News from Nearby

Scotch Plains-Fanwood Native Will Climb Mount Everest, Raise Money for Childhood Cancer Research

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Hailey Rachko, a 2015 graduate of SPFHS, will climb to the base camp of Mount Everest to raise money and awareness of childhood cancers. Credits: John Mooney
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Hailey Rachko is a member of the St. Bart's youth group. Credits: Courtesy of Hailey Rachko
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A former cheerleader at SPFHS, Hailey Rachko is a member of Boston University's dance team, which she says keeps her in shape to climb Mount Everest. Credits: Courtesy of Hailey Rachko
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Hailey Rachko and her roommate, Noelle Fallacara, who is organized the fundraising trip at BU. Credits: Courtesy of Hailey Rachko
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Hailey Rachko and her mom, Carol Rachko Credits: John Mooney
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Hailey Rachko was a cheerleader for Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School. Credits: Courtesy of Hailey Rachko
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SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- When Hailey Rachko, a 2015 graduate of Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, sets her sights on something she aims high.

Now a junior at Boston University, Hailey plans to climb to the base camp of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, shortly after taking her final exams in May. She and 26 other students from across the country will spend nine days climbing up the mountain (in order to acclimate to the altitude), but take just two days to come down.

The journey is run through Choose a Challenge, a UK-based organization that pairs challenges with causes. Participants solicit sponsorships. Half of the money raised covers the cost of the trip, while the other half goes to the designated charity, The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, the largest provider of financial assistance to families of children with cancer nationwide. The organization is a leader in childhood cancer research funding, as well as raising awareness and advocating for children with cancer.

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“I’m joining The B+ Foundation and raising money to help fight childhood cancer,” Hailey, a member of the youth group at St. Bartholomew Church. “I know this will be a challenge. But EVERY day is a challenge for the 46 kids who are told they have cancer each school day.”

“We plan to meet with the families that will be helped. Based in the northeast association with Boston Children’s hospital.”

Hailey’s roommate, Noelle Fallacara, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with Choose a Challenge last year, and this time around convinced Hailey to join her. Although she is a hiker, Hailey will be climbing a mountain for the first time.

“I probably could have started on a smaller scale,” she admits.

Getting in shape won’t be too difficult, since she is a member of BU’s Div. I dance team and goes through a lot of intense cardio training six days a week.

“We go to nationals in the first week of April. At that point, I’ll be in great shape,” said Hailey, who was a cheerleader at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School (class of 2015).

“To get to the base camp, it’s a lot of hiking – three to four 4 days,” Hailey explained. “On the fourth day, we will stay in a village for a full day to acclimate and then we head to the base camp with the help of Sherpas and yaks.

Before the excursion, Hailey will focus on school. She will complete her final exams during the week before the group leaves from JFK Airport.

“The trip overlaps graduation. Some seniors are skipping graduation to do this,” said Hailey, a junior who plans to pursue a career in health care. “The flight leaves JFK and goes non-stop to Nepal. From there, a helicopter will bring us to Katmandu.”

Although a little nervous, her mom thinks it will be a great experience.

“She wants to help people; she’s that kind of person. She made a Powerpoint presentation to sell the idea to us,” Carol Rachko, said.

What to expect from Mount Everest

Hailey says she knows the trip will be a challenge and wants to go into it with minimal expectations.

“My friends here in Scotch Plains think I’m crazy,” said Hailey who attended McGinn Elementary and Terrill Middle School.  “They’re thinking what have they done to her at school?”

Meanwhile, Hailey is collecting information on climbing from others who have done trips with Choose A Challenge.

“I’m asking a lot of questions of people who went last year,” Hailey said. “On Mount Kilimanjaro, they didn’t know when temperatures will go from 90 to 15 degrees. The mental part with be the biggest struggle.”

