The needler in the haystack.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Mayor loses competition with Dirty Harry


Dirty Harry's performance was odd, to say the least.

Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs held her second community forum last night, but evidently lost out to Clint Eastwood and Romney's wrap of the GOP Convention (there were fewer than a dozen cars in the lot when I went by).

By late afternoon, the folks at WNYC had doped out that Clint Eastwood, the famed 'Dirty Harry', was the likely 'surprise' speaker scheduled for the final evening of the GOP Convention.

Eastwood's delivery was rambling, quirky, off-topic and eccentric in the extreme. Romney folks looked painfully embarrassed. (One wag quipped 'looking like the mother of the bride suffering the toast of a drunken guest at the wedding reception'.)

Yet somehow, it all felt familiar.


As though we had seen many dress rehearsals of the routine here in Plainfield.

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mayor hosts second community forum tonight


Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs
 
Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs has set the second of two community forums. This evening's is intended for residents of the Third and Fourth Wards to 'receive updated information about City projects and to address general ward issues'.

The meeting is at 6:00 PM in the Washington Community School cafetorium, 427 Darrow Avenue. Parking is available in the Spooner Avenue lot.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

South Avenue Summer Concert tonight


Original streetscape completion was also celebrated.
 
The Plainfield SID's outdoor summer concert is tonight at Plainwood Square Park on South Avenue, beginning at 6 PM.

The merchants of South Avenue are particularly happy to invite residents to bring along their lawn chairs and celebrate South Avenue's 'return to normalcy' after the months-long road restoration project.

Featured entertainment includes Grupo Salvacion, Valarie Adams and the Dimension Band, and Ray Goodman and Brown.

A special treat will be the three top finalists in the 2012 Plainfield Idol competition.

See you there.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Attack of the Crab People?


South Park's 'Crab People'

Plainfield bloggers have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous (and anonymous) commenters since Day One.

Recent posts by Rebecca Williams at her Go Sit Down Somewhere blog (see here) and Bernice's Plaintalker II (see here) have shown that the attack commenter(s) are alive and well and living in Plainfield.

I also got a crabby recent anonymous comment, and I can't help but wonder if we are seeing an attack of the Crab People (to understand these creatures who have been secretly planning to take over the world for thousands of years, see here).

The comment, posted to a topic ungermane to its content, was in reference to the individual who shot up the Family Research Council headquarters --

Shooting at the Family Research Council.

Well Dan, you were hot to trot to try and link Sarah Palin to Giffords shooting.


It has just been confirmed that Family Research Council shooting suspect Floyd Corkins II had been volunteering at the DC Center for the LGBT Community for the past six months.


I'm sure you will be silent here. No outrage?

What the commenter is referring to is my post after Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot at a Tucson constituent event (see here).

At the time, Sarah Palin had a website on which she was lobbying for the defeat of a number of incumbent legislators (including Giffords) and for which her metaphor of choice was 'targeting', complete with a sharpshooter's rangefinder graphic.

I was hardly the only one who commented on Palin's website. Perhaps because it was considered tasteless in the light of the event, the website was taken down shortly after Giffords was shot.

And I thought at the time that the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, must have had mental health issues. As it turns out, that was the case and there were questions about his competency to stand trial.

In the year and half since the shooting, he has been receiving treatment and recently entered a guilty plea in the case that will ensure he serves life in prison (more on Loughner here). Media outlets have reported that the plea bargain met with acceptance by the families of the victims -- including Giffords.

In the Family Research Council case, the lawyer for
the shooter, Floyd Corkins II, argues that he is competent to stand trial. Nevertheless, his history surely would imply he is a troubled individual.

What would the commenter like me to be outraged about?

The tone of public discourse around 'hot button' issues like sexuality?

The ease with which guns can be gotten hold of -- and misused?

You can mark me down as 'outraged', but somehow I bet that the commenter will not be any happier.

That's how it is with Crab People.



-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Hidden Plainfield: Concretely Doubled IDed



The columns, though similar, are not identical.

