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ARTS and ENTERTAINMENT
Letters to the Editor
SCOUTS WESTFIELD GIRL SCOUTS WESTFIELD GIRL SCOUTS WESTFIELD WESTFIELDGIRL GIRLSCOUTS WESTFIELD GIRL SCOUTS
Written by Girl Scouts for Girl Scouts
Westfield Girl Scouts Prepare Yearlong Projects, Activities
The Girl Scouting year in Westfield is just getting under way, and we have somegreatevents plannedforthisyear.
If you are interested in joining Girl Scouts, please contact Pam Orbach, Community Manager, at (908) 2332827.
Events for this month include: ·ServiceTeam Meeting,willbeheld October 6, 9: 30 to 11: 30 a. m., Wash ingtonRock GirlScoutCounciloffices on Grove Street in Westfield.
·Nut Sale will be held from Friday, October 8, to Wednesday, October 20. Anytroop wishingtoparticipateshould contact Christine Mason at (908) 2334599.
·Leaders Meeting, Thursday, Octo ber 21, 7: 309: 30 p. m. at Edison In termediate School cafeteria. All lead ers are urged to attend.
·Westfield Girl Scout Hayride, Sat urday, October 16, 4: 30 to 9: 30 p. m., Trailside Science and Nature Center. Raindate is Saturday, October 23. The hayride will include a campfire with toasted marshmallows, songs, games and snacks. Three 11/ 2 hour sessions will be held. Younger girls will be assigned earlier times. Registration forms must be submitted to Donna Burslem no later than Friday, October 1. Please call Mrs. Burslem at (908) 2325533 for further information.
New Leaders Community tion is available by calling Betty Riker at (908) 2335705. Any new leaders whohavenot yetattendedthistraining are urged to contact Mrs. Riker so that a session may be scheduled.
School representatives are need for both the upcoming TROOPS project and the Mitten Tree project.
The TROOP project collects dona tions of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, un prepared popcorn, videos, books, travelsize games, unused greeting cards and holiday decorations. These donations are given to the American Red Cross who then ships them to our servicemen.
TheMitten Treeprojectcollectsdo nations of new mittens, gloves, hats, scarvesandsocks. Thesearethengiven to New Jersey’s homeless.
The TROOPS project runs from Monday, November 1, to Friday, No vember 19. The Mitten Tree project will be held from Monday, November 22, to Friday, December 10.
A representative from each of the schoolsinWestfield isneededforboth projects. Please call Shirley Walsh at (908) 2325817 if you can be your school’s representative.
We are looking forward to another greatyearofGirl Scouts.Pleasejoinus at our Web site www. goleader. com/ wgs.
* * * * *
Editor’s Note: This article is writ ten monthly by Westfield Girl Scouts for Westfield Girl Scouts and for the public.
Elizabethtown Water Company Must Be Held Responsible for ‘Negligence’
Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent to State Senate President Sena tor Donald T. DiFrancesco and copied to The Times of Scotch PlainsFanwood.
* * * * *
Elizabethtown Water Company has failed miserably and negligently to informallthe residentsandvisitorswithin its service area of the danger of natedwater resultingfromTropicalStorm
Floyd. At the very least, the water pany should have taken these actions. First, sent a flyer in the mail to each customer. Second, placed four by four
orange or red signs at each intersection and along each main oughfare in its service area to notify
visitors as well as customers. Third, called each of its customers. Fourth, established a siren warning system to alert customers of the dangerous water situation.
None of this was done. Only because my wife and I happened to have dinner in a restaurant in Clark did we learn from a sign at the restaurant that we should not
drinking the water. The Elizabethtown Water Company is guilty of gross and perhaps even criminal negligence which might have or even may, God forbid, result in someone’s serious illness or even death.
