Community Announcements

Union County Freeholders Vote Not to Approve Mountain Biking Trails in Watchung Reservation

c56ddb7c53a179048a46_IMG_7481.JPG
Summit's Mayor Nora Radest asks the board for a compromise to be reached following an engineering study and environmental impact study. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
55c294d879312cbf032b_IMG_7483.JPG
The board amended a previous resolution approving the Watchung Reservation Master Plan to reflect the board's disapproval of recommending and providing for mountain biking in the Watchung Reservation. Credits: Leah Scalzadonna
c56ddb7c53a179048a46_IMG_7481.JPG

ELIZABETH, NJ – The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders voted not to approve mountain biking trails proposed in the Watchung Reservation Master Plan at Thursday night’s meeting. The passing of Resolution 2017-412 effectively put an end to a months-long debate by county residents about the merits and hazards of creating mountain biking trails in the Watchung Reservation.

Forty-six people spoke before the board in an attempt to persuade a freeholder’s vote, with22 people speaking in favor of mountain biking and 24 people speaking against it. In compliance with fire safety codes, a 125-person limit was in place for the meeting. As people left the meeting, those waiting in the lobby came in to take their place.

“I don’t want anyone to think that we take what you say lightly,” Freeholder Linda Carter said. “We hear what you’re saying and we have to take a look at the total. Sometimes, in order to have a win-win, you have to take a step back.”

Sign Up for E-News

Those in favor of mountain bike trails frequently argued that the trails would have a minimal impact, would allow schools to create mountain biking teams and would bring in more county residents to the reservation, among other reasons. Those opposed often questioned how the trails would impact the environment, worried about the proposed trails’ proximity to their homes and the dangers of mountain biking, among other reasons.

The vote passed 5-3, with Freeholders Wright, Granados, Bergen, Kowalski and Carter voting “yes.” Freeholders Hudak, Estrada and Mirabella voted “no” and Freeholder Jallon abstaining.

Before the vote, Chairman Bruce H. Bergen gave an impassioned speech explaining his vote, stating that he believed the addition of mountain bike trails would harm the environment, the reservation itself and the county.

“We as a county are not doing enough to maintain the trails that already exist,” Bergen said. “For now, we must concentrate on maintenance, repair and, as appropriate, re-commissioning current trails. I disagree with the statement that the Watchung Reservation is under-utilized. I believe just the opposite.”

Fellow freeholders agreed that the reservation needs more maintenance and that an environmental impact study must be done before expanding trails inside the reservation. Freeholder Granados said that the current vote does not mean mountain biking cannot be put back on the agenda or that a compromise cannot be reached in the future.

The vote was met with jubilation by some, who cheered and congratulated one another and the board. Those who were in favor of mountain biking in the Watchung Reservation left quietly.

“You can’t be upset the teacher didn’t give you an ‘A’ because you didn’t do the book report yet,” Scotch Plains resident Eric Larnick said, using the analogy to explain why he believes the trails cannot be built without an environmental impact study being done beforehand. “The reservation is Union County’s last standing nature preserve. We have to put the work in.”

Mayor Nora Radest of Summit and Mayor Paul Mirabelli of Mountainside also spoke before the board, asking for a compromise to be reached between the differentiating parties.

“Surely, with a thoughtful discussion, a thorough engineering report and an environmental impact study, a compromise among all of these important constituencies will be possible,” Radest said.

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders will hold an agenda setting session and a regular meeting on May 25 at 7 p.m.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

North Plainfield/Green Brook/Watchung

Holy Savior Academy Cheer Competition

February 14, 2018

SOUTH PLAINFIELD, NJ - Holy Savior Academy’s cheerleading squad is on winning streak.  Competing at the Biddy Level in the CCCANJ League, the girls took 1st place in the first two competitions of this cheer season. The 12 girl squad competed in the Immaculate Conception and the St. Mary’s competitions and came out on top beating fellow Catholic Schools, Immaculate ...

