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Letters to the Editor

Synopsis of a Westfield Board of Education Meeting – April 28

April 30, 2015

PUBLIC HEARING ON 2015-2016 BUDGET In a unanimous decision, the Board adopted the school district budget for 2015-2016.  The tentative budget was approved by the Executive County Superinten...

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Today's Events

Police Blotter

Credit Card Fraud and Identity Theft Reported In Westfield

April 29, 2015

April 26, 2015 4:26 p.m. Officers Merritt and Wierzbicki arrested Thomas Macken, age 21, of Scotch Plains for two outstanding criminal arrest warrants ($1,480 total) out of Westfield municipal c...

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Columns

Ince Landscape Construction & Management

Is Your Hardscape Ready for Summer?

The snow is gone, the sun has been shining and giving us warmer days, but have you noticed your patio and hardscape looking a bit worse than you remember in the fall? If you are feeling that you...

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Weltman Home Services

Weltman Home Services Offers Spring Tips for Berkeley Heights

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Spring has arrived and that means warmer temperatures and the need for a home cooling system check-up. Tapinto spoke with Dan Weltman of Weltman Home Services, located in Ber...

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Kayla's Creative Art Studio Calendar of Classes

Kayla's Creative Art Studio's May Calendar of Events

BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Kayla's Creative Art Studio offers a full calendar of classes throughout the month. Visit www.kaylascreativeartstudio.com for a calendar of events includin...

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ViaNutrition

8 Things You Can Do Now to Clean Up the Diet

The first step to a successful weightloss and fitness program is getting the gunk out (processed foods and foods that are inflammatory), getting rid of what holds you back and adding in what is goi...

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Westfield Area Y

Westfield Area Y Healthy Kids Day a Success

On Saturday, April 25th at the Westfield Area Y Main Y Facility over 400 people came out for Healthy Kids Day to enjoy an afternoon of free, fun, engaging and creative activities promoting healthy ...

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In the Schools

Westfield School District Art Show Open to Public

The public is invited to attend the 31st annual Westfield Public School District’s Art Show, which will be held in the Westfield High School varsity gymnasium from May 12 - 14. A sampling of ...

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Point View WealthPoints

Bonds or Bond Funds?

What role do bonds play in a portfolio?  The answer varies from one investor to the next but for most investors, they diversify and offset equity volatility.   Bonds, especially high q...

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Connecting Commerce and Community

GWACC Spring Fling

It’s that time of year again! Spring has sprung, and it is time for the 21st Annual Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce’s Spring Fling. The event will be held on the streets o...

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Evalyn Dunn Gallery

Get the Perfect Mother’s Day Gift at Evalyn Dunn Gallery

You must stop into Evalyn Dunn Gallery to see their great new gifts that have arrived just in time for Mother's Day. The gallery has expanded their jewelry department to include four new lin...

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Monday with Millicent

More Suggestions for Mother's Day

Dear Fans of ‘Monday With Millicent,’I thank-you for sharing your favorite places to dine.   As Mother’s Day approaches, I’d like to wish each of you special mom...

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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.