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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Plainfield businesses recovering

Dairy Queen's Donna Albanese was busy decorating birthday cakes Tuesday afternoon.
From Clinton Avenue in the west through Plainfield's downtown business district to Terrill Road in the east, folks were observed busily shopping, dining, getting nails and hair done and autos gassed up and repaired on Tuesday.

PSE&G and DPW crews continue to work at restoring power to the shrinking numbers of neighborhoods that are still out.

The city's website has shrunk the list of street closures from twelve to five --

  • Stelle Avenue near Plainfield Avenue
  • Putnam Avenue near Woodland
  • Watchung Avenue
  • Woodland Avenue
  • Belvidere Avenue
Be careful driving as there are still plenty of small pieces of branches and leaves in the roadways.

Check the city's website for further updates as the day goes by(see here).

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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More Plainfielders post Hurricane videos

Aerial views of two locations where videos of Irene-related flooding
were shot: Covenant U.M. Church (top) and 400-Block of East 7th (bottom).
Several Plainfielders have posted their videos of Hurricane Irene's impact on the city to YouTube.

You can check out the following --

  • East Front Street, near Covenant United Methodist Church, by hardyswan64, see here;
  • East 7th Street, 400-block, by alejandroaz4, a series of five brief videos:
    • Huracan Irene plainfield new jersey (alejandro) - (here)
    • New jerse Plainfield 435 East 7th St - (here)
    • Huracan irene lo que le dejo a {{PEDRITO}} - (here)
    • huracan hirene 2011 defensa civil plainfiel nj - (here)
    • Huracan Irene inundo a plainfield new jersey - (here)
  • Watchung Avenue & Richmond Street, by 1jereme, see here.
For yesterday's post of the video about Hurricane Irene by Lamar David Mackson, chair of Plainfield's cable TV advisory committee, see here.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Clerk AJ puts Boards, Commissions online

Councilor Ray Blanco and Mayor Al McWilliams,
celebrating the passage of the Civic Responsibility Act in a 2005 ceremony.

Three cheers for Plainfield City Clerk 'AJ' Jalloh -- for getting the information online (see here) which is necessary to begin to implement the City's Civic Responsibility Act, adopted way back in 2005!

Civic Responsibility Act was Councilor Ray Blanco's signature legislative accomplishment in a life of public service tragically cut short by his passing in August, 2006 (see my remembrance of his life and contributions here).

John DiPane, who managed the City's website at that time, and I (as the city's public information officer) had put together a table of the boards and committees, with their duties and posted it on the City's website, in anticipation of then building up the list of members and their terms. This page suddenly disappeared during September 2006 (see here, under 'New and Improved Website') when the website was 'redesigned'.

Those with long memories will recall that the 'redesign' was a fiasco, with the vendor -- who collected about $135,000 in fees from the City WITHOUT a contract (a criminal offense?) -- being tossed out after considerable shenanigans, leaving the City without the passwords and the site basically non-functioning for months.

In early 2009, the failure of the Robinson-Briggs administration to implement the Civic Responsibility Act once again became a topic of discussion by the City Council (see here).

At the time, I outlined what would need to be done --

Though enacted several years ago in an effort to ensure an open and transparent process to citizens to volunteer for board and commission service, it has never come to fruition. The Council discussion made this seem more difficult than I think it really is. It's a very straightforward process (though a little time-consuming in setting up): 1) List every board and commission and its mission and membership requirements per the Charter; 2) List all seats, who holds them, and when their terms expire; 3) Provide an online form for submitting a request to be considered and a resumè. The concern that the information is private when submitted is easily addressed by having the submission form designed to be read only by authorized personnel in the Clerk's office. (Note though that once nominated, the information becomes part of the public record.) Time needed to create lists? Couple of work days by an existing City staffer at the most. Time to create web page? An hour or two once data has been set up. Cost? Data prep by in-house staff; web page consultant should cost less than $300. What is so frigging hard about all this?
Well, AJ, who is also the Clerk to the City Council, has shown that it is eminently doable.

At the Plainfield page on Clerkbase (see here), you will be able to view the complete text of the Civic Responsibility Act and browse a complete list of boards and commissions -- with current appointees and their terms.

