The needler in the haystack.

Friday, November 30, 2012

FUSP Craft Fair, Swain Exhibit, Lessons & Carols highlight weekend


FUSP's annual crafts fair is among this weekend's activities.

Plainfield's Holiday season gets under way.

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY: ANNUAL HOLIDAY CRAFTS FAIR AT FUSP
Saturday, December 1 (10:00 AM - 4:00 PM)
Sunday, December 2 (11:00 AM - 4:00 PM)
.
At the historic First Unitarian Society of Plainfield (FUSP), 724 Park Avenue. Local crafters and artists' handmade gifts are among the best buys for the season, this year featuring 25 crafters, with 17 craft raffles..


Homemade treats, Kids craft activities, Fair Trade items, demonstrations, and coffee/dessert/lunches.


The Fair is free and open to all. Proceeds from the Fair support the congregation's work and community outreach. More information at the parish website here.

SATURDAY: CHRISTMAS MINIATURES EXHIBIT AT SWAIN'S
Saturday, December 1 (5:00 PM - 7PM))
Christmas Miniatures Exhibit, Swain Galleries, 703 Watchung Avenue (at East 7th Street).
This annual event features small scale art works -- this year with 28 artists. Come and look for your favorite.


Opening reception Saturday, December 1. Exhibit continues throughout December, Tuesday thru Fridays, 10 AM - 5 PM; Saturdays, 9:30 AM - 4 PM; and Sundays, Noon - 4 PM. More info at facebook.com/swaingalleries.


SUNDAYS: GRANDMA'S TREASURES BAZAAR, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST
Sundays through December 30, 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM

Grandma has rummaged in members' attics and gathered a wonderful assortment of itmes for the Holidays. Collectibles, jewelry, stemware and china, small appliances, toys, antiques and more. New merchandise added weekly.


United Church of Christ (Congregational), 220 West 7th Street at the corner of Madison Avenue. (Parking in lot on Madison Avenue, behind church.) Info: (908) 755-8658.

SUNDAY: LESSONS & CAROLS FOR ADVENT
Sunday, December 2, 5:00 PM.

This moving service of lessons, prayers and carols is one of the splendors of Anglican worship. Join the congregation and choir in the stillness and beauty of candlelit historic Grace Episcopal Church for this annual service of preparation for the coming of the Christ child.


Grace Episcopal Church is at the corner of East 7th Street and Cleveland Avenue. Parking available in Lot 7 on 7th Street. All are welcome. A freewill offering will be taken.


    -- Dan Damon [follow]

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    Thursday, November 29, 2012

    So, JFK is safer than Overlook?



    Plenty of Plainfielders are still upset at the closing of Muhlenberg Hospital and its replacement with a satellite emergency department (SED) of JFK Medical Center (all that is left of Solaris Health System, which had been the parent organization of both hospitals).

    Some take their frustration and anger out in badmouthing JFK.


    My experience during my amputation and recovery, as well as rehab and orthotics has been uniformly positive. In the course of my care by JFK I have met many doctors, nurses and other staff who formerly were at Muhlenberg.


    This morning's NJSpotlight features an interactive map of New Jersey's hospitals with their safety ratings (see story and map
    here). The ratings are based on injuries, accidents and preventable medical and medication errors for 2011.

    JFK gets an 'A' (see
    here). Overlook gets a 'B' (see here).

    So, JFK is safer than Overlook?


    -- Dan Damon [follow]


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    Wednesday, November 28, 2012

    Clearing the streets of Sandy debris is only part of the picture





    Just a few of the hundreds of trees toppled around the city by Hurricane Sandy.

    Residents from several Plainfield neighborhoods have spoken at the last two Council meetings about the urgency of clearing storm debris -- mainly fallen branches and toppled trees -- from the city's streets.

    DPWUD Director Eric Jackson said at last week's agenda-setting session that he expected DPW crews to be busy through the middle of December at the least in clearing the streets.


