The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

"Re-imagining the Plainfield Public Schools" forum offered by PEA Thursday



Header from the PEA flyer for tonight's meeting.

 
Concerned about the high turnover rate in the Plainfield Public Schools, the Plainfield Education Association (PEA), the union representing the district's teachers and staff, has set a Community Forum for Thursday evening (October 19) in the cafetorium at the District Administration Building. The meeting gets under way at 6:30 PM.

The meeting is intended to provide an opportunity for parents, families and Plainfield residents to engage in a conversation about the state of the Plainfield school district, including problems such as high staff turnover.

The public is warmly invited. Translators will be on hand, and food will be served. No reservations are necessary.

The District Administration Building is at 1200 Myrtle Avenue. Some parking is available down the driveway and behind the building, with entrance directly to the cafetorium. There is also parking on Myrtle Avenue, with entrance through the front door.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Plainfield offers new residents bus tour of Queen City highlights Saturday


The tower of Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church
from the City Hall rooftop. Both are historic sites.

 
With the steady improvement of the real estate market and recent development of apartment opportunities in the city's Transit Village zones, the numbers of people moving into Plainfield has noticeably increased.

This Saturday (October 21), Plainfield's Division of Parks and Recreation is hosting its first ever bus tour of the Queen City for new residents.

Recreation Superintendent Veronica Taylor will conduct a tour covering the highlights of the city's historic sites, its parks and recreation opportunities, and its shopping districts.

The tour is free, but reservations are requested because of limited seating.

The bus will leave from the parking lot at the rear of City Hall at 11:00 AM and return about Noon. There is plenty of parking in the lot. City Hall is at the corner of Watchung Avenue and East 6th Street.

Gift bags and light refreshments will be provided.

To reserve your seat now, call Recreation at (908) 753-3097. Not available this weekend? Call and get on the Recreation mailing list to get announcements of future activities.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Monday, October 16, 2017

We reach a fork in the road: Vision 2025, Board of Ed


Like they say, we've reached a fork in the road.


 

Sooner or later it had to happen. Plainfield is just too full of meetings and activities for a scheduling conflict not to arise. Take Tuesday, October 17, for example.

Tonight, residents have a choice between a Vision 2025 listening session and the Board of Education's October business meeting.

VISION 2025: WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT and ADULT EDUCATION

The Vision 2025 Listening Sessions continue this evening with a focus on Workforce Development and Adult Education.
The meeting begins at 7:00 PM and once again will be in the Cafetorium at Washington Community School.
The session will give residents an opportunity to focus in on issues that are important to improving job prospects for our residents: workforce training and adult education in a lifelong learning setting.
Washington Community School is at 427 Darrow Avenue. Parking is available in the Spooner Avenue lot. The facility is handicap accessible.

PLAINFIELD BOARD OF ED
The Plainfield Board of Education meets for its Octobber business meeting at 8:00 PM in the Plainfield High School cafeteria.
This is the final business meeting before the November 7 Board election. The agenda is online and can be viewed or downloaded here.
The PHS cafeteria is directly accessible from the Kenyon Avenue parking lot.




  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Power outage at Cedarbrook Apartments on Saturday raises safety concerns


A view of Cedarbrook Apartments from the Park. Senior
residences are among Plainfield's tallest structures.


 
Tall buildings offer unique challenges to public safety officials. Especially tall buildings that house special populations like Senior Citizens.

Older tenants may have health and mobility concerns that make constant availability of power an issue, and for whom non-working elevators mean being imprisoned far from the ground and safety.

So, when tenants reported a power outage at Cedarbrook Apartments to emergency officials early Saturday evening, Plainfield's first responders were at the site within minutes.

Those responding included the Plainfield Police Division, Union County Police, the Fire Division (Deputy Chief McCue, Battalion Commander 3, Engine Co. 3, towers, lights and generators), Elizabeth EMS, Plainfield Rescue Squad, JFK Ambulance and EMTs, and the Union County OEM.

The building's offices were locked up tight when first responders arrived. A call by tenants association president Beverly Calland to the manager at home helped officials determine where a list of residents with special needs (such as oxygen) was kept, and a building maintenance man was able to open the office where the binder was kept.

Problem is that the information in the binder was not up to date: some people on the list had moved away, some had moved elsewhere in the building, and some were deceased.

Safety officials were finally able to determine which residents were using oxygen and assisted two who were having problems.

On the insistence of public safety officials, the manager finally from her home in the Freehold area up to Plainfield to be of assistance.

