Scotch Plains-Fanwood’s 2017 in Review: Top Government Stories

On Saturday, Sept. 9, Mayor Al Smith will meet with constituents at the Scotch Plains Farmers Market to discuss upcoming downtown redevelopment plans. Credits: Sean Conklin
2017 Fanwood Council portrait Credits: John Mooney
Liz Jeffery outlines the Fanwood Plaza walkway plan.
Ed Chrystal was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General on March 21, 2017.
Scotch Plains Mayor Al Smith has been elected to the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Conference of Mayors (NJCM) while filling one of four seats in Union County. Credits: Sean Conklin
Mayor Colleen Mahr with Fanwood Council members Kevin Boris, Russell Huegel, and Jack Molenaar. Credits: Brian Horton

SCOTCH PLAINS/FANWOOD, NJ – Scotch Plains began 2017 with a reorganization meeting that saw the swearing in of a new mayor, Al Smith, and a new councilman, Ted Spera. Llewellyn Jones became deputy mayor, while Democrats Rose Checchio and John Del Sordi became the minority on the governing body.

Meanwhile, Mayor Colleen Mahr outlined her vision for 2017 at Fanwood's Reorganization meeting.

Following the election of President Trump, SP-F residents participated in a Women’s March on Washington.

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One of Mayor Smith’s top priorities for 2017 was Downtown Redevelopment. Later in the year, the Township released results of a survey on redevelopment efforts. An additional survey found support for an expanded library/community center.

During the year, the Scotch Plains Council approved the possible use of Eminent Domain in the redevelopment process.

Fanwood also is in the midst of Redevelopment. The Borough’s redevelopment consultant, Liz Jeffery, made periodic updates about the progress in Fanwood’s downtown.

In July, The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority’s Board of Trustees approved more than $802,000 in funding for Fanwood's South Avenue Transportation Infrastructure Development Project.

Union County broke ground on a nearly $9 million upgrade to the facilities at Ashbrook Golf Course.

Renovations continue at the historic Shady Rest Clubhouse at Scotch Hills Golf Course.

Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr was named among Best 50 Women in Business for 2017 by NJBIZ.

Scotch Plains resident Ed Chrystal was promoted to rank of Brigadier General.

A controversial three-way stop at Sheelen’s Crossing and North Avenue near the Fanwood train station was passed by the Borough Council.

Moody’s upgraded Scotch Plains’s bond rating from Aa1 to Aaa.

Matt Mercurio resigned as Scotch Plains Recreation Director in October. Township Manager Al Mirabella announced that his replacement would be DJ Salvante.

Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr organized a well-attended vigil for victims of the Las Vegas shooting in October.

In the November elections, Russ Huegel and Anthony “Coach” Carter won seats on the Fanwood Borough Council while Amy Boroff won a write-in campaign to join the SPFK12 Board of Education as a Fanwood representative after longtime BOE member Jeanne Cleary stepped down.

Fanwood Mayor Colleen Mahr was one honored for her continuous leadership at the Women in Municipal Government Committee's awards dinner at League of Municipalities in Atlantic City. Meanwhile, Scotch Plains Mayor Al Smith was elected to the Board of Directors of the New Jersey Conference of Mayors.

The Scotch Plains Mayor’s Gala on Dec. 8 raised more than $20,000 for the restoration of the Rotary-Frazee House. Honorees were Vincent Losavio (Male Volunteer of the Year), Paulette Coronato (Female Volunteer of the Year), Pam and Rich Duthie (Couple Volunteer of the Year), and The Fanwood-Scotch Plains Rotary Frazee House (Organization of the Year).

The Fanwood Council said good-bye to outgoing Councilman Kevin Boris.

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Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Westfield Family Continues ‘Summer of Kindness’ with Infant Clothing Drive

July 12, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Westfield mom and teacher Sara Liptack is continuing her family’s “Summer of Kindess” with an infant clothing for Furniture Assist, an organization in Springfield that helps formerly homeless people, veterans, the elderly, fire victims, refugees and people fleeing domestic violence.

“I said, ‘What’s the one thing you really ...

It's Not What You Are Eating, It's What's Eating You


Emotional eating can be described as episodes of binge-eating, grazing and/or eating when not hungry to soothe feelings. Emotional eaters have a pattern of eating to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and problems of daily life.

Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Instead of physical symptoms initiating the eating, ...

Send a Message to Nick Scutari and His Cronies: Corruption Has No Place in Union County

July 19, 2018

Dear Editor:

The Union County Freeholders’ decision to appoint State Senator and newly-elected Union County Democratic Chairman, Nick Scutari’s chief of staff, Ed Oatman as County Manager smelled of corruption from the start.

To place a political consultant like Oatman in the role of overseeing 2,800 employees and running the day-to-day operations of the $500 million County ...

When to Dial 911: Scotch Plains Rescue Squad Tip of the Month

July 10, 2018

There are many times you should call 911. If you or someone around you is in true medical distress, such as experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pains, bleeding, possible stroke, or any other serious health issues, then 911 should be called as soon as possible. If there are wires down, fire, a crime in progress, or other dangerous conditions to people or property, call 911 ...

Union County Seeks Caring, Compassionate Volunteer Advocates

July 20, 2018

UNION COUNTY, NJ -- Union County residents who are looking for a unique way to give back to the community can apply to volunteer with the Union County Rape Crisis Center. Volunteers at the Rape Crisis Center provide judgement-free guidance for victims of sexual violence through a phone hotline. They may also accompany victims in person, to help them navigate medical, legal and law enforcement ...

Upcoming Events


Mon, July 23, 8:00 PM

Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains

View the Night Sky at the Scotch Plains Public ...

Arts & Entertainment Education


Wed, July 25, 6:00 PM

JCC of Central NJ, Scotch Plains

The JCC’s Barracudas Swim Team Meet the Coaches ...



Wed, July 25, 7:00 PM


Downtown Westfield 5K & Pizza Extravaganza