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Neighbor Tells Grandma of Roxbury Kid With Cancer to Clean Her Yard, Town Responds in Force

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Letter left in mailbox of Elise Ryan
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Elise Ryan, left, talks with neighbor Joan Starego
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People clean the yard of Elise Ryan
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ROXBURY, NJ — The dark side of humanity presented itself last Friday to Landing resident Elise Ryan. It came in the form of anonymous letter, stuck in her mailbox, telling her to "show some pride" and clean up her property.

The bright side of humanity showed up today. Dozens of Roxbury residents - including many young people - converged to tidy up the grounds of Ryan, the grandmother of 10-year-old Matt Adonis, a beloved Roxbury athlete undergoing treatment for a brain tumor.

The message was clear: You don't chastise the property-upkeep efforts of a 70-year-old widow who's been stretched thin trying to help her grandson fight for his life. At least not in Roxbury.

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In fact, that message was spelled out on a series of handwritten signs — crafted by Succasunna resident Robert Katz and Matt's mother, Alyssa Adonis — attached to Ryan's roadside fence. "To my neighbor who left me a nasty letter about my yard in my mailbox and didn't sign it ... My priority is my 10-year (old) grandson who has been in the hospital fighting for his young & precious life," say the orange signs. "I have been busy caring for his twin sister, their house and pets!!"

Ryan has an idea who stuffed the nasty-gram in her mailbox. But she's not looking to retaliate. "Whoever it is, I forgive them," she said today, as leaf-blowers hummed, a riding mower churned and her yard quickly became aligned with the letter-writer's rude request. Ryan said the ugliness of the note's author's heart is "their problem, not mine."

'Find the time ... Show some pride'

"Please take some time and clean up your property," said the typed missive. "If you found the time to put up Christmas decorations, perhaps you can find the time to take them down."

Ryan, who lives with her dog, named Captain, acknowledges she hadn't put away some gingerbread men. But the outdated decorations weren't the only things that annoyed the self-anointed Succasunna Road Property Maintenance Patrol.

"Clean up the leaves and twigs," they advised. "There is usually trash on your sidewalk or in the road after the animals go through it on Tuesday night. That is never cleaned up. Show some pride in your property and the property of your neighbors."

Ryan, who has lived in the house 40 years and has been alone there for eight, said she last did a property clean-up in the fall. She also said her daughter actually had made an appointment with a company to come and do some yard-work as a birthday present for Ryan. That was before the letter arrived.

When it did, Alyssa Adonis became upset and posted it on Facebook. That led to the big turnout of helpers who showed up today, including members of Matt's sports teams, the Roxbury High School Interact Club and other groups.

Patrick Tucker, a Roxbury High School graduate who owns Tucker's Lawn & Landscape, showed up to help. Roxbury High School sophomore Adam Reingold - who has a venture called Adam's Lawncare - piloted a riding mower. Roxbury Rotary Club member Steve Alford manned a leaf blower. 

Roxbury Councilman Richard Zoschak was there too, expressing amazement at the number of helpers scurrying around. "I think it's a darn good turnout her to help these people," he said. 

Joan Starego, who lives across the street from Ryan, had tears in her eyes. "I've known this lady for 40 years," she said. "She would give the shirt off her back." Starego said the letter "is the meanest thing anyone could do" to Ryan, who is a cancer survivor.

As the volunteers did their best and TV crews filmed the action, Adonis expressed thanks that she lives in a town with plenty of good people to offset the jerks.

"Everybody is so unbelievable, kind and forgiving here," she said. "I can't believe it. This town of Roxbury has been awesome to me."

 

 

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Union

Rec on Wheels Cancelled for Tuesday Due to Heavy Rains

July 17, 2018

 

UNION, NJ - Due to inclement weather, the Rec on Wheels event scheduled for Tuesday at Joe Collins Park is canceled. 

The program will resume on Wednesday, July 18 at Sgt. Herbet Davis Park located at 940 Arcadia Place, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m., with a variety of outdoor games and activities.

Union Rec to Host Instructional Co-Ed Basketball Clinic

UNION, NJ - The Union Recreation Department will host an instructional, co-ed basketball clinic Wednesday, Aug. 15 and Wednesday, Aug. 22, at Davis Park, 940 Arcadia Place.

