Dear Editor:

I want to begin by thanking the residents of Scotch Plains for successfully working to defeat the coronavirus. For the past month, we’ve averaged less than one new case per day. Our total positive cases as of this writing is 289, with 170 cleared. Sadly, we have had 15 deaths. But we need to keep practicing proper social distancing, wearing a mask when appropriate, and generally maintaining good health habits. No second spikes allowed!

With the virus on the run, let’s support and enjoy our local businesses now that they have reopened with restrictions. On Wednesday, Council members and our municipal staff visited many of our local businesses to celebrate their reopenings. We provided them with masks donated to the town by the Union County Freeholders.

Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

Please keep in mind my 4B's when supporting our local businesses:

  • Be Confident that you can safely visit our local businesses - they are following the rules
  • Be Safe and use social distancing, masks etc. to prevent the spread of the virus
  • Be Generous and tip those servers and other employees who are just returning to work
  • Be Courteous because not everything is going to be like it was before. Give businesses a beak if they’re operating in a new and unfamiliar way and it’s not what you expect

Meanwhile, the Truth, Racial Healing, Transformation (THRT) Joint Committee continues its listening tour.  Councilman Roc White and I as the council’s representatives to THRT participated in the session this past Wednesday, the topic being Policing in Our Community. Chief Conley (Scotch Plains) and Chief Trigo (Fanwood) listened to two SPFHS alumni, Tayonna Lee and Tierra Buissereth, describe their concerns and the concerns of others regarding the Black community’s interaction with the police. If you have not already, I encourage you to view the video of the meeting.

The committee will continue its listening series throughout the summer and present its findings and recommendations in the fall.

The SPFHS Class of 2020 deserves another round of congratulations, especially for graduating during this uniquely difficult year. It was my honor to deliver the “Commencement” speech to them in the virtual graduation video and congratulate each student in his or her car as they picked up their senior gift at the high school. Go Raiders!!!

Finally, way back at the beginning of the pandemic, the FSP Rotary Club created a Resource Central operation at the request of the town. The purpose of the Resource Central is to match those in need due to the pandemic with available resources. In addition to the countless cases of one-on-one assistance the Rotary has provided, some of its more public accomplishments include helping to restart the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church Food Bank, which is now serving over 100 families per month, making thousands of reusable face masks, and donating over $9,000 to Overlook Hospital for PPE from its GoFundMe project. In recognition of its community service, the FSP Rotary Club has been recognized by the Regional Rotary District with the Care and Share Award. On behalf of the Council, I want to say thank you to everyone involved, you truly are the Greatest Rotary Club in the universe. I'm proud to be a member.

Al Smith
Mayor of Scotch Plains