Two Plainfield homes in yesterday's Hidden Plainfield are both foursquares, a common style in early 20th century residential construction.

Though the columns are similar, they are not completely identical.

The topmost home is on Lenox Avenue, a block long street between Randolph and Laramie Roads near Muhlenberg Hospital. The lower home is on West End Avenue, between West Front Street and the entrance to Green Brook Park.


Where shall we go next week?
 

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hidden Plainfield: Concretely Doubled



Are those identical columns, doubled in one instance?

Two Plainfield homes caught my eyes in recent days -- notable for their concrete block porches, as you can see above.

While complete concrete houses are a rarity in Plainfield (see the one profiled last November
here), porches are a different matter. Several can be found around town.

Today's pair is interesting because the columns appear to be the same, though one of the houses has them doubled up on a solid pedestal.


Tip: One is on one of Plainfield's busiest streets, the other in a quiet neighborhood near Muhlenberg Hospital.

 
Do you know where today's properties are?

Answer tomorrow.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ruth Fellowship Health Fair today


Ruth Fellowship's annual health fair for Plainfield residents is slated for today at the church from 11 AM to 3 PM.

There will be a mobile dentistry unit for dental exams and free eye and ear exams, as well as cholesterol and diabetes screenings as well as blood pressure checks. Flu and pneumonia shots will also be offered.

Students who participate will receive free bookbags as well as school safety information.

Free refreshments and entertainment.

Ruth Fellowship is at 733 South Second Street, between Spooner and Grant Avenues.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Memorial service set for Chuck Hale


Chuck and Tom turned the mansion at 922 Central Avenue into Plainfield's first B&B, The Pillars.
 
Chuck Hale, who founded Plainfield's first bed and breakfast inn The Pillars, passed away recently. An obituary has been published in today's Star-Ledger (see here).

There will be a memorial service this Sunday, August 26, at 1:30 PM at the First Presbyterian Church of Springfield, NJ.

Chuck and Tom opened The Pillars after Chuck retired from active ministry as a Presbyterian pastor, turning the large mansion at 922 Central Avenue into Plainfield's first bed and breakfast, of which they were the innkeepers and hosts.

Chuck and Tom also involved themselves in the Van Wyck Brooks Historic District, especially in the fight to prevent the despoliation of the Abbott Nursing Home by its absentee corporate owners.

Chuck was active in the Plainfield Chamber of Commerce and was a member and supporter of the Plainfield Area YMCA. After retiring from The Pillars, Chuck served the Presbytery of Elizabeth as an interim pastor, during which time he helped the congregation of historic First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth refocus its ministry to the community.

The easiest way to the church is to take Route 22 East to the fork just before the island starts. Bear left at the fork (Western Termite will be on the left) onto Mountain Avenue and proceed north to where Mountain ends at Morris Avenue. The Presbyterian Church is across Morris Avenue on the right.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Abdul-Haqq presses 'sore loser' complaint against Mapp


Defeated candidate Abdul-Haqq presses 'sore loser' complaint.

Rasheed Abdul-Haqq, who lost to Plainfield City Council President Adrian Mapp in the June Democratic primary for the Ward 3 nomination, continues to press his 'sore loser' complaint against Mapp, as a story in today's Courier makes clear (see the story 'Mapp resigns housing authority job, avoids federal probe' here).

The Courier article shows how a piece can be factual and misleading at the same time. What the writer does not disclose is that Mapp was in touch with the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), which is charged with enforcing the Hatch Act, all along throughout the primary campaign process, and had written more than once asking the OLC to render an opinion in his case.

When the OLC finally got back to him, Mapp says he cured the complaint by resigning from the East Orange Housing Authority as of July 11, which the OLC confirmed to him in writing.

Unfortunately, the writer of the article does not touch on these facts in recounting the story.

As for Abdul-Haqq, he evidently misunderstands the intent of the Hatch Act altogether (for an overview of the act, see here). What is at stake is a person's job, not their elected office. If the OLC rules that the employee is indeed covered by the Hatch Act, the employee may cure the breach by resigning the job -- as, in fact, Mapp did.

