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The Week in Union County

Here's a look at some of the stories that made headlines throughout Union County for the week of Dec. 2-8.

Clark

Johnny K's opened on Wednesday, Dec. 5. The Clark landmark will still offer family dining, but in a totally renovated space, with upscale menu additions alongside Windsor signatures. Check out our photos of the new space.

Shell Station on Raritan Road Robbed at Knife-Point


Cranford Police are investigating a knife-point gas station robbery that occured at the Shell on Raritan Road on the Clark-Cranford border Tuesday night. Cops said the robber ran off with $700 after pulling out a silver pocket knife on a station attendant around 8 p.m., and ordering him to empty his register.

Cranford

Cranford Police are investigating a knife-point gas station robbery that occured at the Shell on Raritan Road on Tuesday night.  Cops said the robber ran off with $700 after pulling out a silver pocket knife on a station attendant around 8p.m., and ordering him to empty his register.  The incident occured just two hours before the gas station was supposed to close. No one was hurt.

Remains of David Civile Found in Shrewsbury River

Police say a contractor making dock repairs on Little Silver Point Road in Little Silver on Nov. 28 found the remains of former Cranford Resident David Civile. Civile launched his kayak onto the Shrewsbury River on November 17, 2010 off of Howard's Beach, a spit of sand towards the end of Little Silver Point Road. His kayak was found later that evening on an uninhabited island between Rumson and Sea Bright and for days, rescue teams searched the river for the 26-year old Tinton Falls resident who took off that warm November day into the cold river, surrounded by strong winds.

Garwood



Mayor Patricia Quattrocchi of the Borough of Garwood excitedly announced that there will be a groundbreaking ceremony for the borough's long-discussed Athletic Field Complex Project on Saturday, Dec. 15. The project includes building a new multi-purpose turf field, field house and upgrades to the existing baseball field and surrounding grounds.

[PHOTOS] Garwood's Annual Tree Lighting

On Dec. 1, Garwood held its annual tree lighting at borough hall. Even Santa stopped by for the festivities.

New Providence

New Providence, Summit Close In On Emergency Dispatch Center Agreement

New Providence and Summit are moving closer to a shared dispatch center, which would provide emergency police, fire and EMS services for residents in both communities. Last week, New Providence Council approved a resolution and an ordinance to move forward with this shared service. Summit Common Council approved the identical resolution and ordinance on Tuesday evening. This agreement will lay the groundwork for how both towns will bring the proposed “New Providence & Summit Emergency Services Dispatch Center” to fruition. Summit acquired two federal grants that total $1.6 million, which would provide this joint venture with state-of-the-art equipment and technology, said Doug Marvin, New Providence Borough Administrator, at the Nov. 26 Council meeting. However, the grants cannot be used to construct the facility, which will be housed in the New Providence Municipal Center, located at 360 Elkwood Ave. Instead, each community will contribute $350,000 to cover construction costs. Take our poll and tell us what you think about this dispatch center.

New Providence Invites Residents To Shop Local This Holiday Season

Dread the thought of fighting for a parking space at the mall?  Want help choosing just the right gifts for the people on your list?  The New Providence Business Community is encouraging residents to shop New Providence this holiday season. You’ll find friendly store owners in a vibrant downtown that has fine specialty shops and incredible restaurants. Take a stroll through town and explore what it has to offer — the merchants are eager to please.

New Providence Business Community Wraps Up A Great Year

Many residents and visitors are unaware that the Business Community sponsors so many New Providence activities and events. If you shopped at the Farmer’s Market or Street Fair, you can thank the Business Community.  Watched the fireworks, ran in the 5K Race, or took your kids Trick or Treating?  All sponsored by the Business Community.  Listened to a summer concert or saw Santa downtown?  Again, brought to you by the Business Community.  Surprised?  Don’t be. The New Providence Business Community, comprised of local retailers, restaurants, service providers, and professionals, has been working hard to make New Providence a great place to eat, shop, and live.

Scotch Plains-Fanwood

Scotch Plains and Fanwood Hold Annual Tree Lighting Celebrations

Scotch Plains and Fanwood held their annual holiday celebrations on Sunday, Dec. 2. At the Scotch Plains celebration the township offered horse drawn carriages and pony rides and both towns provided free photos with Santa for the children.  Each town ended the evening with the annual tree lighting.

Town Hall Meeting Will be Held for Scotch Plains Residents to Discuss Sandy

On Monday, Dec. 17 the Township of Scotch Plains will hold a town hall forum for residents to discuss the response to Hurricane Sandy. Representatives from PSE&G will be available to answer any questions. The township is also waiting to see if FEMA and the Small Business Administration will be able to attend.

The Small Business Administration and FEMA advised small business owners at the Dec. 5 meeting set up by the Scotch Plains Office of Emergency management for businesses to meet with FEMA and SBA, that they should apply for assistance even if they have not heard back from their insurance companies.  Businesses, Homeowners and Renters can apply through FEMA for disaster assistance by calling 1-800-621-3362 or visiting www.diaster.gov. (approximations are accepted).

SP-F School Make Up Days Decided at Board of Ed Meeting

The Board of Education decided to use Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President's Day and two days at the end of the year to make up days lost from Hurricane Sandy.

Springfield

Town Hall Menorah Poll Results

While a majority of Springfield residents in Springfield Patch's informal poll said they favored having a Menorah outside of the municipal building as part of the the township's holiday celebration, a significant minority oppose the idea. Of the 87 votes in the poll, 63 respondents favored having a Menorah dispay and 24 opposed. 

