Saturday, March 25, 2017

BAKER STREET BUSINESS FIRE AVERTED


From Maplewood Fire Department today: 

A significant fire was averted at 89 Baker St. on March 23 as a result of a quick response and detailed investigation by Maplewood firefighters.

The Maplewood Fire Department responded at 4:52 p.m. for the reported possible building fire. Arriving fire personnel initially found nothing showing from the building, but upon further investigation, it was discovered that an employee from a neighboring business was extinguishing an exterior fire to the rear of the Bee & Thistle Antiques store with a pot of water. A light smoke condition also existed inside the store, warranting firefighters to check the interior for possible extension of fire. 

Further investigation revealed that shelving and boxes located near the rear door were smoking and had evidence of burn marks. The burned shelving and boxes were removed to the exterior of the building and the store was cleared of the smoke, allowing the business to remain open with minimal interruption. Without the quick response and detailed investigation by firefighters, the business could have suffered severe damage and ultimately closed.

Investigation revealed that the cause of the fire was from an improperly discarded cigarette in close proximity to the building.

MAPLEWOOD IDEAS FESTIVAL OFFERS ART AND MUSIC TODAY

SCHOOL DISTRICT OWES $266,000 IN BACK DUES TO TEACHERS UNION

The school district owes more than $266,000 in dues to the New Jersey Education Association, the state-level umbrella for the teachers union, according to a statement issued to the district this month.

Paula Bethea, president of the South Orange Maplewood Education Association (SOMEA) -- the union for district teachers -- brought up the late dues at Monday's school board meeting, advising the board that $266,604 was owed to the union from dues collected by the district. 

"This is not to embarrass but to publicly say I have been advised by NJEA to present this to the board," Bethea said. "Our payment is due on a monthly basis."

Dues run $866 annually for full-time members, according to the NJEA website. They are collected on a monthly basis by the district as part of paycheck deductions and are then sent to NJEA, which forwards a portion to SOMEA. 

But the statement, dated March 1, indicates no dues were sent to NJEA during September, October, and December 2016 and January and February 2017. It revealed they add up to $266,604.

"We have a delinquency because nothing has been sent this year," Bethea told the board. "If I don't receive dues I cannot run SOMEA."

Board President Elizabeth Baker said during the meeting, "Obviously, we're going to ask" Business Administrator Paul Roth "to follow up. We have not, the board has not been aware of that...we will follow up."

Asked for further information on why the dues were not sent, the district had no further information. NJEA officials, meanwhile, also did not respond to a request for an update.

TOWNSHIP COMMITTEEMAN MCGEHEE OFFICE HOURS TODAY

Township Committeeman Frank McGehee will hold his office hours at Bagel Chateau today from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.  

Stop by for breakfast and let him know what you think, ask a question, or give him a pat on the back.

Remember, he works for you!

Friday, March 24, 2017

CHS CODE YELLOW "SHELTER IN PLACE" TODAY: ALL CLEAR

From Columbia High School today:

Dear CHS Families,  

CHS had a code yellow/shelter in place for about 15 minutes today when we were made aware of a potential safety concern.  Shelter in place means that no one is permitted to enter or leave the building, but that classes continue as usual.  
 
We were quickly able to ascertain that there was no direct threat to CHS.  The code yellow was lifted, and classes were able to complete period 3 and move on to period 4 on time. 

We are grateful for the assistance of the Maplewood Police Department in keeping our students and staff safe.

South Orange Maplewood School District

RENT PARTY TONIGHT


NJ TRANSIT MIDTOWN DIRECT TRAINS DIVERTED DUE TO PENN STATION DERAILMENT

From NJ Transit:

All rail service is suspended in and out PSNY due to a derailed Amtrak train in PSNY. MidTown Direct trains are being diverted to Hoboken Terminal. Cross honoring is in effect system-wide with NJT bus, private carriers, and PATH.

From WCBS TV:

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An incoming NJ TRANSIT train was hit when an Amtrak train leaving Penn Station derailed Friday morning.
It happened around 9 a.m. as Acela Express Train 2151 from Boston was departing Penn on its way to Washington D.C.
Amtrak said the train had “a minor derailment while moving at a slow speed.” That’s when NJ TRANSIT said one of its trains coming into Penn from Montclair was hit by the Amtrak train when it came off the tracks

TOWNSHIP COMMITTEE APPROVES NEARLY $4 MILLION IN CAPITAL PROJECTS

The Township Committee this week approved $3.4 million in bonds for a variety of projects in 2017, from repaving of Maplewood Avenue to new computers for the library. The total cost of the projects with other funding is $3.9 million.

See the related legislation and list of projects HERE.