The water company should have in supply at all times the notices and flyers to be sent and exhibited. It cannot be assumed that all customers read the local
watch the local television channels, or listen to the local news on
Indeed some customers were without electricity. Even now there is able public confusion about and fear of
the safety of the water. Also to be faulted are the health partments of the municipalities in the
service area of Elizabethtown Water Company which did not take the steps I have outlined. They, like the water pany, knew about the impending storm, a storm so potentiality strophic that President Bill Clinton flew
back from a meeting in New Zealand to be at the White House to help coordi nate what was feared would be one of the worst natural disasters ever to hit our country.
Hurricane Floyd at one point almost a categoryfive hurricane, the most ful hurricane category, was one of the
strongest hurricanes in Atlantic Ocean ever recorded. The United States cane Center for days had been predicting
that this very powerful storm loaded with moisture would move over New Jersey.
Neither theElizabethtownWaterCom pany nor municipal officials were at the helm to provide the warnings I have outlined.
The State of New Jersey should pass legislation and adopt regulations requir contamiing the steps I have outlined. Further
more, the state should investigate what comsafety measures and precautions
Elizabethtown Water Company took to protect its filtration plant which was flooded as a result of the terrible storm.
The water company should have built thorsufficient dam barriers to prevent flood
waters from reaching the filtration plant. The state should also consider bringing civil or criminal action against the Elizabethtown Water Company if it is established with a preponderance of the evidence or without reasonable doubt that the water company was negligent in providing sufficient warnings to its tomers and visitors within its service
area of the unsafe water.
Dr. Stephen Schoeman Scotch Plains
Residents Could Soon Feel Loss Of Neighborhood if Pool Plan Passes
Editor’s Note: The following resi dent resides in Westfield’s Fourth Ward where the Westfield Memorial Pool and Park are located.
* * * * *
This letter concerns the future of the lives of residents in the hood surrounding the Westfield morial Pool and Park who will soon
feel they’ve “lost their neighborhood.” This past Monday the town introduced a plan to the public to reconfigure the Memorial Pool and Park Complex.
Town fliers were sent to the resi dents within 200 feet of the park/ pool notifying them of this proposal. derings of the proposed plan were
made available to the public Monday, September 20. How convenient of the Westfield Recreation Commission to offer this to the public, leaving little time for residents to gain support fore The Westfield Leader deadline.
The redevelopment of Memorial Pool and Park will include two new pools (both of which will be structed closer to residents on West
cusBroad Street by utilizing an additional
90 feet in that direction), an nated hockey court with stadium ing and basketball court on the rence Avenue side, additional parking off Scotch Plains Avenue near Drake Place, and several additional entrances to the complex.
The proposed plan represents an effort by the Town of Westfield and Recreation Commission to increase membership in the community pool
and to create a park conducive to ad ditional recreational activities. The pool alone currently accommodates residents of not only Westfield, but also other towns as well.
When the Memorial Pool was first proposed 30 years ago, the town made a neighborcommitment to the residents surround Meing the proposed pool area, assuring
themthatthe peacefulandquietcharac teroftheir neighborhoodwouldbemainThe tained. As a gesture of good faith and communityspirit,the dents membership to the pool.
Where has the concern for the com Renmunity gone now? When hoods in the area of East Broad Street
and Chestnut Street recently manded attention for their safety isbrilliant sues due to traffic fatalities, steps were immediately taken to improve
Police have increased their efforts to protect commuters and pedestrians in the downtown area. What about West Broad Street and the surround coning area?
Where are the concerns for the safety of residents in this neighborhood? illumiTraffic conditions surrounding the
seatpool, which include Scotch Plains Floenue,
Downer Street, West Broad Street, and the Marion Avenue/ West Broad Street entrance to the pool, already pose high risks for ans, children biking to the pool, and
normal vehicular traffic on these roads. The West Broad Street traffic in that area is already heavily traveled without the pool factor. Do we want additional traffic putting our children at risk when they try to cross those already busy streets to attend the pool? More whistles blowing and racing pis tols being fired due to an additional competition pool? More public dress announcements? More noise
pollution as a result of two pools closer to West Broad Street residents?
Increased parking along ing streets and more bright lights at night?
