Press Releases

SOMADEMS Hosts Murphy, Brennan at Candidate Forum on April 25


SOMADEMS featured Democratic gubernatorial candidates Phil Murphy and Bill Brennan on Tuesday night for the group’s third and final Meet the Governor Candidates Forum, held at The Woodland in Maplewood.

“With only 42 days until the primary election, we need to have candidates stand up and tell us what they stand for,” said SOMADEMS’ President and Co-Founder Michael L. Minor. 

“We are happy to be here to present these two candidates for governor of New Jersey for you to ask your questions and dare them not to answer you,” Minor said.

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Murphy, a former U.S. ambassador to Germany and Goldman Sachs executive, told residents that he would pursue initiatives such as increasing the minimum wage, instituting earned sick leave for all, equal pay for equal work, making college more affordable, and tackling comprehensive criminal justice reform.

“We need to both grow the economy again and make this state fair again,” Murphy said. “With the right leadership and the right priorities, I believe we can.” 

He added, “If we don’t get the economy right, we don’t get New Jersey right.”

Murphy, who lives in Monmouth County, has served on the board of the NAACP and was finance chair of the Democratic National Committee. 

Brennan, a retired firefighter and longtime political activist from Wayne, outlined his vision for New Jersey, which includes good paying jobs, a vibrant economy, state of the art infrastructure, and a government with integrity. 

Brennan, who earned a law degree from Seton Hall Law School after retiring from the Teaneck Fire Department, added that he would take everything President Donald Trump has proposed and do the opposite.

“All of the things that we progressives hold dear is under attack,” he said. “The revenue from New Jersey is not the problem, it’s the theft from New Jersey voters that’s the problem.”

Brennan has drawn attention for filing a case last September against Gov. Chris Christie for misconduct in office related to the bridge closure scandal. 

The Candidates Forum was moderated by Matthew Traub, managing director and chief of staff at public relations firm DKC. Traub joined DKC after nearly a decade on Capitol Hill, working as chief of staff, press secretary and legislative director to Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y. He also has worked for Democratic Reps. Henry Waxman of California and Thomas Downey of New York. 

Tuesday night’s forum was the third Meet the Candidate Forum sponsored by SOMADEMS. The first candidate forum drew more than 250 people to the South Orange Performing Arts Center (SOPAC) on March 2 to meet New Jersey state Assemblyman John Wisniewski and former assistant U.S. Treasury Secretary Jim Johnson. A second candidate forum on March 30 featured Tenafly Councilman Mark Zinna and small business owner Lisa McCormick. 

SOMADEMS is a grassroots political group that was started to support Democratic candidates and progressive issues important to residents of South Orange and Maplewood on the local, state and federal level. The 1,300-member group is one of a growing number of local political groups that have sprung up in the last year to harness a sharp increase in political activism. 

New Jersey’s primary election for the governor’s race is on June 6 and the general election is on Nov. 7. Gov. Christie is term-limited and can’t run for a third term. 

New Jersey’s gubernatorial election will be one of the first major elections nationwide since the 2016 presidential election. Many Democrats see it as an opportunity to send a message about what they think of the Trump administration policies.

“We want to tell him that New Jersey says ‘No,’” SOMADEMS Co-Founder Larry Hirsch said.

For more information on the candidates: or

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AtlantiCast: Episode 13

On this episode of AtlantiCast, new clinical studies in the fields of cardiology and immunotherapy, national and statewide recognitions for Atlantic Health System medical centers and the inaugural AtlantiCast Collab Challenge!


South Orange Police Blotter - Adult Arrests for Shoplifting and DWI Reported

March 16, 2018

South Orange Police Blotter as of March 16

Adult Arrest/Shoplifting - William Minitee, a 45 year old Irvington resident was arrested on Thursday, March 8, at approximately 12:40 p.m. for shoplifting. Security officers at the Stop & Shop on Valley Street observed Minitee conceal several items on his person and then flee the store without paying for the items. Officers stopped a subject ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - Home Burglary, Burglary at DeHart Community Center Reported

March 4 - Burglary; At approximately 1:20 a.m., officers observed a male removing several items from inside DeHart Community Center. The male was identified as 22 year old Joe Carr of Irvington. He was arrested and charged with burglary.