The will of the voters at the ballot box is not touched on by the Act. In fact, the OLC itself is among those spearheading a drive for changes to the Hatch Act. As its director, Carolyn Lerner, said in an OpEd in the New York Times last fall (see here), the Act is too often misused against candidates in local elections.

This whole matter is all the more sad because of the sympathy many of us feel for Abdul-Haqq, who was -- in my opinion, unjustly -- forced off the Board of Education by a law that appeared to be aimed at him personally because of a youthful drug conviction.

Pursuing the Ward 3 Democratic nomination matter only diminishes Abdul-Haqq and makes him appear a sore loser.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mayor sets community forum for tonight


Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs

Plainfield Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs has set a community forum for tonight intended for residents of the First and Second Wards to 'receive updated information about City projects and to address general ward issues'.

The meeting is at 6:00 PM in the Anne Louise Davis Meeting Room of the Plainfield Public Library, 8th Street at Park Avenue, and is billed as 'a free Community Service'.

A second meeting, for Third and Fourth Ward residents, is planned for August 30 at Washington Community School, 427 Darrow Avenue, also at 6:00 PM.



-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Mayor drops lawsuit against Council


'nuf said?

[This story has been amended to reflect a correction.] Monday's Plainfield City Council meeting held only one real surprise, and that came almost as an afterthought.

As Olddoc had noted on his blog previously (see here), there were thirteen resolutions (R322-12 through R334-12) on the agenda which had not been discussed openly at the last week's agenda session. At the public comment section, [correction] he Bernice Paglia of Plaintalker inquired of Council President Adrian Mapp why these proposed contracts had June 30, 2012 end dates since we were now on a calendar year. Councilor Mapp advised they would all be corrected to read 'December 31, 2012', which indeed Chairman Reid undertook when they got to that point in the meeting.


As they finished the items under the heading 'Corporation Counsel', Councilor Williams quietly asked if there was an update on Mayor Robinson-Briggs' lawsuit against the Council.

After a moment's pause, Mr. Minchello said simply 'the mayor has withdrawn her lawsuit'.

Bam!

Just like that, it was over.

The Courier's Mark Spivey published a long piece on the mayor's lawsuit in the Courier's online edition back in March, outlining her charges that the Council's investigation denied her the opportunity to confront her accusers or cross examine witnesses and that the $200 fine levied by the Council exceeded its authority (notwithstanding a provision for just such a fine in the city's special charter). I posted the text of Mayor Robinson-Briggs' lawsuit online here.

Over the intervening months, Democratic activist Dottie Gutenkauf tried to broker a peace between the Council and the Mayor. While Council President Adrian Mapp agreed the fine should be eliminated after a ruling by Superior Court Judge Karen Cassidy, the reprimand was left standing (my posts on the matter are gathered together here).

Robinson-Briggs took the opportunity of Cassidy's ruling on the narrow matter of whether the Council could levy the fine to trumpet the ruling in a press release posted to the city's website (see here). Embarrassingly for her, she used the city's public information officer, Terry West, to write up the release and post it to the website. The press release was summarily taken down when attention was called to it by Councilor Williams (see here) and Olddoc (see here) and the point made that the lawsuit was not city business but a private complaint filed by the Mayor.

That was the end of June and nothing had been heard since, until Minchello's comment last evening.

Those who had been waiting for an opportunity to hear the Mayor plead her full case in the courts will not get that chance now.

What had the potential of ending with a bang now ends with a ... whimper?


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Monday, August 20, 2012

Hidden Plainfield: Plainfield's answer to Levittown ID'ed


This was the model home used to show potential buyers
what their dream house would be like.


Brisbane Estates, Plainfield's answer to Levittown.

The answer to yesterday's Hidden Plainfield is, of course, Brisbane Estates off East Seventh Street and Terrill Road.