Springfield Holiday Tree Lighting 2012

This year's holiday celebration attracted record crowds. People flocked to the family friendly attractions, which included a petting zoo, a horse-drawn wagon and a visit from Santa himself. 

Sandy Post Mortem

Springfield Patch continued its department by department look at how the township handled the storm and is planning for future emergencies. Links to each entry are below.

  • Sandy Post Mortem: Department of Public Works
  • Sandy Post Mortem: Office of Emergency Management
  • Sandy Post Mortem: The Police Department
  • Sandy Post Mortem: Fire Department

Summit

New Providence, Summit Close In On Emergency Dispatch Center Agreement

New Providence and Summit are moving closer to a shared dispatch center, which would provide emergency police, fire and EMS services for residents in both communities. Last week, New Providence Council approved a resolution and an ordinance to move forward with this shared service. Summit Common Council approved the identical resolution and ordinance on Tuesday evening. This agreement will lay the groundwork for how both towns will bring the proposed “New Providence & Summit Emergency Services Dispatch Center” to fruition. Summit acquired two federal grants that total $1.6 million, which would provide this joint venture with state-of-the-art equipment and technology, said Doug Marvin, New Providence Borough Administrator, at the Nov. 26 Council meeting. However, the grants cannot be used to construct the facility, which will be housed in the New Providence Municipal Center, located at 360 Elkwood Ave. Instead, each community will contribute $350,000 to cover construction costs. Take our poll and tell us what you think about this dispatch center.

Holiday A Cappella Show Features Sean Altman and the GrooveBarbers

Remember the Astelin Nasal Spray commercial with the a cappella singers? Well, that was the GrooveBarbers and they will be with us in Summit , singing in perfect four-part harmony along with lots of silliness between the songs. Coffee With Conscience Concert Series and Ahrre's Acoustic Coffee House will present Sean Altman and the GrooveBarbers at 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9 at Ahrre's Acoustic Coffee House, located at Mondo Summit, 426 Springfield Ave., 3rd floor loft. Sean Altman is considered "the father of modern a cappella." An a cappella supergroup, each member of this all-vocal powerhouse quartet is a bona fide star in his own right: Sean Altman, Charlie Evett and Steve Keyes are former founding members of the pioneering group Rockapella, and Westfield native Kevin Weist is a renowned bald vocal guru and acclaimed TV writer. Collectively they have established themselves as the "go to" vocal group for rock, doo-wop, jazz and even barbershop. This show is family friendly. Children 12 and under get in free but when ordering your tickets, make sure you reserve a seat for them.

There were two arrests and two thefts reported to the Summit Police Department last week between Nov. 28 and Nov. 30. Ivan A. Delgado, a 23-year-old Summit resident, was arrested on Nov. 28 for Contempt of Court. This occurred at Industrial Place and Walnut Avenue around 2:30 p.m. Around 7 p.m. on Nov. 28, Joseph Romano, a 19-year-old from Union, was arrested for a Simple Assault at Morris Avenue and Maple Street. The following day, Nov. 29, the theft of a Kindle tablet was reported. The Kindle was reportedly taken from a bag in the Summit YMCA men's locker room around 5:30 p.m. It's valued at $300. On Nov. 30 at 6:15 a.m., the theft of a magnetic taxi sign from the side of a vehicle was reported to police. The car was parked on Railroad Avenue and the theft occurred sometime between 6 a.m. and 6:10 a.m.

Westfield

Video: WHS Senior Remembered for Laughter, Love of Life

Hundreds gathered on the lawn of Westfield High School Sunday evening to honor friend and classmate Allison Harth. A candlelight vigil was held to pay tribute to the life of the WHS senior who was remembered for her infectious laughter and kindness to everyone she encountered. The girl with ginger hair and a golden smile, who was loved by all who knew her, passed away Monday, Nov. 26 after a valiant battle with cancer. Harth was 17.

Letter: Resident Sees Board of Ed Misusing Assets to Promote Agenda

Westfield resident A. John Blake questioned how the Westfield Board of Education justifies the use of "public assets and the subterfuge of sending its pro-referendum letter to all the schoolchildren parents through its principals?"
Blake's letter sparked a debate among readers. Many agreed with him while others noted that maintaining the school buildings should be a priority.

Letter: Westfield Schools Superintendent Address Upcoming Referendum

Westfield Schools Superintendent Dr. Margaret Dolan noted that on December 11 Westfield voters will have the opportunity to decide how they want to finance the cost of replacing the majority of outlived roofing on school buildings. 
"A bond is a mechanism by which state, municipal and school bodies fund large capital expenses. This bond referendum before voters will spread the cost of the roofs over 20 years. Current low bond interest rates make this a favorable time to issue bonds. The tax impact to the average homeowner is estimated at $31 in 2014. Thereafter, the tax impact actually will decrease due to other bonds which will mature and be fully paid. The bond referendum has been reviewed by bond counsel and meets all legal requirements," she wrote. Should the bond be defeated, cuts would be made to existing programs.

New Business Celebrates Grand Opening in Downtown Westfield Today

Just in time for the holidays, Jude Connally, purveyor of women's fashions that focus on both style and comfort, celebrates its grand opening today at 111 Central Avenue in Westfield. Connally, a Cranford resident and 20-year fashion veteran, manufactures all her products in the United States. The business is headquartered in Kenilworth. Known for its simple styles in bold prints, bright colors and comfortable fabrics that don't require dry cleaning, Jude Connally's dress collection is a mix of modern and classic looks that appeal to a vast array of tastes. From businesswomen to busy moms, Jude Connally's wash-and-wear line has been worn by NBC 4's Jane Hanson and Janice Huff. 

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