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.
Beginning with a concert on Sunday, May 29, Fanwood residents will once again pause to pay respect to the men and women who served, and those who gave their lives, in the U.S. armed forces throughout the nation’s history.
This year's theme is "America, the Beautiful." The stirring song's third stanza pays tribute to the nation's fallen heroes. The song reminds us, "Oh beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife. Who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life."
The weekend’s activities will recognize the dedication, commitment and sacrifice of the residents of Fanwood and Scotch Plains who served in the United States Armed Forces. Joe McCourt of Scotch Plains, a Vietnam War Army veteran, will be the grand marshal of the parade.
The weekend will begin with a two-hour Sunday evening concert featuring patriotic music performed by the Westfield Community Band. For the first time in the concert's five-year-history, it will move from Fanwood to the Alan Augustine Village Green on Park Avenue, adjacent to the Scotch Plains Municipal Building. In addition to the music, the program will once again include the reading of wartime letters written by members of the United States military to their loved ones back home.
“I’m inviting Fanwood and area residents to bring their families for an evening filled with patriotic music honoring the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice,” Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr said. “This concert is a wonderful way to remind us what makes being an American so special,” she added.
On Monday, the annual memorial service for the fallen will take place at the Fanwood Memorial Library at 9 a.m. After a brief ceremony in downtown Scotch Plains, the parade will step off from the Scotch Plains Municipal Building at 10:45 a.m., making its way down Martine Avenue to Fanwood’s LaGrande Park.
On Tuesday, May 10, Fanwood resident Mallory Banks, 14, presented a check for $10,500 to Autism New Jersey. The money was raised during an April music festival at Fanwood's LaGrande Park. The check was presented to Ellen Schisler, Director of Development and Marketing for Autism New Jersey, a statewide network of parents and professionals seeking to better the lives of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The presentation was made at the Stage House Restaurant in Scotch Plains where the Banks family hosted a celebratory dinner.
Ms. Banks, with the assistance of her parents, Gina and Jeff Banks, friends and volunteers, has raised more than $20,000 in recent years, beginning with bake sales and culminating in the music festival on April 16th at LaGrande Park, an event that attracted hundreds of people and generated $7,880 on site in donations and raffles. An additional $2,620 was raised online.
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.
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.
The caboose that's been sitting in the recycling center since 2010 is destined for a new life at a new home.
At the Borough Council meeting Monday, March 21, the Council approved a resolution to donate the caboose to the Sterling Hill Mining Museum in Ogdensburg, N.J., a familiar destination for class trips by school kids from across the state.
The Sussex County museum's train experts will remove the caboose from the recycling center, transport it, restore it and put it on display at the museum, all at no expense to the town. The Borough's original intention to restore it and display it at the north side train station never came to fruition.
The Council expressed its appreciation to museum officials and are looking forward to the display of this icon of the old Central Railroad of New Jersey, which built the caboose in 1943, at the museum.
Selling Girl Scout cookies on their own street in Scotch Plains turned ugly for two little girls in February. But as one of them now says, it was a blessing in disguise.
Angelina Skolar, 9, and her sister Natalie, 12, now have boxes and boxes of Girl Scout cookies in their dining room, the result of a windfall of orders from a community that reached out after hearing that the girls were verbally abused while going door to door.
“A woman appeared in the street and started yelling at them,” said Sandy Crespo, the girls’ mother. “She started screaming, ‘No one wants your f---ing cookies, get out of here!’”
The disturbing incident prompted Ms. Crespo to lament on social media that the world has come to this—cursing out Girl Scouts selling cookies. Her Facebook post was seen by Dianne Howarth, Administrative Assistant to Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo.
“Dianne saw the post and contacted the woman,” said Lt. Francisco Marrerro, Fanwood Police. “She started passing around an order form here at headquarters and at our Borough Hall.”
In no time, there were orders for 250 boxes of cookies from Fanwood police officers and employees of the Borough court and administrative offices. And that was just the beginning. Word spread on Facebook and even more people from across Fanwood and Scotch Plains started buying cookies from the girls.
“I lost count,” said Ms. Crespo. “And the supplier ran out. It was wonderful to see how many people cared.”
“I couldn’t be prouder of Dianne and our police officers,” said Fanwood Chief Trigo. “It’s further proof that our officers are invested in our community.”
“There’s so much bad news about cops these days,” said Ms. Crespo. “It’s so great to see something positive come out of this for everyone.”
Nearly two dozen government and law enforcement officials from Union County met Thursday, March 3, at Fanwood's Forest Road Park to hear from the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America on how a gun safety campaign
the group advocates, Be SMART, can work in their towns.
"Our ultimate goal is to bring the Be SMART program to local groups all over New Jersey and help prevent the tragedies we read about so often," said Arlene Vezza, the New Jersey Be SMART Lead,
The group's Be SMART for Kids campaign promotes responsible gun storage and teaches adults to take simple steps to reduce the chances of unsupervised children having access to firearms and causing harm. The five steps the campaign promotes include:
• Securing guns in homes and vehicles,
• Modelling responsible behavior around guns,
• Awareness of unsecured guns in homes their children may visit,
• Recognizing the risks of teen suicide and
• Telling others about gun safety.
