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Friday, September 30, 2016

Drake House will help digitize your memories Saturday

The Drake House will help rescue your precious memories.

Do you have drawers full of old photos (as I do)? Or boxes of 35mm slides? How about 8mm and 16mm home movies of the kids? Or VHS videotapes?

Plainfielders with collections of fragile old-media memories can get help Saturday from the Drake House in digitizing them.

Working in partnership with Digital Memory Media (, the Drake House will help you preserve your memories by converting them into DVDs.

Photographs and 35mm slides fade, film deteriorates, and magnetic tapes grow brittle and break over time. Not to mention who wants (or even has) the outdated equipment to view these memories?

This Saturday (October 1), from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM, you can bring your collections of photos, tapes, film, etc. to the Drake House and get an estimated cost of conversion.

Your items will be taken by DMMEM, digitized and recorded on DVDs and your original materials will be returned. Once scanned and digitized you will be notified of a date and time to retrieve your materials from the Drake House.

A portion of the proceeds from this project will benefit the Drake House, Plainfield's museum, which is managed by the Historical Society of Plainfield.

The Drake House Museum is at 602 West Front Street (at the foot of Plainfield Avenue). For more information, call (908) 755-5831 or visit the website at

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

FOSH Celebration of Animals Sunday

Blessing of Animals is Sunday at Leland Park.

Friends of Sleepy Hollow's 17th Annual Celebration of Animals takes place at Plainfield's Leland Avenue Park on Sunday (October 2), 1:30 PM. The event is organize by the group's Animal Initiative Committee.

Here is their press release --

The Friends of Sleepy Hollow (FOSH) Animal Initiative Committee is holding the seventeenth annual Celebration of Animals on Sunday October 2, 2016 at 1:30 PM at Leland Avenue Park, (next to Cook Elementary School, 739 Leland Ave.)  Plainfield, New Jersey.  The event is free of charge and open to everyone, with or without pets, to celebrate the importance of animals in the lives of human beings.

Anatole France’s quote ‘Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened,’ says it best,” said MaryEllen Chanda, Animal Initiative Celebration event chairwoman. Held in conjunction with the Feast of St. Francis, the patron saint of animals, representatives of local religious and spiritual traditions will offer blessings for all animals. All are welcome to bring their pets to receive a blessing,” said Mrs. Chanda.

Birds must be caged, cats must be in carriers, and dogs must be on a leash or in a carrier. Pets that are uncomfortable around other animals should be left at home. A photo can be brought to represent them for a blessing. Water will be available for the animals and light refreshments will be served after the blessing. For more information about the Celebration please call 908.256-3858 or visit
The Animal Initiative Committee (AIC) is an all-volunteer organization dedicated to increasing people’s awareness of their responsibility for the well-being of all animals. The Committee was formed in March 2000 after Plainfield’s contracted animal control kennel was closed due to over 600 counts of animal cruelty.  “Wildlife and companion animals are being needlessly killed due to inadequate facilities and lack of education programs,” said Mrs. Chanda.

The AIC has always focused on the problem of overpopulation of dogs and cats, especially community cats. It implemented a very successful trap, neuter, and return (TNR) program for the latter. “We continue to emphasize the importance of the use of available spay/neuter programs in controlling dog and cat populations, but we can only succeed with the active support of both the community and City Administration,” Mrs. Chanda stressed. “We welcome volunteers to help with this important effort”, she concluded. For more information about the Animal Initiative Committee, please call 908.256-3858.
The Friends of Sleepy Hollow (FOSH) is a neighborhood association created by and for all citizens and taxpayers of Sleepy Hollow and surrounding neighborhoods in the City of Plainfield, New Jersey. FOSH was founded to --
  • foster neighborhood awareness, camaraderie, participation and image
  • create and maintain secure neighborhoods
  • promote neighborhood issues and concerns to city officials
  • organize neighborhood activities for the benefit of the citizens of our community and Plainfield.
There are no membership requirements, dues or formal joining process for The Friends of Sleepy Hollow.  The group believes that all the neighbors in Sleepy Hollow are its "members". Having the support, participation and suggestions of our members is critical to FOSH's success.  Anyone is welcome and encouraged to join any planned activity that we host.  For more information about FOSH, please visit:

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Cleanup campaigns continue with 'Clean the Queen' event on Saturday

Some of the trash collected at the Plainfield train station
this past Sunday. Saturdy's event is at West Front and Clinton.

