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Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Is the PMUA losing its largest customer?


The PMUA handles most of Plainfield's solid waste services.
(Photo captured from a PMUA video.)



Heard some interesting scuttlebutt.

The story making the rounds is that the Plainfield Public Schools are looking at dropping the PMUA as the contractor for its solid waste and recycles.

With 13 schools and several other buildings in the District, this makes the Plainfield Public Schools probably the PMUA's largest single customer.

Why would the District drop the PMUA? Same reason as individual homeowners: it makes economic sense, especially if the District can find a vendor that can charge less than the municipal utilities authority.

Would there be a ripple effect?

Chances are the PMUA would find itself with more workers than needed and that would mean possible layoffs.

Word in the street is that the new Superintendent is looking to save money where possible -- evidently without deference to the local "sacred cows".

Does this mean other cost-saving actions are coming?

Stay tuned.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, August 19, 2019

Artificial turf field at Cedar Brook Park is finally nearing completion



Rolls of artificial turf were seen in the Park Drive
parking lot on Saturday.


The field has been marked -- evidently in preparation
for laying the artificial turf.


Nearly three years after work began on the County's proposed artificial turf field at Cedar Brook Park, it appears that work on the field is finally close to completion.

Readers will recall that there was quite a kerfuffle over the County's proposal when it was presented in late 2015 (see my posts here and here).

For openers, County officials were simply unprepared for the questioning by residents and Historic Preservation Commission members, both of whom took seriously the Park's historic status and had questions about several issues -- including night lighting and removal of trees.

By the time the County came to the Planning Board later, they had upped their game. Nevertheless, the Planning Board's then-attorney Michele Donato sternly advised the County that because the Park is on several historic registries, a "certificate of appropriateness" would be necessary to proceed.

In August of 2016, the Plainfield City Council -- after putting the resolution of support on as a walk-on item and much discussion (including a recess to rework the resolution) -- approved a resolution of support of the project (see my post here), which was needed by the County for its bond preparations.




Soccer players, coaches and supporters lined the
walls as the County presented to the HPC in 2015.


Work actually began later in 2016, though no one has ever heard whether the County ever received the required "certificate of appropriateness".

After weather cleared up in Spring 2017, work appeared to proceed. And then it stopped, without any public explanation.

Finally, it was said that the original engineering drawings had not taken into account the  Park is in a flood plain (duh!) and further work needed to be done.

I pass by three times a week and have not noticed any work until this weekend, when I saw that the field had been marked (for positioning of the turf?) and that rolls of turf were stacked in the Park Drive parking lot, most of which was closed off from public use.

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

The final steps of installation are quite straightforward and should not take long:

Assuming the base of crushed granite or other suitable substrate is in place, the first step would be to install a fabric weed barrier (if one is going to be used).

Then the rolls of turf will be unrolled and left to relax in the sun before being laid down and fixed in place with nails.

After that, green silicon sand is usually applied. This serves both to make the "grass" stand up, making it look more grasslike, and to give the "feel" similar to an actual grass field.

After that, it should be good to go. The lighting has long been in place.

My guess is the soccer teams which were so interested in the project when it was proposed will breath a sigh of relief that finally -- after missing two seasons of play in Cedar Brook Park -- they will be able once again to play.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Thursday, August 15, 2019

Signing up for emergency and other communications from the City



Screenshot of the "@" menu on the Plainfield home page.


After the recent alert about gas odors on Kensington Avenue, I was engaged in an email conversation with a reader who wondered how some people knew about it and others (this person in particular) did not.

There are several ways to sign up to receive emergency and other communications from the City of Plainfield.

First, go to the Plainfield website here; then click on the "@" sign in the main menu. This opens the "Stay Connected" menu (screenshot at the top of story).

I will go over the emergency links first:


  • Plainfield Mass Communications System (PCMS) is the first emergency system offered after Mayor Mapp took office. I believe it is the one from which I get my emergency emails from the city. However, the current page references an online form to fill out. I do not find any form on the page and no explanation as to whether the City has opted out of that communication system, which seems odd.


  • NIXEL: This is a text alert system. I signed up for this long ago and receive text alerts every day from Somerset County communities. I can only recall rare instances of use by Plainfield, so I don't know how active the City's participation is. Regardless, it does give good updates on anything affecting Route 22, so it has its real benefits.


  • FACEBOOK and TWITTER: These links take you to the City's Facebook and Twitter pages, where you can follow or friend them. These are regularly posted to with City-sponsored events (and some others) and are very useful.




    Screenshot of the signup page for weekly newsletters.


  • MAYOR'S WEEKLY COMMUNICATIONS: This is where you can sign up for the Mayor's two weekly email newsletters (one for events and one with a weekly message from the Mayor). Though I was one of the very first to sign up, the page is curious for only showing a link to the "November 6, 2015" issue.


  • CONTACT US: This opens a sub-menu offering a list of snail mail addresses, a city phone directory, and an email for general purposes (I don't know where it is routed). There is also a form for website comments, which is useful if you find you have a question or issue with the website.


I hope all readers take the opportunity to sign up for emergency communications and for the weekly newsletters.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Should this poster be on patriotic Plainfield walls?