In December, the group held a rally in Fanwood, drawing 250 people from all over the state, marking the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shootings and to honor survivors and victims of gun violence. It was the largest event of its type in New Jersey tied to the Sandy Hook tragedy.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is a non-partisan grassroots movement associated with Everytown for Gun Safety, demanding common-sense solutions to address the country’s dangerous culture of gun violence, which jeopardizes the safety of children and families. The group supports the 2nd Amendment but seeks to keep guns out of the hands of dangerous people.
Click here to see a photo gallery from the event.
Mayor Colleen Mahr, members of Council and recycling officials heard from more than two dozen people Tuesday, Feb. 23, during a crowded town hall meeting at Forest Road Park on recycling in the borough.
A standing-room-only crowd of more than 125 people turned out on the rainy night to comment on possible recycling options, including retaining the present recycling center, moving to a curbside system using a commercial firm or combining the recycling center and a curbside operation.
In recent years, the 28-year-old recycling center, which is run by the non-profit Fanwood Scotch Plains Recycling Assoc., has been faced with lower income on falling prices for the commodities collected and a decline in the tonnage of recycling handled. The borough has provided funds to keep the recycling center in operation but felt it was important to explore other options.
Residents and non-residents alike lined up for more than two hours at the meeting to offer comments and suggestions on Fanwood's recycling situation.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Members of the cast and crew of the Scotch Plains Fanwood High School production of The Mystery of Edwin Drood got top-level advice and a glowing review from Tony Award-winning writer and lyricist Rupert Holmes Feb. 17 at the high school.
Holmes, who wrote the script and the music for the play, dropped by to talk with the cast and crew, answer questions and to listen to several songs. He's a friend of a Scotch Plains family and heard the group was putting on the production and asked if he could visit before the show is put on next month.
The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition (RVRC) has unveiled a new video and has also begun a petition drive to support the call for expanded "one-seat" ride service on the rail line.
The new video, which was partially shot in Fanwood, illustrates the benefits to people along the Raritan Valley train line of a direct, or “one-seat,” ride to and from New York City and advocates for more to be added.
Following years of lobbying, the RVRC convinced NJ Transit to implement a one-seat ride during off-peak hours in March of 2014. Nine months later, NJ Transit added a direct service train at 8 p.m However, because of the added expense of running more trains and limited time slots, NJ Transit has delayed adding more one-seat rides.
“We understand the complex nature of implementing these changes,” said Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, who heads the RVRC Mayor’s Coalition, in an article on the Alternative Press site. “However, our first responsibility is to the residents of every town on the RVL and making sure they are treated fairly in the transit system.”
The seventh annual Martin Luther King Day of Service drew several hundred volunteers to more than two dozen events throughout the area Monday as people made it, "a day on, not a day off" by taking part in a wide range of activities.
There was something for everyone as kids made cards for other kids who are sick, made sandwiches for the homeless and
drew Valentines for the troops.
Adults gave blood, made mittens from old sweaters, took part in a round-table discussion and contributed by donating clothes and sneakers for the less fortunate.
Social Justice Matters Director Leland McGee was honored with the first Scotch Plains/Fanwood MLK Day of Service Award at the opening session at the Jewish Community Center in Scotch Plains. Rabbi Joel Abraham of Temple Shalom made the surprise presentation to McGee.
The event was organized by Michelle Abraham Shapiro, Courtney Agnello and Amanda Barnett. The trio organized the first observance in Fanwood and Scotch Plains seven years ago and have put together each year's day of service since.
Click here to see a photo gallery from this year's event.
Colleen Mahr was sworn in for her unprecedented fourth term as Fanwood mayor and Councilman Jack Molenaar and Councilwoman Erin McElroy Barker were also sworn in for their new terms during ceremonies at Borough Hall New Year's Day.
Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) administered the oath to Mahr and Molenaar while State Sen. Nicholas Scutari administered the oath to McElroy Barker. It is Molenaar's third term on council while this is McElroy Barker's first term in office.
A crowd of more than 200 people turned out Sunday, Dec. 13, as Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr and the New Jersey chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America held a commemoration to mark the third anniversary of the Sandy Hook school shootings and to honor all survivors and victims of gun violence.
Group leader Lauren O'Brien of the Union County chapter led the team of volunteers putting on the event.
More than 100 “Wear Orange” events took place this weekend in communities across the country and Fanwood's was the largest in the state of New Jersey.
Candles were lit to commemorate gun violence incidents in the United States, Fanwood Poet Laureate Adele Kenny presented an original poem and music was performed by local school students. U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson-Coleman (D-NJ) and state Sen. Nicholas Scutari also spoke at the hour-long program.
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is a non-partisan grassroots movement of American mothers demanding common-sense solutions to address the country’s dangerous culture of gun violence, which jeopardizes the safety of children and families.
Click here to see a photo gallery from the event.
To learn more, visit www.momsdemandaction.org or www.wearorange.org.
Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr was elected to an unprecedented fourth term Nov. 3, leading all vote-getters on the ballot in the borough. Councilman Jack Molenaar won re-election while Erin
McElroy-Barker won a seat on Council in her first race.
Mahr, Molenaar and McElroy-Barker were joined by other Council members at Fanwood Borough Hall to see the results after the polls closed. Mahr told the assembled friends and families that she is, "looking forward to serving Fanwood for four more years."
