Friday, June 23, 2017

RESTESTED SETH BOYDEN FOUNTAIN FOUND TO BE SAFE, BUT WHY?

The Seth Boyden School drinking fountain that had been found to have lead levels nearly 30 times the acceptable limit during recent testing was tested again and found to be well within safe levels.

But the school district still has no information on why.

Superintendent John Ramos issued an update Friday that indicated the fountain, initially found to have a lead level of 444ppb (parts per billion), during tests in May was tested again last week and found to be at less than 1ppb. 

State health officials consider a level of 15ppb or lower to be safe.

Ramos issued the findings in a note to parents Friday, but with no explanation for why the levels might have been so different on the different tests.

See that note below:

Dear SOMSD Community,

SOMSD has received the results of retesting the water fountain at Seth Boyden that had a finding of 444 parts per billion in the sample taken in May.  Lew Corp, our testing company, took 2 samples from this water fountain last week, and followed the same State-mandated testing protocols.  Both of the new samples had results of less than 1 part per billion of lead.  The report is posted on the District’s website.

The other 8 water sources which had results above the action level of 15 parts per billion were retested this week, as were the 3 sources from SOMS whose original samples were lost and not included in the original report.  We expect the results of these tests next week.

This summer, we are planning to replace all of the water fountains and/or faucets which had elevated lead levels in the initial testing, and we are installing filtration systems on all of our drinking fountains which provide drinking water or are used for food preparation, as a preventative measure.  Although the replacement of the drinking fountains and/or faucets and the installation of filtration systems are not required by the State, we will undertake these measures to provide additional safety to our drinking water. 

Notes from SOMSD’s June 17th Community Question and Answer Session on Lead in Drinking Water are attached.

We will keep the community informed of the status of our lead testing and remediation, as we continue to work to ensure the safety of our students and staff.

Sincerely,

Dr. John J. Ramos, Sr.
Superintendent


The school district revealed on June 12 that nine drinking water sources at five schools had lead levels above the 15ppb acceptable level, with the Seth Boyden fountain the highest. They held a forum on the issue last Saturday.

But then, as today, there was no explanation for why such levels were found.

Now as the district contends that the most toxic fountain is well within the safe levels, such information is raising more questions that it is answering.

SPRINGFIELD AVENUE GAZEBO MUSIC TONIGHT

                         From Maplewood Cultural Affairs:

Celebrate the rhythms of Brazil and New Orleans

RAIN OR SHINE !

Tonight at 7 p.m.
at the
Springfield Avenue Gazebo
with
Scott Kettner's Carnival Caravan

SO THAT'S WHAT THOSE CAT EARS ARE ALL ABOUT

From Channel 7 and NJ.com this week:


SCHOOL VIOLENCE, VANDALISM AND BULLYING ARE DOWN: SO WHY DOESN'T THE DISTRICT WANT TO COMMENT?

A recent statewide report on violence in schools finds that the South Orange Maplewood School District has seen a decrease in the past few years.

The report, issued earlier this year and just recently posted online, finds that the SO-MA district had 141 incidents of violence and vandalism in the 2015-2016 school year, down from 208 in 2014-2015 and 233 a year earlier.

Among those reports, the number of violent acts dropped from 105 in 2013-2014, to 95 in 2014-2015, and further to 82 last year.

Vandalism also decreased, from 67 incidents three years ago to 34 two years ago and just 20 last year.

Weapons were on the decline as well with 12 found on campuses in 2013-2014, 17 in 2014-2015, and only 11 last year.

These decreases also occurred as enrollment jumped by 120, from 6,752 in 2013-2014 to 6,872 in 2015-2016.

We then chose to look at reports of harassment, intimidation and bullying, or HIB, cases, which have been under scrutiny in recent years. The school board even had a lengthy training session on the topic several weeks ago.

Data supplied by the district found that HIB complaints were on the decline as well, with 95 HIB complaints filed in 2013-14, 70 in 2014-2015, and 37 in 2015-2016. As of May 3, 2017, there had been only 29 filed for this past school year.

We sought comment from the district on both issues on several occasions but they do not seem to want to give a reaction or a reason. Maybe they don't know why.

MAYOR DELUCA OFFERS UPDATED MIDTOWN DIRECT HOBOKEN DIVERSION PLANS

Mayor Vic Deluca this week offered another update on contingency plans for the planned Midtown Direct train diversions to Hoboken during July and August, including jitney expansion, earlier rides and even library business meeting spaces.

During Tuesday night's Township Committee meeting, Deluca stated that:

* The Township would seek to begin jitney service earlier, perhaps 4:45 a.m., to allow residents to make the three direct trains that will be running before 7 a.m. "Our plan is to get people as early to the train as possible," he said.

* New York and Hoboken monthly passes for July and August will be $91, about half the usual price, and will allow for free transfers to the PATH and ferries.

* Plans are being discussed to add a jitney for commuters who want to travel to South Orange for the direct buses being planned there by NJ Transit to New York.

* Police will allow commuter street parking to begin earlier, likely 4:45 a.m.

* The Maplewood Library will be making plans for work and meeting space via reservation and may open earlier to allow such use.

See his entire update below:

Thursday, June 22, 2017

TOWNSHIP ISSUES A "NOTE FROM HOME" TO EXPLAIN YOUR NJ TRANSIT DELAY TO EMPLOYERS

As part of its ongoing efforts to ease the impact of the upcoming NJ Transit Midtown Direct diversion plans that will send most NYC-bound trains to Hoboken, the Township has drawn up what amounts to a "parental letter" to employers that residents can use to explain their lateness or absences.

But if the dog eats your homework, you're still on your own.

See the note, signed by all five Township Committee members, below:

NJ Transit
You can print out your own copy HERE.

WHEN CHS PRINCIPAL AARON WAS A GRADUATE

To help celebrate today's Columbia High School graduation, and the recent tenure of CHS principal Elizabeth Aaron, we reached back to Aaron's high school days to show you what a successful graduate she was in her own right.

An alum of Summit High School (Class of 1988) the former Elizabeth Meola left a great mark at SHS, having been voted Most Likely to Succeed and Done the Most for SHS.

 


Way to go Ms. Aaron, and CHS 2017 grads!

ANOTHER VILLAGE TRAFFIC DISRUPTION TODAY DUE TO POST OFFICE PROJECT

From Maplewood Police:

Northbound traffic on Maplewood Avenue will be closed today between Inwood Place and Durand Road.  Please enter and exit the Ricalton Square parking lot at the north end (Valley National Bank).  There will be two police officers stationed to assist the detour.  This closure is to facilitate connections of the sewer upgrade to the main line.