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OUR 108th YEAR – ISSUE NO. 25-99 FIFTY CENTS 232-4407

The Westfield Leader — Serving the Town Since 1890 —

Thursday, June 24, 1999 USPS 680020 Periodical – Postage Paid at Westfield, N.J.

Published Every Thursday


Arts ............... Page 24 Business ........ Page 20 Classifieds ..... Page 23

Editorial ........ Page 4 Graduates ...... Page 6 Obituary ........ Page 11

Religious ....... Page 10 Scholarships . Page 18 Sports ............ Page 13



Westfield Neighborhood Council Marks 30th Anniversary During Second Annual Street Fair on Cacciola Place By DEBORAH MADISON

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader

The Westfield Neighborhood Council (WNC) held its second annual Street Fair on Cacciola Place at Central Avenue on Saturday, June 19, a celebration that also coincides with its 30th anniversary.

Rides, games, grilled food, clothing and toy vendors were some of the activities offered at the fair, which attracted hundreds of participants. Continuous entertainment included a karate demonstration, gospel choirs and Middle-Eastern folk dancers.

The annual Street Fair is a fundraiser in support of the many programs provided to the community by the WNC, which has been in existence since 1969.

The WNC features programs such as the Student Tutorial Enrichment Program (STEP), which provides after-school tutoring and homework help to students ages 6-12; the Neigh

borhood Gathering Program, which is a current events social club for senior adults; a Bridge Club; a Mah Jongg group and the Summer Recre

ation Program for kids, which is offered in conjunction with the Westfield Recreation Commission.

The Enrichment Program includes a tutorial training program for high

school students who would like to tutor younger children.

“Each high school volunteer is assigned one or two younger students to work with, in intensive, one-on

one sessions which focus on their reading and comprehension skills,” explained WNC’s Board of Trustees President, Harold Cohen.


Assemblyman Helps Inspire


Specially Written for The Westfield Leader

Westfield High School (WHS) Principal Dr. Robert G. Petix cited the WHS Class of 1999 as “historic” during Sunday’s graduation ceremony and thus found it only fitting that the class’s graduation would be a unique event as well.

The commencement exercises for the 289-member class were held on June 20 at 4 p.m. at Gary Kehler Stadium. This was the first time that commencement was held on a nonweekday, Dr. Petix said during his commencement address.

What made the day even more special was that it also coincided with Father’s Day. Dr. Petix encouraged the class, as well as the audience, to take time to honor those fathers and stepfathers who helped get the members of the Class of 1999 where they are today.

Senior Class President Alexis Jemal, in her remarks, took her fellow classmates on a “remember when,” drawing on the titles of the yearbooks from the past four years as well as on memorable events during those four years.

She reminded her colleagues that “to be great you must surround yourself with greatness.” Also, while one can’t win all the time, she said, “take those losses and turn them into gains.”

Student Council President Gordon Kaslusky had two pieces of advice for the graduates, the first being “love what you do,” and the second, “continue to serve.” He urged his classmates to find something they feel passionate about and not worry about money.

Dr. Petix lauded the Class of 1999 for being a “class of inclusion” and noted that the students’ openmindedness would be its legacy to WHS.

Members of the Class of 1999 include 22 students who received National Merit Letters of Commendation and five National Merit SemiFinalists or Finalists: Tara Bhandari, David Goldberg, Jessica Hu, Terri Lee and Ilka Netravali; 23 Edward J. Bloustein Distinguished Scholars, 124 members of the National Honor Society and six students who achieved a 4.0 grade point average: Tara Bhandari, Seth Burstein, Jennifer Matro, Rebecca Matro, Ilka Netravali and Natalie Warren.

Dr. Petix instructed the graduates to “seek justice,” to fight for what’s right and to live good lives.

Additionally, one student, Andrew Wislocki received an award which was not presented on Awards Night. Andrew was the recipient of the “Doc Stoneback Science Prize.”

The commencement address was given by Assemblyman Richard H. Bagger, a 1978 WHS graduate. Mr. Bagger told the members of the Class of 1999 that they are on the brink of destiny. He said that up until this point, “other’s decisions have determined your present,” but now is the time to chart one’s own destiny.