Plainfield Councilor Barry Goode's "Operation Clean the Queen" takes place Saturday (October 1), from 9:00 AM to Noon, starting at West Front Street and Clinton Avenue.

Goode's aim is for the event -- and others to follow -- to foster community beautification and improve neighborhood relations. Residents of all ages are invited to participte in a sweep that will clean up trash and debris from the area surrounding this West End intersection.

The city's Division of Public Works will supply gloves, rakes, bags and free water to participants.

Queen City Pride (QCP), a newly forming group also dedicated to beautification and cleanup efforts, will take part in the Saturday event. (They will also continue their efforts around Plainfield's train stations with a sweep at Netherwood Station on Sundy, October 2, at 8:00 AM.)

For more information on Saturday's "Clean the Queen" event, contact Councilor Barry Goode at (908) 295-2456.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

League spearheads big community voter empowerment push tonight

The Union County Board of Elections will have a
live demo voting machine on hand this evening.

Plainfield's chapter of the League of Women Voters (LWV) has organized a monster community voter registration forum for this evening at the Plainfield High School cafeteria.

Several organizations will be joining members of the LWV to inform and inspire Plainfield voters in advance of the November elections. Today is National Voter Registration Day.

Among the topics covered will be --
  • What you can expect from your City government
  • Voter information sharing
  • Voter machine demonstration
  • "Chat and Chew" discussions on various topics
  • Voter registration forms will be available
Groups partnering with the League in the evening are --
  • City of Plainfield
  • Plainfield Board of Education
  • Plainfield Advisory Commission on Hispanic Affairs (PACHA)
  • Human Relations Commission
  • Plainfield Youth Commission
  • Omicron Chi chapter of Omega Psi Phi
  • CJA Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta
  • FUSP Social Action Committee
  • National Association of University Women
  • Union County Board of Elections
Among other things, the effort is targeting Plainfield youth aged 18 who will be able to vote in this year's general election. Backpacks will be given to the first 50 attendees.

The event is open to the entire community. New to Plainfield and want to know more about local elections? Have you moved and don't know your new voting location? Need to know how to declare or change your party affiliation? Whatever your election questions, you will find answers tonight.

The event runs this evening from 6:00 to 8:30 PM in the PHS cafeteria. Refreshments will be served. Use the Kenyon Avenue parking lot. Entrance is right by the lot. The cafeteria is handicap accessible.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Hillary and The Donald face off tonight in first debate

Presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump
will debate tonight at Hofstra University.

Plainfielders will get their first chance to see candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump face off in a presidential debate tonight at 9:00 PM.

The debate, hosted by Hofstra University, will be broadcast on many channels and platforms (see end of post).

Hillary has been prepping for weeks, and, wonk that she is, you can expect her to have voluminous details on the tip of her tongue.

Hillary's problem is that Donald is not a policy person.

Trump is very savvy about what works with audiences.

Reports are that he has disdained the grunt work of prepping with details (he suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder), and wouldn't even practice with a lectern.

GOP staffers hope that he will try to come across as presidential this evening and skip the shoot-from-the-hip comments that get him in so much trouble.

Hillary may be looking to prickle him with zingers, but she has to look presidential, too.

So, it's going to be a challenge for both.

One that you won't want to miss.

A columnist in the New Yorker suggested it will not be about content, but about which candidate can dominate the other -- the suggestion was you should watch the debate with the sound turned off.

