The Week In Union County

Here's a look at some of the stories that made headlines throughout Union County this past week.


[PHOTOS] Clark's Winter Festival

Santa Claus himself visited Clark this week at the Annual Winter Festival. Games, rides, prizes and music helped ring in the holiday season as the town lit the tree and menorah outside the municipal building. Check out our photos here.

Mayor Bonaccorso Asks: What Do Residents Want Built at Gypsum Property?

Clark Mayor Sal Bonaccorso talked to Patch about the survey the town is mailing to residents to get their thoughts on what should take the place of the shuttered 27-acre U.S. Gypsum paper manufacturing plant on Raritan Road. Bonaccorso plans to use the surveys to inform the council and rezone the property accordingly. Currently, a retail property is interested in the space.


Coaches Corner: Richard Goldstein

When he's not teaching students about the finer points of business at Cranford High School teacher Richard Goldstein is coaching the Lady Cougars on how to get busy on the tennis courts. 

And Goldstein, in his sixth year coaching, seems to be doing a good job. This year's varisty squad finished with an 11-4 record, and placed in thetop five of the Star-Ledger girl's tennis standings

Witnesses Describe Scene of Fatal Walnut Crash

A Cranford man was killed in a crash on Walnut Avenue Thursday morning. A neighbor, whose home is directly in front of the crash site came out to help the victim whom she described as an elderly man. "He was not responsive, but he had his eyes open," said Stephanie Cabezas, 22. She said she heard a loud thump around 8:45a.m. and that soon after, men were cutting branches from on top of the vehicle. The crash occured just a few feet from her door.

Woman's Club Tour Is About More Than Just The Homes

A more than two-decade old Cranford tradition puts its own spin on the phrase "Home for the holidays." Once again, the Cranford Junior Woman's Club is hosting its Home for the Holidays House Tour. The ticketed event takes place this Sunday, Dec. 2.

Twp. Committee Votes to Introduce Another Charter Study Ordinance

The Township Committee agreed to introduce an ordinance for a referendum to establish a charter study commission that could recommend a change in Cranford's form of government. Acharter study advisory group was established in 2008, after a similar referendum was passed the year before.


Fanwood PD Investigating Home Burglary on Nov. 27

A residential burglary took place between 8:20 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. on Waldon Road on Nov. 27. Police are still investigating and urge anyone with information to call the Police Department. The burglar made a force entry into the home through a ground floor window. PD warns all residents that theft increases during the holidays.

New Providence

Interest surrounding the first liquor license in New Providence, which is up for bid right now, continues to spark interest around the borough but not from the Murray Hill Inn & Suites. Kerry Lee, the Inn’s General Manager, penned a letter on Nov. 8 to Borough Clerk Wendi B. Barry, stating that the Inn would not be bidding on a liquor license at the established minimum of $400,000. “The minimum bid price being set by the Borough is significantly higher than what we had anticipated,” Lee stated in the letter, which was included in the Council’s Nov. 26 meeting agenda. “Please realize the our decision has been made with significant difficulty." But Mayor J. Brooke Hern said the borough is still receiving substantial interest in the first license and he, along with Councilman Bob Robinson, are optimistic about the bidding process.

We're Making Some Changes to New Providence-Berkeley Heights Patch

We're mixing things up at Patch this week, but don't worry — New Providence-Berkeley Heights Patch is here to stay. Caitlin Mahon will continue covering New Providence for New Providence-Berkeley Heights and has taken over Summit Patch. Camilo Smith, the former editor of Summit Patch, is now editor of Cranford Patch. Springfield Patch Editor Adam Bulger will now oversee Berkeley Heights and Nicole Bitette, Associate Local Editor for Union County, will now cover Mountainside.

New Providence High School Innovators Advance to World Series Finals

A team of four students from New Providence High School has been chosen as a top 3 finalist in the World Series of Innovation contest, sponsored by Microsoft and CocaCola. This is the second year in a row a New Providence team has made the international finals.

Scotch Plains

TV Series Films in Scotch Plains

A Bio Channel crime series needed a backdrop for an upcoming episode that partially takes place in a butcher shop and what better shop to choose then John's Meat Market in Scotch Plains. "They loved the look of the place," Son of John himself, Nick Losavio said. Nick was also given the opportunity to slice up some meat for the camera and he gave some of the crew a lesson in wrapping. The episode is set to air in January 2013, but there is no exact date as of now.

SPFHS Junior Wins College Scholarship For Safe Driving Campaign

Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School Junior Nikhil Patel won a college scholarship due a safe driving campaign he created for a DCH Auto Group Safe Driving Foundation contest. Patel's campaign titled "Drive2Live2Drive" encourages people to replace the last "drive" in "Drive2Live2Drive" to be whatever drives you in life. Comcast assisted Patel in producing his commercial featuring 115 SPFHS students and it now airs on channels such as TBS. MTV, Food Network, History Channel, Discovery Channel and more. "Just 3 seconds looking at your phone equals driving the length of three football fields blindfolded," Patel said. "I don't know why anyone would be willing to take that risk."