Union County Police made floor-by-floor checks of the building every hour until power was restored.

Two PSE&G crews were needed and dug for hours to determine the source of the problem (a broken cable that supplies a transformer for the building).

Power was finally restored to the building at 6:09 AM.

Many thanks to all our first responders for bringing the incident to a safe conclusion.

But we are still left with the question of just who is responsible for keeping the records on special needs tenants updated, and how can the City enforce the requirement effectively?

In addition, is it proper for a managment representative of a large building (120 units) to treat the job as 9-5, Mon-Fri?

Is this also the case in our other high-rise Senior residences
?



  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Vision 2025 continues Monday with final Public Safety session at Washington School


Participants in Public Safety listening session
pose for a group photo.

 


The Vision 2025 community listening sessions continue Monday (October 16) with the third and final session focused on Public Safety. The meeting will take place at the Washington Community School cafetorium and gets under way at 7:00 PM.

The purpose of these sessions is for community members to brainstorm ideas for action items in the subject area -- both large and small -- as well as to identify stakeholders, resources (including funding sources) and next steps.

Each session follows a similar pattern: Attendees are invited to jot down one idea on each of three Post-It notes provided when they arrive; the action team then sorts the notes into groups with a similar theme, and participants gather around tables (one theme to a table) to further discuss and refine the suggestions on the Post-It notes. To close the evening, each table reports out its ideas to the whole group.

Records are kept of all suggestions, which will then be incorporated into a public presentation to be made on November 4 at Plainfield High School.

Attendance has averaged about 50 residents per meeting, plus members of the organizing committee. I have noticed that there is a broad response from throughout the community, with many different faces at each meeting.

Washington Community School is at 427 Darrow Avenue. Parking is available in the school's lot on Spooner Avenue and on the street.
 




  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Encore presentation of Cedarbrook Towers Yard Sale Sunday


Get a second bite of the Yard Sale apple Sunday.

 
Sunday's sunnier weather will offer an opportunity for an encore presentation of the Cedarbrook Apartments annual Yard Sale on SUNDAY (October 15) from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM.

Among items offered are jewelry, glassware and china, kitchen wares, lamps, bric-a-brac, crafting supplies and craft items, and gently used men's and women's clothing (including plus sizes for women).
Proceeds will benefit the Cedarbrook Apartments Tenants Association, which provides activities and events for residents of the age-restricted tower throughout the year.

The Yard Sale will be outdoors at the rear of the building. In case of inclement weather, it will be in the Community Room on the ground floor at the rear of the building.
Cedarbrook Apartments is at 1272 Park Avenue. Proceed down the drive to the parking lot at the rear of the building. Please use the area reserved for visitors at the rear of the lot. Entrance to the community room is directly off the parking lot.

For more information, call Tenants Association president Beverly Calland at (908) 361-8533.




  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Friday, October 13, 2017

School District celebrates Hispanic Heritage Saturday at PHS



 
The Plainfield Public Schools are celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with a Hispanic Festival on Saturday (October 14) from Noon to 6:00 PM at the Plainfield High School cafeteria.

The event, which will feature several musical groups, is also being billed as part of the Plainfield Art Council's month-long October Music Festival.

Besides music and dance, the festival will feature student performances, food tasting and exhibits by local social agencies and businesses.

Plainfield High School's cafeteria is accessible from the Kenyon Avenue parking lot at the rear of the school. There is plenty of parking in the lot.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Yard Sale Saturday at Cedarbrook Apartments


Yard Sale at Cedarbrook Apartments Saturday.

 
The tenants association at Plainfield's Cedarbrook Apartments will hold their annual Rummage Sale on Saturday (October 14) from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. (No early birds, please!)

Among items offered are jewelry, glassware and china, kitchen wares, lamps, bric-a-brac, crafting supplies and craft items, and gently used men's and women's clothing (including plus sizes for women).

Proceeds will benefit the Cedarbrook Apartments Tenants Association, which provides activities and events for residents of the age-restricted tower throughout the year.

The Yard Sale will be outdoors at the rear of the building. In case of inclement weather, it will be in the Community Room on the ground floor at the rear of the building.

Cedarbrook Apartments is at 1272 Park Avenue. Proceed down the drive to the parking lot at the rear of the building. Please use the area reserved for visitors at the rear of the lot. Entrance to the community room is directly off the parking lot.