There will be two more presiential debates (October 9 and 19) and one vice-presidential debate (October 4).

  • Television: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, PBS, and Univision

  • Cable: CNBC, CNN, C-SPAN, Fox News, Fox Business, and MSNBC

  • Online: All the networks and cable news, plus Facebook, Twitter, Buzzfeed, HuffPost, and Politico, among others.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, September 25, 2016

Annoying Windows 10 update delays everything today

One of the annoyances of Windows 10 is that you get
no progress bars, which are comforting even if they give
you no real control.

Apologies for the delays in Plainfield Today and CLIPS today -- owing to a snafu with a Windows 10 update.

When I shut the computer down last night, it notified me that updates were being installed. I went to bed, sure things would be fine.

When I rebooted this morning, the welcome screen said that the updates were being worked on and "this may take a while". Hrumph!

Three hours later, I was still looking at the annoying little circular pattern of dots indicating that Windows was "working on it".

After four hours, I killed the power -- which is always scary, since you have no idea what state your updates are in and whether the machine will even be able to recover.

After TWO more reboots, I finally got a message that Windows would restore me to my previous version -- which then took another 45 minutes or so.

My big panic was that all my usernames and passwords are on a text file on my machine. Naturally, I have never printed it out or stored it on a thumb drive. Dumb! That's fixed now.

Am taking the rest of the afternoon to shop for a new laptop. This one is about six years old, so old the letters have been worn off the keys. Do you think it's time for n upgrade?

If you're into tennis, don't forget to check out the family tennis event sponsored by the Rec Division and the Plainfield schools. This afternoon, 3 PM - 8 PM at the Donald Van Blake Tennis Courts, Randolph Road.

See you tomorrow!

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Queen City cleanups

Special cleanup activities are a Plainfield tradition.
Here then-councilman Adrian Mapp and helpers Vivi and Gigi
work at a Library cleanup sponsored by Councilor Rebecca Williams in 2011.

Keeping the Queen City clean is an enormous chore.

daily mountain of refuse, garbage, illegally dumped items, grass clippings and yard debris keep the city's Division of Public Works and the Plainfield Municipal Utilities Authority (PMUA) busy every day but Sunday.

Plainfield is a much cleaner place than it was before the PMUA came on the scene.

For all that, there are still issues with appearance. Some because it is hardly possible to keep up with those who simply toss bottles and fast food containers aside (or out their car windows), and some because property owners don't (or won't) keep up appearances.

A case in point is the area around the Plainfield train station, which NJ Transit owns but does not well maintain.

A group of volunteers styling themselves Queen City Pride has begun to clean up the grounds of the main station and is looking for others to join their efforts.

In one Sunday morning push, four volunteers gathered 20 large trash bags full from the grounds on the 4th Street side of the station. They wll be back this Sunday morning (September 25) at 8:00 AM, and will be glad to have any others join them. Rakes, gloves and trash bags will be provided.

Also, mark you calendars for the "Clean The Queen" cleanup day being sponsored by Councilor Barry Goode set for next Saturday (October 1) from 9:00 AM to Noon. That event will get under way at Clinton Avenue and West Front Street (near the Dunkin' Donuts).

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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(Animal) blessings galore

Occasions for the blessing of animals are coming up,
as the Feast of St. Francis approaches.
(Image by artist Tatiana Grant.)

Plainfield pets are extra blessed -- with several opportunities for a special blessing coming up as we approach the feast day of St. Francis (October 4), patron of pets, animals and the environment.

This Sunday (September 24), pets and their caretakers are invited to take part in a service at the United Church of Christ - Congregational, being led by Pastor Damaris Ortega. The service gets under way at 10:30 AM. All are invited.

Grace Episcopal Church will celebrate its service of blessing of animals on Saturday, October 1, at 10:30 AM in the church's Ackerman Garden at East 7th Street and Cleveland Avenue.

