The weekend was dominated by Saturday's Union County St. Patrick's Day Parade, where thousands of revelers gathered for the "wearin' of the green". Elsewhere around the county, news included the approval of the Clark municipal budget, the Summit High hockey team claiming the school's first state championship. Read more newsworthy reports below:
BERKELEY HEIGHTS/NEW PROVIDENCE
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Top-seeded Whippany Park (24-5) rode a 22-5 second half run en route to a 49-44 victory over New Providence (16-11) in the North 2, Group 1 championship game . Despite being the eleventh seed in the bracket, the Pioneers came into the game as the two-time defending sectional champion and came within one win of a third consecutive. Trailing 24-22 at the half, the Wildcats came out of the locker room with a renewed aggression on the offensive end. The home team outscored their opponent 17-5 in the third quarter and took a 34-29 lead into the final period, the biggest margin for either team at that point in the game. Like any great champion, the Pioneers refused to give up their title without a fight and were able to pull within five at 46-41 on a Sara Lowenstein (five points, six rebounds, five assists) three pointer with 0:52.5 to play. Unfortunately there would be no more last minute magic as the Wildcats were able to settle down and hold on for the 49-44 victory. Cassandra Squeri led the way for New Providence with 19 points, including 12 from downtown.
Governor Livingston High School students Jennifer Leonard and Monica Callaghan, recently teamed with Poor Herbie’s Restaurant located in Madison and Beacon Hill Tavern in Summit, and their patrons to raise $1,000 for two important charities. In a four-week campaign, the two sophomores made posters and solicited donations of cash and goods for the Mt. Pleasant Animal Shelter, located in East Hanover, and a women’s shelter in Morristown. The teens plan to hold another food drive during the summer with the goal of collecting one thousand pounds of food.
Clark Council introduced the 2012 Municipal Budget at Monday night's council meeting. The budget includes a two-point tax increase, which translates to an increase of $20 per $100,000 in assessed home value for Clark residents. The budget remains well within Governor Christie's two-percent cap. The total amount to be raised by taxes (including the minimum library tax) for 2012 is $14,917,413.96 – an increase of $149,270.43 over last year. The levy from the proposed 2012 budget is significantly lower than last year's, which included an 8.6 tax-point increase.
A shoplifter who took a woman hostage at the Woodbridge Center shopping mall was shot and killed by an off-duty Woodbridge police officer Thursday in an incident that sent shoppers and employees fleeing the Sears store there in terror. Woodbridge police reported that after repeated warnings, the officer fired at the suspect, who was pronounced dead at the scene. Bill Black and Gabrielle DiChiaro, both of Clark, were outside the mall after it closed. Black said he was there despite hearing news reports of the shooting. "It's funny, I was supposed to have come here earlier today, and I was going to Sears, too," he said. Asked whether the incident would deter him from returning to the mall, he said, "Absolutely not!"
Clark chickens may have to fly the coop. At Monday's meeting, councilmembers discussed whether or not to prohibit chickens and other farm animals in the township. The consensus was that Township Attorney Joseph Triarsi would check current laws and zoning regulations and then draft an ordinance prohibiting chickens and other livestock. The council did not decide whether residents who currently have chickens would be exempt from the ordinance. Lots of readers weighed in on our poll asking whether Clark should allow chickens, with 117 voting yes and 59 voting against it.
On their 10th day back at their neighborhood school, students at the Brookside elementary school enjoyed a morning treat, courtesy of the Dunkin Donuts on North Avenue. As children filed into the auditorium, they were each given a doughnut frosted in the school colors. The special event was organized by the Brookside Place School PTA, after the members were contacted by Michael Komondy, owner of the Dunkin Donuts franchise in Cranford.
Data collected by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the months following Hurricane Irene has shown that the cost of the damage to homes, schools, and municipal property has exceeded $50 million. The economic loss, including the decrease in some property values has led members of a regional flood control panel to seek financial assistance from federal, state and county governments to help prevent future losses due to storm damage. Last week Rep. Leonard Lance (NJ-07), Cranford Mayor David Robinson and several state and county officials held a press conference at town hall to announce a $3.1 million federal grant for flood mitigation in Cranford.The funds will be used to help offset the cost of elevating 18 township homes that have experienced extreme flooding and related damages.
This week, SPF Patch reported on a local EMT, who took his rescue training from the streets and homes of Fanwood, to 30,000 feet in the air. On February 26, Fanwood Rescue Squad EMT, Ian Lewis was traveling to Santa Ana, California when a fellow airline passenger became unresponsive as the plane flew over Missouri. Lewis sprung into action and performed CPR until the plane could safely land, saving the woman's life. In May, Lewis was named Outstanding New Jersey EMT of the year. Lewis was also among the brave volunteers who rushed to aid rescue workers just after the World Trade Center South Tower was hit on 9/11. After reading the story, Patch readers expressed their support for Lewis, declaring him a local hero that Fanwood can be proud of.
