Giving Back

Press Releases

CASA Fetes Westfield’s Alice Brucia


Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Union County’s 4th annual Foster the Dream Gala at Shackamaxon Country Club in Scotch Plains on Nov. 4 was sold out, as more than 280 attendees enjoyed dinner, dancing, fireworks and auctions, and feted the nonprofit’s advocacy work for local children in foster care as well as several honorees, including long-time Westfield resident Alice Brucia.

Brucia, who received the Dream-Keeper Award for Outstanding Volunteerism, completed CASA’s 30-hour training in 2012 and immediately began advocating for a sibling set of six foster youth, all placed in numerous foster homes throughout the county. She has built unique bonds with each of the children whose young lives have been tumultuous at best. Alice knows their unique academic, social and behavioral needs, and can recite their successes, placements, losses, talents and event their biggest fears. Her tenacious advocacy both in and out of the courtroom speaks for itself: 14 court reports, 16 court hearings, three judges, 80 recommendations formalized into judges’ orders and nearly 30 others informally accepted on the record.

Although Brucia retired from full-time teaching in 2012, she’s continued part-time ever since — all while serving as a child advocate. Currently working in a kindergarten wrap program, Alice’s volunteer commitment to children also includes tutoring homeless children at St. Joseph's Social Center in Elizabeth, efforts with Head Start, and teaching CCD for 16 years at St. Helen’s Church in Westfield.

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Executive Director Marla Higginbotham notes, “Alice has been a beacon for six young children during a time when their lives have been so uncertain. It is CASA’s privilege to have her in our ranks, tireless advocating for their needs and ensuring their interests remain top priority. CASA recruits, trains, supervises and supports community volunteers to advocate for abused, neglected and abandoned Union County children placed in foster homes or residential facilities — and Alice has unequivocally proven to be the epitome of what a CASA volunteer should be. She is an inspiration to us all.”

CASA volunteers are empowered by court order to speak to all parties in a foster child’s life and serve as eyes and ears for the judge and a voice for the child placed into the system through no fault of their own. There are nearly 600 Union County children in foster care due to abuse, neglect or abandonment, and CASA of Union County serves one-third. Its goal is to provide a CASA volunteer for every foster child that needs one.

For details on CASA’s next advocate training sessions, several of which incorporate new, flexible options and timeframes, contact Rachel at 908-527-7045 or To inquire about other ways to support CASA of Union County, contact Marla at 908-527-7041 or

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Scotch Plains Man Arrested for Exposing Himself to Girl at Farley Park

April 19, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — A 26-year-old Scotch Plains man was arrested and charged with lewdness after he allegedly exposed himself in front of a girl at Farley Park, police said.

The girl's family members contacted the Scotch Plains police, who arrested Melvin A. Hanciles, who lives near the park on Farley Avenue.

Sergeant David Lavery and Patrolman Chris ...

2018 Municipal Budget is on Collision Course with Principles of Financial Soundness & Stability

April 18, 2018

Having chaired the town council’s finance committee in the recent past, I appreciate the hard work that goes into developing a municipal budget for a town as large and dynamic as Westfield. But as I have expressed publicly and also to the mayor and my council colleagues, I do not support the adoption of Westfield’s 2018 municipal budget. Although the budget contains much that I ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, April 21, 9:30 AM

Westfield Area YMCA, Westfield

Westfield Area YMCA Camp Open House

Sat, April 21, 10:00 AM

Tamaques Park, Brightwood Park & Mindowaskin Park, Westfield

Westfield 2018 Spring Clean-Up

Giving Back Government Green


Sat, April 21, 1:30 PM

Westfield Area YMCA, Westfield

Free Aquatics Healthy Kids Day

Health & Wellness Sports

Westfield Police Blotter: Residence Burglarized & More

April 18, 2018

April 11, 2018 10:23 a.m.

Raymond Rodgers, 56, of Westfield, NJ was arrested in the area of E. Broad Street. Rodgers was arrested pursuant to an unrelated traffic investigation. Rogers was transported to Westfield Police HQ without incident. At WPD HQ, Rodgers was processed and released after posting the full bail amount ($250). Rodgers was arrested on the strength of an outstanding Westfield ...

Craft Brew Fest Pours Into Westfield April 28; TAPinto Readers Get $20 Off

April 19, 2018

Westfield Hops – A Craft Beer Experience will be taking place on at the Westfield Armory April 28 with one session from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Enter code TAPINTO when you order your tickets and get $20 off! Tickets are available online at All tickets include unlimited tastings and a souvenir tasting glass. 

Westfield Hops – A Craft Beer ...

McKinley School Kicks Off its Annual Fundraising Effort for Pediatric Cancer Research

It was an enthusiastic start as students and staff kicked off the 7th Annual McKinley School Mini-THON, a schoolwide, energetic effort to raise money for leukemia and pediatric cancer research.

“As you know, McKinley School does a lot to give back [to the community],” said McKinley principal Marc Biunno as he addressed students and staff gathered in the gymnasium on April 11.

Get Your Home Ready for Summer Before its TOO HOT

Finally, the weather is getting warmer and you are shedding those down coats. Now is a great time to start thinking about summer and getting your home prepared. Paying attention to a few maintenance items can alleviate painful repairs later on if you wait too long. The line ahead of you will build as the summer rush starts. So, let’s not wait.

Check your roof   (hire the expert ...

Why We Keep Kosher

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This week's parshah, Shemini, introduces the Torah's dietary laws. Animals must chew their cud and have split hooves to be kosher, fish need fins and scales, and a list of forbidden fowl is enumerated.

To those of us in Jewish education, it is a continuing source of disappointment that so many Jews still believe the kosher laws to be outdated.

Fear of Rising Rates? Remember The Reason You Own Bonds

If the current interest environment has you concerned about your bond portfolio, remember why you are investing in bonds.  The role bonds, or fixed income, play in a portfolio is not solely based on performance.  Bonds are used to offer stability, particularly when stock market volatility is rising. Rate hikes can dampen bond performance, but keep perspective on how rising rates impact ...

Hellenic Therapy Center

April 13, 2018

Dropping Off Our Kids At College – Learning How To Adjust

Hellenic Therapy Center


Whether your kid is a freshman entering college for the first time or returning back to college, there are so many emotions we experience as parents.  There are differences in a parent’s reaction to the departure of a first child, an only child or even the last child.  Feelings ...


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Edison Cop Arrested, Charged With Computer Theft and Stalking

April 18, 2018

EDISON, NJ - An Edison police officer has been arrested and charged with computer theft and stalking.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey and Chief Thomas Bryan of the Edison Police Department on Tuesday announced the arrest of Paul Pappas. The 43-year-old officer, an Edison resident, has been charged with computer theft/criminal activity in the second degree and stalking in the fourth ...