The needler in the haystack.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

CLIPS, but not much more this morning...


Dan as Realtor, 1986; quelle dramatique!

When things conspire against you, they really do.

I have an edition of CLIPS together -- you'll find some interesting stuff from fellow bloggers. That being said, am hampered on my laptop by a nonfunctioning mouse, making the placement of every character a chore. Which I am passing on this morning, so enjoy the pearls and gobbets of wisdom from everyone else!


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Dan hanging in there, barely


California dreamin'..., 1978.
Since landing in the ER at JFK last Thursday, I have been flat on my back, and am just finding the energy to sit up and do a (very) few things.

It was a complete surprise to me to be told that I was diabetic and by Saturday to have lost a great toe. Surgeons are consulting, so far without a final decision, but more looks likely.

Now that I have my laptop hooked up, I'll weigh in from time to time but probably very lite.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

I'm giving up and going to the doctor


 
Superman is no more. After 27 years since last seeing a doctor, I am bowing to my body's messages and going to the doctor.

What I thought was the 24-hour bug a week ago has left me still not up to speed, sleeplless  and with no appetite.

So, posts may be light or erratic over the next few days.

Appreciate your understanding.


 
-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

PMUA reorganizes, barely


Unexpectedly held over, last year's Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA) board of commissioners reorganized last night, even as it was clear that the positions were probably going to change if the Council takes up Mayor Robinson-Briggs' latest round of appointments next month.

Harold Mitchell, former mayor, councilor and PMUA chairperson was elected once again. The vice chair's seat could not be filled as Commissioner Malcolm R. Dunn, also a former councilor failed to garner the needed three votes.

Less controversially, Carol Brokaw was voted secretary, even as she acknowledged she expected she would be replaced soon, and Alex Toliver was voted treasurer.

One alarmingly little detail may be an augur of things to come.

While passing the routine resolution designating the Courier News as the PMUA's newspaper of record, I could swear I distinctly heard Commissioners Brown and Dunn vote 'no'. Unusual, but that is their prerogative.

A short while later, Commissioner Dunn insisted that he wanted to 'change' his vote to a 'no', which the chair allowed.

Now, in an adult organization, one would expect that one casts one's vote with due deliberation, with the understanding it is being carved in stone.

It is alarming that Commissioner Dunn thinks one can simply ask to have one's vote changed -- after the roll was taken and the meeting had moved on.

This does not bode well.

I had to leave before the fireworks of the public portion of the meeting, for which you will have to read Bernice's excellent coverage here.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

To 'Anonymous': Do revolution the American way, put your name on it


Step out and put your name on what you believe in.
Oy! The stuff that comes in over-the-transom at Plainfield Today.

The latest is an Anonymous comment (off topic, naturally) saying the writer is organizing 'the revolution' in Plainfield this week and wants others to join in.

Trouble is, this person doesn't stup up to the plate and tell you who they are.

How unlike the true American revolutionaries, who put their lives and livelihoods on the line when they signed the Declaration of Independence. As, for instance, John Hancock, who is said to have written his signature large and bold so that King George III could read it 'without his spectacles'.

 

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Voters have their say on CLIPS blogroll fate


 
 
I bow to the wisdom of the crowd (I was inclined in this direction already, as you may have guessed).

The blogroll will remain unchanged (no cost in energy to me to reshuffle anything), and I live in the hope that our fine crew of bloggers will find some things to share from time to time. (I check each and every one every day.)


 
-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Friday fire aftermath, plus question of hydrants


Map shows location of fire and nearest hydrants.


Remarkably, the adjacent buildings appear to have escaped damage.
After a 4-hour battle, Plainfield's Fire Division and companies responding in mutual aid got the fire in the 400-block of West 2nd Street under control.

In these pictures taken yesterday afternoon, the building is completely gone. Thanks to the barrage of water, neither of the neighboring houses appears to be damaged.

