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Essex County Dedicates Memorial Plaque to Matt McGrath in Essex County Verona Park

Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. and Gloria Beneduce McGrath unveil a memorial bronze plaque in memory of the late Matthew BeneduceMcGrath on August 9 in Essex County Verona Park. Credits: Photo courtesy of Essex County

Verona, NJ – Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr. dedicated a memorial bronze plaque in memory of the late Matthew BeneduceMcGrath on Wednesday, August 9th in Essex County Verona Park. McGrath, a resident of Verona who owned a popular sign-making shop in the township, lost his life when he was attempting to cross Bloomfield Avenue in June 2016.

“Born in Indiana, Matt moved to Essex County and adopted Verona as his hometown and the base of operations for his sign-making business. His signs captured the essence of the places they promoted and were a form of public art because of the intricate design, materials and passion Matt invested in each project, including the signs for each of our County Parks,” DiVincenzo said. “Unfortunately, Matt’s life was taken from us too soon. Having a plaque in his honor will help us remember a beloved friend and artist who was part of the fabric of our community,” he added.

“I want to thank everyone for their support. Matt was an artist, a perfectionist and a friend. He would have been thrilled with this great honor,” McGrath’s wife Gloria said.

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Elected officials and friends shared stories about McGrath.

“As I listened to the many tributes, I am reminded about the famous quote: ‘Let my work speak for me.’ Matt’s work speaks for him. Just as the County Parks are historic and were restored by the County Executive, so is the work by Matt. He was a true artisan,” Assembly Speaker Emeritus Sheila Oliver said.

“Signs were his craftsmanship and they were beautiful. Today we honor him for his legacy which, in addition to this plaque, can be seen in all of his signs throughout the Parks System,” Freeholder Len Luciano said. Freeholder Patricia Sebold also spoke about McGrath and how his signs have been artistic features of the parks.

“I know Matt through his work. Every week, I sit under a seal that Matt carved for Town Hall. We are honored to have his plaque here at this corner by the Park. It’s the most fitting place,” Verona Mayor Kevin Ryan said.

“Matt was a classic individual in the way he went about his work and his creativity. His artwork will remain a part of Essex County forever,” Essex County Parks Director Dan Salvante said.

“Matt was a very dear friend who came into our office every day. He was born 100 years too late because he didn’t use any modern tools to make his signs,” Hillcrest Farms owner Pat Filoso said.

“Matt was a great friend and a fantastic sign maker. He was never on time for a meeting because he had so many friends along Bloomfield Avenue and had to say hello and talk whenever he left his shop,” GSP Contracting President Greg Peterson said.

A bronze plaque honoring McGrath is located in front of the Verona Park Boathouse; Verona Park was one of the County Parks for which he created decorative signage. It begins with a quote from McGrath about his work: “Our signs are three-second storytellers.” It continues with: “He came to Verona by way of Indiana, and resided there for 29 years, with his wife, Gloria (nee Beneduce). The shop Benegrathic Sign Design, where he created handcrafted signs for a broad range of locations and organizations, was also located in his adopted hometown. Throughout Essex County, you can see his work welcoming you to Montclair, Verona and Roseland, and one of his signs greets visitors at each of Essex County’s historic parks. The signs, of high-density urethane foam to withstand the elements and individually produced, are made with 23 karat gold leaf and sometimes include details of mahogany and other woods. A sign, he observed, is the “voice of the building, the mission, the space” and, as such, has its own personality, so that an exuberant sign for a local café is different from the dignified one for a municipal courtroom. One of Matt’s favorites was the sign he did for Seton Hall Prep, which exhibits his sign philosophy best, because it not only identifies the school, but welcomes everyone in a first-class manner. Matt will be missed.”

McGrath was an active member of the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio, and supported VFW Post 2342 in Fort Lee.

The Essex County Park System was created in 1895 and is the first county park system established in the United States. The Park System consists of more than 6,000 acres and has 23 parks, five reservations, an environmental center, a zoo, Treetop Adventure Course, ice skating rink, roller skating rink, three public golf courses, golf driving range, two miniature golf courses, three off-leash dog facilities, a castle and the Presby Memorial Iris Gardens. Verona Park is 54.32 acres, making it the fifth largest in the Essex County Park System. The land was acquired in 1920 by the Essex County Park Commission and the Olmstead Brothers were commissioned to design the park.

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Nutley Residents Reminded to Clear Snow from Sidewalks within 24 Hours of Snowfall

March 22, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - All property owners are required by law to clear snow from sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of a snowstorm. When possible use grassy areas to pile snow. 