The clinic, featuring fun drills and games, will run from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. for participants in third- through fifth-grade and 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders.

Participants must be Union ...

The Week Ahead in Union

UNION, NJ - Happenings in Union this week:t

Monday, 7/09

Union Township Active Retirees (Monday Club), 10:00 a.m., Senior Center
Let's Create: Perler Parlor, 1:00 p.m., Union Public Library
Adult Prize Bingo, 2:00 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library
Construction Zone, 3:30 p.m., Union Public Library
Career Coach, 5:30 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library
Beatles: The BeAginnings, 6:30 ...

Upcoming Events

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Wed, July 18, 10:15 AM

Union Public Library, Union

Chair Yoga in the Library

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Wed, July 18, 2:00 PM

Vauxhall Public Library, union

Women Entrepreneur Support Group

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Wed, July 18, 3:00 PM

Union Public Library, Union

Teen Paint and Sip

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Wed, July 18, 6:00 PM

Vauxhall Public Library, Union

Club Teen: Game Time

Union's Mayor Talks About Streetscapes

The Township Committee and I are excited to announce that the second phase of the Streetscape Project has begun.  After the successful completion of phase one that yielded great results, we have already seen an increase in foot traffic, which is essential in jump-starting Union Center and bringing in the higher caliber retailers that residents are looking for in the Center.

Following the ...

Stacy Fortes of Union Graduates from Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child

July 5, 2018

SUMMIT, NJ,  — Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child held its 90th commencement ceremony on Sunday, June 10, on its 11-acre campus in Summit. The 63 graduates kept with school tradition and donned white gowns and gloves, and carried pink roses.

Union graduate Stacy Fortes will be attending Kean University in the fall.

Oak Knoll School of the Holy Child is a ...

Roselle Man Charged in Animal Cruelty Case      

July 11, 2018

ELIZABETH, NJ — The Roselle man found with more than 40 dogs living in severely unsanitary and inhumane living conditions in his home last month has been charged with more than 30 criminal offenses, acting Union County Prosecutor Michael A. Monahan announced Wednesday.

Evelio J. Calderon, 40, is charged with two 3rd-degree animal cruelty offenses, 14 counts of 4th-degree animal ...

Rahway Mayor Giacobbe to Attend Grand Opening of First Wawa Store in Rahway; Free Coffee Offered Through July 16

RAHWAY, NJ - Rahway Mayor Raymond A. Giacobbe will be on hand to cut the ribbon at 10 a.m. Thursday. July 12, for the new Wawa store's grand opening at 280 St. Georges Avenue in Rahway.

The 24-hour Wawa store will officially open at 8 a.m. on Thursday, with the grand opening ceremonies to follow. Free coffee will be offered at the store through July 16. Wally Goose, the ...

Former Linden Police Chief to be Appointed as Union County Undersheriff

LINDEN, NJ - Former Linden Police Chief Jonathan Parham is set to be sworn in as a Union County Undersheriff, this Friday.

As a member of the Linden Police Department for nearly 25 years, Parham has served in each rank from Officer to Captain before his promotion to Chief in September of 2016. 

During his first month as Chief, Parham along with other Linden Police ...

Traffic Advisory: Accident on GSP South Causes Closure Near Clark Circle

July 17, 2018

CLARK, NJ - A multi-vehicle accident on the southbound Garden State Parkway shortly beyond exit 135 has been causing major delays on the roadway.  Clark Police issued a warning that the southbound entrance to the parkway is closed at the Clark Circle due to an accident investigation taking place on the parkway at this time.  Motorists are advised to avoid the area.  ...

Westfield to Hold 3-Day ‘AddamsFest’ Celebrating Charles Addams and His Creations This Fall

WESTFIELD, NJ — It’s creepy. It’s kooky. And it’s taking over Westfield from Oct 26 to 28. AddamsFest, a town-wide celebration honoring Westfield native Charles Addams and his most famous creations, The Addams Family, will be a destination event this fall with family-friendly activities, lectures, exhibits and film screenings, the town announced Thursday.

Watch the ...