From the New York Toy Fair - Travels Reveals the Toys That Will Make You the Star of Your Child’s Life - the Oscars of the Toy World - the TOTY Awards

February 19, 2018

 As you know, we are here to encourage you to travel.  Unfortunately, the New York Toy Fair is one place virtually none of you can go.  So, unless you have been tirelessly been searching the internet, you are not up to date on what toys your children will be wanting soon.

Fortunately, with Press Correspondent credentials, we were able to go in your place.

Our ...

Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended its search for the two crew members of the fishing boat that went missing off the coast of Barnegat Light during the early morning hours of February 8.  

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of the Coast Guard's ...

Looking for Something to Do? Weekend Events in Somerset County

Things to do in Somerset County

A weekend celebrating Warmer Days!

1. Winter Market, Duke Farms

2. The Mountaintop, Theatre at RVCC - Friday featuring the Peking Acrobats.

3. State Theatre New Jersey - nothing scheduled this weekend - next show Feb 22 

4. Heritage Trail Association - Five Generals House Bus Tour - ...

Travels’ Pick 2 For 1 Valentine’s Day Special on Comedy and Music Tickets at the Wellmont

TAPintoTravels - We seldom post these deals last minute, but it seems to good to miss.  It’s even better that a number of great events are at the Wellmont in Montclair.

Here are our picks to take your significant other out for a night on the town:

The Muscial Box - a Genesis tribute band is performing decades worth of the band’s vast repertoire.  They ...

Third Annual Long Beach Island Job Fair Set for Saturday, March 31

SURF CITY, NJ - Need a job this summer? Look no further. Shore Fire Grille again has teamed up with local businesses in the area for a special summer 2018 Job Fair event. 

The Third Annual LBI Job Fair will take place Saturday, March 31.  Employers will be looking to hire help for the summer season on busy Long Beach Island.  The event will be held at the Surf City Yacht ...

Flying Today - TAPinto Travels Made and Here Is What You Need to Know

If you are flying today, you have likely seen the flight delay notifications.  The good news is the area airports have overcome the morning slowdown and most flights are on schedule.

TAPinto Travels made it in from Cleveland, after a short delay.  As you can see in this video, there is some turbulence.  The runways and taxiing areas have been cleared.  Do expect ...

Guest Column: The Great "Wait" of the College Process

February 14, 2018

"The Great Wait" of the College Application Process

For all the high school seniors and their parents, we are in the stressful "waiting period".  We've just finished or are finishing applications to all the schools we might possibly want to attend next year and now sit and wait our fate after the $60-$80 non-refundable application fees to at least 8-13 schools and ...

Coast Guard Ends Search for Fishermen Lost at Sea, Fund Established to Help Family

February 18, 2018

The U.S. Coast Guard has officially ended its search for the two crew members of the fishing boat that went missing off the coast of Barnegat Light during the early morning hours of February 8.  

“We would like to extend our condolences to the families and the fishing community affected by this tragic incident,” said Capt. Scott Anderson, commander of the Coast Guard's ...

Third Annual Long Beach Island Job Fair Set for Saturday, March 31

SURF CITY, NJ - Need a job this summer? Look no further. Shore Fire Grille again has teamed up with local businesses in the area for a special summer 2018 Job Fair event. 

The Third Annual LBI Job Fair will take place Saturday, March 31.  Employers will be looking to hire help for the summer season on busy Long Beach Island.  The event will be held at the Surf City Yacht ...

Low-Income Families Who Need Safe Cribs Have Nowhere to Go

February 16, 2018

One recent email came from a pastor in East Orange, sharing the struggles of a young couple who have no safe place for their baby to sleep.

Then, there was also a phone call from a Newark hospital, making its fourth request in two years, as well as a frantic text from Puerto Rico, for a family who lost everything in the hurricane.

They all pleaded for the same thing: A safe crib for a ...

Obituaries

North Plainfield – Gail A. Kaufman – Cain, 62, passed away peacefully on Saturday ...
Read more

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, February 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

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

Carousel_image_3d7e35618f05795eb00f_omstbydesignnew_jpeg

Tue, February 27, 7:00 PM

Cranford Community Center, Cranford

“Olmsted By Design!” Free First-Person, Dramatic ...