The Township of Nutley reminds everyone that there are ordinances regarding tossing snow into the street.

Residents are also reminded to clear all snow from their vehicles. Snow can be carried off ...

Delayed Opening for All Nutley Schools Thursday March 22, 2018

As we anticipated, the Nutley Public Schools will have a 90-minute delayed opening on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

Delayed opening times are as follows:

NHS  9:35 AM
Elementary, including Full Day Pre-School 10:00 AM

AM Pre-School and AM Extended Day are canceled.
A link to the delayed opening schedule can be found here.

Please be ...

Upcoming Events


Fri, March 23, 6:30 PM

Parks and Recreation Department , Nutley

Nutley Crew Beefsteak/Tricky Tray

Food & Drink Sports


Fri, March 23, 7:00 PM

West Orange High School , West Orange

WOHS Band Council Presents: A Concert for the ...

Arts & Entertainment Education Health & Wellness


Sat, March 24, 9:00 AM

Nutley High School, Nutley

Academic Booster Club History Fair



Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Nutley Park ShopRite , Nutley

Scouting for Food Drive at Nutley Park ShopRite ...

Food & Drink Giving Back


Sat, March 24, 10:00 AM

Military Park, Newark

#NeverAgain March For Our Lives

Government Health & Wellness


Sat, March 24, 6:00 PM

Nutley Elks Lodge , Nutley

Nutley Elks 8th Annual Wild Game Charity Dinner

Food & Drink Giving Back


Sat, March 24, 7:30 PM

Livingston High School, Livingston

Livingston Symphony Orchestra: "Water. water.

Arts & Entertainment

Delayed Opening for All Nutley Schools Thursday March 22, 2018

March 21, 2018

As we anticipated, the Nutley Public Schools will have a 90-minute delayed opening on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

Delayed opening times are as follows:

NHS  9:35 AM
Elementary, including Full Day Pre-School 10:00 AM

AM Pre-School and AM Extended Day are canceled.
A link to the delayed opening schedule can be found here.

Please be ...

March 20 Weather Update for Nutley Schools

UPDATED 9:00 p.m. - As the Governor has called a State of Emergency for the Nor’Easter in our area, all Nutley Public Schools will be closed on Wednesday, March 21, 2018.

All after school and evening events, held in our buildings on Wednesday, are canceled as well.

Based on actual snowfall, a delayed opening may be needed on Thursday, March 22. We will be in touch with ...


Prism Capital Partners, ON3 to Host Suburban Revitalization Forum March 8 in Nutley

March 6, 2018

NUTLEY, NJ - Prism Capital Partners and On3 will present the second part of a Suburban Revitalization Forum on March 8 in the auditorium of Building 200 on the ON3 campus. Each forum will begin at 6:30 p.m. 

Part two of the series, March 8,will discuss ways redevelopment can be tailored to take advantage of the demographic, socio-economic and lifestyle changes and ...

Speaker Added to March 8 Suburban Revitalization Forum - Chris Porter

NUTLEY, NJ - A Suburban Revitalization Forum will be presented by Prism Capital Partners and ON3 on March 5 and 8 at 6:30 p.m. on the ON3 campus, in the auditorium of Building 200 on Metro Boulevard, 340 Kingsland Street, Nutley.

The two-part series will feature nationally recognized speakers who will examine trends in urban planning and future growth as New ...

United States Post Office Mailboxes Burglarized in West Essex Towns

March 22, 2018

FAIRFIELD, NJ — Local police departments are actively investigating burglaries and thefts involving United States Post Office mailboxes in Fairfield, Caldwell, West Caldwell, Livingston, Pine Brook and Orange.

According to the Fairfield Police Department, the Fairfield incident occurred sometime between March 15 at 5 p.m. and March 16 at 5 p.m. In this most recent incident, two mailboxes ...

Student-Led March for Our Lives to Take Place in Montclair, Mar. 24

MONTCLAIR, NJ - Montclair and surrounding-area students are planning to participate in a movement called 'March for Our Lives' taking place on Saturday, March 24. Part of a nationwide movement to pass common-sense gun legislation in America, the students plan on gathering in several places across the state of New Jersey, including Montclair, Maplewood, Paterson, Union and ...

Springfield Fire Department Delivers Baby on West I-78

March 21, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - On March 20, 2018 at 8:14 a.m. the Springfield Fire Department was dispatched to Route 78 Westbound near milepost 50.2 for a report of a woman in labor on the side of the road.  