Ray's original intent was that individuals interested in serving would also be able to make their interest known by an online filing which would only become a public record if the interested party was nominated by the Mayor or other competent authority.

That would be a logical next step now that AJ has got the ball rolling.

Again, congratulations to AJ who has shown Plainfield can make its way into the 21st century -- and empower its residents, too!

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Some Plainfield neighborhoods still without power

Tree at Chetwynd and Hillside pulled power lines down.
Some Plainfield neighborhoods are still without power as of Tuesday morning.

The picture above was taken at 8 AM today; the tree fell across Chetwynd Avenue, pulling down power lines and leaving the neighborhood without electricity. (As an aside, I know the owners asked the City to take this tree down some time ago; a crew came, but it took down a different tree, leaving this one standing.)

Around the corner I ran into resident Eric Plummer (who chaired the Cable Franchise Committee when the Comcast franchise was last negotiated -- in 1999!). He said that his family has been without power since Saturday night, except for a few minutes around 11 PM Monday, and then plunged back into darkness.

I am getting comments and emails from residents of the affected areas expressing their frustration. Please be aware the PSE&G crews are working around the clock to get power restored (see more here).

Council President Annie McWilliams has posted PSE&G contact information on her blog (see here).

Unlike Lake Woebegon, everyone cannot be at the front of the line.

Be sure to check the City website's front page (see here), where they appear to be updating the street closings by greying out the names of streets that have been cleared.

Deputy OEM Coordinator Broderick Fleming has also posted an overview of the OEM planning and response (see here, PDF).

PSE&G has said that this is the worst outage it has ever had.

The issues with falling trees causing power outages in Plainfield can be attributed in part to the ground being saturated BEFORE the storm even arrived, leaving many trees susceptible of being blown over.

Stump of tree that fell across Stelle Avenue,
cut up and removed by DPW crews on Monday.

Plainfield's DPW crews are also doing yeoman service clearing the streets and I ran into them at several locations yesterday.

Even if you are experiencing problems, be aware that crews are working feverishly to clear up adverse conditions.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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PCTV's Mackson on Hurricane Irene (video)

Debris marking high water point in Green Brook Park on Sunday
was gone by Monday.
Plainfield's cable TV advisory committee chairperson, Lamar David Mackson, was on the scene taping Hurricane Irene's impact on Plainfield Sunday, as you can see from the video embedded below.

While Lamar and I worked independently (and my shots were taken in the early afternoon, after the day's blogging was finished), it is interesting to me that so many of our shots were taken from the exact same locations -- as though there were X's painted on the ground to indicate where to stand.

The video will be running on the city's cable channels also -- PCTV 34 (Verizon) and 96 (Comcast). Note that while the YouTube shows a run time of 11:59, the video is actually about 8 minutes, with a minute and a half of scrolling credits.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Plainfield copes with Hurricane Irene

'Lake Netherwood' from East Front Street.
Plainfielders can cope with just about anything, Hurricane Irene included.

The storm certainly did occupy Plainfielders this weekend, though perhaps not in the ways we originally thought it might.


Flooding occurred in the usual places: Stelle Avenue and Randolph Road were both overrun by the Cedar Brook, but were clear to traffic before 2 PM; Netherwood Avenue was a lake between East Front Street and the bridge over the Green Brook.

'Lake Shakespeare', the flooded cricket pitch at Cedar Brook Park,
with the  Shakespeare Garden in the rear.


Fallen trees were another matter, and primarily responsible for the widespread power outages.

Readers reported many trees down (with special thanks to Councilor Williams and reader Bob B.): Park Avenue/West 8th Street, Hillside/Evergreen, Hillside/Lake Street, Putnam/Woodland, Laramie Road, DeKalb Avenue, Charlotte Road, Belvidere Avenue, Dorsey Place, Oakland Avenue, Watchung Avenue, West Front Street and Johannis Place/Bradford Street.

Downed tree on West Front Street warns 'Private Property'.


Power was out through most of the city (as well as North Plainfield) Saturday morning, except for west of Plainfield Avenue and south of West 4th Street.

