The needler in the haystack.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Budget ferhoodle


Plainfield Municipal Clerk 'AJ' Jalloh sent out an email blast Friday giving public notice of City Council's hearing on the 2015 proposed budget to be held on Tuesday, May 5.

The $78 million budget proposal is up from 2014's $76.8 budget. A full copy of the detailed budget proposal is on file for public viewing at the Clerk's office in City Hall, 515 Watchung Avenue, during normal business hours.

The verhoodle (a Pennsylvania Dutch term I learned in college meaning roughly tangled or confused) comes from the fact that the hearing is a little more than two weeks away and there is no public word yet of when Council will conduct its own hearings on the budget prior to the adoption of same.

The amount of time spend by the Council in review has declined sharply over recent years, and last year Council hired Lawrence Caroselli -- a former Union County financial official -- to recommend cuts to the Mapp administration's proposal, which it then adopted with little discussion.

The same consultant has been hired this year, though we can hope that the embarrassments of last year's recommended cuts (and subsequent fiscal problems) will be avoided this time around.

The Citizens Budget Advisory Committee was appointed (six members only, Councilor Greaves did not submit a nomination) this past week. The CBAC complained last year of communications problems. We have to wonder if things will be better this year.

The public hearing will commence at 8:00 PM in the Council Chambers ' Courthouse, Watchung Avenue at East 4th Street.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, April 17, 2015

Pancake breakfast at Veterans Center Saturday

Help support Plainfield vets!

Plainfield's recently-opened Veterans Center will host a pancake breakfast Saturday morning (April 18) from 9:00 AM - Noon at the center, 400 East Front Street (same building as the Senior Center, but they have their own entrance).

Sponsored by the American Legion's Johnson-Jeeter Post #219, proceeds of the event will help support veterans' activities.

Donation is $10/person for adults, $8/seniors and children under 10.

For more information, contact Cornell Hawkins (908) 447-8158, James Hill (908) 834-7984 or Lamar Mackson (908) 377-6026.

Be sure to check whether guests may use the Senior Center parking spaces in the Monarch's lot. Park with care and consideration -- parking in the Monarch residents' spaces subjects your vehicle to being towed.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, April 16, 2015

Pat Turner Kvanaugh memorial Sunday

Longtime YMCA board member Pat Turner Kavanaugh
at the 2013 Y Bike Ride fundraiser for its summer camp program.

A memorial service for the late Plainfield activist Pat Turner Kavanaugh will be held this Sunday at the Wardlaw-Hartridge School on Inman Avenue from 1:00 - 3:00 PM. See a full memorial service obituary in the Courier here.

I posted this remembrance of Pat when she passed last October --

A 'Hartridge girl', Pat was resolute in her support of organizations and activities that showed Plainfield's promise and better nature.

We had been friendly acquaintances for many, many years and crossed each other's paths on a regular basis. A longtime YMCA board member, Pat was also active in the League of Women Voters and most recently served as the president of FOSH (Friends of Sleepy Hollow) as well as sitting on the Historic Preservation Commission.

Pat often regaled me with tales of roguery at City Hall during her tenure as Plainfield's first public information officer and we would commiserate over the foibles of the Queen City's political players over the years.

A staunch Republican but a committed pragmatist, she looked for ways people of different persuasions could work together. She had little patience, though, with fools of any persuasion and her comments could be quick, acerbic and cutting.

And we both shared a love of words and their proper use -- she often referring to herself as 'the grammar grouch'.

You might say she was the quince in Plainfield's fruit bowl, and she will be sorely missed.
Donations in her memory may be made to the Children's Room of the Plainfield Public Library (800 Park Avenue, Plainfield, NJ 07060), or to her alma mater the Wardlaw-Hartridge School (see the obit for details).

To check the exact location of the service and for parking information, call Tamica Lloyd at the school, (908) 754-1882.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Finding the owner of the demolished North Avenue property

After a suspicious fire in December, 2011,
a partial demolition permit was issued in January, 2012...

...but the Robinson-Briggs administration never followed through.
Here is the view after emergency demolition in March, 2015.

When the administration of former Plainfield mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs dropped the ball on the North Avenue property severely damaged by a December 2011 fire, one of the excuses given was that the owner, Dexter Humphrey, could not be found.

Deciding to do a little sleuthing, it took me less than five minutes to locate a Dexter Humphrey in Chino Ridge, California (ZIP: 91709).

A California employee database (see here) lists him as a Senior Development Engineer at the University of California-Riverside, which is not far from Chino Ridge. His LinkedIn profile (see here) gives the same information.

The name is rather unusual and says there are only seven in the US, and only one person with that name in California.

So, if Robinson-Briggs really wanted to track the owner down, how hard was that?

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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