    Given that there are piles of cut up branches and enormous sections of tree trunks everywhere from the hundreds of trees that have fallen, that seemed optimistic to me.


    And residents this past Monday evening added their concern over leaf pickups, which have necessarily been delayed owing to the storm debris.


    Seems to me there is another piece to the puzzle that no one is talking about: what to do with the stuff that is being removed from curbsides?


    I have seen PMUA vehicles hauling 30-cubic-foot containers of debris westbound on Front Street, evidently to the PERC station on Rock Avenue.


    The public parking lot adjacent to the Parking Division office on West 4th Street near Arlington Avenue is piled 15 to 20 feet high with tons and tons of storm debris.


    The public lot behind Supremo presents a curious picture of a different sort. There are some tree parts dumped there in a rather disorganized way, and the area is now blocked off with sawhorses, suggesting that the dumping was illegal and being discouraged if not thoroughly thwarted.


    Then there is the large pile of leaves neatly stacked in the middle of the public parking lot at the corner of Central Avenue and West 2nd Street. It magically appeared one day last week and has neither been added to nor removed ever since.


    Not only is clearing both sides of Plainfield's 120 miles of streets going to be time consuming, it is a budget-buster as well. There has been no mention by the Robinson-Briggs administration as to any estimates of the overtime costs involved and whether the City will be appealing for FEMA to help cover the cleanup expenses, or whether they will simply fall on the backs of Plainfield's taxpayers.




    -- Dan Damon [follow]


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    Tuesday, November 27, 2012

    Can Jerry pull his nomination chestnut out of the fire?


    The choice now falls to the Democratic City Committee,
    chaired by Assemblyman Jerry Green.
     
    Plainfield's City Council failed on Monday to fill the vacancy left by Annie McWilliams' resignation.

    The question now is whether Assemblyman Jerry Green can pull his nomination chestnut out of the fire.


    When voting went down on the first name proposed, that of Hattie Williams, she was elected by a 4-2 vote, with Councilor Bill Reid voting yes by phone from home. (The vote was Reid, Williams, Storch and Mapp aye; Greaves and Rivers nay.)


    Reid, however, later said he wanted to change his vote to one of the other nominees, Charles Eke.


    This meant that Hattie Williams' election failed on a 3-3 split. The same 3-3 split meant that the other names were unable to be placed back on the agenda and no further vote could be taken.


    The matter now goes back to the Plainfield Democratic City Committee for resolution.


    While everyone knows that the decision will be made by Assemblyman Green, he will have to call a committee meeting to at least give a gloss of verisimilitude to the process.


    To meet the Dems' bylaw requirement that members have five days written advance notice of a meeting, some fancy footwork will be involved.


    If Green got the notices in the mail today (the 27th) and they were delivered tomorrow (hah!), the earliest date that would meet the requirement would be December 3.


    That just happens to be the date of the Council's agenda-setting session.


    Even if the final nomination were gotten to the Council in writing, it is not realistic to think of it being received in the Clerk's office before Tuesday, December 4 (best case).


    Or perhaps you can see Assemblyman Green dragging Mr. Eke over to a Council meeting already in session in order to have him sworn in and seated on the spot?


    How does Jerry avoid looking the laughingstock in such an
    opera bouffe?

    And what is the point of the exercise?



    -- Dan Damon [follow]


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    Monday, November 26, 2012

    Will Council fill McWilliams' vacant seat tonight?


    Councilor at-large Annie McWilliams has resigned to pursue graduate studies at NYU.
     
    Plainfield's City Council held public interviews last Monday evening of three nominees offered by Assemblyman Jerry Green, head of the Democratic City Committee, to fill the citywide at-large seat left vacant by the resignation of Councilor Annie McWilliams.

    McWilliams, who is pursuing graduate studies at New York University, submitted her letter of resignation on October 23, effective November 1. Despite the long lead time, Assemblyman Green was only able to pull together a city committee meeting on Tuesday, November 13 -- and that without giving members the five days notice provided for in the the group's bylaws.


