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Letters to the Editor

Increasing VA Accountability & Economic Opportunity for Our Veterans This Memorial Day

May 22, 2015

Dear Friend, Memorial Day is a time when Americans pay tribute, honor and remember those who have served our country bravely and sacrificed their lives in the name of freedom and democracy. ...

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Today's Events

Police Blotter

$100 in Cigarettes Reported Stolen from Westfield 7-Eleven

May 27, 2015

May 24, 2015 1:16 a.m. An employee of 7-Eleven located at 1200 West South Ave. reported being the victim of a shoplifting. Victim reports that a white male between 40-50 years old entered the ...

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Columns

JCC NEWS

The JCC of Central New Jersey Welcomes Conductor Thomas Elefant for a Music Appreciation Series

During the month of June, the JCC of Central New Jersey is hosting conductor Thomas Elefant who will teach a Music Appreciation series.  Elefant is the Founder and Conductor of The Handel ...

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Weltman Home Services

If You Are on the Fence, the Time is Now!

If you are on the fence replacing your on AC the time is now!  Weltman Home Services is offering a $750 INSTANT CASH REBATE on all new installations but it's only good until JUNE 15th. ...

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BH Sports Training/BrawlHouse: The Water Cooler

BrawlHouse Announces Women's Only Self-Defense Classes

Did you know that 1/5 female college students will become a victim of rape or sexual assault? More evidence rape a significant problem on U.S. college campuses. Women’s Only ...

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Lindabury Legal Corner

Lindabury Participates In Red Nose Day 2015

On Thursday May 21, 2015 the attorneys and staff of Lindabury McCormick participated in Red Nose Day and raised money to provide assistance to children and young people in the United States living ...

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The Seventh District Congressional Report

The Seventh District Congressional Report

Congressman Lance is joined by Congressman Donald Payne Jr. to discuss business before the U.S. House of Representatives.  

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Point View WealthPoints

Soaring Dollar and Your Portfolio: What You Need to Know

Over the last year the Dollar has appreciated nearly 22% versus the world’s currencies.  With forecasts for continuing Dollar strength, what’s the next move for ...

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ViaNutrition

Mindful Eating Tips to Help with Health and Weight Loss

Everyone just wants to feel better, move better, look better and be happy.  Not always in that order but they all rank up there. How we get there is different for everyone. Coming off of a ...

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Westfield Area Y

New Local Mental Health Coaltion Launched

Stress, anxiety and depression are conditions that occur to all of us at various times.  Yet, there is a stigma attached to discussing mental health.  In recognition of Mental Health ...

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In the Schools

Westfield High School Senior Jorge Ledesma Named Presidential Scholar

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has announced the selection of Jorge Ledesma, a senior at Westfield High School, as a 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholar. Ledesma is one of 141 outstanding ...

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Connecting Commerce and Community

The Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce Introduces The Community Street map

The Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce will once again produce its Community Street Map, which includes all of our five towns--Fanwood, Garwood, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Westfield. ...

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Monday with Millicent

Time to Eat at Fiamma Quimby Street, Westfield

The first Fiamma Restaurant opened about five months ago on the corner of Main and Essex Street in Millburn. Owned by brothers Tony Fetajak, Charlie, and Sam Magjuni, and their friend Sam Bek, ...

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What’s Keeping Westfield’s Real Estate Market Hot

By JILL D'AMBROSIO

December 29, 2013 at 4:52 PM

WESTFIELD, NJ – For many years, Westfield has been a destination for young families moving from cities to the suburbs and, increasingly, for those who grew up here to return to and raise their own children.

A vibrant business community, a top-notch school system, ease of commutability to New York City and charming neighborhoods have drawn new homeowners to the town for decades and have kept the real estate market here booming this year, even during months that are traditionally slow.

Combined with its unique mix of amenities is Westfield’s low crime rate (one of the reasons Movoto Real Estate ranked Westfield its third-best “city” in New Jersey).

