Tuesday, July 29, 2014

West Orange News Roundup: New Dunkin' Donuts, Tutor Time

A new Dunkin' Donuts location will open in West Orange in the fall on South Valley Road. The new location will be in the Valley Plaza Shopping Plaza between Lucky 7 Wine and Liquor and Peking House Chinese Restaurant. The Valley Plaza location will be the fourth location of the international chain in the township, and will replace Valley Card Gift and News. In addition, the Dunkin' Donuts on Northfield Avenue will relocate down the street to the site of Julio's Restaurant.

The Livingston location of Tutor Time Child Care Centers has announced that they will relocate to the former Ekko Restaurant on Northfield Avenue in West Orange. Tutor Time also offers preschool and prekindergarten, and is expected to open in the fall.

The Township of West Orange has announced that the Ginny Duenkel Pool on Cherry Street will offer Tailender membership, valid from August 9 until Labor Day. Individual memberships cost $110. Those interested in becoming a member of the pool can call the Recreation Department at (973) 325-4085.

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

MAPSO News Roundup: Charity Golf Outing, Blues Fest, Police Blotter

The Aspiring Kindness (AK) Foundation will host a charity golf outing at the Maplewood Country Club on Baker Street on Saturday, July 28. According to WCBS 880, the foundation is hoping to raise $10,000 for the health and counselling  services at Seton Hall University in South Orange. According to the AK website, Aspiring Kindness was inspired by Aaron Karol, who died after a fire at Seton Hall in 2000. More information is available here.

According to the South Orange Police Department, the South Mountain Annex on Glenview Road was broken into between July 11 and July 14. Police say the suspect entered the building after breaking a door window. No items were taken from the school. In addition, SOPD reports that before a vehicle was involved in a police pursuit and crash on Monday in Union County, it was removed from a Holland Road driveway. The SOPD is investigating both incidents.

The 5th annual Essex County/South Mountain International Blues Festival (SMIBF) will take place on Saturday, September 7. Originally known as the South Orange International Blues Festival, the event will take place at South Mountain Reservation in West Orange. SMIBF is organized by local blues musician Mike Griot. 

"In these difficult economic times, programs such as these not only provide affordable entertainment, but boost pride in our community, stimulate the local economy, galvanize our residents and improve our quality of life", said Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo in a statement on the SMIBF website.

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Ricalton's Grand Opening Celebration Saturday

Ricalton's Villiage Tavern
Ricalton's Village Tavern in South Orange will host a grand opening celebration on Saturday, July 26. The celebration will take place from 3pm until close, though most activities will take place from 3pm until 6pm. The event will feature live music, passed hors d'ouerves, drink specials, champagne toasts, raffles, prizes and giveaways.

"We really want everyone in the area to come and see the space and what we have done to it", said Tom McLaughlin, who is one of the owners of Ricalton's.

The restaurant features an Irish pub on the ground floor, and a bar and dining room on the main floor. According to McLaughlin, specialties include scallops over risotto, Tuscan pork chop, and chili rubbed salmon. 

"We opened our restaurant in South Orange because we believe that the Village is going through a very nice renewal period". McLaughlin said. "There is a lot of new construction and renovation going on in the Village and we are delighted to be a part of that", he added.

Ricalton's Village Tavern is located at 19 Valley Street in South Orange.

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New Parking Garage Coming to South Mountain Recreation Complex

A new 500 car parking garage is in the process of being built at the South Mountain Recreation Complex in West Orange. The facility, which is scheduled for completion in early 2015, will be five stories tall, and will be located behind the Codey Arena near the Turtle Back Zoo entrance.

“With Turtle Back Zoo as our anchor and new attractions like the paddle boating and 1.7-mile walking path at the Orange Reservoir, our Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex has become a regional destination for people seeking leisure, recreation and educational activities. This popularity has outpaced the amount of available on-site parking,” Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. said in a press release. “The construction of this 500-space facility will enhance our visitors’ experience, provide more accessible parking and alleviate the burden being placed on our reservation and the surrounding neighborhoods where our visitors are parking".

In addition, a new traffic signal will be installed on Northfield Avenue between the Codey Arena and walkway to the Orange Reservoir. 