Captain Mastroeni (Unit 2) & Chief Palumbo (Unit 1) were the first units to arrive on scene, and quickly recognized that the woman would be unable to make it to the hospital in time for ...

Technology ‘Hub’ proposed for Hub City’s downtown, covering 12 acres

NEW BRUNSWICK – State and city officials on Monday unveiled plans for a “hub” for research in the fields of technology and health care services to stretch over 12 acres.

Gov. Phil Murphy, speaking at a meeting at Rutgers University, said the "Innovation and Technology Hub,” which is in the planning stages, would include construction of 2 million to 4 million ...

Avon Loses Its Last ‘Grand’ Hotel to the Claw of an Excavator

March 18, 2018

AVON-BY-THE-SEA, NJ — In less than two days, an Avon-by-the-Sea landmark that stood for 130 years was reduced to a huge pile of rubble. The Norwood Inn no longer stands on the corner of Norwood and Second Avenues — the last of the stately hotels that once graced the streets of Avon.

As onlookers gathered around the demolition site on March 15 and March 16, an excavator clawed its ...

Nutley Police Department Blotter March 10 to 16, 2018

March 17, 2018

 The Police Blotter is compiled each week by Det. Sgt. Anthony Montanari of the Crime Intelligence Public Information Division of the Nutley Police Department.

Please note:  All parties placed under arrest have been assigned a court date and remain innocent until proven guilty of those charges at their respective hearing

Anyone who has information about any crimes can send a (non ...

How Can Sports Therapy Loosen Up Winter Muscles?

Whether you are new to the gym or a seasoned athlete, the winter weather can affect your body. In these cold conditions, muscles are forced to work harder to complete tasks. This extra effort can result in muscle soreness and damage to tissue. While you may not be able to avoid the cold, preventive measure can help avoid discomfort and injury. Learning and implementing sports therapy techniques, ...

Pro Staff Institute announces partnership with Uber Health

NUTLEY, NJ - Pro Staff Institute is proud to announce their participation in Uber Health, a new transportation program designed to provide transportation to patients. Pro Staff Institute is the first physical therapy center in the nation to leverage Uber Health, and joins over other 100 health care organizations in the U.S., including hospitals, clinics, rehab centers and senior care ...

The Negative Effects Of Prolonged Sitting And Workplace Tips From Pro Staff Physical Therapy

In recent years, media outlets have described sitting as the new smoking. This may seem like a stretch, but once you break that statement down it carries some truth. Cigarettes were not thought to be the cause of lung cancer and other serious diseases until the 1950s. Like the cigarette industry in the 1920s, the effects of prolonged sitting throughout the workday has largely been ignored and ...

The Other Way NFSB Feeds Families

I remember how my teenage pride swelled the first time a friend confided in me for emotional support. Before long, my phone was clogged nightly as friends tapped my unearthed talent to lament breakups, or collapse under academic expectation. Because therapy was in the shadows then, and often thought of as a crutch for the “sick” or the “weak,” parents never sought ...

The Women Artists of Nutley Exhibit at the Nutley Public Library

 Enjoy an exhibit of new works by members of The Women Artists of Nutley in the gallery and display case of the Nutley Public Library during the months of March and April. Acrylic, gouache and watercolor paintings as well photography, pastels and drawings by these talented women will be featured.

Women’s History Month is celebrated in the United States in March every year. This art ...

Educational Leadership with Coach Tom Gargiulo

Learn some of the secrets of high-performing teachers and students with “Coach” Tom Gargiulo on Thursday, March 1st at 7:00 p.m. Motivate yourself and others with time-tested tips and strategies presented by Coach Tom in a lively and interactive manner. Mr. “G” is in his 28th year of teaching and coaching and teaches Physical Education at ...

Nutley United Soccer Club - Spring Season

The Nutley United Soccer Club is the travel division of the soccer program offered by the Nutley Parks & Recreation Department directed by Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci. Teams play in the very competitive Northern Counties Soccer Association against towns in Northern NJ and Lower NY State. The travel soccer program offers a high level of instruction by professional trainers and experienced ...

Registration for Spring Tennis Lessons Now Open

Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci announces Spring Tennis Lesson registration is now open!  The Nutley Department of Parks and Recreation offers a top quality tennis program, directed under the supervision of Barry Rubach, an accredited member of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association and former Collegiate Champion.  Classes range in age groups starting in 1st grade and continuing through ...