In answer to the several people who noted long lines of hose apparent in the TV helicopter news footage, I surveyed the area and note the three nearest hydrants on the map above -- one within a hundred feet or so. There were more just past the train tracks and on Front Street. Doesn't seem like there was any lack of water.

 

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, February 10, 2012

[Updated] Pre-dawn multi-alarm fire in Plainfield


View from New Street and Orchard Place toward West 2nd.


News helicopters arrived moments later, see white dot at upper center of picture.


Smoke drifted eastward over Central Avenue, making visibility poor.


Eyewitness News (Ch 7) is first with story and pictures online. See links below.
 
Eyewitness News (Ch 7) has a story up as of 7:04 AM (see here), plus a picture gallery (see here). Ledger story up at 7:44 AM (see here); Courier story up at 8:18 AM (see here).

Plainfield's Fire Division responded to a pre-dawn fire on West 2nd Street as I was out getting the papers this morning.

A huge cloud of smoke drifted eastward, fogging the street as far away as the Bilingual Day Care Center.

Police and equipment blocked the streets and the closest I was able to get was on New Street, a half-block from the fire. News helicopters arrived as I was able to get a few pictures.

Besides Plainfield firefighters, I saw a North Plainfield rig on standby.

When I got home, News 4 already had some live helicopter coverage on the morning news.



News 4 had live helicopter coverage a little after 6 AM.



-- Dan Damon [follow]

View today's CLIPS here. Not getting your own CLIPS email daily? Click here to subscribe..

mmm

Foreclosure hearing by Sen. Menendez at BUF this morning


New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez will hold a hearing in Plainfield this morning.
 
Plainfield's BUF Center will be the venue for a hearing on saving neighborhoods from foreclosures being conducted by US Sen. Robert Menendez later this morning.

Originally scheduled for January, the hearing was postponed because of the funeral service for the late Assemblyman Alex DeCroce.

As Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Debvelopment, Menendez will take testimony on the effect of the foreclosure crisis on New Jersey's neighborhoods -- including Plainfield -- and on proposals to remedy the situation.

Among those scheduled to testify are --

  • Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22), Chair, Housing and Local Government Committee
  • Mr. Tim Touhey, CEO of the NJ Builders Association
  • Dr. DeForest (Buster) Soaries, CEO, Central Jersey CDC
  • Mr. Wayne Meyer, President, NJ Community Capital
  • Mr. Allen Mallach, Senior Fellow, Housing and Community Development Network of NJ
The public is welcome. Doors open at 10:30 AM, the hearing is slated to begin at 11:00 AM.


Saving Our Neighborhoods From Foreclosures
A Congressional Hearing
Chaired by Sen. Robert Menendez

Friday | February 10
Doors Open 10:30 AM

Black United Fund Center
403 West 7th Street

(corner of Central Avenue)
Parking in agency lot or on street


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Sen. Menendez holds foreclosure hearing in Plainfield Friday


New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez will hold a hearing in Plainfield Friday.
Plainfield's BUF Center will be the venue for a hearing on saving neighborhoods from foreclosures being conducted by US Sen. Robert Menendez Friday (tomorrow).

Originally scheduled for January, the hearing was postponed because of the funeral service for the late Assemblyman Alex DeCroce.

As Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Housing, Transportation and Community Debvelopment, Menendez will take testimony on the effect of the foreclosure crisis on New Jersey's neighborhoods -- including Plainfield -- and on proposals to remedy the situation.

Among those scheduled to testify are --

  • Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22), Chair, Housing and Local Government Committee
  • Mr. Tim Touhey, CEO of the NJ Builders Association
  • Dr. DeForest (Buster) Soaries, CEO, Central Jersey CDC
  • Mr. Wayne Meyer, President, NJ Community Capital
  • Mr. Allen Mallach, Senior Fellow, Housing and Community Development Network of NJ
The public is welcome. Doors open at 10:30 AM, the hearing is slated to begin at 11:00 AM.