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Bakery, Restaurant, Fitness Center Slated for Gateway

A new bakery, Italian restaurant, and fitness center are slated to open in The Gateway, a mixed use building being built in the South Orange Village Center. 

One of the new businesses, Mara's Cafe and Bakery, will serve a variety of desserts, including cheesecakes and pies. Mara's has locations in Denville, Fanwood, and Brooklyn. The bakery will be owned by Will and Alyse Eisenstein. 

The site of The Gateway had been vacant for many years before the land was acquired. A car dealership owned by Andrew Beifus, Jr. of Beifus Motors was formerly located on the site. 

"It really is the Gateway to the entire village", said project developer Edward Ayuso of EEA Industries. "It's going to transform the entire downtown".
57 luxury residences will be located inside The Gateway. In addition, a rooftop deck will be available for private events. According to Ayuso, The Gateway will open to residential tenants in the beginning of September.

"Having more people move into the Village Center is a great thing for South Orange and our merchants", said Matt Glass of the South Orange Village Center Alliance. "More Village residents means more potential shoppers and diners who appreciate our high-density Transit Village setting where you can walk to just about everything". 

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Friday, July 18, 2014

South Mountain Reservation Dam Project Cancelled

An 810 foot dam will not be constructed in the South Mountain Reservation.

The group 'Save our Reservation' posted the following on their Facebook page:

"The NJ Department of Environmental Protection informed the Army Corps of Engineers to remove the proposed South Mountain dam as an option for further study! Yes, that's right - it's over! But, of course, we said that once before when the Union/Essex Mayors' Council voted unanimously for the same result, after the Corps said that it would be looking to the local Mayors for a decision - and then announced that it would be looking to the DEP for the decision. However, THIS time the Corps was very clear about the fact that it would be bound by the DEP decision - its "local source" partner in the entire flood mitigation study. And what the Corps got today was a letter on State stationery, bearing the names of Governor Christie and DEP Commissioner Bob Martin on the letterhead. So, we're pretty confident this time. What the DEP did recommend was further study of Option 4 (work on the Orange Reservoir dam + channel improvements downstream) and Option 7a (flood-proofing structures in Cranford). We are particularly optimistic about the efficacy, cost, and fairness of Option 4, and have promised downriver folks that we will stay involved in this matter to help relieve them of ruinous flooding. More about that later. Part of the problem is funding - what else? But for now - celebrate! Our cherished South Mountain river valley has been saved! No need to write any more emails for now. And thanks for ALL of your support! The power of the people, coupled with social media, is really something, isn't it? Remember, Save Our Reservation came into being on February 22. We haven't moved mountains since then, but we apparently have moved a dam out of the way!"

The group 'RAFSA' posted the following on the South Mountain Conservancy website:

"Today, in response to public meetings and comments and a DEP review, John Moyle, Manager of the NJ Bureau Dam Safety and Flood Control, directed the US Army Corps of Engineers to no longer consider the dam-detention basin in the SMR for Rahway River Basin flood abatement. Instead, the NJ DEP recommended that more economically feasible and less environmentally destructive flood abatement options be pursued. The 810-foot dam and 80-acre detention basin at the heart of the Reservation is off the table. To all those who worked to oppose this misdirected flood abatement option, we thank you, especially the organizing by Save Our Reservation under the direction of former Maplewood Mayor Fred Profeta. SMC, SOR and RAFSA (Rahway Alternative Flood Solutions Alliance) hope to work with the corps and Mayor’s Council to ensure that further study is funded so optimal solutions can be implemented to reduce flooding in Millburn, Cranford, and other towns."

This article will be updated.

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Thursday, July 17, 2014

News 12 'On the Road' to Visit South Orange

News 12 New Jersey will visit South Orange on Friday, as part of the 'On the Road' series on the cable news channel. 

According to News 12, anchor Roxanne Evans and meteorologist James Gregorio will "highlight the city sense and village vibe of South Orange through its restaurants, shops and residents".

"Each year, ‘On The Road’ captures the genuine Jersey spirit unique in each community", said news director Randal Stanley. "Our News 12 New Jersey viewers invite us into their hometowns to share what makes them ‘Jersey Strong’".

The live broadcast will take place in front of Stony's on Sloan Street in Downtown South Orange at 5pm. 

