The needler in the haystack.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving wishes from Plainfield Today



HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
¡FELIZ DIA DE GRACIAS!



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Black Men Rise 5K set for Friday


5K run Thanksgiving Friday benefits SSYC.


The much-anticipated Black Men Rise 5K run/walk is slated to get under way Friday (November 25) in Plainfield's Cedar Brook Park, with registration opening at 8:00 AM and the race starting at 9:30 AM.

The race is the brainchild of Pastor Paul Dean of Visions Ministry and is being hosted by the Visions Community Development Corporation.

Pastor Dean made a passionate appeal for support to the City Council a couple of months ago, saying that his hope was to reach out to young men who are tempted by gang affiliation to empower them to "rise to their rightful place in society as leaders, mentors, protectors and friends".

Pastor Dean explained that while the 5K race was aimed at young Black men, it was open to everyone in the community, regardless of fitness level.

Although the original press release said the fee for entrants was $25/person, a recent story in TAPinto Plainfield (see here) says there is no entry fee. For clarification, potential runners can call (908) 444-8195.

The event will feature information tables from various organizations as well as vendors selling merchandise.

Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, Bishop Donald Hilliard of Cathedral International, and other are scheduled to speak.

Proceeds of the race will benefit the Second Street Youth Center, a nonprofit which for decades has provided mentoring, educational programs and recreational opportunities for youngsters of the community.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Thanksgiving meals for hungry and lonely Plainfielders


Free breakfast and dinner Thanksgiving Day.


Hungry and lonely Plainfield residents will be welcome at two Thanksgiving Day meal opportunities.
BREAKFAST AT THE SALVATION ARMY
For the fifth year, Unity Bank will underwrite a hearty breakfast of eggs, pancakes, sausage, bacon, coffee and tea for all comers at the Plainfield Salvation Army.

Anyone who is hungry is invited. The breakfast will be served by volunteers from 9:30 to 11:00 AM on Thanksgiving Day.

The Plainfield Salvation Army is at Watchung Avenue and East 7th Street.
DINNER AT FUSP
For the 17th year, members and friends of the First Unitarian Society of Plainfield (FUSP) are opening their doors and hearts to Plainfielders who are hungry or alone on Thanksgiving Day.

Under the leadership of Denise Soppas, volunteers will prepae and serve a hearty free Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings to those who come out.

The dinner is on Thanksgiving Day (November 24) from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM.

FUSP (First Unitarian Society of Plainfield) is at 724 Park Avenue, just steps from Seventh Street. FUSP is an accessible facility.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Monday, November 21, 2016

Work begins on South Avenue 'Gateway' project


View of the demolition so far, looking west from Plainwood
Square Park (Netherwood Cafe partially demolished).



The former Netherwood Cafe awaits the wrecker's ball.



The former Laggren's Awnings is now completely gone...
 

... as are the buildings at the westernmost edge of the parcel.

Demolition work has begun in preparation for construction of the South Avenue Gateway residential complex.

The $50 million project will bring 212 luxury apartments to South Avenue.

Demolition has begun (see photos above) on the parcel that was assembled from 11 separate properties that were acquired by the developer in 2015.

The project will be anchored on its eastern end by the city's Plainwood Square Park, which will be retained as a city park.

The Gateway development will include on site parking -- with the parking to be written into tenant leases -- as well as amenities for residents.

While the project does not strictly meet the requirements of "transit village" development (there is no retail component), it's location is sure to boost businesses in the area, which include Giovanna's and Freppe's restaurants, Plainfield's renowned Dairy Queen, and a small supermarket.

This is one to keep an eye on over the coming months.




  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Who is Steve Bannon and what does he have to do with Plainfield?


Steve Bannon, the brains behind a Trump administration.
 

Who is Steve Bannon and what does he have to do with Plainfield?

Trump's new "chief strategist" is one half of a dueling power structure he is setting up in the coming White House staff -- the other half being Reince Priebus, who will serve as chief of staff.

Priebus is a nod to the GOP establishment.

The real person to keep an eye on is Steve Bannon.

Bannon has been widely branded in several popular news sites as an anti-feminist, anti-semitic, evil genius of the alt-right, hell-bent on upending not only the GOP establishment, but the state in general.

You can read samples on Mashable, Medialite, Romper, and the Israeli-based Good. Is the fact that most of the stories draw their quotes from the same topics a sing of lazy journalism?