But the granddaddy of all Plainfield celebrations of animals is the annual FOSH Celebration of Animals, set for Sunday, October 2 at Leland Avenue Park. This year marks the 17th annual event, to which the whole community is invited.

Pets and their owners gather in large numbers as representatives of various faith traditions invoke blessings on them. There are always treats for the animals and an opportunity to mix and mingle for the people who accompany them.

When thinking of bringing your pet to an event, organiziers aks that you keep both your pet's and other's comfort in mind: if your pet is too loud, or too squirmy, or does not get along well with other animals, consider giving them an extra treat and leaving them at home.

We should also bear in mind that in remembering St. Francis, the blessing of animals is the easy part. The more demanding part is modeling our own lives on his pattern of simplicity of living and care for all creation.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Plainfield's "bridge to nowhere" nears completion

Workmen begin to install railings on new footbridge.

This view shows how much more substantial the new bridge is.

The concrete breastwork was faced with fieldstone before the
span was put in place.

"bridge to nowhere" taking shape in Plainfield's Green Brook Park is nearing completion, as can be seen from the photos above.

Workmen on the site told me Wednesday afternoon that the new footbridge is expected to be completed next week. You can read my previous post on the project here.

The new footbirdge replaces the much less substantial
one washed away in a flood a few years ago.

As you can see by comparing the new bridge to the photo above, this one is much more substantial than the one washed away in a flood sometime after 2009.

What was mysterious when the work on the new bridge began was the width of the concrete breastwork that was poured, then later faced with fieldstone.

It is now apparent that the breastwork is designed to withstand the occasional flooding much better than the original footbridge. In addition to the flood-resistant breastwork, the bridge is much higher from the water and much more substantial.

The "nowhere" it goes to is not really nowhere, but the lower -- and less used -- portion of the North Plainfield side of the park.

Perhaps the new access will encourage more activity on the large open area.

More soccer fields, anyone?

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Rec Division hosts free Family Tennis event Sunday

Plainfield Division of Recreation is hosting a free family tennis event Sunday (September 25) at the Donald Van Blake Tennis Courts in cooperation with the Plainfield school district.

There will be activities for all ages, including childen and adult beginners. Competitive play will include singles, doubles and round robin. Meet Plainfield High School's tennis team and more.

Refreshments will be served (not on the courts, of course).

That's this Sunday, September 25, from 3:00- 8:00 PM. The Donald Van Blake Tennis Courts are part of the Plainfield Public School District's Hub Stine Athletic Complex, located on Randolph Road across from the former Muhlenberg Hospital.

For more information, call the Division of Recreation at (908) 753-3097.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

(Board of Ed) Hiring of Human Resources Director on tonight's agenda

Bernice Marshall Simmons was formerly HR Director of the
Perth Amboy Public Schools.

The hiring of a new Human Resource Director is on the Plainfield
Board of Education agenda.

The candidate is Bernice Marshall Simmons, who was formerly HR Director at the Perth Amboy public schools.

Marshall Simmons (then just Marshall) settled a lawsuit against the Perth Amboy district in which she claimed she was discriminated against and subjected to a hostile work environment because she was African American in a district that is 87% Hispanic.

Her LinkedIn profile shows her as at the Perth Amboy job through the end of the 2013-14 school year. The district settled her suit for $170,000 in November 2015, according to the NJ Civil Settlements blog (see here).

Marshall alleged that the Perth Amboy superintendent, after only four months on the job, curtailed her duties and hired another person under a different title. It was pointed out in her defense at a public board meeting that Marshall's was the only department in the Perth Amboy schools that got a perfect QSAC rating at that time.

Marshall's LinkedIn profile shows that she has been with the Newark Public Schools in the interim.

The interesting question here is not her qualifications, which appear to be top notch, but her willingness to come into another district with a large (and growing) Hispanic student population.

While the current Superintendent is also African American, that is certainly no guarantee going forward.