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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Gov. Christie, DiVincenzo Attend Opening of Zoo Education Center

A new education center has opened at the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange. The new building, which is two stories tall and 12,000 square feet, houses four classrooms and exhibit areas. In addition, a new entrance to the zoo was created for visitors coming from the parking garage and groups arriving by bus.

A ceremony and ribbon cutting were held on Tuesday morning. Speakers at the event included Sheriff Armando Fontoura, County Executive Joseph N. DiVincenzo, Jr, Governor Chris Christie, County Freeholders Blonnie Watson and Leonard Luciano, donor Marc Benson, and leaders of the Zoological Society of New Jersey and the Essex County Park Foundation.

Governor Christie mentioned how he visited the zoo often while growing up in nearby Livingston. Christie called the education center "another great resource that Essex County is providing".

"We need more places like this where families interact with each other", Christie said.

"(Gov. Christie)'s been a friend of the people of Essex County", said DiVincenzo. "Today is a great day not only for Essex County, but for the state of New Jersey".

The project, which cost nearly $8 million, was paid for using grants from the Zoological Society of New Jersey and the Essex County Recreation and Open Space Trust Fund, in addition to a loan from the Essex County Improvement Authority and funds from the Essex County Capital Budget.

Campers from the Turtle Back Zoo Camp attended the ceremony, in addition to dozens of zoo docents and volunteers.

The building was designed by USA Architects, and built by Bismark Construction. Both companies are based in Newark.

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Former SOMS Librarian to Run for BOE

Elissa Malesepina, of South Orange, has announced that 
she will run for South Orange Maplewood Board of Education in the October election.

Malespina issued the following statement:

Elissa Malespina, a 19-year resident of South Orange and former Librarian at South Orange Middle School, is announcing her candidacy for the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education. She is also happy to announce that she will be partnering with Donna Smith who also recently entered the race. Malespina has one son Matthew who will be entering 6th grade at SOMS and is married to Joseph Malespina, a 1994 graduate of CHS and lifelong resident of South Orange. Elissa Malespina has spent her career in education and will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position. Malespina worked in the district for 9 years before becoming Coordinating Supervisor of Technology for the Parsippany-Troy Hills School District. She has an extensive understanding of the South Orange-Maplewood School District, its strengths and the many issues it faces. "We are at a crossroads in this district and we need a Board of Education that will work for the best interests of the children who we ultimately serve," Malespina says. "The only way for things to change is for the BOE to work hard at building relationships with all the stakeholders in the district. "We need to move away from what has become an us against them mentality, and find a way for all groups to work together in the best interest of the students." Malespina believes the Board of Education needs to do an extensive search for a new superintendent and should not be rushing the process. "I am concerned when I hear that our board hopes to have someone in place before January. A thorough search needs to be conducted and all groups must be heard. I don't want to put a timetable on the process. I want the best candidate possible and we should not be rushing this." says Malespina. Another key issue in this Board of Education race is district finances. "We face a looming deficit and we need to look at ways to help minimize that, while at the same time giving our children the best education possible. This might mean slowing down the implementation of some of the programs we are looking to put in place like the International Baccalaureate Program. I believe that while some of the philosophies associated with IB are good and should be added to the curriculum, the costs associated with it are just too much right now, " says Elissa. While Donna Smith and Elissa Malespina do not agree on everything, Malespina does not see that as an issue. "Donna and I are very passionate about doing what is best for the students in the South Orange Maplewood School District. We know that we will not always see eye to eye on every issue but will work hard to make SOMSD the best district possible."

All incumbents have announced that they will not run for reelection. Anthony Mazzocchi, the former fine arts supervisor for the school district, also recently announced his candidacy. 

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Art Exhibition Coming to South Orange Jewelry and Art Exchange

A South Orange business has announced that an art exhibition will open next week. Compelling Images Fine Art, a gallery inside the South Orange Jewelry and Art Exchange (SOJAX) on South Orange Avenue, will present 'Color Grid Re-visions', featuring collage paintings by Florence Weisz, and photography by Joseph Grisafi.

According to SOJAX, "on view will be abstract art works on paper that combine free-flowing organic forms within geometric structures. Ms. Weisz has developed a unique medium using color pigments dissolved in alcohol and with them has created her signature collages in a process that is both intuitive and analytical – art that appeals to the heart and the intellect". 

