Police & Fire

Seven Union County Fire Academy Graduates Join Scotch Plains Department

(left to right) Scotch Plains Deputy Chief John Lestarchick, Township Manager Al Mirabella, Deputy Mayor Colleen Gialenella, Alexander Wright, Robert Villegas, Nicholas Letkowski, Matthew Blanck, Rick Villafrade, Tyler Bowman, Raymond Kaiser, Fire Chief Jon Ellis, and Battalion Chief Skip Paal. Credits: Jim Lowney

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ – The Union Fire Academy congratulated 26 recruits who finished basic firefighter training courses which ran in the Fall of 2014 and Spring of 2015.

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Seven of the graduates, Alexander Wright, Robert Villegas, Nicholas Letkowski, Matthew Blanck, Rick Villafrade, Tyler Bowman, and Raymond Kaiser will joined Scotch Plains Fire Department upon completion of the training. SPFD now has 32 firefighters on staff.

“We’ve done well recruiting. I have two captains who work on that primarily,” said Fire Chief John Ellis. “We’ve put on ten people in the last year in a half alone.”

Raymond Kaeser III earned the Chief Anthony Schepis Award for Excellence in Firefighter 1 while Robert Villegas earned both the Schepis Award for Excellence and the Battalion Chief Ken Nocera Memorial Award for Outstanding Excellence in Firefighter 1.

The annual graduation ceremony was held at Union County College in Cranford with an awards ceremony for individual merits.

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Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Sinai or Sanctuary?



And in the beginning, G‑d was homeless, and so G‑d asked His people to set Him up with some digs. Where does it say that? Well, nowhere, actually. But it does say that G‑d instructed Moses to tell the people, “They shall make for Me a Sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.”

Now the question is, was G‑d really homeless? ...

Former Cranford Mayor Endorses Nick Scutari for Democratic Chair

February 17, 2018

Dear Editor:

Having Senator Scutari lead the (Democratic) party would certainly put Cranford in a good position for resolving the issues we face such as gun control, flood mitigation and public safety.

Union County is made up of urban and suburban communities, that we need to protect. The stronger our communities are, the stronger the diversity and our being connected will be.

Senator ...

Being Alone on Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2018

Valentine’s Day is a day filled with Hallmark cards, chocolate covered strawberries, red roses and special dining.  It’s a day to express our love and affection to those close to us.  Some of us have expectations that this day will be blissful, we may even receive that diamond ring that represents engagement or marriage.

Valentine’s Day can be a wonderful time if ...

Soccer: Union Catholic's Izzy DiDario Signs With Stevens Tech

February 17, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Union Catholic's Izzy DiDario, one of the premier high school goalies in the state, has signed a National Letter of Intent to play soccer at Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken. 

"I've been wanting to do something like this for a long time, so it's such an exciting day to make it official,'' said DiDario. "And to have all my ...

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