The development was built up after the model established by William J. Levitt (see here), whose Levittown on Long Island was the first of the great postwar suburban developments. The homes were primarily bought by returning veterans who were establishing their families and whose loans were guaranteed by the Veterans Administration and the FHA.

The model home was the one on the corner of East 7th and Sterling Streets, shown above. This home was in its original state until the most recent owners updated it. I knew the original owners (they were members of my church) and the home was the bride's wedding present from the groom, a returning WWII vet.

As the suburbs began to take root, these smaller homes became known as 'starter homes' and newer waves of housing included the split levels which were one of the hallmarks of the 1960s.

Most communities had some sort of Levittown-like development. In South Plainfield you can see an example in the Geary Farms area and in North Plainfield the homes along Richard Way off Mountain Avenue.




Geary Farms in South Plainfield.


Richard Way in North Plainfield.
Those interested in the history of the suburbs will find a fascinating read in Kenneth Jackson's Crabgrass Frontier (see more here).

NOTE: One commenter notes the owner of one of the homes pictured is unhappy that her home was featured. I have been taking pictures of interesting Plainfield homes for years and have hundreds. More than a hundred have been featured in 'Hidden Plainfield'. While I often speak with the homeowners (if they are about when I am out with the camera), I do not always make contact. I have found people are proud of their homes and pleased at the thought that their home helps show Plainfield as a great community with many interesting homes. Some owners have even tracked me down after the fact to thank me for highlighting their home and neighborhood (and ask for a copy of the photo).

Where shall we go next week?



-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Mapp declares candidacy at BBQ


Council President Mapp announced his candidacy at the BBQ.

The line of cars for those attending Plainfield Council President Adrian Mapp and his wife Amelia's annual community BBQ Saturday stretched from Central Avenue to Irving Place and down the side streets in between.

By all accounts this was the largest turnout ever and the Mapps back yard was crowded with folks having a good time eating and chatting, and kids running and playing.

Assemblyman Jerry Green updated the crowd on the Obama campaign efforts in Plainfield, including the opening of campaign headquarters on Roosevelt Avenue in the office to the rear of Pollo Campero, in what was formerly the Plainfield Senior Center.

Candidates for the charter study commission were present and said a few words about how important this citizen effort is. Those circulating petitions to be on the ballot are Rick Smiley, Jeanette Criscione, John Stewart, Mary Burgwinkle and Joyce Antila Phipps.

Lastly, Councilor Mapp announced his candidacy for the mayor's race in 2013, to great applause from the crowd.

The party and dancing continued into the evening, long after I pooped out. It was a great event and many thanks to Adrian and Amelia for hosting it each year!



-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hidden Plainfield: Plainfield's answer to Levittown


A home in the original configuration, with period aluminum awnings.

One of the curved streets that gave interest to the development.

Though considered relatively well-developed, Plainfield still had enough undeveloped land and infill lots at the end of World War II to absorb a considerable amount of the pressure for new housing created by returning veterans who were starting their families.

One location in particular lent itself to the kind of mass-produced, assembly-line style housing development popularized on the East Coast by William J. Levitt (see here), whose Levittown on Long Island was the first of the great postwar suburban developments.

Though known as the 'Inventor of the Suburb' for his development of planned, affordable communities, pitched and sold through model homes displaying the amenities buyers would get (including state-of-the-art kitchens), Levitt was also responsible for extending the conventional racism of the times to making these new communities 'whites only'.

Do you know where Plainfield's answer to Levittown is? How about similar developments in North Plainfield and South Plainfield?

Answer tomorrow.



-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

Community BBQ at Mapps today

 

All are cordially invited as Council President Adrian Mapp and his wife Amelia host their 5th annual community BBQ today at their home at 535 West 8th Street.

Slated to start at 4 PM, you can be sure the fun will continue well into the evening hours as folks gather at tables spread across the spacious backyard to eat and schmooze, enjoying the company, the food and the music.

Read more about the BBQ at Councilor Mapps blog here -- and remember that canned goods and nonperishable food items are welcome and will be distributed to Plainfield feeding programs.

