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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hub Stine situation calls for closer look

Rendering of Hub Stine proposal. See Maria's original (large)
image post here, along with explanations.

Nothing in Plainfield is ever simple. Sigh.

Take the developing fuss over the proposed changes at Hub Stine Field (see the proposed plan posted by Maria and linked to above).

Everyone has questions. Everyone has criticisms (evidently including the Board of Ed, which had approved the project months ago). Everyone has suggestions.

I must admit I am not naturally inclined to be disposed toward artificial turf, and was opposed to a half-baked proposal that was floated before the City Council by the Rec Division a year or two ago for a city field (money was part of the issue there).

However, I have rethought the question in the light of watching how the soccer fields between Stelle Avenue and Randolph Road in the county's Cedar Brook Park have become dirt patches -- either dust bowls when dry, or muddy lakes that makes the fields unusable for a week or more after a rainfall. Artificial turf seems like a natural solution in cases of overplay driven by community demand.

Hub Stine does not appear to suffer from overplaying (far as I know), but the plan appears to contemplate even more intense use of this community resource -- for which artificial turf may be a defensible proposal.

Maria is to be thanked by everyone for doing the homework to find the trail of Board involvement with (and approval of) the project, as well as providing a link to the audio of the recent Board meeting at which the project was discussed (see here).

Neither the Board of Ed nor the Administration come off looking too good in the matter.

How could the glorious Grand Slammers not even remember that they had discussed -- and voted on -- the project previously? And where were all their questions then?

As for the Administration, is seems to boil down to a question of communication. Was the Board not kept in the loop? If the scope changed, didn't anyone on the Board review it before plans moved along?

The plan that Maria has posted is a considerable reworking of the existing fields. And although things seem quite 'tight', the complex includes enough track and field improvements to make Plainfield an attractive location for larger-scale competitions. That wouldn't be a bad thing, by my lights.

But there are many stakeholders besides the Grand Slammers and they seem not to have been taken into account. And now, at the last minute before work is to begin, they raise their voices and questions.

And the Board is ... surprised?

Let the conversation, late as it is, continue.

I am impressed by the detail of the plan -- not least because it finally shows a little sensitivity to the cultural shift taking place in Plainfield by including soccer fields. (Unless you've been living under a rock, you will have noticed that on weekends soccer engages more people than any other sports activity in Plainfield -- literally hundreds. About time it got some 'official' attention.)

We'll survive this one, even if some stakeholders are incovenienced. Even if it doesn't make the District's administration look like great communicators.

Even if the vaunted Grand Slammers show themselves to be at heart a wiffle-ball team.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mayor Robinson-Briggs hardly a true friend of veterans

Honor Guard, Memorial Day, 2005.

Though she has taken great pains recently to portray herself as 'THE' champion of Plainfield's veterans (see, for example, the article in Wednesday's Ledger here), plenty of Plainfield veterans are quite annoyed at her posturing and her failure to deliver on promises made to them for a Veteran's Center.

A center for Plainfield veterans to gather and socialize has been part of their vision ever since an advisory committee of Senior Center members began planning for a new Senior and Veterans Center back in Mayor Al McWilliams' second term.

While a Veterans Center was included in the Monarch condo building which houses the new Senior Center, the development agreement provided that veterans could not use the Veterans Center until all the units were sold (it was to be the sale offices).

Why Robinson-Briggs did not put her foot down and fight for the veterans from the very beginning is anybody's guess, but she did not.

Consequently, it was only recently that a quiet deal was worked out for the veterans to have use of their center -- perhaps because the likelihood all the condos will ever be sold is so low.

But Mayor Robinson-Briggs refuses to give the veterans the keys to the Veterans Center, meaning they must make arrangements through her personally to use the room -- and then wait for a member of her staff to come and open the building, often after the veterans have endured waiting in the cold for long periods.

Respect for our veterans?

I hardly think so.

Honor Guard, Memorial Day, 2000,

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Is Green giving Robinson-Briggs, PMUA backers on Council new marching orders?

Sign at the PMUA's Rock Avenue Transfer Station.
In a statement on his blog today (see here) and a story appearing on NJ Today's website (see here), Plainfield Assemblyman Jerry Green unequivocably calls on Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs and the City Council to hire an independent firm to conduct a review of the fiscal situation at the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA), which has been at the center of growing ratepayer discontent for at least the last two years.