For more information, call Tenants Association president Beverly Calland at (908) 361-8533.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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With Saturday meeting, PDCC heads into the election home stretch


Plainfield Dems meet Saturday as campaign
heads into the home stretch.

 

Heading into the home stretch for the November general election, Chairman Adrian O. Mapp has called a meeting of the Plainfield Democratic City Committee (PDCC) for Saturday morning (October 14), at 10:00 AM at Democratic headquarters, 31 Watchung Avenue.

The meeting will report on the progress of reaching out to Plainfield voters through door-to-door canvassing, phone calls and placing signs on properties where requested. Sign-up sheets will be available to volunteer.

In addition to committee members, volunteers and guests are welcome to attend.

The November General Election will take place on Tuesday, November 7.

The Democratic candidate for governor is Phil Murphy, with former Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver -- well-known to many Plainfielders -- as his running mate for Lieutenant Governor.

In addition, the entire Legislature is up for election. In our District, LD22, we will be voting for Sen. Nick Scutari, and Assemblymen Jerry Green and Jim Kennedy.

On the local level, Adrian O. Mapp is the Democratic nominee for re-election as Mayor. Joylette Mills-Ransome is the Democratic nominee to fill the unexpired term of former Ward 2/3 Councilor Rebecca Williams, and Steve Hockaday is the Democratic nominee for the 4th Ward seat.

All the Democrats from Governor on down to the local level are running on Column A.

Voters should also note that the non-partisan Board of Ed election will take place at the same time, and also that there will be a public question on a bond issue for the capital construction needs of New Jersey public libraries. It has been over a decade since the last bond issue, and the Plainfield Public Library would be able to undertake necessary repairs and capital improvements if it passes.

Signs will be available for those who need them.

Plainfield's Democratic headquarters is at 31 Watchung Avenue (next to Antojito's restaurant). Parking is available in the public lot and (some) behind headquarters. The phone number is (908) 561-5038. Headquarters is open daily from Noon to 8:00 PM (Sundays from 3:00 PM).




  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Vision 2025 continues Thursday with second Public Safety session at Cook School


Attendees at the first Public Safety session pose for a group photo.


 
Approaching the mid-point of the Vision 2025 community listening sessions, the series picks up again Thursday evening (October 12) with the second of three sessions focused on Public Safety. The meeting will take place at the Cook School cafetorium and gets under way at 7:00 PM.


The purpose of these sessions is for community members to brainstorm ideas for action items in the subject area -- both large and small -- as well as to identify stakeholders, resources (including funding sources) and next steps.

Each session follows a similar pattern: Attendees are invited to jot down one idea on each of three Post-It notes provided when they arrive; the action team then sorts the notes into groups with a similar theme, and participants gather around tables (one theme to a table) to further discuss and refine the suggestions on the Post-It notes. To close the evening, each table reports out its ideas to the whole group.

Records are kept of all suggestions, which will then be incorporated into a public presentation to be made on November 4 at Plainfield High School.

Attendance has averaged about 50 residents per meeting, plus members of the organizing committee. I have noticed that there is a broad response, with many different faces at each meeting.

Cook School is at Leland and Berkeley Avenues. Parking is available in the school's lot and on the street.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

In surprise move, Dunn endorses Mapp for Mayor


Mayor Mapp, Gateway Chamber of Commerce's
Mayor of the Year for 2017.

 

Celestial harmony reigned nearly supreme at Tuesday's Plainfield City Council meeting, with all items passing unanimously except for two resolutions awarding contracts to Pennoni Associates. In those two instances, Counclors Rivers and Tolliver voted "no".

After the business was concluded, Councilor Rivers discussed a letter concerning Councilor Tolliver, saying that "99.9 percent" of its allegations were untrue. To the audience, it was all pretty opaque, and the matter sputtered out like a wet match.

A resident called for a trafic light at Randolph Road and Plainfield Avenue.

And in a surprise move, resident Danny Dunn -- whom we haven't seen at Council recently -- came to the mike and, saying he had noticed a "vast improvement over the past two to four moths," endorsed incumbent Mayor Adrian O. Mapp, saying, "You [meaning Mapp, who was not present] have my support and I'm going to encourage [everyone] I can."

The vast cloud of witnesses to these events? I counted 7.





  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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Monday, October 9, 2017

"320 Park Avenue" now turns up in Muhammad's mayoral campaign


Muhammad's Facebook post over the weekend showshis
campaign is using a Malcolm Dunn property.