The Plainfield Board of Education's business meeting is slated for 8:00 PM (ahem!) this evening in the PHS Cafetorium. The agenda is online here. Use the Kenyon Avenue parking lot.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, September 19, 2016

Plainfield Dems set meeting and picnic for Saturday

A business meeting and community picnic have been set for Saturday.

's Democratic City Committee will have a business meeting and picnic this Saturday (September 24) at Cedar Brook Park, to which the public is cordially invited.

The picnic is potluck and continues a tradition started last year. Committee members and members of the public are asked to bring a dish to pass or a dessert. The permit from the Count;y allows for wine and beer to be served.

Chairman Adrian O. Mapp has set the official committee meeting for Noon, with an agenda that includes plans for the local Ward 3 and citywide at-large races as well as the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton, and information about headquarters operations.

The picnic will get under way once the business meeting is adjourned (approximately 1:00 PM).

The meeting and picnic will be in the grove nearest the rear of the Hartwyck Nursing Home. Parking available on the street. Lawn chairs are advised.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

Barack Obama Green Charter School withdraws Dunn property application


The school was proposing to convert the Dunn residence
and add a new wing for its campus.

's Barack Obama Green Charter School has withdrawn its application for a variance to locate on the Dunn property next to duCret School of Art. I wrote about that proposal in August (see here).

In a letter from the school's attorneys Schwarz Simon Edelstein & Celso, hand-delivered to the Plainfield Planning Division on Friday (see below), the school withdrew its application without comment or giving any reason.

The request to have its unused escrow monies returned suggests that the deal is dead.

We do not know if the school and the Dunns could mot reach an agreement on terms of a sale, whether the school decided its case for a variance was not strong enough, or whether the school is looking elsewhere.

No matter.

This incident has brought the matter of Plainfield's charter schools to wider attention, and there are several questions that I am considering pursuing going forward --

  • After several years, how do the charters compare to the Plainfield school district in regard to academic achievement, class sizes, graduation rates, etc?

  • How are their students selected, and are they broadly representative of the community?

  • As for governance, how are their boards constituted and to whom are they answerable?

  • Thirdly, what other sources of funds are there besides the funding drawn from the District? This is important when the schools take on purchasing or building facilities. Whose money is used and where does it come from?
There will be more coverage of Plainfield's charer schools coming.

Here's the letter --

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Plainfield photographer captures Plainfield wildlife

Two photos from the portfolio of Plainfield photographer Carl Monopoli.

photographer Carl Monopoli specializes in capturing Plainfield wildlife -- photographically.

Living in a woodsy section of the city unknown to most, Carl practically has a wildlife preserve in his backyard.

The red fox pictured above is just one of many sights you might not expect to see in an urban community such as ours.

Check out his website here, where you can see his portfolio and blog, and purchase prints of these unusual photos.

P.S.: Don't miss the one of the fly on the snake's nose.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Job Fair at City Hall today


City Hall plaza will be the site of a job and career fair today from 3:00 to 7:00 PM.

Participants include the Plainfield Public Schools, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight, PSE&G, Primerica Financial Services, and others.

Besides employment opportunities, there will be free workshops on resume writing, interview skills, and dressing for success.

Participating companies will be taking names and speaking with potential applicants.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Plainfield's community ID card in soft launch

Mayor Adrian Mapp displays his new Plainfield ID card.

took another step Tuesday in joining the select group of New Jersey communities that includes Newark, Perth Amboy, Dover and Roselle in offering photo ID cards to their residents. The system has been in design and development for several months.

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp was joined by Councilor Barry Good and SID vice president Maritza Martinez in testing the new ID card system.

Each filled out the card application and sat for their photo against a special blue background screen just like the MVC uses.

After a technician cropped the photo and double-checked the card information, the new processing equipment printed and issued the laminated plastic card in less than a minute.

Mayor Mapp sits for his photo...