Far better are the in-depth profile of Bannon done by Bloomberg News reporter Joshua Green (see here),  the Mother Jones article on how Bannon created a haven for the alt-right on Breitbart.com (see here), and an interview this past week on Fresh Air with Joshua Green (see here), who said Bannon had a "years-long plan to take down Hillary Clinton".

It seems quite clear that Bannon is the brains behind any Trump administration, and he will truly be Trump's strategist -- as he was during the campaign.

Will he have an impact on Plainfield?

New Jersey -- and presumably Plainfield -- would be directly and positively impacted by any large-scale infrastructure projects that Trump is proposing -- provided he gets funding approved by the GOP Congress (not a slam dunk).

On the other hand, Trump's promised anti-immigrant stance, and suspicion of Muslims do not bode well for Plainfield and other communities who count these folks among their residents.

Bannon holds himself out as an "economic nationalist". If that means he will strategize to undermine US trade agreements, that could mean negative consequences for the American economy, which would trickle down to New Jersey (which has not fully recovered yet from the Great Recession) and to Plainfield (ditto).

I always keep in mind the advice given in The Art of War by Sun Tzu, the ancient Chinese military strategist --
Know thyself, know thy enemy.
A thousand battles, a thousand victories.

Democrats are beginning to grapple with the first question as they try to understand their November loss.

It is important to really know and understand Bannon -- not only who he is, but what he is up to.

On these two things depend successfully moving the Democratic Party and the country forward.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Friday, November 18, 2016

Weekend: Two musical happenings, 7th Street cleanup


Three activities perfect for a fall Plainfield weekend.
 

Plainfield's weekend lineup includes three Sunday events: two musical, pluse Quen City Pride's weekend cleanup walk.
QCP TACKLES 7TH STREET
After a successful cleanup along Plainfield Avenue and Liberty Street last weekend, Queen City Pride (QCP) returns to West 7th Street this weekend (November 20).

Beginning at 9:00 AM at West 7th Street and Clinton Avenue, volunteers will work their way to Plainfield Avenue and hope to return via West 6th Street.

For more information on upcoming cleanups, be sure to friend the group's Facebook page here. You can also contact them by email at queencitypridenj@gmail.com.

SPIRITUALS AND HYMNS AT CRESCENT
Plainfield composer and arranger Queintard (Quinn) DeGeneste II presents a program of "Spirituals and Hymns" at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church this Sunday (November 20) at 3:00 PM.

Quinn will render his stylistic approach to some beloved Negro spirituals and a selection of great hymns of the faith. He will also tell the stories that form the backdrop to the music and texts for each selection.

This is a free event and the public is warmly invited. A free will offering will be taken.

Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church is at East 7th Street and Watchung Avenue. Parking in the church lot on First Place, on the street, or in the Swain Galleries lot.

THANKSGIVING BENEFIT CONCERT AT FUSP
Also on Sunday (November 20), the First Unitarian Society of Plainfield (FUSP) presents a benefit concert for its Thanksgiving Dinner program at 3:00 PM.

Spook Handy (guitar and vocals) and Eric Lee (violin) will present Post-Election Healing, a concert that will include their interpretation of Pete Seeger favorites and songs from their recent release of "Keep The Flame Alive".

For 17 years, FUSP volunteers have cooked and served a free Thanksgiving dinner to those in the community who are hungry or alone on the holiday.

Tickets are $20/person, $15 for seniors and students and are available at the door. Proceeds will benefit the annual Thanksgiving Community Dinner.

FUSP (First Unitarian Society of Plainfield) is at 724 Park Avenue, near 7th Street.  Parking available on the street or in the public lot across Park Avenue.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Trump effect in NJ? You betcha


Detail from map in Ledger story. Hatched areas to the west of
Plainfield indicate Republican towns going for Clinton in 2016.
 

Plainfield voters may wonder whether there was a "Trump effect" in such a deep blue state as New Jersey -- and indeed there was.

The Ledger has recently posted two stories online detailing changes between 2012 voting and 2016, where communities have switched their votes from one party to another. You can read them here (statewide) and here (Hudson County).

The "Trump effect" cut both ways in New Jersey, with some GOP towns going for Clinton in revulsion over Trump and some Democratic districts flipping to Trump in response to his "change" message.

Christie Whitman's moderate Republican base in Somerset and Morris counties showed vote switching from Romney in 2012 to Clinton in 2016, as in the map heading this post.