Mr. Bagger cited a few people in history who made choices and serendipitously changed their destiny, as well as history, such as Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs and



Fire Damages House at Palsted and West Broad Used as Office Area by Community Center By SUZETTE F. STALKER

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader

Fire officials were continuing their probe this week of a blaze which damaged a dilapidated wood frame house last Thursday on a lot owned by the Westfield Community Center (WCC) at Palsted Avenue and West Broad Street in Westfield.

The agency, headquartered across the street at 558 West Broad Street, had been using a portion of the vacant, two-and-a-half-story residence as office space, according to Westfield Fire Department Captain James Ryan, Sr.

Captain Ryan said Tuesday that while a final report was still pending, a preliminary investigation indicated the fire was accidental. “It doesn’t look like its suspicious at all,” he remarked.

The WCC is currently seeking approval from the Westfield Board of

Adjustment to build an annex facility on that property for child care services and an expanded adult day care program. If the petition gets the board’s green light, the old house will reportedly be torn down to make room for the new building.

Captain Ryan said the blaze broke out around 3 p.m. in a first-floor office area of the two-family home, which he said has been used predominantly as office space for the WCC. The building was unoccupied when the fire erupted, he confirmed, and the cause remained unknown at press time.

Upon arrival at the scene, firefighters discovered smoke coming from the second-floor windows and attic area of the home, the Fire Captain revealed. CONTINUED ON PAGE 12


William A. Burke for The Westfield Leader

GET YOUR BURGERS AND HOT DOGS...Penny Faggins prepares cheeseburgers and hot dogs during this past Saturday’s Westfield Neighborhood Council street fair on Cacciola Place.

Debbie Madison for The Westfield Leader

AN ANCIENT ART...Members of Chun’s Black Belt Academy in Scotch Plains were among the many performers during last weekend’s Neighbhorhood Council street fair. Also participating were gospel music groups from Union County and surrounding counties.

Cheri Rogowsky for The Westfield Leader

LET THE CELEBATION BEGIN!...Westfield High School graduates mark the end of their high school careers with the traditional throwing of mortarboards.

Cheri Rogowsky for The Westfield Leader

A FRIENDLY GATHERING...This group of Westfield High School graduates gathers after last Sunday’s ceremony. Pictured, left to right, are: Kimberly Pierce, Tracy Aliche, Student Council President Alexis Jemal, Tamika Waje, Nicole Hester, Corrinne Talley and Veronica Chapman.

William A. Burke for The Westfield Leader

FIRE SCENE…Westfield firefighters survey the damage to a wood frame house at the corner of Palsted Avenue and West Broad Street last Thursday after battling a blaze which broke out in a front office area of the structure. The building is used as office space by the Westfield Community Center, which is headquartered across the street. A preliminary report has ruled the fire accidental.

Cheri Rogowsky for The Westfield Leader

MOTIVATIONAL SPEAKER…State Assemblyman Richard H. Bagger of Westfield addresses the graduating seniors of Westfield High School (WHS) during last Sunday’s commencement exercise. Assemblyman Bagger graduated from WHS in 1978.

Deadline Nears On Waiting List For Commuter Lot

Residents who fail to respond by the end of the month to a town inquiry on whether they want to remain on a waiting list for parking spaces at the South Avenue train station commuter lot will be bumped from the list, town officials have announced.

In an effort to generate an updated list, 1,191 letters were sent to those persons waiting for permits at the lot. Of this number, 159 were returned “undeliverable” by the post office, 518 were returned indicating they want to stay on the list while another 30 persons requested that their names be deleted from the list.

Another 484 notices have yet to be returned to the town and will be removed if replies are not received by town officials.

“If we don’t hear from them,

Council OKs COOs For Multi Housing, Sidewalk Program


Specially Written for The Westfield Leader

Following on the heels of Westfield’s relatively new exterior property maintenance code, the Town Council has adopted an ordinance requiring the owners of dwellings for two or more families to obtain a certificate of occupancy (COO) before the property can be sold.

Of the 9,080 residential properties in Westfield, 1,130 are used for multifamily housing, officials said.

Viewing the ordinance as a means of upgrading substandard housing, while also giving renters in town more say on the condition of their homes, the council approved the ordinance by a 7-1 vote Tuesday night, with Third Ward Councilman Neil F. Sullivan, Jr., as the lone dissenter.