By midday, after the skies brightened considerably, some neighborhoods began to come back online, though the downtown remained without power from the Green Brook to Seventh Street throughout the day and into the evening.

Police were at many corners in the central business district directing traffic throughout the day and into the evening.

By 10:30 PM last evening, much of the city was back online, except for a large swath east of Roosevelt Avenue running from the Green Brook to North Avenue, plus sections the Sleepy Hollow area. One reader and her husband went to friends who had electricity to shower and get a hot meal, but texted me (at 2:55 AM!) that their power was still out.

Freeholder Carter texted me at 6:30 AM that her power was back on (near St. Bernard's church) and blogger Jackie S. (Mt. Zion AME neighborhood) advised the world at 8:05 AM that her power was restored.

Despite all but one store being closed, downtown was mobbed with thousands of people strolling, chatting in small clumps at the benches sprinkled around and lounging on the retaining walls at the Park-Madison office complex. The playground at Madison and West Second Street was mobbed with families and youngsters, and bridges over the Green Brook from one end of the city to the other were thronged with strollers taking pictures of each other and the surging stream.

There were steady streams of people walking along both East and West Front Streets, either coming downtown to see what was going or returning home after some socializing.

The ONLY store I saw open in the main business district was Maritza's Boutique, where Maritza was holding court just inside the entry of the darkened store. On West Front Street, next to Kings Daughters Day School, I was able to get a bottle of semi-cold water from the convenience store where I buy the papers, but only because I had the exact change of $1, since their power was out like everyone else's.

For some reason, almost all the cabs I spotted were Soria's, the North Plainfield company, which seemed strange since there should have been plenty of business with no bus or train service.

Since both county parks were DESIGNED TO BE FLOODED, I always enjoy checking them out after a storm.

While snapping pictures of the Green Brook at the North Plainfield end of the new Sandford Avenue bridge, I heard the WABC announcer say, 'The Green Brook in North Plainfield is at the highest, fastest and loudest levels ever, according to my son who lives there,' just as I was saying to myself, 'this sure is making a lot of noise'.

It was at this bridge that I also saw and snapped a gentleman who was busy cleaning out the storm drains near his house, something that everyone should think of doing to help ease flooding of streets in their neighborhood.

Green Brook Park was dramatically flooded -- on both sides of the roadway -- to an extent I don't think I have ever seen before. There was a tree down across the roadway between Myrtle Avenue and the (missing) Blue Hills Fort Plaque, but folks were driving in from the Clinton Avenue end. I have made those photos into a slide show (see below).

A homeowner pitched in by cleaning debris out of storm drain.

By the time I got there (2:30 or so), the Cedar Brook was far less dramatic, though it had swept away a lot of the Japanese Knotweed that lines the Stelle Avenue bank -- along with a good bit of the bank -- opening a view of the outlet behind Plainfield High School that I have never seen. Taking pictures, I noticed a very strong and unpleasant chemical odor coming from the vicinity of the outlet, and wondered what that could be from.

Got a couple of interesting pictures of 'Lake Shakespeare', where the waters had flooded the cricket pitch like a lake.
The city's website -- miracle of miracles! -- was actually updated several times in the course of twenty-four hours with brief notes on conditions and issues. The city is to be commended for getting its act together for the Hurricane, though I am not aware of anyone who took advantage of the shelters that were offered.

But as mother always said, 'Better safe than sorry'.

All in all, Plainfield seems to have coped well, and all that is left for us now is mopping up and getting rid of all the leaves and twigs blown down onto our yards.

As one man who was taking photos of the Green Brook on the bridge behind McDonalds said to me, 'This is nothing, mon.'

He told me he was originally from Barbados.

Enough said.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Hidden Plainfield: Battened Down property ID

Formerly formally known as the 'Unemployment Insurance Office'.
Hidden Plainfield? Hardly.

Folks knew right away it once housed the unemployment office.

Seems like a world away, as the unemployment office was one of the very first of NJ's governmental activities to go online, and the 'One Stop' offices that replaced them hardly resemble the activities that used to hum in the old building at the corner of West 7th and Madison Avenue. (It's West SIXTH, as the commenter notes -- Dan.)

Were the windows the giveaway? They are unique in Plainfield.

