The needler in the haystack.

Monday, November 20, 2017

What I found at the dollar store

The former McCrory's is now a Dollar Tree store.

 As a kid, one of my favorite treats was a visit to the G.C.Murphy's 5-and-dime store in nearby Fredonia, the nearest "big" town (pop. 8,000). Plainfield had McCrory's, another 5-and-dime chain.

As a result, I am intrigued by the "dollar stores" of our day, which seem roughly equivalent -- discounted and inexpensive household items and a limited selection of clothing. Today's dollar stores offer limited food items, though Murphy's did not.

This past spring I noticed a lot of work on the former McCrory's building next to Supremo. It had housed a 99¢ store that seemed popular enough but suddenly closed without notice.

After weeks of work, a sign finally was mounted to the front of the building. It said "Dollar Tree", making it the third dollar store in the city.

My 30-year old potholders. Yuck!

... and the new $1 pair.

Family Dollar has two stores, one on East Front just doors from the new Dollar General, and another next to the Twin City supermarket at 7th and Park. Dollar General operates a modern, spiffy store on West Front at Madison, across from the MdDonalds.

Each is slightly different. I find the Family Dollar stores seem a little helter-skelter in their merchandising compared to Dollar General, which is very well organized with excellent signage.

So, I was curious to see what the Dollar Tree looked like. It is brightly litl and well laid out, though the signage is not as good as Dollar General.

The prices in all three are low and competitive with each other. After all they are discount stores.

To my utter surprise, I found on my first visit something that I have been looking to replace for years without success -- a pair of simple quilted cotton potholders.

Bed Bath & Beyond has dozens, from ovenproof mitts to silicone squares, to kitschy flower prints, but no plain cotton quilted ones.

I snapped up a pair and promised myself to return and see what other surprises the dollar store might hold.

And I paid a dollar -- plus 7
¢ tax.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Free community Thanksgiving dinner at FUSP

FUSP offers Thanksgiving dinner to those
who are hungry or lonely.

For the 18th 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.

Volunteers will prepare and serve a hearty free Thanksgiving dinner with all the fixings to those who come out.

The dinner is on Thanksgiving Day (November 23) from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM.

FUSP (First Unitarian Society of Plainfield) is locted at 724 Park Avenue, just steps from Seventh Street. FUSP is an accessible facility. Parking available in the lot across from the church or on the street.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Plainfield planning official elected to state planners group leadership

Ron Scott Bey, chair of Plainfield's Planning Board,
with Brian Kasler, executive director of
NJ Planning Officials, at the 103rd League Conference.
(Photo courtesy Siddeeq El-Amin.)


Ron Scott Bey, chairman of Plainfield's Planning Board, was elected treasurer of New Jersey Planning Officials, the association of NJ planning and zoning officials, at the 103rd annual conference of the NJ League of Municipalities in Atlantic City this past week.

Scott Bey, who is currently serving on the organization's board o f directors, will now take a seat on the Executive Board. Elected by the organization's general membership, Scott Bey will serve in the office for three years.

Ron was appointed to the Planning Board by the late Mayor Al McWilliams, and has served for fifteen years.

When his length of service was remarked upon, he pointed out that both former chair Ken Robertson and current member Gordon Fuller have service records of at least thirty years -- a sign that the volunteers who serve on Plainfield's land use boards (including the Zoning Board of Adjustment) relish their duties and the contribution they make to the community.

When asked about high points during his term of service, Scott Bey pointed to the re-examination of the city's Master Plan and the designation of two Transit Village zones, for the design of which the city won an award.

Looking to the future, Ron is excited about the prospects for continued development activity downtown, particularly in the block bounded by West 2nd Street and Front Street between Madison Avenue and Central Avenue.

One of the possibilities for that area is  banquet hall, a facility that would be a boon to the city, the lack of which has been an embarassment every time a special event needs to be located elsewhere because Plainfield lacks a venue.

Another prospect he finds exciting is the possibility of attracting a microbrewery or brewpub to the downtown area.

Since the laws changed in 2012, loosening restrictions on  craft or microbreweries ane brewpubs, there has been a surge of growth throughout the Garden State.

Craft breweries are those that produce less than 6 million barrels a year. Whereas formerly they were limited to giving free samples to those who toured the facility and could only sell two six-packs to a visitor, they now can sell beer by the pint and customers can by up to a full keg to take home. The changes have helped microbreweries expand greatly.

Brewpubs on the other hand are restaurants with a brewery attached. Brewpubs may now produce up to 10,000 barrels (as opposed to 3,000 formerly), may hold up to 10 licenses, and may sell their beer to wholesalers -- ensuring distribution throughout the state and to restaurants other than their own.

Ron is very upbeat about the prospects for continued improvement of the business climate throughout the Queen City under the leadership of just re-elected Mayor Adrian O. Mapp.

The Planning Board meets on the first and third Thursday of each month (there are some exceptions) at City Hall Library. Meetings start at 7:30 PM and the public is welcome and may ask questions during the conduct of the board's business. For more information, call the Planning Division at (908) 753-3391.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Road paving will disrupt three streets Thanksgiving week

Drivers were alerted to road work on Cedarbrook Road
a few years ago.

Plainfield is racing the onset of winter weather to get as many streets paved as possible.

Here are the streets that will be affected during Thanksgiving week (November 20 through 24) --
  • Stelle Avenue runs from PHS at the corner of Park Avenue to Hobert Avenue.
  • Stillman Avenue begins at Sherman Avenue and runs behind the former Wardlaw-Hrtridge campus to the South Plainfield line.
  • Paving on Grant Avenue will be done from the South Plainfield line to West 7th Street.
Work will take place weather permitting -- meaning that the air temperature must be warm enough for crews to work the asphalt.

The affected streets will be closed from 6:00 AM to 6:00 PM.

Residents are advised to plan alternate routes to avoid delays. Though Thursday is Thanksgiving Day and there will be no work, the condition of the streets may offer users a rough ride.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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