This week's Women's History Month tribute
goes to local historic figure M. Elizabeth Chitty (1928-1998), an
outspoken Black woman who challenged segregation policies in the City of
Plainfield, created a literacy program for troubled teens, and founded the Black
Librarians Network of New Jersey. The Plainfield High School Library was named
in her honor. Ms. Chitty worked as a librarian with the Department of Veterans
Affairs and served three terms as president of the Plainfield Board of
My weekly updates:
President Obama and First Family Visit Selma
Anti-Tethering Ordinance Passes
Plainfield Education Update
Administration and Finance Update
Economic Development Update
Department of Public Works and Urban Development
Recreation Division Easter Egg Hunt Scheduled
Public Affairs and Safety Update
Arts and Culture
President Obama and
First Family Visit Selma
President Obama marked the 50th anniversary of
the civil rights march in Selma, Alabama on Saturday, March 7, 2015 with an
appearance at the Edmund Pettus Bridge, one of the most prominent symbols of
Blacks' struggles for the right to vote. In his remarks, he laid out plans
for a post-presidential period in which he will try to address socioeconomic
challenges in the world including economic empowerment for the
disadvantaged, expanded opportunities for girls, and the programs that help
young men in a project he calls "Becoming a Man."
In addition to the First Lady, First Daughters Malia and Sasha traveled
with their parents to hear the president discuss his vision for the
Council business meeting, many supporters of this ordinance filled the
Municipal Courthouse. Animal activists came to the council meeting in
support of legislation eliminating extensive tethering and leaving our canine
friends exposed to harsh weather without appropriate shelter. The
ordinance passed unanimously on final passage.
The new law limits the time of tethering. Owners cannot leave an unattended animal outdoors
for more than 30 minutes when temperatures are below 32 degrees or over 85
degrees, or when storms are in the forecast. There must be adequate water, food, and a dry, shaded area
for the animal. Violations may result in seizure of animal
and placed into adoption, and owners may be fined from $100.00 to $1,000.00
for violations. Plainfielders love their furry companions, and this ordinance will help
ensure the safety of our family pets.
Plainfield Education Update
In demonstrating this administration’s commitment
to ensuring a quality education for the children of Plainfield,
I am continuing to partner with Superintendent Anna Belin-Pyles to get the word
out on a number of important items.
Kindergarten Registration Kindergarten registration for the 2015-2016
School Year will be held at Plainfield High School Cafeteria, 950 Park Avenue,
on Saturday, March 14, 2015 from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. All children who will
be 5-years-old by October 1, 2015 should register for kindergarten, as well as
all current preschool 4-year-olds. Families are encouraged to register their
children so that they may attend Kindergarten in September 2015.If you miss registration by March 14, there
will be evening hours available at the District Office (located at 1200 Myrtle
Avenue) on Tuesday, March 17 and Wednesday, March 18 from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm.
For additional information and registration requirements call 908-731-4321 or
visit the website--click here.
Superintendent's 300-Club Celebration Superintendent of Schools Anna Belin-Pyles will
host a special event for 50 elementary and middle school students who excelled
in the classroom and achieved perfect scores on the standardized test for
2013-2014 school year. “This is a great achievement by our students,” said
Superintendent Belin-Pyles. “We planned an earlier event but were delayed by scheduling
issues. Nonetheless, we want to take this opportunity to recognize our students
for their outstanding work and encourage them to continue to succeed!” The
students will be honored at a luncheon to be held Friday, March 20, 2015 at
Maxson Middle School. The event was delayed because of scheduling
conflicts and weather issues.
Kenny Carter signs with Syracuse University
Kenny Carter, a defensive end football player
for the Plainfield HS Cardinals, signed a National Letter of Intent to
play football at Syracuse University. The 6' 4", 250-pound Carter was
excited and relieved. He is looking forward to joining the “Orange”
at Syracuse. He described it as a “…dream come true.” Carter, who also had a
scholarship offer from Temple University, became an official Syracuse
Orange at a ceremony held at Plainfield High School. His mother, Cathy, and
Plainfield Coach Jason Glezman were by his side. Although primarily a defensive
player, Carter could have different roles at Syracuse. He said, “They said I
could play in the defensive line or the offensive line and maybe even right end.
I’m just excited to be going to Syracuse.” “This is a great day for Kenny Carter
and for Plainfield... It’s exciting to see such a great young man work so hard
for four years and to have it pay off like this,” said Coach Glezman.
2015 Union County Mountain Conference Division
Bowling Champs Congratulations to the Varsity and Junior
Varsity Bowling teams for winning their first-ever Division Championships in
the 2015 Union County Mountain Bowling Conference.
Congratulations to Varsity Bowlers Nathan
Thomas, Shaquille Privott, Kayla Chance, Davone Carter, Isaiah Boone and Alicia
Glass, and to Junior Varsity Bowlers Kelvin Alvarado, Mikaya Harris,
Askiaa Nash, Deysi Solano, Ahmad Hodges, Asia Smith, Jennifer Peralta, Betsy
Contreras, Jackeline Fonseca and Jessica Fonseca for doing such a great job.
