Maplewoodian by Joe Strupp

Campaign Clutter, Back to School and More

If you didn’t know there was a local election coming up, just look around.

The annual clutter of campaign signs and promotions hit big this month, with both a school board race and Maplewood Township Committee contest slated for November 7. 

And, of course, the governor’s election appears to have Democrat Phil Murphy all but anointed as the next Garden State chief. Most polls have the Goldman Sachs honcho up by 20 points or more, although a recent survey had it down to 13 percent. 

Sign Up for E-News

In mostly Democratic Maplewood, signs for his GOP challenger and Christie lieutenant Kim Guadagno are scarce at best.

But it’s the local races that give Maplewood that great lawn sign overkill. One corner near my house has no fewer than six different candidates’ names polluting the house fronts.

And two vacant storefronts on Springfield Avenue are now covered in signage. One run by a pro-Murphy voting group has the likely gov’s name filling its two windows, while the other -- at Prospect and Springfield -- mixes local Dems with our state representatives’ campaign scrawl. 

The TC race is pretty simple with Democratic nominee Dean Dafis and incumbent Mayor Vic Deluca facing Republican Mike Summersgill. The three are vying for Deluca’s seat and that being vacated by incumbent India Larrier, who chose not to run again. (Likely a good idea given her past anti-gay marriage stance).

If for nothing else, Summersgill gets points for not using lawn signs this round just as he did last year when he lost to Frank McGehee.

The GOP candidate’s reason for going sign-free is to help the environment (and we can agree the visual look of the Township). He has a website where you can purchase a “virtual” sign and donate to a local charity.  

Sadly this will not help him since the goal of the signs, awful as they are, is to promote your name and spread awareness. While the Township recently had a short battle with realtors over their for sale signs that included new restriction changes, campaign signs have no real limits thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court.

And it’s always interesting to see who is running with who via the lawn message. Dafis and Deluca are together on the Democratic ticket with signs proclaiming the duo. Some thought they might use Dean and Deluca, a reference to the high-end coffee company. Of course, who knows what litigation that might prompt.

Over in the school board race, Incumbent School Board President Elizabeth Baker has teamed with challenger Robin Johnson Baker, no relation, a former board member who served from 1998 to 2001. 

That produces the obvious Baker & Baker signage, which sounds like a law firm and seems to be the most prevalent around the two towns. One wonders if it will also spark confusion and have a voter opting for one Baker when they really wanted the other.

The two Bakers are among eight candidates vying for the three school board seats up for grabs. The others include incumbent Donna Smith (with her own signs) and challenger Anthony Mazzocchi (whose multi-color lawn images resemble a box of crayons).

Rounding out the school board field are Avery Julien, Felisha George, Shannon Cuttle, and Sheila Shidnia. Julien just graduated Columbia High School this year, while George is a 2012 grad. We have yet to see their signs.

Would-be candidates John Sarantakis and Lucas Calhoun recently dropped out, although their names may still appear on the ballot. Board member Maureen Jones is not running for re-election and has already endorsed Baker & Baker.

BACK TO SCHOOL

In other school district beginning-of-the-year items there was another update on the lead in the water issue, although it did little to offer specific plans – or even specific locations for the 13 drinking sources that were still problematic, not even saying which schools had which water sources.

That’s on top of the mice infestation we first reported weeks ago that apparently affected all Maplewood public schools, including CHS. It’s unclear why the school district, first informed of the problem by township health officials in late August, did not inform parents for three weeks – and only a day after we asked about it.

Did they know and keep it secret? Or did the letter to interim Superintendent Tom Ficarra not get to him?

Either way, the answer seems to be stop eating and leaving crumbs, etc. in school rooms.

On the positive front, the CHS back to school night was a big hit as usual. Along with Principal Elizabeth Aaron many students were roaming the halls to guide parents to and from classes, while teachers exuded enthusiasm and positive plans. Always a good sign.

As for Aaron, her welcoming speech was perfect, with a little demand for discipline and a lot of hope and outlook for good results. She did sprinkle in some interesting acknowledgement of the difficult past year for many, stating in part:

Last year, to be frank, was a difficult year for schools, and students and teachers, and our community and school district had some powerful and frank conversations about who we are, and who we want to be.  For me, those experiences – town hall meetings, board meetings, media coverage and more  - ultimately come to this: Our students expect us to do our jobs. They expect us to do our jobs as parents and guardians, as teachers and leaders, as coaches and mentors. They want us to be good at what we do, to be there for them when they falter, to push them when they are ready, and to be honest with them. They want us to hear them, see them, and to want them to do well.

