Fanwood kids turn out to support ill Utah youngster

When Be Craftful owner Amy Boroff sent out the word she was hosting a session at her shop this week to make Christmas cards for a seriously ill youngster, she wasn't sure what to expect.

But, according to Boroff, the response was "heartwarming." More than 50 kids and adults showed up Tuesday afternoon to create dozens of cards full of wonderful sentiments and support for Addie Fausett. She's a 6-year-old girl from Utah, who is suffering from a degenerative brain disease. And, they are still dropping off cards at the Martine Avenue store. One card said, "All of New Jersey hopes you feel better" in a child's lettering. Another said, "We know that you're Addie strong," with a purple heart. All of the sentiments were from the heart, Boroff said.

Chanukah observance continues through sunset next Wednesday

Members of the Jewish faith are celebrating Chanukah with family gatherings, games and the traditional lighting of the menorah. The holiday this year began Tuesday and continues through Wednesday, Dec. 24, at sunset.

At Temple Sholom, on Lake Avenue in Scotch Plains, Rabbi Joel Abraham, left, lit the menorah on Thursday night and explained its origin to the children of the congregation during an evening of activities for families.

On each of the eight days of Chanukah, the menorah, a nine-branched candelabra, is lit after nightfall (aside for Friday afternoon, when the candles are lit shortly before sunset). On the first night, one light plus the shamash (attendant candle) is lit, on the second night two lights plus the shamash are lit and this continues until the eighth night when all eight lights plus the shamash are lit. The menorah lights can be either candles, or oil and wicks.

It is traditional to eat foods fried in oil during the holidays, to commemorate the miracle which occurred with oil. Latkes, or potato pancakes, are one of the traditional foods. It is also customary to eat dairy foods like cheese during the holiday. Other customs include giving money gifts to children, for families to play dreidel games and for charitable gifts to be given during the holidays.

Luminary sale continues; tree sales end at LaGrande Park

The Rotary Club continues its luminary sale at the DPW garage off North Avenue across from the Library this weekend. They'll be open from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Christmas Eve, they'll be open from 9 a.m. to noon.

The kits, which include paper bag, candle and sand, cost 60 cents each, no matter what quantity you buy. The Rotary Club also asks that you bring non-perishable food or make a donation in support of the annual Holiday Food Drive.

Meanwhile, the 65th annual Christmas tree sale in LaGrande Park, hosted by the Lions Club and the Fanwood Fire Dept., has exhausted its supplies. Club officials had warned potential buyers last week that the number of trees was getting low and a busy weekend cleared the lot!

Raritan Line evening one-seat rides set to start Jan. 12

According to the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition, evening one-seat ride service on New Jersey Transit's Raritan Valley Line will begin Jan. 12. An exact time schedule hasn't been released by NJT, but the evening service between Manhattan and points on the Raritan Line is expected to include four trains from New York's Penn Station. The service will join the existing daytime one-seat ride offerings now operating between 9:15 a.m. out of Fanwood and 2:35 p.m. out of New York's Penn Station. There would be no changes to rush-hour service at this time, which requires a change in Newark.

Fanwood Council, state Senate and Assembly oppose pipeline

Fanwood Council passed a resolution Monday night, at its regular monthly meeting, in opposition to the proposed Pilgrim Pipeline. The bi-directional pipeline, still in the planning stage, would carry crude oil from the Albany, N.Y., area to an unspecified location in New Jersey and would return refined products.

According to the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Times, the council's resolution raised safety and environmental concerns as the pipeline would travel through residential areas. Fanwood's resolution is similar to ones passed by nearly two dozen municipalities in the state. Local government cannot regulate the pipeline. Only the state can rule on whether it is built, and operated, or not.

At the state level, Assemblywoman Linda Stender, who represents the Fanwood area, co-sponsored a resolution opposing the pipeline. The resolution passed the Assembly by a wide margin. The state Senate is considering a similar resolution. In a story on, Stender said the bipartisan support of the resolution, "speaks volumes about the concern for our drinking water, and the desire to keep it from being ruined by the oil that this thing would carry."

Santa's Ride leaves trail of smiles in the borough

It was a busy weekend in Fanwood. Santa was here Saturday and the luminary and Christmas tree sales continued, too.


The annual Santa Ride, put on by the Fanwood Fire Dept., Rescue Squad and PBA Local 123, hit the streets on schedule Saturday morning, making stops to drop off more than 800 packages in the borough. The trip through town took Santa several hours.

With a game plan that rivals any military campaign, Fire Chief John Piccola and his team of volunteers spend several days in advance of the event, getting the presents sorted and double-checked. Then, Saturday morning, they headed out with Santa to drop the presents at homes throughout the borough. For some families, it's an annual event that is cause for an impromptu block party in the neighborhood. Meanwhile, for others, it's a trip out to the end of the driveway when they hear the sirens approaching.

Click here to see a photo gallery from Santa's visit.

During Santa's tour of Fanwood Saturday, he and Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr stopped to honor Adele Gatens, second from right, and Jean Berry, left, whose late husbands started the Fanwood Santa tradition. In 1955, Eugene Gatens and Richard Berry teamed up, with the loan of a neighbor's red station wagon, to deliver gifts to children in their Waldon Road neighborhood. The annual visit by Santa grew quickly and, after 20 years, the men turned the Santa suit over to the Fanwood Police Dept. The Police Dept. carried on the tradition until the Fire Dept. took over about 20 years ago.

Rescue Squad's Siegal honored as the borough's volunteer of the month

Rescue Squad president Steve Siegal, right, was honored as the borough's volunteer of the month at the council meeting Monday night, Dec. 15. Each month, someone is honored for their contributions to the borough. They receive a framed print of Fanwood's historic north side train station.

Siegal joined the Rescue Squad in 1992 and has responded to more than 1,500 calls with the squad. He is serving as the group's president for the second time. Councilman Tom Kranz, left, who has served as the captain of the Rescue Squad, presented Siegal with the print and praised Siegal and his commitment to the organization and the citizens of Fanwood.

Support our merchants. Shop Fanwood for your holiday needs

The Fanwood Business and Professional Association (FBPA) is kicking off its "Shop Local" campaign with several merchants offering discounts and deals. It's in concert with the national effort to encourage shoppers to support their local businesses over the holidays and throughout the year.

"Our local businesses aren't just businesses," said FBPA incoming president Brian Walter, "they are our neighbors, who work hard every day to keep our town unique and special. Please join us in supporting them and celebrating their hard work!"

Click here for more on the story.

Donate your old cell phones today!

Drop your old cell phones in the box at the Fanwood Police Dept. and help the Union County YWCA. For each phone, the YWCA will receive money from the Shelter Alliance. Keep the phones out of the landfill and help a good cause!

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