Jul 29, 2014

The Week In Union County

Here's a look at some of the stories that made headlines throughout Union County for the week of Jan. 6-12.

The Week In Union County


[VIDEO] Watch Clark's Appearance on Terry Bradshaw's 'Today in America'

Clark's television debut is here. The town's appearance on NFL commentator and former player Terry Bradshaw's "Today in America" infomercial series was recently completed and is available on the company's YouTube page. The infomercial provides a detailed history of Clark and highlights Clark's rec program, schools and accessibility. The infomercial was filmed in July, and Clark paid $19,800 in fees to produce and air it. The hefty price tag caused some residents to question whether the funds could be better allocated in town. The video features shots of senior and rec activites, the Dr. Robinson Plantation, Clark's senior fitness center, Hyatt Hills golf course, Arthur L. Johnson High School, Clarkton Shopping Center and shopping in downtown Westfield.

Now Open: Heads and Tails Yoga in Clark Shopping Center

While yoga studios seem to be popping up everywhere these days, Clark was still yoga-less until December, when Heads and Tails Yoga opened in the Clarkton Shopping Center next to Clark Bagels. The new studio is run by owner-instructor Kate Hoyos, a Westfield resident who has been practicing yoga for 14 years. Hoyos has taught previously at Garden State Yoga in Bloomfield, Ignite Yoga in Livingston and Hot Yoga Revolution in Garwood.


Police Chief Mason Steps Down As Interim Township Administrator

    Cranford's top cop recently retired from the position he held for over a year as Interim Administrator. It was a move marked with controversy when it was believed Mason would assume the position full-time and retire from the police force. 

      He is widely credited with helping Cranford get back on its feet after Hurricane Irene. But, the 35-year veteran of the Cranford PD said it wasn't all his doing.

            An East Orange man was arrested last week for allegedly driving under the influence. A 3-year-old child he had in the vehicle without a proper car seat, said police, was taken to police headquarters and released to a family member.


            Fourth Annual MLK Day of Service to Take Place on Jan. 21

            On January 21st Scotch Plains and Fanwood will hold the fourth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Since there will be a half-day of school in the district this year due to Hurricane Sandy, many of the events will take place in the afternoon. The day of service will feature a variety of volunteer opportunities for children, teens and adults throughout Scotch Plains and Fanwood.


            Garwood Council Pres Blasts 'Westfield Leader' for Publishing Incorrect Figures on Athletic Field Complex

            Garwood's first regular council meeting of the year brought fireworks, as Council President Sara Todisco took to the mic to call out the Westfield Leader for printing incorrect information regarding the borough's controversial Athletic Field Complex in its Jan. 3 issue, part two of the paper's annual Year in Review. Todisco says this is the second time the paper has gotten the cost of the project wrong, this time suggesting that the average per taxpayer cost of the $3.2-million project "would average about $1,800 per property owner." Todisco says the impact to taxpayers is actually $375 over 15 years ($25 per year) for homes assessed at $100,000 (which is also the average home assessment in Garwood) – a far cry from the Leader's figure. The Leader has refused to print a retraction.

            New Providence

            Mayor J. Brooke Hern delivered his annual message during the New Providence reorganization meeting on Monday night, highlighting much of the borough’s progress in 2012 and expressing an optimistic outlook for 2013. From a shared dispatch center with Summit to a plan that will improve the conditions of the borough’s recreational fields to the first consumption liquor license going out to bid this month, Hern said the borough’s ongoing progress will ultimately strengthen the quality of life for residents while saving tax dollars and improving services.

            New Providence Borough Council Approves Mayoral Appointments.

            During the New Providence reorganization meeting Monday night, Mayor J. Brooke Hern, with approval from Borough Council, made several appointments to the borough's administration, boards and committees.

            Scotch Plains

            Louis Beckerman to Fill Vacant Scotch Plains Council Seat

            As Kevin Glover took his position as mayor of Scotch Plains, a seat remained empty on the township council. At the Jan. 8 council meeting it was unanimously voted that Louis Beckerman, recent chairman of the Democratic Committee in Scotch Plains, would fill Glover’s seat.

            Scotch Plains Blotter: Cash Register Stolen From Second Street Business

            A cash register was stolen from a business on Second Street in Scotch Plains on Jan. 2. Also during the past week a few other businesses reported theft or fraud. A look at those recently arrested in Scotch Plains was also provided.


