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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Monday's Plainfield City Council meeting looks to be a snorer

There is a proposal to change a one-way street
to two-way that should please everyone.

City Council's Monday (October 1) agenda-setting session looks to be a snorer.

Plainfield Mayor Adrian O. Mapp is asking for advice and consent on the appointment of the new department directors (whose names he made public in July) --

  • Carlos Sanchez will now be designated Business Administrator;
  • Ron West will be Director of Finance;
  • Oren Dabney will be Director of Public Works;
  • Valerie Jackson will be Director of Economic Development;
  • Jazz Clayton-Hunt will be Director of Communications and Technology; and
  • Shep Brown will be Director of Health and Social Services.
The proposed separation of police and fire into two separate departments was not taken up at this time, leaving Carl Riley as Director of Public Safety and Police Director.

In other business, the proposed sign ordinance has been revised to accommodate the complaints Mayor Mapp said gave the administration pause, and is on for a first reading as MC 2018-24.

The only corrective action item in the 2017 audit concerned the timely deposit of cash by the Police Division and a resolution will address that issue.

The last item of any general interest is the proposal to reinstate the block of Cleveland Avenue between 4th and 5th Streets as two-way (it is now, annoyingly to everyone, one way northbound). For once, a traffic change that should be greeted enthusiastically by everyone.

City Council meets at 7:30 PM Monday in the Council Chambers / Courthouse at Watchung Avenue and East 4th Street.

Parking available on the street and in the lot across from Police Headquarters.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Plainfield teachers' union endorses Board of Ed candidates

The PEA released its 2018 Board of Ed endorsements
Sunday evening.

The Plainfield Education Association (PEA), which represents Plainfield public school district teachers and support staff, released its endorsements in the 2018 Board of Ed election Sunday evening.

The union adopted the recommendations of its screening committee, which was
chaired by Lisa Logan-Leach.

The PEA endorsements for the three three-year seats are --

  • Melba Mullins (3-1)
  • Rebecca Perkins (2-1)
  • Timothy Priano (5-1)
“The committee was impressed with Ms. Mullins and Ms. Perkins both being fellow educators and NJEA members. Ms. Perkins also served as a board member in Warren previously. Mr. Priano has been an active member in the Plainfield community with the League of Women Voters and the DuCret School of Art. Ms. Mullins is also a Cedarbrook Elementary School parent,” said Ms. Logan-Leach.

“Educators and students within Plainfield Public Schools are facing larger class sizes, fewer electives and reduced resources due to financial decisions made by former administrations and the board. The candidates who we have endorsed are committed to ensuring our resources are available and targeted to the classroom,” Logan-Leach continued.

The union did not make any endorsement in the race for the one-year unexpired term.

The endorsement concludes, "PEA knows the value of working in campaigns to ensure educators and the community elect the candidates who value a strong public school system and its staff. We are excited to endorse Mullins, Perkins and Priano."

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Plainfield's "A Team" kicks off 2018 Fall campaign

Members of the "A Team" pose Saturday at Dem HQ.
(l to r) Freeholder Williams, Council President McRae,
Councilor Mills-Ransome, Chairman Mapp, Councilor
Armady, Assemblywoman Carter, Council candidate
Davis and Councilor Goode.

Plainfield's "A Team" Democratic candidates joined Plainfield Democratic chairman Adrian O. Mapp and party faithful on Saturday morning for a breakfast kickoff of the Fall 2018 campaign.

A breakfast of grits, scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and home fries was enjoyed by all.

Candidates Linda Carter (Assembly), Rebecca Williams (Freeholder), Elton Armady (Citywide at-large), Ashley Davis (Ward 1) and Joylette Mills-Ransome (Wards 2/3 at-large) all made brief remarks to the assembled supporters.

There was some mirth at Assemblywoman Carter's reference to the "ripple effect" of her appointment to the late Jerry Green's Assembly seat -- making her Freeholder seat available for Williams, and Williams' at-large seat available for Armady; Mills-Ransome noted that she was filling the seat made vacant by Williams when she became citywide at-large. There was a ripple of laughter among the crowd.