Where shall we go next week?

  • Hidden Plainfield:  "Battened Down" -- All comments and guesses have been posted.
-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hidden Plainfield: Battened Down

Two views of today's property, recently taken over by a church.
Here's a Hidden Plainfield puzzler for you.

Three kinds of non-residential property are recorded on the tax rolls, known by an acronym as CIB (Commercial, Industrial, Business).**

Today's example is a CIB property, boarded up for Hurricane Irene as of Saturday.

Vacant and on the market for years, it was recently taken over by a church, which has been busy sprucing things up, including resurfacing the parking lot and applying 'shutters' to the windows.

Do you know where this property is?

Answer tomorrow.

**There is a fourth: Farm, with only one property listed in Plainfield. Of course you know where that is, right?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Share your Hurricane Irene conditions here

Weather map as of 7:15 AM, showing Plainfield on the light/heavy borderline.
Use the comments section to report conditions in your neighborhood. Please be sure to note the time you are writing, and if there are trees down in the street or wires down give the location as exactly as you can and I will forward.

NOTE: YOU CAN HELP WITH STORM DRAINS: You can help by checking storm drains near your home and removing debris that is reducing or stopping flow. Place on median between curb and sidewalk so it doesn't wash back into opening.

Out on my newspaper run shortly after 5 AM, I found all of downtown and North Plainfield totally blacked out.

Since the stores were blacked out, there were no papers to be found, so I explored a little bit.

East Front and East Second Street and surrounding area were in total darkness, with Front Street barricaded east of Richmond.

North Avenue and South Avenue were out around Netherwood Station.

South of East and West 7th Street were out.

My neighborhood (west of Plainfield Avenue) appeared to have power from Front Street to the South Plainfield line.

Numerous branches were down, but I saw no wires down. No streets I saw were obstructed, though the largest branch I saw down -- at West Front and Sycamore -- lay across the sidewalk and over the curb.

There was no evidence of flooding at any of the NJT overpasses, including Watchung Avenue, which was flooded during a recent storm. But I did not get over to the far East 3rd Street area, where there is often water in the street.

Share your conditions and I will post through comments.

All official Plainfield emergency information and contact numbers are on the city website, see link below. [This post made at 7:40 AM.]

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Plainfield ready for hurricane, are you?

Falling trees pose a real threat in Plainfield,
as shown at West 8th and Grant after 2000 storm.

Though Hurricane Irene appears to have lost some of its punch as it moves northward from the Carolinas, Plainfield is still in line for plenty of rain and winds.

Plainfield's complete hurricane preparedness information was available on the city's website early last evening
(see here) -- including shelter locations.

The city is asking residents not to park in the streets. This is sensible and will only pose a difficulty for renters whose landlords do not provide enough off-street parking. Or who charge tenants for it -- let's hope those landlords will bend a little in the face of the storm and give the tenants a break.

If you haven't laid in your supplies of food and water, you may find yourself out of luck. When I shopped late yesterday afternoon, milk, water, bread and eggs were flying off the shelves and already in short supply.

About those trees: Be careful parking your vehicles near or under large trees. You don't want to have that West 8th Street experience!

Lastly, a little sympathy for the Barclays Tournament organizers, who have had all their laborious plans rained on, so to speak. Can we promise them that their return to the Plainfield Country Club in 2014 will be better?

Weather-wise, and with a new mayor who will understand the importance of taking part in the planning and marketing of such an economically powerful event.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Hurricane poses unique dangers for Plainfield

This minivan was crushed by a falling tree on West 8th Street in 2000 storm.
Hurricane Irene poses unique threats for Plainfield and its residents and businesses, with flooding perhaps secondary to damage from uprooted trees and falling branches.

Plainfield Councilor Adrian Mapp shared with a group of Plainfield residents on Thursday evening that the city was taking Hurricane Irene seriously, according to a conversation he had with Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig.