... which is then edited...

Photos are cropped to remove unnecessary background.

Councilor Barry Goode and SID VP Maritza Martinez.

Closeup of a card.

Proudly displaying their cards (l to r): Councilor Barry Goode,
Chief of Staff John Stewart, Mayor Mapp, Communications Director
Jazz Clayton-Hunt, and SID VP Maritza Martinez.

In his remarks, Mayor Mapp stressed that though this ID card will be particularly valuable for immigrants, it is a card for ALL residents and provides an inexpensive and convenient photo ID for various purposes, including access to city services, the Plainfield Public Library and school services.

One of the largest benefits that was discussed when the Council mulled the proposal was to get banks to accept the card for opening accounts. That is still to come.

Mapp also stressed that the fee structure is designed not to be a revenue generator, but just to cover the cost of running the system. Cards are issued for a two year period, and the fee is $15/person and $5 for students and seniors. There will be a replacement fee for lost cards.

The "soft launch" will be for a month, where municipal employees will receive their ID cards and the system will get its "shakedown cruise" workout.

The program will go live for the entire community on October 10.

The ID cards will be issued in the Municipal Clerk's office on the first floor of City Hall, by appointment only, during regular work hours.

Applicants must fill out a request form available at the Clerk's office or online. Along with payment, two forms of ID must be submitted -- one showing who the person is, and another showing a Plainfield address for the applicant.

To learn exactly what documents to bring or to make an appointment, residents may call (908) 753-3222 x2110.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Mapp's veterans housing initiative moves ahead

The Dudley House facility on Putnam Avenue.
(Image: Google Maps)
NOTE: Council President Storch offers a clarification; see below.

City Council acted Monday evening to advance Plainfield
Mayor Adrian O. Mapp's veterans housing initiative, by approving a resolution to apply for a grant to renovate the former Dudley House facility.

Mapp had outlined an initiative to house Plainfield's homeless veterans in his State of The City address, having been inspired by programs undertaken by mayors of other cities across the country.

The resolution (R319-16) authorizes the city to submit a grant application in partnership with Homefirst, the housing organization, for $350,00 to renovate the city-owned Dudley House property.

Discussion on the resolution centered around where the program funds would come from to operate the facility once it is refurbished (the assumption being that the grant application will be successful).

Council President Cory Storch had stated at last week's agenda-setting session that he would not be in favor of the proposal moving forward unless representatives of Homefirst were present at this week's meeting to answer his questions about funding.

Homefirst Executive Director Debbie-Ann Anderson was present and told Council President Storch that the organization had the expertise to provide the housing services contemplated and would be looking for grant funding for the program side os the project.

Storch reiterated that he did not want to have the matter come back to the Council for program funding if there were any difficulties on Homefirst's part.

Council President Storch corrects me on the above statement --

I said that I do want the administration to come back to City Council prior to renovations to Dudley House, whether or not the are problems procuring service funding, but particularly if there are problems getting enough financial support to provide veterans services.  We all support this concept but if we spend $350,000 on renovations and have no service funding, where does that leave us?
When the vote finally went down, the resolution passed on a unanimous voice vote, 5-0. Councilors Brown and Taylor were absent.

City Council's next meeting is an agenda-fixing session on Monday, October 3. That will be at 7:30 PM in the Council Chambers/Courthouse at Watchung Avenue and East 4th Street.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, September 12, 2016

Plainfield's mysterious bridge to nowhere

Two views of new mystery bridge construction across the Green Brook.

Work is progressing on what appears to be new bridge in Plainfield's Green Brook Park.

The construction is under way where the Green Brook passes the entry to the playground area in the park (see map).

I think of it as Plainfield's "bridge to nowhere". (Some readers will recall the reference to former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens' proposal for a $368M bridge to an island with 50 residents.)

It's not a question in my mind of the expense, but the purpose, since it appears to go to an unused portion of the North Plainfield section of the park.