All of the candidates stressed the importance of voting not only for themselves but for the complete "A Team" from Sen. Bob Menendez and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman at the top through the Freeholders and all the way down to the City Council candidates at the bottom.

Chairman Mapp, saying that the rally was not a meeting of the PDCC, but a gathering "of those supporting the line -- especially Elton Armady for the citywide at-large seat" alluded to the fact that some breakaway Democrats are supporting independent candidate Ronald Johnson. (Brenda Gilbert, who also filed to run as an independent but was knocked off the ballot by a judge, says she is running -- evidently meaning as a write-in candidate.)

Beginning Tuesday (October 2), Democratic Headquarters will be open daily from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM for volunteer phone banking. It will be open on weekends earlier in the afternoon.

In recognition of the importance of this election not only for the offices to be filled, but as a referendum on President Donald Trump, Chairman Mapp set a goal of 40% turnout for Plainfield's registered Democrats.

This year's November election is on Tuesday, November 6.

Plainfield Democratic Headquarters is at 31 Watchung Avenue (next to Antojito's Restaurant). Parking available behind the HQ and in the adjacent public lot.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Friday, September 28, 2018

County releases Board of Ed ballot lineup

Starting blocks are used in field-and-track events.
They are pressure-sensitive to prevent early starts,
and the speaker ensures all get the starting shot clearly.
(Image from Wikipedia.)

CORRECTION: Mr. Wyatt was inadvertently listed with the Mapp team's slogan; it has been corrected to reflect his alignment with the Campbell slate (a "cut and paste" error). Sorry -- Dan.

Union County Clerk Joanne Rajoppi released a proof of the November ballot on Thursday (September 27) to Municipal Clerk "AJ" Jalloh, including the lineup of the Plainfield Board of Ed candidates.

For the first time I can ever remember, slates of Board of Ed candidates will appear together.

(Dottie Gutenkauf and I managed school board campaigns for a variety of slates for about ten years after Plainfield became an elected school board many years ago. Not having candidates on a slate appear together was just the 'luck of the draw' in those days.)

Here's the lineup of candidates, with their slogans --

  • 1-1 Harry Watson, Jr. (Putting Children First)
  • 2-1 Rebecca Perkins (Accountable Budget-Based Caring)
  • 3-1 Melba Mullins (#GetMad!)
  • 3-2 Alma Blanco (#GetMad!)
  • 3-3 David Graves (#GetMad!)
  • 3-4 Dorien Hurtt -1-year unexpired term (#GetMad!)
  • 4-1 Richard Wyatt (Children First Team)
  • 4-2 John Campbell (Children First Team)
  • 4-3 Emily Morgan (Children First Team)
  • 4-4 Eric Andrews -1-year unexpired term (Children First Team)
  • 5-1 Timothy Priano (Change The Game)

The Board of Ed candidates will appear in a separate horizontal box beneath the General (political) Election ballot.

The names will appear in five columns from left to right, with multiple names in the columns containing slates.

The "#GetMad!" slate is aligned with Mayor Adrian O. Mapp. The "Children First Team" slate is aligned with Republican "king maker" John Campbell. The other three candidates are running independently.

In a memo posted on his FaceBook page, PEA President Eric Jones noted an evident effort by former BOE President Wilma Campbell (wife of current BOE candidate John Campbell) to intimidate a PEA member who is a non-certified employee of the District to threaten that employee's job over her involvement in the PEA's screening process. See Jones' FaceBook memo and video here.

The Board of Education election is on the same day as the General Election, November 6.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Tri-County History Fair at the Library Saturday

Plainfield's modern Library replaces a Carnegie Library
building, shown here in a 1920s photo.

The Plainfield Public Library has a real keeper with its annual Tri-County History Fair, which will take place this Saturday (September 29) from 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM.

The well-organized event has more exhibitors this year than ever, plus activities for the whole family centered around history and genealogy.

Attendees will receive a free raffle ticket upon entering. This year's Grand Prize is an AncestryDNA testing kit. (Join the millions who are having their DNA tested and gaining surprising insights into their heritage.)