Mapp reported Hellwig said plans are in place to make Plainfield Police HQ the center of emergency operations and that special equipment was in readiness in case of flooding situations. Mapp also said that Hellwig told him that flyers were prepared for residents of flood-prone areas advising of precautions they should take. The flyers are supposed to be distributed in advance of the storm, and Hellwig also said that information pertinent to Plainfield would be posted on the city's website (see here); as of this writing there is only a generic paragraph from FEMA with some links on the city's home page. UPDATE: As of 7:07 PM Friday, the official Plainfield website carries detailed information, including addresses of shelters ('Welcome Centers') for use on Sunday if needed.

DPW map gives general indication of Plainfield's flood-prone areas.

While a large number of homes and some businesses are subject to potential flooding, depending on the intensity and length of the hurricane as it passes through the area, Plainfield is more likely to suffer from a unique problem -- fallen trees and branches.

With a large proportion of older, fully-grown trees in the city's residential neighborhoods, Plainfield is vulnerable to being virtually shut down -- as it was in 2000, when more than 125 trees were downed during a storm.

Uprooted tree fell on home at Stelle and Grant Avenues in 2000 storm.

Plainfield's DPW was so overwhelmed, other towns such as Rahway lent a hand in cleanup.
Cars were crushed, trees fell onto homes and branches tore down power lines throughout the city, leaving streets impassable and residents without power -- some for days. Cleanup was so overwhelming that the public works departments of other communities (including Rahway, pictured) lent mutual aid to a beleaguered Plainield.

Utility crews from PSE&G will be primed for response to storm issues, but the question is whether Plainfield's emergency communications plan will give Plainfield officials a quick and accurate assessment of any damage, and the ability to prioritize recovery efforts in a rational manner.

We will see how it all unfolds.

But readers would be wise to heed official warnings, recheck their FAMILY EMERGENCY PLAN and hunker down for a rainy weekend.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Longtime PT reader helps bust alleged burglar

Thornton Avenue is a quiet residential area near Muhlenberg.
Turns out a longtime Plainfield Today reader helped bust the suspected burglar featured in Mark Spivey's front page story in today's Courier (see here). The story should be of interest as I have gotten other reports recently of similar-sounding incidents in other neighborhoods.

The reader and her husband had just gotten back from vacation in South Carolina last Saturday evening to find five police cars at their next door neighbor's house on Thornton Avenue.  

A burglar had opened a ground floor window, stolen a TV, and let himself out through the garage. The neighbor has a silent alarm and the company called the police. The good news, the reader says, is that the stolen TV was found under the reader's bay window.

As the reader and her husband pulled up, she says, the suspect was in their driveway. When she approached him he said, "I'm looking for my friend I thought he lived here."
Immediately, she says, she suspected he was the perp.

As she engaged him in conversation, she said  "I know everyone in the neighborhood baby, who are you looking for?" He said "John," and she said, "Give me a last name." He said "Thomas." In the meantime, the reader's son told the police someone was in his parents' driveway.

The police came through the back yard and apprehended the suspect as she was talking to him, the reader says. He threw a blue bag in the bushes and when the police recovered it, he was defensive in saying "that's my paraphernalia", seems it was his DRUG paraphernalia, along with the remote to the neighbor's TV.

The reader went to Police Headquarters with a detective to give a statement. She reports that several neighbors have now said they saw the suspect walking around the neighborhood knocking on doors for a few hours.

The reader also says her alarm went off the day before and the police came and checked out the house and said there was nothing disturbed.  The reader told the neighbor to shut the alarm off thinking it was a malfunction and that she would be back in Plainfield the next day. 

Lo and behold, says the reader, the police said one modus operandi is to set an alarm off, watch the police come and either the alarm doesn't engage again or the people shut it off thinking it's a malfunction. And then the burglar comes back and robs you.

The reader advised members of the Hillside Area Neighborhood Watch to be diligent. Though this is one suspect off the streets, there are others. She advised neighbors that if they see something that doesn't seem right call the police, they will be more than happy to follow through.

The detective told the reader it appears that this incident follows a pattern of other robberies in the area, and, the reader notes he is NOT from Plainfield!

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Earthquake: Downtown damage, emergency management questions

Crack in false column on North of store facade.

Cracks in facade. Were these in evidence before?

Fired Division evacuated the store pending an inspection.
It was comforting, mere minutes after Plainfield was shaken by yesterday's earthquake, to find the Fire Division hard at work inspecting tall buildings for signs of damage.