When I noticed excavation equipment at the site about a month ago, no one seemed to know what it was about. At the August Council meeting that took up support for the improvements to Cedar Brook Park (see post here), I asked the county's Parks and Recreation Director, Ron Zuber, what was going on. He told me he knew nothing about any work at Green Brook Park.

There had been a small footbridge, similar to those in Cedar Brook Park, that connected the Plainfield portion to the ballfields on the North Plainfield side (Union County administers the portion in North Plainfield), but it was destroyed in a flood sometime after 2009.

Map shows location of original footbridge and new construction.

As it happens, I entered a photo of the Green Brook footbridge in the Plainfield Public Library's 2009 photo contest. Here is that photo --

Original footbridge to ballfields on North Plainfield side,
taken in 2009.

I recently ran into North Plainfield Borough Clerk Rich Phoenix at the QuickChek. (Folks will recall Rich often assisted former Plainfield City Clerk Laddie Wyatt at Council meetings -- he was well-known for his smooth delivery in reading proclamations.)

I asked Phoenix if he knew anything about the project, and he was puzzled, saying he had heard nothing of it.

So, the mystery continues.

Will it be the replacement for the old footbridge, though at a different location? Or will it be more than just a footbridge?

We will have to wait to see.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, September 11, 2016

After 15 years, Plainfield's -- and country's -- 9/11 focus shifts

In iconic 9/11 photo, first responders evacuate mortally wounded
NYFD chaplain Fr. Mychal Judge. (Photo: Reuters)

On Friday morning, Plainfield marked the 15th anniversary of 9/11 with a ceremony at City Hall (see video and photos on the city's Facebook page here).

Mayor Adrian O. Mapp presided over a ceremony which included remarks by the mayor and others, recognition of Plainfield first responders who took part in the rescue and recovery efforts on 9/11 and subsequently, and musical presentations by students from the Plainfield public schools.

In the earliests commemorations, when we are were still in shock, the ceremonies tended to be very simple, related to the specific times at which events took place, and focused on those lost in the attacks and as a result of them.

The nation was united in grief and shock at the 9/11 events.

But time moves on.

As the names of Plainfield first responders -- police officers and firefighters -- who responded that day and in the days to follow, I reflected on the fact that those day were now half a career in the past.

And schools superintendent Anna Belin Pyles underscored the fact in her remarks when she pointed out that this year's freshman class at Plainfield High School is the first that can have no firsthand memory of the day itself.

Given that terrorism and terrorist attacks have become a steady drumbeat in daily life since 9/11, it is to be expected that the focus would shift from the horror of that day to the issues facing us today.

Mayor Mapp was certainly right to focus on the role of our police and firefighters in protecting the public.

In the new post-9/11 era in which we find ourselves, they are our first line of defense as every community -- no matter how small or seemingly unimportant on the world stage -- learns to live with the new set of circumstances.

It is fitting that the focus should shift to those whose duty is to keep us safe.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, September 9, 2016

9/11 observance this morning

Photo of the World Trade Center taken mid-afternoon
on September 11, 2001, from Washington Rock Park.

The 15th anniversary of 9/11 will be marked with a brief ceremony at City Hll at 9:00 AM today (the actual anniversary falls on a Sunday this year).

The ceremony will bring to mind the attacks on both the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and those who lost their lives in the incidents.

Gather on the plaza in front of City Hall.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, September 8, 2016

Plainfield's 9/11 observance Friday morning

Plainfield marks the 15th anniversary of 9/11 Friday morning.

As it has done each year since the 9/11 terror attack on the World Trade Center, the City of Plainfield will mark this 15th anniversary of the event with a brief ceremony at City Hll at 9:00 AM, Friday, September 9 (the actual anniversary falls on a Sunday this year).

The ceremony will bring to mind the attacks on both the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and those who lost their lives in the incidents.

Gather on the plaza in front of City Hall.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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