Mr. Sullivan said the governing body has moved away from the original intent of the ordinance, which was to upgrade the housing stock in Westfield for tenants, either by the current owners or through the sale of the homes to landlords who will make the necessary improvements.

Based on the council’s decision to include two-family homes in the ordinance, the councilman concluded that dilapidated properties, which the governing body was intent on upgrading, “will not be sold; will be held on to until the bitter end.”

“I think this will keep the bad properties in the hands of the owners who are unwilling to make the necessary improvements,” he said.

Mr. Sullivan recommended that the ordinance be amended to exclude two-family homes, reasoning that the ordinance should follow state codes

which require inspections every five years for three-family or greater structures. He later suggested that the town could conduct building inspections on two-family homes along this same time frame.

Mayor Thomas C. Jardim said he does believe having COOs for threefamily or above housing would go far enough.

Town Attorney William S. Jeremiah, 2nd explained that COOs are used by a number of other communities, including Scotch Plains and Cranford for one-family homes.

“This is a very common practice,” he said. “Many towns have singlyfamily dwelling COO requirements.”

Mayor Jardim, the owner of a twofamily house, said he favors the ordinance.

“I think as a landlord, I have the responsibility to provide a baseline...for the quality of housing for my tenants,” he told his council colleagues.

He said the ordinance will help upgrade multi-family housing in town for tenants who currently do not have much protection in terms of the condition of the housing in which they reside.

In terms of Mr. Sullivan’s recommendation to have the town inspect two-family homes every five years, the Mayor said this is “another issue and perhaps we can deal with that down the road.” He also said the council may want to look into expanding the ordinance to single-family homes at some point.

Fourth Ward Councilman Lawrence A. Goldman, the Chair

Page 12 Thursday, June 24, 1999 The Westfield Leader and THE TIMES of Scotch Plains – Fanwood A WATCHUNG COMMUNICATIONS, INC. PUBLICATION




“Our goal in the Enrichment Program is to have every child reading at grade level by the third grade,” Mr. Cohen stated. “We hope that more high school students will volunteer for this very important program.”

The Enrichment Program also features guest speakers who share their expertise on a wide range of topics such as career counseling, health and African Culture. Educational trips to the Liberty Science Center and Sandy Hook are offered, as well.

Last year’s Spring Extravaganza Event featured a children’s poetry recital and a fashion show, with over 65 participants.

The council’s facility, located at 127 Cacciola Place, includes a computer center, community room, billiard’s room and a library. Computer training and Internet access for academic studies are also offered. The computer center is also an official, New Jersey Department of Labor Internet job site, offering Internet access to all of the available jobs posted on the net.

During hours of operation, the computer center is operated by WNC staff,

who assist participants in accessing the Internet and in using the academic software programs.

The WNC facility is also used by several outside organizations such as the Obsidian Civic Club for Youth and the Westfield Alliance for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Abuse (PANDA).

“We try to offer positive recreational and social alternatives for the youth in our community,” stated WNC’s Executive Director Ezella Johnson.

The center’s future goals include a teen social club, expanding the computer center and increasing the number of families who actively participate in the center’s programs, according to Ms. Johnson.

“Our numbers are growing, but we want more people to participate in all of our programs,” Ms. Johnson said. “We want to hear from the community as to what programs they would like to see offered.”

The WNC is funded by the United Fund of Westfield, the United Way of Union County, numerous civic organizations, local churches and synagogues, as well as individual private donations.

Neighborhood Council Fair Held on Cacciola Place


· The owner of an East Broad Street business reported the theft of a diamond ring valued at $8,000. A man and a woman are suspected of committing the robbery after distracting a store representative, authorities said. The case remains under investigation.

· A woman reported that her jewelry was taken from a locker while she was undergoing a medical screening at a Central Avenue facility, according to police. A search of the premises by police did not yield the missing items.

· A Sinclair Place resident reported a harassment incident in which someone threw Chinese food on his vehicle. Police said a toilet bowl had been thrown on the victim’s front lawn two weeks earlier. There were no known suspects in either case as of press time.


· Two 15-year-old Westfield youths were arrested and charged with possession of a weapon, according to police. They are suspected of having damaged two cars using BB pellets earlier that day. One of the incidents occurred on Hort Street, and the other on North Scotch Plains Avenue.

The suspects were turned over to Scotch Plains police, who have charged the pair in connection with an incident in Brookside Park in that township.