While Councilors Adrian Mapp, Cory Storch, Rebecca Williams and Annie McWilliams have pretty much agreed that the agency needs  to be sharply reined in -- if not outright dissolved -- there has always been the issue of support for the agency's continued status quo among the remaining three Councilors: Bill Reid, Vera Greaves and Bridget Rivers.

Not to mention Mayor Robinson-Briggs' implicit support for the agency.

As Storch has repeatedly pointed out, without a super-majority of five votes, there has been little likelihood of the most dramatic actions being taken, since they would likely face a veto from Robinson-Briggs that would not be overcome.

So, the question for PMUA- watchers arises: Will the Assemblyman's new directive bring Mayor Robinson-Briggs into the fix-it or dissolve-it fold, along with the previously recalcitrant three Councilors?

This could be real interesting. Ratepayers will want to stay tuned.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Dan climbs new rehab heights: Stairs

At least my therapy staircases are quite straightforward.
Today marked at new height in my rehab here at Plainfield's Aristacare Norwood Terrace.

Now that the amputation stump has healed and is shrinking nicely and the blood sugar is under control, attention focuses more on my PT (physical therapy) and OT (occupational therapy).

OT tends to focus on my balance issues and practicing on these and combinationa of manual dexterity useful in daily life -- such mundane things as handling kitchen items and navigating the bathroom. Among the challenges are catching and tossing back a medium-size beach ball while standing on one foot. Quite interesting if you've never tried it.

The PT exercises are focused on building up muscle strength and endurance in my wrists, arms, shoulders and both legs (I work the stump as hard as the good leg). I won't be a Mr. Universe, but I am getting some real muscles, what with the addition of weights and other measures to increase the resistance for muscles.

PT also takes care of my daily walking -- or hopping -- with a walker. Time is spent learning not to hop and land hard on the good foot, but rather to glide to a soft landing. I'm now up to about 200 feet and feel good about that.

Today, we began what might be the final level -- climbing stairs with one crutch and a railing.

While I have previously undertaken the small staircase in the therapy gym (five or six steps), I had specifically asked my therapist Brian if we could do real stairs.

'How many floors would you like?' was his reply.

We used the fire stairs at the back of the building which provide three floor of unobstructed staircase.

I was able to do a single floor today, with a couple of wobbles. But just doing it at all means the rest is practice, practice, practice.

And that one gets good at around here.

No matter how good I get, though,
I doubt I'll ever be as graceful as Loretta Taylor
was on each week's TV show.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Plainfield Public Library reopens after mystery power loss

Plainfield Public Library at night, lights working.
In an email that came while I was in physical therapy, Plainfield Public Library Director Joe Da Rold advised that the library was open as of 11:00 AM this morning.

Power was mysteriously lost yesterday (Monday) afternoon, and both Da Rold and Public  Works Superintendent John Louise say they have heard nothing from PSE&G about either the difficulty or the fix.

Some things, evidently, just fix themselves.

And some things, as Plainfielders are well aware, take more work than that.

The trick is knowing which is which.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Closing of Hub Stine for artificial turf installation disrupts walkers

The Hub Stine athletic complex will be unavailable
to hundreds of daily walkers for four months.

Hundreds of Plainfielders use Hub Stine Field, the school district's athletic complex for their daily walks, which will soon be disrupted when the District installs artificial turf throughout both the football and lower baseball fields.

The proposed work is set to be discussed by Interim Superintendent of Schools Anna Belin Pyles at Tuesday's Board of Ed meeting. I am told the work is planned for completion over the months of April through July.

Arrangements have been made by the District for its teams to practice and play on the fields of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood school district.

This leaves those who regularly walk the measured track at Hub Stine to shift for themselves.

Freeholder Carter is exploring the use of
nearby Cedar Brook Park during the period of closure.

Freehold Linda Carter told me that she is in touch with Union County park officials to see if an accommodation can be made in nearby Cedar Brook Park, where there is ample parking and plenty of open space.

There is a paved and measured walkway around the Cedar Brook Pond and it is possible that just a refreshing of the signage indicating distances covered is all that will be needed, Freeholder Carter said.