Hailey’s goal is to raise $5,500. In advance of the climb, she has organized a medium-reading here in Scotch Plains, a fundraising event that Blaze Pizza and Boston University, and a “late night bake sale” that will cater to students with the munchies. To support Hailey’s effort, visit her fundraising page.

What will she do afterwards?

“This will stay with me. I’ll stay with the organization,” Hailey said. “Maybe I’ll climb another mountain.”

TAPintoSPF will continue follow Hailey Rachko’s journey. There is WiFi on Mount Everest, and she will be forwarding images from near the top of the world when she can.

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Union

The Week Ahead in Union

April 23, 2018

UNION, NJ - Happenings in Union this week:

Monday, 4/23

Light It Up Blue, 8:30 a.m., Town Wide Event
Union Township Active Retirees (Monday Club), 9:00 a.m., Senior Center
Construction Zone, 3:15 p.m., Union Public Library
Career Coach, 6:00 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library
Hilton Readers Book Discussion: "Small Great Things”, 6:00 p.m., Vauxhall Public Library
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Friends of the Union Library Plan Trip to Longwood Gardens

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The $50.00 fee includes bus trip, entrance to gardens, and snacks.  RSVP by May 1.  The bus leaves the Library municipal lot on Morris Avenue at 9:00 a.m. and returns at 6:00 p.m.

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Second Annual "Spring into the Arts"

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Union High School: March Team of the Month

April 23, 2018

UNION, NJ - Each month Tapinto Union features a male and female Union High School Athlete of the Month.  For March, a team accomplishment is being recognized:   The Union High School Bowling Team.

Team accomplishments:

Second Place -  Warren Wheeler Tournament
Second Place - County tournament
First Place - North 2 Group 4 State ...

Upcoming Events

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Tue, April 24, 11:00 AM

Vauxhall Library, Vauxhall

Toddler & Pre-K Program

Education

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Tue, April 24, 11:00 AM

Vauxhall Public Library, Vauxhall

Pre-K STEM Storytime: “Earth Day”

Arts & Entertainment

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Tue, April 24, 4:30 PM

Union Public Library, Union

Crazy 8s Math Club

Education

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Wed, April 25, 10:30 AM

Union Public Library, Union

Babies in the Library

Education

Favour Garuba of Union nitiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

April 21, 2018

BATON ROUGE, LA - Favour Garuba of Union was recently initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation's oldest and most selective all-discipline collegiate honor society. Garuba was initiated at Caldwell University.

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Plainfield's Assemblyman Jerry Green Is Dead at Age 79

April 19, 2018

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CFESPTA Tricky Tray Set for May 18

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Door open for the CFESPTA Red, White and Blue Tricky Tray at 5:00 p.m.  Calling begins at 7:00.  Contact Kathy McGee (908) 377-1164 or email kathymcgee74@gmail.com for additional information.

Union's First United Poetry Slam

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Proceeds from the event will benefit the American Red Cross.  There is a suggested donation of $1.  The event begins at 5:30 p.m.

Student Led #Rally4 Action to Protest Gun Violence Held Friday in Springfield

April 21, 2018

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Unveiled Sunday: Springfield's Meckes Street Renamed Reverend Clarence E. Alston Way

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"Get Outdoors with Family & Friends" at Trailside Wild Earth Fest, April 29

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Union Catholic's Surles and Trower Sign National Letters of Intent

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ -- Two members of Union Catholic's Class of 2018 gathered with their families, classmates, coaches and school administrators for a special ceremony in the main lobby on Thursday morning to sign their National Letters of Intent.

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Retro Review: Johnny Got His Gun by Dalton Trumbo

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How does a reviewer do justice to a book called “the great American novel”? I first read Johnny Got His Gun during the Viet Nam war, when young people, nationwide, were protesting fighting in a war that was a senseless waste of life; a war in which the United States had no business participating.

The Truth About My Reading

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By LIZ KEILL

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April 10, 2018

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Politics IS Government in Union County

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