Passing along a meme posted on
Facebook by Terri Slaughter-Cabbell.


Should this poster be on all patriotic Plainfield walls?

I very seldom post on national politics, though I -- as I know many of you also do -- have strong opinions. (The blog, after all, is titled "Plainfield Today".)

But I feel led to make an exception with the meme posted above, which I lifted from a Facebook post by longtime Plainfield activist (and former Board of Ed member) Terri Slaughter-Cabbell.

I hope you will forgive the vulgarism, which has become quite a bit more common since the Trump presidency. Don't know why.

Thank you, Terri!



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, August 12, 2019

Council: busy Monday (part 2) -- tax refunds, redevelopment plans



Approximate outline of the CONDEMNATION
redevelopment plan (from property addresses).
This is only to suggest the general area
being considered.



Plainfield City Council is busy for its combined session on Monday evening (August 12). This is the second of two posts. (You can read the first post here.)

A commenter on the first post noted the increase in fiscal year 2020 taxes (3.3%). An item (256-19) throws the tax matter in bright relief -- 128 properties won appeals of their taxes to the County Tax Board -- for a total of $267,267, or approximately $2,000 apiece on average. Lesson one: it pays to appeal your taxes. Lesson 2: Plainfield's assessments are seriously out of whack; it is only inevitable the state will demand a revaluation. Eventually.

Three of the items under the Department of Economic Development are curious: they've all been addressed by the Council previously, but are up once again --

  • North Avenue redevelopment plan -- being looked at again because of flood zone issues (this is not the downtown North Avenue). Curious, becase everyone knows its in a flood zone (there was a big flap about the wrong-sized sewer pipes delivered back when Al McWilliams was mayor).


  • Two redevelopment areas (R 269-19 and R 270-19) -- the subject of numerous previous resolutions -- are back. Meaning the previous resolutions are to be rescinded and the new one put in place. I haven't had a chance to review just yet what the differences are, but it is curious that they are being redone yet again. I will be looking into these more closely in a separate post.

Also worthy of note: one of these (R 270) is a CONDEMNATION plan. We have not seen such as far as I can recall at all under Mayor Mapp, so this is an important first. As I understand it, what it means is that the City is going on record as being prepared to exercise eminent domain in the acquisition of the properties.

This is usually costly, litigious, and time-consuming. Very time consuming, so it would be interesting to know why Plainfield desires to go this route.

Under a non-condemnation plan -- such as the Wawa parcel, or the South Second Street development between Grant and Muhlenberg Place -- it is up to the developer to assemble ownership of the parcels in order to execute the project.

City Council meets for a combined agenda and business session at 7:00 PM Monday, August 12, 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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Sunday, August 11, 2019

Council has busy agenda for Monday, including proposed new Business Administrator



Mayor Mapp proposes a new Business
Administrator at Monday's Council meeting.


Plainfield City Council has a lot crammed into a relatively brief agenda for its combined session on Monday evening (August 12). I will take things up in two posts, of which this is the first.

Perhaps the item of most interest to the public is the resolution (R 250-19) appointing Wayne R. Clarke as Business Administrator. As pointed out by Dr. Yood in his Olddoc blog (see here), the resolution comes with any backup such as a resumé or curricula vitae. (The same holds true for his other proposed appointment, of Kenneth Childress as Fire Director.)

Though TAPinto points out (see here) that Clarke has no prior government experience, he is not unknown to many. The Kensington Avenue resident has opened his home to Democratic fundraisers on several occasions in the past -- the most recent being for Councilor Cory Storch during his campaign for the June primary. Many who have attended those events will recall him as an ever-gracious host.

Along with these two resolutions is another from Corporation Counsel (R 254-19) authorizing severance pay to former City Administrator Carlos Sanchez, who "resigned" abruptly in early July. The online version of this resolution has no dollar amount listed. Can the Council in fact pass a resolution involving a payment without a dollar figure? I don't think so. We'll see how this is handled Monday evening.

(It is interesting to note that though Sanchez has been gone more than a month, the resolutions on the agenda are still addressed to him. Evidently no one has updated the template?)

Among other items --

  • a grant from NJDOT to repave Prospect Avenue -- $1.2M


  • crosswalks and sidewalks between Watchung and Sanford Avenues -- $474K


  • kiosks and signage at the NJ Transit Plainfield train station -- $248K
 
I will take up other items from the agenda in a post tomorrow.

City Council meets for a combined agenda and business session at 7:00 PM Monday, August 12, 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]

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



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Friday, August 9, 2019

Plainfield Restaurant Week runs from August 8 - 18 with tasty specials abounding!



22 Plainfield eateries are participating
in the first-ever Restaurant Week.



Plainfield's newly reorganized Plainfield Special Improvement District (SID) is celebrating Restaurant Week from Thursday, August 8 through Sunday August 18.

The event has been organized under the leadership of the SID's new executive director, Antoinette Brevard, and is being extensively promoted online.

Below is a list of the restaurants participating with the specials being offered and their addresses.

While the email I received asks recipients to register online here, there is no indication you MUST register in order to get the specials.