Township authorities said the teenagers allegedly approached three Scotch Plains juveniles who were riding bicycles in the park, shooting BB rifles at them and demanding money. One victim suffered a minor injury but did not require treatment.

The suspects have been remanded to the Union County Juvenile Detention

Center in Elizabeth, the Scotch Plains Police Department has confirmed.


· The right side of a motor vehicle was damaged by a BB pellet on North Scotch Plains Avenue, according to police.

· A Westfield woman reported that someone caused damage to her son’s grave at Fairview Cemetery on East Broad Street.


· A Wychwood Road resident reported that someone egged her car on Lawrence Avenue.

· A Downer Street resident reported that the front driver’s side of his 1991 Chevrolet pickup was sprayed with black paint in front of his home.

· A resident of Toms River reported that his motor vehicle was damaged at an Elm Street supermarket. It is believed the damage was done by a shopping cart.


· A Mountain Avenue resident reported the theft of her son’s “Tremor” mountain bicycle from the Wilson Elementary School property on Linden Avenue.

· Horst Stabenow, 64, of Westfield was arrested and charged with driving while intoxicated in the 1000 block of Rahway Avenue, authorities said. He was released to a family member.


· A police officer discovered a vehicle with one of its windows smashed out in a municipal lot on East Broad Street off of Mountain Avenue.

Authorities were still attempting to notify the owner of the car, described as a 1996 Chevrolet, at press time.


· Three hundred block of Woodland Avenue – system malfunction.

· Four hundred block of North Avenue, West – emergency medical call

· Boulevard and Grove Street – automobile accident/extrication.

· Nine hundred block of Carleton Road – wire down.

· One hundred block of Sandra Circle – service call.


· One hundred block of Madison Avenue – spill on roadway.

· Springfield Fire Department – mutual aid.


· Five hundred block of Dorian Road – system malfunction.

· Four hundred block of South Avenue, West – system malfunction.

· One hundred block of East Broad Street – smoke odor investigation.

· Nine hundred block of Beverly Court – wire down.


· Two hundred block of Springfield Avenue – emergency medical call.

· One hundred block of Palsted Avenue – structure fire.

· Four hundred block of North Avenue, West – emergency medical call.


· Six hundred block of St. Marks Avenue – wires down.

· Three hundred block of Clark Street – system malfunction.

· Seven hundred block of Kimball Avenue – water evacuation.

· Ten hundred block of Central Avenue – emergency medical call.

· Thousand block of North Avenue, West – smoke odor investigation.

· North Avenue and Crossway Place – spill on roadway.


· One hundred block of East Broad Street – system malfunction.

· Six hundred block of North Avenue, West – car fire.

· One hundred block of Manitou Circle – system malfunction.


· Thirteen hundred block of Prospect Street – system malfunction.

· Six hundred block of Hanford Place – oil burner malfunction.


State Assemblyman Bagger Addresses WHS Graduates

civil rights activist Rosa Parks. Mrs. Parks, Mr. Bagger said, was merely a woman whose feet hurt and didn’t feel like moving to the back of the bus. Instead, she ended up changing the course of history.

Mr. Bagger cited this year’s graduates as one with a number of “very smart, very

talented and very ambitious” members who now have a chance to change destiny.

Mr. Bagger closed with a quote from George Bernard Shaw: “You see things and say, ‘why?’ but I dream things that never were and say, ‘why not?’” He urged the graduates to be the ones to say “why not?”

He said fire personnel in the first engine to respond directed a hose through the front door of the house, while others on the ladder truck ventilated the upper windows. The second engine crew secured the water supply for the fire-fighting effort, he added.

Captain Ryan said a total of 17 Westfield firefighters responded to the scene and that the Cranford Fire Department was on Mutual Aid standby for the duration of the event.

One Westfield firefighter suffered a lacerated ear while handling debris from the building, Captain Ryan acknowledged. He was treated at the Multi-Care Health Center in Clark.

According to the Captain, the fire was brought under control “within 30 minutes of the initial alarm.”

He added that while actual fire damage was confined to the office area where the blaze originated, there was water and smoke damage throughout the house.

A scheduled hearing on the WCC’s application, which includes several use variances, was postponed June 14 because only five of the seven Board of Adjustment members who originally heard testimony in the case were present that evening. The hearing was carried over until the board’s Monday, July 12, session.

