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

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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Tue, July 17, 10:00 AM

First Baptist Church of Vauxhall, Vauxhall

Free Diabetes Self-Management Workshop Series

Education Health & Wellness

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Tue, July 17, 12:30 PM

Vauxhall Public Library, union

Tai Chi - Free Exercise Program For Mature Adults

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Tue, July 17, 2:00 PM

Union Public Library, Union

Tuesday at 2 Movie: "Beauty and the Beast"

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Wed, July 18, 10:15 AM

Union Public Library, Union

Chair Yoga in the Library

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 ...

Springfield's Meisel Field Turf Project Almost Complete

SPRINGFIELD, N.J.- Over the last several weeks, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders have started construction on a new turf surface at Meisel Field. Freeholder Bruce Bergen talked with TAPinto and answered questions about the project.

In a phone interview, Bergen, who is also a Springfield resident said that the decision to turf the field came as part of a larger plan to turf multiple ...

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 ...

Letters to the Editor

Letter to Residents of the 20th Legislative District

July 3, 2018

To the editor,

When I decided to run for state Senate, I committed to make the residents of the 20th Legislative District my top priority in Trenton.  I am proud of the FY 2019 budget and believe it is the product of a pledge I made to my constituents.  This budget is a reflection of how hard I have been working to increase funding for our schools, our municipalities and our ...