Saving Our Neighborhoods From Foreclosures
A Congressional Hearing
Chaired by Sen. Robert Menendez

Friday | February 10
Doors Open 10:30 AM

Black United Fund Center
403 West 7th Street

(corner of Central Avenue)
Parking in agency lot or on street


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

PMUA Chair exposes how $1M payout arbitration was subverted

Oh great! It would be Wilson on the $100,000 bill.
How New Jersey is that?


Harold Mitchell, chair of the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA) Board of Commissioners, explained to the Council and public Monday evening just how the $1 million payout controversy with former executives Eric Watson and David Ervin was subverted by two new board members.

Though the issue was on everyone's mind, it was not on the formal list of items for discussion on the Council's agenda, and only came up after Councilor Rebecca Williams asked about the settlement issue.

Mitchell, a former Mayor and Councilor, explained that the Board's two newest members had taken it upon themselves to intervene by holding personal meetings between themselves and the separated officials to negotiate a settlement WITHOUT BOARD AUTHORIZATION.

(Though Mitchell did not reference them by name, the newest Board members are former Councilor Malcolm R. Dunn and his longtime friend and business associate Cecil Sanders.)

Mitchell's revelation is information that was not known to the public when the news broke after the Board's executive session following its January meeting. Prior to going into the executive session, and with a dozen or so members of the public present, Commissioners Mitchell, Brokaw and Toliver had vowed they would support the arbitration process to the end.

Though there would surely be further expenses on behalf of the agency, the arbitrator's ruling could have come in much lower than the amount demanded by Watson and Ervin or even that arrived at after the intervention of Dunn and Sanders.

Somehow, during that executive session, Commissioner Toliver was persuaded to switch his vote. He tried, not very successfully, to explain himself on Monday evening, but had to be corrected on several significant details concerning the amounts involved, making it seem that he was pressured into agreeing to the settlement proposal without fully understanding the details.


Unspoken in all of this is that the bull-in-the-china-shop intervention by the new commissioners was at the least unethical, if not illegal, and hardly augurs well for the future of the agency.

At any rate, Mitchell continued, the matter is moot for now as the settlement can't be paid because the funds cannot be certified.

When asked by Councilor Williams how the settlement would impact the ratepayers, interim executive director Duane Young said that if new sources of income weren't found to cover the expense it would have to be passed along to the ratepayers.

PAY-TO-PLAY REFORM

There was considerable discussion around the matter of pay-to-play.

Council President Adrian Mapp was of the opinion that the PMUA was 'an instrumentality of the city' as defined by the DCA in its manual on the state's pay-to-play statute (see here), an interpretation that had been brought forward at the time of the ordinance's adoption by resident Alan Goldstein. The DCA manual is itself an explication of the state's pay-to-play law (see here).

Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson has held all along that the PMUA was not covered by this interpretation (see my blog post on the debate here), and PMUA counsel Leslie London took this position Monday evening, noting however, that the Board of Commissioners was not unwilling to look into the matter and to try and align its policy with the City's new ordinance.

I will take up some of the other items discussed in a further post.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, February 7, 2012

YMCA take over the City Rec Division?


The classic YMCA logo, which served for 70 years.

A view of the Plainfield YMCA building.
Plainfield YMCA Executive Director Ravenell Williams and Board Secretary (and former City Councilor) Elliott Simmons presented to City Council on Monday the outline of a proposal for shared services addressing needs of the city's young people.

When asked by Council President Adrian Mapp whether 2,000 young people could be served by the YMCA, Williams answered that the agency could serve 5,000.

At which point Mapp asked whether the YMCA could run the city's Recreation Divison programs.

The short and immediate answer from Williams was 'Yes'.

This idea may come up again when the Council turns to the budget proposal for Calendar Year 2012, it's first budget under the new calendar-year regime.


NOTE: Post has been corrected to reflect that Board Secretary Simmons and not Board President Anderson presented to the Council -- DD.
 

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Council's school election date vote evokes recrimination from Board members, supporters


...you'd think a stake was being driven through the heart of a Vampire...
 
For all the gnashing and gnarling, you'd think a stake was being driven through the heart of a vampire at last night's special meeting of the Plainfield City Council to consider moving the school board election date to November.

