Saturday, September 24, 2016


Columbia High School's football team lost a tough one in West Orange Friday night, 36-7.

See the stats HERE

But they come back home next week against Morristown at Underhill Field.


School Board President Elizabeth Baker on Monday was put in the awkward position of telling a group of residents who addressed the board that their comments could not be considered.

More than a dozen Columbia High School baseball players, past and present, and several parents, showed up in force to counter claims of harassment, intimidation and bullying (HIB) against CHS baseball coaches Joe Fischetti and Matthew Becht.

The district recently chose not to reappoint them for the 2017 season, posting a job opening for a new coach. The parents and students -- many of them in the CHS Baseball Boosters -- spoke out on their opposition to this decision and provided what they claimed were documents proving the dismissal of the coaches was unfair.

But before the attendees spoke during public comment, Baker told them that their comments could not be considered in the case of alleged bullying by the coaches because testimony in those cases had already been heard in the formal hearing process. 

"The district undertook an HIB investigation regarding the allegations in the baseball program and we hired an outside investigator," Baker told the crowd. "That investigation took place over several months, a report was issued to the superintendent and the superintendent has made findings.

"The board in accordance with the HIB procedure has considered those findings and took action. We cannot tell you what the allegations are, we cannot tell you who those parties are, we cannot tell you what the findings were."

"Numerous parties have requested appeals hearings, those appeals hearings were underway in our executive session, they're pending. the board is in a period of deliberation."

She said a decision would occur next month.

"Even when there is a decision, there are many details we cannot share with you," Baker explained. "That is the law and we have to follow it.

"Because we are in a period of deliberation and there have been actual hearings, any statements that are made tonight that you wish us to consider in the course of those hearings are not properly considered. They're not properly before the board. The parties to the proceedings have been able to present their evidence and testimony to the board. If they wanted to present witnesses they had the opportunity to do so."

"So while I understand there are many speakers here and I'm sure many people of goodwill who wish to be heard, your statement cannot properly be considered in the HIB hearing. It does not mean you won't have the right to speak, but we want everyone to understand the context for these statements and the process."

Later in the meeting, when one of the speakers, former CHS baseball player Steve Tomayo, a 2010 graduate, accused those who have criticized the coaches of making up the story, Baker had to step in again.

"When kids don't get what they want they will twist and turn every story to make it sounds like they deserve something," Tomayo said. "They will make up fake stories of bullying and drag a case on for more than a year.

Baker interrupted and stated: "I just want to advise you that the bylaws require that we speak in a respectful manner and that we don't violate students rights. I am warning you that I think your statement is treading that very fine line."

After he finished, she added, "I want to remind each and every member of this audience that we are a community that has to engage in a dialogue that is based on respect, even if we disagree, we may not engage in name-calling or accusations just because we disagree with a position that someone has taken."


The Township is holding a flu clinic today from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Town Hall.

And under new legislation passed this week, shots are free for Maplewood seniors and anyone on Medicare or Medicaid. $20 for everyone else. Adults only.

Friday, September 23, 2016


The Columbia High School football team, fresh off their first victory of the year last week against East Orange, travels to West Orange for their next game tonight at 7 p.m.

West Orange High School's field is at 51 Conforti Ave., with a parking entrance on Pleasant Valley Way.

Head out and root them on!


The two candidates for Township Committee squared off in their first candidates forum Thursday night at the Hilton Neighborhood Association meeting at De Hart Community Center.

The challengers are running for the seat previously held by Marlon Brownlee, who resigned last month. His seat is now held by former Committeeman Ian Grodman, who was appointed to serve out Brownlee's term last week.

Republican Mike Summersgill and Democrat Frank McGehee discussed pedestrian safety, development, senior needs, library expansion, revaluation and property maintenance.

One area on which they disagreed was residential development, which McGehee supported with limits, but Summersgill was cautious about. 

McGehee promoted a tax-incentive program where residents would get a tax break for using local businesses, which Summersgill called a "terrible program," citing the loss of revenue.

Asked about the one issue they would like to see addressed, Summersgill said to complete the recent idea raised by TC member India Larrier of providing free feminine napkins in public women's restrooms, while McGehee cited the Township's sustainability goals, which improve environmentally friendly procedures.

See their opening statements below and the entire debate, courtesy of SOMA TV, below that:


Enclosures like this are being considered for Maplewood Village
The Township is considering allowing businesses in Maplewood Village to construct outdoor enclosures to protect the tables and chairs used in outdoor cafes during winter months.

The Township Committee on Tuesday had a lengthy discussion on the matter and directed Deputy Mayor Nancy Adams to seek more information from the Maplewood Village Alliance, which is requesting the approval.

Initially, the idea was to allow such structures between November 1 and March 31, but require them to maintain the same four-foot walkway from the related curb.  

Currently the Township allows enclosures for doorways in the winter months, but these structures would be more expansive. 

Some TC members raised concerns about having them up as permanent structures for those few months, which could create a hazard in bad weather. Currently, all sidewalk cafes must be cleared each night and cannot be left out overnight. 

See the discussion below:


 From Maplewood Police:

On 9/21/16 at approximately 12:10 PM responded to 7-11 on Valley St for a reported pedestrian struck.  Upon the officer’s arrival, they discovered that a 15 year old female was struck in front of the building.  A 19 year old female was parking her vehicle in the parking space in front of the building when the vehicle lunged forward, striking the 15 year old that was walking in between the parking spaces and the building.  The vehicle struck and pushed the 15 year old to the side and then struck the building coming to a rest, The 15 year old victim had a complaint of pain to the leg and was transports to the hospital for evaluation.

From Maplewood Fire:

We were dispatched to a report of a person struck at Valley St. and Parker Ave. Upon arrival, firefighters found a person struck by a vehicle that had been pulling into the parking lot and then struck the building. Medical care was rendered and the person was transported to Saint Barnabas Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.


Lego Club

3:30 pm – 4:30 pm

Main Library All ages ● Drop In ●  Supported by ALA’s Junior Maker Grant, we have lots of LEGOs for everyone to build and display their creations at the library!