Shop and Dine Event in Scotch Plains and Fanwood to Help Local Businesses

From Nov. 24 to Dec. 8, the Scotch Plains and Fanwood Business and Professional Associations are sponsoring a "Shop & Dine" event to help local businesses recover from their losses during Hurricane Sandy. Prizes and incentives based on the amount of money spent will be offered to shoppers. Businesses and residents alike are hoping this event will help bring some businesses back on their feet, after closing their doors during power outages post-Sandy.


Official Election Results Put Bandrowski Over Fernandez by Five Votes

After weeks of uncertainty and close unofficial counts, the Springfield Municipal election had an official count this week. The final tally shows victories for the two Democrats in the race for the two open seats on the township committee, David Barnett and Margaret Bandrowski, with Bandrowski besting Deputy Mayor Jerry Fernandez by four votes. After the election, Springfield Democrats have a four to one majority. 

Charter Commission Study Question Passes

According to the official count from the 2012 Springfield municipal election, the Charter Commission question has passed by 170 votes. The five-member commission is charged with studying Springfield's needs and recommending a form of government for it to adopt. The question of whether such a commission was necessary was put to Springfield voters on the 2012 ballot. 

2012 Springfield Holiday Tree Lighting Expands

The annual municipal tree lighting ceremony, set for Sunday, Dec. 2, will feature its traditional mainstays of lighting the tree, a dramatic Santa appearance and children singing holiday songs. But this year, the event has been supersized with new features, including a petting zoo, hayrides and more. A lively debate has broken among Springfield residents over whether the winter holiday display should include a Menorah.


Dozens of residents met with Mayor Ellen Dickson and key city officials in Council Chambers on Tuesday night to discuss the effects of Superstorm Sandy and ways to handle future storms. Many residents expressed their thoughts and concerns with JCP&L throughout the informal gathering, which Dickson dubbed as a “power issues” town hall meeting. Numerous community members cited JCP&L’s lack of communication, disorganization and outdated infrastructure as key reasons why residents had to suffer through lengthy power outages in the city after Sandy, and following Irene and the October Snowstorm in 2011. Some said it wasn’t until day 13 post-Sandy when subcontractors from around the country — not local JCP&L workers — were even in town to make the necessary repairs. Mayor Dickson, City officials, and residents discussed options, such as improving JCP&L infrastructure, burying power lines and taking over the local utilities, among others.

Marissa Jennings Signs D1 Offer with Southern Methodist University

Marissa Jennings, a senior at Summit High School, is taking her passion for rowing to the next level by signing a Division 1 Letter of Intent to row for BigEast bound Southern Methodist University in Dallas starting next Fall. Marissa is a busy student athlete, winning multiple letters for swimming and softball at Summit High School; and a letter at Westfield for rowing. Marissa joined Westfield Crew Club her junior year and found her true athletic passion. Not only had she found a sport that allowed her to flex everything that she loved about sports and competition; Westfield found a powerful and intense team player. In just her first full year on the water, Marissa and her quad, won Gold at three spring meets and medaled in 6 of 8 races, including qualifying for the semi-finals at the historic Stotesbury Cup Regatta. The Stotesbury Cup is the world's oldest, and largest, high school rowing competition with more than 5,000 rowers from 180 U.S. High Schools/Clubs.

A New Local Editor At Summit Patch

Caitlin Mahon is the new editor of Summit Patch, taking over the reins from Camilo Smith, who has provided Summit with local news and information about Summit since October of 2011, and is now the editor of Cranford Patch. Caitlin will still continue to cover New Providence for New Providence-Berkeley Heights Patch. Springfield Patch editor Adam Bulger will now oversee coverage of Berkeley Heights while Nicole Bitette, the Associate Local Editor for Union County who primarily covers Scotch Plains and Fanwood, will now cover all Mountainside-related news.


Bond or Budget? Public to Decide How to Fund Roof Repairs

On Tuesday evening, the Westfield Board of Education met for the final time before the public votes on a $13.6 million bond referendum that would fund district-wide roof repairs on Dec. 11. Should the bond not pass, many cuts will need to be made to pay for the repairs. “Whether or not the bond passes, the roofs are getting done,” Board President Richard Mattessich said. “It’s just a question of how painful [the payment of] it is to the school system.

Former Westfield Mayor Forms New Legal Partnership

Thomas C. Jardim, Richard S. Meisner, and Bennet Susser are pleased to announce the launch of their new law firm: Jardim, Meisner & Susser, P.C., located at 30B Vreeland Road in Florham Park, and operating a website atwww.jmslawyers.com. Jardim, Meisner & Susser, P.C. specializes in litigation and corporate matters, focusing on employment and benefits law, construction litigation, ERISA counseling and litigation, products liability defense, insurance matters, commercial and corporate litigation, collection matters, and general representation of executives, physicians and medical providers, automobile dealerships and franchisees.


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