Somerset County News

Activists Build Support for Homegrown "Community For Unity" Rally Aug. 28

SOMERVILLE, NJ - Mayor Brian Gallagher and Steve Peter, Borough Council president, along with a dozen or more lawmakers, clergy and activists, will speak at a rally to decry bigotry, racism, neo-Nazis and White Supremacists on Aug. 28, the anniversary of Martin Luther  Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech.
The "Community for Unity Rally: A Call To Action"  is an outgrowth of an impromptu  gathering of 75 people at the Unitarian Universalist Church on E. Cliff Street on Aug. 16, according to one of the organizers, Donna Volpe, who is the founder of the Somerville chapter of Hate Has No Home Here.
She and several others, angered by the violence and aftermath of the clashes in Charlottesville, Va., earlier this month involving right-wing extremists felt the need to "do something," Volpe explained. Many who gathered for that rally expressed the need to further express their outrage and rejection of the extremists' agenda, prompting Volpe to reach out to friends of a similar mind.
Their goal is to help facilitate understanding, unity and cooperation in the community through heightened awareness and getting people engaged..
Volpe, along with Kristen Mehrbach, Andrea Stathatos, Michelle Edgar, Karen Gaffney and Jen Kitchen, started planning the rally on Thursday; they created a Facebook page, made phone calls, and went door-to-door in downtown Somerville handing out flyers to merchants. They continue to meet on a daily basis.
The Somerset County Diversity Cultural Coalition has agreed to sponsor the event, according to Tulsi Maharjan, executive director. He will also speak at the rally.
"They're trying to have the community come together, and that goes with our mission," Maharjan said.

The SCDCC mission statement reads: "To Work with communities to promote greater understanding of our changing communities."
The SCDCC is working with Somerset County officials to secure the necessary permits to hold the rally on the lawn of the historic Somerset County Courthouse, 20 E. Main St., beginning at 5:30 p.m.
In just a few days, the organizers have lined up the following speakers:
State Sen. Christopher "Kip" Bateman, R-16; Assemblyman Andrew Zwicker, D-16th; Joe Forte - secretary of the. NJ LGBT Democratic Caucus Victory Fund Campaign Board; M. Ali Chaudry - president, Islamic Society of Basking Ridge and co-Founder, NJ Interfaith Coalition; Rabbi Dan Selsberg, Temple Sholom; Ron Isaacs, Rabbi Emeritus.Temple Sholom;
Mark Williams, member AACT-NOW; Karen Gaffney - Professor of English, Raritan Valley Community College and author of soon-to-be-released, "Dismantling the Racism Machine: A Manual and Toolbox;" Carina Gonzalez, Outreach Librarian and professor at RVCC and Aldo Martinez, immigration attorney.
Mehrbach and Volpe expect the list will grow over the next week; each speaker is being limited to 3 minutes.
The women emphasize that their newly-formed grass roots organization, "Community for Unity," is non-partisan and not affiliated with any political organizations. Volpe's Hate Has No Home Here, and the Central Jersey Community Coalition are also playing a part in the rally.
"We invite you to join us in promoting UNITY in our community and in all communities of conscience," is their message on the website.
Civil rights activist Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King  Jr. delivered his defining "I Have a Dream" speech 54 years ago on Aug. 28 during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom;. He he called for an end to racism in the United States and called for civil and economic rights. Delivered to over 250,000 civil rights supporters from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., the speech was a defining moment of the Civil Rights movement.
Borrowing from the theme of King's speech, Community for Unity offers the following message on its Facebook page:
"We Have a Dream---that all human beings, of all colors, ethnicities, genders, gender identities, nationalities, abilities, races, sexual orientations, religions, and economic backgrounds are treated EQUALLY under the law and are accepted as EQUAL in the hearts and minds of citizens here and everywhere.

"We Have a Dream---that within our lifetimes, rallies will not need to be held in order to promote the ideas of compassion, conscience, and connectedness.

"We Have a Dream---that all of us actively and vociferously reject the scourge of racism, anti-Semitism, and bigotry whenever and wherever we witness it. Furthermore, we commit to confronting white supremacist ideology in our communities, institutions, and personal lives.

"This is our dream, and this is the reality we must work together to create."
Further information is available online at 


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North Plainfield/Green Brook/Watchung

Pre-Ticket Sale for Holy Savior Academy’s 4th Annual Spring Splendor Tricky Tray

Holy Savior Academy is hosting its Spring Splendor Tricky Tray Saturday, April 21, 2018 at the school.  Doors open at 6:00 p.m.

Tickets are limited and will be sold at Holy Savior Academy, 149 South Plainfield Avenue, South Plainfield on Wednesday, March 21, 2018 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. (cash or checks)

BYOB and food- Admission $ 25 per ...

Local Travel Ideas for St. Patrick’s Day - Calm Family Events to Drinking Shots from...Nevermind

March 17, 2018

St. Patrick’s Day is coming upon us even faster than St. Patrick chased the snakes out of Ireland.  Here are some of the areas great events to celebrate Irish pride.