Arons Furniture, in the wing of the Horizons at Plainfield (formerly Tepper's) building that faces onto Somerset Street was temporarily evacuated on orders of Fire Division personnel when damage was spotted to the building's facade.

The columns which frame the store from the ground to the top of the building are actually false, assemblages of plywood (apparently) covered with stucco, and the joints appeared to have been 'popped' by the shaking of the building.

I also noticed that the facade which seems it could be made up of sheets of plywood, also covered with stucco, had prominent 'cracks' where the sheets joined that I do not recall from previous scrutiny.

(I have a cache of pictures showing construction details from when a drunk plowed into one of the columns a couple of years ago, see end of this post.)

Construction inspector Joe Minarovich was spotted consulting with police and fire officials and not long afterward the caution tape was removed and the store was open for business.

All well and good, but the experience raises several other questions -- especially in light of how other area towns reacted (see Courier story here) --

  • Piscataway asked residents at 2:08 PM via text and email to call ONLY IF there was property damage;

  • Rahway, at 2:09 PM, advised via text and email there were no public safety incidents;

  • South Brunswick advised via the Nixle service at 2:11 PM of no injuries or damages -- a later post pointed to FEMA earthquake guidelines;
The Ledger points out that Facebook and Twitter were where folks first turned to spread word of the earthquake (see here). They also posted a graphic detailing the differences between East Coast and West Coast earthquakes (see here, PDF).

 I myself posted first on Twitter, then a Plainfield Today post and linked that to Facebook, where my wall already had twenty or more posts -- including from Plainfield city employees.

And Plainfield?

Well, aside from the Fire and Police Divisions obviously being hard at work, there was nary a peep on the city's website. (Someone will have to let me know if there was any notice on PCTV34/96.)

While other towns use a variety of means to reach out to residents -- text/emails, either their own or Nixle; their own Twitter feeds or Facebook pages; and reverse-911 programs (which leave voicemails) -- Plainfield does not deploy any of these outreach methods.

Which brings us to the question of Plainfield's emergency management plans.

Years ago, Plainfield hosted a tabletop simulated disaster exercise. At the time, Muhlenberg was the nerve center of the exercise. Plainfield's disaster plan was to be updated as a consequence of feedback from the exercise. And it should have been updated again when Muhlenberg was closed in 2008.

Was it?

Who knows?

A thorough-going emergency management plan would include both disaster management elements for a variety of scenarios and an evacuation plan for the general populace.

Are these in place?

Who knows?

And if they are, why aren't they -- or appropriate parts of them -- made public?

Google searches turn up plenty of public information --

  • Disaster Preparedness Plans -- about 2.5 million (see search here)

  • Disaster Management Plans -- about 6.25 million (see search here)

  • Disaster Plan Templates -- about 1.12 million (see search here)
but you will search in vain for Plainfield's disaster plan (see search here).

Lest you think all the responsibility is on government to do disaster planning and provide public information on same, ask yourself the status of your FAMILY DISASTER PLAN.

What?! You don't have one? What if yesterday's quake had resulted in real damage and injuries, if roads had been damaged and buildings flattened?

What would you have done?

A Google search for Family
Disaster Plans turns up more than 4.6 million (see search here).

Here is a good one to get you started -- "Family Disaster Plan"

Scenes from October 2009, when a drunk plowed into one of the false columns.
Bottom photo clearly shows outlines of panels making up facade.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

[UPDATE] Plainfield wobbles with earthquake

Correct map for today's earthquake, with epicenter in Virginia.
Plainfield witnessed the first earthquake I can ever remember shortly before 2 PM this afternoon.

By the time I stopped looking out the windows to see why the house was shaking and decided it must have been an earthquake (all of five minutes), the United States Geological Survey already had the data posted to its website (see here) -- clicking on the map will zoom in.

    As I type this, National Public Radio is passing along an news item of an earthquake southwest of Washington, DC, which is the REAL earthquake.

    Check your news station for more.

    -- Dan Damon [follow]

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    Avoid cardiac emergencies at City Hall

    Empty defibrillator case in City Hall rotunda.
    It would be wise for Plainfielders visiting City Hall to avoid having cardiac emergencies (no matter how deservedly provoked), at least for now.