On the other hand, 53 communities in the Garden State that voted for Obama in 2012 decided to go with Trump in 2016. It is instructive to read the (unscientific) comments solicited by the Ledger reporters.

As the Democratic Party assesses what it got wrong and works out a plan for moving ahead, it will be important to look at the data all the way down to the municipal level to see how Trump's message has impacted those who feel left out of the economy.

It would be a mistake to think that these folks don't need to be taken into account.

I don't think that there is a path to long term Democratic success that does not take them into account.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Library program: Photojournalist on accidental masterpieces Thursday


This was the scene in Times Square on VJ Day, the day Japan surrendered in 1945, ending World War II...


... and this is the photograph by a Time magazine photographer
that became the icon of this day in history.
How and why is the subject of Thursday's talk.


Some photographs taken spontaneously have become iconic -- such as the picture of a sailor kissing a passerby in Times Square on V-J Day in 1945 shown above.

The Plainfield Public Library presents New Jersey photojournalist Jim DelGuidice in a free program Thursday that surveys accidental masterpieces captured over the past 150 years.

From a tousled-hair photo of Abraham Lincoln that helped get him elected president to a snapshot of candidate Gary Hart on a yacht that helped sink his presidential run, DelGuidice will explain the image's context, how and why the event happened, and what it was that made the photographer say "Gotcha!"

A lifelong New Jersey resident, DelGuidice has had three books of architectural photography published by Rutgers University Press. He is an adjunct professor at the County College of Morris and at Columbia University. His lectures at Drew University have earned him a share in NJ's Historic Preservaton Awards three times.

The program is free and open to the public and gets under way in the Anne Louise Davis Meeting Room of the Library at 7:00 PM on Thursday (November 17).

The Plainfield Public Library is at Park Avenue and West 8th Street and is an accessible facility. Parking is available in the 8th and 9th Street lots. For more information about library hours and programs, visit the library's website at www.plainfieldlibrary.info/.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Creepy recent interactions with government


The Panopticon was conceived by Jeremy Bentham as a cost-efficient
means of supervising prisoners with the least amount of staff.
Bentham would be amazed at today's government watching.
 

This Plainfield resident recently had two interactions with government that were truly creepy.

I needed to get copies of my birth certificate and to replace a long-lost Social Security card.

Where to start? Google, of course.

First, I learned that New York state (where I was born) long ago centralized its vital statistics; if you were born outside of New York City, all requests for copies are handled through Albany. Fair enough.

However, when I went to the process for obtaining a certified copy of my birth certificate, I learned that all requests are handled by a for-profit, nongovernmental Lexis-Nexis subsidiary.

Their website said I could apply online, but that I would need to supply a copy of a valid driver's license. Since I wondered how this would work, I called the toll-free number and got a young man who said I shouldn't worry, just fill out the form online and if a copy of the license was required I would be able to upload an image or fax a copy.

As I filled out the form -- which wanted place and date of birth and parent's names --- I began to be asked a series of questions.

What high school had I graduated from (multiple choice)?

What state was my Social Security number issued in (again, multiple choice)?

Then a question (offering four answers) to indicate a street that I had NOT lived on.

This is where it got really creepy. Three of the four streets were ones I had lived on -- but one of them was in Brooklyn, forty-two years ago!

Evidently my answers to those questions were considered sufficient to guarantee I was who I said I was. I was approved without ever being asked to submit the copy of the driver's license.

My second creepy interaction was yesterday, when I went to Social Security's new office in Bridgewater (remember the promises that SS was to be returned to Plainfield when it was kicked out of the National Starch building that was turned into a 'swing school'? A story for another time).

I had found the form to request a replacement Social Security card online, printed it out and filled it in.

Once inside the SS office, I logged in via the touch screen computer and was provided a numbered slip to wait for an available interviewer. The whole process was displayed on a large wall monitor, and you could actually see how you were moving up in the chain. I was impressed.

When my number finally came up, I went to the little booth, where an interviewer sat behind a thick glass window (like a bank teller's). She asked me to confirm my SS number and my date of birth and then to slip my driver's license to her through the little tray.

I was waiting to be asked to sign and present the application I had filled out.

Instead, she asked me to confirm my parent's names, which she already had on the screen. Again, I was creeped out.

When I told her I had a filled-out application, she said that it wasn't necessary since all the information needed was tied to my SS number, which one has to supply when signing in.