In addition, there will be two free lectures. At 11:30 AM, New Jersey historian and author Linda J. Barth will discuss "NJ Originals: Technological Marvels, Odd Inventions, Trailblazing Characters, and more".

The afternoon lecture is at 1:30 PM, when genealogist Judy G. Russell explores family history with "No Vitals? No Problem -- Building a Family Through Circumstantial Evidence".

Between the lectures, free antique appraisals will be offered by Winterhill Antiques.

Confirmed exhibitors include the following --

  • Afro-American Historical & Genealogical Society
  • Central Jersey Genealogical Club
  • Elizabeth Public Library - Local History & Special Collections
  • Genealogical Society of New Jersey
  • Genealogical Society of the West Fields
  • Green Brook Historical Society
  • Historical Society of Plainfield/Drake House Museum
  • League of Historical Societies of New Jersey
  • Metuchen Public Library
  • Metuchen-Edison Historical Society
  • Miller-Cory House Museum/Westfield Historical Society
  • North Jersey Genealogy and History Center
  • Plainfield Historic Preservation Commission
  • Plainfield Symphony
  • Proprietary House
  • Somerset County Historical Society
  • Somerset County Library
  • South Plainfield Historical Society
  • The Dutchess Bookstore
  • Ukrainian History & Education Center
  • Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs
  • Van Wyck Brooks Historic District
  • Virtual Genealogy Club
Join your friends and neighbors at this free, marvelous event.

All activities take place on the lower level of the Plainfield Public Library at Park Avenue and West 8th Street.

Parking available in the library's two lots and on the street. The Plainfield Public Library is an ADA-accessible facility. For more information, contact the Local History Department at (908) 757-1111 x136.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Dem doubleheader this weekend: Friday fundraiser, Saturday Kickoff Rally

As this Dem donkey reminds us,
the November election is kick-ass time.

Plainfield Democrats will kick off the 2018 election season with two events this weekend.


Mayor Adrian O. Mapp and First Lady Amelia will host a fundraising reception for Citywide at-large Councilman Elton Armady at their home from 6:00 to 9:00 PM on Friday, September 28.

Contributions to "Armady for Council" can be made in the following amounts:  Platinum: $500, Gold: $250, Silver: $100, and Young Democrats: $50.

The Mapp residence is at 535 West 8th Street. Parking on the street. (Mind not to block the neighbors' driveways -- Thank you!)


On Saturday, September 29, Mayor Mapp, as chairman of the Plainfield Democratic City Committee invites "all friends of the campaign and volunteers" to a Kickoff Rally at Plainfield Democratic Headquarters.

The rally is from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Breakfast will be served. Candidates will be introduced. Everyone will be energized.

Plainfield Democratic Headquarters is at 31 Watchung Avenue (next to Antojito's Restaurant). Parking available on the street or in the public lot adjacent to headquarters.

Unless you have been living under a rock since January 22, 2017, you will know that this election is crucial for the future of the country.

The most important person's name does not appear on any ballot: Donald Trump.

Whatever and whoever else you may think you are voting for, make no mistake: This election is a referendum on Donald Trump and his presidency.

Pressure is on Democrats at every level to set aside disputes and hurt feelings and to unite to show Donald Trump what the American people want and stand for.

This will be Plainfield's opportunity to stand tall.

Let's show we are up to it.

Looking forward to seeing everyone Saturday morning.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Short film 'Driver' to be screened at FUSP Saturday

Image promoting 'Driver'.

Yucef Mayes at the Hip Hop Fim Festival.

"Driver," a remarkable short film by filmmaker Yucef Mayes will be screened at FUSP this Saturday (September 29) at 7:00 PM.

Mayes produced, wrote, and directed  the short film about an estranged father who was afforded another opportunity at fatherhood after a family tragedy.

Mr. Mayes will lead a discussion after the screening.

"Driver" toured the film festival circuit and has been an official selection of the Newark International Film Festival, the Harlem Hip-Hop Film Festival, and Baltimore’s Reginald Lewis Museum Screening Series.