Attendees will also be updated on the coordinated citywide Democratic campaign to re-elect President Barack Obama. Visitors to downtown will have noticed that the campaign headquarters are now open on Roosevelt Avenue in the office to the rear of Pollo Campero, in what was formerly the Plainfield Senior Center.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, August 17, 2012

SID's Family Fun Night tonight


Plaza at County Office Building is site of event.

Downtown Plainfield will be hopping tonight with a full roster of activities sponsored by the Special Improvement District billed as 'Family Fun Night'.

Besides a car, truck and bike show hosted by G-Wiz Auto Entertainment, the event will be headlined at 7:00 PM with a performance by magician Phillip Jennings.

'Gamin' Ride', the mobile video game theater will be available as well a 5-in-1 inflatable kiddie ride.

The evening concludes with an outdoor movie (Despicable Me) at 8:45 PM.

In addition, downtown stores will be open during the evening with unadvertised 'Family Fun Night' sales.

The event will take place at the Plaza in front of the County Office Building.



-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fancy footwork for Dan



Crack o'dawn appointment Thursday for Dan to get a new foot.

Actually, a foot with an articulated ankle as opposed to the 'table leg' prosthesis I've been working with.

Incremental, teensy steps forward -- now with a wiggle.



-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Shouldn't the City Administrator be the Chief Accountability Officer?



How three items on Monday's council agenda were handled caused me to wonder whether City Administrator Eric Berry shouldn't be held more accountable by the council as the Chief Executive's chief executive.

Two of the matters (the ShotSpotter program and the purchase of a prefab concession stand for the Rock Avenue fields) concern how contracts are negotiated and executed.

With relation to both the ShotSpotter program and the concession stand there are questions about the watchfulness of the Robinson-Briggs administration in the expenditure of taxpayer monies that rise above the level of the individual nominally responsible for the project (Director Hellwig in the ShotSpotter case; Recreation Supervisor Wynn with regard to the concession stand).

Shouldn't the City Administrator be raising the issue of whether ShotSpotter payments should be made at all unless the system is functioning as per the negotiated agreement? 

Shouldn't the City Administrator be responsible for seeing to it that no plans to purchase a prefab concession stand are presented to the Council without including the engineering and prep work contracts that are a necessary correlate?

With regard to the Chief Financial Officer position, it is one of the most important -- and constitutionally required --
appointments Mayor Robinson-Briggs has to make. Is it really Director Restaino's responsibility to solve this conundrum? I don't think so. This one is so important that the Chief Executive's chief executive officer ought to be on the hook for it -- and that means City Administrator Berry.

Someone, somewhere has to be responsible for making sure every 't' has been crossed and every 'i' dotted.

I can think of at least three past City Administrators who would have seen to it that their department heads and they themselves were prepared when questions by the Council arose -- Tom Morrison, Norton Bonaparte and Dave Kochel. That level of accountability has sadly been lacking in recent months.

When Council President Adrian Mapp got to the discussion of the status of the Chief Financial Officer search at Monday's council meeting, City Administrator Eric Berry nodded to Director Al Restaino to come to the table.

I thought to myself, 'Shouldn't Berry be the Chief Accountability Officer and not the Chief Kick-the-Can-Down-the-Road Officer?'


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

ShotSpotter kinks still not worked out


How ShotSpotter works (graphic from The Saginaw News).

Saying Plainfield constituents had made many inquiries about the accuracy and effectiveness of the program, Council President Adrian Mapp invited Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig to the table Monday evening to update the council on the ShotSpotter program.

It has been a year since the Council approved the $169,000 tab for the first year's lease of the gunshot detection system, along with accepting a $250,000 technology grant for equipment and installation.

Hellwig's presentation was long on earnestness, but rather gun-shy about hard data.

It came out in Hellwig's discussion that of nine confirmed gunfire incidents since July 1, four were correctly picked up by the ShotSpotter system. Hellwig said one incident actually involved ShotSpotter identifying gunfire from an (unidentified) adjacent community.