I have to confess that the only time I can ever remember actually presenting my SS card was when it was first issued at age 14, for my first job as a stockboy after school in our small rural country store.

I lost it somewhere in the 1960s and have never needed to actually show it until these new, more security-conscious times.

So, whatever our notions of privacy are, I think it is pretty clear that we are being permanently watched and tracked.

Jeremy Bentham's idea of a "panopticon" (see more here) -- where authorities were able to monitor prison inmates at all times from a central location -- has been taken to a level he would never have dreamed of.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Welcome Plainfield's newest media resource, and editor Jenn Popper


Jenn Popper, TAPinto Plainfield's editor,
hiking in Peru last summer.



Plainfield readers of my CLIPS blog (see here) may have noticed in recent weeks that a number of local news items were from a website called TAPinto Plainfield. Begun by New Providence residents Mike and Lauryn Shapiro in 2008, the venture now covers more than 75 towns in New Jersey and New York, and now including Plainfield.

Recently, Plainfield resident and Netherwood Neighbors activist Jennifer Popper (known to everyone as Jenn) took over as editor for the Plainfield site.

I thought that Plainfield Today readers would like to know more about this new community media resource and asked Jenn if she would take part in an email interview, to which she generously agreed.


Here is the exchange --


Plainfield Today: Tell us a little bit about TAPinto and its family of websites.


Jennifer Popper: TAPinto is a network of locally-owned and operated online newspaper franchises.  TAPinto is award-winning for journalistic integrity, news credibility and community spirit, and accredited by the New Jersey Press Association.

Its mission is to provide readers with objective, accurate and original local news content that best reflects the character and interests of residents of each town in a timely and consistent manner.


The Tapinto Plainfield site itself is a bit unique.  It is locally owned and operated by the Plainfield YMCA, with any profits benefiting its YMCA programs.

PT: And tell us a little bit about your background.


Popper: My husband and I moved to Plainfield in 2002 into the Netherwood Heights area.  From the beginning, we had both immersed ourselves in the community, and I ended up joining the Netherwood Neighbors board, working my way up to President.  While it’s been a few years since I was on the board, I still contribute my time as the Communications Director for the group, updating the website (www.netherwoodheights.com), managing its social media pages, and disseminating information via the email newsletter.


My work with Netherwood Neighbors has allowed me to meet many Plainfield folks across the city.  Often, people just send you information because they know you can help get the word out, for instance, for their town garage sale, the latest symphony performance, or an election forum.
Career-wise, I have spent my time working at a variety of magazines in advertising.  I’m the one who analyzes demographic profiles and product consumption patterns vs. competitive magazines for the sales team.


PT: What intrigued you about taking on being the Plainfield site's editor?


Popper: To be honest, I thought of it as an extension of the work I already do with Netherwood Neighbors.  The difference, of course, is that as an NHN volunteer, I don’t have to be as timely when there is a flyer about an upcoming event that needs to be uploaded.


TAPinto requires much more involvement.  As I continue to immerse myself, I look forward to meeting more Plainfield residents and engaging with our community leaders.  I live here in Plainfield; I want to share our town’s news far and wide.  It was a bit of a rocky start with TAPinto for me with a personal tragedy over the summer, but I’m really trying to ramp up the coverage of all things Plainfield as we move into the holiday season and then 2017.


Plainfield has such a large and diverse community, as you know.  And the development that is going on all over town means there are more great things to come.  The number of stories that one can do on Plainfield and its residents is endless.


PT: Do you have a background in writing or reporting?


Popper: Not formally, no.  I’ve spent my career working for magazines like Ladies’ Home Journal, Golf Digest, Redbook, Rolling Stone, and TV Guide Magazine, but on the advertising side of the business, not editorial.  I detoured from that career path back in late 2006, when my husband, Michael, and I bought a Pilates and yoga studio in Warren, NJ.  I made it my goal to be able to handle all of the advertising I had to do to sell class packages, and to create all of the marketing materials to support those selling efforts.  I taught myself how to edit the website, too, and was excited each time I learned a new trick in HTML.  Nerdy, I know, but true.


But as the economy turned, we faced challenges like so many other small businesses, and in June of 2011, we closed.  From there, I went back to what I knew, advertising research at TV Guide Magazine.


PT: What sorts of stories do the site's readers find interesting?


Popper: So far I have found that police and fire stories do well; residents want to know that their town is safe.  Additionally, we’ve seen some good traffic when there are stories with pictures of children involved in school activities.  What parent doesn’t want to share a story in which his/her child is featured, right?