Yucef Mayes is the Founder of Shine Black Art & Film, a film company that creates content and alternative narratives about under-represented populations and people of color.

This program is jointly sponsored by Mayor Adrian O. Mapp through the Office of Community Development with FUSP (the First Unitarian Society of Plainfield).

FUSP is at 724 Park Avnue (just off 7th Street). Parking available on the street and in the lot across from the church.

For more information, contact the First Unitarian Society at (908) 756-0750.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Sunday, September 23, 2018

South Avenue redevelopment: Is Dairy Queen next to go?

Will the Dairy Queen property and those to the west of it
soon attract the gaze of developers?

Redevelopment in Plainfield appears to run on the pizzaria principle: A developer orders as many slices of land as they are interested in and the Administration relays the order to the City Council, which orders the Planning Board to put the slices in the oven.

You could be forgiven for thinking that's the way it goes. Especially after witnessing the Nishuane Group's presentation at last Thursday's Planning Board meeting.

While City Council technically directs the Planning Board to conduct a study, my bet is that you would draw nothing but blank stares if you asked one of them why a residential property on Terrill Road was included in the study and the 7-Eleven store on the corner of South Avenue and Terrill Road was not.

Back in the day, the Planning Board designated a lot of areas "in need of redevelopment" but developers were scarce as hen's teeth.

Now, however, there seems to be much more likelihood that a designation will lead to a project, with a developer designated.

If a developer (or developers) are eyeing the stretch on South Avenue from east of the Dairy Queen to Terrill Road, does it seem beyond possibility that the Dairy Queen and the properties to the west of it will soon attract the gaze of a developer also?

And if we put out of business the businesses that made South Avenue a thriving business area, what will replace them?

The fate of the Netherwood Cafe should be kept in mind: they are still in business (as Sheelan's Crossing), making money -- but just not in Plainfield.

Would we want to see that happen to the rest of the businesses on South Avenue?

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Plainfield's MLK Plaza gets its street sign

The new sign marking MLK Plaza. Bent, but still standing,
after being struck by an SUV Friday afternoon.

Plainfield's Martin Luther King Plaza finally has its sign.

Though the plaza was marked with a bronze commemoration plaque at the foot of one of its trees ever since its inception, resident Norman Deen Muhammad noticed that it did not have a street sign, unlike the one on Court Place designating that block in honor of former mayor Rick Taylor.

I first noticed the sign on Friday afternoon as I was turning from Front Street onto Church Street to get gas at the station on the corner of Church and Second.

The driver of a large SUV directly in front of me made a short turn, striking the new sign and dinging his vehicle.

I texted Muhammad -- who just happened to be in the Blink Fitness center -- and he was able to check out his successful effort to get the sign installed.

Now the only downtown spot that has no appropriate marker to honor the person for whom it has been designated is Mayor Albert T. McWilliams Park.

Know where that is?

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Friday, September 21, 2018

Deadline nears for Library's annual photography contest

July 4th Parade in Plainfield, 1959.

Once again, the Plainfield Public Library is conducting its annual photography contest -- and the deadline for entries (September 29) is fast approaching.

The contest is open to Plainfield residents -- amateur or professional -- and cash prizes are awarded.

Each entrant may supply up to five (5) photographs, and they need not be from this year, but must feature a Plainfield connection.

This year's theme is 'Holidays in Plainfield'.

For complete requirements for submissions and submission forms, visit the Plainfield Public Library's photo contest web page here, where you can also download contest registration forms.

Submissions become part of the Library's permanent collection and help expand its documentation of Plainfield daily life.

An opening reception for the exhibit will be on November 17th.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

BOE candidate Priano unloads on Council over duCret matter

Resident Timothy Priano is a 2018 candidate for the Board
of Ed. The original image with this post (from the 2017 BOE
race was removed).