    The empty AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) case pictured above
    is mounted on the wall in the City Hall rotunda, across from the elevator.

    For several years now, there have been moves made in various states -- including New Jersey -- to have these potentially lifesaving devices placed in a variety of public or semi-public settings such as sports facilities, schools and government buildings.
    (See more national info here, and New Jersey in particular here).

    While City Hall's defibrillator box is placed in a highly public location, the devices are not meant to be used by the lay public. Instead, the organization housing the AED device is supposed to have personnel trained in its use (a four-hour course seems usual), and employees familiarized with what to do in case of a cardiac emergency (more about AEDs and training here and here).

    There is also evidence that the potentially lifesaving devices are sometimes inoperable because of dead batteries or a malfunction in which no shock is delivered (see more here). There are also cases where organizations fail to implement a proper training and oversight program, meaning that not only might equipment be inoperable, there may be non trained personnel available in case of emergency.

    So what is the case in Plainfield?

    Where is the defibrillator and is it in proper working order? Have staff been trained and do those who are not trained know who to turn to in case of a cardiac emergency?

    For now, it seems it would be wise to avoid having a cardiac emergency while visiting City Hall.

    As if you had any choice.

    -- Dan Damon [follow]

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    Monday, August 22, 2011

    The Barclays: Traffic Update

    Muhlenberg's Park Avenue lot, 8 AM today, Snyder Nursing Schools in background.
    Whether or not anyone included Plainfield in the planning, it's going to be Barclay's, Barclay's, Barclay's all day, every day this week.

    Here is a brief overview of the traffic and parking situation as of Monday --

    The 'TANGLE'
    Woodland Avenue, Inman Avenue, Maple Avenue, and Old Raritan Road will be a mess. If you DON'T HAVE DESTINATIONS ON THESE ROADS, save yourself some grief and skip them. Make alternate plans.
    Closed between Maple Avenue and Oak Tree Road
    Southbound traffic will be forced to Park Avenue at Maple Avenue light, so why bother?
    Traffic will be heavier, so just plan a little more time.
    If you're traveling by ambulance, road conditions will probably not be on your mind; trust the the EMTs have been briefed and have plans in place. If you're going for an appointment, plan an alternate route and give yourself plenty of time.
    The PGA has arranged parking and shuttles for all sorts and conditions of those attending:
    • General Attendance: Parking at former Oak Ridge Golf Course in Clark; shuttle.
    • Volunteers: Parking at Bishop Ahr High School on Tingley Lane; shuttle.
    • VIPs: Parking at Woodbridge Mall; shuttle.
    While I have been told there is no official participation by Solaris in parking arrangements, readers alerted me last night that there was at least one RV parked overnight in the Park Avenue lot. Checking at 8 AM this morning, there were about forty cars parked in the lot (some may be Solaris employees manning the emergency services tent, but I'll bet not all), and I saw a black minivan loading up passengers, presumably to shuttle to PCC. Though some have told me they are planning to park in a Muhlenberg lot and walk over, you should be aware you could be towed if you park in any of the Muhlenberg Campus lots.

    Hidden Plainfield: Razing the Roof property ID

    New home is at 1001 Rahway Road.

    The roof-raising Hidden Plainfield scene of yesterday is at the corner of Prospect Avenue and Rahway Road, as folks readily guessed.

    A new, larger home but with the same Georgian and center-hall feel replaced the orginal which was, as I said, recycled.

    Illustration from Symphony Showcase invitation.

    And you can get a peek at Plainfield's newest mansion as the owners, Gina Addeo and Michael Sullivan, are graciously opening their new home to the Plainfield Symphony's 92nd Season Showcase with cocktails and hors d'oeuvres on Saturday, September 17.

    For more on the Symphony Showcase, visit the Plainfield Symphony's website (here),  download an invitation (here), or call the PSO office at (908) 756-4688 or (908) 561-5140. Tickets are $75/person. Please make your reservation by September 9.

    Roof section being removed, May, 2008.

    Where shall we go next week?

    -- Dan Damon [follow]

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