 
"320 Park Avenue," an address long associated with former Councilor Malcolm R. Dunn, turned up in a Facebook post by independent candidate for Plainfield mayor Mustapha Muhammad over the weekend (see here). An image of the post is at the head of this point.

Dunn also offered space for the campaign headquarters of Democratic Primary challenger for the mayoral nomination, former Councilor Tracey Brown. This time areound, Brown declared the rent as an actual expense, as well as showing an item for a billboard -- something which she did not do in a previous run (you can view Brown's 2017 Primary ELEC reports here). Interesting how the bread crumbs trail of opposition always leads to Dunn involvement.

Muhammad has not yet filed any financial reports (other than an initial D-1) with ELEC.

The general election is Tuesday, November 7, where Muhammad faces incumbent mayor Adrian O. Mapp, who has the Democratic party nomination and is running on Column A with Phil Murphy for governor. Other local candidates are Joylette Mills-Ransome for Councilor-at-large Wards 2/3, and Steve Hockaday for Councilor in Ward 4.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Sunday, October 8, 2017

Plainfield City Council business meeting Tuesday, October 10


Just and Capable. Sounds easy, right?
 

 
Plainfield City Council meets for its business session on Tuesday, October 10 (Monday is the observance of Columbus Day), at 8:00 PM in the Council Chambers/Courthouse.

The agenda is available online here, and it looks like a short meeting with only five resolutions not on the consent agenda --
  • R 332-17: Purchase of computers for the Police Division;
  • R 333-17: Award of a Safe Route to Schools DOT contract to Pennoni Associates;
  • R 334-17: Award of a contract for North Avenue/Gavett Place street improvements to Pennoni Associates;
  • R 335-17: Authorizing a 10-year lease of a portion of Parking Lot #1 to Plainfield Realty Associates; and
  • (New item) R 338-17: Resolution urging the State Legislature to extend the 2% cap on Police and Fire arbitration contract awards.
Council Chambers / Courthouse is at Watchung Avenue and East 4th Street. Parking is available on the street or in the lot across from the Police HQ.

NOTE: The Clerk's office is also producing the Council agendas in Spanish. Best is to get on the Clerk's email list, through which the agendas are distributed in advance of the meetings. Send an email to the clerk at:
ajalloh.clerk@plainfieldnj.gov or call (908) 753-3222.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Saturday, October 7, 2017

Plainfield Foundation seeks qualified candidate for Distribution Committee


 
For more than 80 years, the Plainfield Foundation has helped to fund arts, culture and service organizations of the Plainfield area.

The
Foundation distributes the proceeds from contributions which have been made over the years from numerous donors in the form of gifts and bequests. For many years, the Foundation was managed by United National Bank, with a distribution committee composed according to the terms of the original trust document.

With the purchase of United National Bank by PNC Corporation, the financial management of the trust has been shifted to PNC.

However, the Distribution Committee, which is weighted with Plainfield area residents, continues to decide on how the funds are dispensed. A vacancy will open on that committee at the end of 2017, and qualified candidates are invited to submit resumes and letters of interest to Kristen Tice of PNC bank per the notice above.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Friday, October 6, 2017

Plainfield Arts Council concludes weekend with Plainfield Symphony on Saturday and Plainfield Music Club on Sunday


Famed pianist Robert Taub, who studied at the French
School, will be soloist with the Plainfield Symphony Saturday.

 
The fledgling Plainfield Arts Council continues the first weekend of its debut Music Festival with performances by the Plainfield Symphony (Saturday) and the Plainfield Music Club (Sunday).
PLAINFIELD SYMPHONY (SATURDAY)
The Plainfield Symphony opens its 98th season under the baton of its music director Charles Prince, with a program featuring "Brahms and Schumann: Best Friends", which indeed they were.

The Brahms portion is Piano Concerto No. 1 in D minor, with guest soloist Robert Taub.

The Schumann work is his Symphony No. 2.

Robert Taub is a world-renowned pianist, educator and author, a native of Metuchen, who began his studies in piano at the Queen City's renowned French School of Music. He is renowned for having played the complete piano sonatas of Beethoven, and subsequently publishing a complete edition in two volumes.

The PSO concert is at 7:00 PM sharp at Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church, Watchung Avenue and East 7th Street.

Tickets are $30/person general seating and are available at the door. For more information about the PSO, visit their website here.

PLAINFIELD MUSIC CLUB (SUNDAY)
The Plainfield Music Club brings the weekend to a close with a program on Sunday, October 8, starting at 6:00 PM at the First Unitarian Society of Plainfield (FUSP), at which the Club will mark its 125th anniversary.