If there is a need for “additional opportunities for Westfield residents,” perhaps one so might be another pool complex in another part of town. Why cram all this recreation into a residential area already stressed by traffic and noise caused by the current pool complex?
Instead of a ShopRite on North Av enue, why not a pool? Oh, that’s right — too much traffic!
Judy Buldo Westfield
TV36 Instructor Aided Residents During Storm
The recent storm inspired acts of ism, good deeds, caring gestures or cern for better preparedness in the future adfrom many people.
Some of these acts were chronicled in the newspapers and on television, and others weren’t. surroundOne person who somehow escaped
notice for his five trips to a closed and locked Westfield High School, starting at 6 a. m. Friday morning after the storm, to program the TV36 bulletin board with emergency messages, was David Davis, French teacher and TV curricu lum instructor.
He volunteers his own time and nical expertise at a moment’s notice from the Westfield Police Department, while teaching during the regular school dayandadvising TVstudentsafterschool.
Thanks again this time, Mr. Davis.
Philip F. Falcone Westfield Resident Supports Ordinance to Remove
considerProfessional Contracts From Party Politics
Editor’s Note: The writer of the fol delowing letter is a member of the Common
Cause Citizen’s Army.
* * * * *
comAs a Republican, I was delighted to
monread that Westfield Fourth Ward cilman Lawrence A. Goldman presented
catato the Westfield Town Council the Comrecreational
mon Cause ordinance, which would move the awarding of professional vices contracts from party politics. If enacted, this nonpartisan bill will be the second Common Cause campaign finance reform resolution passed by
powerWestfield. As elections have become ingly centered around fundraising, paid
Hurripolitical consultants, and negative TV
ad blitzes, New Jersey voters have be come less relevant and more alienated.
In fact, a majority of New Jersey citi zens no longer vote. While the amount of campaign spending has increased, the percentage of people voting has hit its lowest point since the Secretary of State Counstarted polling turnout data in 1920.
(There was a 38 percent voter turnout in re1997, the last statewide election.)
serFaced with these problems, Common
Cause New Jersey started a good governlution ment, grassroots campaign effort called the Citizen’s Army Movement. The ordi nance, Councilman Goldman introduced is one of the Citizen’s Army’s weapons.
In cooperation with the League of increasWomen Voters, I fully support Council
man Goldman’s ordinance.
David Golush Westfield
Westfield HS Teacher Says TV36 Misrepresented in Story
Editor’s Note: The following letter was written by a Westfield High School teacher who supervises the TV36 tion at the high school.
* * * * *
In reference to your September 23 article concerning Westfield High
School’s (WHS) TV36, it is important to correct some of the errors therein. operaOverall, WHSTV36 is misrepresented,
and some of the information is either wrong or missing necessary context.
Our full name is WHSTV 36. The “WHS” part provides important context. WHS put the bulletin board together when there was none. It was not de signed for emergency messaging.
During the storm and subsequent wa ter emergency, the article states that “the biggest problem faced by police was the inability to gain quick access to TV36 [sic].”People areevacuatingtheirflooded homes, vehicles are stalled in flooded streets, live power lines are down and there are over a hundred 911 calls an hour at the peak. If getting to WHSTV 36 was the biggest problem, why then, in some cases, did time pass before some one called me to put on a message?
Resident Calls Proposed Expansion Plan For Memorial Pool, Park ‘Troubling’
My name is Joseph Penczak. I live on Scotch Plains Avenue. Since moving to Westfield two years ago, I have cleared a significant amount of rubbish (and son ivy!) from my backyard, and have
had successful vegetable garden crops. I’ve planted a cherry tree and a ing willow and count my blessings every
day that I live in a town as beautiful as ours.
Recently, however, I received a notice from the Recreation Commission about a meeting on September 27 with regards to a proposal of theirs to drastically change the surrounding ambiance. I had the portunity to look at the blueprints for this
plan, and find them greatly troubling. They have plans to redevelop the Memorial Pool complex and the rial Park. The plans for the pool include
adding several new pools and eliminat ing the diving tank. The plans for the park include demolishing several hun dred trees in the wooded area between the baseball fields and Drake Place, and replacing them with a 62car parking lot!