PT: Can people send you story suggestions or press releases for their organization?


Popper: Absolutely, we encourage that!  We are already receiving multiple stories to publish from the Plainfield schools and the library. 
Readers can also post events, classifieds, garage sales and real estate listings on their own.  The posts would then be approved by us, though. 
I can be reached at jpopper@tapinto.net or 908-917-9348 for those with stories to share.


PT: How is advertising on the site handled?


Popper: There are a number of advertising opportunities that are available, from banner ads and site sponsorship packages, social media promotion, premium event listings, and business and real estate listings.
Advertising can be targeted just to the Plainfield area, or it can be packaged to reach neighboring towns as well for additional exposure.


Carolyn Wellington is handling the advertising on the Plainfield TAPinto site.  She can be reached by emailing cwellington@tapinto.net.


PT: What is your vision for the site a year from now?


Popper: I’d like to see Plainfield’s TAPinto site be a must-buy for advertisers.  As a hyper-local site, you want advertising to reach those persons who are your most likely customer.  We often hear these days of larger media outlets that are consolidating to only reach a broader target audience.   
And of course I’d like to see growth in site traffic, growth in social media engagement, and a more robust email subscriber list.  TAPinto Plainfield, (along with Plainfield Today, of course), should be one of the first sites residents visit each morning, and one of the first emails they read.  I want them to WANT to read TAPinto Plainfield because the content is about them, their neighbors, and about community leaders making decisions that affect where these residents live.

I hope Plainfield Today readers will join me in wishing Jenn all the best in this new venture. You can follow TAPinto Plainfield here.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Sunday: Cleanup and Concert



DPW Superintendent John Louise, nicknamed "Superman" by
the QCP volunteers, stands atop his truck to remove an illegal sign.


Plainfield's holiday weekend winds up with two Sunday activities: the regular weekend cleanup and a concert

QUEEN CITY PRIDE CLEANUP


This weekend's Queen City Pride cleanup gets under way Sunday (November 13) at 9:00 AM at the corner of Plainfield Avenue and Randolph Road.

The crew of volunteers will pick up litter along both sides of Plainfield Avenue down to its foot at the Drake House at West Front Street.

On the way back they will make a loop over South Second Street to Mt. Olive Baptist Church and then up Liberty Street to the end, then west on 8th Street to Plainfield Avenue to complete the loop.

For more information on upcoming cleanups, be sure to friend the group's Facebook page here. You can also contact them by email at queencitypridenj@gmail.com.

NEW JERSEY YOUTH SYMPHONY CONCERT

The final activity of this busy weekend is a concert by the New Jersey Youth Symphony on Sunday (November 13) at 7:00 PM.

Two of the symphony's groupings -- the Youth Symphony and the Youth Orchestra -- will present a program that includes Beethoven's Egmont and Coriolan Overtures as well as Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake ballet suite and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherezade.

Both groups are advanced, full orchestras; the Youth Orchestra is open to students in grade 7 through 12, and the Youth Symphony is open to students in grades 9 through 12.

The performances will be led by conductor Simon Lipskar and artistic director and conductor Jeffrey Grogan.

Tickets are $20/person, $15/seniors and students, and may be purchased at the door.

The concert is at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, East 7th Street at Watchung Avenue. The church is an accessible facility.

Parking available in the church lot on First Place, in the Swain Galleries lot or on the street.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Weekend: Exhibit, Concerts, Cleanup


2015 Photo Contest winner Brian Cook's "Hard Hatters."


This weekend is jam-packed with must-do Plainfield activities: a photo exhibit, two concerts and the regular weekend cleanup.

SATURDAY: LIBRARY'S ANNUAL PHOTO CONTEST EXHIBIT

The Plainfield Public Library will host an opening reception for the 11th Annual Photo Contest on Saturday (November 12) from 10:00 AM to Noon.

Twenty-three contributors submitted 91 images in the contest. This year's theme is "Plainfield: People, Places, Things". "The images represent people, places and things the entrants view as important in documenting the Queen City for future generations," says Sarah Hull, head of the Library's Local History Department.

The exhibit is mounted in the Anne Louise Davis Gallery and will be available for viewing during regular library hours through the end of November. Prizes and certificates will be awarded during the event.

The public is warmly welcomed and light refreshments will be served.

The Plainfield Public Library is at Park Avenue and 8th Street and is an accessible facility. Parking available in the 8th and 9th Street lots.