Those who are concerned about the subject will want to attend the Board of Ed meeting, at 8:00 PM in Plainfield High School's auditorium.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Central Jersey Deltas join in Plainfield Habitat's WomenBuild effort

Encouraging women to engage in construction is a goal.
Plainfield-area members of the Central Jersey Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta sorority, known to all simply as 'the Deltas' (see their website here), will be taking the lead in the 2012 WomenBuild project of the Greater Plainfield Habitat for Humanity.

WomenBuild, sponsored by the Lowe's home improvement stores, seeks to involve more women in the actual construction of Habitat homes by offering free training for women in several skill areas, including how to use tools, safety tips and hands-on experience with Lowe's trainers.

There is still one more workshop, on framing for walls, being offered for this year's project. The workshop is available at the Lowe's Piscataway store, 1345 Centennial Avenue, at 10:00 AM on April 7, or 7:00 PM on April 12. For more information or to sign up, visit the Greater Plainfield Habitat website here.

Part of Lowe's partnership with Habitat is offering
free workshops to give women confidence in basic construction skills.

While women make up about half of Habitat's volunteer force, only about 15% of volunteers actually engaged in construction are women. The WomenBuild program seeks to enlist more women to engage in the physical satisfaction of actually wielding a hammer or saw in support of the effort to expand housing opportunities for low-income American families.

This year's project by the Plainfield chapter is a coordination of the training by Lowe's, a grant for $5,000 from an unnamed local supporter for supplies and the participation of the Delta organization and will take place during May and June.

While the focus of this special program is to engage more women, the Plainfield chapter's executive director, the Rev. Jeremy Montgomery, is always reminding folks that anyone and everyone is invited to become a Habitat volunteer. Those interested can get more information by visiting the website (here), calling (908) 769.5292 or dropping by Habitat's headquarters at 2 Randolph Road (corner of Park Avenue, across from the Muhlenberg Hospital campus).


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

DOT awards Plainfield grant for road work

Grant will fund final section of Watchung Avenue work.
Plainfield was among 386 communities awarded nearly $80 million in grants to improve local roadways, the state Department of Transportation announced Friday.

The city will receive $209,000 toward the completion of the Phase 4 section of the Watchung Avenue improvement program, part of a long-range plan developed under the administration of Mayor Al McWilliams and approved by the Council in succeeding years.

The final section to be completed is the portion from Woodland Avenue to the Leland Avenue terminus. This will mark the completion of Watchung Avenue work from the North Plainfield line all the way through town.

Meanwhile, South Avenue road improvements are slaed to get under way shortly, beginning with the repaving of Atlantic and Pacific Streets, which were (wisely) added to the project after it was originally drawn up.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, March 23, 2012

Former Plainfield City Administrator Norton Bonaparte seeks justice in Trayvon Martin murder

By now, many Plainfielders have become aware that our own former City Administrator Norton Bonaparte is the city manager for Sanford, Florida, where the killing of Trayvon Martin has ignited a firestorm of protest and anger. For a summary of the case up to this point and focusing on the mobilization of Florida civil rights activists, see a recent Washington Post story here, which has gathered 4,700-plus comments.

Particularly egregious and provocative is Florida's 'castle doctrine' law, passed in 2005, under which Martin's killer has so far eluded charges or even arrest. The law (see more here) was inspired by the National Rifle Association and hawked around state legislatures by the conservative ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) organization.

However, such a firestorm of controversy has erupted that the Sanford police chief and the State's Attorney for the jurisdiction have both stepped down, at least temporarily. Meanwhile, the Department of Justice has become involved and President Obama spoke on the issue, noting that if the Obamas had a son, he would look like Trayvon.

In its wire story, Reuters quotes Bonaparte (see here) as saying on CNN --
"My comments consistently have been that I'd like an independent review by a law enforcement agency that will tell me did the Sanford police do something they shouldn't have done or did they not do something they shouldn't have done," Bonaparte told CNN earlier on Thursday.
Norton Bonaparte, whose steady purpose kept him unruffled during the worst days of the last year of Al McWilliams' administration, when McWilliams was under attack from Sharon Robinson-Briggs and her allies for the number of homicides in that year, which became an issue in the final electoral campaign.

Those of us who worked with Norton in those troubled days came to respect his abiding sense of purpose and faith in due process to win out in the long run.

As we mourn the loss of young Trayvon Martin and purse, along with his parents, the cause of justice, I hope we will keep Norton and his family in our thoughts and prayers that they may be strong in this hour of trial and that justice may come to Trayvon's family, to Sanford, and to the whole country.

