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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.