SATURDAY: CRESCENT CONCERTS IN 'I WAS GLAD'

The Crescent Choral Society's "I Was Glad" program of English choral music on Saturday evening will be the debut performance of its new music director Clifford Parrish. For more about Mr. Parrish, see my post on his appointment here.

The title is drawn from a piece of Sir Hubert Parry performed at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. Other works in the concert wil be by composers ranging from William Byrd and Henry Purcell to Ralph Vaughn Williams and John Tavener.

If English music is your thing, you won't want to miss this exciting program. And if you think it is not, you will be pleasantly surprised.

The concert gets under way at 7:00 PM. Though there is a charge, I can find nothing on the website. If my memory serves me, I think tickets are $20/person and may be purchased at the door.

The Crescent Choral Society performs at -- where else! -- Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, East 7th Street at Watchung Avenue. The church is an accessible facility.

Parking available in the church lot on First Place, in the Swain Galleries lot or on the street.

SUNDAY: QUEEN CITY PRIDE CLEANUP


DPW Superintendent John Louise, nicknamed "Superman" by
the QCP volunteers, stands atop his truck to remove an illegal sign.

This weekend's Queen City Pride cleanup gets under way Sunday (November 13) at 9:00 AM at the corner of Plainfield Avenue and Randolph Road.

The crew of volunteers will pick up litter along both sides of Plainfield Avenue down to its foot at the Drake House at West Front Street.

On the way back they will make a loopp over South Second Street to Mt. Olive Baptist Church and then up Liberty Street to the end, then west on 8th Street to Plainfield Avenue to complete the loop.

For more information on upcoming cleanups, be sure to friend the group's Facebook page here. You can also contact them by email at queencitypridenj@gmail.com.

SUNDAY: NEW JERSEY YOUTH SYMPHONY CONCERT

The final activity of this busy weekend is a concert by the New Jersey Youth Symphony on Sunday (November 13) at 7:00 PM.

Two of the symphony's groupings -- the Youth Symphony and the Youth Orchestra -- will present a program that includes Beethoven's Egmont and Coriolan Overtures as well as Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake ballet suite and Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherezade.

Both groups are advanced, full orchestras; the Youth Orchestra is open to students in grade 7 through 12, and the Youth Symphony is open to students in grades 9 through 12.

The performances will be led by conductor Simon Lipskar and artistic director and conductor Jeffrey Grogan.

Tickets are $20/person, $15/seniors and students, and may be purchased at the door.

The concert is at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, East 7th Street at Watchung Avenue. The church is an accessible facility.

Parking available in the church lot on First Place, in the Swain Galleries lot or on the street.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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

Veterans Day Observance Friday


Nonegenarian veteran Donald Van Blake in a photograph
by Brian Branch Price, whose exhibit runs through November
at the Plainfield Public Library.


Plainfield officials will lead an observance of Veteran's Day on Friday (November 11), beginning at 10:30 AM in front of City Hall. The day's program was designed by Cornell Hawkins, Jr., commander of American Legion Post 219 and Mayor Mapp's Chief of Staff John D. Stewart, Jr.

After gathering in front of City Hall, a wreath will be placed at the War Memorial Floagpole at Watchung and East 7th Streets.

The rest of the observance will take place at the Veterans Memorial on the City Hall grounds.

The ceremony will include presenting the colors by the PBA Color Guard, remarks by Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, and Lamar Mackson, First Vice Commander of American Legion Post 219, as well as Ms. Ashley Vazquez, a PHS student aspiring to join the military.

Musical renditions will include the National Anthem, sung by Ms. Alexis Morrast, a PAAAS student and "America the Beautiful" by Mrs. Wormley.

The ceremony will conclude with Taps, performed by Mr. Rajahn Fourshee, also a PAAAS student.

Residents are also invited to stop by the Plainfield Public Library throughout the month of November to view a photography exhibit on Plainfield veterans. {The photo at the top of this post is from the exhibit.)

The photographs are the work of Plainfield photographer Brian Branch Price. The photographs are the result of a project funded by a grant from the Plainfield Cultural & Heritage Commission in 2015.

The exhibit is in the main Reading Room of the Library, at Park Avenue and 8th Street. The Plainfield Public Library is an accessible facility. Parking availabe in the 8th and 9th Streets lots.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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A Plainfield Rust Belt survivor ponders Trump's win


ALCO Locomotive Works, where my father was a welder,
in an undated photo.