Everything sounds delicious (I'm getting hungry reading through the list!) -- hope you'll try some of these Plainfield eateries you may never have been to before.





Restaurant
Address
Specials
Adrian's Caterers
1108 East 2nd ST.
Dinner Buffet + Beverage $20
Friday, August 16 from 5-9 &
 August 18 from 12-4
Bohio BBQ
433 Park Avenue
Beef ribs w/ rice & French fries $22             Chicken with rice & French fries $8
Sautéed steak with rice & beans $8
Mangu, cheese, eggs, and salami  $9
Bread Basket
615 Park Avenue
Ice cream: Copa Loca $5.99
Casa Chapina
314 Watchung Avenue
Mini Tikal Salad ( Lettuce, tomato, and mango, and sesame dressing) Casa Chapina (Seasoned pork w/ peppers/onions, rice w/ vegetables) Choco Banano (Chocolate covered banana) $11
Mini Tikal Salad, Fried Rice w/ seafood Choco Banano (Chocolate covered banana) $11
Mini Tikal Salad, Breaded Chicken w/ rice & black beans, Chocolate Covered Banana $8
Mini Tikal Salad, Korean Style Ribs, string beans w/ rice & black beans, Chocolate Covered Banana $13
Coffee Box
1359 South Avenue
Free Drip Coffee w/ breakfast purchase
Free Dessert w/ lunch purchase
Dairy Queen
1367 South Avenue
11AM- 4PM $5 Buck Lunch
Chili cheese dog or Chicken snackmelt Includes drinks, chips +DQ Sundae
11AM-11PM Treat Deal All Day
Must download DQ app
El Padrino Azteca Restaurant
113 Watchung Avenue
Chicken w/mole poblano sauce $11
Breaded chicken w/ peppers $10
Steak, Chicken& shrimp fajitas $16

Family Restaurant & Buffet

631 Park Avenue
Buffet Style, three choices for $5.99
Freppe'sTex Mex
1442 South Avenue
Molcujete (stone dish)                        
Dinner for two $19.99
Grant BBQ
200 Grant Avenue
Soups: Hen, Beef. w/ rice + 2 tortillas.
Small: $8  Large: $10
 Eggs, beans, avacado, cheese, sour cream, beef or sausage &plaintain plate $9
Grilled beef, Salsa, rice, tortilla with
Tres Leches cake  $10.50
 Bean &cheese pupusas/ pork, cheese, bean pupusas/ cheese pupusas, $2 ea.
Italian Village
1304 South Avenue
2 dinners, salad, drinks $20.00
Jessica's Café
150-156 Terril Road
Stuffed rice balls $8
Mussels in white butter sauce, shallots, fresh herbs, and toasted bread $12
Warm crab meat wild mushroom crepe, fresh herb white butter sauce, white truffle oil, pine nuts $16
Burrata and Prosciutto: Imported burrata cheese, toasted bread, prosciutto, walnuts, wood roasted piperade, topped with baby arugula $13
 Margarita Pizza $12
 Corteche: Foi Gras wild mushrooms, cream sauce, chives, white truffle oil. $26
La Caravana
177 North Avenue
Peruvian dishes.
3 Course meal: salad, soup, entrée &
drink for $9
Livay Sweet Shop
104B Watchung Avenue
Cupcakes
Regular Buy 5 get 1 free
Mini buy 5 get 1 free
Los Antojitos BBQ
317 Park Avenue
15% off all barbecue platters
Los Antojitos Restaurant
25 Watchung Avenue
15% off all seafood platters
Mi Cabaña Restaurant
105 Watchung Avenue
Chicken Tamal w/ coffee or chocolate $3
 1 pupusa w/ soda  $3
Traditional Breakfast (meat, beans, eggs, cream, cheese, avacado, two torillas) $10.75
Grilled or breaded chicken breast w/ white rice & French fries $11.50
3 Tacos (beef, tongue, sausage, chicken) $8.
MiRanchito Viejo #1
210 West Front


OGA'S Jamaican Cuisine
226 East Front Street
12pm- 4pm
Buy One, Get One Half Price
Plainfield Best In Town
219-225 Garfield Ave
All lunch patties $1.50
 Whole Jerk Chicken w/ rice or bread $16
 1/2 Jerk Chicken w/ bread $8
 1/4 Jerk Chicken w/ bread $5
Oxtails $12
Punto Peruano
36 Watchung Avenue
Seafood spread (shrimp, crab, squid, fish), Grilled Salmon w/ yellow rice and salad $20
Grilled or breaded chicken breast w/ rice French fries and avacado $14
Grilled spaghetti w/ steak $15
Pupuseria Y Tipicos Doña Martha
104 Watchung Avenue
2 pupusas + soda for $3
1 Tamal + Soda or water for $3                                               1 Plaintain Empanada ,
sweet beans + Coffee for $3



Watch for more exciting things to come from the reinvigorated Plainfield SID by following their Facebook page here, and their website here.

For more information, contact the SID at its new address --

Antoinette Brevard, MPA
Executive Director
The Plainfield SID
111-A North Avenue
Plainfield, NJ 07060
(908) 644-2374




  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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