The gnashing and gnarling in question came from current members of the Board of Education who marshaled a series of arguments against moving the election date from April to November.

While Council President Adrian Mapp pointed out that the move had the support of both NJEA, the statewide teachers union, and the NJ School Boards Association, board members were not mollified.

Board of Ed President Renata Hernandez excoriated Mapp and the City Council for having the temerity to act on its own initiative, despite the clear language of the law allowing it to do so, ending her remarks by saying 'the Board of Education will not be ignored...It looks like I might need to run for a public office...'

She was joined by BOE members Wilma Campbell (who said she had reached out to all but Councilor Reid), Dr. Susan Phifer (appointed to fill Rasheed Abdul-Haqq's seat), and Alex Edache, as well as 'king maker' John Campbell and BOE attorney Charles Craig.

John Campbell's remarks were the low point of the evening, in which he alleged the decision would somehow deprive 'these young kids', slurred Councilor Mapp's heritage and said he 'should never salute the American flag anymore'. He also threatened to campaign against Mapp in this year's Ward 3 race, in which Assemblyman Green publicly announced at a recent event that he was supporting Mapp for the seat.

Those speaking in favor of the resolution included Assemblyman Jerry Green, who was a sponsor of the bill and Marie Davis, a former Board of Ed member.

Davis pointed out that when she was on the Board, it was not unusual for candidates to poll 1,000 or more votes each, while in recent years the total vote had often fallen below 1,000.

Green, noting that both house of the Legislature and the Governor had signed off on the bill and that it was designed to address the needs of NJ's eight million residents, apologized 'for the way you guys have been talked to tonight...This is totally embarrassing'.

After the public spoke, Councilors responded.

Councilor Williams took after John Campbell over his reference to Council President  Mapp's heritage. She noted that the League of Women Voters had studied the issue and considered it genuine.

Councilors Rivers, Storch, Greaves, and McWilliams spoke to the measure, citing concerns about voter turnout and the cost to taxpayers for funding two separate elections.

Councilors Williams and McWilliams, as well as Corporation Counsel Dan Williamson all pointed out that
the move was for four years, at the end of which period the Board of Ed could vote to move back to April election if it thought them better.

Council President Mapp concluded the discussion by noting that it was clear from the comments by members of the Board of Ed that there was no desire on the part of the Board to move the election date, and that that the suggestion that a 'conversation' between the two bodies would have been helpful was not realistic.

Once moved and seconded, the resolution was adopted by a UNANIMOUS roll-call vote at 8:27 PM (scheduled for 7:00 PM, the special meeting never got under way until 7:50 PM, owing to an overlong Executive Session).


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Roundup: Council triple-play tonight; Mayor's latest campaign finance report


Piecing together a picture of the Mayor's campaign finances.
Could be a long night at Plainfield City Council this evening.

Olddoc points out the Executive Session agenda items may cause everything else to get backed up (see his post here).

At 7:00 PM (or whenever the Exec Session is over), the Council has scheduled a Special Meeting, the only item of which is to vote a resolution moving the Board of Education election from April to the November general election date. This will be a cost-saver to the taxpayers (instead of paying for two elections). It will also guarantee a larger number of votes cast for BOE candidates (at the same time making it more costly for them to campaign). Lastly, the school budget flashpoint will be removed for budgets coming in under the 2% annual cap imposed by the state.

At the 7:30 (we can only hope) regular Agenda setting session, Bernice details the items listed for public discussion between the Council and the PMUA Commissioners (see here); these also may end up taking some time, depending on how the discussion is moved along.

Then there is the matter of the Mayor's proposals for PMUA seats, which is likely to be gone over with a fine-toothed comb as to the exact frames of the terms and who is replacing who. Or the nominations could fail of a consensus and not make it to next week's business meeting at all.

