ROSELAND, NJ – Council chambers in Roseland were packed on Tuesday night as Mayor James Spango presented a resolution “to celebrate the life of and mourn the memory” of longtime resident Kathleen Ann Kaczynski as well as a proclamation to John Glenn O’Brien for achieving the rank of Eagle Scout.

Former Mayor Ralph Pacio joined Spango in presenting a resolution to Kaczynski’s husband of 45 years, Thomas, in front of several family members and friends. Pacio read a citation honoring his longtime friend, who died on Jan. 11, 2019 and was remembered as a vital and integral part of the borough’s fiber.

A 45-year Roseland resident and a former elementary school teacher, Kaczynski served as a member of the West Essex Board of Education, was named Roseland’s Italian-American Citizen of the Year in 2006 and was honored as Senior Citizen of the Year in 2017.

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“She left a mark on a lot of people,” said Pacio. “She had a great family and we were friends for many years, her passing is a loss to the borough of Roseland.”

The mood then lightened as Spango presented O’Brien with a proclamation in recognition of his receiving the highly coveted Eagle Scout distinction.

O’Brien, a member of Troop 3, has received more than 30 merit badges in addition to being a designated senior patrol leader for six months. For his Eagle Scout project, O’Brien engineered a digital path for a 20-mile section of Patriots Path.

Also in attendance on Tuesday was Nicole Sabato, co-founder of the nonprofit organization “TEAM 94,” whose mission is to create a program that provides continuing education for adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder in critical areas such as daily-living, community participation, vocation, and leisure and recreation.

In speaking to the council about the need to provide more opportunities to young adults who age out of the public-school system, Sabato said she and her family have organized many events aimed at raising awareness and funds to support this initiative.

She noted that a Color Run fundraiser will be held in North Caldwell on April 7 for the cause. To date, Sabato stated that $52,000 in sponsorship funds has been raised, and there are currently 480 participants registered for the event thus far.

May 30 will see another event geared around football, and a gala is also scheduled for Oct. 25. For more information, contact MissionTEAM94@yahoo.com

“This touches so many of our lives,” Spango said as he acknowledged the Sabato family’s efforts. “My older brother has special needs and this cause is very near to my heart.”

Mayor’s Report:

During his mayor’s report, Spango expressed his concern for the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) Dec. 26 passage of two federal permits to move the process of an expanded compressor station on Eagle Rock Avenue forward.  He said that appeals against those DEP approvals will be filed on behalf of the community and stakeholders. 

Noting that the unmanned facility is used approximately 10 days per year and that 5 percent of capacity has been utilized, Spango said that “doubling the capacity of gas flowing through a congested suburban community will harm the community, wetlands and aging infrastructure.”

The mayor also apprised the community that the next shared-services meeting between the mayors and business administrators from surrounding western Essex County communities will be held on March 28 in West Caldwell. Spango hosted the first meeting in January as local community leaders seek to provide more cost-efficient methods to provide services to their respective communities.

Conversations with vendors to address the geese problem at Bond Force Field are taking place as well, he said. The longstanding problem of poor and inadequate United State Postal mail service is being addressed with the postmaster. Spango noted he has the support and assistance of Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, Gov. Richard Codey and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo.

Council Committee Reports:

Council President Christopher Bardi announced that plans to finalize the vendor for the community’s website are nearing completion. He noted that a resolution was passed unanimously authorizing the mayor “to sign a contract with Comcast for Internet Services for 19 Harrison Avenue and 300 Eagle Rock Avenue Municipal Buildings.”

As liaison to the senior advisory board, Councilwoman Eileen Fishman expressed the need for additional bus routes, resource materials and events for seniors. She also said her meeting with the board of adjustment was “enlightening,” as the board discussed affordable housing commitments.

At the start of spring and warmer weather, Councilman Roger Freda thanked the Roseland Department of Public Work (DPW) for its efforts during the winter storms. Freda also urged any residents who receive a yellow card from the DPW to contact the department as soon as possible and schedule a time as the borough continues its water meter replacement program. 

Finally, Freda reported that the Roseland First Aid Squad responded to 43 calls last month and is actively seeking more volunteers.

Councilman David Jacobs reminded residents to check both propane and natural gas grills as the grilling season begins. He further noted that any residents who did not replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors when they changed their clocks back last week should do so.

As the new liaison to the Roseland and West Essex Boards of Education, Councilwoman Jean Perrotti, provided an update to the community regarding the districts. She noted that Noecker Elementary School third graders will receive 23 new Chromebooks and that negotiations are still pending with the teacher’s union. She said the board is hoping to ratify the contract in April.

Gordon Gibbs has been hired as the new business administrator for the district, effective July 1, and Corby Morano has been appointed by the Roseland Board of Education to fill the seat that Perrotti vacated when she assumed her appointed seat on the borough council. 

Furthermore, West Essex Superintendent of Schools Barbara Longo has announced her retirement, effective June 30, 2019.

Department of Recreation liaison Councilwoman Michele Tolli, who reported that this summer will mark Camp Wyanokie’s 100th anniversary, spoke of all free the opportunities available to community residents at the 150-acre recreational site.

Additionally, Tolli made a motion that was unanimously passed to allow for the purchase of 18 new cobalt blue planters to place along Eagle Rock Avenue.

More Public Comments:

During public comment, Roseland Green resident Dave Veneri implored the mayor and council to ask for directed patrols along Harrison Avenue. Noting that the county has already lowered the speed limit but that this has had no effect on speeding, Veneri said, “We need some bite, or this will continue.”

“The guardrail is a nightmare,” he said. “It blocks vision and people know there are no consequences for speeding. Money and points on a license will go much further than warnings. Before someone gets hurt, something must be done.”

Noting that a few of the signs that are erected are currently blocked by trees, Tolli also expressed a need for more signage in this area.

Spango agreed and vowed to speak with the police chief about directed patrols in the area.

The next Roseland Borough Council meeting will be a caucus meeting to be held on April 2.