15th Annual Maplewoodstock is this Weekend: July 14 and July 15

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The 15th Annual Maplewoodstock Music and Arts Festival, a free, two-day, live music and arts event, will be held this Saturday, July 14, and Sunday, July 15, from noon until 10 p.m. each day in Memorial Park.   

The 23 bands performing were selected from a record-high 109 applicants in 2018, who radiate from Maplewood/South Orange to other musical ...

Video: Mail Truck Careens into Warinanco Park Pond

ELIZABETH/ROSELLE/LINDEN, NJ - Police, Fire, and Rescue units responded to a U.S. Mail truck that drove head-on into the pond in Warinanco Park on Thursday afternoon. 

Sometime after 2 p.m. responders were called to the scene to find the mail truck in the water. A park worker said that while he did not see the truck go into the water, he did arrive just in time to see who he believed to ...

Enjoy a Lifetime of Discovery in Union County Parks

July 17, 2018

July is National Parks and Recreation Month, and Union County residents are invited to celebrate this year by exploring “undiscovered” programs and activities found throughout the nearly 6,200 acres of the Union County parks system.

“Union County was one of the very first counties in the United States to establish its own county-based park system for nature conservation and ...

Award-Winning Senior Art Exhibited at Freeholders Gallery

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is pleased to present a new exhibit of award winning artworks by local artists age 60 and up, now on display at the Freeholders Gallery through August 29. Each of the 13 works received first place honors in the countywide Senior Art Exhibit held earlier this summer in the Atrium at Liberty Hall in Union Township.

“Each in their own unique way, ...

Union County’s Free Summer Arts Festival Continues July 18 at Echo Lake Park Featuring 5 Against 1

The Union County Summer Arts Festival concert series continues on Wednesday July 18, with the band 5 Against 1 taking the stage at Echo Lake Park in Mountainside.

The free series is presented by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders. It is held at Echo Lake Park during July and moves to Oak Ridge Park in Clark during August.

“We look forward to seeing everyone at Echo Lake Park ...

FLEEK Program Provides a Summer of Art and STEM for Union County Students 

Union County Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados and Freeholder Angela R. Garretson visited students and teachers at the Future Leaders Excelling in Entrepreneurship and Knowledge (F.L.E.E.K) Summer Youth Enrichment Program at The Patrick School in Hillside earlier this week. They were joined by Nathalie Hernandez, the Coordinator of the Union County Office of Community Engagement & ...

Columns

Lucia, Lucia by Adriani Trigiani

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2003)

 

If a summer romance novel is what you are craving to read as you sit by the pool or beach, Adriana Trigiani's Lucia, Lucia is a perfect choice. Set in 1950 New York City, the novel is about a young woman, Lucia Sartori, who is determined to have a career and be able to support herself, an unusual choice for a girl who was ...

The Anatomy of Escape by Mike Blue

The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure by Mike Blue (Available on Amazon)

 

Imagine that you could just say, “Chuck it,” and walk away from the bonds that keep you tied to what Mike Blue, author of The Anatomy of Escape: An Unconventional Adventure, defines as the restrictive Work-Consume-Die cycle. To most of us, becoming what Blue terms “a ...

'Servant of Two Masters' exudes foolish fun

‘Servant of Two Masters’ makes for foolish, frivolous fun

By Liz Keill

MADISON, NJ –Carlo Goldoni’s “The Servant of Two Masters,” in a rousing translation and adaptation by Bonnie J. Monte, has the outdoor audience at The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey laughing and clapping all the way through.

The yearly production, held at the amphitheatre on the ...

What Union is Reading: Month ending June 2018

July 6, 2018

It is summertime and a great time to get in some reading! Many great new books have topped the list in June. The top circulating print books in six categories for the Union Public Library in June 2018 follows. The top circulated digital books from RBdigital make up the seventh category; download the app today and start borrowing books from home to read or listen on your phone or tablet at the ...

Body Pulled From Delaware River

July 9, 2018

KINGWOOD, NJ – First responders were on the scene at the Delaware River and pulling the body of a man from the water Friday.

“The worst has happened,” said Greg Crance, who owns Delaware River Tubing, a popular nearby tubing, rafting, kayaking  and canoeing outfitter on the river.

However, the victim is not one of his customers, Crance said.

The body was ...

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