A 19th-century bird's-eye view of the Brooks Locomotive Works,
which became ALCO in 1901.
 

Though I have lived in Plainfield for thirty-three years now, my outlook on life was deeply affected by the collapse of the Rust Belt manufacturing city from whose high school I graduated in 1956.

I can well attest to the anger and feeling of being left behind of the working people of America's former industrial heartland. Globalization has made them losers indeed.

When I graduated from high school, the population of Dunkirk, NY, was about 19,000. Now it is 12,500, shrunk by a third (nearby Buffalo shrank from half a million to 261,000 -nearly by half -- in the same period).

Then, three employers counted for the bulk of jobs in Dunkirk: two steel plants and ALCO, the locomotive factory where my dad was a welder. All three are now gone, replaced by one much smaller factory that makes specialty steel products.

The area has been depressed economically and psychologically ever since the mid-1950s -- that is, for sixty years, which is a lifetime.

I perfectly well understand the feelings into which Donald Trump tapped.

Many of my cousins and schoolmates still live there. They are not particularly racist, anti-immigrant or xenophobic, but they do feel their dignity and a chance at a better life have been taken from them by people they do not know and forces they cannot control. And they do not feel that's fair.

They want to be able to support themselves and their families decently without husband and wife having to work two or three jobs. Is that too much to ask?

Bernie and Trump understood change was the order of the day; Hillary did not quite seem to get it; her strength in policy experience for decades became her weakness.

So, here we are. Donald Trump is president-elect. Though he won the electoral college, the popular vote is razor thin (
as of Wednesday afternoon, Clinton has the lead with 59,786,125 votes (47.6%); Trump has 59,578,670 or 47.5%. He cannot be said to have a "mandate".

The world has changed, but is not ended.

I remember my anger and dismay when Richard Nixon was elected (the second time was bitterest), and Ronald Reagan's "trickle down" economics, and the pain of George W. Bush's election and the reckless rush into war in Iraq. America has come through all that. Trump will not be president for ever.


He made some big promises to the people who carried him over the finish line. Can he keep them?

Trump will have a limited amount of time to deliver economic relief for these people -- I think less than two years. If he has not made real strides by the time of the next congressional elections, his window of opportunity could be closed.

In New Jersey the picture is also fraught. Though we have lagged behind the country in job recovery after the 2008 meltdown, any gains in manufacturing would probably be offset if Trump shrinks foreign trade, in which 120,000 jobs are involved according to an article in today's Courier (see here).

A lot of attention has been focused on whether the GOP would survive the Trump phenomenon.

Now that he has been elected, the question really is: Will the Democrats recover their roots as the "party of the people" and regain lost ground?


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Services for longtime city committeeman John Davis on Friday


Services for John Davis will be at Rose of Sharon Church Friday.

Funeral services for longtime Plainfield Democratic City Committee member John Davis are set for Friday morning (November 11) at Rose of Sharon Church.

John passed away suddenly on November 3.

Besides his wife Marie, also a longtime Democratic committeewoman and party stalwart, he is survived by four sons: John, Martin, Donald and Owen. His son Donald served a term as a Plainfield city councilman.

Services are provided by Judkins Colonial Home, where you can view the obituary here.

The viewing is from 9:00 AM to 11:00 AM. The funeral service begins at 11:00 AM.

Rose of Sharon Community Church is at 825 West 7th Street, and is an accessible facility. Parking available in the church lot and at the Queen City Academy next door.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Bookers to be honored at Thursday reception


Plainfielder Charles Booker was the appellant in
Booker v. Board of Ed, NJ's landmark school desegregation case.

Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp will host a reception Thursday evening at City Hall honoring longtime Plainfield activists Charles and Anna Booker.

Charles Booker was the appelant in the landmark 1965 case (Booker v. Board of Ed), by which the New Jersey Supreme Court struck down segregation by what was then referred to as "neighborhood schools".

The case was brought by the NAACP and used the NJ Supreme Court's 1944 ruling in Hedgepath and Williams v. Trenton Board of Education to permanently end the practice of segregation in New Jersey schools. You can read the historic decision here.

The reception, to which the entire community is invited, gets under way at 6:00 PM in the City Hall Rotunda. Light refreshments will be served.

Plainfield City Hall is at Watchung Avenue and East 6th Street. Parking and entry at the rear of the building. City Hall is an accessible facility.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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