On Tuesday, SPF Patch presented a photo gallery of Fanwood Crossing's new beige and white Victorian design, asking readers to comment and vote on downtown Fanwood's new look. The article transformed into an online forum where readers candidly discussed the issue. Over 230 voted and 45 percent of voters think the new look is "hideous." What do you think? Voice your opinion and vote in the poll here.
69-year-old Anthony Anthony "Tony the Vet" LoBue visited Scotch Plains on Monday while traveling on a 125 mile walkathon from the Curtis Armory in Allentown, Pennsylvania to Grand Central Station. LoBue is a disabled Vietnam Veteran who embarked on this walkathon to deliver a historic 9/11 monumental flag and raise awareness for the plight of Veterans, their families, and their organizations. On September 11, 2011, LoBue arrived at Ground Zero, completing a yearlong, 3,650 mile walk from San Diego, California commemorating the 10th anniversary of the attacks and raising awareness for his cause. Read the full story to learn more about LoBue's monumental fight for all who have served their country.
A 37-year-old man was rushed to Newark's University Medical Center by helicopter yesterday afternoon after a GMC Envoy SUV struck his Honda Accord struck in a head-o collision on I-78 on Tuesday, March 5. Authorities say a 27-year-old woman lost control of her SUV while driving on near exit 48 at around 2:50 p.m. The vehicle went up a highway embankment and over the guardrail into the westbound lane, striking the Honda head-on.
Students performing in the Jonathan Dayton high School spring musical The Drowsy Chaperone were visited by Broadway actor Garth Kravits , who plays Gangster #2 in the professional version of the play. The cast peppered the stage actor with questions about the play and plying his craft on Broadway. Dayton’s production of The Drowsy Chaperone will be performed Thursday, March 22 through Saturday, March 24, with each evening’s performance beginning at 7:30 p.m.
In a rematch of last year's dramatic North 2 Group 1 championship, Jonathan Dayton High School and University played a hard-fought play-off game that stretched into overtime this week . But, to the dissapointment of the Bulldogs and their fans, when the final whistle sounded after four quarters and an extra period, the Phoenix were the last team standing. University was able to control the overtime period to pull ahead of Dayton 71-64 in a back and forth battle for the right to play in the Tournament of Champions and be crowned sectional champion. Last season, the Bulldogs earned a 51-50 victory over the then back-to-back sectional champion University squad.
Fourth-seeded Summit High School's boys' hockey team beat Tenafly 2-1 to claim their first state championship. The championship game was set up when the Hilltopers scored three unanswered power play goals in a 72-second span during the second period on their way to a 3-2 semifinal victory over ninth-seeded Ramsey. The scoring burst was all the offense that the Hilltoppers needed to secure their place in Friday's championship.
"I've never seen that happen before," said senior defenseman Mike Nyitray about the scoring outburst. "It was a great feeling."
The Hilltoppers first goal came on a 5-on-3 opportunity as Nyitray swung the puck to the right point onto the stick of Mike Santina who blasted the puck into the back of the net to knot the game at one with 9:08 to play in the second.
Summit, still carrying a man advantage for about a minute, drew a third straight whistle with just seconds remaining on their initial power play. Before time expired on the penalty, Eric Stabler found Nyitray just in front of the left post who shelved a shot past the goaltender. Had the goal come seconds later, both teams would have once again been at full strength.
The Common Council approved the resolution for the 2012 budget in the amount of $47,160,970.86. Councilman David Bomgaars, who heads the finance committee pointed to a .64% tax increase under the plan, calling it the lowest in several years. Coucilman Tom Getzendanner was the lone dissenting voice on the resolution.
The council will present a public hearing on the budget on April 3.
Taxes on the average city home, around $410,000 which City Administrator Chris Cotter said was assessed at about half the actual value of around $900,000, would increase by about $23 to $3,693.
A mild turnout for some hot wings is the best way to describe the second King of Da Wing eating contest at Tito's Burritos on Monday afternoon.Just over half-a-dozen contestants showed up to lay the smack down on an order each of around two-dozen wings. A pair of winners were named at the end of the day. Red sauce-stained napkins and lips smacked with fire were the hallmarks of the event which lasted about 45 minutes.
Rocky the Tailor reopened on Monday, March 5 on Cumberland Street. The shop, owned by Lucy and Rocco Macalle, was one of six businesses destroyed by the six-alarm fire that began at Clyne & Murphy on Jan. 22.
The Westfield Board of Education held the first in a series of month-long meetings to discuss the school budget and other issues facing the district's schools. The Board is considering a $13 million roof replacement project.
Broadway guitarist and former Westfield resident Jake Schwartz returned to town Thursday evening to join other bands at The Crossroads in Garwood to benefit Sound Station owners. So far friends and fans have raised nearly $16,000 to help Bob Larsen and Liz Walsh rebuild their South Avenue West music shop that was destroyed in the fire that also claimed Rocky the Tailor.
The Westfield High School theater department brought the musical 'Pippin' to life.
The Westfield Police Department announced it will increase DWI checkpoints this St. Patrick's Day. Possible locations include East Broad Street, Central, North, South, and Springfield Avenues.