Mayor Robinson-Briggs' Latest ELEC Campaign Finance Report

Mayor Robinson-Briggs' campaign committee (Sharon Robinson-Briggs for Mayor) filed its most recent ELEC report on January 30 (due January 15th). The report can be viewed and/or printed out from the ELEC website (see here, select the 1/30/2012 link).

Robinson-Briggs' balance had dropped to a mere $182 as of her previous (10/15/2011) report, and campaign watchers have been curious about the two fundraising efforts said to be conducted in the last quarter of the year.

The report shows a total income of $11,697.57 for the quarter, with expenses of $4,773.89, leaving a total of $7,105.68 in the till.

What is interesting to note on the INCOME side is that there are NO CONTRIBUTIONS listed in the over-$300 column. The entire $11,697.57 is listed as coming in at $300 or less per contribution. One has to wonder if Mr. Burney is curious about whether those contributions were from vendors and masked from public view.

One should note multiple contributions from any source -- individual or corporate -- must be aggregated, and those totaling over $300 in the aggregate would have to be accounted for and reported in the over-$300 category. Knowingly disguising contributions would subject Robinson-Briggs and/or her treasurer to 'punishment' per the ELEC forms.

Among the expenses listed, those connected with a joint fundraiser between Robinson-Briggs and Councilor Bridget Rivers at Hugo's on December 21 are of interest --

$350.00 for the band
$200.00 to Adrian's Caterers for food
$200.00 to Hugo's for hall rental
$665.50 to Bridget Rivers for 'affair expenses'
for a total of $1,415.50. No expenses are shown on the Mayor's report for invitations, printing, postage, or a program.

One is left in the dark as to whether the $11,697.57 is all that was raised and whether it was raised through the joint fundraiser only, since Councilor Rivers does not maintain a campaign committee and her last filing was at the end of the 2009 general election. Rivers' expenses and/or receipts would be subject to reporting to ELEC.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Hidden Plainfield IDed: Intestate Craftsman


Yesterday's Hidden Plainfield home is on Belvidere Avenue, near Netherwood Station.
As the commenters wrote, yesterday's Hidden Plainfield home is on Belvidere Avenue, just steps away from the Netherwood train station.

There is considerable interest in Craftsman homes, with magazines and websites devoted to restoration, maintenance, and decorating (see American Bungalows here; Style 1900 here and The Arts & Crafts Society here, for example).

Where shall we go next week?


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, February 5, 2012

Hidden Plainfield: Intestate Craftsman


First floor of Craftsman-inspired home is entirely fieldstone construction.

Detail of the porch stonework.
Today's Hidden Plainfield home is a spacious Craftsman-influenced structure whose first story is constructed of fieldstone (for more about Craftsman architecture, see here).

Craftsman homes can be found in large numbers throughout central and northern New Jersey, owing in part to the influence of Gustav Stickley, whose Morris County residence is now a museum (see here). There is a signed Stickley home in Plainfield which I will leave for another day.

The owner chanced upon me as I was snapping some photos and said that the home, built in 1910, was a renovation work in progress, and very challenging.

Over the years, it had been subdivided into apartments (there is a fire escape on the north side of the house, from the attic to the ground floor).

But that was only part of the difficulty he and his partner encountered in rescuing the handsomely-proportioned structure. The owner had been an elderly woman with no living relatives who could be found and who died intestate.

Subsequently, the estate was tied up in the courts for years, while the vacant house sat and deteriorated.

Intestate is not good -- for estates or houses.

Have you made out your will?

Do you know where today's property is?

Answer tomorrow.



-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

Sally Beckwith remembered, celebrated at brunch today


Sally Beckwith in 2001 production of 'Driving Miss Daisy'
with Jordan Hunt (left) and Harry Ailster (right).

Family, friends and associates of the late Sally Beckwith will come together to celebrate her life and accomplishments at a brunch
today at Cafe Vivace that has been organized by Faith, Bricks and Mortar, the Plainfield housing resource and counseling nonprofit.

Sally always regarded her work on housing issues in the community as among her most important efforts. She was a member of the founding committee of concerned clergy and residents that eventually established Faith, Bricks and Mortar, and served as its first real -- though part-time -- employee.