If you have not yet done so, plese consider signing the petition to bring Trayvon's killer to justice that is being circulated by the family on the website (see here), where more than 1.3 million people have already signed.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Plainfield taxpayers would benefit if state stopped skimming utility monies

Utilities are taxed for using the public right of way.

Budget time is upon both Plainfield and the state.

Under a push by the NJ League of Municipalities, a longstanding and outrageous practice of skimming utility tax payments intended for local governments is being challenged with the goal of returning these monies to the municipalities as originally intended.

Going back to the 19th century, utilities were assessed taxes based upon use of the rights of way in local municipalities for poles, transmission lines and other means of communication.

Over the years, as pointed out in an excellent background paper on the matter prepared by the League (see here), the state gradually began to take on the role of collector of these taxes, which were then to be distributed back to the municipalities.

And then -- perhaps no surprise -- the state began cutting itself into the deal, siphoning off large amounts of the revenues for the state's use, thus depriving the municipalities of direct aid and helping balance the state budget without appearing to raise taxes.

A high point was reached in 2010, when $217 million was skimmed from local distribution, and this year is on target to see $252 million diverted by the state from municipalities (see NJ Spotlight article here).

The potential that could be recouped for Plainfield and other communities could run into millions of dollars, depending on the geographical size of the community and the utility infrastructure affected.

With all the pressure both the Robinson-Briggs administration and the City Council are facing over this year's budget, let's hope the League has some success.

Plainfield taxpayers would certainly benefit from it.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Mayor Sharon spikes PHS basketball court

High-heeled shoes are inappropriate and damage the expensive floors.
(This example of misbehavior caught by here).

Closeup of the damage done to a hardwood floor by high-heeled shoes.

Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs, who is known to get huggie-squeezie at the drop of a photo opportunity, was reported by those who were there (I have been laid up) to be seen prancing and dancing on the Plainfield High School basketball court in her high-heeled shoes during the recent playoffs, especially at the end of the game when she would acknowledge team members.

These hardwood courts are notoriously expensive to install and maintain, and there are copious requests over the loudspeakers during games asking attendees to avoid walking on the floors in high-heeled shoes because of the damage they do.

Nevertheless, the Mayor does.

Proving that it isn't just in politics that she is unaware of what inappropriate behavior is.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cardinals fall to St. Anthony's -- complete links

Plainfield's Cardinals fell to St. Anthony's in the final playoff of the 2012 Tournament of Champions at Izod Center tonight, 66-62, shortly before 10 PM.

Next year.

Complete links --

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tin-eared Muhlenberg proposal sets itself against Cardinals

Go Cardinals!
I don't think it would be unfair to say that I wear my love for Plainfield on my sleeve.

There are many wonderful things about our city as well as assorted issues associated with being an urban community and annoying idiocies that occasionally litter the course of public affairs.

But I have to say that trying to hold a community meeting on a contentious but unproven development plan for Muhlenberg Hospital on the very night when the town's basketball team is in the final game for the STATE TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS beggars the imagination.

If all of the Muhlenberg proposals stars were aligned, you tell me if it would make one bit of difference if the glory of the Cardinals' basketball prowess could have the center stage spotlight ALONE for one night and hold the damned town hall meeting any other night.

I have an inkling if someone had said something to the JFK folks it might have been planned differently.

Whatever, it's an example of the kind of tin-eared thinking Plainfield needs to do away with.

Go Cardinals!

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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PMUA Task Force efforts introduce new energy into unresolved issue

Ratepayers line up at the mike at Monday night's PMUA Task Force meeting.
A crowd of several hundred Plainfield ratepayers turned out last evening at Washington Community School for the report of the PMUA Task Force that had been commissioned by the City Council.

Working hard and in tight-lipped secrecy over the past several months, the all-volunteer Task Force gathered and presented a tremendous amount of information in the PowerPoint presentation -- which Council President Adrian Mapp said would be posted on the city's website for the public's use.

The Task Force is to be commended for trying to compare Plainfield's solid waste and sewer situations with other communities of similar size and makeup. This search for 'apples to apples' comparisons yielded New Brunswick and Union Township (Union County) as close examples to Plainfield.