Another area of the park is also uled to be demolished and paved over to make room for a 180foot x 100foot
roller hockey court! The commission claims that the poimary reason for these plans are to replace a deteriorating diving tank, and to commodatetheincreased weeplies
moving into town. Yet the plans do not address these issues! The ball fields in the blueprints are no bigger than they are now. The plans call for the conversion of a ball court (which is used by tennis ers) into a basketball court, while the
basketball courts that are in the parking oplot are not used now. The location of the
proposed parking lot ensures that it will not be used by pool patrons, as it is two blocks away from the pool! MemoParking is only a problem at the pool
itself, and only during a few hot ends in the summer. The lot is never filled during the soccer/ softball season, presumably the rationale behind the ceived need to destroy the woods for a
62car parking lot. The plans also call for the installation schedof lights around the fields. Does that
mean they intend to keep the park open after dusk?
There are too many unanswered tions to look the other way. No mental impact was done (are there enWas dangered/ threatened species in the woods), no traffic study was done (Drake Place is a narrow, deadend street with no sidewalks and no curbs), no needs assessment was done (How many Westfielders are clamoring for a roller hockey court?) Who is to pay for this? At what cost? What about the significant property value losses?
Every autumn, the leaves from the trees in the woods fall into my backyard. I rake them into a large pile, call my little children out (ages 3, 7 and 10) and pretend to be “Big Brown Bear” — whooping and chasing them into my “big bear” arms and tumbling together into the leaf pile.
When my 7yearold heard us discuss ing the Recreation Department’s plans, tears came to her eyes and she asked, “Does that mean Brown Bear won’t be coming anymore?”
What do I tell her?
Joseph Penczak Westfield COUP D’ETAT
COUP DE GRACE
A1985news storyaboutanaborted coup d’etat (pronounced koo de ta) in Thailand sent us scurrying to our library in search of the origin of this French euphemism. We thought that this coup might just be a real coup, “a brilliantly executed stratagem,” to present to our readers.
Our search was not in vain. In the process we discovered that, indeed, there are “different strokes for differ ent folks.”
The phrase, coup d’etat, which was borrowed from the French, liter ally means “stroke of state.” The current definition is “a sudden over throw of government by a group of persons previously in positions of authority in deliberate violation of constitutional forms.”
A coup de grace (pronounced koo de gras) is another French mism that literally means “a stroke
or act of mercy rendered to someone who is mortally wounded.” Coup de grace also conveys the sense of “a final or decisive event or act.”
On that note we shall apply the coup de grace to today’s column.
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townofferedresiProposed Law by Common Cause
Deserves to Be Instituted by Council
neighborCommon Cause has stood up for
goodgovernment foralmost30years. deIt
has been a major force in develop ing laws on ethical accountability for our elected officials at all levels of government.
I have been a part of Common Cause for most of its existence, in cluding two years as Chairman of Common Cause New Jersey from 1983 to 1985.
Dedication to good government is a major part of why I am running for
AvTown Council in Westfield’s Second
Ward. I want to lend my support to a proposedordinancebeingconsidered
pedestriby Town Council. This law would
require competitive requests for pro posals from professional service pro viders prior to the awarding of con
tracts. Common Cause New Jersey has recruited a Citizen’s Army of activ ists around the state to introduce laws into local communities that set high standards for ethical behavior. Common Cause suggested a model law to our Town Council that became the basis for this proposed law.
Regretfully, there is a need for this sort of law in Westfield. Just this past year, the Republican majority on Town Council voted down the rebe newal of a contract to the town’s insurancerisk advisorofmanyyears’ standing and awarded it instead to a firm of a former Republican Mayor and current finance chairman of the Union County Republican Commit tee.
There was no request for proposals from the town from competing pronewspapers, viders or even any presentation of its credentials from the firm that reradio. heroceived the award. The Republican
conmajority even invoked an obscure
provision of the Town Code to force the convening of a special meeting of Town Council to insure that they had adequate votes for their purposes.