And later this:

There is certainly cause for despair these days- it is simply the time we live in. Our children hear, see, and experience things that we would like to shield them from, lessen the blows of, or simply make disappear. But we usually cannot.  So we do our best to mitigate the damage the world may do us and our children, and we try to do our very best to build resilient and successful teens. There is great cause for joy, and work, and collaboration in our world – and that is what we are committed to at CHS this year.

MAPLEWOOD MENTIONS IN NEW JERSEY MONTHLY

Finally, the latest issue of New Jersey Monthly is worth a looksee, with two Maplewood mentions.

First, our own Tina Kelley has a great piece on the changing state laws regarding adoption and secrecy (or not) for birth parents. Herself an adoptee, Kelley talked to a handful of Jersey folks who found their first parents and what it meant.

Then there’s Dana Siomkos and Zane Latta of Colgate Road who had their home improvements highlighted in the magazine’s “Low Budget, High Style” pages.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Like

Sign Up for E-News

SOMA

Village Coffee Sign Tweaks Starbucks, Clarus Twitter Trails, and School Shuffles

When Starbucks coffee opened in the new Clarus development complex at the former Maplewod Village post office site, some wondered what effect it might have on Village Coffee, the longtime java spot just down the street.

Village Coffee owner Ketan Patel sees no big impact as of yet and a visit to the shop finds the same customer traffic as usual.

One addition, however, is a sign posted at ...

South Orange Maplewood School District Board of Education Update - October 16 Meeting

October 21, 2017

Highlights from the October 16, 2017, meeting of the Board of Education.

Overview

Before the meeting began, Columbia High School students Josie Sandor and Mary Arevallo were sworn in as the new Student Representative and Alternate Student Representative to the Board of Education.

The meeting began with a celebration that Seth Boyden Elementary, South Mountain Elementary, and Tuscan ...

Marshall School Recognizes Hispanic Heritage Month

It is Hispanic Heritage Month and at Marshall Elementary School Mr. Martínez’s 2nd grade class honored the histories, cultures and contributions of famous individuals whose ancestors or they themselves came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Hispanic Heritage Month is observed in the United States from September 15th through October 15th. These ...

South Orange - Maplewood Board of Education Election: Felicia George and Avery Julien Candidate Statement

October 19, 2017

Putting Students First!

South Orange-Maplewood School Board candidates Felicia George (CHS ’12) and Avery Julien (CHS ’17) have unveiled their campaign platform focused on Putting Students First! The two first-time candidates and recent Columbia High School graduates are trading upon their on-the-ground experience as students in the school district ...

South Orange Police Blotter - Four Bicycle Thefts from Train Stations

October 19, 2017

South Orange Police Blotter as of October 19

Theft of Bicycle - An Orange resident reported that sometime between 3:30 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. on Wednesday, October 11, actor(s) unknown stole his black and yellow Mongoose brand bicycle that was locked and secured to a bike rack at the South Orange Train Station.

Theft of Bicycle - A South Orange resident reported that ...

Maplewood Police Blotter - 7 Thefts from Autos and 2 Vehicle Thefts Reported

October 10 - Shoplifting; At approximately 3:30 p.m. Wawa reported that a male left the building with several items without paying. Responding officers were able to locate the male a short distance away. The male, 51 year old Gregory Singleton of Union was arrested for shoplifting as well as an outstanding warrant.

October 10 - Malicious Damage; Sometime during the ...

SOMA Two Towns for All Ages to Host 'Repair Cafe' on Saturday, Oct. 21

October 19, 2017

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - There are over 1,000 Repair Cafés worldwide and the first one in New Jersey in coming to SOMA this Saturday, October 21, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Morrow Memorial Church (600 Ridgewood Road, Maplewood).

The Repair Cafe was suggested by South Orange resident Lorraine Graves, who brought the concept to Cathy Rowe, the coordinator of SOMA: Two Towns for ...

'Strut Your Mutt' Parade in South Mountain Dog Park on Saturday, Oct. 21

MAPLEWOOD, NJ -  This Saturday, October 21, is Strut Your Mutt, the annual Essex County Canine Halloween Costume Parade and Contest.

Two parades are planned, one at 2 p.m. in the afternoon (with registration at 1:15 p.m.) at the Essex County South Mountain Dog Park on Crest Drive in Maplewood/Millburn, and one at 10 a.m. in the morning (with registration at 9:15 a.m.) at ...

Upcoming Events

Sun, October 22, 11:00 AM

The Ethical Culture Society of Essex County, Maplewood

Families for Ethical Education Initiative

Education

Carousel_image_29692e3404b1fe2cdc2c_howard_schwartz_book_cover

Sun, October 22, 12:30 PM

Words Bookstore, Maplewood

Local Author Howard Schwartz Reading at Words ...