The exhibition opening will take place on Thursday, July 17 from 6pm to 8:30pm. SOJAX is located at 67 South Orange Avenue in the former location of Robyn Ross Clothing and Jewelry Boutique.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

MAPSO News Roundup 7/8/14

The South Orange Performing Arts Center is seeking visual artists for a public art project. Selected local artists, or teams of artists, will paint pianos in or around SOPAC during the month of August, and a diversity of styles to inspire the community around the themes of the performing and visual arts is encouraged.The project is open to all locally-based artists or design teams, age 18 or over. Decorated pianos will be placed around the village from August 23 to October 4 as part of the second annual Playin' Around South Orange project. The public will be allowed to play the pianos, and professional musicians will be scheduled to play the pianos on various days. The project is sponsored by PNC Bank.

According to a press release from SOPAC, the application process consists of a one-page letter of intent describing your design concept and source of inspiration, and what interests you about the Playin’ Around South Orange project, along with multiple images of your body of work or a website to view the work, and an optional full color concept of your design. All applications must be completed by Fri., July 18, 2014 and all piano artwork must be completed by Thurs., August 18, 2014. The application and more information about the project can be found at www.sopacnow.org/news.


The former Dollar Variety Discount Store on Valley Street in Maplewood has been torn down. A new CVS/pharmacy will be constructed at the site.


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Monday, July 7, 2014

South Orange Village Sued by Jersey Animal Coalition, Quarantine Lifted

Above left: The quarantine signs have been removed from the door. Above right: a dog named 'Brownie' was adopted on Monday.

The quarantine at the Jersey Animal Coalition (JAC) shelter off of Walton Avenue in South Orange has temporarily been lifted, allowing the shelter to reopen. Several animals were adopted from the shelter within hours of the reopening on Monday afternoon.

The lifted quarantine comes after JAC and its president Ruth Perlmutter filed a lawsuit on Monday against the Village of South Orange, and the village's Health Department and Board of Health, in addition to Health Officer John Festa, Administrator Barry Lewis, Jr. and Deputy Administrator Adam Loehner. A former JAC executive board president, Robert Barenbach, is also named in the lawsuit.

The shelter had been originally been closed and placed under quarantine after a health inspection on March 12.

On Monday morning, Perlmutter sent a letter to local media regarding the lawsuit, reading: "On June 27, 2014 the Village of South Orange, after having shut down our shelter for four months, served notice on the Jersey Animal Coalition to terminate our lease, our services and demanding we vacate our shelter by July 9, 2014. The Jersey Animal Coalition takes great pride in serving the residents of South Orange and Maplewood at no cost. The Board, our staff, and all our volunteers want nothing more than to continue that service, save the lives of animals and find them loving homes. Due to our dedication to public service and to no kill sheltering, today, we are filing suit against South Orange and we thank the public for all the support we have received in this difficult time." 

In the complaint, Perlmutter wrote that JAC has met all requests made by the village since March. "Despite that, and despite requests from JAC", Perlmutter wrote, "the village has not re-inspected the JAC facility, has refused to lift the quarantine, and most recently, has tried to take over the shelter and seize the animals therein, contrary to existing law. As a result, the JAC has numerous animals in the shelter whom people wish to adopt, but who are stuck in our shelter due to the actions of the defendants. I come before this court praying for a court order to lift the quarantine and allow our animals to be placed in homes."

Perlmutter also claimed that former JAC president Robert Barenbach, of Monmouth County, was removed from his position in February in part because members of the JAC Executive Board learned that the JAC veterinarian of record was terminated by Barenbach, and was not replaced.

In the brief, JAC attorney William Strazza wrote that when Perlmutter once again became president of JAC, she "began putting out fires every place she found them, but could not move quickly enough to contain all the damage done before an incident in March 2014 which is the genesis, ultimately of this litigation". 

Strazza continued by requesting that the quarantine be lifted, and by saying that the animals at the JAC shelter are healthy, and contagious diseases at the shelter have been eliminated. "These healthy animals have people lined up to adopt them. Yet, they have been held hostage by the South Orange defendants inside the JAC shelter for over three months. For their sake, if for no other, plaintiffs pray this court will serve the interests of justice, act equitably, and provide all the emergent relief requested in this application for order to show cause with restraints."