Like the rest of us, Timothy Priano has his positives and his negatives.
On the plus side, in the little over a year CORRECTION: IN THE LITTLE OVER TWO YEARS since he has lived in Plainfield, he has established himself as the maven of public spaces.
His obsession with the cleanliness of streets and other public spaces brought him to the attention of the community and helped mobilize residents who turn out for his periodic public clean-ups.

The less positive side was on display at City Council's September 14 business meeting where he made an unwarranted and unhelpful attack on the Council during public comment.

Unwarranted because the Council has nothing to do with the matter he brought up.

Unhelpful because if he intended to help duCret in a matter, he ended up annoying the Council and the Mapp administration.

Councilors sat with puzzled looks as he castigated them (without specifics) about a "performance bond" he alleged dated back to 2004 and was still not settled.

Councilor Storch -- the only sitting Councilor who might remember the matter -- told me he did not recall the issue and further that Priano had not reached out to him about it.

Mayor Mapp said, "I am not familiar with what he (Priano) spoke about."


It seems that the matter dates back to the early 2000s, when duCret subdivided its property which originally ran from Central Avenue through to Field Avenue.

A portion on the Field Avenue side was sold to a developer; part of the deal was that that developer would put up a boundary fence and pave duCret's parking area.

In the event, the fence was erected and the rear of the lot -- nearest the fence -- was paved and striped.

The developer put up one house, and before the rest of the paving (along the side of duCret) could be done, the developer went belly up.

There things sat for several years, until a new developer bought the undeveloped properties on Field Avenue and put up two more houses, filling out the original concept.

The new developer was evidently not party to the paving agreement. Over the years, a duCret board member inquired of the City concerning the cash portion of the performance bond on the original developer's deal -- which had been forfeited when the developer went under.

Though it is understandable that duCret would like to see the paving of its lot finished, the school had no part in or claim to the cash the City holds on the performance bond.

All of this Priano could have ascertained with a couple of conversations or phone calls, just as I did.

But he evidently did not do that, choosing instead to unload with both barrels on the Council in public session.

I am told that the City is working on resolving the issue and may in fact be close to a resolution that would see the balance of the paving at duCret finished.

This is not the first time that Priano has spoken out before doing his homework.

Something for voters to bear in mind as they approach voting on November 6 for Board of Ed candidates.

NOTE: The original image with this post, from the 2017 BOE campaign had a headline using the "TAP INTO" phrase without first seeking permission from the online newspaper of that name. Just another example of Priano's modus operandi.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Monday, September 17, 2018

UPDATED: City fronting expense for free IT training -- potential 6-figure salaries

Plainfield is underwriting cost of Cisco training at UCC.
Graduates can earn up to 6-figure salaries.

See update at end of post.

The City of Plainfield is fronting the money to pay for free IT classes for Plainfield residents at Union County College that could lead successful graduates to 6-figure IT careers.

In partnership with Union County College, a Cisco training program is being offered to Plainfield residents who are at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent (GED).

According to Nat Singleton, Director of Information Technology for the City of Plainfield, residents who meet those qualifications are invited to an information session on Monday, September 24, from 5:30 - 6:30 PM in Room L-20 at the UCC Plainfield Campus.

The classes will include a classroom instructor, online content, hands-on training with Cisco equipment and preparation for the workplace through project collaborations and presentations.

Those who complete the course will be able to take the CCNA exam. Salary ranges for CCNA certificate holders range from about $62,000+ at the entry level; with experience, that can rise to over $100,000.

Register to attend the information session here --

Union County College Plainfield campus is at East Second and Church Streets (behind the Post Office). Parking in the college lot on Church Street or on the street.

UPDATE: Starting in October, Cisco and Digital Literacy training are also being offered by the City at New Covenant Church. The training schedule is outlined below:

  • Mondays-Digital Literacy 10 am -12 noon
  • Tuesdays-Digital Literacy 6 pm – 8 pm
  • Tuesdays-Cisco CCNA training 10 am -2 pm
  • Wednesdays-Cisco CCNA training 6 pm to 10 pm
  • Thursdays- Cisco CCNA training 10 am to 2 pm
  • Fridays- Cisco CCNA training 6 pm to 10 pm
For more information contact Shakirah Campbell-Huggins at 908-753-3237 or

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Google Maps helps North Plainfield community yard sale -- and much more

Friends of the North Plainfield Public Library
created a  Google Map of this weekend's
borough-wide Yard Sales.