    Nevertheless, the Council accepted the correspondence from Assemblyman Green and conducted the interviews. The correspondence is duly noted in the agenda for tonight's business session.


    However, a cursory review of the agenda does not reveal an item for taking up the nominations and acting on them.


    So, will the vacancy be filled tonight? And at what point in the meeting?


    The tension mounts.



    -- Dan Damon [follow]

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    Sunday, November 25, 2012

    Gavett Place resolution throws spotlight on train station neighborhood


    Yellow outline denotes public plaza, blue are Cretella projects;
    note volume of parking in public lot across 2nd Street (upper left corner).
     
    Plainfield's City Council will take up a resolution Monday evening to enter into a public access agreement to allow public use of a landscaped plaza (yet to be developed) at one corner of
    Gavett Place and East 2nd Street.

    This is part of the planned development by Frank Cretella of the former Romond Jeep dealership building and the former Miron's furniture warehouse, both on East 2nd Street.

    While the proposal for a landscaped plaza makes a nice amenity, a quick glance at the aerial Google map shown above reveals an obvious issue for development in the neighborhood: parking.

    The aerial photo is taken in the daytime and shows the public parking lot at the top nearly fully (I count 4 vacant spots in the picture, two of which are in permit-only areas) occupied.

    The lot on the other corner of Gavett Place and East 2nd, next to the Miron's building, is currently used for parking by the Muslim community that uses the former City Lights building at the corner of North Avenue and Gavett Place. To maximize the number of cars that can park in the cramped space, the groups uses a tandem parking plan where cars park behind each other in rows. This means, of course, that if you are in the front of the row, you can't get out until those behind you move their vehicles. The number of vehicles in this lot suggests the aerial photo may have been shot on a Friday.

    In any event, parking is a real issue needing to be taken into account in planning development in this area.


    -- Dan Damon [follow]

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    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    Holiday Fair at Central Jersey Arts Charter School today


    Some of Rebecca's ymmy cookies that will be available at
    today's Holiday Fair.
     
    Plainfielders
    wanting to escape the idiocy of the malls can have a special treat today -- which is Small Business Day -- by shopping a local holiday fair sponsored by Together As One at the Central Jersey Arts Charter School on South Avenue near Leland (across from Burger King) from Noon to 4 PM today.

    My favorite cookie madness vendor, Rebecca Williams, will be there with samples of her yummy cookies (see her cookie website here, where you can order holiday cookies if you cannot make it out today).


    -- Dan Damon [follow]

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    Friday, November 23, 2012

    'Road to Recovery' is theme of Woodbridge conference


    Plainfielders will want to take note of a conference in Woodbridge next Wednesday whose theme is recovery.

    Though the topic was set months ago, before any thought of Hurricane Sandy and its impact statewide, it has taken on an added urgency in the light of the rebuilding that will now be required as a result of the storm's devastation.


    Sponsored by the Council on State Public Affairs, the afternoon event will take place at the Renaissance Woodbridge Hotel in Iselin from 1:30 - 5:15 PM and be followed immediately by a cocktail reception.

     
    The Council has gained a statewide reputation for bringing together some of the most incisive thinking on the public policy issues facing government, business and the nonprofit sector in the Garden State.

    This year's conference will focus on four urgent themes --

    • With counties and municipalities fiercely competing for economic advantage, how can the state as a whole move forward in recovering both from the Great Recession, which still lingers, and Hurricane Sandy, which has had such a devastating impact on infrastructure?

    • The Christie administration's delay on Medicaid expansion as a result of Obamacare's implementation is causing great uncertainty for the healthcare community. What is the way forward?

    • Despite an excellent system of county colleges and four-year colleges and universities, more students study out of state than in-state. What can be done to make higher education in New Jersey more compelling?