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_f955200099cecce79677_unnamed

Sun, October 22, 12:30 PM

The Woodland, Maplewood

Diwali Fest NJ 2017

Arts & Entertainment Religions And Spirituality

Donna Smith for BOE - one of hardest working members of our Board

October 16, 2017

I’m pleased to endorse Donna Smith for a second term of the Board of Education.

Donna has been involved with our public schools since 1998, first as a PTA mom and as a BOE member since 2015. Throughout her years of service, Donna has been an advocate for all children to have options and choices over their academic careers, in terms of subject matter and finding the course environment ...

Donna Smith - a fierce, consistent, commitment to improving the educational experience of all of our students.

Donna Smith stands out in the crowded field of BOE candidates. She has a long and continuous history of service to SOMA schools. She knows our past and has a vision for our future. Donna is level-headed, reasonable, practical, thoughtful, and hard-working. Most importantly, Donna has demonstrated a fierce, consistent, commitment to improving the educational experience of all of our ...

Family Health

Second Opinion on Breast Cancer Program Offers Peace of Mind

A breast cancer diagnosis can change a person’s life. And during such devastating news, the sheer amount of information regarding treatment and follow-up care can quickly become overwhelming. However, patients are not alone in this fight. Atlantic Health System’s Breast Cancer Second Opinion Program at Carol G. Simon Cancer Center, Overlook Medical Center, is helping provide peace of ...

Christie, Booker, and Baraka Show Strong Support for Newark to be Next Amazon HQ

October 17, 2017

NEWARK, NJ - A bipartisan trinity of New Jersey politico firepower assembled in downtown Newark to shoot the first salvo needed to score a major economic triumph for New Jersey's largest city: the construction in Newark of the new corporate headquarters for Amazon, the world's largest online retailer.  

All three of the prime politicians in place inside Rutgers Business ...

Former President Obama to Visit Newark to Campaign for Murphy

NEWARK, NJ - Former U.S. President Barack Obama is scheduled to roll into downtown Newark on Thursday to campaign for the Democratic New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Phil Murphy as the battle to run New Jersey heats up in the race's final weeks. 

Obama's appearance in New Jersey's largest city less than three weeks before the Nov. 7 election on behalf of ...

Union Man Indicted in Stabbing Death of His Father

October 21, 2017

UNION, NJ – A five-count indictment has been returned against a Union man charged with fatally stabbing his father in May, acting Union County Prosecutor Thomas K. Isenhour announced Friday.

Jeffrey Adams, 21, is charged with first-degree murder, second-degree aggravated arson, third-degree hindering apprehension, and two related weapons offenses in connection with the death of his ...

Owners of Westfield's ‘Watcher House’ Considering Appeal After Judge Dismisses Lawsuit

WESTFIELD, NJ — The current owners of the notorious “Watcher House” at 657 Boulevard are considering an appeal after Superior Court Judge Camille M. Kenny dismissed the civil lawsuit against the former owners on Wednesday, according to the family’s attorney, Lee Levitt.

In a statement provided by the Broaddus family to their attorney, they maintain that, in ...

Mahopac’s Frank Lloyd Wright House Back on the Market

October 12, 2017

MAHOPAC, NY — If you have about $15 million to spare, you can own the Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired home, which comes with its own island, on Lake Mahopac.

The iconic home, once rumored to have been purchased by Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (those rumors were false), is back on the market with a selling price of $14,920,000.

The sale is being handled by high-end real estate brokers ...

Maplewood Catering Company Takes Top Prize for Best Digital Marketing Plan at NJ Small Business Development Centers' Fourth Annual Internet Marketing Week

October 21, 2017

The New Jersey Small Business Development Centers network through its Headquarters at Rutgers Business School wrapped up its fourth annual Internet Marketing Week (IMW), where 20 small business owners came together to receive four days of intensive counseling-training on developing a digital blueprint strategy for their companies.

The specialized sessions were presented at Rutgers Business ...

Advisory Message from Maplewood Police: Bicycle Theft Prevention-Locks

The Maplewood Police Department had several reported bicycle thefts reported last month. Some of these thefts were unsecured bicycles, but many were of bicycles that had been locked up by their owners. It appears that the majority of these locks that were defeated by the thieves were the cable lock style. Although the Maplewood Police Department does not endorse a specific style or brand, below ...

Weekly Specials at Ashley Marketplace & Cafe - October 20 to October 26

Shop Ashley Marketplace & Cafe for your everyday needs!

This week's specials are:

Tuna Steaks  $12.99lb (Ashley Fish Market)
Sweet Scoops Frozen Yogurt $4.99
Boar’s Head Hard Salami $8.99lb (Deli)
Food Should Taste Good Tortilla Chips  2/$6
Asparagus $2.49lb
Grilled London Broil $10.99lb (Prep Food)
Bottom Round Roast $4.98 (Meat)
Stonyfield ...