It is certainly clear to me that this is not the way business should be done in Westfield. I am committed to being an advocate for good governstrous ment practices as a member of Town Council.
I would encourage the Republi cans on Town Council to join the techcrusade for good government and
lend their support to the expeditious passage of this law.
Joe Stoner Candidate Second Ward Councilman
CONTINUED ON PAGE 8
More Letters On Page 8
Memorial Park, Pool Plan Just Another eupheControversial
Proposal by Rec. Commission
First itwasBrightwoodPark, thenitwasTamaques Park and now it is the Memorial Pool complex and Memorial Park. All of these facilities have faced expansion or significant alteration plans at the hands of the Westfield Recreation Commission.
Brightwood, a natural setting consisting of 43 orientaacres,
was put forth as the location for construction of a multipurpose field on the park’s border with ScotchPlains.Following objectionsfrommanyresi dents in the area, however, that plan has all but been killed.
Anotherplan calledforpavingover partofthegreen lawn atTamaquestoexpand parkingcapacitybysome 80 spaces. That plan, while not completely derailed, will be, at the very least, significantly scaled back.
Now, Memorial Park and Memorial Pool were put acon
the front burner with separate and ambitious numberoffamipreliminary
renovation plans totaling over $3.3 mil lion. Onceagain,Westfieldresidents hadtotaketime out of their busy schedules to come downtown to the Municipal Building to voice their displeasure on a
playproposal before the commission.
While weagreewiththe needtomaintainMemorial Park and its facilities, the plans for the pool expan sion, quite frankly, troubles us.
Pool permits sold out for the first time this summer – the hottest on record in New Jersey – with 1900
weekfamily memberships taken. Although the pool reno
vation plan was in the works before the sellout season, the commission apparently has felt some urgency to make changes that will allow for more familymemberships.
The overall plans for the recreation area near West Broad Street and Scotch Plains Avenue, as reported in last week’s Westfield Leader, call for significant
queschanges to both the park and pool complex. The pool
environcomplex plan calls for the elimination of the diving tank and the addition of a slide and splashdown pool, permanentlapcompetitionand adultleisurepools.In addition, the town wants to reclaim some Westfield owned property that some residents have been using as backyards so that the pool complex can be ex panded.
At Memorial Park, there are also plans to add a 62space parking lot in a nowwooded area near Drake
Place. Woods would be cleared to construct this lot. Wasn’t it only recently that the Town Council passed ashadetreeordinance tostopdevelopersfrom “clear cutting”buildinglotsof treespriortoconstruc tion? It seems to us that the proposal before the commission strongly conflicts with the town ordi nance.
One commission member told us that the strong objections of residents attending the meeting, esti matedat200,was a“realeyeopener” andthatitlooks like the plan will have to go “back to the drawing board.”
When a plan this massive is being discussed, we suggest that neighbors and residents get involved at the beginning to accurately gauge the needs and wants of the town. It’s not too late. Since some changes seem to be necessary for both the park and pool, how about getting them involved now?
One thingthatneedsto belookedatis theroleofthe 11member commission. Are they an independent board? Who do they answer to? Shouldn’t they first maintainthe ballfieldsandparks thatwehavebefore proposing one expansion after the next?
Shouldn’ttheRecreation Directorreportdirectlyto the Town Administrator and the Town Council? We believethesequestionsmust beanswered.Therehave been toomanycontroversialplans comingoutofthis commission these days. Many of the town parks, including Memorial, seem to be at their maximum usage already. Perhaps the town should consult with neighboringcommunitiesand eventhecountyabout the availability of space.
The county recently purchased land across from Kean University in Union for park land. The land should be available for all towns to use. After all, county taxpayers, including Westfield, funded the purchase.Theinconvenienceto oursportsleaguesof playing outside of Westfield does not, in our judge ment, come close to destroying the peace and quiet that all residents in this town are entitled to.
Let’s stop plans that destroy trees and impact negatively onthequalityof lifeofsurroundingneigh borhoods.