    • With the recent presidential election now past us, folks are beginning to gear up for 2013, in which every state office from governor on down is up for election. What will this atmosphere mean for action in Trenton and how will the business climate and public policy implementation be impacted?
    Taking on these burning issues will make it a lively afternoon assures Rebecca Perkins, president of the Council on State Public Affairs, and you will find the networking and opportunity to speak to policymakers face-to-face at the post-conference reception to be invaluable.
     
    For more information and to register online, visit the Council's website here, call (908) 580-0946 or email council@statepublicaffairs.org.




      -- Dan Damon [follow]


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      Thursday, November 22, 2012

      Councilor Mapp distributes 150 Thanksgiving turkeys in wake of Sandy


      Ward 3 Councilor Adrian Mapp, wife Amelia and daughter Aiyesha
      distributed 150 Thanksgiving turkeys this past Sunday.

      Adrian and Amelia with Flor Gonzalez of the Latin American Coalition,
      which received turkeys for the Hispanic community.
       

      The crew (left to right): Aiyesha Mapp, Rick Smiley, Adrian Mapp,
      Rebecca Williams, Amelia Mapp and Vernoica Taylor.

      Plainfield councilor Adrian Mapp distributed 150 turkeys for Thanksgiving in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

      The turkeys were distributed by the councilor and his wife Amelia and daughter Aiyesha this past Sunday.


      The frozen turkeys were transported to the various points of distribution by a team of volunteers that included Councilor Rebecca Williams, Veronica Taylor and Rick Smiley.


      Distributions were made at all the senior residences (Richmond Towers, Tower West, Covenant Manor and Cedarbook Towers) as well as to residents of the 4th Ward.



        -- Dan Damon [follow]

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        Wednesday, November 21, 2012

        Plainfield residents invite FEMA workers for Thanksgiving Dinner


        This 1943 Thanksgiving illustration by Norman Rockwell
        may not be the first that comes to mind by him, but it
        seems particularly appropriate in this year of Hurricane Sandy (see more here).
         
        Plainfield residents Randy and Cheryl Bullock have invited FEMA workers assigned to Plainfield for Thanksgiving Dinner.

        After FEMA announced it was opening a Disaster Relief Center (DRC) at the Plainfield Senior Citizens Center on Monday, Cheryl dropped by to take the FEMA workers some pizza. It was in conversation with the seven workers assigned to Plainfield that she discovered they were from different areas of the country, had been assigned to a variety of hotels not near each other, and were facing the prospect of a lonely holiday away from home as the office will only close for Thursday and the reopen on Friday.


        'While we are all so focused on recovering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy,' Cheryl said, 'it just seemed like the natural thing to do for those who are also making sacrifices to help Plainfielders.'


        Those seeking information about FEMA aid and one-on-one help in filling out the often-confusing forms should drop by the FEMA DRC at the Senior Citizens Center, 9 AM - 7 PM, seven days a week until further notice.


        Except on Turkey Day, of course!



          -- Dan Damon [follow]

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          Tuesday, November 20, 2012

          La bandiera rossa: The red flag mystery


          Who knew a little red flag could cause such a stir? Plainfield's City Council last night took up the matter of the red flag with the city seal that has appeared in City Hall Library in the past couple of months. (Bernice has a picture of Mayor Robinson-Briggs with the flag at a Veterans Day ceremony -- see here.)

          No one from the Robinson-Briggs administration could give an answer as to where it came from, and the supposition seems to be that it is new.


          The flag is neither new nor intended for the uses to which it has recently been put.


          It was ordered and paid for by the late Mayor Al McWilliams to be installed in his office, behind his desk, to balance the American flag also displayed there. It was probably in place as early as 2003 and remained behind his desk throughout his time in office. McWilliams had noticed in press photos of other elected officials that often they had an American flag and another representing their municipality or agency in their publicity photos.


          Hence
          la bandiera rossa.

          Mayor Robinson-Briggs simply inherited it and is responsible for its current placement and use.


