Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day in Bloomfield

Saluting those who sacrificed their lives to keep us free.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Candidates' Forum for Dems

The forum, sponsored by the Bloomfield Neighborhood Association Committee, had about 70 residents in attendance. It was moderated by Michelle Bobrow from the League of Women Voters of New Jersey.
There were spirited mini debates between 2nd Ward challenger Paul Halligan and Incumbent Nick Joanow. Halligan positioned himself as an anti-tax candidate while Joanow emphasized his 24/7 accessibility to residents. Many of Incumbent Robert Ruane's comments appeared to be directed less to his young challenger, Carlos Bernard, than to Mayor Ray McCarthy, who sat in the middle of a sea of empty seats next to Councilman Bernard Hamilton.

The only heckling during the forum came after Ruane delivered a blistering attack on several of McCarthy's policies. "Well read!" was the Mayor's loud retort.

The last 45 minutes of the Forum was devoted to questions from a long line of attendees (photo at left). Time limitations prevented several residents from getting their question asked. Unlike most recent such forums in Bloomfield, there was no local TV coverage available. A brief video clip can be found on YouTube.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Candidate's Forum for Bloomfield Council Primary

Where --:Van Fossan Theater, Bloomfield College,
Corner of Fremont and Franklin, Bloomfield, NJ

When -- Thursday May 26, 7 - 9 PM

Who -- Incumbent Councilman Nick Joanow and Paul Halligan are vying for the 2nd ward council seat; incumbent Robert Ruane and Carlos Bernard are vying for the 3rd ward seat in the Democratic Primary. Questions from residents encouraged.

Sponsored by the Bloomfield Neighborhood Association Committee

Monday, May 23, 2011

Welcome to Glenwood Village in Bloomfield

At it's Thursday meeting, Bloomfield's Planning Board unanimously approved the Glenwood Village redevelopment project. To be located opposite the Lackawanna Place train station, the development will be comprised of 224 residential and retail units, and a 440 space multi-level parking garage. About 20% of the added 50,000 square feet of retail space is slated for several new restaurants.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sunday in Bloomfield

"Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won't come in."
-- Alan Alda,

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Artifacts Recovered from WigWam Brook

Councilman Nick Joanow assisted the Passaic Valley Sewerage Commission's River Restoration Division, last week, in removing the larger pieces of accumulated debris from a section of WigWam Brook (near the Dog Run.) which flows through Watsessing Park. Objects like this bike required a heavy duty winch operated by the PVSC.(video link)

The cleanup was requested by the Bloomfield Open Space Trust Fund Committee, the Watsessing Park Conservancy and the Watsessing Heights Neighborhood Association. It was completed less than two weeks after 100 residents began the annual cleanup.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Bloomfield's Master Plan

Bloomfield's current master plan is a masterfully done vision of how a town can accomodate continual growth and still respect it;s parks and open spaces. It was finalized about five years ago before the towns's current ambitious downtown redevelopment plans were approved. The Plan mapped Bloomfield from many different perspectives. The overall Land Use Map pictured here depicts zoning. It's interesting to note which neighborhoods multi-family homes are still permitted.(CLIck on map to enlarge) The entre plan can be studied at Bloomfield's Library pr downloaded from the township website.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Town Paints

On Saturday, "The Town Paints" celebrated the 60th anniversary of art on Bloomfield's Town Green by inviting residents and families to bring their own works of art in all media for display. The one day exhibit was sponsored by Bloomfield's Art League and the Bloomfield Recreation Department.Awards were given to all age groups. In bottom photo, three member of The Porter Family are pictured showing off their framed paintings.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Bloomfield Developer In Morristown Trial -- Could Oakes Plan Crumble?

We were planning to get away from the temptation of speculating on Bloomfield politiical issues, but today's Ben Horowitz at the Star Ledger has a breaking story that could undermine Bloomfield's largest new residential development in years.

Zygmunt "Zygi" Wilf, the owner of the Minnesota Vikings, owns the company whose "Oakes Pond"plans were recently approved for converting the warehouse/office complex at 225 Belleville Ave.(photo at right) into 300 luxury condos and apartments.

Unresolved questions include what did those council members know about Wilf and when did they know it? The civil case against Welf has been 19 years in the making and may not reach a verdict until fall. Could a guilty verdict cause the council to revisit its vote? Why give one of the wealthiest men in NJ a 30 year tax abatement? Will this be an issue in the Bloomfield's Democratic primary or the November election?

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Emergency Budget Meeting today.

No time was mentioned at Monday's Conference Meeting. Nothing on township website to confirm location or time. Only 4 of the 7 Council members will probably be able to attend because of conflicts with their day job. A bare quorum. We suspect the fire department will be well represented as they were at the last few meetings.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Era at Board of Ed

Tuesday's Bloomfield Board of Education meeting made history on several fronts. The seismic shift in control after April's election sweep led to the election of a new President, Mary Shaughnessy. (Click on photos to enlarge) In her opening remarks, Shaughnessy promised "to make this the best and most high functioning Board that Bloomfield has ever had."
Perhaps sensing a change in the receptiveness of the new BOE majority, John Shanagher, the head of the teachers union(at right), mobilized a record number of teachers and students to bolster his case. The room overflowed with attendees attentively soaking up every word. Another hundred or so stood in the halls picking up the highlights in a quiet relay of whispers.
A disappointing element was the lack of customary TV Coverage for the most dramatic early part of the meeting. I shot a few clips, which will be posted on Youtube ASAP. Until then, check out the sample below..

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Caputo Moving to Bloomfield?

Despite an earlier announcement of a move to Nutley, todays Star Ledger is breaking news that State Assemblyman Ralph Caputo is planning to move from his native Belleville to Bloomfield. While hIs new address is yet to be confirmed, the chess game of musical chairs behind the move was deconstructed by "THe Auditor" on SL's political blog. Some of the following is pure speculation, but it would make a great who-done-it -- and a suitable addition to our towns reputation for political theater.

Pay attention closely, because this is a case of lawmaker dominoes, where one falling piece pushes the other.
The new legislative district map put three incumbent Assembly members into one district: Coutinho, Ralph Caputo (D-Essex) and Grace Spencer (D-Essex).
The Auditor is told DiVincenzo first hoped Caputo would give up his Assembly seat and run for reelection as a freeholder, solving everything. But Caputo wanted to do the opposite, and planned to move from his hometown of Belleville so he could run in a district that resembled his old one.
That, however, would put him in competition with brand-new Assemblyman Kevin Ryan (D-Essex), widely viewed as a placeholder for when DiVincenzo’s son, Joseph G. DiVincenzo, runs one day.
So DiVincenzo’s next step was to try to get Caputo to run in his new district — in place of Coutinho. But Essex County Democratic Chairman Phil Thigpen objected.

Ultimately, Ryan stepped aside, Caputo moved to Bloomfield to run for his seat, and Coutinho got to keep his Assembly seat.

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Wildlife LIving it up in Bloomfield

It ain't easy being a wildlife photographer in North Jersey. Especially if you live in Bloomfield and only focus on what passes by your back deck. Pat Ciesla shows us a few of the fauna that a dedicated amateur can capture-- without leaving her condo off Liongate Drive(she admits to following the hawk a block or so down the road.). Pat's other passion is documenting new additions to the Bukowski Animal Shelter, and then helping to find them good homes. (Click on smaller photos for larger image)

This happens to be part of the tract that The Bloomfield Third RiverBank Association was fighting to preserve against two developers' plans to build upwards of 150 townhouses.