Saturday, November 22, 2014

Photo of the Day 11/22/14


This photo shows the Dickens Village in Maplewood, which was set up this week for the holiday season.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

The Soup Cafe Opens in South Orange


A new restaurant has opened in the South Orange Village Center. The Soup Cafe opened Friday morning at the former Eclectic Cafe and Catering space at 61 Academy Street, next to Harusame Japanese CuisineThe Soup Cafe serves a variety of Carribean style soups and sandwiches made to order including Smoky Jerk Chicken and Manish Water. 

"The inspiration for The Soup Cafe comes from the genuine love of the world's most beloved comfort food, soup", said manager Nadia Dale. "Our team worked for months on a unique concept for our cafe and came up with perfect combination of authentic Caribbean and Classic American soups".

The restaurant is open Monday through Saturday from 11:00am to 4:00pm. 

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Photo of the Day 11/21/14


This photo shows a pigeon along the Rahway River East Branch in South Orange.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Photo of the Day 11/18/14


This photo shows Memorial Park in Maplewood.

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Signs Removed at Former JAC Shelter


Signs for the former Jersey Animal Coalition (JAC) shelter in South Orange were recently removed, including on the Department of Public Works driveway and on Walton Road. 

When PlaceNJ.com visited the shelter on November 12, a sign was posted on the front door reading "Our shelter is now closed. All animals formerly in the shelter are safe and have been placed in caring homes/facilities", adding that "our security cameras are in operation and Police Department has been advised". However, the sign was removed as of the following day.

The JAC moved out of the building on November 11th after occupying the building for nearly 10 years. Adoptions were concluded in October.

Representatives from the Village of South Orange and Jersey Animal Coalition did not respond to our requests for comment.

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Photo of the Day 11/17/14


This photo shows the start of Midland Boulevard in Maplewood.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Photo of the Day 11/13/14



This photo shows fog in Maplewood on Wednesday morning.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Updated: Columbia HS Principal Criticizes Media Coverage of Alleged Criminal Activities


The principal of Columbia High School criticized the media coverage of recent alleged criminal activities at the Maplewood school. In an interview today with Essex County Place, Elizabeth Aaron said that reporters "can be distracting and disruptive to students". Aaron added that she was "not really surprised" by media attention because she feels that news organizations cover "stuff they think will get the most attention".


A 17 year old student was arrested on Monday for allegedly bringing brass knuckles inside the school. CHS was on 'Code Red' lockdown for nearly two hours that day after a staff member reportedly called the Maplewood Police Department claiming that a weapon was present in the school. An 18 year old former student was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly trespassing on school property.


In September, a Language Arts teacher at the school was arrested for allegedly having sex with five of her students. Nicole Dufault, of Caldwell, was employed by the South Orange Maplewood School District for nine years. She was released from the Essex County Correctional Facility in October after her $500,000 bail was posted and is awaiting trial.


Regarding Monday's lockdown, Aaron said that she was "very impressed with the students and staff". She felt, however, that parents who arrived outside of the high school while the lockdown was taking place "made it difficult". 


"I understand the parental desire", she noted, but cautioned that "in an emergency, it can be a hamper instead of a help".

When asked about her opinion on whether metal detectors should be installed at CHS, Aaron responded that she is "100% opposed" to the idea.

"I believe in creating and sustaining a school culture that is open, supportive, nurturing and challenging for students", said Aaron. "I don’t think the presence of metal detectors supports that culture".

Overall, Aaron said that the lockdown "helped us to further understand how to manage emergencies".


Top Photo: News vans occupied the streets surrounding CHS after the arrest of teacher Nicole Dufault in September.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

CHS Security Supervisor: "Response was Excellent"


The Columbia High School security supervisor told Essex County Place that the response to Monday's lockdown by security officers from U.S. Security Associates was "excellent". 

The Maplewood school was under 'Code Red' lockdown for one hour and 40 minutes after a staff member called the Maplewood Police Department to report that a weapon was present in the building. A student was later arrested in a classroom for allegedly bringing brass knuckles to school, and an 18 year old man was charged with trespassing.

"I hate that it happened, but the response was excellent", said the supervisor, who declined to give his name. He explained that all school security officers are state licensed, and train on school breaks at the U.S. Security Associates office in Clifton. He added that school security officers meet regularly with school administrators to prepare for situations such as this. 

The supervisor also noted that when the lockdown alarm was activated, students inside the building did "an excellent job" clearing the hallways. However, he felt that students and parents outside of CHS should have followed instructions to keep away from the building.

U.S. Security Associates is contracted by the South Orange Maplewood School District for uniformed security management at CHS. 

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Photo of the Day 11/11/14


This photo shows the Maplewood Veterans Memorial outside of the Municipal Building.

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Lockdown Concluded at Columbia High School, Student Arrested


Update 7:51pm: Columbia High School in Maplewood was on code red lockdown today for nearly two hours. According to Maplewood Police Chief Robert Cimino, a student was arrested in a classroom for allegedly bringing brass knuckles to school. At a press conference, Chief Cimino said that a CHS staff member called police at approximately 12:30pm to report that a weapon was present in the school.


Chief Cimino added that there was "great cooperation of the students...(and)...great cooperation of the staff".


A lockdown alarm was activated in the school at approximately 12:40pm. The school remained in lockdown until 2:20pm. There were no reported injuries.