March 6 - Burglary; At approximately 11:30 a.m., officers responded to a home on Broadview Avenue on a report of a ...

Most South Orange Maplewood Schools Plan to Participate in National School Walkout on Wednesday, March 14

March 12, 2018

SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ - On Wednesday, March 14, the Women’s March Youth EMPOWER is organizing a National School Walkout. According to the national march website, the walkout is for 17 minutes at 10 a.m. "to protest Congress’ inaction to do more than tweet thoughts and prayers in response to the gun violence plaguing our schools and neighborhoods... and to demand Congress ...

South Orange and Maplewood Share Snow Storm Photos

SOUTH ORANGE AND MAPLEWOOD, NJ — TAPinto SOMA wants your snow storm photos!

Send your pictures to and we'll add them here.

Check back later to see what your neighbors have added.

Upcoming Events

Sat, March 17, 7:00 PM

Bow Tie South Orange Cinemas, South Orange

18th Annual New Jersey Jewish Film Festival

Arts & Entertainment Religions And Spirituality

Sat, March 17, 8:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Strollers' Present John Patrick Shanley's "Doubt"

Arts & Entertainment

Sun, March 18, 2:00 PM

Burgdorff Center for the Performing Arts, Maplewood

Maplewood Strollers Present John Patrick ...

Arts & Entertainment

Millburn Township Battle Against Proposed Stop & Shop Comes to an End

March 15, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ --  Alexander McDonald, Millburn Township Business Administrator, announced that the 24-year court battle with Stop & Shop ended with a dismissal before the pending trial commenced. Originally, Millburn Township and the Board of Adjustments faced four separate suits, which was consolidated into one case for trial. 

McDonald stated: "This has been a ...

Newark High School Students Take Part in Nationwide Walkout, Calling for Gun Violence Change

NEWARK, NJ - High school students all across Newark walked out of their schools and into the streets as part of a national protest against gun violence, calling on politicians, parents, and the general population to push for real change in the wake of the Parkland shootings.

"Thoughts and prayers and not enough," chanted the entire 2,000-strong school population of students, teachers ...

Springfield Residents Cope as Power Slowly Returns

March 10, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - As of Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m. Springfield is showing outage of 2,677 or 25 percent, which is down from over 40 percent in the last two hours. It is also down from 68 percent at the peak. Union County at this point is over 20 percent of JCP&L’s statewide outages. Trucks are visible on Township streets with a caravan spotted on ...

Two Thirds of Springfield Without Power: Chisholm Open as a Warming Station, Trucks at Waverly Substation

SPRINGFIELD, NJ - The Chisholm Community Center was humming Friday afternoon as Springfield residents took shelter from the cold. Some residents have been without power since the first Nor’easter last Friday. With temperatures hitting a low of 30 degrees, many households were hovering around 50 indoors.  A FEMA grant recently obtained by the Engineering Department enabled Chisholm ...

Weekly Specials at Ashley Marketplace - March 16 to March 22

March 16, 2018

Shop Ashley Marketplace & Cafe for your everyday needs!

This week's specials are:

Litofish Sardines $5.99ea (Ashley Fish Market)
Total Fage Yogurt 4/$5
Aviv Passover Matzos 2/$7
Ground Beef $3.99lb (Meat)
Roasted Vegetables $7.99lb (Prep Food)
President Brie $6.99lb (Cheese)
Iceberg Lettuce $1.99
Serrano Ham $14.99lb (Deli)
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SOMA Film Festival Starts Friday Night, March 16

The 3rd annual SOMA Film Festival is finishing up the final touches before they kickoff this weekend's event at The Woodland, Bow Tie Cinemas in South Orange, and Maplewood Theater.  

With 16 screening programs there is something for everyone. The popular Kids Program is back for two engagements with both sold out as is the Opening Night Party and Screening. 

Tickets are still ...

West Orange Elementary Teacher Succumbs to Injuries Following Accident

WEST ORANGE, NJ - Washington Elementary School first-grade teacher Patricia Villarosa, 64, of West Orange, died on Friday at University Hospital after being struck by a car on Pleasant Valley Way on Feb. 26.

Villarosa was on her way to the West Orange Board of Education meeting at the time and was struck while crossing Pleasant Valley Way near West Orange High School. The driver, a 55-year-old ...