You make us all very proud!
The champions won the Union County Mountain
Conference Division where participating schools included Dayton, Union Catholic,
Plainfield, St. Mary, Summit, Oratory Prep, Roselle, and Hillside.
Administration and Finance Update
Moody's Announces an Improved Outlook for
Plainfield Moody's Investors Service released a ratings
report March 12, 2015, assigning an A1 rating to the $14.5 million 2015 General
Obligation Refunding Bonds the City is planning to sell. Moody's also removed
the City's underlying negative outlook. As Mayor of Plainfield, I am pleased with the
A1 rating, and look forward to the sale of the refunding bonds. We can now save
our taxpayers over $400,000 in interest charges based on this upgrade and
on the refinancing. The removal of the negative outlook demonstrates
and affirms that my administration has the City moving forward and in the right
Economic Development Update
Service Providers Directory On Monday, March 9, 2015, my administration
introduced the first citywide Service Providers Directory to members of
the Plainfield City Council. The directory includes contact information for
more than 200 service providers within the City of Plainfield, including, but
not limited to, those working in the areas of Education, Childcare, Youth, Food
and Nutrition Programs, and Emergency Assistance. The directory was compiled by
an intern, Ms. Jensine Wright, who worked with the Department of Community
Development in conjunction with the Rutgers University's Internship Program. This is one
of the many initiatives my administration has undertaken to ensure that
residents will have access to adequate information, as needed. Electronic
copies are available in English and Spanish and are available by clicking on the link, Plainfield Service Provider's Directory in English and Spanish or you may find the directory on the Plainfield website: www.plainfieldnj.gov. For additional information regarding the directory, please contact Ms. Elaine Dunn-Brown, Office of Community Development, at 908-753-3233.
Comprehensive Economic Development Maps
On Saturday, March 7, 2015, there was a joint meeting of three Plainfield
boards and one commission: Planning, Zoning, Historic Preservation, and
the Shade Tree Commission. After thanking the volunteers that
serve the City of Plainfield with their many hours of service, I took the
opportunity to speak on my vision for economic development, its importance to
the future of Plainfield, and the need for our city to be more business
friendly. Important elements of a business-friendly administration are
improved processes, resources for developers, and the selection of
organizations wanting to do business in Plainfield. To that end, Assistant
Zoning Officer, Ronald Johnson, introduced a set of comprehensive development
maps of the following areas: Downtown Plainfield, the North Avenue, Historic District, and current development throughout the city. To view these
maps, click on the links. These comprehensive maps illustrate current
development and project status. These are examples of the tools and
resources to come that will assist developers and business partners with
Department of Public Works and Urban
Pothole Action Plan It has been a tough winter for all of us. As
expected, recent temperature changes have exposed severe potholes throughout
the city. Since the beginning of the year, the Department of Public Works has
been repairing potholes between snow events and as weather allowed. Crews were
only able to use cold asphalt material due to the unavailability of hot
material at the asphalt plants and extreme weather conditions. Crews applied a
total of sixty (60) tons of material. Starting
this week, the Department of Public Works will begin an aggressive plan to
address the many requests that have been received concerning potholes.
ROAD ASSIGNMENTS, PRIORITIZING AND SCHEDULING
Road inspections are being done on a daily
basis with a high priority on emergency routes and main arteries of the City.
Repairs are prioritized and crews are
dispatched to ensure that all required repairs are responded to in a timely
Requests from the public are being responded to according
to their priority.
Roads requiring additional work will be noted
and included in the upcoming road projects.
COUNTY ROAD ISSUES:
Plainfield's DPW staff is working closely with
the County Road Division to make certain all requests are being forwarded and
Extra staff has been assigned to pothole
repairs and they are being strategically deployed throughout the city to
address the increase in pothole requests.
The two new 4-ton asphalt hotboxes will allow
for proper application temperatures and better compaction. In addition, the new
boxes have a larger load capacity allowing staff to increase the amount of material
to be picked up. This will reduce travel time to and from the plant, which will
reduce fuel cost and response time.
POTHOLE HOT LINE NUMBER: 908-753-3427
All calls from the public regarding pothole
repairs will receive a response. My staff will return all missed calls and
provide an update on the actions we are taking.
HOW TO REPORT POTHOLES IN UNION COUNTY
County roads are identified by their blue
route signs, which include the letters "CR" followed by a three-digit
number. To report a pothole or any other issue with a
County road, click on the link to use the online formavailable through
the Union County Department of Public Works and Facilities Management. Persons without Internet access can report
potholes on Union County roads by calling 908-789-3660.
Plainfield Historic Preservation Commission
Our team at City Hall continues to work with the
Plainfield boards and commissions to help further economic development and the
preservation of Plainfield's architectural heritage. At the February 24th
meeting, the Historic Preservation Commission elected William Michelson as its
new Chairman, replacing Sandra Gurshman. Commission member Larry Quirk was
elected Vice Chairman. The Commission also selected Barton Ross as their
new historian, replacing long time (30 year) historian Gail Hunton, who has retired.