In an email to Essex County Place, former JAC volunteer coordinator Nancy Schetelick questioned why the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) was not named as a defendant. "I find that interesting since JAC has not bothered to mention NJDOH as a defendant when it was the NJDOH who wrote up over 50 violations on the shelter for not being in compliance with numerous NJDOH Statutes", Schetelick wrote.

Loehner did not return requests for comment regarding the lawsuit.  

This afternoon in Newark, New Jersey Superior Court judge Dennis F. Carey, III ordered that the quarantine be lifted, and prohibited the village from evicting JAC from the shelter until further notice. Judge Carey also allowed adoptions to resume.

Several people came to the shelter to adopt animals when it reopened on Monday afternoon. 

When asked about the shelter reopening, LaVonne Trabal said, "I think it's fantastic. It's about time!" Trabal came to the shelter to adopt a cat named JoJo.

"We have fought very hard to keep this shelter open as a no-kill shelter for the people of South Orange and Maplewood", said volunteer Leo Davenport, who added that the shelter is in need of donations, including dog and cat food. "We're here for the animals", Davenport continued.

In an email to Essex County Place, Perlmutter said, "Our reaction (to the lifted quarantine) is bittersweet. Bitter because during our 4 months of closure we helplessly watched 4 week old puppies eager to share their joy and affection with their own families grow into adult dogs. We felt the frustration of not being able to give all our animals the homes they deserve, - all while watching our financial resources shrink. But also sweet, because we can now return to our mission of saving lives, finding caring homes,and making space for new arrivals by adopting and not euthanizing".

A hearing is scheduled to take place on August 20. 

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Village Administrator Responds to Comments by JAC Attorney

South Orange Village Administrator Barry R. Lewis, Jr. sent attorney William Strazza, who is representing the Jersey Animal Coalition, a letter on Thursday regarding recent comments made by Strazza to local media.  Strazza had accused the village of animal cruelty, among other accusations, in his statement.

"Your decision to use vitriolic and demonstrably untrue accusations in the press in an effort to politicize and spin this serious matter is extremely disconcerting", Lewis said. 

The shelter managed by JAC off of Walton Avenue in South Orange has been closed and under quarantine since March. The village announced this week that JAC's lease with the village has been revoked, and that JAC must leave the shelter by July 9.  

In the letter, Lewis wrote that Strazza had requested that the quarantine be lifted because of an affidavit of JAC veterinarian of record Dr. Michael Santiago. Lewis responded by saying that "this affidavit does not in any way address most of the conditions precedent to the lifting of the quarantine, which were very specifically set forth in the Health Officer’s April 21st letter". Lewis restated the conditions in his letter, and said that the "village is and always has been prepared to immediately review any information submitted and conduct necessary inspections to confirm compliance with these conditions and, upon such confirmation, lift the quarantine".

In addition, Lewis claimed that despite Strazza stating that the village was in possession of health certificates, "this statement is categorically and demonstrably untrue". Plus, Lewis mentioned that despite Strazza denying allegations against JAC to the media, Strazza allegedly wrote that JAC has not met the lease obligation to provide annual financial statements.

"In summary, posturing in the newspapers is counter-productive, particularly when the positions stated are not based in fact and are clearly intended to spin the story and portray the Village as the cause of the problems", Lewis wrote.

Lewis concluded by saying that "the Village remains committed to working with the JAC to address these issues, but cannot do anything unless and until the JAC takes action and notifies us of the corrective actions and compliance with the Lease obligations. However, as noted above, your seeming preference to air these disputes in the press with spurious accusations and deliberate ignoring of the facts does little to further this process in any productive way and will have no impact on the Village’s commitment to fairly and objectively enforcing the applicable regulations to ensure the safety of the animals".

South Orange has charged JAC with over 80 violations, and JAC has pleaded not guilty to all charges. A trial will be set in August should an agreement not be reached between the prosecution and the defense.