This was a good methodology and, had there perhaps been some technical assistance provided by the City, the facts could have been focused more sharply and nailed down conclusively. As it was, the material presented tended to indicate the PMUA was top-heavy with administration and inneficiently organized -- before one even got to the matter of rates.

On the other hand, the use of anecdotal material weakened the overall impact of the report. It is hard to see, with a half million or so ratepayers in the county (and 150,000 or so in the three municipalities focused on) how one person's experience in one (dissimilar) community can throw much real light on the Plainfield situation. Professional assistance could have pruned some of these less than illuminating materials.

The Task Force's summation, however, did not really bring new options to the table.

What was suggested is that the PMUA could either be fixed, dissolved or nothing be done and the situation go along as it has.

The audience was divided -- though plenty applauded the idea of fixing the broken agency and came to the mike to speak in favor of doing so, the majority of the audience seemed to respond most to the idea of dissolving the agency, folding it back into the city and dealing with its excesses in that way.

There was a small but fervent group near the back of the room -- perhaps a dozen or so -- who were vociferous in support of leaving thing stand as they are. It was not clear whether any of these were PMUA employees worried about job security -- thought Council President Mapp stated, and restated, that the 'front line workers' should consider their jobs secure.

One of the biggest applause-getters of the evening came when panel member Liz D'Aversa said the $1 million dollar settlement 'gift' for former executives Eric Watson and David Ervin should be taken back.

The newest commissioners, Malcolm Dunn and Cecil Sanders, came in for their share of criticism for having subverted the entire arbitration process -- which appears to have been going in the PMUA's favor -- by arm-twisting the Commissioners into accepting their $1 million 'settlement' proposal.

The only PMUA Commissioner I spotted in the room was the Rev. Tracey Brown (though I was told Dunn was there at some point, I did not actually see him from where I was parked down front).

Though perhaps a majority of the City Council were favorably disposed now to dissolution, as shown by their remarks, Vera Greaves, who was present, and Councilors Bill Reid and Bridget Rivers (who were not) have formed an implacable opposition to dissolution, meaning there would not be the five votes needed to override any potential veto by the mayor of a dissolution move.

And that is where things stand.

However, I am a great believer in mobilizing people and the energy brought to the project by the Task Force and the response from the community in turning out put a new set of forces into play.

How those will work themselves out may well become apparent during this Spring's political season.

Council President Mapp is the party's designee for the Ward 3 seat and has no organized opponent as of this moment.

PMUA Commissioner Rev. Tracey Brown is the party nominee for the Citywide at-large seat, but she will be facing a seasoned opponent in Veronica "Roni' Taylor, a ten-year veteran of the Board of Education and former Housing Authority commissioner who has racked up impressive vote totals over the years and whose roots go deep in the community.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, March 18, 2012

All eyes on PMUA Task Force Monday

Time to put together the PMUA puzzle.
Plainfielders will have their gaze riveted on the scene at Washington School this evening as the City Council's PMUA Task Force makes its report -- finally.

The Committee has worked in great seriousness and secrecy over the past several months. The only whispers I have heard are that some of the data they have been provided will be eye-popping.

The report comes at a sensitive moment, as Gov. Christie's administration is turning its gaze on the local solid waste agency, and the matter of its settlement with former employees Eric Watson and David Ervin has been referred to the State Comptroller's Office. Additionally, moves by new commissioners Malcolm R. Dunn and Cecil Sanders to subvert the arbitration process into which the two parties had entered have roiled public opinion once again over suspected excesses by the agency.

Whether you are with most Plainfielders who are up in arms over the agency's rates or whether you are with the tiny minority of PMUA supporters such as Councilors Reid and Rivers, this is definitely a meeting NOT to miss.

PMUA Task Force Public Report
Tonight - 7:00 PM
Washington Community School
427 Darrow Avenue
(parking available in the Spooner Avenue lot)

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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The Courier on Doonesbury and Sharon

One of a series of Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury panels
which the Courier News chose not to run this week.
Plainfield's hometown paper, The Courier News, was joined by two other Gannett New Jersey papers -- the Home News Tribune and the Asbury Park Press -- in not running Gary Trudeau's several strips slated for this week that took up Texas' transvaginal probe law and women's rights. (See one online list here.)

Not all papers chose not to run the series; some ran it, some moved it to the OpEd pages (from the comics section) and some are running the series complete as a special section all on the same day.