Fire Damages House Used By Community Center Recent Home Sales


J.H. and C.D. Halpin to Thomas L. and Beth Ann Ripperger, 700 Coleman Place, $510,000.

Arnold R. and Barbara E. Bottoms to Mark S. and Margaret C. Kuehn, 612 Embree Crescent, $418,000.

J.C. and B. Abeles to Niels and Susan Jensen, 527 Coleman Place, $272,000.

J.T. and M.M. Boyle to Maura and Robert Haviland, 516 Dorian Court, $235,000.

P.F. Murphy Etal. to Carol Smith Jones and Robert M. Cushman, 585 Trinity Place, $200,500.

Keller Enterprises, L.L.C. to Westfield Associates, LLC c/o The Kushner Companies, 1000 Central Avenue, $13,282,000.

R. Powell, Jr. and L.M. Powell to Michael and Jill A. Stankiewicz, 1007 Ripley Avenue, $279,900.

R.T. and K.P. Baker to Michael J. Wallace, Jr. and Laura L. Dex Wallace, 901 Summit Avenue, $290,000.

L. Cagnassola to Matthew P. and Michele F. Albano, 745 Fairacres Avenue, $359,900.

M. J. and C. E. Guard to Andre and Judy Ungar, 123 Wells Street, $345,000.

K. H. and S. T. Sullivan to Gary M. and Christine C. Bailey, 205 East Dudley Avenue, East, $690,000.

G. J. and C. A. Boudreau to Thomas J. Peterson, 313 Marlboro Street, $173,500.

H. Rozanski to Frank J. and Catherine M. Senters, 260 Prospect Street, $310,000.

J.A. and C.A. Jankowski to Steven and Vanessa Pacella, 370 Orenda Circle, $400,000.

M.D. Herberich to Henry P. and Susan Johnson, 834 Standish Avenue, $725,000.

E.A. and M.V. Karanik to Scott and Kathleen Robb, 400 Edgar Road, $245,000.

M.P. and M.F. Albano to Shay S. and


Carsten A. Andersen to Baokang Wang and Qing Zhang, 1084 Prospect Avenue, $318,800.

Patricia Mae Chin to Patrick and Jodi Kelleher, 326 Central Avenue, $270,000.

Patrick Kelleher to Gene W. Schneider and Sharon Marcone, 319 Central Avenue, $205,000.

Dave Kroll to Enrique R. Giordano, 291 Summit Road, $375,000.

Catherine M. Pida to Scott and Ilisa S. Knaul, 427 New Providence Road, $299,000.

Donald C. Ehrmann to James P. and Susan P. Gallagher, 1326 Hidden Circle, $275,000.

Alice B. Strohmeyer to Abraham Berkowitz, 390 Creek Bed Road, $284,000. Lara E. Caherly, 828 East Broad Street,

$252,500. W. and G.J. Cordes to Jeanne Scott, 201 Ayliffe Avenue, $230,000.


Sean Horan Garners Academic Honors At Skidmore College

WESTFIELD — Sean Horan, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Horan of Westfield, has earned honors during the spring semester at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Honors are awarded for a grade point ratio of 3.3 to 3.6, out of a possible 4.0.

Lisa Diane Saunders Earns History Degree

From Elon College

WESTFIELD — Lisa Diane Saunders, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Saunders of Westfield, graduated with a degree in history from Elon College in North Carolina during commencement exercises held in May.

The United Fund of Westfield

301 North Avenue, West • Westfield, NJ 07090 (908) 2332113

The Caring Box

The Westfield/Mountainside Chapter of the American Red Cross is collecting "Friendship Boxes" to be given to Kosovo Refugee families as they arrive at Fort Dix. We invite all area residents to participate. When boxes are completed, contact the Red Cross at 232-7090 for drop off instructions. Thank you in advance for your contribution. A labeled, lidded cardboard shoebox should contain exactly the following:


Shampoo Soap Comb Washcloth Toothbrush Toothpaste Band-aids Socks Crayons Note Pad

Plus 2 or 3 optional:

Pencils Yo-yo Jacks Rubber Ball Picture Books Hand puppet Matchbox Cars Spinning Tops Sticker Books