Though the effect of the overall economy can’t be overlooked, The Alternative Press dug deeper into why Westfield’s real estate, in particular, is so hot right now:

Thriving Local Businesses

“There are weeks that go by that I don’t leave town,” said Lorena Barbosa, broker and owner of David Realty Group, who has lived in Westfield for 10 years. “My doctors are here, my kids’ doctors are here, both supermarkets—Trader Joe’s and Stop & Shop."

In addition to the businesses located thorughout the town, Westfield’s downtown gives shoppers the opportunity to visit a variety of national chains, smaller boutiques, an independent bookstore and a plethora of restaurants in a very walkable and charming setting.

 “Westfield is unique in that we have large square footage spaces in our buildings that attracted national retailers that brought a lot of investment to the downtown revitalization effort,” said Sherry Cronin, the executive director of the Downtown Westfield Corporation (DWC).  “Nevertheless, one-third of our retailers and restaurants have been in business in downtown Westfield for 25 years or more – a testament to the strength of our customer service.”

In addition, the DWC—the management entity of the special improvement district—works with merchants to adapt their brands in their buildings. For example, it often encourages businesses to conduct historic restorations on their buildings’ facades to further enhance the look of the SID.

Downtown Westfield has the fortune to be anchored by such stores as Lord & Taylor and, most recently, Urban Outfitters, Cronin said.

Great Schools

In the Westfield school district’s most recent survey, 86 percent of those who responded said the school system was an important factor in their decision to live here.

“Our enrollment remains one of the largest in 30 years,” said Dr. Margaret Dolan, Westfield’s superintendent of schools. “What I see more and more often are our graduates returning to Westfield to live and raise families.”

Westfield's school district has 6,200 students in pre-K through grade 12 this year. The district has 10 public schools.

At the core of the district’s success is a strong partnership among students, teachers, administrators, parents and an entire community who value education.

“A deep vein of volunteerism runs throughout the Westfield schools, as in the town itself,” Dolan said. “Our high school community service club was singled out this year in a ceremony held by the Department of Education in Trenton.”

One of the challenges for educators today is preparing students for jobs of the future. Westfield teachers help their students to become critical thinkers, and they use variety of instructional methods to keep kids engaged.

Westfield High School, with its focus on college preparatory courses, offers 170 courses, including 19 Advanced Placement classes to its students. In 2012, Westfield High School ranked 17th statewide in combined SAT scores, Dolan said.

Friendliness—Family and Otherwise

“It’s a very family-oriented community,” said Jodi Luminiello, a sales associate at Coldwell Banker and the woman behind the Facebook phenomenon 365 Things to do in Westfield.

One Sunday in October, the downtown was packed with costumed children and adults alike enjoying trick-or-treating at local businesses. Families from Westfield and surrounding towns flock to the yearly Spring Fling and FestiFall street fairs, sponsored by the Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce. The library offers children a spacious, cheerful room for children to explore books, and Memorial pool is a friendly meeting place in the summers.

For green space, you can’t go wrong with the town’s many beautiful parks, such as Mindowaskin, which is located next to the municipal building near the downtown shopping district.

Like Dolan, Luminiello also sees a strong sense of volunteerism among all ages in Westfield, such as with Greta’s Run, a 5K run/walk held in September to raise funds for special needs programs at the Westfield Area Y in memory of a Westfield High School student. After Superstorm Sandy, the community banded together as well.

“A lot of people opened up their houses to others, to come in and get warm, charge up their phones, computers,” said Luminiello.

Easy Commuting

Workers who commute to jobs in New York City can take the train from Westfield or can opt to catch a bus. Proximity to major highways is also a plus, residents say.

In March, NJ Transit plans to test out a “one-seat” ride during off-peak hours on the Raritan Valley Line, the train line that runs through Westfield, using new dual-powered locomotives. Currently, riders who commute into New York must transfer from a diesel-powered train to an electric-powered train in Newark.

While the one-seat ride could be a big advantage for Westfield real estate—significantly raising home values if the town ever gets a direct ride during peak hours, according to the Raritan Valley Rail Coalition— it will ultimately be just “one more reason people want to come to Westfield,” said Luminiello.