          Not much subversive going on here, methinks.



            -- Dan Damon [follow]


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            Monday, November 19, 2012

            FEMA opens location in Plainfield



            FEMA has opened a location in Plainfield, per the following news release dated yesterday (11/18/2012) --

            Joint Information Center
            Joint Field Office
            Lincroft, New Jersey
            November 18, 2012
            DR-4086-NJ NR-018
            FEMA News Desk: 877-434-4084
            NJOEM PIO Contact: 609-963-6818

            News Release
            NEW JERSEY ADDS ADDITIONAL DISASTER RECOVERY CENTERS IN CAPE MAY,

            OCEAN AND UNION COUNTIES

            TRENTON, N.J. -- Anyone affected by Hurricane Sandy can now visit newly opened Disaster Recovery Centers (DRCs) in Cape May, Ocean, and Union counties if they have questions about recovery programs. There are now 30 DRCs open daily. The center in Bay Head will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. while the curfew there remains in effect. All others are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

            All DRCs in New Jersey will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 22; they will reopen on Friday, Nov. 23, with a permanent change in hours to 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.


            Before going to a DRC, it is helpful to register with FEMA. Apply for assistance by registering online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov, by a web-enabled mobile device at m.fema.gov or by calling 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).


            Disaster assistance applicants who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY, should call 1-800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362.


            At DRCs visitors can speak one-on-one to recovery representatives. FEMA program specialists provide registration and other information, and answer questions. FEMA mitigation specialists provide guidance on cost-effective rebuilding and repair techniques to reduce property damage in future disasters.


            In addition to FEMA program specialists, U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) customer service representatives are available to answer questions about the SBA low-interest disaster loan program, and to assist with disaster loan applications.


            The new DRC location is:
            Union County
            Plainfield Senior Citizen’s Service Center
            400 E. Front St.
            Plainfield, NJ 07060


            DRC locations change frequently. Updates can be found online at http://asd.fema.gov/inter/locator/home.htm. An alternative site is www.fema.gov; search DRC Locator.

            An applicant may go to any DRC, even if it is located in another county or state but it is not necessary to visit a center to receive disaster assistance. Once an application has been made, a FEMA registration number is assigned that can be accessed nationally.

            # # #

            FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.


            Follow FEMA online at www.fema.gov/blog, www.twitter.com/fema, www.facebook.com/fema, and www.youtube.com/fema. Also, follow Administrator Craig Fugate's activities at www.twitter.com/craigatfema.


            The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

            Green moves to fill McWilliams' council seat


            Council is being asked to take up the matter of the now-vacant at-large seat.

            Plainfield Democratic City Committee (PDCC) chair Assemblyman Jerry Green has moved to fill the Council seat made vacant by the resignation of Councilor-at-large Annie McWilliams.

            McWilliams stood aside during the June Democratic primary on account of plans to take up graduate studies at NYU. Once the Rev. Tracey Brown was elected to the at-large seat in November, McWilliams submitted her resignation.


            Anxious to fill the seat, Green stumbled in submitting three names to the Council after a hurriedly called city committee meeting which appears to have been improperly noticed. (The organization's bylaws call for committee members to receive written notice of meetings five days in advance; many members didn't get their notice of this meeting until their mail arrived THE DAY AFTER THE MEETING.)


            Green chose to forward the names of two long-time Democratic activists: Hattie Williams, whom many will remember staffing the sign-in desk at City Hall during Mayor Robinson-Briggs' first term, and Dottie Gutenkauf, retired AFT leader and a PDCC committee member of long standing.


            The third name may be less familiar: Charles Eke, a Woodland Avenue resident, first came to notice in the local effort for President Obama's 2008 campaign -- which was spearheaded by then Councilor Rashid Burney. (Green, Union County Dem chairperson Charlotte DeFilippo and others were staunch Hillary Clinton backers.)


            Some may also remember Eke for going into a public meltdown when the Council declined to confirm him as a commissioner for the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA).


