Livingston Designates Stacy Santola as Official Tree Czar


LIVINGSTON, NJ — After many years of being concerned with township trees that die without being replaced, lifelong Livingston resident Stacy Santola, brother of former mayor Stephen Santola, has volunteered to become Livingston’s new “Tree Czar.” His overall mission to is to utilize the existing tree fund to fill spaces left empty by the removal of dead shrubbery, and plant new, healthy trees in areas that will help beautify the township.

Santola announced his willingness to take on this project on Monday to the Livingston mayor and council, who thanked him for his commitment to making the best use of the existing funds by identifying the locations that need attention.

“As a starting point, I think just replacing the ones that are missing will keep me busy for the next year without question,” said Santola, who added that he “bugged his brother” about this issue almost daily when he was on the council. “I’m not looking to reinvent the wheel, but I could give you a list off the top of my head of 50 trees that have died in the last few years and haven’t been replaced. What I’m really just looking to do right now is replace trees that were cut down and the stump is still there, pull them out and put a new tree in.”

Sign Up for E-News

Santola said his pet peeve is that when the township plants trees, “a third of them look like they’re half-dead,” and then when they die, the trees are cut down and often don’t get replaced.

“It makes me crazy because we pay money for it,” said Santola, who cited examples such as “two beautiful trees” that previously sat in front of Seymour’s Deli & Bakery that were never replaced, as well as bushes that were already dying when they were planted in front of town hall that have since been removed. “It’s not a lot to do, and it doesn’t involve investing a lot of time, so I’m willing to do it.”

He also said that if funds allow, he would like to look into planting in new locations, like the open space along Hillside Avenue on the outskirts of Hillside Elementary School.

“I don’t want to spend a lot of money,” he said. “Being in the business that I am, I know a lot of landscapers that I’m very good friends with and we could get good prices. Then I want to see the tree when it goes in so I know it’s alive and make sure it gets watered, because that’s half the problem.”

Santola, an attorney based out of Orange and Livingston, noted that he landscaped throughout law school and developed “kind of a green thumb.” He said that big trees, like the ones in Montclair or South Orange, bring out the character in a town, and that as a Livingston resident of more than 50 years, he knows first-hand that other people will see this every day and appreciate it.

Additionally, he said his connections to people like Department of Public Schools Superintendent Mike Anello, who attended Livingston High School with Santola, will likely be an asset as he sets to work on this project.

As the summer begins, which Santola said is not the ideal time to begin planting, the council asked that Santola prioritize a list of the first 30-or-so trees that need to be replaced and return to the council in August with a plan of action.

“I agree that now is not the time to do the planting, which I think gives you an opportunity to come to us with some kind of plan for the fall,” said Councilman Michael Silverman. “We all love the idea, but we don’t really know what it is. I’d love to see some kind of game plan—what do you envision the process being?”

Mayor Ed Meinhardt said that identifying the missing trees is a great place to start and thanked Santola for his dedication and volunteerism.

Editor’s Note: Stacy Santola is the father of Danielle Santola, author of this article and editor/co-owner of TAPinto Livingston.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Save $2.50 on Next Visit to Livingston Car Wash

July 17, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Drivers can save $2.50 the next time they get their vehicle cleaned at Livingston Car Wash.

Come to Livingston Car Wash at 111 E. Mt. Pleasant Avenue for a car wash and $2.50 will be discounted from the regular price.

$100 OFF per Week for Summer Camp Now!

Guerrero Marital Arts is now offering an 8-week summer camp for summer 2018!

Pick which weeks you want!

Camp Weeks are:

July 16, July 23, July 30, August 6, August 13, August 20, August 27

Includes the following:

Fun (through Sports, Play and Games)
Field Trips (may cost extra)
Life Lessons
Reading Time
Martial Arts
A great place to ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, July 21, 12:30 PM

CycleBar Livingston, Livingston

Bike for the Bean

Giving Back Health & Wellness


Sat, July 21, 7:30 PM

Par 440 Restaurant & Lounge, SHORT HILLS

Solid Gold with Bobby Valli at Par 440

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Man Stabbed in Valley Section of West Orange

July 18, 2018

WEST ORANGE – A West Orange man was stabbed Sunday evening during an attack in The Valley section of the township, according to officials.

Police were called the 300 block of Valley Road around 5:45 p.m. on a report of an aggravated assault. The 28-year-old victim was stabbed during an attack by a group of individuals who later fled the scene, according to township spokeswoman Susan ...

Public Invited to Essex County Opioid Use Prevention Task Force Meeting

July 15, 2018

CALDWELL, NJ — All Essex County residents, mayors and councils, law enforcement members, school officials, clergy members, civic organizations and more are invited to join in the next Essex County Opioid Use Prevention Task Force meeting on Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. to discuss how the Essex County communities can join work together to eradicate this epidemic.

The meeting will be held at the ...

Would Shedding

How much wood wouldn’t a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck woodn’t?


Enough already.  


I get it.  It is an easy mistake to make, misusing would and wouldn’t.  It happens to me all the time.


“Honey, when I said I didn’t see any reason why I would go to the ballet, I meant to say I couldn’t see ...

Extra Time

It was close to 70 minutes into the match and I had to go to the bathroom.  Badly.

As fans watching the World Cup know too well, bathroom breaks are a serious dilemma, especially for those who don’t have a TV in the loo.  This biological necessity is exasperated by beer, which during World Cup matches also fuels a strong propensity to throw chairs and instigate riots.

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...