The topic is part of a general brouhaha being kicked up by a combination of right-wing legislative moves by Republican conservatives in various statehouses including Texas and Virginia, and revulsion at the misogynistic vulgarity of Rush Limbaugh and his ilk.

It is personally saddening to me that the Courier flinched and I quite agree with reader Larry Golbe of Metuchen that the series should have been left to run.

Here is a link to one of several versions of the complete series that can be found on the Internet (see here). Whether posted as OpEd pieces, or as comics, the point is that readers should be free to read, react and draw their own conclusions when important topics of the day are touched upon.

As for the Courier's ability to project some sort of consistent editorial point of view, let me close with this observation by longtime Plainfield Today reader Frank D'Aversa: A couple of weeks ago, the Courier excoriated Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs when she sued the City Council over their recent dust-up.

D'Aversa called the paper's newsroom to remind them that while they had bothered to go all the way back through her six-year career as mayor in their bill of particulars, it was they themselves -- those same editorial page writers -- who had endorsed Robinson-Briggs for Mayor in 2009.

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Good morning, Plainfield!

Many thanks to friend (and reader) Cubby, who brought
some gorgeous pink and orange tulips yesterday afteroon.

Well, we made the move from JFK yesterday afternoon, with Nat chauffeuring me and all the gear in his soccer-mom vehicle (note to the worrying occupational therapists at JFK -- transfers into and out of the Toyota were just fine, only a tad of a stretch more than a normal car and certainly no big deal).

The sunlight seemed blindingly bright (had I been living in a bat cave all these weeks?) and peaked as we pulled into the driveway of Norwood Terrace.

It is a warm and cozy feeling place, with a friendly staff, but Nat, TJ's mommy and other guests yesterday all raised their eyebrows at the thought that much therapeutic was going on here. Most of the guests seem quite elderly and more along the lines of continued care than therapy designed to get them functioning back in their normal everyday settings.

That was, until this morning.

After being skipped for breakfast, I was finally enjoying the scrambled eggs (how long until a dietitian takes those away?) when a transport aide told me he would pick me up for therapy in a few minutes.

We went downstairs to the main floor and entered a spacious, well-lit, neatly laid out and thoroughly equipped rehab gym. With only a handful of patients exercising, the weekend therapist put me through some paces, evaluating my upper body strength, walking and stair climbing abilities and then put me on the bicycle pedals to get some heart action going.

That was when I met Jim, also an amputee with a prosthesis, who happens to be from Roselle. He is in for some unrelated issues, but told me that he was up and walking on his new prosthesis 29 days after his amputation. He was working out on the rowing machine this morning and I didn't suspect he was an amputee until he volunteered the info.

We got so engrossed in his stories of adventures -- and misadventures -- with his prosthesis (as when it disengaged just as he backed his 800-pound Harley Davidson bike into the roadway), that my hour was soon up.

Tomorrow, the regular staff will be in place and I'll get an evaluation and on to the next phase, expecting to be here up to two weeks.

Visitor rules are even more relaxed than JFK, so if you're in the neighborhood after 4 PM or so, why not drop by and say 'hi'. 

Norwood Terrace is directly behind United Presbyterian Church, 525 East Front Street. Room number 224.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dan's rehab continues at Norwood Terrace

As of this afternoon, Dan will be back in Plainfield,
at Norwood Terrace across from Richmond Towers.

It is St. Patrick's Day, and Dan's treatment coninues by moving along to the Norwood Terrace rehab facility on East Front Street in Plainfield (to the rear of United Presbyterian Church) today.

Nat will transfer me from JFK Rehab in Edison sometime after lunch and I should be 'ensconced' by mid-afternoon. The expected stay at Norwood is about two weeks after which I hope to go home.

Further rounds of intensive training on my new prosthesis will come later.

I hope that Norwood Gardens is as up-to-date at JFK in having wi-fi available and that I will be able to pick up blogging easily once I have 'landed'.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

TJ comes a-callin'

TJ comes a callin', with his Mommy and Savannah and Kenny.
The appearance of nice weather outside the hospital windows ever since I've been here (the 19th of February) has done a lot to build up a sense of unrelieved cabin fever.

So, this past Sunday afternoon, TJ's mommy brought TJ and Savannah and Kenny over for a visit.