In unofficial results, Mahr garnered 822 votes, McElroy-Barker got 775 votes and Molenaar won 756 votes. The trio was unopposed.
Click here for a photo gallery.
Community Access Unlimited (CAU) executive director Sid Blanchard, center, leads the way as Union County Freeholders Bette Jane Kowalski, left, Vernell Wright and Al Mirabella are joined by Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr and Council president Kathy Mitchell and a large group at the formal opening of the new CAU facility at Terrill Road and Midway Avenue in Fanwood Wednesday.
The new facility is a cutting-edge mixed-use property which will become home to both people with developmental disabilities and people without disabilities, as well as two commercial businesses.
CAU is a statewide Elizabeth-based non-profit providing support programs and services to adults with disabilities as well as youth served under the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to enable them to live independently in the community, in areas including housing, vocational and life-skills training, education, advocacy and recreation.
It's been a busy year on Fanwood's highways and byways as road and sidewalk improvements and work on the aging gas and water infrastructure has had construction crews in action.
This year's projects are beginning to wrap up now, according to borough engineer Peter Bondar.
In the meantime, construction is continuing on roadway improvements on Burns Way, which is set to be completed this month. This project was partially funded by a $250,000 grant secured from the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT).
After the Burns Way project ends, the contractor will move to the borough section of LaGrande Avenue, starting where the paving was recently completed by Union County and extending to South Avenue. Work on that section is scheduled to start late this month or in early October and last a couple of weeks.
The borough recently awarded a contract for curb and sidewalk improvements, which was partially funded by a $30,000 grant secured from Union County. This project will include replacing deteriorated curb and sidewalk at various locations throughout the borough. Two major areas of improvements are replacing large sections of deteriorated sidewalk on North Avenue near the train station, and on Waldon Road, which is heavily used by students from Brunner School. Work is scheduled to start in October and last a month.
The downtown redevelopment is continuing and the third building fronting on LaGrande Avenue is scheduled to be completed and opened this fall.
Utility upgrades throughout the borough are continuing. Both Elizabethtown Gas and NJ American Water have been actively replacing their old and deteriorated facilities with upgraded facilities.
Looking ahead to next year, the borough will be starting a major project, the reconstruction of Madison Avenue from Martine Avenue to Hunter Avenue. This project is being funded by two grants
totaling $420,000 received from the NJDOT and will include a sidewalk on the north side of the roadway to improve access and safety for students attending School One and Park Middle School.
Summing it up as the “best feeling ever,” Fanwood Police Officers Kathy Case and Kevin Stomber still have excitement in their voices days later as they recount their parts in delivering the baby daughter of Michaela Nicholas of Westfield Road Saturday, August 22.
After a run of two decades without a birth in the borough, this is the second time in two years that members of the Fanwood department have delivered babies.
Because of the nature of the dispatch, both Case and Stomber responded to the 9-1-1 call for help and Stomber arrived first, finding Nicholas upstairs in a bathroom. As he helped her to the floor, Case arrived. Within a few minutes, the baby was on the way and, according to Case, “Instincts took over.” Case said she kept thinking over and over, “We didn’t want to drop the baby!”
Neither officer had faced this kind of situation before in the line of duty.
Stomber, a member of the Fanwood department since 2002, is the father of two and had previous training as an EMT. That gave him some direction. Case, who joined the Fanwood force earlier this
year, and Stomber worked well together in the stressful situation, clearing the baby’s throat and nostrils, stimulating breathing and tending to the umbilical cord which was wrapped around the
As both officers worked on the child, the family was on the phone with the 9-1-1 operator, relaying instructions. Case and Stomber said that was a great help, because it reinforced the things they were doing.
When the baby let out its first good cry, both officers said they knew that things were on the right track. “It was the happiest and scariest thing I’ve ever done,” Stomber said.
About then, the Westfield Rescue Squad, responding on mutual aid for the Fanwood squad, arrived and mom and the baby were soon on their way to Overlook Hospital, where both stayed for a few days for observation.
Both Case and Stomber are looking forward to visiting Nicholas and the baby next week.
Looking back this week, Chief Richard Trigo said he was “extremely proud” of Case and Stomber. “Both officers represented the department well,” he said, adding, “I wouldn’t have expected anything less.”
Twelve goats are the newest residents of Fanwood after moving in to the borough’s Nature Center Monday, August. 10. The goats, from Green Goats farm near Rhinebeck, N.Y., are being used to fight invasive plants in the center, including poison ivy and Japanese knotweed.
Mayor Colleen Mahr and members of the Environmental Commission, which made the arrangements for the service, welcomed Green Goats operators Ann and Larry Cihanek and their goats to Fanwood.
According to the Cihaneks, the animals will have the run of about half of the center and will eat away most of the invasive vegetation below six feet. The goats are unaffected by the poison ivy, considering it a delicacy, according to Larry Cihanek.
The goats are being used so herbicides won't have to be used in the center. During the project, which will last about a month, half of the center will be closed to the public. Fences have been erected to separate the public from the goats. The goats are scheduled to return in the spring to finish the project.
The goats have brought a lot of media attention to the borough, including write-ups on TAP into Scotch Plains/Fanwood, nj.com, mycentraljersey.com and the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Times.
