Tuesday’s Council meeting brought distinguished members of the community and supportive family and friends out to witness Lieutenant Brian Donnelly receive the “long overdue” promotion to Captain.
Chief Mahoney stated that Donnelly grew up in Scotch Plains and joined the Scotch Plains Police Department in 1988, leaving for a short while in the early 1990s to obtain a law degree. He served as a Detective, Detective Sargent, and a Lieutenant for the Police Department. Mahoney’s light hearted speech was truly that of a friend congratulating a friend, and a clear example of the collaborative relationship between the two.
“This is where his heart is, this is where he grew up, this is the town he wanted to serve. Tonight we promote him to Captain; my right hand man. The captain is who I lean on to help keep the department running. Brian is someone I’ve always been able to rely on. We have a lot of great leaders in our department, but Brian stands out amongst all of them,” Mahoney said.
After taking his oath as a new Captain, Donnelly expressed his gratitude for his family’s support, praising his three children for their individual talents and expressing his love for his wife, noting that “she’s the brains and beauty of this operation; it’s pretty cool when a guy can marry his best friend.” Donnelly also expressed his admiration for his fellow Officers.
“Our Officers put it on the line every day and follow the Chief’s lead. We’re going to ratchet it up and move forward even stronger than before. I hear horror stories from other Officers in other towns; we don’t have those here,” Donnelly stated.
The Council also had the pleasure of greeting another special guest; Katharyn Nicolle, Miss New Jersey 2011, who is staying with Former Mayor of Scotch Plains Robert Johnston and his wife Sally. Sally has served as the chaperone for Miss New Jersey for many years, meaning that, Scotch Plains is home to Miss New Jersey for several months out of the year.
Katharyn Nicolle, 20, is an International Studies major at Dickson College in Pennsylvania. Nicolle is harnessing a lifelong love of reading to help battle illiteracy throughout the country, traveling to local schools in New Jersey, donating books and speaking to kids about learning to love reading. Nicolle will compete in this year’s Miss America pageant on January 14 in Las Vegas. For her talent, she will perform ballet on pointe to the theme from Superman.
“Literacy is the foundation of education and without it; it is very difficult in our society to be successful. I wanted to share my love of reading, especially with young students so that literacy can improve. I want kids to enjoy reading and get hyped up about how fun reading can be,” Nicolle stated.
The Council read a proclamation praising Nicolle’s efforts and encouraging the citizens of Scotch Plains to support Nicolle in the upcoming Miss America pageant. This year, the pageant will incorporate a public vote via www.missamerica.com. Mayor Malool welcomed Nicolle to Scotch Plains and also requested that if Nicolle wins the crown, she return to Scotch Plains for a visit as Miss America. Councilman Bo Vastine read the resolution that declared December 20, 2011 Katharyn Nicolle Day.
During the public forum, Marion Roberts came to the podium to address why a Scotch Plains holiday tradition was absent from downtown for the 2011 season.
“I was shocked to learn that there will be no live nativity scene downtown this year. I brought my checkbook with me tonight and I am willing to pay up to 1000 dollars to make sure that we don’t break this tradition that has been kept alive for 50 years. We have four days, let’s get this together. I will take care of the animals myself if need be.” Roberts stated.
Township Manager, Christopher Marion addressed Roberts noting that the town was not able to secure the animals for the live nativity scene because of coordination issues and priorities shifting to brush cleanup after the surprise winter snow storm in October.
“This is the decision our Township Manger has made,” Malool stated. “Unfortunately we will just have to look forward to next year.”
During his report, Marion gave his report noting that the second and last round of leaf pickup began Sat December 10. He noted that weather permitting, leaf collection should be completed by the end of December.
The Council passed an ordinance noting that parking will now be eliminated on Cedar Brook Road from 8 am to 4 pm on school days for safety of students going to school in the area. In addition, the Mayor noted that the Mayor’s Gala which honored the volunteers who completed the town’s September 11 memorial, was a huge success raising 8,000 dollars through a silent auction and tricky tray. The proceeds raised will be split among the rescue squad, police department, and municipal alliance committee.
“The Moonglowers and the Sensations from the high school performed almost the entire evening and were just fabulous. I would also like to thank the recreations department, the Italian American Club for donating the venue, and the generous residents and vendors who donated goods for the event,” Malool said.
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