            Bergen Sworn into Freeholder Board

            On Sunday, Jan. 6, Bruce Bergen was sworn into the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Bergen, a Springfield resident and a partner in the Cranford law firm of Krevsky, Silber & Bergen, has practiced law in Union County for 32 years and has been active in leadership and elected positions with the Union County Democratic Committee since 1979. Bergen was Springfield's township attorney for 17 of the past 19 years.

            St. James Student Spreads Holiday Cheer to Shelter Animals

            Madison Wright, a 5th grader at St. James the Apostle School, didn't want anybody to miss out on the holiday spirit, four legs or two, so she organized a pet products collection in her class. In the spirit of giving, her classmates donated pet food, biscuits and various toys for the Union Township Animal Shelter.

            Chief Cook Provides Public Safety Update

            Springfield Chief of Police John Cook provided an update on public safety to the Township Committee this week. His statistics indicated success with fighting car burglaries and with issuing motor vehicle summons.


            Summit Man Arrested For Alleged Sexual Assault of 19-Year-Old Women

            Summit resident Cyrus Fakroddin, who is most known for walking his goat, Cocoa, around Summit and Manhattan, was arrested and charged Wednesday with first Degree Aggravated Sexual Assault against a person who was physically helpless and is being held in Union County Jail on $250,000 bail, according to a press release from the Union County Prosecutor's Office. According to the investigation, Fakroddin encountered a mentally and physically incapacitated 19-year-old woman in Manhattan during the early morning hours of Nov. 17, 2012, said Albert Cernadas, Jr, Union County First Assistant Prosecutor, in a press release issued Thursday. Earlier that evening, the victim was with friends at a nightclub in Manhattan.

            Summit Police Investigate Dec. 2012 Swastika Incident As Hate Crime

            On Wednesday, Summit Police announced that the Swastika incident that occurred at a Summit residence in December of 2012 is being investigated as a hate crime and urges anyone with information regarding this incident to contact the police department directly. On Dec. 16, a swastika, a universally recognized symbol of hate, was found on the side of a Passaic Avenue resident’s detached garage, according to Sgt. Peter Frank. Summit Police are investigating this as a hate crime and urge anyone with information regarding this incident to contact Summit Police at 908-273-0051.

            John Liberato is stepping down as head coach of Summit Football on a high note. After leading the Hilltoppers to a 30-0 state sectional title over Palisades Park in early December of 2012, the second in his six years as head coach, Liberato told Patch Wednesday that “it’s the right time” to leave his position, but he will remain a physical education teacher and assistant wrestling coach at Summit High School.

            The Summit and Jonathan Dayton boys’ basketball teams collided in Springfield Thursday night and unfortunately, the Hilltoppers did not come out on top. After a heartbreaking 49-48 loss at the buzzer, Dayton advance to 8-0, while Summit is now 7-1.


            Westfield Author Receives New England Book Festival Award

            Westfield author Rosanne Kurstedt's picture book 'And I Thought About You' received an honorable mention from the New England Book Festival in the Children's Books category. Published in spring of 2012, the children's story was inspired by real-life events when Kurstedt and her young son were living in Hong Kong. "The story is about a working mother and her son, and she comes home from work and he says, "What did you do today, Mama?" and she recounts her day and after she says what she does, she says "And I thought about you.' It's a touching story," Kurstedt told Patch just before the book was released. -- 

            Video: What's Westfield Doing in Clark's Informercial?

            Clark's television debut is here but it appears to include a special guest star: Westfield. While the infomercial, with a near-$20,000 price tag, provides a detailed history of Clark and highlights the town's rec program, schools and accessibility it also features Westfield's downtown, something not lost on Patch readers who were quick to point out the shopping area shown in the video is located in the neighboring town. 

            Resident Suggests New Year's Resolutions for Westfield's Leaders

            In a letter to the editor, Westfield resident Gary McCready listed suggestions for officials to better prepare the town for the next storm.

            New York Times Reporter Shares Inside Scoop on College Admissions Process

            The evening before announcing his retirement, New York Times reporter and author of The Gatekeepers: Inside The Admissions Process of a Premier College,  Jacques Steinberg broke down the daunting application task for an audience of over 300 students and parents Wednesday at Westfield High School. Steinberg’s first piece of advice was to “relax, if that’s at all possible.”

            Don’t miss updates from Patch!