Sally was well-known for her involvement with Central Jersey theater groups, where she both acted and directed productions of Act IV Theater and The Parish Players. One of her grandest roles was as Daisy Werthan, the widow who is the central character of 'Driving Miss Daisy' in which her co-star was Harry Ailster. Mr. Ailster will provide a remembrance of working in theatrical productions with Ms. Beckwith, as well as a musical selection.

Ms. Beckwith was also a noted soloist, performing frequently in a number of area churches and synagogues, most notably the First Unitarian Society and Grace Episcopal Church, both of Plainfield.

Continuing her involvement over the years, Sally saw Faith, Bricks and Mortar through its incorporation as an IRS-recognized nonprofit, its designation as a Community Housing Development Organization (CHODO) and, most recently, its outreach to homeowners in distress on account of the recent economic recession.

Family members, friends and associates from Faith, Bricks and Mortar's twenty years of work in service to the community will join with Sally's theatrical and musical associates to enjoy a time of reminiscences as well as Cafe Vivace's renowned cuisine.

 

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Will the political season revive Plainfield's blogosphere?


A 'map' of the political blogosphere from Crooked Timbers blog.

Attentive Plainfield Today readers will have noticed that a lot of wind (or was it hot air) has gone out of the sails of Plainfield's blogosphere since the November general elections.

Time was Plainfield held its head high among New Jersey communities with more than 20 active bloggers. Not so today.

The scene seems to have sorted itself down into several groups --

  • Daily bloggers include Bernice, Olddoc, Maria and yours truly;

  • Frequent bloggers include Jackie, Plainfield Sports News and Councilors Mapp, Storch and Williams;

  • Infrequent bloggers include Board of Ed President Renata Hernandez's personal blog and Plainfield student Vashon Hill;

  • An apparent quitter -- education policy blogger Dr. E=MC², who has disappeared altogether in recent days and doesn't respond to emails; and

  • The Rest.
Olddoc has asked from time to time why I don't clean out the list that appears daily on the CLIPS post. Well, it's partly from inertia and partly from a hope that something will spark our capable writers, and partly from the knowledge that it took some effort to organize the roster and keeping it going only costs a few electrons (which are free on Blogger).

But now the pot is beginning to simmer, as both Bernice (here) and Olddoc (here) point out today.

Plainfield has many eager readers, who are also eager to share their opinions and engage in conversations with each other through the comments sections on each blog. But developing a steady audience requires developing a steady blogging habit. It doesn't have to be daily, but it should be predictable -- like once a week. And a topic area or a point of view that are distinctive.

So, will Plainfield's pondering class get a second wind and kick back into action?

Or should I prune?

Let me know via the poll in the right hand column on the CLIPS blog (here), which I will leave up for a week.

 

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, February 2, 2012

PAAAS Jazz Ensemble wows audience at its Library debut


In their public debut, PAAAS Jazz Ensemble wowed the audience.
An octet of Plainfield high school students -- The PAAAS Jazz Ensemble -- debuted Tuesday evening at the annual meeting of the Friends of the Plainfield Public Library, wowing the audience with their classy performance of jazz arrangement both old and new, and ranging from 'cool' to 'hot'.

Under the leadership of director Greg Williams, who is also mentor, coach and champion, the young men exuded confidence and pure pleasure as they performed. The group featured tenor and alto saxes, trumpet, trombone, bass, piano, drums and guitar. All are students at the Plainfield school district's Plainfield Academy for the Arts and Advanced Studies, located in the former National Starch Headquarters complex on West Front Street at Rock Avenue.



Library Director Joe Da Rold and Board President Anne Robinson
accept 'check' for Friends' 2011 contribution of $37,000.
While the young musicians ate a well-deserved supper after their set, the Friends conducted its annual meeting, with election of officers for 2012. A 'check' for $37,000 was presented to Library Director Joe Da Rold and Library Board President Anne Robinson, representing the Friends' contribution for 2011.