Short-cutting to Route 22 on Westervelt Avenue Saturday afternoon, I noticed a number of yard sales in North Plainfield.

On my return trip, it dawned on me that this weekend is the borough-wide yard sale event (an idea that the City of Plainfield could enlist the FOSH folks in presenting?).

And then I remembered that the North Plainfield TAPinto website had posted a story on the yard sales -- that the Friends of the NP Public Library had put all the yard sale locations on Google Maps and made them available to the community.

What a great idea!

Years ago, I had created a similar map for all of Plainfield's liquor licenses, but Google Maps was much less user-friendly then -- plus the technology has advanced. I never bothered to update the map since it was such a pain in the butt.

But you can see -- and enlarge -- the North Plainfield yard sale map here. (By the way, that yard sale continues on Sunday -- lots of stuff!)

Later Saturday, my copy of The Living Church -- an Episcopal magazine -- arrived in the mail. Glancing through it, I noticed a story on the Church of South India (CSI) aiding in flood relief.

Kerala State, in southwest India, has a significant Christian presence. The Church of South India is a merger of Anglican, Methodist and Presbyterian churches effected more than 60 years ago.

This year's monsoon season caused 35 of 36 dams in the region to fail, causing flooding that displaced more than 700,000 people.

CSI has mobilized all its physical resources -- schools, parish halls and administrative offices -- to aid those displaced by the flooding.

But its young people have used technology in new and exciting ways to save lives.

First, they set up a special Facebook page (see here) to link those displaced by the flood with family members and other help.

Second, they are using Google Maps to pinpoint people's locations and share that with rescue teams.

The Diocese of Kerala gave them a shout out and thanked them as young IT professionals for putting their skills to work in this lifesaving way.

Something for our own Emergency Management and CERT teams to keep in mind in our own country, don't you think?

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Saturday, September 15, 2018

Plainfield landmark E&A closing, all kitchen supplies on sale

The Arlington Avenue entrance to E&A (Earl and Al's),
"The Chef's Toy Store" -- where everything is on sale.

After 85 years of servicing the restaurant industry, Earl & Al's Restaurant Supply (known as E&A) is closing the doors of its Plainfield store the end of September.

Though it primarily serves the trade, the store has always been open to individual retail customers, as I learned when I first moved to Plainfield 35 years ago and found needed kitchen items in the store -- at a far better price than in the department stores (Macy's) and of a better quality (restaurants beat the hell out of equipment!).

Later, I gave gift certificates to friends who enjoyed cooking so they could explore the "cook's toy store" as A&E tags itself.

So I was surprised to notice one day last week a "For Sale" sign in the window and sale notices everywhere.

I stopped in on Thursday afternoon and chatted up Al -- the legendary "Al" of Earl & Al -- and Bobbie, who manages the store.

Al told me the he and his wife bought the business 45 years ago, from a family that had owned it for 40 years. They bought their current building at Arlington Avenue and East 5th Street from the city, which had foreclosed on the previous owners for unpaid taxes (that would be post-1968 riot, when many businesses fled downtown Plainfield).

But Al and his wife saw a business opportunity and over the years saw a brisk trade with the restaurant industry not only in New Jersey, but in New York and Pennsylvania as well.

But, Bobbie says, all that began to change with the Internet. "I've had people shop here and then come up to me -- after checking on their cellphones -- and tell me they found a better price elsewhere," she said. Sadly, a story that can be repeated by thousands of retailers.

"So," Al told me, "we finally decided to pull the plug on the bricks-and-mortar store."

"We're not going out of business," he assured me, "we are merging with another restaurant supply business -- physically located in Bridgeport, CT -- and will continue to operate E&A online, allowing a seamless experience for all our current customers."

In order to close the store, they need to sell off all the merchandise on the floor.

That's where you come in.