Commissioner Tucci Opens Registration For Toddler Sports Sampler

Commissioner Mauro G. Tucci and the Nutley Department of Parks and Recreation are pleased to open registration for Toddler Sports Sampler.  This program is for Nutley youngsters ages 3-5. Not quite sure sport your child loves most? Look no further!  This class allows kids to participate in a variety of sports that will help them in their decision of which sport they enjoy most. Each ...

The Jaffe Briefing - March 22, 2018


STATEWIDE - It's been excruciating to write about snow; there's only so much you can blindly repeat without sounding like a 24-hour news channel. The final totals: 14 inches in the central and southern part of the state, and at least 5 inches in all northern counties. Yippee.  As of 6 a.m. this morning, the utility companies were ...

Mis-management At Presby Threatens the Future of the Garden

March 22, 2018

Dear Editor,

It is with concern that I bring this subject to the attention to all who care and treasure the Presby Memorial Iris Garden, which along with the cherry trees of Branch Brook Park is one of the crown jewels of the Essex County Park System.  This historic garden founded 90 years ago by Frank Presby on  Upper Mt. Ave. is known internationally for its collection which ...

An Open Letter to Steven Rogers, and Anyone Else Misguided About NHS’s Participation in the National School Walkout

To Commissioner Steven Rogers, and whomever else it may concern,

My name is Gabrielle Mackiewicz, and I am a 15-year-old sophomore at Nutley High School. On Wednesday, March 14, 2018, I took part in the National School Walkout at 10:00 a.m., and I have seen a lot of your ideas about the event on several different social media platforms. I am writing this to address some of these concerns.

Ten Ways to Be Productive on a Snow Day

March 7, 2018

Another Nor’Easter has smacked us in the face today.  After so many of us lost power for what seemed to be an eternity, it’s a good time to make up for lost productivity and work on the famous Stephen Covey Quadrant 2 Activities.  What are they you may ask?  Those are the activities that are Important, yet not urgent (well some of them can be).  In other ...

Mountainside Medical Center Offers New 24/7 Senior Mental Health Helpline

March 21, 2018

Montclair, NJ -- Mountainside Medical Center has established a 24/7 Senior Intervention Helpline to address the behavioral health concerns of area residents age 65 and older.  Seniors in distress, along with authorized caregivers for the elderly who aren’t sure where to turn for help, are urged to call (973) 429-6073 whenever assistance from the hospital’s team of specially ...

Boy Scout of America’s Prepared For Life Dinner Features Captain Mark Kelly

The Northern New Jersey Council of the Boy Scout of America’s Fourth Annual Prepared for Life, Friends of Scouting Dinner will feature NASA space mission commander and American hero Captain Mark Kelly.

The event will be held on April 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Venetian in Garfield, 546 River Dr. The event starts with a reception hour at 6 p.m.

Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center Presents:Ron Guidry Book Signing, Apr. 3

Ron Guidry, known as "Gator" and "Louisiana Lightning" to his teammates, quickly rose in 1977 to become the ace of the Yankees' stellar pitching staff, helping the team regarded as one of the most famous and controversial in Yankees history to win two World Series championships. 

Join us on Tuesday, April 3 for a signing of Guidry's new ...

Queen Mary and the Cruiser

Queen Mary and the Cruiser by David A. Thomas and Patrick Holmes (Naval Institute Press, 1997)

“Had the forenoon watch and after eating went out onto the fo'c'sle. Just arrived at the top of the ladder by the PO's heads when the wave hit me---waist high---and knocked me over. Looking astern---through the bulkhead door which was open, saw the stern of a ship sticking up out of ...

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote (Random House, 1965)


In Cold Blood is, quite simply, the grand-daddy of true crime writing, dubbed by Capote, himself, as the first non-fiction novel (although Norman Mailer argued the point when he published The Executioner's Song in 1979.) The conditions under which I read In Cold Blood for the first time were pretty weird, which was another ...

Ian Hockley Visits New Jersey to Introduce Program to Empower Youth

This week I am taking a departure from book reviewing to share an important program that has been introduced to New Jersey this week by Mr. Ian Hockley, founder of the Dylan's Wings of Change Foundation. On December 14, 2012, Hockley's five year old son, an autistic child named Dylan, was gunned down in his classroom in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Dylan, a shy and adorable ...


- Mar 14, 2018
Past Deputy Grand Marshall of St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Merchant Marine veteran James J.
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Nov 23, 1963 - Mar 12, 2018
Jeffrey Roy Imhoff passed away on March 12, 2018. He was a lifelong resident of Nutley, graduating ...
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