Proposed school parking lot discussed at Borough Council Meeting

A number of residents of Madison Avenue in Fanwood came to the Borough Council agenda meeting on Monday, May 2 to voice their concerns over a proposal to turn a grassy area behind their homes into a parking lot.

 

The Scotch Plains-Fanwood school district has proposed paving over a field currently used for youth soccer behind School One and Park Middle School into a parking lot to accommodate more than 60 vehicles. According to Schools Superintendent Dr. Margaret Hayes, who attended the Council meeting, the spaces are needed to relieve the current shortage of parking for employees of Park Middle School and the anticipated addition of employees to School One for the new full day kindergarten program. While both schools are in Scotch Plains, all of Madison Avenue is in Fanwood and residents said the loss of the green space would eliminate a safe play area for children.

 

After comments from several members of the public and questioning by the Fanwood Council and Mayor Colleen Mahr, Dr. Hayes agreed that the district should revisit the idea of creating permit parking on the streets surrounding the schools and asking the NJ Dept. of Environmental Protection for an exception to a regulation requiring the parking lot be be at least 150 feet from a nearby creek.

Arbor Day celebrates trees, poetry and Earl Phillips

Fanwood: Tree City USA
Fanwood: Tree City USA
Poetry contest winner
Poetry contest winner
Steve Falco honors Earl Phillips
Steve Falco honors Earl Phillips

The Fanwood Shade Tree Commission's annual Arbor Day observance on Friday, April 29th, 2016, honored veteran member Earl Phillips, 94, who recently retired after more than 30 years as a member. Phillips, a retired police officer and Fanwood volunteer, received a certificate of appreciation, a commemorative book and a hand made rain stick presented by the students of the Park Middle School Environmental Club. Also honored was poet John McDermott of Cranford, winner of this year's nationwide Arbor Day Poetry Contest. Mr. McDermott was presented with a $300 prize by Adele Kenney, Fanwood's poet laureate and Shade Tree Commission member. The students of the Environmental Club presented information on the Emerald Ash Borer, a pest found in New Jersey ash trees. And for the 23rd consecutive year, Fanwood has been awarded Tree City USA status, which denotes our town takes special care of trees. Kudos to Shade Tree Commission Chairman Steve Falco for another wonderful program!

There are some red oak seedlings still available for Fanwoodians! They are at Carriage House Park for you to take. Help keep Fanwood green!

Public Notice

The date of the Regular Meeting of the Fanwood Recreation Commission has been changed from May 24th to May 31, 2016.  The meeting will take place at the LaGrande Park Recreation Building, LaGrande Avenue and Second Street, Fanwood, NJ at 7:45 pm.

 

Official action may be taken.

Earth Day Clean Up in the Rain

Fanwood Councilman Russ Huegel kicked off the 2016 Earth Day Community Cleanup on Saturday, April 23rd, reading the Council's proclamation, joined by Clean Community Committee Chairman Greg Cummings, DPW Director Clint Dicksen and Environmental Commission Chairman Gary Szelc. About a hundred volunteers braved a steady drizzle to grab bags and gloves and deployed around Fanwood to pick up trash. Thanks to everyone who organized the event and showed up despite the rain!

Borough Council passes budget without increase

The Fanwood Borough Council this week passed its 2016 operating budget with no municipal tax increase. In fact, in includes an average municipal tax decrease of $3.54 per household.

 

"It's a small cut, of course, but we felt we wanted to do something to help our residents offset what promises to be a significant increase in the school tax," said Councilman Russ Huegel, Chairman of the Council's Administration and Finance Committee. 

 

"We anticipate a large school tax increase to fund an all-day kindergarten program, requiring additional teachers" said Mayor Colleen Mahr. "We have tried to mitigate the school tax burden and have pared our operating budget to produce a local tax cut. As it always does, the school tax represents 60% of the total taxes residents pay. County tax represents about 19%, municipal taxes 20% and the library tax about 1%.

Over $10,000 raised at Fanwood autism music fest

The Banks Family: Ethan, dad Jeff, Mallory and mom Gina
The Banks Family: Ethan, dad Jeff, Mallory and mom Gina

Beautiful spring weather, great live music and a worthy cause brought hundreds of folks to Fanwood's LaGrande Park Saturday, April 16th, for the first annual Rockin' for Autism music festival, a fundraiser for Autism New Jersey created by Mallory Banks, 14, a Fanwood resident who has raised money in the past for autism causes in honor of her brother, Ethan. More than $10,000 was raised, exceeding the $7,000 goal set by Mallory and her family. See more on our Facebook page.

Little League season launched in Fanwood

Mayor Colleen Mahr threw out a ceremonial first pitch Saturday, April 16th, to launch the 2016 season of the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Youth Baseball League. The inaugural pitch came at LaGrande Park and capped off the daylong Rockin' for Autism music festival. It's the first time the League launched its season in Fanwood since the Scotch Plains Little League and Fanwood FYO merged.