Green Goats owns about 110 goats and is used by several state parks, municipal parks and the Liberty State Park to provide the “weapons of grass destruction” to control invasive plants. The goats are used for about 4-5 months each year, handling 15-16 projects from spring to fall, and then have the winter off at the farm in Rhinebeck, N.Y. This is the ninth year for the Cihaneks in the business.
Click here to see a gallery of photos.
A good crowd filled LaGrande Park Tuesday evening, August 4, for Fanwood's observance of National Night Out, a celebration of the community's partnership with first responders.
The Fanwood Police Dept., Fanwood Fire Dept. and the Rescue Squad were all there. It was a great chance for the kids to get an up-close look at a police car, Fanwood's Ladder 1 and a rescue squad rig and talk with first responders.
In addition to the emergency equipment, there were raffles for kids and adults, face painting, crafts, games, food and more during the fun evening. New this year was a "dunk-a-cop" dunk tank, which drew good crowds, and a photo booth.
Click here to see a photo gallery from the event.
Niche.com, a website that ranks cities, towns and suburbs, is out with its 2015 rankings and Fanwood is #25 on the list of "Best Suburbs in New Jersey to Raise a Family."
The site takes in to consideration weighted scores in nine categories and assigns grades in seven of the nine items. Fanwood scored high rankings in education, community, housing, access to day care and access to grocery stores.
In the Fanwood area, Westfield was ranked #35, while Scotch Plains was ranked #126.
According to the Niche website, "The Best Suburbs to Raise a Family ranking provides a comprehensive assessment of key metrics that indicate how good an area is to raise a family at the suburb level. This grade takes into account key family-centered factors, such as public education, safety, community involvement, and access to family necessities.
It took an extra day to get it done, but this year's Party in the Park drew a good crowd to kick off the summer.
Originally planned for Tuesday night, June 23, the eighth-annual party at LaGrande Park was moved back a day because of severe weather warnings in the area.
The party, put on by the Fanwood Recreation Commission, preceded the first free movie night of the summer.
There was food, music, beverages and more! And, for the kids, there were rides and other amusements, including a new Laser Tag attraction. Also, contests and crafts inspired by the free movie of the evening, "How to Train Your Dragon 2."
Click here to see a photo gallery from the event.
Fanwood paused again this Memorial Day weekend to once again pay respects to the men and women who served, and those who gave their lives, in the U.S. armed forces throughout the nation’s
Sunday night's fourth annual concert, "A Tribute to Fallen Heroes," featured patriotic music of the World War II era performed by the Westfield Community Band at Fanwood’s North Side Train Station lawn. In addition to the music, local veterans read poignant letters written home by soldiers who later died in combat.
This year's theme for Memorial Day activities is the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The concert and other activities recognize the dedication, commitment and sacrifice of the
residents of Scotch Plains and Fanwood who served in the United States Armed Forces during World War II.
Fanwood’s Earl Phillips, a World War II Navy veteran and retired Fanwood police officer, was the grand marshal of the parade, greeting well-wishers along the parade route from his convertible ride.
The annual memorial service for the fallen took place at the Fanwood Memorial Library Monday morning. A poignant moment came when Holocaust survivor Marsha Kreuzman thanked Wayne Hanlon, the son of the late Kenneth Hanlon of Fanwood, for his father's service in World War II. The elder Hanlon was part of an Army unit that liberated Kreuzman and others from a concentration camp at the end of the war.
Then, after a service in Scotch Plains, the parade stepped off from the Scotch Plains Municipal Building, making its way down Martine Avenue to Fanwood’s LaGrande Park.
Click here to see photo galleries from this year's Memorial Day events.
Each May, during the national EMS/Rescue Squad month observance, Overlook Hospital hosts a dinner where squads from across Union County are recognized for their service.
Each rescue squad may select a member to receive an Award of Excellence. This year, the Fanwood Rescue Squad selected EMT Brian Downing.
Brian, a resident of Plainfield and son of veteran squad member Jeff Downing, is consistently one of the squad's top responders, even as a full-time college student. He also responds for the Scotch Plains Rescue Squad. He is pictured with Captain Patty Buckridee, who presented him with the award at the dinner held Tuesday night, May 20, . The Fanwood and Scotch Plains Rescue Squads are both volunteer organizations which do not bill for services.
Fanwood Police were honored, EMS Month was celebrated and a volunteer who brings music to the borough was recognized at a busy Fanwood Council meeting Monday night, May 18.
Five members of the police department received honors from Fanwood Police Chief Richard Trigo.
The honorees included Sgt. Marc Gottlick (Chief's Award, Exceptional Duty Award and Lifesaving Award), Sgt. Phillip Ugone (Chief's Award, Exceptional Duty Award), Cpl. Michael Schilling (Unit Citation, Lifesaving Award), Patrolman Ryan Gilmore (Unit Citation) and Dianne Howarth, Executive Asst. to the Chief (Chief's Award).
On hand for the presentation of awards to Gottlick and Gilmore were Sherry and Joe Cole of Fanwood. In the early morning hours of Oct. 23, 2014, at the Cole's Fanwood home, Gottlick and Gilmore responded to a call that Sherry Cole was giving birth. There were complications and Gottlick, with the assistance of Gilmore, delivered and stabilized the baby before the Rescue Squad arrived. It was Fanwood's first baby born in the borough since 1998.