Acting Superintendent James Memoli sent an email to parents at approximately 5:00pm. "The safety of our staff and students remains our first priority", said Memoli.


According to a press release from the Maplewood Police Department, "anyone with information on the incident is urged to contact the Maplewood Police Department Youth Aid Bureau at 973-762-3400".


The entire email may be viewed below.




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Update 2:21pm: Lockdown has concluded. 

At approximately 2:20pm,  a Maplewood Police lieutenant told students and staff that the "lockdown is officially over".


At least one student is rumored to be in custody.


Healy told staff members that there would be an emergency meeting after school.

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Update 2:10pm: Columbia High School in Maplewood is under Code Red lockdown. A lockdown alarm went off in the school at approximately 12:41pm. Assistant Principal Michael Healy informed students that this is an "Active Shooter" lockdown.  

The alarm sounded for at least ten minutes.


South Orange and Maplewood Police conducted a security sweep of the building. Healy announced to students that there are 12 teams of officers. Officers entered classrooms at approximately 1:20pm and asked students and staff to remain in their classrooms. As of 1:49pm. Healy asked students and staff to remain in their classrooms until police officers unlock the classroom door. 


"Please stay in place", Assistant Principal Charles Ezell announced to students at approximately 1:30pm, adding that "everything is okay".  


The alarm went off during Period 7, which is a lunch period at the school. Several students were outside of the building when the siren sounded. CHS does not normally conduct lockdown drills during lunch periods.


As on 1:25pm: Columbia High School in Maplewood is under Code Red lockdown. A lockdown alarm went off in the school at approximately 12:41pm.


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Acting Superintendent James Memoli sent the following email to parents during the lockdown:

A code red “lockdown” was ordered this afternoon at Columbia High School by the Maplewood Police Department as a precautionary measure.  All students are safe and everything is under control.  Additional details will be provided as soon as they are available.
 



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Email from Acting Superintendent James Memoli after the lockdown:


Shortly before 1 p.m. today, a code red “lockdown” was ordered at Columbia High School. High school administration had been informed of a potential threat involving a CHS student and a former CHS student possibly involving weapons. The administration notified the Maplewood Police who then initiated the code red as a precautionary measure. South Orange Police were onsite to assist. The police conducted an organized search of the building and one student was apprehended. The police continue to investigate the circumstances surrounding this event. Code red procedures were followed with police going door to door to check all rooms before clearing the code red. Many students were outside the school because the lockdown began during a lunch period. Security guards and administrators were outside with the students. Nobody was harmed during this event. We appreciate the cooperation of the police departments, the staff, the students and the building administrators. Parents and guardians of our students can be assured that the school administration works closely with and cooperates fully with law enforcement during such an event. The safety of our staff and students remains our first priority.


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Update 11/11: The supervisor of security at CHS told PlaceNJ.com that "I hate that it happened, but the response was excellent". Read more here.


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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Holiday Boutique Coming to South Orange Library


Several local artisans will participate in a Holiday Boutique at the South Orange Public Library on Sunday, December 7 from 1:00pm to 5:00pm. 

A variety of items will be for sale, including collages, handmade soaps, skin care products, felted hats, honey products, scarves, pottery, paper stationery, paintings, jewelry, and knitted items. Scheduled vendors include Michelle Bobrow, Maria Concilio, Elaine Dursbach, Norma Goldberg, Carol Mann, Marion Roffman, Holly Scalera, Kristle Smith, and Florence Weisz.

The sale is a fundraiser for the Friends of the South Orange Public Library, an organization that sponsors programs and activities at the library, including a Foreign Film Festival and the Summer Reading program.

The South Orange Public Library is located at 65 Scotland Road. The sale will take place on the second floor.

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Photo of the Day 11/6/14


The photo shows the steps to the New Jersey Audubon Montclair Hawk Watch. 

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

UPDATE: Parts of South Orange Avenue to Close on November 7, 8, and 12


Note: This story has been updated to reflect a change in dates.

The part of South Orange Avenue between Wyoming Avenue in South Orange and Cherry Lane/Brookside Drive in Millburn will be shut down from Friday, November 7 at 7:00am to Saturday, November 8 at 7:00pm and Tuesday, November 12 from 7:00am to 7:00pm. During this time, a pedestrian bridge will be installed near the Girl Scout camping area. The bridge will connect the Longwood Trail with trails in the southern end of South Mountain Reservation.

"We acknowledge that closing South Orange Avenue will be an inconvenience for motorists traveling to work or school or going about their daily business", said Essex County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr, adding that "it must be done to maximize safety for drivers, pedestrians and construction crews".

The road closure will affect the Livingston Express Shuttle Service between the Livingston Mall and South Orange and the Coach USA Bus 31 service between the Livingston Mall and Newark Penn Station.  

Alan Karpas of the Livingston Express Shuttle Service told Essex County Place that Livingston Township is working to keep the same schedule and have two shuttle buses instead of one. According to Karpas, the schedule will be adjusted if this is not an option.

Only local traffic will be permitted to use South Orange Avenue west of Wyoming Avenue. All other westbound drivers will be directed to a 5.5 mile detour using North Wyoming Avenue, Gregory Avenue, Northfield Avenue, and Cherry Lane. 

Signs have been placed along South Orange Avenue to alert motorists. 




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Photo of the Day 11/5/14


This photo shows the view of New Jersey and New York from the New Jersey Audubon Montclair Hawk Watch on November 4.

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