The Friends of the Library is a support organization that holds various events throughout the year to raise funds to support programs and special projects of the Library. 2012 will feature the annual book sale on March 9 and 10, as well as the annual Wine Discovery benefit wine tasting. This year's Wine Discovery will be held in the spectacular new 'Reading Rainforest' young peoples' room.

Following the business meeting, Friends and the members of the Jazz Ensemble mingled and enjoyed desserts and conversation.

If you are interested in learning more about the Friends of the Plainfield Public Library, check out the library website here, and the Friends page here.

For more information about the Book Sale, contact Mary Ellen Rogan at (908) 757-1111 x132.

If you are part of a group that would enjoy hosting the PAAAS Jazz Ensemble, please contact Greg Williams at gwilliams@plainfield.k12.nj.us or at (908) 731-4390 x5142. Performing in public before local groups is a great way for these talented young performers to grow their confidence -- in preparation for the greater things I am sure will come their way.

 

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Speeding car hits truck on East 2nd Street


PT Cruiser which struck the truck is at the curb to the left.

Once righted, the point of impact on the truck was clearly visible.
Skid marks can be seen in foreground.

Impact pushed truck east of the intersection.
A pickup truck driven by a Plainfield grandfather, with his grandson in the passenger seat, was struck by a speeding PT Cruiser at the intersection of East 2nd Street and Wiley Avenue about 3:45 PM Wednesday afternoon as the truck attempted to cross the intersection.

The force of the impact pushed the truck about 20 feet east of the intersection, leaving it tipped over on the passenger side and with its cargo of concrete pavers strewn in the roadway.

After EMTs from the Plainfield Rescue Squad removed the young boy on a board and tended to the boy's grandfather, a Matthew's tow truck winched the truck back up on all fours and retreived the front panel of the PT Cruiser which had been pinned under the truck.

Neighbors told me the PT Cruiser was speeding east on 2nd Street. Though the driver applied the brakes -- skid marks can be seen in the foreground of the picture -- the car was going too fast to stop.

Councilor Reid has recently spoken out about speeding in the area of the Emerson School, but it is a problem wherever there are long stretches of straightaway between traffic lights.

West 8th Street and Kensington Avenue also witness plenty of speeding. The speed humps that were placed on Kensington Avenue were decried by some and praised by others. Though speeding was dramatically reduced, the speed humps were eventually removed and have not been replaced.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

BOE special meeting subject is Super search


Descriptions of items on agenda are insufficient,
leaving District out of compliance with Sunshine Law.

When Bernice noted on Monday that the Plainfield Board of Ed would hold a Special Meeting Wednesday evening (see her post here), I was a little perplexed.

Board President Renata Hernandez had originally emailed me that the Board would discuss the option of moving the school board elections to November at a February 14 meeting.

After my Friday post about the possibility the Council could act sooner than the Board of Ed (see post here), Board President Hernandez emailed me again, this time saying the matter would be discussed at a February 7 meeting.

OK, so now I'm a little confused.

Finding no legal notice for the special meeting (did the dog eat the notices?), I trucked on over to the District's Administration Building -- the old Jefferson School.

Yes, I was told, there is a Special Meeting set for Wednesday and the subject matter is 'personnel'.

This morning's iteration of the District website's news carousel has the Special Meeting as item No. 1 -- with a link to the agenda (see website here, agenda here).

The Board of Ed needs to note, however, that this formulation is insufficient. Case law and Government Records Council rulings indicate the subject matter being discussed must be clearly delineated and descriptions such as 'personnel' are out of compliance with the Sunshine law.

Elsewhere in Plainfield, both the City Council agendas (thanks to Municipal Clerk 'AJ' Jalloh) and those of the PMUA Commissioners are done correctly.

Board of Ed, please take note!

An inside source later told me the matter to be discussed was the Superintendent search.

Which is another can of worms: the District website is still bereft of any ongoing update 'corner' where the public can be kept in the loop.

But then, not keeping the public in the loop may just be the point.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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