I greatly appreciate the many volunteer hours of service to the City of
Plainfield by all the residents who serve on all of the Plainfield boards and
Recreation Division Update
Plainfield Easter Egg Hunt
Saturday, March 28, 2015
10:00 am to 12:00 Noon
Cedarbrook Park (Cricket Field near Shakespeare Garden)
Department of Public Affairs and Safety Update
Community and Youth Engagement
In my administration’s efforts to engage our community and youth, the Police
division participated in the celebration of the 100th Day of School. Students
at Evergreen Elementary School collected and donated items to the Plainfield
Police Division’s Domestic Violence Unit. Sgt. Lisa Burgess, Sgt. Johnny
Henderson and Detective George Rivera were on hand to receive the donation on
Tuesday, March 10, 2015. Students collected over 150 small stuffed
animals, miniature cars, and other toys. The Domestic Violence Unit will use
these toys to help children in crisis situations. Director Carl N. Riley
and the Department of Public Safety would like to thank Ms. Natapoff, Mrs.
Marrone, and all the children of Evergreen Elementary School for their generous
donations. I am pleased to see such wonderful engagement and collaboration
between our youth and police force.
Job Fairs Click on the link for a list of upcoming job fairs--many are for this week, and some are in our area:
The Plainfield Symphony's 95th Season opens
with the presentation of "Bernstein on Broadway" at
7:00 pm on Saturday, March 28th, 2015, featuring special guest Jamie
Bernstein, conductor Charles Prince, Grammy Award Nominee Alexander Silber, and
Will Reynolds. The program includes symphonic dances and vocal selections from
West Side Story, On the Town, Wonderful Town, and Candide. Click here for more information.
Frontiers International Westry Horne Cultural
and Heritage Series Schedule
The purpose of this series is to educate and
provide space for inter-generational dialogues on topics of African American
history and culture. Click here for more information.
Plainfield Public Library
NEW CHILDREN'S LIBRARY HOURS
The Children's Library will now
open at 11:00 am on Mondays through Thursdays. Click here to be taken to the library website.
United Way Internet Essentials
In partnership with Comcast and Union County
College, United Way of Greater Union County is proud and excited to announce
the launch of Internet Essentials Computer Classes in Plainfield. With the help
of our partners, we will successfully increase computer literacy
among our residents. Classes are free to all Plainfield residents and
will consist of (10) 3-hour hands-on workshops focused on the following:
AARP tax counselors will provide local
members with free tax counseling services from Monday, February 2nd to
Wednesday, April 15th from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Appointments are required.
Please Call 908-753-3506 make your appointment. Bring the following to your appointment:
2013 federal and state income tax return if you
2014 federal and state income tax booklet
1099 SSA and/or 1099 Forms
W-2 Forms per employer
1098 Form if you own a mortgage
Social Security card for all dependents
ID for anyone ages 18 and over.
All child care and dependent care provider
info, including employer's name, SS #, or EIN #
Your 2014 Tax Receipt
All rent receipts or total annual rent paid if
you are a tenant
If you’re interested in having a Property Tax
Reimbursement done, please have your proof of taxes paid completed by the City
Hall Tax Office prior to making an appointment.
Carpooling to school has benefits
For many families, the school year is a very
busy time. Between making lunches and taking the children to and from school,
it may feel like you're always in a hurry.
But weekdays can be more manageable if you
share the school driving responsibilities with other families, otherwise known
What is carpooling?
Carpooling is a type of ride-sharing that
allows busy people to take turns with other neighborhood parents. Carpooling
Save time and money.
Minimize the wear and tear on your car.
Reduce traffic during peak hours.
Get to know other parents and community members.
Choosing carpool drivers
Share the idea of carpooling with responsible
parents also interested in participating.
Try to make sure that participating drivers have cars
that are in good condition and all valid documents (registration,
Figure out how many children can safely ride in the
car, depending on its capacity.
Keep the phone number and address of each parent in
case of emergencies.
Recommendations for drivers
Leave your house early, with enough time to pick up
all the children on time.
Have children under age 13 sit in the
back seat, and make sure they wear their seatbelts. Children younger than
8 years old must ride in a booster or car safety seat.
Before driving to school, make sure that all the car
doors are closed properly and use the child safety locks if your car has
Never leave children alone in the car, not even for a
Advice for driving in school zones
Drive slowly when you're in a school zone and always
obey the speed limit.
When driving behind a school bus, make sure to stop
when the red lights flash. Never try to pass a bus.
Try not to block or park in front of the school
entrance or exit.
Drop off the children in specified loading/unloading
zones. Wait until you see them go into school before leaving. Notify the
teacher who will be picking up the children after school each day.
Until next time... As the snow melts
we can all look forward to spring and to brighter and better
days in Plainfield. Have a wonderful week!