The needler in the haystack.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Arbor Day ceremony Friday features 100 kids

A contemporary cartoon depicted President Teddy
Roosevelt advocating conservation of America's forests.

One hundred children from Evergreen School are expected to attend Plainfield's annual Arbor Day ceremony Friday morning in Library Park to help plant trees in honor of the day.

Arbor Day got its big push in the United States after President Theodore 'Teddy' Roosevelt issued a proclamation in 1907 to the nation's school children commending the annual planting of trees and the importance of conservation policies in the face of the lumber industry's destruction of old growth forests nationwide.

Arbor Day thus became the first real mass environmental movement in the country.

Plainfield's ceremony is organized by the Shade Tree Commission. The half-hour program gets under way at 11:00 AM, rain or shine. All are welcome.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Primary petition challenges go to court Thursday

1920s view of the Union County Courthouse, before the tower was added.

Challenges to several Plainfield Democratic primary election petitions will be heard by a Union County judge in Elizabeth Thursday.

Assemblyman Jerry Green, as chair of the Plainfield RDO, is challenging the petition of New Dem Ward 1 candidate Emmett Swan.

The New Dems are challenging the petitions of RDO candidates Taylor, Eke and Toliver on various grounds.

The judge's ruling is expected the same day and will determine the final lineup for the June 3 primary election.

Though I won't be able to attend the court proceedings (I have a Library Board meeting), I will try to pass along the results afterward.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Second of three Muhlenberg forums Thursday night

Resident input on the future of the Muhlenberg campus is sought.
Clinton School's cafetorium will be the setting Thursday for the second of three public meetings on the future of the Muhlenberg Hospital campus. The meeting starts promptly at 7:00 PM.

The meetings are being conducted by consultants hired by the City last year to gather input from residents and make proposals for the former hospital that take into account the point of view of the city and its residents.

JFK, owner of the former hospital site, has already proposed moving the Satellite Emergency Department (SED) to new quarters in Kenyon House as a prelude to executing its plan to develop more than 600 rental apartments on the 17-acre site, as well as a strip mall in the former Park Avenue parking lot.

Mayor Adrian Mapp has always insisted that some health- and medical-related uses be found for the facility. There is a groundswell of repurposing closed hospitals with standalone Emergency Rooms plus 'medical mall' arrangements including specialist medical offices, imaging practices and fitness and outpatient rehab facilities.

About one hundred people attended the first forum at the Plainfield High School cafeteria on March 26. The third and final meeting is slated for April 29 at Emerson Community School.

Clinton School is at West Fourth Street and Clinton Avenue. Parking available in the school lot on Clinton Avenue and on the street. Entrance to the cafetorium is directly adjacent to the parking lot.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, April 21, 2014

Gloria Taylor thumbs nose at Muhlenberg concerns

Chairman Green's handpicked candidate snubbed Muhlenberg ER hearing.
(Image from PCTV.)
Regular Democratic Organization candidate Gloria Taylor thumbed her nose at residents' concerns over Muhlenberg's future last Thursday evening.

While about fifty residents crowded the meeting room at the Plainfield Public Library to hear and question JFK's plans to move the Satellite Emergency Department from the main building to a much smaller space at Kenyon House, Taylor, who is running for the Ward 3 seat vacated by Mayor Adrian Mapp, and her running mate Charles Eke, who is challenging Wards 2/3 incumbent Rebecca Williams, were busy noshing and yukking it up with supporters in the private dining room of Spain Inn, the West 7th Street eatery.

Among those spotted at the event were both PMUA Commissioner Malcolm R. Dunn and his son Jeffery, who heads the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce, as well as former Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs.

Assemblyman Jerry Green, who handpicked Taylor as the RDO candidate -- without any input from Democratic Committee members -- has been noticeably absent from public events concerning the future of Muhlenberg since he addressed a 2008 rally protesting the hospital's closure and angered the crowd by saying it was 'time to move on'.

Since then, Green has worked quietly in the background to pave the way for JFK's proposal to develop the former hospital site into 600-plus rental apartments. Green has sponsored a bill (A3043, see full text here). which contains weasel wording that would allow 'repurposing' of qualified health care facilities to include non-health care uses with state tax credits to the developer.

In a recent blog post, Councilor Rebecca Williams also pointed out that the proposed bill would protect JFK from 'destabilization to the market' (see post here).

Candidate attitudes toward JFK's proposal for the former Muhlenberg hospital site will play an important role in the upcoming primary campaign.

Candidate Gloria Taylor has shown you her priorities by snubbing the public hearing on the Muhlenberg ER proposal to wine and dine her supporters instead.

Make a note of that.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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