for the South Park & District Pipe Band, which is among those that entertain patrons at the Irish pub each year. It will continue until 4 p.m.

See them below:


Stop by and give them some love.


MAPLEWOOD MAN WHO DEFRAUDED CUSTOMERS FACING NEW STOLEN CAR CHARGE

Germaine Theodore
We have been writing about Maplewood's Germaine Theodore for more than three years since he was first accused in 2013 of bilking customers of his debt management company.

He was eventually arrested later that year, indicted in 2015, and pled guilty to a seven-year plea agreement deal in January.

But that was apparently not enough for Theodore, who was arrested several weeks ago on several charges related to a stolen car incident while awaiting the formal plea hearing on his earlier case. 

NJ.com reported today:

In his latest brush with the law, on Jan. 25, Theodore is charged with second-degree eluding police, third-degree receiving stolen property, and fourth-degree eluding police in connection with an incident at 12:25 a.m., the Union County Prosecutor's Office (UCPO) said.

Theodore was stopped by Elizabeth police for obstructing traffic and fled, the UCPO said. He was arrested after a brief chase and police found that the car he was driving had been reported stolen out of White Plains, New York.

See the entire story HERE.

OUTDOOR MOVIES INDOORS TODAY WITH "MOONRISE KINGDOM"

From Maplewood Office of Cultural Affairs:

“OUTDOOR MOVIES INDOORS” BEGINS AT THE WOODLAND TODAY WITH THE AWARD WINNING FILM MOONRISE KINGDOM INTRODUCED BY LEAD ACTOR AND SOMA RESIDENT JARED GELMAN 

7:00 PM at The Woodland. 

This event is free to the public. Directed by Wes Anderson, this quirky 2012 dark comedy stars Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, and Bruce Willis. Prominently featured amid the star-studded cast is SOMA resident Jared Gilman who landed the film’s lead role at age 15. Jared will introduce the film and be available for Q & A immediately following. As the name “Outdoor Movies Indoors” suggests, people are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, their own refreshments and spread out to enjoy the film in the comfort of the Woodland’s Great Hall. 

The Film is rated PG-13. It is an ideal comedy for teenagers and adults. Maplewood Township and SOMA Film Festival Thanks to an alliance between the Office of Cultural Affairs and the SOMA Film Festival, the film will be shown using a new, state of the art hi-definition digital projector. In a win-win arrangement, the Film Festival acquired the projector which they will only need for several weeks per year.

14 OPEN HOUSES TODAY

Perfect weather for a day of house hunting.

So check out your next home or just see what the market is offering.

Full list HERE.


Saturday, February 18, 2017

SO THAT'S WHAT THOSE NECKTIES ARE ABOUT

If you are wondering what's with the neckties around Maplewood Village with "RESIST" painted on them, know that it's a protest.

And the work of Blue Scarf Collective, which bills itself on its website as "a group of artists, filmmakers, designers, and musicians" whose mission is "To make art. To promote feminism. To empower. To promote social justice. To kick ass."

As for the ties, the group's Facebook page states:

It's day 28. We have protested, called, yelled, screamed, and written. We are tired but we can't stop. We placed these ties all over our town as a reminder that there is a group of men in the White House set on taking away our rights - as women, as Muslims, as Jews, as people of color, as queers, as people with disabilities, as AMERICANS. Keep doing what you are doing! RESIST. RESIST. RESIST. #resist #resistties #maplewood #notmypresident
xo - BSC


See more on them HERE.

SENIOR SHARE AARP OBAMACARE EVENT TODAY

From Maplewood  Senior Share: 
 
Please join Maplewood Senior Share and Dave Mollen, president 
of the NJ Chapter of AARP, for a discussion:"Obamacare, 
Medicare and How You Can Help". 
 


This meeting will be at 10:15 AM at the Main Library. 
Dave's focus will be what we can do to ensure that Medicare 
remains strong. 
 

He will address the connection to Obamacare, activities of 
AARP on a national level and what we can do locally and
statewide to protect our Health Programs. Dave Mollen will 
address how we can actively work to preserve the Medicare 
benefits we now have in place.