The Club, which is composed of amateur and professional musicians from the Plainfield area, has been playing for their own enjoyment and also concertizing for the public (often raising money for various Plainfield organizations and causes) since 1892.

Sunday's program will include the following members --
  • Victoria Griswold, piano
  • Robert Romano, clarinet
  • Wendy Romano, bassoon
  • Lorne Graham, trumpet
  • Susan Graham, flute
  • Carol-Ann Mochernuk, piano
  • Ron Thayer, piano
  • Edwin Lopez, piano
  • Sheila Jackson, soprano
  • Beverly Weber, piano, and
  • Visiting chamber group Ambalo, from Ecuador
The First Unitarian Society is at 724 Park Avenue, just off 7th Street. Parking available across the street from the church. A free will offering will be taken.
The Music Festival will continue throughout October with performances highlighting Hispanic heritage, Jazz, Hip-Hop/R&B, and Rock and Blues on the following October weekends.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Plainfield's first-ever Fire Safety Parade and Fair Saturday


Sparky will make an appearance at the Fair.

 
Plainfield's Fire Division will present the city's first-ever Fire Safety Parade and Fair Saturday (October 7).

The Parade will start at City Hall at 9:00 AM and proceed down Watchung Avenue to Front Street and then west to the County Office Building Plaza.

The Fair begins at 10:00 AM at the Plaza and will feature equipment from Plainfield and other Fire Departments from around the state, as well as a motorcycle show and appearances by two of the kids' favorites: "Sparky" and "Ronald McDonald".

Everyone will have a good time and learn fire safety tips. Plus tons of safety handouts.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Thursday, October 5, 2017

Wines of Spain wine tasting fundraiser for Library Saturday


A map showing the Wine Regions of Spain.
(Click map to enlarge.)

 
The Friends of the Plainfield Public Library (FOPPL) host their "Wines of Spain" themed wine tasting event this Saturday (October 7) at the home of Peter and Libby Price, 966 Hillside Avenue, from 4:00 to 7:00 PM. This year's honorary chair is Carlos Sanchez, Deputy City Administrator for Economic Development, and the event is part of Plainfield's observance of Hispanic Heritage Month.

FOPPL is the fundraising arm of the Plainfield Public Library, and annually raises thousands of dollars for spcial needs of the Library, which can range from capital improvement support to special programs.

Funds raised from this year's wine tasting will be earmarked for programs and partnership which enhance adult and child literacy in our community. Programs what will be supported this year include the Design Studio for Makerspace projects, computer upgrades, Smart Tables and reading displays for the Reading Rainforest (in the Children's Room), as well as continuing expansion of adult literacy programs in Basic English, GED and ESL.

Tickets are $75/person and you can pay at the door by check made out to "FOPPL".

Peter and Libby's home is located midway between Watchung and Prospect Avenues. Parking available on the street (mind the neighors' driveways, please).



  -- Dan Damon [follow]
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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

School Board candidates forum Thursday evening


The School Board election is on November 7.

 

Thursday evening (October 5), the Plainfield Education Association (PEA) --the union representing more than a thousand teachers and other employees of the school district -- will host a Board of Ed candidates forum. The program begins at 6:30 PM sharp in the cafetorium of the District Administration Building at 1200 Myrtle Avenue.

The public is invited to attend.

Among the topics expected to be addressed are --

  • Instability of District leadership
  • Influx of Charter Schools and the District's marketing plan
  • Union contracts and privatization of services
  • School governance and policies
  • School safety
  • -- and more!
There are eight candidates for three seats. The election will take place on the same day as the General Election, Tuesday, November 7th.

The eight candidates, none of whom is an incumbent, are (in ballot position order) --


  1. Timothy A. Priano
  2. Tera Phipps
  3. Avania Richardson-Miller
  4. William A. (Tony) Contreras
  5. Aisha Eustache
  6. Harry M. Watson, Jr.
Three candidates whose petitions were not submitted by the deadline were declared eligible to be put on the ballot after a hearing before a Union County judge. One of them subsequently dropped out. The two additional candidates are --

  • Cameron E. Cox (7)
  • Terence J. Johnson (8)
The Administration Building is at 1200 Myrtle Avenue, corner of Clinton Avenue. There is some parking down the driveway at the rear of the building, where steps lead up to the cafetorium. Otherwise, there is parking on the street on Myrtle Avenue. Entrance from the street it through the front door.



  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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