Shampoo Soap Brush Washcloth Toothbrush Toothpaste Band-aids Socks Crayons Note Pad

Plus 2 or 3 optional:

Pencils Sharpener Jump Rope Hand Puppet Cuddle Toy Coloring Books Jacks Beany Babies Barrettes


Shampoo Soap Brush Washcloth Toothbrush Toothpaste Hand Lotion Deodorant Hygienic Pads

Plus 2 or 3 optional:

Note Pad & Pens Nail Clippers Hair Pins Nail Polish Cologne Handkerchiefs


Shampoo Soap Comb Washcloth Toothbrush Toothpaste Deodorant Razor Shaving Cream

Plus 2 or 3 optional:

Note Pad Pen Nail Clippers After Shave Handkerchiefs they will be dropped from the list,”

said Town Administrator Edward A. Gottko.

Town officials are currently evaluating proposals for consulting firms to develop a comprehensive plan and location for a downtown parking deck. The South Avenue lot is one of four locations under consideration for such a parking facility.

Deadline Nears On Waiting List For Commuter Lot


man of the Laws and Rules Committee, viewed the ordinance as a “complement” to the exterior maintenance code.

While admitting the ordinance will provide property owners with “another hoop to jump through in order to close a sale,” Mr. Goldman said he does not believe the law will “impact the economic decision” of an owner to sell his or her property.

Kenneth MacRitchie, a former councilman in town, said he supports the new code, noting that he views the ordinance as “the best possible solution” to address existing interior problems within multifamily homes.

“It is a free-generating ordinance, so it won’t create a burden on the local taxpayers,” he said in prepared remarks to the council.

He did question the $75 fee for COOs and the 21 days an owner would have to remedy any violations discovered by the Building Department during an inspection of the property.

Mr. Jeremiah said the town would allow more time to make repairs, so long as a property owner has demonstrated a good intention to get the repairs made.

Charles Holata of Boulevard, the owner of two multi-family buildings in town, including the one in which he resides, told the council the ordinance “may ultimately have the opposite effect than what was intended” by the town.

He said the owner may complete inferior quality repairs just to gain a COO to sell a property.

In dealing with another property maintenance issue, the council approved a new sidewalk maintenance program.

First Ward Councilman Gregory S. McDermott, who brought the initiative to the council last year, explained that the town will appropriate $100,000 for the program, the cost of which will be split equally between property owners and the town.

Sidewalks will either be replaced or leveled off as part of the program. Homeowners can have their sidewalks repaired by writing to the office of the Town Engineer.

All requests will be logged and work, by a private contractor, will be done on a first-come, first-served basis, Mr. McDermott said.

After the list of properties involved in the program is compiled, the engineer will prepare bid specifications.

Mr. McDermott, in a recent memorandum to the governing body, indicated that residents would have the opportunity to back out of the program

Council Approves COOs For Multi-Family Housing

after they are informed of the bid price and the cost of repairs to their sidewalks.

“I think we are able to at least give a program now to the residents which offers them an affordable way to actually improve their sidewalks,” he explained.

Third Ward Councilman John J. Walsh, Chairman of the Public Works Committee, noted that residents will have the option of paying for the program in “one lump sum” or over the course of three years.

“The devil will be in the details,” Mr. Walsh said, noting the Public Works Committee still has to develop recommendations on how the goals of the program will be achieved.

He said he hopes to get the program started as soon as possible. The ordinance will come up for a second reading and adoption at the council’s Tuesday, July 6 meeting.

Neighboring Fanwood has a similar program.

The Town Council also approved a new ordinance setting fees for those companies filming on public property.

Companies will now have to obtain a permit for $75, in addition to paying $500 a day to film.

The ordinance was proposed by Mr. Goldman. He said the new code will give residents of neighborhoods impacted by proposed filming projects an opportunity to oppose the granting of a permit by the Town Administrator through an appeal process.

While supporting the ordinance, Mr. Sullivan feared the daily fee is too high and may have a “chilling effect” on future filming projects in the town.

Prior to the ordinance, companies were to notify the town of their intentions and pay for police and other necessary town support services during the project. Mountainside Council

Gives Initial Approval On Cable TV Contract By KIMBERLY A. BROADWELL

Specially Written for The Westfield Leader and The Times

MOUNTAINSIDE – A new Comcast Cablevision franchise agreement was unanimously passed by the Mountainside Borough Council during a first reading Tuesday, but must still have a second reading before the contract becomes effective.