If you are a kitchen or cooking maven -- this place is for you. And everything is on sale. For the next two weeks only.

Here are some shots of just a sampling of the huge inventory --

Restaurant quality pans and equipment...

... China, crystal and tableware...

...Chairs, stools, tables and more...

... Chef's jackets, toques and tools. Did you know you need
a padded sleeve for hot pot handles? They have it.

If you have renovated your kitchen and have restaurant-quality appliances, you should take a look at what's on offer at E&A's.

From utensils and pans to china, crystal and tableware. From chairs, stools and tables to chef's jackets and toques. There are thousands of items to peruse, some waiting to whisper to you: "You need me, you just know it."

The store is open from Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM (except for this Wednesday, when it is closed for Yom Kippur).

Parking is available on Arlington Avenue ACROSS from the store, or in DESIGNATED spots in the YMCA parking lot.

Or you can shop at their website here, where items are NOT on special sale.

Plan now to stop by while the store is still open, check out what's available, and say "Hi" to Al and Bobbie and thank them for their many years of service to the Plainfield community, and wish them well on their future journey.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Thursday, September 13, 2018

As Blink Fitness opens, parking lots are nearly finished

Blink Fitness, Plainfield's newest gym, had its Grand
Opening Thursday. It's across from the YWCA.

This shot on Thursday afternoon shows the parking lot
behind Supremo is finished and awaiting striping.
Blink Fitness members park in the adjacent public lot,
which has also been repaved.

As Blink Fitness was opening its 71st facility in Plainfield Thursday morning, crews were rushing to finish paving and striping the parking lots behind the building (the Supremo parking lot) and the adjacent public parking lot -- which Blink has leased 90 spaces in from the city.

Half of each lot has been striped and it looks like the balance will be finished by the weekend or at the latest early next week.

Emphasizing its "Mood over Muscle" philosophy, Plainfield Blink manager Lindsey Westwood said,  "We're sure that Blink will become a healthy, happy hub of activity in the neighborhood."

The newest Blink Fitness facility boasts a broad offering of top-of-the-line strength equipment that includes free weights, plates, and machines for upper body, lower body, and core.

Additionally, the facility will offer a wide variety of premium cardio machines and a multi-use space for additional exercises, stretching, and functional training.

Certified personal trainers will be available for those members who wish to create a custom workout experience tailored to their personal goals.

Memberships are available for as low as $15 per month with a free start up personal training session.

Blink's philosophy is that exercise is not only about looking good, but also about feeling good.

Blink Fitness strives to make working out fun and uplifting through a commitment to providing contemporary and colorful design, elevated customer service, a relentless focus on cleanliness, energizing music and confidence-boosting training programs.

As part of the grand opening, Blink donated 50 free one-year memberships to Homefirst and to Angels For Action.

Blink is at 235 West Front Street (above the Dollar General, across from the YWCA). The gym is served by an elevator available through Front Street or rear entrances.

Parking for Blink members is available in the newly paved and striped lot behind the building.

To see a drone tour of a Blink facility, click here. For more information, call (908) 490-8130 or visit their website here.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Board of Ed race shows Dem disarray

Sleeping with the enemy? Mr. Plainfield Republican John
Campbell hosted a cookout for BOE candidates last weekend.
(l to r) BOE member Cameron Cox, John Stewart (Mayor
Mapp's former Chief of Staff), Fanwood Mayor Colleen
Mahr, Richard Wyatt, John Campbell, Emily Morgan
and Terence Johnson. (Rear) Unknown man and woman,
BOE candidate Eric Andrews and Sean McKenna.

The 2018 Board of Education race shows the continued disarray in Plainfield Democratic ranks.

The candidate field includes nine running for three three-year seats, and two running for a one-year term to fill an unexpired term.

The field has evidently shaken down into two slates of four and three candidates running as independents.

Here's the breakout --

  • The #getmadforkids slate is composed of Melba Mullins, David Graves (a former BOE member), Alma Blanco, and Dorien Hurtt. The group evidently has the blessing of Plainfield Democratic chair Adrian O. Mapp as they had a "Meet & Greet" at Dem headquarters on August 29.