March 17 Events

Hoboken - The Nerds at Willie McBride’s (see poster up in the slide show)

Newton - Sober St. Patrick’s Day Gathering

Newton (parade) - Sussex County St. Patrick's Day ...

After a Couple Painful Travel Days the New York City Area Airports Are Returning to Normal

After a couple of difficult travel days, the local airports are returning to normal.  The FAA is reportin only 10 to 15 minute delays.  Allow extra times for the commute to the airport and you should be fine.

Just keep these ideas and links fresh in mind for future travels.  You may even want to bookmark the page for future reference.

Most Airlines now offer ...

Air Travel Disruptions - Newark and Laguardia Airports Are Reporting Delays of 1 to 2 Hours.

The weather continues to play havoc on local air travel.  Newark is reporting average delays of 1 hour 41 minutes and LaGuardia is experiencing 59 minute delays.

Most Airlines now offer APP, text, or email updates to flight delays.  Make sure to sign up for them.  That will be your fastest way to get notifications. Also, make sure to ...

Third Nor’easter to Brush The Region, Wind Gusts a Concern

NEW YORK, NY - The third in a series of nor’easters impacting the Mid-Atlantic and New England will affect the area Monday evening through Tuesday.

The track of the storm has been particularly troublesome to forecast, but the midday model runs today, March 11, have begun to converge on a solution that curves the center of the nor’easter far offshore of New Jersey before ...

Travels Spotlight - 25th Annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Continues Through May 28

LAKE BUENA VISTA, FL - The 25th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival at the Walt Disney World Resort continues through May 28, 2018. The first festival in was a 38-day celebration, for 2018 it is 90 days of gardens and topiaries. 2018 is also the 35th anniversary of Epcot.

The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is showcasing millions of ...

Travel Alert - GWB and Holland Tunnel Lane Closures Scheduled For the Week

Lane closings are planned for the George Washington Bridge and the Holland Tunnel this weekend and/or next week for ongoing construction and repair projects.

Holland Tunnel:

One westbound lane in the tunnel will be closed during overnight hours from Sunday, March 11, through Thursday, March 15, from 11:59 p.m. each night through 5:30 a.m. the following ...

St. Patrick’s Day Sobriety Check in Belmar/Neptune Area on Tap by State Police

March 17, 2018

BELMAR, NJ — Giving no details on location and time, New Jersey State Police plans to conduct a sobriety checkpoint on Saturday, March 17 in the area of Belmar and Neptune Township,

The state police made the announcement on its Facebook page, alerting motorists that state troopers will be pulling over vehicles at this undisclosed location and time  “looking for signs of ...


South Plainfield - Joseph G. Zekas, 90, passed away on Thursday, March 15, 2018 at The Willows at ...
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Upcoming Events


Mon, March 19, 7:15 PM

WHRHS Media Center, Warren

WHRHS PTO meeting



Wed, March 21, 2:00 PM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Academy's 4th Annual Spring Splendor ...


Fri, March 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve


Fri, March 30, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve


Fri, April 6, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

Free Teen Anxiety Group (Ages 14-17) at Resolve


Sat, April 14, 7:00 PM


Support Watchung Hills Project Graduation: SIP ...

Sat, June 2, 9:00 AM

South Plainfield

Holy Savior Academy 5K and Family Fun Walk

Health & Wellness

Tue, June 12, 7:00 PM

FairBridge Hotel and Conference Center, Somerset

SPHS Class of 1968 50the Reunion


AAA Cautions: Daylight Saving Could Affect Daily Commute

March 10, 2018

WARREN, NJ - AAA is reminding drivers that the change to Daylight Saving Time may create distractions on the roadway and challenges for drivers who lost an hour of sleep. Daylight Saving Time begins on Sunday at 2 a.m.

“As we spring forward, drivers should be aware that the time change will also mean changes to driving habits,” said Robert Sinclair, Manager of Media ...

It's Official: Snow Day in North Plainfield, Raritan Valley

WARREN, NJ - North Plainfield Schools and Raritan Valley Community College have all made the call to cancel school and all after school activities on Wednesday, Mar. 7.

Forecasters anticipate hazardous travel conditions statewide.

In the event you lose power, contact your local power provider and not Police Communications unless an emergency ...

Fairytale Marriage Proposal Takes Center Stage at St. Patrick’s Day Parade

March 17, 2018

SOMERVILLE, NJ – A surprise engagement took center stage at last weekend’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Somerville. In the midst of the March 11 festivities, Piscataway resident Steven Verardi boarded a float and popped the question to his girlfriend Elise Latona, marking the first known engagement to take place at the parade in 27 years.

Since opening The Beauty Bar ...

Somerset County Student Escorted from School; Loaded Gun Found in Backpack

FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP, NJ - A 17-year-old high school student was escorted from school yesterday by police who found a loaded 9mm semi-automatic pistol in his back pack along with narcotics, according to Somerset County Prosecutor Michael H. Robertson.

Robertson said the initial investigation by law enforcement revealed that there were no known threats to the students or faculty; he commended the ...