EMS Month was recognized with a proclamation accepted by Squad President Steve Siegal and Squad members Bob Kruthers and Jazzmin Dixon. Siegal also received a grant from New Jersey American Water for equipment for the squad.
The volunteer-of-the-month award was presented to Brian Celardo, one of the founders of the Fanwood Performance Series, which presents musical entertainment several times a year in the Patricia Kuren Cultural Arts Center in Fanwood.
Click here to see a photo gallery from the evening's activities.
Fanwood held its annual celebration of the earth last month with Arbor Day and Earth Day activities.
The borough held its annual Community Clean Up day on a chilly but sunny morning Saturday, April 25.
Volunteers from the area gathered at the Fanwood train station bright and early to pick up gloves, trash bags and t-shirts before breaking off into teams to pick up trash around town.
The event was hosted by the Clean Community Committee, chaired by Greg Cummings, and the Fanwood Dept. of Public Works. Mayor Colleen Mahr and Council members Russ Huegel, Kathy Mitchell and Tom Kranz were on hand along with members of the Fanwood Environmental Commission and Nature Center.
New this year was an Earth Day poster contest for local school students, won by Taylor Klein, 10, a member of the Park Middle School Environmental Club. Local business sponsors included Fanwood Bagel, Nick's Pizza and Sky Yoga, which conducted a brief yoga warm-up for the volunteers.
Fanwood's Arbor Day event Friday, April 24, at Carriage House Park, sponsored by the Shade Tree Commission, featured students from the Park Middle School Environmental Club doing a presentation about the different trees that grow in the park.
For the 22nd year, Fanwood won designation as a Tree City USA for its conservation and care of trees.
Seedlings placed in separate pots were distributed to all who wanted to plant a tree, the seedlings made available through a post-Sandy recovery program. And, Ken Blom of Fanwood's Department of Public Works demonstrated tree pruning using the town's bucket truck.
Among those present were Mayor Colleen Mahr, Council members Kathy Mitchell and Tom Kranz, Shade Tree Commission Chairman Steve Falco and Commission members Earl Phillips, Adele Kenney and Joanne Muoio.
Click here for photo galleries from the Earth Day and Arbor Day events.
Four Fanwood first responders were honored Thursday night, April 16, 2015, at the Scotch Plains-Fanwood Knights of Columbus Shield Awards ceremony. The 40th annual awards presentation took place at the St. Bartholomew the Apostle Church in Scotch Plains.
There was a little chill in the air but bright, sunny skies welcomed a good crowd to Fanwood's Forest Road Park Saturday, March 28, for the annual Easter egg hunt, terrifically organized by the Fanwood Recreation Commission.
Children 10 and under got a chance to meet the Easter bunny and and to hunt for more than 1,000 eggs, filled with all sorts of goodies including hundreds of prize tickets, that were hidden around
Prizes were also given out for these contests: guessing the number of jelly beans and the number of chocolate eggs; a bunny drawing contest and an egg decorating contest.
Click here to see a photo gallery from the day's events.
Two Fanwood women, Amy Boroff and Tricia Nering, were among those honored Friday evening as winners of this year's Union County Women of Excellence Awards. This is the 23rd year for the awards,
which recognize the dedication and service of women to their communities.
Boroff, who opened Be Craftful on
Martine Avenue downtown in 2013, was recognized for entrepreneurship. Her store is a unique hub of activities for parents and children in the community. Boroff also serves on the Recreation Commission and supports several volunteer and fundraising efforts in Fanwood.
Nering, who started Heart for Humanity in 1994, was honored for her humanitarian work. For more than 20 years, she has collected money, clothing, food and personal-care items and redistributed them directly to a broad range of at-
risk single women with children, families who have lost everything in fires and floods and seniors in the area, too. With her front porch as the hub of her activities, Nering
devotes 25-30 hours-per-week year-round to helping others.
Click here for a photo gallery from the event.
A large crowd turned out Saturday, March 7, for a great celebration with the wearin' of the green, food, drinks, live music, Irish dancers and bagpipers at the 5th annual St. Patrick's fundraiser under a heated big tent on the grounds of the north side train station in Fanwood. The event, a benefit for the SPF Music Boosters, was sponsored by Oh' Brian's Pourhouse and the Fanwood Business and Professional Association. Click here to see a photo gallery from the festival.
There was plenty of "Red" to go around in Fanwood Friday, Feb. 6, as the community showed its support of "Go Red" for women's health, a national event sponsored by the American Heart
Mayor Mahr and the Borough Hall staff were in red for the day and a large crowd turned out Friday evening at the Chelsea on South Avenue for a health fair featuring a mini yoga class, blood pressure checks, healthy food cooking demos, a raffle and some healthy snacks. The event was sponsored by The Chelsea Senior Living Center and the Little Hearts, Big World Training Center of Scotch Plains.
As part of the annual event, Borough Hall was bathed in red light for the weekend to draw attention to the cause.
Click here to see a photo gallery from the day's activities.
Hundreds of volunteers honored the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by giving back to their communities Monday, Jan. 19, the sixth annual Martin Luther King Day of Service. The event took place in several locations in the two towns, providing a volunteer opportunity for the whole family.