In an email to Essex County Place, former JAC volunteer Gale Petrecca said "We, the volunteers and followers of the case are all furious about Strazza's coy remarks, he claims he doesn't want to try the case in the press but that is exactly what he is now doing. He is just a mouthpiece for the JAC Director, spewing rhetoric and untruths. I hope they pay him well for making a fool of himself in the press. How do you know when Strazza is lying? His mouth is moving."

Strazza did not respond to requests for comment regarding the letter.

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MAPSO News Roundup 7/3/14

Many government agencies, including the South Orange Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs and the County of Essex, have postponed 4th of July activities due to the weather forecast. 

South Orange will celebrate the holiday on Saturday, July 5. The South Orange Community Pool will be open at no cost to all village residents who bring proof of residency. Activities at the pool include a hot dog eating contest, ping pong tournament, sand art, slide, bounce house, and a photo booth. In addition, the South Orange Seaport Society will be sailing model boats at the Duck Pond from 10am to 2pm. Field events and races, including relays and sack races will be held at Cameron Field from 11am to 1pm.

The Essex County Fireworks Display and Concert, originally scheduled for tonight, has been rescheduled for July 15 at 7:30pm. The event will take place at Brookdale Park on Watchung Avenue in Bloomfield.


The South Orange Maplewood School District is encouraging community members and school district staff to take a survey regarding the hiring of a new superintendent of schools. According to the survey website, the "survey is designed to gather your perception on the importance of various characteristics commonly found in effective superintendents". Former superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne left the district on June 30 to become superintendent of schools in New Rochelle, NY. The survey may be found here.


Hundreds of Maplewood residents lost electricity after a thunderstorm on Wednesday, however PSE&G reports that power has been restored to most neighborhoods. Scott's Deli on Elmwood Avenue was damaged by the storm. A posting on the deli Facebook page read "we are sorry to say that we must temporarily close while the landlord makes necessary repairs to the Deli due to the...storm".

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Village: JAC to be Evicted (Updated)

The Jersey Animal Coalition (JAC) will be evicted from managing the village-owned animal shelter off of Walton Avenue in South Orange. 

In a letter sent on June 27, South Orange Village Administrator Barry R. Lewis, Jr. informed JAC president and interim director Ruth Perlmutter and attorney William Strazza that the lease agreement between JAC and the village had been terminated, and that the organization must vacate shelter premises by 4pm on Wednesday, July 9.

In an email to Essex County Place, Deputy Village Administrator Adam Loehner said that the "JAC eviction will not impact the services the Village provides to our residents. This entire situation is very unfortunate and we are surprised that the JAC has not corrected the issues from the violations and our communications in-order to open as soon as possible. We are hearing from many potential adopters who would like to give an animal a good home and the JAC is refusing to allow their animals to be transferred out to be adopted".

Nancy Schetelick, a former volunteer coordinator for JAC, told Essex County Place that she would like the shelter to be taken over by a reputable organization. "The animals have been held hostage long enough", Schetelick said, "they need to be 'rescued' and hopefully other animal rescue organization's will step up and give them a chance at a new life".

However, some have questioned this move by the village. "What is the ulterior motive of South Orange on this one?", questioned Marilynn English. "The real issue should be what is best for the animals. If JAC has been working for 25 years and 9 years in South Orange, what really brought this conflict on?"

The shelter has been closed and under quarantine since ringworm was allegedly discovered at the shelter in March. At South Orange Municipal Court in April and in June, JAC attorney William Strazza pleaded not guilty on behalf of the organization to more than 80 violations.

In a statement, Strazza claimed that a ringworm was introduced in the shelter when an infected cat was brought in by a South Orange Animal Control Officer, and put in the general animal population of the shelter. "After the discovery of the ringworm, the JAC has vigorously and aggressively treated the issue", Strazza said. "That fact is well known to South Orange, yet South Orange has refused to lift the quarantine", he added.

JAC was founded 25 years ago, and has managed the shelter since it opened in 2005.

Both the letter from the village to Perlmutter and Strazza, and the statement by Strazza, are below.


Full Letter from Village:

Dear Mr. Strazza and Mrs. Perlmutter: 

This letter follows my letter of June 13, 2014 to each of you, and my letter of June 25, 2014 of Mr. Strazza. As you know, my letter of June 13, 2014 served as a Notice of Default and provided the JAC with ten (10) days in which to cure the stated defaults under the Lease between the Township of South Orange Village, the Township of Maplewood and the Jersey Animal Coalition dated December 15, 1999. (“the Lease”) Since that time, we have only been provided with documentation relating to the insurance requirements under the Lease and the remaining listed defaults have not been addressed or cured. 