            Notwithstanding the stumble by rushing, this time differs significantly from Green's last effort (in 2011, to fill the vacancy created by Linda Carter's move to the Freeholder Board -- see my post on that matter here), where one of the names he submitted was of an unaffiliated voter and another was someone who was not registered to vote -- while state law and the City charter both require the nominees to be of the same party as the person whose seat is falling vacant. (A video of Chairperson Green explaining how he runs the Plainfield Democratic organization is online
            here).

            What puzzles many is why the full-court press by Green at this late moment.


            The Council will take up the matter of putting the names on the agenda for next week's business meeting. If it agrees to do so, whomever is selected will serve for (at most) three Council meetings before Brown assumes her seat on January 1.


            Another interesting wrinkle is the peculiar replacement process outlined in Plainfield's special charter (see online version
            here) --

            2.4    Vacancies.
                A vacancy in the office of councilman occurring during a term shall be filled by election at the next general election to be held not less than 60 days after the occurrence of the vacancy. The council shall forthwith fill the vacancy temporarily by appointment of a qualified person to serve until the qualification of the person so elected. A person appointed to fill a vacancy shall have the qualifications required of the previous incumbent and shall be a member of the same political party as such prior incumbent. In the event the council fails to fill the vacancy within 60 days following its occurrence the mayor shall forthwith appoint a qualified person to serve as above.
            This is remarkable because it could be interpreted as giving the Council the opportunity to pick a successor on its own, without reference to the Democratic city Committee.

            This differs markedly from the process set forth in state law, and is just one more reason why I think it is a good thing to have a Charter Study Commission in place to examine just such murkiness and imprecision in the current city charter.

            To watch the show, come on out tonight to the Council's agenda-setting session at 7:30 PM in City Hall Library.





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            Sunday, November 18, 2012

            Time to move Plainfield to Nixle?


            Logo shows channels available.

            While everyone is drawing lessons learned from Hurricane Sandy, is it time for Plainfield to consider Nixle?

            Everyone has concluded that improving communications with residents and businesses has to be a top priority (as the Courier noted in an editorial this week, see
            here), but what to do when the channels of communication we take for granted are knocked out?

            Websites (such as the city's) are little help when you have no internet access. Same for reverse-911 phone call systems when the phones are out of service.


            Suddenly, low technology efforts like mobilizing volunteers to drop flyers by hand, taping notices in public places, and riding through neighborhoods broadcasting on bullhorns make eminent good sense.


            But there is one more technological solution that should be considered: Nixle.

             
            Nixle (see more here) is a mass notification system that is free to local police departments and other agencies. It differs from more traditional reverse-911 services in that it broadcasts text messages to cellphone users who have signed up for the service. Nixle messages can also be received via email and web pages.

            Hurricane Sandy hit us on a Monday evening, knocking out everything. By Wednesday, I had cellphone service back completely. As of last night, I spoke with people at the Plainfield Symphony concert who were still waiting to have their Verizon internet service restored.

            A sign of the penetration of cellphones is the recent news that AT&T is getting out of the landline phone business. The cellphone system has become so ubiquitous that keeping it up and running is a high priority, and it clearly has been easier to restore than hardwired landline systems with downed wires.

            Over 5,000 jurisdictions in the US offer the service; among towns using the service in our area are --

            • Hoboken (see here);
            • Newark (see here);
            • Piscataway (see here);
            • Morristown (see here);
            • Raritan Township (see here);
            • Cranford (see here); and
            • South Brunswick (see here).
            Why not Plainfield?


            -- Dan Damon [follow]


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            Saturday, November 17, 2012

            Plainfield Symphony's Saturday Fantastique tonight


            Gold medalist Brianna Tang is soloist at tonight's Symphony.
             
            Tonight's Plainfield Symphony concert features Brianna Tang of Edison, winner of the 2012 Young Pianist of New Jersey competition. Billed as 'Saturday Fantastique', the concert includes Debussy's Afternoon of a Faun and Berlioz' Symphonie Fantastique.