Mountainside Mayor Robert F. Viglianti said negotiations went well, noting that under the new contract, the cable company is giving the borough access to the Berkeley Heights public access channel, as well as a 24-hour-aday public access channel.

In the past, Mountainside shared its access channel with the Borough of Fanwood.

Other additions to the new franchise agreement include a new character generator, which is a kind of keyboard that enables both Borough Hall and Deerfield Elementary School to type announcements for broadcast on the new channel.

The new contract provides for free installation and staff training for use of these generators and a waived fee for Internet service for the borough.

Borough Attorney John Post said the final agreement was still pending, per approval of language in the contract pertaining to the fee the borough is collecting from the cable company.

According to Mr. Post, the borough is currently collecting $14,200, which is 2 percent of the revenue collected by Comcast from Mountainside cable subscribers.

Mr. Post said that figure is what is currently allowed by law. He noted that if the law changes to allow municipalities to collect more than 2 percent, then he wanted the borough to be able to collect whatever that amount would be.

Mayor Viglianti noted that if the final agreement does not satisfy the borough attorney or council on particular wording, then the ordinance approving the franchise can either be tabled or denied upon second reading.

The existing franchise agreement, which was in effect for 10 years, will expire in October. The new agreement will be effective for 15 years.

Mayor Viglianti noted that because the new franchise agreement is for a longer period of time, it gave the borough more bargaining power during negotiations.

Councilman Werner C. Schon added that the agreement would be evaluated in five years and again at the 10-year mark of the contract.

He stated that if the cable company did not meet its obligations to the borough,

as noted in the agreement, the franchise agreement could be terminated.

In other business, Councilman Schon introduced on first reading an ordinance to amend stipends paid to Mountainside volunteer firefighters to cover clothing allowance costs, while adding a “payper-fire-drill” allotment aimed at increasing department recruitment. Mr. Schon chairs the Fire Committee and serves as Mountainside’s Fire Commissioner.

According to Councilman Schon, the clothing allowance ordinance would amend an existing ordinance passed in 1989.

Under the ordinance, the clothing allowance would give the Fire Chief $1,500; the Assistant Chief, $1,400; the Deputy Chief, $1,300; the Captain, $760 and the Lieutenant, $660, for this year and for every subsequent year.

According to the ordinance, a firefighter responding to between 60 to 100 percent of fire calls annually will receive $560. A firefighter attending 50 to 59 percent of calls would be given an allowance of $448, while those responding to between 40 and 49 percent of fire calls would receive $336 toward the cost of their fire clothing expenses.

Meanwhile, individuals in training to become a member of the department, described as probationary firefighters under the ordinance, would receive allowances of $360, $288 and $216, based on the above percentage of calls to which they responded.

The council has unveiled the “payper-drill” provision as a new legal section covered under the same ordinance. The program will enable firefighters to earn extra money for their clothing allotments based on the number of fire drills they attend.

The scale starts at $200 per year for attending 10 drills and rises by $20 per drill before reaching $440 for 22 drills, the maximum amount under the program. A firefighter must attend 10 drills to be eligible for the program.

Councilman Schon also noted that executive officers (Chief, Assistant Chief and Deputy Chief) in the department were not eligible for the “pay-per-drill” allowance.

Councilman Schon added that the firemen had to complete 100 hours of training each before becoming a firefighter for the borough.

He noted that he hoped the new clothing allowance ordinance would encourage more people to join the department.

A second reading and final adoption vote are scheduled for the council’s Tuesday, July 20 meeting.

Terri Lee Selected As Cornell Scholar

WESTFIELD — Terri Lee, the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. C. Charlie Lee of Westfield, has been selected as a Cornell Presidential Research Scholar, beginning the Fall of 1999, at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

The program was announced in October 1996, and is the result of a $5.45 million anonymous gift. Terri will be one of 85 scholars who represent less than 3 percent of an entering class of over 3,100.

The Presidential Research Scholars will have the opportunity to work directly with faculty members on research projects. During their undergraduate career they will have access to research funds up to $10,000.

Students were selected for their academic performance and intellectual curiosity.
Copyright 1999 - The Westfield Leader and The Times of Scotch Plains-Fanwood