  • The other "slate" consists of current Board members Richard Wyatt (who is President), Emily Morgan (past President) and  John Campbell. Eric Andrews is the candidate for the one-year seat. Morgan and Wyatt are Democrats; in fact, Morgan was backed by Mapp for Board President two years ago. Campbell, of course, is Mr. Plainfield Republican. Strange bedfellows!

  • That leaves the three who are running as independents: Rebecca Perkins, Timothy Priano and Harry Waters, Jr. Perkins served on the Warren Twp. BOE (before she moved to Plainfield). Priano is well-known for his enthusiasm for cleaning up Plainfield's public spaces. This is the second go for Watson, who failed to win a seat last year.

#getmadforkids slate is hosting a fundraiser Thursday (September 13) from 7:00 to 10:00 PM at the El Imperial in Bound Brook (200 Talmadge Avenue). Prices are $125 for general admission, and $50 for "friends of education". Please RSVP to Derel Stroud at Checks payable to: Get Mad for Plainfield.

Plainfield Democrats have been in increasing disarray since the election of Nick Scutari as Union County Dem Chair this past spring.

Chairman Mapp evidently considered no consultation with the Executive Committee was needed and that 100% of the Plainfield Dem Committee vote would be delivered for Scutari. In the event, nearly a third of the Plainfield Dem Committee backed Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, who lost to Scutari 341 to 412.

Sadly, the breach in party unity has not been healed, with some now in near-open revolt.

Where things will go is anyone's guess.

The Board of Ed is now elected at the November general election, which this year will be Tuesday, November 6.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Lenny Cathcart honored for prostate cancer awareness advocacy

Councilor Steve Hockaday presents Lenny Cathcart
a resolution honoring his prostate cancer
awareness activities.

Plainfield legend Lenny Cathcart was honored by Councilor Steve Hockaday at Tuesday evening's Council meeting for his contributions to prostate cancer awareness.

Cathcart, known to generations of Plainfield youngsters for his involvement in youth sports, spoke of his own prostate cancer diagnosis, and urged men not to wait and not to be embarrassed, but to get their prostate cancer screening early.

Prostate cancer is one of the most successfully treated cancers if caught early enough, Hockaday read from the resolution.

Lenny Cathcart is hosting a Prostate Cancer Awareness event at City Hall today (Wednesday, September 12), from 6:00 - 8:00 PM, with screenings, information and drawing for prizes.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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Not my worst day ever, but close

Google can bite your butt if you're not watching
as I learned the hard way.

Tuesday, September 11, was not my worst day ever, but it came close.

I awoke in time to get ready for the 9/11 Commemoration at City Hall.

Before I got out of bed, I checked my blog posts from Monday night -- as I often do, because I finish posting at 2 AM or so and check back after sleeping to see if there were any typos that missed being corrected.

I read the blogs on my cellphone. I compose them on my laptop.

To my absolute astonishment, there was an ad for Bob Hugin at the bottom of the Plainfield Today post on my cell phone.


I jumped out of bed and spent the next hour trying to fix the matter.

Google owns Blogger, the platform I use for my blogs. Maybe 8 or 9 years ago, I signed on for Google's AdSense service, which posts random ads on the blog. If folks click on them I get a fraction of a penny per click.

Not much money -- when we had TJ, I considered it "dog treat money".

You need to know that I have ad blocking on the browser I use for the blogs, since ads tend to get in the way while I am working.

The good thing is that I can get work done quickly without the time for ads to load. The down side is that I don't see the ads displayed on my own blogs.

The lesson for me is to pay more attention to what Google is up to and not just assume it will be harmless.

I have now made sure that no GOP ads appear on the blog, thank God.

A warning to others: Don't assume Google's algorithm will not bite you in the butt.

Though their artificial intelligence could certainly have learned from my profile that I am a Democrat (through and through), they messed up and sold the ad slot to the Republicans.

Word to the wise: Pay attention!

I certainly will from now on.

 -- Dan Damon [ follow ]

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