Arts & Entertainment Green Home & Garden

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, March 2, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

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

Mon, March 5, 7:00 PM

BRHS Auditorium, Bridgewater

Dangers of Fentanyl

Education Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, March 9, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

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

Tue, March 13, 9:30 AM

Congregation Beth Israel , Scotch Plains

Crisis listening line volunteer listening and ...

Education Giving Back Health & Wellness

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, March 16, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

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

Carousel_image_ad6c3c447b5accf3e1a1_3ef0aae34bda175becfa_ptp_save_the_date_-_p1

Fri, March 16, 7:00 PM

The Grove, Cedar Grove

Susan G. Komen North Jersey

Giving Back Other

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, March 23, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

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

Carousel_image_248cea245b872fb9c722_resolve_house

Fri, March 30, 12:00 PM

Resolve, Scotch Plains

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

Wrestling: 11 Warriors and Three Canucks Advance to Regions, Watchung Hills Wins NJSIAA District 16

February 17, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ - The Watchung Hills Regional High School wrestling team won its first District title on Saturday and 11 Warriors placed in the top three of their weight classes to advance to regions. North Plainfield came in ninth in District 14 and three wrestlers advance to regions.

”Congratulations to Coach Smith, his staff, and all of our Warrior wrestlers on winning their first ...

Green Brook, North Plainfield and Watchung Students Compete in County Spelling Bee

SOMERVILLE, NJ - Students from more than 30 schools in Somerset County, including Green Brook, North Plainfield and Watchung, will compete in the 3rd annual Spelling Bee Spectacular sponsored by the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey.

Participation is limited to those students up to the eighth grade.

The contest, which is a preliminary to the 2018 Scripps National Spelling ...

Wellness at WHRHS: On Stress, Wellness and Integrity at Watchung Hills

WARREN, NJ - A letter was sent to all parents of Watchung Hills Regional High School students (WHRHS) on Jan.19 addressing the school’s efforts to promote student wellness and reduce student stress. The letter also encouraged parents to review the academic integrity guidelines and have conversations with their children about health, wellness, and ethical ...

WHRHS Girls Basketball: Watchung Hills Tops East Orange, 44-40

EAST ORANGE, NJ - Julia Cunningham recorded a double-double for Watchung Hills with 21 points, 16 rebounds, two assists, two steals and one block to lead the Watchung Hills girls basketball team over East Orange on Monday, 44-40. 

Jayden Baltuch finished with seven points, four assists and one rebound. 

Watchung Hills is now 19-1 on the season and next plays at Newark ...

WHRHS Boys Basketball: Watchung Hills Routs Somerville, 82-54

WARREN, NJ -  Six Warriors scored in the double digits to lead the Watchung Hills boys basketball game over Somerville on Saturday, 82-54.

Mike Hopwood led Watchung Hills with 17 points, Dan Pilsbury added 14 points and eight rebounds, Steven Bressler sunk 15 points, Gavin DeFuria added 13 points, Micheal Bressler got 11 points and 10 assists and Chad Martini chipped in 10 points and ...

Watchung Appoints New Council Member

February 21, 2018

WATCHUNG, NJ - The Watchung Borough Town Council appointed Maria Alberto to fill the unexpired portion of Debra Joren’s term at the last meeting. The term expires at the end of 2018.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T2ReYfGuwPE

Joren retired earlier this year and due to the Public Employees' Retirement System (PERS) was required to resign from any public office within six ...

Somerville Merchants Endorse Plan to Reduce Parking Lot Fees

SOMERVILLE, NJ – The Borough’s controversial parking fees are set to undergo another revision, with hourly parking reduced from 75 to 50 cents in municipal lots 1,2,4 and 6, according to a merchant-driven plan endorsed by Mayor Ellen Brain.

The $1 hourly rate for parking on Main Street will remain the same, according to the mayor.

The hours of enforcement will also be changed to ...