In the absence of such curing of the stated defaults, you are hereby notified, pursuant to Paragraph 10.1 of the Lease, that the Township of South Orange Village hereby terminates the Lease and demands that the JAC quit and vacate the premises on or before 4 p.m., Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Please be advised that if the JAC fails to vacate the premises by that time, the Village will take immediate action to enforce its rights under the Lease. Please govern yourselves accordingly. 

Very Truly Yours, 

Barry R. Lewis, Jr. 
Village Administrator


Statement by JAC Attorney William Strazza:

Since this entire ordeal began, the JAC, its Board and its President, Ruth Perlmutter, have taken the position that they have no intention to try the charges filed against them by South Orange in the press. Other than to continue to assert that there is no legal basis for the charges, it remains my client's policy to handle this matter only in court. That said, there are facts unrelated to the charges the JAC feels are important for the public to know. South Orange issued its quarantine order due to the presence of ringworm in several animals at the shelter. Our investigation reveals that the ringworm outbreak was caused by a South Orange ACO bringing a ringworm infected feral cat into the shelter after hours, and leaving it in general population, as opposed to it being left in isolation. After the discovery of the ringworm, the JAC has vigorously and aggressively treated the issue. That fact is well known to South Orange, yet South Orange has refused to lift the quarantine. In fact, South Orange is in possession of health certificates for all shelter animals, and an affidavit from the Shelter vet indicating the entire facility is disease free. Despite that, and despite the knowledge that the JAC had people lined up willing to adopt, the quarantine remains on place. In addition, despite repeated requests to have South Orange and the State re-inspect and to lift the quarantine, those requests have been ignored. This inexplicable refusal to act, combined now with South Orange moving to evict the JAC for alleged lease violations, which the JAC flatly denies, amounts to animal cruelty. In addition, it strongly suggests some improper underlying motive for every action taken since March 12th.

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Santander to Close Maplewood Branch

Santander Bank has announced that the Maplewood branch of the international bank will close in October. The Maplewood branch is located at 1886 Springfield Avenue, at the corner of Prospect Street. Officials with the bank say that the Maplewood branch is being merged with the Santander Bank branch in Millburn. In an email to Essex County Place, Nancy Orlando of Santander US said "w
e regularly review our branch network and make changes to assure the best levels of service and efficiency".

The bank was formerly known as Sovereign Bank.

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

MAPSO News Roundup 7/1/14

A teenager was wounded after being shot in Maplewood on Monday night. Maplewood Police issued the following statement:

"On Monday June 30th at about 10 PM the Maplewood Police Depeartment received several reports of an individual who had been shot in the area of Schaefer Road near Jacoby Street in Maplewood. Maplewood Police and Maplewood Fire EMS units were dispatched to the scene. Police and EMS personnel located a 17 year old male on the sidewalk suffering from gunshot wounds to his legs. The victim was conscious and alert. The preliminary investigation indicates that the victim left a party being held on Schaefer Road when he was approached by two males. One suspect was described as a light skinned black male wearing shorts. The other suspect was described as a dark skinned black male wearing a blue shirt. The light skinned male produced a handgun and fired several shots at the victim striking him the legs. The two suspects then fled the area. The victim was transported to University Hospital in Newark where he was being treated for gunshot wounds to his legs. Detectives of the Maplewood Police Depeartment are actively investigating the incident and request that anyone with any information regarding the case please contact the Maplewood Police Department at 973-762-2333."

Shaefer Road connects Newark Way and Van Ness Terrace.


Dr. Brian Osborne is officially the new superintendent of the public school district in New Rochelle, Westchester County, New York. Dr. Osborne was the superintendent of the South Orange Maplewood School District until June 30.


Ruth Perlmutter, president of the Jersey Animal Coalition (JAC) in South Orange, is due in Municipal Court today on charges relating to construction taking place at the JAC shelter without a permit. Perlmutter was cited by South Orange Code Enforcement Inspections director Anthony Grenci in June. 

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