The Week in Union County
Here's what made news around the county this past week.
Clark celebrated Memorial Day with its annual parade down Westfield Avenue, and four Clark veterans shared their war stories with us. On Tuesday, Clark Police Chief Denis Connell retired after 37 years.
In school news, Johnson alum and IBM general manager Phil Guido came back to the high school on Wednesday to share his success story and let the students have a crack at beating the company's famous artificial intelligence system, Watson, in a game of Jeopardy. And on Thursday, the Clark Board of Ed. approved Mike Mancino, a Johnson football assistant coach and Johnson head softball coach, to replace head football coach Nick Gregorio, whose contract was not renewed this year.
This week, we took a look at Garwood's recently opened Hot Yoga Revolution. Check out our video of an actual hot yoga class. On Monday, Garwood residents and civic leaders marched in Cranford's Memorial Day parade, followed by a reception and ceremony at the Garwood Knights of Columbus.
This week in Springfield, Dayton High School Season ended and a new life began. The Dayton Varsity Baseball team’s fast track to glory came to a halt in a tough 6-0 defeat to Hoboken in the sectional round of the North 2, Group 1 NJSIAA State Playoffs. It was a tough loss for the Bulldogs, who ended their season 17-7, but they’re looking to bounce back soon, with summer league ball.
Meanwhile, Springfield’s emergency services closed out the month of May with a unique withdrawal at a Township bank. Springfield fire fighters, police and first aid squad members answered a 911 call for a woman giving birth at a bank parking lot. Fire fighters rushed to help the baby girl, born with its umbilical cord around her neck. Both the child and her mother were brought to St. Barnabas, and are reportedly doing fine.
In more baby news, two Scotch Plains police officers welcomed a new resident to the neighborhood last Tuesday, May 24, when they helped a homeowner deliver a baby in her Westfield Avenue house. Neither the baby nor the mother suffered complications, the police department stated, and the two were safely transported by Scotch Plains Rescue Squad ambulance to Overlook Hospital.
Four Students, Teacher Treated for Heat Illness: Emergency medical technicians rushed to Park Middle School in Scotch Plains on Wednesday afternoon after four students and a teacher reported feeling dizzy during an evacuation for a fire alarm. Fire officials believe that the fire alarm was activated due to the day's sweltering temperatures, which climbed as high as 90 degrees, police stated. No one was transported to the hospital.
The New Providence varsity softball season came to an end Thursday afternoon as the Whippany Park Wildcats defeated the Pioneers, 8-0, in the North 2, Group 1 sectional final. This was the first time the team reached a sectional championship game, traveling to Morris County to face one of the best Group 1 softball programs in state history.
The Pioneers had a successful season, finishing 19-7 overall. The team went 12-2 to tie Johnson for the best record in the Mountain Division of the Union County Conference, and beat Brearley a third time to reach the Union County Tournament semifinals. Other team feats include defeating Roselle Park a third time to gain the sectional semifinals and a victory over Dunellen to advance to the sectional final game.
The Summit High School boys lacrosse team narrowly escaped defeat Thursday night in a 5 overtime battle with the Chatham Cougars in the Group II championship at Ridge High School. The Hilltoppers started the contest off strong with two quick goals by Mike Ford. But Chatham dominated the time of possession and sent the game into not one but five overtime periods. A quick wrap-around goal by Sonny Round propelled the Hilltoppers to a 7-6 victory, keeping the team's three-year, now 67-game win streak alive. The Hilltoppers advance to the Tournament of Champions next week.
Ground was broken for Westfield's new Vietnam Veterans Memorial during Memorial Day ceremonies on Monday. The new memorial, being designed by Luke Gibbons as an Eagle Scout project, will join other war memorials at the intersection of North Avenue and East Broad Street. The town's only current memorial for the Vietnam War is a plaque at the Memorial Pool.
Vinny Accardi, a contestant on the last season of the cooking show "Hell's Kitchen," came to Westfield Wednesday to perform a cooking demonstration at the Savory Spice Shop. The event benefited Nana J's Food Pantry, a new organization serving families in the Plainfield area.
New rules will require Westfield High School students to stay at Saturday's prom until 10 p.m. this year. The rules were put in place by school officials to stop students from leaving early to head to the Shore, a common practice in past years.
This week, Cranford mourned the loss of a local legend. Mark "Max" Mitchell, who tended bar at The Riverside for 26 years, died May 28th of a heart attack. His sudden death was a shock to the community, who viewed Max as the epitome of the small-town bartender. Max never left his regulars waiting long for a drink, and knew the name of every bar goer who walked through his door. When you turned 21, it was a Cranford tradition to receive your first drink from Max.
In happier news, a young resident might be getting her shot at the big time. Four-year-old Alex McCoy was the Grand Prize winner of Parenting.com's 2010 Model Search Contest. Dad Michael McCoy was snapping photos of Alex in her Little Red Riding Hood get-up last Halloween, and one really stood out from the rest.