Monday, October 24, 2016


The Board of Education tonight plans to approve spending $15,000 on an outside consultant to find a new director of special services

See the agenda HERE.

It includes a resolution authorizing the district to hire Atlantic Research Partners of Chicago to conduct the search for $14,500, with $500 allocated for travel.

See the resolution HERE.

Also on tonight's agenda is a resolution to withdraw from the Horizon private health plan that the district has been using and switch back to the state-run program. The resolution states that the Horizon plan is due for a 29% cost increase, while the state plan is set to increase by just 15%, a rate already included in the district budget.

The meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. in the Columbia High School auditorium.


Seth Boyden School plans to repeat the ban on Halloween celebrations and costumes at the school again this year.

You may recall in 2015, the request that students not wear costumes to class or engage in on-campus celebrations brought some opposition, and even angry threats from out-of-towners.

The ban was first proposed in 2014, but later reversed that year after district officials stepped in. But it was put in place and kept in place last year.

Much of the reasoning for the ban, however, was from local parents who objected to the stress it can put on families, and even the cost related to such in-class events and costumes. Seth Boyden has more low-income families than any elementary school in the district.

The administration also said then that about 20% of students did not participate in the celebrations and costumes.

Damion Frye, who became Seth Boyden principal at the beginning of the current school year, said in a letter to parents earlier this month that the policy will remain.

It stated, in part:

In keeping with last year’s decision, please do not send your child to school with a costume or candy on October, 31st.  We thank you in advance for your continued cooperation.

See the entire letter below:


From the Township:

VOORHEES, N.J. (Oct. 21, 2016) – The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has issued a Drought Warning for the following 14 counties: Bergen, Essex, Hudson, Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex, Monmouth, Morris, Ocean, Passaic, Somerset, Sussex, Union and Warren.

The Drought Warning designation is an exercise of the DEP’s non-emergency authority and aims to reduce the likelihood or severity of an impending water shortage and/or water emergency. Under a Warning, the DEP may direct actions to be taken by water suppliers that seek to preserve and balance water supplies in the affected region(s).

During this period of diminished rainfall and lower reservoir storage levels, New Jersey American Water encourages its customers to use irrigation conservation measures and begin using an odd/even schedule for outdoor watering.

“With our customers’ cooperation in conserving water, we can continue to effectively manage our supplies to meet our customers’ needs,” said Kevin Kirwan, vice president of Operations.

New Jersey American Water will continue to provide regular updates regarding any additional conservation measures, as well as the overall supply status.


We've been reporting on the carjacking of a Maplewood woman on Oakview Avenue last week and the arrest of a 13-year-old Newark suspect who was found with an iPhone linked to the crime. 

Now Maplewood police reveal the same teen was charged with the robbery and related crimes.

See their update below:

The Maplewood Police Department and it’s detectives have been working diligently to solve the carjacking from last week. Through their efforts, they have been able to develop probable cause as well as get complaint approval from the Prosecutor’s Office in order to charge a 13 year old. 

The same 13 year old male and resident of Newark had been arrested on the day of the carjacking by Maplewood detectives for being in possession of an iphone taken during the carjacking and an outstanding Newark warrant. 

He has been charged with carjacking, robbery and conspiracy for the incident in Maplewood on October 16th. The investigation is ongoing and the area is being given extra attention by patrol units.


From the Township:

7:30pm At The Woodland 
Maplewood is a walking town and all of us need to focus more energy on pedestrian safety and enforcement of traffic laws. On June 20th, Mayor Vic De Luca convened a meeting of municipal department directors, the police and fire chiefs, traffic engineers and pedestrian safety advocates to discuss what Maplewood Township can do to improve the safety of those walking and driving in our community.

During the past 90 days, the Township has taken action to educate and encourage members of our community to develop and maintain safe practices while driving, walking and cycling in Maplewood. We’ve also stepped up traffic enforcement and made changes in road designs.

We would like to report on these actions and discuss our plans for the future. And we want to hear from you about your concerns and any suggestions we might consider.

Come out to the Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Summit and be part of the solution to this growing problem.


We asked each of the candidates running for school board to fill out an extensive questionnaire on issues of interest to voters related to the district and the board.

Those running for the three seats up for grabs are incumbents Johanna Wright and Stephanie Lawson-Muhammad, as well as challengers Susie Adamson, James Davis, and Anthony Mazzocchi.

The questions include their priorities for the board, views on Superintendent John Ramos, as well as the achievement gap, the baseball coach bullying case, the budget, and outsourcing.

See them all HERE.


Hakeem Gayle
From Newark Police:

Newark Public Safety Director Anthony F. Ambrose announces that police have arrested Hakeem O. Gayle, 22, of Maplewood for crashing his vehicle through the door of a Newark business while driving drunk on Saturday, October 22, 2016.  

At approximately 9:40 p.m., officers responded to a business at 98 Elm Road on a call of a motor vehicle crash. Gayle had driven his vehicle, a silver 2009 Chevrolet Impala, through the doorway of the business at the location.

When the 59-year old male business owner used his cell phone to photograph the scene, Gayle took the cell phone from him and fled on foot. Concerned citizens apprehended Gayle and held him for police. No injuries were reported.

Gayle’s vehicle had been involved in a crash at South Street and McCarter Highway at approximately 9:33 p.m. That incident involved two other vehicles and was reported by victims as a hit and run as Gayle’s vehicle fled the scene before police arrived.

Gayle was arrested at 98 Elm Road without incident. He was found to be in possession of suspected CDS marijuana. He is charged with Theft, Driving While Intoxicated, Possession of CDS, Criminal Mischief and Contempt. His passenger, Juan S. Fonrose, 20, of East Orange, was also arrested for Driving While Intoxicated and Contempt.

Sunday, October 23, 2016


Maplewood Fire, Police, and rescue workers from South Orange did a great job with a stubborn house fire this past week on Ostwood Terrace.

They helped residents who were left homeless as well as dousing the three-alarm blaze before it spread.

For this they are our Maplewoodians of the Week.