Fanwood police, volunteer responders, honored

Fanwood officers Case and Stomber flanked by Chief Trigo and Grand Knight Seth McQuillan
Fanwood officers Case and Stomber flanked by Chief Trigo and Grand Knight Seth McQuillan

Fanwood police officers, firefighters and EMTs were honored Wednesday night, April 13th, at the annual Shield Awards presented by the Father John Nelligan Council of the Knights of Columbus based at St. Bart's. The ceremony, conducted by Grand Knight Seth McQuillan, recognized the following Fanwood first responders for their outstanding service to our communities:

 

 

  • Police Officers Kevin Stomber and Kathleen Case for successfully delivering a breach baby last August inside a home on Westfield Road. Presented by Chief Richard Trigo.
  • Fanwood's entire Volunteer Fire Department for its continuing service to the community, accepted by Assistant Chief David Zawodniak.
  • Fanwood EMT Karolyn Buckridee, whose service to the Fanwood Rescue Squad is in addition to her volunteer service to the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad and her current enrollment in the Union County Fire Academy. Presented by Squad President Steve Siegal.

Scotch Plains police, fire and rescue squad members were also honored for service to their community. More photos on our Facebook page.

McCourt named to lead Memorial Day parade

Joe McCourt, who served as a U.S. Army lieutenant and platoon leader in the Vietnam War, has been chosen to be the grand marshal of this year's Fanwood Scotch Plains Memorial Day parade.

 

McCourt, 70, of Scotch Plains, is active in both the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars groups at the local level, has been an integral part of Fanwood's and Scotch Plains' Memorial Day and Veterans' Day observances for many years and was also a member of a five-person committee that oversaw fundraising and construction of the Vietnam War memorial in Scotch Plains.

 

The parade, on Monday, May 30, caps a weekend observance that includes a concert and services remembering those who gave their lives for the nation.

Deadline approaching for Fanwood Rec summer programs enrollment

If you have children entering grades 6–9 in September, the Tweens & Teens Travel Camp is now open for registration, too. Register by April 3 and save $15.

 

The camp is scheduled for the weeks of July 18 and July 25. Destinations include Delaware River Tubing, Mountain Creek Water Park, Zoom Ziplines, New York Mets, NYC Pizza Tour, Six Flags Hurricane Harbor, Dave & Busters and more! Space is limited and registration for this camp ends on April 29. Click here for more information and to register for this program.

 

Registration for the 8-week Summer Park Program in La Grande Park is also underway now. This fun, neighborhood camp is designed for children entering grades K through 6 in the fall. Parents can choose to sign up their children for morning sessions, afternoon sessions, 1 week, all 8 weeks or any number in between.

County offering free child safety seat inspections in Garwood

As the spring weather approaches, residents are invited to visit Union County’s Child Safety Seat Inspection Center in Garwood.

 

The proper use of child safety seats is one of the simplest and most effective methods available for protecting the lives of young children in the event of a motor vehicle accident.

 

The inspection program is open every Wednesday and Thursday from 7:30-11 a.m. and is located at the Garwood Rescue Squad at 401 2nd Ave. in Garwood. Certified child passenger safety technicians will check the car seat for proper installation and educate parents and guardians on using the seat correctly.

 

New Jersey’s new child safety seat regulations took effect in September of 2015. The new law requires parents to adhere to American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommendations for child passenger safety.

 

If you’re unable to visit the Child Safety Seat Inspection Center in Garwood, the county's mobile child seat inspection unit will offer child safety seat inspections at Plainfield High School, 950 Park Ave., on Saturday, June 4, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Follow @fanwoodborough for local news and information on Twitter

Get the the most current news and information about your community by following the Borough of Fanwood's Twitter feed.  Our brand new Twitter handle is @fanwoodborough, or you can find our page here.

Miss the Recycling Town Hall meeting? You can see the video now

A view of the recycling meeting.
A view of the recycling meeting.

If you weren't able to attend the town hall meeting where recycling options for Fanwood were discussed, a full video of the session is now available for viewing from this website. Click here to stream a video of the meeting to your computer from this website. Click here to download the presentation made at the meeting. Click here to see a photo gallery from the meeting. Mayor Colleen Mahr says that people who weren't able to attend the meeting and have a question or comment, or who were there but thought of a question of comment after the meeting, can send her an email at mayor@fanwoodnj.org.

State has information on the web concerning Zika Virus

While no incidents of the Zika Virus have been reported in New Jersey, health officials want people to be educated about how the mosquito-borne illness can spread, what you can do to protect yourself, how you can control the risks involved and what to do if you suspect you may have been exposed.

 

Click here to visit a website created by the state Board of Health that has all kinds of information on the illness. The federal Centers for Disease Control have a site, too.

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