At Wednesday night's Fanwood council meeting, the founders and organizers of the MLK Day observance in Fanwood and Scotch Plains - Michelle Shapiro-Abraham, Amanda Barnett and Courtney Agnello - were honored as the borough's volunteers of the month.
Click here to see a photo gallery of the day's activities.
Here's the day, by the numbers:
• 8 Girl Scout Troops leading activities
• 20 Girl Scout Troops participating
• 766 sandwiches for Salvation Army
• 100 Color a Smile pictures to cheer people in hospitals and nursing homes
• 137 Little Shoeboxes filled
• 4,200 Sharing Lunches bags prepared
• 50 Houses for Change made to benefit the Family Promise agency
• 1.5 hours of fun bonding a room full of seniors and kids together playing games at the Chelsea
• 6 Christmas trees for sick people will be decorated with beads made by kids helping Matchy Matchy
• 160 people discussed issues of race and equality at library
• The Fanwood Nature Center was cleaned up and trails maintained
• a dozen knit hats were made
• 4 blankets for hospitals were crocheted
The Fanwood Business and Professional Association (FBPA) is kicking off its "Shop Local" campaign. It's in concert with the national effort to encourage shoppers to support their
local businesses over the holidays and throughout the year. Statistics show shopping local is good for the local economy, and for several years American Express has promoted "Small Business
Saturday" on Thanksgiving weekend. It has been catching on, and this year, the
big day is Saturday, Nov. 29.
"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!"
Many folks reject the hubbub and anxiety of "big box" shopping during this busy season and the perfect antidote can be found right in your own downtown! In contrast with "Black Friday," shopping local has the advantage of pulling you away from the crowds and finding unique gift items not available at the big chain stores.
"Most businesses in Fanwood support the community with cash and service donations for our Performance Series, Fanny Wood Day, National Night Out, Movies in the Park and more," said Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr. "These are the things that make Fanwood a great place to live and we owe our support to these fine merchants, many of whom live in town."
"Here in Fanwood, our retailers are selling holiday gifts including jewelry, crafts and fine handmade specialty items," Mahr said. "We also feature many services where gift cards can be purchased, a lovely bakeshop to add to your holiday table and, of course, several dining opportunities to stop for a break during the holiday or to purchase a gift card."
For a list of all Fanwood businesses, along with seasonal deals, e-mail the FBPA at email@example.com. Mahr added, "Do yourself and your community a favor. Shop local. Shop Fanwood!"
PHOTO: From left, Brian Walter, incoming FBPA president and owner of Oh'Brian's Pourhouse, Amy Bazarnik Boroff, incoming FBPA membership chairwoman and owner of Be Craftul, Mindy Scarlett, incoming FBPA secretary and owner of The Scarlett Marketing Group, and current FBPA president Jeni DiVirgilio, Realtor with Keller Williams Realty.
Rail advocates and New Jersey Transit officials are saying evening one-seat ride service to New York on the Raritan Valley Line will begin in January, according to nj.com. The move comes after the planned start in November was cancelled by NJT.
Passengers won't need to change trains in Newark on the new service, running between 8 p.m. and midnight, when traveling to and from New York.
More than 100 people turned out in Cranford to hear from NJT officials and Raritan Valley Rail Coalition (RVRC) members regarding changes to service on the line. Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr and Fanwood Councilman Jack Molenaar were at the special meeting of the RVRC, which has been leading the fight to bring the one-seat ride to Raritan Valley Line commuters.
“It was wonderful to see so many people come out, even all the way from Hunterdon County," Mahr, a longtime advocate for direct train service on the Raritan Valley Line, told TAPIntoScotchPlainsFanwood. "There were many excellent questions and comments, all with one common theme: Raritan Valley riders want equity when it comes to service from NJT and that means scheduling ‘one seat’ ride trains during peak commuting hours.”
The weather was just about perfect and a good time was had by all Sept. 28 for the 17th annual Fanny Wood Day celebration in downtown Fanwood.
This year, the annual street fair featured a car show, kiddie rides, several food competitions, the hula-hoop contest, a water balloon toss, a pet parade and a host of other great things to do.
A good crowd also turned out Sept. 26 for the judging of the fourth annual Fotos of Fanwood competition at Mara's Cafe in Fanwood. This year's contest, sponsored by Unity Bank, drew 48 entries representing the work of photographers from the Fanwood area and as far away as San Francisco. First place went to Greg Cummings, while Daniel Tartamella took both second and third in the contest.
To see more photos, click here for a photo gallery from the weekend's events.
This year's Party in the Park was the place to be in Fanwood as hundreds flocked to LaGrande Park June 24 for a great evening of food, fun, games and Frozen, the movie. The crowd was the largest to attend the annual event.
The hot dogs, pizza slices and other snacks were in popular demand and there was no shortage of cold drinks, either. Families staked out their favorite spots with blankets and lawn chairs for the evening's movie while the kids enjoyed the bounce house, inflatable slide and craft activities.
It was a great kickoff to the summer movie season. To see more photos, click here to check out the photo gallery.
