BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - With the New Year around the corner, let's take a look back at 2017 of highlights and the top 10 articles published by TAPinto New Providence.
This year, New Providence said good bye to legendary Coach Frank Bottone, who passed away at 86. Bottone was at the helm of the Pioneer football program for 46 years. Following two JV seasons, the Pioneer varsity program started in 1965 with a 2-7 record. Two years later, Bottone and the Pioneers had their first state championship.
In addition to the coaching changes, the school's administration saw a ripple of changes when Athletic Director Rocco Constantino resigned to pursue a career at the collegiate level in California. The BOE then hired former coach and Assistant High School Principal Vinny Carangelo as the new leader of New Providence Athletics. Brian Henry was hired as the new Assistant High School Principal.
The schools also underwent renovation projects that included upgrades to the high school media center, a new STEM wing, roof replacements, a security vestibule and replacement doors.
Sound of Music came alive at NPHS as the "pieces started to fit together" from the talent pool at the high school and the younger children were cast from the elementary schools. The Marching Band gave a preview of their 'Seas The Day' at Lieder Field to 200 spectators that received a glimpse of what goes into the mammoth undertaking that is the New Providence High School Marching Band. They took home second place in The Yamaha Cup Invitational at MetLife Stadium. In the fall, there was a town-wide celebration at Lieder Field recognizing the district being named as one of the four National Districts of Character.
In sports, the New Providence boys tennis team won its 8th consecutive sectional title and the girls tennis team won their third sectional title in four years. Doug Chacon won the district wrestling championships in the 170 pound weight class.The boys soccer team lost in double overtime in the sectional semis. Both the boys’ and girls’ track and field teams won NJSIAA North II Group 1 sectional championship titles with 11 first place finishes. Katie Kinum was recognized at the NJSIAA Scholar Athlete Luncheon. Hannah Caminiti was recognized at the National Girls and Women in Sports Day Celebration. Lauren Pope and Hudson Barth won the Union County Interscholastic Association Conference Scholar Athlete Award. Hudson Barth and Michael Barletta committed to play football at the next level and Tyler Lawton signed letter of intent to play lacrosse for Syracuse University.
In politics, New Providence had the first contested borough council election in a decade with the New Providence Democrats choosing two candidates to run against Republican Incumbent Dr. Bob Robinson and his running mate newcomer Nadine Geoffroy. The borough residents chose Robinson and Geoffroy to fill the two open council seats over their Democrat challengers Jamie Baer Peterson and Keith Doll. Robinson received 2,265 votes, Geoffroy 2,116, Peterson 1,826 and Doll 1,679 votes.
Lantern Hill opened its continued care neighborhood in July and the Maple Glen building in December. The Maple Glen is the first independent living residential building completed as part of the community’s phase two construction. The second residential building of Phase Two, Oakwood Court, will open in February 2018. Phase Two will add 114 independent living apartment homes for a total of 275 independent living apartment homes at the community. In June 2016, Lantern Hill opened 161 independent living apartment homes in Phase One, which sold-out in 10 weeks.
New Providence's design company Creative Wallcoverings and Interiors was selected to participate in Mansions in May biennial designer showhouse and presented their Gilded Blues Gathering Room. Luminous Medspa and Salon opened with a Red Carpet extravaganza, Barth's Market opened their renovated larger butcher shop and specialty market for your "Source for the Freshest Meats, Seafood and Produce Since 1940." And a handful of businesses are on schedule to open in 2018.
The New Providence Fire Department held a wet down ceremony for their Fire Engine 2 along with the unveiling of Mickey Allocco Way. The fire department responded to a container fire at Roberts School, Central Avenue truck fire and their heroic work at a Berkeley Heights house fire earned the firefighters a Valor Award for their bravery and commitment.
Theresa Gazaway was appointed to Police Captain and Daniel Henn and Steve Opalewski were promoted to Liutenant and Sergeant, respectively. The New Providence PD responded to a rash of car burglaries as well as assisted in capturing a fleeing burglar in Berkeley Heights, a police officer and rescue squad members also saved a choking man at Dim Sum Villa on Christmas Night.
The Municipal Alliance coordinated the "Every 15 Minutes Program" to show New Providence high school students the effects of dinking and texting while driving. They also hosted along with Lt. Daniel Henn a community discussion on the opioid crisis.
The New Providence Business Community remained busy in sponsoring community events and organized the new Holiday Festival in conjunction with the popular Christmas Walk and arrival of Santa Claus. A Small Business Saturday raffle incentive proved successful with over 30 businesses participating to draw the community to Shop NP for the holidays. They also held the second annual Scarecrow competition, Street Fair, Downtown Trick or Treating, Borough Holiday Party and the popular summer concert series along with the PD's National Night Out.
The Lions Club was busy with their annual Easter Egg Hunt, annual Golf Outing, Pancake Breakfast, Spaghetti Dinner in partnership with the CSA. And the Diversity Committee continued to be active uniting the community with New Providence's third annual Community Tree Lighting, a Diwali Festival of Lights event and a Ladies' Tea to celebrate Women's History Month, Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and a Chinese New Year celebration to name a few. Also, the New Providence Historical Society started a History Talks series that saw a standing room only crowd for the History of Nokia Bell Labs.
The NJ Sharing Network hosted their annual 5K when thousands of participants filled the streets of New Providence - - they ran or walked with a story and a purpose to save lives together. The NPEF also held a successful 5K, raising funds to support all four New Providence public schools, in addition to their March Madness Mayhem Basketball Event with the Wizzards and their Touchdown for Education Tricky Tray and social.
Phase 1 of the Oakwood Park was complete and the upper field will open in the Spring of 2018. Ice skating will be available this winter. Other government news included: Shared Service Agreement adds Summit to New Providence Court System and After Many Years of Effort, New Providence's Abandoned Greenhouses are Demolished.
TAPinto New Providence commemorated and covered the Memorial Day Parade, celebrated New Providence students and team accomplishments, participated in many community events, reported on council and board of education meetings and celebrated community at its best .... and so much more.
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TAPinto New Providence closes out 2017 with a recap of the top 10 read stories.
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