Friday, February 17, 2017

COPS CRACKING DOWN ON PEDESTRIAN CROSSWALK VIOLATIONS

If you don't know New Jersey's pedestrian crosswalk law, you might want to brush up on it.

That's the law that, among other things, requires motorists to stop if a pedestrian is walking across a marked crosswalk. (Read it HERE.)

But what many may not know is that if a pedestrian is even just stepping into the crosswalk, the motorist must stop. If not, a $200 fine and points on the license can follow. 

Why is this important now? Because Maplewood Police are cracking down on such scofflaws.

Proof of that was the detail set up at Prospect Street and The Crescent today, where cops said they were ticketing drivers as part of the effort that is being done around the Township. This followed a previous detail in which warnings were issued.

The enforcement is part of an overall pedestrian safety and traffic enforcement plan recently announced by the police department.

So stay informed and stay aware!

LIBRARY FOREIGN POLICY DISCUSSION PROGRAMS ANNOUNCED

From the Maplewood Library:

Maplewood Library to Sponsor Foreign Policy Association Discussion Group For the second year, Maplewood Memorial Library will be sponsoring Great Decisions, a program of the non-partisan Foreign Policy Association (FPA) and America’s largest discussion group on world affairs. The program is free and open to all. Participants receive a briefing book providing an overview of important international issues, work independently using online resources on the FPA website, then meet to view an FPA background video and discuss the most critical global issues facing America today. 

There will be 8 discussion meetings on Wednesday mornings from March 8 to May 3, with a break. 

2017 TOPICS (each moderated by a group member):  The Future of Europe: Coping with Crisis, Trade, Jobs and Politics, Conflict in the South China Sea, Saudi Arabia in Transition, U.S. Foreign Policy and Petroleum, Latin America's Political Pendulum, Prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Nuclear Security: The Enduring Challenge of Nuclear Weapons REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED - Space is limited to 10 participants. Participants must make a serious commitment to attending all sessions and to reading the printed and online materials provided. To register, please email dakaslow@comcast.net For more information go to www.fpa.org

The program is held at Maplewood Memorial Library, 51 Baker St., 973-762-1622, www.maplewoodlibrary.org

Thursday, February 16, 2017

GREEN TEAM MEETING TONIGHT

From the Maplewood Green Team:

Green Team Meeting 7:30-9pm at the Maplewood Memorial Library!

 

Agenda: Blitz/Group discussion: Harnessing the current social action energy.

Several of you have mentioned that we need to harness the social action energy that is abounding right now.  I agree; so, let's have a blitz/brainstorm.  (a blitz is like a brainstorm except you think about solutions before coming to the group and then the group refines the ideas together via a brainstorm. Studies show that this is significantly better than a brainstorm alone)  So show your love by bringing the ideas, preferably written down, with you to the meeting.

NEW SENIOR ADVISORY COMMITTEE APPOINTED

The Township Committee last week appointed the first-ever Senior Advisory Committee.

The group will advise on any and all issues related to seniors. Their appointment follows the recent release of a study of senior needs and expected population growth last month.

See the committee list below:

1.  Sandra Bartlett
2.  Joan Crystal
3.  Irene Dunsavage
4.  Ian Grodman
5.  Kurt Kiley
6.  Gideon Romann
7.  Michael Summersgill
8.  Laura Whitmire
9.  Lucy Wilkerson
10.  Robert Wise


HILTON NEIGHBORHOOD MEETING CELEBRATES BLACK HISTORY TONIGHT

From Hilton Neighborhood Association: 

The Hilton Neighborhood Association will celebrate Black History Month at its regular meeting tonight at DeHart Community Center, 120 Burnett Avenue, at 7:30 PM. 
 
Commemorate Black History Month by learning about some of our
lesser known African American heroes. 
Everyone is welcome! 
The meeting is free and open to the public. 
Refreshments will be served. For further information,
contact cabms@aol.com or 973-761-4672.