A very proud day for Fanwood and its police department as Chief Richard Trigo and Sgt. Marc Gottlick received Valor Awards from the 200 Club, a Union County organization that supports police officers, firefighters and their families. They received the awards at a luncheon in Mountainside, May 9, for "extreme restraint and conducting themselves proficiently and professionally while at great risk under fire" during a standoff with an armed man on Locust Avenue in Fanwood on November 22, 2013, during which police officers were fired upon by a heavily armed man. The individual was taken into custody after a 7-hour standoff and no police officers or residents were injured. Also receiving awards for their response that night were Scotch Plains Officers James Richie, Chris Aversa, Ken Matz and Lt. Joseph Zito, along with the Commander of the Union County SWAT team, Capt. Martin Morgensen. Congrats to Chief Trigo and Sgt. Gottlick!
Just shy of its first anniversary, Fanwood’s Be Craftful and owner Amy Boroff, left, are profiled in the current issue of RetailMinded.com, a national e-magazine for independent businesses. And, she's quoted in a story on the Fox Business News site on help that is available for small businesses. Boroff's store in Fanwood Crossing is a mixture of a drop-in crafting workshop and a retail space for gifts, too. Boroff told the magazine that the feedback the store is getting has been great and that customers like that the store “is a creative indoor play space that is safe.”
Fanwood Borough is the proud recipient of a 2014 New Jersey Future Smart Growth Award for our downtown redevelopment plan with the Fanwood Crossing retail/residential complex at its core.
NJ Future, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that brings together concerned citizens and leaders to promote responsible land-use policies, chose Fanwood’s Block 64 Redevelopment as one of this year’s recipients in keeping with its mission to “secure economic opportunity, community vitality and quality of life for all New Jerseyans”, according to Peter Kasabach, Executive Director.
“There were many who thought nothing would ever happen downtown but together we proved them wrong,” remarked Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr, who noted that as recently as 10 years ago, there hadn’t been any new businesses constructed in Fanwood for more than 50 years. She extended her thanks to current and past members of Borough Council, T&M Associates, Maser Consulting and Rogut McCarthy.
“I humbly thank you for all the support, guidance and teamwork over the years to get to a moment like this,” she said.
Mayor Mahr will accept the award at an event June 5th at the Newark Club in Newark.
Construction continues in downtown Fanwood with the Fanwood Crossing II retail/residential complex and additional parking being built on South Avenue directly across from the train station.
The Fanwood Borough Council approved introduction of the 2014 municipal budget at the April 16th, 2014, regular Council meeting. The budget maintains Borough services at their current levels with allowed increases well under the state-mandated 2% cap. As introduced, the municipal portion of the tax increases built into the budget average $71 per household. A public hearing will be scheduled in May.
The Fanwood Scotch Plains Memorial Day Parade Committee announced its annual concert and parade will be held on Sunday, May 25th, and Monday, May 26th, 2014. The theme of this year’s Memorial Day events will be D-Day Normandy Beach 70th Anniversary.
“It is appropriate that we remember and honor the 6000+ American casualties , including 2500-3000 killed , on D-Day just days before June 6th , the 70th anniversary of the invasion,” said Kevin Glover, Mayor of Scotch Plains.
The concert will take place on Sunday May 25th on the North Avenue lawn of the historic Fanwood train station beginning at 6:30 pm. The Westfield Community Band will play patriotic melodies, traditional marches and other popular works.
“We are pleased to again host the Memorial Day concert . D-Day must never be forgotten by our citizens," said Colleen Mahr, Mayor of Fanwood.
The parade will be held on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26th, through downtown Scotch Plains and Fanwood. Malcolm Nettingham, a WWII veteran and one of 300 Tuskegee Airmen to receive the Congressional Gold Medal, is this year's Grand Marshal.
The Tuskegee airmen were the first black pilots in American military service. They overcame discrimination and prejudice to become one of the most highly respected groups of service members during WWII. Their achievements paved the way for the full integration of the U.S. military.
A resident of Scotch Plains since he was 5 years old, Mr. Nettingham is still active in the community. He is a member of Alpha Lodge #116 F&AM in East Orange, NJ, and is a member in good standing at the Metropolitan Baptist Church in Scotch Plains where he sings in the Men’s Chorus and the Voices of Metropolitan.
The Memorial Day parade is funded by Scotch Plains and Fanwood. The concert, however, is made possible by the generosity of local donors--individuals, businesses and community organizations--who support the concert expenses. Checks should be made payable to Township of Scotch Plains, c/o Toni Rollis , Scotch Plains Municipal Building, 430 Park Ave, Scotch Plains. NJ 07076. Ms. Rollis can be reached at (908) 322- 6700 x 314.
The Fanwood Borough Council has passed an ordinance allowing the town to look for cheaper electricity through what's called a government energy aggregation. Under the plan, adopted at a special meeting of the Council Tuesday, April 1, 2014, the Borough is empowered to hire a vendor to scour the energy market for the cheapest electricity available, then sell it to Fanwood citizens. The Borough will only enter into a contract for the power if the cost is lower than that offered by PSE&G. The Borough will begin the process of finding a vendor later this year.