(I am told by police that the double shooting incident across from the Drake House -- see my post here -- was indeed picked up by ShotSpotter, but that police were directed to an incorrect location.)

Hellwig said earnestly that it is 'a system that I have confidence in', which is all well and good, but the governing body has a right to know whether the taxpayers' money is being spent wisely and effectively -- and hard data is the only way to come to a sensible conclusion in that regard.

(The New York Times recently ran a lengthy story on the system and the issues it raises -- see here -- including whether the program's effectiveness or efficiency are settled matters.)

Among the questions I think Plainfielders deserve answers to are --

  • What sort of accuracy rate is acceptable under the terms of the contract?
  • How is agreement reached between the vendor and the City that the system is fully operational?
  • Why should the city be paying for the service (over $14,000/month) until it's fully operational?
  • Will the vendor extend the contract on a per month basis gratis until agreement is reached that the system is fully operational?
On the city's side, there are also some questions that deserve answers.

While it is understandable that the location of the ShotSpotter sensors is confidential, the information about where and when and how many shots are fired, etc., ought to be public information and readily available from the city for its residents.

Not only would such information about how frequent gunplay is and where it takes place go a long way to soothing residents' nerves, posting such information is valuable as a way of keeping the vendor accountable.

If ShotSpotter is to be judged a worthwhile expenditure of taxpayer resources, it must show that it is doing an acceptable job at spotting gunfire incidents in a timely and accurate manner.

Otherwise, why would we be interested?



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Monday, August 13, 2012

Mayor, Mapp hit different notes at Muhlenberg event


Supporter catches attention of passing motorists as
Mother Carolyn and Rabbi Samber chat in the background.

As about thirty Muhlenberg activists gathered across from the shuttered Plainfield hospital -- to the supportive honks of passing motorists -- Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs and Council President Adrian Mapp hit differing notes when addressing the crowd gathered for the fourth annual commemoration of the hospital's closure.

Assemblyman Jerry Green and Councilor Mapp arrived early and chatted with members of the crowd before the commemoration ceremony got under way with Mother Carolyn Eklund of Grace Episcopal Church as emcee.

Rabbi Moshe Samber, noting the huge turnouts when Muhlenberg was facing closure, described Sunday's group as a 'faithful remnant' whose witness is nevertheless powerful.

Assemblyman Jerry Green briefly noted legislation on which he is working that would directly address the plight of closed hospitals such as Muhlenberg.

Council President Adrian Mapp revved the crowd by reminding them he is opposed to JFK Healthcare's proposal to put hundreds of 'luxury' rentals in two mid-rise buildings on the hospital site and instead favors finding a healthcare-related solution for the continued used of the property.

Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs arrived about ten minutes after Assemblyman Green had left the gathering and was welcomed by Mother Carolyn to address the crowd.

In her unscripted remarks, Mayor Robinson-Briggs seemed not to oppose JFK Healthcare's development proposal, saying instead that she would like to see JFK Healthcare 'tweak' the proposal. (One wag wondered if that meant turning it from 'luxury' apartments to Section 8 housing.)

The future of the Muhlenberg campus is sure to figure prominently in next year's mayoral race, in which both Robinson-Briggs and Mapp are expected to be contenders. 


Was this just a polite warm-up exercise?

-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Hidden Plainfield: A Plainfield Arboretum IDed


Check out the 'arboretum' at East Front & Richmond.

Most everybody got yesterday's Hidden Plainfield home location correctly (or within a block). The home is at East Front and Richmond, across the corner from the Richmond Towers.

As one person noted, it is also a winter treat at the holidays with plenty of decorations.

Where shall we go next week?



-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Muhlenberg Hospital commemoration this afternoon


Supporters at PHS meeting prior to Muhlenberg closure.

Supporters of restoring full-service healthcare to Plainfield will rally this afternoon to commemorate the fourth anniversary of the closing of Muhlenberg Hospital.

JFK Healthcare is actively considering tearing down the former hospital and replacing it with a 600-unit 'luxury' rental development.