            Tang will be featured in Anton Arensky's Fantasia on themes of Ryabinin, op. 48. Also known as the
            Fantasy on Russian Folk Tunes, the piece is part of the legacy of this once famed composer and performer, perhaps best known today for having been the teacher of such greats as Rachmaninov and Scriabin.

            Plainfield Symphony concerts get under way at 7:00 PM at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church under the baton of Conductor Charles Prince.


            Tickets: $50/reserved, $30/general admission, $20/Seniors and students. Children under twelve are admitted free.


            Parking in the Crescent Church lot, at Swain Galleries and on the street.


              -- Dan Damon [follow]

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              Friday, November 16, 2012

              Thursday shooting missed by ShotSpotter


              ShotSpotter is said to have failed to identify gunshots fired
              on Madison Avenue Thursday.
               
              For the second time in less than a week, Plainfield's ShotSpotter technology has failed to identify gunshots fired, I have been told.

              At least three
              shots are said to have been fired at a woman in the 600-block of Madison Avenue Thursday afternoon. Police are said to be looking for her ex-boyfriend as a 'person of interest' in the matter. As of 6:00 PM the block remained cordoned off between West 6th Street and the Congregational Church parking lot.

              Sources say ShotSpotter failed to identify the shots fired on Madison Avenue.

              I am told that ShotSpotter also did not identify the hail of gunshots in which 19-year-old Keston Alleyne died late Monday afternoon on Randolph Road, not far from Park Avenue.

              While Public Safety Director Martin Hellwig has said that the company would delay billing the city until the system is running as agreed, many are asking why the system has not got its wrinkles worked out nearly five months after its installation with much hoopla.


                -- Dan Damon [follow]

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                Thursday, November 15, 2012

                Good news, bad news on Plainfield storm relief


                If only it were this simple...

                Three good news/bad news stories on storm relief in Plainfield.

                The first good news is that the Red Cross will be providing emergency assistance and disaster relief today from 11 AM - 6 PM at three locations --


                • DPW Yard, 746 South Avenue
                • Engine 3 Fire Station, West 3rd and Bergen Street
                • PMUA, Cottage Place and Richmond Street
                The bad news, sadly, is that I had a report yesterday that some city employees were helping themselves to the Red Cross supplies in advance of distribution to the public.

                In another good news story, a new doctor serving the community gathered blankets to donate for those using city shelters. Contacting the Emergency Management Coordinator, the donor was told to take them to the shelter at Washington School. The bad news: The shelter at the school had been closed; the OEM did not ask to keep the blankets to stockpile against a future emergency.

                Lastly, I am told that the employees of a large quasi-governmental agency were sent to the home of its executive director -- after the storm had knocked power out -- to install a generator. Puts me in mind of two other storm related stories: in New York State, Gov. Andrew Cuomo fired the state's emergency management chief for misusing workers during the storm (see story here), and in Sussex County, New Jersey, where charges are being mulled against an undersheriff who had a county-owned generator at his home (see story here).

                I suppose the news concerning Plainfield is that nothing will come of this incident.

                Which is either good news or bad news, depending on your sitz im leben.

                  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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                  Wednesday, November 14, 2012

                  A Hurricane Sandy album


                  In preparation for storm, confidence...

                  An album of pictures from Plainfield's encounter with Hurricane Sandy.



                  Branch from neighbor's dead tree fell right where I usually park.



                  Hundreds of trees were felled, here across Clinton Avenue...


                  ...and at Clinton School.


                  A two-family home on John Street needed to be demolished.


                  I counted nearly 40 trees down in block-long Oxford Avenue...


                  ...and nine on the grounds of Questover on Central Avenue.


                  This Sleepy Hollow Lane home lost its second floor.


                  A 'city tree' just missed St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Park Avenue.

                    -- Dan Damon [follow]

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