The NJ American Water utility has begun an ambitious project to replace water mains around town that are, in some cases, almost a hundred years old. The $4.8 million project should result in increased water pressure and water flow for many of our residents. Phase One of the project began the week of March 23rd with pipeline replacements scheduled along Martine Avenue from South Avenue to Trenton Avenue, LaGrande Avenue from Martine to McDermott Place, then Trenton Avenue and Saville Row. Phase Two begins the week of April 7th and continues all summer until just after Labor Day. The following streets will receive pipeline replacements during that period: Gere Place, Kempshall Terrace, Chetwood Terrace, Cray Terrace, Vinton Circle, Helen Street, Belvidere Avenue, Burns Way, Herbert Avenue, Marian Avenue, Second Street, First Street, Poplar Place, Klaniecki Place, MacLennan Place, Beech Avenue, LaGrande Avenue, Laurel Place, Clement Place and Winfield Place. Residents on each street will receive a week's notice before construction begins.
Mayor Colleen Mahr boarded the first of the "one seat ride" trains at Fanwood station Monday morning, March 3rd, 2014,for a ride all the way to New York without having to change trains in Newark. She is seen here about to board with Scotch Plains Mayor Kevin Glover, left, and Raritan Valley Rail Coalition trustee and former Westfield Mayor, Tom Jardim. See video The Raritan Valley Rail Coalition has worked for many years to lobby NJ Transit to establish direct service to New York from the Raritan Valley line, which accounts for about 10% of the total NJ Transit rail ridership. For now, the NY Direct service is only offered on non-peak trains, Monday thru Friday. Weekend and rush hour service are both a ways off because of limitations in capacity in the rail tunnel under the Hudson River. Here's the new train schedule
The Fanwood Historic Preservation Commission now has on public exhibition at the Fanwood Museum a copy of Fanwood's full census for the years 1880, 1900, 1910, 1920 and 1930. For the year 1880 the municipality was named Fanwood Township and included what today is Fanwood Borough and Scotch Plains Township. The Fanwood Museum is located in the lower level of the historic railroad station.
Mayor Colleen Mahr and Council President Russ Huegel recently paid tribute to Fanwood Recycling manager Alan Ebersole, who has been at the helm of our recycling center since its inception in 1986. Alan has made our recycling center a truly unique and profitable venue for our town, and on January 25th, the Recycling Office was named after him. Congratulations to Alan and everyone who has made the Recycling Center work over the years. More history
Mayor Colleen Mahr swore-in Councilwoman Kathy Mitchell and Councilman Tom Kranz during the annual government reorganization meeting on January 1, 2014.
Fanwood's municipal parking lot, which is located behind the stores on Martine Avenue which services shoppers, merchants and commuters, is undergoing major reconstruction as the next phase of the overall downtown redevelopment plan moves forward. The lot is being completely redesigned with construction taking place in several phases, each of which will close a specific portion of the lot at a time.
Patrons of the businesses on Martine and South Avenues can continue to park in the lot during construction but should be prepared for some inconvenience. Everyone who visits our great shops should be reminded that FREE parking is allowed after 3 pm, Monday thru Friday and all day Saturday and Sunday, in the South and North sides of the Fanwood Train Station.
The build-out of the shared parking lot will then lead into the next exciting construction project called Fanwood Crossing II which will be a mixed use building that will also have a large pedestrian plaza adjacent to it. The building and plaza will be housed on what was the former Commerce Bank and Livingston-Wilbor Company sites.
The Borough of Fanwood is sponsoring a housing rehabilitation program for residents who qualify by income. This program will assist you in replacing a roof, siding, large plumbing and electrical repairs/replacements, etc. If you are in need and interested in completing a confidential application, please call Robin Lospinoso, the Borough’s agent at 732-382-8100, Ext. 13, or Eleanor McGovern, Borough Administrator, at 908-322-8236, Ext. 123.
St. Bartholomew The Apostle Church in Scotch Plains accepts non-perishable donations during weekend Mass or food can be dropped off at the Rectory during business hours. They do not accept dairy or frozen items. Recommended items include: personal hygiene (shampoo, soap, toothpaste/toothbrushes), paper goods (napkins, paper towels, tissues), pasta, tomato sauce, non-refrigerated Parmesan cheese, peanut butter and jelly, canned tuna, dinner kits, taco kits, canned goods such as fruit, vegetables, and soup, cereal, snack bars, etc. It's important that items are checked for expiration dates as they are not able to distribute items that have passed their date. St. Bart's is located at 2032 Westfield Avenue in Scotch Plains. Tel: 908-322-5192. If someone would like to apply for a food distribution, they can call the Rectory 908-322-5192 and provide their name and address. They will mail them a Registration Letter detailing eligibility requirements.
The Fanwood Presbyterian Church food pantry accepts non-perishable donations weekdays from 9 AM to 4 PM. They prepare monthly grocery bags for their clientele, and prefer donations to be in bulk for easier distribution. Those in need should contact the church at (908) 889-8891.
The Evangel Church, 1251 Terrill Road, Scotch Plains, is open Monday thru Friday, 9 AM to 5 PM or by appointment for evening hours. The pantry contains dry foods and non-perishables, sometimes small sized diapers, formula and basic toiletries. Thehy require a photo id and an application that is completed upon the first visit. When the application is completed they meet with someone in the community life department that gauges why there is a need and checks to see if they are deeper needs that in need of some kind of referral. The amount of food that is given is dependent on how many are living at home. The food pantry client can get food once a month. If they collect on the third week then the third week of every month they can come in.