Meanwhile, Plainfield and the surrounding communities have suffered grossly inadequate healthcare services ever since the Muhlenberg closing.

The agreement with the state mandating the Satellite Emergency Department and free transportation from the Muhlenberg campus to JFK is also set to expire next August. There is plenty of need, and the commemoration helps keep the pressure on JFK Healthcare to do the right thing.

The commemoration is jointly sponsored by People's Organization for Progress and the Restore Muhlenberg Coalition. Supporters will gather at Park Avenue and Randolph Road at 3 PM today.



-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Hidden Plainfield: A Plainfield Arboretum


This home's specimen plantings lend it the air of an arboretum.

I like to think of today's Hidden Plainfield home as a sort of Plainfield Arboretum.

It sits on a busy corner and is filled to overflowing with specimen trees, shrubs and myriad annual flower plantings. No matter the time of year, it is always an interesting and arresting site.

The home itself is late Victorian, with a picturesque turret, and is well maintained. But it is the grounds which make this home a standout. Yet for all the lushness of the plantings, I have never seen anyone working on the shrubs or floral plantings.

Do you know where today's property is?

Answer tomorrow.



-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Library makeover will wow users


The library's facade is striking when viewed from Library Park.

Got a sneak peek at the Plainfield Public Library's makeover the other day.

All I can say is this is not going to be your grandmother's library.

The re-arrangement of all the stacks to the Park Avenue side of the building makes the rest of the interior seem more spacious than ever.

Library Director Joe Da Rold said that plans showing the original layout of the library when first built had been brought to his attention, and staff will be developing a display showing how the library's layout has changed over the years to meet changing user needs.

Things are still quite torn up -- there is yet another week's worth of work to be done before re-opening -- and I will be taking another look (with camera) during the upcoming week.

While the library's users may have been inconvenienced by the closing, Director Joe Da Rold advised that using the library's staff to do the rearranging of the collection saved the library taxpayers many thousands of dollars over the typical route of hiring a company specializing in that service.

How refreshing!


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Mayor Robinson-Briggs pays Dan the ultimate compliment


Photo by Dan of Plainfield artist Hubert Reeder at 2001 Art Festival.

Screenshot from the city's website. At least the event is being promoted.

The Plainfield Outdoor Festival of Art finally got its due from the city with the appearance on the city's website headlines (number 3) yesterday of a notice for this year's 49th Annual celebration.

But Mayor Sharon Robinson-Briggs paid Dan the ultimate compliment by ripping off one of his photos (without credit, of course) to promote the event.

The photo Mayor Robinson-Briggs chose to use was of Plainfield artist and poet Hubert Reeder reading a copy of the Courier News while sitting amid his artwork. The year was 2001, which leads me to wonder why after all the money Mayor Robinson-Briggs has spent on staff for public relations the city doesn't have any -- and any more current -- activity photos.

Anyway, my thanks to Mayor Robinson-Briggs for the tip o' the hat.

Be sure to mark your calendar. The Art Festival is slated for Saturday, September 1, 10 AM - 4 PM at Library Park.


49th Annual Outdoor Festival of Art

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 1
10 AM - 4 PM

Library Park
West 8th Street and Arlington Avenue
(RAIN LOCATION: Washington Community School)


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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Plainfield Idol 2012 Audition Call


Coordinator Pat Fields always produces hits for the
annual Plainwood Square concert series.

Pat Fields, coordinator of the Plainwood Square concert series has issued a call for audition's for the 2012 Plainfield Idol 'Remix'.

The first twenty applicants aged 13 and up for the August 15th auditions will have a chance to vie for one of three slots as part of the final competition.

Auditions are slated for Wednesday, August 15, from 4 PM - 6 PM at The Incubator, 320 Park Avenue.

The three top contestants will appear at the Plainwood Square summer concert on Wednesday, August 29.

For more information, contact Pat Fields at (908) 369-1152 or by email at pafields@hotmail.com.


-- Dan Damon [follow]

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