Naked-as-a-jaybird I (all my clothes disappeared the night I came to the Emergency Room) got to wear a polo shirt, drape my legs with a cotton blanket and get a push outside the nurses' station for an encounter with TJ.

TJ was unsparing in his affection, jumping and licking my face and trying to squeeze his 85-pound frame into my lap, perching with me atop the wheelchair.

After several minutes of excitement that included large swaths of drool liberally applied to the blanket, we called it a day while he explored the interesting scents of the hospital's critters.

I would like to think both of us found our batteries recharged. I know I am extra eager to push forward with my therapy and prosthesis, learning to walk with a new leg and get back to my formerly busy way of life.

Many thanks to my non-doggy friends who have also dropped by, sent cards or called with well-wishes, but most especially to Nat, my better half of thirty-five years, my best friend, the love of my life and the reason for looking forward to each new day.

I am deeply moved by your friendship and caring and made the more eager to get back on my feet so as not to miss all the fun the Plainfield scene always offers.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Whose meeting is it anyway?

You know I just hate not being able to be present when things start happening in Plainfield, as with Mayor Robinson-Briggs' rudeness at Monday's Council meeting, reported by both Bernice and Olddoc.

The twice-monthly meetings of the Council are for the governing body to take up the business of the corporation in an orderly fashion and execute its responsibilities.

The meetings of the Council are just that -- of the Council. The Mayor has no role to play without the express invitation and permission of the Council President.

In her six years in office, Plainfield's voting public has certainly seen Mayor Robinson-Briggs attempt to hijack the direction and tenor of public discussion on any number of items.

When she was Council President, Annie McWilliams was constantly on guard against the pushback by Mayor Robinson-Briggs and deftly foiled most attempts to run meetings off the rails. And one could see the toll it took on McWilliams to have to face the implacable drip-drip-drip of Robinson-Briggs' monomaniacal method.

It is quite clear to observers that Robinson-Briggs is already well into political campaign mode. Folks should pay attention to what she tries to do to sow discord at meetings, who is allied with her, and what else she (or they) propose to do.

It would be nice if the chair simply gavelled her down whenever she gets out of line.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, March 12, 2012

Speaker of the Assembly Jerry Green?

Asm Jerry Green and the late Mayor Al McWilliams at
Walgreen's grand opening.

Monday afternoon's Ledger carries an item concerning a game of legislative musical chairs being initiated by the death of Rep. Donald Payne. Plainfield Assemblyman Jerry Green would be in line to succeed to the Speakership of the Assembly should its current leader, Sheila Oliver, decide to run for Payne's House seat. (See the story here.)

To which I say, why not?

Jerry's long years of service in the Assembly have taught him the ins and outs of the game, for which he is as qualified as any number of others.

The question will be whether his elbows are sharp enough when it gets down to it.

Those who don't understand his role in Trenton should take a few minutes to familiarize themselves with his responsibilities.

Speaker Jerry Green?

The Assembly could do a lot worse.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Letter of investigation of PMUA by State

Courtesy of Plainfield Councilor Cory Storch, the letter of Division of Local Government Services Director Thomas H. Neff to Harold Mitchell, chairperson of the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA) Board of Commissioners concerning the $1 million settlement with former executives Eric Watson and David Ervin. You can read Councilor Storch's blog post here.

PMUA Letter NeffToMitchell 120301

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Festival of Organists at Crescent Avenue today

Plainfield is fortunate indeed to have the Gilbert Adams organ at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church as one of the area's finest concert instruments.

Known as the 'king of instruments' for its size, costs to build and maintain and musical expressiveness, these large concert organs are often the occasion for festivals where top area talent tries to outdo one another in showing off the instrument and entertaining the audience.

Today, Crescent Concerts presents its Annual Festival of Organists at 3:00 PM.

Handpicked by the organization's musical director Allen Arts, today's outstanding talents will include --

  • Jonathan Hall from Central Presbyterian Church in Montclair;

  • Jason Asbury from Prospect Presbyterian Church in Maplewood;

  • Barbara Piercy of the First Presbyterian Church of Caldwell;

  • John Schucker of St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Millburn is being welcomed back; and Jackson Borges of Concordia Evangelical Lutheran Church of Wilmington, Delaware rounds out the program.
General admission $20, seniors $15 and student $5 at the door.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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